Speaking of milestones; Elise is now walking!! It took her awhile to get her balance and confidence up. But she finally did it. She took her first few steps on March 13th. After those first steps, it took a few weeks of practice to really get walking good. Now she can't be stopped. She's all over the place! Still a little wobbly, much like a tiny drunk person, but it's the cutest thing ever. She thinks she can run (which she can't yet) and sometimes gets tripped up. She's banged her head and mouth now more times than I can count, but luckily after a few tears and kisses from Mama, she's right back to getting into everything. Of course, every time she falls, my heart sinks into my stomach and I hold my breath until I know she's ok. That's one of the worst things about what we've been through. Every sniffle, fever, bump, and bruise feels like it's the end of the world. We're constantly in fear that something bad will happen to her and that we'll lose her too. We try not to let it get the best of us though.
We especially had a rough time with that over her first birthday. We had an awesome party to celebrate her birthday. After so much planning, we didn't know if we'd get to have the party at all. A few days before the party, we got more snow dumped on us than we'd had in years. Luckily though, the roads were clear by the party day. I guess that's the iffy thing about birthdays in February. We had a great time celebrating with dozens of friends and family. But by the time her actual birthday came 4 days later, she was sick as could be. She ended up having a double ear infection and a nasty cold virus that hit us all (pink eye for Allen and me included). She was the most pitiful I've ever seen her. She had a fever that was tough to break and she refused to eat or drink. I was worried beyond belief. She cried and moaned for a solid 3 days. It was the hardest time we've had with her thus far. I didn't know what to do for her. I'd started weaning her a few weeks prior, but nursing her was the only thing that seemed to calm and comfort her. So, on her birthday, I nursed her for the last time. She seemed confused at first, but it helped her tremendously. It was bittersweet. If I ever questioned if I'd nurse another baby, this nursing session sealed the deal. Yes, I'd do it all over again. While it's nice to have my body back; there's nothing quite like the bond and comfort that it brings them.
She's turned out to be a good sleeper and eater. She sleeps all through the night, and loves to eat a variety of food. Especially vegetables. I swear I think this baby could live off of zucchini, bananas, and black beans. She's still having issues with dairy and some fruits. Although she still gets 2 formula bottles a day and yogurt, I've cut all other forms of dairy out of her diet. It seems to help. She goes to see an allergist in a few weeks, so I'm hoping we'll get some help and direction.
Elise it turning into such a sweet and smart little girl. She loves giving kisses, being outside, taking baths, playing with (not wearing) shoes. She loves doggies and other children. Although she doesn't really watch TV, she loves to dance and sing to Bubble Guppies and Mickey Mouse Clubhouse; and she tries to snort like a pig when Peppa Pig is on. She says "thank you" whenever she hands you something or when you give her something. It's the sweetest thing. She tries to repeat everything you say and seems to know how to operate the remote and my iPhone. She's very much like her Daddy, in that she wants to know how things work. She learns new things everyday and I'm constantly amazed by her. Her chuckles and blue eyes make my life complete. I'm so lucky that I was chosen to be her Mother. My heart is so full when I see her smile. My goodness, she's growing too fast!
In memory of her sister, I decided to give back to Heartstrings. They were essential to our healing after Caroline died, and so I wanted to do what I could for other's. I signed up to be a support parent to another Mother who tragically lost her newborn in much the same way as we did. While I can't take the pain away from this newly grieving Mom. I can give her my support when she's feeling low. I talk to her, pray with her, cry with her, and just let her know I'm there. I think it makes such a difference and it's healing for me as well.
When people say that children grow so fast, it's the truth. Elise changes everyday and never ceases to amaze me. I'm so blessed to be her Mom and to be able to spend so much time with her. She makes me want to be a better person everyday. Nothing makes my heart feel so full as it does when she smiles at me and says "Mama". I never get tired of hearing it. I love her more than I could ever express. Hopefully I can do a better job of keeping things documented so that one day she can read just how deep my love for her is.