Wednesday, February 29, 2012

25 Weeks





25 Weeks (the love affair with her feet continues):

I was drinking out of a glass the other day and Alice put her arms out, fingers spread as if I offered her drinks from my glass everyday. Just for the hell of it, I held it out for her thinking she would lick the outside of it or something but she brought the rim right down to her mouth and leaned her mouth into it! I couldn't believe she knew exactly what to do. Obviously she was surprised when the water went into her mouth but other than that, she was ready to be signed up as an authorized cup drinker. Since she can't really hold anything consistently we compromised and decided to try straw drinking instead, which she is equally enthusiastic about. Alice has also begun making a new noise. It is like a regular baby noise, the kind they make when they are perfectly happy and just talking to themselves except Alice draws out the 'ehhhhhh' and sounds just like a sheep. It is hysterical. It started by accident 2 days ago, but she remembered it and has been bleating ever since. She is also laughing so much now and we spend most of our time finding new things that are funny and repeating them. She loves being tossed up into the air, laying sideways in my arms and having her belly kissed and then her cheeks when she curls up, having Tim slowly drop his hand slowly down over her and then suddenly tickle, tickle, tickle her belly, and she absolutely loves playing hide and seek type games with my mom. I'll be holding her and my mom will hide behind me and pop up in different places around my shoulders, neck or sides and Alice anticipates where she is going to be and just laughs when she is wrong and gets surprised. We were also playing hide and seek around the corner and both her and my mom get the biggest grins on their faces when they spot each other. Alice is going to be so bored when her grandma goes home on Friday, poor girl(s).


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Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Quick Note

It has been brought to my attention that if you are a subscriber and get new posts emailed to you apparently the videos I have been posting show up looking like photos. I have no idea how to fix this, but if you go the the blog they are videos on here-just not in your email. And there are a lot of them in recent posts, so be sure to type the url in (www.mydearthing.blogspot.com) and check them out here on the blog!

24 weeks






24 weeks:

We are settling into a bit of a schedule nowadays so I figured I would document a typical day for us. By typical I simply mean the most common occurrence. It is by no means always like this, or even normally like this. Hell sometimes it is only like this 2 days out of the week, but those are the only two days that are even remotely similar so we'll go ahead and call them 'alike' and group them together under the grand over-rated heading of 'schedule'.

6 am: Alice's bloodline is beginning to rear its early waking head. My grandparent's genes, buried so deeply inside me, seem to be front and center in Alice. I try to talk her into going back to sleep by flashing a boob at her as I pull her from her crib to my bed which she happily takes. Bright-eyed and bushy-tailed she has breakfast in bed with me while I snooze.

7 am: I get up to change her diaper and hand her over to Tim. They greet the day while I go back to sleep for a bit. I hear tell of some Nick Jr. watching, epic Exersaucer playtimes, Tummy time in her playroom (once her bedroom) and Baby Bjorn back porch tours.

8:30 am: Nap-ready, Alice rejoins me in bed. Tim gets ready for work while I nurse Alice and we both grab some ZZZ's. If I am lucky, her morning nap lasts an hour.

9:30 am: We get out of bed. Well, I get out of bed. Every morning I lay Alice's head up on the pillows and float the sheets up over her while I make her into the bed. She loves this and flails her arms up while they are coming down and then pops them over and out as soon as it lands. She looks just like a big person in bed, laying there with her head on a pillow all tucked in. She is just reaching out in anticipatory 'pick me up' gestures so I sweep her up and we go in her room for a quick diaper change before getting dressed and heading into the kitchen for breakfast. I turn on some music and we hang out at the kitchen table together, me with my coffee and yogurt and her with some sort of fruit in her little feeder thingy. We'll just look out the window, our cat Scraps gives us a good show by chasing her tail, or I'll read Alice the latest National Geographic issue (she loves being read and looking at the photos) or a gardening catalog. After a bit, we will go into the living room. Alice hangs in her Exersaucer and gums her raspberry nubby thing (teething, poor girl) while watching Let's Make a Deal while I check my email.

11 am: Nurse and nap. I have been trying not to nurse her right before sleeping time so we don't get into a expectant dependance on it but sometimes it is a valuable tool in my arsnal of things used to lure Alice to sleep. So, I nurse her and see how sleepy she is. Sometimes she falls asleep directly after nursing, in my arms and I just lay her down in the crib next to our bed. Other times I have to bounce her sleepy against my chest while she sucks on my pinkie. Then I lay her down on her side and she drifts off. If I am lucky, putting her down only takes 5-10 minutes and once she is out I take our video monitor in the bathroom with me while I take a quick bath. Her naps can last anywhere from 30 minutes to 3 hours. Usually this one is only 30 minutes.

11:30 am: Alice wakes up and hangs out in the crib while I get dressed and chat with her. She likes to play with Lima bear (a bear from a sweater my mom made her) or a teething ring while she adjusts to being awake. Then we get up and change her diaper.

Noon: Either we leave the house or stay in, depending on her mood. From 12-3pm Alice has an aptitude for fussiness. Usually around this time I utter phrases like, "Did I accidentally put your fussy pants on this morning?" "Hmmm, it seems like there were a few more ZZZ's left on that last nap." and "Oy Vey." Everything or nothing has an equal chance of working. This is the most difficult chunk of our day together and I display the earmarks of a mother whose child was colicky ie: panic that it is returning and doing anything to avoid her crying at all costs. We nurse. I turn on some music and dance her around while singing. We also listen to old Motown, Buddy Holly, Billie Holiday, Sinatra, Patsy Cline, and Elvis. She is lucky I know the words to every Beatles song ever. Alice loves watching me dance, snap, and clap. Sometimes this will put her in a good enough mood where I can put her in the Johnny Jump up and do the dishes or make some lunch. Other times, we just look out the window or abandon the plan completely and go on the back porch and I explain how wonderful everything will look in the spring time when my garden is going strong and how much fun we will have in the summertime when we can blow up the pool and go swimming while the laundry is hanging out in the sunshine. But in reality we are looking at the blue recycling bag flutter around in the wind because all my plants are dead, rotting skeletons and Scraps has pooped in my wooden planters.

2:30 pm: Nurse and I try to talk Alice into taking a long nap to get the stick out of her rear end. If she takes a nap longer than 30 minutes it is usually at this time. Sometimes an hour and a half, sometimes she doesn't wake up until 5pm. If we are still home, I get ready to leave the house just in case she wakes up by making grocery lists and getting everything on stand by ie: coat pockets packed, reusable bags ready, diapers and wipes, Alice's carrier ready and my shoes on.

4 pm: Alice wakes up, gets changed, nursed, and strapped into the carrier. We layer up and leave the house to run errands or just get some air. Weather permitting, we stroll through our gorgeous McGlorick park and stop to watch the dogs play in the dog park. Sometimes we walk further through Greenpoint and into Williamsburg to get a bubble tea or something equally lovely and just as unnecessary, just some excuse to have some sort of destination. Alice is a hardcore people watcher so she enjoys the trip to and from pretty much anywhere. Usually we are gone about 1.5-2 hours and she takes a 30 minute nap in the carrier on the way back home.

5:30-6 pm: Nurse Alice and prep stuff for dinner. Alice sits in her highchair (a portable things that clamps onto the end of our table) and plays with some toys while I chop whatever it is we are cooking that evening. Some of her favorite toys right now include a yellow rubber duck that came on the top of a cupcake that Tim brought home for me when his office had a daddy shower for him, a wooden teething ring, a 6" tall brown rabbit made from canvas and wearing the cutest romper you have ever seen, and the lid from a can of Quaker Oats- an affair that began accidentally one day when I was baking oatmeal cookies.

6:30-7 pm: Tim comes home. If it is bath night we immediately give her a bath and get her PJ's on. She hates getting dressed so it is best not to leave this task until she is tired. Then Tim puts her in the Bjorn and hangs out with her while we catch up and I cook dinner. Sometimes Alice eats with us, sometimes I put her to bed in the middle of cooking and Tim finishes dinner. Other times she is asleep before we begin cooking.

7:30-8 pm: Nurse again and put Alice to bed. For us this can take anywhere from 10-30 minutes and involves bouncing in various positions, pinkie sucking, humming and shhhhing. I hang out with Tim for a few hours once Alice falls asleep.

10 pm: I go to sleep. (Although sometimes not until 11 pm and I nurse Alice then rather than waiting for her to wake up later.)

12:30 am: Alice wakes up and I pull her into bed with me. She nurses and falls back asleep. I lean over and put her back in her crib. Sometimes she sporadically begins rustling around and before she wakes up, I reach my arm over and she settles back down from sucking my pinkie. These are unusual wakings as they are not related to hunger or loneliness. She seems to be dreaming? I am certain she isn't really awake as her eyes are completely closed and she settles back down immediately.

4:30 am: Again we nurse in my bed and fall back asleep. I put her back in her crib.

6:00 am: Alice rustles herself awake and I use nursing as a weapon against full-on upness. As described above, it rarely works as she seems to be an early riser.

And there you have it. One of the things I have been struggling with as a parent is the idea of feeling like I now what I am doing. With so much information out there about how-to and this-is-best and I-know-what-I-am-talking-about it is overwhelming because everything seems so definitive. Like, here's how you do this and here's how to get your child to sleep, and soothe and whatever else and to date extremely little of it has actually applied to Alice. But seriously, she can't be that different from everyone else's child (?) so I have come to the long awaited conclusion that everyone who gives parenting advise is just full of shit. I am amazed that there are so many books on a subject that is so completely subjective, personal, and ever-changing. The enormity of the parenting section at the bookstore may simply reflect the desperate demand of your everyday parent to try to figure out how to do this, rather than there actuallybeing a way to do this. Anyway, around here we are becoming instinctual, go with the flow, baby steps in an eventual direction, try to be consistent but don't get bent out of shape and remember to laugh, love, and enjoy kind of people.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Recently

Alice's first slide ride

She sits! She stays!

In Harper's old cat hat that I bought her

In a hand knit hat from Annalise and bundled up on a cold cold day.

Eagerly awaiting summertime.
Tim, Alice and Emmy in Wilmington

Alice and Pablo

Super knitwear baby with her friend Leon

At the aquarium at Fort Fisher with Aden and Harper

In the most beautiful dress ever from Carly!


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23 weeks





23 weeks:

Well, the toes have found their way into her mouth. As a matter of fact, their first moment together was captured here for these photos! She was grabbing her toes and posing but then realized that she had not yet tasted them. She is very clearly at the stage of, 'What is that? I'd better put it in my mouth. Huh. What is that? Well, I think I should put it in my mouth again.' She also is waving and perhaps it is my imagination, but she seems to realize that it is a gesture used for greeting. She will catch my eye and them flip her hand up at me, but when I try to get her to repeat it later after we have been interacting for a while she looks at me funny. Oh, speaking of funny! Alice totally played her first game with me yesterday! Naturally it was a nap time diversion (the first of many, I am sure) when she was in my arms leaning against my chest and sucking on my pinkie. She was almost out and I clearly forgot who I was dealing with. When Alice is falling asleep there can be no engaging noises lest she becomes distracted and thinks it is no longer sleeping time. Engaging noises include me talking softly, coughing, human noises from outside her room, cat noises from outside her room, etc. Thankfully engaging noises no longer include street traffic, of which there is much. We do have a white noise machine and it really helps, but still Alice is veeeery aware of well, everything. She knows when I have packages delivered while she is napping because she notices the boxes. She realizes when I change my sweater. She even busted Tim picking his nose one time. Anyway, her game. She was almost out and my mind had wandered a bit and super quietly I cleared my throat. Her head instantly popped up to look at me full in the face-her eyes sleepy but alert and realizing that it was me still holding her, broke into a dreamy grin and cooed. I kissed her on the cheek quick as lightning and her smile multiplied, she gave a squeaky giggle and then buried her face back into my sweater, found my pinkie and relaxed her body again. Her mind though, was still thinking about what had just happened because 2 seconds later she shot her head back up to look at me again with that same dreamy smile. So I kissed her other cheek and she giggled and ducked her head back down to nuzzle my sweater and find my pinkie again. It happened like 15 times or so before she literally got tired of it and fell asleep. So cute.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

22 Weeks







22 weeks:

Everything is coming along so suddenly now that I feel like I am not documenting how monumental Alice is. She will do something amazing and by the end of the week I will be writing about something else amazing she did just because it is more recent. Even with all the progressions and milestones she is blazing through, what speaks so loudly to me right now are the quiet moments her and I have. The times when she falls asleep in my arms nursing, or how she flashes a huge smile of recognition when she is looking around and catches my eye. Sometimes she looks at me like I am the funnest, most beautiful, sweetest person ever. It absolutely kills me and I don't want to forget that. We have been transitioning her from sleeping in our bed to her crib (which we have moved along side our bed) and I have found myself really trying to memorize how she feels in my arms as I am rocking her to sleep, or how she looks while she is snuggled along side me when we nurse in the night. I know these days are so short and soon she will be a kid whose legs dangle past my knees when I pick her up to hug her. I mean, she is 26" long already! That is 7" in the past 5 months!

Things she has done recently: still walking like a champ, stays sitting up, reaching for things with speed and accuracy, grabbing things- it is like walking around with a roll of velcro, pinching, oh the pinching! grabbing her knees and feet, when her legs are tired from standing she bends to sit on her bottom, tracks things with her eyes, turns towards sounds, squeals with gusto, arches her back and looks at the world upside down, rocks back and forth when in her Bumbo chair, loves her Johnny jump Up- spins and walks around in it, grabs our mouths every chance she gets, pets Tim's beard, pets my soft sweaters, pets my hand as she is falling asleep.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

The Feeder

I forgot to post last week about one of Alice's charming new tricks. Whenever I come at her with something (her Probiotic Drops, infant Tylenol, some Chamomilla homeopathic tabs), anything having to go in her mouth she clamps it shut like a snapping turtle. If I manage to get it open I then find she has her tongue thrust forward tightly sealing her gums. All this is done with a thrashing head and flailing arms of surprising accuracy. So far, the only thing I can come at her with that she will accept with gusto is: PEACHES!

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Wednesday, February 1, 2012

21 Weeks






21 Weeks:

Oh wow, Alice is seriously amazing. Her attention to detail is incredible. She notices when I move furniture and photos, she tracks the cats around and has a mildly annoying habit of looking towards sound rather than movement which complicates story time. Since her legs are so developed I put her in the Johnny Jump Up to see what she thought and while she hasn't quite figured out the bouncing part of it yet, she loves walking around in the doorway and spinning and looking at everything. She wasn't in there 5 minutes before she walked over to the doorframe and started touching the hinges in a oooo-what is this thing? sort of way. On a daily basis she is beginning to exhibit what I like to call Proof of Paternity. Anyone who knows Tim recognizes that his brain is wired a bit differently from most other peoples. He looks at things in a very unique way (one of the many things I love about him) and Alice is beginning to remind me of him already. Example: we read her these finger puppet books at night and one side has the finger puppet attached, but when you turn the page there is a hole where the puppet was, but is no longer. Alice looks at the hole. Not at the puppet which is moving, but the hole in the other page! It is like she knows that you are supposed to ignore it, but she wants to figure out why before she does. Also, in her Exersaucer I mentioned that I have been removing some of the toys, switching them around and putting other toys through the leftover holes. Well, some of them are still holes and the other day I looked over at her and realized that she was, very intently, staring through one of the holes at the floor underneath. Sheesh, we may have another creative thinker on our hands.

Also, this was a tough week for me. The sleep problems Alice brought back from NC almost drove me through a wall and it took nearly 5 months, but I finally realized that in order to be the kind of mom Alice deserves, I need to take better care of myself. Mainly by sleeping, in any way possible and at the expense of anyone possible (almost exclusively my husband, but there were some days last week where I am pretty certain the cats were better qualified to care for her than I). This epiphany came yesterday when quite accidentally Alice took a 3 hour nap. Now, usually- despite my efforts, she would only be down for 30 minutes (5-6x a day) so this 3 hour nap caught me completely unawares. I picked up the apartment some, loitered on the internet, ate a bowl of cereal- all while expecting her to get up at any moment. I can't tell you how many times I checked on her to make sure she was still breathing and not running a fever or anything (more than I will admit to). Finally about two hours into it, I decided to just go ahead and take a bath and hope not to be interrupted (Note to Alice: I will no longer be a slave to your naps! Normal daytime activities will resume whether or not you are sleeping like a normal child!). Just as I tuned off the super hot water and was seconds from getting undressed and into my bath the UPS man knocked on my door to deliver a surprise package for me. It was a Pick Me Up from my very thoughtful sister containing all sorts of fabulous bath products (masks, scrubs, and the like)! It was the perfect trilogy of napping child, piping hot bath, and new products to play with. I couldn't have planned it better than it actually happened and it was such a sweet little something that reminded me that I actually still matter too. It is really easy to forget that when you are caring for something so completely helpless. There has to be a better balance than the way we have been going so far... For both our sakes I hope these longer naps will become a regular thing. I will be there right along side her taking full advantage of the opportunity by sleeping right through it.