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Not a silly child at all.

Lillian is six months old! How the hell did that happen? Seriously.

She is so stinking cute. It hurts our brains, the cute. She’s in love with the dogs. I mean in looooooooooove with them. Persephone is not so sure about this. Loki is pretty into it. Pictures below.

She is very mobile, and we fear crawling is going to happen soon. She scoots backwards, rocks on her hands and knees, launches forward, and rolls every which way.

Giggling. Holy crap this kid giggles a lot. She snorts, shrieks, cackles, raspberries, and laughs. She cracks us up.

She’s been doing this kind of conversational thing that is awesome. David thinks she’s singing. It’s in about the same vocal range as the songs I sing to her.

We saw her new pediatrician today and are oh so much happier. She’s very relaxed and friendly and much more interested in what we have to say, much less lectury. Lillian is holding in the same percentile she has been which is fine. It’s wild, though, how much variation there is in babies. She’s easily the smallest in our playgroup by age, but also one of the most advanced in physical milestones. Meantime, it looks like she’s going to be in 3-6 month clothes for several more months barring a big growth spurt. Thank God for hand me downs!

We’re still trying to re-figure out the sleep thing. She’s gotten very hard to put down at night. I don’t mind one or two night feedings if she needs them, but I do wish getting her down for the first block was easier. I read some of Dr. Sears book on sleep tonight and tomorrow we’re going to try putting her to bed extra early and see what happens.

She’s really into the food these days. I’ve gone from rice cereal, to oatmeal, to oatmeal mixed with fruits and veggies. She’s had banana, pears (roasted with cinnamon stick, yes I’m an annoying food snob) and butternut squash. She’s pretty into it. Next up are avocado, mango, and sweet potato. Then I might try peas and some chicken. We shall see. It’s fun to cook for Lillian, though I’m still cooking everything for myself too. Soy is pretty much off the table which means not eating out much at all. But we may try to ease dairy back into the picture to see what’s happening with that.

Mostly, she’s a pretty delightful kid. David and I are totally smitten with her.

Lillian and Loki

Loki gives kisses

Lillian and Loki

Lillian examines Loki.

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There might be something cuter out there, but I haven't found it yet.

Brunch at the Braymen's

Okay, that's pretty cute too.

Photo 52

Oster Visit July 2010

Five Months!

Lillian turned five months old last Sunday! How crazy is that? It is crazy. She’s outgrowing clothes and keeping her parents on their toes (and shoving her fingers up her nose). Yes, parenthood brings on spontaneous rhyming.

Lillian is a great sitter these days, with very few faceplants. She can stand with just a little support. She’s starting to work up to her hands and knees, rocking a bit, and scooting backwards. She’s sleeping on her tummy now in a sleep sack instead of a swaddle. She’s eating rice cereal once a day. It’s all very strange.

Her personality is more fabulous all the time. She loves dancing, giggling, squawking, and banging things.

She got to meet her Nana Nancy, Grampa Dave, Uncle Shaun, Aunt Kris, and Cousin Saraphina last weekend. She looooooved all the attention. Uncle Shaun had her in stitches:

Oster Austin visit July 10

Lillian wants the sippy cup.

Oster Austin visit July 10

With Nana Nancy

Oster Visit July 2010

Lillian and Saraphina

Oster Visit July 2010

With Grampa George

She got to spend lots of time with her grandparents, go swimming, and generally be the belle of the ball.

Lillian bellydances with Uncle Shaun:

Things change so freaking quickly when you have a baby. The baby changes weekly or daily, and you have no time to look back and think about everything you’ve learned and adjusted to and integrated because you’re scrambling to figure out what the hell you’re doing with the baby you have today. The Lillian of this week has little in common with the Lillian of last week. What upsets her, how she sleeps, how much she eats, and a bunch of other stuff  changes all the time.

We had no idea we were doing with sleep when we got home from the hospital. I read a bunch of things (babycenter.com, books, the stupid pamphlet that came with our stupid baby care class) that said newborns naturally fall asleep for the night around 10 or 11pm. So I didn’t put her down for final sleep until then, at which point I was losing my mind, she was screaming her head off, and David would have to step in and rescue us. Sometimes that meant he was up all night with a screaming baby, while I felt like I was drowning in guilt and remorse for burdening him. This went on for about six weeks. It was not fun.

My friend Tiffany said in her blog (which is awesome, by the way) that the biggest piece of advice she would give pregnant women is burn all your baby books. And while we’ve gotten some good info from a few books, I agree with her. If I had paid closer attention to my own observations, I would have noticed that Lillian seemed a wee bit overstimulated if she was up past 9pm. Agitated, hiccuping, kind of crazed. We observed this, but we kept trying other things because those goddamned books and internet and whatever said that we shouldn’t put our kid down early. Even worse, some people, including the triage nurse at our pediatrician’s office said to keep the baby awake all day. (He also said to give her Pedialite before bed instead of nursing. WTF?!)

But David had read case studies in a book on sleep a friend got us and one couple had succeeded by putting their newborn down at 6pm. We tried it. It worked. It turns out the more sleep Lillian gets, the more she sleeps. This may not be true for all kids. Maybe a laid back baby needs a little more awake time during the day to sleep well at night, but I can tell you without reservation that my kid is not laid back. She is all up in everything and that means that after a while she gets frazzled and overstimulated and without our help she gets very, very unhappy.

So now we have a bedtime routine that starts around 7pm, and almost always ends with her happily asleep by 8 or 9. She sleeps a minimum of 5 hours, usually 6-8. This is because we stopped listening to other people and started listening to ourselves. Since we started our self-designed routine, we all get a reasonable amount of sleep most nights. Yay!

Of course we’re still struggling with all the directives from our pediatrician (who told us to stop swaddling her at 8 weeks – again WTF!), people who say use a pacifier, don’t use a pacifier, don’t nurse her to sleep, don’t rock her to sleep, let her cry it out, let her sleep in your bed, put her in her own room, AAAAAAGGGGHHH!

Basically, any time you screw with what’s working before it stops working, you’re asking for trouble. Sometimes my kid needs to nurse to go to sleep. Sometimes she doesn’t. Sometimes she needs the swaddle to calm down and sleep, sometimes she doesn’t. She likes sucking her thumb and hand, she doesn’t like the pacifier. Why on earth would I ignore all these things she’s communicated to me very clearly because someone who doesn’t spend 24 hours a day with her 7 days a week told me to?

Good. Freaking. Question.

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Hospital beds: not as comfy as they look

The 48 hours ish we spent in post-partum at the hospital were not great fun. People come in and wake you up all the freaking time. Nurses, doctors, other random people. They just knock and walk in. Even if I had wanted to sleep I was so wired up from the birth that I only slept about an hour at a time, even with drugs. I had a couple of nice nurses, and several annoying, incompetent, or belittling nurses. Sometimes all in one!

I’m not sure where some of these ladies got their make-you-feel-like-a-stupid-asshole skillz, but they must have learned from the best. I had one night nurse both nights who did everything she could to show me how little I knew about anything baby. She’d spout of statistics or numbers after a checkup with exactly no explanation of what they meant, and smile at me ingratiatingly. Her nursing technique sucked and involved squeezing my breast painfully without authorization. That was a recurring theme. Nothing in there yet ladies, thanks. Our final nurse who checked us out was totally lame. Lackadaisical doesn’t begin to cover it. She forgot to stop at the pharmacy for my meds, didn’t feel like answering questions, and would disappear for long periods when we were trying to get out of the room and get home.

I still had a port in my hand for the first 24 hours, and I had to get 4 more doses of antibiotic through it. This was supposed to take about 20 minutes, but sometimes it stretched out to 1.5 hours, because apparently nobody had taught the nurses how to administer a fucking IV. They’d flush out the port with saline, which hurt like hell, and then start the drug. And invariably fuck it up – it wouldn’t pump, or the line would be jammed. The bitch nurse fucked the last one up really badly at like 1am and acted as if I was just being whiny. It took like 2 hours to finish it. Did I mention how much that shit hurt? I did however talk to the charge nurse about it. Go me. I also called the charge nurse to ask for feedback forms on all my nurses and guess what? She never showed. The OD consultant in me was not impressed.

Trying to learn to breast feed, which is wicked hard anyway, was impossible with the awful hospital pillows. Plus I didn’t seem to be producing anything which was stressful. I had one day nurse who was great and I at least got an idea of what a good latch felt like. Lillian was all about the boob, but she chewed with her surprisingly strong gums and it hurt like hell. I guess I lucked out with the latch, but OW.

David was in a world of pain from the horrible bed in L&D, and the one in the recovery room was far worse. Fortunately, that nice nurse got him a cot which was a bit better. It royally sucks that you can’t sleep with your husband when you need snuggles incredibly badly.

The food was really pretty good. Who knew? They had a killer veggie burger, and decent breakfast tacos. Of course, I would have eaten a tire happily at that point, but it really wasn’t bad.

Yeah, so I couldn’t wind down. This did not bode well for when we got home. There was serious boding. We wanted to get home so badly, but at the same time, how were we going to take care of this tiny being without anyone qualified around to help? How are we allowed to take her home without a medical degree? Does not compute.

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Biological Imperative Win

The other thing that happened while we were there was we both fell madly in love. People don’t always bond with babies right away. For us, it was like one of those cartoon 10 ton weights dropped on our heads. It helps that she’s so dang cute.

Not much of a narrative, I know, but hold on to your hats. Next up, postpartum depression/anxiety/craziness and extra extra sleep deprivation!

Sometime in the last several days I think I swallowed a bowling ball. Suddenly, dragging my sad carcass around is getting really difficult and increasingly painful (again). I can only hope that I get some kind of third trimester second wind before it gets really bad. My yoga teacher said I may be experiencing a lot of pain because I was already very flexible before all the relaxin hit my body. If this is true, then amping my my walks may help some.

I wish I could say I was sitting around eating truffles and relaxing, but I don’t have a lot of room in the belly for food and while I do spend a lot of time sitting, it gets uncomfortable too. Sleep is getting more elusive because of the pain and stiffness. What I wouldn’t give for a handful of Advil right now. I’m still going to yoga as much as possible, my body doesn’t seem to disagree with that too much.

Mostly it’s terribly scary to realize that the baby is going to double in size over the next few weeks and I already feel like a beach ball filled with lead. I guess my body will deal, somehow.

We had a nice, low-key holiday with minimal activity. I cooked a few things, but mostly just relaxed with David. We got ourselves a Kindle with a nice gift card from my parents. Guess what? You can read with it one handed! This bodes well for feeding and reading at the same time. I guess I should work on my one handed typing as well. We also got a nice blanket and cute outfit for the baby (she’s not even out yet and she’s getting Christmas presents) and best of all, David and his dad finished work on the nursery! Now it’s up to me to put things away and get on the decorating. It looks really nice. I hope the glider gets here soon, because it’s a neat room to hang out in. Pictures when it’s cleaned up a bit, right now it’s covered in baby clothes and power tools.

One thing I am not short on is clothes. Two big batches of hand me downs from two generous ladies makes for a well-dressed kid. Right now I’m just trying to figure out how to best organize everything so it’s ready when she gets home. I’ve also already got some great blankets, socks, shoes, hats, and various other things. This child will not be lacking in the fashion department. And in spite of my physical complaints, I’ve gotten a good start on organizing and storing them all. So glad we re-purposed grown up furniture that has room!

Time to stagger  back into the living room and socialize with my husband.

Santa Barbara Baby ShowerNext week I’ll be officially in my third trimester. Holy. Crap. We took a whirlwind visit to California this last week and among the multiple festivities was a baby shower hosted by my mom. I get that foodie thing by way of genetics, by the way, and she’s really especially good at candies and pastries. There was lots of both on hand, and we also got to seem some great friends and family.

Friends:

Santa Barbara Baby ShowerElender

Santa Barbara Baby Shower

Roxanna and Maxine

Santa Barbara Baby Shower

My friends Jen and Scott from LA and family friend Venky

Food:

Santa Barbara Baby Shower

Lemon Rosemary Shortbread Cookies

Santa Barbara Baby Shower

Chocolate Chipotle Cupcakes

Santa Barbara Baby Shower

A whole lotta goodies

Family:

Santa Barbara Baby ShowerMy cousin Evan
Santa Barbara Baby Shower

My Godmother and namesake Michelann

Santa Barbara Baby Shower

My mom working her kitchen magic (and David missing the top of his head)

I had my prenatal appointment this morning and everything is looking good. Strong heartbeat, right sized belly, doctor is happy with the minimal weight gain. I had my glucose screening as well. Bleah. I hope I don’t have to take the 3 hour test because yuck. I had to go upstairs to get my blood drawn in another clinic. Even though I told them it was a timed test, they fubared it and I had to wander into the back to find someone to stick me. Then she failed to find a vein (which has never happened on me before) and chose to dig around in my arm rather than withdrawing the needle and trying again. I’m predicting a large, ugly bruise.

Here’s the progress in the belly department:


Sorry for the overexposed. Shining a flash in the mirror has unpredictable effects.

People keep saying I don’t look all that big yet, but man do I feel huge. TMQ is very active at times, and pummels various bits of me repeatedly. Not quite so much pummeling to the bladder this week, though it still happens.

Yoga continues to be a back-saver, along with my new shall-not-be-named pregnancy support pillow. Where has that thing been all my life? Sleep is a beautiful thing. I’ve definitely also hit the weepy phase. I melt down a lot for very lame reasons.

We’re headed to California next week for a family Thanksgiving and a baby shower. Looking forward to good company and good grub!

I can go several days with relatively little pain (though I won’t say discomfort  – having a tiny person inside you is not always comfortable), and then all hell breaks loose and my body goes into full rebellion mode. Currently I’ve got some round ligament pain – it was bad yesterday, not so bad today – lower back pain, and my latest issue is hip pain while sleeping. I used to get this once in a while when I slept on a soft surface like a couch, and assumed it was circulation-related. That makes sense, since pregnancy messes with circulation quite a bit. But now I wake up with one or both hips burning every couple hours and have to stretch them a bit to get back to sleep.

At first I could mitigate it by using the dreaded foam roller before bed, but now it doesn’t seem to make a dent in the pain. Luckily, I have yoga tonight and a visit to the chiropractor tomorrow (which includes a blessed massage).

However, I’m going to have to resort to buying yet another horribly named pregnancy aid, the Snoogle. Who the fuck comes up with these names? Preggie Pops? Snoogle? Could they be any more annoying? I think not. Yes, pregnant women are kind of cute. I revel in my pregnant cuteness. But please do some market research on your audience and recognize that some of us still have two brain cells to rub together. /end rant

Next week we’re flying to Santa Barbara for Thanksgiving, baby shower #1 and other assorted revelry. I’m not looking forward to the flight, but hopefully it will go smoothly. And there will be much tasty food on hand that I can enjoy. Bonus!

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