Sunday, December 25, 2011

Christmas Day 2011

This year was special as it was Eloise's first! There is something magical about Christmas and kids. EVen though Eloise is too young to enjoy it yet, it's already more fun because she's with us.




Merry Christmas!


Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Eloise - Month 3 - 4

Week 14 - Nov 19 - 25
Eloise graced us with another 5 hour night stretch, followed the next night by a 6 hour stretch (with a dream feed in the middle). Sadly it was followed by a week of no more than 3 hour stretches at a time ...

We had our first road trip to Sonoma wine country. Of course, Eloise hated the car seat ... we realised it was too much for her to deal with afterwards and in future. Strangely, after her good nights, she had several more bad days of screaming and not wanting to sleep. What's up with that, baby girl?! After more trial and error, we realised that she didn't mind the car if she went in just after she had been fed and was in her happy and alert period. As soon as she reached her tired period, she freaked out. No going to sleep in the car for this little lady.

Sonoma.

On the development side, Eloise is developing great neck and trunk strength, and is getting closer to being able to sit up on her own. She is grabbing toys and trying to stick them in her mouth. She loves LCD screens and can be entertained by putting the iPhone onto camera mode so she can watch herself on the screen.

Eloise experienced her first Thanksgiving this week. We had a fantastic day, with my brother, Tim, and sister-in-law, Michele, driving up to spend the day with us, and our local friends also coming around for lunch. It was a really merry lunch and so much fun. Eloise was also an angel and behaved beautifully. Almost no screaming, lots of naps and a very happy little lady during the day.

Week 15 - Nov 26 - Dec 2
We seem to have regressed into more screaming ... now Eloise screams every time she has to go to sleep, including if she's in the BabyBjorn carrier out on the street. Previously she would be lulled to sleep by this and no screaming. Now it's wailing, plus wailing at home pre naps and bed time. We are trying something new this week - putting her down in her bed drowsy but awake, and rocking her to sleep. Monday went well - 30 mins of wailing and whinging for the most part, but she went down. The rest of the week really saw a difference. She was easier to out down as the week progressed and stopped screaming in her carrier.

Eloise has made huge leaps in development this week. She's suddenly found her legs, and loves to kick and straighten them alternately all day. She is also putting things in her mouth, like our fingers, her fists and toys. Since she won't take the dummy, we're desperately hoping she will self-soothe.

The biggest thing that happend this week was Eloise sat up by herself, on 30/11. On the same day, she shoved one finger in her mouth, but has been unable to do it again since.

Her eyesight has also improved. She can see us smiling at her from across a room, and smiles back at us, and she can see graphics on people's t-shirts. She loves Alec's Twitter bird tee and is mesmerised by it.

Eloise has been making a funny new smile this week, a tight-lipped one instead of the open-mouthed one, and hasn't been coo-ing and ahh-ing as much. Instead she's grunting and making higher pitched squeals as she discovers her vocal cords.

We had a day trip to Alcatraz over Thanksgiving long weekend with friends. Eloise was not a huge fan - cycling between short periods of feeding and happy awake, then screaming to sleep, then sleeping for 45 mins to an hour in the BabyBjorn. It's really tough getting out and about with her.

At Alcatraz.

We also had a drive around Noe Valley with a local friend, Greg. The car seat was not a winner, but thankfully she was in a fabulous mood when she was awake and we had a really fun brunch and tour of the neighbourhood.

Week 16 - Dec 3 - 10


Another couple of road trips on either side of this week. To Berkeley and to Mountain View. The Berkeley trip was a bit disappointing. The only noteworthy thing was an up-the-back poo that required us to get the little lady completely naked outdoors on the Berkeley university campus. Stay classy, Eloise.

Trying out a new hat in Berkeley.

The second road trip on the following Saturday had a great improvement with screaming in the car seat. The only screaming we had all day was when we were stuck in traffic on the way home. Eloise can't figure out how to go to sleep in the car seat.

This week Eloise wanted to sit up all the time. She got a lot more stable, but still face-planted the couch a few times if I wasn't fast enough to catch her. Her grip developed significantly this week. She is now able to really hold on to things well and put them in her mouth. Her favourite thing to shove in her mouth is still my finger, to chomp on her gums.

We think Eloise has started teething. She is drooling like crazy, shoving things in her mouth, playing with her ears, disrupted sleep. Poor little girl.

Sleep-wise, we had a mixed week. A few nights of awake every 2 hours, but then a few nights of asleep for almost 6 hours (with a dream feed), followed by 3 hour or two hour blocks.

Week 17 - Dec 11 - 16
Lots of vocalising! Lots of loud noises and squeals. She's loud and high pitched. She has greater control of her hands now, easily grabbing things and shoving then in her mouth. She has stopped the constant screaming and is now really happy while she's awake.

This week we had an epic road trip from San Francisco to LA, then flight from LA to Sydney. Eloise was amazingly great on the flight, sleeping for most of it and being really content for the rest. No screaming on landing either!

Week 18 - Dec 16 - 19
We arrived in Sydney on Saturday and spent the day with family and friends who wanted to meet Eloise! What a popular lady! We also met Rosalie's little man, Brandon, who was 4 wks old.

The Sunday after we arrived we had Adam and Davina's wedding at the Royal Botanic Gardens - Eloise's first wedding! It was a gorgeous day and Eloise was super well behaved.

Royal Botanic Gardens, Eloise is 17 wks and 1 day old.

Monday was her four month check up. She weighs 6.3 kg, is 61.5cm long and head circumference of 42cm. She is in the 50th percentile for weight and height, and slightly over 50th percentile for head. She also had her shots - sad panda :(

A great new development is that Eloise is now able to entertain herself for short periods. She is happy lying on her back on the floor or sitting in a bouncer and playing with her favourite toys, the ring set and the princess doll.

Eloise is changing so fast. Every day now she seems to be doing something new. Thankfully she is now a super happy little lady except when it's bed time, and is getting easier and more fun every day. She is really developing her own personality too. She is definite with things she doesn't like already, and has a super short fuse!





Friday, November 25, 2011

Thanksgiving 2011

On our first Thanksgiving, I am thankful for a lot in my life. I'm unbelievably thankful for my husband, who has proven patient, understanding and tolerant as well as kind, loving and generous. I'm thankful for the opportunities that have come up in my life, such as moving to New York and travelling the world. I'm unbelievably thankful for our healthy, smart, little girl, who brings so much laughter into our lives. I'm thankful for my own health and fast recovery from the birth, for my old friends back home who have stayed in touch and my new friends who have made me feel at home. 

Our Thanksgiving day was fantastic - my brother Tim and his wife Michele drove up to spend the day with us from Palo Alto, and we had our local friends also join us. The result - one big, happy group, with way more food than we could eat.


Saturday, November 19, 2011

Eloise - Month 2 - 3

Week 10 - Oct 22 - 28


The night after the sleep coach came we had a breakthrough! Alec and I were able to both sleep in bed at the same time for the first time since E came home. She also napped well the next day.

Sadly the next night and day were a disaster. E had a terrible night, didn't want to sleep, and the next day cried almost all day. Sigh. We still managed to get out to Central Park to see our friends the Sonegos one last time before they head back to Australia, and to have a fun picnic in the sun.

Picnic in Central Park. 9 wks old.


We had a disaster of a week sleep-wise. Eloise started waking up every hour during the night and only napping for 40 minutes tops during the day. I think this is related to the stomach bug I had two weeks ago - I think it lessened my supply. A this same time, Elosie decided she didn't want formula anymore, so we couldn't give her tops ups if she looked hungry. Thankfully, after taking herbal teas, my supply seemed to come back on Friday night, and she slept for 3 lots of 3 hour sessions. Praise be!

Eloise seemed to develop a lot socially this week. She started making new sounds, like a cooing noise, and sounds like she was trying to chat to things, like her favourite mobile. She also started to make a new whiney noise when sad instead of the high pitched screaming. With noticing her drowsy signals more and putting her to bed earlier, we've stopped a lot of the screaming meltdowns. Not all, but more of them, so we have a much happier little girl now.

She also likes to catch our eyes and look at as more, trying to interact with us, smiling and cooing. It's just adorable. We also had a really fun mother's group this week, where the babies all dressed in Halloween outfits.

Week 11 - Oct 29 - Nov 4

Baby's first snow! It snowed on Saturday the 29th - very unseasonal. With a high of 4 degrees, there was no way we were going to leave the house. 

We also had Eloise's first Halloween this week. I had a variety of fun hats and outfits for her to wear for the numerous events over the week. She had her owl outfit for mother's group, her bear outfit for the weekend, and her pumpkin hat for wearing on actual Halloween day. On the day there was also a parade in the local park, with lots of local kids and their parents dressed in cool costumes. 

Halloween! 10 wks, 2 days old.

We had a sleep breakthrough this week - she slept for 4 hours 15 minutes in one stretch. It might not sound like a big deal, but it made the world of difference to me and my sleep!

Sadly every other night she didn't sleep longer than 3 hours, but she did get a lot easier to put back down towards the end of the week. Instead of taking an hour to two hours to put bak after she woke up, it was only taking 15 - 20 mins to feed and put her back down. Victory!

We also had a baby sitter for the first time this week, to give me a break to run errands and to give me and Alec a night off to have dinner together. Our sitter is lovely and fantastic with Eloise. Pity Eloise is such a tough baby! She's decided she hates the bottle and screams when our sitter tries to give it to her. Sigh. 

Week 12 - Nov 5 - 11

We had a great meet up with the other mother's group mums and their partners for a Saturday get together. It was so lovely seeing everyone's husband, as well as really feeling like we are part of the local community now. The more I'm here, the more I really love living in Brooklyn.  

I also made a solo trip with Eloise this week into Manhattan to meet Alec at Twitter HQ, and then to walk to Central Park to see the fall colours. Eloise handled the whole thing like a champion - no crying or fussing. Her eyes were as big as saucers the whole time she was awake, staring in wonder at the subway, the office buildings, and then at the amazing colours in the park.

Central Park fall colours. 11 wks 5 days old.

An even bigger day was Friday, Nov 11, when we took Eloise on her first plane trip to San Francisco. She also surprised us by being a perfect baby the majority of the time. She barely made a noise the entire trip, but started crying when we descended and her ears hurt.

Week 13 - Nov 12 - 18

A great week in San Francisco! The first few nights were rocky, as Eloise had bad jetlag. She did however get in a 5 hour sleep at night during this week, a great first.

Our apartment was near the Bay Bridge, right near the waterfront, allowing us to take great walks every day. Eloise started to bat and grab at her toys this week, mostly with her left hand. 

12 wks old in San Francisco.

After our great first night we had a rough week with Eloise regressing. She had a few days of not sleeping much at night, fighting going to sleep during the day, crying more and fussing a lot. It was pretty bad, but also coincided with some new developmental skills. As well as batting at her toys, she started grabbing them, then trying to shove them in her mouth. She also started making some new noises and her head and torso muscles became stronger.

Central Park in Fall

Before heading off to San Francisco, I took a quick trip to Central Park with Alec and Eloise to see the gorgeous colours.










We're in San Francisco!

Our little girl had her first flight with us to San Francisco just before turning 12 weeks old. We're visiting for 5 weeks for Alec's work before flying back to Sydney for Christmas.

Possum eyes! 12 wks, 4 days old in San Francisco.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Eloise's First Halloween

Halloween in Brooklyn was insane. Parades all weekend and on Monday the 31st. Stoop decorations. Trick or treating! Sadly E was too young, but maybe next year. In New York kids go trick or treating by visiting the local merchants for candy. Makes much more sense in a city of apartments. 

We went all out and had three outfits for the little lady for her first Halloween.

Pumpkin hat from Etsy.com

With Carrie and Beckett from my mother's group. Gourds gotta stick together.

Polar bear outfit from Baby Gap.

Loving it. Kind of.

Owl at mother's group. Hat from Etsy.com, outfit from Baby Gap.

With Clementine the zebra. Clementine was born on the exact same day.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Eloise Newborn Shots

A few pics from our newborn shoot.














Eloise - Month 1 - 2

Week 5 - Sept 17 - Sept 23

Alec was sent to California for work at the last minute, so we hired a baby night nurse for the week to help me take care of E. While it was really odd to have a stranger in the house taking care of my baby, it was AMAZING to get 8 hours sleep. I felt like a new person, had more energy, and was able to deal with E's fussiness during the day with much more patience. In return, E was a more relaxed baby. Win!

On the Sunday before Alec flew out, we had a lovely day out to the Brooklyn Book Fair and Brooklyn Heights Association dog show. Living in Brooklyn can be so much fun, there's always so much going on all the time.

Windy day with Dad at the Brooklyn Book Fair.

Held her head up on her own for the first time! (19/9). Having more awake time, taking in her surroundings, looking cuter and cuter every day.

E still won't sleep on her back in the crib. Even the night nurse can't get her to do it, which makes me feel a lot better!

At her 1 month check up, E weighed in at 4.25kg (8 pounds 6 oz), measured 21 inches (length) and 37cm (head circumference). The doctor was very pleased with her weight gain and progress. She has to have a repeat sonogram of the hips next week, and if it still shows problems, she will have to go to a specialist.

I've been making more of an effort to get out with E now during the day, such as meeting friends for lunch or afternoon tea and taking long walks to get some exercise. When I walk with E in the sling, she'll get in a good 3 hour sleep. Winner for everyone!

I'm happy to notice as the weeks go by that E still isn't a vomiter. Praise be. She may not sleep on anything other than me and be the gassiest baby alive, but at least she's not a vomiter as well :)

I have been reading a lot lately about silent reflux (thanks Katia for sending me the link!) and E has all of the symptoms. I went back to see the pediatrician and thankfully he agreed with me that she has silent reflux and prescribed her medication to help with it. We have to give it 10 days to see if it works.

I had a great mother's group meet-up this week where we all had a mini-facial. I also managed to get out for a few hours with my friend Carly to have lunch and get a much needed pedicure. It's amazing how much better that made me feel!

One more big milestone for E this week - her first real smile! On Friday (23/9/11) she had several big smiles for Mum and Grandma.

First smiles!

She's also getting so much more aware of the world. After her doctor appointment (23/9), she refused to have her head in the sling on the way home, insisting on having her tiny head sticking out to check out the world around her the entire way home.

Week 6 - Sept 24 - Sept 30

Last week with Grandma in town.

Three generations of Knight women.

We had another sonogram of her hips and the results were completely clear. So relieved. E also was in a great mood and hardly made a peep the whole time.

We had another check up with the pediatrician regarding her reflux - not much improvement so far, so we are seeing a specialist next week.

I had my 6 wk check up as well, and was given the go-ahead to exercise. Super excited - if only I was getting enough sleep to actually go and exercise ...

This week E and I started a 6 week Mom and Me Movement Class at the Mark Morris Dance Center in Brooklyn. E made it through about half the class before cracking it - not too bad!

Mum and baby movement class at the Mark Morris Dance Center. 6 wks, 5 days.

Developmentally, E has started sucking on her hands. Her favourite thing to do is lie on her change table and stare at the window.

Week 7 - Oct 1 - Oct 7

This week was tough. E stopped wanting to feed and started screaming more, in five hour blocks.

We took her to see the gastro pediatric specialist this week, and she gave us some great tips on managing reflux in babies, like making her take breaks while feeding and putting her in chairs/swings that don't crunch her tummy by being at a 90 degree angle. After the specialist we had E's first walk through Central Park and midtown. She was really great, sleeping through most of it.

Sound asleep at the Bethesda Fountain, Central Park.

After the specialist visit, we tried her advice and put E to sleep in her Fisher Price Rainforest vibrating bouncer. She slept for 2.5 solid hours. Breakthrough!! We repeated this the next few nights, but sadly also had a night where she woke up every time we tried to put her down, bothered by the reflux.

Alec worked from home this week, and it was great for us to bond as a family. Sleep deprivation also made us snappy at each other however.

We had a great mothers group meet up this week in Cobble Hill Park. E loved sitting on my lap, checking out the light in the trees.

Week 8 - Oct 8 - Oct 14

Special visitors this week! Shelley, Eric and Isla spent Columbus weekend with us. We had a fantastic day in Prospect Park and Brooklyn Botanic Gardens, where E was an angel. No screaming, taking long peaceful feeds. Some kind of miracle occurred ...

Eloise meets Shelley and Isla.

We also took E for her first trip to Tiffany & Co. She loved it and can't wait to pick out her first diamonds at a later stage ...

Milk drunk in T&C.

I had a killer stomach virus this week that totally floored me. Thank God for Alec helping me out or I couldn't have gotten through the week.

A highlight for the week was Eloise laughing for the first time at a black and white canvas print of her and Alec that we have hanging on our wall. She loves the picture, laughing at it for a about 10 minutes. (13/10/11)

Eloise spends a lot more time awake now. We have a good 2 - 3 hour morning play time where we read her books, play on the activity mat, look at the Wimmer-Ferguson Stim-Mobile on her change table and stare at the fan. She is so alert and gets bored really quickly. The mobile over the change table is such a blessing - I can strap her down on it for up to 30 minutes at a time and she will smile at it like it's her best friend.

The reflux doesn't seem as bad this week in general. A few bad days, but not anywhere near as bad it was a few weeks ago. We're not sure if this is due to the medication, the extra things we're doing to try and help it cause her less discomfort, or just growing out of it.

Eloise has been growing like crazy this week. She has been feeding non-stop, and every day she looks bigger. She has outgrown socks that I'm pretty sure she fit into only last weekend.

The big event of the week was Eloise's 2 month check up and immunisations. The check up went great. She now weighs 11 pounds, 1 ounce/5kgs, 22.5 inches in length, 38cm head circumference. She has put on 1.75kg, grown 2.5 inches and her head has grown 2 cm. The shots were not so much fun. She had three needles and while initially sleepy when we got home, she was cranky all afternoon and evening. Not fun at all!

Week 9 - Oct 15 - 21

Eloise had a bad few days after her shots. She was grisly and whiney and generally irritating to be around. Thankfully, on my first day home alone with her, she woke up a happy smiley baby. As the week progressed however, she became more and more difficult to be home alone with. On Friday, she refused to take naps during the day, leaving her one very cranky, exhausted little person by the time evening came around - and leaving me completely shattered. We also had an embarrassing moment at out baby movement class. I took E out of the pram, ready for class, and she opened her mouth and started wailing like she was being stabbed. Her face turned bright red and tears were streaming down her face. I was unable to calm her, so had to turn around and go straight back home again. Not fun!

I did however manage to make my first trip without Alec into the city, to meet Meg, Laura and their little babies for lunch at Madison Square Park. E was great on the subway, but had a bit of a howl in the park which resulted in me doing a few laps around the park with my screaming baby. Thankfully she did calm down, and was great for the rest of the trip, plus the subway home. Success!

Happy lady in Madison Square Park.

We had a sleep coach come visit us on Friday night to help us get some kind of sleep with the little terror. She gave us some really great tips, and we saw a vast improvement even on the first night. Hopefully this means things might start to improve in the sleep department, and we might have a less cranky baby when she is awake as a result!

Eloise is so much more alert and wake now. She loves her activity mat and is starting to notice the little animals swinging over her head. She has the cutest little blue eyes that open as wide as saucers when we are outside, trying to take in every single detail of the world around her.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Eloise - First Month

Week 1 - Aug 20 - 27

We spent most of the first week in hospital due to my recovery from the labour and surgery. Recovering from this double whammy was tough. My body felt like it has been hit by a truck, with the added exhaustion of a newborn on top. Learning to feed E was really tough - I struggled, gave in to formula a few times when my body couldn't cope, and ended up renting a pump to take home and express when it all got too painful.

First moments of life.

It was also hard seeing Alec bond with E so easily and quickly while I was stuck in bed. For the first several days, my only interaction would be to feed her, which was excruciating, then hand her back to Alec as it was too painful for me to get in and out of bed to do anything else. Due to this, it took me a lot longer to bond with my little girl. It really helped going home, as by this stage I had recovered enough to be more mobile, and because I was expressing to give my body a chance to recover from the botched feedings, I was able to spend time with her that wasn't just a painful experience. 

Our first week was filled with wonder that we had created such an amazing, perfect little person. Everything she did was juts amazing. "Did you see that burp?" "Awww what a cute fluff!". Typical new parents in awe of their perfect offspring. 

Despite being a bit early, Eloise was in great health. The only drawback was a little bit of jaundice, requiring her to  be placed in the photobooth for half a day, and to have some extra follow-up doctor appointments after coming out of hospital to monitor her jaundice levels.

Home!

Week 2 - Aug 27 - Sept 3

Sleep deprivation hit in this week! Eloise started to get bad wind during the night, and hated being put on her back to sleep in her crib. She would go down peacefully, only to wake herself every 10 - 20 minutes, writhing in pain from the gas. This also equals no sleep for mum and dad ... My routine this week consisted of napping from about 10:30pm - 2am, when I would get up and relieve Alec from duty, then feeding and calming the baby from 2am - 5am, where she might fall asleep on my chest for a few hours. 8am - hand over baby to my mum and go back to sleep for an hour or two, until E needed to be fed again. Gah. So exhausted. I spend the days feeding her, changing her, going back to sleep for an hour or two, then repeating. The end of week two the amazing initial feeling of awe has worn off, replaced with bone-shattering tiredness. "When will she sleep?" Will she EVER sleep?" "Will I ever sleep again?".

Multi-tasking!

This week we had a bunch of firsts - first sponge bath, first real bath after her umbilical cord fell off, first tummy time, first go in the bouncer. She also started to notice her surroundings and try to lift her head. She also tries to roll herself over in the crib so she can be on her tummy. She is much more alert this week, looking around with her big blue eyes. She is the cutest thing I have ever seen, even when she's working herself up into a major hissy fit.

Briefly amused by the bouncer.

Hating her sponge bath.

Exactly two weeks after she was born, we had her newborn photos taken. They were fun but exhausting for us all, particularly E, who pooped on me twice, and peed all over Alec. Babies minus nappies = disaster.

Week 3 - Sept 4 - Sept 10

This week got even harder! E suddenly turned into a fussy baby. Crying for no reason, her gas getting even worse, cluster feeds every hour for 8 hour stretches, less sleep. I think she had a growth spurt that made everything worse during this week. She also had a sonogram on her hips to make sure they were all looking ok (when she was born the pediatrician noticed she had a clicky hip that slipped in and out of its socket). The sonogram was very traumatic for us both. She screamed like she was being murdered for over an hour, and was unsettled for the rest of the day and night.

We bought a great new sling this week - a Sakura Bloom swing, that I love to take her out in. She had outings for the first time this week both in the Baby Bjorn (which Alec prefers) and the sling (which I prefer). It's so much easier to take her out in the sling than in the pram.

First outing in the sling.

On Saturday we took her out for her first big outing - lunch and a long walk down to Brooklyn Bridge Park. I fed her outside for the first time (victory!) and she slept most of the time happily in the Baby Bjorn.

At Brooklyn Bridge Park.

We are getting no sleep at night due to E not wanting to be put on her back, so we are going to try co-sleeping instead next week. I have managed to get her to briefly sleep in a swing that our neighbours gave us, but she won't stay in it for long periods.

We have also gotten her to stay on her back in her crib briefly while she is awake as she loves to stare at her crib gallery and black and white picture books. She will only tolerate this for 10 - 20 minutes however.

Mesmerised by the crib gallery.

E is getting more and more alert - trying to see things around her, trying to touch things already. Her eyes are still blue, but are changing already - getting lighter.

Week 4 - Sept 11 - Sept 16

She's starting to enjoy the bath more - still screams when it's over, but she seems to like the warm water.

Enjoying being bathed.

We had a tough week this week. Eloise started to get more and more grisly as well as the not sleeping on her back. The gas pains are bothering her a lot, and she will writhe in pain for hours sometimes trying to get the gas out.

Much of the week looked like this ...

I also found out this week that she has sub luxation in her left hip, which means the leg joint is still really lose. I have to book her in to see an orthopedic specialist to be checked out further. Hopefully it will only be a minor thing she can grow out of without needing treatment.

I managed to get out on my own with E to mother's group for the first time this week - victory!

We also visited a great place called Brooklyn Farmacy on the weekend, where we managed to eat our entire lunch while E slept. Afterwards we took her to get her passport photos taken, which made her cranky for the rest of the day. She seems to get really worked up easily into a state where she can't easily calm down from. This leads to us being extra careful not to do things that will upset her. Unfortunately we can't avoid things like doctors visits, which make her furious!

Brief moment of calm.