Sunday, February 27, 2011

Ten months of Avery!

Doesn't it seem like these monthly updates are coming with increasing frequency? Avery turned ten months old on Thursday! In retrospect, the time does seem to have passed quickly, though there have been spans of time that dragged: it seemed like we would never get out of the newborn stage. I have celebrated each step towards independence and every milestone that brings Avery closer to operating independently in the world (as in, not needing ME to function every minute of every day). At the same time, I look ahead and feel her slipping away from me already and I want to freeze her right now and keep her as my little baby forever. I want to keep her safe from the world and everything in it. We are now in a wonderful place where she is able to play independently, and has fewer needs in general, but she is also still sweetly dependent on us for snuggles, guidance and care. This is the best stage so far!

Avery is such a joyful baby. She is smiling all the time. We are very lucky in that regard! She is so much fun to be around.

As you can see, her hair continues to grow and thicken. I don't want to cut bangs on her, and she won't let me put bows in it anymore, so it often just hangs in her eyes, which I don't like either, but I figure soon it will be long enough to put behind her ears or pull it back.

Yesterday we finally bought a safety gate for the stairs since it seemed every time we turned around she was climbing up them again. She is becoming quite the little explorer with her new found mobility and agility. She is now standing on her own for several seconds at a time! She hasn't figured out how to do it, really... she mostly just forgets to hold on to something and finds herself standing independently on accident, looking exhilarated before plopping down on her padded bum. She can walk behind her walker-wagon and holding on to our hands for balance. Everyone likes to say, just wait till she's walking then she'll be into everything and you'll spend your whole day chasing her! But I'm excited for her to begin walking so we can go to the water park, the beach and the playground.
She still doesn't eat much. She will eat bites off my plate... or not, depending on her mood. If she is not interested in eating, she will clamp her mouth shut or spit the food out. She hardly ever feeds herself. If I give her chunks of food on her tray she will smear them around, squish them in her chubby little hands, or throw them on the floor. This is yet another area where parenting in reality has been very different from what I imagined. I pictured her being enthusiastic about foods and eating regular "meals" by the time she was one. Now it seems far off still that she will be eating with any regularity. She still gets the majority of her calories by far from breastmilk. One of my friends is talking about weaning her baby, who is two months younger than Avery. There is no way I could wean Avery right now. I mean, not without significant emotional trauma to both her and me. It's ok - I had planned on breastfeeding for a couple of years anyway, but I thought it would be a much smaller part of the picture by now, and certainly by two years. Now I'm reconsidering that and wondering how long she will continue to turn her nose up at solid foods. Will she still be getting the majority of her nutrition from me a year from now?!
Annnnnnd sleep. Ah, sleep! I remember it fondly! I laugh at my pregnant self now - I had such quaint notions. I read Dr. Weissbluth's book Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child while I was pregnant and it gave me such completely unrealistic expectations. Perhaps your experience was different from mine, and if so, please let me know in the comments because I'm really interested in what you did that worked, but I haven't learned anything useful from any of the sleep books I've read. After reading Weissbluth, I thought, ok, I can do this, just let the baby cry because she needs to learn how to soothe herself. Then I was presented with my actual baby and discovered I would go to the ends of the earth to prevent her any suffering or hardship whatsoever. You guys, baby tears. BABY TEARS! Unbearable. Maybe that's just me.

Anyway, now I'm appalled at some of his suggestions, including one that if your baby cries so hard she vomits, you should wait until later to clean it up because if you go in there you will set back your sleep training progress. WTF Weissbluth?! Just leave your baby crying in her own vomit! She must learn to self soothe! I kid you not; that is a suggestion in his book. AVOID.

So I've found with my actual real life baby (not the one in my pregnant person's imagination) that I can't or won't let her cry for a variety of reasons and not only because I'm a martyr or have a bleeding heart. Trust me, I'm not exactly a "baby person" so it's not out of enjoyment or goodness that I continue to minister to her every whimper in the small hours of the night. It's because she's a PERSON. Not a little doggie to be trained that no one is coming when you cry at night so you might as well go back to sleep, but a human being. If Adam or anyone else I loved was crying bitterly in the night for a hug or because he was thirsty and couldn't get himself a drink, or because he was scared, I wouldn't just ignore it. Nor do I expect her to be able to soothe herself. She can't do anything else for herself! She can't eat or drink or wipe her own bum! Why on earth would I expect her to know how to soothe herself? If I consider how the world looks to her, especially how it looks when she wakes up alone in the middle of the night - it's probably kind of scary. (I also believe there are some babies who benefit from working out a little emotional tension at night and if their parents recognize that and everyone's happy, that's great! But it's definitely not our baby or our situation.) Having said all that, I still sometimes wonder if I'm "doing it wrong". I second guess myself. I wonder if she will ever (EVER) sleep through the night or on her own.

It's the best of times... it's the worst of times. I mean the night. Sometimes when I'm cuddled up with her and Adam is breathing softly on the other side of the bed, I just think it's the best. So sweet and peaceful. Other times my skin is just crawling and I don't want her nursing on me anymore and I just want my space and some uninterrupted sleep! When I feel like that I try to remind myself how much I will miss these sweet sleepy snuggles in a few years. Avery rolls on her side and puts her baby hand on my chest and drifts back to sleep. I sigh and relish her babyness.

I hesitate to write it for fear of jinxing it, but last night she slept in her crib for four hours and this morning she took an 80 minute nap. I have hope.

Still cute. Still lighting up our lives. I remember this time last year - only 8 weeks till she's born! Now it's just 8 weeks till she's a year old! So much can happen in a year. A year ago we wouldn't have a baby for two more months and now we have a ten month old.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Smart smart smart

According to my copy of The Wonder Weeks,* Avery is smack in the middle of a developmental leap right now, which means she's fussier and clingier than normal (check, check), resisting naps (check), and isn't sleeping as well (CHECK).  This developmental leap is the one when she learns how things go together in "programs", like stacking blocks, or putting toys away in a bin.  Sure enough, a few days ago I was building block towers for her to knock over (a favorite activity around here), and I saw her trying to put one block on top of the other!  Then we were playing with her stacking rings - you know the ones that go on a peg like these - and she actually put the rings on the peg!  It was awesome.  It's so amazing watching her learn things, and so much fun now that she's really learning.  I mean, I know she's been learning all along, but before she was learning how to cram toys into her mouth and now she's learning interesting stuff like stacking blocks.  She's starting to really understand words too.  I'm thinking she probably understands a lot more than we give her credit for.  When she is nursing sometimes she will reach out for my face and I'll take her hand and put it on my nose and say "Mommy's nose!" then my mouth, eye, ear, chin, cheek, forehead, naming each part for her.  Now I can say, "Where's Mommy's mouth?" and, you guys, she will point to my mouth!  The first time she did that I was so proud of her I nearly cried!  Parenthood is a trip, y'all.

* I definitely recommend this book if you have an infant!  It's a rare parenting book that doesn't tell you some "magical" or "instant" way to get your kid to do something.  This book doesn't preach anything.  It just tells you how your baby is developing and when they are going through major developmental leaps.  There are 8 of them in the first year and I've found all of them to be pretty accurate.  It's great because you can stop wondering why your baby suddenly cries whenever you set her down when last week she was fine.  There's nothing wrong, she's just going through a major developmental spurt.  You can stop trying to FIX these problems and relax knowing if you just weather the storm, your cheerful baby will be back in a few weeks.  Plus it's interesting to get an idea of how your baby is learning all this stuff in the first year.  How crazy is it that they are born lumps that can't focus their eyes or control their limbs and just a year later they are walking and saying a few words?!  Insane!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Uh oh

Avery has gotten in the habit of pushing her activity table around as a "walker". Earlier today she pushed it over by the laundry room and stairs where I couldn't see her, but I could hear her pushing the buttons so I knew she was still playing with it. Then, I started to hear carpet/crawling sounds. If you're a mom you know you develop really acute hearing and you can tell what your baby is up to even if you can't see her (eating paper, opening drawers, digging in a basket in the laundry room, etc). Well... the other day I saw her pawing around the stairs, lifting a knee up, but not really climbing up them. Yet. Today I heard her pawing around and when I walked over she was up on the first landing already!!!! I was talking to my mom and I just gasped into the phone and she said, what?! And I said, life as I know it is over! Haha. She crawled all the way up to the top (with me right behind her) and was so proud of herself.

Monday, February 14, 2011

She dances to her own beat

Avery is such a crack up!  She dances now when she hears music.  If you start singing, she starts bobbing up and down.  It is too funny when she does it in the car seat while she is restrained and she can only bob her head.  I've been wanting to get this on video and I finally did a couple days ago.  But there was no music!  She was just bouncing to the beat in her head I guess.

Untitled from Michelle Seiler on Vimeo.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Happy Baby

That's my girl.  This picture pretty much sums up Avery's personality.  She is always smiling!  She is such a joy.  She smiles at everyone she meets now... it's one of the top three comments I get about her - "oh, she's such a happy baby!" or "look at all that hair!" or "such pretty blue eyes!"  I love her little gummy grin (still no teeth!).

Tuesday, February 08, 2011

Avery plays peek-a-boo

 Where's Avery????


I love how she looks so proud of herself :)

I broke down and paid up

And with that (and $5), here are the pics from the last post.

Saturday, February 05, 2011


Adam was on a work trip last week to Indonesia so Mom and a friend came out to stay with me for the week and do girl stuff.  We went out to lunch at the local microbrewery, Kona Brewing Co.  Afterwards, Avery fell asleep on me in the parking lot.  Darn!  We were stuck, but we wanted to go to Costco, so Mom and I walked to it a mile down the road.  I didn't have my sun umbrella, but I did have a baby pool floater that had a sunshade with it, so I held that over my head as we walked down the busy road to block some of the intense sunshine. 

[Sorry if you're covered in snow and freezing your tushie off where you are!] 

I have a picture of myself looking silly with the sunshade and the sleeping baby-in-backpack.  I also have some adorable pictures of Avery sitting in the shopping cart like such a big girl at Costco.  She was so funny; she was smiling at everyone who walked by.  One lady said, oh you're so happy!  That's our girl.  Anyway, I can't post the pics because blogger is telling me I am out of storage for photos on my blog!  WTF blogger?  I had no idea there was a storage limit but apparently there is and I'm at it already and it costs $5 to get more storage.  PER YEAR.  That's not a lot, I know, but ... I don't know... I mean, wtf.  I don't want to have to pay to post pics on the internet.  So, I'm thinking about what I'm going to do.  I will probably break down and pay the five bucks, since I've already got so much time on this blog and I don't really want to start something new.  Stay tuned.

Poor Adam was traveling from 11 pm (Hawaii time) on Wednesday night until 9 am (Hawaii time) on Friday morning.  Eek!  Poor guy.  He was stuck in Korea for 13 hours.  There's just no easy way to get to Indonesia apparently.  We are headed up to Turtle Bay, where our wedding reception was, to spend the night tonight and celebrate our upcoming anniversary.  Almost two years we've been married!