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Travel

EC Update

The last time I wrote an update on our EC journey was shortly before our trip.  The trip was a whole new challenge for us, and it’s nice to be settled back in at home now.
Here at home, we have all tile floors, and all the “stuff” in the house is, well, mine, so if it gets … waste on it, no one will have to be upset. If it can’t be thoroughly cleaned and sanitized, I can just get rid of it and no one will miss it but me. The same is not true on vacation, however. I was a little nervous about things at first, because I didn’t want to have to explain bright yellow stains on my sister’s carpet or anything like that. Things went surprisingly well, however, and we EC’d with reasonable success in the mornings and at night, while outings generally meant misses.  As the trip progressed, I got a bit more brave, since things were going fairly well, and we had more and more catches all the time.  We even had one, long outing during the last leg with no misses at all.
On the flight home, we used fitted diapers since I knew the bathroom wasn’t generally going to be available right when we needed it, but Annabelle still successfully used the lavatory several times during each flight.  I was pretty pleased that we could EC and diaper all at the same time.

Now that we’re home and about over the jet lag, I think we’re finally back in the swing of things with our EC routine, too.  Yesterday was a day of many misses, but today was much better.  We had only one miss the entire day, despite the fact that we were out on errands for most of the afternoon.  We have managed a few completely dry outings before, but never one so long and drawn out as today’s.  It felt like quite an accomplishment!  We had to go to the post office, the store, and the offices of two cell phone companies, and were gone for a few hours.  I offered the car potty each time we got in and out of the car, however, and Annabelle used it when she needed it and managed to stay dry.
Here’s how it works right now, for the very curious.  We have moved the Baby Bjorn little potty to the bathroom, and that’s where is stays.  We still use our makeshift car potty on outings (a plastic bowl with a prefold inside as a liner. When babe uses the potty, the prefold goes in a wet bag and is replaced with a fresh one). When Annabelle wakes up in the morning, I take her straight to the potty and she always needs to go.  We get up and start our day.  She uses the potty at least twice more in the next hour.  As the day goes on, I offer again each time she seems to need to go, or after each nap.  She usually goes right after a nap, but is occasionally blinded by her hunger and has to eat first.  These times, I know that I have to make a bee line for the bathroom the moment she unlatches, or I’ll miss it.  If we go out, I offer the potty each time we get in and out of the car, or anytime she signals.
Her daytime signals at the moment include:
  • kicking her legs if being held 
  • stopping while playing and getting a glazed over look in her eyes 
  • suddenly changing focus and direction while crawling for no apparent reason
  • …and sometimes when she’s not understood, she resorts to fussing
At night, Annabelle signals by squirming about in bed.  When she wakes, I nurse her first and she either squirms, then uses the bathroom, then nurses back to sleep; or nurses right back to sleep without needing the bathroom.  Generally speaking, the only wakeup where she doesn’t need it is the first one of the night, around 11 or 12.  During the night, I used to try to use a potty right beside the bed so that Annabelle’s sleep wasn’t interrupted, but that meant leaving her in bed while I went through the whole clean up routine.  Our bathroom is literally a few steps from the bed, so I’ve found it is just as easy to tiptoe inside there and hold her over the big potty.  She stays in arms and therefore at rest, and I don’t have any extraneous cleanup – potties to rinse and sanitize, etc.
The other signal that I think I have finally learned to recognize is the “I’m finished” signal.  For the first several months, I would just decide she must be finished based on what I saw.  Unfortunately, I was quite often wrong and ended up with several clothes changes and floor clean-ups because of it. I have learned now that Annabelle will arch her back and/or kick her legs when she’s finished if I’m holding her, or use my legs or whatever is nearby to pull up on if she’s on her potty.  It finally feels like we’re in a rhythm and I’m so happy that we stuck with it to get here! 

…and we’re home!

Phew!  I apologize for the long break between posts.  I failed to anticipate just how hard it would be to find (or should I say to want) any down/alone time whilst surrounded by people I love and adore and have not seen in far too long.  Oh how good it was!

The trip itself was an eye opener for me in many ways.  It helped me to get to know Annabelle and her personality so much better.  It was exciting to watch her interact with people who are so important to me and her daddy.  She was able to meet all of her grandparents (two of whom she had met already), all of her great grandparents, and even her great, great grandma as well as many aunts, uncles, great aunts and uncles, cousins, and friends of every age.  She was happy to interact with anyone who wanted to interact with her.  She was always smiling – unless of course something was wrong, and often babbled away in apparent conversation with others.  She was playful, happy, and curious, choosing sometimes to interact with the people around her and other times to explore everything the rest of the environment.  Here are a few photos of her interactions:

Annabelle also proved to be highly adaptable, which of course most infants are.  She was at home wherever we were, and seemed to feel safe venturing out to explore each new place. 
I have so much to write about her incredible strides in gross motor skills and other exciting developments (like her two teeth!), but I’ll have to get to all of that in the next few days as we slowly get over the jet lag and I remember what it’s like to actually have work to do and errands to run.  

Ants!

After nearly a month in Colorado, Annabelle and I are now enjoying some time in the desert. We’re in Arizona visiting my extended family and she seems to be having as nice a time as I am. So far she has attended her first wedding and has met many family members, including some of my cousins who are not too far from her size.

She has started moving in a way that much more closely resembles a traditional crawl. She is seriously moving! She also moves at times by getting up on her hands and the tips of her toes instead of her knees. Her Great Grandma has informed me that this is called the “Bear Crawl.” People have also been commenting on how well she stands (supported) and how strong she is. She has loved to straighten her legs to stand up since she was days old. When she was tiny, we knew she needed to be taken to the bathroom when she would stand on us and try to climb our chests. Several people have said now that they think she’ll be an early walker. I guess we’ll see.

doing the bear crawl

The most incredible change to me, however, has been her attention to small objects as well as to rapidly moving ones. On our regular walks in the past, I have pointed out things like birds and lizards and she never seemed to notice them. Today, however, I was sitting on the patio with her enjoying some fresh air when I realized she was following the tiny, fast moving ants that were crawling around on the cement. She kept reaching out, trying to touch them, and was crawling after them as well.

watching the ants

She was also noticing other small objects, trying to pick up tiny bits of debris off the cement. It just amazes me how quickly she changes and develops! She has really started to play on her own for long periods of time, too. Most recently she has been enjoying some blocks that her great grandma has – the Baby Einstein Stack and Discover Blocks. They have a bit more going on than most toys I would choose for her environment, but she loves them and they do include actual photos of real animals as well as real fruit. She particularly likes the red one as it has multiple sides with crinkly fabric, so when she bats at it, it makes a noise. She plays with these attentively and seems quite content. Her half birthday is approaching and she really does not seem like a little baby any more – she is rapidly moving toward toddler-hood!

The Latest

We’re still traveling, so I’m not taking as much time to write here, but I still have many thoughts swirling around in my head, and Annabelle continues to grow and change on a daily basis.  
Annie has started saying “dad,” though just as with “mama,” she doesn’t seem to be attaching any particular meaning to the word yet.  Also, now that she is sitting up so well, she had begun trying to sit straight up in the car, too, and thus began to look rather uncomfortable in her infant car seat.  I switched her to a convertible seat on Friday in hopes that she would be more comfortable.
Here she’s just playing around, not safely buckled in, but you get the idea.  We went with the Britax Roundabout, which seems to be a great seat so far.
Recently, Annabelle also got to meet (and I got the pleasure of reconnecting with) the most amazing Montessorians I have ever had the pleasure of knowing.  Just look at this beautiful table of passionate, certified Montessori teachers!  Each one held Annabelle for a bit and we all enjoyed some delicious Ethiopian food together.  It was definitely a highlight of our visit!

As Annabelle is getting close to six months, the time to start experimenting with foods other than breast milk is drawing near.  Originally I had planned to practice Baby Led Weaning, beginning to offer table foods from six months onwards.  More and more, I am hearing moms talk about waiting until a year to offer any solid foods at all, however.  At the moment, I’m busy researching the various schools of thought on the subject to see how we’ll proceed when we get home.  I would love to hear about when you started offering foods other than breast milk to your child(ren), and what influenced your decisions!

Photo Dump

Here are a few of my favorite shots from the trip so far.  No words needed : )

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