Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Giggles, Grabbing, & Grapes

Iyla Grace was 15 weeks old Monday. And on Sunday (the 24th)- I heard my first little giggle from her! It was late afternoon just after she nursed. I was talking & singing to her when the giggles came... 2 short little bursts that floored me! I haven't heard any since, but you better bet I am making a fool of myself trying to illicit more from her. Super exciting.

Dressing her up makes ME giggle!

Iyla is also really working hard on learning about her hands. She's been doing a new move lately where she reaches both arms straight above her head and crosses her arms- staring hard the entire time at her hands. It appears this is a rudimentary form of grabbing- the action of crossing her arms helps to 'grab' objects in front of her. She's been busy practicing this new skill on her play mat:

Hands always in her mouth

We awoke Tuesday to the heat having gone out, likely due to the insanely high winds Austin was experiencing. As such, Iyla got to stay in her warm jammies for the first part of the day, and proved to be an excellent human heating pad! We snuggled all morning long until the AC/heating company came and got us up and running again.

Telling her baby doll about Pajama Day! She also did the cross arm grab on that poor unsuspecting doll, pulling it into her mouth.

Iyla is still drooling like CRAZY, especially when she is concentrating on something. I've put a bib on her a few times, but it seems to get in the way of her cross arm action so usually gets removed quickly.

Nap time on Mama with an over sized bib

I've been trying to cook a bit more at home (BC and I eat out a lot) and made a few new recipes this week. Monday night I made chicken wraps, prepared with almond butter, apples, & grapes- then rolled in lettuce leaves. Tuesday I snacked on the leftovers all afternoon. After an idyllic day with Iyla where she was all smiles & happy happy joy- she went into an intense screaming fit around 6pm (right after nursing), obviously having a lot of tummy pain. It broke my heart! She had been letting out a lot of gas all day long, and apparently it caught up to her. I quickly gave her some gripe water, and hoped a bath might further soothe her belly. After the bath she got into her pajamas and when I tried to nurse her, she screamed and refused to eat. That has never happened before- and my heart broke all over again. 

Being a nursing mama, when things like this happen I find myself instantly cataloging what I've eaten in the last 12 hours. The ONLY thing I could come up with that was different than normal were the grapes in the chicken wrap. I never eat grapes, so my best educated guess were that these were the culprit. No more grapes for me! NOT worth it to see my little one in so much pain.

Happily that little lady slept so well last night- even with having skipped her evening meal. She woke to nurse at 1:30 &  4:45 before getting up for the day at 7. She went to sleep easily after each nursing, and was all smiles again this morning. 

If there is one thing I have learned through this motherhood journey, it's that babies are tough- much tougher than I am.  Upward and onward we go... here's hoping for more giggles soon!

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Growth Spurt

I have been reading a fascinating book called The Wonder Weeks (there is a great app for it too) which details the major growth & fussy periods in a baby's development. They define the growth spurts according to your baby's actual due date, not when he/she was born. So if you go according to our conception due date- November 29th- Iyla's adjusted developmental age would be 11.5-12 weeks (instead of her actual 14w3d today). Given that, she is in the midst of a big 'Wonder Week' of learning Smooth Transitions. At the end of this period babies tend to have much more fluid movements- following objects and people in a smooth movement with their eyes & head, and reaching for things in more fluid ways vs the previous robotic flailing.

With these big transitions comes some major fussy periods. I can honestly say that this past week was the first time I knew without a doubt that we were going through a growth spurt. On Monday my normally quick 5-10 minute nurser spent a couple crazy marathon sessions on the boob- the longest being FORTY FIVE minutes! Then that night she woke up wanting to nurse at 12am, 1:30am, 4:30am, 5:30am, & 7am. She was much harder than usual to get back to sleep after each feeding- cracking big smiles and playing some serious "Reinsert the Paci" games over and over and over again.

I get to. I'm cute.

How can you be mad at this face?!

This left us both quite tired on Tuesday- just in time for my parents to visit and see Iyla for the first time since Christmas. That little lady was so off Sleeping LONG stretches and when not sleeping, bringing out the serious fuss times. She didn't care for anyone but Mama to be holding her, and also had no interest in playtime. It was eat, sleep, fuss- repeat.

Naps with Papa were tolerated

Happily she slept better Tuesday night and awoke Wednesday her normal sunshiny self. I was so glad my parents got to see that side come out on their visit! Iyla Grace is definitely still 50% smiley joy and 50% fussy feist, but usually she gives you equal amounts of both in a given day. These growth spurts are some serious business!

Hooray for the return of smiley joy!

Iyla found her hands last week, and is still chewing on them 24-7. She is also a serious drool factory lately. I am not sure if she is officially teething, but erring on the side of caution I went ahead and dug out her amber teething necklace. I have heard amazing things about these as a natural soother for babies- the amber interacts with the skin's heat to help lessen the teething pain. Because Iyla still doesn't have full neck control yet, I opted to wrap the necklace around her wrist (many parents wrap it around the wrist or ankle for bedtime, though it is most effective left as a necklace). I am not sure if it is making a difference yet, but it sure is adorable to see Iyla rockin' some jewelry bling!

Post bath bling. We've been taking baths together every other morning. 
She LOVES being in the big tub! 

Just this week Iyla has begun trying to grasp things! Very tentatively, very slowly, very sporadically- with deep concentration (and drool!) as she works things out.

 Working it out on the play mat... just starting to reach for some of the toys.


Other achievements this week include:

*Adding gurgling & clicking to her cooing vocalizations.

She loves to talk while on the potty. And bibs are also being introduced into our lives due to all the drooling going on.

*When lying on her back, rolling to her right side.

*When on her stomach for tummy time, rolling over to the left and flipping onto her back (she doesn't do this when flat on her stomach, just when propped up on the nursing pillow).

*Doing awesome at tummy time! She still doesn't last long but can now hold that head up strong.

Showing off tummy time strength to her friends

*Wanting to be more physical. She love love LOVES standing up on her legs and holding them strong & firm. She also loves kicking those little legs like crazy! She is less tolerant of lying on her back & enjoys being upright - either with the tummy time or standing.

Taken this morning- those little legs are primed to River Dance!
On a sidenote, I've been pleased to actually need a belt again with my pre-pregnancy jeans. 

I got on the scale with Iyla a couple of days ago, and it looks like she has gained a pound since her 2 month appointment- bringing her up to a whopping 9.5 pounds. I have had two friends birth 10 pound babies in the past week- I can't even imagine that big of a baby coming out of my lady parts! It's hilarious to me that Iyla is just now the weight that many babies are at birth. Growth spurt indeed!

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Happy Valentine's!

Iyla and I started our day with a coffee shop breakfast date. She woke up halfway through the visit- which always causes me a moment of panic (will she start fussing and cause us to high tail it outta there?) Happily this girl was all smiles before conking out again:

We had an interesting night last night. I decided to try putting Iyla to sleep in her Pack n Play lying flat, vs her normal Rock n Play which is inclined. She fell asleep quickly & soundly, but within an hour we were playing the 'reinsert the paci' game. I put her down initially around 7:30p,, and at 11:30 she was UP! Boo. This girl usually sleeps at LEAST 6 hours her first stretch, so this didn't bode well. I nursed her and laid her back down, and we got into a very heated 30 minute paci game that had me really wondering if Iyla would be sleeping in her Rock n Play until she moved out of the house. Every time I thought she was finally asleep and I started drifting off myself she was UP AND NEEDED THE PACI BACK IN NOW! The pacifier falls out & away much more easily when a babe is flat on her back.

Finally around 12:15am I put her in the darn Rock n Play again. That little one passed out immediately and stayed there until 6:45am! I did insert the paci at a few intervals throughout the night- but just one insertion at a time and she was out again. I felt more rested than I have in days, since the paci game happened earlier in the evening. 

So the new bedtime plan? Lying her to sleep initially in the Pack n Play, then after the first wake/nursing transferring her to the Rock n Play. We'll see how it goes! I'm hopeful her shifts lying flat on her back will get longer and longer as she gets used to sleeping like that again.

And what fun is having a baby if you can't subject them to a Holiday photo shoot?

Happy Valentine's blogger friends!

 Those would be my toes. I am so not a professional photographer!

 Our tiny flasher

Are we done yet?

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

3 Months Old!

Iyla Grace is 3 months old today! Here are her updates:

How old? 3 months old

How big?  Since we don't have another official doc visit to take her measurements until 4 months, I bring you photo documentation of Iyla's first 3 months' growth as compared to our kitty Sam:


*This past week Iyla found her hands and cannot.stop.sucking them.

*Just today she started watching her feet!

*While observing my face she has started shifting her gaze from my eyes to my mouth (best when it is talking or making silly sounds) then up to my eyes again.

*I think I've tricked her into tolerating (dare I say enjoying?) tummy time! I've been laying her on the My Breast Friend pillow facing an array of her stuffed animals, and that girl goes to town chatting away at them. It is a mix between complaining then cooing/wooing as she bobs her head around.

Tummy Time with her friends
(sorry this is turned funky!)

*Her first shift sleeping continues to be the longest, between 6-9 hours.

*She usually goes down between 7-8pm. I change her diaper, nurse her, turn out the lights, turn on the fan, swaddle, & sing songs. About 50% of the time she passes out with no pacifier needed, the other 50% she humors me when I lay her down, sucking vigorously on that paci.

*If she isn't sound asleep when I lay her down (or even sometimes when she is!) there is usually about an hour of the "let's spit out the pacifier and make Mama reinsert it over and over and over again" game. This is part of Iyla's finely attuned Baby Radar- the SECOND I think she is out for the night and I start reading or watching TV or checking emails, etc- it's out with the paci!

*After her first long sleep she'll wake to nurse and *typically* goes back to sleep easily.

*She usually pops up awake again an hour after going back to sleep (boo). Not super fun for me when that pop happens between 2-6am! At that point we commence the 'reinsert the pacifier' game, which Iyla always wins.

*When daylight creeps in (around 7am) she is up for the day- all smiles- initially for the ceiling fan, then for her Mama and Papa.

*This week she has been peeing in her baby potty first thing in the morning- but not again the rest of the day.

*I also just started putting her in footed sleepers for bedtime. I know- strange that I haven't been doing that all along! Typically I leave her day outfit on through the night; however, when I put together how many cute footed sleepers we have with the fact that I no longer change her diaper during the night (when she was needing to be changed multiple times during the night those sleepers annoyed me!) it made sense to unleash the pajama cuteness:

Iyla this morning, rocking the footed sleeper

Hot list:
*Jellycat baby books
*Stuffed animals
*Ceiling AC vents
*Babbling & cooing
*Her hands

Chatting with her lamb (don't mind my creepy voice saying 'soft' over and over)

Not so hot list:
*Sitting in her bouncy chair while Mama & Papa shower
*Moby wrap

Postpartum body: I am now 4 pounds away from my pre pregnancy weight.... carrying much of that in a flotation device around my midsection. I am not leaking near as much during walks, and the addition of probiotics in my diet are definitely helping make things get *ahem* more regular.

What do I miss? I miss movie dates! Those are the one thing BC and I cannot do with Iyla. I am also craving a little getaway. BC and I have talked about possibly taking a night or two stay somewhere close to Austin, renting a little cottage in San Marcos or Wimberley for a weekend. Perhaps the outing to our own garage apartment next month will suffice- we'll be moving up there with Iyla & Sam for NINE nights as we rent our house out for the SXSW Music Festival.

Most looking forward to? Continuing to see Iyla's spirit & personality emerge! I can't wait to see her learn to sit up, crawl, start talking, etc. It's all so much fun to witness.

And here are some outtakes from today's photo shoot:

Happy 3 months sweet baby girl!

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Iyla's Friends

We have been having SO much fun watching Iyla enjoy her books & toys lately. One of the cutest things is how she "talks" to her different stuffed animals. I will take them out one by one to hold above her, making them talk to her & putting her arms around them to hug. She LOVES it. Lots of coos and babbles & smiles!

I also discovered an awesome new way to attempt Tummy Time yesterday (something Iyla always hates). Using the My Breast Friend nursing pillow (hooray for finally finding a use for this!), I've been propping Iyla up to face her stuffed animals. Yesterday was our first time trying this, and Iyla wanted to tell her friends all about it:

"Let me tell you how I REALLY feel about Tummy Time...."

Today's session saw Iyla actually lifting up her entire upper body with strength I didn't know she possessed! It was hilarious because it totally exhausted her... after holding herself up for a couple of minutes the fussing started & she was immediately ready for a nap.

This little lady is also having an amazing run with bedtime... the past 3 nights I've gotten an 8, 8.5, and 9 hour first stretch of sleep respectively! And last night after the 9 hours (7:45pm-4:45am) she nursed & immediately went back to sleep until 7:45. This allowed me to get up ahead of her and actually shower & get ready for the day without her yelling at me from the bathroom bouncy chair (she ALWAYS starts fussing when it gets time to put on my mascara. ALWAYS. I think she prefers her Mama au naturale).

We also met another friend out this morning for breakfast. It is my dear friend Lisa's birthday today, so a Bouldin Creek Cafe coffee date was in order! Iyla did awesome- we took turns holding her, and she even graced the birthday girl with lots of smiles.

Iyla and her Auntie Lisa

In other news, BC and I have decided to take a 2 week road trip to the Midwest this June (where we are both from), when Iyla is almost 7 months old. We figure driving will give us a lot of flexibility with bringing all of our baby loot, and it will also allow us to visit so many friends and family! We'll be making stops in Oklahoma City, Kansas City, Minneapolis, Madison, Milwaukee, Chicago, and then 2 more TBD stops on the way home to Austin. We may be a little crazy to plan this, but we can't WAIT to hit the road and introduce Iyla to all of our loved ones. 

**As a sidenote- If you've ever road tripped with an infant, any tips & advice are welcomed!**

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Names and Numbers

Babycakes and I have always loved the name Iyla and had it in our 'future baby' repertoire for years. I can't remember how we arrived at it, save for it fit BC's request for an alliterative name (starting with or containing the letter "L").

The traditional way of spelling Iyla is "ISLA." We went back and forth a lot about which way to spell her name... and the pros and cons went like this:

ISLA (Scottish- means "an island")
*Looks beautiful and feminine
*More common
*Might be mispronounced "IS-la"
*Don't love the meaning

IYLA (Indian, Sanskrit for "moonlight")
*More phonetic & easier to pronounce
*Sentimental meaning, as she was conceived on a full moon and BC and I have a longstanding joke that I am the sunshine & he is my moonshine

The ironic thing is that so many people are getting her name wrong, despite the spelling we thought would be easiest. We had not anticipated the challenges of computer font... which more times than not makes the capital "I" look like an "L." We keep having people think her name is LY-la. C'est la vie. I do still love the way "Isla" looks, but the meaning & uniqueness of "Iyla" definitely tipped the scales.

Don't you call me Lyla! And why is this sleep sack so huge?

For as long as I can remember, 8 and 12 have always been my 'lucky' numbers. 8 had an easy explanation- it was my birth date AND it was infinity. Now 12? Couldn't explain it, it just was.

Allow me for a moment to go into my frou-frou ways. Right before I got pregnant the first time (that ended in a miscarriage)- I had a really strong sense that the 8 and 12 would have some kind of meaning for our little one. Sure enough, the first pregnancy due date was around August 12th, 2012 (8-12-12). And then Ms. Iyla Grace decided to arrive ahead of schedule, and chose 11-12-12 as her birth date, born at 8:44pm. That stuff does not go unnoticed in my world! Also? I was married in 2008, and became a mother in 2012... two extremely huge life transitions.

Oddly enough the numerology of our current home (as well as our last home together) is the number 8. You arrive at it by adding up all of the numbers of your home address... so 2213 is 2+2+1+3 = 8. The 8 is known to hold the vibration of wealth & success. Upon first viewing our current home I noticed the "money" corner of the Bagua Map was missing- and indeed the builder was already losing money on it! Upon moving in we quickly purchased a stone water fountain to symbolically fill in that space & generate life (lots of birds and squirrels!) and energy (flowing water). You better bet I'm keeping that fountain filled!

Sam and Iyla looking out the back french doors toward our fountain. 
How can I not look at these guys and feel completely full of abundance? 

Friday, February 1, 2013

Put a Sling On It

We had friends stop by a few nights ago to help BC prep the yard for spring grass (as an aside- HOORAY for grass finally coming! We've lived with a dirt/mud pit out back for a couple of years now). My friend was asking about Iyla, and inquiring as to whether or not I used a wrap or sling with her?

Uh, not really.

I've tried the Moby Wrap a couple of times to very lukewarm reviews from Iyla. I think it has to do with the fact that she does NOT like being flat against my belly- she prefers facing out to see the world or lying on her side.

I also have a Maya Ring Sling, which comfortably holds her on her side, but have only pulled it out when Iyla is in full fuss mode as one step in the calming process.

So my friend's inquiry got me thinking: what if I tried Iyla in the sling when she wasn't fussing?

And.... she loved it.
(Maybe Beyonce can make an infant sling version?)

There are so many moments as a first time/new mom when you think you know what your baby likes & doesn't like, but I am constantly learning and Iyla is constantly changing, so my bad that I didn't discover this sooner. I seriously think it may have been helpful during the nightly witching hours to sling her BEFORE the fussies hit.

Wednesday night I had a happy hour planned with a couple Real Estate colleagues, so BC agreed to watch Iyla. I asked him to come home a little early so I could give him a sling tutorial. We adjusted everything to his height, and as he lifted an alert, curious Iyla into the pouch the smiles that this little lady beamed out were insane and led us into instant giggles. She LOVED it. It was as if she was stupefied that her Papa was baby wearing? Too, too funny. And all reports from the evening were that they had a grand 'ole time together- no fussing- Iyla feeling content & secure in her sling.


The sling isn't the most comfortable thing out there to wear, but a little discomfort goes a long way when your baby is content! I've been slinging her every evening since this discovery, and we are all a lot happier for it.

The other big change this week is that in addition to Iyla enjoying books for the first time (more and more! She smiles throughout the readings!) she has started to realize how cool her play mat is! I've been putting her on this every other day since around Christmas, and she hasn't been all that excited about it. But yesterday when I laid her down on it (in a new location by a window)- her little eyes LIT UP as she realized she was surrounded by cute toys! Her arms & legs were flailing with pure joy. It is so awesome to have new activities to do with her during her awake/alert times... and I can't wait to watch her get more and more interested in toys as she grows.

Ms. Bright Eyes discovers her play mat at 11 weeks old

I think Iyla is as equally relieved for this developmental milestone, because prior to it there wasn't much to do with her during playtime but dress her up... more fun for Mama than for her:

Step 1: take a cute baby

Step 2: start putting ridiculous things on her

"I hate tutus!"

Trying out the hand & foot rattles- not quite sure what to make of these yet

Sweet smiles on her play mat!

Hasn't yet noticed Mama's creepy reflection in the mirror....

And BAM! Great way to creep out your child

Posing with another yet-to-be-discovered toy

Sweet baby girl- can't wait to see what tomorrow's adventures bring!