First Easter

You are an amazing baby.  Seriously, you are the best, and we are so lucky to have you.  You must have known the day was special because you woke up bright-eyed and bushy-tailed at 6:30 in the morning.  We decided to hang out in bed for a while until keeping you from crawling to and possibly falling off the side of the bed became too exhausting.

First up:  Who needs an Easter egg basket when you can play ball in Mommy and Daddy’s bed?

We didn’t do a big breakfast, but you tried strawberries for the first time. They were a bit tart and not the best ones to introduce you to, but you ate them anyway.  Your nap was cut short in the morning because I needed to shower.  For whatever reason, lately if I shower while you’re asleep, it always wakes you up.  Call it a blessing in disguise because if you had gone back to sleep, we would have missed Easter service.

We tried a new church.  You were absolutely perfect to sit there quietly through an hour+ service.  I think you thought everyone was there to see you.  You threw coy smiles at everyone and kept wanting to go back and forth between Mommy and Daddy holding you.  You started getting chatty toward the end of the service, but I think you were just trying to add your sweet voice to all the singing and praying.

After church, we were ready for brunch, but you fell asleep two minutes from the restaurant, which meant we had to drive around until you woke up.  We had brunch at Black Finn where we had the patio pretty much all to ourselves.  You ate until you were full and bored and then Daddy walked you around while you chatted up everyone you passed.

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We spent about 15 minutes after brunch just letting you play on this bench. You didn’t want to leave.

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Happy Easter!

At home, we changed into comfier clothes.  Daddy helped you find eggs hidden around the front room that held snacks inside each one.  You mostly enjoyed feeding Alex, a new trick you learned recently.  You were such a happy and good-natured baby for being out most of the day and for your first church service.  We were so proud of you and feel so lucky to be your parents.

Zoobilee Zoo!

Does anyone remember that show?  I loved it as a kid!  Anywho, today was Ellis’s first real trip to the zoo.  She had been once before for Spooktacular, but that was at night, she was only 4 months, and there weren’t a whole lot of animals on that visit.  Today is my husband’s birthday, and we are fortunate that he didn’t have to work.  The weather was perfect.  The inlaws were in town.  Perfect day to visit the zoo.  Ellis cheated her first nap, but we didn’t let that stop her from having a great afternoon.

Nine Months

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You had your nine month check up this morning.  I was a little miffed that our appointment was scheduled months ago, and today we got a nurse practitioner instead of one of your regular doctors.  I was even more bothered by the fact that she talked AT us at warp speed and didn’t give us a chance to ask questions.  I’ve waited three months for this appointment; she should be able to give us ten minutes!  Grr!  She mentioned that you should be sleeping through the night at this point and don’t need night feedings anymore.  To that, I wanted to punch her in the face.  See, I knew I should have held off on writing this post a bit longer; I still have a ton of aggression in me.   Ever since we came back from our trip to Miami, you we have not had one good night’s sleep.  This has made me a very cranky, on edge Mommy.  Last night, in desperation, your daddy decided to sleep in the glider with you all. night. long.  You didn’t wake up once.  And now today, you slept for an hour and a half in the car after your doctor’s appointment, and are again sleeping peacefully in your crib after a successful transfer from the car seat.  That. never. happens.  I would be celebrating with a glass of wine or a bucket of cookie dough, but we are fresh out of both due to a very stressful week.  I will instead spend this rare moment of peace and freedom doing what else, writing about you.  Welp, screw that. You’re awake.

Okay.  Let’s try this again.  Quickly.

Stats:

28 1/2 inches long, 17 1/4 head circumference, 16lbs 12ozphoto 4(1)photo 3(2)

  • photo 5You love making silly faces at yourself in the mirror.  That’s the first thing you do when I put you in your car seat.
  • You love sticking out your tongue.     See?
  • You make the “stinky face” a lot.
  • You are still nursing, but love eating purees, solids, and finger foods.
  • You seem to hit your milestones the day after I write these posts.  Most everything you’re doing, you’ve been doing for a month, and so it feels like old news.
  • Case in point: You now play patty-cake and clap your hands.  You didn’t two days ago.
  • You’ve mastered crawling, pulling up onto everything.  This is bad when my hands are full and you start climbing my legs wanting me to pick you up.
  • Still no teeth.
  • Did I mention your sleeping sucks lately?  Last night I let you cry in your crib for 45 minutes before I couldn’t do it anymore.  I fell asleep to you crying and when I woke up, you were still holding on to the side of the crib, same position, and still crying.  You know to get down from standing, but you don’t do it.  You were up a total of 5 hours last night (11pm – 4am).  That is not an exaggeration.
  • Somehow, you know how to climb stairs even though we don’t have any in our house.
  • You’re fearless and have no sense of danger.  You are into everything.
  • I’m not sure how much more baby proofing we can do without turning our home into a padded bubble.
  • You “love” being in an enclosure: play yard, pack ‘n play, bouncer, etc.  Not.  So I have to deal with you screaming if I need to put you in a protected area so I can take care of whatever for five minutes.  You know, so you don’t lick the toilet while I try to get ready in the morning! Or pull out the dirty dishes while I’m loading the dishwasher.  And so on.
  • When people say hello to you, you smile while you lay your head on my shoulder.  It’s so sweet and makes me feel like I’m doing a good job.

8 Months

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Slow your roll, girl.  Slow. your. roll.    You are eight months and like a real, grown up baby.  When – how did that happen?  You’re still only “ze-wo,” according to the five-year-old infatuated with you at My Gym, but in a mere four months we will be celebrating your first birthday!  Let the party planning begin.  From the rest of the world’s perspective, you are still relatively little, but you outweigh the dog and feel like a big girl in my arms.  Alex was twice your weight when we brought you home from the hospital, so you’ve got to be at least 16 pounds now.  You’re outgrowing your 6mo clothes and are into your 9mo wardrobe.  It’s so much fun to watch you because you are now doing all those baby things I’ve seen other babies do and thought “Wow, that will be fun when my baby can act like a little human being instead of a lump of crying, pooping, sleeping something.  Here are some of the amazing big girl things you are doing these days.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

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You pull yourself up to standing.  You haven’t mastered this, and you grab surfaces that aren’t stable, so one of the many reasons we have to watch you like a hawk.

You sit up on your own.  You can roll, sit up, and creep around all on your own.  You start to crawl, but when you really want to get somewhere fast, you flop to your belly and drag yourself. 

With all of these new accomplishments, we had to lower your mattress all the way down, and it’s harder to put you down for your naps.  More often than not I have to let you cry yourself to sleep because if I’m in there with you, you just want to play.  Your naps are also inconsistent.  Some days you take 20-30 min naps, but it seems the days I have plans for us are the days you take an hour and a half nap.  No complaints!

You are working on your pincer grasp.  I honestly can’t wait for you to be able to feed yourself because the spoon is a bit messy with you fighting for full control of it.  We’ve been breaking up puffs for you to work on feeding yourself.  Half make it in your mouth, the other half end up in your lap.  Once when I was getting you ready to go, you reached up and grabbed something off of my neck and put it in your mouth.  I was concerned and grabbed your hand to see what it was.  It was a leftover puff from your meal at least 2 hours prior. 

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Wait. Whose bag is this?

You hate carrots still after several attempts, but you liked broccoli after the first try.  You are your mother’s daughter!  Turns out you prefer your food fresh.  Frozen veggies don’t pass your taste test.

You are a very curious girl.  You pull up rugs to see what’s underneath, play with doors – opening and closing them, play peekaboo, and turn the pages in your books.

You babble and have said mamamama and dadadada indiscriminately, though I’d like to think you know what you’re saying.

You have extraordinary peripheral vision.

You are now STANDING up in your crib.  Stop it.

 

State of the New Mama Address

1-The Whale Rider

One year ago I was 20 weeks pregnant, had just learned the sex of our baby, and decided on a name.  I was busy in a whole different way with Master’s classes and working as the school librarian.  I still had time to read, think coherent thoughts, and hold intelligible conversations.  Today, I sound more like a cave woman – Baby hungry.  Mommy tired.  Food good.  I picked up a non-baby, actual fictional book the other day and was shell-shocked by the intelligent writing, wit, and expansive vocabulary of the characters, and it’s (I admit sort of sheepishly) YA fiction.  I can recite books like Goodnight Moon and Moo Baa La La La word for word.  Last year, every room in my house was clean.  Now, only the areas that come into contact with my daughter get attention.  A year ago, I would have freaked seeing dirty dishes sitting out.  Last week, I came home to my half-eaten breakfast and Ellis’s oatmeal mess left on the kitchen table from rushing to get out the door, and it just made me smile.

I have the most adorable tiny overlord who rules over me day and night, and I am known to lose my sh*t when she doesn’t sleep.  I started a prescription of Zoloft at the beginning of December, but it only made me gain weight, eat more, and break out (er, or that could have been the fault of the holidays).  Either way, I didn’t feel it was making much of an improvement with my overall mentality, so I’ve been weaning myself off of it.  Instead of blaming PPD, I’ve decided to embrace my new role as a stay at home mom.

I really fought my new lifestyle for a long time, but slowly the old Bethany faded away, and the new one began to settle in.  I’m still me, but I have a baby who is my only priority right now.  Most people (and my self from a year ago) will read that and think, “Oh, but you shouldn’t revolve your life entirely around your baby.  Get a hobby!”  I have hobbies, and hopefully I’ll get back to them eventually, but once I succumbed to the fact that life is all about my daughter right now, I’ve been a much happier and less resentful lady.  I think anyone deciding to be a stay at home mom should prepare herself for that choice.  Working outside the home means that the baby is someone else’s number one priority for 8 hours of the day, but if you’re at home, baby is your priority 24 hours of every day.  Sure, I have help from my husband, and we use a sitter on occasion, but my little breaks still revolve around what’s best for baby, as in, for the health of our relationship, we need time apart.

I’m embracing my new, unglamorous life, and I just am so thankful that my daughter is freaking adorable because it makes it so much easier.  So, bring on the laundry and the home-cooked meals, not taking care of my personal hygiene until baby’s down for her first nap, endless conversations revolving around poop, Goodnight Moon for the eleventy-millionth time, and a wardrobe made up entirely of V-necks for easy boob access.  This is my life now.  There will be plenty of time in the future to return to some of my other passions, including teaching, fitness, and …  - blanking on things I used to enjoy doing - , I welcome and cherish this fleeting time with my love bug, and Gasp!, can’t wait to do it again a time or two more!

7 Months

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Hello, Miss Busy Body!  We have finally reached the stage where you are a super fun baby with a personality and mind of your own.  You are getting to be such a big girl, and I’m so proud of all your little big accomplishments!

You are so close to crawling.  You rock back and forth with your belly off the ground. You scoot around on your belly, pushing with your toes.  You’re getting to be pretty fast if there is something you want badly enough.  This means we have to stay on top of you because you want to investigate everything.

You prefer standing and walking, but you are not quite pulling yourself up yet.

You sit without support, but you can’t pull yourself to sitting yet.  You fall over about 10 times a day because you haven’t learned to put your hands out.  I try to not make a big deal when you topple, but if you start to cry, I’m right there to give you a hug and kiss and tell you you’re okay.photo(31)

You don’t like being dressed or have your diaper changed anymore.  You rollover and try to crawl away, which can be a messy situation if you have a dirty diaper.

We took the sling off your bathtub, and now you sit up and splash in the tub.

You spent the majority of the month whining.  Wonder Weeks called it a “fussy period,” but I think that’s an understatement.  I’m not allowed to be out of your sight or farther than 2 inches from you else you freak out.

You still are inconsistent in your sleep patterns.  For about a week you were taking long naps.  It was wonderful, but now you’re back to 30 minutes.  We tried sleep training you, but I hated it, and I don’t think it helps, and you have so many milestones and developmental changes that it’s only expected that you are going to have some hard nights and need your momma.

You are more vocal but still only screeching or yelling.  You say “boof” or “oof.”

It is so hard to get you to laugh.  When you do, it’s not a full on belly laugh.  Even still, you are ticklish, and squeal when we tickle.

You like eating, but still prefer to feed yourself.  You let us give you a couple of bites and then you say, “Okay, I’ll take over now!”  You’ve eaten oatmeal, carrots, sweet potatoes, butternut squash, peas, and potatoes.  Oatmeal and butternut squash are your favorites.  I think it’s because you prefer your food baked instead of steamed, which makes sense.  You love sucking on apples, but aren’t into bananas (are you sure you’re my daughter?).

You like books with different textures.  You know where to put your hands to feel the furry puppy or the fluffy kitty cat.  You try to feel all your books and wonder why they don’t all have touch and feel pages.  You also love opening and closing the flaps and on the lift the flap books.  You love being read to and enjoy looking at the illustrations.  We read several books to you as part of your bedtime routine, but Goodnight Moon and Under the Same Moon are always the closers.  Mommy and Daddy are very close to being able to recite these by heart.

You like to suck on your socks and take them off in the car.

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n-o to the chair-o

First Christmas

I had all of these exciting plans for our family during the Christmas season – traditions I wanted to start with you – but you are only 5 months and getting you to sleep well and on a schedule just seems more important right now.  So we put those late outings on hold and kept it rather low-key for your first Christmas.

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Christmas Eve FB Status

Daddy was home for the day.  (Yay!) We hung out at home, and for dinner I made my first attempt at Beef Wellington while Daddy made his delicious twice-baked potatoes.  We enjoyed dinner together then went driving around to see Christmas lights.  You snoozed on the drive, which was good because otherwise you would have been super unhappy.  You woke up at your 30 minute mark, and we stopped at Brick for coffee and dessert.  We sat outside because it was perfectly cool but comfortable under the heat lamps and because we had brought Alex with us.  Surprisingly, Alex got more attention and oohs and aahs from passersby than you did.  You enjoyed your first lemon, and the only thing that made you happy on the ride home was chewing on a straw.  I sat in the back with you to make sure you didn’t jab it down your throat.

Christmas

You woke much earlier than I would have preferred, and you didn’t want to go back to sleep, so we were up at the crack of dawn.  We made coffee, watched some news, and opened our Christmas stockings.  You opened a couple of Christmas gifts before you were ready for your first nap.  Daddy and I opened our presents to one another and finished prepping brunch while you slept.  30 minutes later, you were up and opening the rest of your gifts.  Daddy and I enjoyed mimosas, french toast casserole, and another breakfast casserole.  We put you down for your second nap, then headed to bed for our own nap.  40 minutes later, we begrudgingly got up and brought you to bed with us.  We talked to PapaBob on the phone, took some showers, then Skyped with everyone at Oma’s back in KC.  We had 4:30 reservations at Mitchell’s Fish Market.  It was freezing out.  The Town Center was deserted, but the restaurant was packed.  You looked so precious in your Christmas dress, but you were fussy through most of dinner because you were insatiably hungry.  Our house was a disaster by the end of all the festivities, but we left it and went to bed happy and full!

6 Months

IMG_5112It’s your half birthday today!  Happy birthday to you!

I was hoping I would have some big milestones to write about today, but you are perfectly, contentedly taking your time.  So here’s what we can say about you.

You had your 6 month well visit on the 20th.  You are 14 lbs 10 oz, 25.5 in, and your head has grown to 17 in.

You still nurse or take a pumped bottle.  We introduced solids about 2.5 weeks ago.  You’ve tried carrots and sweet potatoes.  You’re not so much into eating them as you are into playing with your food.  We give you a spoon, and you prefer to chew on it, so we sometimes sneak food onto it so you’ll get some in your mouth.  I also put some food on your tray, and you smear it around, scoop some up, and put it in your mouth.  Needless to say, you get baths much more frequently now.

We completely eliminated your cradle cap, thanks to a suggestion by some friends.  We put a couple drops of baby oil on your head, and within a day your dry scalp was non-existent.  Your daddy likes to still put baby oil on your head because he likes the smell and he thinks it makes your hair look more kempt.

You like chewing on straws at restaurants, and on Christmas Eve you grabbed the lemon out of my drink.  I thought it would be funny to let you taste it, thinking you would make a silly face, but you went to town on it like it was the best thing you ever had.  We offered you one the next night, and you were no longer interested.  Such a fickle girl.

You sat in a high chair at a restaurant for the first time.  Depending on the chair, you might be able to sit upright, but often you slip and slide all over the place, so we use a cover that holds you in place better.  You also rode in the front of a cart for the first time.  The first time was at Babies R Us, and it wasn’t successful because you kept falling over, but I took you to the grocery store with the cart cover, and we had more success.  Of course, shopping took twice as long because I had to go extra slow and people kept stopping us to fawn over you.

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Daddy finally installed the car seat base for his car, so now we don’t always have to take my car!

You are sitting up with support.  I put the Boppy around you, or I’ll straddle you, and you can stay upright for a little while until you want a toy and then you fall over.

You roll everywhere, but aren’t crawling yet.  You push yourself backwards or fall forward on your face.  You can’t seem to figure out how to get your legs and arms to work together.  You are still much happier on your back anyway.

You rolled over in your crib for the first time about a week or so ago.  I freaked out because “back is best” is drilled into every parent’s head – it’s even embroidered on your sleep sacks lest we forget – so when I saw you sleeping with your face down, I was worried you were going to suffocate.  I kept going in your room to check that you were breathing and that your nose was uncovered.  Turns out you enjoy sleeping on your belly.  The first couple days you took seriously long naps, and I thought all our sleep problems were over.  But then you started rolling yourself to your back when you wake up and your naps went back to being far too short.  You also protest more often when I lay you down in the crib.  It’s getting harder to put you down because you just want to sleep in our arms, which I love, but Momma’s gotta sleep and get things done!

You smile when you sneeze.

You blow spit.  Not spit bubbles.  Just spit.

First Thanksgiving

Yesterday was your first Thanksgiving and our first holiday as parents!  Sadly, we have chosen to not travel with you this holiday season, so we didn’t get to be home with family this year.  However, we made the best of it and were invited to spend the day with our friends Don and Cheri.  You had a normal morning with the exception that Daddy was home, so you got to hang out with him a bit before your first nap.

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Dressed in your jammies and a hat to go get the neighbor’s paper. It was a chilly 40 degree morning!

We watched the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade while we got cleaned up.  Then Daddy helped Mommy prepare macaroni and cheese, creamed corn, and an apple pie snickerdoodle dessert.  We waited until right before leaving to dress you (because I am becoming an experienced mom).  We loaded up the car, running late as is our norm these days, and were on our way to the Wagners!

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You liked Brycen’s doggies, Rusty and Jackson.  I think Jackson reminded you of a giant version of Alex.

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Now that you are almost 6 months, I think it’s time we look into getting you a high chair.  You didn’t like not being able to see everything from your swing, and even though you were tired at this point, you refused to miss out on the action!

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After a sad 23 minute nap, you got up just in time to watch Brycen open his birthday presents.

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Yawning.  Hmm… wonder why you’re so tired?

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Playing in Brycen’s exersaucer and getting kisses from Jackson.

We sang “Happy Birthday” and had birthday cake for Brycen’s 1st birthday, then you were ready to go.  Daddy read you stories and then it was off to bed for you.

Five Months

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Five months!  Five months!  We are one month away from having kept you alive long enough that the risk of SIDS is dramatically reduced!  That’s the good news.  The bad news – I still feel like I have no idea what I am doing.

You are an enigma, and I have yet to crack your baby code.  Our pediatrician asked us way back at your 2-month checkup if we had learned your different cries yet, because you apparently are supposed to have a different cry for hunger, tiredness, boredom, and discomfort.  All we hear is, “Waah!  I’m unhappy!  You figure out why!”

Your schedule is still a random mess.  The only consistency is that you wake up too early in the morning, you take super short cat naps during the day, you put up a fight at bedtime and wake up at least five times before you’re finally out for a good stretch of 2 – 4 hours.  You’re on a play-eat-play-eat-sleep schedule, because you are also a snacker who prefers to eat every 1.5 hours.  I try to stretch it out to 2, and usually I can if we are out and about, but at home, nothing’s worse than a whiny baby, so I just give in.

You are still a pretty adorable baby.  We have the Internets fooled that you are also a super happy baby because I have you trained to smile whenever I say “Cheese!” and hold up my iPhone to take your picture. (It works even better when I turn the clicker sound on.)  It’s a cool trick.  I should probably post more of your adorable whines and “unimpressed” stares.  Thankfully, you are more of a whiner than a crier, but I think that’s just for me.  You cry just fine for Daddy, or Grandma, or anyone else who is not your mama.  I still haven’t used our gym’s daycare, simply because I’m still too worried to leave you in the care of someone who doesn’t love you at least half as much as I do.  Unfortunately, all those people who love you live far away, so you haven’t had too many experiences being without your mommy.

Alright… without further ado.  I’ve kept notes on your 5th month, so these are some of your milestones and habits of late:

At your doctor’s visit on November 11th (4.5 mos old), you weighed 13 lbs 6 oz.  Not sure about height or head size because this wasn’t a well visit.  You had/have a rash on your belly.  The doc said something must have irritated your skin and to rub some Aquaphor on it.  The rash seemed to get better, but it came back and has spread to your legs and shoulders.  I am eliminating fabric softener altogether and have stopped wearing perfumes/body sprays to see if that will help.  You seemed to have inherited my sensitive skin.  Sorry.

You are wearing 6mo clothes now and have just graduated to Size 2 diapers.  Congrats!

On October 29th, you rolled over from your back to tummy for the first time.  And second time.  And third time.  Your daddy was actually the first to see you do it.  Nope, I wasn’t jealous at all…  We have not been able to catch it on video yet, you sneaky little lady.  You tend to roll when we’re not looking.  You know those movies and TV shows where the clueless parent/caregiver turns his/her head away for ONE SECOND and the baby disappears?  Yeah, that actually happens!  I had you on a blanket in the middle of the living room, looked away, and when I turned back, you had rolled yourself underneath an open cabinet door on the entertainment center.  And again, on the floor in your bedroom, you rolled and rolled until you were rudely stopped when you bonked your head on the crib.  I now have to put pillows around the furniture just in case you start tumbleweeding again.  Lately, though, I just lay you on your tummy, you promptly yourself to your back, and you’re good.

You grab your feet, and just yesterday got one in your mouth.  Hooray for you!

I finally clipped your fingernails for the first time on November 6th.  (Before I had just pulled them off when they started to tear.)  I will admit I used Baby Einstein to distract you while I held you in my lap.  I’m going to need a new tactic now, though, because you are a grabber and Baby Einstein ain’t cutting it.

You are a grabber.  You see it.  You want it.  In your mouth.  As of late, you prefer things you shouldn’t have.

Me:  Here, Ellis, have Sophie (your teether).

You:  No, thanks, Mom.  I want the remote/iPhone/Nook/nail clippers/your hand/restaurant menu/burp cloth/[...].

This also confirms my compulsion my wise decision to buy books instead of borrowing library books for you.  There are gnaw marks and crumpled lift-the-flaps on many of your books.

You have a death grip.  You get a hold of the skin on my arm, my face, my neck, and you pull.  Alex has learned to stay far away because he doesn’t put up with you pulling on his fur like Mommy and Daddy do.  You try to grab everything you see – Daddy’s glasses, my nose, the little cutesy characters on your mobile.  I keep a toy at the changing table now because otherwise you grab my arm, or the skin on it, and beyond it being painful, it also prevents me from completing the job at hand.

All the books say not to look at your baby when you’re trying to put her to sleep.  As usual, they’re wrong. [They are wrong about so many things, but that could be another post entirely!]  You demand that I stare at you so that you can confidently close your eyes and fall asleep. Sometimes you peek and make sure I’m looking.

Other times, you talk yourself to sleep.  Babble, babble, babble.  Silence.

And still other times, you whine yourself to sleep.  Whine, whine, whine.  Sleep.

You have somehow mastered the art of whining and smiling at the same time.

I think your first word might be “boof.”

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