My baby girl is 11 months old tomorrow. I’m spinning out at how fast the time has gone. Are we really almost at her first birthday? I really can’t believe it.
Our little girl is growing up so fast. She’s becoming more and more like a toddler, and less like a baby every day. I’m so proud of her growth and development, but also a little wistful already for the baby we don’t have for much longer. I’m so happy to see such great qualities in Eloise already. She’s fearless, curious and generous.
We’ve been out and about a lot this month! Cousin Sara came to visit, so we’ve been siteseeing all over the city – such as the Empire State Building, Alice’s Tea Cup, Central Park, FAO. We also went to fun things with Alec while he was on paternity leave, like the Bronx Botanical Gardens. We finished up the end of the month with two stroller tours, of the Guggenheim and Whitney.
- Standing with confidence now! Lets go of surfaces and balances on her feet.
- Cruising around the room using furniture to balance on.
- Dismounts easily from standing onto her cushy rear.
- Takes steps on the walker or if we’re holding her hands.
- Pulls herself up on our legs, the appliances, furniture, everything.
- Dancing! Bops to music.
- Nods her head for yes and shakes it for no.
- New words: “up” and “yeah”.
- Reaches to be picked up on command.
- Understands “no”.
- Comes when she’s called.
- Hand-eye co-ordination getting really good. Can pick up things like single peas with her thumb and forefinger and put them in her mouth.
- Very chatty. Doesn’t make any sense yet, but is very serious about telling us things and nodding her head vigorously.
- Managed to get a block shape into the correct hole in the box.
- Teething, but no teeth broken through yet.
- Much more affectionate. Lots of hugs.
- Eating really well. Three solid meals a day, plus snacks in between. Prefers large chunks that she can hold and gnaw on. Typical meal for the day: Breakfast: plain, full-fat yoghurt, half a banana. Snack: Half a banana. Lunch: Usually when we’re out, so a puree pack of baby food, plus bits of whatever I’m eating. Snack: rock melon, watermelon, cheese. Dinner: Leftovers from food I’ve cooked for myself and Alec, like pasta, steamed vegetables, baked vegetables, veggie burger patty.
- Getting much better at drinking water from a cup and water bottle.
- We completed sleep training with success. Eloise started sleeping from 7pm – 6:30-7:30am. AMAZING. We had a few nights where she woke at 6am, or at 10:30pm, but for the most part, it seems like our sleep issues have been solved.
- Naps: Down to two naps a day. One at around 8:30-9am for anywhere from 1 – 2 hours, and 12:30pm for about 45mins to an hour a half.
A lot happening this month! Eloise’s first Father’s Day, a few trips to Governor’s Island, lunch at Balthazar, first trip to Prada Soho, and lots of music classes.
On the less fun side, we had our first trip to the ER this month. We’d been at Governor’s Island during the day and Eloise was playing in the grass. Later on that evening, she wouldn’t feed at 6:30pm, and at 10:30pm. She would latch on, then pull off and cry. We tried to get her to drink water, expressed milk, you name it. At 3am when she still wouldn’t feed I was so worried I called the emergency room at the hospital and they said to bring her in. Two hours later they examined her and found A LEAF stuck in her top palate that was stopping her sucking. Poor baby! I had thought she was doing funny things with her mouth the night before and had had Alec get a torch so we could look in her mouth but I couldn’t see anything. I’m watching her like a hawk now. No more leaves, that’s for sure.
- Started giving us proper hugs!
- Outgrew her baby bath and started taking baths in the big bath.
- Purposefully saying “mum”
- Answers to her name, responds to being told “no”.
- Turning pages of books for us when we read to her.
- Pointing at things she wants. Which is everything – pointing non stop at people on the street, objects, animals, and at her parents.
- Really noticing objects when they’re gone. Will look for toys or items we take away or that she’s dropped. Looks for me at night when she wakes up and I’m not there, calling “mama”.
- Super fast crawling! All over the house. Follows us around from room to room.
- New words this month: “hi, “baby”
- Babbling a lot more, trying to communicate.
- Hand-eye co-ordination really improved a lot – after trying for a week to pick up a small block and getting frustrated when she knocked it over instead, able to use the pincer gasp to pick up small blocks and manipulate them – usually trying to put them in her mouth, but also starting to notice the shaped holes in the box and trying to put the blocks in the holes.
- Two more teeth! The lateral incisors.
- Standing up! Started pulling herself up on the coffee table, then on the couch, kitchen table, bath. Wants so stand everywhere. Trying out balance by lifting one leg at a time. Cruising by taking a few small steps while holding onto the coffee table. Leaning on the coffee table and using her hands to play with toys or grab things.
- Giving kisses – big slobbery open mouth kisses.
- Loves the bead maze – can move single beads at a time and likes moving the gear and lever.
- Getting really vocal, particularly when being told she can’t do something, or when being restrained and she wants to crawl.
- Eloise is eating pretty much everything we offer her. Bagels, entire tubs of yoghurt, fruit like rockmelon, goats cheese, hummus, bread, muffins with vegemite, omelette, scrambled eggs …
- She’s enjoying feeding herself, and loves holding onto big chunks of things like a grilled cheese sandwich and uses her teeth to bite off tiny bits.
- Eloise’s finer motor skills are developing well. She uses one hand to pick up small items like a rice puff, and uses the otehr hadn to grab her wrist and guide it into her mouth.
- Usually Eloise will let us feed her by spoon, but sometimes grabs the spoon or our fingers with her hands and examples whatever it is carefully before allowing us to put it in her mouth.
After several weeks of up and down sleep, with anything from one wake up a night (a five hour stretch!) to three, we are starting to sleep train Eloise. We started with letting her cry for 10 minutes, with the time period going up by 5 mins each time. If she hasn’t been able to put herself to sleep after that period I go in, feed her, but pull her off the breast before she’s put herself to sleep, laying her down awake. Sometimes she is able to then put herself to sleep, sometimes not. No results after night one, but night two was much better, with her able to put herself back to sleep at 10pm and 4am.
First fever of 39.3 dC. Thankfully after 24 hours it went down, and after another 24 hours she was back to her normal self. The doctor suspected it was a virus and thinks she has a great immune system.
We started touring pre schools for September 2013 start, and researching schools we would like her to go to after that.
Had a fantastic first mother’s day this month!
- Crawls! Started tentatively, and by the end of the month is zooming around the house on hands and knees.
- Started waving at people, starting with a stranger on the street. Does a really cute pageant wave.
- Claps her hands together
- Said “mama”, “dads” and “dog” at the dog, Pixel, we had staying with us for 10 days.
- Really agile – can twist and turn, move easily from front to back.
- Tracks people and objects really well with her eyes.
- No stranger danger so far – so outgoing and social, really loves people in general, but a bit funny around strange men.
- Hands us items like toys, food.
- Reaching to be held.
- Started sitting up in the crib and pulling herself up. We had to lower the crib mattress.
- Top two front teeth came in.
- Loves being played with, thrown in the air, sang to, read to. Getting really interactive and laughs a lot when played with.
- Bath time. Loves playing with her toys, and tries to hand them to us. Also trying to climb out of the tub.
- Getting more snuggly – finally! Nothing is better than a snuggly baby.
- Baby and mommy yoga class.
- Started getting some separation anxiety during the night. Won’t be soothed by Alec, must have only me.
- Some great nights of one wake up, but plenty of more than that, including the week where she had a fever.
- When we go in to get her when she wakes, she is sitting up in the crib and reaches to be picked up.
- Loves bagels, cheese, yoghurt. A pretty good eater in general and is getting much better with hand-eye co-ordination too.
- Can feed herself with her fingers.
- Can drink by herself from a sippy cup.
We’ve had a big month! The weather warmed up and I felt brave enough to start taking Eloise on bigger outings. This month we visited several galleries and restaurants.
- Jewish Museum – Eloise’s first museum! We went to see a photography exhibit.
- Whitney Museum to see the Biennial
- MoMA to see Cindy Sherman
- Brooklyn Museum to see Keith Haring
- Carlyle for drinks
- Pierre Hotel high tea
- Moo Burgers
- Momofuku Milk Bar
We also visited Alec at work, at Twitter NY HQ, and watched members of the Isadora Dance Company perform some basic moves at a reading for the launch of a graphic novel based on Isadora Duncan at the kids’ book store Books of Wonder. This month was also Alec’s birthday and Eloise’s first Easter. We also started baby & me yoga classes. Unlike our classes we tried when E was 6-12 wks old, this time she was happy the entire time just sitting at the end of my mat, playing with toys. It was amazing!
- Scooting around the room on her bottom.
- Rolling both ways easily.
- Moving from sit to her hands and feet, rocking, and moving to her stomach
- Trying hard to crawl – gets up on her hands and feet and pushes on feet
- Trying to pull herself up on her highchair
- Her hair is coming in – very blonde and curly.
- Started reaching for us, really watching where we are going, if we leave a room she wants to follow.
- Scratching fingernails across surfaces to feel the texture.
- Making “o” noises, a sound that sounded a lot like “mama” and laughing a lot. Her laugh sounds just like mine.
- Awake for much longer periods. Can easily be awake for 4, even 5 hours at a time, particularly if we are out and about.
- Playing with her hands, clenching and unclenching her fist. Looks like she’s waving to herself.
- Notices when objects are not in her sight anymore and looks for them, such as her toys, or people.
- Playing with her tongue and sticking it out. Looks pretty special.
- Really social. Loves being outside, smiles at everyone on the street.
- Getting into EVERYTHING. After a bad moment where she spilt balsamic vinegar all over herself, me and the floor at Alec’s work, she has been non-stop grabbing everything in reach. This makes eating out particularly challenging and a high chair or her stroller are now a must.
- Board books.
- Being in the stroller outside and will fall asleep in it.
- The bath. Will happily sit in the bath slashing and playing with her toys till the water goes cold.
- Swinging in the swings.
- After a few bad days where Eloise would roll onto her stomach in her crib, not be able to roll back and scream, she finally figured out how to roll both ways. She then started sleeping on her stomach and side in her crib and as a result, sleep more soundly. We had some fantastic nights with only one night waking (an almost 6 hour stretch of sleep for me!), but also a sleep regression possibly caused by the top teeth coming down – one has almost broken through.
- During the day she goes to sleep pretty easily on her own by just putting her down in the crib. Night time is different – we can’t get her to sleep on her own, or back to sleep during the night.
- The long day naps are gone! It’s all about 30 – 45 min naps tops, with longer awake periods of up to 4/5 hours.
- Our schedule is breastfeed 9am, 2pm, 6:30pm, 10:30pm (dream feed) and any night wakings.
- Solids – 7am, 12pm, 5-5:30pm. She’s eating a lot of food now – trying finger foods like toast, bread, rice puffs (loves to feed herself them), melon, baked vegetables, cheese. She’s a really good eater and will try most things. She loves food from our plates, such as omelette, goats cheese, ricotta and spinach.
- Getting the hang of drinking water from a sippy cup and cup with a straw. She won’t drink milk from a bottle or cup, but enjoys the water.
- We started putting Eloise in the high chair this month and she really likes it, particularly since I put food on the tray for her to pick up and feed herself. She also likes to bend over and try to pick things up with her mouth.
- A lot more chatty this month, making new sounds like “dada” and “baba”.
- Finer motor control. Able to touch things more gently rather than bashing things, like our faces!
- Banging objects together.
- Loves picking up objects and examining them, particularly pulling them out of her toy box.
- Reaching to be picked up.
- Showing a preference for Alec or myself, but generally really social and loves meeting new people.
- Staying awake for longer periods during the day – up to 3 hours, sometimes longer.
- Putting more weight on her legs.
- Eloise is just so happy all the time! She’s just such a delight to be around all day now. She enjoys being outside and looking at people, and is pretty much a smiling, laughing little lady all day.
- Eloise’s two bottom teeth came in this month. We had a super rough few weeks where she screamed and wouldn’t sleep, refused solids and didn’t want to nurse. One night she finally slept, and in the morning, there they were!
- First swing this month! The weather warmed up and we started spending time in the parks.
Eloise moved onto a feeding schedule – nursing 4 times a day (6am, 10am, 2pm, 6pm) with 3 meals of solids in between. She loves yoghurt and fruit the most, but will also eat things like lentils and brown rice with vegetables, and with a bit of curry powder mixed in.
- Comes and goes. Bad nights of screaming, followed by nights where she will wake, feed and go back to sleep. A few nights with only one wake up.
- We finally were able to move Eloise into her crib. We put in a wedge to prop up the end, and put in a vibrating unit under the mattress to simulate the bouncer. A few weeks of this and we took out the wedge and vibrating unit and she finally sleeps in a flat, normal crib.
- Major breakthrough with sleep during the day – Eloise now puts herself to sleep. When she shows tired signs, we put her in the crib and she goes to sleep by herself. So great.
- Likes to sleep on her side!
Week 23 – Jan 21 – 27
Eloise’s first winter snow! We had a great snow fall and went for a walk in our winter wonderland.
After several more days of having a lot of trouble with Eloise and sleeping, I decided to try and increase her awake time, since it was taking over 30 minutes, up to an hour, to rock her, screaming, to sleep. Amazingly this seemed to work! Keeping her up around 2 hours at a time then putting her down not only resulted in her going down easier, but also her staying asleep for longer. And, wonder of all wonders, she also started to sleep better … An almost 5 hour stretch followed by two more good nights. No more waking up with gas. We also tried her in the Merlin’s Magic Sleep Suit that my mother’s group rave about. Again, amazingly, she had a great night, only waking up twice to feed on the last night of this week – almost 6 hours after being fed for the first feed, then a four hour stretch, then awake at 6 with a poop. Damn the 6am poos.
We tried her second solid this week – mango puree. She liked it a lot better than the cereal.
Eloise keeps getting easier and easier, and so much more fun. She can entertain herself now for periods of play on her back or in the exersaucer. She is starting to like more interactive toys so we are starting to look at the 6mth and up toys to get her soon.
She also loves her feet and spends a lot of time holding them and shoving them into her mouth. Now she has discovered her fingers, she loves to stick either her thumb or first finger in her mouth and suck on them.
Eloise’s personality is really starting to show now. She is happy and smiling the majority of the time, only crying when there is something wrong – like if she’s hungry or has a shock or something hurts. If she’s bored or doesn’t like something, she squeals and tries to talk to us.
She really loves best when we play with her. I do a few exercises most days using Eloise as a weight and she just loves them. She smiles and laughs her head off.
Week 24 – Jan 28 – Feb 3
Had a nice weekend out, to the Brooklyn Flea market and Le Petit Cafe on Saturday and skating in Central Park on Sunday.
Solids: avocado, carrot, butternut squash. Eloise didn’t like the avocado, loved the carrot, and tolerated the butternut squash.
Her sleep is FINALLY improving, with some almost 5 hour stretches and less waking up with gas. She even napped in her crib.
Eloise is outgrowing her toys. She is now interested in investigating things. She loves the exersaucer, blocks, toys that spin, rattles.
After doing really well for about 5 nights in a row, Eloise seemed to regress a bit. I think she had a bit of a stomach bug, as she was obviously feeling off, and started waking up multiple times a night again …
Week 25 – Feb 4 – 10
Solids: Peas! Loved them. Increased her solids intake to twice a day. and stretched out the breast feeding to every 4 hours.
We had a great lunch at the Plaza food court. Eloise’s second visit to the Plaza since she was born.
Eloise is sitting really well on her own now. She is also putting more weight on her legs when held up.
Eloise gets bored of things fast, so we are rotating through her toys and activities frequently to keep her entertained. The exersaucer definitely entertains her the longest.
Week 26 – Feb 11 – 17
We started crib training this week. We rigged a vibrating unit to he crib that vibrates for 20 mins then switches off. The first day, we had good success for her naps, but then at night time she woke, screamed inconsolably for 2 hours, and we put her back in the bouncer. Day two was much more positive. She slept the night really well, only waking from 12:30 – 1:15 am with gas and to feed, then sleeping till 6:30. Amazing.
We are trying a bit of controlled crying as she screams when being put in her crib (she also screamed when being put in the bouncer, so this is nothing new). First attempt – 10 mins of crying and she fell asleep. Victory! After a few days, it’s working well. We gave Eloise a little lovie toy and she uses it to comfort herself and send herself to sleep. It seems like she wants to put herself to sleep now, as she pushes our hands away if we try to rock her like we used to.
Solids this week: Peaches! Really enjoyed them.
Eloise is so close to rolling over from back to front. Any day now. She is also pushing things away that she doesn’t like and interacting with other babies more and more. She’s also sitting really well and taking more weight on her legs. She loves kicking her legs, and tries to sit up in the BabyBjorn bouncer.
Week 27 – Feb 18 – 19
Solids: Fresh banana – not really a fan. Yoghurt: LOVED it.
First trip to Alice’s Tea Cup for high tea on the UWS. Can’t wait to take her back when she’s a little older.
The past few days Eloise has started making a new whiney noise when she’s bored or tired. She also makes high pitched squeals around the same times.
Feeding wise – I now only feed Eloise four times a day (roughly 6am, 10am, 2pm, 6pm), and twice at night (10pm dream feed and during her night waking which can be anywhere from 12:30, 2:30 or 4:40am) . I’m trying to cut out the night feeds but so far it’s been proving challenging. We feed her solids in between the mid morning and mid afternoon breastfeeding.
Week 18 – Dec 20 – Dec 23
We had a baby nurse visit us to give us help with Eloise’s terrible sleep habits. Amazingly, we were able to get her to sleep in the crib for two naps during the day – something she had been unable to do up until now. So fantastic. I was also told that I was feeding her too frequently, so have to cut back to during the day, no oftener than every 3 hours, and at night, no oftener than every 4 hours. This means some pain for us as we will have to settle her back to sleep at night when she wakes instead of the easy path of me feeding her back to sleep …
The rest of the week we tried to keep up with the advice, but it was hard when we were going out so much and couldn’t keep on a schedule.
Development-wise, this week Eloise spent a lot of time on her back on the floor happily watching us or amusing herself. Her grip improved dramatically. She now reaches for objects and examines them, usually shoving them in her mouth.
Week 19 – Dec 24 – Dec 31
Eloise’s first Christmas! She was spoiled by her family. It was so lovely to celebrate with her – looking forward to the next Christmases as she gets older and can open presents and understand what it all means.
Developmental changes this week: Trying to roll from front to back. She lifts her legs and can roll to her side, but can’t quite get over. First finger and thumb constantly in the mouth.
Eloise has also started to develop a pincer grip with these fingers, using them to grab her ear, her nappy, and more. She reaches for us all the time now, particularly our faces. She has also started blowing raspberries! She blows them non stop 🙂
First swim in a pool this week. Eloise really loved the water and was in for over an hour. We also took her to Balmoral Beach and put her feet in the sand and in the water. She didn’t know what to think of it all!
Week 20 – Jan 1 – Jan 7 2012
Our last week in Sydney. After doing way too much and going out too much, Eloise was finding it hard to sleep, frequently waking up after we put her down to sleep.
The big event for this week was Eloise’s naming day. She was a bit overwhelmed by all the people, but was really good natured and managed to put her toes in her mouth for the first time. It was such a fantastic day, with our friends and relatives coming down from Newcastle, over from Perth and all over Sydney.
Developmentally, Eloise is changing so much. She rolled over for the first time from front to back (3/1/12). She is really interested in everything we are doing, especially when we are eating or drinking. She also loves touching our faces and following out voices. She is chatting a lot now – even during the night when I feed her, she happily chats away.
Eloise is suddenly so interested in everything. She reaches for our faces frequently, as well as anything we are eating or drinking.
Last big event for the week was the trip back to New York. A huge 24 hours – 12.5 hour flight from Sydney to LA, a four hour layover, then a 4.5 hour flight from LA to New York. Eloise was pretty fussy and didn’t sleep much on the first flight, but was in a fabulous mood and slept for most of the second flight.
Week 21 – Jan 8 – 13
JETLAG. This week is all about jetlag. Eloise was hit really badly by it on the return leg and hardly slept for nights.
Eloise is really enjoying putting her feet in her mouth. She is also loving our water bottles and reaches for them frequently. She is constantly reaching for things now, so curious about everything in the world. Her co-ordination is improving as well. She really loves Sophie the giraffe now. The toy is the perfect size for her to grab and put in her mouth.
Eloise is trying to roll from back to front. She’s slowly getting there … a great improvement is that we can now put her down on the floor and she happily plays there for a while on her own.
Week 22 – Jan 14 – 20
First solid! Organic whole grain rice cereal, mixed with formula. I think she enjoyed it – at least, she was very curious about it, and didn’t spit it back out. (16/1/12).
Towards the end of the week, the jetlag seemed to finally wear off, and her sleeping returned to normal – waking at around 9:39, then 12:30-1am, 4:40, then 6am. Blergh. So tired.
A great first this week was Eloise falling asleep in her stroller, not once, but twice! Uh-mazing.
She is really loving exploring our faces and mouths, particularly our teeth. She is so fascinated with everything we are wearing and doing.
We decided to hold a naming day for Eloise. The main reason for this was to give all of our family and friends the opportunity to meet Eloise and for us to catch up with them. We’re also not religious, hence the naming day rather than a christening. The day was just lovely – so many wonderful family and friends coming to see us and the little lady.
I’ve included our speech below for posterity.
Welcome everyone and thank you for coming. It’s with great pleasure and pride that we introduce you all to our daughter, Eloise Elizabeth Thomas. We are so happy that you were all able to attend today to welcome her into our family and community. We’d like to especially thank our relatives who travelled to be here today – Noelene and Kay from Perth, and Allan and Lisa from the Hunter Valley, and Bob, and cousins Debbie, Glen, Karen, Darryl and Sara, from Muswellbrook and Maitland.
We chose the name Eloise after seeing some books about a little girl called Eloise set at the Plaza hotel in New York. The little girl in the books is charismatic, outgoing and a touch feisty – all qualities we hope our little girl may one day have. We chose Elizabeth as a middle name as it is a traditional name that many of the women in the Knight family have been given – it’s also the name of my favourite literary character, Elizabeth Bennet – another strong female role model we would like for Eloise to relate to.
As you all know, we made the hard decision to move to New York after we found out we were expecting Eloise. As neither of us had spent a great deal of time around babies previously, so we had no idea what to expect, or how truly hard it would be. Your messages of love, support and advice during the pregnancy, after the birth and through the first few tough months were so very appreciated.
Anyone who has had kids know how much they change your world the minute they arrive. Our lives have never been so challenging, as interesting and as filled with love. Even through the haze of extreme sleep deprivation and what seemed like non-stop screaming fits, it was impossible not to look at Eloise and coo “awww she’s so goddam cute!”. Thankfully, our little lady has already developed into an alert, beautiful, happy person, even though she still doesn’t think it’s necessary to sleep.
Today we would also like to introduce Eloise’s god parents. Our good friends, Rosalie, Daniel and Shelley have kindly agreed to be her god parents. We know that they will be there for Eloise as she grows up – as aunts and uncle when she’s little, mentors as a teen, and as friends when she’s an adult.
Eloise may have been born in New York, but she is still a little Aussie through and through. We fly back to New York on Friday, but will be back to visit and eventually again to live. We hope that you will all play a part in her life in the years to come as she grows into the amazing little person she has already shown promise to become.
One final thank you to our parents for their constant love and support, and thank you all again for coming.