Wednesday, October 15, 2008

anna banana

I just read a post on my sister's blog about her adorable daughter and all the cute things she's doing lately and I thought, "I need to do that!" So here's a typical day, Anna style. Beware, this will be long. This post is more for me and Anna than for you.

Anna is a superb sleeper. Most nights we put her to bed around 9 PM and she falls happily asleep (more on bedtime routine later...). About 6 weeks ago we started swaddling her with one arm bent up to her mouth so she could suck her thumb, and have progressively swaddled her less and less to the point that both arms are now out and she sleeps with them straight out to both sides like she's making up for the fourth months where they were strapped tight to her body.

Anytime between 4:30 and 6:30, Anna starts to stir and cry a bit. At that point I go in and flip her over on to her tummy (how she naps- don't tell my pediatrician) so she can suck her thumb and fall back asleep. Anna used to rub her free hand over her sheets, and sometimes I'd stick a corner of her soft blanket under it and she'd grab on to it. But just this week, she's really gotten into rubbing something soft with the hand she's not sucking. When she's nursing, she rubs her soft hair, and when she's going to sleep, she reaches for her little teddy bear or lamb. It is SO adorable to see her, eyes shut tight, sucking one thumb, and stroking a little foot of a happily smiling toy who is slowly becoming real.

Anna wakes up completely some time between 7:30 and 9:30 AM which means that I often get leisurely mornings to study the scriptures, read my email, eat breakfast, and read/post blogs. I love this time since it's quiet, the sun rises, I can think and relax and prepare for the day. I really do treasure it since I know these days are numbered :)

When Anna is really awake, she pops up, supporting herself on her elbows and alternates between talking to the toys in her crib and yelling for Mom. She rocks up onto her side a bit to look at the window and almost rolls over (more on rolling over later...). When I come in, I'm greeted with a huge smile, giggles, and, once I help her roll onto her back, kicks and waving arms of joy. Anna sure knows how to wrangle you in from the start.

After a round of good morning hugs and kisses, I feed her and change her. Anna figured out how to grab her toes a few weeks ago and it has become one of her favorite games. There is little else that pleases Anna as much as being naked and kicking her legs onto the noisy changing table and then swinging them up to catch her feet again.

Much of the rest of the day is spent in playtime. Anna's favorite things to do with Mommy are sing songs, be tickled, and play kicking games. Anna LOVES "The Wheels on the Bus" since it involves singing AND body-moving actions. When I start the song, Anna's mouth gets wide with glee and just stays open the whole time because she is SO excited to be going "up and down, up and down, UP and down." I'll admit though that while Anna loves to rock on her bum while I hold her hands during the "move on back" verse, I can't help but imagine Rosa Parks is rolling over in her grave every time I sing it.

I try to have some tummy time each day, mostly in the hopes that Anna will figure out how to roll over since her neck is already really strong. I think the main problem with Anna's rolling ability is that while on her tummy, she refuses to put weight on her arms. Instead of propping herself up on her elbows like the babies in the pictures of all my parenting books, Anna prefers to have her arms out wide, airplane style. Not only does this mean she can't push up on her arms to help her roll over, it also means all the strain of holding her head up falls to her neck and back so she gets tired and angry pretty quickly while on her tummy.

Airplane style tummy time

Getting mad and tired

Totally devolved

However, I know every baby figures things out on her own schedule, and Anna has lots of other skills. She's SO close to sitting up on her own. She can sit unassisted for a few seconds on the floor, but if she's sitting between your knees, she does really well. Her biggest obstacle is that she kicks when she gets excited and that pushes her over backward. It's really cute when she does it though :)

Sitting skills

Anna is also very good about putting weight on her feet. She likes to stand with help, and she'll lean against the couch while standing for about 15 seconds. She really loves to stand on the bathroom counter in front of the big mirror. There she can smile and laugh and talk to her cute little friend in the mirror and feel the cool granite under her feet. She also likes to pull and chew on the lucky bamboo on the counter and likes to hold the bright red and blue toothpaste tube. I know when Anna's fussy that a trip to the bathroom counter will quiet her for a long time.

Though, being quiet is not Anna's usual choice. Anna is a screamer. Even-- especially-- when she's happy Anna likes to test the limits of her vocal abilities. I had at least three or four friends turn around laughing during Sunday School when Anna screamed with delight as I helped her stand on my lap. At the grocery store however, the looks are less congenial and more often express the "what is that woman doing to her child?!" sentiment. When normal talking is not enough, Anna screams.

Anna also screams when she's not happy, which means I'm a total pushover when she wants to be picked up and cuddled after having enough time on the floor. I just can't handle growling screams of displeasure. On a particularly screamy day last week, it drove me to tears, and thankfully Sam was home to take her outside until she screamed herself to sleep so I couldn't hear it. The good news is, those days are few and far between. Anna has become a very happy baby and is usually content with playing with Mom or chatting with her toys.

Anna's current favorite toys are the little bugs and animals that hang from the arches over her play mats. She loves to hit them and make them jingle and talk to them and put them in her mouth. She also loves bubbles and wriggles with pleasure when she sees them floating by.

Anna smiles more every day. Our favorite is the "bubble smile" as Sam likes to call it since her big round cheeks look like bubbles. We also melt for her big open mouthed smiles of joy. And my special smile is the soft little grin on Anna's face when she's all ready for bed and I've nursed her one last time and we're cuddling. She makes quiet oohs and aahs recounting all the fun she had during the day and how happy she is and how much she loves me (or at least that's how I interpret those adorable sounds).

Bubble smile

Big cute happy smile with dimple

And now that I've brought up bedtime again, I suppose I'll finish this post with talking about our routine. Around 8 PM, Anna lets us know she's had enough playing and is ready to go to bed. One of us gets the bath ready while the other takes off her clothes and diaper. At this point Sam likes to help Anna stand up since he thinks it's so funny to see such a round, roly body standing like a little person. Once we're done admiring Anna's rolls, we put in the bath. Daddy bathes Anna M-W-F and I take the other days. Anna gets really excited about her wet washcloth and loves to see it drip, spin, splash, or float until she gets her hands on it and then it gets shoved in her mouth where she sucks the water out. Gross, yes, but she loves it.

Daddy doing bath tummy time

After the bath we snuggle her up in her little hooded towel and massage her with baby lotion. She loves getting her feet rubbed (who doesn't?) and hates having to get dressed in jammies again. She hates getting wrapped up in her blanket, but loves bedtime nursing. And so do I. She's super snuggly and smells like lavender and loves to rub her hand on my cheek. And that brings us to the cooing, and good night kisses, and happily drifting off to sleep.

I imagine these will be some of the easiest parenting days of our lives, and we're loving it.


Karen Ahlstrom said...

Hey Heather,

Great post! Those sweet loving little coos just melt your heart don't they?

About the tummy sleeping...I read recently that they found that having a fan on in the room reduces the chances of SIDS by 70% by circulating the air that baby breathes out, even when sleeping on her belly. You might try it if you're not doing it already. I find that it also drowns out other noises that might wake her up.



rusted sun said...

What a great post, these are great memories to record. She really is a wonderful baby.

heather said...

Karen- I read that too and felt better about letting Anna sleep on her tummy because we have both the ceiling fan and a box fan going while Anna sleeps. I think the white noise does help, too.

Susan said...

baby blog entries are never JUST for mom and baby. those of us out of that stage, love to look and remember. and thank goodness these help with this sleeping on the tummy deal. ALL my babes slept on theirs and were fine...but there were no fightening stories back in the day.