9 months old! (a day early… whoaaa)

Health: Not a bad month all, I feel like we dodged a bullet with flu season peaking in the last few weeks, though I know we still have a ways to go, and RSV is also on the rise. She caught a cold a couple weeks ago, but at its worst, just had some thick nasal mucus. Nothing that kept her out of daycare, though of course she passed it onto me and now I’m dealing with my usual post-cold asthmatic cough.

Growth/Feeding: At her checkup this week, she was 19 lbs and 28″ long, 70%ile for both weight and height. Head is still 85%ile, thanks to her dad 😉 Her first tooth popped through on the bottom about 3 weeks ago, and its companion came a week later. Now her gums are puffy over the top central incisors AND the bottom lateral incisors. Other than gumming and drooling a lot, they haven’t seemed to bother her much at all, thankfully! Nursing is still going strong, though her sessions are much shorter and she’ll often just take one side. I’m surprised my pumping volumes are still holding strong despite this, but we’ll see what happens since I just recently dropped the dream-feed, and I’m not pumping to make up for it right now. I pump on the way to dropping C off at daycare, at lunch, and after my last patient if I’m finished early enough – otherwise it’s on the way home after picking her up. She is still taking 9-12 ounces breastmilk during the day, and just wants to hold the bottle herself to eat. She’s really taken off with solid foods, eating and loving just about everything except purees. For a while, Mrs. K was able to get her to take purees consistently, but lately it’s been hit or miss. I may just end up donating a bunch of pouches to the food bank. Nowadays, I send a lunch of soft scrambled eggs mixed with bites of steamed veggies, or bite-sized pieces of whatever my dinner is. She loves teething crackers, Cheerios (which I had no idea are iron-fortified – score!), and even dried seaweed for her snack, but her favorite things to eat are definitely fruits. The girl can suck a slice of clementine dry, and will eat raspberries until she’s ready to pop!

Sleep: So funny that just last month I wrote that she hated sleeping on her tummy. Because guess what, we have a full on tummy sleeper, though really, she sleeps in any and all positions, including with her legs crossed while propping her feet up the side of the crib, lol. She moves all over the crib in her Zipadee-Zip. And since starting the new daycare a few weeks ago, she’s transitioned to putting herself to sleep at night. We still nurse as part of the bedtime routine, but she generally doesn’t fall asleep doing so anymore. She’ll push off, and I’ll just hold her against my chest as a last snuggle before I place her in the crib. She might fuss and toss a bit, but she’s now out within 5 minutes. I’d still been dream-feeding her before I went to bed, but in the last few days I’ve stopped , and she’ll actually go 11 hours overnight without crying loud enough to wake me. I know she wakes up and often will sit up and fuss a little, based on the monitor history, but after a few minutes, she just lays back down and passes out again. Do you know how scary it is for me to write this? I feel like I just jinxed us… She naps well at daycare, about 2 hours in the early afternoon, sometimes a 30-minute nap in the morning but that’s hit or miss. I wish I could say the same for when she’s at home on the weekends, but we still haven’t been successful there. This can be exhausting, but we will take the good nights over good naps!

Development: Somebody’s stranger anxiety is finally developing, though she’s more quiet and cautious than anything else with new people. She is very mobile now, able to crawl forward, though she still prefers to sit and then launch herself forwards. Once she did this off the bed in her room 😦 Thank goodness we’d already lowered it to just a mattress on the floor. We haven’t made many other advances in childproofing the house, since we pretty much keep her in her Super-Yard or in her room – we upgraded our patio room, and there is still crap everywhere! She’s almost pulled up to a stand just yesterday, but I’m definitely in no hurry to rush her! Her pincer grasp is quite good now, she’s able to feed herself blueberries, puffs, and Cheerios without a problem.

Daycare: C has been going to Mrs. K’s for 3 weeks now, and she transitioned very quickly. While I don’t get the same warm fuzzy feeling as I did for Mrs. N, there is no question Mrs. K is great with kids and they are very well-cared for. Of course, being right across the street from my office is a huge plus, though the burden is now on me for drop-off AND pick-up. What’s really cute is that C and the girl who’s just a month older than her are like BFFs already. Mrs. K has their pack & plays next to each other at nap time, and they are always giggling at each other for several minutes before they both crash. C is always much more cheerful at drop-off if her friend is already there too.

Parenthood: We’ve settled into our new routine, which unfortunately still doesn’t include much intimacy. I know we will get there, but something at my work has to give soon. I keep thinking about quitting and working per diem, but the loss of benefits is huge, and I’m too nervous to do something that drastic yet. Not to mention I take care of a good number of my friends’ kids now, and it pains me to think about not caring for them the way I do now. But at the expense of time and energy for my daughter…?  I was keeping myself afloat thinking all these extra work shifts would go away once flu season was over, but the schedulers just asked for me to sign up for 2 extra shifts a month AGAIN for May. I’ll be working most weekends all the way until then, with only a couple Tuesdays off a month. I’m getting very close to burn-out, and it’s frustrating. I know I’m not alone in this feeling – my whole department has been under a huge stress for the last 6 weeks, and everybody is working extra.  I think for now I’m going to see how things pan out once I “make up” for my maternity leave – I’m hoping that by then we’ll have more staff and more per diems to take the extra shifts, and I won’t always be at the bottom of the list, being asked to work extra again.

Not a fluke

I think Mrs. K is the baby whisperer! C napped almost 3 hours total today, and ate well for her again.
At bedtime, C nursed efficiently then just wanted to come off, so I figured what the hell, put her down in the crib. I placed my hand on her chest to keep her from getting overly fussy, then just stepped away to the guest bed. 5 minutes of some whining, and she fell asleep!
Unfortunately I think her not nursing as long led to a plugged duct on my left side today. It’s better after working with the pump and offering that side to her first tonight, but I better go use the electric toothbrush on it in the shower. This would be a terrible time to get mastitis!

Many changes for the new year

Life has been chaotic lately, and I nearly forgot today is Lunar New Year! Thankfully our oldest dog seems to be making a full recovery on antibiotics. Unfortunately the bone aspirate wasn’t conclusive, so we still haven’t ruled out cancer, but it does seem less likely since she is no longer favoring the leg like a few weeks ago.

Then my mother-in-law lost one of her cats to kidney failure last week. Hubby and I had a sneaking suspicion she’d ask about our youngest cat, and sure enough, when she came by over the weekend, she asked if we’d like to let her take care of him. He’s a great cat, but honestly was a foster failure because he would go into hiding every time we tried to show him to somebody, and the next thing we knew it’s been over 4 years and he was still in our house. Lately he’s been picking more fights with our older cats, and let’s face it, we have a lot going on in our house, so we were happy to let her try him out. She’s coming by again tomorrow so I’ll hear more about how he and her other cat are getting along.

Work has been absolutely nuts as flu season approaches its peak. Everybody has been working extra, with people getting sick and tons of patients calling for appointments. I’m still running days behind on charts – just when I thought I’d get caught up, our power went out on a crazy windy day, and I’ve been running crazy behind every since.

I worked my first 13-hour day since last April on Friday. It was tough being away from C for that long, though Mrs. N was a huge help. She offered to keep her late until hubby could pick her up. This was also C’s last day with Mrs. N, so they had some nice extra bonding time. Hubby had a rough time after pickup, and I arrived home to find him on the couch with her in the carrier, exhausted from crying. Every time he attempted to start her bedtime routine, she freaked out. I fed her, and she proceeded to have her longest stretch of sleep to date, and even napped pretty well the next day (in the ring sling, but still – it’s not often I can get her to nap more than 45 minutes at a time on the weekend).

Today was C’s first day at Mrs. K’s, so hubby and I both dropped her off since we needed to bring the Pack & Play and other supplies to keep at her house. It was a really tough drop-off – that was the first time I can ever recall C crying when we left her 😦 I’d had to wake her up from her car seat nap to bring her in, and that just had her in a bad mood to start, then throw in being left at a new place, and it was too much. Luckily she calmed down after a while, and seemed to bond well with Mrs. K the rest of the day. She barely let her put her down! But at least she ate well and napped decently (for her). I really don’t know how Mrs. K does it – she watches 3 other kids, with 3 out of 4 under the age of 1. That was my main concern when I met her, but she is really lovely and everybody raves about what a great cook she is, and it’s certainly nice not to have to think about sending food once C turns a year old (when she starts to provide lunch). I must say pickup is awesome, just going across the street from work. It was nice to get home before it got dark!

I thought I was going to have a rough bedtime tonight, since C kept popping off from nursing and wasn’t acting sleepy at all. Hubby is out late for work too. In desperation, I just picked her up and put her in her crib while she was still awake, and held my hand on her chest for a while. Then I walked away and laid down on the guest bed. She fussed for 5 minutes while I forced myself to leave her be, then I realized she’d quieted down. I peeked at the video monitor on my phone, and she’d rolled to her side and fallen asleep! That’s definitely a first!! I don’t know if it’s exhaustion from all the changes of today, but she hasn’t budged for the last 2 hours. I should chart while I can…

8 months old! (a day late)

Health: Despite flu season kicking into high gear around here, C has had a pretty good month health-wise (*knocks wood*). Hubby hasn’t been so lucky, though I think it’s mainly allergies or man-cold. I am super paranoid about bringing something home from work, so have started masking up frequently, even though it probably puts off some parents.

Growth/Feeding: Guessing she’s around 19 lbs now, she is fitting some 12-month clothes, though most of her 9-month stuff still fits. She is taking the bottle better now, I think because she realizes she can hold it herself. Averaging 9-12 ounces during our 9 hours apart now. She eats a little oatmeal at daycare, but is definitely more into finger foods and bites of food off our plates. Other than shellfish, we’ve had her try all the common allergens now, so just have to keep giving her small amounts each week. I really need to figure out a way to get her some shrimp, crab, or lobster soon. The other difficult thing is making sure she doesn’t overdo it on foods that constipate her. We gave up on the multivitamin, which went everywhere but in her mouth and stains like crazy. I feel like she’s taking in enough iron sources now to let that slide. Will ask her doc for an anemia check at 9 months just to make sure.

Sleep: She’s out of the Magic Sleepsuit, since she was able to move a lot in it. The Zipadee-Zip seems to work OK for her, if only to keep her from rolling onto her tummy as often, which she hates. No idea why she doesn’t try to roll back over. Thankfully we are back to at least 6-hour stretches at night, though her schedule is really off. She hasn’t been wanting to nap at all lately, getting an hour total at daycare. So then she crashes on the drive home, and doesn’t wake up until after 6pm. This means trying to get her in bed by 8pm is impossible. She fusses while nursing and just wants to talk, grab my face, pick my nose, etc. I’ll leave her in her crib to get a break and let her cry for 5-10 minutes, then go back in and she finally settles herself on the breast after being worn out. Ugh. Really hoping this phase passes soon.

Development: She is still a social butterfly, grinning and talking to anybody who pays attention to her. We’ll see if the stranger anxiety starts soon. She is crawling backwards, rocking on her hands and knees a lot, and has crawled forward a little bit. We finally put up stair gates, lowered her crib and the bed in her room (just a mattress on the ground now), and created a play area for her in the living room with a Super-Yard. Her pincer grasp is improving, and she’s managed to get some small puffs into her mouth by herself. Her bottom right tooth has just started peeking through the gum line.

Daycare: I thought for sure I wouldn’t have to think about this again until she was ready for preschool, but alas, Mrs. N has decided to take the nanny position that she was offered for a special-needs family. This week has been really stressful, trying to find another option. I cold-called at least 10 different places, and we put in an application at the large daycare center ($150 fee alone to apply!!). Even the large center said they couldn’t let us know about availability until after we applied and they reviewed staffing over the weekend. I’d lined up an interview next week at a larger in-home daycare near my office, a recommendation from a friend of a friend. However, when I looked them up on the state’s licensing website, I learned they’d had 3 type A safety violations (immediate danger to children), so quickly called to cancel. Every other in-home daycare was full or only had an opening for toddlers, or wanted pick-up by 5pm which is impossible for me. It’s tougher looking for smaller in-home daycares due to privacy reasons, so I signed up for a daycare referral site, and was able to find a few other listings on there. Called one named Mrs. K, and she actually had an opening for an infant. When I was writing down the info for our interview next week, and Mrs. K gave me her address, I realized she’s directly across the street from my clinic! I mentioned this in passing to Mrs. N, who asked for the name, and she told me she’d sent her own daughter to Mrs. K when she was younger, and loved her! I’m really looking forward to meeting her Monday, and really hope that we have a good fit.

Parenthood: Still status quo here. It doesn’t help that flu season is killing me at work, and I’m working most weekends because of it. I haven’t completed any of my charts from this week, and am about to accumulate 15 more when I head into work this afternoon 😦

In tears again

I swear I haven’t cried this much since the first month postpartum! We still don’t know what exactly our dog has, just hoping antibiotics help so that we don’t have to do a biopsy and potentially amputation if it turns out to be cancer.

Then today Mrs. N dropped a bombshell on me when I went to pick up C from daycare. She’s strongly considering closing the daycare, and if she decides to, it will be in just 2 to 3 weeks! I couldn’t help but burst into tears, everything just seems to be happening all at once these days. I’ve already left messages with some other in home daycares, but if none of those pan out, C will have to go to the big daycare center near us. It’s honestly a great place, I just am not ready for the increased germ exposure right in the middle of flu season 😦

And we have a winner!

I’m so happy to say that C spent a full day at Mrs. N’s as a trial today, and it went really well! Hubby dropped her off and met Mr. N, who had not left for work yet. Said he seemed to really like kids as well, and was helping to keep one occupied while Mrs. N helped to get C settled in. I texted her in the late morning to let her know I could come feed her if she was having trouble, but she texted back that she was doing well and had taken a few ounces from the bottle with minimal fuss. She also sent an adorable picture of C doing tummy time, saying “I’m in love!”. So I pumped and caught up on messages and charts during lunch, then finished the day and closed all my charts by 5:15pm before leaving to pick her up. It was nice to not feel so rushed at the end of the day, knowing that C was in good hands.

When I arrived, C was sitting in Mrs. N’s lap, and one of her other charges was loving on her, showing her his toy car. They had a trip to the park this morning, where C enjoyed watching the boys run around a bit. She ended up drinking all three 3-oz bottles I sent, which is amazing! Naps were still pretty short but she did take 3 while she was there, and napped on the 20-minute drive home also. She was definitely hungry when we got home, but not as fussy as she usually is in the evening, smiling and chatting a bit before a pleasant bath time. I put her to bed at 8pm, and she’s been sound asleep for over 2 hours now. I can only dream of more evenings like this! Hoping her FOMO (fear of missing out) lessens as the newness of daycare wears off, so that she does get some good naps in. She’ll start there full time Monday, after her 4-month visit and shots. Thankfully just a half day of work for me, so I’ll love on her for a few hours before I drop her off.

Child care saga, continued

Hubby and I finally went out on our first date night to celebrate his birthday. We dropped C off at the daycare, noting her difficulties with consistent naps and bottle feeding, and then took off for dinner. I was terrible company, since as soon as I started feeling full, I became very sleepy. Just over 2 hours after we dropped her off, the daycare called, noting that she was crying and refusing her bottle and pacifier. Sigh, apparently at change of shift they didn’t make note that she hasn’t been taking them great and needed to hold her back to chest. In any case, we decided to get going and picked her up just at the 3-hour mark. We could hear her crying from the front reception area 😦 Thankfully she calmed pretty quickly at home with nursing and actually went to sleep very readily after. On the bright side, she took a 40-minute nap at the center, which is amazing considering she pretty much only catnaps unless you’re holding her. I hope I don’t have to use that center often, but they are pretty much our only option if I am called in to work Friday evenings or weekends.

As for regular child care, I received several recommendations using Facebook groups, and also searched on Care.com. I was surprised to see a few had late night hours available, but unfortunately every one I contacted was full. Then one woman called me the morning after I placed a search on Care.com, and we went to see her place yesterday. The location is ideal – only 5 minutes from my clinic, and easily accessible along hubby’s route to work. The caregiver (Mrs. N) is a former teacher who’s run a home daycare off and on for almost 20 years. Her house was amazingly clean, despite having 3 kids currently in daycare, 2 parakeets, 2 dogs, and 2 teen children of her own. She seemed very patient, and excited at the prospect of having a baby girl to care for (the 3 current charges are boys). C seemed to take to her well also. Her cost is very affordable, just over half the cost of the big daycare center we used for drop-in care tonight. Since she is licensed, it should be no problem getting what we need for tax credit. Really the only negative is she does let the kids watch a video for 30 minutes a day. Which I can live with, given how great she is otherwise. And honestly, I don’t know that I can blame her, caring for 3 kids 2 yrs and under. C will go for a trial day next week, and I’m really hoping Mrs. N can work through her bottle refusal issues. We laid it all out for her, and she seemed understanding and willing to work with her.

I’m really hoping this works out, because with C’s issues, I just don’t see her doing well in a larger setting, and good home daycares fill up so easily!

Child care woes

C has gone to my friend’s house a few times to get a feel for how things will go when both hubby and I are back at work. The previous trials were 4 hours, but today we sent her for the full day since hubby’s car needed to get some work done and he needed to do a little bit of work at home. Unfortunately things didn’t go very smoothly. She cried, wanting to be held, for most of the time, which my friend was fine with doing, but at the expense of caring for her own almost 1-year-old son. With both still being so young, and C being pretty needy, it looks like this just isn’t going to work out long-term. i’m heartbroken, since I really thought this would be a fairly affordable way to avoid daycare until she was a bit older. We can’t afford the expense and paperwork hassle of a good nanny, and so the daycare search begins.

The obvious choice would be the center that’s less than 5 minutes from us, with nice extended hours including weekends for drop-in care. In fact, C will be going there this Saturday evening as we go out on our first date night since before she was born. However, it’s quite expensive (almost as much as what we would pay my friend), and I worry how C will fare in a large venue given the trouble she’s already had just with my friend and one other child. I’m seeking out recommendations for in-home daycares also, and just hoping we like one of them that has an opening for her. Either way, it’s going to be tough to juggle tours now that I’m back at work with very few times I’m available, so it’s on hubby to take a look while he’s still home the next week and a half. Not to mention figuring out what to do when I’m on call in the evenings. I have a feeling his mom will need to help us out more, which is tough when she does’t like driving so far at night 😦