Thursday, December 29, 2005

Gaz's first Christmas and sundries

(First: I'm really, really, REALLY far behind on thank-yous and holiday cards. I swear I've got stuff to send and I hope to have some time to work on that this weekend, baby willing. I'm not trying to be rude I'm just overwhelmed!)

'Twas her first and 'twas lovely. We spent it down in E-ville with my family, per our holiday rotation, slightly amended due to last year's blizzard. I'm sure the folks down there ended up thankful for us not being able to come down last year since all they would have gotten was a sleepy, nauseated, newly pregnant me. Gaz is way more fun than that.

The teething had abated somewhat (still lots of chewing, but less fussing than usual) so Gaz was in generally good spirits apart from when we first got into town around 1:30 am. Then she just needed a full tummy and time to adjust to Grandma Cel and Grandpa Charley's house and she was right as rain again.

Gaz received some really great clothes from Aunt Hillary and Uncle Sean, as well as some from the Great-Grandparents Rizen. There were also some new books (a fuzzy puppy book, a Five Little Monkeys book + finger puppets, and the Complete Tales of Peter Rabbit) and toys (a FP stacking ring thing that plays classical music). While we were down there Mom and I went shopping for Gaz-sized turtleneck onesies (no, no explanation for my obsession with those things) and we ended up finding a doorway jumper for cheap. Score!

The night driving was fairly successful but the day driving really bit. We had to stop more often and had to play her special Gaz-soothing CDs much more often. Looks like we'll have to organize road trips so that all the driving is done after bedtime.

All these holiday trips make me wish that we lived closer to family. It's so great to see everyone and we miss everyone horribly when we go. So you all have to move to Chicago, okay? ;)

Yesterday on my way into the office I saw a fellow with his five-week-old son. He was carrying him in a carseat just like the one we just left in E-vill (thanks to the best Christmas present ever--a carseat big enough to safely contain our big girl) and I commented that I liked the car seat and oh I remember those early days. I got a good look at the little guy and he was pretty big, probably as big as Gaz was at five weeks. I got all nostalgic and told the guy to enjoy these days before they get too chaotic. Nostalgic already! Beware of introspective me in August.

The only drawback of having to upgrade the carseat is that our Snap 'N Go no longer works. For a stroller we've got just a little umbrella stroller (which we wouldn't even have if my Aunt Alice hadn't surprised us with an off-registry item) right now. I've found my dream stroller, complete with shopping basket and rain hood and pockets and things, but jeez are those things expensive. We thought we'd have plenty of time to run down bigger-baby items well into the future, but big baby accelerated our bigger-baby needs timeline. What we've got now works just fine for baby transport, but since I tend to overpack and carry too much stuff, I do miss that handy basket under the seat of the Snap 'N Go. It's a high class problem but I complain still.

Anyway, we're looking forward to a New Year full of fun new developmental milestones. Solid food soon, and crawling too looks like it's not far off. For now I just need to survive this work week.

Happy holidays to all!

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

It's all about the earplugs

At various times in my life, I have been a caregiver for other peoples' children. I've learned a lot and had a lot of fun, but the most important thing I've learned is how to be mean.

Let's face it, children cry. They cry about lots of things - bumped knees, teasing on the playground, brushing their teeth. As adults, it's our job to figure out why they are crying and what needs to be done about it. That's the easy part.

The hard part is when they cry because they don't want to do something we know they really need to do, or because we won't let them do something that we know is a bad thing. For those moments, you need earplugs, and the guts to be mean. (There is nothing so terrible to one's ego than being called mean by a child. I'm serious - I've had terrible relationship breakups that were less painful.)

You cannot make a child stop crying. You can distract them, cuddle them, soothe them, make it stop hurting, make it stop being scary - but ultimately, you cannot make them stop crying. So stick in those earplugs and move along with whatever it is they have to do.

I'm lucky with Gaz. She doesn't have that particular pitch of jet plane howl that would force me to break out the earplugs. I can just set the TV to closed captioning and ignore it, or strap her into the bouncy chair and leave the room for a few minutes if I really need a break. She's a happy baby and really doesn't cry that often or for that long.

But right now she DOES NOT WANT THE BOTTLE. In any form - bottle, sippy cup, or other milk-giving mechanism. Nope, nuh-uh, not gonna have it. So she cries, because she's a baby and that's really the only way she can express her annoyance.

I sympathise, really I do. Her little gums hurt, and anything not as soft as Mom's breast hurts them more. Her little teeth hurt my fingers, so I'm trying to convince her that we don't really need to break out the supplemental feeder and attach it to my finger. But I'm the adult, and I know that she needs to eat even when Mom's not around to nurse.

So yesterday we spent most of the day crying and rocking. Me, rocking and holding a bottle or sippy cup in her mouth, and her crying and resisting it. There were many breaks for cuddling and soothing and naps and playing, but still. It was rough. I hate to cause her so much distress.

We did discover that the gum pain is not so bad as to wake her if she sucks in her sleep, so the most successful feeding was accomplished while she slept. This is very good, if hard on my arms. Holding a bottle in perfect feeding position for an hour and a half may well qualify as torture under the Geneva Conventions. I think I'll work on making a bottle suspender system to take the weight off.

Grandma and Grampa, thank you so much for helping out while I went on vacation! We had a perfectly wonderful time visiting with my family and friends, and I'm so glad we got to take one last vacation before Stormy heads for the wilds of Seattle. Gaz sends you cuddles and smiles!

Tuesday, December 13, 2005


It's been a crazy week or so. We've weathered our first nursing strike, which we think was brought on by a combination of teething pain and achey, innoculated legs. There was some fun new night waking/hysterical crying too. It really wasn't fun, but it puts things in perspective. I'm sure one day I'll look back on these as the easy days. In the meantime we're still waiting for new teeth to poke out.

Let's see. . . At the four-month appointment height was 27" and weight was 18 pounds, 11 ounces. Less than I expected, but with the teething and holidays making feeding schedules wacky at best, I wouldn't be surprised if she lost a little bit. There's absolutely nothing to worry about, though, because she's still above the 97th percentile for both height and weight, and she's perfectly proportioned. She's a big baby, but she's in no way overweight. Her development is right on target for her age, too. All good. This was the first appointment where she didn't cry the whole time. Until the needles that is, and even then she was all smiles until she got stuck the first time. She quieted pretty quickly, too, and remained relatively calm on the drive home. She's getting to be so big.

She's much better at sitting now by herself. I stay close by whenever I've got her sitting (especially on the couch) but she keels over much less often and when she flops forward she either chews her toes a bit and rolls to her side or pushes herself back up. She's getting really, really close to assuming the position for crawling. Just waiting for those core muscles to firm up and then look out, folks.

The other new thing is grabbing. Grabbing at anything and everything: the colander, any thing on or comprising my face (especially my lower lip), food (she's totally uninterested once she's got a handful of rice & beans, but I guess that's not the point just yet), anything with words on it, cups I'm drinking out of, everything on the coffee table, and . . . well, anything within view. She reaches and complains if she can't get to it and/or if I interfere. We're learning the fine art of distracting her from what she wants to grab and substituting something that's okay for her to get her hands and mouth on.

In among all these things, we had a great visit from Grandma Judy and Grandpa Will, who did us an enormous and most appreciated favor in taking over day care duties while Babysitter Lisa was vacationing. Gaz is very lucky to have such great grandparents, and we're lucky to have so much support from both our families.

Thursday, December 1, 2005

oh, so many things

1. We have two teeth out now, both on the bottom. These teeth have started biting me in uncomfortable places.

2. Gaz is now even more than ever enchanted and distracted by The World (TM), which directly contributes to the biting and also her general distractedness with things like nursing.

3. She's trying really hard to sit up by herself. She succeeds sometimes when she's on a lap, but when she's on her own she mostly ends up eating toes. Not that she minds that at all. I think she might just fold forward just so she can suck on her toes while looking at things more interesting than the ceiling. Then there's also those times when she manages the sitting without going completely head-to-toes, but ends up going to one side. It's pretty amusing and someone is always close at hand to prevent any head bumps.

4. She's got rolling down pat. I've gotten over the fact that she shows off fun new tricks first for Mark and not me. I like to think that when I'm around she'd rather look at me and when Mark is around she's plotting an escape attempt. :)

5. It looks like the legs are ready for crawling, but now we've got to wait for the arms to catch up. She still doesn't hold herself up straight-armed, but I expect that's not far off.

6. This morning before I left for work she was standing on my lap (with me holding her steady, of course) and she discovered jumping. It was all fun and games until Mama got tired of being bonked on the chin with a smiling baby head. Gaz was completely unfazed in her excitement over having found this fun new thing to do with her legs. Weeee!

More as I remember, memory being a luxury some weeks (like this one).