The 4th Trimester is (Finally!) Over – Stella is 3 Months

I realize that the title may take some of you off guard.  I feel like sometimes I’m wishing my child’s life away when the days are hard, hoping that the next day, next week or next month might be easier.  Several people have told me the “4th trimester” is the most difficult and I can only hope so. :) I think the first three months are the hardest for a lot of parents for several reasons – 1) there is a steep learning curve 2) you suffer from extreme fatigue 3) the baby’s systems (digestive, sleep cycle, etc.) are all maturing / getting sorted out and 4) mom’s hormones are still raging.  The good news is, I can definitely see improvements with Stella over the last month.  She is becoming much more interactive, which makes parenting very rewarding and fun and although she still cries a considerable amount, her acid reflux is under control and I know it’s not a cry of pain, but instead just her way of communicating.

Stella's 2 month photo (since I wrote last month's blog a few days early)

Stella’s 2 month photo (since I wrote last month’s blog a few days early)

Over the past month, Stella has hit a few milestones.  She gave us her first smile, which was a game-changer for me.  It was as if she instantly had a personality.  The majority of her smiles come in the mornings when she is well rested and she will even mimic some of our facial expressions.  She has officially gotten her voice on top of that, cooing and gurgling at several different pitches.

The day after she smiled for the first time

The day after she smiled for the first time

Wishing Dad a Happy Birthday on Aug. 16

Wishing Dad a Happy Birthday on Aug. 16 (again, a photo right before her 2 month bday)

The many faces of Stella

The many faces of Stella

I love this look

I love this look (I think she got the bird expression from her dad)

Birdy look, take 2

Birdy look, take 2

She still startles pretty well too!

She still startles pretty well too! Priceless!

Mimicking mom

Mimicking mom

Toothless grin

Toothless grin

Working on a dimple

Working on a dimple. (Doesn’t she look like Tupac?! Haha)

Post nap grins

Post nap grins

Post milk grins :)

And some post milk grins :)

Not quite giggling, but we're *almost* there. I love this one.

Not quite giggling, but we’re *almost* there. I love this one.

Playing with dad

Playing with dad

Copying dad's silly faces

Copying dad’s silly faces

We recently bought her a play mat (actually, it’s a second one because I couldn’t fit her original one in my suitcase to bring it over from Seattle) and in just one week’s time, she has mastered batting the toys with both her hands and feet.

The Seattle play mat (this one has music!)

The Seattle play mat (this one has music!)

Playing on her new mat (that we have in Korea)

Playing on her new mat

She didn't like mom invading her space.

She didn’t like mom invading her space.

She is a lot more observant, too.  When Bobby or I walk into / out of the room, she will track us with her eyes, even turning her head sometimes to watch us.  We’ve recently discovered she has a pretty gnarly flat spot on her head (which we will get checked soon) and to remedy that, we make her look / move her head to the opposite side to even it out.  With the way the room is set up, she has recently taken to watching TV on the big screen, which is okay by us because at least she’s looking to the left instead of right.  She’s quite enamored by lights, often staring out the window or at the lamp for long periods of time.  I figure if she is going to do that, I should use that to our advantage as well, placing the window to her left (again, to make her turn her head in that direction). We are really working on her neck strength too.  We pull her up by her arms to a sitting position and she is getting less and less wobbly by the day.  I’ve been more adamant about making her do “tummy time” while Bobby is at work, and she has no problem holding her head up for 10 minutes or so.  I can’t say she particularly enjoys it though. :)  In the next couple months, I think she’ll be well on her way to sitting up, rolling over and giggling.  I’m really looking forward to her laughter the most!

Tummy time on the play mat

Tummy time on the play mat. Go Stella!

Some less successful tummy time

Some less successful tummy time

Her ability to find her hands is also new this month.  Before, she didn’t have much control over her extremities and if a hand ended up by her head or mouth, it was a surprise to her.  Now, she is starting to bring her hands to her mouth purposefully.  When we pull her to a sitting position, she even tries to gnaw on her fingers (or ours…whichever is closest).  I’m not sure if this part is still an exploration of her hands or if she’s getting ready for the dreaded teething process.  I suppose only time will tell!

One of the accidental hand to face encounters...and no, I didn't pose her!

One of the accidental hand to face encounters…and no, I didn’t pose her!

Stella’s third month was one of traveling.  In Seattle, my parents and I took her on her first mini-road trip to Mount Rainier.

Getting refueled in the trunk of the car

Getting refueled in the trunk of the car

We also took her to Discovery Park, where she got to see the Puget Sound.

My mom and Dad with Stella by the Discovery Park Lighthouse

My mom and Dad with Stella by the Discovery Park Lighthouse

And we took her to Seward Park, so she could see Lake Washington.

Lake Washington from Seward Park

Lake Washington from Seward Park

Memi feeding Stella at Seward Park

Memi feeding Stella at Seward Park

We had to make sure to see our hometown park a few times as well – West Seattle’s own Alki Beach.

Feeding on the pier at Alki Beach

Feeding on the pier at Alki Beach

She also made the big trek to Korea, traveling for almost 28 hours with all the waiting, layovers and plane time.  I couldn’t have been more proud of how she handled the trip.  She was all smiles (okay, mostly smiles!) the entire plane ride.

Airplane smiles

Airplane smiles

Stella saw her first (and second!) temple and was a tourist attraction everywhere she went.  Koreans reallllly love babies, especially little red-headed ones.

Stella and dad at Naesosa Temple

Stella and dad at Naesosa Temple

Stella went to the local park and took many stroller rides around Kunsan AFB.

Stella at Eunpa Park

Stella and dad at Eunpa Park

Stella on a night walk around the flight line

Stella on a night walk around the flight line

A day walk with mom at Kunsan AFB

A day walk with mom at Kunsan AFB

She saw her Seahawks start the season 0-2.  (We’re hoping by her 4 month birthday, things will be going a little better.)

Rooting for the 'Hawks, despite their losses. She's a true fan.

Rooting for the ‘Hawks, despite their losses. She’s a true fan.

Oh, and she played dress-up for the first time, much to her dismay.

Cabbage Patch baby

Cabbage Patch baby

Stella took her first entire bath without crying.  Now getting out of the bath and getting dressed is a different story…. Oh, and right before her 2 month birthday, she started producing tears, so now we get full-on crocodile action, complete with a quivering bottom lip.  She sure knows how to wrap us around her finger.

Dad giving the bean a bath

Dad giving the bean a bath

We introduced her baby doll (Olivia) again, and she even gave her a hug.

How cute!

How cute!

Speaking of baby dolls, I dolled Stella up in her first skirt, which may have been *a bit* premature.

Look at how girly I am!

Look at how girly I am!

Stella met her first Seattle friend.  I think they’ll marry one day.

Stella and León

Stella and León

She took her first selfie (with mom).

Mother-daughter selfie

Mother-daughter selfie

It was quickly followed by her second selfie.  A girl has to practice.

Mom and Stella Bean

Mom and Stella Bean

She worked on her fitness in a muscle-man romper.  Those rattles are heavy.

I see those muscles

I see those muscles

And just like that, she was 12 weeks.  (See, the exercises worked.  She can successfully grasp and move the rattle!)

:)

:)

And there you have it.  Today, she turned a quarter of a year old.

My birthday shot

Stella’s birthday shot

We used a really unsophisticated adult scale to measure her weight shortly after her birthday.  She has gone from 6 lbs and 11 oz (the 5th percentile) when she was born to 12 lbs and 6 oz (the 35th percentile)!  She has a Buddha belly too. :)

She's growing fast!

She’s growing fast!

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