We had such a fun family outing to Cumberland Park today! After convincing daddy (Whit) that working in the basement could wait until this afternoon, we packed up and headed for the park! We love Nashville for so many reasons, and this new park is another one to add to the list! This park offers a water play area, tandem see-saw for kids and adults, a walking path through wildflower gardens, and even a mini climbing wall for adventurous toddlers. Lucy had a blast crawling through the ankle-deep water and putting her hands, legs, and face in the water jets! They also have a waterfall you can stand under – she dug that, too. Having an almost 9-month-old is a blast! She’s at an age where everything is new and worthy of exploring. I could learn something from her curiosity.
Taking the baby-led weaning approach to solids is certainly an adventure! Lucy is enjoying exploring new foods and LOVES when I put her in her high chair. She sits and bangs her little hands on the tray (which is totally unacceptable dinner time behavior I know – we are going to have to work on that), eagerly awaiting whatever food I put in front of her. So far there hasn’t been a food she hasn’t liked. She has explored recently kiwi, yogurt, lemons and limes (loved them!), squash, zucchini, plantains, and this weekend she tried her first grilled cheese. So far that is the clear winner. Of all time. She’s a girl after my own heart! We did have a bit of an issue with mango – she ate it with gusto, and then developed a rash. We will be holding off on that for a while. Overall, we’re seeing slow progress in Lucy’s eating behavior. She is starting to learn to take small bites, and the times that she does take a too-big-for-her-britches bite, she pretty fluidly spits it out or, recently, reaches in with her other hand and pulls it out (hello, new fine motor skills)! She is also most definitely ingesting more than she was. And she’s making a big ol’ mess! But that’s part of the fun, right? Mealtimes now consist of a naked baby and a plastic mat on the floor. Oh and a very happy dog.
One more post for today…I mentioned in my “Beach Baby” post that often the neat toys aren’t toys at all. Lu teaches me that often, as seen in this video. Lately, Lu has put up a big fight about getting her diaper changed. Until we started giving her one of her cloth wipes to play with. Oh if only we had this much excitement about some of the little things we take for granted every day! washcloths make good toys
Our Lucy is proving to be quite the determined, independent munchkin! Her daycare teacher (saint) sent me these pics today. Lucy can’t crawl yet (unless we count her fast, highly efficient one-arm one-leg scoot as a crawl), but she has been eyeing those steps at daycare for months! Today – mastered! Go, girl!
After 7 months of an intense swaddle addiction, Lucy has officially kicked the habit! I had a 3-week vacay from work, so I thought it would be a good time to “work on it.” So we did. And we went cold turkey on the first day I was home! The deal with Lu and the swaddle is that, in order to nap during the day, she requires a swaddle and a pacifier. Well, really, she just requires a pacifier. The swaddle has been serving the purpose of keeping her little arms from ripping that paci out of her mouth while she’s trying to fall asleep, over…and over…and over…again. She has been swaddle-free at night for months, ever since she rolled over on her own around 4 months. But those daytime naps are tough for a little socialite such as Lu!
So, we decided those little pudgy baby arms needed to be liberated once and for all. I had a little talk with Lucy the first day, explaining to her that, since they don’t even make swaddles big enough for big 7-month-olds anymore, remaining swaddled is simply not a sustainable solution! She totally understood (sarcasm). Anyway, there were some tears. I sat with her while she worked it out. Patting and shushing, shushing and patting. Slowly, she realized that she can actually control that pacifier by herself, and put it in her mouth the right way, by herself! She also fell asleep a few times without it (which makes me hopeful for when we have to say goodbye to that, too)!
Within a few days, the swaddle was a distant memory! Of course, Lucy still fights sleep like it’s her job, even if I’m laying down with her, holding her skin-to-skin, sometimes even if she’s nursing. Often lately, after we have done the whole get-to-sleep routine. The sweet girl who used to happily nurse to sleep nightly now nurses and either starts crying, or pops off and looks at me wide-eyed like, “where’s the party, mom?” As she grows and her brain continues developing at the speed of light, girl just does not want to miss a thing! She will look at you with these exhausted, red-rimmed eyes and smile like, “see, mom? I’m so…not…(yawn)…tired…(eye rub).” I really can’t complain…I suppose my girl is high on life!
Here are a few tips for travel that we picked up along the way:
– Consider that baby will be completely restrained in that seat. For hours. We left a little later in the morning on the first day of travel and it seemed to help Lu get some energy out before the long hours in the car. We literally drove 10 and a half hours that day without a meltdown! Ooh and I cannot discount the necessity sometimes for a rest area and a blanket on the ground so Lu can get her scoot on.
– Riding in a car is boring, especially when you’re facing backwards and can’t even get a good view out the window. For the car, I brought some novel toys and some novel non-toys for Lucy to inspect and examine. I am discovering that the most interesting “toys” are often just everyday objects. For example, Lucy spent over an hour examining a towel that had a neat pattern on it. She also spent a good deal of time with a piece of a nylon strap (??), a camera case, and a carabiner. What a little explorer.
– Respect routine. We tried to maintain somewhat of a schedule, even in the car. During playtime, I gave Lu her toys. When it was time to nap, I took the toys and gave her her pacifier and a stuffed animal, and covered her with a blanket. At bedtime we stopped at a gas station and put her in her jammies. Then we did the whole bedtime routine (minus the bath) in the backseat of the car. Sweet girl went right to sleep and stayed out until we got to the hotel late! Once again, Whit went in and got everything set up while I waited in the car with our sleeping babe. When we did the transfer, she went right back down into her Pack n Play. Go, girl!
– Protecting baby’s unblemished skin (especially when your baby is practically transparent) is very necessary. At the beach, keeping girl in the shade was obviously a top priority. My dad bought an awesome beach tent that was big enough for 3 people plus a baby to sit in the shade. Some of the gear that came in handy was a baby beach chair that Lu could be strapped into, so she could watch the waves and NOT eat the sand! I also got a great floaty thing for the pool that she sat in, and it had a canopy on top (more shade!). We have also been using Badger sunscreen. It’s all natural so no worries about toxins on baby’s skin. And we haven’t had a sunburn yet!
– Don’t plan too much for each day. Babies need more rest when they are in a new place with lots of new stimulation. Planning one outing a day is plenty. Happy baby = happy mommy and daddy!
– Accept that family want to hang out with your kid. Having help ROCKS. Whit and I were able to go out every night after Lu went to bed, even just to walk on the beach. And I really enjoyed going to swim laps or go shopping in the middle of the day, and have family who look forward to having that quality time with their granddaughter and niece. Having that time to myself and with my hubby is invaluable, and makes us better parents. Yay, family!
And then, with all of the things that went right, the first day of the ride home was pretty terrible. We did all the same things we did on the ride to the beach, and Lu just wasn’t feeling it. Girl could not be pleased. By the time we hit Asheville (with 5 more hours to go!), I told Whit we simply had to get a hotel. Lucy had completely worn herself out from all the fussing, and worn me out from all the comforting I was trying to do! We were all happier for it the next day, and stopping in Asheville meant we got to see Whit’s sis and Lucy’s awesome aunt Caitie! It turned out to be a great night.
Overall, I’m proud of my girl for making such a long car trip and really being a trooper! In August we are getting her on a plane…stay tuned!