How in the..?
The other night while lying in bed Jordan and I were talking about how fast time is flying and how even though we missed the little bitty newborns that we brought home 16 weeks ago we are LOVING how much they have grown and are well into this new stage of infant rather than newborn. They are so much fun. Fun is the only way to decribe our time with these little bitties. They are so talkative and very interested in everything Jordan and I do. I have heard from other moms that each stage your first child (or children) go through is more fun than the next. I bet, and assume, that after baby number 2 you come to expect what will happen next, but how blessed am I that I get to enjoy this unknown and 'newness' with each stage not only with my first, but my second as well!
Both babies continue to wear Size 1 diapers and are quickly growing out of NB size clothes. They are at a weird 'in-between' stage of clothes right now. The NB sleepers are a bit to short, but the 3 month size still swallows them up. My girls are really long, so the sleeves of shirts, sleepers, and onesies are too short, but the short-sleeved onesies fit them like a glove at the moment. I've bought a lot of their Spring wardrobe in the 3 month size, so hopefully soon they can get some wear out of all the cutie things they have in their closet.
We went for our 4 month check up yesterday (4/08/13) afternoon and heres where the girls stand at 4 months, 2 days old:
Jolie @ 4 months:
Weight: 10 pounds 3 ounces (<3rd%)
Height: 23.5 inches (23rd%)
Head: 40 centimeters (24th%)
Parker @ 4 months:
Weight: 11 pounds 14 ounces (4th%)
Height: 24 inches (18th%)
Head: 40.6 centimeters (14th%)
In the words of Dr. Butler: "There growth is beautifully trending". Woo! Although they are still pretty small for their age, even Jolie is one the growth chart now at <3%. What is important is that they are growing with a consistent trend upward.
The girls have hit many milestones over this past month. In the 3 & 4 Monthly Favorites post I discussed how a lot of my 'favorites' for the girls carried over into the same month. At 3 months Parker and Jolie started to interact and carry on with their little voices, but going into their 4th month of life they have both come to have such sweet and silly personalities. They continue to love their play mat and will not only grab and bat at the hanging toys, but they have come to learn which make noise and how to manipulate them to make noise for their enjoyment. Sophie the Giraffe is popular as well as any toy that has the crinkle paper inside it. They love to scratch and squeeze it, hearing the sounds it makes. They intently study books and absolutely LOVE to watch television. We occasionally turn on The Disney Channel and the bright colors and movements of the cartoons keeps their attention. We have recently purchased several Baby Einstein DVDs and plan to see how they react to them sometime soon. It is amazing the motor skills that have developed in such a short span. They went from newborn to infant overnight (or so it seems!)
I am still exclusively breastfeeding the girls every 3-4 hours. Tandem feeding is easiest, but as they get bigger I feel like it will be more difficult. I sometimes come off of a feeding session with a tight back because of the way I am having to hold them to nurse. They are getting bigger and stronger and will push off of the back of the nursing pillow, so sometimes I have to hold them just right to get them to stay put!
I have continued the same schedule during my work week and feed them at 4am, 5pm-6pm, and then before bed at 8:30pm-9:30pm. They take bottles for three feedings while I'm at work. Both girls are now drinking from the larger 8 ounce bottles. It was a sad day when I boxed up the tiny 4-ouncers! Jordan had them lined on the counter top one afternoon when I came home from work: "We don't need these anymore.." I knew it was coming, but the realization that these girls are getting bigger and growing like weeds was bittersweet. Parker advanced from the 5 ounces we were giving her and now drinks 6 ounces and Jolie is drinking 5 ounces at each feeding- these girls are eating more and more as the weeks fly by!
We are going to start rice cereal this week with the girls- not for replacement of a meal, but more for their motor development, so that when we are ready for cereal, fruits, and veggies at 6 months the tongue and motor movements involved in eating solids will come easier to them. We will do just about a tablespoon of cereal mixed with breast milk and feed it to them with a spoon. I am eager to see how they do!
Sleep has been hit or miss this last month.
Crib naps during the day are still going great- their longest nap is mid-morning (about 10am) and they'll sleep for about 2 hours or so. They go down again for another nap after lunch and this one will be another hour and a half to two hours. The afternoons naps are shorter- like cat naps- just about an hour or so and the girls start in the crib but usually end in their swings. For the most part they go back to sleep within about an hour and a half after their last feeding. They start rubbing their faces with their little hands or snuggling into the crease of my neck. That really lets me know they are ready for sleep.
We transitioned them out of our room about 2 weeks ago and resulted in several nights of up and down for mom and dad. Most of the time they just needed their paci for assurance. After becoming used to sleeping so soundly and tight in the boucey seat, sleeping flat on their back has them confused and unsure, but they are getting used to it- and I think the naps in their crib has helped. For right now we are co-bedding them and plan to do so until they start to roll over from back to tummy. We can space them far enough apart in the crib so that if they wiggle (which they do all night!) they don't bump one another and causing one or both to wake up.
We have started a different bed time routine in attempt to get them back to sleeping through the night. Normally we bathe them in the morning after the first feeding and then they go down for a nap- sometimes sleeping hard for almost 3 hours! So, this past week, we decided to switch it up and bathe them after their last feeding at 8:30pm and then immediately swaddle them up and down for bed they go. It worked! Well, for the first night. They slept through the night (until 4am when I woke them up to feed them before work.) But, the rest of the week was rough (emphasis on the ROUGH). I'm currently running on fumes- 3 hours of sleep isn't enough to make it through a day. Parker is the sleeper extraordinaire- no problems at all whatsoever getting her to sleep through the night. She will sleep through Jolie's whines and painful cries that usually start around 1am and last for the rest of the night.
We came to discover after a week of dealing with no sleep that Jolie's problem is she still has pretty tight neck muscles and becomes uncomfortable after 2 or so hours of sleeping flat on her back. That and a combination of slight reflux. We learned from Jolie's physical therapist that when she acts like she is 'throwing a fit' by arching her back almost rolling herself over on her belly (she is swaddled so it makes it extra easy) followed by screeches and cries that this is a sign of reflux in infants. The girl is attempting to elongate her esophagus. Which makes total sense. I remember being in bed while pregnant and waking up in a coughing fit- feeling as if I was going to die or something- because I refluxed the water I drank before bed. Poor baby girl. The paci works for all of 4 seconds before she spits it out and cries again. And when momma finally gives in and I pick her up she is passed out asleep, so I know she isn't hungry or wanting anything more than to be rocked and snuggled- cradling her stiff neck and relieving the reflux. Desperate of more sleep, Jordan and I have reverted to letting her sleep in the swing (set up in the nursery)- instead of the bouncy seat because that promotes poor tilt of her neck. Being in the swing we can manipulate her neck and head so that it isn't tilted for 8+ hours at night. Voila- sleeping through the night again. We plan to seek suggestions from our pediatrician and the physical therapist, but if the swing works and she is comfortable, it's fine by me until she is cleared as 'cured' from therapy for her torticollis. We are starting her on some reflux medication a couple times a day to see if this could be the root cause of her discomfort.. I'm thinking it really has to do with her neck. We shall see.
Your Favorites: Cartoons and Fox 4 weather (seriously), your giraffe Wubanub (even though you would rather hold it and suck a regular paci), reading books, the lights and animals on your activity mat, conversations with momma and daddy, music/singing (You Are My Sunshine), Sleep Sheep, playing Ride the Horsey (Your FAVORITE game with daddy), babbling & giggling, laying on the changing pad, clean diapers, bathtime, afternoon walks, the color red, and physical therapy.
Your Not-So-Favorites: Neck stretches, athletic tape on your neck, sleeping flat on your back, drinking from a bottle (you'll take it, but would rather be nursed), fighting sleep, loud noises, large crowds of people, losing your paci/Wubanub, the dark.
Along with your torticollis improvement you have completely come out of your preemie 'shell' and come to life. You seriously have the sweetest grin that takes over your entire body with excitement. When you are ready to 'talk', you get a look on your face like "get ready, momma because I have something really good to say!" There is something about the changing table that brings out your precious voice and coos- almost as if you are extra excited to have a clean/dry diaper. Over the past couple weeks your 'diaper changing coos' have transitioned to 'all the time' chatter and babbling. You talk to anyone that will make eye contact with you. Your voice and demeanor is much different than your sister's- very soft and intricate with every thought out babble you have.
You have become really laid back and don't mind to be left to play alone. Usually I tend to Parker first when it comes to diaper changes or bath time because you have developed into this patient little girl.. that is unless you are sleepy or hungry. Patience goes straight out the window!
Recently you have started sucking on your bottom lip, denying your favorite paci sometimes. Even though your bottom lip sucking thing is the cutest on the planet, momma and daddy are trying really hard to break you of this before it becomes a habit! We don't want our beautiful little girl to have a constant chapped bottom lip.
You are very petite- from your tiny little toes to your sweet little hands, ears, and nose. You have definitely filled out in the cheek department- but you are still little bitty. NB clothes are continuing to fit you pretty well, but it wont be long at all before we are ready to transition out. You still have all your stick straight baby penguine hair, although it has thinned out quite a bit. You have lost is slowly, mainly around the back where you lay to sleep. Your bed head, especially after a bath, gets me everytime. Your skin continues to develop into a deep olive color, olive like your momma's. Your eyes are nearly crystal blue- your daddy and I think you get those bright baby blues from your great grandmother, MeMe.. the amazing woman you are named after. Seems only fitting, right?
On April 3rd, daddy caught your first roll-over on camera! We knew it wouldn't be long at all before you made this move- so we had the camera close by! For several days you were teetering on the edge, you just needed to figure out that arm and get it out of the way for you to really make the roll. You are growing so quick.
I am always so excited to come home to see you, or wake up to your smiley face. Even this sleep-deprived momma can't wait to get her hands on you at 2am. I love you so much sweet girl- you brighten even my most stressful days.
Your Favorites: CARTOONS- well, television in general, your monkey Wubanub and any paci, Sleep Sheep, playing and 'eating' your hands, tummy time, music, babbling and smiling, the lights and animals on your activity mat, sleep, afternoon walks, crinkle paper, sitting on the counter in the Bumbo while momma cooks.
Your Not-So-Favorites: Sitting and playing alone, loud noises, fighting sleep, bathtime (you are coming around slowly, though!), lotion, the dark.
Excuse my voice.. weeks of no sleep caused a head cold, but Parker thought it was SO funny!
You sure do love to play, but not by yourself. Tummy time is a good time, but only if Jolie or your momma and dad are sitting in front encouraging you. You like to know whats going on and occasionally it is quite difficult to hold your attention if something else interests you a little bit more. You recognize your name and find it funny with we 'sing' Parker Jane to you over and over. You LOVE the television- no matter what is playing on the screen, you are interested to watch. Morning News in momma's or daddy's lap is the best snuggle time for all of us.
Your silly face and constant excitement and happy demeanor makes my day. When daddy or your BB sends me a picture or video while I'm at work, I can imagine exactly your gestures and facial expressions. Daddy often says they mirror mine to a 'T', calling you "Little Amber".
You have gotten so big and are growing like a weed! Last night I dressed you in 0-3 months jammies and they fit! The rolls on your legs go on for days and that bald head of yours is getting some fuzz back. After bathtime (which is a fight to the finish) it stands up straight all over the place. It is coming back in with a little curl to it..just like your momma. Your eyes have become more defined and are gray in color.. again, like your momma. Did you get anything from daddy? Yes.. your fair skin. It is fair and beautiful..with pink undertones. While daddy often apologizes for it, I find it to be just perfect for my little Parker Jane.
On April 2nd, while spending the day with your great aunt Veeca, you rolled over for the first time!! Veeca thought she was recording you, but sadly she didn't get it. A couple days later, on April 4th, your daddy caught you making the effortless roll onto your back.
I laughed until I cried at Jordan's reaction to her roll over.
He apparently took his eyes off her to watch something on the television and ended up missing it..
Sweet girl, I cannot imagine my life without your smiling face. Thinking about all that is to come with my growing bean makes me so excited!
When I tell you "I Love You" this is the precious look I get in return.
So, I tell you I love you a million times a day. Because I surely do.
Happy 4 months my beautiful littles. Momma loves you so and looks forward to watching you grow over this next month!