Three to Five Months
On this day, Lilly turned three months old and sarted day care. It was obvious to all involved that the whole daycare situation was harder on mother that on daughter. In fact, Lilly showed no separation anxiety and gave Poppa a big smile when I picked her up after work. It was wonderful to see her though and evenings the rest of the week were spent playing and getting reacquainted, culminating with a family dinner at Tony's on Friday.
Lilly accompanied us and the greyhounds to the Token Creek dog park where the girls (Heiranne and Sabrina, that is) cavorted with other ex-racers. Lilly slept most of the time strapped to my chest only waking and squirming when I stopped moving around. From the park, we went straight to the vet for a check up. Lisa and Doctor Krueger, with a six-month old of her own at home, spent more time talking about baby vaccines than dog vaccines. Lilly kept Lisa running at home and generally hindered her houscleaning efforts in preparation for dinner with Jon and Marcia. Once they arrived however, she was all smiles and even let Marcia hold her for quite a while. She took a bottle and went to sleep without so much of a whimper allowing us to relax with our guests on the front porch.
A day of milestones. While waiting for us to get ready for work, Lilly rolled over on our bed. Once over however, she lay planted with her face in the blankets and began to wail. Later that evening, she continued practicing the rollover. She never was successful again, but it wasn't for lack of effort or determination. She literally spent hours flopping around on her side and informing us of her progress, or lack thereof, at the top of her lungs. The evening also brought the second event -- Lilly is now a thumb sucker. Instead of sort of mushing her entire hand into her lips and mouth, she uses only the thumb to placate herself (no more Nuk overboard). She hasn't yet learned to curl her fingers though and instead covers her nose with four flayed digits.
Throughout our busy week, Lilly continued improving her roll-over technique (not always successful) and her thumb-sucking (fingers are starting to curl). A break-through of sorts occurred when Lilly's Nuk fell out of her mouth and instead of bawling, she simply substituted her fat, pink thumb. Lilly continues her experiments with language and communication -- she frequently engages us in "conversation" with an animated assortment of coos, shrieks, gurgles, raspberries, moans, grunts, vowels, and consonants. She certainly seems intent on trying to tell us SOMETHING.
Lilly had her first real babysitter last night. Uncle Chris came to the house while Lilly's crazy father trundled off to play wild rock music. It was Lisa's first night out since begin project:Lilly. Though she made a valiant effort not to check in constantly, Lisa just made me call Uncle Chris for multiple progress reports. She did wake up once, but Chris quickly soothed her with a bottle and a burp. After spending the night, Uncle Chris got some prime morning time with Lilly, which, as we all know, is her best time.
Lilly had another first today: a visit to the emergency room. Not to worry; it was Poppa, not Lilly, who was the patient. The doctors think it was a "mini-stroke" but it didn't seem to phase our little girl as she and Momma followed the ambulance and sat quietly in the examination room. Seeing her smiling face, made the scary experience a whole lot easier.
Lilly woke up with a little cough and a sneeze. Nothing too serious really, but enough to keep her home from daycare. So Poppa stayed home too. Despite her ailments, she didn't seem at all unhappy. In fact, we had a wonderful time just hanging out. It got tiring towards the end of the day, prompting me to realize that mothers are the ones genetically predisposed for child rearing. Despite all that, I am hopelessly in love with our little girl.
If I didn't know better, I'd swear Lilly was trying to crawl. At three-and-a-half-months old, she rolls on her tummy and then sort of swims towards a toy, pulling with her forearm and lifting her butt and kicking her leg. You know, it's exciting to think that we have an "advanced" baby, I'm not sure that I'm ready to baby-proof the house quite yet. The afternoon, brought Lisa's project picnic at Devil Lake. As usual Lilly was a hit and slumbered for an hour or so in the shade by the lake.
Lilly's progress continues to astound us newbie parents. At one week shy of four months, she is holding her head upright with ever-increasing confidence and lengths. She is beginning to hold the bottle on her own and pull Poppa's glasses off his face with alarming accuracy. Lilly's vocal experimentations have taken the form of dolphin shrieks and cries. We continue to parrot "momma... poppa... momma... poppa..." but Lilly is more enthralled with the sounds of nature I guess.
Another big milestone has been on the culinary front. Our little one has ventured into the realm of cereal. We'd heard horror stories about the frustrations of feeding, but Lilly took to the wallpaper-paste-like substance right off. On day one she was opening her mouth and swallowing (apparently, no small feat). She only lurched her eye socket into a spoonful of goop once. By day three she was darn-near an expert, even grabbing the spoon and pulling it towards her mouth. Still pretty messy, but a definite A+ for enthusiasm.
Also enthusiastic has been her reaction to her toys. She manipulates them with increasing dexterity and sometimes attacks and bites her stuffed animals with guttural snarls. She grabs at things other than toys too. In fact, pretty much everything... momma and poppa's hair, coffee cups (full of hot coffee), and poppa's glasses. Sometime the exuberance turns to frustration and defiance. Lilly has not been above spitting her nuk at us or removing it from her mouth and flinging it distainfully aside. But she's a sweetheart down deep. Just ask our daycare attendants. They all say she's the best baby and the one they'd want to take home. (Maybe they butter up all the parents like that, but I'd like to think not.) And she's healthy. That point was driven home a bit as the three of us participated in the annual Walk for Juvenile Diabetes. It sobering to think about all these kids with such a serious disease. We turned out to support Hazel Wade, the seven-year-old daughter of my good friend Kevin. Lilly enjoyed the sunny-but-cool day: she strolled, we walked.
The fact that I haven't updated LillyWeb in over month should not be construed as a lack of events in the life of Lilly. Quite the contrary actually and, I suppose, that's been the problem... I've certainly come to the conclusion that women have more baby-stamina than men do. Lilly needs constant attention and amusement now. That, coupled with the fact that she naps so infrequently, makes it difficult to do anything but tend to the little one. Not that I'm complaining but, like I said, women seem to be able to adapt to these rigors better and with more cheer than we men.
Lilly's got the roll-over down, both back to front AND front to back. She has become so enamoured of this move that it is now impossible to keep her sleeping on her back. Our pedatrician, Dr. Whalen, says not to worry though. Because of her advanced motor skills and excellent head and neck control, it's perfectly OK to let her sleep on her tummy. (Not that we could stop her anyhow.) This pronouncement came at Lilly's four-month check up, where she weighed in at a robust 14 pounds 7 ounces and measured a lanky 25 and a half inches (putting her in the 75th and 90th percntile respectively). Dr. Whalen also confimed the results of Lilly's ultrasound a few weeks ago: baby's hips are A-OK. It was not all good news though. The battery of shots inflicted at this visit caused our already sniffly-sneezy baby to get down-right cranky. For the better part of a week, Lilly really didn't feel like sleeping and refused to go down for her usual 10-12 hours. (I know, I know, a lot of parents want to slap us right about now, but we've gotten used to it, OK?)
Driving home from daycare today, I asked "How're you doing, Lilly?" She recognized either my voice or her name or both and swiveled her head around to peer at me over the edge of her car seat. Sounds like a minor thing, but darned if it didn't make quite the impression on me. Lilly has moved on from rice cereal to oatmeal. She now looks forward to cereal time and pops her mouth open like a baby bird between spoonfuls. Her oral coordination is increasing but Lisa still has to hold her hands down to discourage her from trying to accomodate both fingers and food in her maw. Lilly's newest stunt has been dubbed the "Love Attack." While being held face to face, she growls, draws her head back and with an open mouth launches herself at her victim's face attempting to latch on with all the force of a giant squid. She's executed this maneuver on Lisa as well as a number of friends and relatives but, alas, not me.
Lilly and her mother returned from New York with tales of apple orchards and family reunions. Lisa took Lilly to Canandaigua to visit Nanny and Grandpa Ford for a long weekend (making this her third airplane trip in five months). Aunt Sandra drove up from Baltimore for the visit and got to experience the Lilly Love Attack first hand. During a trip to an orchard, Grandpa asked the attendant to venture a guess as to what type of apple Lilly would be. After careful consideration, the young man pronounced, "She's a peach." The weekend was capped off by a big family get together; Lilly was the center of attention for a whole host of aunts, uncles, and cousins.
Lilly is no longer content to sit in her bouncy chair and play when she returns from daycare. In the past, momma and poppa would relax on the back porch for a little adult time, but Lilly has decided that being separated from her poppa for a whole day is an intolerable situation. To rectify it she screams and fusses until she can snuggle and "talk" with poppa. Sometimes, during these times, I feel like the Grinch when his heart grows three sizes too big. A big part of Lilly's repertoire is now standing (with help of course, but not much). With only light guidance around her hips and back, she's able to remain standing for minutes at a time. She looks mighty pleased with herself, swaying and smiling. But all has not been sweetness and light. It appears as though Lilly may be starting to teeth, causing her to stay up very late and fuss (does hysterical screaming count as fussing?) to no end.
Our friends Caitlin and Pat Garrison came for a long weekend from Portland OR, bringing their nine-month-old daughter Frances Finn. Finn is an adorable and very agreeable baby and I expect her and Lilly to become close friends in the coming years. Finn did however express dismay over some of her new playmate's habits. When Lilly would growl and yelp at her toys, Finn thought she was sad or hurt and would start to bawl. All was forgotten and forgiven when we said goodbye at the airport. As Caitlin and I held Finn and Lilly face to face, Finn reached out and hugged Lilly. As Lisa said later, "We all had a moment."
In the morning we dressed Lilly for her daycare Halloween party. For her first Halloween, she wore a hand-me-down costume from Aunt Beth. This elaborate outfit consisted of a fuzzy red sleeper with a tail and a matching bonnet with horns. Emblazoned on her chest was the legend "Daddy's Little Devil." Indeed she is.
We took Lilly for a trip to the zoo (her third already) and the park. She was more alert and interested this time around (if you're playing along at home, you'll remember that she basically slept through the Rochester and Pittsburgh zoos). She was interested in the seals and monkeys but it was the big kitties (tigers) at which she stared and stared.