Thursday, November 20, 2008

Five Wide

Recently I wrote that if every being in our house is asleep at once, we are all in the room together. Cold weather makes this practice even more amusing because everyone wants to snuggle. When Dave turned out the lamp last night, our sleeping situation was as follows. Dave on the oustide edge of the bed, then Georgia, then me, then Gypsy, then Ella in her little co-sleeper. Jewel was asleep in the middle of the dog bed in the floor. I told him we were sleeping five wide.

Ella acheived a milestone I wasn't looking forward to this week. She managed to roll over during the night while wearing the harness. I was really counting on that harness keeping her less mobile for a while longer because I'm not ready to move her to her own room yet. She still fits in the the co-sleeper and is no where near the weight limit, but I won't be able to keep her in there once she's flipping and flopping because there is not enough room for that business. Sigh. She's growing so fast. Also, as a result of realizing she can roll over while wearing the harness, she's been waking up increasingly more often to practice this new skill. One reason the 4 - 7 month time period is so sleepless is because they reach a plethora of developmental milestones during that time and they have a tendency to obsess about them until they've mastered them. We had gradually gotten back to one waking per night after she finally rolled from back to tummy. However, since she rolled over in the harness on Sunday night, she has woken up two or three times a night and I firmly believe that it's just to practice rolling over because that's what she's trying to do when I wake up. I find myself reminiscing about the magical few weeks that she slept through the night, but I do enjoy the little bit of extra snuggle time we get when she nurses in the middle of the night. They are only little babies for such a short time, I wouldn't dare wish it away - even for sleep.

We had a very exciting happening this morning. When I left for work, she waved goodbye to me!! It was so cute. She is in the phase where she is trying to copy everything we do, and it seems she finally figured how to wave! We are also teaching her sign language, and I've seen her attempt to sign "milk" back at me. I know that she understands a few signs (milk, diaper change, all done, and cat), but I'm not expecting to see her sign until after 7 months or so when her hands are more coordinated. This is an exciting time period, providing even further proof that God is an amazing engineer of the human body and mind. If you doubt that, just observe the minute to minute transformation of a newborn baby into a walking, talking little person within about a year's time. It's astounding, and I know that science explains the working of the brain and child development and all that jazz, but even so, it took a master craftsman to create it.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Music Lessons

Last February, for a combination Valentine's Day/Anniversary/It's a Girl! gift, Dave bought a keyboard and a couple of books to teach himself how to play. He's wanted to learn to play an instrument for a long time, and he'd like to be able to teach the baby how to play. The whole time I was pregnant, I would sit in the chair beside him and read while he played, and Ella (then known as Timothia) would kick and squirm. There were certain songs she liked better than others, and Can You Feel the Love Tonight is still her favorite. Incidentally, that's the one he was practicing the most right before she was born. I passed by the dining room yesterday to find this scene. She sat there quietly watching him play for a long time. It's looks like he'll get his wish of teaching her to play.

Friday, November 07, 2008

Little Kisses

This has been such a fun week with Ella Grace and it's not even the weekend yet. I hope she's as happy tomorrow as she has been most of this week.

Monday evening was the first time she outwardly expressed excitement at seeing me when I got home from work. Her whole face lit up and she grinned and laughed and talked to me. Then she "asked" to go back to her Grandma for a minute and she initiated a baby kiss! That was the first time I'd seen her do that. She's starting to initiate kisses more frequently and it is so very cute. Of course, you have to be paying attention because it's the typical open-mouthed baby kiss. We know she's kissing because she opens her mouth and leans toward your mouth. She's also started hugging. I don't know if there is anything better than tiny baby arms wrapped tightly around your neck. It certainly makes it hard to leave for work in the mornings. I've decided that I really love this age.

She is becoming more mobile every day. This week she rolled from her back to her tummy for the first time. I haven't seen it happen yet, but I can attest to her squirminess. Changing her diaper becomes a bigger adventure every day as she twists her body in every direction to see what's going on around her. She also attempted to escape her bouncy chair. I don't know where she was going, but she had plans for something.

We've officially reached the point of not leaving her sitting anywhere without tying her down. I usually leave her propped against the pillows on the couch in the mornings while I run around doing last minute headless chicken things, but not anymore. Yesterday, I came back into the room to find her lying on her stomach on the couch with one leg behind her and one stuck under her. She was yelling for assistance. Now she has to wait in the floor, but that's fine with her, she just plays with her hands and talks.

Monday, November 03, 2008

It's Not Really About the Milk

I came across this article on the Internet last week, so I thought I would share it here. This pretty much sums up how I feel about nursing my child. These are not my own words; the article was written by Diane Wiessinger, who is an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC).

It's Not Really About the Milk

You won't "get it" at first. At first it's all about technique, and position, and time, and swallowing, and soreness, and feeling as if your whole world has narrowed to Feeding The Baby. Those of us who have enjoyed nursing our children are on the other side of a great emotional gulf from you. We can't explain it, we can only try to help you across the bridge, to where you can see for yourself. If you stay caught up in this as a feeding method, you may never get all the way across the bridge. But oh, the view from the other side! Those of us who "got it" wouldn't feel guilty if we were prevented from nursing our next child. We'd feel anguished. "Guilt" means you didn't do something for someone else that you "should" have done whether or not you enjoyed it yourself. "Anguish" means great pain and grief, as if you've had a piece of yourself torn away. Imagine moving by shifting your weight left, moving your right leg forward, knee slightly bent at first but gradually straightening, right heel landing as you rise on the ball of your left foot, left arm forward in reverse synchrony with your right as it moves back, then performing a mirror image of the whole process for the next step. Not fun, not easy, not graceful, not something you want to keep working at. But imagine the ease and pleasure of simply... walking. Now imagine someone telling you that you have to give it up. Guilt? Or anguish? I wish I could convey to you the simple, thought-less, vast, delicious pleasure of nursing my children. Once I "got it," I didn't "feed" them, didn't worry about intervals, didn't hold back. We nursed when they wanted and when I wanted - even just to keep them quiet while I was on the phone. At night, nursing was a quiet mending of the day's disorders. Oh, not always, but as someone said, "Of course there's an inconvenience to nursing. But there's an inconvenience to being a mother." Breastfeeding was a fundamental, essential connection for us, and made everything else - from newborn diapers to two-year-old tantrums - far, far simpler. Then there's the ego-building experience of being the perfect center of another person's universe. Can you achieve the same bond through bottle-feeding? No. Remember that a breastfeeding mother is in a specific hormonal state. Her whole body responds to her baby in a way that a bottle-feeding mother's or a baby-sitter's or a father's cannot. Her infant receives all his calories in a full-bodied, full-mouthed, skin-on-skin embrace, always from his beloved mother. Her older child comes to her to have growing pains of all kinds soothed simply in a way unique to breastfeeding. Breastfeeding is a newborn's first relationship, designed to continue throughout a child's early years. As a culture, we tell ourselves - without evidence - that the absence of this fundamental human relationship has no longterm implications for mother or child or family or society. I have enjoyed our children at every stage so far - and they are now adults. Their father and I felt as if we did no real parenting after the first ten years or so; we sat back and enjoyed them. This is unusual in America today. Is it partly related to our start in a long, luxurious breastfeeding relationship? I think so. And like every woman who has reached the other side of the bridge, I hope I can extend a hand back to help you across. The view is irreplaceable!

©2008 Diane Wiessinger, MS, IBCLC

I couldn't have said it better. We have crossed the bridge. Nursing isn't just about feeding Ella; it's an elemental piece of my parenting style. It breaks my heart when I see a mother give up before the nursing relationship is established, or choose not to nurse altogether. She doesn't know what she's missing.

As with other personal decisions, I support a woman's right to choose to breastfeed or not. It's her body, it's a very personal experience, and if she chooses to bottle-feed formula, more power to her. However, I believe that she has a responsibility to make an informed decision based on research and factual information. In this day in time, there is a plethora of excellent information available, but you'll have to look past the formula companies' propaganda in your mailbox and the "breastfeeding support kits" that your doctor will give you. My go-to website of choice is

Happy Late Halloween

We went trick or treating at Grandpapa's house Friday night. I was a little girl with my teddy bear - in case you didn't get it. Some didn't. She wasn't the happiest camper because the evil fever was still going strong and the costume was too hot. We got our pictures and stripped it right off.

As you can see in this picture, we believe in co-sleeping. Jewel has decided she really likes Georgia's bed. If Georgia is on it first, she just claims a corner. If Georgia hasn't gone to bed yet, she circles up right in the middle.

A funny thing about my house right now, if there is ever a time (rarely) when all the living things are asleep at once, we are all in the room together. Oh, and the baby is not the worst sleeper. Why is it that everyone wants to know if the baby (any baby, not just mine) is sleeping through the night? My 30 year-old husband doesn't, and hasn't since I've known him. I bet a lot of adults don't sleep through the night, so why the big obsession with a tiny baby sleeping through the night?

This might be my new favorite picture. We fell asleep together during nap time, and I had to put her down to get ready for a meeting at church. She slept just like this until she rolled over and woke herself up. Look how chunky she's getting! That's all Mommy's milk, by the way, so don't let anyone tell you that babies can't be exclusively breastfed.
Lastly, a picture of her waiting to go to church yesterday. This is the first time I've put her in the whole get up - tights, hairbow, shoes, and all. I'm not especially fond of tights. I hate them myself, but if she's going to wear dresses when it's cool out, she needs something on her legs. For now. I'll not be forcing that issue later if she objects.