Sunday, October 31, 2010

Costumed Cuties

So, Ila and some of her little baby cohort got all dressed up for Halloween...well, with some help from the parents, admittedly. Then, we laid them all in a little circle...and a raucous chaos ensued, as seen below. What's amusing is how different they all behave. Charlotte, aka Little Bunny Foo Foo (and Ila's birthday twin!), seems perplexed by all the rowdiness. Liana the Little Chili Pepper kept rolling over and then loudly protesting her arrival back on her back. Griffin the Bumblebee did not love the noise and Juniper the Bunny just took it all in...surprisingly mellowly! Ila is just...well, being Ila, breathing excitedly, kicking her limbs and making little squeaks.

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Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Call and Respond

Ila has a lot to say, primarily in shriek form. She is also, apparently, impervious to Kiyomi's stern voice, as witnessed by her pure amusement of Kiyomi scolding our cat Bandit. This does not bode well for Kiyomi disciplining Ila perhaps...

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Monday, October 18, 2010

Ila loves Roo; Roo loves Love

On Saturday Ila began rolling over consistently from from to back. She's done it once or twice before - fueled mostly by the rage that fills her little being when she's laid down on her stomach for tummy time. As far as I can tell, "tummy time" is "get in touch with anger" time for Ila. Well, now she can generally roll right over to her lounging back position. Though, actually, once on her back she does often do her little baby pilates because she really wants to be sitting up. This is something she hasn't quite mastered yet however.

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Her adventures began bright and early on Saturday. She got us up at about 5:30. We all decided to get out of bed at about 6 - after trying, unsuccessfully to lull Ila back to sleep with some nursing. Instead, she visited with our cat Roo - and found the whole experience hilarious. She was giggling and reaching for Roo, who didn't seem to mind too much. I actually managed to catch the tail end of the laughing here. Yay! My friend Amanda also managed to get her to laugh during her visit today. So, that's Deb, Amanda, and Roo. We can sometimes get her to laugh...but I think we're a little too run-of-the-mill for Ila's taste.

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Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Seven Minutes, Seven Thoughts

Some of our across-the-street neighbors just had a baby. I think they're visiting with our next door neighbors right now, and their baby is fussing a bit. I can hear him crying, and it keeps tripping me out - is it Ila waking from her nap?? But...the voice is wrong and...sort of younger somehow. It sends waves of exhaustion and desperation through me - I remember those newborn cries. God, I'm glad Ila isn't quite so new anymore. It's weird how long 4 months with a baby is; how old she seems compared to her earlier self. But, she's so different than she was...and, most importantly, I am not nearly so exhausted.

Speaking of being an amazingly mature, grown-up baby, Ila sort of sat up on her own last night. Well, I set her up and she stayed up. Very exciting. She didn't have her huge cloth diapers on...or any clothes, for that matter. So, I'm thinking this might be a naked only trick for a while. Sounds tawdry, I know...

She really does want to be upright these days, though. She used to be a real lounge-a-piller - always on her back and happy that way. In fact, I was a little worried she would never roll over (she still really hasn't) and wanted to just laze away her life on her back. Now she does this baby pilates move where she holds her head up like she's trying to get upright. She also does this when you put your hands under her sides to pick her up - like she knows what's happening. Pretty cool.

Her grip and grabbing accuracy are improving...which means she is more liable to want and reach for things that are not offered - glasses, hair, cameras...and she's more likely to actually get them: video

Since she's so grown up compared to her little fetus and newborn self, I've changed the blog title to the completely boring and unoriginal, "The First Year." It's too much pressure to give it a cooler name...so I went with a simple statement of fact. Kiyomi thinks I should call it "The Poo Rules." As in, rules we have had to make about poop in our house since we introduced a being into our lives that scorns toilets. Really, when you're using cloth diapers and wipes there are all these new rules about poop - washing, rinsing, cleaning up. And, there are moments where our lives do seem dictated by things coming out one end or the other.

I think we are finally willing to venture a guess about her personality. Okay, by "we," I mean only "me." Other folks have decided things about her already - she's strong-willed or curious or impatient or stand-off-ish. (The list sound very negative to me, which is interesting in and of itself.) I think Ila may be a bit shy. When confronted with new people or people she doesn't see on a daily basis, she often looks away. This is a pretty typical baby move when they are overstimulated or overwhelmed...but Ila will then look back and stare at the person if they are NOT looking. As soon as they look, she looks away. Maybe this is also a typical developmental step in becoming a social being...but she is a little more reticent than other babies we hang out with to just gaze and smile at new folks...and, at the same time, she is curious and attentive to the people around her.

Interestingly, my mother noticed this a while ago...and seems very queued into the fact that Ila does this to her. What amuses me about all this is that, according to my grandmother, my mother did this same thing. So, I have to wonder, what would it be like to raise my mother???

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

If I had a hammer...

Once again I am writing after a not-great night of sleep for Miss Ila. It's fortunate that since the last post here, she has pretty much slept well...but last night she woke every two hours to nurse and then stayed awake for an hour at 3:30. Not my favorite sleeping pattern, certainly. However, she got her 4 month shots yesterday, so a little sleep disturbance makes sense.

We have fully adopted the method for the middle of the night waking that involves doing nothing. Since she is very calm and quiet when she wakes up, I just let her lie there awake - comfortable, full and safe - while I try to fall back asleep (with varying degrees of success). This is, I believe what I'm "supposed" to do. You are supposed to communicate to the baby, "This is SLEEP time. We don't turn on lights, get up, talk, play, etc." I'm not sure how well that works when your child wakes up screaming or just being extremely active. But, we are blessed so far with a baby that, while occasionally still awake at some unreasonable times, generally relaxes in the bed until she falls back to sleep.

Actually, this is all easier because of one little fabulous device: the pacifier! She only started taking a pacifier last week in the midst of a bout of major fussiness. Normally, at home, moving through our regular routines, she does not scream or holler or even fuss much until it's time to take a nap. Then she whimpers a bit and, if you get her into bed quickly enough, that's it. Otherwise, she'll sometimes yell as you get her ready for sleeping. However, generally, she is calm and contented. That particular afternoon, though, she had a constant low level moan and crying thing going on. She kept trying to shove things in her mouth with even more than her usual zeal. This didn't seem to actually satisfy her, so she would then get very angry and gritchy. So I gave her the pacifier. BING! It worked! She was very happy to have it!

All this vigorous stuffing of her mouth made Kiyomi wonder if she was teething. I was incredulous mostly because I was trying to will her to teeth at 6 months...thus sparing my nipples some months of pain. But, alas, she is in fact getting her first two teeth - the two bottom front teeth. While I am sad for my nipples, I am excited to see her little teeth. She will look silly and adorable with just two tiny chompers.

Anyway, I'm excited about the pacifier. I know some folks are very anti-pacifier, which I find a bit reactionary. It's a great tool - any tool can be overused, I suppose. However, this weird categorical reaction to any helpful device is irritating. I went to a La Leche League (LLL) meeting last week. One woman brought up nipple shields because she has to use one right now. I also had to use one for two months and, while it is frustrating in some ways, it is a life saver in many. I could tell the LLL coordinators were not so thrilled by those of us piping up about using them and telling this woman not to worry - that she will be able to get rid of it when she needs to. I now know 4 people who've used them and very easily weaned the baby off of them. But, there is this paranoia that you will destroy your child's ability to latch if you use them. This is extremely unhelpful as it serves to make you more anxious, ashamed, and worried about breastfeeding - which is challenging enough at the start.

The LLL coordinators also pooh-poohed my question about not getting Ila to take a bottle. They were saying that you don't want to give your kid a bottle for the first three months because the child will not be interested in taking the breast when I asked. Okay, guess what folks, I have not yet met a child that does this. However, I am one of about 10 people I know whose child will not take a bottle because he or she prefers the breast. Yet, when I said this, the coordinators were like, "Well, it's such a short period of time that you are exclusively breastfeeding..." So, she obviously meant, just suck it up and never leave your child for more than 3-4 hours! Awesome advice, ladies, especially for working moms. Bottles are very useful, why is there this fear in a group of women obviously dedicated to breastfeeding? I mean, I get the fact that formula companies can be evil and insidious...but I'm well into breastfeeding; I love it, in fact. I'm not about to be swayed into weaning Ila before we're ready. However, I'd also love for Ila to take a freakin' bottle of my breast milk!

If I could send one message back in time to myself at the start of this, I would say use the tools that are handy and make sense for you AT THE TIME without guilt or anxiety. You can stop using them, change plans, re-evaluate as necessary as you go along. So much wasted worry about pacifiers, bottles, nipple shields.

So, we pacifier it up and love it. I can't believe how happy she is to have it. It's funny, too, because she just wouldn't take it before. I think this is a sign of maturity. She is able to identify it and remember that she likes it. Pretty cool.

She's just growing like a weed: teething, loving her pacifier...and also, more literally, growing like a weed. She's in the 97th percentile for height and weight. She's huge and on a steep growing curve. This is, really, of no consequence beyond the fact that she is healthy and thriving...but I have been thinking lately, as I look at other babies our play groups, that she IS giant. It makes me feel very aware that she is no longer a tiny baby...which, in turn, sort of makes me feel nostalgic for her tiny self. I mean, mostly I just want to try and remember when she was only 8 pounds. I'm not sure I want to go back to that level of sleeplessness and exhaustion, but I do feel very curious about what she was like then because I can't really remember. Isn't that odd? It was such a short time ago. So, I've decided today, to close out with a picture of her when she was brand new. I can't believe how little she was!