Monday, June 16, 2008

"my little buttercup...

...has the sweetest smile"

Anna's getting very good at smiling. The best is when she smiles because she realizes it's me. Her mouth opens wide, her cheeks spring up, and her eyes squint with glee. Whenever she does that, I get SO happy and praise and kiss and cuddle her. However, she still does lots of lesser smiles for other things that please her like a soft blanket, or passing gas, or peeing with no diaper on, or right before she spits up-- you know, the really pleasurable things in life.

Still, Anna's getting to be lots of fun. She continues to adore bath time and loves it when Mommy massages her soapy body or when Daddy makes a wave pool ("They have this at Schlitterbahn, Anna!") She likes to listen to music and dance around the room. If she's in her bouncy seat, she wiggles her arms and legs. I love to sing to her and she especially enjoys it when we do action songs (like "Head, Shoulders, Knees, and Toes"-- her current favorite) and I move her arms and legs for her. When she's feeling a little more docile, she likes to go on walks and be lulled by the rhythm of the stroller. If we prop her up, she can sit up in the rocking chair and just looks around the room while we rock her. I think we're going to buy a swing soon.

Of course, play time is some of the best time with Anna. She's alert and cute and interactive. I personally think she's cutest while she's eating. That may be because she likes to snuggle into me and look at my face, and a profile shows off her big round eyes and tiny eyelashes.

I soak up all her cute and loving moments to get through the trying ones. For instance, yesterday at church, I expected Anna to fall asleep in the car ride over and continue to snooze through the first hour or so. Didn't happen. For the first hour, we rotated between eating and being held/rocked by Mommy. Then for the second hour, I tried to bring her into Sunday School, but she would start fussing the moment I opened the door to the classroom. If I wandered the hall, she was content to just look around, but the second I opened the door, her face would start to crinkle up and I could see a nice loud cry would erupt at any moment. So no Sunday School.

She has also started to cry in the evenings. The first time it happened, we just didn't know what to do. She cried and cried and sounded so desperate and afraid, but if you held her, she just got even more stimulated and wailed harder. It drove me to tears and finally she was tired and hungry enough to nurse herself to sleep. That week, I read three books with varying advice on soothing, napping, and bedtime. We've started swaddling Anna again and she's gone from 40 minutes to 10 minutes of crying time in her crib before she falls asleep. And last night she slept for two 4-hour stretches.

It's a huge roller coaster ride. One day I think I'm doing great and think, "Maybe we're figuring this out." And the next will be really hard. I'll read one book and think, "Yeah, that sounds good!" and the next will just confuse me. I just hope and pray that being a good parent means I keep trying and playing with and loving Anna rather than having all the answers. Hopefully her smiles indicate that that's true.

PS-- look on the right for a permanent link to my picasa web albums with the latest pictures of Anna


Anna and Jon said...

Heather, I'm sure you're doing GREAT! But I kind of think that parenthood is a serious of ups and...not so ups. :) Even when they get a little older. We have daily moments when I think, what the heck just happened. Or, where did that come from. You just never know. But sleep time definitely gets more predictable. So you have something to look forward to.

Ben, Amy, Isabelle & Olivia said...

I am not very experienced but in my 2-years of Motherhood I can tell you that it gets easier, but then there are new things you are trying to figure it is a constant overwhelming, joyful, mess! I remember thinking, Belle will get over this" and then one day I would think about it and she would in fact be over with whatever it was...but then there was something else I would say that about. You are doing wonderful though and those sweet smiles are Anna's way of telling you so!

Marci said...

You are definitely right in that being a good parent is just trying to do the right thing and playing with her and loving her. I don't think there is ever a way to figure out matter how many you have!

Karen Ahlstrom said...

I agree about the smiling. The best time of day is when she's laying in her crib complaining, and I walk in to pick her up, and she sees me from across the room and gets the cutest excited grin on her face. It just melts my heart into a pool of butter.

Since you asked the other day, I'll pass on this bit of advice that you can do with what you will. The healthy sleep habits guy says that some babies, epecially young ones, may want to go to sleep for the night at as early as 6:00, and that the "evening fussiness" everyone else writes about is the baby's way of saying, I'm tired. If you watch for the signs that she's getting tired, and put her to bed with a recognizable routine before the fussiness sets in, you might be able to head it off. I'll go check and see if he says anything else of value.

Love Karen

Marci said...

We would call the evening fussy times "The Witching Hour". It will pass. Being a parent is much harder than we all thought. I used to say, "it's hit and miss".