Jul 11, 2009

"Mama! *Oooo-weee-oooo* Didn't Mean to Make You Cry!"

Lily can scoot and roll in any direction that she wants to now, but can't quite get up on all fours to crawl yet. It's been so exciting to watch her progress, and fun to crawl around on the floor to "help" her see how to do it! Lynsey asked me recently what it feels like to watch Lily learning and growing; do I feel proud that she's rolling or trying to crawl? I had to answer her question with two answers: I feel sad because my little baby isn't a little baby anymore (I know mom's with toddlers or teenagers would argue that she still *is* a baby, but she's not to me) and I feel so happy for her because she is fulfilling her purpose by learning and growing and experiencing everything that having a body allows her.
Speaking of "experiencing a body", Lily threw her first tantrum. Mike had just come home from work, kissed her and riled her up, tossing her in the air like she loves, and then left to take a shower. The moment he was out of her sight, she had a meltdown! Kicking, blubbering, snotting all over her face and even crying real tears! Being the awesome mama that I am, I took a photo. Actually, I took 4 photos, and then decided that any more would be child abuse :)
The Loussac Library has a summer concert series that runs every Tuesday at noon. We've gone to every concert and it's been so wonderful to get outside and enjoy the music! The bands are usually "Armed Services" oriented (Elmendorf Base is crawling with talent!) but there have been a few different sounds, like today featured an accordian band - yes, a *band* of 12 accordians! Lily's not big into the music, but she sure loves feeling the grass. She's really enjoyed exploring the world with her tongue. Everything goes into her mouth for a thorough examination.
Conoco Phillips held it's company barbeque in the middle of the week, so we got to traipse Downtown to meet Mike for an afternoon of all the smoked turkey legs (the ham of the poultry world), beer-battered halibut, gold-panning and beer (bwah-haha!) we could handle. AND they had a cupcake mountain and a petting zoo, complete with a caribou! Lily cried when she got too close to the caribou. After I ate a few cupcakes off the mountain, I gave Lily my cupcake wrapper. She was in HEAVEN. It was then we learned food is a big motivator for her. Mike volunteered for part of the BBQ and got an awesome hat for his efforts. Lily also got her first open mouth kiss from a dog, our friend Jessie Kolesar's.
Lily's always been a great sleeper. At birth, she went between 5 and 8 hours at night before waking up to nurse. By about 6 months she was consistently sleeping 12 hours with no feeding (unless she was experiencing a growth spurt or felt sick). That changed around the beginning of 7 months. She started waking up wanting to be cuddled. I'm ok with getting up to nurse her, if she's hungry, but I really need my sleep (just as much as she needs hers) so after a few days of questioning some parents "in the know", I decided to introduce Lily to a bottle for her middle of the night feedings. That way, if she woke up and was hungry, she would be fed (expressed breast milk once we're back in Montana where my stash is, or formula here in Anchorage), but she would learn not to expect to be rocked back to sleep 3 and 4 times a night. I prepared myself for a hard week. I was counseled to expect Lily to refuse to eat for up to 3 days, that she may decide to bottlefeed from Mike but not from me, and that I may have to "sweeten" the deal (by adding agave syrup to her formula). I started on a Friday morning - I nursed her so I wouldn't be engorged (I only had a crappy hand pump that would get 2 oz from my 8 oz boobies) and so she would have a full belly for the trial ahead. The tantrum she had thrown over Mike leaving the room was a giggle compared to the carnage that followed. Over the next 10 hours I got her to choke down (literally) half an ounce to an ounce of hand expressed milk. Seriously, she'd be screaming and the bottle would be in her mouth dripping milk down her throat until she'd sputter and swallow and get angrier. It's funny now, but it wasn't then. The moment Mike walked through the door at the end of the day, she was his. In less than 10 minutes, she'd taken the bottle from him and had her fill of 10 oz without a fuss! I could've spit nails.
That night was even harder because she wanted to take the bottle from Mike but not from me, the Milk Machine. I can't really blame her - I'd take a crappy ice cream cone from Mickey D's, but if Cold Stone tried to hand me that same cone I'd throw a fit. I started out trying to feed her while holding her, but that was too much. I was so mentally exhausted from worrying that it would take days of standoffs before she would bottlefeed for me. I finally figured out that if I kept her in her crib while I held the bottle for her, she'd take it! I was elated! The whole next day she took a bottle from me with no problems. Once more through the night and I was convinced she'd be fine switching back and forth from breast to bottle, and we started our daytime nursing again. Since then, she's slept through the night all but a handful of times, and then she's only woken up when she's actually hungry. I am so blessed with such a complacent baby - she'll take formula or breast milk without caring which it is, whether it comes from an orthodontic nipple or the crappy one that came with my hand pump! Only one thing has made up for the sadness that was that weekend - Lily said her first word! MAMA! Actually, she "cried" it, but now she says it constantly "Mamamamamamamama". Music to my ears!

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