Ten months

13 Jun

Written Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Ten months

(Elise, left, Anna, right)

Likes: Crawling; pulling up to standing in their cribs, on the couch or on the end table; pulling DVDs off the rack (or, similarly, pulling books off the shelf at the library); playing with Dexter’s food and water bowls; playing with Mama and Daddy’s shoes; playing with Daddy’s cell phone; eating finger foods; petting (aka pulling on) Dexter.

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IMG_5176IMG_5211Dislikes: Being taken away from their play space and/or toys, having their toys taken out of their hands, and being laid down for diaper changes.

Weights: Elise is about 14 lbs, 6 ounces, up about a half-pound from last month, while Anna is about 15 lbs, up a little more than a half-pound from last month.

Lengths: The girls are probably about the same as last month, if not a wee bit longer.

Crawling collageMilestones: As far as communication is concerned, both girls continue to babble like crazy. For Elise, it’s still mostly “ba ba ba” or “bop”, or, more recently, “ma ma ma.” For Anna, it’s occasionally “ba ba ba” or, more often, “dot dot dot.” And for both, when one of us says “ahhh”, they repeat it (with big smiles on their faces) as long as we keep doing it, so it’s like we’re all singing together!

20140525_140153Anna now claps her hands, too. Elise has started demonstrating some more strange behavior – shaking her head side to side, as if to say “no” – which might be a result of all the learning going on in her little peanut brain.

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IMG_5246For gross motor skills, both girls officially are crawling. They almost refuse to sit still or lie still. They will crawl to Christopher when he comes home from work. They will crawl to Dexter when he comes into the living room and lays down in their play space. And they will follow me from one room to the other.

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IMG_5190They also pull themselves up to standing on just about anything they can – their cribs, the couch, the end table.

And for fine motor skills, both girls pick up their finger foods with their pincer grasp and put the little pieces in their mouths with such ease. They both also drink out of a straw.

Swimming collageOther “milestones” include celebrating their first Mother’s Day, taking their first trip to the zoo, going swimming, and taking their first vacation, which entailed a 4 1/2-hour (one way) drive, sleeping in a crib in a hotel room, eating meals in public, sightseeing and napping in the car.

Sitting up collageEating: A combination of breast milk and formula, plus the usual lineup of purees (including yogurt) and, as of this month, a variety of finger foods. The girls have tried:

Fruits and veggies: apples, bananas, blueberries, broccoli, carrots, cauliflower, corn, green beans, peaches, peas, potatoes, strawberries, and watermelon

Proteins: Chicken breast, ground beef, and cheese

Beans and grains: Black beans, lentils, pasta, and rice. Also, homemade baby pancakes.

IMG_5168Wearing: Some 3-6-month and some 6-9 month, but mostly 6-month clothing; pocket (cloth) diapers during the day and size 2 disposables at night.

Peanut barrier collageNicknames: Anna Banana, Anna Bear, A-Bear, Elisey Bean, Elisio, Beanut, Peanut.

As I alluded to earlier, Christopher and I and the girls took our first family vacation this month. We went to St. Louis.

Christopher and I had some major concerns – well, one significant hang-up, really — leading up to our trip: The girls were not sleeping well. If they can’t sleep decently at home, in their own cribs, surrounded by their familiar room, then how could we expect them to sleep well in a hotel room, in a shoddy crib, surrounded by a strange environment?

We considered canceling our trip. But we pressed on. We needed to take the chance. We all so badly needed some time away, together – time to hit the “reset” button on our routine. We vowed to each other that we would roll with the punches, take whatever happened in stride and make the best of it.

God must have heard our pleas because He blessed us with an absolutely incredible vacation.

Some of the keys to a successful trip:

–We broke up the drive into two chunks – the first to coincide with the girls’ first nap and the second to coincide with their second nap. We stopped in Springfield, Ill., on the way down and Peoria, Ill., on the way back, to grab a bite to eat, see some sights and stretch our legs.

–We stayed in a suite that had its bedroom/bathroom and living area/kitchen separated by a door.

–We used the cribs provided by the hotel. (The hotel offered both traditional cribs and Pack N Plays, and we opted for the more traditional style because our girls do not sleep well in the portable version.)

–We tried not to follow a rigid schedule. When we’re at home, the girls go down for a nap around 9-ish and again around 2-ish, and then they go down for the night around 7:30 p.m. While in St. Louis, we let them nap in the car and drove around to get them a decent amount of sleep; sometimes, that meant some aimless driving, other times, it meant taking the roundabout way to our next destination. We tried not to stretch them too long between naps or between their last nap and bedtime, but we certainly pushed them (and tested our patience), and they were awesome. I think that actually contributed to them sleeping so well overnight: They were just so tuckered out and maybe a little short on sleep that they had no choice but to catch up overnight.

–We tried not to get impatient, stressed out or angry if things didn’t go well. We both had our moments, but the other one always was there for reassurance and a reality check.

So, what did we do?

20140607_071622Well, the first day, Saturday, we got out the door right away and checked out the historic Soulard Farmers Market, then made our way to the Gateway Arch.

20140607_08420620140607_131257Around middway, it was raining, so we took the Schlafly brewery tour, but by the late afternoon, it was sunny, so we headed to the St. Louis Zoo.

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Zoo collage

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Swinging collageAnd the next day, Sunday, we needed to kill a little time in the earlier morning, so we went to Faust Park in Chesterfield and played on the swings, then walked through the Butterfly House.

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Butterfly house collageLater, we toured Busch Stadium and took the Budweiser brewery tour. And in the evening, we went swimming.

20140608_121342Christopher and I could not have asked for a better little getaway.

It’s funny… So often, new parents are urged to take time for themselves, to go on dates, to go on little weekend getaways, to be away from their baby (or babies) for a bit, to rekindle their relationship and their feeling of being “just an adult,” and most of the time, many new parents take that time, at least here and there.

But for us…well, we really can’t, so we are with our girls 24/7. Yet, somehow, on this 4-day trip – vacation, getaway, whatever you want to call it – which we took with our 10-month-old daughters, we got that time away that we so desperately have needed since becoming parents last summer.

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