Saturday, December 30, 2006

ABCs

Rebecca has two favourite books right now: Dr. Seuss ABCs and Pat the Bunny. The ABC book is #1 and I have read it to her so many times, that I'm sure I could recite it from memory. When I read this book to Rebecca, I sit on the floor with my legs crossed, and she sits in my lap. Sometimes she helps me turn the pages (this is evident to anyone who looks at the book - the F and G pages are somewhat mangled). Rebecca has started carrying the book over to people if she wants them to read it with her. But the best thing is - if I am sitting on the floor and she wants me to read the book to her, she will walk over (book in hand), and sit in my lap - without any prompting or help from me. It's terrific! I love it!

Heads up: New blog name

Hello everyone!
It is our intention to rename the blog. We hope to use the following as our new URL (and there doesn't seem to be a reason why this would not be possible): rebaboo.blogspot.com
We will be implementing this change in the near future.

Rebecca feeds herself spaghetti

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Important Message

Hello everyone!
I just wanted to officially welcome Greg to the blog. Hello honey!
He will be posting too from now on, and adding his thoughts about the stay-at-home-Dad experience.
In light of this, Rebecca and I feel that the blog deserves a new name and address. This change will take place in about two weeks time. I will give a heads up on the new URL.
Thank-you for reading!

Blue steel!

The workplace Christmas pot-luck

My workplace has a culture of its own. It is understood, that on the last day of work before Christmas, people can bring their children to the workplace. So that's what I did on Friday. I brought Becca with me. Unfortunately, this meant nixing the morning nap, but considering she was eye-rubbing in the car on the way to work, her behaviour really didn't suffer all that much. She was definitely on the edge of a meltdown when we left, and her walking had become dangerously uncoordinated, but we escaped in the nick of time. There were a few other children that came in - notably, a 2 year old girl and a 3 year old boy. Rebecca was very interested in the little boy, made a squealing bee-line for him and began to molest him in a friendly way. This intimidated the poor boy who already seemed shy. It was clear quite quickly that she was making him intensely uncomfortable. Ultimately, I had to physically drag Becca away from him. The little girl seemed to be of less interest, except for the fact that she had a toy stroller that Rebecca was keen to claim as her own (just as with the full size ones at home, Rebecca wants to flip them over and look at the wheels). This distressed the little girl, who, being 2, has a comfort and familiarity with sharing about equal to Becca's. At the pot-luck itself, despite having enjoyed a large and nutritious breakfast, Rebecca decided to thieve from my plate. The food was arranged on tables "buffet" style, and I carried the baby in one arm, and my dish in the other. I was ony distracted for a few seconds, but in that time she grabbed a snack-size pita bread in one hand, and a chocolate timbit in the other. By the time I noticed and tried to intervene (to the extent that is possible with your hands full), the timbit was gone. Maybe this seems natural to you - after all, timbits are yummy, but you must understand that Rebecca has never eaten a timbit or a donut before. Her exposure to sweets has been rather limited. How did she know that it was the best thing on my plate?! Then she got timbit-slime all over my clothes and her clothes, while eating the pita. Just another day with a 1 year old. Two things excited Rebecca more than anything on Friday - one was a small punting dog that was at the pot luck. It was dressed up for Christmas and was running around underfoot (all the more so because Rebecca was chasing him, shrieking with delight). The other was my limber coworker who did cartwheels and walked on her hands to entertain Becca. This had her giggling and laughing with delight.
One final thought - people love to interact with babies. Of course, Rebecca was a bit shy when we first arrived, and clung to my legs. But, eventually she warmed up. What is strange is that she seems to naturally gravitate to some people more than others. What makes her decide that one stranger is safe, and another is not? I feel bad when she is not affectionate with everyone, because people actually feel rejected, and for some reason, being rejected by a baby seems to hurt people more. Also odd - people decide for themselves that babies just hate them, and readily accept this as their lot in life. I don't understand. Anyway, there were four people that Rebecca seemed especially fond of on Friday. They were all women - I don't know if that is significant or not. Maybe strange men are scarier for little children? Maybe it's because the women to men ratio where I work is incredibly skewed? Anyhow, she loved our limber girl - naturally, because she made her laugh. She loved my sweet and maternal coworker, because she played with her and has a gentle touch. She loved our pregnant admin support lady - walked right up to her and hugged her legs (I felt particularly happy about that - I suppose it's because I like the idea of sending a message to someone pregnant with their first child that says "look, you are going to be a mommy and what's more you are going to be loved and adored by a little person" or alternatively "you may feel crappy and swollen right now, but just you wait, soon you will be getting hugs from a baby"). And lastly, she liked a girl in my office for no discernible reason - of course, she is very nice, but Rebecca had no way of knowing that - and Becca just went in for the hug while surrounded by a group of people - all of whom would have been keen to receive one. Did they give off the right vibes? Who knows? Do they look like they could be family members? Did they have attributes or mannerisms that reminded Becca of people she already feels comfortable with? Just another mystery.

Friday, December 22, 2006

Heya, start of the stay at home dad era



Well, Mad and I decided I should post to this blog... maybe it should be renamed if I end up posting enough?

Anyway, I've worked out a super sweet one day a week in the office part time work arrangement which allows me to stay home Monday through Thursday with our little pumpkin pop.

There was some stress and uncertainty about my work status (contract vs. employee, rates, etc.) but that mostly got resolved in the last couple days.

She's ridiculously adorable these days. In the last few weeks she's gone from a couple of tentative steps and much furniture cruising to full on walking around the house, getting up without pulling up on an object, carrying two things in her hands, walking backwards, and bending at the waist and picking stuff up. Her transformation into toddlerhood was amazingly quick and coincided well with her first birthday.

I can't remember meeting anyone who smiles and has fun as much as she does in a day. It can be a little exhausting keeping up with her, but amazingly rewarding. She is persistent and sometimes gets into an impish mood where she goes straight from one thing she knows she's not allowed doing to another (opening video cabinets, opening the kitchen garbage, trying to touch the front of the gas fireplace etc. etc. etc). It gets tiring coming up with a hundred different ways to say 'no' without just saying 'no' over and over again.

She's become noticeably more willful as well, getting upset when she doesn't get her way. She's still easy to distract, though. I wonder how long this will last?

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Week two back at work

I am now in my second week back at work. This week is definitely easier. I am beginning to adapt to the new routine, and I'm not so exhausted anymore. It's still hard not to be the one to go to her in the middle of the night. One morning when I left, she heard the door close and she started to cry. That was probably the worst thing that has happened. But, all the same, knowing that Greg is home with Becca makes a huge difference to me. Also, all my new projects are very interesting and keep me busy. I have photos in my cubicle in case I'm feeling blue, and there's always the phone. My bus ride is only about 12 minutes, and the bus comes fairly frequently, so that isn't too terrible. The truth is, I really like my job, and I work with some wonderful people on fascinating issues.
Rebecca got her MMR vaccine last week. Since she's walking now, the shots are in the arms, not the legs. I can only imagine how challenging it was for Greg and the nurse to hold her down. The doctor said her molar should be through soon (fingers crossed). The teething has been bad lately - no teethers really get that far back - so she has her fingers in there all the time.
Rebecca's new tricks - bending at the waist while standing, in order to pick something up (as opposed to just squatting). She has been walking backward since about the time she learned to walk, but apparently that's a little unusual. She is enamoured with hide and go seek type games, or chase-me games. Happily, she seems to eat books less, and will actually sit down by herself and go through a book, babbling away. Of course, she still rips pages, so most books are still off limit (I must repair a few, in fact). She really enjoys being read to - which is a joy for me. I can't imagine having a child that wasn't interested in books. Rebecca is doing a lot of independent play lately. The critical thing for her seems to be having one or both of us in the room, even if we aren't playing with her directly. As far as food goes, feeding success is directly related to how much of the food Rebecca is allowed to feed to herself. She wants the control. Big messes ensue. When she was a tiny baby, a day could have multiple outfits changes because of diaper-type accidents, now, it's usually due to her food redistribution efforts.

Monday, December 11, 2006

First day back at work

Well, it finally happened. My baby turned one. We had a big party, with cupcakes, balloons and many friends. The very next morning, I donned my work clothes and ID badge and headed back to careerland.
Happily, Rebecca is going to be home with Daddy, so that makes the transition easier for all involved. She hardly seems to have noticed my absence at all. I hope this means she will be an emotionally resilient child.
It was weird to spend the day in an entirely different universe. The clothing is different, the activities are different, the people are different. Everything feels just a little bit off - people included, and I have the impression I am playing a dress-up game. I miss my Rebecca.
I have decided to work a "compressed" schedule. By working extra time every day, I eventually get a day off (usually every second Friday). A whole day to spend with Becca in the manner I became so accustomed to. Of course, that made today pretty long. Fortunately, with so much catching up to do and new projects to peruse, I was busy all day long, so I didn't spend too much time pining for the fjords (so to speak). That is how I feel today. It might be different by the end of the week.
The bus ride home is only 15 minutes, which is good because I detest the city bus experience. More incentive to walk home some nights.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Hugs available

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Christmas has arrived in stores

It's true. And it started the day after Hallowe'en. It might seem crass and commercial to you, but for me, it's terrific. Rebecca is thrilled to see all the colourful decorations, the balloons, the videos, the bright lights, and the extra people shopping (already!). For example, our grocery store has been transformed - there is a t.v. display near the entrance, with one of those burning logs videos on - Rebecca likes this. There is a giant pyramid of water bottle crates decorated with festive cookie bags - Rebecca is astounded by this. There are red and green helium balloons near the cheese and meat section, Rebecca tries to steal them.
When I am feeling lazy and take her out shopping in the umbroller to a mall or store, I have to remember to keep her away from stuff she can reach - and boy, does that count for a lot. It can also be challenging to make my way into a store and fit past the displays. That bothers me because the umbroller isn't very large - how would someone in a wheel chair fit? Rebecca almost broke some bottles at the liquor store this week - but frankly, even if I had her in a cart or a large stroller, there would also have been stuff at her level (possibly pricier stuff too).
I have always known that stores do not arrange their merchandise at random. There is a lot of psychology involved (beyond what I presume is common sense choices). This was never so obvious to me as during my most recent grocery expedition. Rebecca was sitting in the cart, and we were waiting while the person ahead of us paid. The person behind us was loading items onto the conveyor belt, so we were essentially trapped. It was then that I heard a noise - the noise of Rebecca grabbing chocolate bars. Rebecca doesn't even eat chocolate bars! I realized that they had been position at the ideal height for a child in a cart to notice them and reach them. With their bright and shiny wrappers, they were an irresistible lure for my baby (wait until she understands what's inside). And what was positioned above them? Dora DVDs. Rebecca may only be 11 months of age, but I already know the power of Dora - why? Not because Becca has ever seen any Dora episodes or things, but because it is the name on the lips of so many children (and their parents). So, the grocery store is evil, if amusingly decked out for the holidays.

Rebecca update: 11 months

It's been awhile since the last post, so I thought I might give a broad update.

Eating - Rebecca continues to display a willingness to try new foods - including beans and flavoured rice. Unfortunately, she still despises my oh-so-healthy baby vegetable paella, and once it's in her mouth, she'll do her best to reverse the situation. This includes sticking her tongue out as far as possible (with food on it), or reaching into her mouth and removing the food with her fingers. As I was warned by my GP, Becca is somewhat disinterested in the eating process of late - unless some aspect of it is entertaining (i.e. unless she is feeding herself). In fact, barring instances where she feels unwell or frightened, she insists on holding bottles for herself (sometimes one-handed), and is now a sippy cup master. We have started introducing homo milk into her bottles along with the formula, so that when we do the switch over, it isn't too traumatic. I don't know if she's even noticed. Certainly, it does not bother her.

Skills - Greg has finally seen Rebecca walk - a whopping 6 steps too! I don't know what it was that happened, but suddenly, Becca has more confidence about her walking, and makes multiple attempts (successful), every day. She still crawls, does a lot of cruising along furniture, and by no means is exclusively walking, but she is somehow less afraid. We don't need to trick her into thinking she is holding on to something - she will go it alone. Rebecca has also acquired the following skills recently: sweeping things out of the way with her hands (specifically toys on the floor) and kicking a soccer ball (she really likes this). It is increasingly difficult to get her to sit in her car seat if she doesn't want to. She is too smart. And her hands are suddenly huge.

Teething - still working on the first molars. It comes in fits and starts, but the last few days have been bad. She is moody, shrieks or cries at random, shoves her fingers in her mouth, and had me up multiple times one night just for cuddles (I literally could not remember the last time she had gotten me up so often - which goes to show how much we take for granted).

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Madeleine has "the crazy" too. Coincindence?
Do you have "the crazy"? Rebecca has "the crazy". It's genetic.
Rebecca wants the camera
Becca with bag
Rebecca - 11 months

Friday, November 10, 2006

The infamous rice krispies experiment
Rebecca posing for the camera (please note - double chin on me is merely an OPTICAL ILLUSION)
Rebecca trying to be friendly with baby Rowan

Thursday, November 9, 2006

The squirrel does not wave back

Rebecca recently decided that baby food is unappealing (bar the very occasional strained beef and vegetable purée), so I have been scrambling to find other foods that she might deem edible.
So far I have had success with the following (fast becoming a respectable gastronomical repertoire):
  • My mom's beef and barley soup (skipping out on the big chunks of beef and the big chunks of carrot - so basically, broth and barley)
  • Zoodles
  • Alphagetties (spelling?!?!)
  • Plastic cheese (i.e. processed cheese slices)
  • Fruit cups where the quality of the fruit is such that the pieces are small and dissolve in your mouth
  • Little pieces of cold cut (ham generally)
  • Small pieces of whole wheat bread (not toasted)
  • Scrambled eggs (sometimes)
  • Mashed banana
  • Rice krispies
  • Cheerios
The usual standbys:
  • Fruit yogurt
  • Baby mum mums
  • Pieces of arrowroot cookie
  • Formula (of course)
  • Infant cereal
Teething of the first molars has made for some long nights. Rebecca cries out in pain a lot and sometimes we find her standing in bed with her fist jammed into her mouth. Is there something worse than seeing your child in pain? If so, I can't imagine what it would be.

Her energy level continues to be just plain crazy. I have a theory that she is stealing energy from me (it would explain so much!) but I have nothing concrete to substantiate my claim.

Rebecca will now cower around my legs when frightened, and will cling extra hard if I am holding her and she becomes scared (for example, when the vaccum is running). She takes a few minutes to warm up to people she hasn't seen in a while, but then is as bubbly, babbling and sociable as usual.

Our neighbourhood has many birds and squirrels. In particular, many black squirrels make their way through our backyard in the course of the day. Lately, Becca and I watch the squirrels because she loves to observe animals and finds it very exciting. She even waves at the squirrel, who blithely continues on his way without returning the greeting.

Wednesday, November 1, 2006

Rice krispies experiment

Rebecca is beginning to show a preference for foods that she can feed herself (unless it's yogurt, which is always welcomed). After many frustrating attempts to feed Rebecca meat purée at supper, I decided to let her try feeding dry rice krispies to herself. We started with a bowl, but she seemed inclined to just dump it, so instead, I poured rice krispies onto her highchair tray. Although many rice krispies ultimately arrived at locations other than her mouth, she had great joy in scooping them up with her hands and shoving them in her gaping maw. I never had to worry about choking - she seems to handle the cereal quite well (if not gracefully). And she was very happy. Of course, now the floor is crunchy, and I am finding rice krispies just about everywhere. Who cares though! (Are you reading this Mom?). Actually, what was the best moment was when Rebecca decided to feed rice krispies to me by shoving some in my mouth. They say imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. (To be honest, in the compliments department, nothing beats the little trick-or-treater who came by and said the house smelled good - a ringing endorsement for my curry if every there was one).

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Teething and the world of sensation

So, we are fairly certain that Rebecca is teething again. Poor little thing. It's horrible to see her so unhappy. And with these first molars, most of the teething rings don't go in far enough - so it's teething biscuits (thank-you Mom).
As the day of my return to the workplace fast approaches, I have been reflecting on how my life will be different. Perhaps it seems like an odd thing to say, but I will miss all the sensations that I have access to here at home with Rebecca. For example, I can go outside virtually whenever I please and smell the fresh air. I can wear comfy clothing and sing silly songs to the baby. I can cuddle with Rebecca multiple times in a day for as long as she is interested. I can change the temperature of my environment. I can play music. I can eat whatever appeals to me from the fridge. I can crawl on the floor with the baby. I can be loud or quiet. I can have a midday nap. I can be aware of the time of day and the season. Each day begins when it begins, and ends when it ends, and I don't have to try to make them all the same. Some are good, some are bad, but we always get to laugh - every single day. And of course, I get to marvel at how Rebecca is changing, and I get to be part of her day. No problem seems insurmountable, and I go to sleep at night knowing that I am making a big important difference to her life.

Friday, October 27, 2006

Happy pigtails girl! (NB - pigtails on top of head because the hair on the sides is still too short).
Why is Mommy interrupting my viewing of Miss Piggy?

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Baby Mum Mums

Kudos to my uncle who recommended Baby Mum Mums to me. This post is my tribute to the snack that Rebecca adores.

What are they?
They are rice rusks.

What is a rusk? (frankly, I didn't know until I looked it up)
Rusk = (1) A light, soft-textured sweetened biscuit; (2) Sweet raised bread dried and browned in an oven.

I became afraid of giving Rebecca cookies after some nasty gagging instances. Most baby cookies dissolve and then break into large chunks. Not so the baby mum mum. Baby mum mums have the melt-in-your-mouth quality of a communion wafer, but unlike said wafer, taste sweet and nothing like cardboard (I suppose the downside is that baby mum mums are not blessed).

At any rate, I lay a sizeable piece on my hand (with a flat hand in the manner of feeding a horse), and she picks it up with her index and thumb. Then, she actually crunches it (which is incredibly cute). The best part is, I am encouraging her to master chewing, but I am not stressing over the risk of choking.

Monday, October 23, 2006

Golly googly dog dog

That's the best approximation of the sounds Rebecca has been making lately.
Just in the past week, the variety of words sounds she produces has drastically increased. Who knows the reason why. It's pretty funny to listen to, and sounds more like real language. Right now, language would be nice, but it's fairly easy to determine her mood from intonations and behaviour anyway.
Rebecca has also begun to shake her head back in forth (à la "no"), but it doesn't seem to mean "no". I have no idea what it means. The mystery continues!
Rebecca has repeated her walking feat - again, only a few steps, but doesn't appear to be overly anxious to ramp things up. Fine by me!

Monday, October 16, 2006

Tiny steps

Rebecca walked on the weekend. Just three little steps, but she did it. It's amazing, not too surprising, and yet to be repeated.
We went to our last Fitmom and Baby class today. The timing is ideal, because it became obvious to me during the class that Rebecca is just too mobile to allow me to get my hour of exercise. I spent a lot of time chasing after her so that she didn't claw out the eyes of the other babies.
Because they can't all be pictures of Becca concentrating
If you go out in the woods today...
Child labour: Start early! Here, Rebecca demonstrates the swivel action of the Swiffer.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

The most common question

These days, I hear a lot of questions about my feelings on returning to work (naturally). The big day - December 11th, is fast approaching, even though it might seem otherwise.
I think my feelings are pretty typical - completely divided!
Of course, I am happy about the prospect of engaging in the grown-up world and reconnecting with my career. I am excited by the idea of new projects and challenges, and looking forward to seeing my coworkers again. I am curious about the latest development in the workplace and in my field.
But, I know this all means leaving my Rebecca behind. Happily, I will be leaving her with her Daddy, so I won't have to worry about her being loved and cuddled enough during the day. Nevertheless, now I worry that I won't make the best use of the time I have left, or that I've wasted the time I've had. I worry that it will be unbearably painful to be separated from her, and that my work life will not be able to make it endurable, or that I won't be able to perform well in my career because I'd rather be elsewhere. I worry that she won't be as close to me, and that I will miss out on lots of important moments. Of course I will miss some important moments - it would be illogical to believe otherwise. But at least my spouse will be there to witness them and relate them to me.
I guess this is maybe a little taste of what Greg sometimes feels like right now. I am sure that it is just as hard to be a working daddy as to be a working mommy, but I'm not convinced men always get credit for the emotional toll it must make on them.
At least my return to work is just before Christmas, so I have a more gentle return to the working world, and I can look forward to some special days with Becca.

Coffee shop baby

I met with a friend at Bridgehead today. She has a newborn - under 6 weeks old. It makes it clear to me that Rebecca is entering an awkward and inconvenient stage.
It was hard when Becca was very little because her diaper changes and feedings were required every two hours, so I couldn't go anywhere for long. But, she was easy to transport and didn't weigh too much. Then, when she mastered head control, life was a little easier, and we didn't worry as much about her suffocating in her bed or suffering accidental whip lash or what have you. Changes and feedings spaced out, and poo was a daily or twice daily occurence rather than a constant. When Rebecca mastered rolling over, I stopped worrying about SIDS, and I reduced my checks to see if she had died in her sleep. But, now I began to worry about her mobility on the floor and the change table. When she began to crawl, I began to run after her. When she began to climb and stand and cruise between objects, I entered a time when I really knew what running was (no doubt when she walks, I will laugh at this statement). When she began to vocalize loudly, my reception by strangers upon entering a public place changed too. Isn't she cute became isn't she loud. Now, I have a baby who eat meals at regular meal times, has two major predictable naps (morning and afternoon), is changed a handful of times a day, the only thing she can't do is walk, but she is highly motivated to try, and to explore, and squirm. She doesn't want to be confined, is bored by just sitting strapped in a chair (toys be damned) and is not afraid to express it. In short, she is no longer an easy coffee shop baby.
Where to now?

Becca: Career Options

Rebecca is now 10 months old.

I have to go back to work in 2 months time. Holy crap.

My breakfasts are morphing into bigger versions of what I'm trying to feed her - today - plain whole wheat toast and mushy banana. I am trying to help her overcome a very strong gag reflex, because we can't have purée forever. So far, banana is o.k., but toast crumbs detectable with the naked eye are apparently insufferable.
But... to return to the title topic - Rebecca is exploring career options in dentistry and dermatology. I know, it's a little precocious, but she seems hellbent on sticking her hand in the mouths of others, and touching tongues, teeth and gums. Perhaps her own evolving dentition is to blame. Who's to say? As for dermatology, well... she wants to remove my moles. I am a freckled person - I have many dark freckles and marks and some raised moles on my skin. Rebecca is intrigued by these and attempts to remove them with her little pincers. Needless to say, this is painful, but since she goes after those on my neck and upper chest (when I'm holding her), it is difficult to stop her.
Becca's most recent fascination is crawling under things. Note: she attempts to do so whether said objects are big enough for her to crawl under or not. Her determination is quite winning, and definitely keeps me on my toes. She is now adept at reaching for items which have rolled under things. Still no walking though (thank-you!).

Monday, October 2, 2006

Tooth #8 and scary noises

Rebecca got tooth #8 on the weekend, so next up: first molars.
This age, so I have read, marks the peak of separation anxiety. Rebecca definitely seeks me out in moments of distress, and furthermore, can create moments of distress due to my absence. Most recently, her aversion to certain sounds seems more like fear. I believe I have previously reported her extreme dislike of the vaccuum cleaner noise - well, she is now equally frightened by the blender. I have a relatively new blender (a wonderful shower baby shower gift), so it's not incredibly noisy or anything like that. But somehow, it is distressing to my baby. It'll be after-hours purée-making from now on. She is also somewhat afraid of Lily the frog - a cute little toy who sings numbers, and which previously did not engender any unhappiness in Rebecca. She becomes remarkably wary and clingy when Lily is activated. I don't know why this should be the case. She has many toys which make sounds, but I suppose this is the only one with a human voice which looks like it could be alive.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Books - not just for eating anymore!

As of this week, Rebecca is officially interested in books beyond gnawing and ripping them. I admit, I had been wondering when reading to her would begin to seem like more than an act of futility - but suddenly, she sits quietly in my lap with rapt attention. What is going on? This is not to say that there aren't incidents of book in mouth, but she is definitely listening to the words and looking at the pictures.
Initially, I tried reading all sorts of books to her as part of her bedtime ritual and also sporadically throughout the day. She was interested in grabbing and them, and touching them, eating them, and slobbering on them. I guess babies have to reach a certain developmental stage to be able to appreciate books. We started with soft ones, then moved to board books, and I'm hoping that once we get past the oral fixation stage (or whatever it may actually be called), we can enjoy paper books without worrying about collateral damage.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Fish face

Yesterday, Rebecca acquired a new facial expression - fish face. It's exactly what you might imagine from the description - she sucks in her cheeks and makes a classic fish face. This is often when I try to feed her something she doesn't like, but it is not exclusive to mealtimes.
It's hard to remain serious when someone makes this face at you. I will do my best to capture it on film, but I'll have to be like lightning.
Becca makes a routine check to see if we are paying attention
Winter is just around the corner - Hooray!
Happiness is grandparents

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Tooth 7 and waving

Finally, tooth #7 is out. It's just not as exciting as at the beginning. And certainly, watching Rebecca suffer through gum pain is not getting any easier (although we are getting better at reading her cues).
Becca is now learning to wave goodbye to people. Greg is convinced that the first time was last night, when she bade farewell to our friend Terri. She also waved to my parents this morning.
I'm trying Rebecca out on some purées that I made in August (fear not, I froze them). At the time, she despised some of them. Now, it seems she loves them. I'm glad I kept the food, especially since so much time and effort went in to making the purées. I am gratified that her tastes have evolved. Today she had beginner dhaal, so perhaps at some future date, she will be ready for curry.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

The Mommy Dichotomy

It's capitalized so it must be important!
I just wanted to share a recent observation of mine. It isn't anything particularly wise, inspired or novel, but I think it bears discussing all the same.
Sometimes, as a mommy, one can feel invisible. Naturally, babies take centre stage, but on occasion, it is challenging (especially afloat in the somewhat unnatural world of mat leave), to fade into the background and be quite secondary.
Especially because...
Back at home, you are alone with someone who perceives you in a manner which is exactly the opposite! To your baby, you are everything. They are totally dependent on you, and you are their ultimate focus. You don't have a moment to yourself, and you know that your very presence can sometimes mean the difference between happiness and misery. It's a lot of pressure.
Moving from one extreme to the next can be mentally and emotionally exhausting.
So, a big thank-you to the givers of much needed TLC, neutral attention and caffeinated or sugar-laden consumables!

Cute things she does

1. Steals clothes from her own clothes hamper and cuddles with them in her crib
2. Holds my thumbs when I'm clapping my hands, and "helps" me
3. Uses an upturned laundry basket to motor around the hardwood
4. Basically everything

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Tooth #6 is out!

Not much more to say than that, although it looks like 7 and 8 aren't far behind.
Also, took Rebecca out in the stroller in some cold weather outerwear - a cute kushies bear suit. I hope to photograph it soon!

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Another puppet shot. Note the empty stacking toy post on the floor of the playpen. The playpen is currently popular with Rebecca because she can practise standing and letting go without hitting the hardwood.
Rebecca has a love of puppets. It is a godsend. I need many tricks as a Mommy.
Rebecca with her Daddy
Rebecca with her Mommy (it's the first time I've noticed that her eyes are a truer blue than mine).
Rebecca in the outfit Liz got her in Vietnam (please note the red stacking ring in her hand).

Stacking toy

I finally got Becca a traditional stacking toy. You know the one - yellow post, big blue ring, green ring, yellow ring, orange ring, small red ring.

She will not stack with it.

This is what she will do:
  1. Bang the rings together
  2. Suck on the post/see how far it will go in her mouth
  3. Chew on the rings
  4. Crawl across the floor with rings in her hands
  5. Unscrew the post from the base (?!?! I didn't even know it unscrewed until she did it)
  6. Hit rings when I spin them
  7. Turn a fully stacked toy upside down so that all the rings fall off

9 month checkup

Rebecca weighs 19.9 lbs, is 2'5", and is still above average for height and weight. Thankfully, there were no immunizations this time! Rebecca got to sit on the scale and was greatly intrigued by a poster depicting a row of chubby babies (enough so to enable an accurate measurement - I guess that's why the poster is there). She successfully grabbed the stethescope at least twice, and tried to eat the crinkly paper on the patient table.
I haven't posted recently because I have been dealing with Becca's alter ego- Cranky Baby (tm). This is not to say that she doesn't have her joyous moments - she certainly does. It's just that she's been especially crabby and clingy lately, and doesn't like not getting her way. I blame teething. It's been very intense these past few days, and there has been an increased incidence of spit up (something I haven't seen for many moons), and an unwillingness to drink from a bottle (despite obvious hunger). Sometimes Tempra is not enough to ease her suffering. It is difficult to watch her go through this. I've come to realize that she is actually teething four incisors at once. It would make me crabby too.
I was under the impression that only her next two top incisors were emerging, but a trip to the grocery store proved me wrong. I had Rebecca on the change table yesterday, and as she laughed, I noticed the telltale signs of an emerging tooth on the top gum. Basically, when it's near to breaking through, it is inflammed and the centre resembles the middle of a chancre sore (sort of clear). So, here I was merrily expecting to be the proud mommy of a 5 tooth baby. Later that day, Rebecca started to pitch a fit in the Gatorade aisle - I guess teething snail just wasn't up to snuff - so I do what I normally do when she becomes unhappy at Loblaws, I run with the cart while making strange noises and faces. It worked (albeit temporarily), but as she opened her maw to guffaw, I noticed the top of a new tooth on the bottom?!?! I already had my 5 tooth baby. It looks as though she is bringing in the incisors right to left instead of top to bottom or bottom to top.
Credit where credit is due: Please note - the following attractive pictures of Rebecca: Rebecca at breakfast time and Rebecca with slobber dinosaur, were taken by my sister, and not by Greg or myself. The picture of Rebecca outside was taken by my friend Terri.
On the weekend, Greg and I had our first parent/baby social encounter. After our running clinic, we went out for breakfast with another Fitmom couple and their adorable son. It was lots of fun, and Rebecca is quite happy in a social situation. We even shared the miraculous vibrating teether. I'm still not sold on play-groups. I think I socialize Becca enough.
Rebecca recently had her first ride on a swing at the park in the neighbourhood I grew up in. She seemed indifferent. Actually, her main focus was Samantha (Sammy), the daughter of a family friend. Sammy is about one year older than Rebecca, and is therefore an object of fascination.

Friday, September 1, 2006

Retro-Rebecca (from December) - some times it's interesting to look back
Rebecca at breakfast time
Rebecca with slobber dinosaur
Rebecca outside

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Kitty cats!

Rebecca is fascinated by felines. Really - the sight of a kitty cat fills her with shrieking glee. In return, I think the kitty cats are filled with trepidation. Becca chased after friend cats recently, desperate to touch them and determined to watch them. Is this somehow related to her love of puppets? Is there something especially intriguing for babies about small, animated creatures?

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Crawling 2.0

Increasingly, Rebecca crawls without using her knees. It's all about the hands and feet now. To do so, she must turn her feet slightly sideways. I think it's an omen.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Rebecca REALLY enjoys her first arrowroot cookie while sitting on Nanny's lap.
Rebecca enjoys her first arrowroot cookie

Tooth #4 is out!

Finally - after five days and nights of an episodically unhappy little baby, the fourth tooth has emerged. Rebecca is also 8 months old today. I'm having difficulty accepting how quickly time is passing, but I suppose that is simply the nature of things. When I was small, a half hour seemed like an eternity. Now, it goes by in a heartbeat. Of course, if they were selling free half hours, I would be at the front of the line with a handful of cash. I have no time.
I used to have a handheld electronic game. In this game, you are working in a greenhouse, trying desperately to safeguard your plants against herbivorous insects. The longer you play, the faster and more numerous the insects. You are armed with a can of DDT (uh oh) and must spritz the caterpillars once and the spiders twice (of course). No matter how proficient you become, ultimately, you will reach a point of failure because there is just too much going on. Of course, that's what makes the game exciting - just before you capitulate, you feel like you are operating at your maximum ability. Hmmm. I am not trying to say that I am about to lose my greenhouse plants. My point is something more along the lines of - being surprised by how far you can stretch and recover (do not try this with a metal slinky).

Tuesday, August 8, 2006

Rebecca's standing trick
Rebecca: Social Butterfly

Triple Projectile Vomit in Fitmom class

No, it isn't all roses and sunshine in Mommyland.
Sometimes your baby covers you in hot, foul, colourful vomit when you are wearing shorts and a tank top designed to wick up moisture. Sometimes you have to return home with a bag full of puke drenched baby wipes. Sometimes you have to go allow that same spew-machine devour 9 oz of formula in one sitting even if you may be simply refueling the barf engine.
But she's asleep at the end of the car ride. You can pick her up and carry her to her bed, and the whole way, she snuggles into you and holds on as if you are the entire world.

Monday, July 31, 2006

Right upper central incisor

A night of pure hell yielded the long-anticipated right upper central incisor. The left is close behind.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

High mobility

Rebecca is a baby on the move! Basically, she can go wherever she wants at unsettling speed (usually towards an item which is not baby friendly). Last week she began pulling herself up to standing using whatever is at hand (a couch, a playpen, me). I have a feeling that she will walk early, just like I did. I walked at 9 months... that's not too far away. I'm not ready!
Sleep continues to be a problem, but Greg and I have agreed to crack down on Becca. It's hard when she is clearly teething, but... sleep deprivation is a strong motivator. I can see the whiteness of the new teeth just below the gum, but nothing has broken through yet. I give it a handful of days, and then we'll have a baby with upper and lower teeth (all the better to bite with).
Anyhow, back to the sleep question... step 1 is re-eliminating night feeding. No more feeding after midnight (she's like Gizmo that way). There are enough madcap adventures around here as it is. That's not too bad. And no picking up the baby - very hard. Actually, to be honest, she will sleep decent amounts of time, and nap very well, it's just that she doesn't want to adopt a reasonable time of day to do these things. I think that is the chief problem. She's a night owl by nature and it's hard to make her change her natural inclinations. Nevertheless, it is also hard to gleefully play with Rebecca in the wee hours of the morning. So, she will just have to adapt (gradually and gently of course).

Thursday, July 6, 2006

Scary developments

This week (so far), Rebecca has both successfully crawled and sat up on her own.
I am scared. There are still boxes and junk everywhere.
The crawling... well, she only mastered the arms because she was reaching for something. She hasn't reproduced it yet, but Greg thinks it should still count. Not that she doesn't already get everywhere she wants by rolling and inching. She decides she wants something and then away she goes! Unfortunately, because of her interest in things that hang and dangle (hair, curtains, jewelry etc.), this means that when the breeze blows the curtains on her window, she attempts to escape from the change table - no matter what the diaper situation may be, via attempts at contortions over the edge of the table.
The sitting up I discovered when I went to fetch a crying Becca from her room. I walked in and discovered a cranky baby sitting in the middle of her bed. Uh oh. This particular feat has subsequently been demonstrated for me by Rebecca (and this is the part that is cause for concern). When she wants to sit up, she: (1) rolls onto her belly, (2) assume the crawling start position (all fours), (3) raises her ass in the air and fully or almost fully extends her legs, (4) walks her hands back towards her feet, (5) eases her butt down onto the ground, using her hands to support her. As Greg pointed out, this is very close to manoeuvers required for the w-word. Ack! She also has a few other sitting up methods - one involving pushing herself up with one hand from lying on her side, and the other involving pulling herself up using (1) my clothes, (2) immobile objects.
Finally, Rebecca used to be a good sleeper. Actually, when it comes to naps, she is still an excellent sleeper. But now, we are encountering major night time issues (only at bedtime!!!) that seem to stem from separation anxiety (from me in particular). She hasn't really bonded to anything but her blankie, but this bonding seems to be more of a "getting to sleep" type bonding, and not a "semi-adequate replacement for Mommy" type bonding. She is clearly tired, giving all her tired cues, but she fights off sleep and is quite distressed if I leave her. Why she isn't upset at nap time is beyond me. On top of this, there is still teething to deal with and big changes like the house, and trying new foods. All this to say, it has been very challenging lately. Once she does get to sleep, she can still go for 7 or 8 hours. But the thing is, at this age, she should get 11-12 with no interruptions, easy peasy.
I almost forgot - Becca has discovered that the famous "baby in the mirror" of whom she is so enamoured, also lives in the glass on the fireplace. Phew.
Well, I can hear the pounding on the crib, so nap time must be finished.

Thursday, June 29, 2006

New trick and a legitimate feeding success story

Rebecca's new trick is removing wipes from the wipe dispenser. She displayed this ability during clean-up of a macro poo, and then attempted to eat the wipe. I must start shackling her to the change table - it's the only way.
In marked contrast to yesterday, I had a day 2 feeding experience that actually worked. Sweet potato! She devoured an entire serving. It was like carrots all over again. Must be simply that orange fleshed foods agree with her.
We have definitely embarked on teething of the upper incisors. No rest for the wicked.

Ho ho ho: Green Vomit

It appears that my assessment of Rebecca's liking for green peas was extremely premature.

I was attempting day 2 of green peas when Rebecca made a mild yucky face. Undeterred, I continued to offer her spoonfuls, which she ate (if not with gusto). I was reflecting on how cute she looked in her white romper and how nice it was that there was something else she might consent to consume.
Suddenly, she paused. Her face turned a little red. Then...
Torrents of white and green vomit erupted from her mouth in a gushing stream that had to be seen to be believed. This first onslaught was followed by a second and equally revolting geiser of what I can only assume was a vile combination of formula, oatmeal from breakfast, applesauce from breakfast and undisgested green pea purée.
Understandably, I was quite distressed by this event. Rebecca, on the other hand, happily laughed and jabbered at me, as I began to mop up the floor.
There was vomit on the floor, on her clothes, on her hands, in every nook and cranny of the highchair, and most unfortunate of all (because the high chair was in a reclined position), down the back of her diaper.
We then had an impromptu bathtime, after which she had a nap.
I disassembled the highchair to find all the pockets of liquid. It was as though I was on some sort of foul easter egg hunt.
It will be a long time before we try the green peas again.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

New surroundings and baby bum momentum

We have moved to our new house, and so far Becca seems to be adapting rather well. The first few nights were a little hairy, but now things appear to be improving. Her new room is significantly larger than the last one, which is wonderful because things don't feel so cramped and I can actually spread a blanket on the floor for her to play on.
Naturally, we are still in the unpacking process. I am scrambling to get things sorted because I anticipate that our pudgy pumpkin will be on the move soon. There is a lot of childproofing to be done!
She has started to make pre-crawling moves. AAAAHHH!
This behaviour began a few days before our move day, and followed swiftly on the heels of a new habit of sleeping on her knees with her butt in the air. She is in a crawling position (that is to say - on her hands and knees with her body off the floor), and begins to rock back and forth. There is so much power in the movement, that you could almost be convinced she might suddenly launch herself forward into the air like a rolly polly rocketship.
I have to keep my eye on her all the time. She is a monkey! She wants everything and wants to go everywhere.

Scale of food preferences (so far)...

From most liked to least liked (based on facial expressions and willingness to consume):

1. Carrots
2. Rice cereal
3. Oatmeal cereal
4. Green peas
5. Barley cereal
6. Apples (Ida Red variety)
7. Banana
8. Kiwi

All fruit and vegetables are puréed. Rebecca is willing to happily consume apples if they are mixed with carrots.
Is there a pattern here? None that I can discern.
I do worry that the natural variation in carrot flavour might make the carrot phenomenon difficult to reproduce. We shall see!
Next up: sweet potatoes!

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Apples: Rejection

I guess I better start investing in the carrot industry.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Tooth #2 and Bababababa

The next tooth is just peeking through the gum today. Hopefully there will be an improvement in Rebecca's drooling and mood, but I have been told that the teeth come in quick succession. To clarify, tooth #1 isn't even all the way out yet. It's a slow process. Ugh.
In new news, as of last night, Rebecca has been making repeat sounds , such as "bababababa", "ninindindin", "mamamamama" and other random word-part sounds. It makes it all the more distressing when she cries because it sounds like she is trying to say something.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Becca's "yucky" face

So.. kiwis were not a hit.
In fact, Greg and I had the opportunity to witness Rebecca's "yucky" face for the first time. It's hard to keep a straight face when she's that cute, but I try to respect her expression of feelings.
I guess this means I will be having kiwi shakes with my breakfast.
Later in the day, Rebecca tried to steal the apple I was eating. Maybe because I was eating it? Maybe because it made a crunchy sound? Who knows? She is quite persistent. I guess I will have to make apple mush next.
Things have been a little rough in the past week. Rebecca went through her 6 month growth spurt, which was manifested by a marked increase in food consumption and grouchiness. At the same time, teething pain has increased (I think she is working on the second tooth), and much cuddle therapy has been in order (that part would be better if she wasn't obviously suffering). For the first time ever, Becca has appeared to give a damn about her teething snail. She gnawed on it for a good half hour the other night, despite a previous disdain for it. She continues to favour the hard body over the soft shell (the opposite of what was intended, I am sure).
Mad-eye Maddy parenting tip for 6 month olds: CONSTANT VIGILANCE!!! Seriously. I'm starting to share one of Rebecca's afternoon naptimes, because she is such an energy sapper.

Monday, June 19, 2006

As you can see, carrots make Rebecca happy. Note her grip on the spoon. She isn't the most refined of diners, but she is enjoying expanding her palate.

Carrots!

Rebecca has embarked on the interesting solid food journey. I decided to start with carrots, despite earlier notions to begin with bananas.
Becca loves carrots. It doesn't matter what kind of day she has had, she always has room for her carrots (lovingly prepared by yours truly with the use of my delightful blender). It's been four days of carrots so far, and there does not appear to be any adverse reaction. It's also a more cheery colour than barley, and the consistency makes it easier to clean up.
Unlike banana purée, I can freeze the carrot food in portion sizes and keep it for three months. Bananas last about one day in the fridge. A whole banana freezes well, but the mush... is a different story.
Tomorrow is kiwi!

Friday, June 16, 2006

Chop-chop

I forgot to mention in my last post, that I have shorn several inches off my hair. I grew tired of Rebecca pulling out fistfuls. According to my hairdresser, it is one of the most common reason a woman with long hair will have it cut short.

Monday, June 12, 2006

Six month checkup and the Cinderella story continues

I took Rebecca in for her six month checkup today. She weighs 18 lbs, and is 2'4". Becca boo is bigger than average - no surprise. She is now only 1lb lighter than my youngest cousin who is 2.5 years of age. This marked the final round of the diptheria/tetanus/pertussis/polio/pneumo/fluB shots. She tolerated things fairly well, and didn't seem to blame me for the suffering. The more intelligent she gets, the more challenging it is to interact with her. She figures things out - it's eerie. Last week, my sister was over for dinner. There is a star which I hung from the handle of our fancy dish-containing cupboard. Rebecca decided that she wanted the star. I took it away. She tried to get it back. I took it off the door knob of the cupboard, and threw it inside. I closed the door of the cupboard. Rebecca then proceeded to open the door of the cupboard to get at the star. There was a time when hiding the star in the cupboard would have made it vanish from Rebecca's universe. Clearly, this is no longer the case. Ultimately, I had to take her away from the cupboard. In a similar vein, Rebecca now understands that the second shot of vaccine is coming when she sees the needle, and she realizes that it is going to hurt just as much. And now, she has the strength to reinforce her protests with kicking. Even keeping her hands away from ... well, everything, was challenging. I successfully intercepted her attempt to remove the glasses and stethescope of our lovely GP. They thought Rebecca was very social and curious for her age. Uh oh... how do I properly stimulate a very social person?!?! I haven't the foggiest.
After reading in a magazine that it is important that children have toys of the proper developmental stage, I rushed out to the mall and acquired yet another toy for Rebecca. Apparently for 6 month olds, you want things that: can be stacked, are in primary colours, simulate objects that babies see their parents using (for imitative play), display cause and effect (i.e. you touch it and it makes a noise or what have you). Anyhow, I returned how with a baby bongo drum that lights up and make sounds when you hit it. I like to play with it when Rebecca takes a nap.
It is difficult not to buy into the intellectual stimulation hype that surrounds baby toys. There are so many "developmental" toys out there, most of which, while they do not directly promise to promote precocious mental growth, insinuate or suggest that they do (despite a derth of evidence that any toys can do so). No one wants their babies to be "left behind", nor do they want to be responsible for stifling a potential budding genius.
Whatever. I prefer not to encourage the exploitation of whatever low level insecurities I might be harbouring. Parents (for the most part) want to give the best to their children. Clearly, parental perfection is not achievable, and I'm not going to pour the contents of my savings account into the pockets of some toy manufacturer to try to convince myself otherwise.
This is why Baby Einstein rakes in the cash. Clearly, it isn't all "nature", but I think there are limitations on what "nurture" can do.
No more quotations marks for the rest of this post.
Next vaccinations aren't until 12 months of age (gasp!), but there is a 9 month checkup in September (gas!). My time in this mystical fantasy world is slipping through my fingers. O.k., not everything is giggly butterflies and smiling hearts, but mat leave it is like being a castaway on a different planet (one that is eerily similar to your home planet). The clock it ticking, halfway to pumpkin time. So I'm going to make the most of it while it lasts!

Saturday, June 10, 2006

The death of the old social life... does a new one rise to take its place?

There were lots of things I was told before I had the baby. One of those things was that my social life would be forever changed. That seemed obvious. They said we would spend more time with other couples who had babies - clearly that has not occurred. Before we got married, I was also told that getting married would result in more time spent with other married couples. This is simply not true.
But I realized something last night at 3am when I was tending to my crying baby. Greg and I aren't Friday nigh or Saturday night people anymore. We used to regularly socialize with friends on evenings during the weekend. Things don't get started until at least 7:30pm and go into the wee hours of the morning. But now - we put Rebecca to bed at 8:30pm, and we don't get to sleep in. Going to something that starts 7:30pm or later is just too late for us (on top of the fact that something it can take a good chunk of time to assemble Becca's gear for going somewhere). For special occasions, we are willing to disrupt her sleep, but hauling her over regularly to someone else's home where people will be noisy and animated when she needs to be settling down, just isn't good for her. It's a little different taking her to grandparents homes - because they understand when we duck out early. Then again, anything we do with them starts in the afternoon. You can't duck out early if you just got there - what would be the point? The alternative is one of us going off to socialize and leaving the other plus baby behind, but clearly, that isn't too appealing.
Our social life has been morphing before our eyes but we've been too tired and busy to notice. Because most of the members of our social circle do not have children, they still get to socialize in the late night way. We're the odd ones out. When you've been friends for people for decades, you don't worry about them disappearing from your life, but you do wonder what the new social life will look like. I suppose it's the way the cookie crumbles. You do wonder if others can really understand why you keep opting out of things (hopefully yes).
Of course, it is possible for us to socialize at night if people come to our house, but as we are in the midst of preparing to move, we don't have the greatest locale for entertaining. Besides, all our friends with huge brand spanking new houses and no anklebiters like to host things.
Having a young baby means every day is different. My life is all about flexibility and change. Making promises about the timing of stuff or being reliable is really challenging. Rebecca always comes first - it's the way it should be, but it doesn't mean I think other pursuits or people are second fiddle. My time is accounted for in more ways than when I did not have the baby and was working. When I have spare time, I feel the weight of opportunity cost more than ever before. My top choices is often sleep or spending time with Greg.

Friday, June 9, 2006

First Tooth!

The first tooth has finally emerged! Rebecca's front right (her right) lower central incisor has poked through (although it is not all the way "up" yet).
This may explain her strange behaviour this week - very fussy and cranky, low on appetite, and high on sleep. The other lower central incisor looks as though it will appear any day now... we shall see.
Becca and the butterfly #1
Becca and the butterfly #2
Baby skin is (supposedly) five times thinner than our own, so it's critical that they be well protected from the sun.
Rebecca is ready for summer!

Interacting with nature

On Tuesday, I took Rebecca to see her paternal grandparents, who have a lovely home in Cascades, QC. It was a hot and sunny day, and we were enjoying the breeze on the balcony/patio, when I spied a large butterfly. I took several pictures before it flew away. The beating of its wings while it perched on the flowers, captivated Rebecca. Later, good fortune turned our way, and another giant butterfly entered the gazebo and landed on the mesh wall. My father-in-law was able to take some fantastic pictures of Becca gazing at the butterfly.

The playgroup experience

Yesterday Rebecca and I tried out a free playgroup run by the community centre. Unfortunately, perhaps due to the fact that it is summer, there were only two other children there. One was 5 or 6 years of age, and the other was 10 or 11 months of age. We stayed for about 45 minutes, and most of the time, Rebecca played with toys. There was a snack time and story time, but Rebecca couldn't eat the snack, and seemed disinterested in the story. She did enjoy hearing singing by the friendly and personable lady who was running the playgroup. While Rebecca clearly enjoyed observing the other children at play, she wasn't motivated to interact with them. Perhaps there were too many new things for her to confront at the same time. Maybe Becca is just too young for a playgroup, and I should focus on having her interact with familiar children like her cousins or the children of family friends. Besides, I was bored out of my skull. I realized I would find it torturous when my first watch check occured only twelve minutes after arriving.
Some day care facilities share the same building that houses the playgroup. When I was changing Rebecca at the change station, there was an elaborate cubby system for the diapers of day care babies. Each cubby contained specific diapers and supplies and was labeled with a piece of masking tape upon which the child's name was written in marker. I found it amusing that one of the children was name after an obscure video game character (Yunalesca), from one of my favourite game series (Final Fantasy). Of course - I was the one to recognize the name, so what does that say about me?

Thursday, June 1, 2006

The Stars and Strollers Experience

Today I finally decided to try out "Stars and Strollers". It is a programme whereby parents can attend movies with baby in tow. The lights are dimmed, the sound is lowered, and "appropriate" movies are shown (by appropriate, I mean, not too noisy, loud, or interesting). The reason I waited so long to investigate, is because in general, the movie offerings are so poor that it didn't seem worthwhile. But today they were playing the DaVinci Code, so I gave it a whirl. The showings are always on Thursday afternoons at 1PM. This suits me just fine - hottest part of the day, and I'm in A/C comfort. Also, the cinema is dead (beyond the baby-toting mamas - and one or two dads), and the prices are matinee rate. The staff are courteous and helpful! (I have never had this occur at the theatre before!). A diaper change area is set up just outside the theatre. It is big enough for multiple babies, and provides hand sanitizer, wipes and diapers in a wide variety of sizes. There is also a stroller parking zone (they can't be left in the aisles because it constitutes a fire hazard). Some Moms seemed upset about that because they planned on letting their babies sleep in the strollers. Rebecca was very interested in all the babies around her. In fact, it was such a big distraction, that I had a very hard time getting her to eat or sit still. In the middle of the film, she managed to sleep, but there were a few occasions where I had to walk her out, or over to the side. That's o.k. because at any given moment during the movie, there were babies on the floor, on the side, at the change area, sleeping, feeding or bawling. When Rebecca cried, no one turned to give us the stare (the stare that people without babies all aim at you when your baby makes a peep in a public place). I think that this particular choice of film was not the best initiation for Becca. At 2.5 hours, the movie was too long for her to endure. So as far as a return to stars and strollers is concerned, I will have to investigate the selections a little more closely before making a decision.

Monday, May 29, 2006

Rebecca looks like her Daddy.
Rebecca isn't camera shy!

Becca update - expanding the palate, teething continues and rolling into corners

It's been a few weeks since the last post. Here's what's new:
Becca continues to eat solids. She doesn't seem to have reacted badly to the rice cereal, but seems to have lost interest in it recently. It might be because of the teething. It's gotten worse lately. Sometimes, even if she's obviously quite hungry, the pain in her gums will make her stop eating. There has been quite a bit of drool and gnawing lately, and today was the grumpiest day so far. I am trying cuddle therapy, frozen cloths and teething rings. I hope a tooth shows up soon. After all, it's been almost 6 weeks of teething now, and nothing has appeared. I am fully aware that it is a lengthy process, but it seems unfair for Rebecca to endure the pain and have nothing to show for it.
Rebecca is now eating breakfast in her new high chair. Every part of it is washable! This is a good thing considering that feeding cereal to Rebecca is truly messy. For starters, the cereal that Becca eats must have a fairly liquid texture, and it must also journey to her snapping turtle maw on a very tiny, shallow spoon. I'm sure you can imagine what transpires. Her flailing arms knocks the contents everywhere. Actually, one of the biggest challenges of feeding Becca is the battle of wills to see who will control the spoon. She likes to grab it and jam it deep into her mouth. Once, I had to pull so hard to maintain my grip of it that the high chair rolled forward. With all the teething, Rebecca always has her fingers in her mouth. She doesn't understand the perils of this and more than once has activated her own gag reflex.
At any rate, today's adventure was trying out barley cereal for the first time. I will try barley exclusively for this week, so I can judge her reaction to it. The barley is an unappealing grey colour, and is not as tasty as the rice (yes, I taste them - why not?). Next will be oats.
Rebecca now rolls over on a daily basis. She can sit fairly well with assistance, and sometimes without assistance, but can not sit up on her own from a prone position. What is especially interesting is that she now rolls with a purpose. If there is a toy on the edge of the blanket that she wants, she will rolls to get it. She also pulls herself forward on her belly, or rotates on her belly, to point herself where she wants to go.
A new trick is rolling into the corner of her crib so that her head is in the corner, and she is on her belly. Then, she cries until I come and flip her over. She never stays put in the crib anymore. In fact, she clearly prefers to sleep on her belly. I debated flipping her back to her back when I first discovered this, but frankly, she just goes back to her preferred position, and now that her upper body strength and control is substantial, I am not as concerned about SIDS.
We are in the process of shifting Becca's bedtime. Her wakeup time is now approximately 8am, and bedtime is supposed to be 8:30PM. It is difficult to make this work because she seems to be a night owl, however, 11PM just isn't a great bedtime. 8:30PM at least, seemed to correspond to a time when she naturally would be sleepy and (previously) in need of a nap. It is working out so-so... the big problem is that the teething is throwing off her feeding and sleeping, so often, things are messed up on a grand scale. However, I feel confident that sticking to a routine will ultimately be more of a help than a hindrance for our daughter.

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Starting solids

On Friday, Rebecca had her first taste of something other than formula, breast milk, mint-flavoured medicine, or banana-flavoured medicine. She had very watery rice cereal! It's been a few days of cereal now, and she seems to really enjoy eating it. So far, no problems with digestion, and she eagerly gobbles it up. In fact, I have to struggle for control of the spoon. I think she would like to feed herself, but obviously, that isn't an option at this point.

Tuesday, May 9, 2006

Rolling over!!!

Today Becca rolled over from back to front and from front to back, and back to front again. She appeared shocled by her first successful roll and then was delightfully repeating the process.
Hooray!
Next developmental milestone: Sitting up unassisted

Monday, May 1, 2006

I know I'm cute!!!
Why sleep in the middle of the bed, covered by warm blankets, when you can work yourself into the corner and kick all the blankets off?!
When I was placed here at bedtime, I was perpendicular to my current position.
I am physically capable of rolling over, but I choose not to!

Toes and nearly rolling over

I was convinced that Rebecca might roll over while we were in Halifax. She came very close, but didn't seem motivated to make the extra effort. It was strange because she spent a lot of her time attempting the rolls, and then seemed to lose interest. Her attention is now firmly centered on her toes, which she regularly chews on (unless she accidentally pulls her sock off instead). All this rolling (be it attempts or toe chewing) has resulted in some bald spot on the back of her head. It looks very odd because none of the hair at the front has been lost. Rebecca has also become adept at joyful squealing (although stubbornly refuses to display it since returning to Ottawa), and removing her shoes. Her finger sucking is sometimes thumb-only, but since teething has begun, it often involves multiple fingers or two hands. She will also suck a finger while also sucking on a bottle, but at that point I've noticed that she is no longer drinking, but is gumming the rubber nipple (presumably for relief from teething).

Big changes in feeding

Rebecca is now eating 5-6 oz on average, and while we were away, she even ate 7 oz on one occasion. I am considering trying out cereal once she turns 5 months. I am also going to move on to bigger bottles. I have some 6 and 9 oz bottles right now, but the vast majority are 5 oz. Sometimes, when I use a 5 oz bottle, I can tell she wants to drink more, but by the time I get her the next bottle, she has lost interest. If I present her with 7 oz, she will regularly consume 6 oz. Becca has improved her manual dexterity and control and will now try to hold the bottle herself (or hold with one hand and grasp my finger with the other hand).

The sleep saga continues

Becca slept reasonably well in Halifax. She was sleeping in a playpen, and while she never slept 10 hours without interruptions, she did sleep a total of at least 10 hours at night, with stretches as long as 8 hours, and only one interruption (in general). Considering that she was teething, it's not too bad. In fact, now that we're home, she's back to sleeping through the night (10 hours straight). The oddest thing about the way she slept in Halifax, was that because the crib afforded her so much space, she really moved around at night. No matter what position I placed her in, I could count on finding her in a radically different position in the morning. By some happy chance, the disruption of her naps which was the result of many family visits during the first week of our trip, caused Rebecca to adopt an earlier bedtime (of her own accord), which has created a stable wake-up time of 8am (Otttawa-time). I am quite pleased with this development as it makes life easier for me. A 10pm bedtime beats a midnight bedtime hands down. Of course, ideally I would like to see wake-up at 7am, but this is good for now.

Murphy's Law: If anything can go wrong, it will

Teething.
Greg and I were late teethers (me about 7.5 months, Greg about 9 months)
Based on what I had read and been told, this meant that Becca should teethe late.
Or... she could start teething while on vacation in Halifax.
And... she could start teething her eye teeth (lower canines), instead of conventional teething (lower incisors first), like some sort of werewolf child.
Poor Becca.
I was in denial at first. I blamed everything - change of location, change of water, change of time zone. But ultimately, I could not deny the mounting evidence.
She displayed every classic symptom of teething:
  1. low-grade fever
  2. rosy cheeks
  3. diaper rash (heretofore unencountered)
  4. pulling on her ears
  5. screaming out of the blue
  6. obvious pain
  7. raised red areas on the gums
  8. gumming of things
  9. excessive drooling
Thank goodness for Tempra, which allowed her to get some reasonable sleep.

First trip on an airplane

After Easter, Rebecca, my Mom and I flew to Halifax to visit with family. It was Becca's first airplane trip! Well, the poor business man who was stuck sitting next to us look nonplussed, and before take-off, I could hear him bemoaning his luck to some friend whom he had called on the cell phone. But, Becca slept through the entire flight. She didn't stir at all. After we landed, several business men (these were numerous since ours was an early morning flight) stopped to congratulate me on what a good flier she was. I felt vindicated.
Actually, while in Halifax, many people made mock offers to purchase Rebecca because they felt she was so cute. The flight home did not cause anyone to make such overtures. She was still teething, and take off was clearly bothering her ears. She howled and cried and everyone turned to watch. In the end, she managed to fall asleep, so she was quiet for probably 80% of the flight (including landing). The biggest problem was that there was another baby in our row, and every time he wailed, it tended to wake up Rebecca and cause her to cry. Having a baby on the plane is awkward. They stay on your lap the entire time, but even Becca is already so long that it is hard to position her in a way that is comfortable (for either of us). The flight attendants were quite friendly and helpful and even offered to heat up bottles for me, and of course, we got to board the airplane first.
On the way to Halifax, I had made the mistake of thinking I could just carry Becca through the airport. She was very heavy. I purchased a relatively inexpensive umbroller for the trip home. The only trouble I encountered was when the Halifax security personnel upended my diaper bag to put it through the x-ray machine, and caused a bottle of milk to leak everywhere. They also patted down Rebecca and ran a wand over her after passing her through the metal detector (neither my Mom nor I underwent such a procedure) - despite the fact that Rebecca did not set off the metal detector. She didn't seem to mind these measures.

Monday, April 17, 2006

Becca boo: she who sleeps through the night!

Not just random good luck

She did it again! Slept for ten hours straight from the same bedtime.
She is learning to sleep!!!

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Sleep success!

After four nights of putting Rebecca in her crib awake but drowsy every time she was tired, she finally slept through the night! Ten hours straight! (Which is normal for her age). And just now, she was drowsy and went down for a nap without a fuss.
Of course, next week I am taking her with me to Halifax, which will probably prove to be a major disruption. But I am hoping that she will adapt after a few days. At the very least, we know she has learned!
My physician had recommended I read about sleep, in order to get Rebecca on a reasonable routine. Basically, she suggested I peruse two books in particular - the infamous Ferber "Solve your child's sleep problems" and another books which emphasized the importance of naps, was written by someone whose last name starts with "W", and which advocated a slightly differently approach. For the latter, I ended up selecting "Good Night, Sleep Tight: The Sleep Lady's Gentle Guide to Helping your Child go to Sleep, Stay Asleep and Wake up Happy" by Kim West. The Ferber book was first published in 1985, and takes a very scientific/clinical approach. The Sleep Lady book is more soft and cuddly and has little lambs in it. The Ferber book is famous because it's very strict. There is no debate about it's effectiveness - it works about 99% of the time. However, the methods may be a little harsh for softie parents. The expression "ferberize" has even entered parental common parlance.
Regardless of which method selected, if you stick to them, they work (provided your child does not have a physiological reason to have sleep trouble - such as reflux or apnea or what have you). In fact, all books seem to agree that most of the problems are behavioural - i.e. learned.
The underlying concepts and principles in the books are the same (which is reassuring to me). They both highlight the importance of routine, and winding down at bedtime. Both indicate that naps are important. Both encourage you to bond your child to an inaminate object (be it stuffed animal or blankie - as you may have read in an earlier post, Becca is a ratty towel girl) as a transitional aid, to ease separation anxiety. And most importantly, both are based on an actual understanding of how sleep works.
Forgive me for oversimplifying, but here is the core idea with all the sleep approaches I have encountered: There are three states: awake (mind awake, body awake), REM sleep (mind awake, body asleep), and non-REM sleep (mind asleep, body asleep). There are sub-stages of each of these, and there are predictable cycles. In essence, no one sleeps through the night. There are miniscule moments of awakening at regular intervals between sleep cycles. At those times, there is the possibility that you might become fully awake - if you sense that something is wrong. So for example, if you hit ones of these moments of awakening and hear screaming, you will wake up. Or if your pillow is missing, you might wake up. Or if you smell something burning, you might wake up. Clearly, this is a good thing. (There was some very interesting speculation about the purpose and evoluationary origins of REM and non-REM sleep in the Ferber book which I found to be fascinating). But what is it that enables you to perceive something as wrong? Learned associations! Inadvertently, parents create associations/crutches for their babies when their babies are learning to sleep. And yes, falling asleep is something that must be learned. It does not come naturally to babies. At any rate, if you always hold your baby to get her to fall asleep - she creates an association between being held and falling asleep. Therefore, when she has one of these moments of awakening, and discovers she is alone in her crib - bam, she feels that things are "wrong", and starts crying. She doesn't know how to get herself back to sleep. So, the idea with putting the baby to bed awake but drowsy is to give her the opportunity to learn how to soothe herself, calm down, and fall asleep on her own. Then, when she has the brief moments of awakening, she knows how to go back to sleep, and does not require your intervention. You might think that intervening is not so terrible - but baby sleep cycles are a lot shorter than ours (think, half hour long), and eventually, lack of sleep catches up to *you* and your ability to parent effectively, or at least be remotely cheerful, is seriously impaired (to say nothing of the mental/emotional strain of a baby crying on and off most of the night). Sometimes, if you are not careful, you are so tired that you cause a fire to ignite in your very own kitchen (perhaps this is an anecdote I will relate some other time).
The Ferber approach is supposed to be employed starting at 5 or 6 months. The Sleep Lady method differs depending on the age of the child, but has suggestions starting as early as 2 weeks of age (and age does make a difference, especially when you consider amount of sleep required, level of development, feeding requirements etc.).
Interestingly, and I'm sure some of you have heard this before... if people are left in an environment without light or devices which indicate time - their bodies will assume a cycle and rhythm of sleeping and eating which exceeds 24 hours and is more like 25 or 26 hours. So, when a child doesn't have a sleep routine, their big stretch of sleep will get progressively later in the day. It is only the daily routine we impose on ourselves, and cues from light levels, that allow us to be consistent in a 24 hour day. And of course, being consistent is very important in parenting.
Greg and I tried one night of Ferber and realized that we could never stand it. We just don't have the nerve to endure it. I decided it would be our back-up plan. Fortunately, we won't need to use the back-up plan. The major difference between the Sleep Lady method and Ferber is that the Sleep Lady lets you soothe your child, touch her, and speak to her. In Ferber you just stand there and leave at regular intervals.
Now, while Rebecca *is* sleeping well now (naps and through the night), the phase of her sleeping is off - that is, her bedtime is a little more "night owl" than we would like. Her bedtime seems to be consistently midnight. I will have to gradually change that by waking her up a little earlier every morning (say by 15 minutes), and adjusting her bedtime (all while not allowing her to retrieve her 15 minutes during an afternoon nap). But that is a task for when I am back in Ottawa.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Supersize

Today was vaccination day. It isn't any better the second time around than the first. How soon before she is able to remember what happens when we go to see the doctor? No wonder so many people have negative associations with medical personnel!
Rebecca weighs 15 lbs and is 26 inches long. She is in the 90th percentile for her weight, length and the circumference of her head. Apparently, the fact that she is proportionally large is desirable. It was recommended that I hold off on solids until 6 months unless Rebecca gives indications that she is ravenous on a regular basis. There is some evidence to suggest that waiting to start on solids reduces the chances of developing food allergies. My doctor recommended barley based cereal over rice, as rice can cause constipation (to be remedied with evil prune juice).

Monday, April 10, 2006

Rebecca is a happy baby!
Rebecca playing with her link-a-doos

Four months old: Raspberries and the Towel

Rebecca is four months old today. Hard to believe! Unfortunately, that means tomorrow it's a trip to the doctor for another round of immunizations.
Just this past week, she began blowing spit bubbles and making raspberries on a daily basis. I thought this behaviour was a little odd, but apparently it is an important exercise that promotes the coordination of lips, tongue and mouth movements - a prerequisite to speech.
When Becca is tired, it is more and more obvious; she rubs her eyes and becomes cranky. Maybe it isn't an improvement in her communication, but an improvement in my perception of these things.
Anyhow, over the weekend, my parents were babysitting, and Rebecca decided that she was attached to an old peach hand towel of theirs. Her room is full of lovely plush toys of all sizes, shapes, and colours, but clearly, she has made her choice. It goes where she goes. I'm not sure what qualities have made the towel so appealing - it is a very washed out peach colour, it has no designs on it, no educational bits and pieces. It is soft from years of washing, but not softer than many of her other toys and blankies.

Monday, April 3, 2006

Becca likes the swing!

New things Becca can do!

Becca has entered another growth spurt and is eating like there's no tomorrow. This is the common 4 month growth spurt and I actually think her head is bigger than it was.
Also new is her command of different syllables. Now when she babbles, there is a much wider variety of sounds that she makes, including cute sounds and word sounds. She also makes them louder, longer, and more often.
What I'm not too thrilled about, is that Rebecca has adopted a habit of whimpering when she wants to be fed (or if there is a two second interval between bottles during a feeding). It is a heartbreaking sound and I don't know how she learned it, or where it comes from. I don't like it one bit, but at least she isn't screaming or anything like that.
While she still likes to cuddle, she is increasingly interested in having the freedom to roam (or rather, lie there exploring the world), and is more and more squirmy.
Everything she can get her hands on, ends up in her mouth, covered in drool. No wonder this is about the time when I can stop sterilizing her bottles!
This is what happens when Greg blows on Rebecca's face. Clearly, she will be able to roll her tongue.

Sunday, March 26, 2006

Post partum hair loss

Some women experience "beautiful hair" during pregnancy (i.e. thicker, more lustrous). My own experience was that it seemed to grow faster, less fell out, but the texture was coarse and nasty. For a short period of time immediately after the birth, I experienced hair texture of the gods. It was the softest, silkiest, most wondrous hair I had ever touched. In fact, I couldn't help but touch it all the time, because I couldn't believe it was really attached to my head. Then it went away (but then again, so did my edema).
For the last week, insane amounts of my hair started coating the hair trap in the shower. I noticed that this was unrelated to whether I brushed my hair prior to washing it. I began to suspect that what my hairdresser had warned me about a few months ago was actually happening - my hair was falling out (well not all of them, but lots). This was confirmed when I went in for a trim yesterday, and the stylist washing my hair ended up with a handful of it in the sink. This is not disconcerting for them - they are used to it, and they expect it near the four month mark. It's an indication that the hormones of pregnancy are leaving my system. In fact, I shouuld make it clear that I myself am not bothered by this - mostly because I have such an extensive mane of hair. The loss is only apparent to myself, the fine staff at Holtz, and the drains of our household plumbing.

http://pregnancytoday.com/reference/articles/hairloss.htm

http://hairloss.about.com/od/women/a/pregnancy.htm

Saturday, March 25, 2006

So long infant car seat!

Rebecca is on the threshold of surpassing the height limitation on her infant car seat. This means we will be shelling out for another one - and it seems convertible is the best option. A convertible car seat can be flipped to face front after the child hits 1 year of age. Some of the convertibles go up to 40 pounds, so it should last quite some time. Of course, the trick is to get a 2005/2006 car seat that is compatible with a 1999 automobile (THIS IS REALLY IMPORTANT TO CHECK OUT PRIOR TO PURCHASE, ESPECIALLY IF YOU HAVE A SMALL CAR). Relatively recent changes in Ontario legislation mean that Rebecca will be in a seat or a booster for quite some time.
I was convinced our next major baby purchase would be a high chair.

A gripping anecdote

This week, Rebecca mastered the art of grabbing things. She will now grab items - blankets, toys, shirts, and really hold on. Admiteddly, she has been grabbing my hair for quite some time now, but this is different. She will reach out to take hold of something she wants and can bring it to herself (usually to her mouth so she can suck on it). Also, she can hang onto something for a good bit of time (provided she wants it enough). Her hand sucking has evolved as well. Rather than stick her entire fist in her mouth - which still occurs on occasion - she now favours thumb or thumb and index finger. Rebecca can also bring her hands together in front of her body, which, until a few weeks ago, was basically anatomically impossible. Because Becca can grip items, playtime has become far more interesting. Her hand/eye coordination has vastly improved, so she is interactive in whole new ways. Now I have a better sense of when she actually wants something.
While the infected bellybutton is healed, the phlegmy cough persists. It is always the worst starting at about midnight. She now gets a runny nose as well. This is really novel because before yesterday, her nose could get clogged but had never been runny. It's actually a really useful development as far as clearing out germs is concerned.