Thursday, October 5, 2006

Little Abbey Update: Part Two

One of the biggest improvements to my getting something done around the house in the evenings is that Little Abbey has finally figured out that some of the time she doesn't have to be held to fall asleep. In fact, a couple of times I have been washing dishes when I realized that she was being awfully quiet in her crib only to find her sound asleep. Before, she would have to be held and jiggled in order to fall asleep during the daytime so in order to do something else, you first had to lay her down somewhere. About fifty percent of the time, she would wake up as soon as you did this and the notion of doing something else would be gone. Since she was only a few weeks old, she has fallen asleep by herself at night but until recently, has never figured out how to do it during the day.

We finally gave up on her swaddler at night because she was escaping from it regularly. I was afraid that the Velcro fastened loop of cloth would pose a danger to her so we stopped using it. Instead, we now dress her in a sleep sack and just cover her with a blanket and tuck in the edges. Her startle reflex is now gone meaning she doesn't jerk her arms and wake herself up anymore. This has been going on for a month now but I still wake up every morning very thankful for this fact. In the last month, she has only woken up in the middle of the night perhaps three or four times. This allows my wife and I to get up, get dressed and eat something before waking her up (on the weekdays) for daycare. Gradually my life is returning to a pale shade of color of what it used to be.

One of the most gratifying changes has been in her character development. Little Abbey now recognizes me immediately and smiles, even from across a room full of other people. Whenever I'm at home, my wife gets frustrated at times when Little Abbey ignores her to look at me and smile. I know that this will eventually change so I'm soaking it up now while I can. But Little Abbey does recognize her mom too and gives her a smile that melts her heart and sends her into a streak of cooing at the baby. The colic has all but disappeared now and she no longer has a 'fussy time' anymore. Occasionally when the house gets a little warm, she will get cranky but at least we know the reason where as before, she seemed to cry for hours without reason. Little Abbey is generally content and only whimpers now when she needs milk, changing, or attention. Each of these has a distinct whimper and I have become quite adept at interpreting them. Just in general, she seems to be smiling a lot these days. It seems like so long ago already that she was mostly emotionless except for spats of crying.

Mom is still able to keep up with the pumping so we can keep Little Abbey on breast milk with out any supplementation. But we have experimented ahead of time to find out she can't handle the milk formulas from the store. Instead, she seems to like the soy based formulas. This wasn't surprising to us since Mom is still partially intolerant to milk and I was as a child but grew out of it. We do feed her scraps occasionally from whatever we happen to be eating, now that Little Abbey is sitting in a highchair right beside the table. It still takes about five to ten tongue thrusts to work whatever scrap we give from the tip of her tongue to her throat but she seems to enjoy the new tastes. We have given her rice mash mixed with breast milk on occasion but only this week have we started to be more diligent in giving it to her on a regular basis, six or so baby spoons full at a sitting. We haven't rushed things since we are only at the very beginning of the time in which you are supposed to feed babies and she still seems pretty content with her milk.

Little Abbey has developed a fascination with her image in the mirror. I hope this doesn't mean she is going to be vain later in life! She will stare at herself, smile and then smiling bury her face into my chest. We also have a little Elmo mirror in her crib that I catch her looking into quite often. I still think that she is just curious as to who the other baby is and hasn't realized it is herself so there is hope that it isn't vanity.

Finally, I have called Little Abbey 'squirmy' almost from the day we brought her home. Back then, it was because she always seemed to be kicking her legs and flailing her arms like a windmill non-stop. These days, she has grown into her name quite well. She now has more control over her arms and legs, which she uses to her advantage. However, with her newly gained neck muscles, she can really arch her back and whip her head from side to side. This can sometimes make feedings and changings more challenging especially if there is something better to watch in the room. When my wife is feeding her and Little Abbey hears me enter the room, she'll arch her back and crane her head in an attempt to look at me, forgetting all about the task at hand much to my wife's chagrin. I have to either leave the room or sneak in out of eyesight.

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