Monday, 5 January 2015

Catching up: nine and a half months update - Part 1

Mummy and the Mexicans

The months are racing away.  I can't keep up.  It seems like summer is still a recent memory and Emma has just turned six months, but suddenly it's already the end of the year and my little girl is now nine and a half months old.

We all went to get our hair cut on New Year's Eve, to start the new year with decent hair at least.  Emma sat on my lap, mostly very still and well-behaved, letting the hairdresser trim her fringe, somewhat overgrown since her last - and first - visit to the hairdresser back in October, just before her christening. She has grown and changed so much since then.

Emma was almost seven months old when she was christened.  My parents were here visiting, so it was a great family occasion.  She wore the gown her Mexican grandmother had been baptised in almost 70 years earlier.

At the christening
At that time, she still couldn't sit up without support and was still sleeping in her little bassinet cot, although really she had outgrown it and could barely fit in it anymore.  Shortly after my parents had gone back home, Emma reached two important milestones.  I'm not sure which one came first, but the one I noticed first was that she was suddenly able to sit up by herself, and she was actually pulling herself up into sitting position in her cot, holding on to the sides. That's when we knew it was time for her to start sleeping in the big cot, which we'd bought when my parents were here, but had to get a mattress the right size specially made, so hadn't been able to use it yet.  Emma finally abandoned her little cot when she was eight months old (she got a lot more use out of it than we'd originally imagined), and started sleeping in her new cot; still in our bedroom, but now under the window instead of next to my side of the bed.  She adapted right away to the new cot and probably relished being able to stretch out, twist, turn and wriggle unhindered.

At home in the new cot
The second milestone I noticed was that her two lower front teeth came through.  I've started brushing them, which she seems to quite enjoy - the strawberry flavoured toothpaste tastes good and she's fascinated by the little case the toothbrush and toothpaste set comes in, the tube of paste (she loves tubes) and the toothbrush itself.  The other day after I'd brushed her teeth, she took hold of the toothbrush and moved it around her mouth exactly as if she was brushing her teeth and gums, copying the movements I'd made.  Next time I'll have a camera at the ready as it really was a missed photo-op.

In terms of feeding, she has four bottles of formula milk a day, plus three "meals".  For lunch I've been making her purees of chicken and vegetables, sometimes with rice, adding onion and garlic into the mix, too.  At breakfast time she has mashed banana, apple and occasionally pear and papaya, with baby cereal or oats mixed in with her fruit and milk.  The one thing that really annoys me is that cereals for babies have sugar as the second or third ingredient - why do they have to have sugar in at all?  I will probably rant about this in a future post.  She also usually has some more fruit with her last milk in the evening, generally from a jar rather than fresh.  There's definitely room for improvement here on my part and I'm going to be resorting less to shop-bought jars and preparing more fresh food.  I also need to include more varied ingredients in her menu - the same goes for the grown-ups' meals too - so I will probably be researching recipes in search of inspiration.

I'm still working on introducing "solid" food after a few scary choking moments.  Maybe we're lagging behind with this next step and are being overly cautious.  Still, on several occasions she has enjoyed gnawing on the hard crust of a bread roll and has managed to swallow the little bits she chewed off, so perhaps I should be bolder with the food I give her.  We still don't have a high chair, which would make feeding experiments much easier, so that's next on the list of priorities and pretty urgent, in my opinion.

Christmas Eve was the first time I really saw Emma crawl.  She had been almost crawling for a while, but not quite; managing somehow to reach things she wanted just by willpower, and an inexplicable combination of rolling, stretching and caterpillar-like shuffling.  That afternoon, she actually properly crawled a few paces across the bed.  She looked so excited an pleased with herself, but again, I was too slow with the camera.  On Christmas morning, after opening presents under the Christmas tree, she did a bit more crawling, first on the rug, then off the rug across the cold, hard floor where, at one point, her arms gave out and her face hit the ground with a bit of a thud.... the tears were eventually abated with lots of cuddles and some attempts at distracting her with a new toy or the squirrel from the Christmas tree.  After that, we learnt to be much more careful when she's on the move, and I think Emma may also have learnt that the floor is not at all as soft and forgiving as the bed, because it hasn't happened again.  Of course, she's suffered other knocks and bumps since then on mats, carpets, floors and even my elbow, but I think it's all part of the learning process.

She's also pretty keen on trying to stand up.  Instead of her hands and knees, she tries to move on her hands and feet - on the bed she does a kind of bunny hop and she pulls herself up using people and objects to hold on to.  She can already pull herself into a standing position in her cot and in her playpen, a little wobbly and in need of support still, but she's getting there.

At this point I realise this is turning into a monster of a post - that is what happens when you don't write anything for ages; now I have so much to write about that it's impossible to fit it all into one post. So, I'm splitting it in two right here.  In the next installment I'll be writing about speech and language, amongst other things, attempting to keep up.

All comments, opinions and advice are welcome!


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