Charlotte’s TWO!

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Charlotte,

Our sweet girl, how can this be?! No matter how diligent we try to be in savoring the time with you, it just goes by too quickly. But honestly, I love you growing up and growing older.

Every day, you are a little bit smarter, a little bit funnier, a little bit more independent. There are times when you say or do something and we ask each other, “Did you teach her that?” To which the response is usually, “No, I don’t know where she got that.” You are truly your own person, and we’re quite enamored with who you are becoming.

Everyone thinks they’re child is the smartest, but Charlotte girl, you are brilliant. You talk conversationally now, work hard to try and figure how things work and fit together, and learn new tasks in a matter of a few tries.

You are also EXTREMELY nurturing. You take care of all of your little babies and stuffed animals, pretending to change their diapers, feed them and sing them to sleep. In addition to caring for your stuffed animals and baby dolls, you also try to soothe us. There have been several times where you’ve rubbed our backs and said, “It’s ok, sweetheart.” Yes, it melts me every time.

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Finally, you’re starting to “express your independence.” Which is fine, but it’s also trying on us too. Sometimes, you are very adamant about getting your own way, but you welcome time out like a champ. Afterwards, you always greet us with a hug and say, “It’s so good to see you again.” Obviously, it’s hard to be upset with the way you treated us before time out with a remorseful attitude like that.

We can’t wait to see what the next few months and year bring for you, peanut girl! You’re the best!

Love always,
Mom and Dad

Weight: 23 lbs
Height: 34 in
Clothing size: 2T

Charlotte Likes: Grocery shopping, visiting the bookstore or library, playing make believe, reading, singing, taking care of her babies and visiting friends and family.

Charlotte Dislikes: Being told “no” and potty training (kind of).

Firsts: Halloween, family vacation with just the three of us and potty training.

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Diapers: Obviously, we have moved on from diapers to undies. We used the three-day bootcamp method, and while things seemed hopeless at first, Charlotte did great starting the night of the second day. We’ve definitely had our share of regression, but we’re all learning to cope with this new aspect of life. Charlotte wears undies the entire time she’s awake and pull-ups or diapers during nap time and nighttime.

Sleep: Charlotte is still sleeping roughly 12 hours a night, from 8 p.m. to 8 a.m. She also naps about 2 to 3 hours a day each afternoon (yay!).

Feed: For the most part, Charlotte still eats what we do. More and more though, we’ll fix her a plate and then have to scavenge for something else. Still, she’s a pretty non-picky eater.

Talk: Like I mentioned earlier, Charlotte speaks pretty conversationally now. She remembers things that we tell her and can recall them after a nap or nighttime sleep. She’s also singing a lot more and knows at least 10 songs for the most part.

We love you more and more every day, Charlotte!

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Charlotte: ONE YEAR

Ok, good thing this is the last of the monthly photo shoots. Now that she's mobile, she wants nothing to do with sitting still and smiling for a camera. And I don't have the patience to try and get a good shot.
Ok, good thing this is the last of the monthly photo shoots. Now that she’s mobile, she wants nothing to do with sitting still and smiling for a camera. And I don’t have the patience to try and get a good shot.

Dear Charlotte,

WE DID IT! We all survived the first year. Not that it was much of a challenge. You have been an easy baby, for sure, and I know we’ll brag all of your life about how sweet and nice and calm you were your first year.

In that regard, you have made our transition into parenthood very smooth, and we thank you for that. I know I say it all of the time, but you are a joy to be around right now. You help us notice and pause for the little things in life, and it has been a wonder to see the world through your eyes this whole year.

During this month, you made the move from Chicago to Indianapolis, celebrated your first Halloween and added many more skills to your repertoire. You’re saying a few more new words, signing “more” like an expert and even singing a few notes. You are still enamored by Darcy kitty, Curious George and Mickey Mouse, and your all-time favorite object(s) in the whole world are books.

You are not walking yet, and frankly, you have no real interest in it. You crawl and cruise like a champ. But when it comes to standing on your own, you feel there is no need. And that is OK by us. Put it off as long as you want — until you’re too heavy to carry, that is.

I want to paint a picture of the girl you are today: you are dainty. You love to sleep. You are calm. You’re a big eater. You legitimately play well with others and share. You give kisses, snuggle and are starting to give hugs. You’re a book nerd. You feel most safe with your Dad. But you feel most calm with me. You’re independent, playing by yourself most of the time. And you are happy, happy, happy.

Charlotte, I can’t tell you how much you are loved — by us, by your extended family, by friends and even by total strangers. You are an amazing little girl already, and you’ve only lived one year! But it has been a mighty year. We are so blessed by you, and we thank the Lord for your life every day. It is our prayer that every year, you draw closer to Him because He loves you infinitely more than we do.

You are loved, you are loved, you are loved,
Mom & Dad

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Weight: 18 lbs (exactly what I weighed at one year too)
Height: 29 1/2 in
Clothing size: 12 – 18 month clothing

Charlotte Likes: Snuggling before dinner with Mom, snuggling with Dad after bath time, fish (aquariums), toys, dancing, singing, dogs, exploring, laughing whenever Mom and Dad laugh, riding in the cart at the grocery store and people watching.

Charlotte Dislikes: Not getting her way.

Firsts: Move to a new place, Halloween and visit to the aquarium.

Diapers: We took a break from cloth diapers during the move. It was just too much to launder them in addition to packing, etc. During that time, Charlotte kind of outgrew the medium size gDiaper pants so we need to buy the large. Hopefully, that helps with the leaking we’ve been experiencing. Ugh.

Sleep: Charlotte still takes two naps a day. The first lasts for about an hour and a half and the second is two, sometimes two and a half hours long. And I typically have to wake her up from the second one. She has also started sleeping 12 hours in the last two weeks, and we’re trying to shoot for an 8 p.m. bedtime now. However, we’ve yet to actually hit this deadline.

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Feed: As mentioned earlier, Charlotte eats whatever we do now. She also drinks cow’s milk. Now, we have to conquer doing it out of a sippy cup.

Talk: Charlotte has added the words shoe, go, no and fish to her vocabulary. Sometimes, she’ll even try to say “No, no, Darcy” after me (yes, that gets said quite a lot around here). Also, she has totally aced signing “more” and will sign it pretty much whenever she wants anything, not just food. Obviously, we need to expand on her signing development a little more.

Finally, Charlotte stopped wearing the helmet on November 8. The goal was to make it to her first birthday, but I noticed one day that she was pulling at it A LOT. When we took it off that evening for cleaning, we noticed a red, indented line on the side of her head. (Just an aside, we take the helmet into an orthotics specialist every three weeks to have it resculpted as her head grows.) Obviously, she needed the helmet resculpted, but we weren’t in the same city as our doctor anymore and we were one week out from being done with the helmet. With that, we made the call to quit the helmet. So Charlotte is helmet free!

HAPPY ONE YEAR, CHARLOTTE RUTH!

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Charlotte: 11 Months

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Dear Charlotte,

Well, sweet girl, we’re nearing the end of these monthly posts. You are such a big girl these days. We’re seeing less and less baby and more and more toddler.

Like the past few months, you’ve grown in personality and skill, making life with you so much fun. You delight in so many things these days — what you see, hear and do. It’s like seeing the world with a new set of eyes when we’re with you.

You’re pulling up on everything these days and have been starting to cruise along the furniture lately. We think you’re still a month or two from walking, but it’s fine with us if you take your time! You tend to wait until you’ve perfected a move before you make it. For now, you love it when we hold your hands and walk with you.

While your feet may not be doing a whole lot of moving, your mouth certainly is. You talk almost non-stop and are saying actual words at this point, associating them with the objects to which they belong. You’re such a smart little girl; it’s no surprise that your most favorite “toys” are your books

We got some big news this month: Dad got a new job in Indianapolis, and we’ll be moving in just a few weeks. While we’re sad to leave the city, we’ve always known that we wanted to raise you in more of a suburban setting. And fortunately, this move puts us a lot closer to friends and family.

We’re getting so excited to celebrate your first year of life, but we plan to savor this last month of you being an official baby. You’re the sweetest, smartest little girl, and we love you to pieces!

Always,
Mom & Dad

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Weight: 18 lbs, 2 oz
Height: 29 in
Clothing size: 9 – 12 and 12 – 18 month clothing. The 12 – 18 month clothing is a little large so don’t judge us if you see our child in baggy clothes. Baby girl has a long, skinny body so while the 18-month clothes fit in length, they may not fit her around.

Charlotte Likes: Pulling up, cruising, books, sucking on her arm, experimenting with her vocal cords, Mickey Mouse, the Wheels on the Bus, talking and mimicking.

Charlotte Dislikes: Finishing a book, getting in her car seat or stroller from time to time and not being held when she’s in a bad mood.

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Firsts: Cruising, few words and pumpkin patch visit.

Diapers: Still in cloth diapers.

Sleep: Still the same on sleeping too.

Feed: We’re still doing a bottle four times a day followed by solids three times a day. Charlotte loves cheese, carrots, tomatoes, crackers, french fries, macaroni, yogurt, bananas, blueberries, grapes, rice cakes and pasta. She likes chicken most of the time, but other than that, she’s not a big meat eater yet. And I don’t think it’s been mentioned in any other post, but she got her top two teeth during the ninth month. So she now has four teeth total.

Talk: Charlotte’s first official word came in the ninth month too — that is, the first word she said that she associated with something. And that was “clap.” Now, she says “Dah” for Darcy, duck, moo and “ack” for Jack. We’re still trying to teach her to associate “DaDa” with Ryan and “Mama” with me — maybe we should have been animals instead.

Happy ELEVEN months, peanut girl!

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Charlotte had her final head scans earlier this month, and the doctor encouraged us to keep the helmet on until Charlotte’s first birthday — so we’ll have plenty to celebrate on November 15!

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Charlotte: 10 Months

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Dear Charlotte,

Another month has flown by. While everyone keeps asking us about your birthday party this November, we’re just trying to soak in these last months of you being a baby. Because if we’re being honest here…this has been our favorite month yet.

You are doing so much yourself these days — using the pincer grab to eat food, sipping out of a sippy cup, crawling quickly, pulling up to your knees and sometimes onto your feet. We are starting to glimpse the life you will lead as a toddler through these small steps toward independence. It is so fun to experience your delight at being able to do these things.

You’re also starting to develop a sense of humor, laughing at things we do and sometimes say. Chances are, you don’t get the joke all of the time, but you love to participate. Speaking of participating, you bounce when music starts playing and clap your hands at sporting events or while we’re watching a game show. You are plugged into the world around you, and your actions make it all the more evident.

What makes this month so much fun for us is the sweet, cuddly little girl you’re becoming. You have never been much of a cuddler, but lately, from 5 p.m. onwards, you’re content to cuddle with both of us. Whether we’re playing on the floor or watching Curious George, you love to relax in our arms.

Though everyone who loves you is excited for your first birthday, we’re not wishing away any of this time. We love watching you grow, learn and develop, little girl. You’re so much fun to be around right now, and we love that you’re showing you love us!

Always,
Mom & Dad

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Weight: 17 lbs, 4 oz
Height: 28 1/2 in
Clothing size: 9 – 12 month clothing

Charlotte Likes: BOOKS, the Curious George theme song, waving, sleeping, eating grown up food, sticking out her tongue, sipping from her sippy cup, music and watching football.

Charlotte Dislikes: The initial moments in her stroller, colds and still not getting her way.

Firsts: Pulling up, sipping from a sippy cup on her own and feeding herself.

sweet_girl

Diapers: Still doing cloth diapers. We’re not super in love with it now that we’ve switched to formula (more about that later), but it’s still something we want to continue.

Sleep: Sleeping 11 hours each night and taking two naps a day, one in the morning and one in the afternoon. These are about two hours each.

Feed: Sadly, we’ve switched to formula full time. My milk supply was just too low; I was pretty sure Charlotte was only getting an ounce or two during feedings, which were followed up by 3 or 4 ounces of formula.

I did everything to try and increase my supply — supplements, herbal teas, lactation cookies, a change in diet — but nothing worked. After a few weeks of this, I realized my reasons for continuing to breastfeed were entirely selfish. I wanted to make it a full year because I said I would. But really, I was kind of depriving Charlotte. It was not an easy decision, but after a few days, I was over it. Charlotte’s putting on weight, and I’m now enjoying spirited beverages whenever I want. Win-win.

Happy 10 months to our big girl!

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Also, an update on Charlotte’s head. I feel like we’ve seen a big difference in the past few weeks, but we’ll know for sure when she gets scans again in early October.

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Charlotte: 9 Months

There's a reason Charlotte is so happy this month...
There’s a reason Charlotte is so happy this month…
...she has a special guest star -- Darcy!
…she has a special guest star — Darcy!

Dear Charlotte,

Now that you’re officially 13 days away from being 10 months old, I thought I’d catch you up on the ninth month of your life. It’s not that there wasn’t a whole lot going on; in fact, there was a LOT going on.

Once we got back from Evansville and North Carolina, we were home for a whopping 11 days before it was time to jet off to California. We spent a week with the Knight clan in Wine Country, and we all had such a wonderful time. Once we were home, we were busy packing in as many summer activities as possible. There’s a good chance this will be our last summer in Chicago so we wanted you to experience it all! While you may not remember it, there are plenty of pictures to prove the places you’ve seen, the music you’ve listened to and the experiences you’ve had.

Speaking of experiences, you’re officially a crawler. You crawled a very, very tiny bit at the end of our trip in California, and in just a few days’ time, you were crawling (very deliberately and cautiously, I might add) around the apartment. I think you were waiting to get the move just perfect before you started. There was no “in-between” crawling like the army crawl or scooting. Are you going to be a type-A, perfectionist?

You’ve also started clapping and will even say “ka” when you do it, smart girl. Also, we’re working on the skills you need to feed yourself. You’ve got a hang of the pincer grab, but you don’t quite know to put your hand up to your mouth. But with your love for food, we have no doubts that you’ll get there soon.

It’s also worth mentioning your new favorite thing: sucking on your arm. It’s definitely your preferred coping mechanism since you never took to a pacifier and don’t seem to be interested in your thumb either. As soon as we set you down to go to sleep, your arm is in your mouth. You have a permanent dark spot on your right arm now.

This has been such a fun month, and you are at a really amazing age. Each day, you’re learning something new, and it’s apparent that you enjoy the life around you. We’re so glad because above all, we want you to be happy! You are our joy, sweet girl!

Love always,
Mom & Dad

tiny_feet

Weight: At her official doctor’s appointment, you won’t believe what she weighed…16 lbs, 8 oz EXACTLY. Obviously, the scale at home is a little wonky, and making everything seem heavier than it is (yay for me!).
Height: 28 1/2 in
Clothing size: She’s still in a few 6 – 9 month clothes but mostly in 9 – 12 month clothes. She requires all of the length of the 12 month outfit. On a similar note, this girl has the tiniest feet! Her size 2 shoes don’t even fit her very well!

Charlotte Likes: Crawling, clapping, walking outside, tearing napkins apart, animals, going to the grocery store, swinging and sucking on her arm.

Charlotte Dislikes: Being told “no,” not being able to figure something out or getting it to work the way she wants and probably lots of other little things I’m blanking on right now. She just makes it very apparent now when she’s upset or frustrated.

Firsts: Crawling, clapping and using the “pincer” grab.

Charlotte's Glamour Shot.
Charlotte’s Glamour Shot.

Diapers: Still doing cloth diapers and disposable diapers when we’re traveling.

Sleep: Charlotte sleeps 11 hours at night, and she was able to maintain this streak during our time traveling. She takes two naps a day, sometimes three. Her first two naps are 1 1/2 to 2 1/2 hours long, and the last nap is anywhere from a half hour to an hour long.

Feed: We introduced Charlotte to formula during our trip to California. My milk supply is dwindling, and I can no longer pump enough that is substantial. So now we’re doing a mix of breastfeeding and formula feeding four times a day. Three of those meals are followed by baby food.

Nine months — get it, girl!

Blurry -- but showing off her clapping skills.
Blurry — but showing off her clapping skills.

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...and some extras.
…and some extras.

Also, progress update on Charlotte and her “hat.” We definitely see a difference in the shape of her head. She had some scans done earlier in August, and while there is movement in the right direction, she hasn’t hit a huge growth spurt. So really, there is no drastic change. We’ve been told by her craniofacial specialist that she could be in the helmet for another 6 – 8 weeks; although, her orthotics doctor said as long as three months, if not more.

As far as physical therapy goes, she has made leaps and bounds. We just have two more appointments with her physical therapist, and the last is very far in advance — just to see how she is coping with walking.

We're getting there!
We’re getting there!

Charlotte: 8 Months

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Dear Charlotte,

Seriously?! Seriously?! Summer is so cruel — it’s making time go by too quickly. You are growing and changing too much right before our eyes!

We have been on the road quite a bit this past month, which doesn’t make time pass any slower. Since the end of June, we’ve traveled to Greenwood, Evansville, North Carolina, back through Evansville and home to Chicago. And in just a few weeks, we’ll be making our way to California too.

With all of that, you’ve proved to be quite the traveler. You’re great at traveling long distances, sleeping most of the way and only fussing a little at times. We just hope you maintain this glowing track record on our flight next week.

Developmentally, you’ve had quite a journey this month as well. You’re increasingly liking tummy time, pushing up on all fours and scooting backwards. You also got your first tooth!!! Which was followed very closely by your second. Several times now I have found you sitting up in your crib after a nap, and you’re able to roll both ways now like a champ. Cutest of all, though, is your newfound love of talking. You can talk up a storm now, and your favorite word is Da-da. And you are so smart that you’ve created your own sound for identifying any kind of animal: stthh.

You have become a food monster — there is no delicate way to put it. We let you try bits and pieces of our food, and in doing so, have created a monster of sorts. You make it quite apparent that you want to try our food, and if we hold back, you let us know just how that makes you feel. Yes, you’ve been showing your temperamental side lately. It has extended past mealtime to play time. And more than ever, you love being held and hate being put down. You’re also starting to show some separation anxiety with me and your Dad, wanting either of us if we’re not holding you and falling to pieces if we leave the room.

But while this side has emerged, we know it’s just a phase, and a majority of the time you’re still our happy little babe. Charlotte, we love you so much it hurts, and we show it every day with smooches, squeezes and silly tricks to make you laugh.

Love always,
Mom and Dad

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Weight: Our scale at home says 16 lbs, 8 oz again. I KNOW this girl is heavier than she was last month. I’m going with 17 1/2 lbs.
Height: 28 in
Clothing size: Some 6 – 9 month clothes and some 9 – 12.

Charlotte Likes: Eating real food, traveling, animals, playing with keys and remotes, bubbles, turning the pages in books, playing with her cousin Jack, saying DaDa, rolling around on the floor and playing with all of her toys.

Charlotte Dislikes: Not getting her way, teething, skipping naps or staying up too late, not being held and watching Mama or Daddy leave a room.

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Firsts: 4th of July, epic road trip and tooth.

Diapers: A majority of her time this past month was spent in disposables since we were traveling. But besides that, we’re still cloth diapering.

Sleep: Before traveling, Charlotte was still sleeping for 10 – 11 hours at night. However, by the end of our trip, she was back to sleeping only eight hours. She still napped well, despite being on the go. She takes two big naps a day, both ranging from 1 1/2 to 2 1/2 hours, and one 30 or 45-minute nap in the early evening.

Feed: Like I mentioned earlier, we’re experimenting with grown up food now. She tries a lot of our food, but we’re still breastfeeding four times a day followed by baby food three times a day.

Happy eight months, road warrior!

P.S. I also wanted to get some updated shots of her head and the changes we’ve already seen.

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And then things fell apart…

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Charlotte: 7 Months

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Dear Charlotte,

Another month of life has come and gone too quickly. You’ve grown so much in personality this past month — so much so that you don’t seem like a baby at all to me anymore. You’re more like a little person.

You understand what’s going on around you, and you can communicate in your own little way. I feel like the three of us are more in sync with one another than we’ve ever been before — so we know what you want, what you need, what you like and what you don’t.

What you love is to play with us as well as all by yourself. You also love to interact with Darcy, and I won’t be surprised if you say her name, knowing who she is, before you intentionally say “Mama” or “Dada.” Finally, you love observing the world around you. You’re at your best in public when you are simply left alone to watch, play and discover on your own.

What you don’t like is to have things withheld from you. If you’re playing with something and we take it away, you let us know exactly how that makes you feel. Or if we have food and don’t give you a try, you are quick to express your frustration. And though you love us, there are times you let us know that you just want to be left alone.

But besides knowing what you want and when you want it, you’re still our happy-go-lucky little girl (unless we’ve been sitting too long at a restaurant, apparently). You are laughing at us and Darcy more, smiling any time we hold an iPhone up (you’re so clever) and going with the flow (for the most part) when there are interferences to your schedule.

This month, you have started sitting in the shopping cart like a big girl, playing in the sand at the beach and playing with the next level of toys. We also found out this past month that you’ll have to wear a special hat for the next few months — but we’ll tell you more about that later.

Like I say every month, it is a joy getting to know you, and life with you makes every day better than the last.

All our love,
Mom & Dad

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Weight: 16 lbs, 8 oz
Height: 27 1/2 in
Clothing size: All 6 – 9 month clothing.

Charlotte Likes: Riding in the shopping cart, jogs in the jogging stroller, new toys, smiling at strangers, getting her picture taken, riding the El and trying real food.

Charlotte Dislikes: Sitting at restaurants for longer than an hour and 15 minutes (yes, I’ve timed it) and having anything taken away from her.

Firsts: Jogging in the stroller, sitting like a big girl in the shopping cart, riding the El and playing at the beach.

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Diapers: We’re still doing cloth diapers.

Sleep: She’s sleeping much better these day. She still flips to her stomach occasionally, but it’s no longer waking her up super early in the morning. She still takes three naps a day — two are long (1 1/2 to 2 hours) and the last is 45 minutes to an hour long. At nighttime, she’s going to sleep at around 8:30 p.m. and waking up anywhere between 6 and 7:30 a.m.

Feed: Charlotte is still nursing five times a day, but we are going to drop one of these feedings soon and move to a four hour schedule. It’s a little late in the Babywise game for this, but I just haven’t felt like she’s ready until now. After three of the nursing meals, she eats anywhere from one ounce to three ounces of Ella’s Kitchen baby food.

Happy seven months, peanut!

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