Monday, October 22, 2012

A Perfect 10! Natalie at 10 Months

Two of my first-time-mom friends' babies turned a year old this month and it has made me a little sad that Natalie's first year of life is quickly drawing to a close as well. Their babies are now weaned from bottle and breast and seem a little less baby-like and more toddler-like now. As difficult as nursing was for the first 11 weeks, and as much as I'm looking forward to a break from its demands, I also don't want to give it up because its a stage of my baby's life that we can never go back to once its over.

On a less-sappy note, Natalie has become soooo much fun! I've thought that a lot over the past 6 months as she has started doing more and her personality comes out, but this month she started dancing all.the.time. She stands up and wiggles her cloth-diapered bottom back and forth and waves her arms and even keeps the rhythm of the music sometimes! She'll start movin' and groovin' if a toy plays music or if we start singing a song or if we turn up something on Pandora. I swear it's the cutest thing ever! I took some video of her yesterday, but I don't know how or if I can upload it to much to learn...oy vey!

I didn't keep up with all the new foods that she has tried this month, but off the top of my head she tried chicken noodle soup, chicken and rice soup, chicken pot pie (yeah, we eat a lot of chicken...), beef stew, applesauce, whole wheat Ritz crackers, and a french fry (just one! Don't want them to become a favorite, or familiar, "vegetable" - and I use that term very loosely). Since I started making more baby food, I gave up her dinnertime nursing (around 4 or 5 pm) and feed her solids then. She gets oatmeal before bed every night, and we mix applesauce in with it for some flavor since we ran out of pumped milk and are now mixing it with water. If I had to pick a favorite food, I'd say it's bananas. She can eat a whole one in one sitting if we let her! Where she puts it, I don't know... She just loves sweet things in general, just like her mama. She also drinks several ounces of water a day from a sippy cup. This kid still loves to eat, although when I fed her soup, sweet potatoes and green beans yesterday, she cried every time she saw green beans on the spoon. Thankfully, she never spit them out, but she made it clear that she preferred the soup!

I am so thankful that Natalie has been healthy! Other than a runny nose and a cough twice, she hasn't had any health problems. We keep thinking that she's going to cut a tooth, but none have made an appearance yet. I love her gummy smile, though, and am going to enjoy it while it lasts! She's still growing like a weed, and has started wearing size 4 shoes.

Sleeping is still very sporadic. Natalie made progress this month by starting to sleep from 8:30 or 9 (bedtime has been too late, too often!) until 6:15 am, nursing, and then going back to sleep until around 8 am. Then she started waking up around 4 am and refusing to go back to sleep unless she was being held, so I brought her in our bed, where she fell back to sleep, kicked me until morning, but also slept until 7 and 8 am without nursing. It has become very obvious to me that she has been using me as a pacifier. We just have to figure out how to get her to sleep 11 or 12 hours in HER OWN BED without waking up for that 6 am feeding! I'm done with letting her cry. We've done that on quite a few occasions to get her to sleep until 5 or 6 am, and it's emotionally, physically, and mentally exhausting for all of us.

Natalie is very serious around non-family members and takes a long time to warm up sometimes. A friend who is starting her own photography business asked to take pictures of Natalie for her portfolio, so we took pictures for over 3 hours last week. Out of 667 pictures, I swear, Natalie smiled in maybe 20 of them. 20! She was content and such a trooper, but just so serious! That, and she tried to put every single prop in her mouth. We joked that we're going to make a collage of pictures from that shoot and put the caption "Will work for food" at the top :)

It is such a joy and a privilege to be Natalie's mama. My heart is so full. Everywhere we go, people comment about how cute she is and I can't help but be proud of her. Alex and I ask ourselves how we ended up with such a beautiful little girl. God has blessed us indeed! She has such a sweet, cheerful, energetic disposition that we can't get enough of. She freely gives lots of hugs and kisses now, and it just melts my heart every time, even if she does pull my hair when she wraps her little arms around my neck. I can't imagine life without her.

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