Friday, September 4, 2015

Four Months of Charlie

Four months has transformed Charlie into a chunky, gurgly, squishy set of rolly baby goodness. She's set for a doctor's appointment next week, but based on our scale at home this girl is around 16 pounds. My wrists hurt from supporting her head from the hours of nursing, and I think I strained a muscle in my shoulder from lugging this child around. I'm ecstatic about each roll filling out, because it was my dream to have deliciously chubby babies.

The biggest milestones this month have been rolling over and her demonstrating how strong she is. Our once chill, lethargic baby discovered how to roll and cannot stay off her stomach. Gone are the days of squawking and crying for tummy time to be over. She spends all of her independent time on her stomach, and wriggles and gets frustrated when she can crawl forward. She loves when we help her stand on her legs, and she can bear most of her weight, the whole time a big, goofy, proud grin splashed across her face.

Another big milestone this month has been sleeeeeeep. When she went her ten week appointment to meet her new pediatrician (our insurance switched with Nik's new job) her doctor said, "Make sure you lay her down drowsy." And I immediately thought, "Yeah, good one lady." Charlie had been sleeping in our room in a combination of half the night in the cradle, half the night in our bed. She was the most wriggly, grunty baby ever. I'd find myself at 4:30 in the morning, asleep sitting up with her nursing asleep thinking, 'How did we even get here?' I figured, every time she was getting super grunty, I was half asleep pulling her out to nurse. Sometimes if we co-slept she'd skip middle of the night feedings, but since we were out of the newborn phase I felt like something needed to change. So, during a 3:30 AM feeding I had a revelation: it was time for the crib. I went out the next day, bought some baby monitors and a sound machine, and decided from then on she was sleeping in the crib. She took all her naps in the crib that day, meanwhile I read some dumb sleep book that encouraged (I think it's called) "progressive cry-it-out". I wasn't going to let her cry. I was prepared for me to spend every hour nursing her back to sleep. Instead, it was a pretty good night. She woke up for a 1:30, 3:30, and 6:30 feeding. (I didn't sleep at all, for fear that the baby monitor was going to stop working.) 

That was a month ago, and the whole sleeping in the crib thing couldn't be going better. She takes a bath a 6:30 pm, feeds for half an hour to an hour, and then sleeps until 4:00 in the morning, and then back down until 7:00 or 8:00. Most nights, we can lay her down awake and she'll chat with herself and roll around until she falls asleep. But some nights are harder, and she needs more cuddles and nursing and crying because she skipped a nap or something to fall asleep. I still nurse her to sleep for all her naps, unless we are on the go and she falls asleep in the Ergo. 

Charlie has transitioned into a pretty easy going baby, with the exception of her carseat. She hates it so much. There aren't a lot of remedies to fix the situation. So for the most part, we just tough it out, and turn the music up to drown out her whines and screams. She knows I'm a sucker, and if I sit in the back with her screams her head off until we pull over. However, when Nik hops in the back with her, they play and laugh. As a result, I have evolved into the Hill Family Chauffeur.
Charlie's good behavior for Nik in the car is because she knows his time is a hot commodity. His new job has him working long hours, so a lot of the time they only see each other every other day. When he gets ready in the morning and comes home at night, he hopes that she will be awake so they can play. She saves all her best laughs for him, which is insulting, because he barely even has to try! He can just lift his head a certain way and she'll belly laugh. Meanwhile, I spend all my days cha-chaing and singing in a one woman show trying to get her to giggle. 

Charlie is sweet and sensitive. She gets worried and cries with me when I cry, and gets giggly and hyper when I laugh, dance, and sing with her. We mirror each other's emotions and she is my favorite little buddy. Charlie loves going outside, so I'll scoop up a big blanket and we'll lay in the shade as she exercises her newfound voice, while I read a book next to her.

Before I became a mom, a fearful thought I had was, 'How am I going to manage to fill my day?'. But we have found a routine that I love. We fill our days with running one errand, going for walks or runs, reading books, nursing, napping, chatting, and lots and lots of play time. Granted, we are extremely lucky to have family close so a few days a week I spend an afternoon at my mom's. It all feels very structured and fulfilling.