Sunday, October 23, 2011

Autumn in Indiana

Modeling her October outfit

This weekend, we went to a tailgate party for Purdue and had our first obligatory family portrait for the Christmas letter I intend to send this year. I've intended to do one every year since we got married, but it may actually happen this year (cross your fingers). Of course, if you are a regular reader here on the blog, you already know most of what's happening, so you don't need the letter. However, if you want to make sure you are on the list, drop me a line with your name and address. I honestly have no idea who reads this other than a couple of people who mention it from time to time. 

Saturday, Ellie comported herself well at the otherwise all adult party. She did slobber all over herself and watched more tv than she has up to now in her entire life. But, she enjoyed herself. There were plenty of people to flirt with, BIG dogs (greyhounds), and she got to spend lots of time with Dad.

Later Saturday, she semi-stood up by herself from the potty. Dad was blowing bubbles - which is her new favorite thing to do on the potty - and she wanted to "do it herself". She stood to reach for the bubbles, Dad reached for her, and half the bubbles ended up in the carpet. This further reinforces our idea that she'll walk before she crawls.

Another thing Ellie has started is a little recreational "drug" use. Part of the nursing routine now is that after she has sated her immediate hunger (about 4 minutes in), she pops off, sits up and points imperiously at the nightstand which holds her Vitamin D drops and her Orajel tube. After thinking she was a genius a couple times for recognizing what the Orajel is for, it has since become her first game of pretend. Instead of applying the gel, I simply hand her the tube and ask her if her teeth hurt. She then puts the pointed lid end in her mouth and gently "applies" it to the offending gums. She does this a couple times and I tell her that's great and her teeth must feel all better now. At that point, she generally loses interest and drops the tube on the floor. I hope this doesn't turn her into a hypochondriac....

Sunday, we went to the local arboretum to have our first family portrait. The photographers were a husband and wife team. I think they did a really great job. The husband showed us a few of the shots and they looked pretty nice without any editing. We'll see all of them Friday when we go to preview the shots at their studio. I'm hoping we have lots of great pictures to choose from.

Ellie can't take her eyes off the trains.

Although she was a little worn from an hour of posing and being adorable (it's harder than it looks),  we still swung by the railroad garden that we've been meaning to see all summer. I'm kicking myself for not trying harder, now. It is AMAZING! We did the whirlwind tour so we could get some lunch before nap time, but I plan on taking Ellie back another time this fall if the weather holds up. She was pretty interested in all the moving bits. I loved how carefully they scaled everything. The landscaping was incredible. Neither P or I were crazy about the tacky spiderwebs and random Halloween decor they junked it up with, but the underlying structure and vignettes were very well thought out and executed.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Making a Move

Ellie is expressing an interest in mobility finally. She can't seem to get the hang of crawling although she can push herself backward until there is nowhere left to go (usually not more than 3 feet). Yesterday she pushed herself backward from her belly into a seated position, although I think it was more serendipitous than on purpose. However, she enjoys a nice superman ride on the rocking ottoman and she has been indicating that she wants to stand at her activity table and other places. She will sometimes cruise around the table to get from one activity to another, but she really pushes herself around when she's in the seat and has wheels to make it easier. She's slowly learning to fall from standing without hurting herself, and she can stand pretty well with a spotter for minutes at a time. Other times, not so much. Today, she almost did the splits. And, she had a minor setback when she fell backward from sitting and was very upset. I guess I've been protecting her from that and she forgot that it's not always soft behind her head. She's pretty limber on the ottoman ride too. She'll actually jump down and land on her feet (in her sleep sack, no less). I think she really likes that because it makes her feel very independent. Of course, there's not really a lot of room for error when there's about 12 inches between the chair and ottoman and Mom's legs are on either side. But, she thinks it's great.

So, we're taking bets. Will she walk before she crawls? Will she walk by Christmas?

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Mother and Child Reunion

I believe I can truly say the nursing strike has ended! Ellie nursed about 5 times today for a total of an hour and a half. It has been literally months since she nursed that long. I think some of it was comforting herself and some of it was trying to get my supply back to a good level for her. Regardless, I didn't pump at all and she barely touched her sippy cup of milk at meals. I think tomorrow we'll return to water with meals. I am soooooo relieved that we are past that particular trial.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Crossing the Picket Line

So, today on day 7 of the Nursing Strike, we made headway. I was somewhat disheartened when she broke her recent streak of 11-12 hour solid sleep nights. She woke at 3 am this morning. I saw an opportunity and hustled in there to try to slip her a boob before she woke up. Unfortunately, she wasn't ready to be fooled. She cried, mouthed a nipple and bit me lightly for my trouble. I wasn't quite sure what to do for second. Obviously, she's been sleeping through the night the last 3 nights, so I knew she didn't absolutely NEED a feeding, she just wanted some comfort. So, I got out of the chair, started humming "rockabye baby" and proceeded to rock her until she calmed down. Rejecting boob is very traumatic for her. After the second time through, she was very calm, so I laid her down and went through the routine, "I love you little bean. Here's Froggy. Here's Elephant. Kiss. Goodnight, sweetheart." And, amazingly, she stayed calm. It took her a while to get back to sleep still, but she didn't cry.

Then, for her first nap, I tried pumping to initiate let-down before nursing. The idea being that if the milk is easy to get, nursing is more appealing. It worked somewhat. She nursed for 3.5 minutes before she realized what she was doing and popped off. We finished with a bottle. Afternoon nap, that didn't work at all. We spent a little time playing topless and she did shyly investigate the nipples some.

However, the real breakthrough came at bedtime. She finished dinner about an hour before  bed and then played. I ran and pumped for a minute while Dad got her diaper changed and pj's on. I came in and bared the boobs, as I've been doing to give her options without forcing them on her. That way, she can access them if she wants to nurse or just wants to tweak the nipples (kick the tires, so to speak). Apparently, early in the strike I was further traumatizing her by trying to force her to nurse physically. So, I showed her the goods and the ball was in her court. After a few seconds of sitting in my lap, she made it clear with a little wailing that she wasn't in the mood. So, I broke out the back-up bottle and offered it to her. She took it cradled next to the breast and seemed comfortable. After the small bottle was gone, I sat her up to burp her but signed "milk" at her and offered her more. She thought about it and swung her head down. She's mouthed the nipples before during the strike, but usually just for a few seconds and then bites me. This time, she nursed. And nursed, and nursed! She took a few breaks, but all together, she went for about 12 minutes. Which, is really good! She still hasn't nursed from the traumatic "wounded" side, but this was an encouraging step. Cross your fingers that we're back to normal soon...