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31 12 2011

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December 31, 2011





Freaking Awesome.

29 12 2011

That would be the answer to the question “How was your Christmas?”.  Good food.  Lots of family.  Cheesy music.  Grins and chuckles from my little girl (until skipping that morning nap kicked in, around mid afternoon).  And, yes, Hazel was indoctrinated into the American tradition of a consumer holiday, with presents galore (and I don’t feel a bit guilty about it – damn, it was fun!).

And so many pictures I would love to share…  Here is just one, Hazel with the entire content of her stocking in her lap (and/or mouth).  YAY, CHRISTMAS!

 

Okay, well, here’s another one.  This is Hazel with her first wrapped Christmas gift – from Aunt Phil and Uncle Chris:

And you know what?  Three pictures out of the hundred-plus that I took is total restraint.  So I am going to post just one more, because what is cuter than the baby sitting on Dad’s lap, reading his old Christmas Golden Books?

Like I said.

Freaking.  Awesome.





He Sees You Doing That, Too

19 12 2011

I was SO anticipating our first obligatory screaming-in-Santa’s-lap Christmas photo.  Therefore, I should have known that my tempermental momma’s-girl would wake up from a little nap and allow herself to be placed in Santa’s arms without so much as a murmur of protest.

Damn it.

No tears, and certainly no screaming.  Just a sweet baby who made the big guy say, “What a quiet baby!” while everyone who truly knows the little angel rolled their eyes at each other.

However, the day was not a total loss.  Santa got a little surprise.  Well, a big enough surprise that he felt it and checked his white gloves once he handed her back.  And when we got home and looked at the photos, I was thrilled to discover that I actually captured on camera the exact moment when Hazel pooped on Santa.

All I Want for Christmas is a Clean Diaper





Guess Who’s Coming to Town Tomorrow…

16 12 2011

 

…and she is stretching her lungs for him already.





‘Tis the Season

11 12 2011

My sister-in-law recently asked me about our plans for Christmas.  Not this Christmas, but, you know, CHRISTMAS.  As in, the big guy in the red suit, and the traditions Jason and I are going to establish for our family.

It was a pretty heavy conversation for a sleep-deprived mother.

“I NEED TO TALK TO JASON,” I told my sister-in-law, suddenly panicked.  I didn’t understand how we could have left THE MOST IMPORTANT PARENTING DECISION SO FAR until our daughter was almost TWO MONTHS OLD.

Christmas, to me, is the ultimate kid holiday, probably in part because I’m not a big costume person.  Being the socially awkward individual that I am, Halloween was never a big success for me once I was about 8 or 9; I always felt just a little… off.  You know, I wore a giant-cardboard-box-style costume when all my friends were dainty little princesses, or I wore a costume the year that EVERYONE else in my class decided that they were too cool for costumes.

But Christmas… Oh, man.  Santa seemed to know exactly what I wanted.  My mother can give plenty of examples of when Santa was wrong, but, honestly, I don’t remember those times.  And Christmas was huge.  I suppose that it was only a few years when we really managed to get Christmas dinner all of my mother’s side of the family plus some of my stepdad’s family, plus a few friends, but when I think of Christmas, those are the times I remember.  The two dozen or so people crammed around the dinner table, the stuffy adults chatting in the living room while the black sheep had a sarcasm contest in the kitchen…

My (step)dad playing Christmas carols on the piano while we all sang along.

Christmas is still full of anticipation for me, now that I am an adult.  Not that I want anything that Santa could bring (my dad, healthy, alive, and playing piano? do they sell that at Target?).  But the time of year when people really are nicer.  And when you can surprise someone with just the right gift (my mom really did want that doggy DNA test I gave her last year).  But as much as I still look forward to the season, it just doesn’t fulfill the nameless expectation anymore.

But Christmas with kids?  Christmas with my own kid?

Yup.  That’s what Christmas really needs.

Jason and I came up with a brief list of what our Christmases will be like – and it’s nothing out of the ordinary.  Santa will be in charge of stockings, and will probably come through with one bigger gift.  The baby will get a new pair of pajamas on Christmas Eve (this is new to us, but SUCH a fun idea!).  And really, reading that description, it doesn’t reflect the urgent need to pin down some details that flooded me when sister-in-law asked me about Christmas.

All I can say is that when you’re a kid, Christmas is magic and nothing seems better.

Until you’re a parent.  And you’re MAKING the magic for your child.

And, well, that is pretty damn important.  Even if she’s only three months old.





The Evils of Television… Or Not

10 12 2011

There is a great rift in our household.

It is caused by one simple appliance: the television.

If I had my way, I would only have the television on when the baby is in another room.  If Jason had his way, well… the television wouldn’t be on all the time, and certainly she shouldn’t be left to entertain herself with it, but he sees no problem with watching a show while holding the baby.

As we’ve experienced the realities of child-rearing, I’ve had to rethink my position, as much as I hate to do so.  I got the baby this crib toy for Christmas: it’s a box that attaches to the crib and flashes lights and plays music.  Basically, it’s a primitive television.  For the baby’s crib.  Then there are all the Christmas lights that flash colors that we encourage the baby to look at, and the flames in the wood stove and the flickering of candles.  And those are all accompanied at times by the loud rap music the baby really likes.

So what is a box that flashes lights and sounds?  A television?  A crib toy?  What’s the difference?  What makes television the enemy?

From what I’ve read, a lot of the studies point to language: if the TV is on, adults are less likely to talk, so the child is exposed to less language.  I totally buy that.

Then tonight: Jason had the baby on his lap, and the TV was on, and he was chatting with her.  I glanced over, and the baby was looking at the television.  I panicked, snatched her away, chastised Jason, and proceeded to walk across the room with her, away from that evil machine and the father who would expose her to it.

Here’s the thing, though.  I had already spent 12 hours walking around the house with her, talking about the dog and the cat and the wood stove and the Christmas decorations and the dishwasher and the floor and the walls and the windows…  Just like most days at home for the last 3 months.  And I was too tired to do it anymore.  So we just walked quietly back and forth.

So, what?  Had I really just pulled my daughter away from verbal and physical interactions with an adult and exchanged that interaction with the silent, weary pacing of a tired mother?

Yes.

And here’s a dirty little secret of mine: sometimes, when the baby is in her bouncy seat playing with the toys on it, and I’ve talked to her about the toys and all the parts of her brand new body she needs to move to engage with the toys, and made encouraging sounds about her genius in grabbing said toys, well, sometimes, I pick up a book and read a little.  Silently.  While the baby plays with her toys.

In other words, NOT DOING A DAMN THING TO CONTRIBUTE TO HER LANGUAGE-RICH ENVIRONMENT.

There is a surprising lack of research on the language development of infants with parents who read while on the job.

I would still prefer that our TV remain off while the baby is awake.  But I was never much one for television to begin with, and that probably influences me quite a bit.  And there’s no question in my mind that both Jason and I have plenty to say to our daughter, and spend most of our time with her interacting with her.  And having Mommy and Daddy arguing in front of her about anything at all is probably more damaging than anything the TV might have to say.

So next time she’s sitting on her daddy’s lap with the TV on?

She’s probably going to stay there.





To My Mouse…

2 12 2011

Well, sweetie, we’ve been together for almost three months now.  You amaze me every day.  Yesterday?  You were this little blob in my arms who only looked at my boob and didn’t do much besides eat and poop, often in your sleep, and I thought I loved you as much as I could love another human.  Then you learned to look at my face, and you started to smile, and I realized that I had never known how much love can grow overnight.

Because you are becoming… YOU.

I thought I would miss the time when you were a part of me, those nine months you spent growing inside of me and your first weeks in this world, when you were just… a baby.  My baby, no doubt, and precious and cute, but with so much of who you would become still a total mystery.  You were still made up of hopes and dreams and maybes.

Now, though, you are definitely becoming your own little person, and what can I say except it is so cool.

You are learning new things and new skills and every one of them impresses me. I DON’T CARE IF TRILLIONS OF BABIES HAVE GRABBED TOYS BEFORE, you are MY baby, and I am pretty damn proud when your chubby little fingers catch something and bring it to your mouth.  You might be the first kid to ever hold its head up; probably not, but to me, you are.  At least, the first kid who counts.

What is the most stunning to me is that you’ve begun to babble.

Yes, I just referred to my baby’s nonsense noise-making as stunning.

When you start to talk, I need to drop everything and listen.  I didn’t expect this to be so amazing, and I can’t put into words why it makes my heart nearly explode and my face crack from smiling, but there you have it.  I could listen to you all day long, but when I stop talking to listen, you seem to think you should stop, too.  So I sort of eavesdrop on you.  I started calling you little mouse because you would make little squeaks and eaks, but now you have a whole range of sounds and each one is worth hearing to me.

You are a morning girl.  I love it when you wake up.  We have been struggling so hard to fix your pain and discomfort from the reflux, but when you first greet the morning, it is always with a smile.  Within an hour or so, you get some horrible burps or the hiccups and your smile starts to falter, then you look to me for help, and when I can’t fix it, you begin to cry, and, little mouse, it breaks my heart.  But it doesn’t matter as much to you; the next morning, you are ready for the world with another smile.  You sit in our bed and laugh at my yawns, at Daddy’s snores, at your diaper change, at your feet.  You stare at the windows, at the polka dot sheets, at the ceiling fan.

Our nursing time together has become even more important to me now that you look at my face while you drink.  You still sniff and snuffle any time you are near my chest, and I love that I am providing you with everything you need right now.  I’m looking forward to introducing you to all the tastes and textures of food, but this time when you are just a milk-baby is so short, I am treasuring every moment of it.  I feel so lucky that with all the issues of reflux you still enjoy nursing as much as I do.

This will be our first Christmas together.  I can’t breathe when I think about it, THAT’S how excited I am for holidays with you.  I realize that you won’t be opening your presents this year, and in fact, you have already seen all your presents, since you were with me when I bought them.  But Christmas morning is still something I am looking forward to.  I can’t believe that we didn’t yet know you were a little embryo last Christmas, and this Christmas YOU ARE YOU!

Little Mouse, every day you are a wonder to me.








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