Thursday, December 30, 2010
1. The late stages of pregnancy
4. The best baby that ever there was!
5. Caring for the sick baby
6. Learning to breastfeed
7. Our second wedding anniversary
8. Travel to South Africa
9. All those glorious firsts
10. Our first Christmas as a little family
Wednesday, December 29, 2010
3. the Narrative
Tuesday, December 28, 2010
Many other parents warned us that the wrapping and boxes are far better than the actual gifts, and this was absolutely the case. Delphinium wanted to eat all the paper and crepe, and I kept having to wrestle ribbons and other decorations out of her chubby fists. Still, when she did actually get down to a present she was quite interested. The biggest challenge for her was the pace. Her cousins are capable of unwrapping and appreciating each gift in about thirty seconds flat. She wanted to take her time. Then, about half way through, all just got to be too much. She started to rub her eyes, and I knew she needed a break. We went upstairs for a little nap, and left the family to finish with the presents.
I was quite impressed with the restraint we managed to maintain when it came to buying her presents. Among her gifts were a bug jar full of soft rattle bugs, a pull along frog, an orange rattle creature, a skwish toy, and a fuzzy gray and white dog. She also got many new books and clothes as well. Even now, days later, she still hasn't finished investigating the new goodies. We will also have to come up with names for her new favorites.
On the whole though, I think her favorite part about it all was the attention. I think she would be quite happy to have Daddy quit work and just stay home to play with her. She would also love to see cousins, uncles, and Grandma on her doorstep any morning of the week. Whatever will I do to console her when holiday time is over? Oh I know, we'll read a dozen new stories, and play with all kinds of new toys. Next year should be even better.
Friday, December 24, 2010
8. Giraffes (stuffed animals, printed on things, rubber toy version, you name it)
6. Her cousins
5. Books (but only certain ones)
2. Mommy and Daddy
Thursday, December 23, 2010
Delphinium was looking very smart in her little red dress with red and white spotted tights (with ruffled bottom!) and we had high hopes for a fabulous photo. When those elevator doors opened, we were not disappointed. There he was, Santa, and he had a real beard! Not only that but his eyes how the twinkled, his dimples so merry, and... but I digress. He was quite a convincing Santa. And he did not smell of gin (or anything else he shouldn't).
With that auspicious beginning how could we go wrong? We sat Delphinium, as cute as a button, down on his lap, and... she burst into tears. Unlike her picture with Frosty the Snowman, where she just stared at him, Santa was scary. It started as a trembling of the lip, and went on into full-blown terror. I scooped her up, we went with the very first photo (the least unhappy one), and that was it for us.
Away from the frightening stranger, the baby returned to her cheerful self, and we strolled off to the main mall. Happy in the knowledge that we did not have to wait in line for the more central Santa. While I'm sorry Delphinium was discomfited, it was an experience with lots of warm fuzzies for me. I imagine our visits with Santa will only get more significant as time goes by, but this very first one was special to me.
Wednesday, December 22, 2010
The first few days it was up, she was sick and teething at the same time, and more than once we "broke" a sad mood by visiting (and sometimes petting) the tree. There are even a couple of ornaments that are baby-friendly and can be taken off and loved for a few minutes. Christmas suddenly has a whole new value for jaded old me.
Monday, December 20, 2010
The other half of this skill is also waving, but a much more subtle kind. Delphinium is now able to hold up one hand and open and close the fingers in a "hello/goodbye" gesture. At first she would only do it to herself when seeing her reflection. It was SO cute to see her sitting in her walker in front of the sliding door waving away at the baby in the glass. Now she's moving up to waving at real live people. It's still quite hit or miss, but one day soon she may decide to wave at you.
Wednesday, December 15, 2010
The concert was held in the small upper hall (can't remember the name!) and it was jam-packed with kids. I think Delphinium would have been just fine with going to the hall, sitting down, and watching all those big kids for half an hour. However, the music began soon after we arrived. Our girl stood on Daddy's lap and watched the stage with open mouth for the first half of the show. Then, in true baby fashion, she fell soundly asleep and did not see the rest of the performance. A great time was had by all.
Monday, December 13, 2010
Lady: Oh what a cute baby!
Me: Thank you!
Lady: I love her hat!
Me: Thank you!
Lady: She has the prettiest blue eyes!
Me: Thank you!
Lady: How old is she?
Me: Thank you, er, nearly eight months.
Lady: Is she sick?
Me: No, we just need a flu booster.
Lady: Has she been crying?
Me: No, not recently.
Lady: What's that on her eye then?
Me (turning the baby the face me, and then noticing that I did an incomplete cleaning job after her last meal): Oh that would be the pears she smeared on herself for lunch.
Friday, December 10, 2010
Unfortunately, the Delta (I think it was an Airbus) baby bed was not very comfortable for her because the zipper went all the way to the top meaning we would have been closing it right over her face! I did not think that was healthy or safe, and you could not zip it part way, so we did not use the cot. However, the cots are worth booking if only because they guarantee you the bulkhead, and that is definitely worth having if you are travelling with a little person or not.
Wednesday, December 08, 2010
We booked several legs of our Seattle to South Africa trip on Delta and several other parts on their partner, KLM. Without fail, the KLM experience was very pleasant and everything we could have wished. Also without fail the treatment we received from Delta was nothing short of shocking. Delta employees were rude, ineffective, and either unable or unwilling to do the simple things required to do their jobs in a reasonable fashion.
From the ticketing agents (who took nearly two hours to print out our tickets AND double charged us for the infant fee) to the flight attendants (who were grumpy, rude, failed to bring an infant seatbelt, and one who actually fell asleep during take-off!) to the gate agents (who sent M running across the airport to fix THEIR mistake) to the finance department (who refuse to refund the double charge) we were not impressed.
As if that were not enough, all three adults (but not the baby) got serious food poisoning from eating the airline meals on our last flight. We didn't eat anything else, so we know it was their food. Delta is in serious need of a figurative smacking. I will be doing my best to avoid buying tickets from them in the future.
Monday, December 06, 2010
As a grown up I have always wanted to recreate such feelings. Now that I have a child I would very much like for her to have a holiday as wonderful as mine. However, not everyone in our family feels this way. Some point out that the crass commercialism of it all is neither healthy nor charming, and that if we want to truly appreciate each other on Christmas we would do it without so many (any?) gifts. I can absolutely understand the point, but I still can't pry myself away from the desire to shower people with goodies. I still love the pile of beautiful presents underneath the tree, and that is a pale shadow of how much I loved the scene when I was a kid.
Couldn't we all agree to bump up or charitable giving, buy nothing in January, or do some volunteering to contribute to the greater good? That way we could still have our Christmas and eat it too. I know the one thing does not cancel out the other, and I also know that I'm starting to sound whiney and shrill, but this is an issue that causes me a certain amount of angst. If you celebrate, where does your family fall on the festive vs. frugal spectrum?
Sunday, December 05, 2010
Thursday, December 02, 2010
Tuesday, November 30, 2010
Recently we went back to the lawyers office to sign and finalize the whole thing. The two parts that made me chuckle were the repeated use of the word "testatrix" to describe me (M got "testator" which is not nearly as cool) and the reading of the official script. That's right, in order for the testatrix to finalize her will, she must read OUT LOUD a statement of intent about this being the actual will and testament blah, blah, blah. It was really hard not to laugh at that point, but I managed to remain dignified.
At the end, I did have a weird moment of feeling like I was looking into the future. Here we were, two young (ish) adults with our baby daughter, tying up our plans in the form of this will. At some point down the line (hopefully a long time away) a grown Delphinium will probably sit in some similar conference room and unwind the very same document. Strange thought, but I guess that's the way it's supposed to go.
Thursday, November 25, 2010
Wednesday, November 24, 2010
All that finally accomplished, you would think that any normal mom and dad would call it good, but not poor Delphinium's parents. They make her put on a huge coat on top of it all, and by the time she's squeezing into the 8th sleeve, this baby has really had enough. Luckily, that's about the time that we actually go outside, and the view of the world turned completely white is so arresting that our little girl forgets why she was annoyed.
Monday, November 22, 2010
Friday, November 19, 2010
Can't remember if I've mentioned the teething. For those who don't get to see little Delphinium on a regular basis, the teething fairy is definitely hovering around our house. We don't have any actual teeth, mind you, just lots and lots and lots of drool with occasional lashings of itchiness and pain. Our poor little girl goes through about half a dozen bibs a day sometimes, and often I am still not changing them fast enough. She also rubs her ear (or occasionally scratches it) when the discomfort radiates throughout the jaw.
Then of course there's the chewing. She is quite determined to get her entire fist in her mouth, and when that isn't enough she tries anything and everything else she can grab. Bumpy binkies are popular (thanks Auntie C. for the fabulous raspberries) as are burp clothes, all sorts of toys, boardbooks (they all have sodden edges), and even the kitty's tail if only it would sit still long enough. Frozen rings and rags are not poplar because they make her hands cold, and then that makes her cry. The sweetest is when she grabs mom's or dad's hand and pulls it to her mouth for some quality chewing. Hands down (har!) Daddy's fingers taste the best.
Monday, November 15, 2010
My first impression was not so good. The circle of babies included ones as young as three months and as old as seven. How much can a little baby get from a singing and movement class? Then the shockingly young teachers (they seemed about fourteen but probably weren't) got things going with a welcome song. For the next few minutes I was in agony. The songs were beyond twee, and chatter from the teachers was irritating, and they had stupid names for the toys. I love playing with my baby, but this was ridiculous.
Then I noticed something. Delphinium was having a ball. She loved looking in the mirror on the floor. She giggled and cooed for the clapping games, and she thought the "sensory time" was fascinating. Even the parachute, which made other babies cry, was amazing. "Aha!" I said to myself "this is one of those times when I need to get over myself!" and then I did. We had a lovely time together, and I only winced a little when they brought out the "Gymbo" puppets.
Monday, November 08, 2010
You should have seen Delphinium's face when she got her first bite. I don't think I've ever seen anyone that excited over plain porridge. She eats with both hands, and it is actually quite a challenge to get the spoon into her mouth before she can grab it away from you. The first spoonful of butternut was a bit more of a shock (this is certainly NOT milk!) but it too became very popular in no time at all. By the end of a meal she is liberally coated in orange goo, but she is happy. Next week we may try peas. I sincerely hope she and food have a long and happy life together.
Friday, November 05, 2010
Eventually, we got home, bundled out of the car like a heard of elephants, ate snack, began homework, and started to make some dinner. Since we were still waiting to hear from my mom, I thought I would check my phone for messages. Oh noes! I left it in the car! Running out to the garage, I found that the phone was not in the usual niche. Instead, it was about four inches to the right wedged in another little crevice, but this one was the rubber gasket for the emergency brake! Are you visualizing this? I could just see the top sticking out next to the lever. I tried to pull it out, but of course it slipped down inside the housing like a ship beneath the waves (sigh).
Ten thousand attempts to retrieve the phone were unsuccessful, so the next day Delphinium and I made a pilgrimage to our favorite mechanic. We got to spend some quality time in the beautiful autumn sunshine while they fished the phone out for us. No harm done! Of course I know Elder Niece did not intend to do this, she doesn't have a trouble-making bone in her body, but I may need to be more careful next time. Who knows, with Delphinium learning to crawl soon this may be only the beginning.
Monday, November 01, 2010
Thursday, October 28, 2010
Wednesday, October 27, 2010
Monday, October 25, 2010
Yesterday and the day before were our outings from the valley where M's mom lives and into the city of Capetown. Our first stop was Kerstenbosch gardens where we met up with an old school friend of M's and his family. We had a wonderful time doing lunch and wandering the acres upon acres of flower s, trees, and artwork. Delphinium was especially happy due to her passionate love of trees. I could visit the gardens weekly and never be bored.
The next stop was the suburb of Simon's Town. We stayed in a sun-washed guest house with the most impressive view of the bay and the navy yards. At one point we heard the boom of a ships horn, and the battleship glided out to sea. We kept trying to drink up the sun and the setting as much as possible. After one night there, we set off for more sights.
Still in Simon's Town we headed down to one special beach where we could view the penguins. Yes, yes, there are penguins in South Africa. Jack Ass Penguins enjoy the warm water, and many of them come to the sunny beach to molt and breed. They are very sweet in their black and white suits, but the smell is a bit like a hen house.
Lastly, we drove the winding road to the Cape Point Reserve. This is the point where the Indian and Atlantic ocean currents meet. The point itself is a startling piece of rock jutting up out of the surrounding water. A classic lighthouse perches on the edge, and visitors can take the "Funicular" tram up to the highest point. The views were quite startling. It certainly didn't hurt that the sky was brilliant blue, and the cormerants were screaming over head. A good time was had by all.
Saturday, October 16, 2010
Please pardon the mistakes. I'm typing this on a trying computer.
What a long strange trip it's been. However, it's really been a very good one. We left Seattle on Sunday afternoon, flew for nine hours to Amsterdam, and then took a twelve hour flight to Cape Town. During the entire trip, Delphinium barely cried at all. When getting on each of the planes, you could see the people around us staring and glaring at being seated near a baby. By the end, we were getting compliments about what a good passenger she was. I was completely floored. The air part of this trip has been worrying me for months, and it was no problem at all. She ate, slept, played, and charmed others and did not really cry at all. May it please continue on our flight home.
We've been at M's mom's house for several days now, and the time change is what is really effecting us. The first "night" the baby did not want to go to sleep at all, and then when she did, she was up again four hours later. From 4am on, we drank tea and played with her. Now, a few more days in, she is still struggling to adjust. We're a bit tired, but otherwise doing just fine.
As far as activities, we've been taking it pretty easy. We've had some very nice meals out, and we got the chance to visit a vineyard and goat dairy the other day. We tried about ten different kinds of cheese as well as olives, candied fruit, salads, and crusty bread. Mmmmm. Aside from the beautiful formal garden, they also had an impressive veggie patch including a scarecrow dressed in world cup finery. In many ways it doesn't feel very different here, but then you notice the springbok in among the goats.
Friday, October 08, 2010
Packing is another challenge. I've accepted that we will not be going lightly now that we have the baby, but I'm still trying not to let it get too ridiculous. M bought us two new hard-sided suitcases, so we have plenty of space, but the trick is not to exceed the weight limit. Fortunately, we have access to a washer once we get there, so we don't have to pack too crazy much. The part that's most confusing me is packing for the baby.
What does a baby really need for a long trip? We use so many different toys, swings, bouncers, strollers, rockers, cribs, etc. during the course of our day that I can't quite imagine not having them. However, we can't take it all, so we'll just have to make do. I'm also trying to figure out which things need to come in our carry-on for the actual plane flight. The only thing I'm sure of right now is the need for lots of diapers and changes of clothes. If you've flown with an infant before, feel free to leave me your advice.
Wednesday, October 06, 2010
At five months old, Delphinium is working on many of the same skills she started on last month:
-she can really control and coordinate her movements now, so reaching and grabbing is far more successful
-she shows preferences for certain toys such as Green Bunny, raspberry binkies, Gerald the Giraffe, and Miss Mousey
-she can now actively throw away toys she no longer wants
-she can roll over but mostly chooses not too
-she loves to do situps which consists of pulling her head and shoulder and feet and legs off the ground in an attempt to sit up
-she loves to put her feet up in the air and sometimes grab them with her hands, and shoes quickly become chew toys
-she's still drooling waterfalls, but no teeth in sight
-she turns to the sound of her name, and will happily chat with you through long conversations
-she loves to read stories such as The Very Hungry Caterpillar, I am a Bunny, and Great Day for Up
-she sleeps through the night very well, but does not like to nap during the day
-she NO LONGER hates the stroller! Woot!
-she NO LONGER hates the carseat! (unless she's really tired)
she is about to become a world traveler, so wish us luck!
Monday, October 04, 2010
Saturday, October 02, 2010
Friday, October 01, 2010
Wednesday, September 29, 2010
And there's really nothing wrong with gold stars and kids. It helps them to make good choices, and to feel happy about their accomplishments. A good mark (and maybe some praise from teachers and parents?) on a paper at school makes you feel so good that you want to work hard on the next paper too. All through childhood I really do not see a problem, but at some point we have to be weaned away from this habit.
Once you're an adult it just doesn't work so well. Sometimes, at work, you can find that kind of validation, but even there it's not going to be consistent. Most of the time at work people simply expect you to do what needs to be done (or not but that's a whole other topic). At home you really aren't going to get a lot of back patting. You empty the dish washer and, hey presto, the crowd goes wild! Not so much. The key is to learn to do things for the sake of getting them done.
Becoming a mom has really brought this home to me. M. is very good about helping out and offering encouragement. However, most of the time it is just the two of us here at home, and the baby is really not capable of being a cheerleader. At this point you just have to dig in and do the laundry, diapering, dishes, vacuuming, etc because you are the mommy and that's what mommies do. Suddenly the gold stars seem to matter less. A clean (ish!) house and a happy baby are their own rewards. Most of the time.
Friday, September 24, 2010
The challenges experienced by gay adults are nothing compared to those faced by children and teens. The suicide rates for homosexual (or even just those perceived as gay) teens are far above the norm. This type of abuse remains one of the most accepted forms of harassment because many parents still believe that homosexuality is wrong. School administrators and teachers often feel hog-tied in their ability to help because parents object to anything that might be deemed "pro-gay". Or at least that's the excuse.
Many students report feeling hopeless as their peers and even their families reject or abuse them. For some it must seem as though a normal life may never be possible. In response to the suicide of 15 year old Billy Lucas, Dan Savage made the video, It Gets Better. You've got to see it.
Wednesday, September 22, 2010
Monday, September 20, 2010
Thursday, September 16, 2010
Monday, September 13, 2010
6 ears fresh sweet corn, husked
1 cup fresh blueberries
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
2 Tbsp. lime juice
2 Tbsp. olive oil
1 Tbsp. honey
1/2 tsp. ground cumin (preferably whole, toasted, and then ground)
Try it out I dare you!
Saturday, September 11, 2010
Friday, September 10, 2010
Thursday, September 09, 2010
Wednesday, September 08, 2010
Then we hit on something big. We've been using the Baby Bjorn since she was born, but it was not until Delphinium was strong enough to face out that it became popular. Now you can put her in it, and she will remain happy for an hour or more. This is exciting for all kinds of reasons.
Yesterday, we decided to put the Bjorn to good use by going for a walk. We'd been cooped up in the car during the morning, so it seems like a good idea to get out and move around. I'd never taken her out in the rain before, but since she's so close to me while in the Bjorn I knew an umbrella would work well. We bundled up a little, grabbed our sunny yellow umbrella, and headed out into the world.
The umbrella turned out to be half the fun. She kept looking up at it (do admire the color?) and chatting out loud about it. We looked at flowers of all colors, watched crows hopping around in the road, and admired the big kids who were playing in the yard at the school. The best part, though, was the deer. She was standing in a forested spot near the school, and she did not seem in the least worried about our presence. She calmly stood there eating dripping blackberries about twenty feet from where we were standing.
Friday, September 03, 2010
This year, we had a few more challenges than before. Not only do we have a new baby to think about, but my broken tailbone is still bothering me too. Nevertheless, we remained undaunted, so off we set for Penrose State Park near Purdy. The car trip was a bit uncomfortable for me, but the baby did a fabulous job and did not cry even once. After about an hour and a half of driving, we crossed over the Tacoma Narrows Bridge. This was very exciting for all of us (having never been) since we've seen the old video of "galloping Gertie" many times. Luckily she stayed safely aloft for our trip over.
A little more driving brought us to the park where the rest of the family was already waiting. It is a beautiful park set on the water with the camp sites back in the woods. Sites are close together, but if you went on a less popular weekend, the might not be an issue. For us, it turned out to be a bad thing because the 50-something lady in the campsite next to ours decided to stay up late drinking boxed wine and talking, talking, talking about anything and everything. We heard her opinion on dozens of topics, but we did not hear quiet until two or three in the morning.
It was also a bit anxious to camp with the baby because the temperature got down into the low 50s, and it was very tough to be sure that she was staying warm enough. At one point in the night I found that she'd poked her little hand out of the blankets, and it felt as cold as a popsicle. I kept waking up to check that she was warm enough all night long. It was not what you would call a restful night.
The next day we did get the chance to enjoy the dramatic scenery. The park is surrounded on two sides by water, so there are many impressive views. Rocky beaches and mud flats are also common, and the girls had a wonderful time cruising the edge of the mud flats looking for sand dollars and tiny fish. There were kayaking and fishing opportunities as well, but we never got that far.
As much as we enjoyed ourselves on Saturday, as it got closer to bedtime, I just couldn't face another night in the tent. Our noisy neighbor was still in residence next door, and the overnight temperatures were not supposed to be any warmer. Thus we admitted defeat. After a lovely campfire dinner, we headed for home. Next time maybe we'll last the whole weekend. Still, I'm very glad we went.
Thursday, August 26, 2010
-Hold up her head, neck, and back well enough to ride on your hip
-Happily ride forward facing in the baby bjorn (hooray! going out in public just got SO much easier)
-Laugh out loud (especially when Dad is being hilarious)
-Coo and make all sorts of talking sounds (sometimes when she's unhappy she doesn't cry, but instead tells you, in very earnest tones, about all the things she thinks need fixing)
-Hold up her head and shoulders when turned on her tummy
-Lift her bottom in the air by pushing off with hands and knees
-Scream for an entire mile while hating on the stroller
-Scream for an entire car trip while hating on the car seat
-Grab all sorts of things and stuff them in her mouth (towels, blankets, her own clothes, toys)
-Drool, drool, drool
-Suck her thumb
-Sleep all night (for about the last seven weeks fingers crossed, crossed, crossed!)
-Kick off ALL those stupid blankets
-Streeeetch like super baby
-Melt family members through extreme cuteness and a highly lovable nature
Tuesday, August 24, 2010
Then came the shocker, her head circumfrence is in the 5th percentile. Yes, you heard that correctly, the 5th percentile. I should not be too surprised since M also has quite a small head (you'd never guess by looking at him!) but the comparison between body and head is just so strange. Oh well we know her brain is growing because she learns new and fabulous skills all the time. Perhaps I can find a place to order custom-made hats.
Monday, August 23, 2010
Friday, August 20, 2010
Honestly, I'm not really sure what went wrong, but all of a sudden I was tumbling. You hear stories about the inborn impulse to keep the baby safe, and I can say that it is true. With no actual thought involved, she ended up on top of me even though I'd been carrying her on my hip. For myself, I landed on my back and tailbone and then slid several steps before coming to rest near the bottom. Somehow a wall hanging came down too, so there was quite a little pile of me, baby, hanging, and socks.
I wanted to just lay there for a moment and catch my breath, but I really, really needed to know that the baby was okay. She did not seem to be anything other than startled, but I still patted her down and checked all over her head and especially her eyes to look for damage. Seeing nothing wrong, I picked her up and moved her down to the couch so I could undress her and do a further check. Nothing appeared wrong, but she was still crying and crying. Finally I realized that I was probably making horrible grimaces at her, so I tried smiling instead. Sure enough, she started to hiccup and sigh instead of screaming. Within a few minutes, she was her normal happy self.
I was not my normal happy self. In addition to various scrapes and tweaks, my back side was screaming. My tailbone got the worst of the experience, and sitting down was extremely painful. I called my mom, and she arrived about an hour later. That was very good news since she was able to take the baby. Within a few hours, I had a visit from Mobile Medicine, and they said my tailbone was either bruised, sprained, or broken, but it didn't really matter which since there's no treatment for any of them. Today I'm feeling a bit better, sitting on a boppy, and taking ibuprofen. M says it happens to everyone sooner or later. The lesson of the hour is to use the handrail EVERY SINGLE TIME.
Thursday, August 19, 2010
When I got to the dentist, all the office folks and hygienists asked after the baby since I'd been seven months pregnant the last time I'd been. We chatted for a while about the joys and challenges of parenthood, and then I remembered that the last time I'd also talked to the office manager who was also expecting a baby this summer. I asked the hygienist about her, and the story she told was exceptionally heartbreaking.
It seems that the office manager was due at the end of July about three months after our baby. Early in her pregnancy she got the news that her baby was chromosomally abnormal, but she chose to carry the pregnancy to term in hopes that the abnormalities would not be significant. When the baby was born, they discovered that it had no diaphragm, and the lower organs had risen to fill the chest. This meant there was no room for lungs, and they barely formed at all. The baby lived for half a day.
In the miracle that is childbearing, we often forget how incredibly complex the whole system is and how many chances there are for things to go wrong. The amazement should lie in how often the process goes well. I went home to hug, hug, hug my beautiful, strong, little girl. I hope with all my heart that things go differently for that family next time.
Tuesday, August 17, 2010
Sunday, August 15, 2010
Thursday, August 12, 2010
This is doubly significant because the children were allowed to pick their books AND how much they read over the summer. In other words, even seemingly schlocky books can be the avenue to choice (not parent or teacher forced) reading. Once kids get the knack for reading as fun, the sky is the proverbial limit. Those of us who might want to impose our own literary standards need to sit on our collective thumbs.
Wednesday, August 11, 2010
The only difficulty we've encountered (other than wondering where that thumb may have been) has to do with the rest of the fingers. It turns out that if you put your thumb in your mouth without first curling the other fingers you tend to poke yourself in the eye. Of course you do not realize the cause and effect, and glare at your parents wondering why they've allowed some mysterious force to injure you in this shocking way. For the moment, we're keeping her nails as short as possible and hoping the second half of the lesson comes as quickly as the first.
Wednesday, August 04, 2010
Things that do not make me cry:
10. Falling asleep
9. Slow food service
8. Red traffic lights
7. Strangers smiling at me
6. Potty moments
5. Losing things
4. Loud noises
3. Riding in the car
2. Being alone
1. Changing clothes
Monday, August 02, 2010
Friday, July 30, 2010
I think we even looked more-or-less normal since our hair was combed and we did not have any spit-up stains in any obvious places. M. actually looked quite handsome in his white button-down with the sleeves rolled up to the elbows. I was pleasantly surprised to discover that we haven't forgotten how to talk about things other than our daughter.
By the time we got back from our outing, the baby had eaten, gone for a walk, cried a bit, had several changes, put on PJ's, and enjoyed her own private music show. She did not even seem to notice our return because she was too busy watching Mr. D. play. I do believe a good time was had by all.
Sunday, July 25, 2010
Thursday, July 22, 2010
9. Creaking floor boards
8. Kids playing in the street
7. Crows hopping around on our roof
6. Diaper moments ('nough said)
5. The garbage truck
4. The recycling truck
3. The yard waste truck
2. Lawn mowers
1. The cat (who does it on purpose to get back at me)
Tuesday, July 20, 2010
Mommy movies are every Thursday at 10am in Bellevue. They usually show three current-run movies that appeal to mommy-aged people not little kids. The lights are left up and the sound is turned down so that babies are not disturbed and their parents can still see to tend them. Added to that the free snack delivery from the concession stand, and you have a wonderful morning out for moms and dads. Of course babies do occasionally cry during these movies, and parents can be seen pacing the aisles from time to time. However, when you have one of your own it really doesn't bother you at all. Hooray for outings with baby! Hooray for maternal sanity! Hooray for Lincoln Square Cinemas!
Friday, July 16, 2010
Thursday, July 15, 2010
What interested me most about the passing around of the article was the subtle (or not so subtle) admission among friends that we aren't always completely blissful as parents. There's not a day (or an hour?) that goes by where I don't think how lucky I am to have Delphinium, but that doesn't mean I don't miss my freedom and peace sometimes. In the end, I do agree with this author that the love and sense of purpose are entirely worth the price.
Wednesday, July 14, 2010
It was a complete surprise. I'm so used to soothing her down with nursing or rocking or bouncing that I had no expectation of her falling asleep on her own. Yet there she was, snoozing away as happy as can be. In an instant I was well and truly conflicted. On the one hand, I was thrilled by her development and what this might mean for the ease of future naps. On the other hand she did it without me. I know it's supposed to go this way, but sometimes it's hard to realize she will need me a little bit less every day.
Friday, July 09, 2010
Parenting feels to me like a whole different story. Every day I make decisions about how to care for the baby, and I feel like I am doing so blind. Of course when I try to figure out the best way to get her to take naps, I can read about it, I can ask my friends and my mother what's best, and I consult with my co-parent. However, because every baby is different, there is no way to know if the information and advice pertain to my situation at all.
Also, while I knew my job as a teacher was important, somehow parenting seems so much more serious. She's just so tiny and so dependent on us that small mistakes can have major consequences. At this point we are her whole world, and we do not want to mess that up! Still, there's nothing for it but to try. I get the feeling that this concern does not go away. Now I worry about car trips and nursing, but in a few years it will be potty training or drivers education. Let's hope good intentions can carry the day.
Wednesday, July 07, 2010
Old Oregon we pledge to thee our honor and fidelity
Both now and in the years to be a never-failing loyalty.
Fair Oregon thy name shall be written high in liberty
Now uncovered swears thy every son our pledge to Oregon.
(John Stark Evans 1919)
Friday, July 02, 2010
1. Breastfeeding is as good for you as it is for the baby (i.e. really really good)
2. Breastfeeding can be way harder than you might expect, but it gets so much easier
3. Breastfeeding is a skill that both mother and baby must learn
4. Don't be afraid to ask for help
5. Nipple cream is your friend
6. A good nursing bra is worth its weight in gold
7. Wear a bra at night even if it seems strange
8. Breast pads will keep you comfortable at night and embarrassment-free during the day
9. Invest in a pump even if you aren't returning to work
10. Breastfeeding releases the most wonderful bonding chemicals
11. There is nothing lovelier than a tiny milky face turned up to look at yours
Monday, June 28, 2010
She also enjoys time in her swing and baby gym, and it's very cute to watch her bat at the toys above her head. She gets such a look of glee on her face when she manages to send the fabric lion swinging. She still hates her carseat and the whole process of buckling and unbuckling. Maybe going for walks will be more popular once we can ditch the carseat and use the stroller on its own. Last, but not least, she still LOVES to have her diaper changed. She can be in the middle of a big fuss, and all you have to do is put her on her changing table. She turns all smiles and coos when the diaper comes off. Then you have to watch out for the waterworks.
Monday, June 21, 2010
Delphinium is now a big fan of the wrap (which is really just a long piece of t-shirt fabric with a ring closure at one end). It keeps her snug and close to your body and must remind them of being in the womb. Also, the stretch of the fabric lets you bounce just a little extra. The best part is that you have one and a half hands free to do other things. No, no actually the best part is that the baby is happy and you are comfortable. What could be better than that?
Thursday, June 17, 2010
Wednesday, June 16, 2010
In the last couple weeks, she's been very busy getting stronger. You can really tell the difference when you hold her how strong her back muscles have become. She's no longer our limp little noodle, and she has become quite capable of huge stretches and back arches when she wakes from a nap. She's also working hard on holding her head up for longer and longer. She actually seems to enjoy tummy time most days, so I think she's getting her exercise.
It's all fantastic stuff to watch unfolding, but my favorite is the smiles. Sometime around six or seven weeks she suddenly started giving us "social" smiles. She's been smiling in her sleep for weeks now (about what does a baby dream?) but this is different. There is something decidedly warm and fuzzy about leaning in to pick up a baby from nap, have her focus on you, and then flash the sweetest smile. It makes the screaming times all worth while.
Monday, June 07, 2010
I am also so thankful that I do not have to go back to work now that the first six weeks are up. I absolutely cannot believe that is the standard amount of maternity leave available at many companies. Forcing women and babies to separate after such a short time cannot be good for either. Hooray for one year off!
Tuesday, June 01, 2010
Thus, over the weekend, we went out all by ourselves. Mommy folded and loaded the stroller, Mommy hefted and buckled the carseat, Mommy packed and remembered the diaper bag, and Mommy even figured out the baby view mirror installation. Whew! Babies have SO much stuff!
Then, with baited breath, Mommy put the baby into her carseat. The baby smiled. Mommy locked the seat into its base (first try!), and the baby cooed. Mommy drove to the mall. The baby stayed awake (and cheerful!) the entire trip. We met Grandma for lunch (okay so it wasn't completely a solo trip) and the baby slept and slept. Looking at the baby in the mirror on the way home, it was as if she was saying "don't worry Mommy, we can do this."
Of course there will be other times when things don't go quite so well, but it was ever so nice of Delphinium to boost my confidence just this once. We've rounded another corner together, and we're off.
Wednesday, May 26, 2010
Tuesday, May 18, 2010
Now, however, things have changed. Sleep can be such the elusive unicorn that I will take it in almost any form. I can now sleep in chairs, on sofas, or in any sliver of space that happens to be available. Lights, sounds, lumps, and bumps all have little or no impact on my ability to snooze. Only the sounds of the baby have me instantly awake.
I'm not the only one. The other night M got into bed while I was still in the rocking chair feeding the baby. He said "goodnight" to us, laid his head down on the pillow, and was snoring in three minutes flat. Let's just hope that when the depravation is over, we can figure out how to sleep like normal people again.
Tuesday, May 11, 2010
She's also just getting a lot stronger already. She makes huge stretches and seems to be flexing and testing all her muscles. She's also in much greater control over herself, and she really really would like to be able to hold up her own head. Her cries are changing too. At the beginning, she had the mewing cry like a very small kitten. Now she's moved on to a lustier, louder version that can't fail to draw attention. She has many wonderful tricks, but one of the most impressive is the way she uses her fists to hold the pacifier in her mouth. She's clearly the most precious and talented baby that ever there was.
Monday, May 10, 2010
Tuesday, May 04, 2010
The image of her first heel stick in the doctor's office is one. She was too dehydrated to bleed properly and had to be stuck a second time. I swear watching that occur was more painful for me than anything that happened to my body during the delivery. I also remember her first night strapped to the light bed. I sat in the chair next to her, breast pump in hand, and tried to express milk that was not there. I cried more than she did that night.
I am certain much of this hard time was due to my own hormones. Still, there is something very singular about having a baby. You love them so much that it literally hurts sometimes. I think it was my friend K who said it is like learning to live with your heart outside your body. The tough part is that it leaves your heart very much exposed to bumps and bruises that would not normally have been a problem. My mom has pointed out more than once that the baby herself will not remember any of this, and I certainly hope this is true.
So here we are in the after times. I am pleased to say that her jaundice is almost completely gone, and she is now much happier and more energetic. Her color is much closer to roses than bananas these days, and she has surpassed her birth weight. It helps very much that my milk came in during her time on the photo therapy bed, so I was finally able to feed her and feed her and feed her as much as she would take. It does my mommy heart good to see her so much better, and I really, really hope we've now paid our dues for the foreseeable future. Regular life never seemed so sweet.
Monday, April 26, 2010
It was a Friday afternoon, and the first day of my maternity leave from work. I got up late (comparatively speaking) and enjoyed a leisurely morning at home with M. I was feeling a bit hot and uncomfortable by then, but at nearly 38 weeks into my pregnancy, that was to be expected. By 11am, M had gone off to work, and I took myself down to the local mall to get a haircut. I arrived a little early, so I browsed around the shops for a little while buying a tiny blue onesie with an embroidered flower. Haircut time came around, so I went over to the salon and made polite conversation with the staff while they did my hair. When they asked my due date, I said airily "Oh it could be any time now." Little did I realize.
After finishing up at the salon, I went over to have lunch with M at his office. We grabbed something quick, joked about the horrors of cafeteria lunches, and then still had time to take a stroll through the botanical garden on our way to the doctor's office. The spring flowers were out in full force, and the air was filled with the scent of daffodils.
We arrived at our appointment in plenty of time. We've seen so much of that place in the last several months that there was nothing anxious about being there. M and I thought we'd have the usual check up and be on our way. We were shown into the exam room, had to wait an unbelievably long time for the bathroom, and did all the regular heartbeat, blood pressure, tummy measure events. The doctor was not our regular one, but one of the partners, and she wanted to tell us all about her 6th grade son's middle school career. At some point, she stopped talking about him long enough to look a little concerned.
It seems that the baby's heart rate was a little higher than normal, and that I did not measure a big in the belly as I should by that stage of pregnancy. A quick ultra-sound revealed less amniotic fluid than normal (5 out of ?), and the doctor said we might need to go to the hospital for a stress test. She left the room, and we could hear her make several phone calls. By the third or fourth person, it was clear that we were being sent to the hospital for more than just a test.
The doctor came back into the room, reviewed the signs of trouble, and told us that since the baby was so far along it was better just to deliver her. This would avoid any risk of her being "in distress" from the low fluid levels. We didn't really know what to say. For some reason, even though it was late in my pregnancy, I was still not prepared for this news. I had always imagined being awakened by contractions and then heading off to the hospital. Nevertheless, in a few minutes I had started to get excited about the prospect of meeting our baby face to face.
We made the very short trip from the doctor's office to the hospital, and found our way up the maternity ward on the 6th floor. There is something very weird about being completely clear-headed (no labor pains) as you travel to the hospital and check in. There is nothing to distract you from imagining what is about to begin. I could hardly sit still as we waited. M was busy making phone calls and sending emails to cancel our other plans and let people know what was happening. I wanted to pace and chatter and do anything else with my excitement, but I made myself sit still and wait.
It really wasn't very long before a nurse took us back into our room. As I saw the number plate outside the door I thought "Oh yes, #606 is going to be very important to us." It was just a hospital room with bed, rocking chair, monitors, a wall full of closets and compartments, and a tiny bathroom, but it was a place we got to know really, really well. The nurse showed us around, and then asked me to head into the bathroom to change from regular clothes into a hospital gown. I took off my gigantic pair of full-panel pregnancy jeans for the last time.
Settled into bed, they strapped a fetal heart-rate monitor and a contraction monitor to my belly. I found this process to be reassuring because I could listen to the baby's heart as I lay in bed and know that she was still okay. Depending on which way I was turned, I could see the actual rate. When I was turned on my side away from the machine, I asked M and my mom to tell me the rate about once every two minutes. The sound of that monitor was the background music for the next 14 hours.
The IV was the next part of my "kit" to be introduced, and with that came my first contact with pain. I've never had any trouble with needles, but the sickening stick and jab of this process was more than I'd expected. The IV remained in my arm for the next 36 hours, and it never did become comfortable. However, it was through the IV that I got my first dose of pitocin (a synthetic version of oxytocin) at about 5:30pm.
They started with a very tiny quantity of pitocin with the plan to increase the dose every hour. However, that small amount was enough for me to begin feeling contractions almost immediately. After 15 or 20 minutes, I have having regular tingling sensations in my abdomen, and in another hour, it was full on, but not yet painful, contractions. The rocking chair was my friend for this next phase as it seemed to ease the discomfort. I actually able to visit with my mom and M, and we spent some time watching Elton John be interviewed on Oprah.
Eventually, after a few hours of mild contractions, things began to get serious. I was getting very uncomfortable to the point that I kept trying to stand, sit, walk, or sit on the big rubber ball just to try and get some relief. One of the few things that gave any relief was to have M rub my back where much of the pain was concentrated. I even tried to sit in the bath for a while, but the discomfort was turning into something very tough to manage. I finally let the nurse know that I would like an epidural.
I've always assumed I would have some pain relief when I had a baby, but I wanted to go as far as I could just in case it helped the process to move more quickly. Once I asked for the epidural, I found the anesthesiologist couldn't come fast enough. Labor pain is quite difficult to describe, but the best I can do is to say that it's like having someone grab your one-piece bathing suit from behind and stretch and stretch until those bits of you are cramping in agony. Other people say it's like the worst leg cramps you could ever imagine. Either way, it isn't pretty. When Dr. F. came through that door, I was VERY happy to see him.
The epidural, like the IV, surprised me because I thought I was tough. I know what is involved in the procedure, and I didn't think it would bother me much. However, it is such a strange and occasionally painful set of feelings that it made me whimper more than once. Soon the process was over, and I was starting to feel some relief. Within several minutes my legs were feeling tingly and the pain of contractions was slipping away from me. Within half an hour I remember thinking how I warm and comfortable all over like a cat relaxing in the sun. I think that dopey feeling comes from your brain's own natural pain blockers suddenly having nothing to do. It was entirely fantastic. I kept telling M how good I was suddenly feeling.
Once the pain was gone, all we had to do was wait for my body to progress. I actually slept for a while with the only disturbance being the entrances and exits of the nurses. One nurse, in particular, stands out because she was so gruff and stern. She was a stand-in for my regular nurse, and she came into the room and started ordering everyone around. M was to turn me, I was to hold just so, and she arranged my limbs without any coaxing. Still, she was the one who said we would have a baby by 7am.
After a few hours of sleep, the nurse came again to check my progress. She said I was 10cm and fully effaced, so it was time to get down to pushing. Now I must say that by this point, I was in no pain at all. The nurse's exam didn't hurt (unlike the first exam which REALLY hurt), the contractions didn't hurt, but that doesn't mean the next bit was easy. I've heard those nice stories from some women about how they gave three really good pushes and the baby just popped right out. That's so great for them, but it did not happen that way for me.
Pushing, chin to chest, was absolutely the hardest physical labor I've ever endured. If it hadn't been for M holding on knee, and my mom holding the other, I don't know what I would have done. You take a deep breath, push with every ounce of strength for ten seconds, repeat for a total of three per contraction. Sometimes you get a minute to rest in between contractions, and other times they arrive one on top of the other. This whole business kept up FOR NEARLY THREE HOURS. When I said I was tired, the nurse said "that's why this is called labor not vacation." I kept pushing.
Finally, the doctor arrived, and we were ready for the last stretch (har!). The top of the baby's head was in view, and it was motivation to keep up the pushing efforts. However, the doctor had some concerns about the size of the baby's head versus the size of me. Quick as a flash, I had an episiotomy that caused me no pain whatsoever. That was all our little daughter needed. With just one more big push, she was born in a tangle of limbs and surprisingly little blood. They wiped her face, and laid her on my chest. The feeling was indescribable, and something I don't ever want to forget.
The next parts are mercifully vague to me. The doctor did things, the nurses took the baby to weigh and examine, and I just lay there waiting until they would bring the baby back. Once she was on my chest again, and M was at our side, I was feeling like all was right with the world. It is impossible (for me anyway) to talk about childbirth without becoming one great big cliché. Go to the thesaurus, look up "awesome" or "profound" or "incredible" and you would end up with a nice list to describe the whole thing. Yes, yes, I know it's probably just the hormones talking, but that I how I feel today, one week later.
What makes all the effort so worthwhile is our beautiful, perfect little daughter. She was 7lbs, 5ozs, and 20in long. There are lashings of M, me, and other family members about her, but mostly she just looks like herself. It seems like a face I've known forever, and I could, and have stared at her for hours on end. We are totally and completely in love. Now all we have left to do is grow up together.
Thursday, April 15, 2010
Tuesday, April 13, 2010
Thursday, April 08, 2010
Wednesday, April 07, 2010
While he is no stranger to butter and red meat, Jamie's food has always been on the healthier (and fresher) end of the culinary spectrum. A few years ago, this interest in health led him look into the food and cooking practices in British school lunches. What he found was quite horrifying, and a campaign was born to overhaul the school lunch system. The four-hour TV series that documented this mission resulted in millions of viewers, and more importantly, billions of dollars in increased funding for school kitchens.
Flush with this success, Jamie Oliver has decided to take his show abroad, and the United States was his obvious choice. West Virginia boasts the fattest city in the nation, according to the CDC, so it was to this town that the show headed. I don't know if you could say that he met with more resistance since things were pretty awful at first in the U.K., but it is safe to say that not everyone was happy with the idea of change. The show "Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution" is on now, and it makes for some very interesting television. This article documents some of the struggle. We're all left to wonder how much of an impact this might have in the long term, but I for one, really hope this helps.
Tuesday, April 06, 2010
Over the last several months I've been trying to slowly strip my classroom of the hundreds of books, materials, and other goodies that actually belong to me. I try to take home a small bag of stuff most days so that we don't have any huge moving days at the end. However, I still have some large and untouched spots, such as my filing cabinet, that need purging and transportation home. I admit that this whole process would have been easier if only I had been more organized and efficient all along. Now I'm paying the price.
On the other end of things, I'm trying hard to prepare materials for my sub. She is very anxious that everything be provided for her, so it is a marathon to create all the plans and materials she will need to finish out the year. We have one last meeting next week to nail down the details, and then, hopefully, I won't be hearing too much from her after I leave.
Last of all are the goodbyes. This part is the toughest. I've written my letter for students and parents, and I've promised to come and visit if the pediatrician approves the plan, but the truth is that I probably won't get to see the kids again before the year ends. I must admit that I will be relieved to see the last of one or two kids, but most of them I will miss.
Then there are the co-workers. Just like the kids, there are those whom I will NOT miss, but they are certainly the exception and not the rule. There are dozens of people here who are genuinely wonderful. I can't quite imagine not seeing some of my closest friends on a daily basis. I just keep consoling myself with the thought of why I am leaving, and that goes a long way to taking the sting out of this process. Only a few more weeks before the next great adventure begins!
Monday, April 05, 2010
Once again, the video was made in probably the early '90's, so hair and fashions were pretty funny. However, what made it really hard not to laugh was the attitude the narrator took to the process. Her ridiculous level of enthusiasm was matched by the silly dialog about what a "mystical" experience breastfeeding would be. Don't get me wrong, I'm all excited about breastfeeding, and I really REALLY hope it works, but I think "mystical" may be overstating things just a tad. I had to avoid looking at M for fear of bursting out laughing.
The worst came when they described getting the baby to latch on to the breast. It seems we need to tickle her cheek, look for her to open her mouth, and then wham! push in as much breast as possible. "You'll know you done well if your baby has a real mouthful of breast!" This line was delivered with such delirious excitement that we finally lost it in the back of the room. People were turning around to look at us, and I had actual tears in my eyes from trying not to laugh too much. I think I will get a chuckle (and then a wince?) every time I try to get the baby to nurse in the first few days.
Friday, April 02, 2010
Wednesday, March 31, 2010
It's quite sobering to realize that five of the fifteen women in that room were likely to go through surgery in order to have their babies. As I've mentioned once or twice before, I'm trying to keep an open mind, so that if a C-Section does become necessary, I won't feel to concerned. I have noticed that the babies delivered by this method seem every bit as cute, lovable, and healthy as those who come the other way.