Our little Penelope (or should I say big) is 6 weeks today! I have had lots of fun getting to know who she is and understanding things that she likes and doesn’t like. I’ve been keeping track of all the things I’m learning about her by creating a list so I never forget. The list that I have compiled was mostly from when she was 4-5 weeks old but when I sat down to write the post Penelope had woken up and was inconsolable the whole day. Needless to say, I needed to write the post when I wasn’t so frustrated or maybe the post would have had a bit of a different tone haha!
Just as I said when she was still in the womb, this little girl is a feisty, stubborn, and a cheeky baby (just like her momma!) Sometimes it makes me laugh at how much she is like me and…sometimes I cry because I am not so excited for what I’m in for!
But here are some things that I’ve learned about my little girl:
- When she’s hungry nothing in the world can calm her down. Okay, so that’s not entirely true… Grandma Justet has the magic touch but it’s not like our mom is living with us so using this isn’t always available. If it was up to Penelope she would eat basically every hour. *Side Note: She is getting plenty of food. Because I’m not producing enough milk we have to supplement with formula. And since she has a hard time latching I pump quite often to make sure she can get more of my milk. She currently eats 5 ounces which is a whole ounce more than most babies her age eat. That is how I know she is getting enough. And also, she’s my baby and I know her better than anyone. I make this note because I’ve had people give me their opinions on virtually everything *cough cough* I mean in regards to feeding, and while your advice is thoughtful I would ask kindly that you please refrain from making them J. * Anyway-- Most babies looooove binkies. But Penelope has never really had an interest in them. (Until very recently—I’ll get to that in a second.) She is too smart for her own good making it difficult to trick her. It takes about 1 second for her to realize that binky is not the food she was looking for. And then she screams for the whole world to hear her.
- However, recently I’ve been able to get Penelope to take the binky occasionally. She is a major hand sucker and even more so now than ever. One time I took her hand out and put the binky in her mouth because she was getting slobber everywhere. She looked at me calmly, took her hand to the binky, GRABBED THE BINKY, and pulled it out of her mouth! Then she stared at me, while still holding it, and then 5 seconds later put it back in her mouth! Okay, okay, so this was probably a fluke but I was still seriously impressed!
- I always thought newborns had the cutest little cries but I’m pretty certain our daughter just skipped the whole newborn thing and went straight to being a big, older, baby. Her cry doesn’t go from soft to loud—it has one volume: Loud. When she wakes up from a nap it’s like listening to Bruce Banner turn into the Hulk. She will growel for like 3 seconds and then WHAM! Scream. I never worry if I won’t hear her. I can be in the shower and hear her cry clear as day (And she will be in the living room, on the opposite side of the house.) She certainly has good, healthy lungs.
- Penelope loves music and dancing! I guess all that singing, dancing, and jamming out to music while she was in the womb has done her some good! She even has preferences. When it comes to dancing her favorites include Jump in the Line (this one has got to be her absolute favorite), Ghost Busters, Find Me a Baby, and Angles We Have Heard on High. I’ve tested this enough to know that she legit loves these songs. When I put on Jump in the Line she starts kicking her legs, flailing her arms, and smiling and cooing. I love listening to music and seeing her reactions. I never quite know what she is going to like and not like (she doesn’t like Christmas music—other than Angels We Have Heard on High L.)
- I’ve learned one way of calming her down is to pick her up and dance. This is excellent because I get a bit of a work out but after a good half hour of consistent dancing while holding your heavy baby makes for an ouchy back. There is still one problem with this technique though that I’m still trying to figure out…if you stop dancing she’s no longer happy.
- And speaking of songs and music, her favorite fun song is the Itsy Bitsy Spider. If she starts to fuss I can sing the song and do the actions and she just starts to watch me. Once the song is over and she goes to fuss again I can do it again and she calms down again. One time after I tried everything to calm her down (fed, changed, burped, wrapped up nice and warm, not over tired, dancing, rocking, etc.) I did the Itsy Bitsy Spider for a whole hour straight. By the time Jesse came home from work my voice sounded scratchy and I was singing it monotone. When he walked over to see her, Penelope just had this big grin on her face. She is a cheeky little thing but I love her oh so much!
- On the 19th she had her first kind of laugh. It was this cute coo-ey gurgle noise that she made while smiling. I tried to reenact the sound to Jesse…yeah… I’m not going to even try to attempt if for you blog readers. I thought possibly I had misheard her and passed if off as spit in her mouth until the other day when she made the same noise while we were playing. I am so excited for her to give me a really big laugh!
- She also started smiling while awake at the end of her 4th week. She is such a smiley baby! I’ve tried about a thousand times to get that precious smile on camera but every time I try she either stops and stares at the camera, the camera dies, or I can’t find the camera! Her personality makes me laugh all the time. I can’t tell you how many times she will be crying and I go to get her more food and right as I’m about to put the bottle in her mouth she gives me this big cheeky grin. Or the first time Jesse came home from work and we were playing on the ground, Jesse walked over and she looked up at him and gave him a nice big smile! (She hasn’t done that for him since much to his dismay).
- Penelope is a very curious baby. She will stare at our wedding picture that hangs over the couch until you take her away from it. There have even been times when we started carrying her away from it to change her diaper or get her ready for the day and she started to cry and wouldn’t stop until she was able to be in eye sight of the picture.
- Some games we like to play are singing songs like the Itsy Bitsy Spider, The Wise Man and the Foolish man, Apples and Bananies, etc., peek-a-boo (it depends on her mood), patty cake, and when I lay her on the ground and shake her little hippo rattle for her to turn her head to. But one of her absolute favorite games is something we made up one day. While feeding her with a bottle I gave her a breather because she loves to chug-a-lug her milk. She had had enough that she was content when I took it away for a minute. And in that time I randomly started humming Angels We Have Heard on High (that’s when I found out how much she loves that song) and bopping the bottle on her lips to the tune. She just smiles and smiles and smiles the whole time I do it—I totally need to take a video of this! Now it’s become our daily thing! It’s something I think we both look forward to everyday. She is really such a fun baby to play with.
- Jesse and I are convinced that she talks to angels or some mystery invisible person. She will start staring off at the wall, at no particular object, and start cooing and smiling. It is so much fun to watch!
- Our daughter has really strong legs! She has about a thousand nicknames but I call her these two in particular because of her strong legs: Thighs and Frog. When I finish feeding her I put her up on my shoulder to burp her. That’s when she puts her legs down onto my thighs and starts to jump or try to climb up my stomach. It’s pretty impressive. One time while Jesse was burping her she almost climbed up and over him!
- Ever since Penelope was born she has been a big tongue sticker outer (is that even English?) We more recently started to play a game where I stick out my tongue and then she will mimic what I do. Whenever she pushes out her little tongue I will poke it and then she’ll start to smile. Sometimes she’ll quickly put her tongue back in her mouth and other times she’ll keep it out and smile and coo as I keep poking it.
- Like most babies though there are certain things she really dislikes. I’ve learned that she hates having her arms constricted in her blankets. My sister let us borrow my niece’s clothes and one item we have is like a swaddle jacket. I put her in it one day thinking that there would be no way for her to escape her arms from it. Well, I was right…she couldn’t manage to get her arms out but she cried and cried until I took it off. Every night when she sleeps she sleeps with her arms up by her head.
- She also really doesn’t like being tickled. She has quite the mean face!
Those are only some of the things I managed to write down. I’m sure I could write pages and pages of the things that I’m learning about our silly daughter.
Being a mom is a lot of fun and I find a lot of happiness in being a mother to my daughter. But truth? It is tough work. It’s not always happy. There are days when Jesse comes home from work and I hand her off to him after a really hard and long day of her crying. I have had times where I’ve needed to put her on the floor of her room and shut the door while I cry for a good 10 minutes and try to regain some of my sanity. There are days where my daughter is a perfect angel and I’m able to actually eat 3 meals, shower, and make the house look decent all in one day. But there are other days when I’ve managed to accomplish nothing but caring for the needs of Penelope. I can’t remember if someone told me this or if I read it somewhere but someone said that the job of a homemaker is to take care of the children’s needs: physically, emotionally, and spiritually, not to have a perfectly clean and orderly home. Now it’s definitely good to strive for that last part and I think I’ve done a good job at making sure our home is not something I’d be embarrassed to have people in, but my first priority is Penelope; my priority is to take care of her, love her, teach her, and help her become the best person she can be. *Side Note: How do people do this when BOTH parents work?? I am so glad I have the opportunity to stay at home with my little girl!* I write this because it’s honest. And it’s reality. I write this not to be some sort of negative nancy or seem like I don't like being a mom, but to help those who sometimes feel overwhelmed by motherhood—and know that it’s okay and perfectly normal to have these feelings. And if being a mom for you is like frolicking through a bunch of flowers then that is great for you. Seriously, I wish it came that easy to me.But for me, in the beginning, I struggled thinking I was a bad mom because sometimes I wanted time away from my daughter and sometimes she frustrated me. But after talking to many moms, my own mom, and friends who have children, I learned that being a mom isn’t always rainbows and butterflies. Sometimes it’s hair-tearing, shoulder crying, going for a long drive by yourself kind of work. No one tells you before you have children how you will never get a good night’s rest, how many times your child will poop on you, how many loads of laundry that will cause you to do, how you’re baby will throw a huge crying fit right in the middle of public or somewhere important, and the cleaning up seems like it never ends—okay, maybe they do, but you never believe them at the time. BUT, it's so worth it! The moments that are hard are made easier when that little child of yours does the cutest, most adorable, thing ever. A rough day can easily become a better day the moment you see your little baby smile at you or snuggle into you as they start to fall asleep. It is the most difficult job one could ever have but it is the most rewarding as well.
Especially for me—I know for a fact that my life will never be boring!
I look forward (and kind of not look forward because she’s growing up too fast) to the next 6 + weeks and am excited to learn even more about my daughter and see her reach even more milestones.