This is Marie in the dump truck. Hannah and
Paul were giving her rides around the island.
On Wednesday, Marie turned 6 months old. In many ways, it’s hard to believe it has already been 6 months since she was born. In other ways, it seems like every day is the same. In those ways, it seems like she has always been with us and she will always be a baby in diapers who nurses 5 times a day and doesn’t like to eat solids. But I know that time is escaping fast and the vapor of her life as a baby will pass quickly.
On the order of hard facts and statistics, she is now 19 lbs. 9 oz. (>75%), and 26 3/4 inches long (>75%). The doctor said she is proportional. For comparison, I believe these measurements are about what Hannah was at 4 months of age. Anyway, the rubber-meets-the-road interpretation of this is that she has outgrown her current car seat. That means I’ll need to pull Hannah’s big honkin’ car seat (that I just took her out of less than 2 months ago) out of the basement, put all the straps back in it, and install it in the van for Marie. The down side of that is it’s a one-piece installed job. If we want something to put Marie in outside of the car, we’ll have to use a stroller. No more lifting the seat off the base and carrying the basket around. We managed with all the others when they outgrew the basket car seat, and we still have that umbrella stroller. I plan for us never to leave home without. (It’s already in the back of the van.)
Marie is still a champion sleeper at nights. She usually goes to bed between 9:00 and 10:00 p.m. and then wakes up between 7:30 and 8:30 a.m. That is a big, big blessing. During the days, well, she sleeps good when she’s sleeping, but a lot of days she doesn’t do that much sleeping. Most days she naps for only 45 minutes at a time. She’s awake for about 2 hours between naps. That works out to one 45 min. nap in the morning, two 45 min. naps in the afternoon, and one nap between supper and bedtime (that one is usually more like a 30 min. nap). Occasionally she will skip waking up in the middle of the afternoon and sleep a solid 3 hours. I really like that, and I hope she adopts that as the normal at some point.
For explanation, after her last feeding
for the day (which is a liquid meal), she
usually drinks 4-6 oz. of formula. The
“real” milk is just in short supply by
that time each day.
Whenever she wakes up, we start the food cycle. Her nursing has gotten so much better in the last about 3 weeks. Up until then, every feeding lasted an hour and a half. She would nurse for a few minutes and then wiggle and jerk and spit and burp and carry on for about 20 minutes before she could nurse again. Then she would repeat the cycle. Over and over until I decided to end the session for that time. Sometimes, I couldn’t spend 1 1/2 hours doing just that, so I would put her in the Jumperoo where she could hop around and spit and burp on her own as I worked on lunch or whatever, and then after a little, I would get her out and do the next feeding segment. It was not a handy way to nurse or for her to eat, but she just couldn’t go on until she had that burping and spitting done. (To be honest, it frustrated and exasperated me to the nth degree, but I knew it wasn’t her fault, and I couldn’t do anything to change it.) Anyway, about 3 weeks ago, all of a sudden, something changed. She just hooked up, nursed the whole side, sat up and burped and spat just like that, and then laid back down and nursed the other side and was all done. And that’s how she’s done it ever since. It now takes us only about 20 to 30 minutes for her to nurse. I cannot tell you how much better my life is!
For her solids. Ha, ha, ha. I’m convinced she would rather not bother with solids. I’m poking them into her, little by little. Paul and Hannah lunged for their food by this time (way before this time, for that matter). They were ready with mouths hanging open, straining forward to get that spoonful of food. For Marie, I’m trying to coax her to open her mouth and let me put it in. She has gotten a lot better at the swallowing of solids in the last couple weeks. And we are learning to communicate with each other. I can tell when she’s full and doesn’t want any more versus when she just doesn’t want to do it. There are some days that she just doesn’t want to do it badly enough that we skip solids at some meals. Other days, it’s just a teaspoon of food at a meal, and on the good days, it’s more like a tablespoon at a meal. I have introduced her to rice cereal and oatmeal, green beans, applesauce and peaches. However, the doctor said if she’s eating that little to just stick with the cereals at this point. He says she doesn’t want to eat solids due to her reflux (and I forgot to ask how that makes her not want solids). I try to get a little bit of cereal into her in the days because I want her to sleep through the night. Growth wise, she is doing just fine on itsy bitsy amounts of cereal.
When Marie is awake, she is usually happy. If she has slept good and is done sleeping, she wakes up happy. I nurse her, feed her some cereal, and then put her in her first play station. That would be the Jumperoo.
She likes to jump and plays with the toys there. When she gets a little fussy in it, or looks bored, I get her out and sit her on a rug on the floor with toys. She likes that the best. She is very good at reaching for and grabbing the toys she wants. She will play with toys there either alone or with Paul or Hannah for a long time. If she happens to get bored there and her 2 hours of wake time are not up, I put her in a corner of the couch and have Paul or Hannah sit with her. She really likes that also. If she is awake for Bible and story time, I sit her on the couch with the kids. If she is awake while I am getting Paul & Hannah dressed, then I sit her on Hannah’s bed to watch us. She loves to play. She loves playing with toys, and she loves playing with people. Playing with toys means chewing on them, primarily. She is able to turn the dial on her Fisher Price telephone and make it ding. She also really likes the musical ball that Andrew’s parents gave her for Christmas. I have to put a teddy bear or something behind it so it won’t roll away from her while she’s playing with it.
As far as her reflux, right now it is under control with Prevacid. She still doesn’t like to lie flat. Usually when she is flat for a diaper change or in the bathtub, she is really kicking and gnawing on her fists. Then, when I sit her back up, she spits. So, she still sleeps with her mattress propped up at 30 degrees. I do try to give her some flat time when it has been a while since she has eaten, such as towards the end of her wake time. Sometimes she handles that o.k. The doctor is encouraging me to try letting her flat more often and see if she will do some scooting or rolling. So, I will have to be more diligent to seize those small windows of time when she can tolerate lying flat so she can work on those skills.
All in all, I think we are really blessed to have such a happy, content baby. Sure, there is all the normal baby-tending work, but really, she just follows the schedule and does the right thing.
P.S. I declare, if she isn’t the cutest kid we’ve had yet!