Clara @ 11 Months (+ one factor that changed my perspective of the infant stage)

posted by Andrea | 08/27/2018

Clara is officially 11 months old, as of Saturday!

She is developing such a fun little personality, and makes the cutest facial expressions throughout the day!

Also, as you can see by the photos above, she officially has a teeny, tiny ponytail. πŸ™‚

She pulls herself up on anything and everything and is walking along furniture (and with helping hands). She loves to “brush her teeth” after her bath each night, she loves playing peek-a-boo any time she can find something to cover her eyes, and she babbles constantly.

Clara has 7 teeth now (soon to be 8), she is eating well, she loves guzzling water from her sippy cup, and she is still generally a VERY happy little girl who sleeps fairly well at night and takes at least one decent nap everyday.

So yeah… life is pretty good when you’re happy and you sleep and eat well!

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At this point, Dave and I are pretty sure we won’t have any more babies… so we’re having lots of “last firsts” as I call them.

  • The last time we’ll hear their first words (it was ‘dada’, by the way!)
  • The last time we’ll try various foods for the first time
  • The last time we’ll watch our baby take her first steps
  • The last time we’ll celebrate a first birthday
  • etc. etc.

I’m not sentimental about it at all (I promise, there have been no tears!) but I have been thinking about how Clara’s first year has compared to my other 3 children’s first years.

Obviously, the concept of “the end is near” puts a completely different spin on things. I know (pretty much for sure) that I’m almost finished nursing, we’re basically finished with sleepless nights, we only have another year (or so) of diapers, and soon enough, we won’t even need to plan our days around nap times. Glorious!

However, in my opinion, there is an even bigger factor that has completely revolutionized the way I feel about parenting an infant now versus when Nora was a baby…

The biggest game-changer for me was simply having a smart phone!

When Nora was born, I still had an old-fashion flip-phone with no internet, no apps, no texting, no email, no camera, no nothing. It’s only function was to call people (imagine that, a phone to call people!)

So ALLLLLLLLL those long hours spent holding, rocking, feeding, bouncing, massaging, shushing, pacing, etc. were just me, a crabby baby, and my own thoughts. And after hours and days and weeks and months of only having a screaming baby and my own (fairly negative) thoughts to keep me company, I felt like I was going crazy.

I had nothing to distract myself, nothing I could do easily with only one hand, nothing to pass the long hours, nothing I could do in dark or dim lighting, nothing… except hold, rock, feed, bounce, massage, shush, pace, feed, and repeat. Over and over and over again, while thinking through everything else I had to accomplish that day.

We did take lots and lots of naps together (the only way she would ever sleep), but even then I just wanted to get up and accomplish something instead of being connected to an infant all day long!

By the time Simon was born, I had a smart phone and we had Netflix… and the rest is history!

Now, instead of feeling like I’m cooped up in the nursery, I look forward to my time alone with Clara.

I enjoy the dark quietness of her nursery while I feed her and often rock her to sleep (because I want to, not because I need to). Meanwhile, I can text a friend, respond to emails or blog comments, read a book, play a game, browse new recipes I might want to try, catch up on social media, scroll through my photos, even watch Netflix with earbuds!

I know it might sound silly, but this one change has made such a HUGE difference in how I feel about the somewhat lonely infant stage, when mom often needs to bare the majority of the responsibilities and rarely ever gets a break.

Thanks to my smart phone, I feel like I get several mini breaks all throughout the day, because every time I feed her or put her down for a nap or get up with her in the middle of the night, I have a few minutes of peace and quiet where I can zone out a bit, think my own thoughts, and do my own thing. Even if it is just 5 minutes… I’ll take it!Β 

As many of you know, Clara has basically been a dream baby compared to my other 3. She is so happy, so sweet, so easy-going… and her first year has been better than I ever hoped it could be.

However, I’m 100% confident that my ability to kick back, relax, zone out, and enjoy the peace and quiet of me, my baby, and my smart phone for a few minutes everyday has helped tremendously as I waded through the muddy waters of parenting an infant.

Screen time for the win with this mama of 4!

Happy 11 months sweet Clara! We look forward to celebrating your FIRST birthday next month!

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34 comments

  1. Tina

    08/31/2018

    I STILL have a flip phone!! Lol. Can’t afford a smartphone, BUT we were gifted an IPAd and I totally get where you’re coming from

    Our first was just like your Nora. Our third(and last) is a calm one and we have Netflix now and the iPad. I feel like I can finally have some relaxation! Sounds crazy to some I’m sure but I totally get it!

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  2. Kristi

    08/29/2018

    I was the same way with most of our “lasts” with our two boys. The only one that I had trouble with was the last time that I nursed my 2nd. I really enjoyed nursing (it was the pumping while I was at work that I hated). And the only ones that made me sad were the ones that you don’t realize will be the last. Like the last time you carry your sleeping child in from the car, the last time you rock them to sleep, or the last time they let you kiss them goodbye when you drop them off at school. You don’t realize it’s the last so you don’t get to savor and capture the moment. :'(
    On a different note….Clara has the most BEAUTIFUL blue eyes!! And her personality shines through in all of those adorable faces! Such a cutie!!!

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    Andrea Reply:

    Yeah, I’m sure we’ve had many “lasts” that I didn’t even realize at the time (I can’t think of any right this second, but I know they’ve happened). Sort of bittersweet… but exciting to be moving to “the next stage” in life!

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  3. Karen

    08/28/2018

    Yes!!! My daughter is 10 and I had a prepaid flip phone when she was born. I too have mentioned to my husband how much better the nights would have been if I had a smartphone back then! Yes the quite is wonderful but being alone in pretty much a dark room with negative thoughts (not always) can play a toll on your mental health.

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    Andrea Reply:

    oh the flip phones! I know technology often gets a bad reputation, but somedays, I feel like it saves my sanity (in more ways than one!)

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  4. JoDi

    08/27/2018

    Those faces! She just has the best expressions!

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    Andrea Reply:

    I know. She’s so animated! It’s fun to watch (and the older kids love it too!)

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  5. BB

    08/27/2018

    Omigosh, how adorable. Hubby was next to me in his chair and kept hearing me giggle. So he asked what I was giggling at. I turned my computer to him and explained who you were, and the photos of Clara, and the rest of y’all when more of a group photo came up. He laughed right out loud of photo of Clara in the bathroom, apparently after a bath with ‘hair fuzzies’. I was amazed at all the faces of Clara, as she usually has those huge blue eyes and and a smile on her face. Just adorable. Have loved watching your kids grow up and the sameness or differences in how they are and look as they go through their stages of getting older. Happy place, happy face(s)!

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    Andrea Reply:

    haha –thanks for sharing! This made me giggle a little πŸ™‚

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  6. JJ

    08/27/2018

    Yes to the yes! My 2(almost 3 year old) year old is our youngest, and he finally started to sleep through the night when he turned 2. Until he was about 7-8 months, he was up 4-5 times a NIGHT! We found out his dairy and egg allergy(has since outgrown this), but we didn’t find out the dog dander allergy until he turned 2. And we had 2 dogs! He would be asleep enough to not interact but needed me. Having my phone was a lifesaver! Back in my day, when moms were on their phone they were tied to a wall. I like that I can take a few min here and there when they are “busy” playing and feel connected to other adults. A refreshed and happy mom sets a good atmosphere and tone for the whole house! Love this post! Happy 11 Months, Clara!!! So cute!!!

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    Andrea Reply:

    agreed… like the saying goes “Happy Mom, Happy Home” (or something like that!)

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  7. Sheila

    08/27/2018

    I love you blog! and I love your little family and how you and Dave truly take care of them, it blesses my heart. Your children are beautiful little souls! You really show how you are enjoying the journey.

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    Andrea Reply:

    Thanks so much Sheila!

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  8. Jennifer B

    08/27/2018

    I just love all of your pictures of Clara. She is such a beautiful little girl. All of your children are adorable. I was wondering if you could tell me where you got the bibs that Clara is wearing in a couple of the pictures. My sister is expecting her first baby in March and I am putting together lots of gifts and I cannot seem to find bibs that I like. Most I am finding have Velcro which I do not like. Thank you.

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    Andrea Reply:

    Thanks Jennifer — Dave’s mom makes the bibs for us, and yes, they are super nice!
    However, I’m certain you won’t find bibs like them anywhere else as they tie around the neck and that’s a huge choking hazard. You could check Etsy for “dress bibs’ Or “shirt bibs” to see if anything similar pops up.

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    Katie Reply:

    Jennifer – I love these bibs – they are wipeable without being too plastic-y… the come in “boy” and gender neutral colors too. I still have some from when my daughter was a baby – and she just turned 7! I’m totally with you on the dislike of velcro πŸ™‚

    https://smile.amazon.com/JJ-Cole-Pink-Shapes-Pack/dp/B007K3CYEK/ref=sr_1_4_s_it?s=baby-products&ie=UTF8&qid=1535418732&sr=1-4&keywords=jj+cole+bib

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  9. Jennifer

    08/27/2018

    I totally am at this stage in our family life as well! We have four kids and while my youngest is now 21 months (oldest is 9) I am still “deciding” if this is the end of the baby train for us–meaning life revolving around naps, high chairs, car seats, etc. I also agree with you on the smart phone thing. I started to look forward to nursing more when I had my smart phone. I also liked reading a book while I nursed. Sometimes my older boys would want to talk, though, so that kind of took that time away for reading, but I get it! You are a great mama and I love your website.

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    Andrea Reply:

    Dave and I feel very DONE with all the baby stuff. I just want it out of my house (and my life) forever!

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  10. Michelle

    08/27/2018

    There are times I observe my daughter with her baby and my niece with hers….among others…and wish they would just put their phones down and concentrate on building the bond with the baby and just suck up those precious moments they’ll never get again with them.

    But….I also understand they may be doing things to create that bond at other times when I’m not there to see.

    And….I also know we moms need our down times and to be able to make the choice what to do during that down time.

    Little Clara is adorable and I cannot believe it’s almost been a year already.

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    Laura Reply:

    Michelle, I understand what you are saying. As a former teacher of young children it upset me to see the moms on their phones while on the playground with the kids, or walking to and from school, or even when accompanying us on a field trip. It appeared to me they were never quite fully in the moment. I do understand and remember how it can be overwhelming to have that responsibility, but I also know what a privilege it is to nurture your child fully. I sincerely hope these young mothers realize it really is such a short period of time in your parent/ child relationship.

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  11. Ronnie

    08/27/2018

    Nora is so adorable. Those eyes would have her constantly getting her way with me. Actually, all of your children have those big, beautiful eyes and they would all have me eating out of the palms of their hands!! I have a 3 year old and a 15 year old and love the different phases of life they are in. When my teenager is being a hormonal monster, I get to cuddle with the 3 year old that still thinks I’m pretty awesome πŸ™‚

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    Andrea Reply:

    that’s fun — you can probably appreciate their different stages of life more now that you have an older child (at least that’s how it works for me!)

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  12. Lea

    08/27/2018

    Wow! She’s a cutie and that rainbow dress is adorable.

    When my munchkins were little, I always had the TV on mute – we have a teeny house and I didn’t have a smart phone. The TV on mute with closed captioning was a lifesaver with twins. It was a perfect nightlight – not too bright and I didn’t have to think at all. My life was so busy back then, I relished the down time to rock, snuggle, feed, etc. They were awesome sleepers though, so that helped a TON!

    Enjoy the rest of your summer, Andrea! I appreciate you sharing pieces of your life with us.
    Lea

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    Erika Reply:

    Fellow twin mama here! The TV is amazing right now!!! Thank goodness for mute and closed captioning!!

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    Andrea Reply:

    oh wow — twins! I have a friend with kids the exact same ages as mine… except she had twins when I had Clara (so she had 5, 5 and under!) So crazy, but also so fun!

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  13. Anna

    08/27/2018

    I remember Nora’s plan never to sleep again. She’s about a year younger than my youngest (who still doesn’t sleep), but you always seemed like you had things together – at least, much more than I did! Congratulations on your ‘lasts’. The diapers are the best.

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    Andrea Reply:

    I HAVE to have things together… even more so when there’s a part of my life I can’t control (like a baby not sleeping). When that happens, I plan even more, get even more organized, etc. as a coping mechanism for the parts of my life I can’t control!
    At least it’s just organizing and not drugs or something πŸ™‚

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    Anna Reply:

    Yes, we all have to, one way or another. It was intended to be complimentary. One does one’s best.

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    Andrea Reply:

    oh yes… I took it as a compliment πŸ™‚ Thanks!!

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  14. Laurel

    08/27/2018

    I also am the mom of four kiddos, 2 girls and 2 boys. It’s funny because I can’t tell you how many times I have said that I was so glad there were no smart phones when my kids were babies and young children. I would have been way too distracted and I loved the one on one quiet of nursing babies. My babies were very fast and efficient nursers though who slept through the night early on and slept well so maybe that makes a difference. All of our kids were easy, but number four was a super easy add on to number three because you are already outnumbered. What’s one more?!

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  15. Jen

    08/27/2018

    I’m with you! I always got up and watched TV while I nursed my kiddos during the night. This was many years before smart phones and Netflix, but I always managed to find something. It made it much more tolerable! And I admit to crying the last time I nursed our youngest son! Every stage has its pros and cons–and you have MANY fun stages to look forward to! We dropped our youngest off at college last week, so we are now officially “empty nesters”. I’ve shed many tears, but I am looking forward to some time alone after 26 years of having kids around!

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    Andrea Reply:

    wow — empty nesters! Enjoy!!

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  16. Annette Silveira

    08/27/2018

    That ponytail, tho!

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    Andrea Reply:

    I know… SO cute!

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