Written Wednesday, June 11, 2014
(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.
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.
Milestones: 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!
Anna 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.
For 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.
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.
Other “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.
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.
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?
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.