As I was formulating this post in my head, it dawned on me that I had written a post about around this time last year about all of my accomplishments while my husband was in Djibouti. Then when I went back to find the link, I realized that it was exactly one year ago--November 15th--that I had reflected on all that I had done while he was out of the country. And what a year it has been! But back to Ella and her accomplishments...
She doesn't like her tummy-time all that much, so she quickly discovered (at about 2-1/2 weeks) that she could roll over from her tummy back to the comfort of her back. The first time, I figured it was just an "accident", but she did it three times that first night. I think that she often forgets that she can accomplish this maneuver, because she doesn't do it every time, but she has started to do it more and more regularly. My husband finally got to witness it for the first time this morning as well.
Everyone has been really impressed with her neck strength and head stability since pretty much the day that she was born. When she is up on my shoulder, she usually has her head up and looking around. Our favorite pediatrician noticed this as well at one of her early appointments. I'm still careful to support her, just in case she tilts her head back just a little too far, but it's great to see her looking around so much.
Speaking of looking around, she has really become so much more alert in the last couple of weeks. She makes amazing eye contact--and usually smiles and coos when she does. She's also starting to notice other objects--like the toys hanging from her activity mat or bouncer--which is great for me, because she's starting to entertain herself for longer periods at a time so that I can prepare a meal, eat, clean up around the house...or get in a dreaded pumping session.
She has become so much more audible. I came into the living room on Saturday morning to see my husband on the ground singing our fight song to her, and she was just cooing along with him. It was so sweet! And her little giggles are just as sweet. I heard the first one a week or so ago when I was putting her to sleep, and it totally warmed my heart.
Ah...sleep. No, she's most definitely not at the "sleeping through the night" phase yet (and I admit that I think that we have a ways to go before we get there...we're at the five-hour mark for now). But she is learning how to fall asleep in the cradle with only a little bit of help. We stopped swaddling her at around three weeks--mainly because she likes to have her arms free. Even when I swaddled her up as tight as I comfortably could, she still found a way to bust her arms out and stretch them above her head. So now we just make sure that she's warm enough in foot-pajamas and cover her up with a blanket. By placing my hand on her chest and singing to her or "sh-sh-sh-ing", she can usually (I admit it's not always) fall asleep within a few minutes (perhaps this is as much of an accomplishment for me as it is for her--it feels so good to know that I can usually find a way to comfort her and help her fall peacefully to sleep).
Now for a not-so-fun trick...I previously shared that she has a knack for peeing or pooping in that half-second between when I take the old diaper off and put the new diaper on. We have three changing pad covers, and it's not uncommon for us to go through all three in one week. Perhaps I'm a bad mother, but I've gotten to the point that if it's not too wet or too dirty, that I'll just turn the cover inside-out and make use of the clean(er) side in case it happens again (I know...I'm so bad!). But her talent isn't restricted to the changing pad. Oh no! She is also really great about having a blow-out diaper in the swing, car seat, or bouncer immediately after I've reassembled them after getting them out of the laundry for yet another blow-out. I think it must be something about that semi-reclined position that just opens up her bowels.
I know that there will be so many more little and big accomplishments in the days, weeks, months, and years to come. Good and bad, it's so amazing to see her grow and develop. There is so much more to which I'm looking forward!
Today's blessing is a quiet day at home with her. I'll be heading into town Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday for various commitments, so it will be nice to just hang out around the house with her today.