It’s been a little while since my last Marina update. I have a bit of guilt over the fact that I haven’t been meticulously jotting down her milestones and doing strict monthly updates for her the way that I did with Roman.
During my first pregnancy, I was getting my hair done for my maternity photographs. Next to me in the salon, there was an older woman. She asked what the occasion was and I told her. She scoffed, saying something along the lines of, “Oh you’re doing that now, but you won’t be doing anything the second time around.” She said it in a way that really devalued second pregnancies, and second babies even. It really upset me at the time. It still does, actually.
What I wish she would have said is that there will be a lot less time the second time around — it won’t mean that you love your second baby any less. It will be harder. You’ll be stretched thinner. The pain and the joy of motherhood will be multiplied by two. So you might not get maternity pictures taken the second time around. You might not get around to making detailed monthly updates the second time around. But your heart will swell & stretch to make room for two and the love that you feel for each of them will be wonderful, and equal, boundless beyond measure.
So, yes, Marina Grace is ten-months-old. The great big whopping milestone that happened this past month is that she started sleeping in her crib. Actually, she started sleeping in her crib on January 1st, 2016 — 19 days before she turned ten-months-old. For her first ten months (as we all know!) she wouldn’t sleep well anywhere except in my arms. And thus, there she slept — morning, noon, and night for ten months.
The change all came about because we thought that she had a cavity. When her first tooth came in, it was discolored. I immediately assumed that co-sleeping and nursing around the clock was to blame. In a panic, for fear that all of her teeth would soon be rotting out of her skull, I made the decision to sleep train her immediately.
We got a toddler bed for Roman and moved him in there. I emptied my office and we moved the crib in there, officially turning it into Marina’s room. I knew that sleep training her wasn’t going to be easy, after all, I would have done it sooner if it was. But I was resolute and I knew that because of her stubborn nature, my only option was to stick with it and be “ruthless.” As cruel as that sounds, she had slept in my arms all night, every night for ten months… so I’m not exactly a cruel mother. 😉
On a related topic, my breastfeeding moms support group stands against “crying it out” and has a strict ban on any discussion of the subject. That really pisses me off. It makes me (and every mother that allows their baby to cry for even a short period of time) sound like a super villain and I hate it. But that’s a subject for another day.
Anyway, in order to “save her teeth” I made the decision and I was determined to stick to it. Gratefully, the whole thing was much less traumatizing than I anticipated. She never cried for more than a half hour and I would frequently go in to soothe and comfort her. Eventually she got with the program and within a few days she was sleeping at night and napping on her own. There really aren’t even words to explain how much it changed my life. I had free hands & arms for an additional ~16 hours a day. It was, and is, glorious. She still wakes to nurse between one and four times each night, but that’s a small price to pay and I’m so grateful for how well it all worked out.
She seems to be getting much better sleep now that she is sleeping on her own. She has become such a calmer, more relaxed & happy baby. It’s truly amazing.
The interesting part of the whole story is that a week after we finished sleep training, I finally took her to the dentist. It turned out that she did not, in fact, have a cavity. Actually she has a rare type of bacteria in her plaque called chromogenic bacteria. Simply put, we all have bacteria in our saliva. Most of us have bacteria that turns our plaque yellow. Chromogenic bacteria, on the other hand, turns plaque brown.
So the dentist simply scraped the plaque off of Marina’s tooth (the same amount of plaque that everyone has) and her tooth was shiny and white. It’s not a serious condition and there’s no telling how long it will last, could be forever. I’m just happy that she doesn’t have a cavity. The other benefit of the whole thing was that it “forced” me to sleep train her, which I may not have done if it weren’t for my fear over the non-existent cavity.
Other than that, things are moving right along. She’s developing and growing just beautifully. She crawls at lightning speeds. She pulls herself up to standing. She picks up little bits of food and feeds herself. She says “Mama” and “Papa.” She dances to music. She claps when we cheer. She wants to play with everything that her brother plays with. She’s a great eater. She loves to be held by her Mama and when I’m around, it’s pretty much all she wants. However, when I’m not around she’s gotten very independent and plays on her own nicely.
And on and on and on it goes. She’ll be a year old in a little less than two months and it’s really quite extraordinary. I find myself cherishing her growth and the easiness of life now that she’s gotten past her “colic” and is sleeping on her own. At the same time, I am often overcome by grief when I realize just how big she has gotten and that her babyhood is rapidly slipping away like sand through my fingers.
Mostly she is beautiful and sweet and smart and funny and I am so very grateful that she is mine.
I took this set of photographs for her birthday party invitations. Her “Princess Party” will be here before I know it. Ahhhhh!