It's been an exciting month with lots of new developmental milestones and experiences for little Miss Emma! We can't believe how fast six months have gone by, but at the same time, it feels like she has been in our family for much longer. Her personality is really starting to show now, and you can see her thinking through things more than ever before.
Dan had a two-week fall break this month, which is a new perk since his school switched to a year-round schedule this year. I still worked three days a week, and Dan kept Emma at home. Since he didn't have to get up early for work, we focused on sleep training - teaching her to soothe herself back to sleep on her own so she'll eventually sleep all night. We borrowed my cousin's book "The Sleep Lady's Good Night Sleep Tight" which has you sit beside the baby's bed and soothe her (without picking her up) the first few nights, and gradually move further away and soothe her less until she's okay on her own. I don't think I could've handled the "shut the door and let her cry herself to sleep" method, but it was definitely harder not to pick her up when we were right next to her watching her cry. We kept the mantra "This is beneficial training, not torture," and now we're so glad we pushed her to learn how to get to sleep by herself! I have to give Dan huge props - he did the majority of the ground work with her sleep schedule. After a week and a half, she would go down for a long nap three times a day with minimal or no crying, and she was sleeping 9-10 hours at night with only a couple of quick wake-ups! That's pretty amazing, considering she used to cat nap all day long and we rocked her to sleep every single night, never knowing how long she'd sleep.
We did some fun things during fall break, too. Thanks to some gift certificates, we spent two nights in downtown San Diego right on the harbor and within walking distance of many of the touristy spots. We took long walks on the bay and along the downtown streets, took Emma to her first Padres baseball game, and went on a Sunday brunch harbor cruise. It was fun to have so many great activities at our fingertips since we rarely spend time downtown.
Dan and I scheduled a "date day," and dropped Emma off at her baby sitter's all day one Friday so we could do some fun things, sans baby. We went shopping at the mall, took a 2-hour nap, rode our bikes along the beach, watched a movie, and went out to eat. It was refreshing to not have to worry about carrying baby gear and stopping everything to feed/change/entertain her for a few hours.
We also got out of town with friends for a weekend. We stayed at a rental house on an apple orchard in Julian, CA with two families we're close to. They each have young boys, and Emma loved watching them play. We all had tons of fun, and hopefully we'll do it again soon. By this time next year, she'll be running around with those boys!
Some facts about Emma at 6 months old:
- She cut her first tooth! A few days after she turned 5 months, she was chewing on Dan's knuckle and he could feel it just under the gum. Now she has the cutest little tooth poking up from the bottom of her mouth.
- She's definitely sitting up on her own, although it's only a few minutes before she knocks herself off balance and topples over. It'll be nice when she's more stable, since she isn't happy playing on her back anymore, but she can't play sitting up independently yet.
- She can now roll from her back to her belly! She'll often get one arm trapped underneath her, but we've seen her make the full roll a few times now. We put her on her side to sleep, and she'll often roll to her belly on her own as she's drifting off.
- She's becoming more socially aware. She used to smile at everyone and everything that entertained her, but now she gives the "What you lookin' at, Willis?" look to strangers until she warms up to them. She also notices as soon as we leave the room and will sometimes cry, even though she's having a great time playing with her toys. Also, I'll play videos of her or her baby friends, and she'll smile when she sees the video baby laughing.
- She rarely gets lost in her own little world, and is always craning her neck, trying to see what's going on around her.
- Tummy time doesn't seem to be so bad when she rolls herself onto her stomach, rather than us putting her there. She's starting to kick those legs and get on her knees, but she hasn't figured out how to use her arms to lift her upper body. So we'll see if she starts scooting or crawling soon!
- We've been inconsistent with feeding her solid food, since she gets constipated really quickly from almost everything we've tried. So we'll skip it for a few days until she's back to normal. So far her favorite is butternut squash.
- Sleep has been much better for the whole family! We can put her down for naps and count on her sleeping for at least an hour. She still hasn't truly slept through the night, but it's so much more manageable now that we can just go in and check on her, and then let her soothe herself back to sleep. Dan and I get 7-8 hours of sleep most nights, so we're feeling almost human again.
- She grabs at everything now and wants to put things right into her mouth, so we really have to watch her! When she's in our arms, she could lunge in any direction toward something she sees, so we're learning to keep a tight grip on her.
- She's nowhere close to standing on her own, but she loves for us to help her stand up on tables or our laps. She used to cry when we'd try it, but her legs have gotten much stronger from bouncing in her jumparoo toy.
- She's becoming more vocal, which isn't saying too much since she's been a pretty quiet baby so far. But recently when we drive somewhere, Dan and I will be having a conversation in the front seat while we listen to her have a conversation with her toys in the back seat. It's really cute. :)
- One of her favorite new things is when we "fly" her around the house with her belly resting on our forearms. She gets the biggest smile! It's modified tummy time for her and a great arm workout for us. :)
She loves grabbing hair, so I look like a wild woman most of the time. Dan is lucky he only has a little chin hair that's almost impossible for her to yank, although she's gone after his leg hair and chest hair, too. Ouch! Side note: I hope I never forget how sweet her profile is. I love that button nose!
Petco Park, home of the Padres
First baseball game! It was cold, windy, and way past her bedtime, so Emma wasn't all that thrilled about it.
Enjoying the sunshine and beautiful sights from the deck of the cruise ship.
All that fun wore them out!
Our other fall break getaway with our friends in Julian. We spent most of our time at the house and apple orchard, but we drove into town one day to walk around and shop. We got one picture of the whole gang. (left to right) Ann, Eli, Paul, me, Emma, Dan, Chris, Owen, and Adessa.
Emma taking a big bite out of her freshly picked apple from the orchard we stayed on!
My little pumpkin :)
We spent one morning at a nearby park to let the boys run off some steam. Here's a picture of the dads swinging the kids.
Emma loved the swing!
She also got to go down her first slide at the park
We love this sweet girl so much! Time is flying and she's growing up before our eyes. Happy half birthday, Emma!