Growing up with Baby
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A poem I loved as a child
Sugar and spice
and everything nice
that's what little girls are made of
Sunshine and rainbows
and ribbons for hair bows
that's what little girls are made of
Tea parties, laces
and baby doll faces
that's what little girls are made of
Author - Unknown
Well we were off to a great start, we had a little girl! Her mother, my daughter, delivered her via c-section on October 16, 2009, she weighed in at a tiny 5lbs 6 oz and was 18 ½ inches long. Healthy as can be, just tiny. This is not to say she would be without problems.
Her name is Alayna October, and she is beautiful. I may be slightly prejudice but since I am her Memaw, I can do that. In the beginning I held myself from her, only holding her every now and then. I wanted her parents to take on the full responsibility of her care. Since they were living with me, it would be too easy to just ‘take over’. When my daughter went back to work, it was up to Alayna’s father to watch her. He was young and inexperienced, but I let him struggle until he asked for my help. He may have been a new father but he was willing to learn, I tried not to intervene to often.
An incident occurred shortly before Christmas that caused her father to have to leave my residence, so it would be up to me to help her mother in child care. No one can ever accuse me of not being supportive, she needed my help and I am there. This would mean I would have to allow myself to get close to Alayna. It’s not like that’s a problem, she’s a baby, who couldn’t love her? Eventually her mother will take her and move out, leaving me with aching arms. I don’t want to think about that day, for now I will concentrate on what I have at hand.
She would suffer acid reflux, to help her out she had to sit in a reclined position, not being fully laid down. This would cause a shortened muscle in her neck, to help with that she would need physical therapy. To avoid the neck muscle being shortened any further she would have to be lie on her back, this would cause a flat spot on the back her head. To fix that she would need to wear a helmet. She was 5 ½ months old when she got her helmet, white with pink and purple dragonflies.
We decided that she needed a bouncer, she could sit up with a little help and the bouncer is deep. Oh she loves that bouncer, you put her in it and away she goes, bouncing so hard and high that you wonder if she’s going to fly out. Her little legs are solid chunks of muscle. Her Dr. is pleased with her development and her growth, she is still a little small for her age, but is doing just fine.
Our Helmet Baby
When would this ever end? Kind of reminded me of the old poem “I don’t know why she swallowed the fly…”
My friend and I lovingly called her our ‘helmet’ baby, as with everything she had endured, she wore her helmet with style! Friends didn’t understand our ‘poor taste’ jokes in reference to her licking windows, they even thought we were ‘mean’ taking a picture of her holding a bottle of Windex. They misunderstood the reason for her helmet, thinking that she was mentally challenged. Our friends were not the only ones to do so, in public my daughter and I were questioned, we didn’t mind answering the questions most of the time. We did have one lady who just assumed that she was slow ask, “Can she smile?” In answer to that, Alayna looked her in the eye and gave the biggest grin.
The helmet was as light as they could make it but it still was heavier than her head alone, so it slowed her development a bit. The baby head grows very fast, and soon her head was rounding out nicely. The helmet had to be left on 23 hours per day, taken off for 1 hour to shampoo her head and wash her helmet, within 1 week we could see a difference. We were hoping it wouldn’t have to be the two months or so that she would have to wear it like her Dr. said. He kept insisting that she needed more time, we felt that her lack of crawling and rolling were going to greatly effect her development. It was his theory that she had to wear the helmet until she could crawl. Oh she tried alright, on her back. Her back would arch and she would slide the helmet along the floor, pushing with her feet. Truly it was amusing to see a baby with such determination to get moving, she was going to do it anyway she could.
During her ‘hour off’ we managed to get her to sit up, this was a milestone for us, it meant we were closer to having the helmet off permanently. Finally after almost 3 months she crawled, without helmet, during her ‘hour off’ time. As soon as the helmet was no longer a part of her everyday routine, she showed us that she had been watching us move around in a forward fashion. She crawled in a strange way, in a jumping motion her legs moving like little frog legs.
Crawling and vocalizing
Very soon she figured it out, the crawling, and when she did, wow… She
first headed for the kitchen, which we felt the need to block off, as
soon as she seen the blockade, she headed for the first open door, we
blocked that as well, within seconds she headed for the hallway. That
too was quickly blocked. With her all blocked off we can feel a little
She is just learning to be vocal in the sense that she tries to put sounds together, ‘Mum-mum’ for Mom of course. ‘Bark-bark’ is her calling the dogs, she loves to watch them wrestle in front of her. Her hero is Deuce, he makes sure she is safe all the time. He checks on her often, maybe just looking for a little drool but she loves his tickling whiskers. They are just 10 days apart in age, so they are learning together.
Alayna and Memaw time
Her Momma works the afternoon shift at her job, so Alayna gets up with
me in the mornings. We spend a little quiet time together, she lays on
the floor watching me drink my coffee and type on my computer. She
talks in her sweet baby voice and when I give her a response she likes,
she laughs at me. We play for a while, until it’s time to wake up
Mommy. They spend their play time together, laughing, talking or just
sitting quietly. On Mom’s day off they go shopping together and
occasionally they will invite me along.
She truly enjoys Memaw feeding her, she will sit patiently while I attempt to get the food in her mouth without too much of a mess. Every now and then she wants to go a little faster and will wave her arms, usually I don’t move fast enough and baby food will go flying. The dogs love this, they help me keep her clean.
In the evening I give her a bath, she likes it when I do this, cause she can splash and make a mess all she wants. We use the kitchen sink, she is still small enough that she fits nicely. This is one of our favorite times, I like watching her laugh as she splashes us both getting water all over. She seems to like that I am patient with her, waiting until she is done. She really enjoys the way I trickle warm water over her head when rinsing her hair, giggling because it tickles, and trying to catch the water.
These are the times I cherish, watching a young one grow and helping in their development. Very soon she will be walking, she is already walking along furniture and she likes to grab my desk and give it a good shake, laughing at my reaction. As of right now her mother has no plans to take her from me, but when she does a piece of my heart will go with her.
I have always loved to watch the babies and their development - They change daily so don't close your eyes!!