Overcoming Challenges

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Yay, hello spring! Finally the weather has turned around. I don’t even mind the rain this year–just so tired of the cold and the snow. Most days are in the 50s and 60s now, and some days it gets as warm as 90F in the sun. It can still be chilly when there is a cool breeze or slight wind, but for the most part it’s so nice now, and we’ve been outside without socks and jackets for the first time this past weekend. Spring has also crept into Savina’s body. She’s got the spring fever, wanting to be outside all day every day–so fun!

In mid-April we had visitors lighting up the mostly still fairly cold and dreary days. My sister came to visit with her family for two weeks. Of course, Savina raked in all of the attention. We all had a grand time together, and hopefully they’ll make it back this summer!

IMG_6454During their stay, there were at least a couple of really nice and warm days, during one of which we went to the pond with Savina. I’ve always known Savina to be a little diva, but I was oblivious to her being this particular about her foot-cleanliness. She’s always been obsessed with her feet being clean. Last summer, when she walked barefoot in the house, and it was a bit dirty, she’d pick off the dirt from her feet. She’d sit down and take her time cleaning her feet from crumbs and tiny specks of what-have-yous. Then, all winter she’s been in socks, obviously, so I had no idea she’d gotten so used to being clean. At the pond, Savina became hysterical when we took off her shoes and socks. She had no intention whatsoever to let her feet touch the sand in the slightest. No matter what we did, we could not get Savina to warm up to the idea of dirty feet, and having fun on the beach without shoes. She’d scream and yell, and shout “shoe shoe!” She cried so hard and clung to me like a koala bear, always holding her feet up as if there was fire underneath, or something equally nasty. Finally, we had to give up trying and went home. Of course, I might have figured, since she’s always asked me to clean off sand from her feet and legs periodically (all the while wearing pants, socks, and shoes) when playing in the sandbox this year.

20140504_103900Yesterday, we decided to try a different approach, mostly one involving Daddy. I do remember that last year, when she was scared of the water the way she’s been scared of the sand this year, the only way she would warm up was with Papa. Last year I loved seeing that, because it demonstrated a certain level of love and trust that new Daddies need to experience in these early months of caring for a newborn, and won’t otherwise easily see. It’s normal, but no less hard to accept. I hoped, no I knew, that level of love and trust had not changed, grown if anything! So I was looking forward to the next available beautiful day with Papa around. We started Savina off by letting her run around our currently very dirty house without socks. First thing in the morning, she was hesitant to even step off her room’s carpet–silly girl! Throughout the morning, she’d sit down every now and then to clean off her feet. Trust me, our floors need vacuuming baaaaaadly! Some areas she’d refuse to go to, like near the cat box in the bathroom, as there were clearly kibbles of cat litter lying about. As the morning went on, she slowed down with her cleaning-my-feet-obsession. We prepared to visit the beach. Once there, the same scenario unfolded. Savina was not happy to be shoe-less in Mommy’s lap, left with only two options: stay in Mommy’s lap and get bored, or go play in the sand with bare feet.

20140504_110652Papa did all the work. There’s no point going into all of the details–it could become a 10 page essay! We started her out playing with her shoes on, then placed her in my lap on a towel and took her shoes off. It took Daddy no more than about 20 minutes to get Savina on the sand. It did feel more like 5 minutes though. She called for her shoes again, and actually tried to put them on herself, but that attempt didn’t go very far and didn’t last very long. Once she was comfortable in the sand, there was no stopping her! She ran around the whole beach, up and down the waterline, and she stepped in the water all by herself. Cold? Who cares–not the Savinababy. If it was up to her, she would’ve dived right in! They played with a toy watering can–such fun! Savina had a blast, and was lastly reluctant to leave. Alas, she did get plenty wet, and for the second time in her 18 1/2 months of life we forgot the diaper bag! Luckily, it didn’t turn into a big deal.

20140504_110638The other big change happened while everyone was visiting as well: Savina’s nap times. I can always tell when she goes through her Wonder Weeks, because it takes 3-6 times the amount of time to put her to sleep for a nap or for the night, and after the leap she goes back to normal. When the family came to visit, she’d just come out of her last Wonder Weeks, and slowly the time it took to put her down was normalizing. Then, after just a few days of everyone visiting, I encountered severe nap refusal in the mornings. Frustrating as that was, it couldn’t have been the Wonder Weeks, as they had just ended. I knew at the time that Savina was slowly transitioning to one nap a day, but she was still a ways from achieving that. Every morning she just looked so very tired: red eyes, eye rubbing, lots of yawning, not too much energy, wanting to nurse, even answering “ya” when asked if she wanted to go take a nap. All of her sleepiness signs were there, yet when I sat down with her, she refused to sleep. So I had to decide, and found that even if she was that tired, it was time to switch her fully. This could not go on, and her body would just have to learn to adjust to what her awake and aware mind demanded. It took about two weeks to fully adjust, meaning she is only now getting enough sleep fairly regularly during her single nap. During the period of transitioning, she’d sleep anywhere from 1-3 hours, but over the last few days it’s been a fairly consistent 2-3 hours. I’m so glad this change finally happened, because now we can do fun stuff in the morning, instead of losing 1.5 hours here, then breakfast, then a little playtime, and losing another 1.5 hours, just to wake up to dinner time. We have the whole morning to enjoy, then a good solid block of sleep, dinner, more play, and finally nighty-night.

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I’m constantly amazed by all of the changes that keep coming. Savina is finally eating more vegetables. She chews on peppers, cucumbers, even carrots now, likes salads, and sometimes enjoys zucchini. Maybe it has to do with her teeth populating her mouth more and more as time goes by, or maybe she’s adjusting to various textures she wasn’t fond of before. Whatever the case, there’s constant progress. Her language keeps exploding as well. 20140503_163325While she does not yet put two words together (except sometimes through signing), she certainly enjoys expanding her vocabulary on a daily basis. She often tries to repeat whatever someone else says, and many of the words stick. Communicating with my daughter is becoming increasingly easier, and her great skills in ASL help understanding when she switches between German and English, and when her baby-words sound the same.

What has also amazed me lately is how well Savina is playing with her cute neighbors. There are a couple girls, five years and three years old, and they hardly speak any English at all (they speak Portuguese), but they play wonderfully together all the same. They’ve only played the second time today, and it was just so adorable to watch. Savina was so happy when she saw the older girl playing outside. She laughed and ran towards her. Too sweet.

Moving on to peanut. I’m now well into the third trimester (28 weeks today), although I think peanut wanted me to start the last third of pregnancy a little earlier, sending me to the bathroom a lot more often well before the third trimester started. At this stage, some days I seem to get exhausted a bit quicker than I did in the second trimester. I’m putting on nearly a pound a week now, which, if it continues at this rate, will put me at the ~25lbs mark. With Savina I’d gained about 35-38lbs total if I recall correctly. Lastly, my boobs have become so sensitive again, even more so than in the first trimester, I’d say.

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I’m feeling peanut move a lot now, and I think I was able to feel out his or her position for the first time this past weekend. We’ll try to play with the flashlight with peanut soon, just like we did with Savina, who always kicked at the light.

I can’t wait to see Savina’s reaction when the baby is born!

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To all who read my blog posts from start to finish every time: Thank you! I truly appreciate how much you care about hearing from us. Thank you for spending your time being a part of our lives.

 

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