Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Getting to know Harmony

     Harmony is now 3 months old and I thought I'd tell you a little bit about her personality and my adjustment to motherhood.  First I'd like to say that being a mother is AMAZING.

 Everyone always talks about how having kids is so life changing and how the love of a mother and father for their children is limitless.  It's something that is definitely impossible to comprehend fully until you get there yourself. I actually suffered from irrational fears while pregnant like, "What if I don't love my baby?"  (I obviously didn't experience a ton of bonding while prego) or "What if I find my baby annoying?"  or "What if motherhood isn't as fulfilling as I expect it to be?"  ...  I look back and laugh at those fears.  I was absolutely in love with my baby as soon as she took her first breath and that love grows exponentially every day.  She is not annoying, but is such a joy to be around.  And motherhood is rewarding and fulfilling in a way that  I didn't expect - definitely more emotional fulfillment than I ever dreamed (so grateful that I didn't have any post partum depression - my hormones have felt more stable post-birth than they have in years!) and it's physically fulfilling - I am amazed that my body grew this little human being inside and was strong enough to carry her, deliver her, and then pop back into a relatively normal state (minus a strong core and plus 10 lbs).
     Harmony has brought more joy into our home than I ever dreamed possible.  We can't stop staring at her and I am convinced there is nothing better than her many toothless grins.  Speaking of grins, let's start there with getting to know her.

1.  SMILES.  Harmony is one happy baby!  She loves to smile.  She began smiling consistently at about 4 weeks.  Her smiles make me laugh and smile all day long and that first smile of the day, when she's crying in her crib after waking up but smiles as soon as she sees me makes getting out of bed so worth it!

2.  LEARNING.  Harmony loves to study and try to imitate what we teach her.  For example, she has figured out the long O sound.  She studied our mouth, tried it out with her voice and got the hang of it.  However, when we demonstrate the short 'a' sound, she studies our mouth but doesn't attempt any sound because she hasn't figured out how to form her mouth and tongue.  She tries to imitate various other actions as well, it's a blast to see her small successes in copying us.  She also rolled over from her stomach to her back on her one month birthday but has no clue how she did it.  About 3 weeks ago she rolled over from her back to her stomach for the first time, here's the aftershot:

3.  SLEEPING.  We are so blessed!  Harmony had her days and nights figured out on day one.  The first two weeks I fed on demand so I was up every couple of hours.  But then, I started to try to get her on a schedule and it only took a few days before I had her only waking up at 2 and 6 to eat (I feed her for the last time at 9 pm which means she's usually down by 10:30 if not sooner).  And, for about the last month she has consistently only woken up at around 5:30 to eat.  I'm so glad!

Also, the first 6 to 8 weeks of her life she really didn't sleep during the day except for when we were in the car.  This meant that my days were filled with almost constant bouncing and walking to keep her happy because she hated to not be held.  However, she is finally taking short naps, yesterday she took two 20 minute naps which is a huge deal!

Rocking Harmony to sleep for a nap

4.  PLAYING.  As Harmony has adjusted to life outside the womb she has become more secure and content.  She is a ton of fun to play with and is so responsive.  She gets a kick out of the toys hanging on her car seat and many times she wakes up in the morning and is entertained by her mobile for a bit which gives me a few more minutes of sleep.  She loves when I brush my hair across her cheek, when Jackson gets her legs moving really fast like she's on a bicycle, and when we just coo and make funny sounds.  Most recently she loves to watch me count to 5 on my fingers.  I can also leave her in the swing or on a blanket for longer and longer periods of time and she entertains herself which lets me get the dishes done and cook dinner.

5.  THE BINKIE.  For about 6 weeks Harmony would not take the binkie.  That was rough.  This meant mom was a human pacifier and as a new mom it took a bit to figure out when she was hungry or just wanting to suck for soothing.  Even after I figured it out, sometimes it was easier to just be the pacifier in order to stop the crying.  But, now she takes it and my life is changed.  It helps her go down for naps, it helps soothe her while awake...  I love it!

6.  MOM HAS FINALLY FIGURED IT OUT!  Harmony has been a much happier baby since I learned what her different cries mean and learned different ways to keep her happy.  Now I can tell when she's  crying because she's tired or the hunger cry or the "I'm bored laying here" cry.  I can address the correct need and life is so much easier!   Harmony rarely cries inconsolably any more (I really don't remember the last time that happened!).  She is so happy and easy to please.  I love it!  A friend of mine told me it gets much easier after the first two months and she was right.  I wondered how on earth I could handle more kids and went through the crazy emotions and frustrations that come with fussy babies (which now I know her fussiness was nothing compared to what some of my friends have gone through) and the difficulty of feeling like I sat on the couch nursing 24/7 each day.  But I learned a ton and her eating patterns calmed down and she stopped fussing and now life is peachy!  I'm so excited to watch her continue learning and growing!

We have had an amazing 3 months learning how to take care of our daughter.  We love her so much and she is a beautiful, happy baby girl!