Baby

Baby Girl is 6 months

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Made it to the half year mark! Can’t believe it! A year ago I had only just announced that I was pregnant and had just posted my first weekly pregnancy update!

Our little girl is getting so big! Right now, she’s fast asleep taking her first nap of the day in our bed. She strongly prefers to have me breastfeed her lying down. Not sure why. But she gets all fidgety when I lay her down in my lap. So I lie down and she’ll snuggle up close to my body and she falls asleep almost right away.

Right now our bed consists of two mattresses pushed together right on the floor. And they fit neatly into a small corner of the room, so it naturally becomes the perfect playpen and napping place for a baby that is getting more mobile every day. She hasn’t quite figured out crawling yet, but we think it’s getting close. So far her favorite ways of getting from A to B is rolling over, rotating by pushing herself to the sides and rolling over on her back and pushing herself “upward” with her legs. I can’t blame her for getting a little frustrated with herself.

She gets bananas and sweet potatoes every day now. Not quite sure if she likes anything yet, since she makes the same scrunched up facial expression each time, but she swallows and wants more, which I consider a good sign.

The latest tricks include making “mamamama”-sounds – not sure that they’re actually due to me trying to teach her to say “mama” though. Just a few days ago we discovered that she has begun to reach for us. We enjoyed this phenomenon for a few minutes yesterday passing her back and forth and getting excited every time she raised her little chubby arms and leaned forward. Such a tiny little gesture, yet so rewarding! Also, one of the best games we’ve played yet is touching our foreheads to one another’s. Silly, but it’s a game that she understands just as well as we do.  I’ll lean my head close to hers and she’ll giggle and come the last few centimeters and knock her forehead on mine. Seriously, best game ever! I’ll gladly play it with her till the day I die!

She is learning to let go of most of her fears! She almost never cries in the car anymore and as soon as we introduced the rubber duck to bath time she has completely abandoned any need to cling to the sides of the tub and she’ll sit in there for as long as we want – as long as that duck can be in her chubby hands squished into her mouth.

To my surprise, I almost feel more protective of her now than ever. I can’t quite figure out why. Whether it’s the rewarding moments of seeing her appreciation for my love for her or simply the element of time, I don’t know. But someway I feel much more like a real mom these days.

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Baby girl is 5 months!

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5 months. Is that all? and already?

She’s lying on her belly here on the couch next to me, staring me down. I guess she’s waiting for me to turn around and make a funny sound or something. At least right now she is. In a minuteshe’ll have rolled back on her back. Then she’ll get sad that her toys are so far away and she’ll crunch up and try to roll back to her tummy. And eventually she will and she’ll get that surprised look on her face, like she still can’t believe she can do that.

We just gave her an evening bath before bed time. She still really doesn’t like the water, but we’re trying our best to go slow and take our time to play with her and splash around. We’re also still working on car rides. Really hope she gets over that one soon.

Those are however just about the only things besides being hungry that she cries about. She’s the happiest little baby most of the time and has learned that it doesn’t take more than a few calls to get her parents’ attention if she needs something. Which is niiice! On the other hand, now she’ll call us for just about anything. I can’t reach my toy! I want more milk! Keep talking to me!

She’s becoming her own little person more than ever. She loves talking and being social. She doesn’t really seem to mind being with people she doesn’t know either. She has started giving us “kisses” (snarling and attacking our faces if we get too close). She has begun to laugh a little too. Sometimes if she’s in the right mood and we’re being REALLY funny she’ll scrunch up her face as if she’s about to burst with happiness, only she doesn’t quite know how to express it. Eventually a tiny squeak or even a giggle will escape. She wants to touch everything, especially faces. Whenever we carry her around now she’ll keep one hand on our faces or grab my hair as if to make sure we’re still there.

I like to think she’s learning to bond in other ways than through nursing now. I love watching her touch and examine Marcus’ face. I’m glad that he gets to feel a lot closer to her now that she’s responding more to him. As social as she can be in crowds, we can tell a huge difference when we come home and it’s just the three of us again. She clearly shows how comfortable she is by either going straight to sleep or lighting up and starting the party. It’s the best thing ever to feel that we are truly a little family and that she loves being with us as much as we love being with her.

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Baby girl is 4 months!

PicMonkey Collage (2) It sounds terrible but I’m just going to go ahead and say it anyway…

Having a newborn and having a 3 month old is night and day. It is not until the last few weeks that parenting has really become FUN! It’s not until then that I’ve started to realize that having children truly is the greatest joy in life. I honestly go to bed every night as excited as a little child to wake up next morning and play with my baby!

Yes! She can play now! She has a couple of toys that usually follow her around the house. So far we have had to hand them to her but last night she leaned over and picked one up herself. She hasn’t quite figured out yet that the noises comes when she shakes them but she’ll hold them close and suck as hard on them as only a baby can.

Her favorite toy however seems to be her own voice. She loves talking to us. If we lean down and give her a long kiss on the cheek she’ll start purring in long ‘aaaaah’s. She’ll stop in the middle of a meal to give me a smile and share a few remarks. She’ll stare at us in deep fascination when we make new sounds that she doesn’t know how to do yet. She’ll even have long conversations with herself if she wakes up from a nap or is left alone during dinner. I love her sweet little voice! I completely fell in love with it just a few hours after she was born (when she’d stopped crying), and her high-pitched squeals are just hilarious!

We’re still waiting for that first roll-over! So far she doesn’t seem very ambitious. In fact I’m not sure it has even occurred to her that that might be fun. I guess she doesn’t see her roomies roll around much… maybe that would help. She will however try as hard as her tiny abs can to sit up. 8 times out of 10 when she cries it’s because she wants to sit up, stand up, be picked up, get a new view or do something else.

Actually she doesn’t cry very much at all these days. It’s wonderful to have a somewhat more diplomatic baby. If she’s bored or in a bad mood she can most often be persuaded to enjoy a pleasant conversation, game or meal.

I am starting to miss the tininess of when she was a newborn (she’s growing soooo fast!) but I have to admit that this has been my favorite age so far!

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This facial expression completely melts my heart!

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It’s just a big scary needle, Mommy

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For the last few days I’ve been thinking about the phrase, “I’m sorry but do you have children” that is so often used on TV by concerned parents. It has always confused me a little. It didn’t seem very powerful, and surely anyone whether parents or not can relate to and have feelings for small children. Nevertheless, the people on TV always seemed to instantly understand that that phrase ended the argument.

It fascinates me how quickly you can get feelings like that for someone. It hit me the first time when I was dating Marcus, and even more so after we got married, that I had developed such deep feelings for a person that I hadn’t known existed a year earlier. I realized that learning to love someone truly comes through hard work and effort. Those feelings had come from actively spending time together, trying to see one another from our best sides, living together, learning to overlook faults and going through difficulties and solving problems together.

Again this September I experienced this. I gave birth to a tiny little baby who cried a lot, kept me awake at night and gave me a lot of nasty diapers to change. But still I found that I loved her so much. The difference was that I had already gone through a lot of the hard work with her – nine hard months of pregnancy, not to mention labor itself.

Since then every day has brought more hard work and difficulties, only teaching me to love her more and more.

Today we took Baby to the doctor to have two shots. And I got to feel just how much I loved her! She had had one shot before – the day she was born – but back then I mainly remember being exhausted and Baby didn’t seem to mind much. Today was slightly different.

The nurse was very very nice and made us all feel very comfortable. I undressed Baby, who got really happy and excited – loves being naked! When I was done, the nurse asked me, “Are you the one who will be holding her?”. I said that I was, but her question suddenly made me realize that the situation might be about to get unpleasant. She informed us that she was going to give Baby two shots and that she would do the one that stung the most last. We took our positions. I started rubbing Baby’s tummy, Marcus started talking to her and stroking her face, and the nurse raised the needle and pierced my baby’s skin. For a few seconds there was silence and Baby didn’t even blink. Then she closed her eyes, took the deepest breath that seemed to last hours and let out the loudest scream she could muster.

It was the saddest sound I had ever heard. And there was nothing I could do. Marcus and I both burst out, “It’s okay, Baby” “You’re alright”, “It’s almost over”. I looked up just in time to see the second needle disappear into my baby’s leg. This time the reaction was instant. Baby jumped a foot into the air and tears rolled down her cheeks as she screamed, if possible, even louder. It hurt my very soul. All of my instincts were yelling at me to pull out a boob and pull her close and never let go. Marcus seemed to be feeling the same cause he snatched her up as soon as the nurse had slapped on the band-aids.

A couple of minutes later the nurse held open the door for our traumatized little family.

The nurse said the next vaccinations are in two months. I was seriously considering not showing up. That I’d rather take my chances with measles and polio than go through that again.

(I need to go change my nursing pads)

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Baby girl is 3 months!

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It is safe to say that every month of Baby’s life has been more fun than the previous one. This last month has easily been the most eventful so far.

This was the month when she slept through the night for the first time! It happened out of the blue a couple of weeks ago. It only worked after we seriously started trying to put her to sleep in her own bed. I wasn’t too excited about this – because of mommy feelings – but I realized it was the safer way. So I started to feed her more in the evening and kept her sleeping in my lap for about an hour till she was deeply asleep enough that we could quietly walk her to the bedroom and put her down. This took some nights to get right. Many times we’d put her down and had to pick her back up an hour later cause she woke up. But then one night I woke up and it was 5.30 and I knew we had arrived. Our sleepless days were over.

So, the biggest news for this month is that she is starting to show some routines!

Also, she has found her hands and sucks away on them whenever she is bored. Oh what a blessing that she can entertain herself for a few minutes like that now! So excited for her to start grabbing and reaching for stuff too!

She still really likes listening to Marcus playing the guitar. That is his number one way to distract and cheer her up when I’m gone. She goes completely quiet and just stares at him in fascination. We’re hoping that’s a sign!

I hadn’t really thought about it before but she really seems to like having her diaper changed. I guess I can’t blame her.

The biggest challenge this month has been a few fussy days last week. She was just really grumpy and not even the boob could not make her stop complaining. She has also started drooling a lot so we’re guessing teething?

Another challenge is bath time. Since she seems ready we thought we’d try to especially focus on establishing a bedtime routine that includes bath time. So far Baby has not been a big fan of this particular activity. So yesterday we tried doing it a little differently. Instead of laying her down in the water at once we tried just dipping her feet at first and just letting her tap the surface a bit. We made sure to keep talking to her as we slowly sat her down and began to bathe her. It went pretty painlessly!

Our favorite time of day is still early morning when we all lie awake in bed and talk and play. Those moments really make me extra thankful for my little family.

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Baby, what are you looking at?

Baby and I had a few hours to ourselves tonight. Since she was happy I thought why not put on Pride and Prejudice and have our first mother-daughter movie night. It was glorious for the first half hour but then she fell asleep and so I’m seizing this rare opportunity of being alone on a quiet evening to write a blog post.

It’s incredible how enchanting the feeling is to sit here calmly, the only sounds being the ticking of the clock on the wall and my baby’s soft snores in my lap. That’s where she fell asleep during her third dinner with drop of milk stopped in its tracks on her bulging cheek. She has grown about 10cm in the last two months since she was born. I can’t believe how much she’s changed already.

Sometimes I find it hard to believe that she is just a newborn child with only two months of experience. I’ve never had an actual conversation with her and still I feel like I know her personality and to some extent even her thoughts. But when she gazes up at me with those big eyes I can’t help but sense that there’s some deeper wisdom in them, a depth that extends far beyond the time that she has been part of my life. Sometimes I even feel a little intimidated, like she is the one teaching me and overseeing my every move and not the other way around. As if she is here to teach me of things that are yet unknown to me.

I remember when she was only a few days old and we were so desperately excited that we would try for several minutes at a time to even catch her eye. But she never seemed to find us interesting enough. As if there was something else in the room that was far more worth her attention. And it made me wonder. Cause I found it hard to imagine that she could be focusing so intently on something meaningless when I, her mother, was so near. What thoughts could be passing through that inexperienced mind?

Even now when she is lying deep asleep in my lap I watch her little face closely. I see different moods flash across her face. Furrowed eyebrows with pursed lips, to the biggest most beautiful smile, to a heartbreaking trembling lower lip. What pictures is she dreaming? What memories are inspiring her subconsciousness? Is she thinking about the last time her dad pulled a funny expression or do they belong to a time previous even to the first time she first saw his face?

I have learned so much since she joined our family. Not because I’m acquiring skills relating to changing diapers and breastfeeding, but I feel that I somehow am filled with a deeper knowledge of life. Almost as if I understand myself better and even the meaning of my existence – maybe because I better understand my own priorities and goals in life. To have a happy family. There is really nothing I want more. And she teaches me that that is possible.

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Baby girl is 2 months!

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Two months have passed and a lot has happened since the last update!

The unresponsive reserved baby is gone! Every day she rewards our sleepless nights and sore arms with long curious looks and smiles. It is day and night compared to how she was a month ago. The other day I was trying to keep busy with my work on the laptop at the same time as I was breastfeeding. While I was typing I noticed that she had stopped sucking and I braced myself and waited for the crying to begin. When I looked down however I was caught by two huge blue eyes and a big smile. And she started cooing. I put down the laptop and we spent the next ten minutes chatting away. It just melts my heart every time I see those small signs of appreciation – not that they’re necessary, but they’re absolutely magical!

She becomes still more alert every day, and it seems that she also gets more different moods and emotions every day than the two she had when she was born.

Also (to her parents’ great appreciation) she actually enjoys lying on her tummy now. She’ll lie on a blanket and do her little push-ups and look around until she falls asleep for an hour or two. – which means her mom gets the opportunity to blog a tiny bit!

Her favorite things to do are: eating, sleeping and having her butt blow-dried after a diaper change or bath.

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Catching up on us

I really need to get better at not disappearing from off the face of the Earth for weeks at a time like this…

So here is a quick post to catch you up on what is going on over here.

Baby is doing great! – Speaking of Baby, here are some pictures!

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That’s the first real of Baby’s smiles we finally caught on camera! Melt your heart!

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She’s seven weeks today and has already changed so much! She finally seems to be acknowledging our presence and efforts to make her happy. She has thrown us a good amount of smiles and even allows herself to be entertained once in a while. She can lie awake for longer periods of time, looking around and even smiling at us if we speak in exact right “fairytalie” high-pitched voice. This seems to really float her boat. And her smile is beautiful enough that we don’t care about sounding stupid. Sneaky baby…

These last few weeks have been full of larger social gatherings. Marcus’ entire family came to Denmark to see our little girl and we’ve had a few dinners with my side as well. So her social skills have really been challenged. But the way that she saw fit to best handle the situation was to mentally leave the room and fall asleep. All day.

So there has been a lot of sleeping – which has made Mom and Dad’s lives easier, but also a bit boring. Funny how you can spend hours trying to calm her down, feeding, changing, singing, walking, feeding again, and when she finally falls asleep you miss her so much you wake her back up just so you can hang out again. – But when we’re at home just the three of us she is becoming quite talkative. My favorite thing is lying in bed having our first baby-conversations. It’s seriously the best thing ever!

Well… as for me, now just seven weeks after giving birth I received my first ever “Are you pregnant again?”. A very unexpected slap in the face – though I’m sure it wasn’t meant that way. But it sure motivated me to work even harder this coming week to get back into shape.

In all honesty I wanted to respond: “No I’m not. Actually I’m feeling better than I have for almost a year!” Cause I am! Working out (slowly as it may be) is getting me back on my feet faster than I expected! I don’t feel weak or tired and I’m enjoying being able to be physically agile in ways that I haven’t been since before I got pregnant. So thank you very much but I am working as hard as I can at the moment to suck this belly back in!

Can I just take another moment to praise Kayla Itsines’ Bikini Body Guide one more time? I really love this workout program. It is so flexible and absolutely perfect for me to be able to do on my own time! I highly recommend it to anyone who wants to lose some weight, tone up or just feel a lot better! I was never the working out type of person – but I cannot emphasize enough how much better it makes me feel.

For the first time in my life I can honestly say I am happy with my eating habits. Over four weeks I have gone from wanting sweets once a day to once a week. By now I actually look forward to eating and planning to make healthy food because I know it will make me feel better. It feels good now, but I know I won’t fully appreciate having reached this milestone before I see the results it will eventually bring.

And i dropped school for now and I’m instead doing a translation job from home that I can easily balance and time around Baby. Hallelujah!

Right now we’re looking forward to Baby turning 2 months (I love scanning Pinterest for baby development articles and infographics as often as possible!), Thanksgiving (best meal of the year!), seeing some snow (that’s just me – Hawaii didn’t really deliver last year) and of course CHRISTMAS! Can’t. Wait.

More pictures! – some of these are pictures I have posted on my Instagram account. If you would like more regular picture updates of baby or my working out you can follow me at @rebecca.celeste.

IMG_4842 IMG_4747Here is Baby joining me for a morning workout. We both need to practice our push-ups!

What I wish I had known before I gave birth and became a Mother

imageTo my past pregnant self,

Hi! How are you holding up? I’d bet your feet hurt, you feel heavy and that all you can think about is how much easier life will be if you can just survive labor.

Well… Yes and no…

First of all, you WILL survive labor. Yes, it will be hard and definitely the most physically painfully traumatic experience of your life, but seriously, trust me, you will survive it. You will be completely amazed at what your body can actually do, and though it’ll hurt like heck, you will never again feel as cool.

Oh and just wait for that first meal after it’s over. Seriously, best meal of your life!

You may be constantly on your toes wondering if it’s time every time a small contraction comes, maybe even worrying what will happen if you don’t notice labor starting and you don’t make it to the hospital (who am I kidding, I know you are worrying exactly that!) but don’t worry, you will notice. And seriously just trust your body. It knows what it’s doing. Even if you may not.

As for all the baby stuff. Don’t worry about that either. By then you will know exactly what to do, even if your body won’t.

Something you do want to be thinking about is breast feeding – I know you want you. And you need to keep reminding yourself of that, because it’s not as easy as it looks in the beginning. You really need to make that decision now and stick to it!

Also, I suggest you hurry on down to the store and buy a big package of the thickest pads you can find (or send your husband- I know how he loves buying stuff like that!). You’ll need them. Big time.

Also please don’t expect to feel amazing all at once after the baby is out and you aren’t pregnant anymore. Give that a couple of weeks. In fact, just expect the first two weeks to be pretty crappy – except for having the baby, really try to enjoy all the cuteness and try to forget about everything else if you can.

And… Don’t listen to all your single friends and your newlywed friends who say it’ll be hard and that you’ll probably miss just being the two of you. You will definitely have those moments once every rare while, but all in all you will love that baby so much that to some extent you will forget that there was ever a time where she (or he) wasn’t there. You won’t sigh and look forward to the day when your last kid moves out and you can go back to being alone. You will on the other hand look forward to every single milestone your baby will go through. You will actually Google every single week what new things your baby is learning every time she (or he) turns another week or month.

So just relax… Go on a date, and buy an extra ice cream while looking fat is still okay. Life will go on after the day you give birth, and it will be a rich and exciting whole new world.

 

I really love walks – challenging to be a mom

photo (57) (1)Life has been pretty crazy for a few weeks. New things and still new routines every single day and a baby that keeps surprising us with showing new sides of her developing body and personality.

But today I got to slow down time a little. Just enough to be able to hear my own thoughts again and for just long enough to catch my breath and recharge.

Baby Girl and I went for a walk. A good long walk, because I’m back to exercising. At least as much as my body permits right now. In other words, the 5.5km walk today was pushing it, but it felt good. I figured I’d take Baby with me, to give Dad some alone time and also because I’ve noticed Baby strongly prefers the stroller over the car seat.

I really love walks. Especially the longer ones. Even if you don’t have anything major to think about it still does the trick. It feels like quality time with yourself – like old friends getting the chance to catch up. And I really needed to catch up.

It gave me the time to really zoom out and reflect on my life. It’s changed a bit since I really looked at it last. I’m a mom. I survived labor and I have a little person who entirely depends on me to stay alive and to stay happy. That’s huge. That changes you. And you realize that all of the sudden the future became the present. All those things I’ve been thinking about, hoping for and planning are now accurate. And yet I still didn’t get very much older. I feel like I was juggling and someone just tossed me another three balls. And someway somehow I’m still juggling. So now what?

Well, I realized that, well, this is life. A long line of challenges that keep getting tossed in our direction. And our goal is to manage to keep juggling. My little baby daughter just came into this world. She thinks the hardest things in life are feeling hungry, feeling tired and feeling physically alone. To me, those things are not much to cry about. I’ve found out how to get food when I’m hungry and how to go to sleep when I’m tired and I’ve found out that I’m not alone just because I can’t see, hear or feel my mom. In my life, the hardest parts are having a tiny time consuming baby and keeping my home clean and getting anything done at the same time. To my mom, that’s peanuts. She has even learned how to have a tiny time consuming baby at the same time as having four other kids, putting dinner on the table in a squeaky clean home. And so on and so forth. Until you’re a pro at juggling! I guess?

If that will ever happen. Is there such a thing as a pro juggler? or are we stuck on an endless path of jumping through taller and taller hoops? And is that necessarily a bad thing? I think I know the answer.

There’s not much to do about it… but what I guess I can do is try to have that eternal perspective on my challenges. And by that I mean realizing that it could be a lot worse and that some day I’ll be able to overcome this and many bigger challenges.

And those were thoughts I just really needed to have go through my head to allow myself to get a little ahead.

I really love walks.

photo (55) (1) We’re already embarrassing her by dressing her in this way too big suit. … But she looks so cute!!

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photo (54) (1)We’re trying to teach her to smile more on pictures.