Has she rolled over yet? Is she sleeping through the night? Has she already cut her first tooth?
These are the questions I get asked often, and the short answer is “no, no, and no”. Maria hasn’t rolled over yet and does not seem to make an effort to do so any time soon. Most of the nights, she wakes up once for a feed, sometimes as early as 2 a.m., other nights as late as 4 a.m.
While the third question is a “no” as well – the first tooth often appears when the baby is six to 10 months of age – Maria does show signs of teething, or so I am told. She is drooling a lot, constantly chewing her fists and having red cheeks occasionally. I wasn’t thinking much of these things until another mother with a three-month old told me these were signs of teething. Which, by the way, doesn’t mean her first tooth will appear any time soon, she added.
I also heard that the chewing on the hands thing is just because she is discovering them. Isn’t it puzzling how badly we understand babies sometimes? To be honest, I hope I will be able to enjoy her toothless smile for at least a couple more months.
Last week I had to take Maria to Plunket again to have her weight checked. During her three-month checkup, the nurse was slightly concerned about her weight gain, or rather the lack of it. (Not totally true. She did gain weight, just not as much as we had expected.)
So after I undressed her, I joked, “Moment of the truth”, and put her on the scale. The number didn’t lie: She had LOST 450 grams! “This can’t be correct,” I stumbled, and also the nurse was shocked. I asked her if we could try the scale she had used when she came to my home the first few times, and it turned out Maria was doing perfectly fine in terms of weight gain. So now we don’t need to come back until she is five months old.
Last week was also the first time we went with Maria on an overnight trip. It was Eid (the feast at the end of Ramadan) and in Auckland was a big event to celebrate this. We also went to celebrate our five-year wedding anniversary. I was slightly nervous, wondering whether Maria would be fine sleeping somewhere else, so we decided to bring her bassinet with us.
The trip was a success: We enjoyed the city hustle and bustle we kinda miss here in Hamilton, some really good sushi and, long story short, Maria slept like a baby that night. The Eid festivities were nothing special and quite noisy for Maria, but we ended our trip with a fruitful shopping spree and a falafel lunch at a Lebanese restaurant. We were actually hoping to find more authentic Middle Eastern food in Auckland, because the Turkish restaurants in Hamilton are a far cry from the real deal, but even this restaurant was an Indian interpretation of Lebanese falafel, hummus and mutabbal (eggplant dip). I guess we will have to wait until we go back to Saudi Arabia to have good Middle Eastern food again.
The Auckland weekend trip marked the end of a relaxed period for Ahmed, who started the second semester last week. And this semester is going to be a little more challenging than the first one.
Maria and I are going to be busy as well, with a massage course that started today and another parenting course starting on Monday. Then we have the weekly coffee mornings with our antenatal group – which I hosted this week, and some other coffee groups that meet once a month. We surely don’t feel bored during these long winter months!
In the sleeping department, I can say that things are going pretty well – and hopefully I’m not jinxing myself right now. Ironically, while sleeping in her bassinet has always been an issue, now that is the only place she actually can sleep. Today the massage class coincided with her nap time, and although she slept a little on the way there and was quite happy most of the time, I couldn’t soothe her once she started grizzling towards the end. It was as if she was begging me to go home and put her down to sleep, so we ended up having to leave early.
Regarding sleep, the only issue we have is that most of the time Maria wakes up after 45-50 minutes – apparently the length of one sleep cycle – during her daytime naps. I was told this is not enough, so I was stressing myself out about how to make her sleep longer. Lately, I would feed her a bit and put her back in her bassinet, but this is generally not recommended by “the experts” (’cause we could end up having to feed her whenever she wakes up) and is something Ahmed cannot do when I am out. Today I got the tip to settle her before she actually wakes up by rocking her bassinet, playing the lullaby app we use again, etc. Gonna give that a try tomorrow. That said, I was also told to look at the big picture and Maria gets plenty of sleep at night, so I probably shouldn’t worry too much about the catnaps.