Wednesday, July 30, 2008

ADD? Yeah you know me.

I'm discovering that I have an increasingly short attention span for excessively long blog posts. Which really bums me out, because often the message and the writing itself are so beautiful. I'm really sorry to all you folks out there writing these eloquent but verbose posts every day (of which I am occasionally guilty, so no finger pointing here). I love your writing and I am super impressed that you can coherently put it together day after day, but sometimes I have trouble reading the last few paragraphs because I can't keep focused. And to further complicate things, I discovered Google Reader a few weeks ago. Since then I have steadily been adding more and more blogs to my list because I just keep finding so many people that are great and I don't want to miss out on anything and Reader makes it so easy. I kept up with it pretty well until the last few days, when I have had some real life stuff (what, real life? pshaw) going on and not nearly the time to spend in Bloggyland and my Reader is starting to fill up. Plus, Blogher ended, so all these folks who weren't posting as much for a week or so while they were away (and, not coincidentally, when I added them), are now back to their regularly schedule programming and I'm in too deep.

So here's my request: give me a short post here and there. I don't want to cramp your style, but I need some blog snacks sometimes. It can't all be seven course blog dinners. Or maybe it can, but then I'd have to seriously cut back on the number of blogs I read and I don't want to do that because I LOVE hearing about all of your lives.

Thanks!

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

A Pound of Flesh

We just got back from Sophie's nine month doctor's appointment. Sophie has only gained two pounds since her six month appointment, which means that her weight has dipped down below the 5th percentile. Likewise her height. The doctor didn't tell me that I was starving her, but that's the feeling I get when she tells me that I should be feeding her more and that we need to "fatten" her up. And I feel guilty that I'm apparently not giving her enough of what she needs. I feel guilty that I am still (somewhat selfishly) breastfeeding her and that I consider that to be her primary source of sustenance. I feel guilty that I have allowed her to be stubborn on not eating anything more solid than stage 2 baby food. I feel guilty that I encourage her to sleep so much that maybe she's not eating enough. I just feel guilty.

But then I find myself getting angry that I've been made to feel so inadequate. Because if I'm true to myself, I don't think I'm doing anything wrong. I am not excited about giving her a bunch of artificial vitamins. Nor am I interested in stuffing my child like a Thanksgiving turkey because she is not high on a standardized measure that takes into account nothing other than those two factors. I know that I was a small baby, a failure to thrive kid. And just look at me now, I'm in the 73rd percentile (ha, frakking percentiles). Certainly genetics plays some role in how your child develops. Also, I know that some mommies out there would shout a grateful hallelujah if their baby gained two pounds, so I can't be too critical. I must be happy for what I can. My girl is happy and active and smart and, I feel, healthy. I must remember that those statistics cover such a wide range of people and body types and that I CAN NOT evaluate my own performance on such a flimsy calculation. She's small but she's mighty, my little bean, and we're BOTH doing fine.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Touching Down

My cousin is getting married next weekend. I have not seen her in a couple of years. Sad that we've gone so long, she is my only cousin on my mother's side and one of only three total. The two on my father's side are much younger and I have never known them well. I have met the man she is marrying, but I really only know him through secondhand stories. I do hope that she has found the person that will fulfill her, she is a wonderful person and deserves all the happiness this world has to offer. For the wedding, we will fly home to Kansas. I haven't been back in a while and I am looking forward to the visit. I may be alone in this, but I love the landscape there. The gently rolling hills and big open sky. Truth be told, when I first moved to Maryland, I was a little overwhelmed by the proximity of everything. There was no room to spread out. I used to drive the back roads to escape from the mild feeling of claustrophobia I felt in the city and even just among all of these trees. Which isn't to say that we don't have trees back home, we do, but they aren't packed together like they are here. It will be nice to get back but in the meantime there are some preparations to do. (This is the only picture I could find that showed any of the landscape. That is my best friend, Aparna, and I, in 1997 or thereabouts, in the Flint Hills of Kansas. What hills, you say? Oh, they're there. And yes, I had a perm. Shut up.)

One essential item that I needed was a dress for the wedding, so off I went to the mall. Unfortunately, I am not the same size I was the last time I wore a dress and I want to look halfway decent for this shindig, so I needed something new. It has been a source of much unhappiness for me that I have struggled so much to lose the last few baby pounds. They have settled on my body in such a way that almost none of my pre-pregnancy clothes fit. What happened to my waist? How can five measly pounds cause me to be two sizes larger? I take long walks several times a week pushing thirty pounds of baby and stroller, but I didn't feel like I was getting anywhere. Until today.

I found a dress I liked and grabbed the unpleasant size I've been wearing lately and on a lark, grabbed the next size down, as well. I didn't really expect it to fit, but what the heck, I had some time to kill and a little bit of ego left to crush. In the dressing room, I pulled on the unpleasant size and immediately realized that, joy of joys, it was WAY too big. So on went the next size down and unbelievably it was also too big. Can this be happening, I thought, have those long, sweaty (and you know how much I hate to sweat) walks finally started to pay off? The answer is yes! YES! So, thinking this was a one off, I ran back out to the racks and grabbed another couple of dresses in the various sizes. Racing back into the dressing room, I threw my clothes off and pulled on the next size down first and not only did it fit, but it was a little loose. Oh, the happiness. The sheer, pure joy of it. Like when I was a kid and I would laugh and laugh as I hit the high points on the arc of a swing.

Ridiculous that something so superficial should bring me such elation. But it does. Oh my god, it does. After spinning around in the dressing room like a pretty, pretty princess, I gathered up my favorite of the dresses in the not unpleasant size and left the others to languish on the rack at the dressing room door. I practically stopped people in the aisles to tell them that I was finally getting somewhere, that things were looking up. Walking out of the store with my new dress in hand, I got a tinge of the excitement I always feel when I touch down in Kansas City, that anxious happiness as the wheels of the airplane bounce along the tarmac and we slow down before pulling into the gate. As excited as I was before, I can't wait to get there now so I can put on my lovely dress in the much better size.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

I love a rainy night...

It has been so humid and miserable lately. I am seriously considering never leaving our basement. Our house has three temperature zones: arctic, temperate and tropical. Our house isn't that big, but the A/C just can't seem to get it's stuff together so the basement is 66 degrees while the first floor is 71 degrees (which is what it is set for) and the upstairs is 79 degrees. We had an HVAC guy out a couple of months ago and he basically told us we were up a creek as far as getting the second floor to a more comfortable temperature. The steamy upstairs is, of course, where our bedrooms are. In past summers, we have added a small window unit in our bedroom to keep me in my preferred climate of walk-in freezer. But since the introduction of la bebe, I was concerned that a) it is so loud that I might not hear her and b) it would be unmotherly for me to luxuriate in the coolness while my baby swelters in the next room. So, we both swelter, with only fans to cool us. I understand that 79 degrees is not misery inducing, for most people. However, I like to use my covers and 79 is a might warm for that, even just a sheet. The fans help, sort of. They push the hot air around and give us the perception that it is a tad cooler, but it's still hot.

We're having a glorious storm right now. This afternoon, Sophie and I sat in the foyer watching the rain run down the glass door while some absolutely gorgeous lightening streaked across the sky. Surprisingly, the little bean was not frightened by the thunder. She has slept through some serious booms tonight, too. Meanwhile, thanks to the storm, the temperature has come down to a very reasonable 70 degrees. Aaaaaahhhh. Maybe our second floor will actually be the temperature we want it to be for a change. I'm off to bed to go enjoy this, while it lasts.

Autumn, how I long for thee.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Speedbumps

I was lying in bed the other night, like a hundred other nights. It was one of those rare cool summer nights and we had the windows open. As usual, Neil was sleeping peacefully next to me while I lay there with my thoughts rolling around in my head. Back when I was working, I used to lay in bed at night, just the same, and think about the proposals I was working on. And I thought that when I left all that stress behind to become supermom that I would sleep like a baby. Which, as it turns out, is exactly what I do. Only the joke's on me, because babies don't sleep all that well.

So, as I'm lying there, my thoughts are repeatedly interrupted by cars racing down our street. We live on a two lane road that connects most of the sections within our neighborhood. I would not consider it a heavy traffic road, but neither is it a quiet side street. Our house is about halfway between a stoplight and a stopsign with about a mile between the two. Because of the distance, many drivers will race down this stretch of road. Before the baby, this didn't really bother me. But now, I have horrible visions of my little one running out into the street. She's not even walking yet, so maybe I'm a tad premature, but I know the time will be here before I know it.

I'm not that far removed from my own racing days that I don't appreciate the desire to zip down these quieter streets, and even today I'm not a fan of speedbumps, but as a parent I just can't be comfortable watching these cars race down our street. So I started to wonder what it would take to get a speedbump or hump or something to hopefully slow people down. I made a mental note to call the county and find out.
(I have not yet done this. Shocker.)
















And then as the mind is prone to do during these quiet hours, my mind wandered to another place. A trip to Playa del Carmen, Mexico
I took a couple of years ago with my best friend and my oldest friend, both of whom are dear to me beyond words. We rented a car while we were there. I did all of the driving because I'm that kind of control freak. For the most part, the roads were good and traffic patterns and laws were fairly similar to what we are used to here. However, there was one element that took me completely by surprise. Gigantic speed humps. I don't think I'm being conservative when I say they were three feet high. The trouble was that they were not well marked. On one occasion as we headed south on the highway to Tulum for a day trip, I was cruising at a pretty good clip when we came up on one of these humps. The only sign for it was right next to it and there was no paint or reflectors to draw attention to it. I think I had just enough time after noticing it to slam on the brakes and say something along the lines of "holy hats, hold on!" I might actually have done the arm thing across my friend's chest, too.

We hit that speedhill at about 70 kph and I think it is fair to say that we launched. I don't know what my face looked like, but I can say that the expressions on the other occupants of the car was that of sheer terror. I'm pretty sure my heart didn't slow down to a safe pace for two days. Needless to say, I kept a closer eye out for those bastards from then on because our little rental toyonissan couldn't possibly survive another one.

That was a great trip, despite the additional speedbumps that we hit on a personal level:
sun poisoning, a travel agency scam and a fight that almost ruined a 20 year friendship. Just like those speedmountains on that highway down the Mexican coast, life's bumps generally don't come with warnings, but you get over them and you're a little wiser the next time.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Six Things You Need To Know

I got tagged (my first time *blush*) by the always fab Tiffany over at The R Family Diaries. She is also one of the founding SITS gals. SITS (Secret's in the Sauce) is a blog dedicated to blogging and spreading the word about all the great blogs that are out there. Each day, Monday through Friday, they feature a blog. To be chosen for this honor, you have to submit your three best posts. Unfortunately, I can't decide which are my best, so I'll just have to enjoy their picks until I can make up my mind.

So, here's the rules:
1. Link the person who tagged you
2. Mention the rules on your blog

3. Tell about 6 unspectacular quirks of yours…

4. Tag 6 following bloggers by linking them…

5. Leave a comment on each of the tagged blogger’s blogs letting them know they’ve been tagged.


Okey dokey artichokey, here are my Six Unspectacular Quirks:
1. I was raised in Kansas, my first dog was named Toto and both of my grandmothers were named Dorothy. How's that for dedication to a theme?

2. I love, LOVE, capers. Give me a piccata or a puttanesca any day of the week. Or, just straight out of the jar. They're also delightful in tuna or chicken salad. They are so yummy!

3. I'm really terrified of the dark. I still sleep with a nightlight, much to my husband's chagrin. This also correlates to my fear of murky water. Gives me the creepy crawlies just thinking about it.

4. I have an insane hatred for gum chomping/snapping. Actually, all mouth noises associated with chewing. It. Drives. Me. Crazy.

5. I would rather live in Maine than Florida because I melt in hot weather. It turns out I actually am made of sugar (another Oz reference) and like icing on a cake, anything over 90 degrees is BAD news.

6. My hair will only retain a style that is contrary to its desire for approximately 8 minutes. Just long enough for me to think maybe this time I've got enough hair product to keep it in place and get out the door. Then, it returns to its natural state of flat and straight.

So I tag (in no particular order):
Sara over at Blah Blah Blog
Nicki at Grin and Baer It
Bailey at I'm Not Saying, I'm just Saying
Kristi at There's More to Life than Laundry
MGM at Momma's Gone Mad
Katie at So Happy Together

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Kilroy Was Here

I hear the secrets that you keep...

Occasionally, Neil will awaken me in the night with a random bit of sleep-talking. These outbursts are often incomprehensible and sometimes creepy but almost always entertaining. He rarely remembers these exchanges which gives me a great opportunity to have a little fun. I'm really not even sure he hears my side of the conversation. At least, given last night's, I kind of hope not.

Setting: about 2am, we've both been in bed, asleep, for hours

Neil: (bolting upright) We can go dig in the back yard now!

Me: Are we looking for bodies?

Neil: What? ...no.

Me: Getting rid of bodies?

Neil: We'll have to do it in the morning.

Me: Dig in the back yard? To get rid of the bodies?

Neil: Yes.

Me: Okay. Bright and early.

Neil: zzzzzzz

Me: HAHAHAHAHAHAHA! (except quietly so I wouldn't wake the baby across the hall because then our comedy would turn into a drama)

Needless to say, there was no digging in the back yard this morning. Nor were there any bodies. Or if there were, they were gone by the time I got up.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Ah That Sweet Baby Sound

I've seen a few laughing babies around the internet and I considered not posting this, that people might not want to see yet another one. We could just add it to our archives and keep it for our own personal viewing pleasure. But then I decided that, like myself, the warm and loving people who venture into my little corner of the internet could never tire of this wonderful and joyous sound, so here are 35 seconds of pure baby fabulousness.

video

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Bean Look-a-Like Meter

While doing this celebrity look alike thing I found on The Bloggess, I noticed they had a link to do a comparison to see whether a child looks more like the mother or father. By the way, the celebrity they matched me to was Chloe Sevigny at 78% similarity. They also listed additional celebrities that are lesser matches. Guess who I matched at 58%? Rutger Hauer. I'm not sure whether to be really depressed or angry. I think I'm going to try a different picture of myself and see if I can up my celebrity look alike quotient.

Since everyone always asks, "who does she look like?" I figured this would settle things. Turns out she's a good mix of our features, tilting just 10% towards me. Or if you go by the celebrity look alike business then she looks a little bit more like Rutger Hauer.


MyHeritage: Family tree - Genealogy - Celebrity - Collage - Morph

Monday, July 14, 2008

Hours Days Months Years

Well, here we are at nine months. My little Sophie Bean has now been out here in the world of air and light for as long as she was a living part of me. It's bittersweet, these landmarks.

In the beginning, I thought of her in hours. Neil and I would chart every minute of her day and everything was so new and novel. We would say, "Just 48 hours ago, we three were only two!" Then we moved on to days, and we struggled to adjust to this new life that had taken over EVERYTHING. The first time I went out with her, against doctor's orders I might add, was when she was 18 days old. I went to the grocery store. It took me an hour to get myself and her out the door. But that short trip was our first foray as mother and daughter into the world and it was both terrifying and exhilarating. At the checkout, she started crying and I swear women came running from all over the store. The lure of the newborn is strong. When I told everyone how old she was, I could hear it passed from person to person, like that telephone game. I was so proud. Ridiculously so, given that about a million babies are born every day.

Somewhere after twenty days, we crossed into weeks and things started to get a little bit easier. Not because Sophie slept better, or ate better, or really much of anything better, but because we were starting to get the hang of things and not feel quite so unprepared for every situation. Then at some point, I began to describe her age in months. I can't say exactly when that happened because I went back and forth for a time, perhaps because I wasn't ready to give up her newness. As tough as those days were, I think a part of me recognized that they were times I should cherish.


And now here we are, 3/4 of a year old. Each day she becomes more independent and capable. She often takes off crawling (and when I say take off, I mean it, because that girl can move) and doesn't even look back to see where I am or if I'm following her. Today, she climbed down off the low shelf under the coffee table and for the first time had a controlled landing, not the usual face plant followed by a roll. She has so much to learn and experience and I am pleased as punch to be there every step of the journey.

My heart bursts with love and pride for you, keep it up, baby girl!

video
*Extra points for anyone that can identify the song.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Bling Baby

I am beginning to think of Babies R Us (henceforth known as BRU) the same way I think of Target. As sort of a benign addiction. For the last three or four months of my pregnancy and the first few of Sophie's life, I was there on a weekly basis. I came to know the aisles and racks of clothes nearly as well as I know my own home. Especially during those early months of stay-at-home-momhood when I didn't know what to do with myself all day, I could always find a reason to get my BRU on.

However, in recent months, as I've found myself more and more occupied with other activities, I haven't been visiting nearly as often. And although I doubt their quarterly earnings have gone down, it certainly has had a positive impact on our checkbook. You see, much like that bastion of consumer debauchery know as Target, I have never gotten out of there for less than $50 and typically it is much more than that. Even when I go in with a very specific list, somehow I walk out with much more than I was supposed to. So when Neil emailed me a link for a travel tote for Sophie's car seat in anticipation of a trip later this month, I immediately jumped on the opportunity to visit my old stomping grounds to see if they carried it or something similar. I would like to say that my motives were pure, that my sole reason for going was to save us shipping charges, but the truth is that I was jonesing for a little BRU. But I promised myself that I would stick to the list...or at least a $50 cap.

We headed out after Sophie's morning nap. It's a fairly short drive, but it felt interminable. When I finally turned into the shopping center, I swear I heard a chorus of angels. Turning into my regular row in the parking lot, at first I was a little sad not to be parking in one of the expecting/new mom spaces up front. But that time has passed and although I feel a little nostalgia for those days, I don't want to be the jerk that parks there when I don't need to. As we unloaded from the car, I swear even Sophie seem to be excited for our little trip.

Passing through the oversize double doors, I got my first whiff of BRU in all its glory. Once in, we went up and down every aisle. Played with all of the toys, fondled all of the clothes, gawked at the pricey strollers and contemplated the different car seats. When a pregnant woman or couple walked by with their registry gun, I wanted to take them by the hand and tell them that they will never use three quarters of the stuff they get and then guide them item by item on what is useful and what is not. Tell them that after the shower, they should return half of the clothes and get the next size up or even two sizes up, because although it broke my heart, I packed away newborn and 3 month clothes that were never worn. But this advice would have fallen on deaf ears. I know because even I didn't listen to those who tried to steer my choices. I just thought "well, my baby will be different." But they were right, and now so am I, but I leave these hopeful folks to their dreams of little fingers and toes.

I found the particular item I had come for and was determined to make it out without buying any extraneous items or going over my $50 limit. I was nearly at the checkout when I spied the clearance clothing rack. Oh, clearance rack, how could I resist thee? With your 75% off signs and oh-so-cute little dresses. I am helpless when confronted with a bargain and will come up with a completely rational (at the time) argument for why this item should be purchased. In the end, I made it out with the travel tote, an outfit, a hat (yes, it says Bling Baby and no, Neil wouldn't let me take her out of the house in it) and a bath toy. For a grand total of $42 after using the 15% off coupon I had! Success! Then I remembered the other reason I was there was a gift certificate for a friend's baby's christening. Damn.

Oh BRU, you get me every time.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

A Gnome For All Seasons

I have long wanted a garden gnome. How's that for a first sentence. Have I got you hooked? It is the absolute truth, though, however uncool. I look at them longingly in little old ladies' yards and don't even get me started on the traveling gnome. I think he is just about the cutest thing. Plus, who couldn't use a little gnome magic yard protection? I was always a little nervous about what my friends or neighbors would say, though. Would they think I was weird? Is it just too corny? But after much deliberation, I finally decided it was time to satisfy my yen for one of the little men.

As luck would have it, I was wandering through the clearance aisle for the outdoor stuff at my beloved Target when I came across this dignified fellow.
Unbelievably, they wanted a mere $2.89 for him. Needless to say, I snatched him up before some other lucky gal caught sight of him. Smugly, I clutched him to my bosom for the long walk to the cashier. The whole drive home all I could think about was how excited I was to get my new friend comfortably positioned in his new home. Once there, I literally bounded out of my car in my enthusiasm, ran up to the front of the house and sat Toby (that's his name, it's short for Tobias) down in a place of honor in the front yard. I even had Neil bring Sophie out so we could admire him as a family. I admit, I worry a little that jealous neighbors might spirit him away, but that's a risk I'll have to take. I mean, really, look at that face. Those eyes, the beard, that toadstool. Just scrumptious.

Here he is next to his favorite bush. What, did you really think I would put a full size gnome in my yard? Not this time.

Don't count it out. I still might.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Slices of our Day

We're on the front porch. I'm sitting on the top step with my feet a few steps down with Sophie on my lap. I have my arms around her waist and she is resting her hands on my forearms. We watch the cars going past, each one with a woosh. It is a warm, sunny day, but we're underneath two huge oak trees so we are bathed in shade. A cool breeze is blowing. The branches move with the wind and a hundred thousand leaves whisper their contentment. I can see four men at the far side of the school fields that are across from our house, they are sitting in folding chairs underneath some large trees. I see them there most days and today, as always, I wonder what they are dong there. I lean down to kiss her cheek and say quietly in her ear that it is a beautiful day.

She is quiet and peaceful for a change. My sweet bean is a bundle of energy, rarely sitting still for more than a few moments. Holding her on my lap is typically more of a greased pig wrestle than a cozy mother-daughter moment. That makes this moment that much more special for it's rarity. I had commented this morning to Neil that she is getting so big, relatively speaking, of course, because she's still small by most standards. And right now I am acutely aware that not only is she getting bigger but more mature. In a nine month old sort of way.

It is these moments that I want to freeze. We have thousands of photos of all of the special moments in our daughter's life. Her first bath, birthdays, holidays, trips to see family or special outings with friends. But it is these quiet, unassuming and typically undocumented days that are the ones that I really want to remember. When I think back on this time, it will not be the big moments that cause nostalgia. No, it will be these tiny slices of our day to day reality that bring tears to my eyes.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Dr. Internet

For the past couple of weeks, or maybe longer, I'm pretty bad with time these days, I've been noticing an increasing pain in my wrist when I hold Sophie or pick her up. Each day I notice it a little more often and the pain seems to be a little more pronounced. Neil keeps telling me that I should go see a doctor, but I'm not entirely convinced that it is necessary.

I don't enjoy going to the doctor. Not that this is a great revelation, I don't believe that most people do. But my reasoning is less because it is a painful or uncomfortable experience and more because just about every time I go to the doctor for an ailment, they make me feel like I am wasting their time. I can never seem to convey my symptoms in a way that brings about the desired response of "Whew, you got here just in time! If you'd waited just one more day, we might have had to amputate. We need to get you to the hospital, STAT!" Usually it's me stammering my way through trying to explain why I am taking up their time while they look at their watch and then the door eager to get me out for that someone with a far more pressing ailment/injury in the waiting room. And with each question I become less eloquent until in the end I'm just a blubbering idiot on the verge of nervous tears.

I've tried different doctors. I don't think I have an inferiority complex when it comes to people in the medical profession. I respect them for their knowledge and the time and effort they put into schooling but, ultimately, they're just people. I am sure that the vast majority of doctors treat their patients with care and sensitivity, just not most of the ones I've been to. (Offensive sentence deleted.) Wait, could my doctor construe this as a bad attitude? If my doctor is reading this, I LOVE doctors! They are the coolest, smartest people around! Please don't put a black mark in my file.

So, since I am hesitant to visit the real doctor, I decided to pay a visit to Dr. Internet first. I did a Google search for "wrist pain holding baby" and came up with a surprisingly thorough response. There was an article from the NY Times that described women who had symptoms and situations so similar to mine that for our purposes, we'll just say the article was about me. It described a condition called DeQuervain's Tendonitis that is sometimes called "new mom's syndrome." Well, hello, that's me! So off I went on a quest for more information. And I found it. A lot of it. According to the American Society for Surgery of the Hand (ASSH, for those in the know), DeQuervain's Tendonitis is described as a "condition brought on by irritation or inflammation of the wrist tendons at the base of the thumb." Basically, I've been picking up and holding my little bean the wrong way. The treatment is to wear a brace (which I have from an old injury), take anti-inflammatory pain killers (which I also have) and to not do the things that caused the problem in the first place. Done and done.

Who needs a doctor*? I've got the internet.

*Disclaimer - Yes, I know the internet is no substitute for real medical advice and if my condition doesn't clear up pretty quickly I will get myself to a doctor. Okay, mom?

Friday, July 4, 2008

Independence Day

I put her down in the living room to log some miles crawling on the hardwood floors, as opposed to the usual carpet. Supposedly this will inspire her to walk because the hard surface will be less comfortable for her. She is wearing shoes today, a rare occurrence, but she needs to get used to them because it will be tough getting service without them. I open the front door, so the light will come in to brighten up the room and then I leave her alone for a few minutes while I tinker in the kitchen. When I return, she is sitting like this.

Peaceful, she contemplates the outside world from this new vantage point. It seems it has only been a few weeks that she could get around
so successfully and fewer still that she has been able to raise herself to a sitting position, yet here she is as though she had always been doing it. My little girl, finding her way, stretching the limits of her newfound independence.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Baby Steps














Watching my child and her determination to stand has been such an inspiring experience for me. She grabs hold of whatever is at hand, using her little arms to pull herself up, wriggling her legs underneath her just so and then she pops up. Sometimes it is awkward and shaky and sometimes she has the fluidity of motion that is only evident in the more experienced. Regardless, I clap every time she reaches the full standing position because I want her to know how proud I am of her accomplishment. But I also clap because she makes me so happy. Her smiles are my drug. And I am totally hooked.

Unfortunately, this determination brought about it's first bloodshed yesterday. Ironically, she did not fall on any of the surfaces that I feared would cause her trouble. It happened as I sat cross-legged and she was climbing on my legs, pulling herself up as she is wont to do. Just as she reached full standing position, her legs gave out on her and she toppled. On her way down, she hit her lip on my knee. Although it didn't feel terribly hard, it was enough to cause her teeth to cut into her lip. It was the first time I have seen blood coming out of my child, other than in a controlled fashion, like at the doctor's office. It was awful. Beyond awful, because I felt like it was my fault.

I immediately scooped her up and burrowed my face in the crook of her neck whispering I love you and it's okay while I carried her to the sofa. I gently laid her down so I could get a good look at her lip. A thorough inspection showed that although it was still bleeding, it was not serious. There were no tears. She was so calm. Far more so than I. As Neil hovered, the worried papa, I gave her a little Eskimo nose kiss. She smiled, as she always does, and I knew we were okay.

I have watched her pull herself up dozens of times. Almost every one of those times, she has fallen down. Sometimes softly onto her bottom, but lots of times with a thud and a roll. She has bruises all over her body from her efforts. There is a big part of me that wants to hold her up and catch her when she falls. But there is another part of me that knows that I can't do this. That doing this will be a disservice to her. She needs to learn how to pull herself up and she needs to learn how to fall right or not to fall at all. And she needs to learn how to stand on her own.
All I can do is clap.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Sleep, Beautiful Sleep

Alert the media: Sophie let me sleep until 7:15 this morning. She went to bad at 6:15 last night and only woke up once at 3am. I feel like I just got back from a week long vacation followed by a day at the spa. Amazing what eight (mostly) uninterrupted hours will do for a person. The dark circles under my eyes have faded some and the twitch in my left eye has calmed down to only a minor annoyance.

I expect this will NEVER happen again.