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Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Mira in the Mirror

Mira has been even more fascinated by the baby in the mirror lately.

Here she is trying to play with the baby in the mirror.

And in this one she is kissing the baby in the mirror.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Tool use

First of all, I haven't been blogging much lately. I'm not sure why, I just haven't felt very bloggy. Well, now Mira's getting to the stage where her development is going to speed up, so probably I'll be on more frequently as I document all her milestones. So here's one for the record:

A couple days ago, I sat Mira down on the floor and gave her some different sizes of tupperware and a wooden spoon to bang on them with.

She got the idea right away. As soon as I banged it with the spoon, she immitated with her hand. But then when I put the spoon in her hand, she had a bit of trouble with it. It was clear that she was trying to use the spoon to bang the tupperware, her hand just had other ideas. It's like her hand was reflexively dropping the spoon. So then she gave up on the spoon and just banged away with her hands.

Well just a couple days later, I gave her the spoon and tupperware dish again. This time I didn't show her anything, I just put them in among her other toys. Not only did she remember what to do with them, but she was using the spoon now. In just two days she was able to gain enough motor control to use the spoon to bang the tupperware. Two days. Incredible.

She's so adorable in that last one...

Question for the readers:

Is it confusing when Brian posts to the blog? Like do you think that it's me (Laura) writing at first? Should I ask Brian to specify that it is his entry whenever he posts by opening with something like "Brian here..."?

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Natural = Pesticides

One of the many things in my blog-roll's daily reader is the Greenwash Brigade column in the American Public Media's Marketplace website. Usually focused on clearing the air on companies who greenwash - or say they are green but don't back it up, they highlighted something of particular importance to the health of my baby: The term 'Natural' when it comes to food is essentially meaningless to the USDA and FDA. There are no real restrictions on what a product that claims that it is 'natural' really is.

The feds (aka the USDA and FDA) have respectfully declined to define “natural” except for a very narrow class of products. And so Dean Foods will fill that void with their own: natural Dean products will be those “produced without added hormones, artificial sweeteners, artificial colors, flavors, preservatives or high fructose corn syrup.” Well, that’s reassuring.
Dean’s new “natural” yogurts and milk can — and will — come from dairy cows that have eaten pesticide laden feed such as corn and soy, antibiotics, pig and chicken byproducts, and sewage sludge. The only bad boy from the list of conventional animal feed that Dean has prohibited is hormones. So what’s a little sewage sludge and pesticide residue going to do to your kid anyhow?
So, all of you shoppers - be aware that Organic is highly regulated and very specific... truly a 'natural' product. But somthing labled just 'natural' can and is likly *not* what you think it should be.

From a comment another gem sprang out:
Dean Foods had quietly switched their "Silk" soy milk from "organic" to "natural", substituting conventional soy beans for what had previously been organic soy beans,... with no fanfare and no decrease in price. "Don't mind the pesticides bait-and-switch, folks, just look at the pretty wind turbine."

Monday, July 20, 2009


One of the baby foods I made for Mira is baked plums. It's this really bright purple color. Brian thought it looked like she had raided my makeup drawer...

Friday, July 17, 2009

Water-filled play mat

My mom bought Mira this really cool play mat. You put water inside of it and it has little fish and stuff that float around inside of it. It's pretty neat. Mira likes it. She'll put her hand on it an then wiggle her fingers around to get the water to slosh. Then she'll put her face down on it and lick it. I guess that means she likes it... whatever. Anyway, I found that it's really great for cooling her down when she gets hot. Because it's similar to a waterbed in that the water inside of it will leach the heat from your body. So when we've been out and about in the 100+ degree weather, I come inside and lay her down on it and she gets this big grin.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Laura won't let me eat the baby food

Laura has decided that I'm not good enough for baby food. Well, not really - she just didn't make enough for me *and* the baby. :(

Most people, myself especially have ZERO desire to eat baby food... but check this out!

Puree's of baked plum; baked peaches; steamed green beans; banana mash and of course the soft cereal with mommy's milk. OK I can pass on the cereal; mine has sugar added, but the rest of it is *SOOO* tasty.

I keep thinking of all the times I'd love to top a pork loin or ice-cream with the peach or plum puree, or have the green beans as a drizzle across an onion and asparagus side dish. Bananas are better mashed I think... i'm just usually too lazy to do it before eating them though.

As a foodie - I'm jealous of what my baby is eating!

Saturday, July 11, 2009

What a deal!

Today I went to a second-hand children's store to get Mira some "previously owned" clothing. They were having a 70% off sale so I was buying complete outfits for less than $1 each. I was finding such good inexpensive stuff that I made two trips! I managed to round out her 9 month clothes pretty well and also pick up some bigger stuff in 12 month and 18 month sizes. I feel so thrifty! ;-)

Friday, July 10, 2009


So I think I'm starting to figure out the trick to this napping thing.

Due to Mira's recent sleep troubles, we've installed some blackout curtains in her room and we got a white noise machine to go in there too. So it is always nice and dark and cool and relaxing in her room. So far this has not helped with the frequency that she wakes up at night (still usually 3 times each night), but it has helped her stay asleep longer in the mornings. She's been sleeping till 8:30 or 9am, which is nice for me cuz I get an extra hour or two of sleep. Which somewhat makes up for having to get up 3 times each night.

Her daytime naps are vital to me because it is the only time that I allow myself to truly relax. Up till a couple of days ago, it was difficult to get her from the breast to the crib for naps and then when I did manage to lay her down, she'd only nap for about 30 minutes.

Well, my step sister in-law suggested that Mira might need a pre-nap routine. That made so much sense to me. We have a clear bedtime routine that seems to work for her. She goes to sleep easily at night. So it seems obvious that a pre-nap routine would be good for her also. So now, every time I think she's needing a nap, we go into her dark room, turn on the white noise, change into a fresh diaper, get wrapped up in a blanket, and sit down to nurse in her room with the door shut.

The difference is like flipping a switch. It is now 10 million times easier to get her to fall asleep and then she is very easily transitioning from breast to crib. Her naps are still relatively short, usually about 30 minutes. But she is taking them much more frequently. We've gone from maybe one nap per day if I'm lucky all the way up to 3 naps per day (which is actually the recommended amount of naps for babies of her age).

So now I just need to figure out a way to lengthen her naps. She's still only getting about 2 hours total of nap time each day, and she's supposed to be getting closer to 5. I guess I'm hoping that it will come on its own, because I don't really know what else I can do to get her to stay asleep longer. If anyone has suggestions that do not involve me holding her or letting her cry, then let me know.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

And now for something completely different.

Boy, Brian and I have been a bunch of Negative Nellies. Here's a little something to remind us of why it is all worthwhile.

Mira really wanted to play with one of my clothing catalogues. So Brian let her.

For the telepathically impaired

I was grumping about my job in flowery and emphatic language.

I was waxing rapsodic about how much I love to come home.

I was amazed at the difference at between pre-baby and post-baby on my time.

I love my life, the satisfaction with my job will come eventually.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Levels of tired... And coffee stains

Tired is relative, exhausted is pervasive... but joy is palpable.

Working all day in a position where I fight with buggy code, flaky installers, grumpy customers and demanding schedules drains me immeasurably. It beats the life from me, flogs the joy from my world, makes me dream of something, almost anything else. Suggestions I have for improving things are, not ignored so much as set aside. This leaves me not only drained, but dispirited, sad and bordering upon depression.

And then I come home! The clouds break apart and the fugue that clouds my judgement of people, the world and the goodwill of men begins to fragment and dissolve. All from the simplest of things... the smile of my daughter, the relief in the eyes (and mildly hysterical voice) of my wife, and the crowding flurry of fuzzy animals at my feet - all full of joy to see me.

It makes me a Man; It makes me glad to be alive; My heart grows three sizes.

So I step up my game. I try to shake the depression, anger and frustration of my day to day; leaving it behind me as I move through the doorway and into my other life.
I play with the baby though what I want is a nap and find that it's almost as refreshing... if not as restful.
I make dinner if Laura is unable or unwilling, though she usually has a quick meal ready to rumble. I'll do whatever it takes to try and help Laura get through a relaxing evening.

But 'Me time'... wow I miss that. And that is the hardest thing to adjust to. I am one of those people who need to retreat from the world, from people, from everything and immerse myself in a book, walk in the woods, do *something* to get some alone time. Pre-baby I did it in the evenings, occasionally missing a bit of sleep to get it. Now, I can only get it late at night; and even then it's not 'total' because I have to sneak around while the rest of the house (lightly) sleeps.

So, I steal some hours from the night - Insomnia sets in as my brain DEMANDS alone time. As a result I am now more addicted to those three cups of coffee every morning than I have ever been...

So, Exaustion + Joy = Daddy (with Coffee Stains)

Sleep, please.

Last night Mira went to bed an hour early, but then she was up every hour between 9pm and 1am. And then Brian's alarm woke her up at 6:30am. So I'm running on 5 hours of sleep here, which is why this post could end up sounding a little frantic. But jeez louise how I would love to sleep. If last night was a one-time thing, then I'm sure I'd be fine. But she's been waking up at least 3 times every night for the past few weeks. It all started around the time when she had a bad case of diarrhea. And I could understand why she was up several times a night when her bowels were upsetting her. But now she's way over that, and still she continues to have a hard time sleeping longer than 3 hours at a stretch. I'm so tired and so frustrated. I feel like I don't have the energy to do things with her during the day like I used to so she's getting bored during the day which makes her fussy in general and then I get so frustrated with her that I don't even want to pick her up to comfort her anymore. But somehow I make myself do it. And then I feel like a terrible mother for not immediately catering to her desires and for not thinking that her little smiles are as cute as I used to because it would all be cuter if my eyes weren't glazing over with exhaustion and for not taking her out and showing her the world because maybe just maybe she'll take a nap longer than 30 minutes today so I should stay close to home where we can rest and then she doesn't take a nap and then I feel like maybe if I'd just taken her out it would tire her to the point where she would have napped but it's too late in the day for that now and I'm just going to have to stick it out till bed time but then she doesn't sleep then either and then I'm so tired that I write sentences that are miles long.

I just have to remind myself that there are so many times that she makes me feel like I'm so lucky to be her mom. But when you're this tired, it's hard to remember anything beyond 20 minutes ago...

Monday, July 6, 2009

Mira's first fireworks... or lack thereof

On the fourth of July every year, our HOA puts on this big professional fireworks show. It's a mixed blessing really. On one hand, it's nice to have this great show that we can see right from our backyard. We can avoid big crowds and traffic and just chill in the backyard. On the other hand, the show regularly gets all the dogs in the neighborhood barking and all the car alarms honking. So it can get kinda noisy. Plus all the neighbors buy their own amateur fireworks and those go on for days.

Anyway, this fourth of July was to be Mira's first experience with fireworks. The show wasn't supposed to start till 9:45pm, way after Mira's bedtime. So I was hoping that she might just sleep all the way through it.

The neighbors started in with their mini-explosives early in the evening, and there went the dogs bark bark barking. And I was worried that all the ruckus would keep Mira up, but she went to bed right on time at 9pm. Then the professional show started up and there went the cannons boom boom booming. And I was worried that all the ruckus would wake Mira up, but she went right on sleeping. Until the show's finale. Then she finally woke up. I took her over to the window to see the last few seconds of the show. She watched quietly with big eyes. And when the show was over, she nursed right back to sleep.

She took the whole thing in stride. Much like she always does. What an easy baby. How lucky am I?

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Barfing baby

Thursday night, Mira went to bed at her normal time (9pm) but then she woke up at 10pm. When I went in to pick her up, everything was all wet. When I turned on the light to figure out what was going on, I discovered that she had thrown up everywhere. I called Brian in to help and while he was changing the crib sheets, I cleaned up Mira and changed her. Just as I was putting her to the breast to nurse back to sleep, she threw up again. All over me and her and the chair and everywhere. Poor baby. These weren't little spit ups, like burp and a little white stuff comes up behind it and then giggle. No, these were whole body wracking heaving, more liquid erupting from my baby than I even thought she could hold, and then cry cry crying afterward. I felt so helpless. All I could do was hold her and comfort her. After an hour and a half of repeated vomiting, I had changed both her clothing and mine no less than four times, and I had a huge pile of dirty linens as I had grabbed any cloth I could get my hands on to try to catch the mess. When she finally stopped, she went back to sleep really quickly, only nursing a tiny bit before nodding off. She woke up at 3am, and had thrown up again, though I had put cloth diapers under her so that I didn't have to change the sheets again. Again she went back to sleep really quickly without eating much. When she woke again at 6am, she was hungry and nursed both sides before falling back to sleep. She slept till 9am on Friday morning when she woke up refreshed and acting as though nothing had happened. But then all day Friday, she refused any foods other than milk, so her stomach may have still been a bit sensitive. But other than that, she was her normal happy self. So that is the sickest she has ever been to date. I'm just glad she got over it so fast.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Progress on the floor

Mira's been making some good progress in her tummy time. She is trying really hard to learn to crawl. At this point, she can *either* push up on her arms or get her knees under her butt, but not both simultaneously. See below:

It's kind of funny how she slowly inches herself backwards with all her squirming then she'll look up at her toys like "But now I can't reach! How did that happen? They were just here in front of me!"

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Duck pond

Yesterday there was a little break from our triple-digit heat. So Mira and I walked down to the duck pond by our house. We took some bread heels to feed to the ducks. Here are a couple of pictures from our walk.