This week was huge for Anna! Here are some of the new things she’s been doing:
- -Twice this week she took about an ounce of breast milk from a bottle (!!!). She didn’t get fussy, kept reaching for the bottle after taking breaks, and stayed happy afterwards. Fingers crossed that we can keep slowly introducing it to her.
- -She’s spending a lot more time on her playmat laying on her back. She’s also getting very close to rolling over!. I’m trying to put her in things like her swing or carseat, which restrict her movement, for as little time as possible so that she can continue getting her baby-exercise while laying down.
- -On that note, I stopped taking her to Stroller Strides. After trying it for 3 weeks, she continued to be fussy throughout most of the class. I gave her frequent breaks out of the stroller, but I think it was too much for her, especially since she’s starting to get somewhat of a daily routine down and the time of the classes is right when she wants to nap.
- -This was a good week of sleep! She’s been sleeping for about 11-12 hours at night and usually wakes up 2-3 times, but not for very long. I love it. I think that soon her nap times will become more consistent, too.
- -Anna has always been talkative, but this week has discovered how to make the R, M, and Bl sounds (she says “rarara,” “blablabla,” and “mamama,” which sounds like Mama!).
- -Since she’s getting close to rolling, we’re slowly transitioning her out of her swaddle at night. At the same time, I’m trying to get her less dependent on nursing to sleep so that she can settle herself. The swaddle that we use is like a little baby-sized sleeping bag that zips up, so we’ve been leaving it partially unzipped and Patrick has been rocking her to sleep. Eventually we’ll rock her less, take her out of the swaddle, and put her down when she’s groggy, but still awake, so that she learns to settle herself. It’s a slow process, but she’s been doing really well!
We’re continuing to get ready for when Patrick leaves for his training in a few weeks and I’ve been feeling much more confident about handling things when he’s gone. We won’t be able to see each other for the first three weeks (after that he’ll be home on the weekends), so I asked some of my closest girlfriends from high school to visit me during that time and I can’t wait to see them. My parents will also be here in mid-June, which will be wonderful.
I’ve definitely enjoyed being a mother to Anna throughout all of her different developmental phases so far, but recently things have just been wonderful. I love hanging out with her and she’s been much calmer in general during the days. She doesn’t need to be held constantly anymore, which is a relief for our arms, and is a pretty happy girl overall. I’m looking forward to a fun summer with her!Tweet
This week we’re in Hilton Head, SC, for a family vacation before Patrick leaves for his training with the Marines in June. It’s not exactly beach weather (it’s been in the 60′s and 70′s most days), but we’ve been able to take a lot of nice walks with Anna and did take a couple of short trips with her to the beach. Other than staring at the ocean for a while, she seemed most interested in watching the other people there.
Thankfully, Anna’s sleep has improved this week. After being in the car for 5 hours to drive here, she was up all night (that was rough), but the next night she got back into her typical rhythm of an 8:00 bedtime.
There are only 3 short weeks left until Patrick goes to Quantico for his training. I’ve alternated between feeling confident that I can handle it (thankfully, my parents will be moving to Raleigh around the same time he leaves) and freaking out about not having him around. I’m sure that once it happens I’ll figure out a new routine and will be OK, but it’s still intimidating to me to take over most of the parenting responsibilities on my own.
While we were at the beach, I met a mother of 18-month-old twins who said that when you’re raising children, the days are long but the months go by quickly. I think that perfectly sums up how I’ve felt so far– I can’t believe that our little girl is almost 5 months old!Tweet
Anna is getting so big! This week I put her in a swing at the playground for the first time and very gently pushed her. She loved it! She’s become a pro at grabbing her toes while she’s laying down and can turn onto her side now, but still isn’t very close to rolling.
Last week I wrote about how well Anna was sleeping and, unfortunately, it hasn’t continued this week. She’s been up every 3-4 hours at night to nurse and sometimes wants to stay awake for a long time. I was getting used to long stretches of uninterrupted rest, so it’s very difficult to go back to waking up all of the time. There have definitely been a few nights that I’ve cried because I’m just so tired, but the good thing is that she’s just going through a growth spurt, which should hopefully be over soon. At first I was worried that I was doing something wrong because her sleep seemed to be regressing (that’s what’s so hard about being a new parent), but I read online that it’s very common around the 19 week mark.
I’ve continued taking Anna to Stroller Strides classes and am really enjoying having a little bit more structure to our days. I love running around outside with her at some of Raleigh’s most beautiful parks and always enjoy socializing with other moms. I’m also really happy to continue to find ways to stay busy with her since Patrick leaves for his training in about a month. I can’t believe that it’s coming up so soon and I will miss him so much!
Even though Anna’s sleep has been difficult this week, things are continuing to gradually get easier with her. Getting her into the car seat isn’t much of a problem anymore (she used to scream unless she was already asleep) and I can set her down to play in her crib for short periods of time without her crying if I need to get things like laundry done. I love watching her change and develop each day!
We have some big news to share– Patrick was accepted into Officer Candidate School for the Marine Corps Reserves! We’ve known for a little over a month now, but I wanted to wait until he had notified his employer to write about it here. Patrick has been thinking about serving in the military in some way for the past 10 years, so this is a huge step for him.
In June, he’ll leave for training in Quantico, which will last a little bit under a year with a few breaks built in. Luckily he’ll be able to come home most weekends to see me and Anna. Needless to say, this will be a huge challenge for our family because we’ll be apart a lot of the time. Despite all of that, I’m incredibly proud of my husband.
I’m proud of Patrick for following a dream that he’s had for so long. I’m proud of him for serving our country. And, I’m proud of him for taking a risk for something that he believes in so much. I’ll definitely need the support of all of my friends and family over the next year because I’m sure there will be difficult times. I’m nervous about being by myself (well, I will be with Anna, but still) for so much of the time, but think that I’ll also grow stronger over the next year. Most of all, I just want to say congratulations to Patrick! The best husband and father to Anna that I could ever ask for.Tweet
This week Anna had visits from both sets of grandparents. She loved seeing everyone and Patrick and I enjoyed having fresh sets of arms to carry her around . She’s probably over 15 pounds now, which gets heavy quickly!
She learned how to touch her toes and has continued to talk nonstop, which I think is adorable. Her sleep (knock on wood) has also been fantastic! She’s continued to go down for the night around 8:00pm, usually wakes up once to nurse, and sleeps until around 7:30am. I told Patrick that if babies came out at newborn size, but a 4-month-old developmental level that I would have another one in a heartbeat. But, of course, that’s not how it works. For now, I’m just happy to be feeling like my old self again. Hopefully things will continue to go well!
Yesterday (4/16/13) was a hard day for me because it’s the 6-year anniversary of the shootings at Virginia Tech. That, in addition to what happened in Boston on Monday, made for a very emotional day. I believe that the world is a good place overall, but sometimes it’s hard to keep believing that when people carry out such terrible, pointless acts of violence.
Despite being sad yesterday, a lot of exciting things happened with our family, too. Anna laughed for the first time! Hearing my baby laugh was just amazing. I also took her to a Stroller Strides class for the first time and she did really well there! The name is probably self-explanatory, but Stroller Strides is a workout program for babies and moms while the kids are in strollers. I specifically planned to try it yesterday because I knew that I would be sad and wanted to counteract that with something fun.
Also, I don’t want to jinx myself, but it seems like Anna is getting into somewhat of a routine with her bedtime. For the past week, she’s gone to bed between 8:00-9:00. Sometimes she sleeps all night long (amazing!) and sometimes she still wakes up once or twice. I think that the key to getting a consistent bedtime has been that I have enough energy now to limit the amount of time that she naps during the day. Anna is a super-napper and will nap for 3-hour stretches in her swing if I let her. Before this week, I would just let her nap as long as she wanted because it gave me an opportunity to catch up on my sleep, too. Now I try to cut her off at 1.5 hours at most and it seems to be helping a lot.
I told Patrick today that Anna is at the point where I don’t want her to get any older. She’s so sweet and curious right now and I love spending time with her each day. I feel so lucky to be her mom!
This is Anna with her rainbow of cloth diapers drying outside since the weather has been so nice!
We discovered that she loves being held in her “super baby” pose.
Earlier in the week, I got to go to a fancy wine tasting/dinner event for work. It was fun to have some baby free time! This picture is of me dressed up before it.
Anna had her 4-month well baby visit at the doctor today and it went well. She’s 14 lbs, 10 oz, and a little over 24 inches long now, which is around the 75% for both. I knew she was getting heavy, but wow! Almost 15 pounds is pretty crazy.
As I mentioned above, I got to go to a wine tasting/dinner event for work earlier in the week. Patrick drove me there with Anna in the car and they walked around at a nearby park so that she wouldn’t be too far away in case she freaked out. It went really well! I was able to stay for a little over an hour and it was fun to get dressed up and have some kid-free time .
A few people have been asking me how bottle feeding is going and, to be honest, we’ve just given up on it. We tried every different possible combination of bottles, nipples, feeding positions, person feeding her, etc., for almost 2 months without success. So, she’ll be exclusively breastfed until around 6 months when I plan to gradually introduce solids to her. I’m actually fine with it because she’s been able to go longer between nursing, I’ve been able to consistently get some time away to workout (working out has always reduced my anxiety), and it’s just easier to not fight her anymore with it.
This week, Anna has continued to discover that she can make even more cooing/squeeling sounds and I love it! I think her little voice is so funny. She’s also getting better at grabbing things and seems more and more aware of her surroundings each day. Our little girl is growing up so fast and I can’t believe she’s already 4 months old!
Anna is already 16 weeks old and is quickly approaching her 4-month birthday! One thing that used to confuse me about both pregnancy and babies’ ages is that the weeks and months don’t quite add up– like how pregnancy usually lasts 40 weeks, but people always say that it’s 9 months. I always forget that each month isn’t exactly 4 weeks, so I want to say that she’s already 4 months old, but she’s not quite there yet.
This week she’s continued to be obsessed with trying to eat her hands. It seems so exciting to her that she can control them and suck on her fingers so effectively. She’s also learned how to grab objects and pull them into her mouth. She did it to Patrick’s finger when he wasn’t expecting it, which was pretty funny.
Anna has been sleeping like a teenager this week, which I’m not really complaining about that much since I have a flexible work schedule. She’s been going to bed around 11:00pm and sleeping until 4:30am. Then she’ll be awake for about an hour and go back down from around 6:00-9:00am. Then she’ll take a big nap from about 10:00am-1:00pm and I’ve been napping then, too. By the time we’re both awake, it seems like the day is already almost done! If I couldn’t work from home or had to be somewhere with her in the mornings it would be terrible, but luckily I can just work around her schedule.
This was also Anna’s first Easter! The kids who live across the street from us had a huge Easter egg hunt in their yard and it made me really excited for when she’s older and can do things like that. This year we just had a photo shoot at home with her and her bunny .
In my past two posts I completely forgot to mention that I’ve started working again (you can read more about what I do here). I’m currently doing very limited part-time hours from home and I feel incredibly lucky about that! I still get to stay at home and take care of Anna, which Patrick and I both wanted, and also do some work for the concierge service while she’s napping. So far, it’s working out well.
When I was younger I worked as a nanny for two families for almost a year. It taught me a lot about what I wanted for my future children and in both of the families that I worked for, the moms had flexible part-time jobs that allowed them to work from home some of the time. I realized that what they did was so different than special education, where every ounce of my energy was spent by the end of the day and working from home was definitely not an option! That was one of the moments that I knew I needed a career change. As much as I loved working with people with disabilities, it just became too stressful and I knew that in order to have energy to be with my kids, I needed a less intense alternative. So, even though it can be difficult to manage watching Anna and squeezing in time for online research, I’m incredibly appreciative of what I have.
I recently read The Retro Housewife,which is a fairly long article describing how many women who see themselves as feminists are choosing to stay at home and take care of their children. I can relate to some things in the article (nesting and maternal instincts hit me hard a few years ago) but disagree with others, such how many of the women describe feeling like they are the only ones who can do housework because they do it quicker and more thoroughly than their husbands. Overall, however, I just felt like the people interviewed in the article were over analyzing their choices when they should have just accepted what works for their families. I feel confident in my decision to stay home with Anna and only work outside of the home a few hours a week.
I’m very grateful for the situation that Patrick and I have. I realize that for many people, both parents have to work full time to support the family. Hopefully working from home while taking care of Anna will continue to go well!
The last picture is of me and Anna in my old room in Alexandria, VA. It’s probably the last time that I’ll see my childhood home before my parents sell it, so I’m glad that I got to take Anna there.
What a relief– this week has been much better! A lot of how I feel depends on how much sleep I get, which definitely contributed to me feeling overwhelmed last week. For the past three nights, Anna has slept 8-9 consecutive hours at night and I’m crossing my fingers that it’s a trend. Patrick had to go to Virginia for work earlier this week and Anna and I joined him to visit family and friends while he worked. I wish I had gotten some pictures because she also met some of my closest friends from high school, which was so fun!
This week she’s continued to gain more control with her hands and fingers. Sometimes she’ll hold up one hand and watch it as she slowly rotates it and moves her fingers. It’s like she’s discovered that it’s hers and it’s so cute! Also, she slept for the majority of the 4-hour car ride to Virginia and did really well in the hotel, which I’m really happy about. As she gets closer to 4 months old, I’m definitely realizing how quickly the time goes by and am trying to enjoy the little moments each day .