Sunday, April 29, 2007

Bad Mommy Moment

Natalie joins us in bed between 5 and 6 am most days lately. She nurses and goes back to sleep until sometime between 6 and 7. This morning, she woke up around 6:30. She chatted and crawled over us, periodically poking one or the other of us in the face. We semi-consciously tried to get her back to sleep, and then gave up and sleepily chatted back through heavy lids. We both realized at about the same time that she was much too low in the bed. Gasping, we sat bolt upright just in time to see her slide off the foot of the bed...

...and land, grinning, on her feet.

Never have I been so glad that, when she was learning to climb stairs, we taught her how to safely back down them. Yikes.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Natalie at One

We're lacking in energy and creativity, so here are some stats to keep you busy:
  • 25 lbs. 3 oz., 29.5 inches--she's actually fallen back onto the charts in weight, and now rests happily at the upper edge of the 95 percentile band
  • 9.5 teeth (one molar is only partially through)
  • Stands, cruises, walks while holding our hands. Takes a few independent steps only when she doesn't realize she's doing it.
  • Words: hi, woof (pronounced oof), moo (mboo), meow (ow), bubble, book (boo), mama, noodle (na-da or na-na), ball, cat (at), dog (duh! oof! - she mostly just calls them oof these days), duck (duh), nana (meaning nurse, pacifier, or any other good thing to put in mouth, like a drawer pull or a piece of mulch), diaper (duhduh or duhpuh), poop (good one, moms!) oh, wow. She's working on a roar (for what a lion says, of course), and sometimes says ba-ba for sheep. Phone, button, zipper, glasses, and a few other things (Malka!) get a very purposeful and determined "dada" in the appropriate context. She clearly knows she's saying it and expects the rest of the world to understand it as well.
  • Signs: milk, more, eat, all done, dog, fish, bird, cold, cheese, water, cat, car, bath, hungry, please, cereal and attempts at ball (Plus her invented sign for train--one hand up in the air. We think it comes from pointing/waving at trains through our window. Whatever the reason, anytime she sees/hears a train, up goes the one hand.)
  • Favorite foods: frozen peas and other frozen vegetables (yes, she eats them still frozen--nice on the gums--though she'll also gobble them cooked), frozen blueberries, freeze-dried fruit, noodles, beans, hummus, yogurt, cottage cheese, tofu, applesauce, water (she LOVES, LOVES water)
  • Non-favorites: fresh fruit (oops--we'll rectify that this spring/summer as more stuff comes into season)
  • Loves: books, balls, being outside, anything the big kids are doing, swings, slides (she climbs the small one in our cohousing tot lot by herself), music, paper, plastic, cardboard, climbing things, anything she can use as a walker, baths and other water activities
  • Hates: when her moms take away the wonderful "toys" she's found in the trash can, or that they unthinkingly left in her reach, those darn hats with ties that she can't instantly remove from her head, tooth-brushing
And a few entertaining details
  • If you tell her that something is hot, she will blow on it to cool it down. This includes the oven.
  • When she finds something she's excited about, she will pick it up and examine it while saying "oohhhhhhh...woooooooowwwww." It gets louder the more off-limits the item is.
  • She's learning to blow kisses. If you blow a kiss at her, she'll blow back. Minus the kissing part.
  • She quite happily announces when she has pooped, or sometimes, when she's going to poop. In those cases we'll put her on her potty, explain that she can poop there, and read a few books to distract her. She'll then sign "all done," get up, and a few minutes later, poop on the floor or in the bathtub. Nice, eh?
  • She LOVES music. Anytime we finish singing a song, she'll sign "more." When listening to her CDs in the car, she'll grunt impatiently in the brief pause between songs. We're learning to make good use of this--singing gets us through a lot of things (nail clipping, toothbrushing), and is very good at calming her down when she's too wound up to go to sleep or when she's upset.
  • Her hair has an interesting ability to change color depending on the light and what she's wearing. There is definitely red in her hair, but its prominence varies daily. She also has curls. As one who has suffered a lifetime of boring, straight, uncurlable hair (believe me, I've tried), this pleases me greatly.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

One Year

Blowing out the Candles

I love this picture of my girls.

We followed up last night's family party with a bigger gathering of friends and family. I was worried that Natalie would be overwhelmed by the huge group of people, but she proved herself a true cohousing baby and loved every minute of the chaos. We sang songs, ate cake, hung out and talked, and I barely even saw my daughter. She spent most of the afternoon attached to an aunt, a grandparent, a friend... But every time I searched her out in the crowd, she was grinning.

Some sweet moments:
  • For today's party, she wore the dress that Jen wore for her first birthday. Made by Jen's grandmother.
  • We circled up mid-party and did some singing (led by a good friend and her guitar). Natalie grinned and glowed and signed "more" at the end of every song. She loves music so much.
  • Not only did she do a great job of smashing the little cake we made for her, she fed some to her Gram.
  • Shelli and Malka came to town for the party and spent the weekend with us. It was delightful to watch the girls play together, and Shelli was wonderfully helpful--thank you so very much!
  • Jen decorated the bigger cake (I baked it), and it came out beautifully!
  • We took her 12 month basket picture before the party. She's so big!

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Thoughts on Birthday Eve

  • In just over 3 hours, it will be exactly a year since Natalie emerged from my womb. I simply don't have the words to capture how amazing and wonderful my daughter is or how much I enjoy my life with her. We are so lucky to have her.
  • The last two months or so have been filled with varying levels of dread as her birthday approached. While I am enchanted with the new developments, abilities, and facets of Natalie's personality that emerge daily, I wish the time weren't passing so quickly. I want to be able to savor this time of wonder but instead it hurtles by like the trains that pass our house every few minutes.
  • Despite my desire to keep things simple, not only are we having a huge party tomorrow, but we also ended up having a second, separate party for family tonight. When we finally closed the door on the last of my family members, I said to Cait, "Tonight was as exhausting and draining as a year ago tonight, only completely different." And I meant it. (Granted, I had a relatively easy labor... but I also have a challenging collection of family members!)
  • In spite of the various bits of grousing I do about my family, I am tremendously indebted to them for the time, love, and yes, material goods they lavish upon us and Natalie*. And I am equally grateful to have such a wonderful collection of friends both on and offline. Together, our friends and family have made this past year truly spectacular. I look forward to many more years of shared laughter and support.
*Except TMX Elmo. (Thanks, Dad!) I'm not so sure about that particular material good. Though I have to admit it is pretty funny the FIRST time.

Monday, April 09, 2007

Rearranging the Chairs at Church

Rearranging the Chairs at Church, originally uploaded by jrustdc.

Jen's mom got us to go to Easter service at her church yesterday. Natalie was entranced by the music, signing "more" each time it stopped. Between songs she got restless, though, so she spent the last part of the service pushing chairs around the Fellowship Hall. This is her preferred form of locomotion of late. Crawling still works just fine for her, but she's really quite happy when she can take a piece of furniture and push it around the house. She even uses the birth ball as a walker, rolling it in front of her and walking along behind. I'm wondering if I can hire her out to a moving company.

I lured her into taking an unassisted step by putting a pretzel on a nearby chair. She caught on to my devious ways, though, and refuses to be fooled by any more "pretzel on a chair" tricks. But a cheerio...?

Friday, April 06, 2007

And on the seventh night...

...we rested.

After her last nursing at 11:30ish, Natalie only woke at 2:30. Cait gave her Tylenol (she'd had Motrin with dinner) and teething tablets and was able to settle her back down with brief rocking, and then put her down drowsy. She slept without another peep until 6:20.


(begone evil eye! we are not being cocky! but one should celebrate even small victories without making any assumptions of permanence!)

Edited by Cait to add: One of the things that makes me happiest in this whole sleep venture is that she really is learning to put herself to sleep. When we put her down in her crib, she rolls over onto her tummy and closes her eyes, rather than popping back up like she used to. I also discovered during one late-night negotiation that if you say, "put your head down," she will. And then she'll go to sleep. Amazing. Sometimes it takes reminders, sometimes it takes back-patting, but more and more over the last few days, she just does it on her own. So whether or not she sleeps tonight, and no matter how long it takes us to drop the 11 PM feeding or the 2 AM waking, we are making progress. And the semi-conscious nosedives into the mattress (in response to our "put your head down" reminders) are pretty darn entertaining.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

A Whole New Kind of Molar Hell

Two years ago, we were beginning our exit from molar pregnancy hell. Jen's beta was finally zero, and we were making plans to start trying again--doctor recommendations be damned.

This week we are having a very different molar struggle. Involving the ones in Natalie's mouth. Or, not quite in, which would be the problem.

Jen and I are on Spring Break this week. We decided last month during one of our perennial discussions regarding the state of sleep in our house that this would be a good week to make some changes. Since we have no classes of children to be responsible for by day, being a little more sleep deprived than usual would be OK. And naps might be possible. So we made our plan. Weeks of one bug or another had gotten Natalie into the habit of waking numerous times a night to nurse. We decided that this week (starting last Friday night, actually) we would night wean. We expected it would be hard, and would involve some tears, but they'd be tears while we rocked her, comforted her, etc. And they'd pass and, voila!, we'd have a girl who could sleep through the night. Heh.

The night weaning was a snap. Natalie has gone 5-7 hours without nursing overnight every night since Friday. However, the SLEEPING? That's been crap.

On our best night since Friday, she only woke every hour. Other nights, it's been more like every 15-30 minutes. The waking seems to be limited to the 12-5 range, but really, that's the worst part of the night, as far as I'm concerned. And she's not desperate to nurse. It's been weird--they're different from her "I want to nurse" wakings, and she needs very little help resettling, but just.keeps.waking.up. We knew her molars were coming in, but she'd been fine during the days and we'd been giving her tylenol before bed, so we figured we were just royally screwing up the sleep thing, and began to scold ourselves appropriately. Until I stuck my finger in her mouth this morning to see how the molars were progressing. And Natalie let out a yelp and began to cry. Oh.

So tonight is homeopathy night. And I've set up a mat on her floor where I can cosleep with her if need be.

We sure hope this molar madness resolves a hell of a lot more quickly than the last one. And that the results are as good.


Hummoustache, originally uploaded by jrustdc.

I think I screwed up when I linked to this in the last post, so here it is for general enjoyment!

Sunday, April 01, 2007

Gourmet 'R' Us

A few choice morsels from the Test Kitchens at AddProb:
  • Natalie has been illness-free for almost two weeks and her appetite is finally back to normal (as noted previously). She's a little pickier about textures these days since she's working on molars, but she's fallen in LOVE with hummous. Pita bread doesn't pass the texture test, though, so she prefers eating it directly from a spoon, or her fist, or her face, where she's stashed some away for later.
  • After all that hummous, a girl needs a drink.
  • Sadly, this one didn't make it onto film, but Natalie has become fascinated with utensils. She's been practicing spoon skills for many months, but she covets any tableware either of the moms are using. She likes to use a fork by picking up a piece of food with her fingers, depositing it on top of the tines, and gleefully manouevering it to her lips (successful insertion of food in mouth rather optional). We were using chopsticks with our stir-fry tonight and she was obsessed with our chopsticks, so we pulled out her* set:
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    She very carefully grasped a piece of tofu and delicately placed it on the chopsticks, turned them toward her mouth, placing the tofu and the bunny into her mouth.
  • A friend very kindly tipped me off to the wonder that is kosher-for-Passover Coca-Cola, made with real sugar instead of high-fructose corn syrup, and I managed to snag a couple of bottles. It makes regular Coke seem like cheap, sickly-sweet costume soda. KFP Coke is smooth... mellow... refined. Which is good, because I've decided that as of Natalie's birthday, I'm kicking the habit**. Might as well go out on a good note.
  • For all you bread lovers, I wanted to share a few updates. We've probably made at least a dozen loaves and have some discoveries and more recipe suggestions. 1) You may need to tinker with the amount of water, decreasing it especially if you are using the rapid rise yeast originally called for in the recipe (1 5/8 cups works fine with active yeast). 2) Adding cheese is excellent! We've tried asiago and cheddar (separate loaves). Mix in a couple of handfuls at the beginning, and then sprinkle some on the towel so you'll get a nice cheese blistered crust. 3) Cinnamon raisin is tasty, although we haven't perfected the recipe (it comes out a bit dense - we called it "Leadbread" last time). I'll share ingredients and proportions once we get them sorted out.
Whether you're celebrating Passover, Easter, National Peanut Butter and Jelly Day, or April Fool's Day, I hope there's good food and fun at your table.

*I bought them when she was 9 months old, but give me some credit! We only got them so we could fill out an order to qualify for free shipping. Besides, I don't expect her to be proficient with them until she's AT LEAST 14 months old....
**At least, I will be giving up drinking it in the house and/or in front of Natalie. I make no promises about other times and locations, though I will try.