Dear Elanor-7 months

Dear Elanor Athena

You are 7 months old today.  How did that happen?

This month you had seven doctor’s appointments, luckily all with fairly good results.  You are down to seeing your nephrologist once  a year.  Your MRI showed normal progression and your neurologist will not see you again until you are one year of age.  You had a nice well baby visit, and will not need shots again until you’re a year old.  You’ll be seeing your gastroenterologist again at 9 months, and the pedi stroke team as well (although that’s more about your mild to moderate Von Willebrandts disease than any other reason).  We are very proud of your medical progress, and look forward to seeing you continue to improve in the months ahead.

Developmentally speaking, you are

  • rolling in both directions (although you still don’t enjoy it)
  • sitting very solidly and catching yourself so that you don’t tip over very much anymore
  • starting to pull up on things
  • starting to scootch…you want to go forward, but are only successful at moving backwards…which makes you very angry.
  • Holding your own bottle (laying down) and feeding yourself
  • Begun to babble “mamama”

Eating-wise…you have made your hatred of peas (that I mentioned in your six month letter) even more clear.  I tried them again a few weeks ago and you threw them back up.  We won’t be trying those again for a while.  You also hated the tomato carrot baby food I tried you on.  I’ve done some reading and it may be that the acidity of the tomato was a bit much for you.  However, you LOVE mango.  Can’t get enough of it.  Apple is also a big deal.  Most fruit has been a hit, although you aren’t the biggest fan of the apple/blueberry mix.

Now that you’re old enough for teething cookies and things in that vein, I’m starting to realize exactly how hard I’m going to have to work this year to keep your food free from your allergens.  It’s fairly easy with baby food as it basically just rules out any of the yogurt mixes.  But many teething cookies have soy (or dairy or egg) and I’ve had to be very vigilant about labels.  I found a cake mix that’s free of all of your potential allergens and mean to do a dry run to see how the cake actually tastes when cooked.  If it’s any good, then we’ll use that for your first birthday.  Hopefully you’ll outgrow the food allergies, but if you don’t, I want to give you as many options as possible.  Luckily the selection is a lot better these days than in the past…I regret ever rolling my eyes at the existence of Whole Foods.  For you, they are pretty much my go-to grocery store.

When it comes to eating, you have learned how to hold the bottle yourself when you’re laying down.  You sometimes need a little help (in supporting the end of the bottle, raising it a bit, etc) but in general are doing great.  And if you’re awake (as compared to the sleepy first feed of the day and any overnight) you get angry if we don’t let you do it yourself.  However, I am a bit concerned as your volume seems to be decreasing.  Something to call your GI doc about.

You are also getting very cranky if you don’t get solids at least once a day.  You will refuse the bottle and cry until we give them to you.  Generally you get very grabby with the spoon.  We’ve tried to give you your own spoon in the past, but you’re too smart for us!  You figured out which spoon had the food and discarded the other spoon, reaching for the one with the good stuff.  Your GI doc did warn us about this, saying babies who had trouble with bottles and formula often go crazy for solids.  Which is great on one hand because eventually it means you’ll be eating just fine, but on the other, I worry about how many calories you’re taking in.  Baby food has significantly fewer calories than your formula, but it’s clear that you prefer the former to the latter.

Still no teeth…I was sure you’d have some by now.  CJ, my good friend Aimee’s son, who is two days younger than you, has two.  Which is not to say I think you’re behind…it’s just funny how all of you develop in your own ways.

Speaking of developing, can I tell you how thrilled I am that your first “word” is Mama?  You say “mamama” and sometimes “mama.”  Obviously you haven’t connected me and that word, as it’s just something you babble, but every time I hear you say it, I get a big dopey grin on my face.  I need to get it on camera…I want you (when you’re older) to know what your adorable baby voice sounded like.  We’re working on Dada, since Father’s Day is in just a few weeks, but so far there is no progress on that front.  C’mon, Turtle–throw your Daddy a bone, why don’t you?

May marked our first Mother’s Day together.  We went out for a lovely lunch (you’re so teeny that in the picture, all you can see is your little head peeking over the table cloth in your high chair), visited the Museum of Fine Arts, walked to my alma mater, drove off without your stroller (thanks, Daddy), arrived at the Public Garden and realized we didn’t have your stroller, drove back to the Museum and breathed a HUGE sigh of relief to see it was still there (it’s a Bugaboo, which will probably not mean anything to you, but it’s a very expensive and recognizable stroller and could easily have been stolen), drove back to the Public Garden, fed you by the Swan Boats and then took you to meet the “Make Way for Ducklings” statue there.  We drove home, and put you to bed for what I think was only the second or third time without a swaddle and watched you sleep while Daddy and I enjoyed a movie in bed.

Your sleep is a bittersweet thing.  You have finally outgrown your swaddle, as you tried to roll in bed, worrying us that you would get trapped on your stomach without your hands free to help you flip over again.  We have graduated you to a Halo sleep sack, and against all of the warnings of every SIDS site, have also allowed you to sleep with a small blanket that your Grandma crocheted for you (we’re totally renegades that way).  Apparently we were worried for good reason–you rolled and got caught between your mattress and mine several times.  After the third or fourth time, we decided it was time to put the drop side of your crib back on, and to move your crib away from my side of the bed.  You’re still in our room, only six or ten inches further away than you were before, but it feels like a million miles for me.  When you wake up at 7 am for a bottle, I often keep you in bed with me for those last few hours of sleep because I miss having you there with me.  To be fair, you also enjoy it, and fall asleep most easily when cuddled next to me–it’s a trick I’ll employ if you’re having trouble going down for a nap.

You are sleeping for much longer stretches now at night…sometimes as much as 8 hours before needing a bottle and going back to sleep.  Naps are a bit of a mess, mostly because we’re out and about so much that you sleep in short stretches in the car and then don’t want the long nap (or rest of the nap you need) when we get home.  It doesn’t seem to be making you cranky so I’m just going to go with it.

What takes us out and about this month?  Swim class continues to be fun, although we had a two weekend hiatus.  At Aimees suggestion, I’ve also started taking you to a local pool for “Tiny Tot Swim” in between lessons to get more time in the water.  It’s a special time where kids in the 0-4 range only get a lap lane or two to themselves (and their parents of course).  We also are taking a developmental class called Caterpillars at Isis and just started a Kindermusik class as well.  We also occasionally hang out with auntie Aimee and CJ.

I know this is shocking, but occasionally we go out to do stuff related to me–what a concept!  I’m down to one allergy shot a month until my season is over, but then we’ll go back for weekly shots again (for me).

Early intervention continues to go well, but since we started Caterpillars, it’s been a challenge to get a time that works for everyone.  That is one positive of Caterpillars ending mid-June–we’ll have a good slot for EI on a regular basis.

You are a lovely little girl, and not just physically.  You are a joy to be around…all laughs and babbles of MAMAMA.  You’ve also learned how to turn up the volume and occasionally screech for the pleasure of hearing yourself screech and the reaction it brings from us.

Of course you have your cranky moments, too.  You get cranky when you’re tired, and you babble and cry to try and keep yourself awake.  You go from zero to sixty with the cranky when you figure out that you’re hungry, leaving me at least two steps behind.  You get irritated when you try to crawl forwards only to move backwards instead.  Being laid down horizontally is also not something you find enjoyable…you want to sit or stand, damn it!  Why can’t we just learn to change your diaper while you’re sitting or standing?!  But in general, everyone is also remarking what a happy wonderful baby you are…and they’re right.



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