Sunday, February 27, 2011

Letter to my daughter (13)

Dearest Adria,

You are 4 1/2 months old, and it has been a thrill for me to watch you start to interact with and explore your world. You'll never remember a time when you couldn't coordinate your hands or control your legs. You'll never remember a time when you couldn't speak, or even think using words. But I am watching you discover these things even now, and it's amazing. I was so excited when you started staring at your hands, opening and closing them and turning them over in front of your face, and then when you started stroking your toys, taking in the data your hands were gathering for you. I watched it open up a whole new world of experiences for you, and have loved having you touch me, and stroke my face. I'm watching you gain gross motor skills like being able to hold yourself sitting up, and am anxious for you to gain that skill, because of what it will open up for you.

As kind of an unexpected bonus for the new experiences you've been having, I think it's delighted you too. Tonight as I was giving you your bath, you started giggling for the first time. You've laughed before--a loud "ha" kind of sound, but tonight it wasn't just a laugh, it was laughter. And of course I started smiling and laughing all the more, and it seemed like we fed into each other for a few moments before moving onto the next thing. We were giggling!

I feel so protective over you, and take my job of teaching, training and guiding who you will become very seriously. But I am so looking forward to you developing a sense of security, self-confidence, and adventure, and watching as you continue to explore and experience the world out there meant for you.

I love you so much, and have never valued a person or experience the way I value these times with you. They, like you, are a gift.

All my love (and support), always.
Your mama

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Small update

Just by means of a small update, the pictures have been added to the previous post, and I think are interesting enough to check out (but we all know what I think is interesting!) :)

And, I just wanted to share how pleased we've been in the few days Adria has been at Little Adventures. Both times I went to see her at lunch so far she's been sitting on the floor with one of the workers, and yesterday there was a sweet-chubby-boy-crawling-baby interacting with her too, and just coming in to see her as a part of things has been really good for Jason and I. We're hoping we've found her little home away from home while we're unable to be with her. Still cautious, but definitely optimistic and breathing a little easier.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Thinking of the future--reflections on the unrest in the Middle East

I wonder what kind of future world Adria will inherit.

I've been kind of captivated lately by the news of what's been going on in the middle east in the last few weeks. It's unbelievable.

The unrest began in January 2011 with Tunisia, where a civil resistance movement has spread not only successfully through their own government, but now throughout the region. Tunisia has overthrown their autocratic president, and is awaiting democratic election with an interim government in place. Perhaps much more visible to the world, Egypt erupted next, with citizens also successfully ousting their president after weeks of protests. (There remains question in some minds as to whether the uprising was the fodder for a military coup, as a temporary military rule and several old politicians remain in power despite the ousted president.) Demonstrations by protesters followed in Sudan, Iraq, Iran, Jordan, and Oman, and more recently, by Algeria, Kuwait, Bahrain, Yemen, Djibuti and Morocco. So far, the breadth of demonstrations in these countries have not reached a tipping point for their governments, however some embroiled leaders are responding with moderate concessions. Protesters may or may not be satisfied with those government responses, and even in Egypt demonstrations continue until the populance is fully satisfied with reform. However, in other countries, regimes are responding with brutal force, some employing tear gas and batons to disperse crowds, and most notably in Libya, atrocious brutal crimes against humanity. Libya in particular has captured the world's attention, with the implicated Muammar Gaddafi ordering air and ground forces to fire upon its own citizens. Protesters have taken several notable cities, but at present violence continues in capitol Tripoli with military attacks on civilians, and both the over 40-year-ruler and his family promising a river of blood and resistance to the end. Domestic politicians and military personnel alike have defected, and along with international forces are demanding a stop to Gaddafi's murderous actions. One witness is reported to have seen protesters striping off their shirts and exposing their bare chests to sniper fire. It appears that eminent death and continued resistance are more appealing to the Libyans than life as usual with Gaddafi.

And yet, do you know what the biggest topic of conversation has been around my sphere lately? The price of gasoline. Of course the world markets have responded to the tremors coming from that region, particularly the oil sector. But is that what is the most penetrating about the news coming out of that area? I am a bit shaken by the wave of protests that has spread so readily through that region.

What oppression and injustice have existed in these regimes for so long unchecked that wave after wave of humanity is now rising up? I am ashamed to admit how much I think of myself, and how little I consider others--including my own family members, not to mention the condition of my global brothers and sisters.

What would I do or feel, what would it be like to live in one of the dangerous and scary autocratic societies that is crumbling? What is their sense of "normal" like? What all have I taken for granted? What could that be like here? What would it take to shake our world to that degree? (Thank goodness that at least we have elections every however many years, depending on the office, with the power to affect our leaders that way.)

Democracy isn't perfect. America sure isn't perfect. But I feel insulated, protected, and charmed to be living this American life where my biggest concerns are daycare and rice cereal.

But that raises another idle question--as a person of conscience, what is my social responsibility in global world when my priorities legitimately are wrapped around a precious, beautiful 4-month old baby girl? What is my responsibility to her to deliver a better world than I inherited?

I don't know, I just don't know.

Adventures in daycare

We pulled Adria out of Joyland on Friday, and started her at Little Adventures childcare center this morning, bright and early.

One of the things I liked about Joyland was how organized and structured it appeared at first glance. It looked like a school. There were art projects on the wall, and the classroom doors were decorated for the seasons. It appeared to offer the structure we wanted, and I was excited about the learning opportunities Adria would get there. It was a bigger, newer, nicer room, and the kids stayed in that room until they turned 2. There could be a lot for Adria to gain by watching the older kids! Unfortunately, to put it mildly, we were disappointed. I found her dazed or dozing in a swing too many times. Engaged, or even napping in her own crib as opposed to narcotized in the swing too few times. I won't even get into the difficulty I had trying to get some kind of record of "when did she eat and sleep"? (Doesn't seem like that difficult a question to me.) And the staff just didn't seem to care about my girl. Seriously, I know that diaper was poopy, and that not everyone will love her. I get it. However, I am paying for these people to not only care FOR her, but ABOUT her. "I don't want to, but it's my job" is not good enough. That is what I expect, and that is what my money is good for.

Ironically, when I reviewed Little Adventures before, it seemed a little less organized, and a little less polished. It's an old house converted into a daycare, small, a little "busier" seeming. But cozy and caring. When I visited it last there were 2 babies asleep in their cribs, and 2 playing on the floor. Jason reviewed it again last week and was also really excited to make the switch. She'll be in an infant room--exclusively infants. There will be 6 little bitties in the room including Adria, all in a similar age/stage. I'm really hopeful for the amount of attention and interaction she'll be getting, that these folks will understand the importance of schedule and structure and a meaningful nap time, and now I'm hopeful she'll get to interact with those little bitties! (Basically any interaction will be good for her!) Sigh. Really I just want to find someplace that will love my daughter while I'm away. That could cover over a lot of other territory. It would be a huge thing for me to come in and find her playing. Is that so much to ask?

I'm going to visit and feed her on my lunch break, like I have always tried to do. It's a bit farther, but hopefully will be worth it. Like I said, I'm hopeful. I ache for her, both because I wish I could be with her, and because I want so deeply for her to be alright. Cared for, yes. Cared about, absolutely. So... we'll see how it goes!

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Things that are going on (pics to follow)

Well. I have pretty much wasted my Sunday night time since Adria went to bed. I sat in our spare bedroom watching Netflix--not at all working out, writing anything brilliant, or even connecting the camera to the computer to view the numerous pictures I've been snapping.

I still can't feel too bad for that use of time.

However. There are some things going on that are worth mentioning.

Adria had her 4 month check-up on Friday, and she got an A+ from the doctor! She's gone down in her "percentages" a bit, but is still growing, strong, happy, healthy, and overall doing great and right on track. She had 3 more rounds of vaccinations, which we both shed a few tears over, but they were short lived and we were both smiling shortly thereafter with almost no other ill effects. And the doctors continue to advise on how to keep Adria moving forward, and give her all she needs. For example, we're going to try and quit her Zantac Rx, since hopefully her esophogus has developed enough to control her reflux on her own. I'm going to start trying dairy again in small moderation. And...

Adria is eating from a spoon! I think the rice cereal/milk mixture seems like it could double as paper mache paste, but so far she's done really well learning the spoon, and is even able to get SOME down the hatch, as opposed to tongue-thrusting it all out. Quite proud of her. The doc said I could go to 2 rice cereal feedings a day, working up to a tablespoon of the stuff at each. For now we're basically still dabbling at it, and not counting on the cereal to provide her nutrition at this point. But there are times when she clearly has really got it, her baby bird impression having returned when she goes after the spoon. Also, it's never too early to learn table manners, so we've been enjoying eating a few meals at the table with her after she's done eating, and by and large she doesn't mind sitting at the table while we eat. Hopefully she'll just get so used to sitting at the table like a family it'll be no big deal come time for restaurants, or things like family Thanksgiving dinners. (Trying to teach good habits from the beginning, and I'm so proud at how adaptable she is!) So the long and short of this report is--we're both learning this exciting new skill (she how to eat from a spoon, and I how to feed her from it!), and by the time she really should be solid on solids, I think she'll be just fine!

And--we're so close to Adria being able to sit on her own. She's a champ at the bumbo and in her little activity center. She wiggles all over me like I'm a jungle gym when I'm holding her and we're just chilling. And this evening I propped her up inside her u-shaped boppy pillow, and she managed it all on her own. Don't know how long she can sit on her own (with the prop) before just flopping over, buuut... Pretty soon. (I'm excited for her to learn to sit on her own because I think it'll open up another whole new world of play for her.)

Finally, in contemplating writing this post it occurred to me that I may not be as interesting as I once was. The things I'm interested in have shifted. I was excited to write a post about all the things that are going on in our little world, of course which mostly revolve around Adria. But I am a mom now. I smell like milk and I'm proud of it. My heart melts when Adria smiles at me, or cries to me. I make decisions concerning her ALL THE TIME. And I think she is probably the most important thing I'm investing myself in right now. So even if I can't talk about or do as many interesting things as I used to, my daughter loves me. Follows me. Smiles for me. And she thinks I'm interesting, and hilarious, and somehow worth stopping crying for. And the funnest, most interesting person I know can't offer that. So I'm okay with just being interesting enough for my girl. Because I'm so interested in her.

Monday, February 14, 2011

I wanna know what love is

It's Valentine's Day, warm, sunshiney and absolutely glorious outside, and love is in the air!

I know love:

when my daughter first sees me, looks hard, and breaks into a smile that lights up her entire face.

or when my daughter makes the saddest face in the world, the one where her little mouth literally turns upside down and breaks my heart.

or basically anytime I see my daughter!

when I first get together with my mom after I haven't seen her for a while, and we spend the next few hours solid chattering back and forth.

when my husband warms up my side of the bed before I get in.

when my husband cooks for me.

when my husband sends me roses at work in the middle of the day (sometimes for an occasion, sometimes just because he's been thinking of me and wants me to have a good day! I just got some walked into my office!)

when I'm feeling weak, and my husband holds me, and lifts me up and restores my spirits.

or when my husband is feeling weak, and I can lift him up and restore his spirit!

or when my husband tells me that whatever happens, we're in it together.

when my friend from out of town comes back through and tries to make special arrangements to come and see ME.

when I get fun surprise packages in the mail that aren't advertising, selling, or charging me for something.

when I go outside and the sun is shining out of the clear blue sky over bright green grass and warm air seems to flood into your lungs.

when I'm invited for a girls' night out with a new group of girls and we spend all night laughing and I really feel a part of things.

when I get a long newsy email from an old, faraway friend I haven't heard from in a while.

when I get to reminisce with my dearest friends, whether over the phone, over the internet, or best of all, over a glass of wine.

when I first see my nephew, and he throws himself at me and we have a long, silly hug, or he compels me to chase him around the house only to let himself get caught with a "tickle me!"

I wanna know what love is! :D

Friday, February 11, 2011

Happy 4th monthday, Adria!

Adria and I thought it would be fun to show everyone how she celebrated her fourth monthday:

We started out with the obligatory "princess on her throne" picture.

After which she contemplated streaking.

But she decided she's not that kind of girl, so instead she just chewed on her favorite accessory--the burpcloth.

After a fabulous day partying it up at daycare (where she napped WITHOUT her swaddle!), she enjoyed a wild time at home in her activity center.

And I mean a wild time!

After a short leg workout

She contemplated chewing on G-raffe's ears for a while.

Which she decided was a good idea, and then went for it.

And just like her mama, she can't resist a new outfit, so we tried on her new leggings, and she again found herself in the chair. Don't know why her hair looks so red! In real life it's just a lovely light brown color! Don't know how I can ever convince you after looking at these pictures.

And after a sensible dinner, she snacked on her first real serving of rice cereal--from the spoon! (Remember mom--AFTER the sensible dinner! After!) She really did GREAT. After she'd already eaten her regular meal. After.

See that chin? Most of it made it down, but there's a little proof leftover.

She was a very good girl sitting at the dinner table and modeling her new "A" bib while mommy had a bite to eat, and then enjoyed an evening bath complete with froggies and duckies. You can tell she really enjoyed it because tonight those little legs wouldn't stay still! I suppose "splashing in the bathtub" is supposed to mean with hands... but she was working the legs out tonight!

We read lots of stories before bedtime, and then she was out like a light.

You're mommy's darling. Happy Monthday, Adria!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

It just keeps getting better

So far, day by day, each day with Adria has been my favorite. They build on the one before and my love for her KEEPS GROWING, and it just keeps getting better. I LOVED her as a tiny little meowing newborn, so tiny and perfect in my arms. And she was sweet as could be as a growing infant, big pretty eyes beginning to take in the world around her. It's been amazing to watch her start to engage the world around her and exert some control over her body and to watch her exercise her will. She's babbling, holding onto things, smiling, starting to laugh, and can almost sit on her own. Each day, better than the last.

That means today is my favorite day with my little love so far. And my favorite moments and memories are still to come!

Monday, February 7, 2011

Guess who...

slept through the night last night, from around 11:00 p.m. (after we woke her for her last feeding) until 7:15 a.m.-ish, when I WOKE her to eat and get ready for school!

It was Adria! Woo hoo! I have a sleeping baby!

And that meant that I got to sleep from around 11:00-6:30 or so when I woke myself up! Are you kidding me? 7 and a half hours of uninterrupted sleep? I'm in baby heaven.

Again, this is just a start. And I think we've worked for it. She's slept through the night here and there starting several weeks ago only to leave it behind. But this is my first real hope that she may be on to something.

I LOVE my baby girl!

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Small Victories (that seem like monumental victories!)

Sometimes it's the small things that get us through. You'll hear from so many people in so many contexts to just take things a day at a time, which I think is sound advice. But sometimes, you just have to celebrate the daily victories that get you through, which, with enough coming consistently, may just yield new milestones.

Small victory #1:

Adria has yielded in her hatred of the bath! In fact, she's even SMILED! (If Jason hadn't come in when he did and witnessed it, he would never have believed me.) Now that she's a bit bigger and able to sit with help, I'm just putting her in the little baby bathtub. Water a little warmer than my safety rubber duckie would like. Lavender bedtime bath from Johnson's. But probably the most important thing--froggies and duckies. (Thanks mom, er, Santa, for the little rubber duckies and froggies! Adria thinks it's great when "Frankie Froggie" squirts water on her tummy!) We have even lingered, on several occasions, long enough for Adria to get pruny fingers and toes for the first time!

AND, this small victory has been going on for almost a week. We may be at "milestone" level by now!

Victory! Yesss!

Small victory #2:

I announce this victory with much more fear and trepidation. But the circumstances are such that I just don't know how much longer I can get up with Adria in the middle of the night. I am wearing down, and am not a nice mommy when I'm exhausted and worn so thin. So, whether the stars aligned, or whether some strategies we're working on are finally paying dividends, or whether she was just so tired it made it happen, but last night was the first night we decided to let Adria cry-it-out for her middle of the night feeding (thank you so much for your support, Jason!), and after waking at 1:30 a.m., within 10 minutes she was back asleep, and she slept all the way through until I WOKE her at 7:20 this morning.


We are nowhere near milestone level with this one, and so many things about last night were just unusual. I had given her about a half teaspoon of rice cereal during her 7:00 p.m. feeding. She woke herself at 10:30 for her last feeding of the night, but had a HARD time going back down, fighting until probably 11:30 p.m. She awoke early, at 1:30 a.m. instead of the typical 3 a.m. or thereabouts. And who knows what variables will change for tonight's sleep session. But I will grasp with hope onto this small victory, and will hold fast to it in the days to come when the challenge roars much more loudly. It wasn't sleeping through the night. She awoke at 1:30 a.m. But. I still absolutely count it as a victory.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Working it out (literally!)

I am overjoyed to announce that... (drumroll please)

I am within 10 pounds of my pre-baby weight! And actually within 5 of my pre-TTC weight! (Danged b.c.! And if you don't understand my abbreviations, well, you probably don't need to.)

Taa Daa! (Picture me with one foot forward, both arms up in the air, just beaming at myself.)

And, I think I've come across an exercise/weight-loss plan that may work for me long term. I have committed to doing a sprint triathlon with one of my dearest friends in June, so whether to lose the baby weight, just get back in shape, OR not drop dead the day of the tri, its time to get started. And this is what I'm planning--I'm going on the Grey's Anatomy work out plan!

Never heard of it, you say? That's because it's not really real--until now! See, we don't have cable, or sattelite, or even local t.v. stations in our house, so I'm getting myself hooked on watching Grey's Anatomy re-runs through Netflix, the catch being that I can't watch an episode unless I'm in our spare room on the treadmill, bike trainer, or doing some other fitness activity. But I WANT to watch the show... so voila! Instant motivation!

You may laugh that my MAIN fitness motivation comes by means of watching t.v. dramas, and that's ok. In fact, it's probably appropriate. But hey! It's worked 3 nights in a row so far! (Also the fact that I've dedicated the time in my schedule--after Adria is in bed at 8:30 but before I go to bed myself--has helped, along with the ever-loving support of my wonderful husband. Think "shoulders all the way to the ground, honey! That doesn't count as a sit-up! Come on!")

So... bye bye baby weight, hello pre-baby body and June-time triathlon!

(And what a wonderful welcome back to within 10 lbs of my goal weight--yay!)

So how does the Grey's Anatomy Workout play out? I'll keep you posted. :)