Friday, April 30, 2010

New Things

Yesterday M repeated her rolling over performance.  She did it three times before becoming tired and VERY GROUCHY at the mean woman who kept undoing her hard work.  When I tried to get her to repeat the feat for Leo last night, she wouldn't, nor would she do it this morning.  Next time she does it for me, I'm going to try to get some pictures of the process.  Or maybe I'll figure out how to use the video feature on my camera.

Anyway, as she's almost 3 months old, she (apparently she's been getting up in the night and reading our child development books so she can know what to do next) she's started hanging on to things that are help up to her hands.

And she's entering that phase of development where she explores things that are new and exciting by sticking them into her mouth.

But she still prefers her fist.

She also has gotten to where she wants to sit up and see the world, and since she's pretty good with neck control, we let her sit in a little chair with lots of back support.

 She was excited at first, but then she decided that it was just all in a day's work.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

No Pictures

I am, at this early stage of parenting, fairly committed to the idea that we will not use TV as a babysitter.

But today, M peacefully watched the David Tennant and Patrick Stewart Hamlet for 25 minutes.  And she was actually watching it, not just tolerating it being on.

So I'm rethinking things.  Maybe I will only use world-class Shakespearean actors who have anchored their own sci-fi shows as babysitters.  (And William Shatner doesn't count; I wouldn't trust him to pay proper attention).

Also, you should all watch it; it's available free on, and it's really neat.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

We're Going to Need a Bigger Mat

M rolled over this morning.

And then again. 

We were doing tummy time, and she WAS NOT INTERESTED IN IT.  (If she had the words, she would have expressed herself that way.  She certainly had the tone).

There was thrashing and angst, and then she got her limbs twisted just so.  Her head and her shoulders went over, but the hindquarters were a bit of a problem (which gave me time to get up and grab the camera).

When she finally went over, she seemed quite pleased with herself, if a little astonished.

I flipped her back over, and she did it again.

I flipped her back again, and she spit up all over the mat, so we called it a day.  Clever baby.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

It Takes a Couch to Feed a Baby

Not that we're feeding the actual couch to M, because a) she hasn't the teeth for it b) we're not trying to give her pica* and c) it's a really nice couch, and we're not going to waste it feeding it to an infant who probably wouldn't appreciate it in the first place.

Where was I? 

Ah yes, needing the couch to feed the baby.

Perhaps what I am more properly saying is that it is more comfortable for the person feeding the baby if they have access to the whole couch during the process, because then said person can put a laptop computer or a kindle or a lunch next to them, and entertain themselves while M eats and then often naps afterwards.

And tonight, M got comfortable enough with the whole 6 pm bottle feeding by Leo to pass out on him.

*I'm pretty sure that you can't give someone pica, though I suppose we could create a stressful environment and hope that it manifested itself as consumption of noncomestibles.  But we're not going to do that, because we actually don't want her to eat nonfood items.  That's why we're not feeding her the couch.

Hello Sailor

M really likes being sung to.  A good rousing chorus will make even tummy time palatable.*  One of the more interesting facets of her musical taste (and since she likes being sung to, we have gone through every song that I know, and many that I've discovered that I don't really know**) is that she seems to prefer songs about the sea.

Last night, she spent a good hour listening happily to my half-remembered rendition of The Pirates of Penzance.  Luckily, the internet was there to help me with music and lyrics and performances when I needed them.  There were occasional forays into Pinafore.  Luckily, she was dressed for the occasion.

And then when I told her that if she could scare up appropriate costume, we'd do The Mikado tonight, she seemed quite enthused.

So in case she acquires a kimono by some devious means(or worse yet, a wandering second trombone player), I'd better go practice singing three parts at once, and also updating my little list of people we can do without to reflect the concerns of today's babies.

*So here's a question - the point of putting the babies on their tummies is that they need to build their muscles and learn to roll over.  But M has discovered (usually after 10 angry minutes) that she can just turn her head to the side and relax while I rub her back.  This morning, she fell asleep).  Does it count as tummy time of the baby is enjoying herself and not struggling to get off of her tummy?  Are all my attempts to make time on her tummy enjoyable actually making the exercise fruitless? 

**There is a verse of Clementine that always comes out
Drove she ducklings to the water
Every morning, just at nine
Can't remember what this line is
Fell into the foamy brine.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Nordic Baby

The weather has taken a turn for the worse in St. Louis this weekend (more pictures of the destruction of the backyard when I've gotten M into her work overalls - really, she has them - and posed her next to the downed tree with a chainsaw).  This has somewhat impeded our rigorous routine of sitting in the backyard for an hour or so in the evening, but it has meant that M got to wear some of the knitwear that people made for her. 

I've been worried about it; people made 6-9 month sizes for her, on the assumption that she could wear them in the fall, but at her current rate of growth, I was imagining that she would grow into them just as the weather turned hot and humid.  This cold spell means that she is getting some use out of them.

This morning we put her in a beautiful ski sweater made by her grandmother.

She seemed to like the sweater.  See, here's a shot that is unequivocally a smile* (this one is a smile too, but it could be the beginning of a scream).

She didn't, however, care much for the hat.  Or the carseat.  Or Leo and I and all of our works, because whatever we were doing, it wasn't what she wanted done.

But despite her distaste for the hat, she looks quite charming in it.

*She seems to have gotten my smile a bit - the lopsided one.  Disturbingly, the sneer raises the other side of her mouth.  I wonder if that's what the threat to make one smile on the other side of one's face is about . . .

Another Cat, Same Baby

Steve the Cat (who is the most uncatlike cat I've ever met) does not treat M with anything like wariness, but he also assumes that everyone loves him and wants him to sit on their lap.

Even if their lap is already taken.

Or, in M's case, very small.

The Cat and the Baby

A picture, we are informed, is worth a thousand words (though not, it should be noted,  in English classes where an essay of a certain number of words is required).  Consider this a 4,000 word exposition of the relationship between M and Puck.*

In general, he keeps his distance, though this morning she did get to be part of his aggressive snuggling routine, which involves semi-affectionate head-butting.  She was eating at the time, and didn't miss a beat.

*And Leo and I both figure in this like parents in cartoons - we're nothing but vaguely authoritative legs.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Snug as a Bug in a Rug

(All jokes about my housekeeping can be assumed to have been made, and I'll direct you to this poem by Ruth Hulbert Hamilton as my rebuttal.)

It was a sort of a nasty, wet, raw, windy, rainy day today - or my kind of weather - following a pretty unpleasant storm last night that brought wires down in our backyard (and a tree).

M and I ventured out to survey the damage, after the power company had declared it safe, but she was chilly, so we bundled her up.

Could she be any cuter?

Thumb Update

So I realize that the state of M's thumbsucking endeavors is not exactly breaking news, but I figure that it makes for cute pictures, and so should be discussed.

She's making great strides forward.  She can now get some portion of her hand in her mouth on demand.

If she wants to, that is.

Because it's totally uncool to be excited.  Blase is our middle name* (sorry about the missing accent mark).

But when she wants her thumb, her hand is there.**

And sometimes both hands.

And sometimes both hands in an overwhelming fashion.

And sometimes the hand is there even when she doesn't need it.

But she's not an addict, not at all.  She can quit any time she wants.

Though this picture would argue - iconographically - otherwise. 

Explain that away, M.***

*No it isn't.

** We're working on getting the thumb out of the fist; trust me, when that happens, there will be pictures.

***Critics might argue that M can't really explain, as she's prelinguistic.  But they might further note that her lack of development also precludes her being responsible for the daft clothes her mother puts her in.  Were they to address the issue, they might argue that the monkey is on her butt, not her back, and addiction is rarely, if ever, described as a monkey on one's butt.  At least not by normal people.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Ad Hoc Fairy Creation

If you believe Peter Pan (and who doesn't?  We're looking into getting a Newfoundland* to act as a nanny when I want to go out.**) M made a fairy last night.

Or rather, she laughed for the first time.

And I took pictures, which doesn't really work for a laugh, since laughs are auditory, but if you sort of gurgle happily while you look at the pictures, it will be a reasonable facsimile.

*She's only a St. Bernard in the Disney version, and we're a books before Disney kind of family.
**This is probably going to confuse M, since her canine caretaker and her maternal grandmother would go by the same name, but it can't be helped.  We'll blame Alynn, though.  Or the bananas.  Or both.

Friday, April 23, 2010


There are limited pictures in this post, and I think everyone will realize why.  And some of them are old.

M has gotten to where she can predict things, at least on some level.  If she's crying, there are a few things which seem to soothe her because of what they portend. 

She's made happy by me unbuttoning my shirt. 

[This is where there isn't a picture]

Changing her diaper and swaddling her work (briefly) when she's hungry; these are things that we routinely do just before bed.



(Admittedly, she may just like having her diaper changed, but she frequently has this response when there is no need to change her diaper).

Finally, she cheers up when I put the sling over my shoulder, before she's in it. 

I'm assuming that the recognition is some sort of subconscious, reflexive type of thing.

That or she's just immensely clever.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Thank You, Char

I have a new go-to gift for baby showers.  I am constantly amazed by the near magical powers of my sling.  The other baby-carrier I have - which has a few advantages, but also takes 20 minutes to put on - is not as popular with M.  The sling calms her down, puts her to sleep, and enables me to eat lunch.  It's amazing.  She can go from screaming to happy in about 30 seconds in it.  Of course, that may just mean that screaming really means "put me in my sling, you stupid woman!"

And when she's been in it, and it's suddenly not exerting its comforting pressure on her sides, she wakes up kind of miffed.

She's good at the long miff.

Though her miffs do become a bit repetitive.

In fact, it looks like she's working on developing a dance of some sort.  Or else she just can't decide whether to cover her face or her ears.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Unconventional Weapons

In general, M is a nice, even-keeled baby who doesn't cause much bother and is really delightful to be around.  Today, however, she revealed a part of her personality that had heretofore remained hidden.

She doesn't fight fair. 

It all started, as so many things do, with tummy time.  I was making her do it, and this didn't really meet with much approval.

First, she attempted to eat the lamb that is put there for her amusement.

And then she started her cunning assault on tummy time.  She spit up on the mat and bolster, so I moved them away, wiped the thing down, and let her (made her) continue.

This was no better in her book, so she let fly again.

Then, when I didn't pick her up, she attempted to gag herself with her pacifier.

She finished her allotted time shortly thereafter, and when I picked her up, she immediately stopped screaming and made a noise that sounded suspiciously like "humph."

After she had eaten again, she made it clear she wanted to be put down on her back, and once there promptly attacked the mat. 

This is her grinning happily after a successful bombardment.  I don't think she knows about washing machines and other blankets, poor girl.

At Least I Didn't Go To Gonzaga

It has been brought to my attention by several independent sources that M looks like a Billiken.

"What," you ask, "is a Billiken?"*  It's the mascot for SLU, and apparently I spent too much time looking at it while pregnant.  Also, apparently too much time studying early modern excuses for your children not looking like their father.**

Anyway, I think there is a certain passing likeness, mostly about the top of the head.  (And the belly, but the pictures don't show it).

Also, the reason for the title of this post?  Gonzaga's mascot is the bulldog.

 And no one wants M to look like that.

*Unless you're from St. Louis, in which case you already know.  But let's not make everyone else feel bad because they're not as clever as you.

**The theory was that if you LOOKED at someone a lot while pregnant, your kid could resemble them.  It sounds like a good excuse to me, but if you read The Troublesome Reign of King John, Eleanor of Aquitaine argues that resemblance is not proof of relation thusly:
Nay, hear you sir, you run away too fast.
Know you not, omne simile non est idem?
Or have read in—hark, ye good sir,
‘Twas thus I warrant, and no otherwise,
She lay with Sir Robert your father, and thought upon King
Richard, my son, and so your brother was formed in this fashion.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Armchair Quarterback

Well, since we're really talking about baseball, the quarterback part doesn't really work.

And we're actually not going to be talking about baseball so much as armchairs.*

Yes, yes I am living in a bit of a stream-of-consciousness world, where my brain's constant games of word association are much nearer the surface than they used to be.

Anyway, M is developing the ability to bend in the middle and deal with her head being upright (we feel these are important life skills, and are thus overjoyed and proud).  This means that she can sit in things.

I'm thinking she's looking a little professorial here** . . . we should get her some elbow patches quickly.

*The only reason I say anything about baseball was that I'm sure that M had decided opinions about La Russa's decision to pitch Joe Mather in the 19th inning.  And she expressed them from her position in the armchair.

**Or I think that that style of chair is professorial, which seems more likely.

Peanuts? Cracker Jacks?

This is yet another post where I talk about how M needs* a beer.** 

We watched a couple of Cardinals games this weekend, and I'm afraid that I have to admit that M only made it to the 16th inning of the 20 inning game.  For the second game, though, she seemed to get into it, and actually watched.  Or was excited by the blinky lights in her field of vision.

See what I mean about the beer?  And possibly a hot dog?

*Needs in the sense that the picture seems to suggest it, not needs in the sense that I think she should have beer.  Although there is the suggestion that beer helps increase the milk supply, so perhaps in some extended way she "needs" me to have beer.  Because she gives every impression of a baby who goes short on food, doesn't she?
**Is it some sort of reflection on my parenting that this occurs so often?

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Gerber Baby

Gerber is apparently looking for baby models, and I think I should enter M.  She's got the look down perfectly.

And she can do that thing with her mouth, but I didn't have a picture with the side curls where she was doing it.

I suppose that her top tuft goes the opposite way, but I think it's a pretty close resemblance, which means that she'd get nowhere in the contest because she's too close to the original.

And really, if she's going to be a model, this is probably the time where we'd have to worry the least about body image . . .

Also, I've just noticed that her ears lie flat enough on her head that they can be hidden by her cheeks.  Apparently there's a downside to flat ears.  At least with sticky-outy ears, no one is ever in any doubt that you had them.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Bar Hopping

I would, were M a little older, titled this post "Pub Crawling," but since she can't crawl, that seemed cruel.

Anyway, last night, we took her to her first bar.  Helen and Bruce are in town, and drinking seemed appropriate.*

For all of you out there who are shocked and horrified that we took her to a bar, we sat outside, and it's really just a restaurant that serves drinks.  She behaved, as she usually does, beautifully.  Until we've got another kid that doesn't behave well, I'm going to chalk her amiability up to superlatively good parenting.  Anyone got a problem with that?

She mostly slept in the sling.

Still, note the juxtaposition of the bottle of milk and the beer in the background.

Since M stayed in the sling, she didn't really hang out with any of the other people there, but besides Helen and Bruce, we met up with Caty and Josie (who, in an effort to make life difficult for me, weren't sitting next to each other, so now I have to put up TWO photos.  Humph).

And Helen's in both of them.

But whatever their plans may have been regarding number of pictures required, Josie did take a picture of Leo, me and M, which is something that we didn't have.  Really.  2 months of obsessive chronicling of M's life, and no pictures of the three of us.  But now we have one.

*That was meant to convey the suggestion - playfully and lovingly - that their presence drives us to drink.  But to paraphrase my grandfather - or rather recontextualize his joke - it's not a drive, it's a short putt.  In fact, it was great to see them, and they're awfully cute with M.  See?

This is, by the way, not at the bar but in my living room.