In the past two weeks there has been an explosion of interaction with her environment. She has increased her dialogue with people and at toys, making adorable sounds, and smiling has gone off the charts. And the past couple of weeks have seen a major increase in the production of drool, so much so that some days I put a bib on her so that she doesn’t soak through her shirt.
Socially, things proceed apace. Two weeks ago she had her first full day out at an event, and she did beautifully. She ate well, napped well in my arms, and was cheerful and smiley when meeting new people. The crying at the tail end of the event in late afternoon was definitely exhaustion and having had quite enough of the foreign environment. Then the last weekend of October we hosted a mums and daughters tea party that confirmed our suspicion that she’s incredibly social. She was enthralled with all the children, staring at them and breaking into huge smiles when they looked at her. I wish we’d taken photos, because she wore a darling antique red printed dress from April Cornell that had circulated through five other girls in our circle of friends. We had tiny tea sandwiches, tiny sweet scones with preserves and cream, tiny lavender-lemon shortbread cookies, and tiny cupcakes (tiny was a theme, as you may have figured out), and enjoyed using our vintage real china tea set. It was lovely, and it’s definitely something we’ll do again, often.
Physically, she’s a little powerhouse. She’s not very interested in sitting; she wants to stand on our laps all the time. She has terrific head control and leg strength. She’s much less shrieky about being on her back now, like on her playmat, for example, but she shows zero interest in rolling over. A couple of weeks ago she started making vague, broad movements with her arms while looking at things, which rapidly focused into more deliberate batting at objects with her fists. Then earlier this week things focused even more, and suddenly she’s reaching for specific things and catching them. Last Wednesday, after a week of batting, she deliberately grabbed for two danglies on the arch of her bounce chair, and caught them both, one in each hand, one after the other. When I put her in yesterday, she grabbed for the left one right away and looked really pleased that she’d remembered how to do it.
She’s grasping things like blankets and shirts and bringing them to her mouth to chew on them as well. Thursday’s milestone was grabbing a rattle and shaking it for the first time, followed by grabbing my glasses and pulling them right off with a cheeky grin. And so it begins…
Another first is using her high chair. We used to pull her swing over during supper, but she’d complain to sit on someone’s lap by halfway through the meal. We brought the high chair in, reasoning that she’d feel more included if she were on the same level as everyone else, and it’s a big hit. The high chair has also proved useful when I need to do kitchen stuff during the day like cooking and baking: I put her in it and narrate everything I’m doing. I did a whole cooking show for her this week, and taught her how to make oatmeal. It’s a bit exhausting, being that animated while doing something so mundane, but it worked.
She was a terribly adorable Dark Knight for Halloween, as seen in this blog post.
We use the mei tei mostly when going to the boy’s bus stop in the mornings and afternoons; she either falls asleep with her head against my chest or is perky and awake, and when she’s awake she loves watching the cars that go by. I finally took a photo of the mei tei in action, so here you go:
The cloth diapering is going well. We don’t have big all-in-one diapers that absorb a lot; we have light cotton flannel ones, and she soaks through them very quickly, so the washing of them is something that’s on my mind a lot. Something that’s mildly frustrating is figuring out what detergent to use. You can’t use just any detergent; most leave a deposit that can irritate the baby’s skin or reduce the diapers’ absorbency. Depending on your machine and your water, some detergents that are safe for cleaning them work really well and others don’t. I started off with Seventh Generation, which is a safe detergent for cloth diapers, but when the diapers got wet they had a very faint ammonia smell that I didn’t like, even when I used the trick of adding a bit of vinegar to the first rinse. So I stopped using it and tried Bio-Vert, which so far has left the diapers super-soft and very clean, with no odour sneaking in once they’re wet. You use only a tiny spoonful of detergent to wash cloth diapers (so it lasts for ages), which means I’ve got a jug of Seventh Generation that is now lined up to wash our regular clothes.
Sleeping is just about the same. Sometimes we can put her down in her basket to nap, but it’s tricky; we have to hit just the right moment where she’s not too asleep but not too awake, or she’ll be crying within ten minutes. Generally she’s still sleeping on or next to someone, but the naps are longer and more like real naps instead of dozing.
Feeding is going well, too. She’s still eating every hour and a half to two hours both day and night, which is tiring for me, but she’s more focused about it. In fact, it’s going so well now that we stopped giving her the two-ounce supplement of expressed milk two or three times a day because she was full from nursing. And evidently it’s all going even better than I expected, because at three months old, Miss Owlet weighs ten pounds and thirteen ounces. That’s a gain of just over a pound and a half in four weeks, oh yes indeed. The doctor is thrilled, and we are officially off the watch list.