Sunday, January 29, 2012

Big Girl!

In just a few weeks time, Miss Eleanor has transformed herself from a baby to a little girl. It's alarming how quickly this went. Yes, obviously she's still a baby, but.... she looks and acts like such a kid sometimes and it kinda blows my mind.

Example: her eating. Ellie loves to feed herself and has quickly mastered the art of picking something up and shoveling it into her open mouth. She wants real food - none of this pureed nonesense - and wants to feed herself. Needless to say, when we let her, we have a serious mess on our hands, but it's worth it to see how happy it makes her - not too mention she is so cute when she tries to pick up little pieces of chicken or cheese or whatnot. Her favorite foods are venision and chicken, which I think is kind of hilarious. Thanks to Grandstan's (yes, that's Grandpa Stan - we've shortened it) hunting endeavors, she's got enough venision to last quite some time. Ellie sits with us at the table on an awesome little booster type seat (mamas to be, take note! This is what we use instead of a highchair. It works so well for us, and has the added bonus of being totally portable, which is awesome).
also, she loves Starbucks!
Ellie's sleeping has turned the corner recently for good as well. We had it SO great for the first 5 months; we purposefully avoided telling other new parents how well our baby slept. She'd go down at 7 and sleep til 6 almost every day, and did this completely on her own, with no "sleep training" from us. At 5 months with her first sickness she regressed and it's been a battle since then. Every night we'd go to sleep wondering which baby we'd get that night. We tried having her cry it out, which didn't really work for anyone and all sorts of other techniques. In the end, it seemed like she always had something new up her sleeve - another cold coming on, teething, growth spurts, etc... We settled on a routine but it seemed like it frequently got interrupted. Until a week ago when we really doubled down our routing efforts, and it's been smooth sailing since. Granted, it's only been a week, but the last time she went a week sleeping through the night was in early October, so we'll take it. Her routine (dinner, bubble bath - aka "spa time" - lotion time, book time, sleep) has worked so well that last night she showed us how well she's learned it. Peter was in her room getting her ready for her bath and she was literally on all fours lunging for the hallway to get to her bath. Literally, as he was pulling her diaper off, she started speed crawling her sweet little nakie bum down the hall, where she paused, turned to him and smiled and then turned right and crawled straight into the bathroom beelining for the tub. Seriously, SO funny.

Spa Time!
Which brings me to crawling. She's mastered the art of crawling quickly, pulls herself up on absolutely everything, gets into anything within reach (meaning we have had to start enforcing the word "NO" over and over again) and is constantly on the go. This little girl plays from the moment she wakes up to the moment she goes back to sleep. I'm sure this kind of activity doesn't hurt with her getting such good sleep lately! She loves her toys, she loves to play with grown ups, she babbles and talks constantly and is just such a sweet addition to our family.
Girl is quite clever. This attempt at "babyproofing" lasted ten minutes before she "un-babyproofed" it

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Our week in pictures

From top right:
1. mama loves her baby
2. geared up to rescue daddy whose bus got stuck in the snow
3. bouncing in bed!
4. baby learns to crawl
5. smiles for dad-dad
6. baby's first snow
7. snow!!
8. stuck indoors means lots of playtime
9. playin' with mama

1. geared up for more snow play
2. not so happy about the cold
3. baby in box!
4. dad-dad goes skiing
5. escape to grandmas! at last!!
6. new favorite food? stewed venision, of course
7. we invented a new game - stroller rides!
8. baby snuggles
9. mama and daddy celebrate the end of the week. well earned, for sure!


Happily, I took the week off work last week as vacation. I had all sorts of plans on how I'd join the likes of mamas who get to stay with their babies during the day and dreamed up big plans for Ellie and I. We'd go to the library, have some playdates, bring the doggie to the dog park, etc, etc. What did we end up doing?

Absolutely nothing. Thank you to Snowpocalypse, Snowmaggedon, Epic Winter Storm 2012. Whatever you want to call it, the entire Pacific Northwest got whalloped this week with somewhere between 6 inches to 2 feet of snow, depending on where you lived. Following the snow was either a serious ice storm, or just more snow, again, depending on location (in Seattle and outlying areas, there is so much geographic diversity that even a couple miles between homes can result in some seriously different weather patterns). Needless to say, our entire family didn't leave the house for days on end. Ellie and I were stuck from Sunday to Friday. Serious Cabin Fever!! Plus, E isn't really old enough to play in the snow, so when we brought her outside, she just looked confused and a little miserable, and then her little nose would get all bright red and we'd bring her back inside.

Peter got lots of work done from home. I accomplished virtually nothing I had set out to accomplish. Our little Miss Eleanor however, had a red-letter week. Not only did she learn to crawl (forward, on all fours!), but she learned to pull herself up to standing and even mastered the art of feeding herself. Yep, our baby girl made some significant progress this week. I like to think it was being cooped up with her mama which triggered it. :)

While we didn't exactly have the week I was hoping for, we had a wonderful time together. I fell even more in love with both my husband and my girl (sounds cheesy, but true! It was actually nice being cooped up together all week. That's not to say I didn't load up the car and get the heck out as soon as the roads improved only slightly, but...). And, I took hundreds of pictures so we'd always remember our fun, winter storm. Pictures up next!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

8 months!

At eight months old, we are cruising. Or should I say, crawling?
Yep, our girl started crawling forward, officially, on her 8 month old birthday. She's mastered the backwards crawl for quite a few weeks now, but she woke up on Monday and it was like, lightbulb moment! She snuck up on the dog this evening and I literally could not stop laughing. She's going a mile a minute now that she can finally move, and is oh so happy with her progress.

What else is our girl up to at 8 months? She babbles constantly and plays endlessly. She'll happily play on the floor for quite some time by herself, as long as she knows we're close by. She sits with us at the dinner table every night while we three eat our dinner together. She usually has bites of whatever we eat, plus some pureed baby food or yogurt. She drinks water out of a shot glass.... (looks like I finally found a good use for the shot glass I refused to throw away!) to wash her dinner down. She still nurses a ton and I'm taking all sorts of yummy, maple syrup supplements to keep up with her appetite. No plans to quit anytime soon!

After mastering crawling on Monday she started pulling herself up to standing on Tuesday. Walked in on her in her crib, standing up and bouncing up and down, squealing with delight. My first thought? "Crap."

She lights up when she sees her dad come into view and reaches for me when she's unhappy or sad. She gives big old open mouth kisses and leans in for hugs. She is super affectionate and snuggly, and will cuddle on our laps for half an hour, just content to sit and hang out with her folks. :)

Ellie sleeps horribly some nights and amazing others. Last night she slept straight from 7:30pm-6:45am. The night before that she was up six times. You never know what you're gonna get with her.

She's got two razor teeth on the bottom... Super cute to watch her chew with her teeth! Please don't chew on mama!

Peter chimes in, "I think her favorite thing to do is throw her spoons on the floor. And her measuring cups. And her spatulas." (yep, those are her favorite toys, and this is the game she plays with her daddy at dinner time. She throws her spoon on the floor, peeks down to watch where it fell, he picks it up and gives it back. Repeat, endlessly).

Needless to say, our girl is amazingly fun, sweet and happy. We are so incredibly thrilled to be her parents and can't believe our good luck that she, of all babies, came to join our family eight short months ago!
8 months of me and my girl! :)

Saturday, January 14, 2012

To Mother A Girl

My stepmom posted this article for me to read, and now, well, I'm inspired to write about it.

When Eleanor emerged from my body and we discovered that she was a little girl, I cannot lie - it was the single best moment of my life. Not only because I'd just birthed a baby and was soaring from the hormones having a natural delivery allowed me to feel, but that baby was a little girl. All my life I have dreamed of having a baby girl, and here she was. She was all mine, and such an incredible gift.

But, to be sure, a huge responsibility, and it is not lost on me the challenges that will come with mothering a girl.

To be a woman in this world is so difficult. One of my biggest fears is raising a woman who does not love or respect herself - specifically, her body. The pressure to be thin, be sexy, be perfect - girls cannot escape that, and it hits earlier and earlier in life. I fear the day she'll look in the mirror and see anything less than perfection, but I do know that that day will likely come, and sooner rather than later. It breaks my heart to think that she'll ever seek affirmation of her self worth based on her body and not her character, but I am sure that day will come as well.

Most of the day I am caught up in doing tasks - make dinner, do laundry, shower, give a bath, etc...and in this life of going through the motions, I feel sometimes I miss real parenting. When are we supposed to be teaching life lessons, imparting our values and cultivating this little person? Yes, she is only 8 months old, but it's not too early to be concerning ourselves with these things. We make a conscious effort to tell her, outloud, when we praise her looks to slide in "and you're good at math". It's sort of a joke, but it's not really. As her parents, we want her to be confident in her brain as well as her beauty. The challenge for me lies in how to much to emphasize one over the other. I fear too little emphasis on her beauty will lead her to seek affirmation in unhealthy ways growing up. Too much emphasis and we risk vainity and a reliance on her body over her mind. It's a difficult balance and while I know I don't need all the answers now, I know before too long I will be confronted with these hard topics.

The mother in the article I linked to was forced to face her seven year old announcing she was FAT. What a heartbreaking, yet pivotal parenting moment. Her response was great, and I will certainly file that away should I find myself in a similar situation. Interestingly, it was at my fattest (non pregnant) state that I first found my body truly beautiful and gave myself the respect I'd been deserving from myself for so many years. Three days after delivering Eleanor, I was still riding high from witnessing what my body was capable of. I still weighed more than my husband, and had bright red stretch marks going across my torso and running down both thighs. The rash I'd broken out in the week prior to delivery was still there, so I looked like I had the chicken pox. My belly was huge and soft, and I was incredibly engorged thanks to the arrival of a plentiful supply of milk the day before. I paint this picture to show how in the societal sense, I was anything but beautiful. My mom was holding Ellie and I was getting ready to go to the hospital for our post-partum checkup. I had just gotten out of the shower and having just given birth, modesty was the last thing I was thinking about. My mom commented on how I looked like "a mother-earth, fertility goddess" and in that moment, I appreciated my body more than ever before. I hope I can help Eleanor come to that appreciation much sooner in life, but in the meantime, I will thank her for helping me learn that important lesson.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Sick House

I'm babysitting in the sick house right now; meaning - both husband and child are fighting what is likely RSV (Respiratory Syncytial Virus). Sounds a lot scarier that it really is - a crappy common cold virus. If Ellie were premature or a lot smaller, we'd have a cause for concern, but she's not, so no big deal. She does sound like a dying horse when she coughs, and has snot coming out of her nose for miles (too gross of imagery?) and has had a little fever for the last couple of days. The good news is that she's over the hump and is now sleeping better (thank you LORD!). The bad news is the pediatrician we visited today officially thinks I'm a paranoid first time mom (second visit to him in which he diagnoses Ellie with basically just childhood crud). It's just, when she pulls on her ears and runs a fever, I get all "EAR INFECTION!" and then rush her in. Turns out that the sinus pressure she's facing makes her ears feel funny (duh), so she wacks at them. Makes perfect sense to me.

Peter's got it too (thanks to the same pediatrician for diagnosing!), and seeing my man fight a cold makes me almost equally as sad as watching my baby fight it. Poor guy. Last night he got all sneezy and chilly and after rummaging through our medicine cabinet and not finding what he was looking for (despite the presence of nyquil), he took a benadryl and hoped it would help. It did not. So, 20 minutes later he rushed off to the grocery store (along with a list from me - coffee ice cream and vinegar (more on that in a second)) and came back with.... more nyquil. Which he took a couple swigs of, and promptly passed out while watching the republican Iowa caucus returns (which was fabulously entertaining and if it was any indicator, promises a super fun election season!). Is it weird that I'm getting all excited about the prospect of having David Gergen back on tv on a nightly basis? :)

When I crawled into bed, he whispered "Michelle Bachmann thinks she won" and then rolled over and passed out again. Super funny, as she most clearly did NOT win. So, I slapped a breathe right strip on his nose in anticipation of sleeping next to someone doped up with both benadryl AND nyquil and checked on his breathing off an on throughout the night, just in case. My two sweet babies. Both slept quite well.

On the vinegar front - and this is really gross, so please don't judge me.... we seem to have some fleas in our house. GROSS ME OUT. I have taken to vaccuuming nightly, have flea-medicated both critters and mopped the bathroom twice. They're still there. I was thinking I'd do some sort of heavy, vinegar dousing of the house, but now I'm reading that fleas aren't killed by vinegar, merely they are turned off by vinegar and go elsewhere (in your house). So, that won't do. When Ellie wakes up, we're off to the petstore to see if they have any ideas. I really do not want to flea bomb the house or do anything remotely toxic, so I'm looking for non-toxic, effective ways to get rid of these nasty buggers. Any thoughts??

Happy New Year everyone!