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Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Friday, December 18, 2009

Good news.

On Tuesday I went in for my blood tests. (In case you don't know what I'm talking about, the back story is here.) On Thursday my doctor called me back with the results. In addition to testing FSH, I was also tested for LH, estrogen, and prolactin blood levels. My FSH and LH were both in normal ranges for a woman who is at the pre-menstrual stage of her cycle, so that's good. My estrogen was low and my prolactin was high. But both of those results are explained by the fact that I'm breastfeeding. When you are breastfeeding, your body can send hormonal signals to the reproductive system, basically trying to prevent another pregnancy, and it appears that is what's going on with me. (The evolutionary purpose of this is that if a mother already has an infant to care for, another pregnancy too soon may overtax her body. Also, the infant has the greatest chance of survival if the mother's efforts can be focused on it rather than diverted into another pregnancy. For all my fellow evolutionary biologists out there...or anyone else who cares. Prolactin, by the way, is also referred to as the "mothering hormone". It's thought to be the primary ingredient in the hormone cocktail that causes a mother's intense emotional response to her baby. When I explained all this to Brian, he said, "So your tests say you are uber-mom." Yep, pretty much.)

So the doctor thinks that my estrogen levels have been pretty low ever since Mira was born (aka, for as long as I've been breastfeeding). But despite that I was still having normal periods. And then, he suspects, I missed an ovulation. The missed ovulation in combination with my low estrogen has caused my body to have a "reproductive hiccup".

However, aside from the missed ovulation (which is actually pretty common and can be caused by anything down to simply stress), my body is behaving perfectly normally considering that I gave birth 10 months ago and have been breastfeeding since then. So my doctor wants me to keep an eye on my cycles over the next few months to make sure that the missed ovulation was an anomaly rather than something that will be recurring.

Really, the only bad news (and it's not even really so bad) is that, because of the hormone levels caused by breastfeeding, my reproductive system is not really primed to conceive another child. That doesn't mean I'm completely infertile or that I shouldn't try to get pregnant. It just means that it might not happen right away, as I'm less fertile than I normally would be if I weren't breastfeeding. And the worst case scenario (again, it's really not so bad) is that I might not be able to conceive again until after Mira is weaned. But even that is unlikely.

Brian and I have decided to stop contraception and just... let it happen, if it does. We'd still like to have another baby, but after this little scare, I'm not feeling any sort of rush. So I'm feeling pretty freed by this. As if to reinforce my newfound tranquility, I heard a segment on the Dr. Laura show today that seemed to speak to me. It was a call about a woman whose friend was struggling with fertility issues while the caller herself was newly pregnant. She was concerned about her friend's response and wanted Dr. Laura's advice on how to break it to her. Part of Dr. Laura's response was addressed more to the general listeners than to the caller herself: she said that sometimes it feels like the universe has done us a disservice, has reached out and struck us down for no reason we can imagine. And sometimes when that happens it is easy to take out your aggression about the perceived wrong-doing on those around you. She said that in instances like that we should stop and think about what we have rather than focus on the things that we can not have. Take a second to list and really think about the things and people you cherish in your life and you may realize that you are hurting those people you love by pouting about the one thing you can't have, an act which is selfish at its core. And if you find yourself doing this, then you should say to yourself, "Self, we have to stop doing this. Let's just be sweet and gracious from here on out and 'hug what we have' rather than dwell on what we can't." So I'm taking that message to heart and "hugging what I have". Now excuse me, I have to go give my husband a big kiss. :D

Friday, December 11, 2009

Houston, we have a problem....

I'm sure most of you remember this post, where I said that Brian and I (well, me specifically) were having fertility issues and that I was starting a 10-day hormone treatment prescribed by my doctor. Well, here's the update.

I finished the last day of the hormone treatment yesterday. The treatment (progestin, a progesterone analog) was supposed to trigger me to have a period. It didn't. So I talked to my doctor today.

Normally, the combination of progesterone and estrogen trigger women to menstruate. So because adding progesterone to my hormone palate didn't stimulate a period, the problem is likely with my estrogen levels (aka, I'm making too little or no estrogen). There are two likely culprits for this problem: the ovaries or the pituitary gland. Normally the pituitary gland releases FSH (follicle stimulating hormone) which stimulates the ovaries to produce estrogen. So the problem is that either my pituitary gland is not producing FSH (not telling the ovaries what to do) or that the ovaries are not responding to the FSH (in which case FSH levels build up as the pituitary gland basically "yells" at the "deaf" ovaries).

So my doctor wants me to come in early next week to get my FSH blood levels tested. This should at least tell us whether the problem is with the ovaries (if FSH is high) or some other problem further up the hormone pathway (if FSH is low, that points to the pituitary gland or the hypothalamus region of the brain which regulates the pituitary gland).

So that's where we stand. I'm pretty upset about it. I'm not sure what this means for my health, if I'll have to be on artificial hormones for the rest of my life, if there's some other more serious problem in my brain (that's where the pituitary gland is located), if Brian and I will be able to have another baby at all, if we do whether we'll require fertility assistance, what the hormone levels mean for my breastfeeding Mira, and on and on. On the bright side, this whole experience has made me appreciate Mira that much more, to think that we got so lucky to have her before all this started.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Following directions

Mira has learned quite a few different tricks. She now knows:
"Come here" -when accompanied by holding your hands out to her
"Give a kiss" -though she is discerning about when she will do that one, and I say right on for not letting anyone pressure her into kisses ;-P
"Wave hi/bye" -She'll do this one to anyone at anytime; she loves to wave. She'll even sometimes wave unbidden if I say Hi or Bye to her.
"Clap" -This one she will do when someone says Clap or Yay or when someone else claps or even when she hears an applause.
"Pretty smile" -as you can see in the video. This one is pretty new.

Those are the ones that I feel she knows really well, but there is so much more that I tell her to do and she just does it. Things like, at bath time I'll say "Let's go upstairs" and she heads for the stairs. Or "Where's Daddy" and she'll look around for him. Then other things that aren't common for me to say but she responds anyway, like "The toy belongs in the basket" and she'll put it there. It's really amazing to me to think of how much she not only is understanding at this age, but also is *responding* to. She's like a little person or something. ;-P

I think she's also working on saying "cat". Every time she sees a fuzzy animal, she makes a "kkkkkkk" sound. Sometimes she makes it as far as "kkkkkka". At this point she's not discriminating: all furry animals are cats.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

So much for that plan...

My regular readers may remember this post in which I said that Brian and I wanted to start trying for kid #2 around November. Well... about that. My body has apparently gone on strike.

I started by last menstrual cycle on 10/23/09. I was thinking that I'd let myself have one more cycle (due on 11/21) and then we'd start trying to conceive. Well the 21st came and went and no cycle. At that point I was thinking that either I was just a little late or it was possible that we had a contraception failure and I was already pregnant (in which case, wow, we didn't even have to "try" on that one). So I waited on it. When I was 4 days late I took an at-home pregnancy test. It was negative. So I was thinking, "Ok well then I'm sure I'll start my period soon, so no worries." At that point I still wasn't really worried, just wondering "Umm, what happened to my period?" (I'm normally quite regular.)

Fast forward 4 more days. I woke up on Saturday morning and I was having abdominal pain, but not cramping or anything that felt normal. In my mind I started thinking about all the things that could be wrong and with the abdominal pain plus the missed period I started to worry that I had an extra-uterine pregnancy. If that was the case, then I would need an ultrasound to diagnose it. So I called around several after hours clinics, but none of them had ultrasound equipment available on site. Finally, I relented and gave in to the idea that I was just going to have to go to the hospital (normally I'd have gone to my OB, but remember it was a Saturday, so nothing was open).

At the hospital they gave me a pregnancy test and it was also negative. The doctor there explained to me that even an unhealthy ectopic pregnancy would still register on their test, since it is so sensitive. She also told me that they had no way of determining why my period was 8 days late and that I should check into that with my OB on Monday. She then explained that they could put me through a battery of tests to try to find the source of the abdominal pain, but at that point my fears about an ectopic pregnancy had been allayed and the pain was already starting to fade so I decided to forgo any further tests.

As of today, I'm 11 days late and I had an appointment with my OB. He said that when women miss their cycle it is usually due to one of two reasons: either they are pregnant or they have a hormone imbalance. With the hospital pregnancy test, he was fairly certain that I'm not pregnant. So he said that likely I have a hormone imbalance. There are multiple things that can cause that, commonly an ovarian cyst or a failure to ovulate. Either way, he said it would be relatively simple to prescribe for me progesterone, the hormone that would naturally signal my cycle to begin. He said that I should get my period within 10 days of starting the hormone treatment.

So today I'm starting the progesterone. In the mean time, I'm not fertile. So there goes my plan to try to conceive another baby. Now, my next cycle could go back to normal, in which case it would be likely that I could conceive at that point. But there's also the chance that this hormone imbalance is due to some bigger issue that will continue to effect my fertility. Hopefully that is not the case.

I have to admit that I'm a little disappointed. I know that I should feel lucky that I conceived my first child as easily as I did. And I do. But I guess I was hoping that it would be just as easy the second time around. I'm not as stressed out about it as I could be, since I already have one beautiful healthy child, even if I never regain fertility (unlikely, but possible), I'll still have her. But, dangit, I just really wanted things to go according to plan. Oh well...

Friday, November 20, 2009

What is it about Whole Foods?

Today Mira and I went to Whole Foods to try and find some organic preservative-free hot dogs and some sugar-free freeze-dried fruit. (We found both! Aint Whole Foods grand?) Now let me preface this by saying that when Mira goes out, she gets noticed. It's just something about her. She's beautiful and smiles easily and does cute things like wave at people and then clap her hands when they wave back. Often when we go out and a Mira-admirer comes over to say hi, I'll stop my shopping for a minute, let Mira flirt a bit, say thank you for all the compliments she receives and then go on my way. But it seems like any time I go to Whole Foods we get mobbed. Is it a little-known fact that only baby lovers shop at Whole Foods? Today she literally drew a crowd. At one point there were no less than 5 people all standing around my shopping cart exclaiming about her teeth/eyes/cheeks/toes/smile/etc. Mira, of course, was eating it up. She'd smile and wave and hold her hands up high as if to say, "And now look what I'm doing. Aren't I amazing?" The crowd finally dispersed when they realized they were blocking the isle. I love that Mira has such an attractive personality, but sometimes I just want to do my shopping and get back home. It was past Mira's nap time and I knew we'd be facing a rough car ride home unless I could get out of there quickly. So eventually I started giving would-be admirers the cold shoulder. A quick "thanks" and not even stop walking. I kind of felt bad about it later... they just wanted to adore Mira, and I certainly can't blame them for that. But I was starting to get an idea of how celebrities feel with the paparazzi. Normally when we go out, we get a few hellos and a handful of compliments, but at Whole Foods it always seems like much more than usual. So what is it about Whole Foods? Are health nuts also baby nuts? Does organic food bring out the desire to procreate? Does farm-raised chicken smell like baby powder?

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Dental hygiene

Mira now has seven teeth. Here she is showing them off.

So the pediatrician has suggested that we try letting her brush her teeth. She seems to really like it. We do it in the bath so that there's not any mess to clean up.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Feeding herself

Mira's gotten really good at finger foods. As a matter of fact, now that she knows she can feed herself, she's gotten really impatient with anyone else feeding her. If you hold a spoon up to her face, she's more likely to slap at it than to open her mouth. And she pushes things away from her face as a way of clearly indicating what she *does not* prefer. So now I've had to really brainstorm on finger foods. (Let me know if any of you have good suggestions about what makes good finger foods, cuz I need all the ideas I can get.) I think in this video she is eating cantaloupe.

A mom from one of my mom's clubs tipped me off to these sippy cups. They're called Tilty cups, and they are the only brand of sippy cup that Mira can actually do herself. The problem with most sippy cups is that she doesn't tip them up enough to get any water out. But Tilty cups are designed to help with this, so she doesn't have to tip the cup way up in order to drink.

The doctor has opened up her diet to most foods. The only thing she can't eat now is honey, nuts (including peanut butter), and anything too hard/crunchy/sharp for her to gum up. She has some teeth, but no molars for grinding, so all her food has to be relatively soft or something that will dissolve in her mouth or at least cut into pieces small enough to swallow whole. We're also limiting salt and sugar (as in, she can have some foods with small amounts of salt/sugar, but we're not specifically salting her foods or giving her sweets/desserts). She's still not really great with using utensils; she seems to think that their purpose is for banging things rather than for eating... oh well. So anyway, if anyone has ideas for soft finger foods, let me know.

Thursday, November 5, 2009


It's my own fault really. I've created my own prison. You see, months ago, when Mira started kissing Brian and me, I thought it was great. I thought, "That is so adorable. That's a behavior that I want to encourage." Silly me. But how was I to know the trouble a kiss could make? Or rather, a bunch of kisses, as the case may be... And therein lies the problem. Mira loves to kiss. I call it "kiss" but really, it's more of a gaping mouth pressed anywhere in the vicinity of a face. A little intimidating, if you don't know what she's doing. In any case, it's not just Brian and me anymore. Her new target: every baby at every play date. Which leaves me making the statement, "I hope no one is a germ-o-phobe, because Mira loves to kiss" at least three times a week (read, at every play date). This disclaimer has always been met with either dismissal ("I got over the germ thing a long time ago.") or acceptance ("It's so cute!"). But I always wonder if the other moms are just saying those things to avoid causing a fuss. I wonder if, inwardly, they are thinking, "Christ, that little smooch-happy freak is going to give my baby swine flu". I always thought that we'd escape the "little girl who chases kids down to kiss them" phase for at least a few years, but alas. I'm unprepared! What should I do? Should I continue to let her spread her disease-ridden saliva with abandon? Should I try to get her to only kiss family or to stop the behavior entirely? What do you think? (FYI, so far I've been letting her get in a kiss or two, but beyond that or if it appears that the other baby is getting frustrated with her being in their face, then I stop her and steer her toward another activity.)

And to appease the masses, cute pix:

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Word recognition

Today Mira shocked me. I was shocked. Stunned. And also very proud.

I was in the shower this morning, listening to the radio. (Note: radio, so no visual que, all auditory.) Mira was playing with some toys on the floor of the bathroom. A commercial came on the radio and in this commercial a woman was practicing her chicken dance so she said "beaks beaks beaks, wings wings wings, clap clap clap." Immediately Mira dropped her toy and clapped. At first I thought, "WHOA! Did she just do what I think she did?" And then I thought, "It was probably just coincidence." So I shrugged it off and went on my day.

Then in the afternoon, we went to a play date. At the play date the ladies were talking about which words their babies recognize and I said that it was probably just a coincidence, but Mira did this thing this morning, and as I was describing what she did, I got to the part in the commercial where the lady says "clap clap clap" and AS IF ON QUE, Mira sits up and claps. Needless to say, I didn't even have to finish my story for the ladies. They all pointed at her and gasped. It was one of those Mommy moments that you never want to forget.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Random cute videos

We recently got Mira a toy xylophone. This is the first time she ever played with it.

We decided to let Mira try to feed herself some mango with a spoon. What a mess! I had to take the highchair into the backyard to hose down while Brian took Mira up for a bath.

Mira started doing this thing where she looks at you sideways. I think it started as a way to change her visual perspective on things, but now she just does it because she knows we think it's cute.

Mira has just learned to wave. I think she got the idea from one of the girls in her playgroup who was practicing her wave at our last gathering.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Stair Master

This one was taken last week:

Then these two this week:

It reminds me of....

Donkey: You handle the dragon. I'll handle the stairs. I'll find those stairs. I'll whip their butt too. Those stairs won't know which way they're going. Don't mess with me. I'm the stair master. I've mastered the stairs. I wish I had a step right here. I'd step all over it.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Pulling up

We had to get a bumper on the coffee table. Mira is now able to pull herself up to stand without any assistance.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

More on Kronk.

So here is the reason that Kronk has been more irritated with Mira lately:

She really gets around fast. So she's interacting with him that much more. I think I've figured out the problem with Kronk, though. Kronk has had knee surgery on both his back legs. As a result he has chronic pain due to arthritis. The two times that Kronk has growled at Mira, it was when he was sleeping and she awakened him by touching him near his back legs. So I think Kronk was protecting his knees. As my mom pointed out, if Mira was a puppy, she would understand Kronk's growl to mean "don't do that" and she would learn to be careful around Kronk's knees. But Mira doesn't understand what his growls mean, so I have to teach her. Anyway, in the few days since his last episode, Mira and I have spent some time every day on the floor next to Kronk, with me petting Kronk and telling him he is a good dog and Mira just hanging out nearby, occasionally petting Kronk too when he will allow it. If he decides he won't tolerate it, he goes away and I tell him he is a good dog for doing that too because I always want him to feel like he can get away and I want to let him know that the right response is to just go away, not to growl. The other thing I've been doing is when Mira is on the floor and Kronk is lying down near by, as soon as I see Mira heading his way, I call out to Kronk and tell him "Look out Kronk, here comes the baby." He will usually then get up and move away from her and I tell him good dog. That way, he is never surprised by her, which I think was part of the problem. Lastly, any time that I want to let Mira play on the floor and I'm not monitoring the situation 100% (like when I step into the bathroom or go over to do the dishes or something) I make Kronk leave the room entirely. That way, Mira's interactions with Kronk are never unsupervised. So anyway, I think the situation is manageable, I'll just have to keep on top of it. Kronk has always been 100% fine with slightly older kids, so I'm holding out hope that he and Mira will eventually learn how to play together.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Kronk is not a very good Chipmunk Scout*

So as I had mentioned in a previous post, I was somewhat worried about the interactions between Mira and one of our dogs, Kronk. Well twice now within the past 3 days, when Mira has approached him rather than getting up and moving away Kronk has growled at her. Both times, he's gotten reprimanded *severely*. But now I'm at a loss about what we should do. Brian has suggested that we just spend a bunch of time on the floor with both Kronk and Mira, letting Mira be close to Kronk while we pet him to keep him comfortable. I guess we'll start with that tomorrow and I'll do some research to see if there are any other methods to try to get Kronk to accept Mira. I really really hope we're able to get this under control because the alternatives are to banish Kronk to the backyard, find Kronk a new home, or get Kronk a muzzle (none of which I am happy about). If anyone has experience/suggestions, I'm open.

*That's a reference to the movie The Emperor's New Groove, after which Kronk is named.

Friday, September 25, 2009

New foods

Mira's been trying a bunch of new foods. Now that she's 8 months old, the list of acceptable foods has opened way up. She's now eating a lot of the foods that Brian and I eat. We just make our dinner and then cut up really small bites for her. For example, tonight we had steak, yellow squash, and parmesan pasta. She had a really easy time with the squash; I just cut off the skin and fed her pieces of it with my fork. The pasta we cut into very tiny pieces and she ate that off of her fork. The steak she only had a couple of bites, but I just cut them really super small (since she can't really break it up by gumming it) and then pushed them into her mouth with my finger. She's still not mastered finger foods very well yet. If you give her little finger foods, then she picks them up and gets them in the middle of her hand and then she can't figure out that she needs to open her fist to get it into her mouth so instead she usually just drops it on the floor. She can somewhat use a fork. If you poke some food with her fork and then lay the fork in front of her, sometimes she'll pick the fork up and put it into her mouth to get the food. But other times she'll just bang it on things until the food flies off in some random direction.

Part of me hopes that she learns to feed herself soon because having to feed her every bite is a bit tedious, especially when I'm also trying to feed myself. But the other part of me wants to hold back, simply out of fear of the mess. I'm afraid that I'm already not giving her enough opportunity to try to do it herself. But then I remind myself that she will eventually learn to feed herself no matter how long I continue to spoon-feed her. I mean, you never hear about that 13 year old that refused to put food into his own mouth and had to have mommy feed him with a spoon. At least, these are the things that I tell myself when I start worrying too much. Which is often.

Thursday, September 24, 2009


Mira has started clapping. So cute. She tends to do it after pushing herself up to sit (as you can see in the first video) or after taking a bite of food while eating.

In this second video, you can see that she is trying to take Brian's hands and make him clap. She's started doing this frequently, with a lot of things. She'll take my finger and press it to a button that she wants me to push, or she'll take my hand and move it to the page in the book to indicate that she wants me to turn the page. And just today she was playing with me and grabbed my glasses off my face; she played with them a bit and then held them back up to my face, trying to put them back on me. It seems so amazing to me when she does stuff like that.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Sleep schedule? What sleep schedule?

For the last couple of weeks Mira's sleep has been so chaotic. Some days she gets one nap, some days two. Sometimes it takes 15 minutes to get her down to sleep, sometimes an hour and a half. Some nights she wakes once, sometimes five times (seriously, sometimes I feel like I've got a newborn again). Sometimes she sleeps till 7am, sometimes 9am. It makes me really miss the days were I knew what to expect: A nap at 11am, another at 4pm, bedtime at 9pm, two brief night wakings and then up at 9am. At least then I could mentally prepare myself and I could actually schedule activities because I knew when she'd be up for them.

I feel like this chaos might be some sort of trial. Like we are on the cusp of something (what, I don't know). But that what I do now will have a big impact on the way she sleeps for the next while. So since we've got this insanity going on anyway, I figure now is a good time to try to set some ground rules because it certainly can't get any more out of whack (which is what you worry about when you change something that baby is used to).

So here are the main tenets I am trying to adhere to:
1. No more falling asleep on the breast. To break this habit, I'm using a technique called "Pantley's Gentle Removal Plan". It does seem to be working, as now a couple of times Mira has actually pulled away from the breast on her own and rolled over and gone to sleep without me having to force the issue at all. Used to be that she absolutely insisted on having the suction on my breast until she was fully asleep. So I think this is getting better.
2. Two naps a day are always attempted. Though, I am being flexible on the nap times. And if she refuses to fall asleep at one of those naps, then she has quiet time alone in her crib. She's actually gotten quite good at this. If she won't take her nap, I just give her a few quiet toys in her crib, maybe turn on some calm music, wait till she is content and relaxed, and then I leave the room. I duck my head in every few minutes to make sure she's ok, but I leave her in there quietly playing alone in her crib for at least 30 minutes. I think she actually likes it. She always seems happy when I come in to get her out, and she usually doesn't cry at all while she's alone. (If she does cry, I come in and sit with her, smiling, talking softly, until she is content again, and then I leave her to finish her "nap".)
3. Bed time is now 8pm sharp. Used to be that she'd go to bed anytime between 8pm and 9:30pm, usually around 9pm. Well, she's shown consistently that 8pm should be her bed time (it's like you flip a switch at 8pm on the dot and she goes from happy-let's-play-baby to OMG-get-me-to-bed-NOW-baby), we just haven't been listening (mostly because Brian wants to have more time in the evenings to play with her after he gets home from work). So now we're starting the bedtime routine at 7:30pm so that Mira can be nursing to sleep at precisely 8pm.

So anyway, we've been at the new rules for 2 days now so hopefully we'll start to see some results soon. Really what I'd like to see happen is that Mira finds a sleep schedule that works and is CONSISTENT. And if it ends up that what works is for me to be up twice a night for the next while, then I'm 100% ok with that, if that's what she needs. I just want it to be predictable. Is that too much to ask? ... Maybe so.

I think part of the issue lately could be that she's cutting two more teeth (she's getting the two on either side of her top teeth). So I think the pain might actually be disrupting her sleep sometimes. Even so, I'm hesitant to give her Tylenol because I never really feel certain that pain is the issue. And I don't want her on meds round the clock.

On a positive note, I do feel like we are moving in the right direction, because a couple of times recently she's woken up in the middle of the night, cried out once or twice, and then gone back to sleep without any intervention on my part. Between that and the whole pulling off the breast without any provocation, I feel like things are happening. And I feel good about knowing that I'm doing it on her pace, letting her set the rhythm so that it's all done in the gentlest, most loving environment for her. No excessive crying, no unanswered needs, all very supportive and responsive.

And because it's all been gentle and responsive, she's actually been in a good mood most days, despite the total sleep chaos. So at least she's still pleasant to be around, even if bedtime is a struggle. Here are a few pics from the last week.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Better start baby proofing...

We discovered that if Mira had the right motivation, she would do this little army crawl. Turns out that the "right motivation" is this decorative ornament we have. It's a big plastic egg, carved to look like crystal that sits on top of a LED light. Anyway, here's some video.

Thursday, September 10, 2009


Mira loves to nuzzle. It's really sweet. And her little laugh is adorable. (You really need to watch this video with sound. Her laugh is contagious. FYI, at the very end of the video she's "kissing" Brian... she just kisses by putting her mouth on him; she hasn't figured out the lip pursing part yet.)

She really loves Brian, which I'm very happy about. I've always tried to encourage her to bond with him. (She spends all day with me, so I KNOW she's got a strong attachment to me, but I want to assure that she'll be close to Brian also.) So I do things like make sure she's in a good mood when he's around, get excited when he gets home, make most of her time with him be playtime, say things like, "Yay! It's Daddy!" and so on. So now when he walks in the door she gets so excited all on her own now, without any provocation from me. It's like we're a happy little nuclear family or something...

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Tooth brushing

Ever since Mira got her first teeth I've been "brushing" her teeth with a washcloth wrapped over my finger. We do it after every solid food meal, as part of the clean up procedure (2 to 3 times a day). She's actually really good about it. She'll open her mouth for it and sometimes she giggles while I'm brushing. Only thing is, every time I try to get the back side of her top teeth it's like I trigger a reflex or something and she bites down. I'm not really sure how to get her to stop doing it and keep her mouth open. I try making open-mouth faces at her to demonstrate, and saying "Say AAAHHH" like they do in the doctor's office. But that doesn't seem to work. I can get her to open her mouth by putting my finger on the tip of her chin, but then when I put the "brush" back behind her front teeth CHOMP. It may just be one of those things that will have to wait till she can understand what I'm saying a little better, but if anyone has any tips or tricks, let me know.

Anyway, here are some cute tooth-brushing pics:

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Baby + Pets

Before we had Mira, I worried about how the pets would interact with her. We have 2 dogs (Anna and Kronk), 2 cats (Mimic and Poofball), and a tank full of fish. (For the record, I wasn't worried about how the fish would get along with Mira. Just the mammals.) We got sort of lucky because once Mira came home, both of the cats and Kronk all pretty much just kept their distance. Anna, on the other hand... Anyone who's met Anna knows: she LOVES everything. In a "OMG I love you so much I can't even control my body spasms" kind of way. And she's 8 years old. You'd think she'd have gotten over the LOVE by now, but no.

By a small miracle, we had taught Anna to respond very reliably to two very important commands: Go and Outside. Go means get away from me now and Outside means specifically go outside. (They have a dog door to the backyard so they can let themselves out.) As we began laying Mira on the floor within spasm distance of Anna, I started by always laying Mira on a blanket and I made Anna respect the blanket as a boundary. If she set one foot on the blanket, I would immediately correct her with Go. If she got too pushy, I would respond with Outside. So over the months, Anna has learned that the baby's personal space is to be respected. We don't even need the physical boundary created by the blanket anymore.

Remarkably, Anna has become the one animal that I trust most around Mira. With the cats, Mira likes to pull their hair. I've tried telling her to be gentle, but you just try and get a 7mo to do anything you say and then you'll see how well that is working out. Never the less, I keep trying to teach her how to pet the cats with an open hand. It'll come eventually, if she doesn't torment them so much in the mean time that they just run in terror at the sight of her. Kronk is actually the one that I see as the loose cannon. He has been known to get defensive over food and treats and he has bad knees so the pain of that makes him tender in places that a baby could easily reach. So far he has kept a good distance from Mira, jumping up and moving away if she even comes within 3 feet of him. He does this of his own volition and not because we tell him to. But that in itself kind of makes me worried. Like if he's scared of her then he might react strongly to her if she pushes his buttons. Anyway, I just keep a close eye on him when he's in the room with Mira on the floor.

So since Anna is the one that I'm most trusting of, we have occasionally invited Anna into Mira's personal space and Anna has always responded very well, sniffing gently at Mira's head, sitting next to her without disturbing her, allowing Mira to lean on her and holding somewhat still for it. It's quite sweet.

Anna's a pit bull/lab mix, and she has that pit bull head. So to look at her, she looks a little intimidating and could even be scary if it weren't for all that love spazzing that she does. But having Anna so close to Mira reminds me of when my little sister was a baby and she used to play with my pure-bred lab by putting her hands into the dog's mouth and as my sister was learning to walk she used to lean on my lab's back for support and the dog would stand SO STILL until my sister was done using her for balance. So it's clear that, while Anna may have the look of a pit bull, she has the temperament of a lab. Like a sheep in wolf's clothing.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Mira is a victim of Accidental Ferbering

First let me say that I'm sorry for not blogging much lately, but I have a (very good, in my opinion) excuse. Nine (yes NINE) days ago I had a cooking accident and burned myself pretty severely. It's finally starting to feel better now, but for the past nine (yes NINE) days it's put me in a bit of a funk. Something about wearing a giant bandage with the skin underneath it alternating between burning agony and itching so bad it makes you want to claw your face off. Yeah, that kind of funk. So I've been slacking on a lot of things, blogging included.

Perhaps the previously mentioned funk is the reason Mira became a victim of Accidental Ferbering.

Last night I accidentally went to bed without turning on the baby monitor. I woke up at 4am thinking, "Why isn't my baby crying?" I looked over and realized that the monitor wasn't on. So I got up to check on Mira and she was sleeping soundly, but her crib was in a massive state of disarray. So she must have woken up at her normal time (2am) and cried herself back to sleep... after much thrashing and flailing. I arranged the blankets to cover her again and went back to bed, but I couldn't immediately fall asleep. I laid there feeling terrible guilty-mom feelings and thinking terrible guilty-mom thoughts. And plus my burn was itching (that's its favorite time of day to do that).

She woke briefly again at 6:30am (normal) and went back to sleep quickly. But then she slept in late, till 9:30am. And here I'm thinking, "She's sleeping late because she is exhausted from all her middle-of-the-night crying. Calling out to me with no response, left alone and cold in the dark with no mommy, all the unanswered fear and desire made her extra tired." So more terrible guilty-mom feelings and terrible guilty-mom thoughts.

And then when she woke for good at 9:30am, her little voice was hoarse. And here I'm thinking, "She's hoarse because she was calling and calling to me for so long last night. While I was just snoozing away in peaceful dreamland, my baby was screaming all alone in the dark with no one to hear her." And again with the terrible guilty-mom feelings and terrible guilty-mom thoughts.

I don't understand how some parents can find the emotional resolve required to "Ferberize" their babies (aka, the "cry it out" method). I would go insane with guilt. I would be terrified that she'd lose all her confidence that I would be there for her and she'd stop trusting me. I suspect that is why the Ferber method works for some families and not for others: either the parents can hack it, or they're just wimps like me who want to give in and hold and console their crying babies and let them know that everything is ok because Mommy is here.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Cute photos.

Here are some cute photos from the last couple of weeks:

Monday, August 24, 2009

Local Computer Expert

I'm regularly called upon to be a 'computer guru' for the family and friends. Today's XKCD put it soo well - And yes; this is actually what I do when you ask me these kinds of questions...

Sunday, August 23, 2009

More teeth.

Yesterday Mira cut through two more teeth. She's had the bottom two for a couple of months now, and as they've grown they've become quite prominent when she smiles. Here are some cute toothy grin photos.

You can see in this last one how she is starting to work on learning to crawl. She's up on her hands and knees. So far, all she does when she gets into position is rock back and forth. But I have a hunch that we'll need to be baby-proofing much more thoroughly very soon.

Anyway, back to the teeth... She cut her upper front two teeth yesterday. Last time when she cut the bottom two, I didn't really notice that it effected her mood any. But this time she was definitely cranky on the day that they came through. She seems to be over it now. Well I attempted to get a mouth shot so that you can see her new choppers. If you can't see them here, try double clicking the photo to see the larger image. You can just barely see them peeking out.

So now today, she is sort of exploring the fact that she now has opposing teeth by grinding them together. Oh lord, that sound is like nails on a chalkboard to me. I hope she stops once the novelty wears off. Because A) that's a bad habbit to start, B) I'm sure it's not good for her teeth, and C) if she keeps it up too much longer I just might have to start wearing earplugs.

Friday, August 21, 2009


So Brian and I have known for a while that we wanted to have another baby very soon after Mira. We want our children to be close in age. The idea is that when they are older (grown up) they will be close and can share experiences. Brian and his sister, Lindsey, are only 2 years apart. While they didn't get along too well in childhood, now that they are adults they are very close. I love my sister dearly, but she and I are 12 years apart. Unfortunately, that means that we will never be at a stage in our lives where we are experiencing the same things. I will always be the older one who blazes the trail, and while it's nice to know that I can be a very positive role model for my sister and help council her through things, I am a little envious of Brian's relationship with his sister. So that's one reason why we want to have our children all back-to-back. The other reason is so that we can make the most of me taking time off of my career. If I have all my kids in this one leave of absence, then I don't have to worry about putting my career on pause again later down the line. Finally, we want to have all the kids out of the house by the time we are 55 so that we can enjoy time alone together again before we are too old to take advantage of it.

So anyway, we've been keeping this in mind and wondering how soon we can start trying again. My body, aka the baby factory, decided that I was ready to concieve again a mere 2 months after Mira was born. (Much to my dismay. I mean couldn't I even get a good 6-months in before my cycles started up again?!?! Yes I did just say that in front of the entire web.) The main thing is that my OB has told me that I shouldn't get pregnant again too soon because there is a significant risk that I will lose my milk. And if that happens while Mira still needs to be nursing, then we'd have to start her on formula, which I'd really rather not do (formula is expensive). But then again, I've met plenty of moms who have nursed through pregnancy. I've even met one who is going to be nursing her nearly-two-year-old and her soon-to-be-born baby simultaneously (a practice they call "tandem nursing"... who knew?).

In the end, we think we're going to start trying for baby #2 around November. Mira will be around 10 months then, and could probably get by on solids if needed. Also, by the time the next baby is born Mira would be around 20 months, old enough to potentially be potty trained and to be out of her crib. On the down side, that does mean that I'll be big and pregnant and chasing a toddler in the heat of the summer, but with a little AC and plenty of water, I think I can manage.

So that's the plan. We'll see if things go accordingly.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Come back here.

Mira is getting more and more mobile. She's rolling all over the place, and while she still hasn't learned to crawl, she is working on it. She'll push up onto her hands and knees and rock back and forth. But really her main method of locomotion is rolling.

Since she's figured out that she can move herself, it's gotten really hard to change her diaper. She is constantly fighting to get away and roll over. It's such a struggle that I'm no longer comfortable changing her on the changing table for fear that she'll fall off of it. Using a toy to distract her only works for about 30 seconds, so I'm working on my diaper changing speed...

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Colorado, part 4

One of the days that we were out there we went to the Denver Museum of Natural Science, which is extremely awesome. If you ever get the chance to go, you should plan on spending the better part of a day because there are so many very cool things to see and do there. They had this new section open on the human body and I really wish we could have seen it, but because it was so new it was very crowded and Mira wouldn't put up with that too well. And we didn't get to spend as long as I'd have liked because we had to cram it in between Mira's naps. But we did get to see their space section (Brian's main interest) and their prehistoric section (my main interest). Mira was not quite old enough to really get into it, but she did ok just sitting in her stroller and watching all the exhibits go by.

The plane ride home was much better. For starters, there were several free seats on the plane, so we were able to take Mira's car seat and put it in the seat next to us. That made a big difference. She seemed pretty content to just sit in the car seat and play with her toys for most of the ride. Another big difference was that the flight was in the middle of the afternoon, rather than being so close to her bedtime. The third thing that helped things go more smoothly was that I nursed her on both the take-off and the descent. So overall she was much happier on this flight than the previous one.

A friend of mine bought this toy for Mira. It's this sphere that has blinking lights and vibrates. The thought was that it would be a good distraction for her on the plane. Mira is totally hypnotized by this thing. (Thanks, Becky!)

I took some video on the plane.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Colorado, part 3

We took the ski lift in Copper Mountain up to the top of the mountain. There was a little cafe up there where we had lunch. The view was spectacular. I'm glad I thought to bring Mira's carrier along (the kind that attaches her to Brian's chest) otherwise I don't think I would have been comfortable having her on the lift.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Colorado, part 2

While we were up there we rented bikes. They had a little trailer for Mira which Brian pulled behind his bike. We had the bikes for 24 hours, so we had them for one evening and then nearly the entire following day. We got in several nice rides. Mira seemed to like the whole experience well enough. She fell asleep most of the time that she was in the trailer, and when she wasn't sleeping she seemed to enjoy the wind in her face, looking around with big eyes.

My favorite thing that we did the entire time that we were in Colorado was when we took a shuttle up to Vale Pass. They took us and all our bikes up to the top of the pass and then dropped us off. The we biked down the 14 miles back into Frisco. The bike paths up there are all really well maintained and very smoothly paved so it was no problem to pull Mira's trailer behind us. It was so beautiful!

Here's a picture from the top of the pass.

As we were biking down:
That's the bike path behind us. You can see it followed this beautiful stream most of the way down.

After that we took another bike ride part way around the lake. You can see the bike path on the right hand side of this picture. By then we were both pretty tired so we didn't get all the way around the lake, but just wanted to get in as much bike riding fun as we could before we had to turn the bikes back in to the rental place.
I think that whole experience made Brian and I wish that we could afford to buy bikes and a trailer to have at home. And that it was about 20 degrees cooler in Austin so that we could actually ride them without being miserably hot.

Stay tuned for part 3...

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Colorado, part 1

My grandparents rent a very nice cabin for about a month or so every summer in Frisco, Colorado. Frisco is a little town near Brackenridge, about an hour west of Denver, in the heart of the Rockies. (Altitude 9,000 ft.) This summer we went to stay with them out there for a week.

Frisco is nestled between a mountain and a lake.
We took frequent walks from our cabin into town.
It was so nice to get away from the hundred degree heat in Texas. The weather up there was beautiful, with highs in the mid 70's. We were spending the better part of almost every day outside, which was great for Mira. (She loves being outdoors, but is so easily overheated that it's difficult to spend any time outside in the Texas summer.)

When preparing for the trip, I was worried about forgetting something, since I wasn't used to travelling with a baby. I made extensive lists, though, and managed to bring along everything that I thought we'd need and not too much excess. Considering that we were flying, I didn't want to load down the luggage too much. Luckily, my parents were driving up, so they had a bit of room in their car for things that we didn't want to tote onto the plane with us, like Mira's stroller and booster chair.

Anyway, so the flight up there was kind of poorly planned. First of all, we just took whichever flight time got us the cheapest fare. But that meant that we were flying up to Colorado near her bedtime. So she was tired and a bit fussy. The other mistake that we made was not buying Mira her own seat on the plane. We decided we'd gamble that there would be an empty seat on the flight that we could nab for her. Turned out the flight was full, so Brian or I had to hold her the entire time. The flight wasn't too long (2.5 hours) and it was a direct flight, so it could have been worse. But Mira was tired and she has a hard time sleeping in my arms (she gets too hot sharing my body heat and plus I wiggle too much). Also, I mistakenly assumed that she wouldn't nurse on the flight because she'd be too distracted by everything else. (Normally she's very distractable while nursing and any little noise or shadow will have her turning away to see. This is why we always nurse in a quiet dark room at home and we pretty much don't plan to nurse while we're out. Instead, I pack baby foods in her diaper bag.) But I knew that she'd need to drink or suck something during take-off and landing in order to help her ears. So I had her sippy cup with water for that. She didn't seem to have any trouble with her ears thankfully. But halfway through the flight, she decided it was bedtime. Now. Where is my crib??? So to try to get her to calm down, I tried nursing. It actually took both Brian and I to accomplish the task: we both had to lean over her close, me with one arm under her and the other hand holding her head to my breast, Brian with one arm lending me support and the other hand rhythmically patting Mira's butt. It was quite the operation... but it worked. And then she fell asleep for about 20 minutes and was ok for the rest of the flight.

When we got there, Brian and I both were feeling the altitude. Brian was winded just unloading the luggage from the car. And I was having periodic dizzy spells. So we took it easy the first day we were there. We took leisurely walks down the bike paths or into town or around the historic park. I also had to take some time to go to the grocery store and then puree Mira some foods, since I'm making all her baby foods from fresh produce but couldn't think of a hassle-free way to bring along the foods I already had for her at home.

The next day Brian went golfing with my grandfather, which I know he really enjoyed. In the mean time, Mira and I went on more little walks, enjoying the wildflowers and the chipmunks and the birds and oh yeah the mountains.

More later....