Shelton & Brandi

Hello! We're Brandi & Shelton Koskie. Since 2006 we’ve been one of the many couples on the In Vitro Fertilization journey. We were the first IVF fundraiser blog, and thanks to the generous help of many, in we had our first successful IVF attempt. Nine months later, we had a beautiful girl, Paisley. You’re invited to follow along on our journey from infertility to parenthood.  Learn more

Snap Back to Infertility

I’m crying and I haven’t even started my first sentence. Paisley turns one in 13 days.   How can that be?!?! This time last year I was contemplating pulling her out with own bare hands, and right now I just want my wiggly worm of a seven-pound baby back. Kind of.

See there was this time we were an infertile couple. Six years to be exact. It consumed us; well, maybe not us, maybe me. Everything was about trying to get pregnant and how we couldn’t get pregnant and how we related to this small faction of people who would give their hearts and souls to be able to have a baby. And then one day, like someone flipped a switch (or more like dropped an embryo off in my uterus), we were pregnant. Finally!

Now, we were just like everyone else. I had a baby in my womb, one that kicked and fluttered about and caused esophagus-melting heartburn and embarrassing cravings for hamburgers and milkshakes. A real life baby! And then I knew what all of those other people felt like, walking around with my big bump and having everyone swoon over me. I’d proudly announce that she would be a girl and that we would name her Paisley and that she was already grounded for all the leg cramps and charlie horses she’d caused.

I reveled in my pregnancy. I knew, and know, that short of divine intervention and an immaculate conception that this would be my one and only pregnancy. If you get real bare bones about it, my pregnancy was awful. I bled the entire time, I had insomnia, chronic heartburn that I asphyxiated on once, muscle wrenching leg cramps, a kidney stone that hospitalized me at 30 weeks, and the list goes on. However, when I think about my pregnancy my immediate reaction is always “Oh my god, I loved it!” I spent 40 weeks willing myself to savor and enjoy even the worst parts of it, because MY GOD when she’d kick or I’d feel her roll over, it was all so soul-crushingly worth it. Make me throw up again, I can take it! Just make that baby kick my bladder!!!

For forty weeks out of my life, I got to be pregnant. And it was perfection. Five minutes after Paisley was born I was thrust back in to the infertile club. And I knew it. I knew it and I felt it right there in the delivery room with my warm newborn swaddled in my arms.

I’ve wanted to write this post so many times, but for whatever reason tonight felt like the night I needed to say it. My heart is so heavy with Paisley’s upcoming birthday. It’s a celebration, God I know it and I intend to whoop up every second of that day. But with each passing day and milestone, she’s less of a baby, and more of this amazing little girl. She’s just too good to be true most days.

Shelton and I have talked so many times about whether or not we’d do IVF again, what would a second child be like, how amazing it would be for Paisley to have a sibling, how much I’d love to know the feeling of being pregnant again, and so on. But for a terribly long list of reasons, we’re sticking to our “One and Done” policy that we created as soon as we learned about our IVF destiny.

For what I’d pay for a second baby, because we’d have to do the entire $20,000 start to finish again, I could pay for half of Paisley’s college education. I can give her the best I can offer, or I could split that across two. I can be grateful to the depths of my soul and the most minute fibers of my being for having gotten so lucky that we conceived on our first IVF try – and delivered a healthy baby nine months later. Or I could push my luck and maybe not have the same fate a second time. And I fear the heartbreak from that would be devastating.

So here I am again, on the other side of the fence remembering just how sweet the green grass on that side was. I’m painfully jealous when I hear of friends in the hospital giving birth. Sure, it hurt like hell and recovery from that baboon-ass situation was a nightmare, but I’d relive my delivery day over and over until the tape wore out.

I’m not whining, and I’m not complaining, I’m more trying to reach out to the many other women who share my situation and say that it’s totally normal to feel like this. The longing I used to have is back. The desire never really left. And my curiosity for what it would be like (again) is always peaked.

But I also know just how damn fortunate and blessed I am, and so I spend a lot more time soaking up my nearly one-year-old daughter than I do mourning the pregnancies I won’t ever have.

I get one, and that’s more than a lot of people get. It’s something to appreciate, and I do.

Dear Paisley: Month 11

Dear Paisley-

You turned 11 months old today. I know I say this every month but this time more than the others it really does seem impossible. A month from today we’ll wake up on your first birthday. If I really stop and look back, of course it’s been a year. We’ve celebrated every holiday, birthdays of friends and family, and we’ve flipped the calendar all the way back around to April. But when I just look at you, the impact you’ve already made on me, it was yesterday.

I rocked you to sleep tonight. I do this most nights, daddy takes the others. As long as you have a bottle, your fuzzy, and those five quiet minutes, you’ll sleep like a dream. I sat in the same chair I rocked you in the day you came home, and tonight it struck me how your long, chunky legs flopped over the arms. Not a tiny nugget any more.

This month you kind of stopped being a baby. Of course you’re still a baby, but in so many ways you’ve tossed that aside and are getting your feet wet as a toddler. You are so busy. I don’t think there’s a better way to sum you up right now, you’re just busy. You’re in to everything, you’re curious, you’re going, you’re coming… it’s non-stop all day and all night. You’re on a solid one nap a day, which for me, your sitter “J”, and anyone else who is responsible for you is a curse, but you honestly manage just fine. Once in a while we’ll sneak a second nap in, but it’s not often.

You’ve been walking for two full months now and your command of the skill is uncanny. I honestly keep expecting to see you run across the room. If a door is shut, you push it open and just walk on through. Like this morning, a lazy Sunday, when our bedroom door was cracked and you whipped it open and walked to the living room. Apparently it was time to wake up. The third drawer down in the kitchen is where we keep the bibs. You know this. And you’ll spend an hour opening the drawer, pulling out the bibs, delivering them to various people and places, and then rounding them up so you can close the drawer… only to start all over again. You also like to open the pantry door and rummage in the Dr. Pepper boxes on the floor. So far you’ve successfully carried out a can of soda, as well as pulled down a box of Bisquick from the second shelf and carried it through the house.

Your speech and communication is the thing that has really flourished this month. You shake your head “no” – and you mean it. You furiously shake back and forth when we ask you a question that deserves a negative reply. You say your version of  “thank you” when someone hands something to you, and you also rub your belly for “please” when you ask for something. You almost always do this without any kind of prompting. Check out the manners on my baby! You say “eat!” and point to your mouth – you do this when I ask you if you want to eat (otherwise you shake your head) or if I ask you if you’re hungry. You very clearly say “hi” to anyone who will listen, and usually accompany it with a wave. You can say “shoes” and say this when you bring yours or our shoes to us (you love to play with them!). You also get what “going bye-bye” means and are always agreeable to the suggestion. Just this week you started repeating “nigh-nigh” when we tell you it’s time for bed. Other words I think you’re working on are “book” and “ball.”

You’ve started expressing love this month. For instance, this morning I woke up to four voluntary kisses from you. FOUR! Oh my how you made my day start out in the most perfect way. I always have to ask for a kiss, you rarely oblige, I usually end up saying “I’ll steal it anyway!” Sometimes you oblige and lean in with an open mouth and plant your lips on mine. Ahh, it’s the best! But you offered them up to me, daddy, your bee baby and even that llama in red pajamas all day. You give lots of hugs. You and daddy started a game called “BIG HUGS!” He sits on the floor and you “run” to him and he scoops you up in a big bear hug. You both eat it up. You also blow kisses. You plant your hand on your mouth, but it doesn’t pull away. Instead you lick the inside of your hand (little weirdo). But when someone is leaving you either wave bye-bye to them, or blow them your version of a kiss.

You are eating like a horse! Thankfully, you aren’t eating horse. You’ve completely boycotted baby food; so much so that I gave away all of your remaining stock to a friend whose baby is still acting like a baby (lucky!). When your sitter “J” said that you refused to eat anything off a spoon, I realized she was right. You love feeding yourself, and I honestly don’t have a problem with it. I get to eat now! I can also put you in your chair and cook dinner, clean, or just get some work done. It’s nice to have reclaimed a bit of that freedom. Your favorite, and I mean hands down favorite, right now is watermelon. I buy a quarter watermelon at the store every week. You absolutely inhale it – to the point you get those chipmunk cheeks, can’t chew, and there is pink juice running down your arms and chin. All the while smiling.

You also really enjoy mozzarella cheese, avocados, peas, applesauce, carrots, yogurt, blackberries and raspberries, bagels, toast, graham crackers, and pears. Pinto beans and rice from Chipotle also make the list. You are such a good eater, I feel so lucky. You really don’t refuse anything, except meat, and frankly I’m OK with that for now. You do really well with a sippy, and so far all we’ve put in it is water. Why would this bother you? You don’t know any different. Until you do, it’s always going to be water. Your friends will probably hate coming to our house, but kiddo, there are just too many good-for-you foods out there to fill you and our kitchen than with the crap that none of us need.

We had a very exciting event on Friday. You shot a vignette commercial for Johnson & Johnson for their natural line of products. It’s basically you and me, with you playing in the bath, and then me cuddling you up into a towel. It took an entire day, you were very patient, and we had a lot of fun. You were a little confused about why you were in and out of the tub a few dozen times, but other than that you didn’t really get fussy and you played right along like it was normal. You were pretty funny during scenes- you’d wave to the cameramen or you’d play with the boom. I don’t know if you’ll hate me for this one day or not, but I promise I only did it because I thought it would be fun. I didn’t even know we’d be paid for it when we signed on, and I’m very happy to be putting it in full in your college account.

When I left for college I had $500 in cash and no idea what the hell I was doing. For that matter, my parents didn’t know either. It makes me proud on an indescribable level that at 11 months old you already have more than twice that amount waiting for you. Your education, even on a level of teaching you where your nose is, is of utmost importance to your dad and I. It’s something we talk about frequently, and the one thing we absolutely will not sacrifice.

Wow, I’m getting deep in here. You have turned in to a little person this month Paisley. Lucky for all of us, a person we really, really like. You make us laugh; like, the kind of laugh I usually pay good money at the theater to see. Your funny little faces, sounds, and mannerisms just kill me. I love watching the curiosity on your face and how you explore. And while it might sound a bit mean, I love seeing you frustrated with something – like a toy you really want being stuck in the basket and watching you work it out on your own until you successfully retrieve it. You always look so proud of yourself. I love your high-fives, the way you “tickle-tickle” my toes, and I love the way you reach for me when no one else in this world will do. One day, that won’t be the case, but I’ll remember that there was a time when I was your end-all, be-all. You will always be that for me.

I love you my bug. My very, very, big girl bug.


Dear Paisley: Month 10

Walking…Talking… Oh little girl you are rocking!

Sorry for the super lame rhyme but I couldn’t help myself. I mean, your two biggest accomplishments this month rhyme!

Yes, you are walking. Last month you started and it was a wobbly adventure. Now? Holy balls Paisley you don’t stop moving! Ever! Everywhere you go your arms are straight up in the air as if you’re constantly being held up for the Cheerios you keep nestled in each hand at all times. Sometimes there is a toy in one hand, sometimes there is a toy in both hands. You have such a command of the upstairs that I honestly don’t worry about you. You cruise in and out of the living room to the kitchen, your bedroom, over to the dining room and back again. If I can’t find you, odds are you’re perched right in front of your bookshelf, which you ransack on a daily basis (right after cleaning out my purse and wallet).

You love books! It warms my heart to a point you can’t possibly understand to see you loving your books. I was the same way, and as an esteemed member of my first grade class’s bluebird reading group (ahem, read “advanced”) I hope to welcome you in to the club of the word-proficient. (PS, numbers are for losers and you really don’t need them. I mean, what can you spell with a number? NOTHING! Unless you spell “BOOBIES” upside down on your calculator.) You will walk in to your room and always come walking out with a book in your hand. You bring it to us and have this adorable look in your eyes just begging us to read it. Of course, we always do. And after that one, there comes another. Katie Duck, The Belly Button Book, Goodnight Moon and The Goodnight Book are a few of your faves. On the rare occasion that you bring The Runaway Bunny (which is going in our next garage sale) I hide it and select a different book.

You are starting to talk. I absolutely love it! I had this enlightening moment the other day when I realized you were actually talking to me. You were just squawking and standing under my legs. Exhausted, I just kept going “What?!” Then, I realized, it was a completely different behavior for you. The way you were touching my leg, the way you were screaming, it was so unlike you. So I looked down and said “Are you hungry,” and you responded “yuh!” Umm, we just had our first Q&A. I handed you a graham cracker and off you toddled as content as could be. We really are going to get along just fine.

Words you definitely say are “uh-oh,” your first word; “daddy,” which comes out sounding like “die”; “yes” and “no”; it’s entirely possible you’re saying “thanks.” You’re signing “all done” and this has become invaluable! In fact, in the last couple of days you say “duh” while you do it, which thrills me that you’re using the sign with a word, or at least your version of the word. You usually bat your spoon away and fling food all over everyone when you’re finished eating, but now you just throw your hands in the air and wiggle your fingers. And you know what? If I try to put one more bite in your mouth you shake your head and put your hands in front of your face. In other words, you mean it. Done means done.

Those hands of yours are busy. There is so much you do with them these days, more signs that you and your world are becoming so much more acquainted. When we go to retrieve you from your crib in the morning, you look at us with almost panic in your eyes and scurry to grab your “fuzzy,” your favorite blanket, and tuck it under your arm. You will not vacate the crib without the fuzzy.

You have started mimicking the motions for “Itsy, Bitsy Spider.” As soon as I start singing it you put your first fingers and thumbs together and do this little wiggly dance with your hands. When we’re done you clap. You also clap along with “Happy and You Know it.” You clap when we say “yay!” and you clap when you just feel like something is really great! You wave hi and bye, but seem to prefer waving bye. You also get the biggest kick out of turning light switches off. In fact, your daddy and I always let you turn off the nursery light after a diaper change, and this seems to be an agreeable treat for the trauma we put you through. Because, having someone wipe poop off of your bum it’s so awful… for you.

What has been awful for you this month is your cold. It’s a virus that, much like the carrier monkeys who’ve gone before you, has infiltrated our entire home. You and daddy had it the worst, with both of you on antibiotics. Clearly I’m the strongest of the three of us and I was only brought to my knees with skull-pounding headaches and a sore throat that lasted two weeks and felt like I swallowed a softball.

We’ve also discovered an allergy. You broke out in hives one Saturday night and by that Monday morning they had not only not gone away but gotten worse. Everyone has their money on tomatoes or antibiotics. I for one hope it’s not tomatoes. I mean, what kind of life would you have if you couldn’t eat salsa? Or that pasta with roasted tomatoes at Yia Yia’s. These, my love, are what we tend to refer to as “white girl problems.” I’m going to do my best to raise you in such a way that you recognize what the real “what kind of life” problems are, and to enjoy your life enough to have a few of the insignificant problems as well.

I swear you do something everyday that’s new. This week you learned high-fives with Grandma Rochelle and have started mimicking when I blow kisses. You even like to give me kisses and I swear my heart falls apart every time you do it. I want to brag about you to everyone I meet. You are so smart! You are so funny! You are gorgeous!

Just as I’m trying to avoid the “countdown of doom” to my 30th birthday, I’m also trying not to treat your upcoming 1st birthday the same way. These should be celebrations, not mourning the time that is slipping lickety split out of my hands. So, I do everything I can every day to just soak you up. I can’t remember it all. What I’ve shared here is such a minuscule recap of who you are, however, it perfectly summarizes the exciting month we’ve had together.

This weekend we’re off to celebrate your first Ayyam-i-ha with the Koskies in Oklahoma City, complete with your first holiday-themed craft project as a gift to Oma and Papa.

(This pic is me at 7 months and you at 9 months wearing the dress that my great great grandma Kelly made. She was your great great great grandma.)

This, my love, is what we call the good life.

I love you bug-


Meeting Elizabeth Gilbert

I accidentally read Eat, Pray, Love. Accidentally because I had no intentions of reading it and then my good friend Amy raved about it and made me promise I’d read it before I watched the movie. So I promised, grabbed the book at the airport the next morning, and a week later I finished the book.

I primarily read non-fiction. I like real, human stories that I can connect with. I like learning about other people’s lives in an incredibly intimate way. Their words to my eyes, that always seems so personal to me. I’m not sure how I hadn’t found my way to EPL any sooner, but now I’m so glad that I did.

My life in no way parallels that of Elizabeth Gilbert, the author. I’m madly in love with my husband and I like my little suburban-esque life. I don’t own a passport and hers is probably as thick as the Oxford Dictionary. I studied French and she prefers Italian. However, in so many ways I needed to hear her story. I was six months postpartum when I read Eat Pray Love and so bogged down in the chaos of my new role as mom that the lines between me-me, work-me, wife-me and mom-me were beginning to blur into an indecipherable fog. Reading Eat Pray Love helped me make it acceptable within myself to be all of these versions of me while individually nurturing the branches of myself. It may have also helped me find a little bit more purpose in my sporadic yoga practice.

When I learned that Liz Gilbert was visiting Wichita for a book tour promoting her new book Commitment, the must-read follow-up to Eat Pray Love that I recommend to anyone married, engaged, divorced, or thinking about marriage, I made sure to get tickets immediately.

Last night, I had the overwhelming privilege to attend Liz’s reading at WSU. I caught myself trying to fight back tears as she read a wonderful selection from Commitment and shared anecdotes about her life with Felipe and as an author. She was warm, funny, genuine, gracious, beautiful and wise. She had adorable little messy pigtails held in place by clippies, wore a sundress with leggings and a long-sleeved shirt underneath and tall black boots. She didn’t have on a drop of makeup, and she was gorgeous. She was gorgeous because she was completely comfortable in her own skin and in her sense of self. There’s a confident beauty in that, and while little of our lives parallels (I like good wine, she could care less), I like to think that I have a little of that too.

I asked her if she still speaks to Ketut, the medicine man she befriended during the “Love” portion of Eat Pray Love in Bali. She responded yes, and that her husband had actually seen him two days ago. (She laughed that the day she flew to Raleigh, he flew to Bali.) I also asked what she thought of the movie, and it wasn’t the canned PR answer I kind of expected. While I really didn’t care for the movie at all, mostly because it botched the ending and a few other details, she said that she didn’t think it was right for writers to take these big Hollywood checks and then complain about the movie. Overall she appeared to have liked it. She also raved about the hot guys who were cast to play the men, and spoke of how when she met Julia Roberts she was star-struck and all she could muster was “You’re pretty.” She said that when standing a foot away from Julia Roberts her beauty is striking and that if she weren’t a movie star, the only other career option that would be fitting would be as a fairy.

If you haven’t had a chance to read Eat Pray Love, I encourage you to make it the next addition to your nightstand. It’s a delicious book, almost literally, and it will feed your mind, your soul, and even a craving for a really good pizza.

Baby Registry Must Haves and Must Nots

I’ve learned a lot in the nine months I’ve been a mom. A lot of what I’ve learned saves me time and money, two things I do not have a lot of extra to use all willy nilly. See, when you spend $20,000 out of pocket on IVF, a year-and-a-half later you’re still rather strapped for cash. The only thing I’ve really blogged about since Paisley was born is her. Which, given that this site was created about her, makes sense. However, I’ve kind of let that connection to other moms online go by simply bragging about my daughter’s endless epic accomplishments.

So last week when a mommy-to-be friend reached out asking if there was anything I thought she absolutely needed on her baby registry and what she didn’t need to waste her time on, I quickly hammered out a list. I don’t think there’s ever been an easier list for me to put together, it just flowed out of my fingers. I remember registering for three hours at Babies R Us and another almost two hours at Target (not to mention all the time I put in on our Amazon registry) and then later realizing it was such a waste of time!

There are things that are essential, and I’ve listed them here, all based on what I actually registered for and what I actually ended up not being able to live without. I’ve also included the things that you don’t need, that the marketers are trying to take advantage of your tender, emotional state. Who the hell needs a $6 pacifier carrier?? Stick it in your pocket! Germ-phobe? Plastic baggy.


Diapers and more diapers. Register for a lot of these. I’d focus on size 1 and some NB, they won’t be in those for too long. We didn’t have to buy our first box of diapers until Paisley was 4-months-old. Save the gift receipts from showers and don’t open the diaper boxes until you’re ready to use them, that way you can return them to store to swap sizes later.

*** On the note of diapers. I’ve only ever bought them from For us they’ve always been cheaper than BRU, Target, Sams. Your first purchase is 15% off w/ my code BabyOrBust (and I get $10) and I think you get 15% cashback on diapers for 3mo. That’s also where I order my formula. I order it by the case, again, cheaper than anywhere I’ve found per-ounce.

Nipple Shields. Avent makes them. If you plan on nursing you will want these. Paisley fed better w/ them and I didn’t hurt hardly at all (where as w/o them I cussed like a sailor and begged her not to be hungry!).

Changing Pad (not a table). We just put the changing pad on top of a chest of drawers. One less expense, piece of furniture and saves space. Also, 1-2 changing pad covers with a handful of the flat changing pads.

High Chair. We got the “Fisher Price SpaceSaver,” it’s a seat that goes on our dining room chairs. So again, less money, saves space, and it can go where we go if we need to. We love it!

Cloth Diapers. One package of these will go a long way for burp cloths. We also laid them under her head during naps so she wouldn’t spitup on the couch.

Boppy and 1-2 covers. This should be on your hospital packing list. It’s a GOD send! Great for supporting baby and your arms during nursing, safe place to prop them up on the floor. Pais used to take naps in hers, and now it’s where I lay her to feed herself. My niece also uses it as a booster at the table. You’ll get a crazy amount of use out of it.

Bumbo. This is the foam seat w/ the “horn” on the middle. This we use almost daily. She can sit in it on the kitchen counter (corralled in a corner of course), on-the-go high chair, or if you just want her to sit in one place for a minute. They’re kind of pricey so if no one gets it for you, look for used ones at consignment sales. I think we got ours for $10. (You do not need the tray.)

One or Two good play things. i.e. a swing, playmat, bouncy chair. But you don’t need 10 of these. Also a good consignment sale find, or a borrow from friends who have moved on and theirs is gathering dust.

Stroller. I could honestly go either way on this. I kind of regret spending the $300 on the big fancy infant-seat stroller, instead of just getting a really nice umbrella stroller for a lot less. We’ve rarely used it w/ the infant seat, she usually lays or sits in it. So that’s kind of a judgment call on how much you think you’ll be out and about. End point: You’ll need a stroller.

Bibs. These are surprisingly pricey, so scan 2 or 3 of the big jumbo multi-color packs and you’ll be set. We started using ours at a month or two – great for catching bottle dribble.

Thermometer. A nice digital, and by nice not ridiculously expensive. We have one that you press on her temple, press a button, and 2 secs later it shows up.

Baby monitor. Something with a decent distance on it. Unless you want it, video isn’t necessary (especially given the recall this week!).

2-3 crib sheets and 1 mattress cover. Always have a clean spare and one in use.

Baskets. I got a bunch of matching large baskets from Target. One holds blankets in her closet, one holds toys in her closet, one is for laundry, one keeps diapers, wipes, lotion, nose sucker, etc on the changing table and one stores toys in the living room. You will find lots of uses for them.

Humidifier. We run Paisley’s nightly, helps w/ her congestion and winter dry skin. Doc’s orders.

Steamer and Food Processor. I make my own baby food. I do it for a lot of reasons, and by no means “preaching” except to say that I paid pennies per meal as opposed to $1 per meal on jarred foods. Not to mention, I control what she eats. Think about this now, because it means putting a good food processor, countertop steamer, about two dozen plastic ice cube trays on your baby registry. YOU DO NOT need special containers, cookbooks, etc.


Clothes. You’re going to get so many anyway, and what you scan is rarely there when people go back, so just skip it. (This goes for shoes too!) Use returned gift credit and gift cards to get onesies and socks that may not have been gifted.

Special baby laundry soap. We use no-dye, no-scent, etc. Target-brand All.

Expensive toiletries. I bought the biggest bottle of Target’s yellow baby wash and we still haven’t used all of it, and I think it was $2. I’ve never used powder once. I do, however, have a big jar of Boudreaux’s butt paste for diaper rash that’s the best! And she uses baby Aveeno lotion.

Towels and washcloths. A couple are fine, but you don’t need a ton. Pais is 9mo and is pretty much outgrowing her baby towels, and it’s usually easier to just reach in the cabinet and pull out one of ours.

Expensive bottles. We started off w/ Avent bottles at like $10 a piece (and you constantly have to replace the expensive nipples). Then we switched to the Playtex “VentAire Avanced” – it’s like $8 for 3 or something and they’re perfect. So yes you need bottles, but not pricey/fancy ones.

Miscellaneous Crap We didn’t get the fancy travel changing pad, I usually keep one of her receiving blankets in the diaper bag. (Which I just have a cute canvas “beach” tote from Target instead of one of those HUGE diaper bags – a don’t need.) We didn’t get the fancy little pacifier carrier. Basically, skip the super specialty items, you really don’t need them.

Dear Paisley: Month 9

Dear Paisley-

This has been the month for milestones. You have been non-stop this month and I’m exhausted trying to keep up. They should make baby book pages with legal-sized paper so I can squeeze it all in there.

For starters, in the past four weeks you have gotten four new teeth. That top gumline is really filling out! This round of teething has definitely been harder on you than the previous two were, but it hasn’t killed any of us yet so it can’t be that bad. You know who has died though? Baby bunnies. Ribbon-lined baskets full of them. Why? Because you won’t stop grinding those six adorable little teeth together! I haven’t actually said this outloud to you, but I definitely think it. I have, outloud, threatened to have your teeth removed. After all, you’re going to lose those eventually anyway. With six teeth I assume they need to be brushed, and the dentist agreed, so he sent me home with a tiny little Winnie the Pooh pink toothbrush this week. So far you like chewing on it and getting used to the feeling in your mouth. Soon we’ll start making it part of your regular routine.

All those teeth are making it a lot easier to eat! Your world has really opened up with food this past month. After “The Apple Incident”, I’ve been reluctant to give you whole bites of food, but you’ve proven to take them like a champ. Blueberries, blackberries, eggs, bread and even macaroni noodles have found their way on to your tray and in to your belly. The hit or miss ratio of Cheerios to floor versus mouth has greatly improved and I’m not vacuuming nearly as often! I think I made the very last batch of pureed food this month. By the time this freezer-full is wiped out, you’ll be ready to eat like the big kids.

You do a lot of things like big kids do these days. Why I’m burying this in the fourth paragraph I’m not sure, it deserved a neon starburst banner at the top of the page.


No big deal, you only started that at 8.5 months old. Oh wait, that’s NOT NORMAL! One night while Grandma Lori was visiting, you stood with one hand on my knee, and just took off. You toddle-toddle-toddle here to there and back and over there and around this all the time. It’s thrilling and exciting and I’m bursting with pride for you, and I’m also sad that I can’t lay you down somewhere and come back to find you in the exact same spot. Now, you chase us. If we leave the room you yell at us and then crawl and/or walk until we reunite. You like to follow us in to the kitchen and then stand at the dishwasher splashing in the dirty water (so gross!) or poking and prodding the soap lid or the jetdry button.

Your curiosity is endless and I love how I can actually see it in your expressions. The way you tilt your head, open your eyes and even the sounds you make, I can actively see you trying to learn and figure things out. I’d love to know what it is you’re wondering, but you’re quicker to let us in on the secret.

Not only did you start walking this month, but you’ve started clapping. They are the tiniest little claps and they don’t create any sound but they are just as sweet as they could be. You’ll even clap along when I sing “If You’re Happy and You Know it.” You’re waving hi and bye. It’s entirely possible that you said “Bye” the other day. Out of no where you raised your arm to wave and said “Bah!” Maybe it was, maybe it wasn’t. You’re also starting to put your hand on your own mouth to make the ba-ba-ba sound and you think it’s hilarious. I’ve also caught you dropping things and saying, consistently, what sounds exactly like “uh-oh!”.

You are still just a ball of joy when you wake up in the morning, so talkative and singsongy and playful. You’re a danger to yourself if left alone in our bed, so we keep a small supply of toys on the floor for you to play with while we get ready in the morning. Although, you just follow us in to the bathroom and cruise along the tub anyway, trying to eat tea light candles. We, however, are less joyful when you wake up. Because your 7:30 wake-up call is the second or third time we’ve seen you since you went to bed… at the unholy hour of 9 or 10 at night. I know you’re teething, and I’m praying that that’s the only reason for your sudden refusal to sleep through the night, but kid, you’ve gotta give me a break.

I’m tired to a point that I’m nauseous, all the time. I ache, I’m grumpy, I’m short-tempered and lethargic. I want and need to have the energy to keep up with you, and to keep up with my day, but at this rate, you’re going to have to start changing your own diapers and making your own bottles because I’m going to be in a coma in a closet soon. Nevertheless, midnight snuggles or morning snuggles, I soak them up, one and all.

Enough about me! What about you? You get better each and every day. I cannot believe it’s been nine months. The shortest amount of time that has taken you from a teensy weensy baby, to a fun, silly, happy, playful baby girl, who doesn’t have a whole lot of baby left in her. This morning we went to your nine-month check-up and before we left Dr. H said the words I’ve been dreading: “See you at 12 months!”. It’s really just weeks away, 12 of them to be exact, and you won’t be a baby anymore.

I do love you my bug.