August 7, 2012 § 4 Comments
I am quite a bit behind on this update, but it is not without reason. We have had a very busy few months with our Baby Hab. Robert is rocking our little one in preparation for bed. I have been out of the house for most of the past 48 hours, working doggedly in the library against Mother Nature’s better efforts to convince me to do otherwise. Today, for instance, the deluge began the moment Robert and I walked out the door, toting Melanie in her car seat. Robert dropped me off at the library, despite my every nerve twitching to just stay home, curl up with my cuddly baby in a blanket, and watch the Olympics. Once I trudged to the front door of the library, I found myself temporarily locked out–the power had just gone out. A magnanimous librarian opened the door for this drowned rat, and I soon found myself a table illuminated by an emergency light. I worked there for over an hour until the power came on and I could go to the graduate study room. The rain eventually stopped, the oppressive heat relented, and I emerged six hours later with a very nearly complete and revised dissertation. I hope to get the fully revised dissertation to my committee in the next week or so.
I am working on borrowed time, however; in fact, I have been attempting to write and rewrite this entry for three months. There is quite a lot of ground to cover, but I will unfortunately have to satisfy you with a swift rundown of our experiences, development, and accomplishments.
–Melanie mimics facial expressions, makes eye contact, and smiles really big. There is obvious improvement every single day.
–She is baptized on April 21st at the same church her aunt and uncle (and godparents) were married. Of course…I got tearful.
–We try out using cloth diapers for the first time, thanks to our friend V.Dub and her generosity in letting us use some of her diapers, which we ultimately purchased because we loved them so much. (More on cloth diapering and our decision to do that later.)
–She meets another playmate for the very first time; this playmate is literally 7 days younger than Melanie, which is really special. They were born in the same hospital, too!
–She has her 2-month doctor’s appointment, which most new mommies recognize as the dreaded vaccination appointment. Robert went with us, and he held Melanie while I averted my eyes. I felt like I was going to cry with her when she cried. But she really did great and didn’t catch wise to what was going on until the last two shots. We’re very proud of her.
–Melanie finds her hands and notices her fingers for the first time. She turned them over and over in front of her face and flexed her fingers. As the days progressed, she started to “share” her fingers with us by extending her arms toward our faces, too.
–Melanie makes eye contact and smiles from across the room; she starts to try to laugh when she smiles.
–She begins to babble and blow raspberries. She loves babbling to her hands the very most and gets so much delight from when Robert or I blow raspberries back to her.
–Melanie laughs for the very first time while Robert holds her; he was talking about his day at work, and Mel just let out a great big laugh.
–Melanie’s aunt graduates from Pharmacy school as a Doctor of Pharmacy. Melanie attends graduation and sleeps peacefully the entire time–we were so proud of both my sister and Melanie that day!
–Robert’s mom babysits for us so that Robert and I could go out on a date. We saw The Avengers and went out to dinner.
–Melanie goes on her second trip to her grandma and grandpa who live out of town. Our car ride was incredibly eventful, complete with a blow-out poopy diaper (disposable, not cloth), and needing to pull over so she could nurse in a parking lot. It took us 4 hours for what used to be a 2-hour trip.
–She meets my oldest childhood friend; we grew up together as next-door neighbors and have known each other since I was 5 and she was 4. My parents, Robert, and I take Melanie on a walk in a local park.
–We celebrated my very first Mother’s Day. Melanie gave me a beautiful Willow Tree figurine, and Robert gave me several awesome macro filters and lens attachments. I might have gotten a little bit tearful when I read the cards from them.
–Melanie tries to roll over from her back to front and gets about 3/4 of the way there. Her bottom arm is always extended and therefore acts as a kickstand preventing her from making the full flip to her tummy.
–Melanie meets my dissertation director for the first time at a lunch meeting we have with her. Melanie was very well behaved and was happy to let my professor hold her while I ate.
–Melanie finds her feet with her hands–now she loves grabbing on to them. She’ll be sucking those toes soon enough!
–Melanie goes to the lake with me, Robert, and his parents for the first time. We will not have any outdoor or water play for a while, but she enjoyed sitting on the screened-in porch with us and rocking.
–She starts to “stand” with assistance on our laps, and she looks so very proud of herself when she does it
–Robert and I celebrated our third wedding anniversary
–Robert’s mom babysits again for us so that Robert and I could enjoy a nice anniversary dinner out.
–Melanie goes to the lake for a second time and meets even more of Robert’s family; again, no outdoor or water activities for her yet.
–I try to get Melanie to start napping independently in her bedroom. She’s not so keen on it. Neither am I.
–Robert is away for the weekend, leaving me alone with Melanie for more than a single day for the first time. I take her to a local park for walks and photo shoots.
–We celebrate Robert’s birthday by going to his office to have lunch with him. Melanie is extremely well behaved and lets the waitresses hold onto her while Robert and I ate at this teeny little cafe. Only in the country, folks. Only in the country.
–We go to my parents’ house, and Melanie actually sleeps for the entire two-hour drive, which is encouraging. She did so well that we were able to arrive with very little incident at all.
–Melanie rolls over for the first time. First, she rolls from tummy to back and cries because she bumps her little noggin on the (carpeted) floor. It was a little bit of a surprise to her; she just happened to push with one of her arms, and there she went! Twenty minutes later, she flipped over from her back to her tummy. This was a less traumatic roll.
–She notices the animals and smiles at them. Just before she turns 4 months old, she actually pets Beatrice for several minutes while Bea-Bea attempts to nap on my lap. Beatrice was very well-behaved and patient with Melanie’s not-so-gentle petting.
–We celebrate Father’s Day on June 17th by going to the park for a Daddy-Daughter photo shoot with Mommy! Both of my subjects were adorable, particularly Melanie who looked perfect in her little “1st Father’s Day” onesie. The onesie was a surprise for Daddy–I dressed her that morning and presented her to him while he opened his gifts. After the photo shoot, we went to brunch at one of our favorite new local restaurants. Then we came home and just relaxed and napped for the rest of the afternoon. I think he was pretty happy with his whole day. 🙂
–Melanie and Annie have become pretty good friends–now when Annie licks on Melly, she just laughs and laughs. Mommy tries to shove the dog away, but it doesn’t bother Melanie one bit.
–Melanie has her 4-month appointment and booster shot visit. She fell asleep during our doctor’s appointment, and had to be woken up for the shots. It was a cruel thing to wake up for. 😦 My heart broke a little bit while we held her down on the table, but being able to comfort her afterward was comforting to me, too.
–The pediatrician gives us the green light to introduce Melanie to solids, starting with rice cereal. She has her very first rice cereal on June 25th. She doesn’t like it very much, but she did a good job while I presented the spoon to her. Apparently in the beginning, it isn’t as important that they get calories from the little bit of rice cereal they manage to swallow. Instead, the goal is to teach them how to take food off a spoon and to get used to new textures in their mouth.
–For the first week of July, we went on a road trip to visit V and her husband. It was a long drive, so we broke up the travel days into two legs, stopping halfway on the fourth of July. We went to a local park to take in their celebration. It was over 100 degrees, so we only stayed a little over an hour and a half. Melanie started to cry, even though we were doing our best to keep her comfortable. It was just too oppressive. After walking around the park a little bit and enjoying the music while we there, we took our cue from the baby and left before the fireworks started. We went to a local restaurant instead, and then we went back to our hotel to watch the Macy’s fireworks display on television. The heat made us all three pass out before our normal bedtime, but we needed it. Melanie surprised us by sleeping comfortably in her travel cradle through the whole night.
–We were with V and her husband for three and a half days, and it was a much needed visit. Melanie loved meeting her Aunt V for the first time, and we had a great time watching V’s husband and brothers play basketball in their local league. It was Melanie’s first sporting event and she did awesome! She actually watched the action of the game, moving her head back and forth to watch the ball.
–Melanie became even more adept at rolling over from her tummy to her back, this time controlling her neck so that she didn’t bump her noggin on the landing.
–When we got back home after our trip, we introduced Melanie to her very first veggie–zucchini puree, made by Mommy in the Baby Bullet! She likes it so much better than the rice cereal. We feed her a little bit of the solids twice a day–zucchini at lunch and rice cereal before bed. She still nurses (or has formula, depending if we are out in public or not) for her primary nutrition, but she is starting to really get a handle on this spoon-feeding thing!
–Melanie is also improving on her independent napping schedule (so am I). We are much more consistent, and I think that has been helping. She has been able to consistently take long naps (90 minutes or longer) in her crib after lunch for a couple of days now.
–On the day she turned five months old, Melanie and I were sitting on the floor together. Next thing I knew, she went from sitting like a froggy (with her hands on the floor between her legs) to just sitting up! She did start to lean over and landed back on me after several moments, but we are so proud that she’s reached this milestone. It really feels like she has met a bunch of milestones in rapid succession lately!
As Melanie reached her fifth month on July 17th, I came to realize that we had really started to find our rhythm as a family. I know there will be more challenges along the way, but these past couple of weeks in particular have been some of the best I have ever experienced. Melanie is a joy, a gift, and a blessing. I can only hope that one day she will feel the same about herself.