Monday, July 23, 2012

Nine Months!

What a whirlwind of a month! To say that you've both really taken off this month would be quite the understatement.  But I guess I say that every month, don't I?

This was 7 months old...but I had to add it today! :)

We've have our ups and downs in your ninth month, little ones.  But those ups were so amazing and there's plenty more to come! I'm having the time of my life watching you each become your own little people, your own personalities. You are, without a doubt, very unique individuals.  You've proven that even more this month, my beautiful luckies.  We've got the best of both worlds going on over  here! I'm a lucky, lucky mama!

Little Grace Face, my boo beary muffin! I almost don't want to write down all of the amazing milestones you've hit this month because it makes it all real.  While I love watching you grow and learn, it's bittersweet to see you leaving your babyhood behind so quickly and entering your toddler years before I'm ready.  We still have a little time to go, a little room to call you my baby girl.  But those days are quickly fading as I watch you take your first cruising steps and even stand all by yourself.  This, my love, this is the definition of bittersweet.

I am amazed by you, little lady.  Not only are you well ahead of the curve on your motor skills, but you're also quite the talker and getting more and more social every day.  You took your first crawling "steps" less than a month ago and yet today, you actually stood for the first time without holding onto anything.  It was only for a few seconds, and you promptly fell right onto your tushy and crawled along your merry way, but it was a big sign of what's to come.  And it's coming at full speed!

You started crawling with trepedation.  You slowly took those "steps", wobbling quite a bit and unsure of where to place your knees or which leg should move next.  Within days you were gaining confidence and crawling from one side of your play area to the other without much thought.  Just a couple of days ago, you crawled all the way from the far side of your daycare room straight to the door in no time when you saw Daddy and I had arrived to pick you up. It was the very best way to end my work day, little face!

You started pulling up on your "baby jail" gate after about a week of confident crawling.  As long as you had something to really grip onto, you could pull yourself into a stand and then sit yourself back down.

We had a staycation with the entire family a couple of weeks ago and you spent some good time working on crawling to the couch and trying to pull yourself up (the carpet was a big help in that hotel don't love crawling on our tile floor- sorry baby!).  By the end of the weekend you had figured it out and now there's no stopping you, you'll pull up on anything.  You've become more and more confident in moving your feet in a walking motion now, so if I hold your hands you will "walk" with me across the room.  You'll cruise around toys once you pull up and definitely on the furniture if we let you (Mommy is pretty paranoid about that tile...but we just bought a big rug to help!).  Today, after pulling up onto your Daddy as he laid with you in the playroom, you just let go and stood next to him for a few seconds.  You wobbled a bit with your arms up and out to the sides, looking rather stunned at this new situation you'd gotten yourself into.  It was pretty amazing to watch, Gracie Mae!

Like I said, it's not just the motor skills. Your talking has really picked up and you've definitely attached "Mama" to me, now.  If you fall down, you will immediately start crying for "Mama".  And you'll babble "ma ma ma ma" when I walk into the room.  You like to say "Mom" sometimes, too!

You started saying "Da da" around Daddy a little bit again just a couple of days ago- you had stopped saying it in the middle of the month and I think Daddy was a little bummed.  ;) You also seem to say "ba ba" when you want your binky or your bottle.  I can't wait until you can communicate more with us, it's so awesome to know more about what you want.  I've started doing a couple of signs with you and your brother, so hopefully you'll pick up on that soon, too!

You are in the midst of another growth spurt right now, although I think you're at the tail end of it.  You were pretty steadily eating 5oz per bottle, five times per day (with a couple extra ounces at night sometimes).  But the last week or so you've been eating 7oz per bottle pretty regularly.  You are also loving your purees now and we're starting to introduce more chunks! You'll scarf down a full jar of pretty much anything now, including peas and green beans which is definitely new! You didn't really like puffs at first but you're starting to catch on now.  Most of them end up in your high chair seat or on the floor, but your pincher grasp is really getting better every day. It's just getting it into you mouth (and then keeping it there) that's the hard part. You have trouble with banana because it's so slippery and you don't really love avocado still.  I've given you a few cheerios that went over much like the puffs, but I've also broken off a couple pieces of goldfish (the organic bunny kind) and you seem to like that the best. You still do this fake cough thing and spit out a lot of the chunks that we try to feed you.  It's not a real gag, but more of a melodramatic disgust... I'd say you're definitely your Mommy's daughter...

You're not in mostly 9 month clothes because I bought a lot of cute outfits that I wanted you to wear.  I still throw you in a couple of 3 month pants and they fit around the waist just fine. We like high waters around here, so that's no big deal. ;) The 6 month sleepers don't fit you though, you're too long. But when you try to crawl around in your 9 month sleepers, your little legs get caught up in the big leg holes and you trip all over yourself.  I promise I try not to laugh, baby girl!

You had an ear infection at the beginning of the month, so you had to be on antibiotics for ten days.  You seemed to do fine on them and when we took you back into make sure the infection was gone, you were good to go.  You spiked a low fever a couple of times a few weeks ago and couldn't go to daycare, but about three hours later you were completely fine both times and didn't have one fever after that. You've also had a cough most of the month, but it doesn't seem to bother you much, just a bit of an irritant. So, needless to say, you're a pretty easy baby when it comes to health stuff. And believe me, your brother is not so much that way, so thank you for giving us a little break on that side of things my love! :)

Your sleep has been sort of sporadic this month compared to previous months.  I think a lot of your wake-ups are due to all of the new skills you're picking up. We find you sitting up in the corner of your crib all the time, likely pretty confused about how you got there. You definitely wake up when you lose your binky, still.  I hate to say that we'll probably need to wean you off of that soon if the wake-ups continue.  Hopefully you'll figure out how to find it and get it back in your mouth soon, though!

You've started to show a little bit more of your fiesty side as of late, and you're learning how to "play games" with Mommy and Daddy. You love to throw things and watch us pick them up, like your sippy cup or your binky. You also love to do whatever it is that I'm telling you "No!" about, like grabbing your brother's helmet and yanking on it.  Oh we've got our work cut out for us with you, little Miss! :)

Ladybug, my little princess pie, I'm completely obsessed with you and loving every minute of your rapidly evolving personality! You've become quite the mama's girl recently and you cry for me all the time.  I don't want you to be sad, but I'd be lying if I didn't say that I love that you need me.  I need you too, love, trust me.  You're so happy and you have the most amazing scrunchy nose smile that's around all the time nowadays! You need a lot of attention right now because of your separation anxiety, but if we give it to you, you'll smile for hours!  I can't get enough of your snorty giggle and I love that you're so curious.  You're such a ball of fun, Grace Irene.  I love you, Boo Bear!

Mr. Caleb, my handsome bubs! This month hasn't been the easiest for you.  And watching you go through what you've gone through has been so incredibly difficult for me.  You are my heart, and it hurts me so much to watch you cry in pain or look to me for help when I can't give it to you.  At the same time, I am completely overwhelmed with pride and unimaginable joy when you learn a new skill or when your smile fills the room and lights up everyone's lives.  You, my son, are an absolute gem.

You started off the month with a really high fever and then some weird spasms that were concerning to the doctor.  We were sent to the ER to make sure you were ok, but they sent us home thinking the spasms weren't much of anything.  Of course, you had to get a chest x-ray because of your horrific cough and you also had to undergo some pokes for a blood draw and an IV.  You didn't like that one bit, I hated hearing you scream. I held you the whole time, trying to calm you down, but nothing worked. You just had to endure did I.

About a week later, you spiked another random and very high fever in the middle of the night.  I picked you up after I took your temp in your crib and about three minutes later, you had a full seizure in my arms.  It was a terrifying moment in my life that I wish I could forget.  You were leaning back and to the right, the right side of your body twitching and spasming, and it lasted for about a minute or so.  I called the on call pediatrician immediately as I got dressed to take you to the hospital.  They kept you there for four days and you had to undergo an unimaginable amount of tests.  Not only did your white blood cell count come back extremely high (25,000), requiring a spinal tap, but the seizure being focal to the right side of your body required an MRI and an EEG.  You had to go under anesthesia which was so nerve racking for me.  I waited in the waiting room, watching a random portion of "A Bu.g's Li.fe" on this tiny tv in the corner of the room, completely zoned out thinking of anything and everything that could go wrong.  I was terrified and I never want to go through that again.  I never want you to go through any of that again, my little man.

Unfortunately, they discovered that you had a blood infection and had to go on IV antibiotics. They also found a couple of possible abnormalities on your brain MRI that we will be looking into further.  I so hope that we find that all is well. You deserve to be done with all of this! After three days in the hospital you were given a clean bill of health- your fever was completely gone and the blood culture was negative.  We stayed an extra day for the final meeting with the pediatric neurologist to clear us to go.  He met you and, of course, thought you were fabulous. He was concerned about some of your delays and definitely recommended physical and occupational therapy.  We had also done a swallow study earlier during your admission and were told that you would need feeding therapy, as well.  We will be starting all of your therapies this month, so I'm excited to see how much you'll grow when we know how to help you in the best ways possible!

With all of that said, you've really shown some awesome development in the last couple of weeks since you got home from the hospital.  All of us were pretty tired from sleeping in an uncomfortable place and spending a lot of time crying (yes, I cried quite a bit, too, little man), but after a few days we all perked up and seemed ready to go! You started using your legs to stand up again after not wanting to sit or stand while you were sick.  You also started trying to push up a little bit while on your tummy!

I wish I could say that all has been back to normal since that scary time, but the day after you finished your antibiotics, exactly ten days after the seizure, you spiked another 103 degree fever which just isn't a great sign. Our doctor thought we might have missed something or that the blood infection hadn't fully cleared, so it was back to the ER.  You had to get more blood drawn, which is so hard with you because of your stellar baby fat rolls.  They can't ever find a vein and when they do, they can't seem to thread the line.  You had to be stuck 8 times during your previous hospital visit so I was terrified of what was to come. Luckily we had a great nurse this time and he got your vein the first try! Your white blood cell count came back high again, but not as high (18,000) so they had to give you two shots of antibiotics in your legs (which is just awful, you screamed for a good 15 minutes) before sending us home.  A couple days later we got the results that your blood culture was negative, so no blood infection! Yay! However, this meant that you had contracted another virus in the time that you were back in daycare, only a few days.  It was this that pushed our doctor to recommend that we pull you from daycare.  Like I said, it's been a rough month for you buddy.  But believe me, we're doing everything we can!!!

Since that last ER visit, you've been doing so much better! It's only been a week or so, but you've already started clapping toys together, a new skill, and now you're even rolling from front to back, which you hadn't done in over two months! You can fully sit up now, without any support (although we need to leave a pillow behind you because you get a little wobbly and fall backwards quite a bit still).  You're also starting to push yourself up and reach to the side, helping to turn yourself toward toys. These are the first big steps toward mobility, so I'm so excited that you're on your way big man!

In all of this, you lost a bit of your appetite and actually lost a little weight for a while.  You're back up to over 23lbs, so there's nothing small about you still.  You're wearing 12 month stuff most of the time but sometimes the 18 month clothes fit your belly a bit better.  You've got quite the tummy and I hate to see it squished into some tight shorts! Ouch!  You've recently started picking back up the eating after your little hiatus and you're finally back to eating some purees again. You straight up refused them for a while there.  You're eating about 7 oz per bottle, five times per day.  You'll also finish a full jar and usually another half whenever we give you solids, which is usually twice a day right now. We just recently got to try out some puffs for you for the first time because you started sitting up on your own.  You crunch them so cutely with your front teeth, but usually end up storing them in your cheeks until you spit them out a couple minutes later.  We've tried chunks of avocado but you weren't having that at all.  Oh, and we've discovered that you're very sensitive to bananas and we can't give you any or else your poor little tummy will pay with at least a couple of days of constipation. Ugh!  Otherwise, you eat just about anything as long as we mix some rice cereal in.  You seem to have a preference for that texture, but not always.

I think some of the hiatus from eating had to do with your marathon teething.  You now officially have six teeth fully broken through, three on the top and three on the bottom. You have one more that's almost cut through on the top and one more on the bottom that is swollen and working it's way in.   You've been teething for over a month now straight- it's just awful sometimes. Luckily you deal with it pretty well and just drool like a mad man, but sometimes it just overtakes you and you get very cranky, particularly in the middle of the night. But those teeth sure are cute!

Of course, with sickness or teething comes the sleeping woes and we've had no shortage of that around here. You haven't slept through the night more than once in the past month or so, and on your good nights you wake up at around 5am to be fed.  You've been crying for long periods of time at night when pretty much nothing will help you but being in our bed or me rocking you to sleep while singing our lullaby.  That lullaby got us through some long days and nights in the hospital and it's my go-to for rought times with you. You really love it and it calms you down most of the time, unless you're really angry.  I'm so hoping that we can get back to sleeping soon, but in the meantime, I don't mind singing to you my love!  That smile of yours pretty much makes anything worth it...I'll do whatever I can to get that smile back.

I can't write about this month without mentioning the beign of both of our existences...your helmet. You hate that thing and I think I hate it almost as much.  It comes down over your beautiful eyes and makes it hard for you to make eye contact, a skill we've been noticing isn't a strength of yours anyway.  They've remade the helmet once already and done some serious re-sculpting several times to try and fix it, but nothing is working.  They encourage us that it will fit better in time, once your head grows into it a little bit differently, but I'm skeptical. If it stays like this for much longer, I'm pulling the plug on the helmet and we'll grow to love your little flat spot! :)

Caleb, I wish I could say that we've had all good times this month, but, like life, we've experienced quite a few ups and downs.  But with all challenges comes a true silver lining and I'm seeing more and more of your strength and perserverance every day, and I'm appreciating your uniqueness and your special light in an all new way.  We've spent some long days cuddling, just you and I and I feel so much more confident in my ability to support you and comfort you.  We're learning each other in an amazing way, and I hope you know that I'll always be here to cheer you on, or just be that shoulder to lean on, no matter what ups or downs come your way.  I love you, buddy, and I'm having so much fun watching you grow and take on this world in your own amazing way!

Babies, my sweet Luckies, I am completely enamored by your fun spirits and your incredible vibrance. You both have such strong personalities unfolding before our eyes and your precious cuddles still steal my breath.  I can't wait for what's around the next corner, but I will never forget the beautiful memories we've created together.  You've both stolen my heart, and I don't ever want it back.  I love you!