Nov 28, 2011

Adelaide {11 months} ... long letter!

Dear Adelaide,

Again, I'm behind on writing my monthly letter to you! You turned 11 months old six days ago! I'm in disbelief. Just a few short weeks and you will be a year old. Where has the time gone?!? This time last year, I was at home, done with work and waiting your arrival (little did I know I had three weeks to go!). I was busy making things for you, cleaning the house, and cooking food for the freezer. Now, I have a rambunctious little girl who laughs all. the. time. and is constantly exploring her world. Each day I see you transform more and more into a little toddler and away from your baby-self. It makes me so excited to imagine what things are coming, but also sad that these moments are passing so quickly.


This month, you experienced your first Halloween. We didn't do much, but we did take you to your first pumpkin patch. You enjoyed feeling the breeze, and you looked really cute sitting among the little pumpkins. We got a large pumpkin, which I cut up and cooked. You love pumpkin!


Speaking of eating, you are still self-feeding like a champ. Sometimes, you stick your whole hand in your mouth just to get a small piece of food in, which is really adorable. You will eat, and eat, and eat. You love any type of squash or zucchini, potatoes (white and sweet), carrots, apples, pears, mangoes, bread with apple buttter/blueberries/apricots or maybe just plain, graham crackers, puffs, fruit smoothies, fruit popsicles, oatmeal... the list goes on and on. Sometimes you'll even try eating rocks and leaves, among other things. :)


You are so good at walking now. It didn't take long, but now you never crawl unless you're being silly. You walk all over the place, occasionally falling, but always picking yourself back up. You can also step over things sometimes, and step up and down over the door threshold. You can climb up stairs and have just figured out how to climb (safely) down!


You've started to hold my hand when you walk! I use it to my advantage... if I need to walk down the hall to get something, and need you to come with me, I just hold my hand out, say "Hold my hand!" and you'll grab right onto one of my fingers with your sweet little hand. It makes me think of how instinctively you trust your daddy and me, and it makes me feel so proud to be able to show you the world.


You are so very happy. You really belly-laugh a lot now. The littlest things will get you going and it is infectious. Your happiness is so pure and full, and hearing you laugh will turn any day into a great one.

You've just started pointing, about a week ago. And you point all the time now. And grunt. :)


You're cutting your first tooth, finally! It actually began coming through four days after your 11-month birthday, but since I'm late writing this, I figure I'll include it too. It has been tough for you, little one. The previous two weeks, you were extra clingy and fussy. Then, the day I noticed your tooth coming in, I first saw blood on your lip, freaked out trying to find the source, and finally saw that it was your top right tooth cutting through! You are pretty content during the day, but nights have been tough. You wake up and want to nurse constantly, which makes for a tired mama. Hopefully all your teeth won't be this difficult for you (us)!


You also had your first Thanksgiving! Every year, your Great-Granddad (daddy's grandpa) gets a beach house for the whole family to come to, and we were so excited to bring you! You've met almost all your family now, and everyone who meets you LOVES you so much! You steal their hearts, and they constantly comment on how you smile all the time and are so happy. You took a little while to warm up to being held by different people, but you enjoyed yourself so much. You followed your cousin Hayden around and played with him a lot. And this was your first beach trip too. You LOVED the ocean! Again, it took you a little while to warm up to it, but on your second trip down to the water, you were screaming happily at the waves, walking into the water, and playing with the sand!

And finally, you give kisses on the mouth now. A big, open, sometimes slobbery, always wonderful kiss. Your first real kiss was just 5 days ago, and you've given quite a few since then.

You make our lives so amazing, Adelaide. We love you to pieces!

Love, Momma

Nov 22, 2011

Right now...

Right now:
Adelaide is teething. This has been going on for two weeks now. I used to think that she was teething, months and months ago, but now I KNOW she is. And it's not fun. She's clingy, fussy, moody, grumpy. With bouts of playing and goofiness thrown in. Come on, bottom tooth! Pop through already!

Right now:
I am counting down to the end of the workday. Our bags are mostly packed for a long weekend away to the beach, and we're headed out as soon as we can tonight. Each year, Kevin's grandparents rent a beach house for Thanksgiving and the whole family gets together. I am very much in need of this vacation. It will be Adelaide's first time at the beach, first time meeting some more family. She is going to make everyone's jaws drop, what with all the walking and gabbing and clapping and waving. :)

Right now:
I am in SHOCK that my little girl is 11 months old today! One month and a whole year has flown by. Some days I don't mind if they fly by, but now... now I just want time to stop. If all her years go so fast, she will be driving and going to college and getting married before I know it. And I'm not ready for that.

Right now:
I still wish I were at home. Money is still tight, even with paychecks. Free time doesn't exist anymore (hence the absent blog posting). Chores pile up, house is chaotic (which feeds my anxiety), dinners are pathetic. It's all I can do sometimes to keep my head above water. I keep telling myself that it will get easier as she gets older and more independent, but I'm not so sure that's true. Plus, there's that whole growing up thing to deal with.

And, right now I want to say thank you to my readers for sticking with me in this time of transition. I have so many intentions of posting more frequently... so many pictures to upload, so many stories to tell (like of Adelaide's first wedding attendence, or how she's beginning to explore the outdoors, etc...), but time and baby get in the way. I guess I need to tell myself that this season of my life is so important for Adelaide. That if all I do each night is hold her and put that dang puzzle together for the millionth time, that she will at least know that momma is there for her. Who cares if the dishes pile up or leaves take over the front porch? What they say is turning out to be true: she won't stay my baby for long. Before I know it she won't need me in the same way so I need to enjoy it while I can.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone, if I don't write before then!

Nov 11, 2011

Slow and steady. How to transition to daycare.

At work, people ask me "How's the baby doing with daycare?" I say "Better than me." Because, really, Adelaide's doing so awesomely, and I'm the one with the ache. When we were coming up on my start date, we started transitioning her, early. We decided that slow and steady was right for us in introducing Adelaide to her new surroundings. It helped her acclimate at her own pace, instead of us assuming that "she'll adjust just fine." Adelaide has always been sensitive and also very attached to me, and I wanted to respect that to make this transition easier for her. Here's how we did it, in case you're ever needing to do the same.

How to transition to daycare (some tips and tricks I've learned):

1) If you have the time, a couple months before your child's start date, begin having regular visits with the new care provider. We began visiting the daycare in mid-August, a full 2 months before her start date. We talked with the lead teacher in her classroom and decided that two one-hour visits per week would be great. We had the time, since I was home on maternity leave, so it wasn't an issue for us (and actually gave us something to do). If you have a good provider, this won't be an issue. We were originally only going to do one visit per week for 6 weeks, but she bumped it up to 2 visits per week for 8 weeks. Now I feel like part of the center's family after having spent so much time there.

2) For the first few visits, don't try to push your baby to play independently or with other children. Your baby will venture out at his/her own pace. Adelaide was very shy at first. She spent a large chunk of that time on my lap. I made sure to interact with the other babies, the toys, and the teacher in a very positive and upbeat attitude. By doing this, Adelaide was able to see that I was comfortable in the new space with the new people, making her feel more comfortable too. The first visit went wonderfully because of this positive energy, enough for Adelaide to want to explore a little bit. As the visits went on, she would crawl away from me a little more, for longer periods of time. She felt comfortable and safe.

3) When your baby seems ready, leave the room for 10-15 minutes. Make sure the teacher is ready and able to spend some one-on-one time with your baby, in case he/she gets upset at you leaving. I did this during week 5 of the visits, and though she cried for most of the time, I was able to come back in after a very short period to console her. This was her beginning to learn that yes, mommy will come back and she is safe and taken care of.

4) NEVER sneak away from your baby. Always make sure to say I love you and kiss your baby goodbye! If you sneak away, eventually your baby will realize that you are not there, and then every time you are around they will cling to you wondering if you're going to disappear again! Yes, Adelaide gets a huge frown and makes the saddest face when I leave, but I make sure I'm smiling and happy, and now before I'm even down the hall she isn't crying anymore! (Yet, if Daddy drops her off, she gets excited walking down the hall and reaches out for her teachers!)

5) Get some comfort items together. For the first week, I made sure to bring a tee shirt I slept in so it'd have my scent on it. Her teacher said it was a lifesaver. When Adelaide was really upset, the teacher would drape the shirt over her chest, and Adelaide would snuggle in and go to sleep. (Awww!!!) I also brought Adelaide's favorite book, and made a family photo album for her, full of pictures of mommy and daddy and her cats.

6) Start slow. We had the time to do a two-week transition. I highly recommend this, not only for your baby, but for YOU! The first couple of days we only did 2 hours. It was very tough. I couldn't imagine having to go to work directly after dropping her off for the first time, so this transition was good for me to be able to be away from her for long periods of time. I was able to adjust and am now able to give lots more attention to work, instead of obsessing over my baby (not that I don't think about her every two minutes). Each day after the first couple of days, we added either a half-hour or an hour, working our way up to a full day. I made sure she had two full days before our last weekend together.

7) Be prepared to give your baby LOTS of attention in the evenings. Adelaide was and still can be extra sensitive after picking her up from daycare. The first few days she was fussy in the evenings and did not want to be put down AT ALL. But now, she's full of energy and very happy after getting used to the routine. She also nursed more frequently, wanting me close. Also, those first couple of weeks, she would really freak out if I even thought of leaving the room. She assumed I'm leaving for a long stretch of time, and I respect those feelings, so I took her with me around the house. I knew it was still very new for her, that it would get easier... and it has!

8) Don't worry if your baby doesn't eat well the first few days. It took Adelaide a few days to want to eat at daycare. It wasn't until day 9 of the transition that she drank 6 ounces of breastmilk, and ate her jar of food, and two baby rice cakes. I started with bringing two 4-ounce bottles of breastmilk per day, plus a jar of homemade baby food, and kept a package of the rice cakes at the center. Each day she ate a little better, because she got used to the routine and feeling more and more comfortable. Give your baby time, it will happen! Now she eats like a champ: three 4-ounce bottles, a plate of table food, and some sort of snack (either puffs, half a banana, or a baby fruit smoothie pouch)!

9) Stay busy! This one's for you. When your baby is at daycare, make sure you stay busy. The first couple days, I just waited around for the time to go pick up Adelaide. I obsessed and cried a lot. After that, though, I kept busy! I've gotten a lot of things done that I'd been meaning to get done, like hemming my pants, trimming the hedges, and getting my oil changed (things that are difficult to do with a baby in tow!).

So there you have it: my tips for transitioning to daycare. It's not easy, but taking a slow approach makes it such a calmer time for your baby. Just remember to respect your baby's feelings, give lots and lots of cuddles, and that it will get easier!

Do you have any additional tips or tricks? I begin work on Monday, but please share any advice or experience you have! Even if I can't utilize your tips, others might be able to!

Nov 8, 2011

Back at work.

I have officially been back to work for a month now. I apologize for the lack of posts, but while we have all been busy figuring out our new routine, this little blog barely entered my mind. Life is crazy full now, and between still not sleeping through the night, working full-time, prepping nightly for daycare the next day, and possibly squeezing in some "me" time, I just haven't mustered up the energy or ambition to sit at the computer for any longer than it takes me to check my email.

before work
Before work one morning...

If you read my 10-month update, you saw that Adelaide is doing awesomely at daycare. She has adjusted so well, and I think it's because of our slow introduction to the setting that made her feel so comfortable. I have a post in the works about how to introduce your baby to daycare that I plan on posting later this week. Now she gets excited walking down the hall to her classroom, and she reaches out for her teachers. She's only fussy when she's tired, but as soon as they put her in "her" bouncy seat, she falls right asleep. (At home, this would NEVER work. She knows her milk is close by and won't go to sleep any other way! Not that I'd want her to - I cherish the slow moments we spend together while she's falling asleep nestled into me.)

I, however, have been a bit slower to get used to the idea of spending our days apart. My first week back, I did awesomely too. I was welcomed back with lots of hugs from the students, cards, and warm smiles from my coworkers. It was easy to ignore my ache. With week two, I think it hit me that this is the new normal: spending nearly 9 hours apart from my baby every single day. And it's not changing any time soon. The past few weeks have been a roller coaster. Some days I feel great, and I feel like I can handle it. Some days I cry 3 times, when talking about Adelaide, pumping my milk for her, or on the way to pick her up in the afternoon. It's been hard. And I don't love it. I was excited to be back in the classroom, but with a crazy schedule this year, running to the office to pump twice a day, dealing with the chaos that ensues with assistants covering while I pump, and the NEED to leave right at 2:30 to pick up my daughter... it's exhausting. I would give it up in a heartbeat to return to the role of stay-at-home-mom to spend every moment loving, teaching, and being with Adelaide.

I do find that I cherish my time with her more, now. I, of course, loved spending all those months home with her, but it was sometimes overwhelming. I got "babied-out", and some days would count down the minutes until Kevin came home from work so I could have just a minute without her in my arms. And even though I'm often overwhelmed now, in a different way, I find that I focus on her a little more when I'm with her. I give her thousands more kisses, marvel at the little person she is becoming. It refills my heart, and gives me fuel for the next day. I know I work for her, our family, but spending time with her is all I want to do. I know this is just one season of my life, but it doesn't take away from the fact that I miss Adelaide so very much.