Thursday, August 26, 2010

Four Months of Baby

At four months old, Delphinium can now:

-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

All Things Big and Small

Hard to believe but little Delphinium is four months old! She just went to see the doctor for her well baby appointment and was pronounced in excellent health. We also had the traditional parental fun of finding out her growth compared to other children her age. Her height and weight are in the 95th percentile, so we can relax in the knowlege that she's getting enough to eat.

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

Hornets - But Not the Green Kind

It all started when the pregnant yard worker got stung by a hornet in our front yard. It seems we've been harboring a huge hornet nest without even realizing. After making sure the poor lady was not going to swell up and die (her partner took her home), we headed inside and closed all the doors and windows. M got right on the phone and found an exterminator very quickly. They were able to come in only half an hour, and soon we had a man in a full bee suit in our yard. He sprayed the next and took it away without much fuss, but as he was working M could see the hornets shooting out of the hive and landing on the house and yard. I was afraid for the neighboring kids, so I went out the back door and went to warn the houses nearby. As far as I know, nobody but the orignial person ever got stung. All in all, not the way you want to spend your time (or money) but at least the results were good.

Friday, August 20, 2010

And Then I Went Crunch

Yesterday, Delphinium and I were getting ready to go have dinner with my mom. We went upstairs to change into fresh clothes, came back down, and then realized we'd forgotten baby socks. For the 400th time that day, we trudged back up, grabbed a lovely pale green pair with colorful spots, and headed back down again. About half way down the stairs we ran into trouble.

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

Remembering How Lucky We Are

Yesterday I went to the dentist ALL BY MYSELF! It was pretty unsettling to be on my own even though Delphinium was with her dad and then her grandma during my appointment. I have absolute faith in both of those people, but it was still just very odd. Over time, perhaps that feeling like I've accidentally left one of my arms at home will fade.

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

Vanishing Elders

The Japanese are known as one of the longest-lived cultures due to their healthy diet and lifestyle. Or are they? This article is about the scandal currently emerging in Japan over the care of the nation's oldest people. It seems that the whole thing was touched off when officials went to check up on the nation's oldest man only to discover that he'd been dead for more than thirty years. Now it seems that many of those listed as centenarians are actually missing in action. Does Japan really revere its elders?

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Summer Reading Cont.

I just have to brag a little. Some kids have to be coaxed, pushed, and tricked into summer reading, but not my nieces. This summer, both nieces have been visiting the public library on a regular basis with their nanny. They've also both enrolled in the summer reading program which began when school let out. The rules are something like "read ten books (appropriate to age) and win a free book as a prize." Elder Niece casually announced that she'd already won her free book and was doing the program over again to get a second. As if that were not enough, this girl reads real books. There are no biographies of Britney Spears on her list.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Summer Reading

I am shocked to discover that summer reading is good for kids. The New York Times recently ran this article about a study of elementary students who were given free books to take home over the summer. Half were allowed to choose from various age-appropriate fiction and non-fiction picks while the other group were given puzzle and activity books. After three such summers, the children who had access to extra reading practice during the summer scored far higher in reading than their puzzle working peers.

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

Two Thumbs Up

The big baby news of the last week has been all about the thumbs. Delphinium has been trying for some time to get her hands into her mouth, but recently a break through occurred. Ladies and gentlemen, the thumb has been located! Yes, it's true, it came away from the hand and found its way into our girl's mouth without the rest of the fist. This was BIG NEWS in our world because it means that Delphinium now has a built-in pacifier that she can deploy at will.

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

Being a Grown-up

Recently, I was watching a toddler play with bubbles. This made me think about how easy it is for little kids to find amazement and joy in the world. Flickering lights and tree boughs over head make my daughter stare in wonder. How sad it is that we adults can't find such simple pleasures. Then I realized this is a double edged sword. If we were so easily distracted, there would be all sorts of things we couldn't do. Driving would be impossible if the sight of sun on water so diverted our attention that we then crashed the car. Also, the young brain that so readily becomes elated has the flip side of being always on the edge of despair. One advantage of being an adult is the perspective on what is or is not a terrible tragedy.

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


Last week's mommy movie was actually more of a daddy movie. I've never seen so many fathers at one of these weekly baby-friendly movie showings. I guess that's due to the fact that it was sci-fi and not some schlocky chick flick. Inception is certainly no chick flick. It aims to be a more of a mind bleep (if you know what I mean). The plot is incredibly complicated (I won't even try) and it requires you to put the realistic part of your brain on vacation. That being said; it was a fun ride. Just make sure you don't go while sleepy, or your head might fall off.