Thursday, March 24, 2011


It's official. Our baby is a whole year old (plus two days already). We made the 12-month visit to her ped today. 17 pounds 10 ounces and 28.5 inches tall. I asked the ped which growth charts he uses and learned that his are not specific to breastfed babies, so of course his percentiles don't match up with what I find on the W.H.O web site. Regardless of her percentiles (which I didn't even bother to remember), he agreed that she looks healthy and is hitting all the usual milestones on time. He almost-sort-of apologized for suggesting supplementing at our last visit.

Charlotte has 7 teeth now, and seems to be working on some more. Drooling kicked up another notch yesterday, and her fingers are spending a lot of time in her mouth again.

Charlotte had a very long and trying day today, which turned out to be a temporary solution to the sleep/cry problem. I woke her up 45 minutes early this morning so I could drop her off at her old daycare while I visited the RE. The daycare has openings a couple of days each week and accepts drop-ins at an hourly rate. Since she's been having issues with naps, I told the teacher not to bother putting Charlotte down for one. Instead, I picked her up an hour after her usual nap time and drove around for 75 minutes so she could sleep in the car until her ped appointment. She had two vaccinations/immunizations today, and took them really well. She yelled at each needle stick, but calmed quickly afterwards and was smiley-happy again by the time I'd put her pants back on. Shots always wear Charlotte out. Even after a decent nap this afternoon, she was exhausted by 5:30 and asleep in my lap by 6:15. I sat and rocked her awhile to make sure she was deeply asleep, then moved her into her crib without disturbing her at all. No tears tonight. Hurray for all of us!

Charlotte still drinks 20-24 ounces of breastmilk (frozen/thawed) daily, and I think there's enough in the freezer to last about two more weeks. Her daily eat/sleep routine is generally something like this...

6:30 am- 8oz breastmilk upon waking;
8-9:30- nap;
9:30- 7-grain cereal with mashed banana and tahini, about 2/3 cup, washed down with 4oz breastmilk;
12:30- bread, cheese, fruit, and vegetables (she loves peas now that they're not mush)- usually all as finger-foods so she can feed herself- with 2oz breastmilk;
1:30-3- nap
3:30- snack of yogurt with fruit and wheat germ mixed in, plus 2oz breastmilk;
5:30- soup and a cracker or two, with 8oz breastmilk of which she usually drinks 3-4oz;
6:45- the rest of the breastmilk that she started with dinner.
7:00- bed.

All-told, I dump 2-4oz of breastmilk every day just because she doesn't always finish all that I prepare for her. I learned, though, that she completely loses interest in milk when forced to wait for a refill. She drinks more, and wastes less, when I offer a little more than I think she'll drink. She drinks all her milk from a sippy, and water from a toddler cup with a straw. We practive using a "big girl cup" every day, and she does well getting water into her mouth. Then, she seems to decide she's not thirsty after all and opens her mouth so the water streams out. Some days, she has a huge appetite and eats more than I thought she could hold. Other days, she's not so interested in food and pushes everything away after a couple of bites. It helps that she can sign "all done," and knows what it means so she can tell us when she's finished versus when she just wants something besides what's in front of her. She is not afraid to try any food I put in front of her, and only eggs have met with a consistently negative reaction.

As far as talking goes, she knows and uses about 25 signs, and has begun imitating her video while watching it. She doesn't seem to learn new signs as quickly as they're presented, but she tries them out and it seems a new one or two stick every day. Yesterday, she learned "snow." Other recent additions are hot, cold, rain, up, and down. She loves to imitate sounds, especially ssssss and shhhhh when we say words like soup or fish. She tells our cats to get "dow" when they climb on the table.

Waterbabies continues to be great fun, although I liked the teacher in the first session a lot better. Music class is a blast- Charlotte is so confident that she crawls right up to the bigger kids and their parents and grunts or smiles to introduce herself. She spends as much time cruising around the room as singing and dancing with me. She has yet to demonstrate any stranger anxiety at all, although if I am in the room she demands to be the center of my attention.

Charlotte is still sooooo close to walking, but not doing it on her own yet. She moves faster and leans on my hands less every day when we walk together, but freezes up as soon as I let go. She can stand on her own for over a minute, bend down to pick something up off the floor then return to standing, and eat/drink/play while standing alone. I'm still hopeful that she'll be walking by her birthday party on 4/10.

Here are some pictures...
11-month caterpillar shot. She's no longer willing to lie beside the caterpillar, so this was the best I could wrangle.

The train was her birthday present, and she loves to run back and forth across her bedroom pushing it, but she doesn't know how to turn it around or steer. In this photo, she's standing alone and playing peek-a-boo with the train.
The weather finally turned spring-like, so Charlotte got to try out the swings and slides at a local park. She LOVED them! We'll be back there often, maybe daily, when the spring finally settles in for real.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

no sleep without tears

Once upon a time, Charlotte would lie down willingly in her crib when she was tired and go to sleep without any fanfare or fuss. Her signals were clear- when she was tired, she'd rub her eyes or yawn. She'd sleep well and (usually) long. We were very very lucky, and we knew it.

Charlotte's a big girl now. Since she was about 10 months old, she has not gone to bed willingly. Not once. It all started when she had a fever and was teething. She stopped sleeping through the night for about 6 weeks, waking with screams and cries that convinced us she needed help getting back to dreamland. We held her and cuddled, nursed a bit, but invariably she'd reach the point where she seemed as miserable in our arms as in her crib. We finally realized she'd fall asleep faster in the crib, and would stay asleep if we didn't have to relocate her to the crib from our arms. So, when her second round of tears began, we'd place her gently in the crib and hastily exit the room. She would cry for a few minutes (sometimes very obviously FAKE tears, with dramatic pauses to listen for a response from us), then fall asleep. Sometimes, she'd go silent as soon as the door clicked shut (closed to keep the cats out of her room, a cat-free zone).

The last 4 weeks have taken nap and bedtime to a whole new level of drama. The crying and screaming have intensified, but she still falls silently asleep within about 3 minutes of the door closing. She knows when she's tired, but will not willingly lie down for nap or bedtime. The fact that she does calm herself and fall fairly quickly asleep has kept me sane, but I wish I knew how to help her enjoy going to sleep again. We have a routine that we always follow- read a few stories, sing a couple of songs, then wave goodnight to the mobile, the trees outside her window, the clock, the sun or moon. Some more cuddles and kisses, and then she starts her tantrum as soon as we approach the crib. We tried letting her stay awake longer, hoping that being more tired would eventually lead her to ask for bed. Overtired just made it worse.

My question for you- is this a phase? Did your child do anything similar? Is there a way to skip the drama and go straight to the sleeping peacefully part? My husband only witnesses this once each day, when we put Charlotte down for the night (she's back to sleeping from 7pm to 6:30 am, thankfully), so he doesn't think it's a problem. I witness this three times each day, and it's breaking my heart to see her so miserable. Three minutes feels like forever when my baby is wailing.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

unexpected warm welcome

A few of you dear readers have been following along since before Charlotte was conceived. Some of you may have jumped in further along our journey, but read back to our early days of TTC. If you fall into either of those camps, you may recall the less-than-rosy picture I painted of the RE's office staff. Honestly, I never felt welcomed there and it always seemed that they didn't care one way or another about the results of our efforts.

Imagine my surprise, then, upon being greeted warmly by pretty much everyone in the office today! They all wanted to see pictures of Charlotte, but all I had was my "dumb" cell phone with one blurry and too-small photo as background. I never sent them a birth announcement, a Christmas card, or any pictures because it never occurred to me that they'd care. It started with the woman sitting at the front desk, the wonderful lady who coordinates all the insurance details who was the first to suggest I buy individual health insurance that would cover IVF. She remembered me! Then, the RE was all smiles and happiness- asking about Charlotte and how I was enjoying being a parent, commenting on my weight loss (and off-handedly dismissing any concerns I expressed about potentially diminished fertility as a result of waiting until Charlotte was a year old before starting anything- THANK YOU!).

The nurse who explained the next few steps to me claimed to remember me, congratulated me on Charlotte's existence, and coo'd over the cell-phone photo. The phlebotomist said she thought Charlotte could only be 4 or 5 months old by now, not almost a year already. Nothing but good vibes there today. What a welcome relief! I was expecting them not to remember me at all, or to recall only the negative interactions we'd had.

Then we got down to business..

First off, my body (I LOVE my body right now...) is cooperating perfectly. AF began yesterday. The RE wants me to complete the Clomid Challenge (to check ovarian reserve), so they were able to draw CD3 blood today, on CD2. I'll take clomid on CD5-9, then go back for another blood draw on CD10. Also on CD10, an office hysteroscopy to take a look at my uterus. Assuming all that goes well, we'll follow the same protocol as last time with lupron starting on CD22 of the next cycle (this one will be tainted by clomid). I need to schedule a mammogram before lupron starts because they won't cycle without mammography results that are less than 2 years old. My last mammo was in January 2009, when we first started working with the RE.

Since I like to have at least a basic idea of what will happen when, I made the calculations. I'm guessing that my body will return to old rhythms. So, the next CD1 will be around 4/8. Lupron would begin 4/29. Another CD1 on roughly 5/8. ER was on CD12 last time, which would put it on about 5/19, with ET on 5/22. This is for you, Charlotte!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

how we're learning to sign

I've not received any compensation from these folks, but I highly recommend their videos. There are CDs and flash cards available too, but I haven't tried those yet. The songs are very catchy and easy to sing along. Each sign is demonstrated by an adult as well as by several children, then reinforced with both animated and real-life images. In addition to developing a vocabulary, Charlotte seems to understand that her motions can communicate. I often see her moving her hands in ways that look very intentional but don't resemble any of the signs we've learned. She may be making up her own. I love being able to converse with her!

Monday, March 7, 2011

oh yeah, the stats

I forgot to mention Charlotte's stats for the 11 month update, so here they are...
She wears some 9-month, but mostly 12-month clothing.
I estimate that she weighs around 19 pounds, probably just under. At her 9-month ped appointment, the doc expressed concern over her weight because she dropped from the 25th to the 10th percentile or something like that. I looked it up, and I don't know what chart he's using because she was right on the 25% curve as far as I could tell (WHO growth chart). I took offense with his backhanded suggestion to supplement with formula ("I recommended that to another mother, and the baby improved (gained a lot of weight).") and canceled the follow-up weigh-in. She's learning something new every day, eats as much and as often as she wants, is a happy and active baby, and simply looks healthy. I know I'm not a professional, but I am not worried about her weight. Babies come in all shapes, y'know!
Food is a lot of fun... I read Super Baby Food (bits and pieces of it, during Charlotte's naps) for some ideas on what makes a balanced diet for a baby. We start each day with 6-8 ounces of breast milk (frozen/thawed... we stopped BFing on 2/15)- 8 ounces in the sippy, and she drinks as much as she wants but never quite finishes it off. Sometimes, that's all she wants but other times we then share a bowl of oatmeal, adult-style low-sugar organic all-natural stuff. After a morning nap, she gets about 1/3cup of 7-grain cereal (my version of "super porridge") that I run through the blender before cooking so it's a little smoother. She loves mashed banana and a tiny bit of tahini in it, and sometimes I have to refill her bowl (2-tablespoons at a time so as not to waste too much) again, and again, and again. She downs another 2-4 ounces of breast milk with that. Lunch is usually Greek yogurt mixed with fruit- mashed steamed apples are a favorite, as are the organic fruit squeezee pouches that I found at Tarjay. I'd guess she eats between 1/3 and 1/2 cup of that, sometimes more, plus another 2 ounces of milk. A light snack of cheese and whole-wheat crackers or some fruit fills in between lunch and dinner, but sometimes she's not interested in it. Then she LOVES homemade chicken and rice soup, pureed, for dinner. On some days, she'll eat more then a cup of it in addition to 2-4 ounces of milk. Finally, she downs another 6-8 ounces of milk before brushing her teeth and going to bed. All-told, I offer her 24 ounces of milk every day, and she usually drinks around 20. I would feel badly about the wasted milk, but there's still enough to get her past her birthday (and her 1-year ped appointment), so I'd rather offer more than she wants than leave her wanting more.

She hates eggs- they make her retch. Otherwise, she seems happy to try new tastes and textures. She gets a quizzical look on her face when tasting something new, but usually reaches out for more. Aside from the squeezee fruit things, and puffs, I don't buy baby food. We tried a few and she didn't like anything but the fruits. She has a straw cup filled with water available to her between meals. I offered watered-down juice a few times, and she didn't seem impressed with it. Since we don't drink much juice in our house (I'm a water girl), I don't push it on her.

Did I skip any pertinent 11-month details?

By the way, she signed"Mom," "Dad," "cat," and "bird" for the first time today. She was learning a new sign every few days, but that's four in one day! Luckily, the next two videos in the series should arrive in tomorrow's mail so we can continue this vocabulary explosion.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

11 months- what was she doing two weeks ago?

She's picked up the pace. New talents emerge daily now, and she seems to bask in the glory of our recognizing each new word or ability. She likes to "jump" off the edge of the pool at our waterbabies class and go completely underwater (very briefly) before landing in my arms. She says "eye" and pokes at everyone's eyes- dolls, stuffed animals, any person within arm's reach. She knows where everyone's nose, ears, and mouth are except her own. She took two unassisted steps, once, but doesn't seem at all interested in independent walking. She "walks" up an entire flight of stairs holding my hands, but crawls up just 3 steps before giving up (and since I won't let her do this without my hovering over her, she then reaches for my hands so she can "walk" the rest of the way). She's primarily a hands-and-knees crawler now, resorting to the commando pose only when she wants speed on a slick floor. She loves to play peek-a-boo, using either her hands or feet to block her eyes. Her signing includes eat, drink, more, milk, all done, wash hands, brush teeth, dog, grandpa, apple, banana, hat, boat, car, shoes, please, thank you, sleep, yes, no, up, potty (although she doesn't know its meaning yet), and train. She's making associations now- saw a photo of a baby in a bubbly bathtub and signed "wash hands." She saw a truck and signed "car." When someone yawns, she signs "sleep." We don't know the sign for hair brush yet, but when she saw a picture of one she pantomimed brushing her hair. She babbles "Dada dadadada dadada" when she sees a phone (loves to "talk" to her Daddy on the phone). She has 6 teeth and made her first visit to a dentist, where she was an absolute DREAM! The dentist commented that she was the calmest, most cooperative not-quite-one-year-old he'd ever met. She imitates my hand motions for Pat-a-Cake and Itsy Bitsy Spider. She makes a "shhhh" sound when she sees shoes or fish. She says (with spoken words) "hat," "hot," "dada," "momom," "Mba (Simba, the cat)," "Eye-eee (Reilly, the other cat)," "Mpa (Grampa)," and "hi." She has begun putting things IN, whereas up until a few weeks ago she would only take things out. She's not up to sorting shapes yet, but has figured out how to align a plastic coin with the slot in her toy piggy bank.

Best of all, perhaps, is the fact that she has resumed sleeping through the night.

She's just waking from her morning nap (I think today may be a 3-nap day), so I need to end here. In every way, Charlotte amazes me. Thank you, universe, for forcing me to be home with her at this time in her life!