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With Thanks to Elvie for Finally Letting Me Sleep Longer Than an Hour at a Time

Yesterday, Elvie turned eight months old, and I’ve taken some time to reflect on how far she’s come since she’s been with us. Many of the usual milestones, such as sitting up completely unassisted and crawling, will not be possible until she’s had major surgery for her birth defect, and some of the other milestones are on delay. It’s not unusual for children who have lived in an institutional setting to need to catch up on some things, and there have been a great many things that Elvie simply needed be be healthy to enjoy. At eight months old, she is an incredibly happy baby who has opinions (no to baby food, yes to making a grab for her sister’s grilled cheese sandwich) and makes little jokes (fart humor, I’m afraid, is totally her style). She is also, finally, sleeping on a somewhat predictable schedule.

Not only that, but to put icing on that cake, she has started sleeping for longer stretches at night, by which I mean three hours at a time instead of just one or two, or sometimes only forty-five minutes. I never would have said this before experiencing the joys of hourly night wakings, but being able to sleep for three hours without being awakened is amazing. I feel so refreshed and free! To celebrate Elvie’s eight months on the planet and her new sleep skills, I’ve pulled together a bunch of my favorite photos of her sleeping. I love seeing those beautiful brown eyes, but when you see these photos, I think you’ll agree that a sleeping Elvie is a lovely Elvie. Now if only I could use these to convince her to sleep for, say six or seven hours at a stretch. Then my life would truly be revolutionized.


  • In Ethiopia, on Jarod’s Chest 1 of 14
    In Ethiopia, on Jarod's Chest
    We had just recently taken custody of her, and she was so frail and tiny. We often had her just sleep on one of us. In the beginning, she often slept with her eyes half open like this; I'm glad she's discontinued that practice.
  • Newly Home, Nestled in the Boppy Pillow 2 of 14
    Newly Home, Nestled in the Boppy Pillow
    I can't get over how small her hands are in this photo.
  • In the Hospital, Arm Outstretched 3 of 14
    In the Hospital, Arm Outstretched
    She was already starting to look more comfortable.
  • Showing Off Her New Cheeks 4 of 14
    Showing Off Her New Cheeks
    I would just stare at her, sleeping on my lap, those beautiful cheeks starting to grow.
  • In Her Crib, With a Cat 5 of 14
    In Her Crib, With a Cat
    The cat was pretty sure we'd just brought home a bunch of new cat beds for her, until we started putting the baby in the crib, stroller, and Boppy pillow. Elvie was so small that even in the apartment sized crib we got, there was plenty of room for two.
  • Gripping Her Foot 6 of 14
    Gripping Her Foot
    Could it get any cuter? Though the accessibility of her right foot is a result of her birth defect, and we'd love to see it more functional, it sure is adorable that she loves that foot so much.
  • Wearing a Fancy Headband 7 of 14
    Wearing a Fancy Headband
    Who says you can't get dressed up to take a nap?
  • In Her New Striped Pajamas 8 of 14
    In Her New Striped Pajamas
    She grew so much that we had to order some new jammies. These are my favorite.
  • With Her Hat Still On From Our Walk 9 of 14
    With Her Hat Still On From Our Walk
    She fell asleep in the Beco carrier while we were running errands, and I didn't want to disturb her, so I just loosened the carrier straps and let her keep sleeping.
  • Posed to Show Off Her Wrist Chub 10 of 14
    Posed to Show Off Her Wrist Chub
    When she's awake, she's always moving, grabbing for something. I have to wait for her to go to sleep to get a good picture of her deliciously plump hands and wrists.
  • Using Lamby as Shade 11 of 14
    Using Lamby as Shade
    She's started moving her lovey, a lamb blanket, around as she sleeps, sometimes to block the light if the bedroom is particularly bright at that time of day.
  • Arms Stretched Out 12 of 14
    Arms Stretched Out
    She's asleep on top of some toys, so exhausted from so much play that she just relaxed and sprawled out as soon as I set her down on the bed.
  • With Her Foot Straight Up in the Air 13 of 14
    With Her Foot Straight Up in the Air
    Until just a few days ago, Elvie was sleeping in a bassinet stroller next to our bed. Her favorite position was with her leg propped up against that side and her foot straight up in the air. She still tries to get it to stay up in her crib, but it's much more challenging.
  • Sleeping in Style 14 of 14
    Sleeping in Style
    All dressed up for a birthday party, and she couldn't stay awake for it. At this point, I feel like a party during which the guests can nap sounds like a fabulous idea. I'm certain I've got party clothes that would be comfortable enough to fall asleep in. I'm going to take a page out of Elvie's book and try it.

Read more of our family story on Finding Magnolia.
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More of Finding Magnolia on Babble:
Graduating to Normal Medical Appointment Status
Finding My New Mom-of-Two Personal Normal
Mourning the Adoption Experience I Hoped I’d Have, Which Didn’t Happen

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