Tough day to be a baby

Today was the big doctor’s appointment, and Juliette didn’t disappoint, weighing in at 5.55kg and 61cm tall. Everything is developing as it should, which is great news.

Less of a highlight, at least for Juliette, was her first course of vaccinations. One big shot in each thigh, and an oral vaccine against rotavirus just for good measure.

To say that Juliette did not enjoy this experience is an understatement. Beet-red and screaming at the top of her lungs, reported Aude, in a way that we’ve never heard before.

She’s now calmed down and sleeping it off in her playpen, a box of paracetamol at the ready.

Still, in this village, where many people don’t vaccinate their children and where preventable disease occurs with worrying levels of frequency, Mom and Dad will sleep a little easier knowing that Juliette is now on her way to having a more robust immunity. (And as an aside from Dad, a plea to all parents: VACCINATE YOUR CHILDREN!)

Sleeping off a tough afternoon at the doctor's...

Sleeping off a tough afternoon at the doctor’s…

Smile-o-gram

Juliette is just learning to smile. She’s most smiley in the morning, when she’s still full of energy and not worn out from the day.

One of Dad’s biggest regrets is that he’s at work most days and doesn’t get to see this very often. By the time he gets home, Juliette’s mostly smiled out.

So what a nice surprise to receive a smile-o-gram in his inbox!

One happy baby!

One happy baby!

A new pink dress from Daddy

Daddy went shopping for baby clothes, buying plenty of stuff in the 3-6m size range so that Juliette would have something to grow into in a few months. Well, unfortunately Juliette is growing ahead of the curve and is ready to wear her new clothes already, at just two months. Still, she looked so cute that we had to snap a few photos of her in her new outfit.

"Could I be any cuter?"

“Could I be any cuter?”

Juliette's captivated by her butterfly mobile

Juliette’s captivated by her butterfly mobile

Straight out of the bath and into her nice new ensemble

Straight out of the bath and into her nice new ensemble

* Editor’s note: Lest anyone is looking at the pictures over the past few months and thinking that Dad has assumed the white-trash-tee-shirt-24-7 look, he would like to point out in his defense that photo time usually follows bathtime. And if you’ve ever given a wriggling baby a bath, it’s best not to be dressed in anything you want to stay dry.

We’ll introduce Juliette to her redneck side soon enough…

Juliette a fait sa nuit!

Yesterday was really a day of milestones. It was Juliette’s two-month birthday, which was a milestone in itself. But as parents, the more important one came this morning.

Dad is usually up-and-gone before Juliette and Mom are awake. So he was very surprised to find that they were both downstairs and playing when he stepped out of the shower.

Rather than being a picture of a blissful family passing their morning together, the sight of Mom before morning coffee usually means that it’s been a tough night. Juliette was very fussy last night and it took two attempts and nearly an hour-and-a-half to get her to go down. But when she was finally down, she was really down.

“Elle a fait sa nuit!” exclaimed a very cheerful looking Aude.

In English, we don’t really have an expression for faire ses nuits, which literally means ‘does her nights’. But this is an important right of passage in France, and anxious mothers will compare their little darlings, always asking if little Junior does her nights — meaning sleeping through the night.

And Juliette crossed that threshold last night. She fed at 10:30pm, then slept straight through until nearly 7am. As always, it’s too early to declare victory. But it does show us just a hint of the light at the end of the tunnel.

Vaccinations start tomorrow. I suspect the light at the end of the tunnel will have to wait. The next few days are liable to be a bumpy ride.

One very excited Facebook update from one very excited Maman!

One very excited Facebook update from one very excited Maman!

Two months old today!

Guess who's two months old today?!

Guess who’s two months old today?!

It’s hard to believe that two months have gone by already. And while Juliette still hasn’t learned to talk, read, or walk yet, her parents are constantly amazed by how much she changes from day-to-day, week-to-week. Part of the pleasure of this blog, along with sharing Juliette with our friends and family, is to have a sort of documentary record of her first few months.

Gone are the days of 18-hours-a-day of sleep, and thankfully of feeding every two hours. Juliette is finally beginning to interact with us. It started with eye contact, then little smiles, now with cooing and reaching out.

She’s growing like a weed, about 60cm tall and weighing around 5.5kg, according to Dad’s (admittedly less-than-scientific) measurements. That still puts her at the outside edge of the growth curve, and means that she’s already outgrowing clothing designed for a 3-month. We thought we were being clever when we bought season-specific clothing to match her growing body. Little did we know that she’d be into the dresses meant for May/June at the end of February! She goes in for her next doctor’s appointment in a few days, and we should have more official numbers then.

For the most part, she’s been a delightful baby so far. Very calm and contented, very rarely fussy, and a reasonably good sleeper. Fingers crossed that this is the trajectory that she’s set to follow for a while.

Having a little chill-out time after her bath...

Having a little chill-out time after her bath…

Black on White by Tana Hoban

I have to admit, I was skeptical when a friend recommended ‘Black on White’ and ‘White on Black’ by Tana Hoban for our baby. I really wasn’t sure that the baby would engage with static pages, but boy, was I wrong. Juliette was absolutely captivated by the images.

The principle is simple. These books contain simple, high-contrast drawings (suited to a newborn’s eyesight, with sees contrast better in the early days). What really amazes me, though, is that Juliette has clear preferences. I don’t know if it’s because she has a butterfly mobile over the changing table, but she looks at the picture of a butterfly and zones out the rest of the world.

'Black on White' and 'White on Black' by Tana Hoban

‘Black on White’ and ‘White on Black’ by Tana Hoban

Juliette's favorite picture is the butterfly.

Juliette’s favorite picture is the butterfly.

A new grey dress

Lots of developments in the past few days. Juliette is beginning to smile more and more, mostly in the morning. By the time Daddy gets home from work, there are usually a few smiles left in reserve, but bathtime and bedtime are not far away.

Her muscles are getting stronger and stronger, too. She’s able to hold her head much more steady, and lift it up if she is lying on her front, to look at what’s going on around her. She’s much less of the floppy ragdoll that she was when she was brand new.

Most importantly, we tried an experiment and let Juliette sleep through her midnight feeding. Our theory was that we would feed her as soon as she woke up and was hungry.

Good news! She slept from 7pm until 4am. Non-parents are wondering why this is such a big deal, other than meaning a 4am feeding for Mom. But the truth is, it shows us that Juliette’s stomach is big enough that she can go for 7-8 hours without needing a feed. Our next mission, should we choose to accept it, is to re-introduce her midnight feeding and see if that will keep her asleep until a reasonable time in the morning — meaning that Mom will finally get a real, proper, uninterrupted night of sleep.

Finally, our little weed is growing so fast it seems she needs new clothes every week or two. So tonight, she got to try out her nice new grey dress and matching socks.

All dressed up and nowhere to go!

All dressed up and nowhere to go!