Ava and Raina are asleep. Both of them. At the same time. That's still the goal in the new ROUTINE I am trying to establish and it is being achieved more often now. Therefore, I am taking this opportunity to enjoy some alone time, thoughtful time, adult time, peace, etc. I usually end up doing this at night after they've gone to bed but that means I don't get enough REST... so the new (always flexible) plan is to take chill time/get stuff done time/whatever I want time during their afternoon nap so I can go to bed when they do at night. Being a full-time Mom and Dad is pretty exhausting, and while I have help from Mom and Shane *when they're home,* they're still not the parents so it's a different role. I am SO looking forward to living as a family of 4 under one roof when Richard gets back! That being said, he has been gone exactly 6 months today, so we are about HALFWAY through this deployment. Hallelujah!!!
Raina is much more alert when she's awake now and has started smiling some. She's such a content little baby, thank the Lord. Ava is in such a constantly testing/changing/needing attention phase of life - I don't know how I could appropriately deal with her if I had a hard baby too. She pretty much only cries if she's really hungry, really tired, or too cold. The rest of the time she is pretty chill just looking around, waving her little arms. I need to give her more tummy time but that's hard to do sometimes with 3 dogs and Lil A on the loose.
Ava is a piece of work. For real. Wonderful, don't get me wrong, just challenging. She is SO smart, so keeping up with her mentally (explaining things, talking about things) is what is most draining for me. She remembers everything and has such a funny sense of humor. She still (over 3 months after Jaden was born) will say this whole thing: "Baby Jaden's in Stephanie's tummy! (knowing that's silly) No, Jaden's not in Stephanie's tummy anymore! She went to the hospital, the doctor helped her, and now Jaden's not in Stephanie's tummy anymore! We can hold him and see him! You're smart!" (This whole little explanation being what I used to tell her when he was first born. All the way down to the "you're smart" part that she now compliments herself with.) She also says things (or people) are "ridiculous to the max," which of course she got from me, and uses that phrase in context as well. She is still very good with Raina; I just keep an eye on her when Raina gets fussy. Usually she goes to her right away trying to put her paci in or put her blanket on her saying something sweet like "It's okay, Baby Ray!" But sometimes she turns into a mini-mom and says something like "No, Raina. Stop that fussing right now!" So we have the whole talk about how babies have to cry because they can't talk and that's how they tell us that they need something. So then it's "No fussing, Raina... sometimes babies have to fuss... it's okay, Baby Ray." I saw Ava "nursing" one of her baby dolls this morning. She was using the boppy around her waist and everything. Then she bounced the baby on her shoulder, patting her back and saying "shh-shh-shh-shh" JUST like I do with Raina. Monkey see, monkey do. Reminds me of my "Little Mirror" post from a few months ago.
I'm really going to try to get some good video of both the girls in the coming weeks. I know their daddy and our far-away family would like to see them in action. It's nice for me to be able to look back on later too; it's like an online journal of our/their lives. I was looking at some old posts about Ava from when she was about Raina's age so I could remember what I can be expecting in these coming weeks of her development. Pretty cool. Anyway... that's all for now.