Amara will be 2 on the 18th of February. I have been very negligent in posting pictures, and if you ask my wife, in taking pictures of Amara this last year. Most of what was taken has been put up in the Amara Year 2 section of the gallery. Some of these got printed up for Christmas presents/cards. I’ll try to go back and check for any pictures that I haven’t yet managed to process and put up.
I think that we can officially say that at 11 months and 1 day, Amara is walking. I think she has it figured out that she can walk and she is doing it with purpose. It is only five or six steps at a time, but its a start
Chris has been on my case to write about my adventures with Amara…but I have been finding that her adventures keep me too busy to write most of the time! Over the next week or two I’m going to try to write a few posts about some of our experiences with various baby items and our (and Amara’s) favorite things…the most recent of which is her new “lovey” (a comfort toy / transition object), a “Sloppy” Peppa Doll. I certainly have created my own personal list of the best items for any new mom in my life!
The subject of this post, however, is shrieking. Amara loves to shriek. This is much better than crying obviously, but equally loud. I’ve never known such a loud and chatty baby this small! It started a little over a month ago, maybe once a day on her change table where she seemed to want to “chat”. Now she spends much of her day experimenting with her voice. She is especially loud and vocal on her change table and while watching her beloved mobile. I feel like I shouldn’t be encouraging her to shriek her head off, but it’s so darn cute it’s awfully hard not to smile and laugh . Just today she started inserting some sounds that were vaguely like consonants (a change from Aaaiiiieeeeaaaaaaaauuuueeeaaaah!!!). This is definitely a fun stage but I’m still looking for the volume control….they have one, right?
A couple of nights ago we had our first code brown during bath time. The water was nice and warm, Amara was relaxed and she let out a couple of toots and then launched a torpedo. Luckily I had just watched the Dad Labs Bath Time 101 – When Kids Poop in the Tub video so I knew exactly what to do.
I picked Amara up out of the water and called for backup, “Help! She pooped in the tub!”. Kate had not seen video and was a little lost because she could not find the poop hiding behind a bath toy and I was a little hysterical and not providing clear instructions. Her vantage point was less than ideal and I could not help too much cause I was dealing with a slippery, squirmy wet baby. Luckily the offending material stayed together and so extraction was easily accomplished. For the record, we did not use the “Manual” method advocated in the Dad Labs video, we used a scoop instead.
In the end, Amara got hosed down, the poop got scooped and we survived our first code brown. Since then I have been trying to get Amara to promise that she won’t let loose in the tub anymore, but have yet to come to any kind of agreement. At least she has not decided to grace us with a similar experience since then.
I also hope that Daddy Clay’s assertion that we can expect a floater one in five times is way off the mark. I am also not sure about the accuracy of chili as a poop simulator. Any experienced parents want to comment?
If you have been trolling the image gallery you might have noticed that I created the 4th Month gallery yesterday. I also added some more pictures that I was holding back for the 2nd month gallery. Today I posted a few more pictures in the 4th Month gallery.
All the 4th Month pictures were taken in the last few days while Kate was playing with Amara on our bed. You can see bits of Kate (like her hands) poking into some of the pictures.
First we got the Jumperoo going. She is not quite big enough to jump in it, but she liked playing with the toys on the front of it. This encouraged us to assemble the Exersaucer, which is is great because she can sit upright while playing with the toys that are attached or that we lay on the table. So far she really likes the rolley bit that jingles and clicks and playing with her Link-A-Doos on the tray. She has also expressed interest in pretty much everything else except the electronic part. She can’t yet get all the other pieces to work, but she sure is trying.
I think that was the thought running through Amara’s head a few minutes ago.
Recently Amara has figured out that her hands a) exist, b) can be put in her mouth, and c) it is entertaining to suck on a hand in the mouth. She has been getting better and better a coordinating the motion of putting her hand in her mouth and keeping it there for long enough to suck on it. Two nights ago, while in the bath, she was working on getting both hands in her mouth at once. Yesterday, in the bath, she managed to get a hold of the wash cloth and then attempt to put both hands and the wash cloth in her mouth all at once.
Todays new trick is depth. She has figured out how to get her fingers deeper into her mouth and has just now managed gag herself on her fingers… repeatedly. I wonder how long it takes her to figure out there is a limit to how far she wants to put her fingers into her mouth?
As many parents can attest putting children to sleep can be a challenge. We certainly have had our share of sleep problems with Amara. I have a routine worked out to get Amara to sleep that goes something like this:
- Lay out the swaddling blanket under her mobile.
- Turn on mobile rotation and music. The music is important. It is apparently just not as interesting without it.
- Place Amara on blanket, ready to be swaddled.
- Stick a soother in her mouth to stop her from crying long enough to notice that the mobile is there.
- Let her enjoy the fascinating wonders of the mobile for a minute.
- While she is thoroughly entranced by the mobile, swaddle her, hoping that she doesn’t notice, and if she does, that she does not protest too much.
- Let her calm down a minute. She almost always notices that she got swaddled, though she never takes her eyes off the mobile. Take this opportunity to close the bedroom door, turn the mobile’s lights on, turn the room lights off and turn the Sleep Sheep on.
- Pick her up to console her, as turning off the light has surely made her upset again.
- Proceed to rocking chair and sit down.
- Lying her sideways in a cradle hold, rock the chair and give a gentle jiggle with arms.
- Sing: Elderly Woman Behind the Counter in a Small Town followed by Brian Wilson followed by Stand By Me. Repeat if necessary; usually a repeat of Elderly Woman is.
- Repeatedly put the soother back in her mouth when it comes out during crying and squirming.
- When eyes are closed proceed to shushing.
- When eyes have been closed for a minute cease rocking and jiggling.
- If eyes open resume jiggling and rocking, maybe resume singing/shushing.
- When eyes have stayed closed for a minute while not rocking or jiggling, get up from chair.
- Curse at the chair for creaking when getting up.
- Shush and jiggle if eyes open to calm her back to sleep.
- Place her in crib.
- Reset Sleep Sheep timer.
- see that she settles.
- If she does not settle, rub belly and shush. Pray that she doesn’t get agitated enough that you have to go back to the chair and start all over again.
- If she settles reset Sleep Sheep timer and quietly exit room.
- Check video monitor to see that she is still asleep.
- Hope that when she spits out her soother, and she will spit out her soother, that she goes back to sleep.
As you can see this is an intricate and physically exhausting operation.
This week we have had three impediments to this method.
- The batteries gave out on the Sleep Sheep mid way through settling her. Luckily, we had replacements on hand.
- The batteries on the mobile gave out and we did not have replacements on hand because it takes Cs. It took us a couple of days to get ourselves organized enough to get them. I bought a big supply
- It suddenly got hot. So hot that Amara would not settle in her swaddle. The problem with her being unswaddled is that Amara punches herself in the face (accidentally), and wakes herself up. She would only sleep if Kate was next to her. Then it was my turn to get her settled. I generate a lot of body heat normally. Add to that the heat generated by jiggling her and the fact that Amara gets her body heat generation genes from me and it gets uncomfortably hot quickly. Last night we broke down and bought a portable air conditioner.
Wow, time for bed. Just thinking about all that work is exhausting me. I’ll try and get some video of her ridiculous enjoyment of the mobile.
Since this morning Amara has had 3 giant, escaping from the back of the diaper, poos. She also had one yesterday. How is it possible for such a little creature to contain so much excrement? Of course the clean up is very exciting, especially when she decides she is not actually done and her abdominal exertions cause her to also spit up all over the front of her outfit. Ah, the joys of parenthood
Here are some examples:
Bathing: ceramic tiles are not soft and fluffy to kneel on every day for 30 minutes (we got a padded mat today. Yay!).
Carrying: Amara is heavy and not getting any lighter. Sometimes I think my arm is going to fall off, but normally I just get burning shoulder muscles (’cause she really likes to look around at the world over my shoulder and often cries if she does not get her way!)
Sleeping: it’s an ordeal to get her to sleep at the best of times, sometimes you just need to let Amara sleep on you which results in being hot and sweaty, cramped in an uncomfortable position (so that she is in a comfortable one) and if you are lucky enough to be so tired that you must sleep along with her and try putting up your feet on the nearby chair, you wake up with sore heals/ankles.
Don’t get me wrong, it’s not all pain and suffering, sometimes (see left) it’s even worth it