Wednesday, October 31, 2012

This is Halloween

I love Halloween. I love dress-up in general, and on this holiday, everyone joins me in playing and I think it's the most fun ever. Also, this year, I have a baby to dress up. So I did. Repeatedly. With great joy and vigor!

must be the season of the witch
the giraffe from her 6m portraits

Posing like a prima donna 

Monsters Inc 
Family fun at the shindig for my moms' group

Pint-sized punk
I had way too much fun with my fake hair and eyeliner

This morning's happy girl in her giraffe suit. I call this her Penny face. I think it's the eyelashes.

blurry photo, but you gotta see the mane and tail!
Ta-da! Baby in costumes! Enjoy the day. Have sweets, play dress up!

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Light the corners of my mind

Anyone who has seen Memento knows that "memory can change the shape of a room; it can change the color of a car. And memories can be distorted. They're just an interpretation, they're not a record, and they're irrelevant if you have the facts." While I've known that to be true intellectually for quite some time, recently my own brain revealed its fickle nature.

For our honeymoon, J & I went to Ireland. J drove because at the time I couldn't opperate a manual transmission at all. At present I only do it under duress and it stresses me smooth out and I don't like it. But I can do it. But I digress. J did all the driving. Which means I was always in the passenger seat. Which is fine. J likes to drive and I like to take pictures out the windows of moving vehicles. A match made in heaven.

Recently, in talking with my cousin Buddy--and remind me to tell you about kilometers and milliliters in a bit--I realized 2 things. One--they don't drive on the other side of the road in Germany. I think I kind of knew that, but not really. So when Buddy comes here and drives my folks BMW (which stands for Bavarian Motor Works...does everyone in the world but me know this?) it's not really all that strange for him. He's driven speds with triple digits on the Autobahn, so I imagine the Texas speeders don't faze him one bit.

This is relevant in that it got me thinking about driving around Ireland and what I remember from our cross-country drive. After spending a weekend in a little B&B on the Antrim coast in Northern Ireland, we drove 6 or so hours to Donegal. We saw many rainbows and Ireland really is as green as you think it is. It's also got pretty blues and golds and spots that remind me a bit of northern California. We couldn't play the cow game because the Irish country side is just lousy with sheep instead of cows. Black faced sheep and white faced sheep and since it's very difficult to brand a woolly animal, they spray paint them instead, which led to the "one sheep, two sheep, red sheep, blue sheep" game instead.

So, I have fond memories of riding around the northern part of Ireland (and Northern Ireland, but those are two different things) while Jeremy drove the manual transmission Passat wagon or whatever it was. It was blue. I remember that much. Nothing unusual about my memories. They're all from the perspective of the passenger seat.

Only, the US passenger side. Which is the driver's side in Ireland. I know this. I remember frequently walking to the wrong side of the car and J teasing me that I was welcome to try and drive. I rememeber that. I know that I sat on the right side of the car--I mean, the correct side of the car, which in this case is the left. But all my memories have re-written themselves to show from the OTHER side. My brain says I turned my head to the right to look out my window, and I know that's not right. I know I looked left. If I did look right, it was to talk to J, but what I know to be true is in direct conflict with my actual memories. It's as though my brain just merged the Irish memories with all the other car memories and made everything match. They should stick out like a sore thumb because I only have that one trip where "shotgun" was on the left. But they don't. It's the only set of memories that I concretely know are wrong.

I wonder how many other memories are wrong. I know that the room I think of as the green room from the house on 1414D Washington St wasn't really green. It had green curtains and a green bedspread, so the light in there always seemed green, but the walls weren't painted green. I know that, but I don't remember the walls as white. Growing up we had a couch that my mother swears up and down was brown, but I thought it was grey. I mean, it was a varigated pattern of light colors that my mind read as grey. I suppose once upon a time it could have been brown, or maybe beige would be more accurate, but I don't remember it any other color than grey. Colors changing seems more natural a memory lapse than to completely change the interior of an automobile.

Unreliable brain.

OH! Kilometers. So, in talking with Buddy, I revealed that I say it kill-OM-eters. Buddy laughed at me. The inconsistency here is that all the other measurements aren't pronounced this way. It's centi-meter, not cent-IM-iter, milli-liter not mill-IL-ilter. But I've since vowed that I shall be consistent. I will say mill-IL-iter because it's way more fun than milli-liter. Try it! Kilo-meter may be boring and kill-OM-eter isn't that much more exciting, but cent-IM-iter and mill-IL-iter are a riot.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012


I know Eleanor is growing. The numbers on the scale go up. Clothes and diapers get smaller. But I spend all day, every day with her, so it's also a little hard to process that she hasn't always been this way. So, some photographic evidence.

0 months old
0 months

1 month

2 months

3 months
3 months

4 months
5 months

6 months

6 months

Sunday, October 7, 2012

6 months

We made it! Half a year! Wooohoo!

The Vitals:
18lb 6oz (in fleecy pajamas and a cloth diaper)
Still growing and still squishy--those are the at home numbers. We'll see what the doctor's office has to say tomorrow. Flu shot, ahoy!

The highlights:
Baby's first cough which led to baby's first ear infection which led to baby's first antibiotics. None of these are fun milestones
Baby's first tutu! (Also baby's second tutu, but that's less exciting)
She attended her second funeral/memorial service. I don't know if that counts as a highlight, but she did get to meet many cousins of the second variety...or first cousins, once removed. I'm never sure how that works. My cousins. Also my aunts and uncles from far away.

Sitting up (mostly) without tipping over
Locomotion--I'm not willing to call it crawling yet, but it is a coordinated lift-face plant-toe push maneuver that gets her places. She rolls and ooches.
Hand flapping
Babbling (now with consonants!)

Works In Progress:
The aforementioned crawling.
Sitting up--in the way of getting herself from laying down to sitting unaided
Standing. Oh, we're a long way from standing unaided, but she *wants* to pull up and be standing. So, much like sitting, the desire is there long before the actual proficiency.

She likes:
Chewing on everything
Laughing and "talking" to herself and everyone
Trying to climb me while nursing
The Jumperoo!

She dislikes:
Taking a nap if there are GOINGS ON TO BE A PART OF!!

I like:
Laughing and talking with her
Coordinating outfits (and this has led me to buy the supplies to make bows for her head! Yeah, it's awesome.)

I dislike:
Her not wanting to nap when there are GOINGS ON SHE WANTS TO BE A PART OF
Her attempts to climb Mt. Hudge

She's pretty awesome these days. Beautifully chubby and squishy and sociable. She's all smiles and grins, even for strangers. Her latest favorite game is to sit on her blanket with a basket of toys juuuuust out of reach. She then reaches them and pulls them out. It's pretty fascinating to watch, at least for me. We go on walks and she likes to interact with the other babies in our playgroup. That group is about 90% lady babies, which is pretty rad. We're still pretty bad at having a consistent nighttime routine. I mean, there are things that we do, but it's not very...routiny yet. We're still doing baby-led weaning. She's not ingesting that much, but she is having a grand time gnawing on things. Raw bell peppers and cucumber are big hits, as are apples and bananas. Sweet potato and carrots remain popular. Bread gives her the full-body happies. Also: belly rubs, trying to "pet" the pets, and tutus.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012


To update, yesterday remained wonderful from start to finish. There were many giggles, some pictures in a tutu (not the one I made during her morning nap, but the one that Kammah and I made on Monday) and so on. Today has been... less stellar, but we did go get her 6mo pictures taken, and that reminds me that I never showed you the 3mo ones. Well, let's fix that, shall we?

So, that's Squnchler, age 3 months.
Now for today's pictures. Dude. Just... I'm in love with this kid and MAN she photographs well! (toot-tooting my own horn!) Also, I made that tutu! MADE IT (which was so stinkin' easy)! The headband and tail are from my giraffe costume last year. And yes, the tiny giraffe (Beanie Baby) makes another appearance.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Remind me

Should J and I ever decide to do this baby thing again, I want you to remind me about today. And by you, I really mean me. Now me needs to talk to future me to remember today.

Today is good. I got out of bed at the not-early hour of 9 and while Eleanor finished sleeping I made a tutu. Well, 95% of a tutu, because I think it needs just a little more fluffing and maybe a ribbon bow before I'm ready to call it totally done, but still. I cut up 50 yards of tulle and tied it around an elastic band, which is making a tutu. I also watched some Aaron Sorkin while I did it, and 25 episodes in, I'm ready to say that I'm just not in love with Sports Night. It's not because it's about sports, which I care nothing about, because A) it's not about sports, it's about relationships and 2) I don't give a squat about politics and I loved The West Wing. It's because I don't really care about any of the characters. I can't put my finger on why. I also ate breakfast while making a tutu and watching Sports Night. This is a morning full of win.

After Eleanor woke up for the day--which I can now tell when she's waking up to eat and when she's up for the day by how she wakes up. Tangent interrupting that sentence and I'm not going to fix it, so just hold on. When she's waking up to eat, she fusses, eats, and then goes right back to sleep. When she's waking up for the day, she wakes up happy. It's wonderful. She sings to herself and plays with whatever she can get her hands on and she smiles at me. So, right, after Eleanor woke up, I got her dressed in a cute orange and pink gingham dress with matching bloomers and accessorized with a pink headband. Then she played by herself in the Jumperoo for 30 minutes while I cleaned the kitchen. And I don't just mean emptied & reloaded the dishwasher, which is usually what I mean when I say I cleaned the kitchen. No, I mean I cleaned counter tops. And the stove. And the MICROWAVE. I was productive.

Then Eleanor was done playing by herself so I played with her. We sat on the floor and she chewed her toys, which is what counts as playing for us at this point. Puca came to sniff her and she grabbed his fur. He is incredibly patient and gentle with her and I'm pretty ridiculously excited to see how much she loves watching him play. I know that most moms think they got the best baby ever (and I totally did) but hands down I got the best dog in the whole wide world--barking at everything that touches our sidewalk not withstanding.

When it was time for her nap, I recognized it by her demeanor, not the clock. That may sound simple and like a giant no-brainer but that's a really big deal for me. She doesn't have a schedule and her routine has always been fairly unpredictable, or at least that's how it feels at the time, but looking back she really does have patterns and I can recognize them now. That makes me feel really good at my job. I sometimes understand my baby. On this day, I saw that her fussiness was because she was tired and I put her down for her nap. In her own bed. Well, I nursed her to sleep in our bed then transfered her to her own bed, but she's taking her naps in her bed. This is an accomplishment for me. Just 2 weeks ago she was still taking her naps on our bed surrounded by a bumper of pillows. She had been taking naps in her cradle, but even with the bumper (breathable, of course) she was getting her hands and feet caught in the bars but couldn't get them un-stuck, so back to the bed. Now she naps in her bed. In our room. It's progress.

If tomorrow doesn't go this well, I want to remember that today was good. I'm pretty bad at remembering the good days as it turns out. I dwell on the bad days and kill myself with comparison. Comparison is the thief of joy. Someone wise and probably more famous than me said that and it's true. Except when it's not. I mean, I don't think I'll ever be able to stop comparing myself to others. I know I should focus on just being the best me I can be because only I am me and I'm not anyone else. When I focus on being grateful for how good I have it--and I do have it good, objectively good, not just subjectively--it's in comparison to others. I am grateful that I have a car and a house with functioning temperature control and almost enough room to store the oodles and oodles of stuff we accumulate and enough disposable income to have hobbies instead of a career. I get to stay home with my adorable baby and I'm lucky to have all of that because there are lots of others who don't. But that's comparison too, and when I do that it's just too easy to flip over to the other side of the "but I don't have" lists. I've never been on a cruise and my baby doesn't sleep through the night and she's still in our room and not sleep trained to sleep in her own room in a crib all night long without us.

For crying out loud! That's what I have to complain about? I've never been on a cruise?! So what! I honeymooned in Ireland and I don't really like bathing-suit beaches anyway. Which is why I'd love to do an Alaskan cruise, or the Holy Land cruise that my aunt & folks are taking in November, or to take a boat down the Rhine river, or the Danube, or... See, there's always something to dream about. And fine, great, dream! I like dreaming. It's good to have "bucket list" items and things to plan and hope for. They should bring joy though, not depression because I haven't done it yet.

And Eleanor's not even 6 months old yet. (And you guys, wait until you see the pictures I have for her 6 month update. You're gonna die from the cute. I'm just saying... This one is gonna be good.) Sure there are plenty of babies younger than her sleeping longer stretches in their own room. But I LIKE having her in our room. I like having her near to me. She will move to her own room in her own time. This works for us, for our family. She gets time to herself to explore and play and entertain herself, soothe herself, and be her own tiny human. She's not spoiled or coddled--she's a baby! What's more, she's my baby, not anyone else's baby. If I have to be nice to me for being just me not anyone else, then the same rules apply to my mini-me. And I'm not saying this because anyone has said anything hateful or hurtful or judgmental disguised-as-advice to me. This is me saying out loud what I need to remember because my own brain wants to sabotage me. My brain wants to paint a bleak picture of reality and it's just not true.

Today is good. I'm wearing real clothes, clothes I could comfortably leave the house in. I've had nutritious food and even slept in a bit. I've made crafts and taken care of my house. I trimmed Eleanor's nails. It's not a perfect day, but it's good. Eleanor face-planted on the hardwood-laminate floors and I was terrified she'd get a big ugly bruise. Not because I worried about her health or well being. Well, I did, but honestly it was a secondary concern. No, my first worry was that she'd be all banged up for the pictures that I want to have taken tomorrow so I can give 6 mo portraits to the family that's coming in for my granddad's memorial on Friday. Isn't that some Murphy-type rule of babies in pictures? They'll mar their tiny faces just in time to capture it for posterity? (See also, why I trimmed her nails) She's got an ear infection because she's been congested for going on 3 weeks now and she's taking her antibiotic like a champ and she's only had a few bits of inconsolable screaming and she is still generally my happy, sweet, easy-going, social baby, but man! Do I ever beat myself up about it when she gets fussy when we're out with other friends' babies. Like why do *I* have the fussy baby? Why does other babies fussing sound so mild-mannered and when E does it I feel like my ears should fall off? Because those aren't my babies. I just have to cut myself some freaking slack. Hear that, self? Chill. You got a good one. I mean, look at her!
Eleanor being very lady-like at the doctor's office

Also, today is good and it's only noon. I've been productive. I'm presentable for the general public. Eleanor is clean, fed, and happy. (Well, asleep at the moment, but that counts as happy in my book.) Today is good and I want to remember it for later. (Even if later is later today in case things go completely off the rails.)
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