Another day, another dance

The child. He does this. Every day.

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Bella has stopped sleeping. She'll cat nap during the day and usually pass out around 9:30 pm. But for the past few days, she's played possum at bedtime only to start babbling about 5 minutes after we get back down the stairs.

We always wait another 10 minutes in case she puts herself to back to sleep, but it never happens. Inevitably, one of us goes back for her and then rocks her to sleep. During the rocking, we try to keep her turned into our chests so that she has no stimulus.

But she'll twist and squirm until she can see our faces. Then she'll lift her head and smile or giggle. This happens at least 4 times before we can get her to sleep. As she gets closer to sleep, the smiles and giggles become bigger and deeper - as if desperation is setting in.

Night night baby.

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I just finished reading Khaled Hosseini's A Thousand Splendid Suns. It was an amazing book and really helped me to connect personally to the devestation the Afghan people have suffered through for the past century (including what our country brought down on them).

So, I suppose it was timely to read Bitch PhD's post today. Read it for yourself - these are things we cannot afford to ignore, either as women or as citizens of this planet.

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John 3:16

Javi's getting a little help from the Holy Trinity thanks to his first day at church yesterday. He wants to join Awanas and the first step is memorizing John 3:16. He's been reading it to me a lot over the past 24 hours, so I thought I'd share the love. I need to mention that he reads with lots of inflection. LOTS. Enjoy.

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Javi's 1st Day of 1st Grade

Javi started first grade the way he should: full of himself, proud of his hair and his shoes, and absolutely mortified that I would dare walk him all the way to his room. Instead, he made me stop outside his pod and he walked into his room without even looking back to wave at me and Bella.

On the way into school, he reached for my hand, squeezed it and said "Mom, I'm just too excited about this." That was the last touching moment we got because he was off like a rocket when we got close enough to the school that he could see people he knows. I felt like I was escorting a teenager.

When he got home today, he let me know that 1st grade is the BEST GRADE EVER and that his class was the BEST CLASS EVER and that he was the BEST STUDENT even though he did get in trouble for talking to Brendan and Jasmine ... and dancing Girl Style on the playground.

Guess we'll have to work on that.

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Bella's First Cookie

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Javi Pledges

He walks around the house saying the BNGC one as fast as he can. The kid's got a great memory.

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Girl Style

Billy and I have been watching this video and it never fails to crack us up!

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Milestone Alert! (well, sort of)

Bella is quickly becoming a big girl. She hung out in her exersaucer for the first time last night and Daddy snapped a picture.

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Jordan Lake

We took the Charger out for its maiden excursion to Jordan Lake today. It wasn't easy. First problem: The trailer tire went flat sometime between when we pulled it home and this morning. Billy tried to Fix-A-Flat it, but when we tried to head out the first time, he looked back and saw the tire flapping around the rim. Obviously we had to turn back. An hour and new tire later, we finally got on the road.

Getting to Jordan was no problem, but somehow the Charger's previous owners failed to mention this pesky thing called a boat plug that means the difference between uncomplicated boating and sinking to the lake floor. Luckily we figured that out before anything horrible could happen.

The kids adored the boat, though. We took Camden with us. He and Javi spent their time laying at the bow, letting the wind whip them to pieces. Camden's not as comfortable with water as Javi is, so it took him a while to warm up, but by the end of the day, he was splashing around with Javi and Darrian like he's been doing it forever.

All three boys played perfectly together - there was no fighting, no name calling or jealousy. We couldn't have asked for better. Javi and Camden played so hard, they passed out like dominoes in the car and came right in, showered and tucked themselves into bed.

The day was fun but the best part happened at dinner. I asked Camden if he wanted seconds of anything. His answer: I want more meat. However, I realized he hadn't eaten his corn, bread or watermelon, so I told him to finish that first. 30 minutes later, I checked with him again - he had no intention of touching anything else but meat. So I gave him another pork chop. He finished that and said, "Man, I wish I had a steak!" Score one for the men - you know they love a meat eater!

Bella is a big fan of the boat - or at least, of sleeping on the boat. She remained smiley and happy throughout the day, despite the heat and sun. She got a quick bath and went down for the night in her CRIB. Yes, people, she's officially out of the bassinet. Of course, she made the decision, not us. When you can't stay asleep for hitting the sides of your bed, it's time to move up. She's slowly becoming a Big Girl.

Hope you had a great Saturday too!

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New member of the family

So! After traveling to the far reaches of Greater Raleigh twice in one week, we finally have our brand spankin' new (to us, anyway) deck boat out in the driveway.

I commend Billy for getting it home last night because a) the boat is bigger than the Jeep, b) we didn't leave the seller's house until getting-dark-time and c) me and the kids fell asleep somewhere on US 1 S in Raleigh. So not only did he have to navigate a big a$$ boat in the dark, he did to a rousing chorus of snores and sighs.

Of course, I was exhausted from staying alert while out in deliverance country so I get a pass for my co-pilot faux pas.

I'll report back after our first outing, which won't be until this weekend. We're waiting on the delivery of our new infant life jacket before we dare take the baby out. In the meantime, here's a smiley picture of Bella Drool Face - she just woke up from a nap, so she's in a great mood!

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Whachoo Eatin' Now?!

Bella has spent the past month sqawking at us when she sees us putting tasty things into our mouths or smacking her lips when she smells food. I've been trying to put off giving her solids until she's six months old, but there's someone in this house who can't tell her no. And it's not Javi.

So, we wound up with a box of rice cereal the other day. That pretty much did in my embargo on Things That Aren't Formula and I stopped by the Dollar Tree to pick up a rubber spoon so Bella Wayne can finally have a bite of something.

Let me tell you - it was none too soon. That baby knew exactly what to do with a spoon and got mad at me if I didn't shovel the cereal into her mouth fast enough. Her Ricky Bella hands kept getting in the way so I finally just handed her the spoon - and she promptly showed it who's boss.

We gave her another little meal this evening before her last bottle so Grandma could watch and exclaim over little Bella. I snuck in a little dab of peaches and Bella snapped up and gave me a "WTF?!!" look. So, we're sticking with cereal only for a while. And she's more than okay with that.

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Whachoo bin eatin' gurl?

My child weighed in at a whopping 16 POUNDS this morning!

Gone are the days when we had to worry over single ounce she ate and every ounce she gained. I can barely remember the stress of having no milk to feed her, of having to cart her to the pediatrician every 3 days for a weigh in.

Now the child is a butterball with eyes who rocks herself in big circles chasing that pesky pacifier.

16 POUNDS PEOPLE! You try carrying that around. No wonder my arms have definition.

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Because somedays I just can't get enough

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Squirmy McSquirms-a-lot

My child is a mover and a shaker - especially when we put her in the bassinet for the night. I put her in the middle of it width-wise and at the bottom of it length-wise knowing that she'll creep around in her sleep.

But no matter how I adjust her, she winds up crammed into the top of it, usually sideways. I can move her back down 15 times in a night and still wake up with her face pushed into one side, her feet pushed into the other.

Here's an example:

But it doesn't end there. While Bella hates tummy time, she loves to move from side to side from her back. Today her head was so far back there was probably only half a foot to her butt. Her legs and arms were all cocked up - but do you think she actually rolled all the way over? NOPE.

I have an appointment today to make sure IUD#2 is staying put (you know, bc IUD#1 decided it wanted to come out and play). Let's keep our fingers crossed. If this doesn't work, I'm going for the Implanon and they have to cut you to get that one in.

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Billy often comes to this random conclusions about Bella without doing any research or consultation with experts. I, on the other hand, research each move thoroughly, discuss it with my iVillage board and the other moms in my life, wait another week and ask her ped or a nurse.

So why is it that his arbitrary decisions more often pan out? For example, I put Bella on soy formula when we stopped breastfeeding. The soy made it hard for her to poo, so she'd have to draw her hands into fists and grunt loudly to do her business. Billy was convinced she'd be okay with regular formula but I held out. Earlier this month, we ran out of soy but had some regular samples on hand so we tried them. Bella was a whole new girl and Billy acted like he had solved world hunger.

Fast forward to today. I tried to move Bella up to the fast flow nipple (Playtex drop-ins system) about a month ago and she had a really hard time with it. She sucked in a lot of air and couldn't seem to swallow fast enough, so milk constantly ran out of her mouth. Billy has been convinced that she's ready - probably because it takes up to 40 minutes to feed her with the slow flow nipple.

I decided to try it today because she was in a good mood and had just had a long nap so I knew she wasn't crazy hungry. Lo and behold - she sucked that bottle down in about 15 minutes with no mishaps. No gasping, no gulping, no mess. She burped twice in the middle and twice at the end and was done. There wasn't even any spit up afterwards (which started happening when we switched to the regular formula).

But I don't want to tell Billy. He already thinks he needs to write his own book about how to raise the perfect baby. I don't think I'm ready to admit that all the advice in the world didn't beat out his random, just-because decision!

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Letter to Bella, month four

Dear Bella,

You’re sleeping soundly beside me right now, your long legs cocked up on a pillow, your mouth sucking on a phantom pacifier. Sometimes I just look at you and it shocks me what a big girl you are. Strangers assume you are as old as six months and are always so surprised to hear that you’re only just now hitting the four-month mark.

And hit it you have. Your squishy body has accomplished so much! When I lay you on your belly, you pop right up on those arms with a huge smile. I was beginning to worry because, while you are so strong, you’ve been having a hard time developing the coordination to roll over. Mainly that pesky elbow gets in your way.

So, to help you along, I’ll often tuck your elbow and over onto your back you go! Once you get there, your eyes grow big and you look at me as if to say, “What happened?” But then you giggle and enjoy finally getting off that tummy. You’re so squirmy on either your back or belly that no one expects you to remain in the same place for long.

I think the cutest part of you getting onto your back is that you can grab hold of your toes. Not all of them – just the big toe. You like to the index finger of one hand around it and then stick the index finger of the other hand in your mouth. In fact, anyone who has spent much time around you in the last few weeks knows this already because it’s your favorite position to be in.

Your feet aren’t the only objects you’ve learned to grab hold of. Anything that gets too near your hands will be caught and immediately brought toward your mouth. Unfortunately that coordination thing gets in your way again, so not much actually winds up in your mouth. It doesn’t matter that much until the pacifier gets involved. You’ll stick it into your eye over and over while straining to get it into your mouth. My hair is also up for grabs and I’m constantly fishing it out of your grubby little paws.

Your daddy and I try to convince you to leave things already in your mouth alone, but for some reason you don’t listen. Therefore, even when the pacifier is solidly in place, it doesn’t stay that way for long because you’ve grabbed it and are waving it in the air. You get so frustrated when you can’t pop it back in, but those Ricky Bella hands are your worst enemy.

You’re hitting your four-month milestones with a passion, especially when it comes to food. We haven’t given into your obvious desire for solids, but I have a feeling you’ll change our minds soon enough. As it is, you begin drooling and smacking your lips when you smell food or if someone has the gall to eat in front of you. I was snacking on grapes the other day and you started squawking at me with the most serious face. I had to put the grapes out of your line of vision to calm you down. I’m going to do my best to hold out for five months to offer you cereal or baby food, but you’re persistent so we’ll see.

We took you to the beach for your very first time this past weekend. I think you enjoyed the sound of the ocean, but the rest of the beach was too much for you. I think I’ve only seen you cry-cry once or twice, but the third time came when I tried to keep you out on the beach. You weren’t having it so we spent the rest of our weekend by the pool while Javi and Dad braved the waves.

But, all in all, I think what I love the most about this stage of your development is the way you laugh from your belly. All I have to do is lift you over my head, copy a sound you’ve made or simply make a funny face and you dissolve into giggles finished off with the most amazing belly laugh. You’re also learning to enjoy raspberries and will giggle uncontrollably when I blow them on your belly. No one can hear your laugh without laughing right back at you.

You’re shooting into toddlerhood at a remarkable pace despite our best efforts to keep you our baby. Your thick head of black newborn hair is slowly falling out to be replaced with reddish brown like mine. You’re busting out of 0-3 month clothes and you’ve dropped your last feeding of the night – often going 12 hours without a bottle.

When you wake up in the morning, I hear you cooing and babbling to yourself in the bassinet. But, that won’t last for much longer either because you like to sleep spread eagle. When your arms or legs hit the side of the bassinet, you grunt uncomfortably. I try to keep you warm and cozy by putting a blanket over you but you jerk your legs up as if it’s hot acid I’ve just poured on you.

You are no longer content to lay back and ignore the world around you. Instead, you crane your head when you hear any noise and have to keep your eyes on other kids if they come into your line of vision. You’re most engrossed in other babies and like to stare and smile at them — even if they don’t acknowledge you at all. Conversely, you seem a little disinterested in toddlers and older kids — unless they’re related to you because you could watch Javi, Matt or Ethan for hours.

One thing hasn’t changed. You still can’t fall asleep with anyone but me. Sometimes I get frustrated with your inability to get settled with anyone else, but then I see how your body relaxes once you’re in my arms and how I am so in tuned to you and my heart swells up.

Often if you’re napping near me, you’ll wake and seem worried, but then you’ll scan the room, see me and settle back into sleep. I thank Javier for my confidence and ability to relax as your mother. I didn’t realize until you came along just how nervous I was about getting it “right” when he was a baby — but there is no getting it right. There’s only loving your baby and trusting that love to see you through.

I thank you for giving me the opportunity to enjoy Mommyhood. This roller coaster ride has been one part frustration, one part fear, and a million parts worth it.

Love, Mama

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