Julia’s 15-month Checkup

Yesterday we had Julia’s 15-month checkup with her pediatrician.  First, I just have to say that I love her pediatrician.  She really makes you feel like she’s giving you her full and undivided attention.  She answers all of your questions and she literally spent about 45 minutes with us yesterday.  At no point did I feel like she was rushing me or she was in a hurry to get out of the room.  She always is respectful, even when I ask seemingly silly questions.  It’s so refreshing to have a doctor who you trust so fully with your or your child’s care.  I can’t speak highly enough of her.

So let’s start, from head to toe:

First, her statistics: her head is 47 centimeters (75th percentile), she weighs 25 lbs. 3 oz. and is 32 inches tall.  Her height is in the 90th percentile for girls her age and her weight is in the 80th percentile.  The doctor said she was growing nicely and did not seem at all concerned.  It’s a nice change from those first few doctor’s appointments we had when we were struggling with breastfeeding and were happy if she gained even a few ounces from one visit to the next!

Teeth: The doctor saw that Julia has 5 teeth that have broken the surface and one more that is about to break through.  I asked her when we need to start brushing her teeth and when we need to think about taking her for a visit to the dentist.  She said that provided she’s not eating junk food (which she’s not), we can wait until she’s 3 years old for a visit to the dentist.  Before then she won’t have the patience or even the ability to sit still in a dentist’s chair long enough to have her teeth cleaned or examined.  We do, however, need to start brushing her teeth.  The doctor said at this age we should do whatever she’ll tolerate–if she’ll tolerate the toothbrush with toothpaste we can do that and try to get in there and brush or we can just let her chew on the toothbrush and use a washcloth with our finger to scrub them a little when she’s taking a bath.

This morning, after we had breakfast I decided to give her the toothbrush and see how she would do.  She LOVED brushing her teeth!  I sat down on the floor next to her and showed her how to do it and she just had a grand old time!  She even cried when I took the toothbrush away from her since it was time to go to daycare! Here we were, having our toothbrush party this morning: 1.10.2014(3)

1.10.2014(4)(Side note: those overalls are really cute, aren’t they?!  But they were obviously designed by someone who does NOT have children since they are totally impractical.  They don’t have buttons or snaps at the crotch to allow for easy diaper changing.  You literally have to take the overalls all the way off in order to change the baby’s diaper.  And they’re made for size 18 months.  I’ve never even heard of a baby who’s potty-trained by 18 months.)

Language Development: Ken & I were both getting a little concerned about the fact that Julia still doesn’t call us Mama & Dada.  She frequently says “dadada” and “mamama” but she never directs those specific words at us.  So I asked the doctor about where she should be with language development at this age.  She said by this age she should have 2-3 words that we know she is saying.  (She definitely does–she says “nice,” “cat,” “ball,” “nose,” and a few others here and there.)  And she said that more important than having actual words, is that she babbles with “communicative intent” and changing her intonation.  She DEFINITELY does that.  A lot.  So I’m not worried!

Nutrition: The doctor said that as far as toddler nutrition is concerned, you have to look at their intake of food over the course of a week and make sure they are getting in enough protein, fruits and vegetables, Vitamin D, iron, etc. but that in one day if she eats nothing but yogurt that’s okay as long as she’s making up for it on the other days of the week by eating more fruits and vegetables and less dairy.  She should be drinking 16-24 oz. of milk a day and we can also start giving her water more regularly to help with her occasional constipation.  Generally these days, on daycare days she gets 3 sippy cups (so about 15 oz.) of whole milk, and she nurses 3 times in addition to that, and on non daycare days she generally nurses 5 times and gets 2 (so 10 oz. total) cups of milk.

Motor Skills: The doctor saw that Julia was walking, trying to climb up onto chairs, could use two fingers to pick up small objects on the floor, helps with getting herself dressed by extending her arm when you hold her sleeve for her, etc. and she said that over the next 3 months we should start to see more and more independence.  We’ll start to see her successfully climbing up onto the couch and chairs, we’ll start to see her learn to rotate her wrist in such a way that she’ll be able to start using a fork and knife to feed herself, etc. The longer she walks and discovers how her body moves, the more graceful her movements will become, basically.

Sleep: At this age and especially with all the teething going on, it’s normal for her to be woken up in the middle of the night or even to wake up at horrible times (like 5:30 this morning) because her teeth are probably quite painful.  But the doctor was pleased to hear that the average night of sleep for Julia involves her sleeping through the night from about 7:30-6 and that she normally gets a 1-2 hour nap at home or at daycare.   1.10.2014

Overall the doctor was very pleased with how Julia is doing!  She also got 3 shots yesterday: the second part of her flu shot (for babies they divide it into two parts), PCV (pneumococcal), and her first MMR shot.  She screamed for about a minute after the shots but then she quickly calmed down and was back to normal by the time we left the doctor’s office!

It’s hard to believe that the next time we take her to the doctor for a well-visit, it will be for her 18-month checkup!  Where did my baby go?  1.10.2014(2)

 

Frustrating

Most of my posts on here are about how much I love Julia and how cute she is and how much fun we have together.  Reading this blog, you get a glimpse at a certain slice of our life.  And while the majority of the time she is a joy to be around and she really is a very happy baby overall, there are times when Julia can be very frustrating to deal with.  She’s in this funny transition right now where she’s not really a baby anymore but she’s not yet a toddler.  You can tell that there are times when she wants to communicate or wants to accomplish something, or has a preference about something but she doesn’t yet have the ability to communicate and she gets very frustrated.

One time this frustration manifests itself frequently is during mealtime.  Julia is not a baby anymore, so she likes to feed herself but in a lot of ways she’s not yet a toddler, and she sometimes needs us to feed her.  She also doesn’t have any teeth yet so she still needs things to be soft and cut up into small pieces (we can’t give her a big piece of something and have her take bites out of it yet).  We are still using purees–either pouches or jars–especially during breakfast or for meals when we are out and about or on the go.  Unfortunately, Julia can’t yet eat directly from the pouch (since she ends up squeezing it all over herself) so we need to feed it to her with a spoon.  We also need to give her purees once a day because we are able to mix her vitamins in with them.  Here’s where the problem arises: sometimes she’s okay with us feeding her purees and sometimes she wants nothing to do with them.  It’s very hit-or-miss.  When she doesn’t want to eat them, she will stick her hand in her mouth immediately after you put a spoonful of food in her mouth and she will proceed to scoop the food out of her mouth that you have just fed her.  (Of course, it then gets all over her hands, her face, in her hair, on her clothing, etc.)  When this happens, I usually wait a few minutes and try again but if she does it a second time, I give up and move on to a food I know she will eat (strawberries are always a hit!)

Another thing she’s been doing recently, that’s also very frustrating is this: she’s been waking up between 5 and 5:30 in the morning for the past 2-3 weeks or so.  (Prior to this she was waking up closer to 6 or 6:30).  When she wakes up, we go in to get her and change her diaper (80% of the time she poops first thing when she wakes up, so we can’t follow the advice of some people to just leave her in her crib until 6:30 AM), and then we bring her into bed with us and I will nurse her.  10% of the time she will nurse and go back to sleep nursing until my alarm clock goes off at 7.  These mornings are lovely.  They’re cozy and relaxing and wonderful.  But 90% of the time, she will nurse for about 30-45 minutes and then sit up, and start screeching.  I wouldn’t call it crying or screaming, but screeching.  She screeches and starts flailing around.  She inevitably will flail around so much that she’ll bang her head on my head and that will make her more upset.  So then I’ll nurse her a little more and then she’ll flail around and screech a little more.  I don’t know why she does this and I don’t know what to do about it, but it’s getting to be very frustrating.  If I nurse her long enough (an hour and a half sometimes), she will eventually go back to sleep, but by then it’s usually time to get up and get ready for work/school.  She often will then fall asleep in the car on our way to daycare.

So… the moral of this story is babies are lots of fun and we love them lots but they can also be very difficult at times and sometimes engage in very frustrating behavior!  When you ask other mothers for advice, they all have suggestions that they think are helpful but the best advice seems to be that you have to remember that “this, too, shall pass” and that “this is only  a phase.”  So that’s what I keep reminding myself.  This, too, shall pass.  It’s only a phase.

The problem with “Milestones”

On any website or blog about parenting you can find charts or lists of “milestones.”  These “milestones” are things that your baby “should” be able to do by a certain age.  The problem is that these charts generally stick to the average age at which babies are able to do certain things and they don’t reflect the huge range in which these milestones normally occur.  Take teeth as an example: some babies get their first tooth as early as 2 or 3 months (I’ve even heard of a baby who was born with teeth!) and some babies don’t get their first tooth (like our niece) until they are 15 or 16 months.  Getting teeth early or late is neither good nor bad, it just is.  It has to do with genetics.

It’s the physical/mental/emotional/language-development milestones that cause unnecessary worry though: your baby “should” be saying words by a certain age, “should” be rolling over by a certain age, “should” be doing x, y and z by their first birthday and a, b and c by the time they’re 18 months old.  If they can’t do certain things it “could” be a sign that they have this or that developmental disorder, and these days everybody is on the lookout for signs of Autism or Sensory Processing Disorder and other hot-button issues.  Again, the problem is that different babies develop different skills at different times and there is a huge range of what’s normal.  I’ve heard about some babies who crawl at 7 months and walk at 10 months but don’t talk until they’re 2 and I’ve heard of babies who are saying 10 words by their first birthday but don’t start walking until they’re 18 months old.  You never hear about the kids who do things within the “average” timeframe becuase they’re not news-worthy.  You only hear about the ones who are on the extreme ends of the spectrum.  When I really think about Julia’s development, I’m not worried.  My mama-instincts tell me that she’s fine and she’ll eventually learn to do all the things she’s supposed to do, but the doctor’s wife in me gets worried sometimes.

So anyways… there’s this list from the AAP of Developmental Milestones, that Ken pulled up this morning and started getting us a little worried.  Here’s a link to the list: LINK

At first I started to worry… but then I realized that a lot of these things are things Julia shouldn’t be expected to do or know because we don’t really do them with her.  We don’t shake our head “no” or nod “yes” when we say those words so how would she know how to do that?  We don’t frequently play a game of “let’s hide the keys and see if you can find them.”  And though she isn’t saying “Mama” and “Dada” with any meaning yet, she does babble a lot and say “Mamamama” and “Dadadada.”  Reading these lists does make me feel a little nervous but then I talk to other parents of babies her age and they reassure me that everything’s fine.  I also spoke this morning with Julia’s teacher at daycare and she said she’s not worried and that she would let us know if she was concerned.  I trust her because she spends her entire day with kids Julia’s age so she’s able to see how Julia is in comparison to other kids her age.  She may  not search for objects we’ve hidden but she does play “peekaboo” which is testing the same skill that hiding objects tests.  The only thing she mentioned is a little weird (not concerning, just weird) is that Julia won’t roll over from her back when she’s on the floor.  We know that she knows how to because most nights she rolls from her back to her side and eventually to her belly and we usually find her sitting up in the morning but she just doesn’t roll when she’s awake.  She’s lazy, or stubborn or something.  I’m not worried about that since I know she knows how to, she just doesn’t do it.  (And I certainly know who she gets her stubbornness from!)

So the moral of the story is… don’t use the internet as a doctor.  If Julia’s pediatrician is concerned at her 12-month checkup in a few weeks then I will be concerned but until then, I will continue to feel satisfied that Julia is doing just fine and meeting all her milestones.

And now, for your viewing pleasure, some pictures from yesterday in the grocery store.  It started with Julia not paying any attention to me or the camera:

9.16.2013(6)But then when she saw the camera, she put on a big smile:

9.16.2013(5)and then she decided it was really funny that I was taking her photo, so she started laughing hysterically and putting on a show for those around us.  She was just having a ball laughing in the shopping cart! 9.16.2013(8)

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She’s just too funny sometimes!  I love that girl so much!

 

 

Ladies Night

Last night, I went out to dinner with my friend Ani-Jane!  Just the two of us.  We left our babies at home with their Daddies.  We went to a restaurant close to our house called Salu, where they have a special on Thursday nights: if you get paella, you get a free bottle of their house wine.  So that’s what we did: we shared two small plates as an appetizer and we got paella with a bottle of wine.  The timing ended up working out perfectly: I put Julia to sleep and then left to meet Ani-Jane at the restaurant.  We had a lovely time!  We talked about grownup things unrelated to babies (for at least part of the time!) and of course we talked about our babies, too!  photo(61)

Julia sure does have perfect timing: as we were paying, I sent Ken a text message to see how things were going.  Right after I texted him, Julia woke up.  Since she’s sick, we don’t want to let her cry… Ken went up to try to comfort her but nothing seemed to be working, so I went home.  I nursed her and then she went back to sleep.  She woke up again at about 2:30 AM for a diaper change and to nurse, then she went back to sleep until about 6 AM.

Once she’s feeling better and not sick anymore, we may have to hop back on the sleep train but for now, while she’s sick and not feeling well, and she could be in pain or discomfort, we are not going to make her cry.  I have a feeling our big move to Baltimore may put a wrench in her schedule, too, so we may have to work on sleep again once we are settled in.  For now, I’ll enjoy the extra snuggles with my baby girl!

Baby’s Firsts

I haven’t written in a while because things have been a little busy here in Baby Land…

Even though Ken was working most of the weekend, Julia and I had a lot of fun!  Saturday morning Julia and I spent the morning at home, playing and enjoying the sun on the porch.  photo

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After a morning nap, we celebrated our friends’ graduation from Medical School!  We got a chance to hang out with Kathleen’s family for lunch and with Liz’s family for dinner.  It’s so funny to think that this was actually Julia’s second time going to the Tulane Med School graduation since she was technically there last year when Ken graduated from Medical School, only she was in my belly at the time!  image

Julia really seems to love social events… while we were with Kathleen’s family, she loved being held by Kathleen’s sister and her boyfriend, and she was so happy to watch the dogs running around the room.  She even laughed when the dogs started barking at someone knocking on the door!

Sunday we went to the zoo with our Mommy & Baby Friends.  It was Julia’s first time going to the zoo!  She slept for a while, and was sleeping when we took this stroller picture of all the babies in front of the Elephant Fountain.   It was really hot and muggy out and I had to put sunscreen on her for the first time, but I’m glad we got a chance to go to the zoo before leaving New Orleans.  I’m definitely excited that Baltimore has a good zoo, since when Julia gets to be a little older, it will be a lot of fun to have a zoo to go to.   image_1

I think she’s still a little too young to appreciate the animals at the zoo, since she was more interested in looking at all the people than she was in looking at the animals, but I had a good time at least, and enjoyed hanging out with the other Moms.  It’s always nice to talk with moms of babies the same age so that you can compare and contrast and talk about things that are working, things that aren’t working, etc.  We ended up talking most of the time about what the babies are eating, how they’re sleeping, what fun tricks they can do, what toys they like to play with, etc.  We also stopped for lunch in one of the cafeterias–it was nice to sit in the AC for a while and it gave us a chance to nurse the babies and then let them play on the table for a little while.  photo

One of the moms also had a really nice camera with her and took some great photos!  image_1

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Monday after work, before picking up Julia, I stopped to visit Baby Leigha.  She is just so precious and teeny tiny.  It’s hard to believe she’s just about the same size that Julia was when she was born.  It’s amazing how many changes they go through in such a short period of time!  Julia looks closer in size to our 20-month old neighbor than she does to Leigha, even though she’s closer in age to Leigha.  image_3

Evan and Jade seem to be doing well with Leigha at home, though of course they are exhausted (they’re supposed to be–they have a newborn!).  It’s nice to feel as though we are a source of information for them since we were just there a few months ago and we understand what they are going through.  It’s always nice to have someone who has the newborn stage fresh in their memory while  you’re going through it so they can remind you that this, too, shall pass.  I also feel like seeing us and Julia is kind of like seeing the light at the end of the tunnel for them, since they can see what they have to look forward to!

When I picked Julia up from daycare Monday afternoon, they told me that she had thrown up three times after her last bottle of the day and that she had diarrhea.  This was her first time exhibiting any sort of gastro-intestinal symptoms, so they suggested we keep an eye on her.  I got her home, where she was a bit more fussy than usual, but didn’t seem too sick… but since she did have a bit of a fever, we gave her Tylenol, and then she went to sleep without a problem.  She woke up after an hour, screaming, which is very unlike her, so I went in to check on her.  The minute I sat down to nurse her, she threw up, and her vomit was red from the Tylenol.  After nursing, she went right back to sleep and slept through the night.

Tuesday morning she seemed okay… she nursed fine, didn’t throw up, didn’t have a fever, etc. so I took her to daycare and asked them to call me if there were any problems.  Around 11:30 AM they called to say that Julia had a fever.  I picked her up at about 12:30, by which time her fever had gone down, but she had two little sores on her tongue.  I wasn’t really sure what they were or how I could make them hurt less, so I called the doctor to schedule an appointment for that afternoon.  Julia seemed miserable Tuesday afternoon… her tongue was clearly bothering her–she kept sticking it out, was drooling a lot, and the only thing that seemed to help was nursing and sucking on things–her thumb, her pacifier, toys, etc.

At the doctor, her temperature was about 100 degrees, and it turned out she had an ear infection in one ear.  The doctor said that probably what happened was she got an upper respiratory viral infection, which could have caused the nausea, vomiting and diarrhea, and then she developed a secondary ear infection.  The trend amongst pediatricians is to prescribe fewer antibiotics but the doctor said that in a baby as young as she is, she does like to treat ear infections, especially when they are accompanied by a fever.  If she didn’t have the fever, we probably would have just let her clear the infection on her own.  So this is baby’s first ear infection and first course of antibiotics!  I asked the doctor about how contagious she was, and the doctor said that the general rule of thumb is that kids should be on antibiotics for 24 hours before going back to school, so I kept her home Wednesday and took the day off to stay home with her.  When Julia is sick, she sleeps more than usual, and that was what tipped off the folks at daycare that something was not quite right.  Tuesday morning she took a 2 hour nap at daycare.  Then, when we got home, she took a 30-minute nap before we went to the doctor and she took another 45-minute nap when we got home from the doctor.  image_4

Wednesday, we spent most of the day at home, but we did run out to get a few errands done… and Julia went in the grocery cart at Rouse’s for the first time!  She loved it and was smiling the whole time!  I think she liked being able to look around at everything and everyone.  She was making lots of happy cooing noises and lots of people stopped to smile at her!  image_5

Last night was the first night in a while that Julia didn’t sleep through the night.  She woke up at about 2:15 and since she’s sick, we didn’t feel comfortable letting her cry.  Ken went to get her from her crib and I nursed her in bed, which, of course, made her go back to her old ways… she only slept for about a half an hour between 2:15 and 4 AM, at which point I decided to go back into her room to put her to sleep.  I nursed her for about 10 more minutes until she seemed calm and sleepy, and then I put her in her crib with her pacifier and she went back to sleep for about 2 more hours.

When she gets sick, I can’t help but think of it as a blessing and a curse… of course it’s a curse because I don’t like to see her sick.  It breaks my heart when she’s not feeling well or in pain and there’s not much I can do to help her feel better.  She’s also so small, vulnerable and helpless and I can’t explain to her that if she rests, drinks fluids, and takes her medicines, she’ll feel better in a day or two.  She can’t understand what’s happening, which makes it worse.  At the same time, it’s almost a blessing when she’s sick since it means I get to stay home with her… we get extra snuggles and we get to take Mommy & Baby Nap Time together.

Anyway… that’s my story… sorry it was so long, but a lot has happened since I wrote last!  There’s a lot coming up in the next several weeks, too… here’s what I know of so far:

Saturday: Crawfish Boil at Ken’s Masonic Lodge

Monday: Memorial Day (Ken will be working nights so he probably won’t be the best company but hopefully we’ll get to spend a few hours together during the day before he has to go back into the hospital for his Monday night shift).

Next weekend: Goodbye Weekend for our Rabbi & his family at our Synagogue.  We’re getting a babysitter to watch Julia Friday night and Sunday night so we can go to the events at the Shul.  Also next weekend, our friend Caitlin will be in town for a wedding and we will (hopefully) have a chance to see her and introduce her to the baby!

June 3rd: My last day at work!

June 7th: Julia’s 8-month checkup, just a day before she officially turns 8 months old!

June 10th: Packing up our moving truck, and my parents get into town to help with the move!

June 11th: We hit the road for our move to Baltimore!

June 15th: We move into our new house in Baltimore!

So as you can see, life is a little stressful right now… but we’re rolling with the punches and taking it one day at a time.  Luckily, Ken and I have a good balance: he gets really stressed out by big things like this while I’m usually the calm one during big life changes.  We’ve always done well as a team when we need to get things done and I’m sure this won’t be an exception!

At this time a year ago…

At this time a year ago I was 17 weeks pregnant.  I thought I looked pregnant and I thought I needed to wear maternity clothes.  I was getting excited about being close to the half-way point in my pregnancy and we were getting ready for our trip to Disneyworld.  Ken’s graduation was coming up and we were looking forward to our parents’ visit.  We were also getting ready to move to our new house.  It’s so funny to look back and realize how much has changed in a year–in our personal lives, our professional lives, our family, etc.!  We’ve changed so much and our hearts have grown so much as we’ve gotten to know our little bundle of joy.  It’s amazing what can happen in a year! baby bump 17w1dIt used to be that after work we would want to go out and socialize.  We would want to meet friends for drinks, dinner or dessert.  We were always out and about, getting together with friends.  Now, when work is over I want nothing more than to go pick up Julia from daycare, take her home, nurse her and snuggle with her.  I cherish moments like this since I know they only happen for so long… 5.14.2013Two of the ladies who sit near me at work have kids who are graduating from high school this week, and hearing their conversations over the past couple of weeks has made me realize how important it is to enjoy every minute that we have with Julia as a baby.  Before we know it she’ll be walking and talking, then talking back, asking for the keys, and then eventually we’ll be packing up the car and taking her off to college.  As cliche as it sounds, I’m really trying to learn to just live in the present.

Mother’s Day

I promised a little more detail about our Mother’s Day… so here you go!

Our weekend started on Friday…

When I picked Julia up from daycare, they gave me this little arts and crafts project that they  made (with her help… sort of…).  On the back, it has her name and the year, 2013.photo

Ken had a really rough day in the ICU on Friday, so he made a special request for a “fancy” dinner.  I asked our friend Kathleen for a suggestion and she suggested making risotto.  So Friday night once Ken got home from work (after Julia was already asleep), I made risotto with asparagus and sweet peas for dinner and I made a chocolate mousse for dessert.  Both turned out to be delicious, and thank you to Kathleen for this recipe.

Saturday morning when we first woke up (Julia even let us sleep in until about 7:30!), Ken and I got some packing done while she played.  We put Ken’s beret on Julia and she was just being so funny and giggly and playful, so we snapped this adorable photo of her!image_2

After that, the three of us went to brunch at Cafe Atchafalaya.  I had been there once before, for lunch, with my friend Holly, but Ken had never been there.  It was really nice… we each had a mimosa, they had really good food and they had a live jazz band playing, too!   For the past week or so, now that Julia has gotten really good at sitting up, we have started putting her in high chairs at restaurants.  It’s really nice to be able to do that since it means she can sit in a high chair with a few toys to play with and we don’t have to hold her the whole time that we eat.  We can have our hands free to eat and she feels like a big girl because she feels like she’s sitting at the table with us.  Here she was in her highchair during brunch on Saturday.  The other nice thing about this is that it means we don’t have to bring her carseat in to restaurants with us anymore.  Instead we can just take her out of the carseat and bring her inside while leaving the carseat in the car.  Now that she weighs almost 16 lbs., it’s really hard to lug the carseat around with us so I’ve gotten into the habit of only taking the carseat out of the car when we get home at the end of the day.  If we’re going to be in and out of the car all day, I just take her out and leave the carseat in the car.  image_1

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After brunch, we had some errands to get done around town–we had to go drop off some books to donate to the public library and we had to use up some of our gift cards to stores in New Orleans.

Saturday evening, we went on a nice walk on Magazine Street, where the Magazine Street Merchants’ Association was having a “Champagne Stroll.”  Basically a bunch of the businesses stayed open late, from 5-9 PM, and had champagne they were giving out to customers.  The “green” businesses (i.e. the eco-friendly ones) had “green” champagne (i.e. champagne with some midori and honeydew melon in it).  While we were out, Ken bought me my Mother’s Day presents!  I got a pair of purple lacy Toms that I had been asking for for months, and he also got me one of the Chewbeads necklaces–it’s basically a necklace made out of this rubbery material that is safe for babies to chew on.  It also has a clasp that snaps off easily so that if Julia tugs on it really hard it won’t choke me or hurt.

A children’s author was at our favorite baby store signing books, so we also bought one of her books for our niece and nephew.  It’s called “Today is Monday in New  York.”

Toms: purple toms

Chewbeads: chewbeads

After Julia went to sleep Saturday night, I went next door to read our 3-year old neighbor, Eva, her bedtime stories!  After that, Ken and I had dinner together and then cleaned out my desk.

Sunday morning, our friends Liz and Moussa came over to buy my desk and desk chair (once we get to Baltimore we are going to buy me a little writing desk that won’t be quite so big and bulky).  I just need a little desk I can use to keep my computer, to write letters, and to store stationery and other “school supply” type things.  I don’t need a huge computer desk like the one I had before.

In the afternoon, Julia and I went on a nice walk around the Garden District with the Ergoimage_3

and then we came home and took a nice long nap together.

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For dinner we went to Dat Dog with our Mommy & Baby friends Stephanie & Lily, and then we went to Kathleen’s birthday party for some homemade cake and ice cream!

Overall it was a wonderful weekend, and I couldn’t have asked for a more perfect first Mother’s Day!

7-Month Checkup

On Wednesday, Ken and I had a rare hour to spend just the two of us–we went out to lunch together before we picked up Julia from daycare to take her to her 7-month checkup! Here we were at lunch: image

At Julia’s checkup, she passed with flying colors! She weighs 15 lbs. 11.4 oz. and is 25.5 inches long.

She’s still in the 25th percentile for height and weight, which means she’s little but she’s growing appropriately and staying right along her curve.  Her head circumference is still in the 50th percentile.  The doctor was perfectly pleased with her development!  You may recall that last month I took a photo of Ken and Julia sitting on the bench in the doctor’s office waiting for her appointment… well I took another photo on that same bench this month.  Here was this month’s photo: photo

and here they are side by side, at 6 months on the left and at 7 months on the right: image

Even though she’s only gained a pound in the last month, she looks so much older!

The doctor wanted us to wait until she’s 9 months to come back for another checkup but because we’ll be moving between now and then, she said we could come back at 8 months so that when we get to Baltimore we are not scrambling to find a pediatrician.  That will be one of my first priorities when we get to Baltimore but this way we will have about a month before we need her to be seen.  All in all though, her 7-month checkup was a great success!

7 Months!

Today Julia is 7 Months Old!  We will be taking her this afternoon for her 7-Month Checkup so I can give you updates tomorrow about her height and weight.7 months 3

JRL

Milestones: sitting up really consistently now.  Still not rolling over or crawling yet.  7 months 4

Eating: at Daycare she takes 3 5-oz. bottles and in addition to that she nurses 3-4 times/day.  On the days we are together, she generally nurses 6-7 times per day.  She’s also eating solids now but not very consistently (we haven’t really figured out the timing as far as when she nurses, when we should give her solids, etc.)… so far she has liked sweet potatoes, avocado, pears, bananas, and she LOVES baby yogurt!  She also eats baby oatmeal cereal and we have stopped giving her rice cereal (it made her poops rock-hard and I’ve read a lot of negative things about rice cereal).  So far peas were not a hit and she also has not liked the apricot and sweet potato blend that I sent her with to daycare.  We need to start working on more vegetables though, so we’re going to be trying carrots and maybe spinach or broccoli in the next few weeks.  One of the ladies at daycare suggested disguising the vegetables by mixing them with fruits, so we might try mixing

Sleeping: Julia generally goes to sleep sometime between 6:15 and 7:15 and wakes up sometime between 5 and 6.  Sometimes she will wake up once in the middle of the night for a diaper change and feeding, but she usually goes to sleep very easily after that feeding.  7 months 2

Playing: Julia loves to play with her feet, and she’s definitely at the stage now where she will put everything into her mouth.  At restaurants if we have her sitting on our lap, we have to be careful about what’s in front of us (food, silverware, napkins, drinks, etc.) because whatever is in front of her, she will grab and put in her mouth.  If anything even comes close to her mouth, she grabs it and puts it in her mouth.  She loves it when we sing to her, especially if the singing involves any kind of hand motions, clapping or gestures, and she loves getting kisses and raspberries.  We don’t ever have her watch TV but if the TV happens to be on where we are (a restaurant, someone else’s house, etc.) she is absolutely enthralled by the colors and the movement on TV.  I can see why for some parents it’s very tempting to just plop their kid down in front of the TV.  Julia is also very fascinated by the baby she sees in the mirror.  Whenever possible, I show her the baby in the mirror since I am curious to see when she starts to realize that it’s her and not some other mysterious baby!  She also loves to go in her “exersaucer” or “activity center” as we sometimes call it, and she likes to go in these at daycare, too!

Talking: There are still no discernible words but she’s doing a lot of babbling.  I’ve heard a lot of “bababa” and “dadada” and even some “gagaga” but still no “mamama.”  She also likes to make raspberries a lot and blow bubbles!

That’s all for now… I’ll give another quick update tomorrow with her height and weight information after her doctor’s appointment this afternoon!

May Flowers

The older we get, the faster time seems to fly by.  It’s already May!  Our baby girl will be 7 months old on Wednesday.  Our time in New Orleans is quickly coming to an end, and in just a month from now, we’ll be almost completely packed up and ready to hit the road for our next family adventure.  I saw a list of the 10 big life changes that are the most stressful: they include having a baby, a death in the family, moving, bankruptcy, starting a new job, etc.  “Stressful” doesn’t always mean that they’re negative–they are often positive life changes, but even positive life changes can be stressful.  Whenever we approach one of those big life changes, I always choose to look at it as an adventure rather than as a negative change.  That being said, we have very mixed feelings about some of the changes coming up.  Our move from New Orleans will be bittersweet–we are excited to be moving back to Baltimore, closer to our family, to the city where we met, to our beloved Baltimore Orioles.  We are excited that Ken will be starting his Ophthalmology residency, that we’ll be moving together into a new house, that we’ll be meeting new friends, creating new memories and having new adventures together as a family.  But at the same time, we are sad to be leaving New Orleans, the friends we’ve made here.  New Orleans is the city we lived in when we got married.  New Orleans is where we got our MD and JD, the city introduced us to Mardi Gras, King Cake, Second Line Parades, go cups, Snoballs, beignets, cafe au lait, Rabbi Uri and Dahlia, and other great friends etc.  There’s a saying, “I know what it means to miss New Orleans” and I know that next year, as Mardi Gras rolls around and we see our friends’ Facebook posts with pictures andcomments about parades and King Cakes, we will know what it means.  We’re not necessarily saying goodbye to New Orleans, since we’ve talked about coming back here for vacations in the future and bringing Julia to Mardi Gras and Jazz Fest, but it won’t be the same as living here.  We’ll be visitors, not residents.  I keep reminding myself that when we left Baltimore five years ago, we felt the same way about Baltimore–we knew there was a lot we would miss about Baltimore and we were reluctant to leave and nervous about what the future would hold.  Now are are returning to Baltimore and again we are nervous about what the future holds, but we just have to see this as the next chapter in our lives.  During our next 3 years in Baltimore (after that, who knows where life will take us?!), Ken will complete the next leg of his medical training, Julia will become a toddler and a little girl, I will (hopefully) begin work as a licensed attorney, and who knows what other adventures await us!

These next few weeks my goal is for us to enjoy every last minute of our time in New Orleans while also looking at this move in a positive light.  Luckily, this past weekend, the weather was perfect and we were able to enjoy some wonderful moments together as a family!

Friday night Ken worked an overnight shift in the ICU, but Julia and I had a lovely evening at home before she went to sleep (very easily, I might add!)  She has become a pro at sitting up for longer periods of time, and this new skill has developed within the last 5 days or so.  She sat up like this for about 15 minutes Friday night while we talked on FaceTime with my mom!  She was playing with her toys and was even able to straighten herself out when she started to lean to one side or the other.  It’s amazing to see her reach these milestones!image_2

Saturday, as soon as Ken got home from the ICU, we left to go car shopping!  Ken’s old car died on Thursday and our options were either to (a) get Ken’s old car towed to the nearest Saab dealership in Baton Rouge, where we could hope and pray that they might be able to fix it, or (b) rent a car for Ken for the next 5 weeks, then buy him a new car  upon our arrival in Baltimore, or (c) buy Ken a new car now, thus saving the $1000+ it would cost to rent a car for five weeks.  We chose option (c).

Luckily, Ken had already gone to look at a few cars on Friday with one of his Masonic brothers, so he already had an idea of what he was looking for.  So Saturday we headed to the Subaru dealership, where we test drove a Legacy and a Forester.  After talking with our parents (who were all, much to our surprise, on the same page), we decided to go ahead and purchase a 2012 Subaru Forester.  So here we are with our new car!  image_1

I think that this will be a great family car for us in the years to come since it has a lot of storage space, it’s very comfortable, it will handle well in the rain and snow and it will be the perfect car for us to grow into as a family.

Sunday Ken worked in the ICU during the day, but since the weather was so gorgeous, Julia and I went out on a LOOOOONG walk!  We walked from our house, up Magazine Street all the way to our friends’ house, then to Audubon Park and the playground!  We went to the playground with Liz and her daughter, Katherine (who is exactly 4 months older than Julia).  Neither Katherine nor Julia had ever been on the swings before so we decided to bring a picnic lunch for us Mommies and let the babies try the swings!

Here’s Katherine on the swingsimage

and here’s Julia on the swings! photo

As you can tell from her look of sheer joy, she LOVED going on the swing!  She was fascinated by her shadow at the beginning and spent quite some time looking down as her shadow followed her while she swung back and forth, but she seemed to love swinging!  (I’m not surprised since I remember loving the swings as a little girl!)

Seeing how much she loved the swings made me very excited about the fact that our house in Baltimore will be walking distance from a big brand new playground.  For now, I think Julia’s only big enough to go on the swings but in a few months she’ll be crawling around and then walking around and she’ll be ready to try the slides and then maybe some of the smaller play structures.  It will be so much fun to have such a big playground walking distance from our house as she gets to be a bit older.

In the coming weeks, as we get ready for our move, we have so much to look forward to!  Julia’s 7-month checkup is this Wednesday, and then Sunday will be my first Mother’s Day!  Since Ken’s on call on Sunday, we’re going to celebrate Saturday instead.  We’re not sure yet what we will do, though if it were up to me, we’d get all dressed up in a seersucker suit and white linen dresses and we’d head to brunch at Commander’s Palace!  After that we’d take a stroll around the Garden District and then maybe have some family play time at the playground before going home for some snuggles and a nap.  This week I am going to use Ken’s Valentine’s Day Present to me (a gift card to my favorite day spa in New Orleans) to treat myself to a manicure and pedicure, so I’ll get some much needed pampering before my first Mother’s Day!  We have two friends who are pregnant and whose babies are due any day now… so we are definitely looking forward to meeting some new babies in the next couple of weeks as well.