Adelaide at Eight Months

Ada Eight Months 1

You now have teeth! Two tiny teeth are poking their way up through your bottom gum and you gleefully spear watermelon with newfound skill (though, admittedly, sometimes the new teeth make you less-than-gleeful).

Feeding you is still my favorite part of the day. When I put you in your high chair you start to bang the counter in gleeful anticipation of what is coming. You love to feed yourself and are very adventurous in your eating. I’ve found you often mirror what I’m doing, so as soon as I grab a slice of melon you want one, too.

Ada Eight Months 2

Every Tuesday we go to music class at a place down the street (Musical Magic!). It’s just amazing watching you grow there. The first week, you just chewed on your egg shaker and now you know exactly what to do with it and shake, shake, shake through Surfin’ USA. You have a huge smile like you are just so proud of yourself.

Music class also gives you the chance to check out some kids who are just a few months older than you are. While you’ve been scooting around on your belly for a little while now, some of the older boys at music can crawl on their hands and knees. Last week, you took a few tentative movements in that position and my heart almost exploded.

Ada Eight Months 6

We go to the park almost every day. You mostly roll around on our picnic blanket and try to eat grass, but you’ve become more interactive as of late and enjoy rolling a ball back and forth. Now that you can sit and your attention span is (slightly) longer, we’ve checked out local story times as well. There is so much to do in the city and I’m so excited to show it all to you!

Ada Eight Months 3

I think your favorite part of our adventures, however, is that I often let you drink from my water bottle. Once you got the straw part down, you lost most interest in the (multitude of!) tiny cups we have specifically for you. I call it the “Mama Bottle” and it your eyes light up when I get it out of my bag.

Ada Eight Months 4

You’ve become a little wiggleworm during diaper changes. You are vehemently against public restrooms (the horrible changing tables! THE AUTOMATIC HAND DRYERS!) so when we are out, I typically change you al fresco in a park. At home, your dad and I work as a team with one person holding you still and the other changing your diaper as quickly as possible.

Ada Eight Months 5

I’ve also recently gotten into babywearing. After one local meeting of Babywearing International of Chicagoland I’m completely into ring slings and spend far too much time looking at options online. We are currently borrowing a linen ring sling from BWI’s library and you love to sleep in it. I also love walking around with you in it as we almost always get comments and I get to be a babywearing evangelist. You make ring slings look good, little one.

Ada Eight Months 8

Outtakes

Oh my word, baby girl, you are on the move when we try to take these photos! Capturing you and the little chalk heart sign in the same frame is becoming a challenge. I absolutely love the last one of you up there as it shows your impish little grin as you (once again) crawl away from the photoshoot.

We tried to get creative after you kept escaping and it looked something like this:

Me: I know! We will drape the white blanket over the side of the Pack ‘n Play and Will, you hold the corner of the sign and I’ll crop out your fingers!

Ada: No.

Ada Eight Months Outtake 2

Me: Will! What if she sat in your lap and you kind of held the white blanket up behind her?

Ada: No.

Ada Eights Month Outtake 3

Feeding Ada: Purées and Finger Foods

Ada Green Spoon

When Ada was brand new, I read about Baby-Led Weaning and knew it was something I wanted to try.

Our Pediatrician recommended starting Ada on solids a little earlier as long as she was showing interest. We began with baby oatmeal and then started introducing simple purées I made. We introduced each ingredient separately to help better pin-point allergies, if need be. Once she’d had something and not reacted, that ingredient could be added to mixtures.

Ada began sitting up reliably a little past six months of age. Once that milestone was met, she moved to eating in her high chair and we started introducing finger foods.

Ada Apple Slices

Getting Started

With both the purées and the finger foods, we started with the foods that are lower on the allergenic scale. This meant that Ada’s first vegetable was green beans (it’s very rare to be allergic to green beans!) and she still hasn’t had strawberries.

I found that Ada initially preferred foods that were less “flavorful” at first (think cucumbers rather than mangoes). Foods with smells were also initially rejected (rutabaga was soundly snubbed at first). I keep offering the same thing as it may take a few introductions to befriend certain foods (rutabaga!) and then, if need be, I mix the offending item with something else that is more-liked (rutabaga + apple = applebega).

Ada Cucumber

Purées

I make Ada’s purées solely because I enjoy doing so. Seriously, that’s the only reason. It’s not because I read a study about how kids who are fed baby food from the store grow up to do inexplicably horrible things like prefer Saved By the Bell: The New Class to the original.

There is just something so joyfully mindless in chopping fruits and veggies. After chopping, I steam the fruit or veggie and then blend it (in the big blender or using the immersion blender, depending on quantity). I make larger batches and freeze small portions to eat throughout the week.

I’ll definitely write more about making and storing Ada’s purées later!

Ada Spoon and Bread

Finger Foods

Starting with cucumbers, I slowly began presenting Ada with long spears of food for her to pick up and eat herself. Shape is important here, as the piece of food has to be long enough for Ada to grab on to.

Watching Ada pick up an apple slice and gum it is one of my favorite things. She gets more dexterous by the day.  She delights in feeding herself. Once she realized this was possible, she became far less interested in being spoon-fed. Now, my role in regards to her spoon is just to re-load it. She brings it to her mouth herself.

Ada Tray

Supplies

  • Broom with long-handled dustpan. I don’t know what I’d do without it (well, yes I do, I’d clean less frequently and we’d have ants).
  • Silicone freezer tray. A normal ice tray would work (and I’ve definitely used one when I made huge batches of food) but it is nice to be able to easily push out the frozen portions.
  • We love our silicone spoons because they are soft and I’m less worried about her smacking herself in the face and losing an eye as she learns to eat.
  • Washi tape or masking tape and a sharpie to label things in the fridge!
  • Small Tupperware to hold single portions of food as it thaws in the fridge.
  • High chair/ clip on chair (we love this one).
  • Dish rags, bibs, wet wipes. Kids learning to eat is messy business. I think a large part of my success has been that I’m not concerned with messes.

Ada Orange Spoon

Tips

  • Some foods, like pears, are … fibrous. To put it bluntly, pears cause poops. (Opposite problem? Try bananas). If your kid is having problems “passing” some of the food, it may be that your purées are too thick and you need to thin them out more with water or breastmilk.
  • If the purées are too-liquid – peaches and mangoes tend to be soupy – I add oatmeal to thicken it up.
  • I use Wholesome Baby Food for recipe ideas (and a helpful chart on when babies can eat different items!) I also browse the aisles of baby food at the grocery store for purée mixture ideas.
  • I hear good things about chilled cucumber and melon spears for teething babies! Ada definitely loves both.
  • The best part of mixing new combos of food is naming your creation – my favorite so far is applerutacchini (apple + rutabaga + zucchini).

Ada Sweet Potato Joy

Adelaide at Seven Months

Ada Seven Months 1

You turned seven months old on 7/7! There has to be some luck involved in those three sevens.

One of the biggest things this month has brought is sitting. You are mostly steady when seated on the floor (though you’ve taken a few tumbles you seem unscathed). More importantly, though, to our general, day-to-day quality of life is that you can sit up in your high chair. You have this little purple chair that clips on to our counter and you absolutely love sitting there. I offer you cucumbers and apple slices and you are quite entertained. Now that you can feed yourself these finger foods, you are losing interest in being spoon-fed.

Ada Seven Months 6

Baby girl, I have no idea what we’d do without your father in the evenings. The man is a wizard at getting you to sleep. I hand him an over-tired, nutty baby and he heads to the bedroom to pace around (and perform some kind of sorcery?) and returns with a peaceful, sleeping cherub. Magic.

That said, once you are asleep, you are asleep for the night. You are a remarkable sleeper. Magic, indeed.

Ada Seven Months 2

Your scooting skills have improved quite a bit. You are now over at the cat’s food bowl quick-as-lightning. I hope you like Lively Senior Dry Food when you inevitably get a handful in your mouth. So far, I’ve stopped you before your little fingers have made a solid grasp.

Your current favorite toy are these nesting wooden cups. You love banging them together (or watching anyone else bang them together). Ceaseless entertainment.

Ada Seven Months 3

Another new trick you’ve recently learned is to clap when someone says “Yay!” It is, without a doubt, the cutest thing ever. Your smile lights up your entire face and you freely share these smiles with anyone we encounter. You are a real charmer at the park, little one.

Ada Seven Months 5

You laugh and laugh at Odie as he tries to sit in my lap whenever I’m on the floor with you. His tail is the funniest thing you’ve ever encountered. We practice “gentle, gentle!” and giving poor Odie his space. He is remarkably tolerant of you (and you are completely besotted with him).

An Average Day: 6/6/16

For the past week or so, I’ve wanted to capture what an average day is like for Ada and me. I wanted to document a day where we had absolutely nothing special planned – no doctor’s appointments or visitors – and where the weather was decent as our average days involve walks and parks whenever remotely possible.

I’ve wanted to do this project for two reasons. First, someone asked me recently how having a baby differed from how I thought it was going to be. That made me realize that I’d never really thought about how it would be – I had no clue. Ada is the first baby I’ve spent any real time with. Secondly, in the vein of the wistful saying that the days are long and the years are short, I know this time will pass quickly and I won’t remember the small details that make up our everyday life with a six month-old.

Here goes!

June 6, 2016

7:07 AM. I hear Ada stir on the baby monitor. Will and I alternate who gets up with her to give her her first bottle and today he takes one for the team. I go back to sleep.

8:11 AM. Will comes in to wake me so I can pump before he leaves for work. Pumping is so much easier when he’s home so he can watch Ada and I can sit at the counter and mess around on the iPad while I’m pumping. Today, Ada went back to sleep for 45 minutes after her first bottle so this point is moot but it’s still very helpful to know that I won’t have to stop mid-pump to attend to her.

Today I’m reading r/legaladvice on Reddit while pumping.

First Pump

9:03 AM. After pumping, I go spend time with Ada on the floor. We have a couple yoga mats and blankets spread out but now that Ada is a roly-poly, most of her time is spent directly on the floor. I redirect her when she rolls too close to a liter box. We listen to podcasts while we play on the floor. Ada will be so immersed in political podcasts that I foresee a budding civic career in her future.

IMG_2793

9:37 AM. Ada is trying pears for the first time today. I feed her with her sitting in my lap on the floor. Soon she will be able to sit up unassisted and this feeding will move to the highchair.

While Ada plays, I answer quick emails and clean up the kitchen and living room. My main focus lately has been sweeping and mopping the floors so our budding crawler doesn’t get too dirty as she scoots around.

10:19 AM. I froze some batches of pears and squash I made over the weekend and they are ready to be transferred to freezer bags for storage. They will join banana and sweet potato purees already frozen. We are currently doing one-ingredient purees so we can identify any allergies more easily.

frozen foods

10:23 AM. Second bottle of the day.

11:19 AM. Morning nap! Ada’s morning nap is my most-productive working time. I typically get an hour to an hour and a half. Today’s nap was a little later than normal as she slept a little after her first bottle.

12:14 PM. Second date with the pump. This mid-day pumping usually takes place while I’m sitting on the floor playing with Ada but she’s still asleep today so I read Ask a Manager on my iPad instead.

12:44 PM. I heat up leftover chicken curry for lunch.

1:09 PM. She’s up! Yes, morning nap sometimes occurs on the floor rather than in a crib or any other more-traditional baby containment device. I learned months ago to let sleeping babies lie.

awake

1:23 PM. Third bottle of the day. After this one I get us ready to go to the park. The stroller is always packed with Ada’s sunhat and our picnic blanket, but preparations always include lathering mother and baby in sunblock as we are both quite pale.

We head downstairs and I take the recycling down with us. We also stop along the way to drop off a bag of outgrown baby clothes at the JDRF donation cart that is on the way to the park. I’m constantly culling outgrown baby clothing.

2:46 PM. I spread out the blanket in a spot in the shade. Our favorite shady spot is taken, but the best thing about Hamlin Park is that there are plenty of trees. After a groggy start, Ada rolls around on the blanket with the two toys we brought.

at the park

Ada also enjoys rolling to the side of the blanket to examine the grass. I let her rip the grass out of the ground but stop her from eating it.

playing with grass

3:46 PM. I load a tired baby into the stroller. Despite her best efforts at staying awake, Ada is asleep before we leave the park. On the way home, we stop by Walgreens to pick up a prescription and some Haribo gummy cola bottles (I love those things!).

Ada is still asleep as we near home so, not being one to squander a good stroller nap, I head towards our building’s side yard so Ada can sleep and I can read my book. I always (optimistically?) have my Kindle with me when we go places. I very rarely use it. Today is no different as Ada wakes up before we maneuver the stroller into the side yard. I spread the blanket out again and she plays some more.

playing in side yard

4:38 PM. We head back upstairs.

4:44 PM. Fourth bottle of the day.

5:39 PM. Will comes home. He plays on the floor with Ada while I pump again. This time, I play Spider on the iPad. Thank heavens for the iPad.

7:30 PM. Ada falls asleep in the Rock n Play. Will starts prepping asparagus for dinner.

8:18 PM. Ada stirs a little and I rock her back to sleep while Will cooks. I alternate between reading my newest book on the Kindle and beckoning Will over to the window to check out the sunset as it is spectacular tonight.

8:34 PM. I Instagram the sunset.

9:03 PM. We watch Sunday’s episode of Last Week Tonight and eat sausage sandwiches (breakfast for dinner!). After we eat, we spend time relaxing – reading, watching YouTube channels, doing nothing on the couch together. It’s during this time that I start to miss my sleeping baby despite having spent the whole day with her.

10:51 PM. Will feeds Ada her last bottle of the day and changes her into an overnight diaper and her sleep sack. He puts her in her crib but doesn’t shut her door yet as he knows I’ll want to peek in on her one last time before I go to sleep. We get ready for bed. I peek in on Ada.

11:03 PM. I pump for the last time. We go to bed. We always listen to podcasts as we go to sleep but I haven’t heard the end of one in a while. Sleep comes very easily.

Adelaide at Six Months

Ada Six Months good six clear

You are just on the cusp of crawling, baby girl. You log-roll all over the place and can scoot yourself around in a circle. Your legs cooperate 50% of the time; I know you’ll be off in a thousand directions soon.

You absolutely love these black and white, paperboard coasters we have. You hold them up and flip them around and around while examining them very closely. You slide them off the coffee table and along the floor.

Ada Six Months Coaster

This past month brought more experiences with “real” food. Squash seems to be your favorite (followed closely by sweet potatoes). You know what it means when I grab your spoon and you open your mouth wide like a baby bird waiting to be fed.

Ada Six Months behind six

You’ve started “talking” – it begins with an exaggerated pantomime of chewing and after a few silent movements of your jaw the voice comes. In addition to babbling you make singing sounds. Occasionally you hold a toy in your outstretched arm and serenade it. The plastic hedgehog gets many such performances during bath time.

You also sing when you are very tired. You hate falling asleep – you seem ever concerned you will miss out on something – so you hum softly to keep yourself awake.

Ada Six Months Main

Our weekends usually consist of long walks as a family. We pick a park and head out in that direction with the picnic blanket and lots of sunscreen. You sleep very well in the stroller and then love to get out and roll around on the blanket when we reach our destination.

Ada Six Months Grabbing

You smile so easily and often. Every morning I’m greeted with the widest grin as if you just know that the upcoming day will be awesome. My heart melts a little every evening when you beam at your father as he comes home from work. Odie also draws large smiles, but he doesn’t reciprocate as readily.

Ada Six Month Chalk Hands

(A note on this month’s photos: Anyone who knows me can imagine that this “photo shoot” began with me constantly taking the chalkboard heart from Ada, cleaning smears, and placing it back down beside her in a quick attempt to snap a few photos before she rolled over and grubbed it up again. Somewhere amidst this strange exercise in futility and frustration, it hit me: what am I trying to document here? My curious, active child or my skills with chalk art? And look at her up there with chalk on her knuckles, impish grin on her face! She even discarded her beloved coaster to get into that chalky mess. That’s what I want to remember.)

Adelaide at Five Months

Ada Five Months 2

This past month brought a significant first – solids! Well, they are still pretty liquid in consistency but so far you’ve had oatmeal and green beans. You love oatmeal (it’s basically breastmilk with seasoning) and were skeptical of the green beans. Don’t worry, there’s plenty more pureed green beans in the fridge so you can try, try again!

Ada Five Months 1

You roll back and forth like a champion and are starting to scoot your little legs under you as though you know that’s required for crawling but you don’t quite understand all the mechanics yet.

You only nap on the floor during the day. I gave up trying to move you to your crib. You do you, baby girl, and if that means naps on the floor, I’ll take it. At night, you now sleep in your crib (in your very own room!). You sleep so well that I’m a tiny bit afraid to say anything and break the spell.

You return people’s smiles – even those of strangers! – and reliably laugh when I blow raspberries on your feet.

Ada Five Months 4

Automatic hand dryers in public restrooms are still your nemesis, but you have started looking to me when you get scared and I can usually ease your mind with a giant, hammy smile and whispered reassurances that, “we’re ok! we’re ok!” It’s amazing and humbling seeing you watch me to determine how to react to a situation.

Cat sneezes startle you, too, but I feel you may soon be taking your revenge on Odie.

Ada Five Months 3

You’ve been on public transit a few times now so you are becoming a little City Baby. We’ve had success with these adventures because I scrupulously avoid rush hour.

Speaking of adventures, we try to get outside every day now that it’s warming up. I like taking you to random parks and texting your Dad a photo so he has to Google the park name to see where we’ve ended up. Greetings from Chi Che Wang Park, Dad; bet you’ve never heard of that one!

I think I’m going to include at least one “outtake” in these monthly posts. Below we can see that Odie still isn’t ready to share the spotlight with you.

Ada Five Months Outtake

Birthday Weekend

My birthday is closer to the start of April, but being an accountant causes me to push any celebration until after Tax Day. This year, that delayed celebration occurred this past weekend.

On Saturday, my mother, sister, Ada, and I went to the One of a Kind Show.

Ada at OOAK

(There’s my baby, looking a tad bit like someone just abandoned her under that sign. Anything for a halfway-decent photo, baby girl!).

My mom, sister, and I have been going to the Winter One of a Kind Show for a couple years now. It’s typically held in early December. I had to miss it last year as we were anticipating Ada. However, the Craft Gods heard my cry and, for the first time ever, there was a Spring show! We immediately signed up.

That night, we went to a local restaurant for dinner. There was some mental gymnastics involved in transporting the baby as it was raining (the restaurant was close enough to walk to but would we have to leave the stroller outside? I could put her in the carrier but where would she sit when we got there? Oy!).

The next day, Ada got to see her other set of grandparents as they came to visit for lunch. We ordered pizza and Ada got to show off her skills at rolling over and almost sitting up. Champion!

Later on Sunday I made a new pacifier clip for Ada out of some ribbon from a present so the weekend was sandwiched with crafts. Ignore some of the obvious issues with thread tension that that ribbon is clearly displaying – someday I will learn to use the sewing machine properly! Failing that, I will continue to make kid crafts and tell myself it doesn’t really matter how they look as long as they are functional.

Ribbon Paci Clip

(Look at that fun enamel clip I got on Amazon. I have about 20, so baby girl will be flush with clips for all her tiny belongings).

Adelaide at Four Months

Adelaide Four Months 4

After two months of mostly white outfits we have some color this month! This outfit – stripey shirt, flower pants – more-closely resembles what you wear on an average day. I call it pattern mixing (to make it sound purposeful) and you are a champ at it.

Adelaide Four Months 3

What a change this past month, baby girl!

You can now confidently roll front-to-back and back-to-front. I was sitting right beside you when you rolled over for the first time (you actually waited for your dad to be home from work – well done!) and it was one of the most exciting things I’ve ever seen. You had been trying so hard for a while and then plop! you were on your belly!

Adelaide Four Months 2

Some part of you was a blur in just about every photo we took this month – you are always moving, little one.

You’ve started “speaking.” Based on the high-pitched squeals and trills you regularly make, it appears your first language is Dolphin. Perhaps this explains your affinity for water at bath time. Your baths have a very wide splash zone.

Adelaide Four Months Belly

For months we’ve been unsure as to whether your hair is red or brown. It sounds odd, but I swear your hair color changes with the lighting. I joke that you have chameleon hair. This month, though, it’s becoming more evident that your hair is likely red.

Adelaide Four Months Belly 2

(I imagine these monthly photos with the chalkboard heart are going to become more interesting now that you’ve discovered you can smear the numbers.)

Adelaide at Three Months

Ada Three Month

You look a little skeptical in that photo, baby girl. It’s probably because your Mama insisted on a white outfit/white background combo (again!) and you knew better. But I love your little turtle suit! I got it at our local thrift store before we even knew if you were a boy or a girl and I had to have it documented.

You are completely besotted with ceiling fans. Completely. Besotted. If there’s one in the room you arch and twist until you are looking up at it. We have both fans on pretty much constantly to meet your tiny demands.

Ada Three Month Arms In

You had your first experience in a restaurant this month to celebrate your aunt’s birthday. We knew Pizzeria Serio was family friendly so we weren’t too worried and you handled it like a champ (until your mother had the audacity to use the automatic hand-dryer in the bathroom. That scared you witless and we left soon after).

You sleep anywhere (crib, pack n’ play, rock n’ play, mamaroo) and will take a bottle from anyone. It’s like you know what you are supposed to be doing – sleeping, eating – and you are goal-oriented rather than process-oriented. Bless you for that.

Ada Three Months Reaching

Your tiny grip is getting very strong! You grab on to my hair whenever it’s within reach and hang on for dear life. Having more control of your hands seems to thrill you – you regularly shake your wubanubs around or grab on to the side of your blanket and pull. I love watching you discover new things.

Another new thing this month is your voice! You are learning to tell us little stories through coos and squeaks. Your laughter, baby girl, is the best thing ever (second best thing: watching your father’s face light up when you laugh).

For good measure, here’s a photo of you kicking butt at Tummy Time (or trying to escape the photo shoot).

Ada Three Month Escaping

Pregnancy in Pictures

Grid

I’ll have a three month-old on Monday so it was probably time to share this.

I loved having a project throughout the pregnancy (aside from, you know, growing a baby). I’m so glad we made this work. The outtakes are almost better than the actual pictures I used, so I should perhaps share them at some point.