“…She Is Fierce.”

Shew.  This month was a long one.  One filled with firsts.  Firsts that involved laughter and joy, firsts that involved worry and pain, firsts that involved sweat and tears.  But another month has in fact come and gone, and my little baby girl is now 10 months old.  She’s finally moved up a size in clothes and diapers (whoop whoop!), and it’s like she’s got a whole new closet.  I’ve been choosing her clothes from the “0-3 month” section for soooo long, and I’ve finally ventured into the “3-6 month” area.  Clothes that I so lovingly and carefully washed and organized while I was pregnant, fully expecting her to be wearing them in just a few, short months, now look as though they need to be dusted off after hanging in the closet for so long, untouched.  I recently bought two huge boxes of size 1 diapers (on rollback at Walmart), assuming she would be in the size for a few more months.  Then we discovered that she’s at the weight limit for size 1’s, so on to size 2’s!  I feel like these are things many mothers dread – their babies growing big too fast – barely getting to wear certain outfits because they’re only in that size for what seems to be two minutes.  Outgrowing diapers as soon as the parents buy another box.  But these are things I’ve grown anxious for.  For my daughter to be able to use more than a small fraction of her closet.  For doctors to stop questioning whether she’s getting enough to eat (trust me, she gets plenty – the kid eats nonstop).  For strangers to stop asking me if she was a preemie after they find out how old she is.  She is healthy.  She is strong.  She is fierce.  And now she can wear 6 month size pajamas.

Laughter and joy.  We took Avalynn swimming for the first time, and she absolutely loved it!  We’ve since taken her for a second time, and we plan to go swimming once a week for the whole summer.  She laughed and smiled and splashed the whole time she was in the pool.  Her legs were churning up the water as we passed her back and forth.  I would love to put her in swim classes because I think it’d be great therapy, as well as super fun.  But I have so far been unsuccessful in finding one I’m interested in.

Worry and pain.  Avalynn got a fever one night, which I assumed was attributed to teething.  But the next morning (on my birthday), her temperature was up to 103, and since it was a Saturday, we took her to an Urgent Care.  They took blood, ran tests, and did a chest X-ray, all to tell us they didn’t know what was wrong and to take her to the emergency room.  So off we went to the ER, hoping for answers.  They ran the same tests, plus some, and kept us there for over two hours, just to tell us it was viral and to let it run its course.  Her temperature spiked back up to 103 the next morning, and a rash had formed, so I gave her a small dose of a fever reducer and started Googling her symptoms (reliable, I know).  Her symptoms were a pretty close match for the Roseola virus, which is similar to chicken pox in that once you get it, you become immune.  It is characterized by a sudden fever that is followed by a rash covering the body.  Just to be safe, we took her to the pediatrician first thing on Monday.  My Google diagnosis was confirmed, and the pediatrician said that since the rash had popped up, it meant she was no longer contagious and she would be over it all soon.  Three doctors visits and an unknown amount of medical bills later, we’ve learned that Google is more reliable than real doctors (just kidding, doctors are great and I trust them, but in this instance, Google was my friend).

Sweat and tears.  I had the opportunity to take Avalynn to the Memphis Zoo at no cost to me, so of course I said yes.  However, the day before we were supposed go, I started to have doubts.  It was going to be a two hour car ride there and back, and the temperatures were supposed to be in the low 90’s.  I would have to bring bottles and milk and baby food and have a way to keep it cold.  If I needed to nurse her, where would I go?  Should I carry her in my buckle carrier or her stroller?  Where could I change her diaper?  What if she got too hot?  I make my own baby food, and it’s all frozen, so should I thaw it before we go? Leave it frozen and hope it thaws in the heat?  But despite all of my questions and concerns, we decided to go.  I loaded up all of her food in a small cooler, filled her straw cup with Pedialyte, and filled her diaper bag with extra clothes and toys.  I brought along her buckle carrier just in case, but I planned on using her stroller for the most part.  In all honesty, the trip wasn’t as stressful as I feared, but I would not have gone if I had had to pay for it.  While she did enjoy watching the fish swim in the tank, and she seemed slightly interested in the tigers, she’s just too young to really understand or show interest in the animals.  She handled the heat pretty well, but I think she got too hot by the time we saw the giraffes.  She was perfectly happy one minute, and then, she wasn’t.  Luckily, there was a fan nearby, and she cooled off quickly.  This trip did make me feel more confident in being able to take her on bigger outings, but there probably won’t be any more zoo trips planned in the near future.

We’re still on the waiting list for Avalynn to start receiving therapy, and I received a call a couple of weeks ago saying that we’ll be on the waiting list for at least a few more months.  So we’re trying to make the best of it by working with her ourselves.  The main reason, from what I can tell, that she hasn’t started crawling is because she hasn’t figured out how to get on her hands and knees.  She can push herself up onto her hands, but her legs will be straight out on the floor.  And she can pull her knees underneath her, but her chest will be laying on the ground.  One of her issues seems to be that when she bends her knees, she keeps her legs splayed out, so she looks like a frog.  So I ordered a product called Hip Helpers, which are essentially a pair of spandex shorts with the legs sewn together.  It helps Avalynn keep her knees together when she bends them, so hopefully she’ll learn how to pull them under her instead of splaying them out to the side.  Other than crawling, we’ve also been working on pulling up and standing alone.  She can pull up great using peoples fingers, but this kid refuses to pull up on anything else.  I can place my fingers on the side of her bed, and she’ll grab them and pull up, no problem.  But if I just put her hands directly on the side of her bed?  “Uh, Mom, that’s not how this works.  Fingers, please.”  She’s started to stand against the wall on her own when I place her there, and she used to lock her knees when she stood, but now she will bend them and bounce a little.  Progress is progress.

Avalynn is so determined and excited to conquer these milestones.  She smiles and laughs every time she pulls up or stands because she knows she’s doing something big.  This whole process could be so frustrating, but her enthusiasm makes it so much easier.  This child of mine is going to do big things in this world, starting now.  She is smart.  She is capable.  She is fierce.

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