Wednesday, May 31, 2006

onward an upward

Gaz has figured out how to climb unassisted onto not only the couch, but also the coffee table.

I picked up a bib to hang back up on our bibhangeronthing and when I turned around she was sitting on the coffee table, throwing around one of her Five Little Monkeys dolls.

We are now contemplating alternative placements of coffee table that don't involve the living room. If you have a suggestion, please let us know. We're out of ideas and I don't want to lose my coffee table!

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Blogity blog blog

I don't have tons of time for blog-reading (go figure), but I do love Tending Violet. I mean, she's got pink hair so you know it has to be good. I especially like the Week 39 entry. Take that, Dr. Phil!

Back to the bidness of this blog, Gaz is on the verge of walking. And by "on the verge" I mean she's already taken her first unaided step. It was totally unexpected, which is why she was unaided. I mean, we were right there, but we weren't holding her hands or anything. If you do hold her hands she takes off, so she's clearly putting two and two together. Sunday evening we spent some quality time with our landlords in the back yard and M. kept saying how ready-to-walk Gaz looked, and since she's raised two walkers recently I believe her. We had a great evening and it only took Gaz, what an hour? two hours? to warm up to everyone. And she let a total stranger hold her for a minute or so without crying. Progress!

Gaz is generally being a progressively more complex little human. She's been on a serious blueberry kick since the early days of solid food, but is cooling on them now. Peaches are most fun for smearing everywhere (everywhere!), tofu is fabulous, cereal puffs are the new rice cakes, and so on. Peas wax and wane but continue to be rather well loved, and beans are a special new treat (we've been eating out at Mexican restaurants lately). Hooray for the incredible edible legumes.

So many little moments feel blog-worthy to me, but they all blend together in a mishmash of daughter love. So: I love my kid. She's the best kid ever. I'll leave it to y'all to sort that out into its composite moments of joy/befuddlement/frustration/triumph/peace.

P. S. - Gigantic congratulations to Mark's sister Emily and her husband Kyle, who welcomed little Merynn Deborah into the world on Thursday (three nieces! how did we get to be so lucky?), and a big fat "HELLO BABY!" to Miss M. We all can't wait to meet you, particularly Gaz! Is there anything cuter than babys' obessions with other babies? No way!

Saturday, May 27, 2006

why didn't anyone mention this before?!?!

Teething biscuits are perhaps THE most messy thing in the galaxy.

I know, something that solid and rectangular doesn't look like it could be as bad as all that but don't let the little devil fool you. As soon as it encounters baby spit (and oh, can a baby with teeth generate the drool) it liquifies into a sticky brown mess and ever few chomps the baby will inevitably decide that what would be even cooler than chewing on this tasty treat is rubbing said tasty treat all over his/her face, neck, clothing, the carpet, the furniture, Mom, etc. Normally it hurts my wrists to hold her out from my body--deQuervain's tendinitis, remember--but when confronted with her gooey hands all thoughts of wrist pain fled like startled bunnies. I ended up sticking her in the high chair and now that looks like a war zone. It's not technically as gross as diaper detail, but oh the laundry. The Horror; the Horror.

I don't know if we'll ever get Gaz clean. Fortunately being covered in dried cookie residue isn't hampering her nap (if anything, it's helping).

Thursday, May 25, 2006

New Rule!

No standing on the couch!

Because a certain baby has been climbing onto the couch!

Where she can get to all the stuff we keep on the table behind the couch!

And that's not good!

Also, no climbing on the coffee table!

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

to all the folks I've bit* before

I am getting my comeuppance.**

* As a small child I had a bad habit of biting people. The stories are many and deeply embarassing.

** It should be noted that these bitings are not breastfeeding related, although sometimes when she wants to get my attention because she's hungry she'll nip my arm. Mostly the biting is accidental because she wants to chew on my clothing. Sometimes, now that we're getting into tantrum age, she tries to bite everything in sight in a fit of anger. We're really trying to discourage that.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

oh, and

I feel it is my duty to let you all know that we did eventually get some good video of Gaz cruising, so Mark is exonerated. For now. Since we don't have a good way of sharing video online, please feel free to send us recordable CDs and we'll burn you some Gaz video. Including video of her shoving a finger up her nose in response to "where's Gaz's nose?" Truly priceless.

Update! Finally!

I've got some spare minutes, so let's see if I can do a whole update.

First, the doctor's appointment last week went very well. She's (as usual) totally on target developmentally, and her growth (height= 30.75", weight=24#, 7oz.) continues to make the loveliest of arcs above the 97th percentile. Big girl, as always. She was a total champ about getting her thumb stuck for a lead poisoning test and hemoglobin test. She was more interested in playing with the paper of the lead test and the nurse had a hell of a time keeping her from chewing on it. Gaz managed to get blood all over her Frankenstein t-shirt, but I managed to not pass out or anything. Woo! All should be happy to note that our vegetarian baby is chock full of iron. I've been vegetarian for more than a decade (closer to 12 years, off the top of my head) except for that weird pregnancy craving for ham/bacon/kielbasa/sausage, and I've never once been even slightly anemic. She must have my blood. She was a brave little toaster yet again with her shots. The IPV shot was over before she could react, but the last of her Hep vaccines was big and right in a muscle, so there was much howling. Until we went across the room to look at the lion picture and the butterfly hanging from the ceiling. She's such a good girl, I can't begin to express how proud I am of her at the doctor's office.

Then we piled back into the car and drove many hours to visit Aunt Emily, Uncle Kyle, and cousins Brynn and Evynn for Evynn's fourth birthday. Gaz did not like the pool party, but mostly because it was loud at the pool and other kids splashed her. Oh, and the water was pretty cold, too. I didn't linger long in the pool either. It was a short visit, but a very good one. Gaz loves playing with her cousins and the goils (as I call them) love playing with Gaz. In fact, there were arguments about who was going to play what with the baby. It was very cute. Those girls are growing so fast. It was fun and at time harrowing to get that glimpse into our future. We also got to spend some quality time with Grandpa Will. We missed Grandma Judy, but I bet we'll get to visit with her soon.

Now Gaz is home with Grandma Cel who's helping us out this week as Lisa is out of town visiting family. She's got some neat new tricks, like leaning and grabbing for her high chair when she wants some food (she did that today after her morning nap when Grandma was carrying her through the dining room), and the all-important pointing at everything in sight. Waving is still hit or miss, but pointing is forever. She will point at everything and everyone. It's mostly cute and occassionally socially awkward (she's really good at pointing at the one person of a different color than everyone else, staring somewhat vacantly all the while) but it's so wonderful that she can indicate better what she's looking at. She's working on parts of faces and has discovered noses (inside and outside) and continues to go for moving lips and teeth.

The talking is still mostly babbling, but more and more often what comes out of her mouth sounds like words--some of them even appropriate words for the conversation. We spend a lot of time talking to her, reading to her, and singing to her. It sounds much more dull than it is in practice. It's easily as good as having cable, which we only sometimes miss.

That's the big stuff, I think. More later, as time allows.

Friday, May 5, 2006

Cruisin' Daddy's Hall of Shame

Gaz has just started cruising along furniture, as I previously mentioned. She was somewhat active when Mark got home from work, so I set about trying to encourage Miss Thang to take a stroll in some manner for one of us to get some video of her. First I took the camera while Mark tried to get her to walk over to him along the coffee table by tempting her with a comb and, when that didn't work, the phone. She loves the phone.

Then we switched and I sat on one end of the couch and waved our electronic sudoku game (from Grandma Judy) at her while Mark operated the camcorder. She loves to play with things we don't want her to, so she immediately sped over to me.

But (there's always a but to these tales) Mark then said that he's zoomed in on the sudoku game and by the time he zoomed out Gaz had made it over to me and stopped walking. I told Mark that I was, of course, going to have to tell everyone of his faux pas. Then I realized that I could tell everyone of his video shame right now.

Let the mocking commence!

Tuesday, May 2, 2006

nine months (with footnotes!)

With Gaz turning nine months old this morning, I'm feeling all reflecty.

First, I've got to say that I dig that she was born so early in the morning, not just because at the time I was under a bit of duress, but because we get to spend every 6:11 together, regardless of whether it's a work day for me or not. It's a little thing, but I love it.

This brings me to two things that are so important to us--all three of us--that I want to take a little space here to explain to everyone. Neither Mark nor myself has often been accused of doing things in an orthodox manner, and our family life is no different, I'm sure. The two things that make us all very happy with our family situation are breastfeeding and sharing sleep.

Let me start off by saying that, having gone through the business of figuring out how to do things in our family, I have nothing but respect for all the moms and dads in the world who've made decisions, some of them pretty tough ones, and raised their families in the ways that best worked for them. I've got no argument with anyone who has done things differently, and the following rambling is not meant to make anyone feel bad for their decisions. I don't like it when other people dis our choices, so I don't want any of our friends and family thinking that we don't support everyone's right and capacity to figure out how best to do things for themselves. Right. Onto the ramble.

Breastfeeding was not easy for us in the beginning. Gaz was lazy and I had little idea what I was doing. I was a bit arrogant about my skills: just because one's mother was a La Leche League leader for years, does not mean that one has innate breastfeeding super powers. In the hospital and for one difficult day at home, I ended up feeding Gaz formula via a supplemental nursing system that allowed her to get enough fluid volume to keep her hydrated while also getting her the all-important colostrum from me. This also helped my milk come in. To anyone in a similar situation, look for the compromise that will make everyone happy. One day after getting Gaz rehydrated my milk came in with a vengeance.

Breastfeeding has continued to be a challenge after going back to work. I had to buy a new watch that had alarms because I don't always watch the clock well when I'm working, and I was occassionally missing my pumping times and ending up horribly engorged and uncomfortable. It takes time out of my work day that must be made up. I have to carry around a breast pump (although the one I use, the Ameda Purely Yours, is pretty convenient for carrying purposes) and it's not the quietest thing in the world to use. This might all sound like very good reasons to not breastfeed, but I've got to tell you that I happily, willingly go through this and worse because the nursing relationship we have is so important to me. Today Gaz was fussy at breakfast (tropical fruit mush and rice cakes) and hysterical by the time I got her out of her high chair. Nothing calmed her--not cuddling, not sitting her near her toys, not petting the cat--except for nursing. It's one small way I can always "make it better." I provide her with important nourishment (recent studies are showing that breastmilk continues to be nutritionally significant for years) and with the security of my presence. That is something I treasure, and I will do everything I can to maintain that benefit.

We further believe in baby-led weaning. I know I'm not going to breastfeed forever; I don't want to breastfeed forever. For one thing, we'd like to have another baby one day, and while I know it's possible to tandem-nurse, that seems like more complication than I'd like to deal with in addition to the complexities of a growing family. But I've got faith in Gaz's ability to let me know when she's ready to ease up and eventually quit nursing. She figured out today that she can turn on one of her tap lights by throwing another tap light at it, and that if she throws it just right, she can turn them both on at once. She's a smart cookie.

The other strange thing we do, co-sleeping, is also very important to us. There's the whole always-being-near-Gaz-at-6:11am thing, but there are many more practical and emotional benefits to the arrangement. Since Gaz has never taken to the bottle well, she's usually a little low on fuel on the days that I work all day, so she'll nurse all night to compensate. That might sound like a lot of work for me, but with her right at my side, it's really no trouble at all to feed her. She doesn't usually wake up all the way and I get back to sleep much easier than if I had to get up and walk around. And for all the sleeping trouble we had right around the move, I can't imagine how much worse it would have been if Gaz had been alone in bed. Sharing sleep also provides Mark with opportunities to assist in the nighttime parenting that he otherwise wouldn't have. Everyone who knows him knows that he sleeps like a rock and is difficult to wake up. Well, he wakes up a bit easier now. He can sleep through one of us crying, but not both of us. If I'm at my breaking point, he's right there to help. He's been of so much help, especially in the early days.

Even when he's unconscious, just being in the bed helps. One night recently Gaz was sleeping fitfully and kept startling in her sleep. Her little body would jerk, she'd let out a little cry, then she'd reach out and feel both of us nearby and drift back off to sleep. That was the coolest thing I've ever seen (her settling, not her crying), and proof enough for me that our just being there is a good thing.

Of course I just love having my baby near. If we couldn't spend all that quality time together at night, I probably would have quit my job in a fit of hysterics ages ago. I hate being away from my girl. I'm not worried that she won't learn how to comfort herself, because she's still so young. I know, like breastfeeding, she'll grow out of wanting to sleep in our bed. Neither of us is in a hurry to enforce independence now. We feel that if she feels completely safe, loved, and trusting, that independence will naturally follow. Some people call it attachment parenting. We call it just doing what we do. It feels very comfortable and very "right," which IMO should be every parent's guide for their parenting. If it doesn't feel right, whatever it is* and whatever is in vogue in the latest parenting book, don't do it. I'm down with good enough parenting.

That's the foundation of our life at home. Add in the love and support of all our friends and relatives (we love you all!), plenty of interesting toys (mostly cat toys and lids from POM tea right now), and the occassional episode of Teletubbies, and you'll get a pretty happy little Gaz.

Now for the update on what Gaz is doing! At last! She's been caught standing unaided a couple of times now, which is ever-so-cool. She's obviously figuring out that standing doesn't always need to be done next to furniture, although she's still usually found next to the couch or the coffee table. She's also experimenting with walking along furniture or, as I found out yesterday, propelling furniture with the power of her little legs. If only the coffee table could scoot farther, Gaz would be the happiest creature on the planet! I havent' gotten video of that yet, because she's usually moving around at my feet while I'm on the couch, which is a terrible angle at which to try to capture little feet. I promise I'll work on that, but Mark, if you're reading this, I'll be needing your help! I have got some video of her playing by herself, mostly attacking a cardboard box and taking things off of/putting things on the chair in the living room. Oh, and also attacking the video camera and putting her finger in her nose. That'll learn me to ask her where here nose is.

I look at the wall-o-baby photos at work, I look at our Flickr accounts, and it seems like so long ago that she was still in the "loaf of bread" stage, but at the same time it feels like no time has passed at all. It seems like there should be a word for it. We go see Dr. C. next Friday, so I'm sure there will be much to report on the vital stats.

As for the parents, I'm sure we've changed somehow but I haven't noticed much. Been a little busy. I think I'm more patient, though (I know! I can't believe it either!) and better at playing with little kids. I'm also better at rhyming on the fly, which is a must-have skill for people who like to change the lyrics of songs constantly and with no notice. It's fun to see Mark and me try to do it at the same time. Rule #4? Broken!**

And now I'm afraid that if I reflect any more, I'm in danger of turning into a mirror.

* It goes without saying (or should, anyway) that baby's saftey is already taken into account and is the primary consideration.

** Rule #4 states that one must not sing one song while another song is already playing. This is mostly so that I don't go crazy on car trips, but it's good for any occassion. The other rules don't seem to stick, except for Rule #2, which is "don't ever make someone laugh while they're eating watermelon."