Friday, September 22, 2006

The Long Promised Little Abbey Update

Following are little notes about Little Abbey that come to mind in no particular order.

Little Abbey has started to play with toys on her own. Though she has a myriad of rattles and several chairs with dangling objects, she never really has reached out and grabbed them. Up until and including now, most collisions between appendages and hanging objects seems to be reflex in nature. However, on an impulse purchase a couple weeks ago, I bought a package of brightly colors rings that clip together and form a chain. At first she didn't give them much attention unless I dangled them in front of her but a week ago, she started grabbing onto them and shaking them. I tied off one end of the chain around the base of her bear mobile with the other end lying on the crib floor beside her. With the mobile bears doing their endless circle and the plastic chain that she grabs and plays with, she can entertain herself sometimes for almost twenty minutes.

Why are babies fascinated with things that spin in circles? Little Abbey if terribly fascinated with ceiling fans and will almost dislocate her neck trying to crane her head back far enough while being carried to watch them. When laying on the couch or bed where she can watch them in comfort, this too serves as a good distraction. Despite her ceiling fan fascination, the mobile bears that spin in the endless circle to the tune of Old MacDonald's Farm is by far her favorite.

One of the best developments is her happiness. Although she has been displaying signs of smiling and cooing for over a month now, they seem to get stronger and more pronounced with every passing day. Her smiles are definitely genuine and not to be mistaken with any other facial gesture. Her squeals of delight can be heard clear across the house. My favorite part of the day consists of me taking fifteen minutes after her afternoon feeding to just babble to her, repeating her various coos that emit from her throat. Those are conversations that I wish could go on forever.

Little Abbey has adapted will to Mrs. Z and Mrs. Z seems to be adapting well to Little Abbey. They have developed a schedule together and we have adapter our evening schedule slightly to match up so the days are seamless. Every morning when I drop her off at Mrs. Z's house, Little Abbey is all smiles as she greets Mrs. Z while I update her on the overnight and morning news such as last bottle, etc. In the afternoon when I pick her up, she is all smiles while I get updated on all the day's happenings from Mrs. Z. That aspect of rearing a child has been surprisingly painless.

Although Little Abbey is doing well in regards to neck control and holding it up in the air for longer and longer periods of time when on her stomach, she has showed little inclination towards rolling over. However, this is fine with us as we are in no hurry for her to grow up all at once and there seems to be no pressing reason that she must learn to roll over. In fact, rolling over complicates things because you now have to be more vigilant on where she is laid down so that she doesn't roll off. Besides, when she can't roll over, she is forced to face towards me and have a conversation. The day when she can roll over and 'give me the shoulder' will come soon enough as it is.

All parents think their babies are beautiful or at least I get the sense that is the case. However, judging by the number of people who stop us whenever we go out in public just to comment on how beautiful Little Abbey is, I'm guessing that she truly is beautiful. This is good now but sure to give me loads of heartburn later when she is in high school around boys like I was, another event that I'm not looking forward too.

She was pretty colicky for the first couple months and even after that, sometimes a little in the evenings. All that has gone now and she is happy or quiet unless she wants something like attention, diaper changings, food or sleep. She still needs to work on falling asleep by herself during the daytime. At night she can be awake when we put her to bed, no problem. But during the daytime, she just rubs her eyes and shakes her head from side to side as she tries to rid herself of what I presume is a heavy eyelid feeling. All it takes is one of us to hold her for a few seconds to fall asleep but she just needs that guidance telling her that she is sleepy.

Part of her not sleeping by herself during the day I think stems from her curiosity. Probably because I'm a new parent and am blind when it comes to my child, but she seems wise beyond her years at times. When we go for walks in the evenings, where Little Abbey used to snooze in her stroller, she now gazes out over the edges at trees and houses in a wide eyed gaze. Whenever we are holding her, she is always looking around at this and that seemingly fascinated by every little thing. Even when she is in one of her chairs, her eyes are always wandering around the room looking at first one thing and then another. I think all this fascination keeps her mind alert and her eyes open far longer than she should keep them.

Perhaps her lack of sleep during the day contributes towards her excellent sleeping habits at night. We normally put her to bed at nine and wake her around six in the morning to take her to feed her before dropping her off at the daycare. In the almost two months that she has been sleeping through the night, she has slipped and woken up early perhaps less than a half dozen times but always goes back to bed. On the weekends, she will sleep a little later until seven or gets up at the same time as during the week, eats and goes back to bed. Either way, it allows mom and dad to catch up on some sleep. Another friend who reads this blog (and is linked in my sidebar) wrote a blog piece a week or so ago about having her baby sleep in the same bed with them. We decided against this for a couple reasons. The biggest reason was SIDS or Sudden Infant Death Syndrome. Although if you are careful, this problem can be avoided, it leads into the second reason why we bed Little Abbey in a crib in her own room. That reason is the quality of our sleep, i.e. mom and dad. When Little Abbey sleeps with us for a weekend nap, I always sleep much lighter out of worry of accidentally moving a cover over Little Abbey. I sleep, but it is not the good quality sleep that one gets when they have the whole bed to toss around in and know it. Having Little Abbey in the next room brings me peace of mind and a lot better sleep. As a side benefit, it allows my wife and I to have some us time. Now I don't mean this in a sexual nature. I mean it in a way where we can just talk and be ourselves without a baby in-between us whom we are trying not to disturb. Finally, I have talked with too many people who allowed their children to sleep in bed with mom and dad as infants until toddlers and when they finally wean the children to their own rooms, it is always a more traumatic event. The only reason I can see to bed a child in bed with the parents is convenience but if your child sleeps through the night anyway and takes convenience out of the question, why risk SIDS or a not so restful sleep?

I think we are getting close to starting to feed Little Abbey something other than a pure breast milk diet. Already we give her some rice water from time to time and little scraps of what we are eating but it has been only recently that she is starting to lose the tongue thrust reflex that all babies are born with. This reflex causes them to push all foreign objects from their mouth and usually disappears around four to six months of age. Evidently it then reverses causing them to stick everything they find into their mouth such as the eyeball of a Tickle Me Elmo mirror that I found Little Abbey contently sucking on the other day. A relative who is very keen on cooking gadget infomercials sent us a Magic Bullet (mini blender) set for Christmas last year and we promptly put it down in the storage room downstairs. Now, I'm thinking of finding it again so that I can blend up some breast milk/what-ever-we're-eating shakes for Little Abbey to try. I'm guessing she'll really like them.

I think I could probably go on for quite a bit more but this post is already plenty long. I'll turn into Phil (none for his long posts) if I keep at it so I'll save the rest for another time. I want to thank everyone for the nice comments and emails regarding Little Abbey that I receive from time to time. I'm happy that I can share some of her experiences with you.

No comments: