Monday, July 8, 2013

Five Months

As you may have inferred from my lengthy absence, it's been a difficult month for us!  I used to think people were exaggerating when they said they could get nothing done with a baby in the house.  Let's just say I'm a believer.  Hmmmmm..... how can I put this month into words?  Sweet little Ava is... special.  I predicted from the first few days of Ava's life that she was going to be a handful.  A firecracker, if you will.  Well, my prediction was correct.  I've come to accept that Ava is a high-need baby.  She is very high energy and very demanding.  She can turn on a dime.  She has happy highs and adorable, fun moments, but those moments can immediately be followed by loud (very loud) and passionate (very passionate) protests.  I know these passionate traits will serve her well in life, and I'm pretty sure she's the smartest little girl on Earth, and I love her to pieces, but whoa, Nellie!!!  She is giving us a run for our money.

We've struggled with eating, sleeping, and bouts of crying that still last upwards of 2 hours a day.  Don't worry, we have tried EVERYTHING.  We've tried changes in my diet, more feeding, less feeding, more naps, less naps, more stimulation, less stimulation, more toys, different toys, going out, and staying in.  We've had her checked for ear infections, reflux, and allergies.  Diagnosis:  She is fine.  Normal.  And fussy as all get-out.  The Lord is truly sanctifying me daily and uncovering my vast selfishness, impatience, ungratefulness, bitterness, and self-righteousness.  It's a painful process, but I know he makes beauty out of ashes, and I just know Ava is the perfect child for us, and we are doing the best we can daily. No matter how crazy she makes me, she still melts me with a smile or laugh, and when she finally goes to bed for the night, I actually miss her.  With all that said, here are the five month highlights (three weeks late... naturally.)

Ava has had so many milestones this month!  I can really see her growing from a baby to an infant!  
  • One huge milestone from this month was transitioning to sleeping 100% in the crib!  We no longer use a swing or a swaddle - hallelujah!  We were forced to break her of the swing a little early because she learned to roll early.  One day, she tried to roll over in her swing.  It was pretty scary, so the swing immediately got taken down.  Cold turkey, anyone?  Let's just say it was NOT a fun week.  Since we were in misery, I figured, why not break her of the swaddle while we're at it?  Fun times all around.  Long story short, we did it.  She now sleeps happily in the crib for all naps and nighttime.  YAY.
  • Ava learned to roll over this month, and she now rolls all over the crib and floor.  She is SUPER strong and is already making the motions of crawling.  I know.  Yikes.  She often is on all fours with her butt up in the air, about to crawl.  
  • Ava grabs things and holds them in her hands with skill.  She reaches out to grab just about anything - my cereal bowl, the shopping cart, and everything on the shelf at the store!  If I'm making her a bottle, she'll grab it and put it in her mouth!  
  • Speaking of putting things in her mouth, we have definitely reached that phase.  Anything and everything goes directly into her mouth.  All of her toys are basically chew toys!  However, she is not teething at all.  She drools about 3 gallons per day, but no teeth in sight.  
  • Ava is very interested in toys. She is no longer interested in baby rattles.  We had to go to Target and buy more stuff that lights up and makes noises!  
  • Right as she turned five months, she began to sit independently!  Now that we're a few weeks into five months, she is pretty much a confident sitter.  She hardly ever wobbles.  We keep pillows around her just in case.  The days of the play mat are over because this little girl now wants to SIT UP!  Lying down is for babies!!
  • One of the best milestones is that we now put Ava down to sleep awake and she does not need us to put her to sleep.  This is greatness.  She sometimes cries, but very little.  She is happier putting herself to sleep and no longer wants us to rock her to sleep.  

We have our ups and downs with eating.  Ava is still very interested in nursing, for which I am grateful.  However, she is a hungry girl.  When we moved to Iowa, I started having a hard time keeping up with her.  She would cry after feedings like she was still hungry.  After trying a lot of things, we decided to supplement with formula after some feedings.  This bummed me out since I really wanted her to be exclusively breastfed, but there was nothing I could do.  She is still breastfed for almost every feeding, but if she still shows signs of hunger, we give her a bottle and she sucks it down!  She seems to like nursing and bottle feeding equally, so we will keep doing that for the time being.  Ava is a noisy eater, and she makes all kinds of grunts and noises while eating.  

I've been a little frustrated with how often Ava wants to eat.  We've been doing every 3 hours pretty much since she was born.  I keep expectantly waiting for the time when she can go to a 4 hour schedule.  Lately, we seem to be backtracking.  She seems to be hungry more often, even when we supplement with bottles and cereal.  Some days, she eats as often as every 1.5 or 2 hours during the day.  I'm hoping this is just the 6 month growth spurt coming on a little early?

About halfway through the month, we gave Ava her first cereal!  We're waiting until 6 months for veggies and fruit, but we decided to give cereal a try first.  She seems to like it, but she always looks confused and doesn't quite know what to do with food in her mouth!  I'd say she spits out about 80% of it, so very little makes it in her stomach!  Oh well, we'll keep working on it!  We usually give her a tablespoon or two in the late afternoon.

Oh, sleeping.  Ava is still taking three "naps" a day.  I say "naps" because does 30 minutes count as a nap?  Usually two "naps" are 30 minutes each.  So frustrating.  She usually has one good nap a day of 1.5 hours or so.  I'm about to throw the Babywise book out the window that says babies her age should take three 1.5-2 hour naps a day.  Not happening.  We are thinking of trying to move her to 2 naps a day.  We'll see.  Ava has not yet reached the milestone of waking up happy.  She still wakes up screaming, which I do not love.  Waking up happy will happen eventually, right?

In terms of nighttime sleep, we are doing OK.  Our bedtime routine is actually one of the best parts of our day.  We start with feeding at 6:30, then quiet playtime, then a bath, then books, then bed at 7:30.  I give her a dream feed at 10 before I go to bed.  Ava is still waking one or two times per night to eat, usually at 2:30.  I'm starting to think she is waking out of  habit instead of hunger, but I can't be sure.  Plus, the easiest / only way to get her to go back to sleep is to feed her, so that's what I do.  You can try to reason with me at 2:30 am, but I won't listen, sorry.  Again, I want to burn the Babywise book that says most babies can sleep through the night at 12 weeks for 12 hours (WHAT THE HECK?!)  A few (precious few) nights, Ava has slept from 10:30 - 6:00 am, so I know she can do it.  I'm just patiently waiting for this to become our reality.

Ava LOVES to go on outings.  However, there is only so much to do in Bettendorf, Iowa, and we've done it all.  Five times.  She LOVES Target, Hobby Lobby, and the grocery store.  Are we surprised?  No.  During her fussy afternoon time, I almost always strap her in the Bjorn and go on some sort of made up errand.  She hardly makes a peep and takes in all the sights and sounds.  Bjorn = pure gold.  I would seriously buy it if it was $500.  It has SAVED us.  As I said before, she loves toys now, particularly ones that light up and sing.  Speaking of singing, Ava loves singing!  Well, she loves it when I sing!  I typically give at least three full-length concerts a day.  It always makes her smile.  You know you're a parent when you've got "The Wheels on the Bus" stuck in your head all day long.  Ava is also liking her doorway bouncer and exersaucer.  Finally, she LOVES Blazer.  She could watch him all day.  He lets her pet him which is sooooo cute!  She has the sweetest little laugh, and when I find something that makes her laugh, I usually do it about 100 times until it's not funny anymore.  I just can't get enough!

A few favorite five month pics:
{I can get my toys myself, mama}
{look who found her feet!}

{Playing outside church... 'cause we were too loud inside}
{First trip to the snowcone stand}
{and... keepin' it real}

{'lil cupcake}

Love you, little monkey!  Month 6 is gonna be the best so far!!  Right?!?  Right?!?  Who's with me?


Emily said...

I just looked back at my blog and noted in my 6-month post that I failed to do a 4 & 5 month update, SO... You are NOT alone!!! :-)

"The Lord is truly sanctifying me daily and uncovering my vast selfishness, impatience, ungratefulness, bitterness, and self-righteousness.".... AMEN to that!!! This "almost-3 phase" has certainly been one that has tested me and uncovered many flaws and areas I need to work on. Thanks for the reminder!

We loved our Hugga Bebe (Google it)... Carson loved to swing so much more when he wasn't flopping all over the place!

"I'm starting to think she is waking out of habit instead of hunger, but I can't be sure." In my (unsolicited) opinon, I think this is so true. I think I remember Carson waking up to feed at this age, and I eventually just ignored him (probably most because I was too tired to get up and assumed it was habit, not need). I do remember that almost as soon as he started baby oatmeal (didn't care for rice cereal), he started sleeping through the night. He was a TERRIBLE napper too... as in 2-3, 30-minute naps a day.

Sorry for the novel! You're doing GREAT and Ava is so, so CUTE! She's making me SO excited about having a little girl... precious! :-)

Maggie said...

I was so excited to see your blog come up in my feed this morning! I have been missing my Norwood updates but am right there with ya on having a hard time to do anything extra. She is so precious and is the best dressed little thing ... we have to plan a visit soon! And hang in there, each month gets easier and easier!

Shayla said...

Katie, I appreciate your transparency and humility about the challenges of parenthood. I have no doubt that God is going to use Ava's spunky personality for great things! She is so stinkin' cute!

Hope you guys are getting settled in Iowa and that it's beginning to feel more and more like home. Moving is hard enough without a baby – I hope Miss Ava is at least earning her keep by unpacking a few boxes!

Mindy Rives said...

You're doing an amazing job...and Ava is BEAUTIFUL!

Haley Chance said...

She is so beautiful, and precious, and cute even when she's crying! I was so glad to see this post this morning because I've been wondering about you and how you're doing after the move. I love the pics, and I can't wait to see more updates. :)

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