Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Happy 4 month and 5 month birthday Reese!

My dearest Reese,
You certainly have kept us on our toes these past few months.  So much so that Mommy hasn't blogged in 2 months and didn't even have time to write your 4 month letter!  I'm sorry little one!  But I'll make up for it now.

First off, you must know that we are grateful for you every day!  You are the first thing I think about in the morning and the last thing at night.  Your smile gets me through my day my dearest!  We love you more than you could ever begin to imagine.

From your 3rd month of life to your 4th, you were a busy little girl.  You started to hold toys, recognize faces and voices, discovered your feet (which you think are incredible and you play with all the time), and you started to have real, true laughs!  What a joy it is to hear you laugh at Mommy or Daddy when we are being silly.  Best sound in the world - besides hearing "your daughter is born" but that only happens once and you must laugh at least 10 times a day!  You also started to learn to kiss, or what we think is you attempting to kiss.  You open your mouth and lean in to Daddy or me or your stuffed monkey that you love.  It's adorable!

Here's your 4th month birthday picture with your name blocks.

You also had your first trip in August to see G-ma and Grandpa in Pinetop.  You weren't the biggest fan of the ride, even though you slept for a lot of it, you also cried for too much of it and made Mommy and Daddy worry.  But we made it safe and sound both up and down the mountain.  However, you got your first cold while we were there and Mommy and Daddy felt helpless as they heard you cough and sneeze and cry.  This led to less sleep for you once again which we continued to battle for some time after your cold had subsided.  You are still sniffly, but your cough is gone.  However, you were never unpleasant with your cold and always still had a smile for all of us.  Also during this trip you got to meet Daddy's grandparents for the first time.  They LOVED meeting you and watching you interact with Daddy!  It was later discovered that you were actually starting to teethe during this trip as well.  We didn't see or feel any teeth until after your 4 month birthday, but we think that this was part of your unhappiness in Pinetop.

Even when we came home, you still had trouble sleeping which we attributed to your cold that stuck around for way too long.  But you did figure out how to put yourself back to sleep when you woke up in the middle of the night.  YAY!

But by far the biggest event of this time was learning to roll from your belly to your back!  And Mommy got it all on video...purely by accident...but it happened!  (It may look like I am helping you roll, but you did it all on your own!)

So as you can see, your third month of life was very busy and Mommy could barely keep up with you!

But your 4th month, was also quite busy! At your 4 month appointment with the pediatrician, your weight was 13 lbs, 15 oz and your length escalated to 24.75 inches!  You are growing like a weed.  Dr. Kids said we could start to feed you solids, so that is just what we did!  You started with rice cereal on August 19th, although you weren't a fan, so we quickly moved on to avocado mashed up, which you really liked. Then oatmeal which was also good and finally sweet potatoes.  Mommy has decided to make all your food so she knows it is nutritious and because it is a ton cheaper!  It's been fun and easy too.  Who knew you would make Mommy a cook after all?!

Here's your 5 month picture!  Look at you posing so cute!

We discovered that you are teething for sure when two little bitty teeth popped up in the bottom of your mouth and you were really having issues sleeping.  Doc said that tylenol or motrin is fine and that has helped out A LOT!  Poor girl in pain! 

I was trying to get a picture of your little teeth here, but I don't know if you can see them!  But they are there for sure!

The ladies at daycare continue to love love love you (and Mommy - or at least they say so).  When Mommy and Grandpa came to pick you up one day, this is what we found at daycare... You look just a wee bit comfortable!

It may be hard to believe, but Daddy gave you a bath this month and it was a first for him!  He did great and you, of course, loved it!  You also learned how to pull down on the toys that hang from your car seat.  Usually, you would just wait for Mommy or Daddy to do it, but apparently you got impatient and figured out how to do it all on your own!  You even surprised yourself I think!

Mommy continues to keep you well dressed and this month was no exception.  I know this picture is a little dark, but your shirt says, "When God made me, he was just showing off!" and we believe that to be the full truth!  You are so beautiful, smiley, loving and wonderful!

And the last thing that happened this month was the addition of Mamie to our family.  She is your sleep coach and she has been helping Mommy and Daddy help you sleep better at night and during the day.  Plus, when you sleep good, Mommy and Daddy sleep good.  And on your last day as a 4 month old, you slept 10 hours through the night!  You woke up so happy and Mommy and Daddy were ecstatic!  We really think we have crossed a bridge and this will continue.

The bottom line is this my love...  You are growing so fast.  You are maturing so much.  It's hard to believe.  Even though I carried you in my belly for 9 months and you have been before my eyes for the last 5 months, I am still amazed every day when I wake up and look at you and realize that you are my daughter.  It's incredible to be your Mommy, even in the tough times.  I still think the hospital messed up and someone else will come claim you some day because you are just too beautiful to be our daughter.  But I know that won't happen because I was there when you were born and your face hasn't changed.  You are the joy in my life, even when you aren't napping and should be.  Please don't forget that we love you more than you could ever imagine and that will never change! 

What surprises do you have in store for us next little Monkey?

We love you,
Mommy and Daddy

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

I'm here, I swear

So the last time I blogged, I was apologizing for being absent and then I went on to be absent for 2 months.  I could apologize again but I am guessing that gets old.  Know that having a 5 month old (!) sucks most of my free time up.  I'm going to try to get you all up to speed on everything and then tomorrow, write Reese's 4 and 5 month letters!  All before she wakes up...Here. I. Go.

When we last spoke we had just come home from Pinetop and J had just started a new job.  Reese had been sleeping through the night but went back to not doing that consistently and we were fighting to get her back on track and un-congested.  That about sums it up.  Later.....

Just kidding...

Since then, J has started his new job and he adores it.  Although the company wants to keep moving him up and training him more, and he's a bit hesitant.  But we'll figure it out. 

Reese is now officially teething.  Her front two bottom teeth have clawed their way through her gums and she let us know it was an unpleasant experience.  Poor girl!  So that didn't help her sleeping situation.  We also started solid foods.  Holy cow!  How is that even possible?!  I am still nursing, although there was a small window where I didn't know if I would get to continue because my milk was seemingly getting less.  But I think it has adjusted now and we're back on track.  Although there is the small issue of biting now!  Thankfully, she hasn't done it lately and I saw something today that said if you are getting bitten, it means baby is done nursing and that's usually when it happens.  When she pulls away.

We've started to work with a sleep coach.  I know, that sounds odd, but I could only read so many books before I was spinning and wishing I could talk to the authors because my questions weren't answered in the books.  J took a little convincing but after speaking with her via Skype he was on board as well.  I can honestly tell you, I wish I would have contacted her sooner. 

So here's how the sleep coach works.  Since she (Mamie) lives in Phoenix (about 2 hours away from us) we did a Skype consultation instead of in home.  We talked about how Reese sleeps at night and for naps.  We talked about our comfort levels, her eating, anything and everything.  Then Mamie told us how she would help us.  We would talk every day, as much as necessary, about the events of the day and Mamie would give suggestions, answer questions, diagnose, whatever was needed.  All for a one-time fee.  But she's essentially ours forever!  I love that.  If you know me, Mamie got the raw end of this deal.  We probably talk 2-4 times a day depending on how the day and night go.  She is our savior.  I'm not saying Reese is sleeping perfectly for naps or at night, but it feels like we're on the right track. We started working with Mamie on Labor day, but I'll sum up this week so far.

Sunday night, Reese slept almost 10 hours!  10 hours!  Holy cow!  My "ladies" looked like I had had breast implants overnight they were so full. But painful.  We hoped we could get on a roll.  On Sunday, Reese had taken a good nap in the morning, 2 short naps mid-day and an excellent nap in the afternoon.  We could only hope that Monday at daycare would follow suit.  (Wednesday and Thursday of last week at daycare were very worrisome, but more on that later).  But this proved to us that Reese could sleep for 10 hours without food and nursing.  So the plan became to have J give her a bottle when she woke so we could determine if she was hungry or just wanted to nurse from Mom for comfort.

Monday, naps at daycare were no longer than 40 minutes, but the rest of the situation had improved vastly.  THANK GOODNESS!  She went to bed about 7:45 and about 8:45 we heard her crying, but could see on the monitor that she wasn't awake.  She cried for a few minutes (maybe 10 tops) and then went back to sleep.  Woke up around 2:30 and I woke J up to get her bottle.  I stayed in bed and he went in.  I would hear small snippets of crying, so after about 40 minutes, I stuck my head in to see what J's progress was.  He said she hadn't eaten a bite.  She truly wanted me but he could tell she wasn't hungry.  So we opted to swaddle her back up and put her back in the crib for ten minutes.  We went back to bed and she cried.  We watched the clock.  As 10 minutes approached, we noted that she wasn't crying as hard, so we could wait another 5.  As the 15 minute mark approached, she was really calming down.  And at 17 minutes, she was asleep.  She had successfully woken up, not eaten, and gone to sleep on her own.  Victory!  And that told us that Mamie was right and she just wanted comfort, not necessarily food.  She woke up again this morning about 6:50 am and I fed her about 7:30 am.  She didn't act like she was starving.  She was a happy girl.

Mamie was so excited when I told her all of this after I dropped Reese at daycare this morning.  We really feel like progress is being made.  But I couldn't have done it alone.  I was ready to breast feed her and J said, "let's give her 10 minutes."  We coached each other in bed that she was okay and she wasn't as upset.  And we came out on the other side alright. 

She's home from daycare now, and really didn't nap well this morning, but she's down now and we'll see how long it lasts.

But again, we need to be a team and we need Mamie.  I know we'll get her to sleep well day and night.

Okay, a quick note about the issue with daycare.

For the most part, we LOVE daycare.  We love the security, the cleanliness, the staff (most of them), the atmosphere, the cost, the location, the flexibility, everything.  There's just one lady in the afternoon, we'll call her Ally, that is a little odd.  And in the past, most of the issues have just been annoyances.  Nothing that would hurt Reese or upset me.  We'd just roll our eyes at it when we came home.  That changed on Wednesday. 

When J arrived to pick her up, the first thing Ally said when he walked in the door and saw her sitting in her car seat in her crib was "she was fine and had been there for 15-20 minutes."  He got concerned because she was sitting on the buckles, instead of having them not under her.  He wasn't concerned that she wasn't buckled in, but that they were digging into her back.  When J asked how her day had been, Ally replied that she didn't know.  When J referenced the memo I had brought in on Tuesday about Reese's schedule and sleeping issues, Ally said she hadn't heard anything about it even though I personally asked her to read it on Tuesday when I saw her as I was picking Reese up.  The straw that broke the camel's back for J was when Ally told J, "all the other babies sleep fine. I don't know what is wrong with Reese."  Oy, he was unhappy with that statement.  As was I when he told me when they got home.

So I called the director on Thursday morning and spoke with her briefly, just about making sure Ally knew what was going on and to refrain from saying things like that and that she knew what was happening with our daughter.  I dropped her off a while later and hoped the day went well.  J picked her up again and the first thing Ally said when he walked through the door was, "I just got here at 4, I don't know how her day went."  Now had he been picking her up at 4:30, that might not have bothered him.  But he was there at 5:50 and the place closes at 6 pm.  1st strike.  Ally then told him that "Reese was very fussy from 4:30 to 5:15 pm."  Okay, she was tired, we get that.  He proceeded to put her in her car seat and get ready to go.  A couple other small issues popped up, but when J was leaving he again asked how she had slept.  Ally's response was, "two 30 min naps."  J replied that that wasn't good and Ally's response was, "if babies don't sleep during the day, they'll sleep great at night" and that she'd never (in 10 years of childcare) heard of the theory that if babies don't have good naps, they won't have good rest at night.  Strike 2.  He came home and I proceeded to give Reese her bottle (as Mamie had directed at 6:30 pm).  She sucked it down - which never happens - then proceeded to nurse for another almost 30 minutes.  I knew something was up.  So I went to look at her report from the day.  The poor girl hadn't been fed since 2:55 pm, when she was supposed to be fed at 4:30 pm.  No wonder she was fussy at 4:30!  OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!! I was HOT!  I was so mad I was shaking and in tears!  This was unacceptable!  We got Reese off to bed and figured out how to address the situation and what would need to happen to move forward at this daycare.

Reese doesn't usually go to daycare on Friday, so I called the director that morning again and updated her on what had happened.  I had calmed down considerably from the day before but I was still upset.  She said she would again speak to Ally and get this fixed. At Mamie's suggestion on Thursday night, J and I wrote out all the things Ally had done that we were unhappy about.  I emailed this to the director so she could address everything.  I then called back near the end of the day to see how this would be fixed for the following week so we would feel comfortable bringing Reese back.  The director told me that she had had a long talk with the morning caretakers (which we ADORE) and Ally and what would be done to get this fixed.  I was satisfied with what she said.  So we opted to go back this week, knowing that Ally would be under a microscope while caring for our daughter.  And the director told me that if it came down to us being happy and her employee being happy, we win.  So her head is in the right place.

When I took Reese in Monday morning, the morning ladies were ecstatic to see me.  They thought we would leave the daycare because of this.  I told them if it wasn't fixed we would, but we loved everything else so we didn't want to.  They promised us it would be fixed ASAP!  And yesterday J picked Reese up from Ally and left with a smile on his face.  They noted when they were putting her down to nap, even if she didn't nap after all (this will help with the sleep coach), and she did not miss a feeding. And today was just the same.  Everything is getting better. 

So that was our daycare drama!  Hopefully it is the last!

Okay, I think ya'll are up to speed.  I will try my best to write more often.  I swear!  However, can't promise.  We do have a 5 month old - as of tomorrow that is!  Holy cow!  Hard to believe!

Thanks for sticking around and talk to ya soon!