24 April 2016

Zoe is an Active 7 Month Old

At Rose's 6 Month doctor's appointment, the pediatrician told us that the next three months would be all about moving and it could not be more correct. During the month of March we noticed Zoe become more mobile as she began turning from her belly to her back and on to her belly again. By the time she turned seven months on April 7th, she would get from point A to point B on her own if you left her long enough. Not by crawling, or butt-scootching, but just by squirming and stretching. It's slow and steady, but she gets there.

Colin calls this age the "sticky finger" phase. You cannot keep anything within Zoe's reach without her grabbing it. It often goes into her mouth or on the floor.

Playing at the Durham Museum of Life and Sciences at 6 months

She's been acting like she's teething on-and-off for a long while now, but we don't see or feel any teeth coming. I thought she was going to have teeth early based on her desire to gum everything at a young age, but that has not been the case.

Besides huge developments in movement and coordination, Zoe's big news this month is that she started school on March 30, just shy of 7 months. There is a new(ish) school in the area that follows a Reggio-Emilia approach, which we feel is right for our girls. They are a Spanish-language immersion program, which I don't necessarily really care about, and all the teachers are native Latinas. My half Colombian friend hit the nail on the head when I was trying to describe how different it felt to have Latina women caring for Zoe. She said that Latina women are more "cariñosos" (affectionate), and I would definitely agree. It has felt like a good fit for us, and I feel it is right for an infant who really needs love and affection. In the first two weeks, both drop off and pick up were fairly calm. I'm used to putting everything away at Rose's school (diapers and wipes, food, extra clothes, etc). With Zoe, the head teacher just tells me to leave the bag and she'll put things away. Several times I stayed a little longer in the mornings, nursing Zoe before I left, and it was nice to chat with the teachers in Spanish and see their interaction with the children. I rarely speak Spanish these days, so it's very rusty, but still good enough to have a conversation. Both of Zoe's teachers are Peruvian. We will likely switch Rose over to Zoe's school to make it easier and less expensive, but we want to be sure it is a good fit for her before we do.

Heading to her first day of school on March 30
Zoe's first day of school
One characteristic of Miss Zoe is that she loves standing. She's still not quite sturdy enough to hold herself up long, or to cruise along things, but she'll get there soon. Once she started school, she became much more mobile. There are quite a few infants a little bit older than she is, so there are kids to model the milestones she will soon achieve. If she could skip crawling and go straight to walking, I think she would, though she doesn't mind holding herself up on her arms. She's very strong and is persistent if she wants something. While she is relatively calm, she is showing us that she can be fierce. She'll have to be to keep up with her sister!

Zoe's main teachers and the floater teachers who interact with her all tell me how happy she is to see them. It's still difficult to get her to smile for the camera, but she does love to smile at people. She also loves to talk to other children and to her babies and toys. When picking her up from school, she is often a chatterbox, telling me about her day.

We still continue to battle her skin rash, though I have become more lenient with my diet. I brought some dairy back in and she seemed to do okay, but still haven't started eating eggs. The first week at school, Zoe had more pumped milk from my early pumping days and her skin seemed the normal amount of rashy. Unfortunately, at the end of her second week at school, she developed a bad skin rash on her belly that looked like chicken pox. We went to the doctor, who said it looked like a virus, but that we should monitor it in case it did end up being the chicken pox. Thankfully it didn't appear to be itchy, and it didn't manifest itself as chicken pox. Unfortunately, she's now had it over a week and it still has not gone away. She was out of school all week and did have a fever for a day. We think she might also have had RSV, because she's had a bad cough and someone in her class had a confirmed case. Since a rash is not a symptom of RSV, it seems there are two separate things going on. I initially thought her belly rash was due to having more previously pumped milk (from before I was dairy/egg-free), but since it hasn't gotten better in week of getting fresh-only milk, I don't think that is the cause. If we could just get past the rash, I would feel much less stressed about Zoe's health. I guess there are many parents who would wish that a rash was the worst of their child's health problems, and I should be thankful that eczema is our main concern.

Zoe still loves mommy's milk, either straight from the spiget or from a bottle. At school she drinks 4-5 bottles of milk (3-4oz each), and eats solids fairly well. At home, solid foods are hit or miss. When she's with mommy, she really just wants to nurse. I just started drinking a tea that supposedly increases milk production and taking fenugreek occasionally, mainly on the days I am away from Zoe to try and pump more milk. After a week it seemed to help. I had been getting down to only producing 8-12oz of milk. With Zoe sometimes taking closer to 20oz at school (mostly the second week), I was starting to stress that I would run out. Though the reality is that I still probably have close to 100oz in the freezer. I'm just nervous about giving it to her because of the rash.

We still do cloth diapers and are officially out of the young infant sized diapers. Zoe is growing like a weed and we now just use all in one diapers. It has helped that Rose is now completely potty-trained (yippee!!), so all her cloth diapers are available for Zoe. The introduction of solid foods, and switch to less frequent pooping has brought with it the stinky and very large poops. It always makes me nervous when my girls don't poop every day, but I remember a period when Rose didn't poop for like 20 days and the doctor wasn't concerned. So far, Zoe's max has been 2 or 3 days without a poop. The issue we currently face with diapers is trying to figure out what works for Zoe. Rose did really well with the bum genius, but Zoe pees so much more and leaks through them. Between our old Bum Genius and Charlie Bananas, I'm finding that we might have the most success by using the Charlie Banana inserts in the Bum Genius diapers. In the spirit of Earth Day, I'll just interject here to give a huge shout out to my mom for replacing the elastics on ALL of Rose's diapers so we could use them for Zoe!!  Thanks Mom! 

At 7 Months, I still can't get a big smile for the camera
Nor can I get the girl to sit still
This is a fun age with Zoe. She's getting mobile, but won't get too far too fast and she interacts with us much more than before. Rose is starting to enjoy playing with her sister and helping us care for her. Zoe loves watching her sister and playing with her things ... we see glimpses of fighting over toys in the near future. But as quick as Rose is to lash out at Zoe's sticky fingers, she is equally quick to give her sister big hugs and kisses.

Stay tuned for a recap of a recent trip to the North Carolina mountains during some cold April weather!