Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Separation Anxiety

I am completely dreading the day I have to go back to work full time. I love staying home with Baby and hanging out with her. When I'm at home, time just flies by.

On a typical day, we wake up with Husband, hang out for a while, then we both fall back asleep (or I plead with her to fall back asleep), until we both get up and eat breakfast. Then we play, sing, walk, read, whatever, until it's naptime again. Sometimes I'll take a nap with her, and sometimes she will nap while I clean or cook or attempt something creative. If I nap with her she sleeps longer. Otherwise, I only have at the most an hour in which to accomplish something.

Then she will wake up and we will eat, sing, play, go outside, go out, whatever, until the next nap. Repeat cycle until Husband comes home when we eat dinner, get ready for bed, and go to bed.

I love how she will talk to herself when she first wakes up in the mornings. Then she will stare at her hands held in front of her face, marveling that she can control them. When she catches me glancing at her she will smile the slowest, sweetest smile at me.

When we play she will get so excited to see a toy and will do her little dolphin speak to me. She will roll over and look around to make sure I am watching. When she gets sleepy she will rest her head on my shoulder, or try to eat my shirt.

Lately she has developed a new game to play when nursing. She will stop suddenly, turn her head to stare up at me and wait for me to look down at her. When I do she will make a little giggle, smile, then go back to eating. She'll do this a couple of times and I think it is absolutely adorable.

I like to watch her when we go outside. She will stare in open mouthed wonder at the shadows and try to reach out to grab them. I recently bought some bubbles to blow for her and she will stare wide eyed at them with her arms outstretched as they float by.

I have no idea how I'm going to handle being away from her.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Mommy and Baby Music and Art Class

This morning a friend of mine invited Baby and I to a Mommy and Baby Music and Art class. I love things that are educational and that I can do with Baby, so I was all in.

I met my friend and her daughter (who is three months older than Baby) downstairs at the entrance super early this morning (yes, ten is still considered super early when you wake up a few times in the middle of the night). We were a half an hour early since it is a first come first serve basis unless you are a member (which we are not). It is eight dollars for an hour. The first half is music and the second half is art.

The place was converted from an older home downtown, so there were three levels. The first level was the entrance. Then we walked up a few stairs to the older kids art area. There were little table and chair stations and tons of art supplies for the kids to use: paintbrushes, clay, paint, glue, items from nature, etc. It looked like a fun place to come to when Baby gets older. She can go make a mess in someone else's place and I won't have to clean it up.

Next we walked up two flights of stairs to the third level where there was a room with tubes and things that kids could crawl through, an open seating area with benches overlooking a baby play structure, and another room that was for the Mommy and Baby class.

Since we were early, we played with our babies in the baby play structure. It had that soft wrestling mat stuff on the ground and formed into different shapes for the babies to climb on. Over in one corner was a mirror with a ballet barre that was just the right height for the babies to hold onto and look at themselves. Too cute. Baby smiled and tried to reach for herself in the mirror.

When it was time, we went into the classroom and sat in a circle. Everyone had a soft cushion to sit on and we all put our babies in our laps. There were about nine or so other mothers and babies. Baby and her friend were the youngest, and the oldest was probably around two. I think the average age was one (the class was advertised for ages zero to two).

The teacher started us off with singing and signing a good morning song. (For the life of me I cannot remember how to sign good morning, and I really wish I did. Guess I'll have to look it up). Then she sang a few songs and we all sang along if we knew them. I knew most of them (surprisingly! I think I was remembering from my own childhood). We sang "The Wheels on the Bus," "The Itsy Bitsy Spider," "Do you know the Muffin Man," "Down by the Bay," something about three kittens, and maybe a could more that I don't remember. After asking, "Do you know the Muffin Man?" Baby let out a little screech. Apparently she is a fan of the Muffin Man.

I was a little offended at one point when Baby was "talking," and the teacher stopped to ask the class if they had heard a sheep. My baby is not a sheep, nor does she sound like one. But then the teacher let out a little "Baa" and it did kinda sound like Baby. Maybe just a little bit. Then the teacher started us in on "Baa Baa Black Sheep." I forgave her then. Perhaps it was just a segue for her into the next song.

At one point the teacher brought out a little colorful parachute and we all grabbed it (Baby tried to stuff it in her mouth), and moved it up and down with a song. She played some music and we all practiced freezing when the music stopped and did some dancing and hand movements along with it.

There was a giant mirror on one wall and I kept trying to look at myself and Baby as I held her to see her expression. She seemed to be having a fun time. She had eaten before we went, and also took a nap on the way over (it was about forty five minutes away from us), so she was in a good mood. She was very talkative during the whole thing, doing her little dolphin speak as everyone sang. Hopefully no one thought she was annoying. People kept looking and smiling at her. She just screeched away. She was certainly the loudest child there. Unfortunately, my friend's daughter wasn't as enthusiastic as Baby during the music portion so she went out into the hallway to calm down.

The next part of the class was the art portion. It was really hot in the room, so we took a short water break while the teacher brought out finger paints (this is the point where I stripped Baby down to her diaper so she wouldn't get her clothes dirty. A few of the other mothers did the same.) The paints were made from corn starch and something else, so it was an interesting texture. She had a pink tray and a blue tray. She laid a mat out on the floor and the babies could go at it.

I held Baby at the paint and she reached for it, then decided she didn't like it on her fingers at all and I wiped it off for her. That was all that we did during the art portion. We sat and watched the rest of the babies. It didn't help Baby that I didn't want to touch it either. I wasn't prepared to get dirty! A couple of the other babies were loving it and squishing it in their hands. One child even decided to step in it- with his shoes on. I was watching the mother to see what she did, and she just pulled out the camera to take a picture. My friend's baby loved this portion. She got herself covered in paint and kept wanting more. My friend tried to reign her in and her child got mad and my friend ended up with blue paint all over herself.

Baby had enough before the class was over, plus she was hungry after playing so hard, I suppose. I nursed her and that was the end of the class.

Overall I had a good time. It was really neat to sing with Baby and the other moms. Especially since I can never remember any songs to sing with her at home, nor do I know hand movements that go with them. I liked the fact that she could watch other babies and socialize (granted, she's only four months old, but she can learn). It was too bad she didn't like finger paint, but that only means that perhaps she'll be a clean child when she gets bigger. No mud stained pants for me to wash!

Friday, June 25, 2010

Dining Out

Husband and I used to dine out a lot before Baby. Like, a lot. We are not part of one of those relationships where one person just loves to cook, and therefore the job automatically goes to that crazy person. Nope, not us. We argue over who's turn it is to attempt to throw something together, then usually end up grabbing something somewhere instead.

We used to be regulars at the usual sit down restaurants in town, and the Chinese delivery guy greets us if he sees us in town. The pizza people know us as well. Not to mention a few of the drive-thru window fast food chain places.

Don't get me wrong. I didn't say that I can't cook. If I put my mind to it, I can churn out some pretty scrumptious items. However, I have a tendency to get bored and turn my attention to other things. I mean, what do you do when you are waiting for something to boil? Or simmer. Or saute. Stirring is so overrated.

Why, just the other day I ran out with Baby to pick something up from the store and Husband called while I was out to remind me that I had something cooking in the oven. It was done four minutes after I left the house. He only noticed it because the timer went off. Oops. Luckily he was there to take it out and make sure I didn't burn the house down (so far I've only left burners on twice, and left the oven on once since we moved here in November).

Well, now that we have Baby, we (by we, I mean I) have cut back on our dining out/ordering in for a variety of reasons.

1. It's expensive and we are trying to cut costs so one of us can stay home with Baby instead of sending her to daycare.

2. It's easy to be unhealthy when ordering from a menu. We would like to live to see our grandchildren's children and set a good example for Baby.

3. Dining out in restaurants for dinner is quite the process when one has a Baby. Which brings me to the reason I was writing this post in the first place (see how I get distracted?).

We went out to dinner last night with Husband's family at a sit down restaurant. It wasn't anything fancy so I was hoping Baby would be ok. We tried to make it at a reasonable hour because she tends to get fussy between six and seven (we usually put her to bed around seven).

We planned dinner at six because that was the earliest all the working people could do. I packed toys and a sippy cup for Baby, hoping to keep her occupied (more on the sippy cup in an upcoming blog).

When we got there, I requested a high chair for Baby, and she was excited to sit in it. Granted, she can't sit on her own yet, but she can sit with support. Have you ever noticed that all high chairs in restaurants are different? The one in this restaurant was way too big for her, and strapping her in just made her look like she was a little rag doll. So we just held her up while in it. Granted, this did not last long as it was awkward for Husband and I to do so during dinner. Oh yes, dinner.

Baby decided she wanted to get fussy about half an hour in, so Husband and I took turns holding her so the other could eat. She didn't want to be held by anyone else at the table, unfortunately, nor was she that interested in her toys. She tried to eat a couple of the menus at first, but the waitress took them away after we ordered.

Needless to say, I had to take her out of the restaurant and walk around with her outside to calm her down (Husband said I didn't have to, but I really don't want to be one of those parents whose crying baby disturbs other diners). Then the sprinklers came on outside, so I brought her back in where we packed up and left, taking boxes of leftovers with us so we could finish our meals later. Unfortunately, this morning we woke up and realized we had left the leftovers in the car overnight. I was very disappointed I didn't get to eat the rest of my salad (yep, still working on that baby weight-I ordered salad). Oh well, such is life.

What's the moral of the story, you ask? Well, I learned that if I plan on going out to eat with Baby after six (she's usually pretty good during lunch trips), plan on not eating, not being a part of the conversation (I honestly don't know what the people at the table talked about. I caught tidbits here and there, but was distracted), and the most important lesson of all is to not leave the leftovers in the car.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Rollin', Rollin', Rollin' on a River

Baby is now very adept at rolling over. To one side. In one direction. Then she has this problem where she gets herself stuck and freaks out. It was cute maybe the first thirty times she did it. Now, it's not so cute and we are just waiting for her to figure out how to roll herself back the other way. She can do back to stomach, rolling over her left side. Stomach to back, not so much.

She is getting better at doing little baby push ups. She has figured out how to push off the floor to lift her upper half. Then she realizes it didn't do her much good and she'll drop herself down and do little swimming motions. She does manage to rotate herself by doing this move, though. It's really cute to watch her rotate in a circle, and she gets this big grin on her face when we praise her.

However, now I can't place her on the floor and run off to do something (really quickly of course) without hearing a cry of protest from my daughter who has flipped herself over and wants some help. Husband will leave her there and tell her that she got herself into the situation and needs to get herself out, but I can't stand listening to her cry. I can only take a few seconds before I intervene.

The hardest thing now is putting her to bed. The moment we put her down she will flip herself over and get stuck that way. She's not one of those babies that hated to sleep on her back, either. She will sleep flat on her back with her little arms flung up on either side of her head. If she finds herself on her tummy, she thinks it is time to play.

Sometimes when we put her down and she falls asleep, we will later hear her cry out. We'll go in to check on her and find her rolled over onto her tummy, sleepily lifting her head and whining about how she got there. We turn her over and try to prop her against the railing so she can't roll. She's gotten pretty good at rolling uphill, though. She's one stubborn child.

In the meantime, we'll just enjoy the fact that we don't have to chase her all over the house just yet.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Intelligence by Telepathy

I love to stare and marvel at the tiny (well, she's getting bigger now) creature who grew inside of me, then came out whole. I smile at her, carry her around, rock her in my arms, nurse her, and fall asleep with her. I proudly show her off to everyone I see and remember to shyly say thank you to those who compliment her when we go out in public. I dress her up and attempt to take pictures that I often flip through when I get the chance.

A few months ago my sister came by and was playing with Baby. She walked her around the house, pointing out and saying various object names. She took her outside and showed her the flowers, pointing out the roses and the colors. She touched her little nose and said, "nose."

While watching this interaction, I had a lightbulb go off above my head. As much as I love and adore my little child, I have to actually speak with her and teach her the vocabulary she needs to know. I can't just stare at her adoringly and expect her to pick up my thoughts telepathically. This may seem like such a simple concept, but I really had not thought about it.

Now, I try to make every moment teachable. I'm not much of a talker, so it is weird for me to hear my voice so much. I have to make a conscious effort to use language so that Baby learns it. I make sure I point out things as we walk around. I point out colors, and ask her for her left or right arm when she is getting dressed. I describe what we are doing when we play with toys, and try to give her associations with words. For example, "up" when I pick her up. Or "stand" when she wants to stand. Hopefully these things will help her develop, although it would be so much easier if we were telepathic.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Guest Post from Husband: First Father's Day

Where to start on my first Father’s day…..It was slow, we didn’t have anything planned, and pretty much uneventful. But I loved it! It was nice, intimate, relaxing, and exactly what I needed.

I awoke to wonderful news that I could get breakfast in bed or grab McDonald’s. I’m not a breakfast person and I’ve been struggling to make sure I eat breakfast to help my diet, but I was very excited to try breakfast in bed. I’ve never had breakfast in bed. However, we didn’t have bacon for Beth to make a decent breakfast, so I opted to stay in bed until the last minute and open my Father’s day gift. I got new pajama bottoms and a book to read to the baby called “Daddy Loves Me.”

We picked up McDonald’s breakfast on the way to church. McDonald’s breakfast has got to be one of the best fast food breakfasts out there. Sausage Egg Biscuit, hash browns, and orange juice FTW!

After being able to sleep in and eat breakfast, we were still able to make it to church a little early. It was a good message which emphasized the importance of a father in a child’s life.

Afterward, we went home where for some reason I proceeded to take a very long nap which is very surprising because I am not a person that takes naps and refuses to sleep. I believe that I need to do something every waking moment away from work and sleep just takes away from that fun time. I can’t even believe I slept that long. I can’t believe Beth, the baby and I slept that long during the day. Furthermore, I can’t believe I forgot to sleep in my new pajama bottoms. =(

We awoke in time for dinner. Now I heard that BJs Brewery was giving away pint glasses to every father who patroned their restaurant on Father’s Day and no matter how tempting this was, I had my heart set on Mongolian BBQ for several weeks. Beth, the baby, and I went to a Mongolian BBQ in town that we had never been to. It was fantastic, however, it still didn’t top our favorite Mongolian BBQ restaurant in a nearby city. Quick tip though, in the beginning pick up two bowls and fill one. Use the second bowl to smash down the food in the filled bowl. It will get you more food in your bowl at the end of the day. Just thinking of this makes me want to have more Mongolian BBQ. Mmmmmm Mongolian BBQ.

We got home and put the baby to sleep and decided to watch a movie from our unwatched movie collection. We selected Revolutionary Road. Now if you ever wanted to watch an uplifting fun movie, Revolutionary Road is not for you. It was OK. I don’t think I could sit through it again.

As sad as the movie was, my spirits were lifted when I realized that I could sleep in my new pajama bottoms. I fell asleep and ended my first great Father’s day.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Baby Tears

Baby cried real tears the other day. It was the saddest thing ever. We were on our way home from somewhere and I sat in the back with her while Husband drove us home so I could keep her company. She didn't want to be in her carseat anymore and was tired so she started crying.

In the past, she's cried without tears. At first I was concerned because I thought all babies had tears, but apparently their tear ducts take more time to develop. Well hers are now developed all right.

I watched as little tear streaks ran down her cheeks while her little lips quivered and her big blue eyes became red rimmed. It made tears well up in my eyes that I couldn't just pick her up and hold her because we were in the car. (Husband kept looking in the rear view mirror to see if I had tears running down my face as well. I told him he wasn't allowed to make fun of me.) Eventually she cried herself to sleep, but it was the saddest thing to watch.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

To Cloth or Not to Cloth?

Before I had Baby I decided I wanted to do cloth diapering. There are many different reasons to use cloth diapers, such as the impact it will have on the environment (less disposables stinking up our landfills), and the cost effectiveness of only buying diapers once that will last through many children. Not to mention the fact that cloth diapers are supposed to have less of a smell, help prevent diaper rash on babies, and are convenient (no more running frantically to the store with a naked baby because you forgot to buy more disposables).

Am I environmentally friendly? I like to think so, but not in an extremist sort of way. Am I cheap? Oh yeah.

While I like to think that by using cloth diapers I won't be contributing to the landfills, I can honestly say the primary reason I am doing it is to save money. Instead of buying a few packs of diapers each month for the next two to three years at about eight dollars each, I buy a set of cloth diapers (they are about twenty dollars each, depending on the brand), and I am set. The savings amasses to about eight of my car payments. Eight! That's practically a year! (I'm rounding up, here, humor me.) That's eight steps closer to paying off a pesky loan and me not having to work full time (which is the ultimate goal for next year).

Well, I finally started to use my supply of cloth diapers this past week. My plan had been to use the disposables I had and then switch to cloth when I ran out. Well, I ran out (thank you to all who gave me diapers at my baby shower. Because of you, I was able to go without buying diapers for four months!). Now I am starting to wonder if it is really worth it.

While I do like the soft feel of the diapers on Baby's bottom, they are a little bit of a hassle. I can no longer be a minimalist when I go out because I have to take along a supply of superthick diapers for when she needs a change, and then I have to take them back home. No more throwing them out when they are dirty, thus lessening my load. That's not too big of a deal to me, just something to note.

At home, I either keep them in a diaper pail until I have to wash them, or I throw them in the wash if there are enough. When they are washed, I hang them out to dry. Let me tell you, I am a slow hanger-upper. (I once watched a game at a baby shower where people had to compete for the quickest time to see who could hang the laundry up, hold a baby, and talk on the cell phone all at once. I would have come in last place.) That's a lot of time and energy spent on diapers when I could have been hanging out with Baby.

Selfishly speaking, I'm wondering how I will feel when I go back to work. Do I really want to do the extra wash? Will I have the energy to hang them out to dry? Don't I want to spend every possible minute with Baby? I feel guilty enough going back to work as it is.

It's only eight dollars for a pack of disposables. But then again, it's eight car payments.

I'm torn.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Apologies

I am constantly apologizing to my child.

"I'm sorry I just dropped egg on your head while I was holding you and attempting to eat breakfast."

"I'm sorry I just banged your stroller into the wall while turning a corner."

"I'm sorry I bumped your hand on the wall when I walked you down the hallway."

"I'm sorry I dripped spaghetti sauce on your cute little outfit."

"I'm sorry I can't take you with me into the shower."

"I'm sorry your outfit smells like spit up."

"I'm sorry I can't understand what you are trying to tell me."

"I'm sorry you are tired, but it's your fault for not going to sleep."

"I'm sorry I can't take you out of your carseat when you cry in the car."

"I'm sorry, but you can't eat Mommy's cell phone."

"I'm sorry are stuck, but you rolled yourself into that position."

"I'm sorry, but you can't yank Mommy's hair."

"I'm sorry too that the neighbor's dog woke you."

"I'm sorry you don't like the heat, but you'll have to tell it to God. I don't control the weather."

"I'm sorry that I dropped breadcrumbs in your hair."

And so on.

Sick is Scary

The other night I put Baby down to bed between 7 and 8 like I normally do. I usually stay up a few hours later to hang out and get things down around the house (translation, I surf the web and perhaps do a few dishes). Around 11 I heard some noises on the monitor (I wish I had a video monitor, but mine is just a noise monitor), so I went in to check on Baby.

I walked in on her throwing up large amounts, gagging herself in the process. It was the scariest thing ever. She looked up at me with big helpless eyes as her body betrayed her. I immediately ran over to her and turned her on her side so she wouldn't choke. She threw up a little bit more, then started dry heaving when she had nothing left.

I kept her on her side and called the advice nurse only to be put on hold.

In the meantime, poor Baby was holding her arms in tight and whimpering with her little eyes squeezed shut. Yes, I said whimpering, as in much distress.

The advice nurse was taking a very long time to get to me, so I texted a few friends while I was on hold (a cool feature that my phone has, allowing me to text and talk. Definitely came in handy). Of course everyone said to call the doctor. Duh, I was on hold!

I took her temperature and it was 101. She felt pretty hot, and her back was sweaty. She also looked really pale to me.

I finally got through to the advice nurse (twenty loooong minutes later) who asked how many times she had thrown up and what her temperature was, along with a bunch of other questions. No, she didn't have any head trauma or injuries lately. No, her vomit wasn't green or blue. No, she hadn't thrown up more than three times that I know of. The nurse said to just keep her cool and make sure she stayed hydrated, either by nursing or giving her Pedialyte (I think you can buy this anywhere. It's like Gatorade for babies). I was supposed to keep an eye on her (Don't worry, I wasn't going to leave her side!), keep checking her temperature, and call back if things got worse. She said she would also leave a note for a doctor to call me back.

I was able to get Baby to nurse, although she continued to make the little whimpering sounds at the same time. It was so sad to hear. I also gave Baby some Tylenol to help bring her fever down, although she did throw up again after I gave it to her, but she did nurse some more so I figured she was able to keep something down. I cleaned her up and changed her bedding, too.

Over the course of the night I kept checking her diaper to make sure she was peeing (a sign that she is staying hydrated), kept offering her the opportunity to nurse, and periodically took her temperature.

A few hours later I felt her really burning up and sure enough her temperature was higher, at 102. I didn't know if I should take her in or not, so I talked to another nurse who said pretty much the same thing as before- keep hydrated and cool. I gave her more Tylenol and she didn't throw up as much as before. I also pulled out my Baby 411 book (I really like this one. It's pretty straightforward and easy to use). It said that her symptoms did not warrant an immediate appointment. Plus, she didn't have any diarrhea, which is apparently more cause for concern than vomiting (did not know this).

A few hours later I checked her again and she had cooled down (temperature was at 100.6), and she hadn't thrown up anymore. I made sure she was keeping cool and still nursing. Sometime the next morning I took her temperature one more time and it was down to 99.6 and she was acting much better.

Around 5:00 in the evening, a doctor finally called me. Of course Baby is doing much better now and the doctor babbles on about temperatures meaning that the body is fighting things off and 102 really isn't that high (blah, blah, blah), and she kind of blew me off with the whole vomiting thing.

Overall, it was a terrifying experience to walk in on Baby so sick. I was disappointed in the responses of the nurses and doctor, but grateful to friends and family who got back to me. Baby is feeling much better now, and I would rather not repeat the experience anytime soon. Needless to say, I was exhausted!

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Four Month Checkup

Today was Baby's four month checkup. Instead of dragging in her carseat (that thing is getting heavy), I just carried her in. However, I didn't think things through. When I checked in I was given a checklist to answer about her development at home, and I wasn't sure how to write on it and hold her at the same time. The nurse only gave me a flimsy piece of cardboard to write on. Luckily it was just a bunch of boxes that I had to check yes or no on so I juggled my way through the list.

Here are a few:
My baby is breastfed-yes.
My baby sleeps through the night- no.
I feel tired and sad all the time-no.
My baby reaches for things-yes.
Normal activities no longer interest me- no.
My baby laughs and coos at me- yes.
Etc.

Funny how they add in the depression questions to see how the mom is doing.

Baby was called in and I stripped her down. She likes to be naked, so she was all smiles. She weighs thirteen pounds now and is two feet long. I really thought she would weigh more since she seems huge to me, but she's not as chunky as she was. Since she's so active, she's really thinned out. Then the nurse left us to wait for the doctor. While we were waiting, Baby decided to show off and roll over a couple of times. I told her to wait until the doctor came because she was only showing off for me.

The doctor came in and showed me her charts with the growth curves. So far Baby is staying within the same percentiles, which is exactly as it should be. She is almost in the 50th percentile for weight, she is in the 50th percentile for height, and her head growth is in the 25th percentile. I guess maybe she doesn't have a big head compared to the rest of her?

Since she kept arching her back to get up and grabbing at the paper on the exam table, I held her while the doctor checked her out. She listened to her heart and tummy, checked her ears and flexibility. She even laughed hysterically at the doctor and the doctor said she was happy to end her day with us (we were the last appointment of the day).

I asked about Baby taking a bottle (I do have to go back to work in August), and the doctor said Baby won't starve herself. She just might have a couple of days of crying that the daycare will have to deal with before she caves in and drinks. I asked about using a sippy cup instead because I had heard people say that worked for them, but the doctor said sometimes sippy cups are harder to get the milk out of, so she preferred the bottle. I gave baby a sippy cup to play with the other day and she started to figure it out, so I think I am just going to skip the whole bottle thing and go to a sippy cup.

I asked about the whole sunscreen issue, and she actually said it didn't matter the age of the baby. It is important to protect their skin from the sun. She says just use a trusted brand, and ones usually labeled "Baby" are just marketing ploys. I'm not sure how I feel about her answer to that question. Baby did freak out at the pool for some reason, and I was pretty sure it was the sunscreen. I'll have to test it out again and see what happens. Maybe just a dot somewhere and see how she reacts, then I can wash it off real quick if she freaks out.

I also asked about starting solid foods. Apparently formula fed babies start solid foods a little sooner, and breasfed babies tend to wait until six months. However, the doctor said if Baby is actively watching us eat and reaching for it, then we can go ahead and start feeding her a small amount of barley cereal mixed with breastmilk and see how she does. Then we can slowly start introducing fruits and vegetables a little at a time. We are supposed to wait five days in between each new food to see if there is a reaction. However, the doctor said there is no nutritional benefit for Baby eating solids now. It's purely for her to practice eating and swallowing. I think Husband will be excited to finally be able to feed her. I'm anticipating some messy meals!

That was the extent of the appointment. I was going to ask about Baby's nap schedule, since lately she's only been taking a bunch of short naps instead of long ones (I put the swing away, so she is no longer rocked in her sleep). However, I forgot to write it on the question list that I had brought with me.

The doctor said it looked like I was doing a great job and that it didn't seem like this was my first baby. She said to keep up the good work. Yay me!

Generational Gap

My grandma and aunt came out to visit Baby this past week. I was excited that my family from the other coast could see Baby in her current stage. She's very social and loves people, so I hoped that they would have a fun time visiting with her.

I was surprised at a few of the things my grandma said about child-rearing when she was a new mother. She said that back in those days (the 1950s), women she knew were knocked out to give birth. She said she woke up and asked whether she had a boy or a girl.

Grandma also said that nobody breastfed their babies. They all used formula and fed from a bottle.

One difference that I found really interesting was the fact that she said she was yelled at if she sat her baby up. She was told that the baby's spine wasn't strong enough to support it, so she shouldn't be holding the baby up like that.

I'm sure there were many more differences, but those were the ones that my grandma told me that stuck out in my mind. Isn't that interesting?

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Water Baby

The other day a friend of mine invited us over to swim in her pool. However, I had no idea what Baby should wear. She can't wear regular diapers because those will just soak up all the water and probably fall off. If she goes naked, she might poop in the pool. That's just gross. I have a swimsuit for Baby, but she needs something underneath. Luckily, my friend said she had an extra swim diaper (so that's what they wear!) that Baby could borrow, or she could go naked and I could just make sure she didn't poop.

I took Baby over later in the afternoon, after she had already pooped twice (that's usually her daily limit). I did not want her messing up someone's pool. I put the swim diaper on her, her little swimsuit, and lathered her up with sunscreen. I plopped a bonnet on her head and I was ready to go. Baby, however, was not.

All of a sudden she had a major breakdown and started screaming. I had no idea why. She wasn't hungry, didn't have a dirty diaper, wasn't tired (she had just woken up from a nap), and so I figured it had to be something I was missing. She usually doesn't just scream like that for no reason (our colicky days are behind us). I thought maybe she was hurt, or a bug had bitten her somewhere. I looked her over and couldn't find anything, so I stripped off her suit (she'd never put it on before, so I thought maybe that might be it). That didn't help, so I stripped her down naked, but that didn't seem to help either. I walked her around the house where it was cooler, thinking maybe she didn't like the heat. She kept wailing her little head off and I was starting to worry. How long is a baby supposed to cry before you call a doctor?

I tried to nurse her and she wasn't having any of it. I kept trying to look her over and see if I could find a bug bite somewhere, as well as move her limbs to make sure nothing was out of place. She just kept crying. After a little while of walking her around, I tried to nurse her again and she settled down, although she kept doing those little crying hiccups (you know, trying to catch her breath and settle). It was heartbreaking that I couldn't figure out the cause of her distress.

After she was completely calmed down, I figured we could finally try out the pool (hey, we were already there). I wouldn't put her suit or diaper back on, since I didn't know if those had hurt her, but she did wear her bonnet to help shield her from the sun.

Come to find out, she loved the pool. I thought she might, since she loves bath time, but I wasn't sure how she would react to cold water. Because I don't like to jump into the pool all at once (even though some people tell you to just jump in and get it over with. I like to inch my way in, taking it little by little), I thought Baby might be the same way. I sat at the edge of the pool with her and trickled water over her little feet and legs. She enjoyed that, so I dipped her feet in the water. She held them up at first, then hesitantly lowered them into the water herself.

Then she stood on a step in the water, staring in open-mouthed wonder at the reflections that were shimmering in the sunlight. She tried to reach for the water, but was too far away. She sat down on her own, startling herself at first, but then became used to it. She was able to touch the water with her hands and kept trying to lean into it to eat it (she's at the stage where she likes to put everything in her mouth). I had to hold her back so she wouldn't dive in (although I did read somewhere that babies under six months have a natural reflex to hold their breath under water. Didn't really feel like testing that idea out at the time). After I felt like we had been in the sun enough, I took her out and dried her off. On our way home she conked out. I need to take her swimming more often!

A few days later I was talking with some other moms and they mentioned that you are not supposed to put sunscreen on babies younger than six months old. It has to do with the absorption into their skin, and something about their pores being different. Something technical. I think that may be why Baby freaked out. It was after I put the sunscreen on her, and I did pile it on. Perhaps it irritated or even burned her skin. I feel terrible about it. I even did some googling (surprise!), about the brand of sunscreen I was using (it was baby sunscreen), and read a few negative reviews about how it gave some babies rashes and irritated their skin. I felt really bad after the fact, although she seems fine now and doesn't have any type of rash of anything. I'm going to ask the pediatrician about it tomorrow at her appointment.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Roll Over, Beethoven

I think Baby is very active. Granted, I don't have any other children to compare her too, but she seems to like to move a lot. She kicks her legs constantly and flails her arms up above her head then down to her stomach. Sometimes she gets going so much that she punches herself in the stomach. She doesn't seem to mind it, though, so I'm not worried.

Lately she has been rolling herself onto her side and stretching herself out. We figured rolling over entirely would come next. Husband and I would help her out a little when she went to her side so that she could go the whole way onto her tummy. She is so cute when she is on her tummy. She used to cry when we did tummy time with her, but now she doesn't seem to mind as much. When she is on her tummy she will kick her little legs out behind her and lift her arms and head up. She'll often talk and leave her mouth open when she is on her tummy, adopting a look of wonder and determination. It's kind of like a beached whale.

Well, I had placed her on her back on the floor to play and then focused my attention on playing scrabble with my grandmother and aunt who were in town to visit. I would periodically look at her to make sure she was fine and she seemed to be enjoying herself.

My mother walked into the room and asked if I had put Baby on her tummy for tummy time. No, why? We all swiveled our heads to look at her and sure enough she was on her tummy with one hand stretched out to the right of her and the other under her shoulder. Her little head was up and she was looking around. In other words, Baby rolled over! We were so excited and I went over and praised her and she giggled.

I flipped her back onto her back and she kept trying to roll over again, but was getting frustrated after each try. She keeps getting her arm stuck under her and can't get all the way over. Plus, she's not strong enough to pull it out from under her. Oh well, she'll learn.

Four Month Milestones

Today we hit the four month mark. Four months! According to "Baby's First Year, week by week," there are a few things Baby should be able to do by now. She should be making swimming motions and wind up moving herself around in the crib or floor (oh, yes. I put her on the floor facing one direction, and she can rotate herself all the way around.), can distinguish between smells (not sure how to check that one), can hold object between index and second fingers (I think so. She grasps stuff, anyway), has longer responsive periods (yup. I can finally take the time to wash my hair when I take a shower!), is interested in making new sounds (all the time!), and may interrupt feedings with play (she will sometimes stop to smile up at me, and even talk with me, then go back to eating).

My "What to Expect the First Year" book says Baby should be able to laugh out loud (it's hilarious when she does this. She squeaks when she laughs!), follow an object from one side to the other (yes, she can do this), and lift her head 90 degrees when on her stomach (yes, we can do this too).

Then the book goes into probablies. According to the book, she probably can hold head steady when upright (we haven't had a bobblehead in a while), roll over (I'll write more about this one later), and squeal in delight (I'm gonna equate this one to laughing, so yes).

Next are the possiblies. Babies at this age can possibly turn in the direction of a voice (she can do this, she just likes to ignore me most of the time. Foreshadowing of teenage years?), say ah-goo or other vowel-consonant combinations (yes, she's been doing that for a while. I talked about that in a previous blog).

Finally are the maybes. Babies may be able to bear weight on legs when held upright (the doctor was surprised when she did this at her two month checkup, so yes), sit without support (uh, no- that's what the Bumbo is for), and object if you take away a toy (she's not too into toys. She's more of a people person, so I don't know if this applies yet.)

It sounds like she is just where she should be, which makes me a happy momma. We will find out more when we go to her checkup this week.

Disclaimer: I started reading the What to Expect book and a few things sounded a little fishy (i.e. telling me to put the baby to sleep on her tummy), so I looked at the copyright date. It was published in 1989. I think it's a little outdated, so I don't really put too much faith in it.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Mommy and Baby Yoga

I signed up for Mommy and Baby Yoga for the entire month of June. I had been looking for something to do to help me get back into shape and to ease the pain in my aching back. I also needed something where I would be able to take Baby since I don't have anyone to watch her just yet. Plus, I don't really want to leave her. I found Stroller Strides, which is an organization that does aerobics outdoors with babies in jogging strollers, but I don't have a jogging stroller and the girl in charge for my city never got back to me. A friend told me about the Mommy and Baby Yoga going on, so I decided to commit to that.

I wasn't sure what I was in for, but I paid in advance for all five sessions. In other words, I have to go or I will be forfeiting some hard earned money (and we're trying to be frugal right now since I'm not working). This is in hopes that I will be able to lose some of this baby weight, or at least be motivated to do something about it. I figured paying for the class is cheaper than buying an all new wardrobe before I start work.

Today was the first session and I wasn't quite sure what to expect. I was excited that I could bring Baby with me, but didn't know if she would have a meltdown in the middle of class. It's super early in the morning (you know, because 9 is really early!), and I didn't know if she would need to eat or sleep at that time (I really need to get a set schedule going, but I'm not motivated).

The instructor is the same instructor from my prenatal yoga class. She remembered me and was very happy to see me (I think she needs more enrollment). She is a very peaceful, calm person; everything you expect a yoga instructor to be. She has one of those hypnotizing voices that can lull a person to relax, whether they want to or not.

There were two other mothers in the class. One had a five week old daughter, and the other had a twelve week old daughter. That made Baby the oldest. The class went really well, I think. Surprisingly, none of the babies had any meltdowns, although the five week old did get a little fussy at one point. Her mom just popped a pacifier in her mouth, and she was fine (Wouldn't that be nice! Baby will have nothing to with pacifiers. I have pacifier envy.)

Each of us had our yoga mats facing the instructor, and then a blanket next to us for the babies. Basically we did yoga poses holding the babies, or using them as weights, or laying them on the mat in front of us and making silly faces at them (especially in downward dog- it's like an inverted V shape with your body). They were used as an attachment to us, and we learned how to balance with them. The class was also designed for the babies' benefit, too. We wiggled our babies legs to have them do little lunges, and gave them a baby massage.

At the end of the class, during the relaxation part, the babies were supposed to be on our tummies listening to our heartbeats and breathing. Notice I said supposed to. By this time, the twelve week old had gotten fussy and was put in her carseat to take a nap, and the five week old was lying next to her mom, and my Baby was starting to do her dolphin talk because she didn't like that position. The instructor was great about telling us to go at our baby's pace and do whatever worked for us.

I think Baby enjoyed the class. She was mesmerized by the other babies and mommies. We were in the middle, so she kept turning her head from side to side to look at each one. She loved when I used her as a weight and lifted her above my head, then down to the ground multiple times. At this point I was jealous of the five week old (you know, because she only weighed a couple of pounds, and Baby is heavy). The mother with the twelve week old commented on how cute Baby was. She really is, especially when she smiles and laughs (I know, I'm a little biased!).

I could tell Baby was starting to get tired during the class, but she refused to fall asleep on the mat. She wasn't screaming like she sometimes does when tired, she just demanded attention. I think the class really wore her out, though. On the ride home she conked out in her carseat. I left her there and she slept for almost an hour (Not in the car! What are you thinking? I took the carseat inside).

I'm looking forward to next week because my stomach muscles are already sore. That means I did something right! Also, my back felt much more relaxed after the class. Hopefully I'll be able to shed a few inches and fit into more clothes.