11 Month Letter (plus mash up video)

I’m back! Well, for now… you know how life is! I seem to not have as much in front of the computer time as I used to, but I have kept my promise to write Margo a letter every month on her birthday (or very close to it…) I did a 10 month letter, but didn’t get around to publishing it. Then I figured, who even reads my blog when I publish like once a month? Sorry. Things are happening, I should post more though!

You Tube Video of Margo’s skills

Dear Margo,

Holy 11 months – almost a year! Spending time with you is getting more fun by the day.

You are walking all around these days, which is just too cute. Tonight you made it the whole way from the laundry room to our bedroom to the sliding door. I’m loving your little zombie walk, and sometimes you put your hands close to your body on your chest and that’s also ridiculous. You’re getting stronger and stronger and more brave with your walking, and your Dad and I are still not used to seeing you just get up and walk across the playroom. Often I’ll be putting laundry from the washer to the dryer and leave you to play in the playroom. You almost always would crawl over and make your presence known (with a “uuuh! uhh!” announcement). Yesterday, for the first time, I looked up and you had walked to the doorway. Could this be your preferred means of transportation? I’m thinking you might have decided it is, just over the course of the past two days.

This month you also learned some signs! We’ve been doing a few signs with you and you now sign Eat, Daddy, More (sometimes…), Milk, and what looks like the beginnings of Bath. (So, you can say Mama, and sign Daddy. Now everyone’s happy 🙂 )Again, we’re blown away. Maybe we were just unprepared for how quickly babies learn stuff, but I never in my wildest dreams would have guessed my 11 month old would tell me when she was hungry by signing! It’s awesome! You’re still a chatty little child too, and getting quite good at entertaining yourself. Sometimes you’ll just sit with a bunch of books and turn the pages and babble. I love that you’ve started to mock the inflections that we do for you. Along those lines, when asked “What does Santa say?”, you say “uhh, uh, huuuh” with the same intonation as we do.

Speaking of Santa… yeah, that didn’t go well. Sorry for the emotional trauma, you’ll love him when you see what he brings you in a few days!
Didn't even get to tell him what she wanted for Christmas.
Your favorite book is now “Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus,” and you read it no less than 10  times today. And as of today, you’re also pretty into Eric Carle’s “Does a Kagaroo have a Mother, Too?” It’s kind of fun that it’s not involving photographs (like that annoying dog book with the moving parts that show a dog peeing! Seriously…) or Elmo. I love that you let us read to you now and really seem to delight in it. We had a little dry spell there, in between when I could read you our entire Dr. Seuss collection in one sitting at 2 months and then nothing for most of the summer.

It’s already been a cold winter, way too cold to do stuff outside. We’ve been stuck inside a lot, no more running in the stroller for the time being. We go to Gymboree several times a week, which you truly seem to love, even more so now that you are all sturdy with your walking. You’re still a remarkably happy child (meaning, several other mothers have remarked about your good nature to me over the past few months), and I can’t even begin to tell you how much I love that about you. We know if you’re complaining, something’s wrong. And if you’re just bored or unhappy, you just deal with it and make the best of it. A truly awesome personality trait, my love!

We’re so excited to share your first Christmas with you this month, and I’m still coming to terms with my next monthly letter being to a 1-year-old. Too fast! You’re growing too fast!! But we’re so proud and in love with you.

Love, Momma

We did it!

We finished half marathon training! This is what I said to Margo as I parked the BOB in the garage this morning after our 2 mile run, the last and gloriously quick training run in my 3-month program.

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Seems like a good time to reflect on the last three months, especially since the past 4 days I’ve been on the taper part of the program, which is pretty sweet.  I’d say 85% of the time, training has been challenging and rewarding. There’s been a few days fitting a 5 mile run in was way hard, but I did all the runs (except for one 3 miler last week when we had some Daddy->daughter->Mommy germs & sicknesses being passed around that took me off schedule a little.)  It feels great to be on the other side of all that training and “only” have 13.1 miles left to run.

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Running with Margo is, on the whole, not nearly as hard as I was afraid it’d be. She has never once fussed or cried, even on the 5 mile runs which put her in the stroller for over an hour, including the warm up and warm down walking time. The hardest part of running with her is I had to be a lot more picky about weather than I’d otherwise be. If there’s a threat of rain or a strong wind, I can’t just chance it like I could if I were alone. It’s harder, but I do think it’s helped me get into even better shape. I never, ever thought I’d be one of those people who run with one of these, but now I so want one. Oh, another thing that was hard was scheduling runs around naps and meals… that’s another reason there was no sadness in my heart when I finished the 5 mile runs.

I’m going into Sunday’s race optimistic about my time. My previous personal record is 2:05, and I’d love to get a new PR. It’s hard to compare my shape now to my shape then, but I feel pretty darn good. Maybe it’s because I started off basically from scratch. Over the 3 and a half months I’ve been training (I started 2 weeks early to be a little in shape for the official 3 month plan), I’ve knocked 2 minutes off my mile pace. That alone makes me so proud. Over that 3.5 months I’ve run 206 miles, and 92 of them with the stroller. (That surprised me, but I guess all of the long weekend runs were sans bebe and in the beginning when it was light out till 9ish, I used to go after she went to bed.) Looking back on how much I’ve done and how far I’ve come, it actually feels like a little tiny thing I have to do on Sunday! I’m so excited to cross the finish line and hug my baby & husband!

I’ve also given some thought to what’s next. I love being in shape and I love that Margo is so nonplussed with my running. I want to keep it up, but I’m quite looking forward to not having it be such a hard and fast obligation hanging over my head. I feel if I can run 3x a week in the 2-4 mile distance I’d be in good shape and happy. And I might even be able to get back into doing some P90X videos during naptime and work on my muscles.

8 Month Letter

Dear Margo,

If I had to describe the past month of your life in one word it’d be: MOTION. You’re a mobile child now, and our grace period where we could sit you on the floor and expect you to be in the same place a minute later is simply over. You are still flirting with crawling – you get up on all fours and rock, push yourself backward, go into a half downward dog yoga move (which is hilarious), and we’ve seen a few army crawls, but still waiting for you to get the normal crawl down pat. You’re a big roller, and we marvel at it because you see something you want across the room, you pivot so you’re parallel to it and then roll to get it. You can now go from laying to sitting, do guided steps when we hold your hands, and your standing is really sturdy. You just hold on to us for balance instead of leaning on us for support. You’re FAST, I look away and the next second you’ve got your hands under the entertainment center playing with wires or trying to pull drawers open.

Here’s Exhibit A – the 8-month shot outtakes (I used to think the blocks were a great idea, now it’s an enormous pain!!! You’re like “TOYS!”):

This month we’ve been spending a lot of time together, which as made it fly by for me (don’t know about you). I’ve started training for a race in November, so I’ve been taking you out in the jogging stroller often and you seem to love it! It’s so funny, you see someone coming in the distance on the greenway and you start humming and get all excited when we pass them. And if they have a dog, forget it. Even more fun.

You are learning new sounds, which is very funny. You say (often repeatedly) “mmamma”, “ba ba ba ba” now, and sometimes Daddy will try to get you to say “da da”, to which you always respond with a giggle. We interpret it to mean “Pshaw… like THAT’S a word!”

We love to go to the park with you to swing now! The weather is slowly becoming more bearable and you’re a great age for swings. Sometimes you giggle, presumably because I’m close, then far, then close, etc, and sometimes you lounge back and chew on your lips and hold on and kind of look like an old lady.  You also love it when we are parading upstairs to give you a bath and Daddy’s holding you and I’m coming up the stairs behind. I’m not sure why this gets you so worked up, but you kick your feet and giggle and squeal. Then we have to play peekaboo for a little and you’re all riled up.

You’re still eating pretty well, though you’ve all the sudden decide you want to make decisions on your own, which is annoying. You won’t take the bottle anymore, a revelation which is a little scary since I’m leaving town for 3 days next weekend. Not sure what’s fueling this, but we’re hoping a little hunger will give you the motivation to try it again. I’m sure you will be, but please be a good girl for daddy and take the bottle!!!

Every month I think *this* is the best month so far. I hope we’re not upsetting our friends & family because we truly are so happy and smitten with you. You do poop, and cry (sometimes) and do weird, inexplicable things but we are just not really ruffled by that. You’ve given us so much joy and entertainment and warmth, so much more than we could have imagined a year ago when you were just a growing bump. Your personality emerges daily, and I can’t wait to see what you’ll do next. You’re fun, and we have fun with you.

Love you!
Momma

Smart Kitty

Okay, I felt a tad silly buying this shirt from Gymboree, even though it was on sale. Still seemed a tad frivolous, but seriously, it’s as if the Gymboree people have a bug in our home! One of our favorite nicknames for Miss Smarty is Smart Kitty! There are a few others she’s earned lately, but they’re all, um, curses.

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This pic makes me laugh, a lot. Right now, Margo is way more into Smarty than Smarty is into Margo… this would be the time of a child’s life when a dog would be more in step with their interest. IDK, I’ve never had a dog, but most dogs we see are all about some interest from babies. Smarty is like “Um, no thanks. You’re loud & wave your arms.” Not sure what sort of planets aligned for me to snap this photo!

7 Months!

Dear Margo,

Where to start… it seems like you have changed so much in the past week or so.

You’re still a very social child. Yesterday we were at a triathlon I took part in (on a relay) and you were trying to say “hi” to everyone we passed or that you saw in the distance (which was kind of a lot of people…) It’s so cute, it’s as if you see someone and you think “Why aren’t they looking at me?” and say in your breathy and excited baby-voice “Hiii”. It’s not a fully enunciated word, but it seems like you kind of understand the meaning & when to say it! The screaming & babbling haven’t subsided at all, and you often “talk” more when you’re gnawing on a toy. Another change we noticed this month is it seems you really “became a girl” (to quote your Daddy). Meaning, you discovered whining and figured out how to use it to get your way. You realized if you scrunch up your face & whine/fake cry we’ll pick you up. There’s been a lot of whining… because your life is really hard.

But there’s also been a lot of laughing. A LOT! It’s truly the most heartwarming and surprising thing you do these days. We have to work for it, but the most random things elicit this beautiful noise. This evening, I was hiding behind the fridge and playfully running at you and you were in stitches. And so was I!

You’re also a determined kid, and this month even more so. When I’m holding you, you notice everything I’m holding and must. have. it. And if I move it further away, you puff air out of your pursed lips and reach further. It’s really hard to describe this little quirk, but it’s oh so cute. Like you’re taking a step back and doing a deep yoga breath and psyching yourself up for one last push where you’re going to get that thing you want.

Perhaps the biggest milestone this month was you pulled up for the first time. It knocked our socks off, but you looove standing up. You’ve been spending a lot of time propped up at your Leap Frog table this month, getting excited about the annoying songs you can make play by pressing buttons and moving knobs. You seem to have also discovered this month that you can roll over, and then roll over again, and again and again until you’re in a different place! You look up at us in between and smile like “check me out!” and just keep going. It’s pretty funny for us to watch, and remember a few short months ago when we waited and cheered you on to roll just once for the camera or to show a family member. Now, it’s no sweat at all. NOW, we’re on crawl watch.
You’re a strong kid and a big kid by all accounts, and everyone keeps threatening us that you’re going to be an early walker. Which is good and bad… but we’re trying to enjoy where you are right now. You’re just so much fun to be around.

This month we’ve done a lot. You took your first trip to the beach with me, and you handled the different environment like a true champion. You LOVED the beach (at low tide) and I’m so excited to go back sometime soon! Another change occured today – I’m not your stay at home mommy! I ended my summer job Friday, and starting today, I’m home all day, every day. Let the fun begin!

Every month as I wrap up your letter I try to think what you might be doing next month at this time, and you just continue to surprise me. So I might stop trying to predict your next big thing and just see what you come up with on your own! We love you, cutie pie!
Momma

*Gulp* She pulled up.

So yesterday, out of the blue I pulled out the little Leap Frog table I’d picked up at a consignment sale a few months ago. I sat her down in front of it, pressed some buttons to make the lights & songs go and almost instantly she grabbed it, pulled on it and BAM she was standing. I almost cried. She’s still too short to really pull up on the couch or anything, but I’m continually blown away when she does these things.

I don’t have video of her pulling up from sitting, but I did get this video today of her standing at the Leap table.

Glorious Sleep

We were blessed with a very good sleeper very early on. I think Margo officially slept through the night at 8 weeks or so? (The question mark represents the fog of the first months… it was around then. IDK.) She slept in long stretches then, and maybe around 3 months she started to wake in the middle of the night and fuss. We’d stumble across the hall and stick the pacifier in her mouth and everyone was back to sleep in 5 min… no big deal.

It kind of became a bigger deal as of late, though. 2 weeks ago we had a few nights in a week where we went into her room and she was totally awake and not pacified by the paci trick. A few times I even resorted to nursing her, which I hated doing since we haven’t fed her at night since 8? weeks, not a habit you want to start at 6 months.

So, we made the choice to Ferberize her. Best. Decision. Ever. What’s Ferberizing, you ask? It’s a complex system of timed parental soothing to encourage self-soothing for the child, yet pretty simple to operate in the middle of the night. On the first night, we’d only go to her after 5 min. When we go to her, no nursing, no picking her up & rocking. Then, we’d wait until 10 min, then 15 and then 20, repeated until she fell asleep. Subsequent nights have longer intervals. I think it’s mistakenly labled often as “Cry It Out”, but it’s really much more complex than that, and not nearly as heartless as CIO sounds.

Well, the first night was some sort of weird miracle, because everyone just slept through the night. Scott and I were too afraid to even talk about it because it seemed way too freaky that it coincided with our first sleep training night. A few nights later we did do some timing & middle of the night visits, and they worked! Once the time passed a little and we overcame our fear that discussing it and uttering the words “sleeping through the night” might jinx it, we came to the conclusion that Dr. Ferber trained US more than her. I think we were just in the habit of hearing her fuss and thinking “I’ll just do it really quick, then she’ll be asleep, no biggie.” Well, it was becoming more of a biggie (more often & longer waking periods) and more disruptive to OUR sleeping. But seriously, I’m flat out amazed at how well and how quickly (like, instantaneously) it worked for us.

I think it taught us how much we just need to trust in her. She knew how to soothe, we just weren’t giving her the chance!

And last night this all came back out with a vengence… we made the decision to take away the swaddleme. This, for those of you who aren’t immersed 24/7 in the latest baby must-haves.  We deswaddled her arms a few months ago, so at this point it was essentially a wrap around her midsection & legs. Well, last night we were glued to the video monitor and watched her roll over, back and forth. This seemed to be a good cut off for the swaddle, lest she get stuck in the middle of the night. So,*gulp* we took it away cold turkey. She did have a period of wakefulness & crying. We make a classic parental misstep and picked her up to rock & comfort her… which was 40 minutes wasted. As soon as she’d lay back down it was more crying. So we went back to Ferber. We left the room, vowing to return in 5 min. But we didn’t have to, because in that time, she was back to sleep. Seriously, it was a miracle.

I don’t want to brag… but I feel I’ve put in my time with bad sleep. I think I stopped sleeping well in maybe October because of my back and weird unable to fall back asleep stuff during pregnancy. And then Margo came. But now? OMG. Just call me a college kid, because I am sleeping like the dead. Even taking frequent naps. It’s quite awesome, and I’m just trying to appreciate this wonderful time when I’m RESTED.