Sunday, September 19, 2010

10-11 months - Hold on! I can't keep up!

The girls are 11 months old this week and I'm delighted and overwhelmed at the thought of celebrating their first birthday. I get all bent out of shape just thinking about the year. Their joyous but scary birth, the rollercoaster NICU ride, the months of horrible reflux, the Early Intervention, and all the incredible firsts. I'm already starting to see signs of my "babies" disappearing and turning into little toddlers. This makes me incredibly happy and incredibly sad.

I am struggling to keep up with their milestones, because they're happening fast and furious right now. The babies have been sick, and uncharacteristically clingy, so it's made it that much more challenging to not only care for them, but to keep track of it all.

Here are my utterly incoherent observations of the last month, mostly to document it for posterity before I forget it all. Disclaimer: as you're reading this, just know that it's jumping around from milestone to milestone, with no bridge in between (who has time to work on flow!) I'm writing this on 2 hours of uninterrupted sleep after a horrific week of having sick, snotty, cranky babies.


On August 30, Julia crawled on her hands and knees instead of sailing on her tummy for the very first time. It was just a few "steps" but still! Now she's crawling properly all the time and it's so cool to watch her zoom. I thought she'd go from commando crawling to cruising, but she stuck with it and figured out "true" crawling. I can no longer tell Julia and Emma apart when they're crawling away from me. They're both super fast and so coordinated. Such determined little babies too.

Ada has had an explosion of movement the past week. She's so much less frustrated. She is such a bubbly, happy baby during the day. She is content to play on her own and observe what everyone else is doing, but is very independent.

Ada manages to travel farther and farther without actually crawling. She turns and scoots on her butt. It's pretty funny. At first she just turned and then wiggled and wiggled until she inched closer to toys, but now she's flyin' on her butt. She will literally "walk" on her behind, cheek by cheek, from the nursery to the living room! It's way adorable.

She used to pull her sisters over by yanking on their bibs to reach their toys. Now she snags whatever she wants. It's payback time, because her sisters have been snagging her toys and crawling away for weeks now! Missy Ada now wants to pull up and stand. She's not quite strong enough to pull herself up, but will reach for me with outstretched arms to help her stand up. Once she's up, she giggles. It's too cute. She is balancing a bit better every day and will soon be standing for a few seconds on her own, the way Emma and Julia do.

She now waves bye bye and will say, "ta ta" while waving goodbye. She did this the first time last week Wednesday as I was leaving for work. It was extra hard to leave them after that overdose of cuteness!

She started handing me her toy today and I gratefully accepted, thanking her, and then handed it back. Now it's a game. We were handing toys back and forth for goodness knows how long, but neither she nor I can get enough of it. I just love that she's figuring out give and take. She's also figured out that the stacking ring hole is fun to peer through, and that the shape sorter silos can neatly fit through the largest blue stacking ring. I think because she was stationery for so long, it forced her to do more detailed exploration of toys while her sisters were zooming all over the place. She's also talking more than them, and started making "sss" and "shh" sounds yesterday.

Ada clapped hands for the first time today! This felt like such a huge milestone, because she has low muscle tone and it's a little harder for her to bring her hands together. Her sisters have been clapping for a few weeks now, and she has been doing the "chicken dance of excitement" whenever they clap. But today her hands were open and she brought them together to clap while I was standing a few feet away. Beautiful.

Ada cut her 5th and 6th teeth on September 1. One next to top middle teeth, and one next to bottom middle teeth. I think another bottom tooth is on its way, because she's been feeling her gum in that spot with her tongue all day.


Emma clapped hands for the first time on September 7 and that same day, stood on her own for a good 20 seconds. I was like, "Wait! What?! You're STANDING!" I couldn't believe it. Since then, she's been practicing this newfound skill every chance she gets. She's so sturdy on those tiny little legs of hers. She'll clap hands while standing without losing her balance.

She's working on standing up from a crawling position. She'll stand on all fours, with her butt in the air. Or she'll dive down from a standing position to swipe a toy off the floor. Pulling up against anything is 2nd nature for her now. I'm just amazed that our littlest monkey, who had the roughest NICU ride, is leading the pack in terms of gross motor skills. She's made incredible progress since her initial EI evaluation. The smart money is on her walking first. But I'm not the betting kind.

She likes to take these huge T-Rex type steps. She'll lift her leg way up and then plonk it down. Walking is probably still a ways off, for which I'm thankful. Once they can all walk, we're so screwed. Seriously.


Julia is breathing down Emma's neck with every single skill mentioned above. They are developing so similarly that it's uncanny.

Julia stood on her own for about 10 seconds on September 10 and has been getting better at it ever since. She wants to cruise and take steps, and will pull up on everything. She loves to lie down on the Boppy pillow and then slide over it on her back until her head touches the ground. Then she'll look at the world upside down and just let out these bursts of giggles that seem to say, "Look at me! I'm being silly!." I love that she laughs like my brother. Her personality reminds me a lot of my own, which is sure to spell trouble down the road. She's mostly amused, but reserves the all-out belly laughs for the special tickles or raspberry games I play with her 1:1. She's always watching when I play with her sisters, and always smiles along, even if the game isn't being played with her.

This poor kid is still struggling the most with reflux. She loves her puffs and Cheerios, but gags on pieces of banana or anything that isn't dry-ish and firm. The speech pathologist suggested I try peeled, cooked apple and she vomited. Just lovely. I felt so bad for my little munchkin and she looked so miserable and helpless when it happened. I never knew eating could be this hard!

Today she turned a toy over to look for the on/off switch. She knows it has a vibrating function and there's something I do to make it work... or not work (when I need peace from the incessant silly ditties.) It's only a matter of time.


There were about 2 weeks where I'd go into their nursery to find Emma standing, Julia sitting and Ada lying down. Now that Julia can pull to stand, she and Emma are almost always standing up and chit-chatting. Ada is still lying down, but she's rolling over from one end of the crib to the other to get the best eye contact with her sisters.

They talk up a storm in the nursery every morning. I often leave them for a few minutes while I stand outside the door, just listening and being intrigued by their "conversations." Sometimes it really sounds like full sentences. They are starting to imitate one another (and us). One will cough, and the others will follow with an utterly fake cough. Or one will blow a raspberry and the others will respond with the same.

I just love this age. As hard as the nights have been (they've been BRUTAL!), the days always make up for that. They wake up with smiles, giggles and hugs for me and are such fun to be around. This summer, we have been going on tons of fun outings. They were in a parade, we took them to a museum, the zoo, a picnic with colleagues, a state park, etc. We go hiking on a local trail with them a few times a week.

Sadly, we've packed away their swimming pool, but they loved every second of "swimming" in our backyard this summer. Such water babies. We have a swing set in the backyard that they tried out for the first time on September 6. They love the swings, and I love it, because I can swing all 3 simultaneously.

I'm looking forward to the fall and winter, but we'll have to get creative during RSV season. If this week's colds are any indication, I really want to avoid having sick babies all winter long.

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