At four months, Salem was busy being cute. All of her pictures capture her smile, her eyes, her laugh, her outfits.
That’s because we didn’t take pictures of her crying. And not sleeping. And crying. At this age Salem was at the height of “not sleeping through the night.” She woke every 45 minutes. We would cry it out, she’d sleep longer stretches, and then go back to waking every 45 minutes again a few days later.
She didn’t have digestive problems. She was a great eater. She drove us crazy.
As the weeks passed and she slept better, we think she just had a severe case of FOMO. Fear of missing out. Truly, she cried in her car seat (facing backwards, she couldn’t see us). She cried in her crib (again, wondering what we were up to out there). And she woke up often, to check on the world.
She got older, we kept crying it out, and eventually we settled on waking twice a night to snack. That was the same deal Tyler and I had, so it felt like I hit the jackpot, and we’ve been smooth sailing since then. Sometimes it’s hard to remember how cranky she could be because she’s so easy now…but gosh, she was. Sorry, Salem, if you were trying to tell us something, we totally missed it.
Here are the basket photos of Salem at four months old (March 25).
Here are a bunch of photos from March 2017.
Looking back it is amazing how much of her personality was already there at four months old!
The last time I posted “basket photos” of Salem was when she turned three months old. I had taken her four-month photos right before we left for Cleveland for Spring Break (a couple of days early, in fact, just to be sure). I hadn’t yet gotten around to posting them when my mom died.
And then I just couldn’t. Every month I have diligently taken her basket photos, but it hurt too much to think about posting or writing. So now that we’re effectively six months behind, I’m going to post them, starting with Nine Months–how old she is now. Then I’ll go back to Four Months and catch up.
At nine months old, Salem is crawling like a crazy toddler with a whistle is chasing her. Oh wait, she actually IS crawling like a crazy toddler named Tyler is chasing her with a whistle he unearthed from a pile of ten-cent toys in his room. Video of that to come.
She loves to eat, and it’s like Eric and I are feeding a baby for the first time, because Tyler almost never ate food. We tried and he wasn’t into it and drank plenty of breastmilk so we didn’t push it. So, we didn’t know what it was like to have a messy baby in a high chair. Or what to feed a baby with no teeth. Salem is a pig, and a messy pig at that. Organic homemade baby food blends? Pshaw. This girl eats Chick-fil-A, collard greens, salmon, ice cream, pickles, and Lord knows what else. She has yet to decline anything. Still, she’s only about 15 pounds and rocking 3 month onesies. She must burn a lot of calories crawling away from Mr. Whistlepants.
I have a box of baby dresses that were mine. My mom used them to decorate for my baby shower when I was pregnant with Tyler (we didn’t know what we were having) and then brought the box out to us one time when my parents drove to Colorado. I hadn’t thought much about them after Tyler was born (for obvious reasons) but after Salem was born I was excited to drag them out. I knew they were bigger, though, mostly 12 months and up, so I hadn’t done it yet when my mom visited after Salem was born. I so, so, so wish we could have gone through that box together. I know my mom would have loved to remember when I was a baby and wore them 36 years ago and would have loved even more to see Salem wear them.
The romper she is wearing in her photos was mine. She wore the coordinating dress to church last week. I’m actually surprised how well these clothes have held up baking in a 100-degree attic at my parents house for over 30 years. I think she looks adorable in this vintage outfit.
Tyler, who lately has been resisting looking at the camera, tried to get into every one of these photos. Salem obviously loved sharing her shoot with him.
It’s been four months today since my mom died.
There’s so much to freak out about it’s impossible to write it all down.
One strange fact I can’t let go of: Salem was about 4 1/2 months old when she lost her Nana, whom I know loved her the most. Salem is now almost 9 months old. I have taken comfort in the fact that Nana knew Salem for more than half of her tiny, short, just-beginning life. She loved her for 4 1/2 months.
Two weeks after my mom died, I could still stay that she knew Salem for most of her wild baby life. Two months after my mom died, I could still say that she knew Salem for more than half of her bold little life. But very soon, the math will turn around. 4 1/2 + 4 1/2 = 9. After Salem is 9 months old, my mom will have known her for less than half of her sweet, perfect life. As time goes on, the overlap between Salem’s life and my mom’s will become very, very tiny. A dot on the timeline of both of their lives.
My mom spent a little over two weeks, total, with Salem.
She held her when she was 8 days old:
She held her for a week at Christmas:
And she held her in March when we visited Cleveland over Spring Break:
I have maybe a hundred, or more, photos of my mom with Tyler. But this is all I have of my mom with Salem. Five photos. Five photos of my mom and my bitty baby who is her mini-me.
It’s the lips, and her smile. We see her Nana in her every day. Even Tyler calls it out when he sees her “Bonnieface.” I can’t believe my mom isn’t here to see her grow up. Tyler, either, but even at 2 1/2 she could have a conversation with him, play with him, read books with him. They say he won’t remember, but he might surprise us all. Salem doesn’t have a chance.
She has five photos.
March 7th, 2016 was an emotional day for us. It was a Monday. Tyler was exactly 19 months old. And it was the fourth (and final) attempt for us to conceive through IUI. We arrived at Conceptions with dread outweighing the excitement. We’d been down this road three times already in the past four months, each time the anticipation waning and the fear growing. What if it didn’t work? Thankfully, we never had to answer that question. Two weeks later we learned we were pregnant.
With Tyler, Eric diligently took a photo of me every day and made an amazing video to document that special time in our lives. You can see that here. It still makes me cry.
With Salem….second child. I’m sorry, sweetie. We just weren’t that committed to the daily, or even weekly, photo. But here are a few shots of me in some really cute maternity dresses growing a really cute baby.
Salem arrived eight days after the snowy photo, three days before her due date. She’s now just over three months old. When people say so much can change in a year, it’s amazingly true. One year ago we didn’t know if we’d ever have another baby, and now we have Salem, who’s not even a newborn anymore.
And Tyler…he’s now been around for THREE March 7ths.
OK OK both of those are from March 6th, which was a weekend both years. Besides, once he hit 100 breweries by age 2, he kind of got over it.
He has an adorable dinosaur button-down on but insisted on wearing his “baseball jacket” which he will make you snap up to the neck.
I know most people don’t recognize the day their babies were made, but for us, those days were really significant. Tyler was made on Eric’s 33rd birthday! So March 7th, here’s to you, an otherwise uneventful day. Thank you!
Three months. 12 weeks. 90 days. Where did it go? In a practical sense, how was Thanksgiving three months ago? How was Christmas two months ago? It seems like only yesterday. The time is going too quickly with this little one.
Salem is a smiley three-month-old. As much as we can remember, she’s even smilier (is that a word?) than Tyler was. Like many babies, mid-morning is a peaceful time for her, so I snapped her basket photos before church today. She was incredibly cooperative, and even Tyler wanted in on the action.
And in a wave of three-month-old maturity, Salem can suddenly keep a pacifier in her mouth. Hurray! Tyler never took one, so we have about 42 brand-new pacifiers that now might actually get used.
Thank you to Aunt Laura for the adorable owl hat and thank you to Laura Smith of RubyRedHandmade for the headband!
It’s official. Our kids look alike. When Salem was fresh and red and wrinkled, it was hard to tell. But now….
And there’s so many more. We knew in the womb the baby looked just like Tyler. One ultrasound photo in particular gave us the chills.
Ultrasound photos are always kind of creepy (don’t worry, I’ll spare you the 4D freakiness) but when this smashed face appeared we both couldn’t believe how much the baby looked like Tyler (big lips from Grandpa and big nostrils from Daddy).
We keep wondering…will her eyes stay blue (like Tyler’s were) or change to gray-green? Will her hair grow in blond? So far, she eats and sleeps just like him (lots of snacking and catnaps) and is long and skinny like he was. It will be fun to find out, but I don’t want to rush it!
Last summer I was daydreaming about what we should do for the new baby’s nursery. We had done the nursery for Tyler in gender-neutral green, gray, and yellow, and I still loved the way it looked (and functioned). Light-bulb moment! Keep the nursery the same! Tyler’s getting a big boy room!
I didn’t have a theme in mind for his new room, only that Eric and I really wanted it to be a playroom for him as well as his bedroom. Our house is small and we want as few toys in the living room as possible. Four months before the baby was due, Tyler turned two and we had no idea if he would still be in a crib when the baby arrived. Two months before d-day, we realized Tyler would probably sleep in a crib until he was six if we let him. He, to this day, has NEVER tried to escape. I don’t think the thought has ever occurred to him. So, I scored an IKEA crib for $15 and a mattress for $10 for Tyler’s new room. Eventually we’ll take the side off of it but hopefully he sleeps in it as long as he fits in it, because a crib takes up way less space than a bed in his playroom/bedroom.
I found an adorable alligator duvet on PBK.com that I scooped up on clearance. But that’s all I had to go on. My parents came out in October to “do the room” so Eric and I had to make some choices.
We He painted the room gray and installed crown moulding with my dad. (Lowe’s makes a nifty kind with corner pieces that the boards pop into so you don’t have to miter, FYI!) We still needed curtains and while trolling PBK.com again I saw that the toddler duvet I had purchased was on super-duper-extra clearance ($9.99!) so I bought two more and my mom transformed them into curtains. We Eric built an IKEA dresser and BHG cube shelves from Walmart, and painted an old bookshelf white. Eric chose the softest, most comfortable rug from Home Depot. I organized the toys and created art for the walls. We absolutely LOVE how the room turned out!
I knew if we had a girl I would add a touch of girliness to the nursery, so I painted Salem’s letters pink and found a cute pink sheet at Target. Other than that, the room is pretty much the same, and we still love it.
Salem will be eleven weeks old on Friday, and I’m headed back to work on Wednesday. I’m so, so glad I was able to spend more time with her–I went back when Tyler was only seven weeks old.
I knew maternity leave would feel like a blur with the holidays and visits from family and friends, but WOW, did it go by quickly. I had been worried about being cooped up in the house with a newborn because I had loved being able to walk and walk and walk with Tyler in the stroller in August and September (the best month of the year in Colorado!) Although we had some incredibly nice days, there were many wintry days this January. (I don’t remember December. Between Christmas and all of Salem’s crying, I just don’t remember much about December.)
The first couple of cold, windy days in January I started to go crazy with Salem stuck at home. She cried a lot for awhile there, and daytime TV is terrible. But after a sunny patch and after Salem got just a bit older, I began to look forward to the next blustery day. I loved spending time with this baby girl, just holding her and looking at her and really, really wondering who she would look like as she grows up.
All of a sudden she was smiling. And cooing. And grabbing at her toys on the playmat. She didn’t need to be bounced for hours anymore. She could sit in the Bumbo and watch her brother run and play. What happened to my wrinkly, fragile newborn? The one who wanted to eat every twenty minutes? The one who fit into newborn clothes until she was nine weeks old?
She went to daycare today for the first time, for practice. She did great. My strong, sweet little champ who took a bottle when she was four days old and will let anyone feed it to her. She even came home in the same outfit I sent her in. Tidy, like her brother.
I keep telling myself I’m going back midweek for a reason–a short week, followed by two more short weeks (President’s Day). Then it’s March, and Spring Break will be here before we know it. I wish I had more time at home but summer is just around the corner (which is basically the whole point of being a teacher.) We will settle into a new routine tomorrow, a new, temporary way of life. Wrangling two kids is already significantly less challenging than it was a month ago.
Salem is a peach. We love her so, so much. Here is a look back, in lots of photos (and a few videos), at her first eleven weeks of life. I hardly recognize this little peanut…