Squeaker and I understand each other a lot better these days than we did a couple of months ago. I guess I might just understand her better, by this I mean that in general I have figured out a loose schedule that leads to the most success on any given day. I have also become more comfortable in my career as her mother, now that I have discovered some things the hard way and learned. Some things come down to simple instincts as well, and learning what Squeaker is trying to say by the different sounds she makes. I am so happy that she has gotten past the stage of crying for no reason, at least it seemed like no reason to me. She has evened out and is a pretty chill baby overall now.
We still follow a flexible version of the Baby Wise method, meaning that we have a schedule where Squeaker eats, then stays awake for around two hours, then takes a nap (or is grumpy & refuses to take a nap) and eats again after that. This process is repeated through 5-6 feedings a day and usually she can go around three or four hours between feedings now, as well as only waking up once a night around 4am to be fed. There have been about five miracle nights as well now where Squeaker eats around 9:30-10pm and doesn't wake up again to be fed until 6-6:30am. I can't wait until this becomes her norm! However, this also means that she has started to narrow down nap times. She usually has one good nap a day now, good meaning longer than an hour, and then about two short (20-40 minute) naps. I still don't really use the "cry it our" method, but sometimes when I can tell that Squeaker is just really tired and is not happy when I'm holding her either, then I will giver her around 10 minutes in her crib alone before going and trying again. Most of the time she gets herself to sleep when these situations occur. I just can't leave her in there alone for very long when she is using her urgent "I really don't want to be alone right now and want mommy" cry.
Cloth diapering is also going very well and I do not regret making the switch after these three months of using them. I still love bumGenius and recommend them to anyone who is considering cloth diapers. I also think that using cloth wipes was the best way to go, since I'm already doing the laundry and the ingredients I use for the wipe solution aren't expensive (I already had all of them to begin with and I don't use a lot of them, it's mostly water). I know we have saved a lot of money by switching to cloth and using disposable wipes more sparingly. I estimate our savings has added up to $177 over the last three months (assuming we bought all of the disposable products and didn't have help from other family members or sources to get them). That estimation was based on prices found at Costco (size 2 diapers), where we would have bought them in bulk and assuming that we changed Squeaker's diaper an average of 6 times a day (which we usually do more often). I also did not count the fact that we do use more water and power to wash the diapers, but I think that number will be negligible in the long run after using cloth diapers for years and comparing that expense to the amount we save by not buying disposables. A sweet friend who cloth diapered her children was generous enough to give us her diaper sprayer that attaches to the toilet, now that Squeaker is starting to eat some solid food & getting thicker poop, so we won't have to buy one. It works really well and my friend only warned that when kids get bigger they like to play with it and spray each other. I'm kind of hoping it doesn't come to that and am considering not letting our kids watch me clean the diapers, so maybe they won't notice the sprayer and use it. Either way, it's just water though, right? ha
Speaking of solid food, since the post I wrote awhile back concerning this topic I started letting Squeaker taste different foods here and there (mashed up avocado, banana, etc.). She really seemed to like it and I have started to give her either single grained cereal (rice or oatmeal) mixed with breast milk or some fruit/vegetable baby food after feeding her breast milk. She makes really funny faces, especially if it is a new food she hasn't tasted before, but she is really good at opening her mouth and leaning towards the spoon too. The amount of solid she eats is usually pretty small right now, maybe a tablespoon altogether in a day and I only giver her some once or twice a day. Squeaker seems to like the oatmeal single grain cereal the most, which I am happy with because then she gets fiber as well and I don't have to worry about constipation. She also loves all kinds of fruit so far (banana, mango, apple, pear, avocado). I will sometimes add the rice cereal to a littl bit vegetable purée, mixing it up and getting her used to the different tastes.
Squeaker LOVES to talk, the only things she says that actually sound like words are: nine (or nein if she is speaking German), mama, and dada. Sometimes when we try to get her to say something, like mama or dada, she will look at our mouths and whisper it. I love it when she does that. She likes to sing/scream too and that is fun, except when we are in the middle of church and everyone else is being quiet. She seems to enjoy doing this at the store too, I think it's really funny when random people turn to look at us because Squeaker is screaming like she's being set on fire (while she has a big smile on her face of course).
We still give Squeaker her pacifier, I'm not sure when we will take it away from her. She has gotten to the point where she can put it back into her mouth if she wants to and I like that she isn't sucking on her hands, but I also don't really want her to get so attached that it's difficult to take it away from her. I would like her to be able to self sooth without it if possible. I've read that around six months is when a baby's sucking reflex plateaus and after that it is a good time to consider taking the pacifier away if you want to early. I guess I just hope to avoid situations like my one year old becoming inconsolable when I can't find her binky and then have to drive to the store with her freaking out until I buy her new one. I know she is going to throw fits, but I don't think that the binky should have that kind of power.
During play time Squeaker is all over the place now, rolling across the room before I even know what she's doing. She is trying to crawl, or at least what appears to be some sort of crawling motion, lately. She lifts her head up and straitens her arms when she's on her tummy, she has started to sleep on her side and tummy more than her back too. It's fun, but also scary seeing her become more independent everyday. I was a CNA (Certified Nursing Assistant) for almost four years before getting pregnant with Squeaker and I took care of a lot of elderly or disabled people while they tried to maintain independence, or sometimes simply accept their inevitable death and be happy with the life they had. It has been so amazing watching Squeaker get better, stronger, and learn everyday as I take care of her instead. Both occupations are so rewarding, but being a mother is by far preferable in my opinion.
Well, that's pretty much us now. A lot of trial and error, but we have a nice flow usually. I have to just tell myself that as soon as I think Squeaker is on a schedule or routine of some kind, she is going to change. Then I don't get as agitated when she does decide to fight nap time, or wake up at two in the morning when I know she can make it until at least four. The truth is, with Squeaker there are only guidelines because she likes to change and surprise me.