May 2012

Allie had fun at her appointment for the vaccinations. Until the vaccinations came, that is. Mr. W and I took our afternoons off and had a late lunch at Catal at Downtown Disney on our way home, then got home early enough so that I could nurse Allie and then we were off to the appointment. There was little wait, as we only had to see the pediatric nurse and not wait for the doctor to be done with patients. In the room, Allie got to play with the disposable paper lining of the patient bed to her little heart’s content.

Okay, she did more than play. She demolished.

Nothing like action shots of Godzilla at work on Tokyo.

I guess if the lining weren’t meant to be demolished, it wouldn’t be made of crinkly paper in a pediatric room.

This is Allie’s third set of vaccinations. Her first set when she was 2 months, she chugged the sweet oral vaccination for rotovirus (or something like that), then cried a little when she got her 3 needles jabbed into the front of her upper thighs for the intramuscular vaccination cocktails. She was fine soon after, and that was the end of that. Her second set of vaccinations at 4 months, she seemed a little confused at the oral vaccine and some of it was spit out, but she took enough that the nurse wasn’t concerned. I played with her while the nurse administered the shots, and Allie went from smiling at me to a wide-eyed disbelief, then a betrayed wail as the shots kept coming. It was heart-breaking. She was fine by the time she left the room, fine for the subsequent nap, but the nap after that ended with an inconsolable pained wail that lasted over an hour. I could only figure that she was having a reaction to the vaccines and hoped that it wouldn’t happen again at her 6-month vaccinations.
This time, Allie cried the moment she tasted the oral vaccine. I didn’t know whether she was scared, or whether she knew, “Uh-oh, after this, the pain starts in my thighs!” I held her and tried to comfort her, and she didn’t want to swallow the vaccine. A lot of it was spit out and she coughed and choked on it while she wailed. The nurse said she got enough of it in her system, the spit-out amount wouldn’t be a problem. Then I had to put her back on the table as she got her 3 jabs. More wailing in between a high-pitched scream each time she was jabbed. Minutes later, she was fine, and we took her to the market to buy organic frozen peas for her next food experiment, and she sat in her new shopping car seat cover, looked around curiously, was fine. At nighttime, she nursed to sleep and stayed asleep just fine. I was very relieved.

Feeding solids is going well. She slurped up rice cereal mixed with breast milk with an immediate enthusiasm, no tongue-thrust reflex. This lasted 4 days, and we increased the frequency to twice a day as she was taking it so well.
After that series, I steamed some organic zucchini and pureed it (skin-on for fiber). As this is watery, I didn’t add breast milk. Allie got her first taste of a food that had zero familiarity. She made a face at the first spoonful, second spoonful, she still opened her mouth eagerly, but cringed at the flavor, and her mouth turned downward as she looked confused. Third spoon, she wasn’t as eager to open up. It took a little coaxing, and she accepted it, but then drew back and cringed, having a hard time closing her mouth over the food. She didn’t finish the ounce or so, so I ate the rest. It tasted very green. Not yummy, unless you were an insect or worm that ate chlorophyll. Day 2, she cringed and looked very sad again at the first few spoonfuls, but then ate it up well, even doing the “Mmm! MMM!” demand in between mouthfuls trying to get you to feed her faster. Days 3 and 4 went very well.
Steamed pureed organic peas yesterday went better than zucchini on introduction. It was significantly thicker and Mr. W vetoed thinning it down by breastmilk because he’s eager for Allie to get on a real-food track. Allie seemed initially confused trying to swallow something that dense, but got right down to business and eagerly opened her mouth like a little bird for each spoonful after. Today would be day 2 of peas, and Jayne is handling its late morning feeding. I may decide to thin down her peas for her evening feeding with breast milk, depending how peas thaw (I puree and then freeze in ice cube trays). Zucchini thawed to become very watery. I’d added rice cereal to some thawed zucchini feedings to thicken the consistency.
So far, it’s been fun, quick and easy. The plan is to do all “safe” veggies first, trying to remember rules like not pouring steaming liquid from nitrate veggies like carrots back into the food to process, and then fruits later so that she won’t refuse veggies in favor of sweet stuff, and trying to remember fruit rules like no acidic citrus until at least a year.
Allie’s been a pooping machine the last few days, which is unusual for her, but the solid food has made her poopies less viscous. It does smell different, it’s darker in color, and has the consistency of peanut butter. She bled a little the other day after her 3rd poopie in 2 hours, so we’ve been using Desitin. The nurse said to dilute prune or pear juice with equal part water and bottle-feed it to her for constipation. Prune juice did not go well; she made a big face after tasting it and refused to suck it up any more. Her butt’s looking better, so I’m hoping that the laxative properties of breastmilk and the fiber in pea skin will help.
Another thing we asked the nurse about is Allie’s shivering. She’s taken to a shuddering or a shivering of her head and shoulders a few times a day with no apparent cause; there was no temperature change. Internet searches have said that unless the baby’s eyes roll to the back of the head or the shuddering lasts for more than a few seconds (indicating possible seizure or neurological issues), that it’s nothing to worry about. Some babies shudder when they’re excited about something they want, or when they pee. The nurse said the same thing; that it’s likely, based on how healthy Allie appears, that she’s just at an age when she’s aware of the sensation of urinating and is responding to that. Interesting.

Some mornings really make you appreciate your time machine. And if you don’t have a time machine, well, then, it’s just a crappy morning that you’re stuck having to live with.

Allie was up before 5:30 a.m. playing with the tassels of the diaper sack that her grandma (on her dad’s side) made, which sack is hanging off Allie’s crib railing. I’m gonna have to take that sack off now that she can reach it. The crib mattress has already been lowered, and she can still reach that stuff laying on her back. I would’ve done it already, except that we were super-late this morning. After her playing, she finally fell asleep again after 6am so I didn’t have the heart to wake her at the usual 6:15. Mr. W decided he needed to fuel up before leaving for work, so while he did that, I went to wake Allie alone. She whimpered. 🙁 It also takes twice as long to change her diaper and clothes now, since she likes to roll over while you’re trying to do everything, and then she un-velcros her diaper tabs, one tab in each hand, as you’re working on putting her clothes back on. When you’re trying to put the unlatched diaper back on, she twists turns and makes that harder, so that you have to hold on to her legs or turn her over, and while your hands are occupied doing that, she unlatches her diaper tabs again. Or eats her shirt. So yes, we started off late, and ended the nursing session later. She also poopied three times yesterday (into her cloth diapers, so I had to wash the inner linings of two of them in the toilet with my bare hands, which, believe me, is still preferable to her NOT pooping, especially now that she’s on solids), and the last time, there were traces of blood on the wipes, so I’m not sure if it’s the food (only rice cereal mixed with breast milk, and steamed pureed zucchini so far), her straining to get that third poopie in a row out (the poopie’s now way less runny than exclusively breast milk poopies), or it could’ve been from Mr. W’s last wiping of her butt after the 3rd poopie. We’ve been using Desitin after each change since, and that’s yet another thing I have to do that Allie doesn’t cooperate for.
Since we were running late, by the time I brought her downstairs and handed her off, I decided I didn’t have time to drink soy milk so I took it from the counter back into the refrigerator, putting in the door, where I’d retrieved the carton almost an hour prior. The carton got stuck at an awkward angle between other things in the door and the top of the compartment, and soy milk started chugging out. I tried to push it in, and it didn’t go; I tried to pull it out and it wouldn’t go, either. Milk just kept coming. Mr. W came behind me when I was struggling and said, “WHAT are you DOING?” I exclaimed I’m not DOING anything on purpose, it’s STUCK! He finally yanked it out and now there was a huge cleanup of the fridge and the floor necessary. That made us even later. And then we hit every red getting to the freeway, and by then, freeway traffic was horrid and we were completely stopped more than we were moving for the last part of our drive. So the drive took longer than usual, but not to worry, we spent the time well fighting in the car.

Last night, after I put Allie in her crib, she twisted and moved herself off the bear. She was also in the rare state of being completely wide awake after I’d nursed her to sleep, so I decided to pick her up and move her onto the bear. She started BAWLING. I knew I had to leave because the more I stayed, the more she was going to scream instead of put herself to sleep. Outside her closed door, I felt awful, as I always do when she’s crying instead of sleeping. I looked over the railing down the stairs and my partner, who was supposed to be in the thick of it with me, was obliviously playing his newest computer game addiction, Diablo 3. I’ve seen/heard many women complaining about this game stealing their significant others lately, but I haven’t said anything about the game or whatever because I’d been so busy with Allie care that I would just go to bed early while Mr. W was playing, or I’d eat, or do some cleaning chore I needed to get to. However, this last Memorial Day weekend he spent playing the game more often, we had most of our meals separately while he played, yesterday he had friends over so we weren’t together as he entertained and I cared for Allie and they did their own thing that I wasn’t a part of, and he had dinner out with one friend while I stayed back with Allie to nap her. None of it’s a big deal, but it was just a lot of being on my own in one weekend even tho he was physically around. He plays the game with headphones on so as not to be loud, which I appreciate, but that means he’s got his back to the goings on in the house, I can’t talk to him, he can’t hear us. That means that last night, when I looked down for support while Allie was screaming, I felt completely, utterly alone. I retreated to our bedroom next to Allie’s and watched on the camera as she calmed down and dropped to sleep. It didn’t take long, less than a minute of screaming and crying, less than half an hour before she was knocked out after soothing herself to sleep, but it was nerve-wracking. Then, I went downstairs and for dinner ate leftovers alone while Mr. W played his game, never turning around.

Aside from the peak of it last night, it hasn’t been too bad because I’ve been spending way too much of my alone time reading an e-book version of “Fifty Shades of Grey” on Mr. W’s first-generation iPad (the loyal iPad that’s been replaced by Mr. W’s newer, younger, hotter model, the iPad3). I didn’t know anything about the novel, except that it was on the NY Times’ Bestseller List and that people raved about it, so I wanted to see what all the hype’s about, and I wanted “pleasure reading” that was not a infant development book (which is all I’d read for the past year). My first impression was that the writing is awful. Second impression was that the author was an unskilled amateur who stole all her predictable characters, settings, and material from the “Twilight” novels and the movie “9 1/2 Weeks.” (“9 1/2 Weeks,” btw, had impressed me with its psycho-social depictions of the dysfunctional relationship between Kim Basinger’s and Mickey Rourke’s characters, and you can take the soft porn aspect of it out and I wouldn’t miss it at all, I’d still be able to write an analytical essay about the characters. But when I brought this up to Mr. W, all he could remember about the movie was some food sex scene. I guess the mark of a good movie is that there’s something for everyone. =P) Now, I’m on my 3rd impression, which has stayed. Yes, the writing is still crap and the editor should’ve been fired for sleeping on the job, but the characters! Anastasia now reminds me of me, and Christian reminds me of a man or two I’ve known, and the whole thing…well…sexual quirks aside, I’ve been there. Their email exchanges slay me, because it had been me. And I’ve been with a Christian (maybe spread out among multiple people) before. I get why she’s hooked, I get why she’s confused, and I get her internal struggles, and when the character was chided for “over-analyzing,” I didn’t see it because that was what I’d done, too (and been told the same). I hated the same people she hates, for the same reasons, rational or not. She even writes emails the way I wrote them. A part of me delights in the relatable development of the book, and in the back of my head, memories made me simultaneously uncomfortable as things hit close to home, again and again. For me, my Christian(s) did not end well, but I was glad to be out, even if it meant losing the witty funny playful word interactions, the open-hearted communication, the highs I’d get with someone’s possessiveness even while knowing that it’s a double-edged sword. It means they care; it means they care too much. It means they may want retaliation. What I learned from those relationships is that as exciting, charming and earnest early words and promises are, they all don’t mean a thing if the person’s actions don’t borne them out. Mr. W isn’t as verbose, communicative or florid, I can write my heart out in an email to him and I likely wouldn’t get a response, but he’s rock-solid in his actions, both in what he does, and what he chooses not to do.

*shaking self out of that train*

Allie has her 6-month vaccinations today at 5pm. I’d originally just hoped to be home early enough to get her to her appointment on time. Then before the weekend, Mr. W suggested that we take the whole afternoon off and spend time like we used to by ourselves and go out, engage in some activities we hadn’t indulged in for the better part of a year. Allie was going to be with Jayne anyway, and we’ll still get back early enough to nurse her and get her to her appointment in time. But then after this weekend, after feeling ignored and alone and unimportant, after the fiasco with the soy milk and being chided by Mr. W in the car about how I put the carton in wrong (I didn’t even know the carton had been opened before I came downstairs with Allie; I’d thought it was still sealed), blah blah, when Mr. W asked in the car whether I wanted to book a massage this afternoon, I just spat, “No!” And then the fight started and lasted, and traffic held us back and made him even more late and more frustrated. The carpool lane didn’t do much to alleviate anything, we may as well have not even carpooled today and then at least we both would’ve gotten to work on time (since his work starts before mine, I could afford to be later, but he couldn’t). Something to keep in mind for the future. Long story longer, we didn’t make any plans for this afternoon, he’s already said he’s not going to take the afternoon off, then, and my only priority all along has been getting my child on time, anyway, not beaches, massages, romantic early dinners, movies, or anything hedonistic.

Please, Allie, don’t have an inconsolable crying fit after the vaccinations like you did for over an hour last time. And now I forgot to pump. *running off, late for yet another thing*

** Addendum hours later: The bad morning continues with a weak pumping thanks to a torn pump valve. Some mornings are just not worth the 4am I crawl out of bed.

This is how Allie looked in the babycam after she’d been down a couple of hours last night, and this is what freaks Mr. W out:

“She’s got her face pinned in by the bear’s head!” Actually, no she doesn’t, because here’s how she looks from the other angle of the bed, photo taken at the same time:

I’d tried to explain this to Mr. W before, but because the bear used to be situated higher on the bed so that she wouldn’t end up past it on the other side against the bumper (Mr. W’s idea) when she moves in her sleep, her head would be hidden by the railing and be invisible from the other camera. So the only view Mr. W would get was the first one. Now he’s decided the bear should be moved back down again because then at least her head is farther from the bumper when she moves off the bear.
But she ends up moving up and over the bear anyway throughout the night. See the following sequence, and how we found her this morning, sound asleep.

Goes to show, when the baby learns some mobility, she’s gonna sleep where she wants. It’s fine.

Yesterday, Allie belly-scooted halfway around the perimeter of the living room rug playing with blocks and such. She also pulled herself onto her knees from a sitting position by clutching at Mr. W’s belt and shirt (he was laying on his side in front of her). At this rate she’ll probably be crawling by next week.

My little baby-boo (or “little nugget,” as her older sister calls her) turned 6 months old yesterday!

She had her 3rd day of rice cereal when we got home from work yesterday. She eats off the spoon like a champ, as if she’d been doing it all her life. We doubled the portion yesterday (2 teaspoons of rice cereal mixed into 4 teaspoons of breast milk) and she seemed to want more after we were done. You know how they say time flies with babies? The reason is that, turns out, the mommy-amnesia thing is TRUE. I would say I have a better memory than almost everyone I know, and I even have a hard time remembering how we spent our days when I was on maternity leave. What was I doing during her awake segments? What about back in the days when the waking times were arbitrary? I recently looked through photos of Allie as a newborn and two-month-old, and the baby depicted doesn’t even look familiar to me. Who is that Asian-looking infant? (I’m losing genetic input now as she looks more and more white.) Although I have little independent recollection of the trauma of the early days, I do remember impressions, like that I felt overwhelmed and scared and insecure a lot because I didn’t know what was coming, what it all meant, and I struggled a lot to learn about infants as fast as I could (which opened me up to more paranoia and confusion). These days are now much, much easier.
Allie now rarely cries, but laughs and smiles easily. It’s clear what she enjoys, such as rolling over. She rolls in both directions, sometimes consecutively as a mode of transportation for her. This is how she ended up here for this photo:

I had her all set up nicely on her tummy on her blanket, and when I got up to go in front of her for the photo, she’d rolled away. So I had to sit with her for a few photos and have Mr. W take the shots.

A cameraphone isn’t ideal for taking baby photos, because it doesn’t have the shutter speed to deal with quick baby motions. We got a lot of unusable blurry photos, like these:

Me: Look, Allie, a disappearing hand! Neat trick, huh?
Allie: I can do it, too, mommy!

Allie has slept on her fuzzy bear, a gift from the sheriff’s department, in her crib for as long as she’d been sleeping in her crib. The bear’s gone during her naps because she naps on her tummy, but each night, after she nursed herself to sleep, I place her gently onto her bear in her crib on her back. She’s startled awake by the movement, flings her arms out, and the moment she feels the bear, her eyes start closing and she gets cozy with her left thumb in her mouth and her right hand grasping the bear’s head. When she wakes in the middle of the night, she “bear wrestles” and tugs on the bear’s arms, face, or foot, curls up with a bear arm, and falls asleep again.

I know the bear brings her a lot of comfort and security during her night sleep, but Mr. W has been freaking out that Allie is so capable of movement now that she may place herself in a position where she will suffocate herself with the bear over her face. I tend to feel the opposite. Seeing how mobile she is makes me feel that she is so strong that she won’t get trapped by the bear and suffocate. Due to how strongly Mr. W felt (he uses words like she WILL die, we WILL have to attend a baby funeral, we WILL have a SIDS situation on our hands), I gave weaning her of the bear a try last night. Yeah, happy birthday, baby. You’re gonna be forced to be a big girl.
So last nite, I nurse her to sleep as usual. She’s carried, asleep, over to her crib, and lowered in. She doesn’t bother to open her eyes, but flings out her right arm to feel for the bear’s head. It’s not there. She rolls to her side, feeling for the bear’s foot. That’s not there, either. She’s on a hard mattress, sans “bear rug.” She reaches over from the sideways position, sucking her left thumb, grasping the top of the crib bumper with her right hand as she does with the bear’s arm or foot, tries to pull it to her as she would with the bear’s foot. It doesn’t go anywhere. She tries to sleep with her hand on the top of the bumper, but her hand’s too high and each time she drifts off to sleep and her hand falls, she wakes up and tries to hold on again. After a few minutes, she pops open her eyes, looks around, swings her arms around her feeling just the fitted sheet. She rolls over, pops up, looks around wide-eyed. It finally registers that there is no bear. She tentatively feels the bumper, and then starts crying. We’re watching this on the iPad downstairs, and I’m breaking out in a cold sweat. Soon I am nauseated and getting tearful myself. My poor baby wants her security toy! She’s wailing, when usually one of the most predictable parts of the evening is the time after putting her down, knowing she’d just go to sleep on her own and stay there all night. Mr. W storms upstairs, saying something about not being able to stand me freaking out, and despite my protests, goes into her room, puts the bear in her crib, and puts Allie on it, then walks out. Bewildered, Allie cries a few more minutes, and I cry along with her downstairs, feeling helpless and overwhelmed and guilty like I did in the beginning of motherhood. Soon she is quiet. I dare leave the kitchen to go peek at the monitor in the living room. She is on her tummy on her bear, fast asleep, with her cheek nuzzled on the bear’s shoulder. She slept well on her bear all night until we woke her at 6:25a this morning.
Allie: 1
Mr. W: 0

So yesterday was pretty crappy as far as electricity was concerned. The power outage was scheduled for 9a-2:30p. It went out between 9a and 9:30a, in the middle of Allie’s first nap, so I had to go by hearing to estimate when she was awake. Sometimes Allie wakes and plays on her own for awhile before making a noise, so it’s possible she was down less than I’d thought, but the first time I heard her for her first 2 naps was at about the 1 hour point. The electricity didn’t get restored until 5:20p or so, and I was in near panic at that point, freaked out that all of my frozen breastmilk would thaw and go bad. I was already making plans to buy formula for the months it would take me to pump out enough for Allie to drink during the day again. Thankfully, I didn’t open the freezer or fridge, and both Christi (flip flop girl) and college roommie Diana texted me that as long as the milk is partially frozen, i.e. it has some ice crystals in it, it can be refrozen. Mr. W had to open the freezer for me to check after he got home, because I couldn’t bring myself to do it. Turned out all our popsicles were fine and the bags of milk were still rock solid. Thank you, advanced fridge!!

Also yesterday, Allie had her 6-month checkup. Her regular pediatrician ended up being unavailable of her original appointment, so a medical staffmember called me to reschedule. We ended up rescheduling to yesterday, 2 days before her 6-month birthday. I asked if timing issues would exist for anything Allie needed to get done that had to wait until after 6 months, and the staff person said no. Well, turned out she was wrong. Allie has 6-month vaccinations that she couldn’t get early. The doctor we saw wasn’t her regular pediatrician anyway, so I didn’t know why I had to reschedule if I could’ve just seen someone else, but it was the doctor who saw Allie when she was sick, and we liked her. This doctor explained that the reason the vaccinations have to wait until after 6 months is because some schools are so stringent about the timing of periodic vaccinations that if they see she didn’t have the required shots within her 6 month time period, they’d make her take the series of vaccinations all over again. So we have to take Allie after work next Tuesday for vaccinations alone. I hope she doesn’t have a reaction like she did last time. 🙁 Anyway, here are Allie’s lovely 6-month stats:
* height: 28 inches
* weight: 16 lbs 9.8 ounces
I had expected to get a printout of her numbers, but turned out it wasn’t among the information in my paperwork. I don’t remember her head circumference, but remember seeing it went a little higher on the percentile curve. “That’s good,” the doctor said, “It means her brain is still actively growing.” I don’t remember what percentile her weight is, but it’s probably still within the 40%s. Her height was something the doctor was interested in showing me on the percentile curve on the computer. “Look at this,” she said, laughing, pointing at the “x” waaay above the lines drawn on the graph. She’s still above 99th percentile on height.
“She’s going to outgrow me by junior high, isn’t she?”
“Yes. But somewhere between ages 13 and 16, even though she’s taller than you are, she will still know that you are mom and you are the boss.” That’s a big statement. It says that 1.) Allie will have outgrown me between ages 13 and 16; 2.) Allie will think she’s the boss after age 16. I pouted. I was also advised that I may want to lower Allie’s crib mattress, because she’s so strong that she only needs to learn how to pull herself up and she’ll be out of the crib. I pouted again. I already have a hard time lowering her into her crib as it is, cuz I wasn’t blessed with Allie’s gift of height.

The pediatrician was surprised we haven’t started Allie on solids, yet. She said between 4 and 6 months would’ve been fine, but at this point, “Start now!” So Mr. W came home a little early, Allie was freshly up from her late-afternoon nap and just at her expected next meal at 4:30p, so it was at the advised time of “hungry but well-rested so not cranky.” We mixed 1 teaspoon of iron-fortified organic rice cereal (flakey and powdery! it pretty much melted away) with 3 teaspoons of breast milk. It was good use of about an ounce of breast milk that Jayne had left over from her measured feedings last Friday, sitting in a vial in the fridge, quickly becoming less cold thanks to the longer-than-anticipated power outage. The result was pretty thin consistency, which I was told it’s supposed to be to start Allie off in learning to take food from a spoon. Boy, those baby spoons don’t hold much at all, which made the whole ordeal pretty drippy. Allie did really well, though! She first kept trying to reach for the spoon with her hand, so we had to hold her hand down. The moment it was near her mouth she opened her lips and accepted the tip of the spoon. I was told to let her sucking reflex suck the liquid off the spoon, and it didn’t quite work that way. She was dribbly for awhile until she realized she recognizes the flavor of the milk. After that, she would lunge for the spoon with her mouth wide open. It was messy down her chin, but nowhere near as messy as I’d expected it to be. We put a giant food bib on her that may have gotten 2-3 drips on it. Allie was apparently ready for solids, because she swallowed just fine, no tongue-thrust reflex. This may explain her recent favorite thing to do with her mouth, which is open and close it repeatedly like she’s chewing.
Mr. W thought it’d be a good time to introduce a sippy cup to her, too, so we put the remainder of the breast milk from the vial into a sippy cup and gave that to her. Her mouth went right onto the sipper part, but she didn’t close her lips around it to suck. She just chewed on it like she does with her teething toys. Since it was the awesome Playtex sippy that doesn’t drip or leak, she got nothing out of it and probably doesn’t even know there’s food on the other side of the sipper. Mr. W finally unscrewed and removed the sippy lid and fed the rest to her like a cup. She took that better. She’d been watching us drink from cups and had tried to emulate us anytime she got her hands on a cup. Good thing I only bought one two-pack of the sippy cups, she may skip that stage. We got Allie’s food experiences on 8 minutes of video, which is apparently 2 gigabytes. Yikes. Anyway, I nursed Allie immediately after that food experience. I guess we’re supposed to introduce her to solids before she fills up by nursing so that she’d be hungry enough to be interested in trying the food the new way, and THEN give her the usual breastfeeding session. I was a little pensive she’d reject the breast, now that she’s found she can gulp milk faster through a cup, and she did seem a little confused at first on the breast, but a few seconds later and she was nursing as usual. We’ll be feeding her rice cereal in the evening for about a week, and then slowly introducing other solids to her later on. I’m excited!

** Addendum: Her head circumference is 44 cm. I guess it was on one of the papers, but I didn’t know at the time what “HD” referred to (I guess it’s “head diameter?”).

We had a fun morning: Mr. W and I walked Allie down to the edge of our neighborhood where the bicyclists doing the Orange County Triathlon went by. These people had the presence of mind, panting and pedaling uphill, to say good morning and smile at our Allie Cat wearing a pink cat head cap with little pink pop-up ears. Well, she did look pretty darn cute. Allie got to watch the bikes zoom by and listen to another lady shouting encouragement while some guy played songs on the bagpipe to entertain the competitors at the top of the hill. It would be fun to go to the Lake and see the swimming segment of the tri, but they likely did that part already. It comes before the bike, right? Surely these people aren’t that drippy from sweat at 7am.

Allie did an older baby’s schedule yesterday: she woke up 7a, had a nap at 8:50a for about an hour and a half, had another nap at 12:50p for an hour and a half, and skipped the last nap, went to bed for the night at 6:30p. That’s what the sleep book would call ideal. 7am wakeup, nap at the right times of 9a and 1p. Last nap is optional at 4p. It wasn’t as simple as it sounds; we’d skipped the last nap because my parents had come over and we were out having all-you-can-eat sushi. The owner/sushi chef “encouraged” us to treat him to sake shots, and he may have taken a few too many. We waited too long for him to complete our order with uni, and didn’t get them. Turned out he thought he gave them to us, and that’s why we were waiting around. Anyhow, by the time we left it was 4:30p; Allie had missed the time window for the 3rd nap AND was late on the 4th feeding of the day, which bothered me because I’d planned on putting her down early for the night due to the missed nap but that’d put the 4th and bedtime feedings too close together. I ended up doing that anyhow; she ate at 5p and again at 6:15p. The 5p feeding was short, tho. I got a lot of crap from Mr. W and my parents for my pushing everyone along so I could get home do what I needed to do. “See, Allie’s fine, the only one stressed about this is YOU,” Mr. W kept saying. Yeah, well, Allie being fine is just luck and I didn’t want to push it any more than we were doing already.

Allie’s been doing other older-baby stuff, too. I put her to bed on her back as usual, and for 3 mornings in a row, we woke to see in the monitor that she was on her tummy. Then when we finished our morning stuff and went to her room to get her, she’d be on her back again. Mr. W claimed that she rolled consecutively from one end of the rug to the other, but I didn’t see it. Her aim is now lethal. You can’t carry her and not pay attention or things will get knocked to the ground or poured on herself. She picks up toys, turns them around to study different angles of them, gives them a test chew or two, and then would deliberately swing them to the edge of her high chair or carseat carrier and drop them. And when she’s nursing, she’s learned that biting me gets me to say, “No!” or pull her off or say, “Ow ow ow” or some sort of reaction. So when she’s done eating (she makes sure she’s done cuz she knows a bite means the end of the meal for her), sometimes she’ll turn slightly up to face me, and I see her eyes curl into little moons of mischief as she starts to smile. Uh-oh, here it comes. She makes eye contact, and bites down slowly, watching me. Sometimes if my reaction is strong (“NOOOO!” I’ve yelled before), she looks startled and concern laces her eyebrows as she looks at me. If I smile or talk to her, her features relax into a relieved smile. Sometimes I won’t talk to her. I’ll keep staring at her sternly. She keeps looking at me nervously, eyes wide, waiting for a sign that things are okay. And then she won’t bite me for awhile. Once this lasted almost 2 days. It’s not gonna be a fun time when the upper teeth start coming out.

Speaking of not a fun time, tomorrow is Allie’s 6-month appointment. I took the day off to give Jayne a long weekend. The appointment is at 11a, so all that means is that Allie needs to be up from her morning nap, changed and fed at 10a so we can be out the door at 10:30a. Timing should work. The problem is that the electricity company has a scheduled electricity outing for our area from 9a to 2:30p to work on some stuff. That’s a long time without babycams! That also means no air purifier/white noise running in Allie’s room during her naps that I won’t be able to monitor, AND it’s trash day so the beeping of the 3 separate trucks will be louder than normal. 🙁 I was hoping Mr. W would want to take the day off to go to the appointment with us, but he said he’s going to work. I’ll just keep reminding myself that I can do this; I did it for the first 4.5 months of Allie’s life. Note to self: park car outside in the morning so we don’t get trapped in the garage during the power outage and not be able to leave for Allie’s appointment.

Mr. W and the stepdaughter (who just got back in the wee hours of the night last nite from a 2.5 week West Coast choir tour for her university) just left to go pick up his son for a bikeride and lunch. I’m seeing this alone-time with Allie, who’s napping right now, as practice for tomorrow. I’m sure I’ll hear Allie cry without cameras, but it sucks to not reassure myself after noises and stuff that she’s still asleep by peeking on the cam. I won’t even have the computer for entertainment when she’s down. Oh, the stepdaughter just presented me with a beautiful handmade quilt she got from one of the families that hosted her West Coast tour, as a thank-you for my arranging and booking her Europe trip for her (she’s going to Germany and Spain in 3 days, lucky girl) and for Mother’s Day.

Snack bar, thank you for existing. Because of you, I can work late into lunch, go a mere few floors down, and obtain indulgences to consume minutes after leaving my work behind. Then as my body turns your edible nutriments into milk, I can pump half an hour before trial resumes in the afternoon session. Your selections aren’t varied or healthy, but they are readily available. That’s good enough for me on days like this.

Oh, tuna salad sandwich on wheat, why are you sweet? I mean that literally. Wherefore art thou so sweet? Did they put sugar in your ample mayonnaise? Is that relish in there? Well, whatever the reason, at least the fishy part of you lays between what I assume to be wheat bread given the color, although I guess it could be food coloring to give the appearance of nutrition. I did feel a little bad after throwing your wrapper away, with the sticker on it displaying an expiration date of 5/18. I had selected you because the only other tuna sandwich had an expiration date of 5/16. I didn’t realize until after getting back to my computer that 5/16 is today. What will happen to the other sandwich that I’d left there, looking through the refrigerated glass at potential customers like so many pound puppies and kitties? If nobody picks it today, does it just go to waste? If the prior owners of the snack bar were still there, they’d simply change the sticker and the sandwich would magically be given new life.

And oh, Cheetos, I’ve saved the best for last. Ah, Cheetos, my familiar old friend. You taste of theatres flashing movies like “Mo’ Money” and “Jurassic Park.” Each persistent crunch calls to mind footfalls on a high school hallway traveling between second period P.E. and third period English II Honors. There were days when the ignorance of teenagerhood made you regular company, a time when 320 calories per serving of deep-fried corn meal did not bring with it a concern of lesser-quality milk to feed an infant. (Of course, back in the early ’90s, I’d thought “Allie” would be 11 years old by now.) It’s been a year without you and I’ve succumbed to your bright orange siren call twice this week, unable to resist your crinkly bag depicting promises of miniature Neanderthal clubs in the identical unnatural hue used to paint your speedy mascot. Until and unless shown that your “Artificial Color [including Yellow 6]” appears in my milk production, I shall not regret today’s walk down memory lane.

Allie’s been rolling from her front to back for awhile, which is very disruptive to her naps (that she takes on her tummy), because she hadn’t been able to roll back to her front. During our road trip earlier in the month, Mr. W swore Allie rolled from back to front while she was playing, but I didn’t see it. She’d been getting close, sometimes “accidentally” doing it, but often trapping her arm underneath. Early this morning, we saw on the monitor that she was peacefully sleeping on her stomach in the crib altho I’d put her down as usual on her back. I think it’s official now. And I’ll have to remove her bear that she sleeps on and wrestles and cuddles with, now that it’ll become more of a suffocation risk. 🙁 I hope a flat mattress instead of a cozy bear, when she’s half-awake and reaching for comfort, doesn’t jar her fully awake.

We’re in day 2 of a Family Law divorce trial. Not really interesting, and it’s been a challenge to pump while trial’s going on. I’d simply leave and pump in the jury room with the door closed, and while I’m gone, my judge will swear in any new witnesses and jot down new trial exhibits identified, and when I return to my desk, I check my court reporter Louise’s realtime transcript on my computer and compare it with notes, and catch up for my minute order. This is all going to change. With the $15 billion deficit that our governor announced earlier this week, California has been cutting its budgets by going beyond trimming the fat, deeper than the muscle, down to the bone. For us, in addition to other measures, this means the state is ripping every court reporter in our county out of their positions, lining them up by seniority, laying off the 60 lowest on the totem pole, reducing the next 60 into part-time workers, redesignated a bunch of courtroom as no-court-reporter and/or partially-reported courtrooms, and the remaining reporters are going back into available courtroom positions by seniority. With this upset, we are losing the reporter we’ve had since I’ve worked for this judge (which is practically my entire career of 13 years).
We’re a trial courtroom and we do primarily Civil Law trials. Under the new rules Civil Trials will not be provided a court reporter. If the parties/attorneys want the proceedings recorded, they have to provide their own private reporters. This is crazy to me. How are they going to appeal anything without transcripts? What if there’s a dispute as to what happened? It’s all going to be he-said-she-said? For me, it means also that I no longer have realtime, so when I leave (to go pump) and miss something, I miss it completely, forever. I guess I can have my courtroom assistant take some notes for me, but it’s still very uncomfortable as she’s unaware of what kind of information I would need written down. And I’d have to count on her to pay attention AND understand what’s going on, both of which are not guaranteed. :/ Also, if I’m going through my notes at the end of the day and I realize there’s a discrepancy, like I have two exhibits with the same number written down, I can’t just go to my reporter’s office and say, “Hey, I think I may have misheard an exhibit number…can you check your notes for me?”
On a more personal level, Louise has been more than a coworker to me. She’s been a big sister, giving me guidance with work issues, personal/emotional issues, and a friend who’s been kind unconditionally, not just to me, but to people around in general. She’s been my outlet at every major emotional episode since I was 21, using her own life experiences and compassion to help me through very hard times. She gets my humor and laughs when I made oddball comments that go over other people’s heads. She’s changed my life in so many ways. Emotionally, she’s taught me to recognize the difference between negative actions stemming from my ego feeling hurt, vs. legitimate reactions to protect or improve myself. She’s taught me about the strength of acceptance and inaction (i.e., resisting retaliatory behaviors, or in childish terms, not “getting someone back for what they did to me”). My physical health has improved thanks to her, too. I started running way back in 2000 with her advice and encouragement, as she has been a lifelong marathoner and gave great tips on training. We worked out at the same local gym for some years, and would give each other new workout ideas and exercises and tips. Since she started her health and nutrition kick some years ago, she’s been sharing her knowledge (and sometimes, cookies!) with me, taught me so much about nutrients, vegetables, organic foods, cooking. Oh yes, and we took a few cooking classes together for fun at a bakery she’d discovered. And she found Rebecca. She’s also helped me out in so many little ways when I was overwhelmed at work, whether it be from putting a cart of files together (when I was in Law & Motion) or by babysitting the courtroom because I had to get away to do something in another part of the building. She also co-threw me my work baby shower.
She’s still in our courtroom reporting this Family Law trial because Family Law has been designated as reporter-required proceedings, but as soon as this trial is over, she’s released from us, as if the Powers that Be just cut the cord that bonds us all to this courtroom, and she’s being dragged away and will be sent on a day-to-day basis to who-knows-where. Wherever her assignment office decides they need a reporter for that day. Louise has been well-adjusted about it all and her perspective is that she’s grateful to still have a job and a reliable paycheck, but our little work family is going to be forever changed.
I keep telling myself that my losing her as “my” reporter doesn’t mean I’m losing her as “my” friend. She’s not disappearing off the planet, and I still have her phone number and we’re online social networking friends so I can still stalk her (heh). As far as my finding one of my favorite people in the world, this job has already done its job. Staying in each others’ lives is in our own hands.
One of the joys of coming to work is dimming, though. Mr. W is becoming ever more eager to leave California as we watch this state go on its downward spiral…and I’m starting to come around and resist less.

We celebrated Mother’s Day with the elders (my parents and maternal grandma) on Saturday, and with just Mr. W and Allie on Sunday. Because Mr. W’s parents are traveling in Texas and couldn’t celebrate with us, we had them along in spirit on Saturday by dressing Allie in a little outfit that Mr. W’s mother made. (Yes, MADE.)

Here she is showing off her two teeth!

You know what holds her interest the most, and what she always lunges for? Tags.

I’ve heard from friends that they can’t imagine what I’m talking about when I mention her tantrums and crying fits, because the photos depict such a happy baby. Well then, here:

And here’s the first baby, looking tiny now. =/

Saturday afternoon, my parents brought my grandma over. My grandma hadn’t seen her great-granddaughter since Chinese New Year. Allie had just woken up from her third nap and came downstairs to a house of strangers, so she was a little somber-looking for awhile. My grandma kept commenting about how she wasn’t smiling at all. Allie did eventually warm up to her great-grandma, tho.

Here are 4 generations of us womenfolk.

Great-grandma tends to be a little picky with food, so we went to SoupPlantation with hopes that a buffet bar would have a little something for everyone. (She still was unhappy about the choice, as we found out after we got there, but ate a lot while she was there so I think she was pleasantly surprised.)

Sunday morning, since we still get up early (me at 4:45am to pump/clean pump parts/medicate the cat before Allie wakes up at 6:15-ish), we got to Mimi’s Cafe for breakfast right after it opened.

We had a nice breakfast while Allie looked on, perfectly well-behaved.

Allie: “Mom, what would you like for Mother’s Day?”
Me: “To be relaxed and happy.”
Allie: “So that means you want me to take all my naps, huh?”
Me: “Substantial naps. Three of them. So you’d be in a good mood.”
Allie: “How about one and a half naps? I’ll take the morning one for over an hour, I’ll fuss and cry and refuse to take the noon nap but fall asleep in a weird flopped over position, wake up at least once a minute until I’m up for good at just 50 minutes, and skip my third nap altogether.”
Me: “That’s your compromise? Forget it.”
Allie: “Who said anything about compromise? I’m telling you my Mother’s Day plans.”

And that’s what she did, although she did present me with a physical gift: a hand and foot mold kit. While Allie had breakfast, Mr. W kneaded the clay, and smeared it into the two frames, flattening it evenly with an included small rolling pin. Then together, we washed Allie’s left hand and right foot. Then he held her over the frames as we placed her hand, then foot, into each frame, pushing down on the fingers and toes and palms with our hands, hoping she doesn’t decide to grab and smear everything. Allie cooperated. Then as Mr. W took her outside to entertain her, I dotted on the writing with the included stylus. Here’s the result, with our reflections in the photo frame section.

Mr. W Allie actually bought TWO kits, so that if one didn’t turn out right, we have a backup. But since it came out well, we figured we can do a second hand and foot in a few years, to compare. 🙂
In the afternoon, we did a Target run to buy another diaper pail for our cloth diapers. We’ve started using Grovia cloth diapers on the weekends (we’ll probably transition her over completely soon, to help with the environment and to help her with potty training so she feels “wet”), and it’s working out pretty well. Allie doesn’t stay as dry as she does in the disposables, but she doesn’t seem to notice. The poopie did runneth over, tho. I guess the cotton soakers we snap into the diaper shells don’t absorb as quickly or as well as disposables. We ended up buying an Arm & Hammer Diaper Pail by Munchkin but after we brought it home, realized immediately we both totally prefer the diaper pail we originally had, the Baby Trend Deluxe Diaper Champ. The Diaper Champ seems to have bigger capacity, has never smelled, and we can use any trash bags we want with it (so we use odor-control kitchen bags cuz you can get them anywhere cheaply). The Arm & Hammer is basically a Diaper Genie so it requires their special bags as it has to twist the bag in between uses, and you have to shove the diaper into the slot with your hand. I guess it’s still a single-handed operation so it’s not THAT bad. I just like the original one better. Refill bags are gonna be expensive, tho. At Babies R Us, it’s a box of 10 bags for $6. =P I’m not saying it doesn’t WORK, that remains to be seen.
After Target, we went straight to the Lake, where Susan Egan was performing Broadway songs with the South County Symphony. Allie was great until her naptime hit at about 3:30p. She started fussing, and we immediately packed up and left. Even tho we weren’t far from home, she ended up missing her last nap completely, crying in the crib altho she fell asleep on me twice during soothing. We finally just let her off the hook for the nap since it was so late it was feeding time anyway. We gave her a nice warm bath, advanced her bedtime by 45 minutes and she was out like a light during her bedtime nursing.

Allie was happy to see Jayne this morning, smiling big and and reaching for her from Mr. W’s arms. “Now that Allie actually lunges for people, it’s gonna start getting personal,” I told him and he laughed. Of course he laughs. What does he have to worry about? This is how Allie looks at him.

Me: “Uh, Allie? I think you misread your bib.”
Allie: “No, I didn’t. You put the wrong one on me. Where’s the ‘Daddy’s Girl’ bib?”
Me: “It’s in the hamper because you wore it all day yesterday.”
Allie: “Put it back on me.”
Me: “But it’s MOTHER’S DAY today!”
Allie: “Oh, right. I’ll go to bed at 6pm.”
Me: “I’ll take it.”

Remember how we called Allie a dancer in utero because of how active her feet were? Here are her pulling off some ballerina moves this week.

And here’s what your view would be if you were at my house playing Jaws (as in the shark) with Allie for a minute. *Jaws theme music plays*

Did you notice how she knew exactly where I’d be coming from? Weird, huh?

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