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.
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.
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.
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!
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!
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.
We also took her to Discovery Park, where she got to see the Puget Sound.
And we took her to Seward Park, so she could see Lake Washington.
We had to make sure to see our hometown park a few times as well – West Seattle’s own 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.
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 went to the local park and took many stroller rides around 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.)
Oh, and she played dress-up for the first time, much to her dismay.
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.
We introduced her baby doll (Olivia) again, and she even gave her a hug.
Speaking of baby dolls, I dolled Stella up in her first skirt, which may have been *a bit* premature.
Stella met her first Seattle friend. I think they’ll marry one day.
She took her first selfie (with mom).
It was quickly followed by her second selfie. A girl has to practice.
She worked on her fitness in a muscle-man romper. Those rattles are heavy.
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.
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.