Hope turned 6 months on this past Thursday (11th). What a long way we have journeyed since March, a lot of living in a short time. This week was big for Hope, she started solid foods and enjoys at least one meal per day of rice cereal mixed with mashed bananas. On Wednesday she rolled over on her own for the very first time. Tammy and I had gone out with friends for sushi night and when we went to pick up the girls my mom asked, “so how long has Hope been rolling over?”
“Over? You mean rolling to her side?” I said.
“No, over–rolling over,” she said.
“All the way? To her stomach and pulling her arm out?”
“Well, what time did she do that?” I asked.
“Well then, I guess for about two hours.”
Since then she’s been trying to spend every waking moment on her stomach. She still needs help getting the arm she rolls over on out from underneath her most of the time. But once she has them both out she goes right to work trying to lift her head, turning it from side to side. She’s strong enough so that we don’t really have to worry about her getting stuck face-down, but I don’t leave her unattended when she’s on her tummy like that. She keeps practicing at it until she exhausts herself, sometimes she starts to fuss in frustration, other times she just kind of puts her head down and starts to doze. I won’t let her sleep on her stomach so I roll her onto her back, but she really prefers to be at least on her side so we compromise. Today at what is usually our nap time she insisted on her tummy time instead, so I helped her to her position and she lifted her head, looked up at me, and smiled. I burst into tears of course, but I managed to get a few shots in spite of it all.
Hope’s feedings are going great. We’re still trying to work out a schedule to make sure she’s getting enough calories over the course of the day. The last few days we’ve settled on four bottles and one solid course around dinner time and that seems to be working fine. The HGH shots are going well, it’s been one month now that we’ve been doing them.
I am glad that we were able to see Hope progressing before we started the shots, she had already smiled and laughed and was rolling to her side with some consistency. Obviously all of those things have developed considerably in the last month, which is wonderful because it gives Hope so much more control over expressing her needs and preferences. She is able to let us know when she is feeling left out, when she wants to be included, and when she’s had enough. She definitely prefers to be a part of the action and gets very upset if she’s left in her crib while the three of us sit and talk on the bed or in the kitchen. We’re going to have to move her to the table at dinner soon as she is clearly not satisfied with her view from the living room.
Her little personality is becoming more apparent and it’s fascinating to see. She is definitely her own little person, different from Grace in ways I can’t quite put my finger on just yet. My favorite thing about Hope right now is her smile because it is the thing that is uniquely “her.” She resembles Grace in many ways (a fact not helped by her wardrobe of hand-me-downs), but because she still doesn’t cry and is quiet most of the time she doesn’t really have a “voice” — not literally anyway. You look for those things that distinguish one child from the next, a different cry, a different baby language, different mannerisms, etc…. All of those things are not really there yet with Hope–except for the smile, the smile is definitely different and has become the looking glass through which I am learning about who she is.
Grace’s smile was cute and mischievous (still is), but Hope’s smile has a purity and wisdom to it that is different and beautiful. Coupled with her oddly expressive eyebrows, Hope is enchanting and charming…I simply adore her.
Grace has changed a lot too in the past six months, she has grown into her role as a big sister in ways that continue to touch us. She is always very attuned to her sister and enjoys the time Hope spends in her swing, her new chair, on the bed, on the couch — the places where she is accessible to Grace. In case you haven’t met Grace, the kid never stops, so she likes to have Hope in places where she can stop by for a few seconds every other minute to touch base before she runs off to her next thing. Hope loves to watch her move around the house, Grace really deserves the bulk of the credit for Hope’s at-home physical and occupational therapy.
Grace is slowly becoming a little more hands-on with Hope, which has its pluses and minuses. On the plus side, she’ll sit with her long enough for me to get a few pictures every now and then. On the down side though she has started trying to lift and move Hope — so far she’s only succeeded once. Last week while I cleaned up from lunch I heard her saying “let’s go B-Hope,” and I just knew she was trying to put her in her new chair. Sure enough I raced to the kitchen entrance just in time to see her holding Hope next to the couch where I’d left her. Fortunately Grace had her in a pretty good position, her arms were under Hope’s arms and she had her in a secure bear-hug with Hope facing outward. Hope’s head was in a good position and thankfully Grace was able to maintain the hold while I frantically tried to get through the baby gate to regain control of the situation. I definitely cannot leave Hope out in the open like that anymore, but with her rolling those days were numbered anyway. Grace is also incorporating the role ofcaregiver into her daily play, the pictures this week are of her with her “baby woosta” (rooster)– whom she has carried, swaddled, and burped most of this week.
Grace seems to have overcome her bedtime issues this week, the frequency and duration of the tantrums has plummeted. She’s still very concerned with “monsters” but whichever ones were bothering her before seem to have passed.
I was going to write a bit about my changes over the past six months but I think I’ve gone on long enough for one night so I’ll do that later.