Ramona's first month of life was difficult, like it is for most newborns. Unbeknownst to me, our battle with evil, evil thrush had begun and our poor, Little Miss had her days and nights mixed up. By her second month of life, she had flipped to a normal day/night schedule, the thrush was being treated, and her disposition improved, as evidenced by her many smiles. By 10 weeks, the thrush was gone (finally!) and our darling was sleeping through the night for 10 hours straight. This continued for the next 2+ months....then we hit Wonder Week 19.
I think this growth spurt/sleep regression/teething/who knows what has been particularly tough on me because it's brought me back to the early weeks of Ramona's life as a vulnerable new parent. When Ramona hit 3 months old, it was a huge turning point for me as a Mom. I felt much more confident in my abilities, in our routine, and in reading my daughter. But now I feel back at square one, clueless and confused and not sure if what I'm doing is helping her or not. To me, the hardest part about first time parenthood is that 95% of the time, you don't know what the heck you're doing. And in these last few weeks, I've really just been grasping at straws. Maybe she's hungry, maybe she's tired, maybe she just wants to be rocked, maybe her teeth hurt, maybe she's frustrated. Poor baby has been fussy and clingy and waking in the night again. And forget about trying to get her to nap on her own. I've been doing my best to stick to our schedule and adapt it in ways that might accommodate her changing needs, but we're still struggling to get back to a routine in which Ramona is rested and I'm feeling like a competent parent again. It finally feels like we are starting to come out of this stage, but it's really been a reminder of what everyone says: As soon as you get to used to your baby acting one way, she will change.
The exciting part of this time of huge brain development and growth is that we are starting to see the results of all the change Ramona is going through. It's so exciting to see her reach new milestones. For now, it's the little things. She is pushing herself up higher than ever before, she is rotating around on her belly, she's starting to roll not only from her back to her belly, but also from her belly to her back. She tries to sit up all the time and is constantly grabbing my hands to pull her up to standing. She is on the cusp of increasing her mobility in a major way, which is both thrilling and terrifying.
Her hair is starting to grow back in light brown, almost golden tufts and she's starting to feel pretty heavy in the Bjorn! She waves her arms around and talks, and talks, and talks and has shown a whole new range of emotions on her face. Surprise, skepticism, excitement, and of course, frustration.
She giggles every once in awhile, but mostly she just coughs. It's just the funniest thing, instead of laughing, she gives a little "ahem!" We imitate the cough back to her and she lights up and does it again. We go back and forth until I realize that we should probably stop because by now we've coughed all over the kitchen.
Morning time is the best time when she is sunny and happy, playing with her favorite little fox rattle and "talking" with Mom and Dad. Little Ramona grabs at everything and loves to take hold of anything you put in front of her and shove it in her mouth. One of her favorite things to do is to curl up in a little ball when I'm trying to change her diaper and get her dressed. I call her my little Potato Bug.
Ramona has now joined us on many lunch excursions and, for the most part has done pretty well. She gets a little fussy but can usually be calmed by sitting in our laps or having a little snack with Mom. She likes to be in new environments, seeing new things and meeting new people. I love to see how big her eyes get when she's introduced to something for the first time.
Despite the challenges that this month has brought, we are still in total awe of our beautiful little daughter. I can't believe the progress and growth she has made since that day she arrived, so tiny and new. On the really hard days, I try to think about the fact that someday soon, she'll be walking and talking. She'll ride a bike and ask us for a pony and eventually she'll be in high school. She'll wear make up and break boys' hearts and someday she'll perform on a field or a court or a stage. Michael and I will be so proud of her. We'll marvel at how far she's come and we'll turn to each other and say, remember? Remember when she was 5 months old? When we lived in France and she only rolled one way and she coughed instead of laughed and we couldn't get her to take a nap to save our lives? Remember that? Man, those were the days.