Friday, October 12, 2012

Dear Cora: Three Months

Dear Cora,

  You're three months old, baby girl! You have made some glorious strides in the past month, and it really feels like we're moving out of those rocky transition months and into our new normal as a family of four. Gosh, you're such a sweet and pretty little girl.

  The biggest change this month is that you started sleeping! We helped you figure it out a bit, but you've done great! A month ago I was happy if you got 2 total hours of napping sleep throughout the course of the day. Now, you often take a 2 hour nap in the morning, an hour or so nap in the afternoon, and one or two other 20-30 minute catnaps sprinkled in. At night you are usually asleep by 7:45-8:00, I get you up to eat between 10:00-11:00, and then about half of the time you'll sleep until 7:00ish and the other half of the time you wake between 5:00-6:00 for a quick feeding before going back to sleep until I get you up around 7:30. I nurse you for all of your feedings except your bedtime feeding. We give you a bottle then, because you are often so tired and cranky at that time that you get frustrated with milk flow if I nurse you. You just relax much more easily with a bottle. Also, since I tend to have a finicky milk supply, I feel better if I am certain you've filled your tummy before you go to bed. It makes for more pumping on my end, but it seems to be working well for you, so I don't mind. At nap times I swaddle you, give you a pacifier, rock you until you are relaxed and close to sleep, and then lay you down. You usually don't cry at all before your long naps, but you do for 5-10 minutes for your catnaps. At bedtime you fall asleep eating but then wake up 30-40 minutes after I lay you down. When you wake I come and give you your pacifier (which you generally spit out immediately) and leave, and you are usually back asleep within a few minutes. I can't believe that in 2 short weeks we've gone from the grueling 1-2 hour bedtime drama to this, much more peaceful, routine. It is heavenly.

  In the past month you've had a few first time experiences, like being left in the nursery during the church service and going to KidsTime during my Bible study. You've done much better than I expected, and have only gotten really upset once, when you were overly tired. I also put a massive bow on your head for the first (and last) time. I'm not much of a bow person ... I think smallish bows and headbands (like the one in the pic above) are the sweetest; but the giant bows just aren't my thing. They remind me of British fascinators, not so much precious little babies. Anyway, a couple of weeks ago I put one on you that you received as a gift, and from the look on your face, I think you liked it about as much as I did.

  It has been so fun to watch your development over the past month. You LOVE chewing on your hands and folding them. It's so adorable. You also are totally content to grab at the toys hanging above your play mat or your bouncy seat, especially if your brother is nearby. He is your favorite entertainment. When he is running and bouncing all over the living room you love just sitting and watching him. I love looking over and seeing the little smile on your face as you observe his antics. You also have really turned a corner with crying in the car. You really only cry now if you've had to be in the car a lot for one day, or if you're really tired. Tummy time goes okay, but isn't your favorite ... I think it is tougher for babies who sleep swaddled on their backs to get used to. Your brother wasn't much of a fan either, but he rolled over and crawled at normal times, so I'm not worried about you. It is cute to watch you stick out your little tongue as you make the effort to push that little body up!

  As far as your personality goes, your Daddy and I always describe you as sweet. You have this flirty little way of shyly smiling at us and then tucking your chin into your shoulder that just melts our hearts. You LOVE it when I sing to you. The times you giggle the most are in the evenings as I'm dressing you in your jammies and swaddling you. You lay on your changing table while I sing (usually "You are My Sunshine") and you just smile bigger and bigger until it turns into a laugh. You are also very ticklish. Your cheeks, your belly, your squeezable thighs ... it doesn't matter. Wherever we tickle you squirm and grunt-laugh. Your eyes are my favorite feature, right now. You express so much with them. I can always tell you are tired and ready for a nap by the pink rim that starts to form around them, or when they stop engaging your world as intently. When someone is talking to you or your brother is around, they twinkle with mirth. Most often, though, your eyes are asking a question, one that can only be answered with a thousand kisses. I answer every time. Side note: This is why you will be wearing sunglasses for all of your teenage years ... we don't need any silly boys trying to answer the question.

  You seem to really enjoy reading time, whether on the rare occasions when you and I lay on our backs on the floor while Liam is napping to look at colorful board books or during the daily reading time before his nap when you sit in my lap while we read his choice of stories. You kick a lot when we read, which tends to be a reliable way of measuring your excitement.

  You continue to grow well, and you were about 13 pounds, 3 ounces on your 3 month birthday.  You eat 6 or 7 times a day, depending on whether or not you wake for an early morning feeding. Normally you eat roughly around 7am, 10am, 1pm, 4pm, 7pm, and then 10pm for a dream feeding; but the 4ish and 7ish feedings get moved around fairly often depending on what we have going on. If we're going to have you out later, I'll try to get you to eat closer to 3:30 and then around 5:30 so that you aren't hungry in the middle of church or community group. You seem to be pretty flexible with eating. I'm excited to still be nursing you. By this time with your brother I was exclusively pumping, because I could only produce about half of what he needed. The last couple of weeks I have felt like my supply is a little low, so I'm hoping it's just because I haven't been as diligent with hydrating.

  So far you're not looking hungry, though, you precious chunkers!

  One of the events you experienced in the past month was getting to meet your great-aunt Pam, Grandad's sister, when she came to visit over Labor Day weekend. She was one of the first new people who you allowed to hold you without screaming. Way to go Aunt Pam!

  You also got to experience Dickson Street and Bikes, Blues, and Barbecue for the first time. I was a little nervous that the noise from 100,000 motorcycles might overwhelm you a little, but you did great! Don't worry, I covered your ears when it was really loud. I don't think you'll suffer any hearing loss.

    One chilly Sunday afternoon, we took you and your brother both got to a pumpkin patch for the first time. I took a before picture because I wanted one of you kiddos in your fall colors and I was afraid you wouldn't cooperate once we got there. I love this.

   You did great as we picked out pumpkins, went on a hayride, and took silly pictures with the plywood cutouts. You were also very patient when I rudely propped you up on scratchy straw so I could take your picture with pumpkins.

  We love you so much, precious girl. The past couple of weeks I've been realizing how much you've grown and changed already; and as excited as I am for you to let us get to know you more and more, I've been a little sad. You really aren't going to seem like a baby for too many more months, so I just kiss those little cheeks until I think they are going to fall off. One little routine you've started for the past couple of weeks is your early wake-up from your afternoon nap. You generally wake 30-45 minutes into it, and are clearly still tired. Since your brother is always sleeping at that time, I take advantage of the quiet and rock you back to sleep. I usually spend about 20 minutes cuddling you and watching your peaceful little face before I put you back in bed, where you'll sleep another 30-60 minutes. I'm glad you've gotten so much better at falling asleep on your own, because logistically that is just necessary with a two-year-old running around the house. However, I love our secret afternoon snuggles and I'm in no hurry for you to sleep straight through that nap.

  We love you and your precious smiles, Cora! Thank you for all the joy you bring us!


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