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Yesterday, my little baby girl had one candle on her birthday cupcake.

What an awesome weekend it was! On Friday evening, friends came over and helped bake cupcakes while I was making and baking other goodies. My ‘babaliefie’ was enjoying the pre-party festivities thoroughly and stayed up till 1 am.

I invited friends over on Saturday and family on Sunday. We spent both days ‘kuier’-ing from about 11 am till about 6 pm. ‘Babaliefie’ loved all the attention as she went from lap to lap. She was such a happy, pretty little fairy. Luckily the daymother came by on Saturday at 4 pm. ‘Babaliefie’ got unto her lap and almost instantly fell asleep for the first time during the day.

I’m so grateful when I think about all the blessings and joy we experienced during the past year. I find motherhood incredibly tiring, but my little girl is more delightful than I could ever have imagined. I’m in awe of the amount of love that DH and I have for this tiny, cute and funny little creature.

  • I survived two Computer Science exams at the end of May! Yay! What a huge relief. So it’s 29 down, 1 to go – then I’m done with this degree. Studying has never been more difficult and I find that I’m regretting every hour I have to spend in front of a textbook. (So much for the saying: You’ll never regret any studying you’ve done..)
  • A week ago, we spent 10 days in the Kruger Park – relaxing, soaking up the balmy, sunny weather, enjoying nature and life. ‘Babaliefie’ loved watching the animals and seemed especially impressed by the zebras. It was a wonderful holiday.
  • We visited my sister and brother-in-law while we were on holiday. Pregnancy turned my petite sis into a beach ball with limbs and is still making her vomit in the mornings – at 34 weeks. But she is looking amazingly radiant, excited and reluctant to complain. We can’t wait to meet this brand new little member of our family clan.
  • This month, we have started trying to conceive baby number 2. I’m scared to mention this, as I know that should it not happen for us, I might prefer pretending towards others that it’s because we’re not trying yet (yeah right! – as if I’d rather wait till I’m like 45..). I’m scared of those feelings of being a failure should another pregnancy elude me – and let’s face it, my chances of struggling (again) are excellent.
  • Getting ‘babaliefie’ to sleep remains an eternal struggle. I love the way she wakes up in the morning though. As soon as her eyes flutter open, her whole face lights up. Her excitement when she realizes that the long, boring night is over is too delightful. “Whoohoo! It’s time to play and do stuff again!”
  • Yesterday was the shortest day of the year (winter solstice). I’m always very aware of this date, as I’m such a summer person! Although the summer is still far away, at least the sun is now ‘moving’ in the right direction.

Since I did such a bad job of keeping my blog updated, I’ll try to make up for it by posting pics of the last 3 months. To me, these are surely worth a few thousand words. 🙂

In the kitchen sink (2 March):

Struggling to get rid of thrush (13 March):

Pretty as a flower in her new winter clothes (23 March):

“I’m standing” (3 April):

“Goeiemôre, my sonskyn!”, on Blouberg beach (10 April):

Together:

Baby shopping (12 April):

Picnic in Kirstenbosch (22 April):

Clapping hands:

Eyes as blue as the sea (and face full of breakfast):

Daddy’s girl:

And one of my favourites.. It was taken on a cellphone at 4 am (17 April), but what the photo lacks in quality is made up for by the excitement on that little face! “Oh wonderful! Now everyone is awake, the light is on and we can play and do stuff!”

P.S. Thanks for the blogging award, Chops (http://tolovebella.wordpress.com/)! Will come back to that one when I have a minute..

The quiet little cherub that was content to view the world from a particular spot on the bed or floor is now a distant memory. During shopping trips and outings, my little ‘babaliefie’ is now a squirming little octopus that’s magically able to reach far beyond what seems humanly possible.

At 9 months, my little fairy is already 75 cm long (as long as the average 13 month old baby girl), yet weighs in at a petite 8.3 kg. She loves her food and is also drinking 2 to 4 bottles a day. She seems happy, healthy and (if you ask me!) gorgeous.

She’s never slept well, but we’ve had an exceptionally trying month. Since breastfeeding came to a halt (due to the downward spiral of lack of demand and lack of supply), she started waking up at night and would simply fail to settle again, sometimes for as long as two or three hours! If I would turn on the light, she’d be so incredibly happy and excited to see me. Exasperated, I started giving her a bottle in the night and that seems the only way to get her asleep again. (She has NO teeth yet, so at least I’m not worried about the effect of this on her teeth..)

It’s also been harder to get her to fall asleep. Lately she pushes herself into sitting when I put her down in her cot at night – and then she just wants to play some more! I’ve come to view the time it takes to get her drowsy as our special time together though, so I don’t mind ‘working’ a bit to get her asleep.

I’ve been quiet lately as juggling motherhood, work and part-time studies is taking its toll. After a bad night, I sometimes feel as if I’m hanging onto sanity for dear life! DH is talking about ttc number two, I feel exhausted just thinking about that.

Still, I can never wait to pick up my ‘babaliefietjie’ from daycare in the afternoon. It’s my favourite moment of the day – seeing her little face again after all those long hours apart.

DH and I love her with wild abandon, this perfect, funny little angel of ours.

Day-care is going sooo much better! My baby angel still sometimes cry when I leave her in the morning, but it seems she’s fine the rest of the day. When I pick her up in the afternoon, she’s always happy and content – and very pleased to see me. I’m so relieved that she’s settled now at day-care, but I’m also wondering whether she misses as much as I miss her every work day?

Now if only I could get my baby to sleep at night! The past week or so has been hectic and the past two nights have been the worst! Lately we’ve had to pop her dummy in what feels like a gazillion times per night. The past two nights she also wanted 2 feeds and last night I even got up and gave her a bottle of formula after the second feed. Growth spurt, maybe? Whatever it is, I just hope I get to sleep again someday. I feel like a zombie in a car wreck every morning when the alarm goes off.

She’s eating well and loves her food. By now she’s even had home cooked dinners a few times (pureed mince and lentils with veggies and pureed spaghetti bolognaise – no sugar or salt added).

In terms of her development, my baby is doing things her way. She’s always had very strong extensor muscles and has loved doing full weight bearing in a standing position even when she was only a month or two old. This helped her achieve unassisted sitting so relatively early (for a late pretermer) and at a time she was not even rolling over yet.

By now (6 months 3 weeks unadjusted for prematurity) she’s rolling over like a champ and if she’s on her tummy, she’ll try to reach a toy that’s just beyond her grasp by rolling over towards it. Up to now I could leave her on our bed when I was getting ready in the morning, but now I have to put her in the cot for those moments when I’ve got my back turned.

I’m slightly concerned that she’s not getting enough experience of weight bearing on her elbows and hands, as she completely skipped assisted tripod sitting (i.e. sitting propped up on her hands) and does not love being on her tummy. Yes, as a former paediatric Occupational Therapist, I’m sure I’ll always find something to be (at least) slightly concerned about!

She now displays fear of strangers, particularly directed towards ‘ou omies’ (older men). Admittedly, ‘ou omies’ sometimes scare me too! And lately, if I hand her over to a friend, she’ll look up at the lady’s face, start looking uncertain and finally begin to cry till I take her in my arms again.

She’s generally a quiet, cheerful little baby. She doesn’t ‘talk’ that much, but she’s always smiling. She loves it when I sing her songs and when we play games. She’ll look into my eyes and touch my face with her tiny hands – and pull my hair, which is a bit less endearing. She loves bathing and showering. She loves it when we go shopping and she’ll smile at everyone looking in her direction (as long as she’s in my arms or in her Kanga carrier).

She’s started playing peek-a-boo with her blanket. As she pulls it over her head, she becomes a bit anxious and starts breathing more quickly. Her legs will kick energetically till she finally pulls it off her face again. Hehe, she seems to enjoy the rush of those ‘scary’ moments when she’s under the blanket! Funny ‘klein Liefietjie!’

Lastly, as far as cuteness is concerned, my word! I didn’t even know babies come in this cute. How I love her, this perfect little baby angel of mine.

As a wonderful an adventure as motherhood has been, the sleep deprivation has been a tough challenge.

Till about last week, my LO was still waking up for a feed at 1 am and another at 4 am on just about every night – occasionally less or more (!) times. I’m someone who needs more sleep than most. In fact, my in-laws sometimes teased me about such a sleepyhead.

During the past months I often felt like a zombie, barely able to function. (Once I accidentally paid one month’s salary over into my Pilates instructor’s account, instead of into my husband’s. Whoops! Luckily she repaid most of it, thank goodness!)

So bring out the champagne! Last night LO slept through the night and she also did so the night before without needing a feed. She only needed her dummy a few times and would then drift back to sleep instantly.

It feels as if I’m going to get a large part of myself back once she starts sleeping through regularly.

Today exactly a year ago, I stared at a home pregnancy test in disbelief – and that was the start of a whole new adventure! It was a year ago, it was yesterday – and of course more than a lifetime ago for my baby girl.

Aah, my eyes still mist up when I think back of that joy-filled day. (You’ll find more on that day here on my blog: day I tested positive )

It’s only a year later, but now I get to hold the most precious little ‘babaliefie’ in my arms every day (and every night of course – ha! …time I used to spend on boring old sleep..).

Last year on this day she was but a fragile dream, like a soap bubble you stare at in wonder. Now she’s a beautiful baby girl bouncing on my knee. How times have changed! Of course, of course, parenthood is hard too.. Yes, yes, but it remains the most amazing and fulfilling thing ever.

I will remain eternally grateful.

Just a few days prior to that positive pregnancy test (it was during the 2ww) I penned a poem:

we’ll frame our laughter
next to nana’s bed
we’ll show you the world
from the top of Lion’s head

we’ll giggle at penguins
fly kites on the beach
there’s so much to learn, my little one,
there’s so much to teach

and there’ll be candles at birthdays
and ducks in the bath
a night light and Lego
and picnics and parties
and ice cream
and…

if only you’d stay with me
it would be so much fun, you’d see

us three
your daddy, me
and you

And she stayed.

The sleep deprived blur that has been the first three months with my ‘babaliefie’ has been the most amazing adventure. I still can’t believe that I’m lucky enough to be the mommy of this pretty little baby angel.

My tiny baby is growing into my ‘big’ baby girl and she now weighs more than twice her take-baby-home weight, so about 5.5 kg.

During the past week or two, we seem to have turned a corner. She’s finally feeding less often – we have some 4 hour stretches now. As a result my ‘wakker klein rakker’ is sleeping a lot better, which is a very welcome change indeed! She’s now able to entertain herself for at least a few minutes when she’s awake and sitting in her swing or have a mobile or toy to look at, so my days are becoming less intense.

I think that if she could talk, these would have been the favourite sayings of my babaliefie during her first three months in the big wide world:

  • “I like to move it move it!” – She wanted to be rocked, carried around or bounced up and down most of her waking hours for the first 3 months. Much cooler (for baby) than just sitting there, I agree! She loves driving in the car, but usually cries when I stop at traffic lights or a stop sign – until the car moves again. Valid point, Liefietjie, standing still is just too boring, hey?
  • “Phew, that was close! I nearly nodded off. Luckily I managed to pry my eyes open just in time..” – There’s no telling what one could miss while your eyes are closed.
  • “Believe it, Mommy! I am indeed hungry again.” – I found it very strange when people would ask me when it’s time for her next feed. How would I know?! The interval between feeds was mostly between 30 mins and 2 hours, so the best answer to people asking that would be: probably soon.
  • “Wow, what an awesome day!” – She seems to love waking up in the morning and always (since she started smiling) gives me a dazzling smile when she opens her big blue eyes.

One thing is certain, Bill Gates doesn’t have enough money to make me an offer for my ‘babaliefie’! DH and I love her so.

On Friday, the gynae simply shook his head and said he was giving up on getting a nice picture of our ‘woelwatertjie’.. Every photo was just a blur of activity!

Oh dear, I’m starting to wonder whether LG is going to be bouncing off the walls once she’s a baby too – just in bigger rooms?

“Hey, now listen to mommy, Liefie – a little sleepyhead baby (like mommy was) is way cute too!”

At least the gynae managed to take her measurements and she is right on schedule – 761g and perfect.

I’m writing a UNISA exam on Friday, so maybe when I get to relax more after the exam (not that I really feel stressed out), so will LG. However, since each of the 3 docs who scanned her have commented on her very, very high activity level (ever since her 8w scan), I wonder whether we are in for a bit of a challenge here!

I’m starting to practise saying the following phrase in my sleep: “Your daughter clearly takes after you, Daddy. It’s your turn to get up..”

It happened during the past week! I can feel ?her moving! And it’s awesome.

And my, is she a busy little bee. Hehe, she seems especially active when I’m visiting hardware stores with DH (who’s working like a busy bee on her nursery).

I’m telling DH that if she’s a peaceful, relaxed baby who sleeps well, then she’s taking after her mommy. Otherwise, she’s his kiddy and he’d have to help out during those longs nights 😉

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