Chloé is 11 months (and one day) old!
        May 20, 2019     19h49     0 Comments

Dear Chloé,

Yesterday you turned 11 months old! It's hard to believe that in one month, you'll be one. It seems like just yesterday that we were waiting for you to be born, and now you’re going to be one.

We spent last weekend with Mamie and Papy in Abrest. They loved playing with you, and Mamie especially was enjoying sitting on the floor next to you and helping you play with the different toys that she found. She kept quite a few things from when Papa was a baby, and you were having fun playing with those toys!

Let’s see, what new things can you do? A few weeks ago, you started pointing at things, and now it’s almost non-stop. You’re interested in everything! We are loving how curious you are about the world around you. You also started nodding a few days ago. You must have done it with Papa before I saw you do it because he didn’t seem surprised when I told him about it. (Side note – on the drive back from Mamie and Papy’s house yesterday, you were upset so I was singing to you, and in the middle of my singing you stopped crying and started nodding. That made me laugh as I was singing!)

You have become a champion crawler. Up until late last week, you were finding ways to move around (rolling over, sitting up and then throwing yourself forward onto your belly, etc.), but as of this weekend in Abrest, you are crawling on all fours. You’re fast too (and so so curious!), so we really have to keep a close eye on you. You LOVE standing up (you have VERY strong legs!), but for now you can only stand when someone holds you up. Papa and I are pretty sure that you’ll be walking before the end of the summer.

You still love to talk, and even if we don’t understand what you’re trying to tell us, we respond to you and it makes you so happy. It might be one of the reasons why you love to talk so much! We hear lots of “bouab bouab” and “galee galee galee”. We’ve decided that “bouab” means “I love you”, so when you say it to us, we respond, “I love you too!”

You’re still a wonderful eater too. You’ve developed a special love of bananas, as I often eat one for breakfast. You’ll see me eating it and point at it with a big smile on your face, sometimes even licking your lips. I’ll grab a small spoon and give you little bites, and you get so happy! We shared a banana this morning, and I bought more bananas on my way home from work today so that we can share another banana tomorrow morning.

You’ve been sleeping through the night consistently for about a month now, except when you came down with a cold a week ago (but even with a cold you were a relatively happy baby!). Papa and I have been enjoying getting more sleep – maybe a little too much, as we’re back to going to bed between 10 and 11pm instead of the 9pm bedtime we had when you were smaller.

We videochat with Grandma and Grandpa as often as we can. They were just in Florida for a 3-week vacation, so we were able to videochat with them while they were on the beach. Grandma showed you the Gulf of Mexico!

The next month is going to be pretty busy: my cousin Maria is coming to visit (from Egypt, where she works), and then we’re going back to see Mamie and Papy for a long weekend. Then Grandma is coming for your first birthday!

“For never before in story or rhyme
Not even once upon a time
Has the world ever known a you, my friend,
And it never will, not ever again.”
~ On The Night You Were Born (Nancy Tillman)

We love you to the moon and back, and we’re thrilled that you’re a part of our family!

Love,
Mama


Chloé is 10 months (and three days) old!
        April 22, 2019     20h11     0 Comments

Dear Chloé,

On Friday you turned 10 months old! We were at Mamie and Papi's house over the weekend, and I didn't have my computer, which is why this letter is a few days late. I hope you'll forgive me!

You have grown *so much* in the last month! You now wave with both hands, and you do it every day. In the car on the way back to Lyon yesterday, you started playing mouth guitar = making noise with your mouth and using your finger to move your lips. You did it quite a bit today too! You also roll over, back and forth, and you've started pushing yourself backwards when you're on your stomach. I think that crawling is not too far off in the future! You have a play space on the floor now, and you sit there surrounded by your toys while we watch you from the couch. You’re our entertainment now, and we couldn’t be happier! You grab a toy, you stick it in your mouth, you wave at us, you grab another toy, you throw the first one … we could watch you for hours.

You are a kind and gentle baby. You often offer us your toy, and we take it and say “thank you” before we give it back to you. You also love to give us kisses – big, open-mouthed, sloppy, wet kisses on our cheeks. Tonight you did it a few times as I was getting your bottle ready after your bath, and it caught me by surprise because I didn’t ask you for any kisses. I also thank you and tell you how nice and sweet you are (before I give you a kiss back), and I think that the positive reinforcement is working. Those sloppy Chlo Chlo kisses are one of the highlights of my day.

You still love to eat, and even when you don't really like something, you still eat it. Great job! You didn't really like the green vegetables with mushrooms and cream, but to be honest, Papa and I didn’t think it smelled too great either. Don’t worry, we won’t buy you that one anymore! You’ve even started eating pieces of food, especially fruit. The other day, I gave you some pieces of fresh mango, banana, and blueberries, and you were so excited! You also tried strawberries as well (the French strawberry season started early this year), and you loved them. Papa and I are thrilled that you’re a great little eater. We even bought a new baby/toddler cookbook so that we can try and make you some interesting baby food. Papa is going to be looking after you this week (because I have to go back to work), so he might have some time to try out a recipe or two!

We decided to do sleep training again at the beginning of the holidays, so about 10 days ago. We had two nights that were a bit difficult – the first night you were awake and crying from 12:50am to 2:15am – but since then, you’ve been sleeping through the night. I’m sure that there will still be nights when you wake up, but it’s nice that we are all getting more sleep.

In terms of speaking, well, you’re talking up a storm! I think you’re going to take after your mama in that regard, which is fine by me! You love to babble, and you’re consistently saying “mama”. We haven’t heard any other real words, but that doesn’t mean that you’re not trying to communicate! We hear a lot of “ba” and “boo” sounds, and recently we started hearing a combination, “boo-ab”. You’re also pronouncing “l” sounds, and “d” sounds. We’re just waiting for “p” sounds so that you can say “papa”!

You don’t have any new teeth – you’re holding strong at 8 – but we think that some of your molars are trying to come through. You’ve been drooling a lot and putting your hands in your mouth, and when I let you hold the toothbrush, you constantly put it in the back of your mouth and you chew on it. Luckily you haven’t been too grumpy, but it would be nice if they could pop through and stop hurting you!

Papa and I often comment on how we lucked out in the baby lottery when you joined our family. You are the easiest baby, and it’s such fun to spend time with you. This afternoon I took you out in the stroller for a 1-hour walk around the park, and you loved it – you chewed on your teething toys, you looked at the people around you, and you babbled/laughed. You also love car rides (for the most part). I don’t know how much of your easygoing nature is luck and how much of it is how we’re raising you, but we are just so thrilled that you’re here, and we’re enjoying every minute that we get to spend with you.

Love,
Mama


Chloé is 9 months old (and two days)!
        March 21, 2019     11h52     0 Comments

Dear Chloé,

Two days ago, you turned 9 months old, but I haven't had time to sit down and write you this monthly letter. Your auntie Ingrid and Uncle Mark came to visit last weekend, and we took you to the wine expo on Sunday! You were so excited to see them on Friday that you woke up at 530am on Saturday. They left on Monday at noon, and since then, I've been trying to play catch up all week.

This morning when you woke up you weren't very hungry, and we fed you a little bit of formula ... which you proceeded to throw up. And then again. Papa and I decided to keep you home from the nanny: I'm looking after you this morning, and Papa will come home at lunchtime and look after you this afternoon. We hope that you don't stay sick for too long!

Over the past month, you've grown even more into a little girl. You love rolling over as much as you can, and you LOVE to talk (just like your mama!) Most mornings, we wake up to "mamamamamama babababa dada mamamama da bababa", and it makes us smile (even when it's a bit too early for us).

At your 9-month checkup on Tuesday, you measure 75cm (29.5 in) and weigh 9.52kg (21 lbs). The doctor says that you're very healthy: you're still at the top of the charts in height, but your weight has leveled back out.

You started waving right after you turned 8 months, and it's very cute. You open and close your fingers, sometimes directed at the person/people (but sometimes not), and when people respond in kind, you give them a BIG toothy smile.

You still love giving me big sloppy kisses (open mouth on the cheek), and you gave Papa one last week. You even gave Auntie Ingrid a few kisses on Monday before they left. Auntie Ingrid was very happy!

About a week ago, you started turning your head to the right when you're really interested in something, and you get so happy when we do it back to you (especially while we're feeding you!) You laugh and smile, and then you do it again.

Peekaboo has become a constant game around here. I put the burp cloth on your head and say, "Where's the baby?", and you pull it off and look at me while I say, "Oh, there you are!" and you laugh and laugh and laugh. We also play it when I put the burp cloth on my face and say, "Where's mama?" You pull the cloth off my face and are so proud of yourself when you "find" me. I could play this game with you over and over!

You're still loving the nanny, and she's wonderful with you. We made a great choice! You are always so excited to see your friends Coco, Anouk and Manec! It makes it much easier to drop you off in the morning, knowing that you're going to have a great time with the nanny and the other kids.

I've been writing daily gratitude lists on Facebook to help me focus on all of the positive things in my life, and you are always front and center. You are the light of our lives, and we are SO LUCKY!

Love,
Mama


Chloé is 8 months old!
        February 19, 2019     20h47     0 Comments

Dear Chloé,

Today you turned 8 months old, and Papa and I are still in awe that you're a part of our family.

Papa and I are on February break this week, and the weather has been unseasonably warm (mid 50s to low 60s F / 14 to 17C), so I took you to the park (parc Blandan) after your afternoon nap (Papa took advantage of our being out in order to vacuum and mop the floors in our apartment!). We sat on the Monkey Mat that Grandma and Grandpa bought us for Christmas, and we hung out together: we took some selfies (even a video selfie!), we "played" with your indestructible book (well, you grabbed it and shoved it in your mouth), and we watched the other people around us. There was a mom with her small baby in front of us, and after she left, there was a young woman in spandex who started working out. You were enthralled with her, and when she started doing jumping jacks, you copied her by bouncing up and down and waving your hands in the air (she laughed). You and I played a game where I had you on my lap, facing away from me, and I held your hands. I'd sing "up and down, up and down" while moving your arms up and down, and then I'd switch and sing "side to side" and move your arms side to side. You thought it was hilarious, and I can still hear your shrieks of joy and your giggles hours later. One of my favorite sounds!

In the last month, you have mastered rolling over. Papa and I often put you down on your playmat in the living room (so that we can do things like wash dishes or make dinner), and within a minute you're on your stomach, pushing yourself up to look around. Your feet are often moving as well, and it's only a matter of time before you figure out how to start crawling.

I'm pretty sure I've heard you say "mama" and "dada" a couple of times, but I'm not sure if you know the meaning of those words. On Valentine's Day, I'm convinced that you did: you said "mama" and then you looked right at me before burying your head in my neck ... but I might be projecting because I want to hear you say it so badly! I know that it's coming, as you talk almost constantly (like your mama!). In the mornings, we wake up to "ba ba ba ba ma ma da ba ba da da da ma ma ma ma ma ..." and Papa and I will hang out in bed and listen to you for a few minutes until you start to fuss.

Speaking of languages, I've also been trying to teach you a few words in sign language: mama, papa, drink, eat, milk, more, and all done. So far, you just look at me with a smile when I talk to you and sign at you, but I know that your brain is working and that soon you'll sign back at me. I just have to keep at it!

I came down with "la gastro" (the stomach flu) at the end of January (thanks to your Papa, who got a very mild version), but somehow you avoided it ... thankfully! You had a cold at the time, and a few weeks later you still have a wet cough, but you're eating normally and sleeping normally, so nothing to worry about. If it gets worse, we'll take you to the doctor next week.

For a while, you were sleeping through the night, but ever since our trip to the US, you're back to waking up once or twice to eat. We think you might be going through a growth spurt, as you seem to eat a full meal in the middle of the night, and since we're on vacation this week, we're dealing with it (and Papa will be on vacation next week too - you two will spend so much quality time together!). We hope that you start sleeping through the night again soon, but you've been such an easy baby so far, we're not going to complain!

Your Aunt Ingrid and Uncle Mark bought you a "super cube des decouvertes" (a discovery cube) for Christmas, and it has become your favorite toy. I keep it next to me on the couch, and when we're sitting on the couch and you can see it, you try to lunge toward it. Papa and I often take it with us to go sit on the bed; we put you between our legs and put the cube in front of you, and it keeps you occupied for hours! It plays music, it has lights, and it has loads of things to touch and play with.

Let's see, what else can I tell you? You still love bath time, and you've graduated from your lounging bath support to a sitting bath support. You still love going to the nounou (the nanny), and the other kids there love showering you with attention. You and I went to Coco's 3rd birthday party two weeks ago, and you were super chill - even the other moms who were there commented about how calm you were, surrounded by so many overexcited (and sometimes screaming) children! It's nice that when I drop you off with nounou, you don't cry or throw a tantrum (yet - I know it might still happen, but so far, so good!)

I'm somewhat behind in my work, but it's because my priorities have changed. When you're awake, I want to spend as much time as possible with you, so I put away my computer and I (try to) put away my smartphone so that I can concentrate on you. I know that I'll catch up on work soon enough, but you're only going to be this small once.

You are (and always will be) the light of our lives, and we love you very much!!

Love,
Mama


Chloé is 7 months old!
        January 19, 2019     21h51     0 Comments

Dear Chloé,

Today you turned 7 months old, and to "celebrate", you threw up all over me while I tried to burp you after your evening bottle. You were facing my face, and luckily I moved you/turned away at exactly the right time to avoid having you throw up all over my face. But it doesn't matter because you are the light of our lives, even when things don't go to plan!

Shortly after you turned 6 months old, you took your first transatlantic flight to go visit your American family (and to meet Mama and Papa's American friends)! You were the best little traveler - when we arrived in Boston after our 8-hour Paris-to-Boston flight, we stood up to stretch while we let everyone else get off, and quite a few passengers commented that they hadn't even realized that there was a baby on the flight! A wonderful compliment for a super chill baby. While you didn't sleep as much as we had hoped, you didn't cry either. We just kept you occupied with toys, and it all worked out. (Well, that mid-flight poopsplosion was something else, but luckily your Papa and I were on top of things and we managed to clean you up and change you into new clothes without too much of a problem. Our return flights (Boston-Paris and then Paris-Lyon) also went well, but by the end you were EXHAUSTED. You're such a trooper, and I hope that you continue to enjoy exploring and discovering the world.

We spent Christmas in the US with Grandma and Grandpa, and you met Auntie Ingrid and Uncle Mark. You enjoyed Christmas (as much as a 6-month-old can, which essentially means wrapping paper and boxes!), and our surprise for Grandma and Grandpa was that Papa and I hired a professional photographer to come to the house the day after Christmas to take family photos. Libby from All the Little Stories did a wonderful job, and now we have over 150 beautiful photos of our family!

While we were in the US, you did not really adjust to the new timezone (6 hours earlier than normal), and you woke up at 445am for the first few days. Despite the disruption to your routine, you were still a very happy baby, and we tried to make sure that you got enough sleep. When we got back to France on Jan 2nd, it took about a week to readjust to French time. A few days after we got back, we also noticed that you had three teeth about to come through on the top (the two front teeth and one of the side teeth on the top). As soon as they came through, you settled back into your normal routine ... except that for the last week or so, you've been waking up at 630am. We're not going to complain, as you sleep 7:30pm through to the morning, but I have to admit, Papa and I preferred when you woke up between 7 and 730!

Speaking of sleep, ever since you started rolling over consistently (on Dec 15th), you no longer sleep straight. We put you down straight, and when we come in to check on you or when we come to get you in the morning, you're sideways (with your head and feet pushed up against the bars of the crib) or you've done a full 180. It's become a game now: "what position is she in today?"

You've been babbling more than before, with some added consonants like "g" and "d". I can always make you laugh by looking straight at you and singing "ba ba ba ba baaaaaa" with a big smile on my face. Papa and I have "conversations" with you when you're chatty; even though we don't know what you're saying, we recognize that you're trying to communicate and we want to encourage you. Most of the time we use real words, but sometimes we babble back at you. You enjoy both! I think "papa" might be your first word (I talk to you about Papa a lot!), but I guess we'll have to wait and see.

You don't sit up on your own just yet, but you're almost there. We know that the nanny ("Nounou") encourages you to sit up by propping you up with cushions and pillows, and we have you sit and then hold you in a sitting position until you fall over. You like sitting up on the couch because it allows you to reach your toys ... and to lunge forward to grab things you're not supposed to, like the remote controls or our smartphones!

You started eating purees with gusto in the past month. Nounou gives you some pureed vegetables at lunch, and we give you pureed vegetables and meat for dinner before your bottle. Sometimes you even get a piece of crusty bread to suck on (and you love it!) You've also started eating more fruits. Tonight, for example, I made you a pear/apple compote, and the other day you had mango. So far, you haven't met a food you haven't liked. You love to eat - just like me and Papa!

We're really enjoying seeing your personality develop. It seems like you change daily, and we're so lucky to have schedules this year that allow us to spend so much time with you. You're a smiley, happy baby who almost always wakes up with a smile in the morning. We love you through and through (to steal a line from one of your books), and we're so so lucky to be your parents.

Love,
Mama


Chloé is 6 months (and two days) old!
        December 21, 2018     22h32     0 Comments

Dear Chloé,

You turned 6 months old two days again, and I didn't find the time to sit down and write your monthly letter. I apologize in advance and I hope that my oversight will not cause you to spend years in therapy.

Once of the reasons why I didn't find the time to write this is because I want to spend as much time as possible with you, and when you're awake, I try to put away my computer and my phone (except for taking pictures and video, of course!)

At your 6 month checkup the day before you officially turned 6 months, you weighed 9.010kg (almost 20 pounds) and you measure an even 70cm (27.5 inches). You were very smiley with the doctor, and she gave you a clean bill of health. Now that you've hit 6 months, we no longer have to go to the doctor every month. We'll see the doctor again at 9 months (unless you get sick or we get worried about your health before then, of course!)

Last Saturday (Dec 15th), you started rolling over on your own, and now it's one of your favorite things to do. You roll back to front and then push yourself up on your forearms and you look around, so proud of yourself. Papa and I clap and cheer you on, and it puts a big smile on your face. We have to keep a closer eye on you now, since you're rolling back and forth.

This morning you woke up at 545am, which was very early, so we decided to let you talk/cry for a bit in the hope that you would fall back asleep. You did ... but only for about 10 mins. I went in to get you, assuming you were hungry, and I found you lying perpendicular to your crib, and it seemed like you were stuck. I guess that's what happens when you roll around at night with a sleepsack on!

You *love* talking, and you're starting to use consonants like "b" and not just vowels anymore. I can always make you smile by sing-talking "ba ba ba ba ba ba ba" at you! And then you repeat it back to me, which makes me smile. We try to encourage your vocalizations as much as we can, even if sometimes they're a bit louder or higher pitched than we would like.

We've continued to feed you pureed food, and you still love everything: peaches, zucchini, avocado. Although the three days we fed you avocado, you didn't sleep very well, so we might have to test that one again to see if it was just a coincidence. And now that you're 6 months old, the doctor said that we should start giving you 10g of meat every day. That should be fun!

Some of your favorite toys at the moment are dumbo shrimp (an elephant with different shapes to hold on to that squeaks), tweet tweet (a bird attached to a circular rattle), and a fabric book that has a crinkly cover that makes noise when you grab it. Oh, and your feet - you LOVE your feet! In the last week or two, you've started grabbing your socks and trying to take them off. At night, when we take your socks off to put your pajamas on, it's like you rediscover your feet and you get SO EXCITED. It also makes it easier to stick them in your mouth (which you also do sometimes during bathtime!)

We've settled into a daily routine that goes something like this: 7am wakeup + bottle, 830-915 nap, 11am bottle, 12pm-2pm nap, 3pm bottle, 415-5pm nap, 630/7pm pureed food + bottle, then pajamas, story and bed before 8pm. It's a nice routine that allows Papa and me to have some time together before we have to go to sleep.

You and Papa have this amazing connection that just warms my heart. When he walks into the room, you light up, and you're so happy when he's holding you or carrying you around. He likes to pick you up and dance around the living room, and it makes you giggle so much.

We're looking forward to spending our first Christmas with you in a few days! You won't remember it, but I can guarantee you that we will (and don't worry, I'll be taking videos and photos to help 'jog' your memory later in life!)

Love,
Mama


Chloé's birth story, part 2: giving birth at the hospital
        December 01, 2018     23h09     0 Comments

Before I get into the details of the story, I want to give away the ending: I gave birth to Chloé without an epidural.

Now where we were in the story? That's right, we were just arriving at the hospital. We had to go through the back entrance, as the main entrance is closed between 8pm and 7am.

We got to the maternity ward and were buzzed into the waiting room, where we were the only people. The midwife came to get us and she brought us into a room so that she could check the baby's heartbeat and how far dilated I was. The good news was that around 8pm I was already dilated to between a 3 and a 4. She checked us in and assigned us a room so that we could go put our stuff away.

Every few minutes, I had to stop walking and focus on the contractions. They were getting progressively more painful, but I was still able to walk around and talk. When a contraction would hit, I'd face the wall and lean my head against it so that Damien could massage my back. It helped a lot, especially as I felt my contractions in my back. It felt like being stabbed in the kidneys - not the most comfortable feeling.

[This is where I should probably interrupt the story to say that before going into labor, I had decided to try to give birth without an epidural. I was not against the idea of having one, but I just felt like it was something that I should try to do without having strong drugs pumped into my spine. I had read a number of books about natural birth, and I had printed out a list of mantras for Damien to repeat to me when the going got tough.]

As the time passed, the contractions got more and more intense. It felt like someone was ripping me apart from the inside by grabbing my lower spine with their bare hands. The midwife checked me again around 10:30pm and I had dilated to a 6 or a 7.

At that point, I was no longer interested in walking around the halls or bouncing on the yoga ball. I was very happy to lie down and focus on each contraction as it came over me like a wave. I would grab Damien's hand and hold on for dear life as the contraction peaked and then slowly went away.

It was around this time that I told Damien that I didn't think that I could give birth without an epidural. He was amazing - he told me that I could do this, and that I was so strong, and that we were so close to meeting our baby girl.

During the next few hours, my body and mind went into survival mode. All I remember is the wave of each contraction, but I had no idea how much time had passed.

Around 11:55pm, Damien told me that it was almost midnight and that our baby girl would be born on June 19th (her due date) and not on June 18th.

Throughout the night, the midwife would come in and check on me and see how things were coming along. At one point, I asked her for something to help with the pain, and she gave me a mask that provided me with some sort of pain-relieving gas. I curled up on my side as Damien held the mask to my face.

After breathing the gas for a few minutes, I started to cry. I distinctly remember the midwife and Damien talking about me; the midwife was asking him if I was crying because I "gave in" and wasn't going to have a 100% natural birth. I believe Damien told her that I hadn't been that dead set on having a 100% natural birth, and that I was probably crying because I was overwhelmed.

The real reason I was crying? Because the spirit of my beloved grandma (who passed away in January of 2011) showed up in the room to support me and encourage me and help me. I could feel her presence, and I could hear her voice in my head. She told me that everything was going to be ok, and that I was going to give birth to a beautiful baby girl. Her presence was so overwhelming and unexpected that I cried. [I later explained this to Damien and asked him to tell the midwife, but I'm not sure he ever did].

Shortly thereafter I wanted to push. Damien hit the button to call in the midwife, but she told me that my cervix still wasn't fully dilated, so I'd have to wait. She gave me some medication to speed up the dilation, but in the meantime, I had to hold back from pushing. That was probably one of the hardest parts of giving birth: my body wanting so badly to push, yet not being able to.

Around 2am, the midwife suggested breaking my water to speed up the birth process. She explained to me that the pain would increase a lot but be over more quickly, whereas if we just waited, the pain could continue for a long time. I said yes, so she broke my water, and I was finally ready to push!

After around 20 minutes of pushing, the baby was close to being born when the midwife got frantic and yelled, "Grab your legs and push as hard as you can!" As I did so, she grabbed the baby and pulled her out at 2:24am. [I found out later that the cord was wrapped around her neck, which is why the midwife became so frantic for the baby to be born ASAP.] The midwife lay the baby on my stomach, and I looked down at her and whispered, "Hello baby girl, we've been waiting to meet you for a long time."

Damien stayed with her while the midwives cleaned her up and weighed and measured her (53cm, 4kg110). The hospital had to loan us clothes for her because the clothes we had brought were too small! One of the midwives cleaned me up and wheeled me back to our room.

By the time we were back in our room, it was almost 5am. We called my parents (11pm in the US) and we tried to call my sister to let them know that she had been born. We decided that everyone else could wait until the following morning. Around 530am, Damien left to drive home and get some sleep, but he promised to come back around 10am the following day so that we could learn how to give her a bath.

Before he left, we both looked at our little Chloé, born with a full head of dark hair, and we realized how lucky we were to have such a perfect addition to our family.


Chloé's 5 month checkup
        November 23, 2018     21h17     0 Comments

At 5 months (and 1 day), Chloé weighs 18.7 pounds and she measures 27.4 inches. She's still in the 99th percentile!


Chloé is 5 months old!
        November 19, 2018     22h29     0 Comments

Dear Chloé,

Today you turned 5 months old, and you've developed so much since you were 4 months old. I hope I can remember everything!

First of all, I've realized that I haven't finished telling your birth story on my blog, and to be honest, I'm not really sure why I haven't taken the time to sit down and write it. It was a very personal experience, and only your papa, myself and the two midwives know what happened on the night you were born. I want to get it all written down soon, as I'm worried I'll forget things, but at the same time, I have you, and that's all that really matters in the end.

We started giving you solid foods on my birthday (Saturday, November 10th). We started with some carrots (boiled and pureed) once in the evening for a few days, then we moved on to pumpkin - mixed with a little breastmilk - and tonight you tried butternut squash mixed with breastmilk. So far, we're pretty impressed because you eat like a champ and you swallow most of what we give you. We're having a few issues with hands wandering into your mouth as you taste the food (thus making a big mess), but it's cute, so we let it slide. The other night, you actually grabbed the spoon that I was holding in front of your face and you shoved it in your mouth, so I'm guessing that you liked the pumpkin! I think the next vegetable we'll try later this week will be sweet potatoes.

I'm taking you to the doctor tomorrow for your 5-month checkup, and you'll get another vaccine. At your 4-month checkup on Oct 29th, you had to get your two vaccine booster shots, and you cried so hard that it broke my heart. It didn't help that our appointment was in the middle of what is usually your first nap of that day. Luckily you calmed down quickly. I'm hoping tomorrow's shot doesn't hurt you as badly as last month's shots.

At your 4-month checkup, you weighed 8.27kg and you were already 67cm, which is the 99th percentile for both. I'm looking forward to seeing how much you've grown! It's nice to know that you're a strong, healthy baby, but I have to admit, my back is killing me. So much so that I've got a doctor's appointment right after yours - luckily we go to the same doctor!

Your giggles are infectious, and your papa and I will do anything it takes to get you to laugh. My personal favorite is when I place you on our bed and I bounce up and down over you, singing, "We're bouncing on the bed, we're bouncing on the bed, little baby girl is bouncing on the bed!" It usually gets a few big belly laughs! Papa likes to place you in the boppy, sitting up on his lap facing him, and he pretends he's either a horse or a boat and he wiggles you around. I've gotten a few videos of him doing this to you, and your big infectious smile and belly laughs are just amazing.

We discovered that you also enjoy "dancing" around the room, which is when we hold you in our arms and we bounce up and down and/or sway side to side. You especially enjoy it when papa sings "doot doot dee dee doot"-type of made up songs!

You still love grabbing your feet, although you've realized that even when your socks are on, they're still there. You now enjoy trying to pull your socks off, which is rather cute (even if we end up having to put your socks back on!) Your new thing is to grab your feet in the air and then roll to one side, which is super cute but also very frustrating when we're trying to change your diaper. But then you give us a big smile and the frustration just melts away.

You haven't been sleeping very well lately. Luckily it's not every night (phew!), but every third or fourth night, last night included, you wake up every hour or so. Sometimes you want a cuddle and sometimes you want to eat, but it's very tiring for me and papa because we have to get up and go to work. We've been trying to go to sleep earlier to try to get more sleep.

Despite those rare nights when you wake up repeatedly, you're an excellent sleeper. You take 3 naps a day: one in the morning, usually from 9-11am, then another early afternoon, from 1-3pm and a third 45-minute catnap around 4pm. We put you to bed between 7 and 8pm, and we always do the same routine: pajamas, bottle, sleepsack, stories, bed. It feels like you've figured it out, and most nights you go to sleep without a fuss.

We're still breastfeeding, but not as much as we used to because now that you have those two little teeth, you like to bite, and I'm not such a big fan of you clamping down on my nipple with your teeth and gums. I often have to pinch your nose to get you to release my nipple, which you don't appreciate and it always make you cry. Instead, I've been pumping my milk in the morning and in the evening, so you're getting the benefits of the breastmilk and I'm not getting bitten. I do breastfeed you in the middle of the night if I can, as you're usually too tired/hungry to bite me and you just want to eat. I also try to breastfeed you in the morning if I have time. I won't like, it is tiring, but I'm happy to do it so that you can benefit from my breastmilk (although we also supplement with formula when we want/have to!)

Papa and I decided that the three of us are going to the US at the end of December to spend Christmas with your American grandparents. You'll be 6 months old! We had to get you a passport, which seems very silly because you're so tiny, but those are the rules! We also had to pay $14 for your ESTA since you're not an American citizen yet. Papa and I are a little nervous about traveling with you, but you've been a wonderful baby so far, so we're trying to stay positive and plan ahead for all of the different situations that could arise. (We'll celebrate Christmas and New Years with your French grandparents in January when we're back in France!)

Things are still going well with the nanny ("nounou" in French, which is what all of the kids call her). She is so warm and friendly, and I can tell that she really loves what she does. Nounou looks after 4 other kids, although not all at the same time: Ambre (only after school, so you only see her on Tuesdays and Thursdays), Coco (almost 3 years old, another French-American kid like you!), Anouk (2 years old) and Manec (1 year old). Coco and Anouk love to hug and kiss you, and nounou tells us that you love to "chat" with them. Sometimes when papa comes to pick you up and come home, you cry because you're having so much fun! It's easier to go to work and leave you with nounou because we know that she's taking extra good care of you.

You still love bath time ("time to go to the salon!" is what I say when it's time to wash your hair), especially when I encourage you to kick and splash. I've found a Youtube channel called "little baby bum" that has nursery rhymes with cartoon images, and it keeps your occupied while I try to file your razor-sharp nails. I swear, your nails grow and sharpen themselves overnight - it's a losing battle, but we're trying!

Your hair is still spiky, and you still have a few strands of your birth hair left, which makes you look like a punk rock star. It's adorable!

It really is a pleasure to be your mom, even when you projectile vomit all over me because you mistakenly stuck your fingers down your throat while you were sucking on your hand (aka YESTERDAY). You're a happy, smiley baby, and I hope that you keep that positive attitude for the rest of your life.

Love,
Mama


Chloé is 4 months old!
        October 19, 2018     22h11     1 Comment

Dear Chloé,

Today you turn 4 months old, and I can't believe that you've already been a part of our family for 4 months already! It seems like we were bringing you home from the hospital just yesterday. At the same time, you've become such an important part of our family that I can't remember what life was like before you joined us.

Your 4-month checkup with the doctor will be on Oct 29th, so I don't know your 4 month height and weight yet, but I know that you've grown. You're an excellent eater, although papa is not a big fan when you eat so fast that you choke and proceed to projectile vomit all over him!

In the past week or so, you've started blowing (really wet) raspberries ALL the time, which makes us laugh. You've also recently discovered that you can shriek, and, well, you've hit some pretty high, ear-piercing notes. We laugh a lot less when you do that.

Over the past month, you've also discovered your feet, and you love to grab them, especially when you're not wearing socks. It's very entertaining to watch you flop around as you grab your feet, but it can be a challenge to change your diaper. You're rocking tummy time and holding your head up really well, but you haven't figured out how to roll over yet. But we're not worried, we know that you'll figure it out in time!

You're still not sleeping through the night, but that's ok, we know it's not going to last forever. You go to sleep super easily, and that's wonderful. We feed you, we put you into your PJs and your sleepsack, I rock you and read you a couple of stories, and then I put you down in your crib. Most of the time, you're looking around as I kiss you goodnight, and after I leave the room, you quietly fall asleep. Every once in awhile, you're overtired and you need your pacifier to fall asleep, but as soon as you're asleep, you spit it out. At the moment, you're sleeping from 8pm to 7am with two wakeups during the night.

Papa and I are also thrilled that your internal clock wakes you up around 7am (and not 430 or 5am!), and you're always smiling when you wake up - a big, ear-to-ear smile that grows even bigger when you see us smiling down at you in the morning. During the week, when I have to drop you off with the nanny at 8:30am, I get up at 6:45 and I try to shower before you wake up. That way, I'm ready to feed you when you wake up, and then I eat and you hang out with me on the couch before we both head out the door. I'm very lucky to be able to spend Tuesday and Wednesday mornings with you, when we normally hang out and read books and sing songs (and while you nap, I shower!).

You still love bath time, and you're so strong that when you kick, you splash water all over me and all over the bathroom. I've jokingly started calling you Michael Phelps when you do that ... maybe you'll enjoy swimming when you're a bit older!

Papa is on vacation for the next two weeks, but I still have to work next week, so you two are going to spend a week of quality time together. Your face lights up when you see your Papa, and I know that the two of you will bond even more next week.

You are the light of your lives and you bring us so much joy. We're looking forward to seeing more of your personality develop in the next few months!

Love,
Mama

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