Sunday, September 30, 2007

One Year Leap & Veggie Mixture

The one-year mark does seem to have brought another developmental surge. 
Limelet has been experimenting with prepositions:  not the words, but the concepts themselves.  Inside, on top, out, under.  He is figuring out how to get the nursies out in the open, himself. What's really funny is when he lifted Daddy's shirt, craned his head down to peek under, and laughed.  Unfortunately I was not there to see this, but reportedly he was doing it repeatedly.  He also likes to take things out of containers and place them back in.
He now knows for sure what "bye-bye" means when I say it.  It's really hard to leave him in the morning.  Heck, it's hard to go take a shower as he wakes up and starts crying like his little heart will break.  In turn it's heart-wrenching for me.
In motor news, Limelet's been standing up lately on his own, apparently without noticing.  Especially if he's got something in his hands so he feels like he's hanging on to something.  I'd say today was his biggest real standing day so far.
We had lately gotten him back on a schedule with an 8:30 bedtime since it got cooler, but last week he seems to have begun teething again.  Of course.  Not nearly as bad as the entire 4 months to 9 months period, thank heavens.  However, we've had a couple nights of being awake from midnight to 4am and also nights of awaking every single hour.  That's tough when I've got to go to work, especially as this is NOT a slacking job in the slightest.  There is absolutely no chance for any slacking there or even legitimate napping.  Heck, I barely have time for lunch, but I do take that, as that is the only break time in my LIFE.
Teething seems to go with growth spurts (logically enough) so I guess he's growing, too.  He seems to fit 24-month size items better than 12-month ones, and I had to take back the toddler-size socks for kid-size ones.
I have now reduced pumping milk to lunchtimes.  I feel kind of sad about it even though pumping's been a pain, but Limelet seems fine, and happy with nursing dusk 'til dawn and weekends.  He's started drinking bovine milk during the day in addition to his diluted juice, enriched rice milk, and water.  Digestion seems fine, so he must not be allergic or lactose-intolerant.
Since his nutrients are increasingly coming from his solid food, I am making an effort to add more of a variety of veggies to his diet.  Yesterday I bought all kinds of veggies in season and today had TheLimey chop them up, as he is really good at chopping.  Then we steamed them all and I just now froze them in a couple ice trays.  Limelet had some of the mixture at dinner and glomped it right down.  Heck, I stole some and had it at dinner myself. It was darn good!
-baby-cut carrots: place in saucepan & cover with water.  simmer until semi-tenderish. top with expandable steamer.
-very small onion, sliced red cabbage, chopped sweet red pepper, diced summer squash, diced zucchini (courgette): add into steamer and replace lid
-diced green beans, chopped broccoli, minced celery: add next and replace lid with steamer that sits on top of saucepan, then lid.
-leaf spinach: clean & prep, place in pan-top steamer, replace lid.
when spinach is done, it's all done.
Take veggies and steamers out and empty into bowl.  Use potato masher to roughly chunk up cooked carrots still in saucepan.  add to bowl.
Add butter or butter-like substance and a trace of seasoned salt, toss all together.
Freeze in ice cube trays.
Use broth for something--it's very vitaminful, though dark purplish-grey.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Limelet Turns One

A snapshot of life as Limelet becomes one year old today (we mostly celebrated Sunday) .
He walks around the edges of the room holding on to things now (the radiator, the sofa, the table), and occasionally he lets go for a second or two.  He has little bruises all under his chin from bonking it on the table constantly, poor little guy. His crawl has remained kind of sideways, as he crawls on his left knee but his right foot, as though he's half trying to walk while crawling. I think he's going to begin walking before he ever corrects that funny crawl.  He loves smooth surfaces, such as the kitchen floor, because he can scootch himself backward on his bottom.
Bathtime has recently gone from funtime to struggle time, as he no longer wants to sit down in the bath but wants to stand up the entire time, which is a bit slippery.  He especially hates lying back on his bath pillow so I can rinse his little curly blonde fluff.
He can eat most everything now, though he still doesn't get much dairy, soy, or nuts.  His favorite food still seems to be the gruel I make from brown rice, peas, and broth, but he also loves Daddy's lentil chili.  He drinks enriched rice milk or diluted fruit juice at meals, aside from the pumped milk he gets (in a sippy cup these days).  He holds his own cup, and eats some foods with his fingers, although he's just as likely to flail it back and forth or throw it as eat it. Unless it's his favorite junk food, which is those baby cheesy-poofs.  (At least they're whole corn and lower salt.)  Those go right in.  He sometimes likes sweet things but seems to prefer salty things--not surprising with us as his parents.  He even likes toast with vegemite!
He still nurses when I'm home, and still prefers to be carried and nursed to get to sleep. Failing that (like when I'm not there) he'll settle for being carried as long as Daddy sings "Pattycake" to him softly.  I made up the tune, or else it's a cryptomnesiac tune.  He nurses several times during the night but doesn't really wake up unless I'm not there to nurse him. 
For the first month or so here, we had to put him to sleep out in the swings almost every night because of the heat.  He couldn't get to sleep otherwise.  Thank heavens it's finally cooled off so I can put him to sleep indoors!  When everything goes right (like since the heat finally broke), he goes to sleep around 8:45 and stays asleep until 6:45am, with just a bit of help staying asleep here and there.  He's also been napping at two regular times during the day. Yippee!  But something's been wrong the past two nights--I got about three hours of sleep (individual hours, not a chunk) last night, as I was up with him most of the night.  (Daddy just won't do in those cases, more's the pity.)  We wonder if he's beginning to get some of those back teeth in now.
He is still just obsessed with plastic containers, especially detergent jugs.  The larger the better.  One night I had to put him to sleep (outside in the swing, no less) hugging a big yellow laundry jug.  TheLimey has come up with an entire sitcom (including theme song) based on this premise.  "Me and Limelet and a juuuhhh-hug, lalala, la, lalaah..."
He loves playing with a ball, or two or three.  He'll throw them along the floor (or the grass) for himself to get, and then throw them again.  He's beginning to open the pages in his little board books, though his favorite thing with books is still to chew them.  One of his first words was "book" after all. He also loves his wooden blocks, especially if someone else stacks them up so he can knock them down.  He still sometimes wants to just jump up and down for a while in his jumper-bumper, which we have hung from a support out on the "porch" area.
He really loves for people to pay attention to him and talk to him, though he's still quite wary of being picked up by anyone but us.  His favorite people are the young waitress called Adela at a nearby restaurant (we call her his "girlfriend"), and our nextdoor neighbor Kim.  He's even begun letting Kim hold him and take him into her apartment. This bodes very well for future babysitting possibilities!
As far as communication, he clearly understands a lot more than he expresses.  He'll sometimes say a word, or even repeat a nonsense syllable he hears ("Baby Boo-Boo!") And he loves to imitate sneezing, especially right after he sneezes, which he enjoys.  "AH-hooo, AH-hooo."  But he rarely initiates conversation.  He does say "mamamamamamaaa" near the end of the day when he's getting fussy and ready for me to be home.  He also sings a song about his dada that goes like this: "da, DA / da, DA / da, DA."  (The first note is usually low and growly, while the second is high and breathy.)  He sings other random songs at times, too, but that's his favorite. 
He loves to ride on our shoulders and play tickle games.  He also loves to play "Buttercup," in which I swing him back and forth precipitously high (yet very safely!) while singing "My lit-tle But-ter-cup, dear lit-tle But-ter-cup, I love you!"  I think it's a mutation of Gilbert & Sullivan.  Now if I just say "Buttercup!" he starts laughing.
His favorite music to listen to is still Ricardo Lemvo's Mambo Yo-Yo, from way back when he was only a couple of months old.  He breaks out in a huge grin as soon as he hears the opening bars, and sometimes laughs.  He also loves going on the swings, and looking at animals and birds.  Good thing we're on a campus with swings, birds, and squirrels!  And there's plenty of grass for him to grounge over.
He still enjoys riding in the Mei Tai (when awake---I have to use the sweatpants carrier for sleepytime), but right now I'm trying to finish the sewing on it, so that the straps can stop crumpling up and being uncomfortable when I wear it. I don't know how much he weighs now, but three months ago he was 20 pounds. 
I ordered some 18-month-sized clothes for him from eBay (used, for winter) but he's already wearing them now.  He still seems tall and slim. He's due for his one-year checkup, and the beginning of his delayed-and-staggered vaccinations.
We turned the car seat around to face forward now that he's old enough.  It seems to be better for him as he's less apparently isolated.  But sometimes it makes him want to be picked up because he can see us.  Nevertheless, now we can both ride in the front seats instead of there usually being a "chauffeur." 
The time he's happiest is when he wakes up on weekends and we are both there waking up with him.  We call it "The Valley of the Parents."  (He especially liked waking up like that and getting presents on Sunday, as far as I could tell, and who wouldn't?!)  The time he's most unhappy is waking up when I'm in the shower and not beside him.
He's recently discovered the fun process of peeing.  He usually does it while I'm changing his nappy, because then of course he can watch it occurring.  (So exciting!)  So then I have to change his shirt, too, which is something he hates.  Don't all babies love being naked? 
For his birthday celebration Sunday we decided to spend the day doing stuff that makes him happy.  First of all, that meant avoiding things that make him unhappy, like getting overtired or going on car trips.  We started with Valley of the Parents, of course.  He's happiest when we're all three together and not stressed out about scheduling.  So we carefully maintained his normal schedule, got him up on time, and gave him his naps and meals on time so he'd feel good.
Then we basically did stuff he enjoys that was within walking distance, like playing in the grass and rolling a couple balls around the basketball court, going on the swings, going back inside to play his favorite song (still Mambo Yo-Yo), playing his favorite games (Buttercup!) and so forth.
We gave him a number of (modest) presents individually throughout the day, starting when he woke up, instead of giving them all at one time, late in the day.  How would a baby enjoy that?  Ours would certainly have been overwhelmed. As it was he got to have new excitements all day long, and enjoy the heck out of each one before moving on to the next one.
Today was his actual birthday, but I was at work being a serious zombie from only sleeping three hours last night.  Nevertheless, I managed to get one genuine birthday photo of him today.



Originally uploaded by doctorlizardo
The genuine article.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Newborn Limelet

Newborn Limelet
Originally uploaded by doctorlizardo
As Limelet's first birthday approaches (9/18), I was reading a great article in Mothering Magazine about the unbelievably high cesarean rates and neonatal mortality in this country. Here's a mere snippet:

Many advocates of better birthing practices think that one of the greatest costs
of high-tech birth is the loss of traditional birthing rituals. But if rituals
are used by a people to organize and define their culture, then, Davis-Floyd
believes, we actually do have rituals around birth—it’s just that our rituals
are now based on machinery.

“The obstetrical routines applied to the
‘management’ of normal birth are also transformative rituals that carry and
communicate meaning above and beyond their instrumental ends,” she stated in an
interview. “The meaning they communicate is that high technology is superior to
biology and women’s body-knowing, and is essential to ensure the safety of
Nature is to be feared, technology to be trusted. This
cultural ethos prevents us from using the vast available information we have
about how to support and facilitate the normal physiology of birth without
unnecessary intervention.”

Mothering, September – October 2007, p 54.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Lawn Racing

Originally uploaded by doctorlizardo
This is pretty much Limelet's life these days.

A Total Lazy Cross Post of Everything

...because I can't separate the threads of baby versus non-baby material in all that's gone on in the past month + since we moved, plus I have very (even more-) limited time.  That also means that this will likely be a disorganized post, or more so than usual.
So we moved into University housing, which initially was a bit scary.  Tiny, dark, smelly as heck, and the carpet (the Grease Mat) so nasty we couldn't put Limelet on the floor even for a minute.  Yep, you bet that was a pain.  We ended up spreading old bedsheets on the livingroom floor just to be able set him down.  Since he had just begun crawling, it was a matter of trying to constantly corral him on the rumpled, rapidly dirtying sheets.
What we wanted to do was get everything off the floor and shampoo the heck out of the carpet. Over and over.  And over.  However, this took about a week and a half to accomplish. 
Backing up a bit: on the day we moved in, I walked into the livingroom where the moving guys had been stacking our boxes to find that the tiny room was COMPLETELY filled with boxes up to the ceiling, with only a little path through to the kitchen and to the sofa.  When we were packing and building up to the move, we had thought that once we moved, we could finally relax a bit because we could unpack at our leisure. 
HA!  It actually ended up more stressful and urgent even than the packing, because we had to hurry to get that enormous pile of boxes unpacked and sorted out enough to shampoo the carpet before we could do much of anything else. And since the place was so tiny, unpacking was like an incredibly complex puzzle. A two-bedroom four-dimensional Tetris.  In 90-something-degree heat.
It took over a week (was it ten days?) of solid work to get things to a level at which we could even think of shampooing the rug, so it's a good thing we chose a move-in date that was a bit before my internship started.  (I wouldn't even have known where my work clothes were, had we not done that.)
Once we got the shampooing done and had covered the Grease Mat with a series of area rugs, there was a mutual deflation of stress.  Thank goodness!  
Since then we have been gradually fixing this or that situation in the house, like adding babyproofing  and unpacking my work clothes, for example. Just this past Saturday I finally got my laptop set up, which tells you how much there has been to do.  Normally I wouldn't think of going over a month without a proper desk setup, but it was just quite a bit lower on my urgency list than...well, than a month's worth of other stuff, I guess.
So TheLimey has been staying home and caring for our Limelet, a transition which has for the most part gone way faster than either of us thought.  True, the first week or so there were a few meltdowns (and I'm not saying they weren't mine!), delayed naps, lost sleep, and hassles pumping milk and transporting it and using it--all that sort of thing, but we've all gradually begun to find a new rhythm.
For one thing, I stopped coming home for lunch.  Limelet's pediatrician had suggested it as a transition device, and it seemed like a good idea.  But in practice, it ended up making Limelet have to say goodbye to me just 15 or 20 minutes after I'd gotten home, and then he was often upset for the entire afternoon.  Now that I'm staying away he stays happier all day, and when I come home at night his delight in seeing me is not shattered by my immediately leaving.  Not to mention it was a huge pain in the butt for me to use thirty or forty minutes of my lunch hour just driving back and forth and parking.  By the time I'd nursed him I often wouldn't even have time to eat something myself.
We also have switched from using a bottle for serving the expressed milk, to just putting it in his sippy cup before naptimes.  He likes the bottle primarily as a toy, so it more distracts him from sleeping than puts him to sleep. 
Since it's been so @#$%& hot every single frikkin' day since we moved, there have been Sleep Issues.  Particularly at night.  Turns out that about the only way to get Limelet to sleep on a hot night is for one of us to take him out on the nearby swings and swing him to sleep.  If it's me doing it, he also nurses.  (Luckily it's usually dark anyway.) 
I've been worried that he'll become addicted to falling asleep on the swing, but on the three cooler nights we've had, he's fallen asleep inside, so I hope that we can get back to normal when the weather breaks. I'm not going to be swimging him to sleep in February, I'll tell you that much!  It makes me think that we should just replace our bed with a hujambous hammock.
Daytimes--from what I hear--TheLimey and Limelet hang out outside under a shady tree, even napping there at the appropriate naptime.  (Probably cooler than inside the apartment, anyway.)  They've been exploring campus while I'm gone, so that's nice.  It's such a gorgeous campus, too. There's also a grocery store and some other conveniences within easy walking distance, so sometimes they go there during the daytimes.
Limelet is learning about Other People now that we're not isolated in snowbound Tinytown USA.  We have neighbors galore, as well as some after-hours activities with my fellow interns.  One of the other interns has a baby who is jsut a couple weeks younger than Limelet, so we all get together and the two of them parallel-play, and sometimes try to grab each other's hair or eyes. 
Limelet has always just loved having (most) people talk to him and pay attention to him (though there are a few people who sent him into fits of terror, but we won't discuss that here and now), however he's always been afraid of having others hold him.  But just yesterday he finally allowed our nextdoor neighbor, a Chinese grad student named Kim, to carry him back from the launderette (as TheLimey calls it) and play with him, with Daddy close at hand of course. 
We are going to try getting him exposed to being taken care of by others so we can have a babysitter at some point.  Possibly the non-mother interns would take care of the two babies sometime while the parents have some time off.  For us it would be our first time alone together since his birth!
I've also met some other mothers in the apartment complex (Or "Baby Alley" as I like to call it.)  Across from us is a Filipino couple with a tiny 4-month-old girl, and living above us is (I think) a West African family with a 6-month-old girl and I think two older children, but I haven't really met them yet.  TheLimey has found a couple weekly games of pickup football (real football, I mean, not Meatball; comprised, so he says, of the United Nations) in a couple locations on campus, so I feel happy about that.  Now he can get to know some men-friends.
My office at work has high ceilings and windows up to the top, facing East, so that's going to be great for the long northern winter. There are three other interns: two are Korean international students and one is White and from California. We're all women this year. I'm happy to be somewhere that has good coworkers.  And the site has an especial emphasis on multicultural issues, as I guess it would have to for me to fit in there. 
I am somewhat surprised to find myself at the more-CBT end of the treatment continuum compared to others here. We have arguments about evidence-based treatments, with me on the side of research.  So funny, as my Feminist orientation places me on the flakier end of many locations. I am co-facilitating an anxiety group with the center's big CBT guy.  I've invented a treatment called "Accidental Exposure Therapy," which consists of running around doing random things until something makes you anxious.  (Just a joke, of course.)
Of course every workplace has its paperwork/computer/etc. system that takes a while to learn, currently I'm taking more time doing those things than I want to.  Theoretically I could see all my clients, attend all our meetings, eat lunch, AND get my paperwork done--all within the 9-5 model, but for now that's been a little bit of a stretch. I feel certain that I'll be able to do it relatively soon, though.
I have a campus bus pass that I've used a few times. I think I will use it more as winter comes on.  For now my time is so tight in the morning that I don't have the extra 20 minutes to take it, but I hope to start doing so regularly.  If it weren't for the baby care aspect, it would actually be a lot easier to take the bus.
Downtown has changed somewhat since I lived here, but other than the destruction of locally owne businesses by chains such as Starbuck's and Barnes & Noble, most of the changes are either nice or neutral.  The downtown is really nice to walk around in at lunchtime.  I saw an Indian restaurant nearby and can't wait to try it sometime.  Perhaps when Limelet gets his babysitting experience the two of us can go.  Together!  What a thought.
My "baby weight" has almost gone, but I'm definitely shaped differently now.  I'm still experiencing a few other unpleasant physical sequelae, but we won't go into those for now.  I'm happy to be able to be outside and walking around again, I'll tell you that  much.  I even went for a (short) jog the othe rmorning, with the actual jogging stroller and baby in it.  I plan to incorporate more jogging if possible, once we get our mornings ironed out better (which is somewhat dependent on getting our nighttimes ironed out.)
Limelet's first birthday: next week Tuesday.  Wow, no longer infant, officially toddler!
Too see the photographic documentation of what we've been doing on weekends, look here.