Friday, August 22, 2008

visiting grandparents - week 1

We've been at my parents house for the last week. Kiddo took almost no time feeling settled, which is nice. When we take her into her room here, she looks around with more interest than her room at home, but then puts her head on my shoulder and gets ready to settle in for her nap. She and I (and now my husband) have been just a little sick the whole time - runny noses and sore throats. We are fans of baby tylenol - it really improves her mood and behavior (used sparingly of course).

We have gone swimming twice, but four or five days of rain really cooled the pool down, so it's not as fun for the adults. And, I figured out that she fits perfectly in the side of the sink, so we're using that for baths and some play time too. All Kiddo wants to do is splash any way.

On Monday we got her picture taken by a friend of the family who is an incredibly talented photographer. It was nap time, but my little trooper laughed and smiled through the whole event. My friend told me she was the happiest child she had ever worked with.

Now that my husband is back home, I'm really trying to use my mom as care giver for my baby while I really work on my dissertation. This plan is not working out as well in practice because she seems to be aware that we are not hanging out as much as usual, and gets whiny and clingy in the afternoon. But, I'm still getting an hour or two more of work done each day, so that's something. Eventually this will be done.

Today we shopped at IKEA, and I learned that no matter how old we get, we still need moms. I figured out that if I shuffled, my shoes made clicking noises on the floor that made Kiddo laugh. So I did it over and over again to keep her laughing. Then I noticed that I was looking at my mom, for her approval on my ability to make my child laugh. Apparently we always need our moms. I'm grateful both to have a great mom, and to be a mom too.

Friday, August 15, 2008

color coding the world

Yesterday we went south to the big city to see my brother and his family. We met up at their hotel, swam in the pool until the thunderstorm chased us out, and went out to dinner. This is only the second time I've had interactive baby at a restaurant. The other time went very smoothly, so I expected the same here. It was not. She didn't like the seat, she didn't want her food, and it took long enough for my food to get there that it was much harder to keep her busy while I ate. Question for myself: am I ready for restaurants yet? But, Kiddo loved the pool and could have stayed all day had the clouds not pushed us away. And it is always nice to see family.

Since we were there, we stopped in to Babies 'R Us to find a stroller and a new car seat. (Our choices are rather limited where we live.) We were successful on both counts. Unfortunately, the stroller that had the requisite features (tall enough, recline) came in two color options: brown with pink, and brown with blue. So I weighed what I know, with what I don't:

I know I already have a girl - and she will use this stroller for a while.
I know I am planning to have additional kids in the future.
I don't know whether future children will be boys or girls.
I know that when babies have baby hair, people see them as whatever gender they want (despite clothing choices).
I know I don't care when this happens.
I know I am frustrated by the lack of gender neutral options.
I know I am more comfortable with a girl in blue than a boy in pink.

You can guess which option I chose. And now, it is decided that I will only have girls.

The test of the stroller is tomorrow, when my girl and I fly to visit the grandparents, while husband is on a different flight (long story). She'll have to wear pink.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

the beginning of the childproofing

She is really all over the floor now. She doesn't crawl per se, but she can move wherever she is determined to. I have been spending a fair amount of our time together in the last few days moving remote controls, extracting my shoes out of her grip, and pulling her back from the carpet's edge (she still likes to pull at it and eat it).

Yesterday we made two significant changes, bowing to the inevitable. I finally washed my plastic shoes so she could eat them in peace. My husband had compassion on me and moved our area rug over the carpet edge.

Today she has shown no interest in that pair of shoes (the holy grail up until yesterday), but plenty in the other pairs. And she has spent plenty of time hanging out at the edge of the rug, hunting around underneath so she can find the carpet's edge. She is focused and committed on acheiving her goals if nothing else.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

my pre-sleep dilemma

By this point, I instinctively know when my daughter is tired. (I use the word "instinctively" because I haven't figured out how to explain the exact combination of hints and clues I use to any one else, but I know.) When we walk into her darkened room, she will put her head on my shoulder, and suck her thumb, then I sing to her. And I am overwhelmed with the love of that moment, when she is sweet, and small, and tender, and mine. She trusts me completely, and I love her completely. And every time this happens, I want to hold her like that forever.

And I would, except that she won't go to sleep that way. In fact, frequently, after a few moments, she lifts her head and starts interacting with the world again (right now it often involves a very enthusiatic pounding of my arms and chest). So I have to put her down in her crib, where she rolls to her side to suck her thumb and falls asleep (sometimes with a token cry of dismay, sometimes not).

It's good that she'll go down like this, it allows me to do my work, it gives us both a needed break, so I'm so very, very grateful that she goes down so easily, but couldn't I hold her just a minute more?

Thursday, August 7, 2008

tv rules

Before I was a mom, I read that TV for little children was bad, and I imagined that it would be no big deal to keep my daughter from watching television before she was 2. What I didn't realize was that watching TV is apparently not a learned trait. She loves the TV. And she just came this way. (My mother-in-law blames my husband, and I'm okay with that.) So, if my husband and I are watching TV (which in truth, is not that much), and she's up, she tends to watch it too.

When I was growing up, the rule was that we had to be a body's distance from the TV. We would often lie on the floor, prop our feet on the bookcase where the TV sat, and watch from there, because it was as close as we could get away with. I was amused to see my daughter already understands this rule:

Unfortunatly, she has a very little body, so it is not as effective for keeping her a reasonable distance away.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

take a seat

In the last week my daughter has mastered the art of sitting. (This would be the kind where I prop her up, and she can balance. Although she has tried, she can't get herself into this position yet.) She is more likely to do it when being read to, because that is an excuse to hold still. She also feels like she can dance better sitting up. If she is playing with toys, she would prefer to be on her back, so she can use her hands and feet to investigate. Or, if she is trying to get to the carpet edge, or my shoes, she would prefer to be on her belly so she can take part in the most awkward crawl I have ever seen. Boy, will she be surprised when she figures out she can get up on all fours and really make some distance.

weight check? check.

We were back at the doctor's office today, and Kiddo has put on a respectable 2 lbs 5 oz (now weighing in at 16 lbs 3 oz). Not bad for six weeks. And she added 3/4 of an inch. Which means I can still stress about my decision on a car seat, as opposed to needing to run out and buy one tonight. If any of you readers have strong opinions about convertible car seats, please feel free to e-mail me.

This also means her classification as a featherweight was, as the pediatrician put it, a blip. One of her suggestions was that perhaps she had been sick just before the last appointment. Not sick, I thought, but certainly stressed from the crazy experience that was girls' camp.

And the best part about seeing the doctor? The paper covered table. She kicked up a storm in glee and uncontained joy for such an exciting adventure.

Monday, August 4, 2008

the rest of the series

Some of you may have the first in the series in the family newsletter. Here is the complete set.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

dancing queen

She loves being read to, but has only specific books she enjoys. It's easy to tell which she prefers, because she pays attention to the books she likes, and looks around for a better offer when she doesn't like it. She likes to sit up by herself while we read (the only time she sits up, I guess at other times she needs to be moving, so sitting isn't a good idea). Today we were going through the books she likes, and we got to her current favorite: the wheels on the bus. She started dancing along with the first line, and kept going though the next few renditions of the song. She's already a music lover.

new eating chair

So, she's had this chair for about two weeks. It took more than a few days to get her to focus on eating again, because it shows an entirely new perspective on the room. But she likes eating, and looks so cute in it - a combination of looking all grown up, sitting at the table, and still like a little baby, in her multi-colored special eating chair. Note in this picture how intent she is on the next bite - her arms and legs are literally quivering with excitement.

Friday, August 1, 2008

farewell to swings

A few weeks after the baby was born, my husband found himself pacing up and down our (short) hallway for long periods of time every night to rock our daughter to sleep. His mom said: get that girl a swing! In a fit of desperation, he did, and it changed our lives. Initially, it was some sort of dream equipment. We put our daughter in, hit the white noise maker, and tada! the baby fell asleep.

Oh, yes, sometimes it took a while, but we weren't doing the rocking, and that was the beauty of it. As an extra bonus, she seemed to really enjoy when she was up too.

So, the swing was a big hit. And it worked for many months. I often moved it into the kitchen so she could hang out while I cooked and did the dishes. The only downside was that it took up a lot of space in our already cramped home.

But, it served other purposes. As we started introducing her to solids, we were reluctant to add a high chair to the room, so we just fed her in her swing. This was an added bonus to the utility of the swing. It was particularly valuable because my girl is taking her time to master the sitting skill, and the swing supported her, because she seriously wanted to eat "real" food.

[so i've used this picture before. it's super cute. can you blame me?]

But then she got a little older and eats solids more often, and a little more proficient at sitting (key word: little), so her grandma got her a sweet chair to put her in for eating, and all of a sudden, the swing seemed to have outgrown its utility.

Our daughter was still finding uses for it though:

So last weekend my husband asked me if I still put the girl in the swing anymore. I mentioned that it had been a long time, and I was just thinking that maybe we should put it away. He had been thinking the same thing, so that night we packed it up, and reclaimed the space it took up.

It was a good swing.