9 Months

by thewallflowerchapter

I can hardly believe that the next time I update about the little berry’s progress, it’ll no longer be a single digit month.

It’s true they say that the initial months crawl by so slowly, but the following months will fly by. Before we know it, she’ll be a year old, in school, a teenager, a wife, a mother.

I want to bottle up each day with her in a precious glass jar but our days pass like sand, I can only hold them tight for a moment before they become slip out of my hands. I wonder if all mothers experience this kind of bittersweet love.

There’re a couple of significant changes that’s happened the past month:

– She’s sprouted her first teeth! The bottom front two to be exact. She was a little cranky at night before they cut through the gum for the very first tooth, but the other one seems to not really affect her that much. Both teeth are still emerging from her gums, about halfway through, not completely out yet. Time to whip out that dental care set I bought for her soon.

– She’s been sleeping for about 10-11hrs straight for the past week and a half. This is the result of many desperate prayers, conversations with friends and sleep training. After talking to Cindy and Claire (both of whom sleep trained their kids and assured me it doesn’t harm the babies), I decided to give the cry-it-out extinction sleep training method a try – after close to 4 months of sleep deprivation.

She was waking up 4 to 8 times every night, crying. I would crawl out of bed, go to her, nurse her back to sleep again. Sometimes she goes back to sleep without any problems. Sometimes she doesn’t want to sleep and decides to play for an hour instead, at say 3am leaving me a zombie the next morning. I resorted to sleeping on a mattress in her room on nights it gets really bad so I can get more rest. GY took over a couple of these nights too. His rule for me was that I had to wake him up to take over at the 4th time she wakes up.

The first night she cried for a heartbreaking 1hr 15mins, before sleeping 9hrs through to morning. It was excruciating to hear her pitiful cries and imagine her standing in the cot, crying towards the door and wondering why isn’t papa or mummy coming to get her.

Despite putting pillows under the slits of both doors and muting the baby monitor, we could still hear her very clearly. I was going to break and kept looking to GY for affirmation. We prayed. We read the book “Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child” over and over, especially the bits that mention babies need undisrupted sleep and have to be trained to sleep for long stretches at night. We watched a comedy “Tricky Master” to keep our sanity, while keeping an eye on the flashing lights on the baby monitor.

It was a balm to our tortured souls when she finally stopped crying. The next day, she cried for 1 hour. And the next day, she cried for 20mins, on 3 occasions. And the next day, she didn’t cry at all! Nowadays, I nurse her to sleep and she usually doesn’t cry when I transfer her to the cot. We are super thankful that she’s sleeping better now with no/minimal crying.

(Although she did wake up last night at 1.30am and cried for 45mins before going back to sleep… I was so tempted to go to her because in my mind, I kept thinking that she has some urgent need to be met e.g. thirst, hunger, danger, but GY assured me that she couldn’t be hungry. The only thing that was preventing me from going to her was that it might cause her sleep training to regress and she might have to undergo even more crying to get undisrupted sleep again. Anyway interesting point – I noticed that every time this happens, it’s after GY mentions to someone that we’re out of the dark days, hmmm… I have to ask him to stop boasting about this!)

– For her naps, I’ve resorted to putting her in the sarong yao lan thing. She has outgrown the glider which was such a fantastic device for the past 8 months until she started flipping over and standing up in it. I tried letting her nap in the cot, the playpen, in my arms… but they all didn’t work out because she would only nap for 30mins on a flat surface, or I would be stuck in the nursing chair with her for hours on end if she’s napping on me. She doesn’t seem to care so much for the rocking motion of the yao lan, I only rock her when she stirs so she goes back to sleep for another cycle. I suspect what she likes is the enclosed feeling she gets from being semi-swaddled by the yao lan fabric.

– For someone who was already quite mobile in crawling previously, she’s now crawling at top speed and even lunging/jumping forward to get things. She doesn’t like being confined to one spot e.g. her playpen or seat, and would prefer to be roaming the grounds on all fours. She’s happy to crawl around the kitchen, standing up with the metal roads of the kitchen island for support, or exploring the living room, plucking chopper’s fur from the carpet, putting her nose in the different shelves. She just can’t keep still! My parents joke that she’s got a sharp bottom, hence the inability to sit still, haha…

– She’s still blabbering but as GY has observed, her blabbering is now more complex. There’s a distinct difference if she’s talking quietly to herself while she’s exploring an object, or if she’s complaining loudly when she wants something. She now says “papa”, “mama” (often when she’s complaining), “nai nai”, “mum mum”, “da-da-da”… We suspect she’s beginning to associate “papa” with GY, but can’t be sure yet!

– Her bedtime routine now is more fixed since the sleep training. Around 8.30pm -9pm, GY says a benediction for us and she will get a warm bath, then I’ll wipe her down, change her diapers, put on her PJs, and switch off the lights to nurse her to sleep before putting her in the cot. She usually knocks out in about 20mins after I begin to nurse her.

– She seems to have rather sensitive skin and has suffered from a recent bout of pretty bad diaper rash. She also gets rashes/dry spots/red bumpy things on her skin and birthmark areas quite often, so I usually have to slather her with a variety of creams and moisturizers after her baths (amidst letting her play with many many toys because she just wouldn’t keep still!)

Diaper changes are quite a nightmare now because she doesn’t like lying still on her back and would attempt to flip every chance she’s got. I’ve got a variety of toys stashed at her changing station just to distract her.

– She seems to prefer everyday objects (kitchen parchment paper, tissue boxes, plastic wrappers, coasters, paper boxes…) she finds herself to the toys people hand her. A sign of her independence?

– She’s been eating a lot recently, finishing all 2.5ounces of food we prepare for her for each meal. Not sure if this is because of the 9th month growth spurt or that her stomach is now bigger, or even that it’s coz she no longer gets night feeds from me. She gets a mixture of meat (she alternates between blended pork/chicken/innards), veg (usually organic baby spinach), stock (boiled for hours from free range pork bones), and organic brown rice cereal + fruits (so far she’s tried strawberries, peaches, plums, blueberries, mandarin oranges, raspberries, cherries…). She loves fruits and would always open her mouth for them, so much so that I have to take note of the amount I feed her, because she has vomited a couple of times from indigestion/overeating fruits.

– I’ve began putting her on the potty occasionally, when I see her straining to move her bowels (usually after meal times). Even though she did actually poo in it once, I question whether it’s still too early to potty train her because 1) she can’t tell me whether she wants to go potty which I think is the whole point of potty training, 2) I have no way of cleaning her after she goes in the potty unless I bathe her, which is a very time-consuming thing to do, and 3) she squirms out of the potty so it’s hard to not let her poo get all over the place.

– She’s learnt to crinkle her nose at people when she smiles, something GY taught her much to the annoyance of his folks. She looks very very cute and naughty when she does that though. She also knows to how blow raspberries at GY’s belly button, haha… sometimes he would lie in bed and she would go crazy patting his face, taking out his eyeballs and nose, plucking his belly hair, armpit hair, pinching/licking his nipples, climbing all over him.

– Her favourite person is her mama : ) When she’s surrounded by strangers, sometimes she searches the room for me and would want me to go to her. When I pick her up from my parent’s place on Monday/Tuesdays, she would perk up immediately when she sees me, and reach out for me to carry her. I think it’s a combination of both missing me and wanting to nurse, but either way I’m happy to know she wants her mama, especially when she’s so mobile these days it’s hard to hold her in my arms for a prolonged period of time.

Today, I was reminded by a friend to enjoy my little berry everyday, because she is a blessing from the Lord. It’s so easy to forget that sometimes when I’m busy trying to get her to entertain herself so I can cook or do household chores. But my dear little berry, mummy’s praying that she will learn how to set time aside to play with you, to love you and to enjoy you… I really want to enjoy every phase you go through, because I know they pass so quickly.