Infancy

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Story Time

Now that we’re into a bedtime routine, we read around three stories to Adelaide every night before bed. My sister worked at Gymboree Play & Music for years, so she’s familiar with some of the most popular books for infants and gave several to Adelaide for Christmas. We’ve been reading the same dozen or so board books over and over every night. I really like most of them, and thought I’d share them here. Right now we read mostly board books. We have some other non-board books that I look forward to getting out a little later. I’m also interested in what children’s books you love. As Adelaide gets older and her attention span can handle longer stories, I want to expand her library.

I also recently found this article about the 10 Worst Books for Toddlers.  I don’t know that I agree with all of their choices. What do you think?

But Not the Hippopotamus by Sandra Boynton
I love the sing-song rhyme of this story. It’s short so sometimes I just read it twice in a row.

Ten Little Fingers and Ten Little Toes by Mem Fox
The first time I read this out loud I cried. I teared up probably the next 20 times or so. I’m good now.

 

We’re Going on a Bear Hunt by Michael Rosen
This was a gift from Adelaide’s Aunt Adrienne and Uncle Ben, given to her with a stuffed black bear at her shower before she was born.

 

Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown
This one came with the little bunny. Adelaide likes the little bunny more than the book at this point. There is a texture to the bottom of the bunny’s foot and she loves to chew on it. Mom and Dad like the rhythm of this simple story.

 

Rockin’ Babies by Dr. Jenn Berman and Cynthia Weil
This is very clever. I wish I had written it.

 

Go, Dog. Go! by P.D. Eastman
I remember this one from my childhood. It was one of our favorites.

 

The Night Night Book by Marianne Richmond
This one has grown on me. Again, it rhymes and the rhythm is almost like a lullaby.

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The Instagram app is now available for the Android! (Funny, that sentence wouldn’t have made any sense five years ago–probably still won’t make sense to my mom.)

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Kisses!

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More fun playing with Instagram and my phone camera. Yay!

Tim helped Adelaide create a precious Mother’s Day gift for me. Adelaide’s first painting on canvas is already hanging in my office at work.

Since Tim’s birthday is on Wednesday, we took the opportunity to celebrate both Mother’s Day and his birthday with a date night. Well, I guess it was more of a date “afternoon.” Adelaide’s Aunt Adrienne came over to babysit (thanks Adrienne!), and Tim and I went to see The Avengers 3-D. We hadn’t been to a movie since Christmas, and this was the first time we had been to the theater just the two of us since Adelaide was born.

After the movie we topped our day out by eating at Chifa, Iron Chef Jose Garces’ Peruvian/Cantonese restaurant. It’s a small plates restaurant, so we ordered five dishes to share between us.

Pork Belly Bao Buns
hoisin glaze, pickled daikon & carrot, togarashi mayo

Kobe Tartare
sriracha, pear, wasabi mayo

Chaufa with Scallop
stir fried rice, chorizo, mango, edamame, scallop

Humita
charred corn tamale, bacon, mushrooms, aji cream

There was also a special, but I can’t remember what it was called. It had clams, chorizo, white bean paste and panko bread crumbs baked into the clam shell.

For dessert we had chocolate cake, but it wasn’t any regular chocolate cake. It was a porter chocolate cake with raspberry compote and a banana-stout ice cream. My mouth is watering just typing this. It was an amazing meal with the best of company.

Then, I came home to this smiley little bug. Yes, a happy first Mother’s day indeed.

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The first three months after babies are born are often referred to as “the fourth trimester.” It’s because human newborns are so much more dependent on their parents and vulnerable than other newborn mammals. While some mammals can practically walk at birth, I remember reading that human babies intuitively know only how to suck, swallow and breathe. They even have problems breathing consistently sometimes. I believe this has something to do with evolution and since we walk upright, we have evolved to a gestation period of around 40 weeks so that we can safely birth our babies’ big heads and big brains. So, the infant human baby is still developing during that fourth trimester in a way that is similar to how other mammals develop while still in the womb.

In learning about the fourth trimester, I remember feeling relieved that parents shouldn’t expect babies under three months to be on a schedule or to sleep through the night. We need only feed them on demand and let them be infants.

Adelaide turned nine months on April 28. Tim pointed out that she has now had equal amounts of time growing both inside and outside of me. “Nine months in, nine months out” as my friend Jennifer put it.

At her nine-month appointment on Tuesday, Adelaide weighed in at 19 lbs 11 oz (50th percentile) and 28 1/2 inches tall (75th percentile). She’s leveled off a bit on the weight chart, but our pediatrician said that was normal at nine months. Adelaide still has no teeth. My friend Brooke’s son is a month younger than Adelaide and he’s had six teeth for weeks. No teeth and six teeth are both totally normal.

We also talked to the pediatrician about food. Although Adelaide has loved all the solids we’ve given her, we’ve been slow to introduce them. Knowing she’s getting all her necessary nutrients from my breastmilk, we’ve just been experimenting with solids at night and on the weekends. And we haven’t even been doing that consistently every night. But that’s all starting to change. Our pediatrician suggested that we start sending food to daycare and giving Adelaide three “meals” a day. While she doesn’t really “need” solids as a form of nutrients right now, she will start to need nutrients from solids at around a year old. She’ll be twelve months with just a blink of an eye, so we’re going to step-up her solids intake. We’ve also started letting her play with a sippie cup and drinking from a straw is next.

We have a real crawler on our hands now (no more just hacking it with an army crawl). She has pulled herself up to standing in her crib (just once that we’ve seen – but hey, she can do it). She likes to clap and is happy and social, smiling at strangers and letting everyone hold her. People ask us all the time if she is always that smiley (answer: yes, usually), and when we pick her up from daycare they always say she just smiled and laughed all day.

Someone recently told me that it’s around nine months when babies really start to develop personality. Nine months in, nine months out. Six months post the “fourth trimester.” And so much to look forward to.

 

 

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Have you seen the Saturday Night Live “ad” for baby toupees?

Well, I ran across this photo of Adelaide from back in March, and I just can’t help but think it looks like she’s wearing a baby toupee. It makes me crack up every time I see it.

 

UPDATE: They’re real!
BabyToupee.com. Well, I think these are meant as a joke – “Fun for baby shower’s, birthdays and more!” But, I don’t think these Baby Bangs are quite so tongue-in-cheek. Their homepage boasts “I’m not a boy” – as if being an infant mistaken for the wrong gender is just too embarrassing.

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My attitudes about breast feeding have changed a lot in the last eight months since Adelaide has been born. I never questioned whether or not I would breastfeed. I just assumed I would if I could. Tim and I took a breastfeeding class at the hospital a few weeks before Adelaide was born. It was a one-night class that informed parents about the benefits of breastfeeding for both baby and mom – fewer ear infections and allergies for baby and lower risk for breast cancer for mom, just to name a few. Really? Bonus! The benefits I learned far exceeded my simple expectation of “good, natural nutrients for the newborn.”

 Breastfed babies have:

  • Less instances of gastrointestinal issues, respiratory infections, and ear infections
  • Less likelihood of developing allergies
  • Higher IQs
  • A decreased risk of obesity later in life
  • Lower rates of infant mortality
  • Less illness overall and less hospitalization

Check out page 12 of the Surgeon General’s Call to Action to Support Breastfeeding for a complete list!

Breastfeeding helps mom:

  • Lose weight faster
  • Control post-partum bleeding
  • Reduce the risk for ovarian and breast cancer
  • Working parents of breastfed children have up to 6 times less absenteeism

I used to believe that when a baby is old enough to “ask for it,” they are too old to be breastfed. I saw photos of two-year-olds breastfeeding and cringed.  I’m not sure what I thought – that the children would somehow be irreparably damaged for being coddled by their overprotective mothers? There wasn’t one single event that changed my thinking.

It started with that breastfeeding class, and continued with the breastfeeding support group I attended at the hospital after Adelaide was born. The more I read and the more I became informed, the more I realized that my previous way of thinking is just part of what our society has told us to think. Although breastfeeding is one of the most natural things in the world, it’s not normalized in our American culture. Women are not supported to get through the early humps and hurdles of breastfeeding, they aren’t supported when breastfeeding in public, working moms aren’t supported to breastfeed and pump in the workplace, and they aren’t supported to breastfeed their children past some arbitrarily picked maximum age.

My attitudes surrounding breastfeeding are changing, and as Adelaide heads toward the nine-month mark of exclusive breastfeeding (she’s had some “solids,” but no formula), I’m starting to think about how long we might continue to do it. I’m becoming a breastfeeding advocate while still trying to be considerate of those who make different choices, or are somehow forced to make choices different from their intended goals. Normalizing breastfeeding in our society is not going to happen overnight. It starts and ends with education, with a lot of compassion, support and understanding in between.

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The best part of my day is the half hour or so I get to spend in bed with Adelaide and Tim each morning. Usually Adelaide wakes up around 5:30 or 6:00 am, and I bring her back to bed with me to nurse. I comb my fingers through her hair and can only imagine she finds it as peaceful and comforting as I do when someone does it to me. As she eats, I fall back to sleep and usually she does too.

The alarm clock is set to a local radio morning show. When it pops on, Adelaide startles, pulls her head away from my body and looks around. I hit snooze and we settle for another 9 minutes. When the alarm goes off a second time, we are up for the morning. When Adelaide is done eating, I move her to a seated position. She spies her dad and smiles.  She blows raspberries and grabs at her feet laughing. The click-clack of Hugo’s nails on the hardwood floor startles her again. Her entire body jumps, and she turns toward the bedroom door looking for him. When she sees him, she grins wide and squeals, her arms flail up and down.

As Tim and I regain consciousness, we all cuddle as a family. Tim and I make eye contact and hold the gaze an extra half second. We did this. We created this beauty. Even in our sleep deprived state, we can do nothing but smile at the power she has over us.

I mean, really? How could you not smile waking up to this every morning?

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Big wet snowflakes filled the sky and suctioned to my sunglasses as the wind whipped through me. I pushed Adelaide in her new stroller, and I attempted to sashay up the hill.

“Mini skirt!” our class leader shouted, describing the type of short steps we were to make as we swung our hips. “Right-hand hold only. Punch the sky with your left hand.”

Seven moms with accompanying strollers lined the path behind the art museum in single file. We were passed by bicyclists and joggers, and we must have been quite the sight. Our instructor is Strollercize certified, and we were all taking part in a free Stroller Me Skinny class. The high-speed winds and unexpected snow added to the ridiculousness of the scene.

“Oh. My. God.” I heard a male voice approaching from behind. “You’ve got to be kidding me.”

I knew he was talking about us.

Purposefully overloud he said, “Did I ever tell you I hate children?” As he and his lady friend jogged by us, he said it again, even louder, “Did I ever tell you I hate children?”

I’m sure we did look laughable – privileged white women pushing our babies in fancy jogging strollers as we did lunges and stopped at workout “stations” to do kicks and resistance training. For the serious runner who runs that path every Saturday morning, I’m sure we were annoyingly slow and in the way.  If it had been a few years earlier and I had run across our group, I might have snapped a photo. I might have made fun.

But, for new moms who have a hard time carving out time for themselves, this was a good way to get out of the house and get some exercise while spending time with our babies.  And, no matter how silly we may have looked, it was actually a good workout. I was still sore three days later.

It wasn’t until recently that I’ve started to feel a bit down about my body. I gained around 30 pounds in my pregnancy, and I lost the first 15 pounds right away. I was sure to be easy on myself the first few months. I had just grown a baby, I knew I deserved a break.  But now, it’s 7 months later and I still can’t fit into many pairs of my pants. Tops hug my tummy in unflattering ways they never did before.  I have a hard time getting dressed in the morning because my work wardrobe is especially limited.

I was told that breastfeeding would help melt away the pounds, and maybe it has, but not fast enough for my liking. I know breastfeeding does have that effect for some people. I’ve met at least two women who at just a handful of months postpartum already weighed less than they did pre-baby. One woman I saw recently was as sensitive about her skinniness as most women are about the weight they’ve gained.  “I swear I’m eating!” the woman blurted out in defense when someone commented on how great she looked.

I’ve read in several places that some women’s bodies hang on to the last 10 pounds until after the baby weans completely. “Yeah, don’t count on that one either,” a friend recently warned me.

I’ll be the first to admit that I don’t get much exercise. I walk to the subway for work. I walk the dog every night. I could do more. I have a workout DVD that’s just gathering dust. I’ve heard about streaming free yoga and exercise videos on Netflix Instant, but I haven’t tried it yet. This being a mom thing isn’t easy. It would be nice if people would put their judgments aside, or at least, keep them to themselves.

And for all the other moms out there who aren’t quite happy with their post-baby body, I’m in it with you. Not everyone can have a personal trainer and personal chef on-hand like the celebrity moms we see in the magazines. It’s a struggle for most of us, and it’s okay to talk about it. And it’s okay to make an idiot of yourself in a Stroller Me Skinny class once in a while.

 

This was not my actual class, but add in some wind and snow and this is basically what we looked like when we pulled over at one of the

Photo source

 

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7 months today!

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