Wednesday, February 28, 2007

BVV No More - Updated

(Gross post warning for those with sensitive stomachs.)

It's true: all good things must come to an end. Our days as Baby Vomit Virgins have ended. Last night I heard an odd sound over the monitor and was not terribly surprised to discover that she had puked (real puke*) for the first time ever. And the second. With the third through seventh following throughout the long, long night. Cait and I each got in the crossfire (thankfully only once each).

Natalie was -- understandably! -- outraged and confused by this miserable turn of events. The first time it was a tiny bit funny as her rage and confusion were so palpable and she wasn't holding anything back (what is wrong with my body?! this is gross! and wrong! and you're MESSING with my FACE! stop it!!!!) but as the night progressed it was heartbreaking. And exhausting.

Thanks to the Internets we knew what to do and redecorated most of the house in towels. We also knew -- but hoped it wouldn't be true for us -- chances were good that we'd also experience another BVV: Baby as Virus Vector. And we did. I'm down but starting to turn around (mmmm! ice chips!). It looks like Cait's in for a rough night. And Natalie? She's been fine since 8 am this morning, Thank God. I cannot imagine if we had all been sick at the same time.

This too shall pass. One way or another.

Natalie was fine all day. But at 12:30 am or so we got back on the Hurl Express. She and I stayed home today. Cait made the attempt to go to work but was home again before 11:00. The washing machine is running non-stop.

*You know, lots of people tell you again and again that poop changes and becomes truly nasty once you start solids. Nobody ever mentions that spit-up changes into hard-core vomit. Spit-up is almost cute, in hindsight.

Monday, February 26, 2007

This Just In...

Reliable sources have informed us that the cow actually says mboo. Please make a note of it.

Don't look at me like that. She did her research.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Don't Bite the Hand You Feed

You might think Natalie's got the life: loving moms who spend as much time as possible with her; hordes of eager grandparents, aunts, and uncles, who dote on her and surround her with wondrous books and toys; and a host of friends of all types and ages. Sometimes it's not all it's cracked up to be, though. Here's a peek at Natalie's diary from today:

Man, last night SUCKED. They put me in that cage-thing again and left me there. I tried to fool them, though. I dozed for a while (a girl's got a lot to process, you know?) but by 11:00 pm I'd HAD. IT. Even though I used my best screaming technique (remove Lovely-Sucking-Thing from mouth, holler with 100% of lung capacity, replace Lovely-Sucking-Thing when Big Hairy Ones show up), the Bigger Hairy Thing With Milk (BHTWM) would not let me at the milk. The NERVE of her. I persevered, though, and wore her down. Ha! I will say, though, that all that commotion really takes it out of you. Even though I wanted to keep up my Bi-Hourly Wakeup Campaign -- it was really successful the previous two nights -- I just couldn't. At 4:00 am, I realized I'd been derelict in my duties so I stood up, screeched, and rattled the cage-thing. This time Big Hairy Thing (no milk) came in and I convinced her rather quickly to take me to BHTWM. Victory!

I again employed my Early Morning Wakeup strategy and the BHTs started mumbling things about numbers starting with six. They're really hung up on that. I don't know what they're talking about. Five is such a pretty number. Anyway, BTHWM kept banging on the pretty little box with red lights to make it quiet. I don't know why she hits that box so hard. *I* think it's wonderful. Then the thing with all the buttons on it started making noise. I said "Hi!" because I know that's what you do when it rings*. BHT made a very sad face after she talked to it and told BTHWM that the "babysitter" was sick, whatever that means. Then the BHTs started rushing around and making a lot of noise. They didn't even give me breakfast!!

We went in the big rolling box again. The rolling box is ok, but that special chair in it? Yuck! I can't move. BHTWM keeps pulling and pulling on the strap and even when I squeak she doesn't stop. She does give me the Lovely-Sucking-Thing, though. That part is gooooooood.

Then we went to the big house with all the Furry Purring Things. I like them! But I hardly got to play with them before the BHT they call "Gram" put me in her rolling box. And took me out and put me back in again and then AGAIN. This time I was at the place BHTWM calls "School". It was ok. There a lot of Small Hairy Things who tried to touch me and make me laugh. I liked that. But then a lot of BHTs wanted to hold me and I just wanted BHTWM! (I did get some milk there - the best part of the day).

But then the WORST THING happened. BHTWM took me outside and tried to put me in the rolling box AGAIN. I did not like this plan. I cried. I wiggled. I tried to distract her by offering her some of my bread. And you know what she did? She bit me. Yeah. That's right.
Yeah, I did. She so did not want to get in the car. And then she got all cute and tried to distract me. She held out the bread and I played along, being silly and took a big bite of the bread. Only it was too big and I realized to my horror that I had chomped down -- pretty hard -- on her finger. I. Bit. My. Own. Kid. Thankfully, it didn't leave a mark or break the skin. But I felt like such a bad mommy. First I fall down with her, then I bite her. Good thing *I* didn't have to adopt her....

*100% true. She says hi now whenever phones ring. So cute!

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Fashion Victim?

Did you ever notice that a particular outfit made you move differently? Maybe it made you walk taller and prouder. Maybe you spent all your time in it fidgeting because it was just so uncomfortable. Or maybe you have no idea what I'm talking about.

Well, Natalie adjusts her crawl to fit her clothing. When she wears long pants, she crawls like the average baby. When we put her in dresses, however, things change. Witness...

Elegant, no? I think it has to do with the feel of the floor through tights. Or the knees getting caught on the hem of the dress. Whatever the reason, it's entertaining enough to make me reconsider my opinion of putting dresses on crawling babies.

Friday, February 16, 2007


So, apparently Natalie should be as skilled at finding her ears as her nose. Because that's what the final answer was at today's doctor appointment. Baby's first ear infection. We decided it was time to take her in when she started rejecting solid food. If you've seen Natalie eat, or really if you've just seen Natalie, you can imagine that she's not really one to scorn food. So, taking a few bites, letting it roll out of her mouth and smearing the other bits of food into and off of her tray...not so much. Of course, she was still so cheerful in the waiting room that another mother commented, "You must be here for a well visit." Um, nope. But good to know that we know our child well enough to know when something is not quite right.

Give Us This Day

The absurd heat wave we endured in December and January finally gave way to wintry weather (such as it is in DC), and we've gotten a couple of wonderful snow days - the best perk of teaching! We've had almost a whole week at home together and it's been delightful (other than Natalie's cold, which drags on and on and may be morphing into a sinus infection). We had brunch with Jenny & Ezra at our favorite restaurant* and then hung out at out at our house for most of the afternoon playing games, reading, and knitting. Oh, and doing laundry and organizing baby clothes. We are finally making ground in the War of the Textiles (although I am beginning to think Natalie is a double agent).

The best non-baby activity I've been enjoying this week, though, has been baking bread. Divine, glorious, crusty, infinitely variable bread.

Yummy Crusty Bread

If bread baking has ever scared you, KEEP READING. All of its other merits aside, the true glory of this bread is its simplicity. It's practically effortless, there is no kneading required, and it doesn't need any fancy ingredients or equipment. Flour, yeast, salt, water. Oh, and time. It does take a long time from start to finish but all but fifteen minutes of it is completely unattended. The recipe was published this past fall in Mark Bittman's NYT food column and made the rounds of food blogs and websites but I was oblivious until a neighbor tipped me off a few weeks ago.

Once you've tried the basic recipe, you can tinker. So far, I've baked five or six loaves and have tried adding chocolate chunks in one and substituting some whole wheat flour in another. Next up is something in the cinnamon/raisin/pecan family.

Oh, and it's saving us a lot of dough, too. My biggest financial weakness is food, and Cait is addicted to good bread, so we spend way too much money on artisan bread at the Farmer's Market. Now we can bake our own. My stomach and my miserly heart are united at last!

Give it a whirl and let us know what yummy varities you come up with . Daily bread. It really is divine.

*forever to be known in our house as the Labor Cafe, as it's where we had breakfast on April 14 as then-Harpo began her entrance into the world. Plus, lots of Marxists and hippies like to hang out there.... :)

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

I Pick YOU for My Valentine

I Pick YOU for My Valentine, originally uploaded by jrustdc.

Apparently, along with teaching her where her nose is, we also gave her more incentive to explore the vicinity. About half the time she points to her nose (which she does spontaneously throughout the day as well as when asked) she inserts her finger INTO it. Other times she just LOOKS like she is.

Anyway, we know it's a Hallmark holiday. But we love chocolate around here, and the kid's damn cute. So happy Valentine's Day to those who don't hate it, and the rest of you... you've only got an hour or so until it's over.


We've had a lovely combination of snow and ice in DC, so schools are closed today. Wheee! Natalie has entered the grumpy phase of her cold and refused to take a long enough morning nap, so today should be...interesting. But at least we're all home.

Since we're home and blogger has forced us to convert, I may take advantage of their new exciting features and play with our template. So when things start to look even funnier around here...well...that's just me.

In the meantime, here are some videos to keep you busy.

First, nothing like a cold to teach you about your nose...

Second, she's been saying hi for several months now, but I finally got it on video yesterday. She's getting frighteningly good at parroting, coming out with duck and banana (well, duh and nuhnana) in the last two days. We're getting a little scared.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Sleep Update

So you wanted to know how the sleeping is going...

We're combining techniques from No Cry and The Sleep Lady. (In other words we're being our usual bullheaded selves and making it up as we go along. --Jen) She goes down awake, after snuggling and reading, and then rocking until she's pretty mellow. After some combination of leaving the room and letting her fuss a little, coming back and putting her back down (because she instantly flips, sits, and stands), patting her back to get her to stay down, shhhhhing, and hoping for the best, she falls asleep. Sometimes she goes right to sleep without even rolling onto her tummy, other times she needs more help. It really depends on the day and the number of distractions and whether we've hit the perfect timing or missed it by a bit. The routine is pretty much the same for naps and night.

So far it's working, but it is a slow process. She's taking better naps at home (at least an hour, often more, two times a day). (I'd say naps are where the MAJOR progress is. -- Jen) Once we have it down to more of a system, we'll confer with Jen's mom and our babysitter. Overnight she's waking up less and is able to put herself back to sleep sometimes. Other times, all it takes is one of us putting her back down (because, yes, she's standing again), and she rolls over with her froggy and goes back to sleep. We have transitioned to her sleeping in the crib most of the night, but coming in to nurse and to snuggle in the wee hours of the morning. She still wakes up a few times (usually twice) and nurses, but right now we're watching for patterns, and then we'll start working more on reducing the feedings. She's already waking up less than she did when sleeping with us, so that's good.

Things we've learned/tried/observed:
  • I don't think she's the type of kid that could CIO. We didn't try, but just noticing her patterns over the last several weeks, we've seen that once she goes beyond fussing to full on crying, it's time to pick her up and start over. Otherwise she gets way too worked up, does not go to sleep, and requires much more assistance to calm down.
  • White noise and music are not only good, but somewhat essential for us during the day. The walls in our complex are unfortunately thin, and we have children both above and next door. This means lots of thumping, often when we're trying to get her down. As I was writing this post, a sprinkler pipe burst in the commonhouse. The building alarm system went off. LOUDLY. We're not talking your average smoke detector beep, but a blaring, flashing, institutional fire alarm. If you don't know what I mean, think school fire drill. Natalie slept through it. Go white noise.
  • She is getting attached to her stuffed frog, so we've started sending it with her on days she goes to Jen's mom's/babysitter. She still can probably fall asleep without it just fine, but she LOVES it and gives her something familiar to snuggle.
  • When we're noticing teething behavior during the day and can't figure out why her sleep is weird at night, it's probably the teeth. Duh. It took us far too long to figure that one out and start giving her teething tablets or tylenol. She seems to be working on about six teeth at once right now. It's not pretty.
  • She's a naptime pooper. Not quite sure why or what to do about it, but it's not uncommon for me to walk into her room hoping to resettle her and quickly smell that I need to do something else first.
  • Jen has no memory of anything that goes on in the middle of the night. And if I am attempting to communicate something to her in the middle of the night, it is best to be VERY explicit. "She's done nursing" doesn't quite convey what it might during the day. Better to say, "She's done nursing now, and I've been up with her three times already, can you please take her back to the crib?"
  • This may be a slower approach than CIO, but so far it seems to be working for us. Which is not to say that it's right for everyone, or to judge any other families for what they've chosen. But we are comfortable and happy with it, and that's what counts.
  • Every time we think about writing a sleep post, and especially the times we DO write one, it tanks whatever progress we're making. (I had a "snow" delay last Friday and was cheerfully composing a post in my head about the success of our non-method, only to be stopped short by aggrieved wails announcing the too-early end of the morning nap. --Jen) I have been writing this post all day long and both naps have been more difficult than usual, and she was QUITE difficult to get down tonight. So God only knows what tonight will bring after we hit Publish!
May we all have sweet dreams and more than a few hours of continuous sleep tonight....

Sunday, February 04, 2007

Washington Chew

Our girl, she loves to chew on things. At 9.5 months, everything still goes in her mouth, although she's slacking off a little. Sometimes she will use her eyes or hands to investigate a new item, at least for a minute or two. Then into the mouth it goes. She is teething again at the moment (we're up to EIGHT now, with nine in hot pursuit) but the mouthing and chewing have been continuous since she could muster the hand-mouth coordination necessary lo those many months ago. We find it entertaining and swear she is part puppy, but it does occasionally present some dilemmas, for which we seek your input.
  • How do you clean Robeez? While waiting for the bath to fill, Natalie peed on the bathroom floor and her shoes took some of the fallout. I wouldn't care too much except that she's somewhat obsessed with chewing on her shoes (she really *is* part puppy). Anyway, would you clean them or not worry about it? How?
  • What can you use to repair wooden toys? We got her a gorgeous set of nesting cubes for Christmas but one is coming unglued (fits in well around here). I'd like to fix it before it's totally broken, but don't know what kind of fixative is safe for something we KNOW will end up in her mouth from time to time.
  • The last issue is where Natalie's obsession conflicts with my career. She's fascinated with books (warming the cockles of both moms' hearts) and very much enjoys munching away on her board books (pausing every now and then to exclaim, "Buh! Buh!"). I am delighted that she loves books, but the librarian in my soul cringes when I see them in her mouth. I have been able to restrain myself thus far, instead using my book preservation and repair skills when necessary. However, she is now interested in our books, and this I cannot tolerate. We live in a small condo (small by everyone's standards but my NYC friends) and can't move them to a room she doesn't go in or a shelf she can't reach. We've shared and sold and packed away all the books we can bear to part with. So what else can we do? Any suggestions?
All this talk of chewing is making me hungry. I think I'll go find something to munch on while I wait for your input.