Saturday, May 30, 2009

Confession and Obsession

Confession: I am a sham of an AP mother.

*I couldn't/didn't breastfeed (remind me to finally get around to posting about that, since I never did...)

*Babywearing hasn't worked out for Evie and I after she left the newborn phase. We both get hot, she dislikes it after the first few minutes, and I don't feel as though I can really get anything done with her in a sling (can't bend over, can't sit down). Plus she's almost 20 pounds now.

*We don't regularly co-sleep, partly because I was afraid of the SIDS/overlay risk when she was a newborn and partly because J can't sleep with her in the room. J is a much more wonderful person when he sleeps.

That leaves me with, what? We don't do CIO (cry it out). That's it? That's my claim to AP parenting? Yikes. Even that has been in jeopardy lately because Evie's separation anxiety has turned her into an insomniac. Thursday night she and I stayed up late watching "Make Me a Supermodel" together until 11:30 PM because I felt better about snuggling and letting her watch TV than staying upstairs and waging the sleep battle. I am a sham.

Moving on.

Obsession: My new obsession is Margaret Wise Brown, author of Goodnight Moon. It all started innocently enough...

* J observed that we'd probably receive 3 or 4 copies of GM as gifts when Evie was born.
*We didn't.
*I bought the book from Amazon.
*Evie loves it.
*I read MWB's Big Red Barn while I was staying with Jen a few months ago.
*I loved it.
*I bought it from Amazon, along with The Runaway Bunny.
*Evie is fine with Barn and Bunny but her heart still belongs to Moon.
*I start researching MWB online and discover that she wrote several Little Golden Books.
*My mom and I search through the LGBs at a local used bookstore last week and find a copy of The Sailor Dog.
*The Sailor Dog is delightful.
*I am obsessed.
*I join the website just so that I can trade some of my adult library for more of MWB's books.
*Yesterday we received in the mail Love Songs of the Little Bear, The Whispering Rabbit, and Mister Dog (all from Paperback Swap).
*All three of the books exceeded my expectations for whimsy, illustrations and delightfulness.
*I am distressed that Evie is too young to read Little Golden Books yet because she will tear the pages. I'll just have to read them to myself for a couple of years.
*I literally search online to discover whether or not there is a MWB fan club I can join (there is not, sadly).
*I am ridiculous.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

8 Month Cloth Diaper Review Part Two: The Poop on Brands

Melba asked for some input on some diaper brands I would recommend, and where to buy them. I'm happy to oblige! One caveat, however: there are many moms out there who would disagree with me on some, if not all, of my recommendations. What works for Evie doesn't work for every baby, which is the beauty of modern cloth diapering, and the torment of modern cloth diapering. So many options!

(Also, I apologize to all of you, and most especially to Evie Bea, for her facial expressions in some of these photos. I took pictures of her in a lot of her diapers for the original cloth diaper review when she was 3 months old. I just focused on capturing the diaper and didn't take multiple shots to get a cute facial expression.)

Prefolds: this is a staple of cloth diapering and I love them because they hold up beautifully through many washings, dry quickly and are flexible, meaning there are many ways to fold them depending on the size, age and gender of the baby. We used G*reen M*ountain Diapers (GMD) orange edge newborn prefolds for Evie when she was a newborn and they fit beautifully under newborn covers. She never wore many of her infant sized prefolds because they were always in use as burp cloths for our little formula fountain. Now we have some GMD large brown edge prefolds that work great for her at 19.5 pounds. In my opinion, GMD prefolds are the best because they are soft, fluffy, wonderfully absorbent and well-made. I prefer the unbleached cotton because it is hypothetically more absorbent than the bleached, though I haven't personally done a side-by-side comparison.

Here is Evie in a GMD orange edge prefold at one week old:

We also like the B*abyKicks h*emparoo prefolds, which are a hemp and cotton blend, but they are much more expensive than GMDs so we haven't used them as much.

Fitteds: we had a few small fitteds for Evie, but when she grew out of them we replaced them with OS (one size) fitteds instead of buying mediums (and then, eventually, larges). The downside of OS fitteds is that they are more bulky on an infant than a small fitted would be. Some moms want trim diapers and some don't mind the bulk, so it's a personal preference. You can see in this picture how bulky this OS fitted is on Evie at 3 months old, but today it fits great:
ETA: here is the same diaper this week (she's learning to cruise on the toilet...nice):The diaper in the above picture is an OBV (organic bamboo velour) G*oodmama. I like the OBV G*oodmamas much better than the print G*oodmamas because the prints don't hold up to repeated washings very well. Our M*uttaqin Baby and B*agshot Row Bamboo (BSRB) prints, on the other hand, have held up well in the wash. Another benefit of BSRB diapers is that instead of snaps, they close with a S*nappi, which allows for more of a custom fit. Right now Evie has some fitted diapers with snaps that are too loose on one snap setting and too tight on another, which is annoying. Here is a concerned-looking Evie in a BSRB (one-size) fitted diaper at 3 months old:

You may be wondering, why fitted diapers? They are so expensive! How are they better than prefolds? Here is why they are worth the money for many moms:

*elastic at the waist and legs holds in poop

*plastic snaps (which are on many fitteds) are easier to negotiate in the middle of the night, while sleep deprived, and for husbands and other helpers who are scared of pins and S*nappis

*they are often made of organic, super-absorbent materials such as hemp and bamboo

*they have snap-in doublers for extra absorbency. The snap-in feature keeps the insert from bunching up.

*they are less bulky between the legs because they are...well..fitted. Fitted to the shape of a baby, unlike prefolds, which start out as a square or a rectangle.

There are many brands of fitteds available, many made by WAHMs (work-at-home moms) here in the U.S. In addition to the brands I named above, we also like S*cuttlebutts, B*aby B*eehinds, S*un S*eedlings and B*ubuBebe. If you want to buy the cutest fitteds, there is really only one place to go: H*yenacart. Enter at your own risk and with plenty of PayPal available.

Pockets: The only pocket diapers we've liked so far have been B*umgenius, which are one-size pocket diapers that use a snap-down rise to fit different size babies. They are the only pocket diapers we've tried that didn't leak or wick moisture onto Evie's clothes. We used them at night, stuffed with a hemp and microfiber combination that kept her dry and comfy for up to 13 hours when she was sleeping through the night from ages 2-4 months old. (However, now we are using fitteds and wool covers at night. The combination of Evie becoming a tummy sleeper and drinking 3 bottles each night (at bedtime and two wakings) led to leaks at the front of her waist in our B*umgenius pocket diapers.) Here she is at 3 months in a B*umgenius 3.0:

Personally I prefer not to use pocket diapers during the day because:
*the waterproof outer layer doesn't breathe and Evie gets more rashes
*it's harder to tell when they are wet, just like with a disposable

We used to use pocket diapers on Evie when we were going out shopping or to church, but now we usually just put a disposable on her when we're headed out because there just isn't room in the diaper bag to use cloth while we are out and about. Since we formula feed and she is a spitty baby, our entire diaper bag is taken up with formula dispenser, bottles, burp cloths, bibs, etc. Squeezing in cloth diapers is almost impossible.

However, many people use pocket diapers exclusively and strongly prefer them. One of the primary benefits of pocket diapers is that they are the most like a disposable in design, so babysitters, dads, friends, family, church nursery workers, etc. are generally more comfortable using them. Many of them, B*umgenius included, use velcro, just like disposables do. They work just like the name suggests. The diaper is a shell with a waterproof outer and a stay-dry inner that wicks moisture away from the baby into the diaper's pocket, which you can stuff with whatever absorbent materials you want to. Most people use cotton prefolds, microfiber, hemp or bamboo to stuff pocket diapers, but I've read threads on D*iaperswappers about using things like flannel receiving blankets and even a S*hamwow, in a pinch.

(Not all nursery workers can figure them out, however. Our church nursery worker once put a pocket diaper on Evie backward. Yes, she fastened velcro over her bum instead of over her abdomen. The diaper in question (a H*appy H*einy) was almost identical in terms of design and function to a disposable diaper. To the diaper's credit, it did its job despite the misapplication and when we discovered the mistake during Evie's next diaper change, it hadn't leaked at all!

All-in-ones: Many people like them because they are virtually identical in form and function to a disposable diaper, but I haven't found a single one that I like. Each that I've tried has leaked and/or taken days to dry. I just can't personally recommend them.

Covers (for prefolds and fitted diapers; pockets and all-in-ones have built-in covers):

I've written so much above that I'll try to keep this section short and sweet. We love L*oveybums wool wrap covers because they are soft, stretchy, have snaps and work great! They are best under loose-fitting clothing. Under tighter clothing you might get some dampness from compression of the wool, allowing moisture from the diaper underneath to wick onto clothing. Here is Evie in a small L*oveybums crepe wrap at 3 months:

We also love T*hirsties covers, which are waterproof, but breathable, "plastic" covers (not really plastic, but they are waterproof like old fashioned plastic pants). The "plastic" in modern cloth diaper covers is called pul, which is short for polyurethane laminate. We prefer T*hirsties because they are generously sized to fit over one-size fitted diapers or fluffy, high-quality prefolds. They have leg gussets that work superbly to contain leaks and poosplosions, and they are very thin, to cut down on the bulk of cloth diapering. Here is Evie in a small T*hirsties cover at 3 months old:

If you're a regular reader of this blog, you know that my current favorite cloth diaper cover is knit wool. I'm not going to go there in this post because the topic deserves its own space, in my opinion. If Melba or anyone else wants me to go there, just say the word. :)

I know there are readers out there with opinions that are different from mine, so please feel free to champion your favorites in the comments. :)

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

8 Month Cloth Diaper Review

This post has taken me 5 months to finish. I started it as a "Three Month Cloth Diaper Review." I'm actually glad that I didn't have time to complete the post 5 months ago because things have changed with our cloth diapering since then. At the time I thought I had it all figured out, but now I REALLY have it all figured out. Sorta.

The idea for this post came from other cloth diaper reviews that I read while I was making the decision to use cloth for Evie. I found Amy and Linda's cloth diaper reviews extremely helpful.

I am aware that I have a few different audiences for this post, so I've organized it to address everyone's needs/interests/questions.

To those of you who don't cloth diaper, never intend to do so and have no interest in reading about it: Hi! See you next post.

To those of you who have a theoretical interest in cloth diapers but don't plan to use them and don't use them now, here are some general tidbits:

*For most cloth diaperers these days, the economical argument is a big fat lie. With all of the cute patterns, new and improved styles (velcro!) and organic materials (bamboo, hemp), the cost to diaper one baby in cloth is usually as much as, if not more than, the cost to diaper with disposables. In order to make the economic argument work, you need to buy basic cotton diapers, avoid the trendy and $$ wool covers and/or use the diapers for more than one baby. Even if you plan to have four kids, if you buy trendy diapers you may still not save a lot of money because the old-fashioned, less expensive diapers tend to hold up to multiple babies better than the newer styles. Most of the reason for this is the elastic, velcro and plastic snaps in the newer types of diapers, which tend to give out and need repair after awhile, especially if they are one-size diapers that are washed every other day for two years with your first child.

*Cloth diapering does require more hands-on experience with baby poo. This happens right from the start with formula-fed babies because their poop doesn't dissolve in the washing machine the way EBF (exclusively breast-fed) baby poop does. Even if you EBF, once your baby starts solids you will have to start figuring out a way to get the poo from the diaper into the toilet and flushed before washing the diaper. I and many other CDing moms use this, a diaper sprayer:

It is basically the same as the sprayer next to your kitchen sink, but hooks up to the clean water supply that flows into the toilet so that you can use that water to spray poo from a diaper into the toilet. It's the same idea as a water pik, for those of you who had braces. I bought one of these pretty early on; I don't think I'd still be cloth diapering today if I hadn't. Yuck.

*However, cloth diapering protects you from dealing with baby poo in one important way. Many cloth diapers have real elastic in them, as opposed to the fake elastic in disposables, so they hardly ever have poop leaks. Seriously. I can count the number of poop blowouts that Evie's had in her cloth diapers on one hand. Even when she was a newborn the cloth diapers kept that poo contained amazingly well. When we switched to disposables for traveling, however, it was a different story. By using disposables when we traveled I just ended up washing poopy baby clothes instead of poopy diapers.

*One perpetual debate is whether cloth diapers are really better for the environment than are disposables. Here is an article that addresses the question. Personally, I feel good about the environmental impact of Evie's waste products. Her poop gets flushed, just like an adults. Her pee goes into the sewer (with the wash water), just like an adult's. Because we have a high-efficiency washing machine, a couple of extra loads each week doesn't seem like a big deal to me. If it's nice weather we dry the diapers on a clothesline in the backyard, saving the electricity that a dryer would use. Most of Evie's diapers are hemp, bamboo or organic cotton, so the materials don't have a big impact on the environment.

*The biggest drawback of using cloth diapers, in my opinion? Modern baby clothes aren't designed to go over them. From day 1 in cloth, Evie has needed one size up on the bottom in order to accommodate her fluffy bum and even sizing up isn't a perfect solution because the larger sizes will fit her fluffy hips but gape at the waist and hang inches below her little toes, needing to be rolled up. I get so excited when we travel because she gets to wear cute outfits over disposables that she never wears otherwise! It's sad that I feel this way, I know.

*One last note for those of you with hypothetical interest. In addition to velcro, plastic snaps and the old-fashioned pins, there is another way to fasten a cloth diaper. I know, isn't this fascinating information? :) Here it is, it's called a S*nappi:

The purple parts (of course they come in many colors, for whatever reason) are made of a rubbery, stretchy plastic and each of the 3 tabs has hard plastic teeth on the underside. The teeth grip into the fabric of the diaper and hold it closed. Because the colored parts are stretchy, one snappi works on almost any size baby. (In the picture, Evie is 3 months old because that's when I started working on this post.) (For those of you who care, she's wearing a small BabyKicks Hemparoo prefold.)

Moving on...

For those of you who are dipping your toes into cloth diapering but are still learning, here is my top 10 list of advice. For more info or details, feel free to e-mail me. I never tire of chatting about cloth diapers. Sad, I know.

10. Buy a diaper sprayer. Seriously. Don't argue with me. See above for more info.

9. Once you've figured out your wash routine, write it down step by step onto an index card and tape it on the lid of the washing machine, so that your friends and family can help you with the diaper laundry and you don't have to worry that they are messing it up!

8. Always check the contents of your diaper pail before you wash. If you have diapering helpers, or if you're sleep-deprived, you may find that there are disposable diapers, baby clothes and worst of all, WOOL in your pail. You don't want to wash any of that with the diapers, believe me. Almost every mom who uses wool diaper covers has a story about shrinking an expensive, hand-knit cover down to doll size by accidentally washing it in hot water with the diapers.

7. Don't buy pocket or all-in-one diapers with cotton or other absorbent material on the outside (over the waterproof layer). It may seem nice and cozy to have a soft material on the outside, but that material is prone to wicking moisture from the inside of the diaper onto the baby's clothes.

6. Don't buy all-in-one diapers. They take FOREVER to dry. I'm talking a full cycle in the dryer plus two days air drying in the house or two full days on a clothesline. Not worth it. Try a fitted diaper with a cover, instead.

5. Don't buy used pocket diapers from an online site like D*iaperswappers. Almost every single used pocket diaper I've bought on that site has had leaking issues. Feh.

4. Use cloth wipes. If you're washing cloth diapers anyhow, washing cloth wipes is no big deal. The benefit, besides cost savings over disposable wipes, is that they clean up a lot better. I normally use one wipe for a pee diaper and two for a poopy diaper, whereas when we're traveling and I'm using disposable wipes I usually end up using 4 or 5 for a poopy diaper. The disposable wipes just aren't sturdy like cotton is. We keep ours in a wipes warmer. I buy concentrate to make the solution that I pour over them, but there are recipes online to make your own solution, too:
3. Stinky diaper pail? Try eliminating microfiber from your diapering because it tends to hold stink. For nighttime diapers that reek in the morning, sprinkle baking soda or cornstarch baby powder in to the pail. Also, leave the pail open, without a lid. That way the smell slowly dissolves into the air and disperses instead of hitting you like a brick wall when you open the pail to add a diaper. Here's our open pail that doesn't stink up Evie's room:

2. Poop comes off/out of fleece much more easily than other materials, so go to a fabric store and buy some cheap fleece remnants. Cut them into the shape of your diapers. No sewing, hemming, etc., is needed, since fleece doesn't unravel. When you are folding diapers out of the laundry, just put a fleece liner in each one so that it's there when you are ready to put it on your baby. After disposing of the poo, just wash the liners with the diapers. Works for us.

1. Don't judge cloth diapering based on what it's like to cloth diaper a newborn. Newborns are scrawny, so many diapers don't fit. They poop constantly, which is extra work with cloth. They eat constantly and therefore also pee constantly, so you feel as though you are changing their diapers every hour they are awake. They also sleep a lot, so when they wake up their diapers are completely soaked (from the constant eating) and you feel like a terrible mother for letting your baby sleep in such a wet diaper. If this stuff gets to you, just use disposables for your newborn and wait until they are over 10 pounds to start using cloth.

For those of you who have plenty of experience cloth diapering, I have some questions for you:

*Why is it that the prints on Muttaqin diapers hold up in the wash so much better than Goodmama prints do? I haven't been able to find anyone who can answer this question.

*Whenever I try to use pins on prefold, I end up with wing droop. Anyone have advice for me?

*I use ecover fabric softener in the wash with my diapers, but I've been told not to use it for anything with pul. Does anyone use ecover with pul without a problem? I can't figure out how it would hurt it.

*What other tips or tidbits would you like to add to mine? Please share in a comment!

Friday, May 22, 2009

Eight Months Old

On her 8 month birthday, Evie weighed 19.5 lbs. on the bathroom scale and measured 26 inches tall. Of course, she measured over 26 inches at her 6 month doctor visit and being 26 inches now would put her in the 12th percentile, so I'm pretty sure I did a bad job measuring. Maybe it's because the only time I can measure her accurately is when she's sleeping and, as any mom will tell you, the last thing you want to do when your baby is finally sleeping is try to fumble around them with a measuring tape. She's probably more like 27 inches tall because that would put her closer to her normal percentile. Anyhow, she's in 9-12 month clothing, which fits her great if it is short sleeves and shorts. Long pants and long sleeves need to be rolled up a bit.

Here is the link to her "then and now" comparison pictures in her birthday diaper, and here are this month's best shots. They're not great, but they are much better than the bloopers! Evie is getting more and more difficult to photograph; she just will not hold still anymore:

And her 8 month interview. Busy, busy. At the end she waves "bye bye" for the very first time and I'm just sick that the camera didn't catch it because she was too close to the lens.

More pics from this month:

Trying on and tasting her new purple C*rocs (size 2/3):

One of our teething remedies: frozen banana in a mesh feeder. MESSY.

Demonstrating some stranger anxiety with her great-grandparents (meeting J's grandparents for the first time). Evie's newborn second cousin is in the second photo:

First time eating broccoli:

Mommy found Evie some fake C*rocs ($4 on clearance at BRU) that look exactly like the real pink C*roc slippers that Mama has been wearing all winter long. (Have I mentioned that Evie is obsessed with shoes, particularly mine? She still prefers mine to her own):

One of Evie's new favorite toys is this yellow disk that came with her play gym. When J and I first put the play gym together before she was born, we were confused about these flat plastic tags with photos of animals. Why would babies play with them? I still don't know, but Evie loves the yellow one with the duck on one side and the frog on the other side. She teethes on it all the time and the picture of the duck is slowly dissolving.
Evie is still obsessed with Goodnight Moon. No matter how tired and cranky she is at bedtime she will sit still and listen to this book. If she's in a particularly alert mood she likes to help turn the pages:

Remember Pearl, the B*uild-A-B*ear she made with R and G in January? She adores Pearl. She'll squeal with delight when she sees her after a long absence (e.g. 30 minutes). In Evie and Pearl's universe, a bite on the nose is a polite and loving form of greeting:
Month 8 Roundup
The good stuff:
*independent play
*I can distract her from being fussy much of the time
*not balancing a car seat precariously on shopping carts
*longer naps
*more cuddly
*adorable toothy grins
*enjoying books
*the cuteness of crawling

The not-so-good stuff:
*stranger/separation anxiety
*the obstacle course of baby gates
*she's STILL spitting up. It's gotten a tad better, but runny purees, water and formula still set her off. And last Sunday I sat through the entire church service with yogurt spit up on my shirt. It smelled awful.
*teething crankiness
*nap strikes
*the trauma of diaper changes, which require her to LIE STILL for 1 whole minute
*the persistent late night and early morning feedings

The worst thing: running out of our bag of sleep tricks. We've tried nearly everything but naptime is a battle almost every day now and bedtime can be just as bad. We throw everything at her: bath, massage, bottle, books, white noise, lovey blankets, pacifier...but the thrill of staying awake seems to be stronger than what we are dishing out. We do have a plan. I'll write more about that if it works. If it doesn't, I'll come back begging for advice.

The best thing: now that she is mobile, as soon as I enter a room she will drop whatever she's doing and crawl to me, unless someone distracts her. She and I now relate like a moth and a flame, a monkey and a jungle gym, a paper clip and a magnet. I love being her favorite. I love that mine are her favorite shoes to stalk. Mine are her favorite legs to climb. Mine is her favorite face to pinch. It reminds me of that cliche "if you love a thing, let it go; if it comes back to you, it is yours forever." It's not really true, since she will leave for college some day, but for now it's true enough. I adore my little moth.

For the record: Evie drinks 3-4 bottles of formula each day (mostly at nighttime now) and eats:
Fruits: apple, pear, banana, mango, avocado, papaya, plum, peach, prune
Veg: asparagus, green beans, peas, all kinds of summer and winter squash, broccoli, carrots, sweet potato
Starch: white potato, cereal (rice, oats, barley), K*ashi H*eart to H*eart cereal, H*appy B*aby organic puffs, Baby M*um M*ums, wheat bread, pasta
Dairy: yogurt and cheeses (cottage, mozzarella, cream and ricotta)
Meat: chicken, turkey and beef
Drink (besides formula): water only, no juice

Lesson learned: dresses and skirts are useless for crawly baby girls because they trip up their knees. I'm really not sure why the baby clothing manufacturers even make baby girl dresses in sizes 9-12 months since most of those babies are crawling. What a waste of cute clothes.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009


I'm nowhere near done with Evie's 8 month post. I still need to edit video, measure her height and write text for the post. It might be done by the time she turns 9 months. Kidding.

So here is a teaser of what's to come. The first successful pic of Evie's 2 bottom teeth coming in and a couple of photos that illustrate how today's photo session went.

Happy 8 months Evie Bea!

(those are my mom's arms in the last picture)

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Out with the Old, In with the New

This weekend, some of Evie's things were banished to the attic until we adopt again. The items include her b*oppy pillow, B*umbo seat, play gym, bouncy seat and J*ohnny Jump Up. They joined some other items that went up there in past weeks, including her swing and bassinet. It is nice to clear out some of the baby clutter from the house, especially to have the bouncy seats gone. (The last time we had baby stuff in the attic was during infertility; this feels SO much better.)

So J and I, along with Evie, went out on Friday and scoured a neighborhood garage sale for new stuff to fill up the now-empty spaces. We scored! Here are some of our purchases:

A Radio Flyer tricycle in great condition for $10 (I do realize it will be quite awhile before Evie can ride this): Brand new-looking pink C*onverse high-tops in size 2. Eerily, I was bidding on an identical pair on eBay that same day and was outbid! We paid $2 for these and the winning bidder in the ebay auction paid over $10 plus shipping:

An Even*flo back carrier in great condition for $10! These retail for over $100 usually:

A walker that plays music, $2 (Evie took six steps with it yesterday, without our help, although J was hovering over her the whole time):
A L*ittle P*eople barn for $2. It came with only a chicken so I need to find more animals, but I have time since it's still too advanced for Evie:

A bead rollercoaster for $2!

We also scored 6-12 month R*obeez for $3, a baby swing to hang from a tree in the backyard, a few more toys, a C*arters brand snowsuit for next winter for $3 and a baby gate from Cra*igslist to keep Evie from playing in the dogs' water bowl.
It was a great shopping weekend!

Friday, May 15, 2009

Bath Time

Evie had her first bath in the big bath tub this week, so here is a retrospective of the bathing beauty, just for fun.

Birth Day:

Two weeks old:
One month old:

Two months old:

Three months old in the big tub with an inclined bath seat:

First time in the duck tub at 6 months old:

This week in her first big girl bath:

For one simple reason: the inflatable duck tub sprang a leak. Evie has done great so far in the big tub, although I need to find some anti-slip decals for the bottom because the duck decals shown in the above picture lifted from the bottom and floated away after a couple of minutes. Worthless. I even scrubbed the tub well and cleaned it with alcohol before applying them and they still didn't stick worth a darn.

Evie is fearless in the water and tries to crawl, pull up and roll around. We keep the water level low so that she can crawl without putting her face in the water. She loves to splash of course. We'll both enjoy our swim lessons that will start in early June.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Belated Happy Mother's Day

I got a present from J and Evie on Mother's Day...but I got my real Mother's Day gift this evening.

For the first time in over 3 months, Evie really snuggled with her mama.

Pretty early on, I'd say about six weeks or so, Evie decided that unless she was dozing or sleeping she didn't want to snuggle. As her body got stronger over the weeks and months, she became expert at dodging our hugs, pushing off from our bodies and diving under our arms. I don't know if most babies are like this or if it's just an independent streak in Evie, but by the time she was 4 or 5 months old she wouldn't cuddle AT ALL unless she was sleeping. Recently she's even started resisting the cradle hold during feedings, preferring to sit up straight and have us feed her like a baby animal.

We haven't been worried about it (it=autism) because she gives us plenty of eye contact, smiles, giggles, kisses and coos. Just not hugs. J and I agree that the chance to cuddle with a groggy Evie makes the 3 AM feedings so much sweeter, since we don't get many opportunities.

Tonight that changed. For all I know it will be the one and only time for another few months, so I savored every moment. After I fed Evie, I put her up on my shoulder to burp. After the burp, instead of pushing away and lunging for the book basket, she laid her cheek on my shoulder and started rubbing the hem of my shirt as a substitute lovey. I thought she was falling asleep, so it didn't seem unusual at first. I cuddled her and rubbed her back gently. Then I stopped rubbing her back and started to get up to put her in her crib. As soon as I stopped, her head popped up and she flashed me a sweet smile, as if to say "Mama, don't stop!" I started rubbing her back again and she laid her head back on my shoulder. I peeked over her forehead and saw that her eyes were open. Once I realized that she wasn't using me as a pillow but was actually cuddling, with her mama, tears welled up in my eyes and I buried my nose in her hair, kissed her ears and whispered loving words in to the back of her neck. I soaked up every morsel of those minutes, until she popped her head up, flashed me a grin and lunged for the book basket.

From there we proceeded as normal with prayers, books and bedtime.

Thank you, Evie. You'll never know how much that meant to me.

This past Sunday was bittersweet for me. It was a relief to have my first Mother's Day in years that wasn't full of pain and longing for my own dream of a baby. It was a joy to wake up to Evie pinching my lip! (We were co-sleeping after a 7AM feeding.) It was lovely to spend the morning with J's family before we drove back home. It was fun to Skype with my mom that evening. I even received cards from a couple of close friends; they brought tears to my eyes. But it was hard to shake the memory of my pain on Mother's Days gone by. It was disheartening to think that for every woman I know who was celebrating her first Mother's Day with a baby or child after infertility, I know two more women who are still waiting or trying. My heart ached for the women I know in person and online who have been dreading that particular Sunday in May and whose pain is often overlooked or minimized by church, family and friends. I'm not sure whether Mother's Day will ever be the same for me as it is for women who have not experienced infertility, and I'm OK with that. Bittersweet is a lot better than pure bitter.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Crawling and Dancing Videos

Exactly two weeks after her first crawl steps, here are a couple of videos from this afternoon. In the past 2 days she's become much more proficient and willing to perform for the camera.

And here is a video of her "dancing" skills, which consist of shaking her head (and her hips if she's standing up):

Milestone: First Gift Opening

I have a few different posts fermenting in my brain right now. An 8 month review of cloth diapering. A manifesto about the superiority of Classic Pooh to Disney Pooh. Ruminations about the bittersweetness of Mother's Day. A video of the crawling, baby cartwheels and pulling up that are happening around here. A picture of the first tooth emerging. Etc.

Instead, for now, I'm going to offer some photos of a silly milestone. Evie's first time opening a present on her own. We were in Minnesota this past weekend for the wedding of one of J's cousins. While we were there, Evie got to meet her Great-Grandma and Great-Grandpa for the first time. These are J's dad's parents. They were ecstatic to see her, and brought her a present. It's the first time we've encouraged her to open a gift herself, and we got a taste of what her first birthday may be like.

Confused but curious at first:

Cool, I got a book with a blue monster on the front. I've never watched Sesame Street so I have no idea who he is:

I wonder if this book would make a good hat?

Cool, I got a teething ring. My teeth hurt a lot these days. Thanks guys, I needed this!

Until Mom gets around to putting it in the fridge, I wonder if it would make a good hat?

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

I don't normally do this sort of thing...

...but I have to use my blog tonight as a platform for an issue I care about deeply. What happened tonight on American Idol is a crime. A travesty. I'm not going to bash the contestant who should have gone home because I know some of his fan base reads my blog. All I'll say is this:

Allison, I'll buy your album. And if Adam doesn't win this season I'll never watch AI again. Ever.

I'm feeling melodramatic this evening.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

This is what happens...

...when babies refuse to take more than one nap during the day.

Babies need naps. This is what happens to mamas when babies refuse to take more than one nap during the day:

(pic is not really me, of course)

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Pictures, Milestones, a Confession and a Lesson Learned

In reverse order.

Lesson Learned: On Thursday night, J and I agreed to babysit a friend's daughter. I've written about this little girl before (she's the brilliant, gorgeous 5-year-old whose mom is a photographer). Her mom had something important to take care of and J and I love both of them, so we were happy to help. We've watched B before, for days at a time, and she's a delightful kid. BUT. Oh my goodness. We learned what having two young kids is like. All I can say

It was fun, we did fine, both girls were taken care of and happy. But J and I? Exhausted. I suppose the reason it was so draining was because we aren't used to it, but right now we're dreading a little bit what it will be like when we adopt #2. (We are tentatively planning to jump back into "the pool" this winter, just in case the adoption tax credit really does expire in 2010.)

Short version: play time, dinner, walk to the park with all 4 of us and the dogs, bath for Evie, books for both girls, bed for Evie, more books for B, bedtime for B, bedtime for J, bedtime for me, B wakes up early, J makes pancake with her and keeps her from coming upstairs to wake me up, Evie wakes up, I wake up, breakfast for Evie, play with both girls, get both dressed, more play and books for was just. so. busy.

Moving on...

A Confession: J and I are parenting outlaws. Evie had her first bit of whole egg on Friday morning. J made pancakes with B and later on when I was eating my share, Evie was acting very interested in them. I tore up a few bits and let her eat them. (I gave her bits without syrup.) She did great with them and didn't have any reaction to the small amount of egg white in them. I'm also planning to give her a tiny amount of peanut butter about once a week, beginning around 9 months. My reasoning is this relatively new information that introducing peanuts early not only doesn't cause allergies but may actually prevent them.

The short version is that peanut allergies have been on the rise ever since pediatricians started telling parents to delay introducing them until kids were 1, 2 or even 3 years old. Just to clarify, I don't mean we're going to be feeding her scrambled eggs and peanut butter toast every morning now, just that we will offer her tiny amounts of these allergenic foods and then watch her carefully. Evie has no family medical history of food allergies (from her birth family of course) and she hasn't had any allergic reactions to the foods we've introduced thus far.

I don't have a picture of her eating the pancakes, but here she is later that day self-feeding asparagus and zucchini. These were vegetables that J and I were eating for dinner and we just put some in the microwave to zap them mushier, cooled them down, tore off the zucchini skin and mushed them up. She had a great time. Yay for green veggies!

By the way, the dress she's wearing in the above picture is another one from my baby box. Here's a shot without the bib (the dress is missing a red button over the "D" and her right hand is on the red "K"):

Next up, milestones. I finally got a picture of her pulling up on her zoo toy! Yesterday (Saturday) she really started pulling up, on more stuff than just her zoo toy. She's not good at it yet, but she has the idea of it and is trying to pull up on:
*her bumper pad
*Mom and Dad's pants/legs
*her activity table

She has been doing a lot of practicing with transitions this week. Every time she's on the floor she seems compelled to go back and forth from all fours to sitting, then back to all fours, back to sitting, etc. She's getting very good at it, and last night we found her sitting up in her crib (crying) for the first time. That was cute. I felt compelled to wake up J (he had gone to sleep 5 minutes before) and make him come see her. He couldn't appreciate the milestone because A. I had woken him up and B. Evie was awake at 11 PM. Have I mentioned lately that she is not sleeping well? I thought so.

As for crawling, she took her first couple of crawl steps on Tuesday afternoon, but I clapped and cheered so hard for her that she stopped, sat up and beamed at me. No more crawling that day. Ever since then she's crawled once or twice a day, a couple of steps at a time. It seems as though she is doing it unthinkingly, in response to a really exciting stimulus (puppy, Daddy, favorite toy) appearing unexpectedly. The first time she crawled it was because I had just put her down onto the kitchen floor and Phoebe walked into the kitchen. The next day it was because she was on the floor of her nursery and Daddy walked into the doorway. The next day it was for Pearl, her teddy bear. Etc. She is also only crawling when naked or in just a diaper or a diaper and a t-shirt. Anyhow, I keep trying to capture it on video, but she isn't showing off for the camera just yet. I'll keep trying. I think that one of these days she'll figure out that crawling isn't just one of the things her body can do, it's a productive way to get somewhere and then she'll start doing it more. We'll see.

She also started walking reflexively yesterday. It kills my back to walk with her, so I'm thinking about getting these.

Last, a couple of cute pictures. We rarely take pictures of the dogs anymore, unless Evie is also in the shot, but I couldn't resist snapping Apollo yesterday. "If I can't cuddle with my Dad, I'll just cuddle with his shoe."

And Evie discovered that her play mat is also a puzzle:

My Shelfari Bookshelf

Shelfari: Book reviews on your book blog