Monday, May 21, 2012

3 months

So this is a bit late, since she's actually now 3 months and 1.5 weeks, but the Gabster has made it to 3 months!  That's a personal best for Brian and me!

3 months old on a plane!

Warning:  this is a block of text.  The pictures are at the end of the blog, and if you want to there, I won't blame you!

She's picked up some new skills in the past month.  She has definitely discovered her hands, and can entertain herself for 15 minutes just studying them, turning them over and clutching and unclutching them.  She loves to grab onto her knees and other objects and looking at how her hands appear when they're holding onto things.  She now regularly grabs onto her Wubbanub (a stuffed animal attached to her pacifier) and tosses it around (which makes her mad, since she rips it out of her mouth to toss it!).  She's so close to grabbing onto other objects, but still doesn't quite have the skills to grab at what she aims for.  She swings her hands towards objects, but mostly she ends up grabbing my hands.  She is starting to be more interested in toys (even if she can't grab them), and will study them while I hold them in front of her.  She still loves the TV, and has now carried that love to the remote control.  She spends a good amount of time studying the buttons and trying to grab it.  She's so funny when she's really intent on something--she really wants to get her mouth on it, but hasn't figured out that she can use her hands to get it there, so she just opens her mouth really wide and hopes I put the toy in.  It's like watching a baby bird!  She's certainly very good at getting her hands into her mouth, and when she starts grabbing objects, I'm sure they'll follow.

She's also a drooling machine now, and we just keep a bib on her at all times so we can at least keep her onesie from getting soaked.  I keep looking at her gums to make sure she's not cutting a tooth, especially since our friend's little girl cut her first one at 2 months!  So far no teeth!  I can see where they're going to come in though, which is scary enough for now!

I've also finally gotten her on a schedule.  For the first 2 months, I was basically letting her run the show.  Then I found a blog online (Bloggin' About Babies) that gave some loose guidelines for nap times.  It basically says that children Gabby's age can really only stay awake for 1.5 hours at a stretch before needing a nap.  I started to pay more attention to her crankiness, and realized that Gabby was following that pattern almost exactly.  Anywhere from 1 hour 20 min and 1.5 hours, she would start fussing a lot, and nothing I did would get her to calm down.  So now, when she starts fussing, I swaddle her, put in a paci, and rock and bounce her for a few minutes before putting her in her Pack N Play for a nap.  She's so much happier now, and so am I!  It's easier to plan my day when I know about when she's going to go down for a nap.  So just for my future reference when I'm reading this when she graduates high school (hi me!) here's her schedule:

7:00ish wake up, eats and plays
8:30ish back down for a half an hour nap.  Sometimes this happens in the stroller while mommy walks
9:00ish up again, eats and plays
10:30ish morning nap, this time 45 minutes-1.5 hours
1:00ish up again, eats and plays
2:30ish afternoon nap, again 45 minutes-1.5 hours
3:30ish up again, eats and plays
4:30ish sometimes does down for another nap.  She may not if she's slept a lot on the first stretches.
6:30ish witching hour.  Poor Brian; he only gets happy Gabby on the weekends.
7:30ish bedtime
*Note:  This only works when we're at home.  If we're staying somewhere else, it all breaks down!

This will all get adjusted as she gets older and stays up for longer periods of time (and hopefully drops those first and last naps).  I also will say that I have to keep an eye on her at the 40-50 minute mark of her nap.  If I don't put her paci back in around that time, she wakes up for good.  Basically, that's about the length of her sleep cycle, and she's still having some problems transitioning from one cycle to another during the day.  At night, she's all good.

Speaking of nights, she's starting to sleep in some fairly long stretches.  Her first stretch is usually 6-7 hours, and then she gives me either another 6 hour stretch, or two 3 hour stretches.  This weekend, we were in San Francisco overnight for the wedding of 2 of our dear friends (congrats, Robbie and Judy!), and she slept from 9:30-7:30, and only got up then because I thought my boobs were going to explode so I woke her up!  Her Aunt Jennifer and Uncle Joe were watching her while we were at the wedding, and fed her at 7:00 (like I do) and then again at 9:30 (because she woke up hungry), and she stayed asleep all night after that second feeding.  This was what I was trying to accomplish with the "dream feeds" I tried a few weeks ago, but it never really worked out.  Now that she's older, I think I'll try those again!  Brian wondered if maybe she doesn't get enough at the 7:00 feeding (she does usually zonk out on the boob, and my supply is lower at night than in the morning), and the top off fills her up enough to keep her asleep.  I fed her last night before I went to bed at 9:45 (it was a late night Saturday!), and had to get up at 3:30 to give her a paci, but she didn't want to be fed until 5:30.  I really hope this keeps up!

OK, so now the fun part of the post.  We spent the time over Mothers Day weekend visiting my family in St Louis, and we had such a good time!  Gabby was actually pretty good on the 4 (!) planes.  She got cranky around when she was supposed to be sleeping, but we were able to keep her pretty quiet otherwise.  I think the other people on the plane really appreciated how quiet she is--some poor 20-something guy sat next to us on 1 leg, and after we landed he said that she was a really good baby and how lucky we were.  Her crankiest leg we fortunately had a great grandmother next to us who was very understanding.  Frontier was a great airline--the flight attendants were very nice, we got family boarding, and there were changing tables in the bathrooms.  Overall, it was a much better experience flying with her than we thought it would be.

And now for pictures from our trip:

There's a buffalo ranch near my parents' house, and we took a tour while there.  Here are Gabby and I in the mule.  She slept through the entire tour!

The owner actually took us in the pasture with the buffalo.  Fortunately, they didn't seem too bothered by us.  And yes, that's a cow on the left.  She apparently wandered in one day and never left.

The llamas that apparently will kick coyotes if they come in.  Basically, a living security system.

We also got to visit with my college friends Stephanie and Lisa.  Here's Stephanie with Gabby.

This is Lia, Lisa's daughter, who is 17 months.  She's the spitting image of her daddy, Derek.

Stephanie, Lia, Lisa, Gabby and me.

Grandpa Pechenino and Gabby enjoying a moment.

Great Grandpa and Great Grandma Stoehr.  I left out the ones with the dog in them.

4 generations of Dempsey/Stoehr/Pechenino/Romo women!

Second cousins!  Matt and Gabby.

With Great Grandma Pechenino

4 generations on the Pechenino side too (plus Josie).

And without Josie.

We had a great time talking all day.

Gabby heading for a nap on Grandma Pechenino.

"I'm shocked!"

Laughing at Mommy's tongue.

Saying hi to Daddy.

I still have no news on the teaching job front, but have started my University of Phoenix class again, so at least I have something to do!  I've also apparently cleared another hurdle with them, and I am starting 1 class before another one is done.  That'll definitely be a new challenge, but I'm looking forward to it! 

So congratulations to our newly weds Robbie and Judy, thanks to Aunt Jennifer and Uncle Joe for flying up, and to Grandma and Grandpa Romo for watching cousins Audrey and Olivia this weekend so we could have fun at the wedding.  The wedding was beautiful, and we love the bride and groom :)

And tomorrow is our second wedding anniversary :)

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Rolling over

I managed to get a video of Gabby rolling over today, and thought I'd just share it now rather than wait for my next blog post:

I watch this and can't believe how big she is getting, and how much more she can do now!  And I know it'll only get more unbelievable as time goes on!

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

11 weeks

As I promised in my last post (and you can see above), I bought her a better-fitting hat, and she looks so cute in it!  She doesn't seem to mind wearing a hat, and actually likes that it keeps the sun out of her eyes when we're outside.  I also bought her some sunglasses, but they are a wee bit too big still.

My baby is way cooler than I am.
I've noticed over the past 2 weeks a really big increase in her motor skills.  First and foremost (and what is affecting us the most right now) is the fact that she is rolling from her back to her stomach in her crib while swaddled.  I noticed on Monday morning this past week that she was on her stomach when she woke up in the morning.  The same thing happened on Tuesday morning.

I put her on her back, and she was like this when I came in to check on her.

The rule for babies, of course, is that they sleep on their backs for as long as possible.  Well, Gabby has decided that 10.5 weeks was long enough!  Those nights, by the way, she slept from 10:00-7:00 straight through.  It was amazing.  But I walked in on Tuesday to this:

Nobody puts baby in a corner; she gets there all by herself!
We tried for a couple more nights to just put her on her back, but she would flip in the 5 minutes between putting her down and checking on her.  We finally just gave up and put her on her stomach to sleep.  I really blame the naptimes--she'll only sleep off of me if she's on her belly in the Pack N Play.  I figured naps are no big deal, since she sleeps in the family room with me (and the TV blaring to get her used to noise during the day) and I keep a pretty close eye on her.  We didn't really want her on her belly so soon at night, but she's definitely got a mind of her own!

All of this would be no big deal--she sleeps on her belly, so what?--however, the second part of the baby-on-her-back rule is that once they start flipping over, you really can't swaddle them anymore, due to the fact that they need to have their arms free to push themselves up in case they get into trouble.  This is a huge problem, since swaddling is what keeps her arms out of her face and allows her to stay asleep longer.  It's not that her arms wake her up, but more once she is awake (which happens at the end of her sleep cycles as it does for everyone) her arms are so distracting that she can't go back to sleep.  We tried to swaddle her with her arms out, and that lasted all of an hour.  We've moved to swaddling her very loosely, allowing her to have her arms if she wants them.  This works as long as she is calm at night and doesn't manage to get her arms out (she'll give me from 8:00-2:00, then wake up at 6:00 and finally be up for the day at 9:00), but if she gets her hands by her face (like last night) she's up at midnight, 3:30, 6:00, and for the day at 7:30. I really don't know what to do--I don't want her to suffocate, but this lack of sleep is killing me!  I can't ask Brian to help during the week, since he has to get up and work all day, but I'm so wasted during the day that I'm completely useless (and very short-tempered)!  Napping during the day is impossible, since she only sleeps for half hour stretches at a time once I get her off my chest.  I know eventually she'll get more control over her arms and they'll stop being such huge distractions, but I'm not positive I'll survive the sleep deprivation until that happens!

On the more positive growth/development side, Gabby's really starting to interact with her world.  She's moving her arms in more purposeful ways, and tries to grab onto things (and completely misses, but she's trying)!  She did manage to grab onto her paci earlier today, but it may have been a fluke.  She loves to sit and stand, and when she's in her carseat or bouncer, tries to sit herself up straighter.  She has definitely discovered her hands, feet and legs, and studies them very intently, as well as my hands and clothes.  Nursing is a bit of a challenge sometimes, since she gets distracted by the way her hands look against my clothes and skin.  I often remind her to focus and eat!  She also never needs help holding her head upright, but I do have to keep 2 hands on her while carrying her because she's started to launch herself to one side or the other to get a better look at things.  Makes carrying anything in addition to her a challenge.  She's also finally showing interest in her mobile on the swing, and spent a ton of time a few days ago in the swing just staring at it and talking to the animals.
The zebra is her favorite, but the others will due when it's out of sight
She's also talking quite a bit more now, making a wide variety of noises at different volumes.  When she's on Daddy's lap at night (and when he's changing her to go to bed) she just talks and talks to him.  She doesn't talk as much to me, but if I sing to her, she'll make a lot of noise to accompany me.  Or maybe she's trying to drown me out!  It's also getting harder to entertain her.  She seems to get bored very easily, and I'm hard-pressed to come up with things to keep her busy during the day.  She's been a bit more independent as far as entertaining herself, which basically means she'll sit in a bouncer or lie on her playmat for 10 whole minutes before insisting I pick her up.  According to the book I bought on the recommendation of my friend (The Wonder Weeks), she's going to be entering a new mental development stage soon, which means she'll be back to irritability.  There's a chance that the sleeping problems she's having now are related to this spurt.  It also may explain the every 2 hour nursing we have going on during the day again.

As far as how I'm doing, not so hot.  I received a group e-mail from Solano Community College which said that the Fall 2012 schedule was online.  I went to see what class I'd been assigned, and I wasn't on there!  That's right, instead of telling me directly that I didn't have a class, I had to learn via the class schedule.  I e-mailed the dean, and she told me that while they really like me, they just couldn't get me a class.  She said I'd be amongst the first scheduled if extra classes come around.  In spring.  OK, I thought, that's a set back, but I still have ARC.  I even e-mailed them with my new e-mail address since my ARC one was deactivated.  Initially, there was an organic chemistry lab available that would have been perfect--Tues/Thurs from 2-5.  Labs are great, since there's virtually no prep work, and minimal grading.  However, a week after dangling this class in front of me, I got an e-mail saying that a full time faculty had decided to take the class!  I was afraid this would happen--I'd take a semester off of teaching, the colleges would find a replacement, and I wouldn't be asked back to teach.  It's not like the unions can be helpful here either--they are very anti-adjunct.  There is an off chance that I could get a call from another college to teach a class, but the odds of that become less likely as time goes on.  I'm actually really depressed about this--I am not cut out to be a stay at home mom, and I was really hoping to have a definite end point of the "maternity" leave I'm on.  I know I should just be grateful that we are able financially to let me stay home, and enjoy getting to see all of the milestones of Gabby's development in person rather than hearing about them from a daycare provider, but it's hard to see that when I have absolutely no adult interaction besides Brian.  I do have my University of Phoenix class, but an online class is very much different from interacting with students in person.  I have signed up for my local mom's club, but my natural shyness is preventing me from going to any of the events.  It's just really hard for me to overcome my nature and put myself out there!

On a more positive note, the tempranillo wine we're making is coming along quite well.  I took it off the oak this past weekend while Brian's parents were here to watch Gabby, and it's tasting young, but much better than before the oak.  I am pretty excited to see how it's going to turn out.

To end, here are some more pictures of my sweet little girl:

Blowing some bubbles at her bouncer
Modeling her new hat with Daddy
I hope the next post isn't so much of a downer, and that I have more pictures!  Until then, goodbye!