Saturday, October 31, 2009

Elyana - at 9 Months. And Life.

What to say...

Elyana is 9 months old! At her appointment, I had to fill out a developmental form and go through all these things they wanted to know if she's doing at this age. Checked them all off, except I'm not sure I've seen her use a toy to bang against another toy (J says he's seen it). She's eating like she should (both nursing and baby/table foods), weighing 19 lbs! She just changes so much every day! Such as:
- Can identify words & the objects they go with. For example, if I ask for a book (and use a title sometimes) she will go get it for me. She will point to a "light" if we ask her to. She loves lights!
- She will wave hi/bye at request. She said "ba-ba", but only to Aunt Karen and her daddy, and has dropped its use for now. The waving is so cute!
- She found her shadow a little over a month ago (which she LOVES), but now she will wave at it (and mine)! We see it outside, but she even found it inside where a lamp was casting it on the floor. She is so observant, she surprises me with it!
- She has started going "oooh" at things she likes... pictures on her book pages, my pretty jewelry, my coffee make, dogs, trees, wind: pretty much anything she thinks is fun or nice!
- She is still doing wonderfully with using a toilet. We'll have 1 or 2 dirty diapers a week, during a nap or that we missed. Even Jonathan can tell when she needs to go, he's pointed it out to me a number of times. Love this! (I don't even really intend on trying to train her from wetting the diapers for a long time. That's just something I'm not sure she or I are ready for. She will use the toilet to do that, but it's more incidentally b/c she's already going to go.)
- She stands alone for up to 5 seconds now. :)
- She's totally changed her "favorite" books. Seriously, she had 3-4 ones she loooooved, and a night-night book as well. Well she won't sit for any of those anymore. It happened overnight. She has a one new favorite book and one new favorite night-night book. And other ones she may sit for, but not the old favorite. It's so funny, a bit odd, and I'm getting bored of her new favorite. She also fusses if we use animal noises anymore!!! Go figure?!?

Jonathan and I just adore her. So much. Being parents has been such a joy for Jonathan and me. Truly, we feel so overwhelmed with joy that we've been entrusted with her little life!!!

Jonathan and I are also preparing for Deployment #4 at the end of November. That sinking feeling in the pit of our stomaches returns. I find myself with tears close at hand at random times. It's a very emotional process, preparing for the inevitable. Preparing for something you've gone through so many times before, you know the steps, but don't get any better at handling them. We've got a little over 3 weeks left before the window of leave time hits. I pray they will stretch out as long as possible.

We have gone to Saturday night service at our church a few times (it's new). It's much smaller, and we have enjoyed it a lot. It also leaves Sunday more free, which has been so nice. Also, no missed/delayed naps! :) Elyana sat through the entire service last week (which was a good 10 minutes longer than usual) and she did great! She made a little fuss/scream maybe twice. That's it. We both concentrated while she played and ate Puffs. Yes, without Puffs we would not have made it. So what? I can deal with that! One thing I did was call a very dear friend of ours, who Jonathan and I both think has done amazing with their 3 children (who are around 11, 7 and 4). I got her advice about leaving children in nursery, separation anxiety, and some child training. It was so, so good! I really praise God for the wonderful people he's given us in our lives that we can learn from rather than just walk through things with good intentions but only our own limited wisdom. We are in one accord right now in what we're doing. Sure, there will be things to talk about in the future, but right now we're good. :)

That's all for now. :) Except pictures. I'll do those in another post, because Elyana's about to wake up and I need to finish stuff up!

Friday, October 16, 2009

"Love in Action" Blog - Go View It

My dear sister, Karen, has started a new blog titled "Love in Action." She's got some really encouraging and challenging posts up already. They are short writings about which she says:

The intent of this blog is to encourage Christian wives and mothers to show their love to those around them through daily, practical deeds. These ideas stem from things I am trying to apply in my own life. Some may not be applicable all the time, but I hope it plants a seed and ideas in the hearts of those who read to show their love through acts.

Thursday, October 08, 2009

Motherhood Challenges

Things have just really been busy around here. I've had at least 3 different blog posts I've wanted to make about my thoughts on some different issues... But time has gotten away from me (as usual!). I'll do what I can here.

Nursery again. While she did really well a few times, she has now full-on entered the "Stranger Anxiety" stage. I attempted to taker her in one week, and she clung to me and cried hard - so of course I did not even try letting her go then (calming her down from that took at least 5-10 minutes). Jonathan and I thought that maybe if he took her she wouldn't do that (she has a strong momma preference!). No, she did that to him. He still let her go (I could never have done that!). But the end result was, when we'd waited the amount of time I felt comfortable with, and checked on her, she was beside herself. (Which meant, I became beside myself!) We agreed nursery is not working now. We are praying about this again, for wisdom to know what is right for her. Jonathan wants to read an article or book on separation anxiety, and I do as well. I feel very conflicted about this, because my mothering instinct tells me one thing (nursery is not something she needs), yet I do want wisdom for how to help her and what will be best for her. I have appreciated all your input and advice, so can I solicit you all for any books/articles you may have read about this?

For example, sleep training is something everyone seems to have an opinion on. Everyone does it differently. If we didn't have a conviction when she was little of how we were to do it, I'd be lost, probably trying bits of this and that, never really sure what was right for our daughter, and being in general confused (rather like how I feel about nursery). Yet, we knew what we thought would be good for her and our family, and we read books that helped enable us to pursue that goal, and feel comfortable with it. I know I need that here!

Using the Toilet!
Elyana is constantly surprising me. Ever since we got home from Labor Day in NC, I decided to try Elimination Communication (EC) with her. I read a little bit about it, and a few people's stories of their implementation. I decided I needed to get her used to the toilet and what it was for. I also had noticed she always went #2 in the morning (usually after the 2nd nursing). So I started giving her naked time on a waterproof sheet on the floor for ~20 minutes. I'd watch her and see her start to go - and then I'd rush her to the toilet. I'd giver her a "cue" word/noise to create an association. Well, a month later and now anytime she will cue me when she's needing to go! I have to be attentive, because otherwise I can think "Aww, how cute, she's grunting" and miss it (it's not obvious unless you know to look for her cue)! This week, three days in a row now, she has "cued" me intentionally, before she even starts going (she cued twice on Tuesday, which is unusual to go twice, so I'm glad I listened to her)! Just today, I was really proud of her, because I was in the kitchen loading a few dishes as she played in the next room for a few minutes. 5 minutes of this (maybe) and she crawled in and came over near to me. Usually she just wants to be with me, so I think nothing of it. Then I noticed she sits down from a crawl, and starts her noises. Takes me a few seconds to put it together, so I take her to the toilet. Sure enough, as I get her set, she starts going! I am so proud of her!! Jonathan's watched this a few times now, and he said, "Wow, it's obvious she prefers this." And I realized he's right - she prefers to go on a toilet than in her diaper. The fact that she has a preference and can accomplish that amazes me. It also makes my heart so glad that we are "communicating" like this. No fussing here!

On communication, I have been working on the sign language, still plugging along. I do not see much recognition of the signs we use (sticking with 4 basic ones), nor is she repeating them back, but consistency and perseverance seem key. I shall plug away as long as I need to. I hope to see the light come on around 9-10 months old, as others have. :)

I will freely admit that this past weekend I definitely struggled a lot with my relating to Jonathan. At one point I felt like "all we do is fight over child-raising..." (which is such an exaggeration). We disagree so infrequently over anything (months at a time) that when we do I feel like it's the end of the world! I was getting incredibly discouraged at our differences and my attitude was so dishonoring to Jonathan (because I felt I was right). We of course talked it through, and by the next morning, my heart was much more aligned and at peace. We still have to come to an agreement, but I know the Lord will provide wisdom. I just have to do my part in reverencing Jonathan as commanded, and speaking my mind in an honoring way. I have so much growth that needs to happen in this area! At least I finally understood the marital challenges people talk about when raising children.

Trip Home!
We leave Friday for 10 days in NC!!! I am so excited to see our families again! What a great time it will be! We also get to take Elyana to the State Fair! I haven't been with Jonathan in a few years, and now we get to take our daughter. I don't know how long she'll last, but with a stroller, my wrap, and many arms to hold her, I'm hoping it's for a few hours! She's at a great age for enjoying it. I am excited because both my sister Crystal, and my brother and his wife will be in town (usually you miss seeing someone). I am bringing my kettlebell because as my sister Karen pointed out, it's compact! And since muscle = metabolism, I need to keep the weights up. (Also, I realized my last post might sound like I've got my pre-baby figure back.... yeah, not yet!!! I just happen to be able to wear my small jeans again, but still need my abs back. I don't know how long that'll take, so I'm still working out consistently and trying my best to eat clean!)