taking it easy..?

i’m 37 weeks tomorrow and i had the biggest scare of my pregnancy yesterday: i fell down the stairs. thankfully i was on my backside the entire time and i wasn’t carrying penny. however, the impact did hurt my bottom and as i turned around to bury my face in my arms to cry a little from the shock and pain, i saw penny staring at me in surprise from the top of the stairs. she even said, “아이~야야야야 아파” (“ouch, it hurts!”) and gave me a big cheesy grin in an attempt to make me feel better. i held out my arms and she climbed into them and smiled her toothy grin at me again. how could i not feel better? she’s such a sweetheart.

here’s how the unfortunate event unfolded: it was about ten minutes before 4pm after i had gotten penny from her nap. she had finished helping me load the washer and dryer and we were getting ready to go downstairs. i held a small box in one hand and descended the steps, planning to turn around to scoop penny up to bring her down the stairs. before i had even gone down a few steps, my feet slipped out from under me and i tumbled down. although it happened so quickly, i remember fervently hoping i wouldn’t land on my stomach.

i know my body is getting increasingly off-balance as i get bigger so the fall is a harsh reminder to really slow down and pay attention. i learned to multitask even more so as a parent so i could utilize my time better, but in my case this is not the best time to attempt to do everything at once. i could have brought the box downstairs at another time and held the railing to be safe. i certainly did hold on to the railing whenever i did go up and down the stairs after that incident.

although it is tiring on the days i’m alone with penny, she, herself, has been of great help. penny will want to move from activity to activity rather quickly but if i tell her to help me clean up, she will obey and put things away. she has always been a wonderful listener – if she wants to put something in her mouth or touch something, she’ll look at us to indicate what she wants to do. when we tell her “no” and explain why she can’t, she won’t do it. i think that’s why she’s hesitant when she tries out new toys or food; she’ll look at us for approval and if we consent then will she taste the food (after lots of encouragement) or put a block in a box. i am thankful for this as i don’t have to worry about battling with a toddler every day.

while it’s true that she would prefer having me nearby, if i tell her i need to go upstairs to prepare her meal she will say, “bye, 엄마” (bye, mom) and continue playing on her own. i like to come back downstairs quietly to catch penny talking to herself while playing. sometimes i even try to snap a photo.

penny has also been saying so many two-word phrases lately and even uttered a three-word phrase the other day: 엄마 맘마 됐다, after glancing at my empty plate. it basically means “mom’s food all done.” before she goes up for her nap, she has a ritual of saying goodbye to objects in the room as she leaves like “bye, blue”, “bye, purple” (referring to her paint – she said goodbye to every color), “bye, tea” (her teapot), “bye, 응가” (her potty). it’s really cute and i like how she is working on speaking longer phrases on her own. we speak to her in korean and english so we were initially worried that she would confuse words, but yesterday when i said “strawberry” to dennis she immediately said, “딸기” so she understands that those two words have the same meaning.

i’m hoping i still have a few more weeks with penny, but dennis and i actually wouldn’t mind if ezra came a week early (which, however, would mean less alone time with penny). we just don’t want him to be late.. but it’s not up to us, of course. in the meantime we are putting the finishing touches on the nursery, packing our hospital bags, and thinking of other tasks that we need to do (e.g washing and sanitizing baby bottles – i did this two days ago). whether he comes early or late, we will still have to learn to adjust to becoming a family of five (including yuri, our dog) but also how to handle a toddler and a newborn. that’ll be an experience for sure.

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me at 36 weeks


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this collage makes me laugh

it was warm for a few days so we were able to take a walk. penny loved being outdoors.

we hung up a mirror in the playroom recently and penny loves it so much! she’s kissing a spongebob pez dispenser in the first photo!

she saw yuri napping and said “yuri night-night” and wanted to go lie down next to her.

playing with snow since it was too cold to go outdoors

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washing the toy animals after being in the “mud” (brown paint)


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we recently bought her tempera paint, individual paint cups with lids, and matching brushes. she loves them!


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her masterpiece


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selfie from this morning


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playing by herself while i made her lunch

it ain’t over ’til it’s over

remember how i had declared, with much relief, that penny’s sleep regression seemed to have ended? yes, well, forget that, because it’s still in progress. after talking about the sleep regression with my friend, jisun (언니) at church yesterday, she confirmed that the regression can come and go – one night your baby will sleep wonderfully and then the next time she will have multiple wakings.

an important thing that i need to keep reminding myself: penny is just a baby.

watching yuri, our dog.

watching yuri, our dog.

she loves feeling different textures

she loves feeling different textures

she doesn’t intend to wake up, and stay awake for hours. she’s exhausted too – this is obvious because she makes up for lost sleep during the day – and is still trying to figure out how to transition to the different sleep cycles. sometimes she’s successful, and other times she’s not.

saturday night, for instance. she woke up at 1:30am and was moving around, but didn’t cry.. and her eyes were still closed. i was pumping so i let her be. she became more and more agitated that she couldn’t fall back asleep and began crying and trying to self-soothe by putting her hand in her mouth. when her cries escalated, i finally attended to her at 2:30am. she had been trying for an hour to fall back asleep! i ended up rocking her for AN HOUR AND A HALF. during this time, penny’s eyes were wide open but she was quiet. my chronic cough hasn’t gone away and my throat started to tickle, threatening to wake penny up. i put penny down too early because her eyes flew open and i had to start the rocking process over again. by the time she fell asleep at 4am, it was time to pump again!!!!! as i finished pumping, she woke up! this time she was hungry, and had a very wet diaper. she downed 5.5 ounces and when i rocked her, she fell asleep and stayed asleep for over 4 hours.

the first time that i tried putting penny down in her crib, i had noticed that her diaper was full but didn’t want to further stimulate her by changing it so i left it alone. in hindsight, it’s possible she woke up because she was uncomfortable, and that made her realize she’s hungry too.. who knows? again, she’s just a baby. she’s not waking up to annoy us. this is my mantra that i’ll just have to keep repeating to myself when i find myself getting agitated during these frequent wakings.

out of desperation, i had been googling about the 4-month-old sleep regression the past few weeks. a great blog post i came across is found here: help! my 4-5 month old is sleeping like a newborn again!

this post helped me understand what penny is going through developmentally, and empathize with her. around 4 months of age, the “fourth trimester” ends (the first three months of a baby’s life is referred to as the “fourth trimester” because those months are like an extension of life inside the womb.) and suddenly, the entire world is opened up before their eyes. anything, and everything, is fascinating and you may find (like i did) that your baby is highly distracted to even eat which results in night wakings up make up the calories.

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penny has been pursing her lips a lot 🙂

taken just before we left for church this morning

taken just before we left for church sunday morning

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what i also liked about this post is that the writer reassures us, the parents, that we aren’t doing anything wrong. it’s easy to blame ourselves when we are up for the fourth time in just as many hours trying to put the baby back to bed. just like how i had thought if i had changed penny’s diaper, she would’ve slept longer… maybe, maybe not.. she IS going through a sleep regression so she could have woken up around the same time even if she had a dry diaper.

just keep doing what you have been doing: feed/nurse (if necessary) and comfort them. this, too, shall pass. babies especially need you during this challenging time. another helpful point to remember is that soon your baby will be crawling, then walking, and then running… sometimes the days can drag on but as a collective time really flies by… as you cradle your wide-eyed child at 3am, try to keep in mind that she won’t “need” you as much as she gets older and learns how to self-soothe. she won’t hug you for no reason or cling by your side.. she’ll want to be with her friends, or play games on her ipad instead of wanting to be held by her mom. though difficult to appreciate now, please try to cherish these moments with your sweet little baby.

i’m talking to you, jax.

penny’s 2 months

baby girl is already 2 months old. cannot even believe it.

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i wish these pictures were bigger in size. if i try to stretch them or change the dimensions, they come out blurry so i have to leave them as they are.

the above photos were taken on the 14th, the day before her two months’ milestone. i began taking photos on the 13th just in case they didn’t come out well or she was being fussy.

here are some from the 13th:

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even with filters, the lighting in the first photo is a lot better than the above.

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the ballerina slippers were a gift and are so adorable. they’re still too big for her so i left the tissue paper in the toe area so they wouldn’t fall off.

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my cousin got penelope the pink tutu and a coworker gifted the ballerina slippers – perfect! in fact, penny’s entire outfit were all gifts. we were very lucky to not have purchased most of her clothes.

not only is she growing in size, but intellectually as well. it seems as if she’s learning something new every day. i try to keep up with recording her milestones but it’s difficult to do when there isn’t much spare time. penny has been sleeping through the night – hooray! – since the 7-week mark but her daytime naps have been decreasing. a speculation may be that the daytime naps are declining because of the increase in nighttime sleep but newborns are still supposed to get a good amount of daytime nap hours as well. by a “good amount”, i mean that two-month-olds supposedly should be napping about every 1.5 to 2 hours. penny had been doing this up until week 6. in my previous posts, i discussed how the 6-week growth spurt was a tough hump to get over… and i thought we were done with the cluster feedings and short naps. well, it turns out that though the sixth week can be brutal one of the baby’s major developments can span from the 6-week mark to the 8-week mark. of course all babies are different but they’re right on the nose for penny.

where am i getting all of this information? usually, i’m no longer up every few hours at night because she’s sleeping through the night – again, hooray! – but whenever i am feeding penny i’m typically browsing my phone; and i research current issues or problems that we may be experiencing at the moment. plus, i downloaded the free app “wonder weeks” (there’s also a book) that informs when a baby makes “leaps”, or new developments. it provides guidance on what to expect and how to help the baby. penny is currently in leap 2 which is recognizing patterns. she’s recently discovered the use of her hands and has been putting them in her mouth to self-soothe particularly when she first wakes up. her newborn reflexes are also slowly disappearing such as the grasp reflex. her hands are much more relaxed instead of being in fist-mode all of the time. (this is also because she has discovered the use of her hands.)

another helpful app is ‘baby tracker.’ i’m obsessed with keeping data and we’ve been tracking penny’s feedings and diaper changes since day 1. we ditched the paper and pen method when i realized that an app is much easier to use since i always have my phone on me (and we’re not wasting paper!)

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again, i wish these images were bigger. i did stretch them a bit so they’re blurry here. i love this app because i can track her feedings, diaper changes, sleep, activity/milestone, and pump sessions. there’s also a week-by-week graph to compare the stats so you can notice any patterns.

penny was finally able to meet most of her extended family last weekend. we went up to massachusetts on saturday to attend my cousin’s (technically, first cousin once removed) high school graduation party. it was great to see many of my family members and have them see penny for the first time.

the commute was a nightmare initially because of standstill traffic due to an accident. we were 4 hours late for a housewarming party in new hampshire that we were planning to go to first. granted, we did leave the house around 1:15 but we arrived at my cousin’s graduation party around 4! penny was tired because she didn’t really nap in the car (she needs the car to be in motion and much of the time was spent crawling at a snail’s pace). her feeding time arrived and since we were going so slowly, i ended up nursing her in the backseat. not safe, we know but it had to be done. i also had to change her soiled diaper on the car seat while i sat on the floor. good times.

 

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trying to keep penny entertained in the car

gathered around penny

gathered around penny

the girls kept commenting on the smallness of penny’s hands and feet.

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she was overwhelmed and stimulated, to say the least.

being a first-time mom, i’ve been tired and overwhelmed. lately, i’ve been slowly going out more and resuming my social life. i purchased this chambray jumpsuit maybe 3 weeks ago and i finally got to wear it last saturday. the espadrille wedges were purchased before penny was born and they made their grand debut at last.
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the reason we left our house late was because penny was sleeping. never wake a sleeping baby! sleep is so precious.. for everyone. when she finally woke up, i nursed her and we tried to leave as soon as possible so she would be in a good mood and she wouldn’t have to eat in the car (that didn’t happen). at least we were able to take advantage of the sale target was having on baby items.

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we spent $200 on baby items (diapers), so we got a $40 gift card. for every two diapers (had to be same brand and size), we also received a $15 gift card. organic brands = $10 gift card. we got $80 in gift cards and then purchased more diapers with them… and got more gift cards. penny’s currently wearing size 1 so we purchased sizes 2-4. interestingly, size 4 was sold out for pampers and huggies so i purchased babyganics instead.

penny’s 100th day is august 23rd and i’ve slowly started gathering ideas on how to celebrate it. long ago in korea, childhood diseases were common and infant mortality rate was high. to protect their children, parents wouldn’t bring them outdoors until their 100th day. the 100th day celebration is a way to celebrate the baby’s health. today, many celebrate it because of tradition but more so for photo opportunities. with pinterest and instagram in our lives, it’s easy to want to go all out and make everything a big deal.  we plan on having the 100th day celebration be family members only. the first birthday, or dol, will be the grand(er) party.

here’s one final pic of penny to close:

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so ladylike…