Monday, December 29, 2008

Post Christmas Wrapup

What a week.  One would think that having a week off from work would mean having plenty of time to keep the blog up to date.  One would be wrong.  It did mean extra time to play with Sara Beth however.  She has become much more comfortable eating baby food.  She has decided it is easier to consume food with an open mouth.  The cats still distract her, but it is no longer necessary to schedule an hour to feeding her four tablespoons of oatmeal.  Her bib is also likely to survive a couple meals before it needs to be washed.  Yesterday, Heather and I had a meal of steak and sweet potatoes.  Sara Beth longingly looks at the food and batted her little eyes as if to say "Father Dearest, might I please have a tasty morsel of big people food?"  I couldn't help but give her a couple mouthfuls of a real sweet potato instead of the pureed stuff we normally feed her.  It was a hit and she downed the bites and then looked wistfully at her loving father for more.  Unfortunately, I came up with the idea of giving it to her when there were only the few bites left. Heather thinks that next time, she will share her potato with Sara Beth.

Sara Beth and her Grandma had a grand time playing together.  Sara Beth would play with her toys and look up and the changing screens while my mom checked her email.  

At only 4 1/2 months, Sara Beth is still old enough the help unwrap her gifts.  She will grab onto the paper and pull.  The paper rips apart to her great joy, but then, instead of extracting the next hand full from the package, she will then attempt to stuff the first hand full of paper in her mouth.  Since no one gave us edible wrapping paper this year, we had to dissuade her.  To head off the question, that is our friend's kid helping SaraB unwrap her gift.

Like a typical baby, Sara Beth wanted to play with the boxes and wrapping paper as much as she played with the actual gift. A teddy bear was one of the exceptions.  She loves to cuddle it and bury her face into it.

Sara Beth plays with this toy while we eat dinner.  She now sits at the "big people" table in her high chair, after she made it clear that she did not want to miss any of the action by sitting in her swing while everything exciting happened at the table.  It has been drooled on, spit up on, thrown on the floor, and it keeps on being a viable play toy while at the dinner table.  The suction cup on the bottom is a lost cause.

After stocking up on diaper wipes, I realized that the box was just the right size for a makeshift train for Sara Beth.  We careened through the hours making cho-cho noises; cats bolted at the sight of a mobile baby careening towards them.  SaraB loved the experience.  Instead of throwing the box away, it now resides under her crib on the chance that she wants to take a train ride in the future.

After a long week of playing with family, Sara Beth got to snuggle with us in bed one morning.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Our Little Food Processor

Sara Beth has gotten much better at processing food into a smelly brown mess.  Since she started on baby food to supplement her milk consumption,   her dirty diapers have decreased in frequency to about one every other day.  Initially, we worried that she was getting constipated, so we upped the prunes in her diet.  Then we had our first major blowout.  Sara Beth was a smelly mess from her hair down to her knees.   Sara Beth did this when I was not at home, so I have only Heather's description to go on, but it sounded rather horrific.  

So, to rectify the problem, I put the camera by the changing table and told Heather to take pictures next time Sara Beth had a bowel movement.  Heather insists that the diapers held out better in this second event, which occurred two days later:

I got to help with the third occurrence this evening.  It was fully contained in her diaper, but  smelled awful.  I have a sinking suspicion that the stink free diapers are now a thing of the past.  But it is all worth it to see her eat real food.  

Typically, Sara Beth will shove anything in her mouth that she can grab a hold of ... except food.   If you are holding on to her hand, there is a good chance that she will try gumming your fingers.  If she has her favorite rattle, she will show it affection by sticking it in her mouth.  Her toy elephant will get its trunk sucked on like a large straw.  But we have little cereal things that dissolve in the mouth and when we place them before Sara Beth, she moves them all around on her tray, picks them up, and then forgets about them.  My current hypothesis is that they are too small; and she either does not consider them a real food source or not worth the effort to bring them to her mouth.  I think it might be the second because when she does want to eat one of them, she will currently stare at us or lean forward and start grunting until we pick one up and put it in her mouth for her.  Once in her mouth, she does suck on it, and as soon as she swallows it, she will lean forward and grunt for more, so we know she likes them.  We might have to do some tough parenting and make her put them in her own mouth.

We have found that  Sara Beth definitely likes sweet potatoes better than prunes or oatmeal.  I had some trouble feeding her a full meal of oatmeal, so I added some sweet potato to the slurry and she became much more receptive to eating it again.  Heather is planning on going to the store tomorrow to get some more sweet potatoes baby food as she has gone through our current stash.  She will still make faces when we start to feed her, but as soon as she gets a mouthful of her sweet potatoes, she will begin sucking and licking the spoon clean.  Feeding her is a slightly less messy affair when sweet potatoes are involved; both she and I are in agreement that they are much better in her stomach than on her bib.

Since she is growing so quickly, we try putting her in all her Christmas regalia just in case she out grows it before the holiday actually comes.  Plus, she looks real cute in it.  And she enjoys chewing on the faux fur collar.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Feeding Time

We have started to feed Sara Beth more than just milk this week.  We started with just rice cereal, and then worried that it would cause her to become constipated so we added some prune baby food to the mix.  Since she has been grabbing for whatever plate or cup within striking distance for the past three weeks, it came as no surprise that she picked up on the food thing quickly.  When we placed the food in her mouth, she gave us a weird "what are you doing" kind of look.  After a couple failed spoon fulls, some actually got down her throat, and she realized that we were giving her food to eat, and not a new game of "drool on the bib".   She then got so excited that she bent all the way forward to the point that she was facing down and any food that went in immediately fell straight out, but her tongue was actively trying to lick the empty spoon clean.  In addition, she will grab the business end of the spoon, getting rice cereal all over her hand, then deftly guide the spoon away from her mouth and into the side of her cheek.  So there is still progress to be made; I have heard from other parents that this whole feeding thing is just a messy affair.  Trial and error has taught us that we can preventing a re-enactment of riots at the rice factory by holding her head upright and pinning her arms down, but all we actually need to do is show Sara Beth that the less food she makes into a mess, the more more food can reach her mouth.  The details of how that plan will work still haven't been worked out yet, but I think we have a willing subject.  Just look at the intensity that she is giving the food.  

Heather dresses Sara Beth so well.  Everything matches, even the sun glasses and bows.

Cue the oft repeated phrase "they grow up so quickly".  Sara Beth will now sit up for extended intervals without falling over or doing a face plant into her knees.  In fact, this is a similar picture to the one I posted just two weeks ago, and it looks like either the chair is getting smaller or she is getting bigger.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Off the charts

Sara Beth turned four months old yesterday.  To commerate the milestone, she went in for her four month checkup.  She weighs 16 pounds and 6 ounces and is 26 and 3/4 inches tall.  That puts her in the 95th percentile for weight and she is off the top of the chart for height.  Just like her daddy.  Though she is growing so quickly, I do feel I need to print a retraction.  In my previous post, I had mentioned that we might need to go to size 4 diapers.  Apparently, that is not necessary.  The size 3 Luvs are just much smaller than size 3 diapers from other brands.  She still comfortably fits in the size 3 Pampers, though she does have the amazing ability to fill them up quickly.

Sara Beth has really grown this past week.  I came home from work last week to find that Sara Beth can now roll from her back to her belly.   It is rather impressive to watch as she  doesn't use her arms at all.  It is a carefully choreographed sequence involving swinging of the legs and an arch of the back and finally a little flick of the head to complete the flip.  The reverse procedure from stomach to back still needs a little practice; she is unable to complete that maneuver unassisted.  One other caveat is that she is not an ambi-turner.  She can only turn over on the right.  There have been several times where she will almost make the flip to the left.  She will teater on the edge of doing it, and then collapse onto her back again, only to quickly flip onto her belly with a quick roll to the right, as if that was her intended direction all along.  As you can see, she still has her arm trapped under her after she completes the flip and it takes a minute to wiggle it free from under her chest.  Also note that she is now face down over bare carpet instead of on top of a easily washable blanket.  I have started laying down burp cloths in a straight line on her right to prevent any spit-up mishaps.

I decided to record  her new skills on the camcorder to capture the moment.  I set her on her back, got the camcorder turned on, then had to flip her onto her back again as she has rolled to her stomach before I was ready to film.  In the end,  it didn't make for a good video as she completed to maneuver too quickly.  You need at least a little struggle for good movie making.

I could go on for several more paragraphs describing all the wonders of a rolling baby.  Stories of how we rolled across her play room (her handling the back to the belly and me helping with the other half of the complete roll) or the late night rescues where she rolled onto her belly and I had to stealthfully flip her without her noticing that I was in her nursery.  In any case, I have other things to mention.

Like that she is a lot more interactive and aware of her surroundings.  She is more prone to smile, though sometimes she will burst into tears when kissed instead of smiling.  I am beginning to see a personality forming, though the isn't really anything solid yet.  

She is definitely ticklish as Heather kindly demonstrates for the camera.

This is her first Thanksgiving day outfit.  Once she thoroughly soaked this one in drool, we swapped it out for one that we had on loan from a neighbor who has a daughter about a year older then Sara Beth.

After Thanksgiving, we setup the Christmas tree.  I was admiring the tree.  Sara Beth was keeping track of where her Mommy was.  It was close to feeding time for her.

And what use is cold weather if you can't bundle up your little bundle of joy in obnoxious warm outfits.  I blame the camera for not keeping the image in focus.  Perhaps if any one is reading and is interested in purchasing a new Cannon PowerShot A2000IS camera as a Christmas present for me will be rewarded with much better pictures after the Holidays.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Playing with new toys

Since day one, Sara Beth has not wanted to miss out on the action.  Whenever we ate supper, she would sit in her swing and look forlornly at the dinner table pining for the day when she too could join in the meal and merry making.  Well, it wasn't really like that, but she did start to fuss rather quickly and wanted to sit with us.  So we took down her high chair and strapped it down so now she can join us.  The doctor has told us that we should probably wait until she is four months old before beginning to give her solid food, so in order to distract her while we eat, we got a toy down for her to play with.  At first we gave her a rattle.  That quickly degenerated into a game of "Lets fling it off the side and see how quickly Mom or Dad puts it back".  It got old quick, so we moved to a toy that had a rubber suction cup on the bottom of it, so it would stay afixed to her tray.  However, in the contest of strength between Sara Beth and the suction cup, Sara Beth wins.  Note how I am still having to hold it down in this picture.  

Every weekend is more fun then the previous one.  This weekend, we danced to the entire 1812 Overture when it was played on the radio.  I did most of the dancing, but she did wiggle with the rhythm for some parts.  I can't wait to take her to the symphony.

We also laid down on the floor together and she used her hands to learn about different facial features.  She is rather good at finding my nose.

After a long weekend we gave her a bath and got her ready for bed.  For a while, Sara Beth was not interested in me reading to her right before her night time meal, but she now seems to have reverted to her more snuggly ways.  We read about 6 pages before she decided to call it quits and asked for her meal.  I have noticed that I have to hold the book further away from us then before.  If not, I find that Sara Beth wants to help turn the pages, but she hasn't figured out when to turn them, or even that pages should be turned from right to left.  Perhaps next week.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Sleeping through the night

So Sara Beth was smiling right until a couple seconds before the camera captured this picture. 

So, Sara Beth decided that she wanted to sleep straight through the night.  We put her down at 8pm and didn't hear a peep out of her until 7:30 the next morning.  We were both pleasantly suprised, as the 4 am feeding was a regular part of the daily routine, at least for Heather.  I regularly slept through that one.  The next day, she did the same thing.  We were wondering if that was the end of the early morning feedings.  Heather was actually kind of sad as SaraB is apparently extra snuggly and cuddly before the sun comes up.  Well, her fears were assuaged as Sara Beth has re-added her early morning feeding.  But now, instead of a regular 4am thing, she will wake up any time between 2am and 5am.  

Through this ordeal, she has dropped one of her daytime feedings, so she is now down to just 5 during the course of 24 hours.  Of course, that does not include all the times during the day that she will chew on her hands, burp cloths, or her sleeves.

I don't know if music fascinates all babies, or if Sara Beth is unique.  When she is acting fussy, I can sit her down on the couch and play guitar for her.  Instantly, she will stop fussing and get a focused look on her face.  She will stare at the guitar or off into space, but after a couple minutes she starts to wiggle in time with the beat.  I wouldn't call it dancing... yet, but it is as close as she can get, given that she has rather limited mobility. She will be content to sit and listen for up to 30 minutes straight.  I enjoy the audience, and Sara Beth apparently enjoys the show.

Heather found a giant 206 count box of diapers online, and she got two boxes.  One box of size 3 diapers and one box of size 4.  And it looks like Sara Beth will be about ready to move into the size 4 by the time that we finish off the box of smaller ones.  She is a big baby.  We have quite a few friends with one year olds who still wear size 3s.  It will be interesting to see what she weighs in two week when we take her back for her 4 month checkup.

In other poop related news, we have found that the jumparo works as an excellent laxative alternative for Sara Beth.  Quite regularly, when we place her in it, she will bounce around for a minute or two, then lean forward, grunt, and fill her diaper.  Once we hear that noise, we need to take her out.  There have been times that we leave her in there, and if she does it a second time, it is almost guaranteed that there will be a need to change her clothes along with her diaper.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Outsmarting the parents

Sara Beth is one smart cookie.  I've mentioned before about how she really does not like naps.  She will get fussy if she is allowed to stay awake so we put her down in her crib for naps.  If she fusses over every little thing then we have let her stay up too long, so typically we keep an eye out for the cues that SaraB gives off when it is getting to be time.  Yawning; rubbing the eyes; that sort of thing.  Well, in the past week she has stopped with the cues.  She will still get fussy when she is overtired, but all the cues up to that point are no longer there.  She has learned that if she yawns, then she gets put down for a nap, so she stifles them.  Heather has only seen a single yawn recently; SaraB started to yawn when Heathers back was turned and couldn't finish it before Heather turned around.  

Her dexterity has greatly improved.  She loves to stick things in her mouth.  With her new found ability to use her hands, she now shoves anything she can wrap her hands around into it.  One day I was eating cookies out of a large tupperware container.  It had a 10 inch square lid, which I gave to Sara Beth to play with while I continued with my breakfast.  She had one hand on one side of the lid and slowly inched her hand up the other side until it grasped the opposite side.  She then smushed it into her face in an attempt to explore the object with her mouth.  Below is a picture of her trying to decide if she wants to stick a burp cloth or her fist into her mouth:

For Halloween, Heather brought Sara Beth into work in the afternoon.  She was actually able to do a little trick or treating.  I held her next to the candy bowl and she dunked her and in and wiggled it around, and pulled it out, empty.  She then repeated the process.  I was reminded of the plexiglass machine where you pay to use the metal claw on a crane to pull out one of the stuffed animals stored inside.  On the fourth try, she was successful.  Her hand came up grasping a sucker, which she then immediately tried to stick in her mouth.

I'll close out this post of Sara Beth with my hat.  Aside from the occasional dip in a swimming pool, the hat has not been washed since high school.  I think Heather let me put it on Sara Beth because this was about a minute before bath time, so any horribly infectious disease that might have been on the had would be washed off of her head in only a handful of seconds.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

New Tricks

Every day we find out that Sara Beth has learned something new.  This week, she has started to really discover her hands.  She will now grab a hold of anything near her.  In some instances this means that she sweetly holds onto a finger, or cuddles a burp cloth, but other times, it results in her yanking on her mom's necklace while it is still attached around Heather's neck.  

  Sara Beth has a bounce seat that she will sometimes sit in while we get ready in the morning.   This bouncy seat has a flower with a ring on it hanging over the seat.  When you pull the ring, music starts to play.  We will occasionally pull the ring when we place Sara Beth in the seat as she seems to like the tune.  This morning, while Heather and I were getting ready for church, I look down and see that Sara Beth has the ring in her hand.  I call Heather out of the closet to see Sara Beth's new feat.  Then SaraB pulled, the ring and music started to play.  We were both so proud of her.  Then she pulled to ring again... and again... and again.  The song is rather catchy, but I think Sara Beth liked it much better than Heather and I did. 

She has gotten much better at holding herself upright.  Head control is not a problem at all for her now.  The days of floppy necks are over for her. She also has the core muscles to sit up by herself, but the more delicate act of keeping herself balanced is still a ways off.  I will sometimes place her on our bed, surround her with pillows, sit her upright, let go, and see what happens.  She falls over.  Some times she starts to tip to one side and then over-corrects and flops in the other direction.  Other times, she starts to tip, gets confused, and pulls herself over faster.  But we have a great time while we learn.

She also has grown tall and heavy enough that her feet touch the ground when we place her in her jumper.  Add to that her new found ability to use her hands, and she has a great time.  When Sara Beth was first born, she looked just like Heather.  As the days progress, I think she is beginning to look more and more like me.  I might have to dig up some of my childhood pictures, but the shot below definitely shows that Sara Beth has some of the Siewert genes in her.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Pictures in the flowers

This past weekend, we took Sara Beth to the Dallas Arboretum for some pictures.  We had a great time.  Sara Beth got a little sun.  In the first picture you can see that her rosey cheeks contain a little more rosey color then before.

Sara Beth has also been working on core strength training, and is now able to sit upright without slowly leaning forward and doing a face plant into her toes.  She is still working on her balance though, and will regularly overcompensate when she starts to lean to one side, throwing herself in the other direction, so she is not allowed to try sitting unsupervised unless she is surrounded by pillows.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Full Time Baby Holding

On Thursday, Heather awoke with a horrible crick in her neck.  She couldn't move her head and it hurt for her to pick up anything.  So, I took a sick day and took care of Heather and Sara Beth.  Well... there were some duties, like breast feeding, that I had to let Heather do, but I got to spend a whole day playing with and holding SaraB while Heather was only able to look on, and I had a great time.  By Thursday evening, Heather felt a little better, so I thought my full time baby holding duties were coming to a close.

On Friday, Heather awoke with an even worse crick in her neck, so I got to stay home again.  Since it wasn't getting any better, we took a family outing to the chiropracter, and they made the preliminary adjustments to get Heathers back back in line.  Apparently her pillow was causing the majority of the problems, so we got another one of those.  While the doctor was able to help Heather's neck she gave orders for Heather to take another day without picking up Sara Beth.  I got another day of being the primary snuggle giver to Sara Beth.  I would pass Sara Beth over to Heather, but only when she was sitting down and her back was properly supported, which greatly limited the opportunities for Heather.

By this morning Heather was chomping at the bit to pick up and snuggle and hold her baby for the entire day.  Her neck is a little stiff, but feeling much better.  We have a follow up scheduled with the doctor on Tuesday, and she is glad to be able to do more then sit and watch me play with Sara Beth.  I let her hold our daughter as my back was beginning to hurt from carrying around Sara Beth for two days straight.

SaraB and me chilling in a chair.  Note my poor posture and slouching position.  Also note that Sara Beth's bow matches my shirt.

Sara Beth has been working hard at building here core muscle control.  When we sit her up, she no longer does a face plant into her legs.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Two month checkup

This past week, Sara Beth went in for her two month checkup.  As part of the checkup she had to get four different shots.  Neither of us slept well the night before she went in.  Of course, she ended up just fine after she had a chance to calm down.  Her measurements are now 24.25 inches long and 13 pounds 2 oz, which puts her rate of growth at around one inch and pound every two weeks.  This puts her in the 96th percentile for height and 95th in weight.  

Growing up, I was always off the charts in the 99th percentile, so it looks like she wont ever be taller than me, but at the rate she is going, she'll be taller than Heather by the time she is two.   She can (sort of) stand upright, as long as we keep her balanced, and she comes up to the bottom of my knee.  So I guess this is right around the official "knee high" stage.

She has outgrown all her newborn clothes completely and only a few of the 3 month outfits still work for her.  We purchased some 6-9 month size onesies, but I think they must run a little small as they fit her right now.

SaraB has officially learned to turn herself over.  We woke up at 4 in the morning to her crying.  When we turned on the baby monitor, we could see her face down on her mattress.  Apparently, she turned herself over and then got stuck.  The next day, she did it again at nap time.  Below is a picture of her trying to get her duck.

And here is one of her getting ready to watch some football.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Sleeping through the night

Last night we put Sara Beth down at 8:30pm.  She didn't awaken for a feeding until 6:30 this morning!  Heather woke up last night around SaraB's typical 3am feeding and when she noticed the time she became a little worried that something was wrong.  However, when she checked, she found Sara Beth sleeping peacefully through her early morning feeding.  Hopefully, this will become a regular occurrence.

Sara Beth really might be an olympian.  Check out her skills with holding her head up already and sitting in her bumbo.  If either of those were olympic sports, then she would definitely be in the running for the gold.   

Unfortunately, neither are considered "real" sports so we will just have to wait a few years, but the prospects looking good.

Saturday, September 27, 2008


In the continuous process of growing up, Sara Beth keeps adding to her list of abilities.  The newest to be added is sitting upright in her stroller.  Heather took her around the block sitting up and looking forward, and Sara Beth enjoyed every step of it.  I've mentioned it before, but Sara Beth really doesn't want to miss a thing that might be going on.  So when she sits forward, she can see a lot more.  Heather would have gone kept on walking for longer, but it was 4 o'clock in the afternoon.  Even though fall technically started a few days ago, the weather here in Dallas still behaves like the peak of summer.  Needless to say, all future walks will be conducted in this new format, but in cooler parts of the day.  

As soon as  Heather got home, she tried to sit Sara Beth on the  floor in the similar upright position, with less  than perfect results.  She slowly sank forward, though I will give Sara Beth props as she  grunted and strained to sit  back up the entire time.

Now that we have FINALLY captured a picture of Sara Beth smiling, the process has become easier, and so we can catch her in the act a lot more often.   This time, Heather tickled her with her little duck toy.  Of course, in the next frame, Sara Beth decides that her duck is a chew toy and begins to gnaw on the plastic.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Life without acid reflux

Sara Beth is a very happy easy going baby.  She now likes her swing and will fall asleep in it.  This past weekend, I told Heather that I would take care of her so that Heather could go out and get some errands done.  Sara Beth behaved like a little angel.  While I worked on fixing a broken oven, she sat in her swing.  When I turned around to check on her, she had fallen asleep.  I tried moving her back into an upright position, but she immediately curled back down to rest her head on the side of the chair.  I did place a burp cloth as a small pillow so that her head wasn't resting directly on the plastic.  Later on in the day, she took a nap on my chest.  

SaraB's muscle control has also greatly improved.  Heather captured the below shot today.  We were reading in a book that babies sometimes have a little head control by the time they are two months.  Again, Sara Beth appears to be far ahead of the curve.  We also read that the typical baby begins to support some of their weight on their legs by the time they reach three months.  Again, she appears to be advanced as she does that already.

And last, but certainly not least: we have finally captured a smile on camera.  The below photo is the culmination of weeks of hard work and dedication.  I caught Sara Beth un-awares while Heather was distracting her.  

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Status update

The prevacid appears to be doing the trick.  Sara Beth sleeps through the night like a baby.  Well, at least until her regular 4am feeding.  She is also acting like her normal happy self again, although she still doesn't want to smile for the camera.  SaraB stopped smiling about 3 seconds before I took the below picture: