With month four comes more smiles, tons of cooing, and rolling from back to front. And man is it scaring this new mama because I’ve read too much about SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome). New moms and moms-to-be, I’m warning ya, use the internet at your own risk. I wish I had just stopped researching after learning the basics. It would have eliminated some unnecessary worrying.
For Avalynn’s first Thanksgiving, my parents came to visit. You can never say she’s deprived for attention when those two are around. The whole week was full of lighthearted arguments about who got to hold her next and who was hogging the baby. My dad no longer directly says he loves me or misses me. He says, “Man I love/miss that little girl. Oh, and you and John, too.” Having family around is even more special now that there’s a baby involved. Which leads me to my next announcement: Mississippi friends, we’re planning to move back! No solid plans as of yet, but we’re looking at the end of March. So if you haven’t been able to get your hands on our little nugget, hopefully you’ll get the chance soon.
There are a few things I’m going to miss when we move back, and they all have to do with resources for Avalynn. First of all: our chiropractor. I absolutely love the two women who run the place, and I’m going to be hard pressed to find somewhere that great in MS. Also, our Down syndrome support group. We joined a couple of months ago, and these parents are full of wisdom and experience. We even had our first play date a couple of weeks ago for all of the kiddos under 3 years old. It was great to meet other parents and their kids and to hear how their lives are going. Another thing: the Down syndrome clinic. Even though we haven’t visited it yet (we’re scheduled for our first appointment when Ava is six months old), I know they are a great resource and can evaluate many areas in one visit. I know we will find other resources for her in MS, though they may be more of a drive. While everything we need for her is right here at our fingertips in Charleston, family is not. And that, to us, is the most important.
We had our first pictures taken as a family a little over a week ago. I scheduled the pictures a little later than I originally planned because I had a certain dress I wanted Ava to wear, but it was still too big, so I was hoping that by scheduling the pictures later, it would give her time to grow into it. Well guess what. She didn’t grow into it, I ended up buying another outfit for her, and I sent out our Christmas cards late. Child. Why. Won’t. You. Grow.
Let me tell you a little more about our Christmas picture experience. (By “a little more,” I mean, “in full detail.”) I signed us up for a mini session in the park, which included 10 minutes of family pictures and a chance to take pictures with Santa. I carefully planned and color coordinated our outfits over the span of three weeks, and I had a strict schedule to follow the day of. It gave us all plenty of time to get ready, and we would arrive a little over 30 minutes early so I could feed Ava right before and she would be alert and happy. So we got there, I fed her, and we got out of the car and got our things together about 10 minutes before our scheduled time. We walked towards where we had seen other families walking from and…no photographer. No Santa. No Christmas tree that I had seen included in the other pictures on their Facebook page. I frantically started walking in one direction and then the other, hoping they would be “just around the corner.” Spoiler alert: they weren’t. On the verge of tears because my perfectly scheduled day wasn’t going according to plan, I found someone who worked at the park and asked if he had seen any photographers around, hopefully with a Santa in tow. He said he hadn’t, but he would drive around and see if he saw anyone and let us know. Right after he drove off, John noticed some people up on a hill, so we booked it over there. It was the photographer. Ugh. Finally. Ten minutes late. They didn’t seem too concerned about our tardiness, so we jumped right into the pictures. They went well, even if the photographer didn’t tell me exactly how to pose, which I definitely needed because hello, awkward person here. One little blurp was when I asked for pictures of Ava by herself and the photographer said I could sit her up on a blanket they had. Yeahhhh she doesn’t sit up yet, she’s not quite four months old (at the time), but thanks for the vote of confidence. But the photographer was great and even laid on the ground with Ava to get a good shot of her. And then…we met Santa. Ya’ll…this was the weirdest, creepiest Santa I’ve ever seen. They must have had to bribe one of their friends to come out and hold babies and kids for a few hours, and he was not happy about it. First of all, he was skinny. Every Santa has to have some weight on him. Second of all, he never smiled. Who has ever heard of a non-jolly Santa? Third, he didn’t move at all. I put Avalynn in his lap, and of course she wiggled herself down into a little scrunched up ball, but he never adjusted her. I had to keep running over and shifting her up and pulling her shirt down and then running away so the photographer could get a picture. So many Elf quotes were running through my head. I’m pretty sure John even said, “If you’re Santa, what song did I sing for you on your birthday this year?” It was an experience, but Ava handled it like a champ. (And so did John. Bless him for not getting annoyed with me when I was telling him to hurry up and then when I was racing around the park like a crazy woman on the verge of a mental breakdown.)
At her four month doctor’s appointment (shots included, ugh), her doctor said her height and head circumference are on a great incline. The weight is just a little more gradual. But the fact that the other two are on track means she’s not malnourished. She’s just taking her own sweet time getting bigger. I know when she’s older I’ll miss her being this tiny, but right now I am so ready for her to do a little growing. Just put a little meat on your bones, would ya kid?
Merry Christmas everyone.