17 month baby update

I wonder how long I should carry on doing these baby updates. Technically speaking, is Daphne still a baby? She doesn't toddle yet, so maybe she is. In any case, at this rate, I can envision myself continuing to blog about her when she turns 21, which I'm fairly sure she wouldn't be that impressed with...

Anyway, I'll keep going I think, at least until next month (18 months feels like a big milestone - something to do with it being the next clothes size up maybe!), and then maybe I'll have a break until she turns two. Which I am sure will come around in record time. It's crazy how much growing and changing a baby can do in two years (and how much ageing their mum can do at the same time - ha!).

So this month has been dominated by the sleep issue I already wrote about. And I think it's probably related to her naps. I really want to transition her onto one nap, but it's so hard when she wakes up at 5am, and is utterly shattered by 9 - it feels cruel not to put her down for a nap when she's yawning and grumpy and rubbing her eyes, but of course, this just perpetuates the problem, as then her afternoon nap is short as she's not tired enough for a long one, and thus her bedtime ends up being early too... and then we go round again. We try to push her nap back a little each day (15 mins or so) but somehow something will always go wrong - she'll fall asleep in the car, or we'll need her to nap a bit earlier one day so we can go somewhere later, and we just seem to be back to square one. I'm not sure how to solve this. Daphne started at the childminder's last week (more on that later) and she usually puts them all down for a long nap at 12.30. There's no way Daph could survive that long without going mad, so we agreed to let her have a little power nap in the buggy when the childminder walks to their playgroup in the morning, which seemed to work OK with regards to her getting overtired. Because the irony is, of course, that an overtired baby just sleeps worse (more badly? my grammar has deserted me today) and wakes up even earlier the next morning - babies make no sense! My preoccupation every waking moment is ensuring that Daph doesn't become overtired during the day, because that just makes everything go to hell. I am a woman obsessed.

We have the Gro clock but the first time I tried to use it I forgot to set it (didn't realise you had to do it manually every night), and then she woke up at 5am and so I set it then, trying to explain it to her, and it went straight to a great big cheery sun and lit the whole bloody room up, so I've obviously done something wrong. Anyway it made me so cross (little things will do that at 5am) that I unplugged the damn thing and now it lies next to her cot looking forlorn and useless. She's probably (definitely) a bit young to make sense of it anyway, but I was hoping for a miracle, as people in desperate situations do.

I guess the only solution is time, and her growing up a bit and being able to handle longer wake times. So it's a case of sitting it out, like all baby phases, trying to go to bed early (I'm getting better at this but do seethe with resentment at having my grown-up time curtailed in favour of a morning that starts before the dawn chorus) and just praying that the eighteen month sleep regression passes us by. Please god, don't we deserve a sleep break?! We've had it all: colic, split nights for MONTHS, middle of the night poos for MONTHS, a dream feed that persisted past 12 months... and now the super early risings. Let us off on this one thing, pretty please?!

Ahem. Yes, I am a woman obsessed. But onto the good things - Daph seems to love the childminder's. And no one told me how much more you love your child after they've been at the childminder's all day. I didn't cry when Oli took her (hardhearted mum that I am) but I did get a bit teary picking her up, and seeing how happy she'd been playing with all the bigger kids. It's so cute to see that side of her, and see how desperate she is to have 'friends' and copy the older kids. Bless! Made me feel we've been depriving her a bit by keeping her at home with us all day. And of course, it's great (although so weird) to have a day to myself to focus on my own stuff (although we've invariably been washing and cleaning and doing the noisy/dangerous DIY you can't do when she's here).

Not much else to report this month. Still no walking, although she's become a master cruiser, making her way across a room using every available surface to help her. Standing is getting better but she'll still only do it for a few seconds. I did notice this month that she's learnt how to crouch down from standing to pick something up, so clearly her legs are getting stronger. We took her to have her feet measured last week, and bought her her first proper pair of shoes, and we're trying to make her wear them in the house more, as we think they'll help her put her feet flat more often (she still mostly stands on tiptoes, it's no wonder her balance is so off). If she's still wobbly standing at eighteen months I might take her back to the GP, just to see if there are some exercises or something we can do with her to help her, but I'm confident that she'll get there in her own time, as she is still making progress. Baby steps. Ha.

Mid-clap :)

Oh yes! One thing she has finally mastered this month, is learning to clap. About a year after the baby books said she should. Even longer perhaps. It kind of makes me laugh that she just clearly didn't want to do anything to the conventional timeline. But yes, she now claps, on command and at things that excite her, as if to stick two fingers up at Mummy a year ago who was paranoid that her lack of clapping meant something serious was wrong. Ugh, how I wish I could go back and tell myself not to worry about this stuff.

She's as chatty as ever, and keeps stunning me by answering quite complicated questions - for example, we were walking back from the town the other day and about to turn into our road, and I said 'Who are we going to see at home Daph?' and she said, without a second's hesitation, 'Purdy'. Considering she couldn't see the house, or the cat, I was quite impressed with her brain working that one out. Oh and other developments - she is utterly obsessed with Duplo! We got her some for Christmas and she loved it, so we got her a few more boxes and it keeps her entertained for hours. She particularly likes posting the little people through the windows of the 'houses' mummy builds. I actually quite enjoy it too - certainly more fun than rattles and endless stacking cups!

16 month baby update

Goodness me the last month has gone quickly! We're edging even closer to the 18 month mark, which is amazing really. During the past month, Daph has been an absolute dream. She's emerged from the recent grumpy screaming phase and is instead incredibly happy most days and incredibly sweet. Which is brilliant. She's even decided she doesn't mind going to the supermarket anymore, and the tantrums have subsided. (For now. I know, as ever, everything is a phase, even the good times).

This month her speech has come on leaps and bounds. She has a whole repertoire of words now, including: tea, Purdy (Percy the cat), Poph (my sister's name*), Daddy, teddy, bath, ball, hi, bunny, poo poo (when she's having her nappy changed), Dee Dee (the model in the Hush catalogue - have I mentioned here that she is OBSESSED with her?!)... I think that's about it. Still no Mummy but I get random variations of things instead, such as Bobby, Uddy, and just Bob, which I think is my favourite. Bless her.

This week she finally started standing without support, but it's still only for a few seconds before it's almost as though her brain figures it out, panics and she drops to her bum. She has an incredibly long back and quite stumpy legs for her height actually, so I am sure that doesn't help. Also, the muscles in her legs don't seem very big (literally, she has quite scrawny legs), but hopefully they'll keep growing and developing! I SO wish she could walk because she weighs an absolute ton, but she's a master crawler and moves at lightning speed, so she clearly doesn't see any great need to start using her feet instead. We measured her the other day and tried to plot her on the red book, and she's on the 87th percentile for her age, which is crazy when she was on the 2nd when she was born! I can't believe how tall she's getting now - the leggings I bought for her in the autumn are all coming up short already, and she's filling out 18-24 month babygrows. Madness.

Every time I do a baby update and I boast how her sleep's been good, the next day it goes to shit. So I am VERY reluctant to tempt fate here but... her sleep has been the best it's been ever in the past week. She's been going down easily at 7pm, and sleeping through until somewhere between 6am and 6.30. We've had a couple of early wake ups (like 5.30 etc) which I still find absolutely killer, but in the past few days it's been amazing really. I'm fairly confident now that I've written this that tonight will be an absolute disaster but anyway, thought I'd mark this time for posterity and to remind myself that it wasn't all totally helpless when I look back...

The one thing we have changed to try to stop her early wake ups (on the advice of my friend and fellow mum Alice) is to wake her up after 40 mins of her morning nap. We never used to wake her - we always let her sleep as long as she wanted and wake up naturally, but this did mean she had her long nap in the morning and then a poxy short one in the afternoon, which is the wrong way round. So now we've been trying to get her to do the long nap in the afternoon instead, and it's a bit hit and miss, but waking her up from her morning nap does seem to have done something weird to her brain and helped her sleep in later in the morning, which is great.

However, I'm fairly sure this rosy patch won't continue as I keep hearing all about the bloody 18 month sleep regression. It's like some awful hurdle looming on the horizon - I can't bear it! I think I'd rather not know. It's also going to coincide with Daph starting at the childminder's, so I'm fairly sure February is going to be an exhausting month for all of us... *tries to think positive - we WILL be one of those lucky families that skips it entirely! we will we will we will!!*

One last slightly weird thing - Daph has started holding her wee in when she has a bath. It's so funny, when we get her out of the bath now, she's desperate to get her nappy on to relieve herself, and genuinely seems so relieved when she can finally wee. My mum thinks this is a sign she's ready to be potty trained but seeing as she can't walk yet I'm not entirely convinced. It's interesting though, and just another reminder of how quickly she's growing up. Sob.

So yes, on the whole, this has been a bloody LOVELY month - Daph is happy, chatty, relaxed and eating and sleeping well. If babies were like this all the time I'd have hundreds of them. Maybe.

*my sister's name is actually Sophie, but when *I* was a littlun I couldn't pronounce it, so I used to call her Pophie, which got shortened to Poph. Pronounced to rhyme with Soph, in case there's any confusion (people always think it's Pop-h or something!)

15 month baby update

15-month-baby-update-2-lifebylotte Hello hello! I'm a bit late with this one, sorry! Daph turned 15 months last Thursday (which was also my mum's birthday) and I kind of forgot until later on the evening. When people ask me how old she is these days I tend to say one and I actually have to think about it if people want the precise number of months - time is rushing past so quickly!

Development wise, not much has changed in the past month. She's still not walking and is showing no signs of starting, but she is much more confident standing now and can stand unsupported for about two seconds before her little legs decide to give up. She's also started cruising around the furniture. The only time I mind about her being behind with this is when we're out and about and I think how much easier it would be if she could walk. That's been the biggest frustration of the last month actually - she has decided she hates going shopping, or being restrained in any way (eg in a pushchair or a trolley). She just wants to be crawling everywhere and anywhere, and doesn't seem to understand why that isn't allowed in the supermarket.

We had a really fun moment on Friday in M&S when she just totally lost it and started screaming at the top of her lungs in the trolley - a proper tantrum. Everyone stared at me. EVERYONE. A little old lady walked past and said 'Oh dear, someone's not very happy are they?' and I wanted to say 'Damn right I'm not, I've had enough.' Daph's screaming is really very very impressive and could probably shatter glass. I remember how, before I had Daph, I used to think 'Oh god, why do people with bratty kids take them to supermarkets in the first place?' and I have to say, I had no good answer for my old self on Friday.

It was so bad actually, that I left Oli to it and took her back to the car. I resisted the urge to weep. I envied the days when people could stick their babies in prams and leave them outside shops without fear of them being kidnapped. (Sort of).

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What else what else... oooh, one of the best things is she has finally started feeding herself, which has been amazing. She always 'could' feed herself (eg if I give her a biscuit she knows what to do with it) but at mealtimes she stubbornly used to sit there staring at whatever we put in front of her, waiting for us to feed her. This definitely ties in with her lack of interest in walking - she's figured out that life's easier if you get other people to do stuff for you, and don't trouble yourself with doing anything on your own. But in the last week or so (thanks I think in large part to my mum having less patience when she looks after her on Wednesdays) she's started to pick up food and put it in her mouth All By Herself. The other day she ate a whole (slice of) pizza all by herself, and then followed it up with a mandarin (cut into pieces). It was amazing to be able to eat my own piece of pizza before it got cold, and watch her happily helping herself. There was a LOT of mess, obvs, and I had to leave my OCD hat on the peg, but I've bought her one of those brilliant bibs that is basically like a bib jumper and covers everything, so at least she's not ruining her clothes... I've long given up on the carpet under the dining table (who puts carpet in dining rooms anyway, morons).

As for talking, 'tea' is definitely her first word (she says it whenever she sees a mug), and she's added lots of other interesting sounds to her repertoire in the last month. I love listening to her babble away because now it sounds as though she thinks she's actually saying real sentences, with little inflections that go up at the end, as though she's asking a question. She's also started giving us kisses along with the cuddles. It's all very adorable.

Her sleep is back to normal, although we had a few days of nap refusal which weren't fun. Generally though she's still having two naps a day, one at 9.30am and another at 2.30pm, and then going to bed at 6.30 and is (usually) asleep by 7. However, the time she wakes up each day seems to vary enormously which is weird - the past few days have been 5.45am *weeps* but earlier in the week she was doing more like 6.30 - 7. No idea how to make this more consistent, as she always goes to bed at the same time, and her bedtime routine is identical every night. I guess that some days she's just less tired than others?! She's been sleeping through though, 90% of the time, which is great.

Her sense of humour at the moment is just WONDERFUL, with lots of giggles and cheekiness. She deliberately does 'naughty' things (like trying to escape through the cat flap) just to see how we react - it's VERY hard to tell her off with a straight face when she's chuckling away at you, her little eyes shining with delight.

So yes, on the whole, a quiet month, apart from the screaming which hasn't, er, been quiet at all. I hope this is just a phase, as so many things turn out to be, and eventually she'll cotton on to how wonderful shopping is (yesterday I was in Baby Gap trying to get her some cool new leggings and she STILL had a meltdown, I mean, HONESTLY!) and then we'll be able to leave the house again. Having a toddler to entertain is SO much easier in the summer when you can take them to the park and let them roam free, and I do so miss all our outdoor pursuits... I guess it's time to start investigating some soft play areas. Gulp.

14 month baby update

14-month-baby-update-lifebylotte So, the picture above probably gives away the biggest development this month - namely that Daph is finally, finally (about ten years behind the baby books) pulling herself up to stand! She still mostly stands on her tiptoes, but puts her feet flat from time to time too so I think it's just a case of getting her muscles to relax and get used to this new position, and then she'll be fine. It's so exciting and cute to see her pulling herself up and bobbing about, all pleased with herself. She also occasionally lifts each foot in turn, as if she's trying to walk (although she can't, as obviously she's still hanging on to whatever it is that she used to pull herself up in the first place). It's hard to imagine her walking about as a little person of her own accord, and while it's exciting (because my god is she heavy now and carrying her everywhere gets very tiring) it's also a bit sad - five minutes ago she was my helpless prone 5lb newborn! Gah!

She's still not talking in much of a meaningful sense, although she does very often say 'tea' when I pour water into my mug of tea, or when she sees me taking a sip from a cup, so I've decided that's her official first word. Ha. She's also been babbling 'mama' for the first time ever (it was only really dadadada before) and also 'nana' in the past week. She has a tendency to say 'dere' when she's pointing at something or reaching for it, which sounds very much like 'there', so I wonder if that counts! Any speech therapists out there? The doctor said we need to take her for a referral if she's not using words with meaning soon, but I'm reluctant to now, as I can see her progressing in her own way, and I have faith that she will get there eventually. Anyway, we'll see how she is next month and take it from there.

In other news, her understanding is coming on leaps and bounds. She can now do terrifying things like turn the telly on with the remote (I mean, seriously, and we hardly ever watch TV!) and also she knows to press the main button on my iPhone and wait for the screen to light up to swipe it. Also quite terrifying, really - these were not the skills I was hoping to foster in my tiny baby. She's still very good at fetching things you ask her for, or finding them in her toy basket, and she now also puts things back if you ask her to (eg, she has a habit of pulling things off our coffee table, but if you ask her she'll then pick them up and put them back on it - so cute). She also feeds her doll with her bottle, and also tries to feed me during mealtimes by offering me a bit of chewed up soggy bread, or half-bitten piece of cucumber. That's true love that is.

She can point with her index finger now, and she also points things out in books if you ask her to 'find the cat' or whatever. In the last few days she's started waving, but not at anyone in particular (yesterday it was at the trees - bastards didn't wave back) and not on demand. Still no sign of clapping however - she's a tough crowd.

Sleep went to shit again quite soon after my gloating post about her finally sleeping through, and I realised it was all down to the damn Sleepyhead. She was going through a phase of practising sitting up while she was half asleep and then getting stuck in weird positions and bursting into tears, so... we decided to put the Sleepyhead back. It was tough to go backwards after feeling we'd finally weaned her off it but in all honesty, it just wasn't worth the lack of sleep. As soon as we put it back, she started sleeping through again, so we're stuck with it for the foreseeable alas. But the sleeping through has been so epic - most nights she does 6.30pm to 6.30am without a peep. It. Is. Brilliant.

Napwise, she's still doing two naps, one for about an hour from 9.30am and another for 45 minutes from 2.30pm. I wish she would nap for longer as really it's hardly enough time to do much apart from pick up the trail of destruction that she leaves behind, but at least she's still doing two naps and hasn't dropped down to one yet. I am kind of dreading her dropping to one main nap in the middle of the day because surely it means you can't go anywhere?! I have to say I do miss the days of multiple naps when she was younger... oh, and her being able to nap in the buggy which meant I could go shopping without having to bribe her not to whine with gingerbread biscuits.

This month she also had her MMR. I agonised over this for weeks, and in the end she had it a bit late. I *think* I'm pleased we had it done - I have read about how terrible measles can be in children - but I still found it incredibly stressful (in fact, I wimped out and made Oli take her while I was at work), and she did have the predictable side effects 10 days after the injections. She woke up screaming hysterically (cue a horrendous 3am googling session of 'encephalitic cry' - DO NOT do this), had a really bad tummy and was generally grumpy and whiny for three days. It was so sad to think that it was something I had *done* to her, but thankfully she seems to have recovered with no ill effects.

The only thing we did do is put off her Meningitis B vaccination - at my surgery they give babies all four at once (MMR, Hib/MenC, PCV and MenB), but as MenB is the one that gives them a fever, I thought it would be better to have this once the MMR was completely out of her system. The nurse was apparently quite grumpy about it but they agreed to let her have that in a fortnight's time, and then it's no more injections until she's three and a half, I think. Phew!

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Two more developments this month: cuddling and... biting. The cuddling is lovely - she will now put her arms around me and give me a proper squeeze, but it's quite often followed up with the less-than-desirable sinking of her teeth into my neck. I am not sure what it's all about quite frankly - she's not cross when she does it, and it's not an anger thing. It's more that she's so excited she just wants to take a big chunk out of you. Very weird. And very bloody painful - I have lost my temper with her a few times when she's caught me off guard, which makes me feel terrible. Most of the time now I can tell when she's about to do it, and manage to distract her or hold her off, but my god it's annoying! I really hope it's a phase that doesn't last long, and if anyone has any tips for dealing with it (other than saying 'NO! NO BITING!' which seems to be what I say most of the time to her - poor thing!) then please ping me a comment here or on Facebook!

13 month baby update

13-month-baby-update-lifebylotte Oh how I wish I could freeze time! 13 months old is the best age yet - hands down. Daphne is so flipping cute all the time that I keep getting 'cute aggression' where I want to eat her/bite her/crush her. Google it (or click the handy link I provided, heh) - I'm not a psycho, it's an actual thing, a response to when things are so cute you have to rebalance your emotions by feeling violent. Like laughing when you're nervous or crying when you're happy - it's weird brain stuff and totally normal. Interesting eh? But I digress... Here's how Daphne's is at 13 months...

So, the biggest and best change is: she is FINALLY SLEEPING THROUGH THE NIGHT. From around 7pm (she goes down at 6.30pm) until 7am. Cue massive hurrahs, loads of gin, and me generally feeling like a normal human being again. I had forgotten what it was like, in all honesty. It's amazing what a decent night's UNBROKEN sleep can do. It is bloody wonderful. We no longer have the weird dream feed thing at 11pm, so I can go to bed early if I like and get some proper zzzzs in. Of course, I never do (go to bed early) because it's too exciting have unbroken evenings to sit around, write blogs, watch TV and read books. Bliss.

I don't really know what exactly got her to sleep through, to be honest, but I did start to leave her for a bit when she woke at 11pm for her feed, and I did gradually water it down, and reduce the amount, over about two weeks. Eventually she sort of got the message that it wasn't worth bothering to wake up for, but it did take a while and there were several false starts. I think one of the keys to all of this is giving her a massive dinner, which can be a challenge as she's generally not that hungry in the evenings (she eats like a starved dog at lunch). But we have managed to get her to eat lots of different things for dinner - finger food works best - which keeps her interested and generally means we can fill her up before she gets too whiny.

However, the sleeping through the night hasn't been completely consistent - mostly because of the hot weather. The days when we were dealing with 30 degrees outside and 28 in her room she woke up a few times in the night at random hours, which was quite stressful. Settling her when she wakes is actually really hard now because she only semi wakes up - and usually sits up in her cot - and yet she can't seem to lie back down and go back to sleep. But if I go in to 'help', she often gets freaked out and wakes up completely - I think I'm interrupting her in the 'zone' as it were, and although she can't settle herself, it makes it worse if I barge in there and pick her up. She'll start to scream and freak out, which is pretty horrible. And the only thing that will settle her in that situation is a bottle, which always scares me as I don't want to start the habit up again...

But now the weather's cooling down, fingers crossed we won't have any more sweaty wake ups. Of course, there's still teething, separation anxiety, learning to stand up in the cot etc etc to keep me on my toes so I am sure there are plenty of unbroken nights to come, but the main thing is the majority of the time now she's sleeping through and it is bloody marvellous. I've aged about five years in the last year and I swear it's all sleep related. Sigh.

Another achievement this month is that we've weaned her off formula. She now happily drinks cow's milk and doesn't even mind if it's cold from the fridge. We've got a carton of formula to finish off so she's still having that at bedtime, but I'm quite confident she won't miss it. I can't wait to get rid of the Tommee Tippee machine from the kitchen (although it has been a lifesaver and is highly bloody recommended). Next up, we have to wean her off bottles. I thought it was too risky (read: stressful for me) trying to do both bottles and formula at the same time. She has all her normal drinks from a beaker but milk is in a bottle. I know it's not great for her speech development and my mum keeps telling me that I stopped using bottles at six months so I *know* it's something we need to get on top of, but she gets so windy and burpy drinking large amounts from a cup that I'm a bit wary. Any tips appreciated!

Weaning off things seems to be the order of the day at the moment actually - we've also just managed to get her to give up her Sleepyhead in her cot. Another great hurrah. I'm going to write a blog post about my issues with the Sleepyhead so won't go into too much detail here about it, but it's been another struggle and I'm so glad we've got rid of the damn thing. I replaced it with Airwraps - her cot has bars so without the Sleepyhead she can easily get her arms or legs stuck. The Airwraps have gone down quite well - they're not at all squishy though so don't particularly protect from bumping herself against the bars. She was a little freaked out at first, not having her nice soft pillowy sides to snuggle up against but she seems happy now. Her latest bedtime habit is sitting up in the middle of the night, turning round and crawling to the other end, so that her head is at the foot of the cot. She can change positions about ten times a night without waking herself up (we have a video monitor so can spy on her) which is rather amusing.

What else what else... on the speech front, we're no further along, but I wrote about that in my last blog post. She makes loads of different sounds but nothing specific or consistent yet. She's started pointing, sort of, but she uses her middle finger not her index finger and doesn't fully extend it so not sure it counts?! But she can follow me pointing at something and she also definitely understands 'no' now, and will stop what she's doing for a second if she hears me do my 'stern voice'. Although it doesn't stop her going right back to doing it. Sigh. I read somewhere lately (probably a self-help book or something on PMA) that babies are the ultimate inspiration as when they want something, they Just. Don't. Give. Up. I guess that's how you progress through life, and something we forget to do as we age/get lazy? Ha! I'll leave you there on that unexpectedly philosophical note...

One year baby update!

one-year-baby-update-lifebylotte Daphne is one! Well, she will be in 45 minutes time - right now a year ago I think I was in the last stages of proper hideous pushing - the bit when you feel like you are ripping yourself in half but you really, really don't care. Anything to get them out. All a distant memory now thankfully. In fact, I said early on that I'd go through labour again twice over rather than have to endure the agonising six weeks of 'breastfeeding' that I attempted. Labour was incredibly painful and exhausting but it was still the biggest natural high I have ever had - much like how I imagine people who climb Everest feel. It is amazing what your body can do if you, er, make it.

But enough about me. Daphne is one and what a month it's been! We've moved house, and thankfully she seems to love the new place just as much as the old place. She settled in straight away - in fact my biggest worry was her freaking out about being somewhere new but she seemed to love her new bedroom from the very first night. I think a lot of this has to do with the Flensted elephant mobile* she has hanging over her cot - she absolutely LOVES it, and as soon as I put her in her cot in the new room and she looked up and saw the elephants there, she smiled and rolled onto her side and went to sleep. The only problem with this 'sleep prop' of course is that it's not very portable, so we've undoubtedly made a rod for our own backs there, but it was a godsend in keeping some sense of consistency for her when we first moved in.

The biggest change in the last month however, is that she is now crawling! She started to crawl at exactly 11 and a half months. It was amazing - just totally out of the blue one morning she just 'got it' and now she happily crawls everywhere. She's also started trying to pull herself up but in typical Daph style, hasn't really got the logic down yet and instead tries to push off by sticking her bum in the air and straightening her legs while in a crawl position - a kind of downward dog type affair. It doesn't get her anywhere of course and she just gets frustrated. She sort of tries to climb up on furniture but not really, she can get onto her knees but then she loses interest. I'm not so worried about any of this anymore - I know she's a little 'behind' what all the books say but she's definitely progressing in her own way and I have no doubt she'll get there in the end. The crawling is ace though - she's so pleased with herself as she comes scuttling towards you. It's a nightmare, of course, logistically - we were very used to being able to leave her in one position while we did something but now of course that's impossible. Thank god we have a bigger house now - at the moment she uses the (pretty much empty) dining room as her main exercise track and has all her toys out on the floor.

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What else is new? She's finally started sleeping in a bit later - now she wakes up at 6.20 ish, which is much more bearable. However, she has still, never, ever, NOT ONCE IN HER WHOLE LITTLE LIFE, slept through from bedtime at 6.30pm to 6am without waking up at least once for a drink/cuddle. I have tried SO hard to wean her off the milk (I know she doesn't need it at night at this age) but nothing bloody works. I've diluted it so that it's just 90% water, given her just water, given her less milk... doesn't make any difference, she will still wake up at some point the next night and demand to be picked up, reassured by a bottle (it's about 30 seconds of 'drinking' each time!), and put back to bed. Any tips on this gratefully received! She usually goes straight back to sleep so it's not been TOO annoying (and it's usually at a reasonable hour like 11pm so I'm awake anyway), but for the past two nights I fear we have hit a new 'phase'... I think it's maybe a mini regression, but she's woken up later than normal - at around 12.30am - and then stayed awake for an hour and a half each time, crying the second I leave the room. And not just a few whimpers, but proper howls. The heartbreaking ones. So I guess this is more separation anxiety at work - oh joy. Last night I was a bit despairing and even brought her into bed with us (I couldn't get out of her bloody room without taking her too and quite frankly I just wanted to lie down by then) where she decided it was all rather funny and started giggling and jumping about. So she went straight back to her cot. Eventually she kind of wore herself out and went back to sleep, but honestly: WTH! Babies are so badly designed. This sleep nonsense is The Worst.

Another challenging aspect at the moment - food! Daphne takes after me (at least when I was young) and seems to now find eating a boring waste of time that gets in the way of all the exciting things she could be doing like going through mummy's handbag or pulling all the tissues out of a box. The only way to get her to eat at the moment is by distracting her and then shovelling food in her mouth as she concentrates on something else - it's amazing how creative you can get when you need to, and how entertaining you can make the wax bit of a Babybel. We've tried letting her feed herself but all she does is pick things up, turn them over in her hand and throw them on the floor - she hardly ever puts things in her mouth. It's like she has zero interest in food. Unless - and here's the caveat - I'm having a chocolate bourbon with my cup of tea. Then she's suddenly desperate for a bite and a swig from the mug (don't worry, I never let her do either. Promise. Ahem). Oh and she will happily munch on a rice cake in the car or in her buggy. She hates being fed from a spoon but will take things from a fork - again I think this is because she's seen us eating from a fork. Mealtimes are exhausting and take hours.

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The best bit about Daph at the moment though, is her understanding. I keep desperately googling what's normal for this age because I find it absolutely mindblowing, as she seems to understand everything. Well, she understands the names of everything. You only have to tell her once and she'll remember what something is called - and now we can ask where blue dog or her phone or her piano or mummy's computer are, and she'll crawl off towards them and then bring them to you or pick them up to 'show' you. She knows what the car is, what houses are, what grass is, where the garden is, where her books are etc etc. She'll also come to you if you ask her to, although she has yet to hand you something you ask her for. I think she must have at least 50 words in her receptive language already. However, she doesn't say any! She speaks a lot in her own funny goobledegook, and often sounds like she's saying 'Daddy' (not to anyone in particular however!) and 'Eeeeeee' which she says if she sees me or the cat. But no proper words, and not a snifter of a 'mama'. Huh. Today, though, I swear she said 'up' after me (I was picking her up and said it as I did so, and she parroted it back. Might have just been a random fluke thing however!).

Most of all, Daphne age one is absolutely the most entertaining and lovely she's been so far - I LOVE this age so much! She's so happy and funny - a real little character. I'm much less worried about her than I was, and if only we could crack this sleep thing, I'd say life as a mum was pretty perfect right now. Happy birthday, my little lovely Chip.

* not a sponsored link, nor did I get it for free! 

Eleven month baby update

eleven-month-baby-update-lifebylotte 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!

Eight month baby update

lifebylotte-eight-month-baby-update Where to start with Daph's eight month update? First of all, she is HUGE. I can't wait for our next trip to the health visitor to find out exactly how much she weighs now and how long she is - I swear she must be off the charts now especially with her height. She seems so long and, well, big. Not so chubby any more (although she does have a rather cute pot belly) but just big in every way - her head, her feet, her hands - all of it! I think she's going to be a giant. I know there's no way of telling how a person will end up from what they were like as a baby but I just can't see her being a delicate little petite child somehow!

She's such a little character now - and a really tough crowd. She'll have the odd day of finding everything funny, and then won't laugh for a week. Making faces at her that she hasn't seen before may get you a little chuckle but you can almost tell she's fighting it, as if she's really NOT that impressed you know, and once she's seen something once then it's no longer funny, mum, so stop doing it over and over again. She's very particular about who she'll smile at - she liked some of the female estate agents we've seen lately but the male ones were mostly met with looks of distrust. Wise beyond her years! And she'll have days where Daddy is her favourite and gets all the smiles, and days when I'm deemed the best.

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Milestone-wise, I reckon she's a little behind average. She can sit now, pretty well, but often launches herself backwards in the middle of sitting and ends up falling on her back. I noticed just yesterday she was doing a bit of rocking on her bum, and reaching forward with her hands, which I think means she's about to crawl?! But knowing Daph she won't bother until she's about 1. If we put her on her tummy she screams and wriggles (often moving backwards inadvertently) and generally looks pissed off with us. Or rolls straight back onto her back. She's got the rolling down, finally, but still doesn't do it unless she ABSOLUTELY HAS TO. She can support her own weight really well though, and will stand easily if you hold her hands.

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She isn't babbling yet - but she does do a good line in screaming. And blowing raspberries - her new favourite thing. She'll also make sort of sing-song noises when you're feeding her, which are quite interesting. But otherwise, to get your attention she'll whine (gah I hate whining!) or bang things like her hands on the table or her feet against her chair.

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Food is still a hit, thankfully, and she's tried pretty much everything she's allowed now, all to great success. Apart from avocado. She really doesn't get that one. I love watching her eat - she's a total piglet and will always finish her meal and open her mouth for more. I've been quite lazy at letting her feed herself (mostly just to save time), and must make a conscious effort going forward to give her more opportunity to do so. She can easily hold a rice cracker and feed herself with it, it just takes FOREVER and lots of it ends up on the floor... luckily she's quite a neat eater, but I suspect this is because we haven't done baby-led weaning so I get to spoon everything into her mouth quite tidily!

I've been trying to cut down her milk as I noticed with alarm she's only meant to have three 7oz bottles at her age. Currently she still has five bottles per day (!) which vary between 5-7oz. I try not to let her finish them if she doesn't seem that bothered, and I'm desperate to drop the dream feed at 11pm (not least because it interrupts my only bit of me-time all day). But we tried it one night and she woke up at 1am starving hungry so I think I'll have to try to phase it out gradually. I'm confused about the milk versus food thing and exactly how much she should be having of each - I know there's that expression 'food before one is just for fun' but I'm SURE she doesn't need all this milk as well as her three proper meals.

She's sleeping pretty well these days and has settled into quite a nice nap routine of 9am-10.30am, then 12.30-1.30/2pm and then another little power nap at 4pm for about half an hour. Bedtime at 7pm, dreamfeed between 10-11pm and then up for the day usually at 6.30am. I'd love her to sleep longer at night but she absolutely can't do without her three naps - she goes ballistic at bedtime if she hasn't slept enough during the day.

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I feel I must also mention her hair, which is growing thick and fast. It can't seem to decide what colour it is - the back of her head looks a lovely golden blonde, but the front (where she's sporting a rather fetching toupee style) is much darker and almost a light brown. Her eyes are definitely blue though, and a lovely dark grey-blue too.

Last but not least for this month, she has her top two front teeth now! They are SO CUTE. They came through last week and we had three nights of crying and generally being miserable, but now they're through she's back to her normal self. It's amazing seeing her with four little teeth and I can't wait to get a proper photo of her smiling with them all showing!