Monday, June 30, 2008

...who goes in and out with me...

When my baby was about three months old, I was in the nursing lounge with another mom (she had just had her second) and I wondered out loud when I would finally have the courage to start doing errands with my child, and not feel vaguely imprisoned in my own home, or overwhelmed with the massiveness of the task of having a child and tackling a store. Obviously I couldn't leave her, but I was also scared to take her with me. My friend assured me that I would just do it one day, and then things would get better.

Last Saturday Leni and I were out doing errands, and it hit me how right my friend was. We've been doing errands for a while now. (I can still recall my pride and feeling of accomplishment after the first time - I was mobile - with a child - and I had done it!!!) At first it was daunting to have her with me always, and it certainly makes every trip more of a process. But, it's seems natural now to have her little voice hanging out behind me in the car, and it feels empty when she's not there. It's amazing how we adapt to all sorts of situations.

Now, if you see me during the day, it's a sure bet that my daughter is not far away... And I like that.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

secret sucking

Three shots (vaccinations) at the doctor's office meant three band-aids for Leni, right on her thighs, where they are easily accessible. She had the first band-aid off by the car. My husband carefully took it out of her hand, and we started driving home.

As we approached one of the final turns, I heard Leni sucking on something in her car seat. A few moments later I remembered that she did not have a toy with her. I dispatched my husband to investigate (since I was driving).

Yes, she had pulled off band-aid number two, and was happily sucking away. Gross.

Number three was removed for her as soon as we got home.

if a tree falls, and no one hears...

Last Saturday night we had a lightening and thunder storm at our house - literally. The damage consisted of a tree down in our back yard. It missed actually falling on our home by a few feet. The branches and leaves are right in against our windows though. This is actually the second time this has happened since we moved here. The first time a tree fell it was not as close (at least 10 feet away from the house).

Leni slept through the storm, and my husband and I were oblivious to the tree falling, until our neighbors pointed it out to us at church.

going to camp

Last week was spent at Girls' Camp. It is my annual pilgrimage, and I couldn't convince myself that the addition of a six-month old in my life should change that. So we packed our bags and went. (Although this year I came home for two days in the middle - that was good for me and Leni, but bad for my counselors who had to deal with the girls spraying wasp killer into each others' hair without me. No physical damage done.)
Being an active, curious, attentive baby turned out to be a liability at girls' camp, because that meant Leni got significantly less sleep than normal. (Which is constrasted with the five month old who was up there, who just slept a lot because of so much excitement - just like Leni did while visiting family a month ago.) Since there were always more people to see and things to experience, she was unable to just shut out the environment and sleep. So, instead, I would just hold her until she finally let go to exhaustion, then tuck her in her car seat so she could sleep where I could keep an eye on her.

But, she got to play some camp games, be outside, and try new foods, all of which she loves. The girls thought she was great. And - for this year's camp miracle: Leni allowed other people to hold her, sometimes for up to 30 minutes! This allowed me to check up on the possible broken ankle caused by the rock throwing incident. Thankfully, the ankle was only bruised.

Camp overall was a resounding success. The girls felt the Spirit, really enjoyed themselves, and can't wait to come back next year. I can wait. Mostly because by that time I'll have an 18 month old, which will add an whole new level of fun to the camping experience.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

change in weight class

There are two other babies in our ward that are about Leni's age - one is a week older, the other is five weeks younger. Leni looks petite and delicate next to both of them. In addition, when people hold her (for the five seconds or so that she lets them) they remark how light she is. I have consistently joked that she is "a lightweight."

Well, we went to the doctor today for her six-month check-up - and she is no longer a lightweight - she is, at most, a featherweight. Weighing in at 13 lbs 15 oz, (a mere 15 oz. more than last time - although had they weighed her yesterday, before her weekly poop, she could have broken the 14 lb barrier) she has dropped off her weight curve. She is staying steady on her height curve, now measuring a mere 27 1/2 inches. I asked the doctor if I should be concerned about her weight, and she said no, but is having us come back in six weeks for a weight check. It is not clear what they expect of her (or us) or what the ramifications of that visit are, but it's scheduled, so we'll go.

Other than her weight gain being small, everything else looks great. She is happy, healthy, and friendly from a far - the Leni we know and love.

Friday, June 13, 2008

ahhh, sleep

Not last night, but the night before, Leni slept through the night. We put her down at 7:30 pm, and we didn't hear from her again until 5:45 am. It might have been longer, but after 7 hours of sleep, I didn't know what to do with myself, and also needed to reassure myself that she was okay, so I went in to check on her. She opened her eyes, and we were off and running for the day.

Sort of. In reality, we ate, she played for 15 minutes or so, then went back for a two-hour nap. And I did too. Yesterday I was just excited because it was a new accomplishment. Each time I told someone of her marvelous feat, I also said that I was sure it wasn't permanent yet, but I was still excited.

Today, after she woke up again, twice, last night, I know two things. 1) I was secretly hoping that sleeping through the night was a habit, and not just a fluke, and 2) It was really, really great to get that much uninterrupted sleep.

Maybe tonight...

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

dip and suck

Leni has sharp little nails (as I suppose do all babies). She also has a tendency to scratch at her belly whenever it is bare. (oddly enough, she doesn't seem to do it when it's covered.) In most situations, this just means we have to be masters of the quick change. Bathtime, however, has required more creativity.

So, my husband puts on sock on the offending hand, and the bath goes on. Leni likes to suck on most things, but this sock, which quickly becomes a wet sock, is particularly attractive. Most baths, she will get the sock wet, suck on it vigorously for a moment or two, then dip it in the water again, then suck, then dip, then suck... until the bath time fun is over until another day. The urgency at which she does this is really amusing - it's like she knows her moments like this are numbered, so every dip and suck has to be really good.

Monday, June 9, 2008

all by herself

When Leni's awake, I often feel vaguely guilty that I don't spend all my time playing with her, and that I often placed her on the floor, and let her do her own thing while I do mine (within a safe distance of her, of course). As much as I try to fight it, I feel like I am shortchanging her if I am not some how constantly stimulating her brain with exposure to me.

But a few days ago, I figured something out that dampens the guilt. I was watching her roll around on the floor, thinking that I should leave the computer and go play with her. Then I realized she was slowly but steadily getting herself closer and closer to her goal of a particular toy that she wanted to play with. I realized that I can't teach her what she needs to learn right now. Even ignoring the fact that she doesn't know what I'm saying, I can't explain to her how to roll over, how to support your weight on your arms, how to balance while sitting up, or anything else she is thinking about doing. She needs personal time so she can figure it out - on her own.

So, while I still play with her, and cuddle her, and laugh with her, and sing to her while I do the dishes, I don't feel bad about leaving her alone for a while either.

Friday, June 6, 2008

loosing my inhibitions

In the eyes of children, and probably every one else, my husband is just more fun than I am. He's funny, and still remembers how to play. When a five-year old instructs him that "now pretend I'm invisible" he knows how to make them believe that he really can't see them. And, in a show of patience that I can't even imagine, he can usually keep it up until the child runs out of steam, not when he gets bored. I struggle to play this way because I just can't drop the facade of an in-control adult.

Until I had my own kid... and saw her smile... and heard her laugh. And it is magical. I will ANYTHING to see her smile and hear her laugh. I will dance in the kitchen, I will make funny loud noises in the grocery store, I will make faces, whatever it is that makes her happy. Because there is no payment better than helping my child be happy.

(Which has the unintended consequence that when I'm mad about something, my husband makes me look at Leni, who will always smile at me. I can't be mad any longer, so if I'm determined to be mad, it's important not to look at her.)

Thursday, June 5, 2008

in which the sum is greater than the parts

Leni likes to lie in the T-position (or modified t-position, as illustrated in this photo).

This is not conducive to rolling.

But, when she remembers how to arrange her arms, she is now quite proficient at going back to front to back again, so she ends up in a different spot than when she started. At our fitness class, this means I look up to find her lying on the gross floor, as opposed to my carefully placed blankets. At home, it means we check on her and find her sucking on my shoes. Up to this point, the fact that she finds herself in a new place is a delightful surprise - look! there are new things here. But I am sure that soon, much sooner than we are prepared for, she will realize that rolling means moving, and that she can get herself wherever she would like to go.

Monday, June 2, 2008

genetic predisposition

Although Leni may have learned to shove a sock in her mouth from her cousin, recent archival footage of me has surfaced that indicates sock eating may be in her genetic disposition. Perhaps this latent skill was just waiting to surface given the right environmental conditions. Further research is clearly warrented.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

solids ... sort of

Last night we introduced Leni to "solids," even though her solid food was little more than a thick, pasty liquid. But, it was an overwhelming success. She learned how to swallow it on the first bite, and was anxious for more and more. With the way that she grabbed for the spooon, I'm sure she'll be feeding herself as soon as her motor skills catch up.

I was dragging my feet a little bit towards this step, because I recognized that as she welcomes more and more types of food into her life, her lifeline to me is lessened. Certainly this is a huge blessing, but a slightly bittersweet one at the same time. As I try to reconcile myself to the fact that she won't always be an infant in my arms, I try to remember the wise words of my husband last night, when he prayed in gratitude for our opportunity to watch and help Leni grow up. And that is a blessing indeed.