Tuesday 19 April 2016

Nine Months

As I've been progressing though adulthood for the past, oh say, 22 years, I've been forced to acknowledge that I share many traits and quirks with my mother. Yet, it wasn't until I became a mother that it finally resonated that I'm becoming my mother. Whenever I wore new clothes to school, my mother would always ask, "did anyone comment on your outfit?". She would seem disappointed when I replied that the answer was no. Apparently, Ms Myrtle would ask Myrtle the same question and she threatened to send Myrtle to school in some hideous outfit just to see if anyone would notice, so Myrtle wised up and just started making up comments. I had dressed Kate in an adorable raccoon sweater from Janie and Jack. The sweater was actually a gift to my cousin's first born from me. A family of raccoons made their home under our deck that year and we spent the summer exhausting ways to encourage them to relocate. My cousin gave the sweater back to me along with other clothes and baby items. Judging on it's perfect condition and knowing how messy her kids are; I'm guessing that it was never worn. "So, did any one comment on your sweater?" I asked Kate as I picked her up from Day Care. D'oh! There it was. My mothers words coming out of my mouth!

A slightly more interesting case in point: My maternal grandfather took a lot of pride in the family car. We're talking, washing it by hand on the driveway every Sunday kind of proud. We used to visit my grandparents between Christmas and New Year's and one year there was a big snow storm just before we left for Pennsylvania. Our car was caked with salt and dirt and looked pretty typical for any vechile during a Northeast winter. Apparently, my grandfather made a snide remark about the state of our car, as every year afterwards, we would stop to get our car washed when we were within 30 minutes of my grandparents house. Some years, when we would travel on Christmas day, and our usual car wash stop was closed, we would have to use a coin operated do-it-yourself facility. (Looking back, I have no idea how may parents found these places to wash your car without a smart phone!)

My mother finally quit smoking in her mid 50s. However, she let her parents believe she quit in her early 30s, a few years after I was born. As my grandparents didn't drink and didn't keep any alcohol in their house, my mother would joke that visit was here 3 days stint in the Betty Ford Clinic, as she couldn't drink or smoke. I have memories of being at that self service car wash on Christmas Day. My Dad and I unpacked all of our suitcases so we could vacuum the interior while my mother was 'supervising' as she savoured her final cigarettes before checking into rehab. I can only imagine all the cars that drove by wondering what the fuck was this family doing cleaning their car on Christmas day? 

Actually, I've been getting my car cleaned prior to my parents coming out for a visit ever since we moved out to California. We joke that it's become a bit of a family tradition. However, I had a greater sense of urgency with this past trip. The front of my car was a mess of crumbs from my secret stash of oatmeal raisin 'I need them to maintain my milk supply' cookies. Before easily getting talked into the most expensive wash option at the professional car wash, I took our air compressor and blasted the crumbs out of every small crack that I knew would be missed unless I opted for the super expensive detailing package. Then, I took a lint roller and did a final pass after the car came back from the cleaners. I was determined to hide my secret habit, just like my mother. 

Stats: Weight 19 lbs 1.4 oz  Length 27 inches
Her height has hit a plateau. Our paediatrician warned that after 6 month genetics would take effect on her growth rate. Sorry Kate both your parents are of average height for their respective genders.

Teeth: So, remember how in my Eight Month post I was convinced that she was never going to cut any teeth, but I would forever love my toothless bald baby? The night after that post, she (we) had a horrible night of sleep. She was waking every two hours and would take about an hour to put down. This was far worse than her newborn days. The next morning she decided to chew on, of all things, my thumb. Something sharp tried to piece my skin. There was no mistaking it. The slight emergence of a pearly white tooth. "Oh! You're not an asshole!" I cried with joy. Two weeks later another tooth joined the party and she is now sporting two bottom teeth. Her hair is finally starting to emerge. Within a week it seems to have sprouted as if someone slipped her Rogaine. So far it seems to be blond.

Feeding: Even before she cut any teeth, our pediatrician gave the us the green light to feed her Cheerios. Cheerios are awesome. We can put her in the highchair with a handful of O's on the tray and that will buy us about 10 minutes to wash bottles, start preparing dinner or even waste time if we wanted. My rookie error: forgetting to don a bib. Apparently, Cheerios stain. Rather badly, as I've ruined a few of her pajamas, which she has fortunately outgrown. We also started feeding her meat. Her first taste was some leftover cottage pie that I quickly pulsed in the Baby Bullet. It represented the first time she ate the same food as us, but as it was on leftover night, we weren't eating the same meal at the same time. I made up some batches of ground turkey and butternut squash, but they became more of an acquired taste. In order to get her to take a bite, I had to dip the spoon in applesauce. As I worked my way through the jar, I used less applesauce and saved the rest for her dessert. So far the only food she's really rejected has been parsnips. She doesn't appreciate the foods of her father's people. 

I'm not sure what finally worked, but my milk supply returned to normal and I was even able to wean off the Mother's Milk tea, Fenugreek, beer and cookies. Then my parents came to visit, and I tended to  bottle feed when we went out, which led to longer periods of time without expressing. I had a few nights where I overslept and missed a pumping session and I've been so busy at work that I can only manage pumping twice a day. This all led to a slight drop in my milk supply. It feels similar to how you can work out consistently for weeks, but then skip the gym for a few consecutive days and suddenly you feel so out of shape. The breasts are unforgiving. I'm so tempted to follow this lead and wrap up breastfeeding, but I'd fall short of the goal to make it to one year, even though my plan is to start weaning in about six weeks. During the day, Kate seems to be easily distracted and less interested in nursing, which makes me wonder if this is the time to cut her off? (My intention is to stop nursing before she can demand the breast) Yet, I'm not too keen on being an exclusive pumper, although I did master a new skill: Pumping while driving. I thought it was crazy when Nina first suggested it, but it is a good use of time. I just had to drive very carefully, for fear of getting into an accident; but if I did, my obituary would note what a dedicated breastfeeding mother I was.  

Sleep: After the horrible frequent waking on the teething night, she went back to waking just once a night. She was even pretty consistent about it. It would be at either 11:30 or 3:00, which coincidently, are around my pumping times. Once again, we accepted that waking once during the night wasn't so bad. I would feed her and we could both be back asleep in less than half an hour. The she slept through the night one weekend. We both knew not to get too excited about it, but for the past few weeks she been sleeping throughout more nights that she's been waking and needing to feed. She will sometimes wake once or twice a night, but usually falls back to sleep herself. We've been transitioning her naps from three to two, and it seems to be going well. Although I realised that I tend to take her out to do my errands, knowing that she will sleep in the car. I viewed it as a win-win, she gets her nap and I get shit done. Then I started to fear that I was using the car as a sleep crutch, so thanks to a few rainy days when I didn't want to go out anyway, we discovered that she can still go down for a nap in her crib. Phew! 

Milestones: Not really walking just yet. She still wants to stand all the time, and when she's in the Pack and Play, she'll do a 'Look Ma! No hands!' and stand on her own for a few seconds, before needing to grasp the sides or fall down. We got her a little plastic activity table, so she can practice cruising around it and one day she decided to push it like a walker and took a few steps. We joked that we should put some tennis balls on the feel of the table to help her practice. She learned to clap, which was followed by banging two objects together. Her language is still the same. Lots of babbles with some 'ba-ba' or 'da-da' thrown in. We may have had a break through with baby signing. While I was feeding her dinner, I noticed that she seemed to be making the sign for milk. I had Husband bring out a bottle to show her and we both repeated making the sign and saying 'Milk. Milk. Milk" Which sounded very similar to a classic scene from American Pie. She just seemed to giggle at us, but the next day when I went to get her out of her car seat, she was making the milk sign. I showed her a bottle and she repeated the sign. She greeted me with the milk sign on one other occasion and I began to wonder if she sees me as milk, hence relates me to the milk sign. Or maybe she was just randomly clenching her hand in a fist.... Yet while I was feeding her carrots, she did position her hand correctly for the carrot sign. We'll keep practicing. 

Likes and Dislikes: When I take she shopping, I'll wear her in the Baby Bj.orn and she'll hold on to the handle and will want to push the trolley. It's adorable, but to allow her to push, I have to scrunch down and it kills my back after a while. She loves climbing in the infant seat when it's sitting on the floor in her room, but if you go to put her in it when it's time to go out, she'll cry and fuss and try to squirm away, so it's another wrestling match to get her in the car seat. 

Clothing: Leading into her 9 month birthday, she was still able to wear most of her 6 month size clothes. As I've been delayed getting this post out, she is no longer fitting into the 6 month stuff, which means she either had a growth spurt, or my mother shrunk her clothes by washing them with hot water.

Diapering: In exciting diapering news, she moved into a size medium diaper cover. It's still such a challenge to change her, and for some reason I naively thought she would get over this wanting to crawl and climb everywhere thing and lie still for a diaper change. Our pediatrician suggested changing her on the floor, as it would be easier to pin her down and I think he fears she'll fall and break a bone. We tried. No luck holding her down and she peed on the carpet. Twice. Many years ago I had issues with our cats peeing in the house and I feared this could invite them to start again. No more changing on the floor. 

Health Issues: She had a bad cough spell earlier this week, where she was up for nearly and hour with a cough that wouldn't stop, but it seems to have cleared.

Looking forward to: I can't believe our trip to Hawaii is next month! I'm excited, but also overwhelmed by the planning and packing that needs to be done. I also have no idea what we are going to do. I received an email from the hotel concierge offering to help schedule some activities for us, and I asked if she had any suggestions for a family traveling with a 10 month old. She replied that most activities are not conducive to families with young children, with the exception of a luau, which seems to be enjoyed by all ages. She added "I can see you and your daughter relaxing out by the pool". She must not know that pool is the last place I would want to try to relax with my near mobile daughter, and their pool is merely an oversized bathtub... but anyway... we'll be in Hawaii... 

The Blooper Reel:

As she tried to pull off the sticker, we tried putting it on her back...

Place the sticker on the chair and use a toy to distract...no this isn't working either...

Now she's finally facing the camera, but we're looking at the lion's butt.
Sheesh! Will no one cooperate?


  1. What a cutie!! I'm glad to know it's ok to not get teeth until 9 months, it's seems like I keep hearing about it earlier at Bowen's daycare. I look forward to the teeth but not so much the process to get there. I love the reference to your obituary, that's hilarious!

  2. She has the best little face! I love her sweet little dress! Watch out with those teeth...Garrison has 12 fully in and he's working on numbers 13 and 14. And he BITES. Owwwwww!

  3. I love her grin! What a cutie pie!!

  4. LOL @ "Oh! You're not an asshole!" (I think Liam may just be an asshole sometimes).

    Pumping while driving?!! I'm in awe!

  5. Teeth...I'm not looking forward to teeth... I love her little smile though! She's so cute!

  6. Sooo jealous of that trip to Hawaii! I hope you guys get some time to really relax, even just an hour or two. Here's hoping for nice long beach naps. Happy 9 months Kate!

  7. Adorable! Izzy had a couple of phases where she would squirm and wiggle and it would be REALLY HARD to change her diaper. You just have to sort of pin the kid down (no child abuse going on here, just being firm) and they figure it out after a week or two that it's going to happen whether they want it to or not. :-)

    There is plenty to do in Hawaii especially because Kate is at an age where you can stick her in a wrap or backpack and hike or do something yourself! What island are you guys going to?

  8. Also, the pool is a great place for Kate! When Izzy was 9 months old we used something similar to this in the pool- http://www.amazon.com/Swimways-Spring-Activity-Center-Canopy/dp/B000WQZD9U/ref=zg_bs_1272923011_1. You obviously have to be right there in the pool with them but it's a good way to get them kicking in the water and enjoying the water early on!

  9. Wow, 9 months!!! So fast! I agree with NSC about activities in Hawaii. Hiking is great with littles. You can rent a backpack and go all over the place. Also, if you're on Maui or Oahu, the aquarium is fun. Or find a baby beach where the waves are small and play in the sand with a bucket and shovel (bucket and shovel are great for the pool too). I have a little floatie similar to what NSC recommended that you can have if you want. Have a great trip!

  10. Apparently, my grandfather made a snide remark about the state of our car, as every year afterwards, we would stop to get our car washed when we were within 30 minutes of my grandparents house.
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