Leaps & Bounds

So since Penny was born, I’ve been following her progress in an app called The Wonder Weeks (it’s also a book.) The basic gist of it is that all babies follow the same pattern and timeline of mental development, and they go through very specific “Leaps” when they reach certain ages. This timeline is also helpful because it helps predict (to a certain degree) when your baby will be going through a fussy phase.

I’ve found that the Wonder Weeks has tracked relatively well for Penny in terms of predicting when times might be a little tougher with regards to sleep, fussiness, etc, but I never really saw the total transformation that it touted your baby would go through after conquering certain leaps. The app made it sometimes seem like all of the sudden my baby would be able to do X, Y, and Z. Sure, Penny was developmentally on track, but hitting her milestones and gaining new skills always seemed to happen incrementally — one thing at a time, bit by bit, over time.

That is, until this past week.

In the past week alone (honestly, over a period of like, 4 days), suddenly Penny can:

Crawl!

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Wave!

Sit herself up from laying down (and vice versa)!

 
Pick up tiny bits of food and feed herself accurately! (She can also sign “more” and “please”!)

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Share food! (Lol)

Pull herself up to standing!

And as if ALL OF THAT wasn’t enough…

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…she also said her first purposeful word!

WHERE DID THIS GENIUS BABY COME FROM?!?! Leap 6 is awesome man, that’s all I gotta say. 100% worth the sleep-regression and nap-fighting that has come with it (and I mean that non-sarcastically!). The night before last was admittedly a little tough, with her waking up 3x, totally ready to be up, at ’em, and ready to party, lol. And as she’s now figured out how to sit up in her crib, going down for naps is pretty much just a continuous cycle that looks like this:

I know I’ve said this with like, every age she’s reached so far, but Penny at 8.5 months really is my favorite (I know, I know, so far at least!). She is so much FUN, and it’s so amazing to watch her acquire and practice new skills! She’s just this smiley, happy, giggly, crawly, roly-poly ball of joy. Ugh, I just love her so much!

Anyway, I think that’s probably enough gushing for now. This mama’s got a busy, busy week with an event tonight, planning for my big annual Yelper Party bash (pssssst to my local readers — it’s free and open to anybody!) in two weeks, and getting ready for CM Week in San Francisco in mid-June (which I’m on the planning committee for this year.) Whew!

So, as Penny can now say… bye!

First Mother’s Day Weekend Recap

Aloha, everyone! I hope you all had an awesome weekend, whether you were celebrating Mother’s Day or just enjoying some time to yourself. Mine flew by, as is typical, in a total whirlwind — there was a bit of car drama, time with other mamas, and, of course, a supermegaton of Penelope!

I’m actually going to back up to Thursday, since that’s really where our weekend story begins…

THURSDAY: Spontaneous Failure to Start

Penny goes to daycare on Tuesdays and Thursday, so bright and early Thursday morning, I packed her up into the car and got ready to go. I actually had intended on capturing my day on Thursday for another “Day in the Life” post, so I’d already made a point to take photos of all her daycare stuff, of the pups, and of our morning in general as we went through it.

No sooner had I snapped the above image and climbed into the driver’s seat, however, my car wouldn’t turn on. I have a push-button start car, and the “low key battery” indicator had been flashing for a couple of weeks, so I thought that it might be the key fob itself causing an issue.

With an increasingly impatient Penny still strapped into her carseat, I started the painstaking process of breaking my nails to remove the battery from my key fob… only to continue to have nothing happen when I pushed the start button again. Guffffff. I was about ready to give up when, suddenly, without me doing anything new, my car suddenly started! Hoorah! Off to daycare we went, with me thinking it must have been the key battery thing and it must have just taken a second to start working.

Weeeeeell, turns out that wasn’t the case at all. We go to daycare, I drop off a happy little Penny poo, get back in my car aaaaaand…

Yup. Dead car. And this time, it doesn’t randomly turn back on after trying a few times. The radio and AC work, but the engine just doesn’t seem to be connecting at all. No clicking, no turnover, no nothing. Le sigh. So I spend the next two hours creepily hanging out in my daycare’s parking lot while roadside assistance first sends out someone to try jumping my car (doesn’t do anything), and then finally a tow truck.

I have it towed to the dealer, who informs me that there’s a known issue with the make and model of my car concerning one of its engine parts. One of the symptoms? Spontaneous failure to start. Bright side? It’ll be covered by an extended warranty on the affected part, as will a rental car! Downside? Their transmission guy can’t look at it to confirm that’s the issue until tomorrow morning anyway, which means I’m car-less in the meantime. Womp womp.

And man, if I thought that it was inconvenient to be without a car BEFORE I had a kid? Yeeeeesh. Thankfully, I have an awesome and accommodating mom who drove out to help me pick up Penny later in the afternoon so that Sean wouldn’t have to leave work early.

FRIDAY: Housebound but Happy

Enter Friday, where I get to spend the morning at the house with my little love who is in the absolute BEST mood. I don’t know if it’s because we’re dogsitting my brother’s pup, and she is super into Pixel, or if it’s because she’s finally (finally!) feeling 100% better after being sick for so long, but she is all smiles and giggles and it’s just the BEST!

Her being such a happy, content little princess definitely helps with the continued car drama, as I don’t receive an update on the status of my car until the afternoon, and while it is the covered issue (phew!), they won’t have a rental car available until the NEXT morning (ughhhhh.)

Fortunately, I don’t have too much on my plate today other than getting some work done on my computer and getting the mongrels groomed. And doubly fortunately, we use a mobile groomer that comes to our house!

  
It’s a beautiful day, as well, so Penny and I get to spend a little bit of time enjoying the fresh air while the pups are getting groomed. Despite being stuck at home, we’re successfully able to stave off the cabin fever!

 
When Sean gets home after work, I do have to snag his car and head over to my mom’s to help her with a few errands before she goes out of town. It’s nice to spend some time with her before she leaves, too, since she’ll be gone on actual Mother’s Day (we celebrated early with a dinner last week as well.)

SATURDAY: Mama’s Night Out

Penny’s great mood yesterday comes at a cost, apparently, as she has a bad night sleep-wise (uncharacteristic for her lately!). After fighting going to bed for a good 45 minutes in the beginning of the night, she wakes up at 4:30 AM! I thought she might be hungry since her last nursing sesh the night before was kinda early, so I feed her… but instead of returning to sleep, she’s simply wiiiiiide awake and super chatty for the next full hour. It’s both absolutely adorable and incredible annoying, hahaha.

She finally falls back asleep around 6, sleeps for 45 minutes, and then poops herself awake, lololol. Soooo I change her diaper and then she finally falls back asleep from 7 – 10 AM! Super weird, super irregular for me, it gets us started on our day pretty late. But luckily, by the time we were up and about, the car rental place is ready with a car for me, so Sean drives us over to go pick it up.

We have lunch and hang out for the rest of the day, and after putting Penny to bed, I get dolled up because I’ve got a lady date to get to!

 
I head out to Trio Grill in Merrifield to meet up with my fellow hot mamas Lara and Anne. Lara’s daughter is 15 months old, and Anne’s babe is almost 6 months, so even though we’re trying taking time to celebrate ourselves (an early Happy Mother’s Day celebration!), we’ve still got babies on the brain, hehe. We do our best to talk about things other than our littles, but the conversation is still mostly babies, bedtime routines, and breastfeeding, lol. Hey, you can only expect so much of us!

The drinks, apps, and noshes are damn good though! We share a bunch of stuff, including tuna tartare and oysters as appetizers.

 
And I get an awesome shaved asparagus salad and an Asian-inspired salmon entree.

 
Not pictured: my faaaabulous cocktail, the Blackberry Beret. Gin-based, crisp, sweet, and delicious. Yum!

SUNDAY: My First Mother’s Day

Penny sleeps better — she still wakes up earlier than normal at 6:30 AM, but I’m not complaining too much since I want to be able to soak in every minute with her today. It’s officially Mother’s Day!

She and I lounge around in bed for a bit, nursing and getting some happy, chatty cuddles in, while I hear Sean puttering around in the kitchen. We emerge to find he’s made waffles for breakfast! Both Penny and I eagerly scarf ours down — she eats almost an entire half-waffle by herself!

We have a lovely, lazy Sunday morning all together as a family before heading out to a late Mother’s Day lunch. When I open the car door, there’s a gift waiting for me in the passenger seat! A lovely card and this even lovelier figurine commemorating this very special time in our lives.

Sean takes us out for Mother’s Day lunch at Fogo de Chao, which is fabulous (aside from me accidentally knocking over and totally SHATTERING a pepper shaker to keep it out of Penny’s grasp — whoops) and puts me in a serious food coma.

As the most wonderful Mother’s Day gift, Penny behaves AMAZINGLY the entire time. She’s so happy watching all the gaucho chefs toting their meat popsicles around, and enjoys eating bits and pieces of our meal (big fan of the mashed potatoes, jury’s still out on the green beans, lol.)

All things considered, a pretty perfect way to spend Mother’s Day weekend! Well, it would have truly been perfect if I didn’t have all the stuff happen with my car, of course, but hey, you gotta take the bad to get the good, right? And Sean says I’ve still got a gift on the way, which means the good’s just gonna keep on comin’, hehe.

Okay, okay, I swear, I’ll stop gushing now. I just can’t get enough of my awesome little family! Must be that obsessive personality thing I have going on… but hey, I can think of worse things to be obsessed with. 😉

Have an awesome day!

Dear Penny: Our First Mother’s Day

Dear Penny,

Today is Mother’s Day. It’s a special day every year, of course, as we honor and celebrate the mothers in our lives. But as this one is my first as a mother myself, well, I think it goes without saying that Mother’s Day 2018 has a particular significance for you and me, kiddo.

I have had the extraordinary honor of being your mother for eight months, and simultaneously I can’t believe it’s already been so long — the time has utterly flown by! — and also that it’s only been so long, since it feels like you have been part of me for forever.

It’s a little bit strange to say that, actually, since I used to have a pretty difficult time picturing myself as a mother. I mean, I’ve always loved babies, and I love your cousins, and of course I love your fur-brothers. And your daddy and I knew we probably would want to have a (human) child someday, but when I really thought about me? As a mother? Someone’s actual, real-life mom?? I just couldn’t see it.

And then I became pregnant with you, and suddenly it didn’t really matter whether or not I could envision it: this was happening. I was going to be responsible for an entire life. I was going to have a tiny human of my very own. I was going to be a MOM. (And honestly, I sometimes still can’t truly believe that I am one.)

Now, I’m a wordy person. I mean, clearly, right? I love words. I use them multitudinously and often. I’m the kind of gal who talks aloud to herself, sings along, and doodles words instead of pictures. I already think you may have gotten this from me, what with your love of babbling and already genius-level mastery of consonants. But honestly, when I try to come up with a way to express just how purely, deeply, and completely in love with you I am… words fail me.

I’ll try the best that I can, but I honestly don’t think I possess the words needed to adequately capture the sheer breadth and depth of my love for you. Everything about you is magic. All things are more fun now that you’re here. I live to watch you experience the world anew. I delight when you experience joy; my heart breaks when you’re sick or in pain.

People tell you that you can’t truly understand love until you become a mother yourself. Sure, sure, whatever, I thought. How pompous. After all, I had so much love in so many areas of my life, it was almost offensive to suggest that I didn’t, or couldn’t, understand what love is.

But, see, I don’t think anyone tells you that to diminish the love you already feel. It’s more like, they tell you in an attempt to prepare you. Because for me, having now had you, I can  say it does pretty much hold true. I love you more than I thought it was possible to love anything.

And I mean, it’s not like I suddenly loved any of the other people in my life — your dad, your Grampy & PoPo, your Aunt Jenny or your Uncle Ben, your cousins or Harry or Daxter or the rest of our family or any of my friends or any of the other truly wonderful, special people I am blessed to know — any less. In fact, just like The Grinch, my heart simply grew three sizes the second you entered my world. And it’s a love that’s just a little bit different with you.

I love you in a visceral, instinctual, part-of-me kind of way. I mean, what else explains how much I miss you — actually miss you — when you are asleep merely a floor beneath me?

The days are long but the years are short, they tell me. Well, we haven’t quite reached our first year yet, but I already know the second part of this statement to be true. I am confounded by how big you’ve grown, how much you’ve changed from the itty bitty little thing I held in my arms that very first night.

I know you won’t always be so little. I know you won’t always want to curl up in the crook of my arm, that you won’t always look around for me when you’re unsure of something, that your face won’t always light up simply by me walking into view. That’s why I’m so grateful that I’m able to document my motherhood journey here on this very blog, to help me remember it all. Even though just eight short months have passed, I know I have already forgotten so much. I strain to recall the sound of your first fierce little cry, the way I held my own breath until I heard it.

Having you has made me a better person. You make me care more deeply about the people in my life. You help me take notice of everything happening around us — to want to celebrate the goodness, mourn the sadness, get incensed over the senselessness in the world. You make me want to take action, to make an effort, to make a change so that this world becomes better for you.

 
And, of course, you make me appreciate my own mother — your PoPo — so, so, so much. I understand her sacrifices, her commitment, and her unconditional love better and more deeply everyday. And even though I know I rarely show it as much or as well as I should, I’m so grateful for her — and thankful for the relationship you’re able to have with her, too.

 
Penelope, thank you for making me a mother. Thank you for making me your mother. Motherhood is an emotional, incredible, wonderful, unpredictable, unbelievable, beautiful ride. I love you so much.

All my love, always,

Mommy

Poor Li’l Penny

Happy (?) Monday, folks!

The end of last week turned out to be a bit of a doozy — our precious little Penny got hit with her first bout of real sickness! Sure, she’s been congested before, been a li’l less spunky than usual, that sort of thing, but this was the real deal. We’re talking fever, chills, sweats, loss of appetite, total exhaustion… the works. It was tough for all of us — toughest for her to get through, I’m sure, but it was also admittedly hard on Sean and me to watch, witness, and only be able to do so much. 🙁

It all started on Wednesday — she slept in pretty late (and, in retrospect, she had actually been sleeping a lot the day or so before as well so she was probably trying to fight something off before we noticed). But she was still her happy little self throughout most of the morning and drank like 5 ounces of milk (I normally nurse her first thing, but actually had to pump and give her a bottle that morning since she slept later than me!) so I had no reason to think anything was wrong.

 
While I worked, she spent time with our nanny and her daughter, enjoying the beautiful weather outside (and giving me serious FOMO when I was stuck inside working), but she started getting increasingly more fussy as the day went on. She’s generally a very chill, happy girl, so fussing for no reason is very out of character for her. She also didn’t seem to want to eat or drink much, and kept tugging at her ears. The ear-pulling is something that she often does when she’s tired, but combined with her lack of appetite and increasing irritability, I started to worry.

Then, around 3 PM I was coming out of a meeting when I got a text from our nanny saying that Penny felt warm, so she took her temperature and it was over 100 degrees. I called our pediatrician and described what was going on, and they asked me to come in for a last-minute appointment, so off we went!

The doctor checked her out and eliminated both the flu and an ear infection — which was good news! But on the flipside, the bad news was that she was definitely sick and there wasn’t really much he could do, either. We’d just need to “let her be sick” for a little while. Which is definitely a lot harder than it sounds when you have a sad baby who can’t communicate what’s hurting or how you can help. The doctor told us to keep an eye on her temperature, that her not wanting to eat was very normal (which of course, did not stop me from fretting about it constantly), to monitor her wet diapers (also warning us that there would probably be slightly fewer than normal), and that things might get worse before they got better, but to call back if we were concerned.

I was hoping that another night of solid rest would help her kick this thing, but alas, it seems that Wednesday afternoon really was just the beginning of her being sick.

I slept in the nursery that night so I could keep an eye on her, and her temperature actually spiked up to 102 overnight! I kept her home from daycare on Thursday and tried my best to make her feel loved, comfortable, and cared for. I gave her some Tylenol sparingly (I’m always so torn about whether doing so is good because it makes her so much more comfortable and brings her fever down, or if it inhibits her ability to fight off the illness) and we spent most of the day doing this:

 
With her also sleeping a TON (she seriously slept like 12 straight hours overnight and SIX more hours during the day!) and me trying to get her to nurse and drink milk. She pretty much refused all bottles, but did nurse for short bursts on-and-off throughout the day, so that made me feel a little better that she hopefully wasn’t getting dehydrated (and I can’t lie, I kind of loved all the snuggles… which in turn made me feel guilty for liking it since she felt so crummy, but that’s #momguilt for ya…)

Her fever finally broke Friday morning, and her mood seemed to immediately improve, although she was still feeling puny and continued being very sleepy through Saturday. I am counting my blessings that she was still sleeping so well overnight, despite being sick, since I feel like all that sleep was crucial to her recovery, and I understand that many kiddos have a hard time sleeping when they’re feeling bad. So far, Penny doesn’t seem to be one of them!

Thankfully, when she woke Sunday morning (after sleeping for a whopping THIRTEEN HOURS!!) she finally seemed like she was back to her old self: happy and hungry! Hooray!

 
So, hey, we survived our baby girl’s first bout of true illness and all came out the other side. Although, who knows, underneath all this purple hair dye I may have just sprouted a few grey hairs from the experience. And, yes, I know full-well that this absolutely will not be the last time that I have to watch my poor baby be sick, but there’s just something about that first time, y’know?

Now let’s just hope she doesn’t pass her illness right back to her dad and me (my guess is that we gave her the sickness that we got hit with a couple weeks ago ::sniff::) and that the cycle of sickness ends here. I mean, hey, a girl can dream, right?

Penny: Eight Months Old

Our little Lucky Penny is eight months old today! And I gotta say, she is certainly not seeming quite so little anymore! She weighs in at 19 lbs, 3 oz, and is 27 3/4 inches long (78th percentile for both!). Eyes are still blue and hair is still red!

Penelope continues to bring such joy and light to our lives! She’s a little lovebug, giving us pats on the back and lots of super gross and amazing open-mouth “kisses” all the time. She loves music (especially “The Happy Song” by Imogen Heap!), her new Crawl-Around-Car toy, and looking at herself in the mirror (she really must be my child.) Naps are still pretty unpredictable (girl loves her 40 minute power naps), but she sleeps aaaaall night long (usually 7 – 7) in her crib, so we’re certainly not complaining!

She’s total chatterbox, has her “Ma,” “Da,” “Ba,” “Na,” and “La” sounds down pat, and has recently discovered how fun it is to GASP super loudly without warning (making it seem like she can’t breathe and not freaking me out at all NO SIRREE). She does say “Mama” and “Dada” all the time now! Which is, of course, made slightly less special when you consider that she says “Mamamamama” to everything from Daxter to her sippy cup… but you know what, once in a while she’s GOTTA BE referring to me, so I’ll take it.

Despite the issues I’ve been having with my milk supply lately, Penny is still a very good little eater. She’s getting better and better at feeding herself little bits and pieces, and her favorite foods right now include scrambled eggs, peas, rice, and bread. (What can I say, girl loves her carbs.) And she can drink out of both a sippy cup and a straw cup now!

She also continues teething like a little fiend, but despite the drool, rosy cheeks, and chewing on ERRRRVERYTHING, she still has no teeth to show for it! I think I can feel one of her bottom teeth juuuust below the surface though, so it could make its appearance pretty much any day.

And speaking of any day now, this little mover and shaker definitely seems like she’ll be crawling at any moment as well! She spends most of her time flipping onto her tummy these days (such a difference from those days of whining through tummy time!), getting up on her knees, rocking back and forth, and scootching herself backwards (until she gets half-stuck under the couch or coffee table, that is!)

She’s always wants to be on the go — reaching for toys and silverware, wanting to see all around her, rolling and flipping and twisting. Having her be so interested in moving and grooving is amazing, but admittedly it’s already putting a crimp in our previously non-mobile style, haha. You just have to be so much more on the ball in terms of where you put her down — she 100% cannot be left on the bed or couch anymore — and I’m always on the lookout for things she can bonk into. Also, trying to change her diaper these days…

…well, it’s a challenge. And I know this is just the veeeeeery beginning, too. She’ll only get more mobile — and faster! — from here. In fact, I’m researching top-of-stair baby gates and babyproofing as we speak, haha.

Of course, I wouldn’t have it any other way. It makes me so, so happy seeing her learn and grow and develop. It’s already hard to imagine that she’s the same scrawny little lump of a babe that popped out 8 months ago!

We love you to the moon and back (and then back again), Penelope!