Friday, January 27, 2012

We Made It!

Well, we all made it through my first week at work okay!  Olivia woke up early to see me off on Monday morning (if she looks exhausted, it’s because she is!  The child basically refused to sleep at all on Sunday night….not a great way to start your first day back at work.)

The first day honestly wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be.  My colleagues at work were all very happy to see me and asked all about Olivia.  My secretary printed out all the pictures I’d sent them of Olivia and put them by my door.  (I love coming in every morning and seeing them!)   And sweet Matt sent me tulips (my favorite) to wish me good luck.  

Best of all, my wonderful boss told me that it will likely take a few weeks to get my portfolio back up, so I should feel free to leave early and go home when I don’t have work to do.  I took full advantage of this generous offer and was home by 4:00 almost every day this week.  I’m going back on a reduced schedule through the end of the summer.  So I will work Monday-Thursday from 9-4:30.  I think it will be the perfect balance of work and home to help us ease into this new role of “working mom.”

I guess Miss O was a little upset that mommy left her on Monday because she apparently screamed her face off for 20 minutes.  Mimi said it was induction by fire!  But, once she settled down, I hear that she and Mimi had a great time together.  They read stories, played, took naps and got in some good grandma-granddaughter bonding time!  Mimi dressed Olivia up every day in headbands so she was all cute when I got home from work!

For me, I think things got harder as the week went on.  I found myself getting more upset on the drive into work on Wednesday and Thursday than earlier in the week.  It’s certainly hard to call home and hear that someone else is reading or playing with O when I wish I was.  But, I know she is in very good hands and I think things will get better each week.   

I did get a nice surprise on Wednesday night when my dear friend Bethany unexpectedly came into town.  I was so happy to see her and let her bond with Olivia.  Her sweet son, Palmer, is a couple months older than Liv so its a real blessing to be able to talk to her about all issues related to being a new mom, and now a new working mom!

Then on Thursday, my mom brought Olivia to have lunch with me and Aunt Nazreen joined us.  Such a fun lunch date!

So, Week One ended on a good note and I am thoroughly enjoying my 3 day weekend.  I'm sure we will both have good days and bad days, so I am going to try very hard to take things in stride.  Even before we had Olivia, Matt and I would always comment that the best part of our day was coming home and hanging out together.  That is certainly even more true now that Olivia is there.  It’s such  a nice reward to the day to come home to a sweet, smiley daughter who (much to my delight and joy) remembers me and is oh-so-excited to see me!

Sunday, January 22, 2012


If you can make it through the long video below (sorry folks!) you will see that our little Olivia has now mastered her Jumperoo.  We still have a pillow at the bottom so her little legs can reach, but given her genes, I'm guessing that being a little shorty is something she will have to get used to!

One realization I had watching this video is that Matt and I may be going a bit overboard with our encouragement of Olivia.  Before she was even born, we made a conscious decision that we really wanted to praise and reward her in order to build her self-confidence.  Matt's parents really did this with him - to this day, I think they honestly believe every thing he does is amazing and every joke he tells is hilarious.  In fact, when we first started dating it was a great source of enjoyment for me to make fun of him about this.  It reminds me of this Seinfeld clip (the whole thing is great - but I'm really talking about 1:48 in). 

I enjoy kidding him, but I really do think its sweet and endearing.  However, we may be taking that to an extreme.  Perhaps every poopy diaper doesn't deserve clapping and "yay-ing"?  Maybe we shouldn't tell her she's "amazing" after she eats? 

So....maybe we'll tone it down a bit.  Its tough though, because at this stage we are truly amazed by every little laugh, smile, coo and noise that she makes and you'd be hard-pressed to convince either of us that she's not perfect! ;)

Saturday, January 21, 2012

4 Months

Olivia is now four months old!  I feel like we say it every month, but time just flies by.  Her 4 month doctor's visit went great.  She is growing like a weed and, of course, smiled and charmed all the nurses and ladies working the front desk.  She took her shots like a champ and barely cried (although she did have some "Single Babies" to help her out!).

Here are her stats:
Height - 24.5" (68%)
Weight - 14 lb, 1.5 oz (70%)
Head circumference - 15.75" (29%)

Our pediatrician recommend we stop swaddling her and try to phase out her pacifier.  This sent Matt into a sheer panic!  So, we decided to start slowly - one arm free at a time!  That girl loves a swaddle, so hopefully we can all make it through the transition.  One plus is that with her hands free, she will hopefully suck on her hand or fingers, instead of crying for her pacifier.  I swear Matt and I make 50 laps a night to put it back in her mouth when she cries!

At four months, Olivia is starting to have stronger opinions on her likes and dislikes.

  • music
  • mirrors
  • food
  • outside 
  • being entertained and/or held
 She doesn't really like:
  • saline in her nose when its stuffy (learned that the hard way since she's currently on the back-end of a cold)
  • being put down by herself with no one to talk to or play with her
  • people talking while she is trying to eat --- this is kind of a new one.  Olivia is a very social baby, but she also really likes food, so its never really been an issue if we talked while she ate.  In fact, some of my favorite memories of her first few weeks are the middle-of-the-night feedings because Matt and I could talk and laugh without doctors, visitors or anyone else around.  BUT lately she has not appreciated our discussions.  She will stop eating and just stare us down.  It now happens on a nightly basis!  At first we tried whispering, but that didn't fool her.  So, now we sit in silence and let Miss Bossy eat in quiet.
She also has started babbling a lot more - I love it!  She does it most often on the changing table.  

 Four months marks another huge change in the Dean household - I head back to work on Monday!  These four months have been so precious to me and I'm so happy I took the time off work to bond with Olivia.  Matt and I are sure it will be an adjustment, but hopefully we can all handle it without too many tears or anxiety.  Wish us luck!

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Rice Cereal

Olivia had her 4 MONTH well-visit this week (more details on that later!) and the pediatrician said she was ready for rice cereal.  Matt and I were hoping she'd say that because we are desperate for anything that will help this little bundle sleep more than 3-4 hours at night!  So, we bought some cereal, got out the bibs and bumbo, and tried it out.

To say she "liked" it would really be an exaggeration.  She basically tolerated it.  She will oblige us for a few minutes, but then she starts to fuss.  (Probably because she is starving, but she only swallows about 1 teaspoon of the entire bowl).

But we are going to keep trying!  At our last attempt, she started to open her mouth when I put the spoon in front of her -- I take that as a good sign!

Here is a video of her first time trying rice cereal.  (Notice "Single Ladies" playing in the background?  She had a mini-meltdown when we tried to put her in the Bumbo, so she needed some Beyonce to relax her!)

 As you can see, no rice cereal was actually consumed during that attempt.  So we waited a few hours and tried again.  I'm not sure she did any better the second time, but it made for  some cute pictures!

UPDATE (Jan. 19):  Five days in and I would say rice cereal is officially a hit!  Mimi came over today and helped me make it a little thicker consistency (I was basically just feeding her milk with a spoon!) and that made a world of difference!  She ate the entire bowl and then cried for more.  So, I made one more little bowl and she ate almost all of that too!'s to a full belly and a full night of sleep!  Fingers crossed....

Friday, January 13, 2012

Fun in the new year!

As we finished the holiday season and started 2012, the fact that my maternity leave was almost up became a grim reality.  SO, rather than sit around and be sad, I decided to plan as many fun things with little Olivia as I could and I promised myself that I would try and cherish each kiss, cuddle and moment with her for the next few weeks. 

2012 started with Matt making a quick trip to Michigan for work.  So, Olivia and I packed up and headed to Humble for a few days to spend some time with my parents.  It was great to have some help from Mimi and GrandDad with the little munchkin.  She enjoyed some tummy time, figured out how to suck her thumb, stole Mimi's chair, and became Aunt Yasmin's new roommate (since her room is the warmest and darkest in the house).

Unfortunately, Olivia's sleep schedule was off from the holidays and she barely slept the entire time we were there (which meant I hardly slept either!).  In fact, the last night we were there was the first time since she's been born that she's ever been in a bad mood.  I think she was overtired and missed Matt (I know I did!), but all she wanted to do was sit on my lap.  Anytime my mom or dad tried to take her, she would start crying.  And, our usually smiley baby barely managed a grin the entire evening.  This was so unlike her that my mother was convinced she was sick and kept feeling her forehead!  I suspected she was just tired, but have to admit I was a little worried too.  Until we picked Matt up from the airport and got home.  The minute he took her out of the car seat and into the house, this is how she looked! sick baby, just one who missed her daddy!

Other than that, we've spent our time having lots of fun and trying new things:

We cheered for the Texans in their first play-off game!

We dressed up like Aunt Yasmin and pretended Olivia was a surgeon.

We tried out a baby laptop.  She's not exactly sure how to make it sing or light up, but when she inadvertently presses one of the buttons, she sure does like it!

We noticed and are now obsessed with the iPhone.  She won't take her eyes off it if one of us is texting or looking something up.  Steve Jobs should be proud!

We went to DefineBaby - a barre/pilates class for moms and babies.  You "wear" the baby in a carrier.  Olivia LOVES music & she LOVES mirrors, so I've thought for months that she'd enjoy the class.  But our schedule never quite matched up with the class time.  Until last week.  And I am SO glad I took her.  She absolutely loved the class!  She kept laughing and smiling the entire time.  I hope we get to go again next week and maybe sometimes once I go back to work we'll be able to sneak in a few classes!  (Excuse the iPhone photo, but it was all I had!)

We also realized that she has outgrown her beloved bouncy chair.  So, Matt set up her Jumperoo.  She wasn't too sure about it the first day, but within a couple of days she figured out how to bounce and now she loves it.  I like to pull it into the kitchen while I'm cooking, turn on some music and she bounces and laughs.

Speaking of music, Michael Buble has been replaced....with Beyonce.  Olivia LOVES her some Single Ladies.  I randomly played it one day and she immediately started smiling.  Its now our go-to trick when she gets upset.  And, she doesn't seem to get tired of her either.  A couple days ago Matt was in the nursery with her when she was sort of fussy, so we turned on Beyonce and she cheered up.  After I saw she was happy, I went to take a shower.  When I got out of the shower, Single Ladies (or "Single Babies" as Matt calls it) was on its 9th time on repeat and she was loving it as much as ever.

We have also been getting outside more since the weather has been warmer.  She is really enjoying facing outwards in the Baby Bjorn.  We also went on a walk in Memorial Park with Aunt Nazreen and she loved it!  So I think we will make it a weekly date (especially if Aunt Nazreen will push the stroller!). 


I start back at work on Jan. 23, so I have one more week with her.  My mom (Mimi) is going to watch her for 6 weeks and then she will start at a day care downtown.  I'm so very happy to have my mom watching her.  I think it will be a great transition for me & I know Olivia will be spoiled and well played with while I'm gone. 

Finally, here is a sweet video of Olivia squealing and laughing as I kiss her.  I LOVE it!

Sunday, January 1, 2012

New Year's Rockin Eve

Matt and I have never been big on NYE festivities.  Fighting the crowds and paying ridiculous prices to sit in loud bars on NYE has never really been high on our list. Although we enjoy going out and being with friends, I think at heart we are both happiest at home and in bed early!  Thus, having little Olivia this year provided the perfect excuse to do just that.

However, one December tradition that we both cherish is our annual date night to Tony's.  I love Tony's in general, but at Christmastime it is decorated so beautifully and the food is extra special.  My parents agreed to babysit on December 30, so Matt and I could have our first official date night since Miss O was born.  (We don't count my company Christmas party as a date night!).  It was such a fun night (complete with champagne and nutella donuts for dessert) and we were so grateful to my mom for sending us text updates on Olivia!

My parents spent the night after babysitting, so we got to hang out with them a bit on NYE day (also their anniversary!).  While we were making breakfast, Olivia bumped her head accidentally.  It was a very minor event, but still caused a bit of panic in these first-time parents.  So we iced her little head and called the doctor.  (Truth be told, Matt and I seemed more upset than she did).  But, to distract her from the ice, we turned on some music.  No one loves a dance party more than Olivia!  Luckily my dad proved to be a great dance partner for her -- he twirled her around and let her chew on his thumb.  Such a good GrandDad!

So, on actual NYE, Matt and I ordered a pizza, watched a movie, and I think we were in bed by 10:00.  We actually happened to be awake at midnight for a feeding, so we kissed Olivia and marveled at how amazing 2011 had been and how excited we are for 2012.  Can't wait to see what fun is in store with our little bundle!