4 days until Spica Freedom!
Babyhood definitely goes by in stages.
For each 'stage' that Kaia has gone through I've developed a daily routine. I had a routine when she was in the NICU. Brian and I worked out a routine when she first came home, then he went back to work and I had to learn how to take care of her during the day by myself. Then the cast came and we entered Kaia's "Spica phase". Since the cast time is coming to an end, I have a feeling that Kaia and will be entering another stage. A more mobile one. While the cast has been a bit of a hurdle, it wasn't as bad as I feared. Kaia has still developed a lot even though she's immobile and I just thought I should record what she's up to these days because as of Tuesday (4 more sleeps!!) it will be all different!
Kaia was 8 months old on March 9th (6 months corrected). It was a Friday and when I got her up I noticed two little spots on her lower gum that I hadn't seen the day before. All of a sudden, as if by magic, two little bottom teeth are starting to poke through. It's now three weeks later and bottom lefty is winning the growth race over righty. The teeth are becoming more obvious each day and if Kaia chews on your finger (which she will if you get your hand anywhere near her mouth) you can feel the jagged (SHARP!!) edges. It reminds me a bit of the little crocuses that are poking through the soil around here. It seems to take them FOREVER to get started, but once they take off, it seems like overnight you've got flowers everywhere!
Much to Brian's pleasure, Kaia had stopped doing that long drawn out inhale noise that she was partial to a few weeks ago. One day we suddenly realized she hadn't done it in days. Brian was glad that was over as he HATED that noise. Then all of a sudden, a few days ago she started doing it again! It was like she remembered "oh yeah, I forgot about this!!!" (Cue long drawn out air sucking noise). She still doesn't use the typical baby consonants like 'ba-ba' or 'ma-ma' or 'da-da' (I'm partial to ma-ma...) but loves 'ahhhh', 'wwwhhaaaa' and "ooooohhhhh'. She gets a huge kick out of us repeating her own sounds back to her. She's quite vocal and almost seems to 'sing' sometimes. She'll start saying "Ahhhh" and then raise her voice to an octave where it's so squeaky it almost disappears and then kind of hover there getting louder and softer "AAAAaaahhhhhhHHHHHH". It's freakin' adorable.
Kaia has gotten pretty good at passing toys from one hand to the other. It's hard for her as she has her 'cast boobs' in the way. She can't bring things close to her chest where she could better manipulate them, but she does better than I expected with small toys even having to hold them at arms length. She still loves her 'Spica chair' that Brian made her and often sits there while I make dinner. Recently I've noticed she doesn't mind being left lying on the floor on her back with toys strewn around her. As long as she can reach something interesting, and she's not overly tired, she will play (read: bash toys around) for a good 20 minutes or so. A few days ago, I almost got all of her bottles washed before I realized "hey, she's quiet, she's not asleep and I'm not entertaining her...cool!" Kaia's also gotten to the point where if I hold her at the table on my lap I have to be careful of whatever is on top, because if she gets a hold of it, it's going flying. Paper, plates, glasses, and cutlery are all at her mercy. Fortunately we've had no accidents yet, but it's been a close a few times.
We've started to give a few bites of 'adult food' but we are still waiting until she's out of the cast to really get going on that. This is despite the 'advice' of all the doctors I've seen. I don't know what the magic of rice cereal is, but holy smokes, doctors are all over that like they're getting kick backs from Gerber. I keep getting asked "have you started rice cereal yet??! Like it's the greatest thing since sliced bread. It looks disgusting if you ask me. However, Kaia has tried mashed up banana, strawberry and raspberry via a spoon. She's also had a few bites of frozen yogurt at the mall, and I've attempted cracker type bread, but that's a no go. She really isn't at all interested in any harder solids and makes a "this is disgusting! Why are you putting this in my mouth?" face when we try them. Then if they make it past the tip of her tongue, we get gagging and coughing. For those of you who have done baby led weaning, is this a stage that she just has to get past? Brian gets very upset with the gagging and I'll admit it's not pleasant to watch. I'm hoping a few more weeks will kick start her love of solids.
One of the things that I know will have to change when Kaia is cast free, is our comfort with leaving her in high places unattended. I know, I know, I sound like a neglectful parent, but she literally CAN NOT roll by herself. Nor can she get up the momentum with just her arms to even tip herself side to side. She's basically the human equivalent of a paper weight. This means we've been comfortable leaving her for a few minutes on changing tables, on the kitchen counter where we do her bath, or on couches. It felt totally weird when we first did it, but it's become habit by now. We'll have to break that one real quick!
Yesterday for the first time since being in the cast, I did notice that if left on the floor for a while with toys *just* out of reach, she will do this head shaking, back arching thing and can very slowly (very slowly, it took her 10 minutes to go 90 degrees) revolve in a circle on her back in order to get closer to the toy. I can see how bigger kids could figure out how to move in a cast. I don't think Kaia's going to get to this point since we only have a few days left, and hopefully it will be her last time in a body cast.
Kaia continues to get only breast milk and I haven't touched my HUMONGOUS stash of frozen breast milk in our deep freezer (literally I could feed her for well over a month with all the milk that's down there). I'm still pumping 5x a day, usually just over a litre. Pumping is not the most fun thing to do in the world, and there are sometimes when it's the absolute last thing I want to do, but overall I've found ways to work it into my schedule. It really helps that Brian is very supportive of it. He knows if I have to pump, he's in charge and doesn't rush me. I do try to do it when Kaia is sleeping for the most part, or when Brian can be around to keep her entertained, and my last pump of the night when Brian and Kaia are sleep is actually quite relaxing. Pumping does take a lot of time, which is probably the worst part. About 2.5 hours of my day is spent hooked up to the pump and this doesn't include the other jobs of washing bottles and actually getting all that goodness into our girl. However, Kaia only had one tiny cold over the winter and if breast milk helped fight off any germs at all, I'm glad I went this route. It's cool to be able to grow a human from scratch.
In terms of her size Kaia was 7.07 kg at her doctor's appointment on March 14th which is just below the 50th percentile based on her adjusted age (6 months), and about the 10th percentile for her actual age (8 months). I think this is great. I'm thoroughly pleased at her weight. I don't know what her length is, as it's unmeasurable in the cast, but she's looking very long to me! I can't wait to get a look at all of her on April 3rd!
Kaia's current favourite Toys are her Elephant "Mr. Bo Jangles" and she loves diaper change time because that is where "Toucan Sam" and "Gerry the Giraffe" hang out (Brian likes naming all her toys, that way we know who we're talking about when we say "Can you go and get _____"). Sophie the Giraffe is also a favourite but she lives in Kaia's diaper bag, and is brought out for special occasions like visits to Grami's house, or trips to the doctor. I'm hoping to preserve some of Sophie's 'specialness', so that if ever a melt down happens when we're out, Sophie will be somewhat new and exciting. I'll let you know if this works.
I'm going to knock on wood before I type this, but nights with Kaia have gotten so much better. Sometime within the last couple of months we moved her bed time from around 10pm to 7-8ish pm. I was prepared for possibly needing to get up earlier...but it worked REALLY well and Kaia doesn't usually get up 'for good' until somewhere between 8:30 to 10 am! Since I'm not at all an earlier riser and tend to have sleep issues of my own, this is PERFECT. Our daily routine is something like this:
Kaia wakes up anywhere between 5am and 7am for her first bottle. I change her diaper and feed her and then she goes back in her crib. I then have to pump, usually I have breakfast at this point too, and hopefully she has fallen asleep by the time I'm done and we go back to bed until anywhere between 8:30 am and 10 am. If she's still making noise when I'm finished pumping I'll bring her into bed with me, and we'll both fall asleep there.
By 10am Kaia is in our room, still in her jammies and sleep sac, but awake and ready for bottle #2. This is the hardest pump of the day because she generally wants to be entertained, but it's difficult to hold her while pumping. So I give her toys to play with (sometimes my hand is the best toy of all) and I watch TV for an hour while Kaia eats and I pump.
At 11am Kaia sits on her potty. She almost always pees. Yeah! Good job. She gets a new diaper and we figure out what the weather is going to be like and get dressed appropriately.
By 11:20 or so, I get 'brunch'. The last little while we've been going for a walk a few times per week. It's been nice out and I could definitely use the exercise. Kaia likes the stroller too and sometimes even falls asleep for 20 minutes or so as we go through the ravine near our house. If it's crummy weather we'll stay indoors and play with toys or listen to music while I clean the kitchen. It's much more fun going for walks.
We're usually home by 1pm. Sometimes we need a bottle at this point and sometimes not. This is when I check my e-mail, blogs and Facebook and Kaia plays in her swing or with toys on the floor. Sometimes we listen to music or read a book. By 2 or 2:30 pm she's ready for afternoon nap. She sits on the potty again, has a diaper change, has another bottle, cuddles for a few minutes in the chair in her room and then she's off to sleep.
From 2:30pm until usually close to 5pm is what I like to call me time. Sometimes chores get done, often they don't. Okay, it isn't ALL me time. I have to pump around 4pm and then get dinner started.
By 5pm Brian is usually home and I'm in the kitchen. Kaia gets up from her nap at this point, gets her diaper changed and Brian does the bottle while I attend to dinner. We've usually finished all of this by 6pm or so.
From 6pm to 7pm is different depending on the day. Often it involves a bit of clean up/playing with Kaia time. Sometimes I'll do Kaia's bath at this point. Sometimes we need to go shopping. Sometimes we'll just sit around and chill.
By 7pm we are starting to think about putting Kaia to bed. Brian often does this which includes sitting on the potty again, diaper, pajamas, giving her vitamins, reading a story and another bottle before bed. I usually wash bottles and pump again.
By 8pm Kaia's usually asleep. Brian and I watch TV, or he plays video games and I'm on the computer.
Brian goes up to bed by 9:30pm or so. He gets up for work at 5:45 am so he likes to relax in bed and play on his Playbook for awhile. I possibly have a shower, get in my pj's and then get ready around 10pm to pump for the last time. I usually drag this one out because I'm on the lap top catching up with some of you, or reading a good book.
Around 11:30pm I get Kaia up for her last bottle of the night. Yeah, you read that right, I actually wake my sleeping child up to give her a bottle. We were told when she went in her cast that she shouldn't be left for longer than 4 to 6 hours in one spot without changing positions and her diaper usually needs to be changed in order to prevent overflow into the cast. I don't mind this bottle as usually it's very quick. 10 minutes or less and she goes right back to sleep. This is the bottle I'm hoping to cut out once the cast comes off. I'm hoping she won't notice the omission.... Ha...fat chance.
So there you have it. Kaia's schedule for the 'cast' portion of her life. Changes are coming and while I'm excited, it will be another adjustment. Kaia might be sore and uncomfortable and maybe even a bit freaked out to be suddenly 'free' of her fiberglass prison, but hopefully she adjusts quickly! Good bye Spica...don't let the door hit you on the way out!
What's new with you this spring?