Thursday, April 26, 2012

Alice Marching

Another one from the mind of Tim Jones. 

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

33 Weeks

33 Weeks: 

This kid, let me tell you. We are beginning to see more and more personality emerge as Alice gets older, more coordinated, and more confident in herself and her surroundings. I actually think we may have a bit of a thrill seeker on our hands. Both Tim and I have begun noticing how delighted she becomes when she is surprised. If you pop out from around a corner and boing at her, she squeals with glee. She loves feeling the wind in her hair now (it is growing, you know) and circles her arms and legs around with happiness whenever it blows. And most obviously, when her and I are playing the baby version of Airplane-where I lay on my back with my knees up in the air and place her sitting across the tops of my feet and bounce her up and down to some silly song or another- she has begun putting her hands up over her head as if she were on a roller coaster! It began with her laying along my shins, then she was sitting up but gripping onto my pants, then she was sitting up with her hands circling around for balance (I am loosely holding onto her feet by the way, so she doesn't teeter off one way or the other), and then she was grinning ear to ear and squeaking with her arms held up over her head and having a good old time! The kicker is that she gets really pissed off when I stop and 'kicks' me until I start again. Another favorite game is being tossed up into the air and caught and she also loves being swung around in what we call 'monkey swings'. I hold her on either side of her rib cage and swing her body like a pendulum from side to side while she spreads her arms and legs out like a starfish. She is also, nearly always up for a game of pretend dropping where I am holding her to my chest and I'll squat down suddenly without any warning and gasp. That game turns her frowns upside down in a jiffy. As tired as I am at the end of each day, what with all this freaking exercise, I can only imagine how much more full my hands are going to be once she begins walking! I may never rest again. 

She? She is a girl after all.

Playing with bubbles (and admiring papa's sock choice).

Brushing those long, luxurious locks 1000x a day!

Some more beautiful photos my sister took. 

Alice making one hell of an oatmeal mess. 

Clearly, this is the only way to entertain a fussy baby.

Alice is playing with a sound machine we use to help drown out the traffic outside our apartment. We usually use a waterfall type of continuous sound but we were playing around with the others one day when she woke up from a nap. Every single time I turned on the 'heartbeat' sound she would smile sweetly (and still does). Babies, geez so cute, right?

The Inspector has some musical talent, no?

She is so docile and delicate.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

32 Weeks

32 Weeks:

For several months now I have been thinking that Alice will be left-handed. I know it is really too soon to tell but I have noticed she tends to do fine, small-skilled tasks with her left hand and broader, repetitive movements with her right. But those broad tasks only get delegated to her right after they pass 'the test'. On her left hand Alice has a thumb. Well, she has a thumb on her right hand as well, but her left hand has a Thumb. This left-hand Thumb has purpose, authority, and rigorous screening skills. This Thumb has a title, rank and name. He is The Inspector. Everything that Alice comes across passes inspection first, is then rated as needing close attention (and thus staying with the left hand) or more general attention (and is passed to the right). The Inspector takes responsibility for shielding the fingers on the left hand from potential danger by putting itself first, brazenly sticking out while the others duck for cover. It then attempts to draw attacks by confidently poking whatever has been introduced bluntly and repeatedly until it is certain the new object is safe for the left (and potentially the right) hand to further explore. Only then does the Inspector allow the fingers to come out and see for themselves what new thing mama has brought them.

The Inspector, while still a highly respected figure around here, has caused some complications during meal times. Alice loves purees and being fed tiny bits of whatever it is I am eating, but recently she has really wanted to grab those tiny bits of food for herself. But the Inspector-as is his duty- intervenes. Today the Inspector met with bits of mozzarella and really didn't know what to make of such an adversary. If you can imagine mozzarella as a potential threat (as The Inspector does) just lying there all passive and unassuming, delicious and waiting to be eaten but suddenly being thumbed to death! Mozzarella held up to The Inspector's questioning just long enough to become slightly grayed before crumbling into a million nearly invisible and completely non-threatening shards while Alice looked on in hungry sadness. She then looked at me as if it were my fault she was not eating, opened her baby bird mouth and silently begged me to just put the next piece directly in there instead of on the table as the Inspector is as much of a hindrance as he is a benefit upon occasions such as this.

Also, Alice is teething. While I am anxious to get this phase over with as soon as possible, I sure am going to miss this gummy smile.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

31 Weeks

31 Weeks:

We are getting reacquainted with our Life Before Vacation around here, which consists of a complete re-evaulation of the way things were and whether or not we want to make them that way again or try to use our transition time as a double up transition time and make some changes. Some good things need to be relearned and some bad things need to be shed. Unfortunately, it seems like what I thought was 'good' and what Alice thought was 'good' are two completely different things. Her wonderful new sleep routine was the first thing she thought we were tossing out the window upon our return (though she slept well while we were gone) and it has been a bit of a struggle to get her back to what I have learned to call our 'Is This Really My Child?' once a night waking for feeding amazing routine we had gotten on before our trip to NC. We were on a really fabulous 2 week run where I would put Alice down for bed around 7:30-8 and she wouldn't wake up until 2 or 3am, I would feed her and then lay her back in her crib and not hear from her again until 7am. You maybe asking yourself why I am so enthusiastic about having to wake up in the middle of the night. To which I would reply, just ONCE?!?! Sign me up! The best part is that even if Alice would sleep all the way through from 7-7 I would be up at 2am anyway having to pump to keep my supply up so if you think about it, by feeding her I am just using my time really effectively. And my milk really because to this day Alice won't drink my milk if it has been frozen. I have even tried mixing it with her food and she's like, 'Ugh! What the hell did you DO to this? Don't you know it is supposed to come out of a boob, not my oatmeal?' But I digress.

So, sleeping. Still a battle. I am constantly trying to create a happy, healthy, comforting sleep environment for her to ease herself into slumberland instead of having to constantly battle her into unconsciousness and create a negative/punishment association with sleep and I am learning that there is such a fine line with a willful baby. It seems like such a simple thing too- you are tired, you sleep. You stay asleep until you are rested, then you get up and go about your business. Apparently it is that way for just about everyone but us, but you know what? If that is our biggest struggle, so be it. It could be (and is for some people) so much worse. I am just happy that throughout these 7 months, I have managed to discover the bizarre things that will actually help soothe Alice to the point where she can at least get the sleep she is getting-pinkie sucking, squatting, shhh-ing, sometimes even making weirdo squeaking noises that can sound like a mouse or even a puppy whimpering. The most important thing I have learned so far about motherhood is that my personal dignity is waaay down the list of things that matter. Far ahead are Alice's check list of well-slept (see above list for loss of dignity), fed (I have flashed more people than I want to know, I am sure), and happy (dear lord, I will do anything to make that child laugh-you saw the video of the spin around hops). Which is how I know I am doing a good job.

This week, Alice and I have a wonderful new game called 'Church Hat'. It started out as 'Toy on the Head' but as we became more selective in our choices the game actually took on a level of dignity it originally lacked. How it works is, I put a toy on her head. Alice is aware of it and it eventually falls off. I pick it up and put it on my head. She gets a glint in her eye as she realizes that not only was that thing previously on her head, but that was pretty much how it looked. Once she smiles I say, 'Oooo, would you mind helping me off with my fancy hat? I just can't get it' or something similar and I lean over for her to yank it off my head for me. Once she gets it I put it back on her head and she gets a kick out of yanking off her own head. Then we pick an even fancier 'hat'. She loves it and it is really great to see her anticipating me putting outrageous things on her head and holding super still so they will stay on longer.

One of Alice's finest.

We had a surprise park date with Colin.


And yes, we took Alice to a bar. So many bars up here sell good food so we went to a favorite place and got a burger. It was Speed Metal night (well, 5pm) so Alice had to yell extra loud to be heard by all the patrons.

And while we were in NC, my sister took this amazing photo of Alice! This is how a real photographer does it. Beautiful, right? Get her to take some great photos of your family in the Raleigh area ( or beyond. If you were to zoom out of this photo just a bit you would see my sister's dog (ie: Alice's new friend) running round, my neice spinning around in a huge circle skirt, and me doing both a physical and audible impression of a frog. That is how we get the smiles people. They don't come free!

Saturday, April 7, 2012

30 weeks

30 weeks:

As you can see, my darling love was awee bit displeased during this weeks' photo shoot. Alice and I took a little trip to NC to visit my family and this is how she behaved whenever she was out of my arms. Which is funny because she has spent so much time with and adores my mom, so I thought I would be able to catch up on some of the ZZZ's I have been dropping. Sadly, no. We are experiencing a bit of 'strange environment' anxiety apparently, but she warmed up eventually. My sister's kids were on spring break so everyone was able to get a lot of quality time together. It was so wonderful to have my niece and nephew around Alice and we spent a lot of time reminiscing about when they were babies themselves and funny things they used to do. I think that is why (most) people love babies so much, it reminds them of all the babies they have known before and they see them in their minds' eye as they once were. My sister's kids were such charismatic and delightful babies who seem so grown up now compared with Alice. But as it turns out, Alice herself is quite grown up now. This week she began drinking out of a straw. Like for real drinking out of a straw, not like a few weeks ago when she was drinking out of a straw like it was an eye dropper. It started out that way, but then I realized that she was sucking out of the bottom so I put the straw back in the drink and the top part in her mouth and she began drinking and swallowing as if she had done it a million times before. Pretty neat trick just in time for summer. She also claps! It is the sweetest thing ever and you can tell she is just charmed to no end with her new trick. I wake up in the mornings to the sound of her clapping to herself in her crib. I think that half of her enthusiasm is seeing everyone else's response. When she begins every other person in the room starts too, so really one could say that her new trick is getting people to applaud at her whim. Which I would have been doing anyway, because one of the days last week Alice took a 3 hour nap! She rustled around a bit, found her thumb (!) and soothed herself back to sleep. I almost fainted from excitement and took a photo of the monitor to commemorate the magical moment. May it be the first of many (clap! clap! clap!)!

That thumb will soon be worth it's weight in gold.

Clapping: so much fun.

Alice is enjoying a beautiful NC day on 'The Happy Quilt' that my grandmother made my parents as a wedding present in 1973.

This is Matilda. Awwwwwww.

Toes in the grass!

Looking like a retiree in her cat eye glasses, floral mumu top, capris and flashy sandals, living the good life in Florida.