I know, I'm meant to be having a two-week break from blogging, but it's Daph's eleven month birthday today, and I couldn't not do an update. My goodness, she has changed so much since my last post. In fact, let me go and read it to compare and contrast...
Right, back now! So I don't think I mentioned before that Daph was booked in to have a hearing test thanks to her lack of proper babbling. This was arranged ages ago but we had to wait for about ten years for an appointment - eventually we got a cancellation. It was at St Helier Hospital in Sutton (finding a space in the car park was fun. Not) and was quite a random affair, consisting of a woman trying to distract Daph with toys while another woman behind a two-way mirror played sounds from two giant speakers either side of the room. I *think* the point was to see if she would turn around for the sounds or not, but it was quite hard for even me to understand what was actually going on, so not sure how a baby is supposed to cope with it. Daph found the whole thing rather boring and started doing her screeching thing after twenty minutes or so, but was a brave little soldier when they put some strange headphones on her and started staring into her ears. After the test, we went to see the consultant who said she had passed with 95% and that they couldn't rule out partial hearing loss in one ear but that she can definitely hear, and her hearing was not affecting her ability to babble. They scheduled another appointment for us to come back and have her ears test separately in September (seems a bit pointless TBH, 95% is good enough in my book!).
The consultant then said she would refer us back to our GP, to get her referred to a developmental specialist about her lack of balance (she still falls backwards when sitting sometimes) and lack of babbling. The referring thing is quite bizarre - not sure why she couldn't have referred us directly herself. But anyway. We went away feeling a bit depressed - the consultant wouldn't really give us any indications what she thought might be 'wrong' with Daph but did trot out that old line about all babies doing things in their own time blah blah.
Then, about a week later when we first got the keys to the new house, Daph was sitting in her new bedroom while we were ignoring her and chatting about wallpaper or something and, as if to stick two fingers up at all of us, she decided to START BLOODY BABBLING.
Properly babbling too. I don't think I've ever been so relieved about anything. And since then, she's been doing it most days, usually when she wants to get someone's attention. It's so cute, the cutest sound in the whole world, after her squeaky giggle. Since the babbling began, she has also started making more obvious word-like sounds, and will now happily 'chat' away with us in her very particular brand of gobbledegook, as well as 'talking' to her toys.
So. We then had our GP appointment. I felt a bit stupid when we turned up because the babbling had been my main concern. He took one look at Daph (he's a paediatric specialist) and declared that she seemed completely normal. In fact, he said she seemed very bright and alert and that she was probably - and I have to cringe a bit here - just LAZY. 'She's realised she's going to spend the next 80 years or so talking and walking so she's decided not to bother just yet. And why should she when you two are waiting on her hand and foot?' I could have kissed him. He said he didn't see any need to refer her to a specialist yet, as he was sure she would do everything on her own schedule, and implored us to help her out a bit less so she had to try harder. He remarked on her impressive fine motor skills and said the fact that she screamed her head off in fear when he examined her was a positive sign of stranger anxiety (which is a great thing to have apparently!). He said he couldn't 'guarantee' that there wasn't an issue but he was pretty convinced she was totally fine, and we are coming back for another review with him in September. After that, he'll refer her if he thinks it's necessary.
And since that appointment, she's suddenly been coming on leaps and bounds. There's no sign of actual crawling yet but she gets herself into a crawl position all the time and reaches forwards with her hands, and she's also started bum shuffling to get to things she wants. I can no longer leave her in one spot and assume she'll still be there if I come back five minutes later. She's falling over a lot less from sitting too, and has even pulled herself up into a sitting position from lying on her back a couple of times, by grabbing onto things nearby. I feel like she's maybe just a few weeks away from crawling now - possibly even less. Which is a bit of an EEEK as well as a YAY.
Oh god, this is all a bit serious and heavygoing. Apols. But it has been a real weight off my mind. In my darkest hours, Dr Google convinced me that she had all sorts of things wrong with her and it was so frustrating to see all her NCT peers already crawling and climbing stairs, when she couldn't even sit independently.
So onto the more exciting stuff. I feel like in the last week or so specifically, we have finally started to communicate properly. Daph now responds to commands - it is the weirdest thing! Her memory is developing too - so now if I ask her to find her favourite book or toy from a pile of things, she will rummage through them until she finds what I've asked for, then wave it triumphantly at me. This is kind of epic, I have to say. When you first have a baby it feels like they are just a little alien blob, and although you feel so protective of them, you don't really have this kind of connection because they basically haven't got a clue what the hell is going on. But now, Daph knows when it's tea time, knows when we're going for a walk, knows when I'm going to change her nappy or give her milk. She knows who I'm talking about when I mention Granny or Daddy or the cat. It's such an incredible thing, seeing her brain develop in real time, and I absolutely adore spending time with her at the moment.
Other things... Daph is a lot more clingy nowadays, and will cuddle up when sitting next to me, or put her face against my chest if she sees someone she doesn't know and feels shy. She's also started trying to climb on to my lap if I sit next to her to play, which is really really sweet.
As for sleep. Ha. It is still shit, quite frankly. It's also totally inconsistent - some nights she'll sleep through, others she wakes up at 3am for no reason just crying, and will only stop if I go into comfort her. She doesn't particularly seem hungry, so I wonder if it's separation anxiety or she's having bad dreams. She's not teething at the moment, I don't think, and she hasn't had much of a growth spurt this month. The worst thing is the waking at 5am and wanting to start the day - this is STILL most mornings for us and it's such torture. I just don't know how to stop it and nothing has worked so far. I'm just praying for the darker mornings to start as I am sure the light at 5am doesn't help. The saddest thing is that the sleep deprivation has put me right off having another baby. I genuinely don't think I could go through this again (I mean, I know I technically could, but the idea of it fills me with dread) and the idea of having two kids to look after on this little sleep seems like some kind of awful hell that I'd rather save myself from...
We're moving into the new house next week and after that I am seriously starting to consider a sleep consultant. Oh, and in case anyone suggests it, we have tried leaving her to cry but my god is she persistent. Also, our neighbours downstairs have complained twice about the noise (ouch) so we are really wary of pissing them off further. (Although to be frank, the snoring I touched on in a previous blog ought to be a criminal offence. Bloody hypocrite!)
I've probably missed a million things as I can waffle on for Britain when it comes to Chip, but this is already ridiculously long so I shall wrap up here! And just to end on a positive note - despite all the worry and the lack of sleep, I think I am 'enjoying' Daph more than I ever have done - this is such a wonderful wonderful age, and I can already see what she'll be like as a toddler. It's so exciting, and every day I feel more teary eyed and proud of her!