Sunday, June 16, 2013

Ode to the man

To the man who never hestitates to be the only man with a baby at the doctor's office, at the park, or wandering around town wearing a baby carrier.

To the man who's support has never failed us, who has been there and will be there through thick and thin.

To the man, the very patient man, who spends an entire day on his knees while his daughter "walks" him from room to room.

To the man who somehow knows exactly how to handle the chaos that is an overwhelmed, hysterical wife and screaming baby: mouth shut, arms open, dinner in an hour  :)

To the man who washes cloth diapers. Enough said.

To the man who comes home from a day of work and a long commute, grabs the baby, and goes out for a long walk so that I can have a few minutes of quiet and preserve what few shreds of my sanity remain.  And then comes back with a treat for me.

To the man who puts his girls first.  Always.

To the man who made me a mother.

Happy Father's Day.

Monday, June 10, 2013

The one where I made a garden....

... on my balcony.
I had two motivations here.  First, gardening is something I've always wanted to try.  The idea of growing my own food appeals to me, and I thrive on being outdoors as often as possible.  But I live in a second floor apartment, with not a spec of earth to call my own.  Lately, though, I've gotten tired of putting things off because I'm waiting for the "right" time.  Ideally, I would have a house and an expansive backyard fit for a garden.  In reality, we are renting 1,000 square feet and I am likely not going anywhere for a while.  So why not work with what I have, instead of complaining about what I don't?  And so, a container garden was born.
My secondary motivation was the need for some space to call my own.  We have one big living/dining/kitchen area that flows together, where we spend all our time - cozy, but lately it hasn't been working for me.  I need to escape from the TV and computers and constant sound and endless piles of baby accessories and dirty dishes.  I can't sit and focus in that sort of environment, and as a result I end up spending all my free time cleaning things.  I wanted a simple space - a chair, a table, and a few quiet living things - where I can sit in the mornings and drink my coffee in peace, or blog in the evenings, or sit with my sketchpad and make pictures.  Classes start again in two weeks, and I wanted a place in my own house where I could sit and work instead of always fleeing to the coffee shop. 
Now, I have that space, and even I am amazed at how much better I feel about.... everything, really.  Sometimes all you need is some peace, solitude, and fresh herbs.
My balcony renovation, from start to finish:



Sadly, this is the cleaned-up before pic.  Imagine a few dirty floor towels hanging over the railings and a fine layer of dirt and leaves.  Color me embarrassed.

You see the neighbors in the lower left corner here?  With the gorgeous patio full of flowers?  Yeah, they were my inspiration/competition.


I took a day off of work and spent it spraypainting pots,


Herbs!  Mint, cilantro, rosemary, thyme, basil, sage.  Also three pepper plants.

Morning Glories, which will hopefully vine up the bars and cover the balcony with beautiful blue and purple blooms.

The best part - we sit out here every morning with our coffee, and in the evenings when it cools down. 

Tomatoes!  And a baby ripe for the picking  :)

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Amaliya - 10 months


I still find it unsettling to come home one day, just like any other day, and find a stranger living in my house.  Just when I think I know my kid, understand her habits and preferences and personality, she decides to change.  Drastically.  Overnight.  So goes it with babies, I suppose.  Every new wrinkle in their growing brain brings an increased awareness of the world, and of themselves and their potential.  I knew this going in, but I never knew that it would happen so spontaneously.  They get into their little baby ruts for a month or so, making little advances here and there, and then BAM, one day they wake up and they're different.  I'm left floundering, trying to get with the new program, and wondering when I got so old and set in my ways.

Amaliya likes:

  • Playing.  This has been the biggest change by far.  Suddenly she is so very playful!  She initiates play with us - she'll fling her head to the side and laugh when she wants to play peekaboo.  She will scrunch up her face and giggle when we touch her if she expects to be tickled.  Her favorite thing ever is to stand on the couch and fall over (or have us grab her and throw her down on a cushion).  I'm pretty sure she could spend all day falling over with laughter watching us pop out from behind the couch.
  • Moving.  This one, I never saw coming.  I was pretty convinced that my kid would never voluntarily roll over, crawl, walk, or show any interest whatsoever in developing her gross motor skills.  And then, suddenly.... she moved.  She flips over wildly while on the changing pad and loves to roll around on our bed.  She wants to stand all day long and, when we hold her hands, will take confident steps in whatever direction calls to her.  She intentionally drops things, bends over to pick them up, gives a satisfied sigh and grins at me as if to say, "Did you see what I just did mama?  I am SO AWESOME!"
  • Bananas.  Food in general, really.  She'll happily spend an hour or so in her high chair as long as we keep coming up with new things to feed her.
  • The iPhone.  Thanks, grandma.  It blew my mind, though, to see her stare at an app (for babies) with rapt attention, try and touch the screen, and burst into spontaneous giggles over a game.  The drawback?  My boring, game-less phone used to entertain her for long periods of time - now, if it doesn't immediately light up with funny sounds and colorful characters, she just looks at me and whines.  Yikes.
  • Her sippy cup.  She used to be terrified of it, but in the last week sometime clicked.  She's figured out how to grab it and lift it high enough so that she can drink out of it!  It makes me sad to watch, honestly, because I can see that her bottle (and baby) days are numbered.  

Amaliya dislikes:

  • Being cut off from dinner before she's full (cue instant hysterics and attempts to punch you in the face).
  • Avocados.  This makes me sad.
  • Getting dressed, still.
  • Strangers.  Separation anxiety is in full swing over here.  She clings and buries her face in my neck if we're too close to people she doesn't know.  The daycare dropoff is traumatizing every time.  It's not my favorite thing, to say the least.  Poor sensitive little girl.


Dare I say.... we're doing pretty good?  She's still sleeping 11-13 hours per night and waking up once or twice at unpredictable times.  She nurses and goes back to sleep quickly most nights, so I don't mind.  It seems her newfound playfulness and energy has led to her needing less sleep - she's suddenly able to get by on 2-3 hours of napping a day (as opposed to 4+), and has been comfortably staying awake until 7pm or later in the evenings.  It's nice actually - we're able to do more things during the day without rushing home so she can nap every two hours.   She's still the easiest baby imaginable when it comes to putting her to sleep - we lay her down in the crip awake, and walk out.  She puts herself to sleep without so much as a wimper. 


Biggest news?  I have stopped pumping at work!  Sweet freedom!  I will still need to pump on days that I don't come home for lunch, but I am no longer sitting in the storage room twice a day with my shirt off.  And I don't miss it.  I'll be mixing Amaliya's bottles with half breastmilk from the freezer stash and half formula until my frozen reserve runs out, and then we'll just be giving her formula when I'm away from her.  This won't impact our nursing relationship much (I still plan to breastfeed her until college), but it will definitely save my sanity.  I'm proud of myself for hanging in there and pumping at work for five long months. 
Amaliya still loooooves solid foods.  She's tried many new things lately - salmon, eggs, cornbread, asparagus, toast, strawberries, kiwis, tamales, and many more that I don't even remember - and more or less loved them all.  We're experimenting with finger foods like cut up beans, green beans and bread, but she's still mostly on purees and soft foods like scrambled eggs and strawberries that we can feed her by spoon. 

Typical Schedule:

6:30am - Wake up, breastfeed.
7:30am - Breakfast (oatmeal and a fruit)
10am - Breastfeed, down for nap*
12pm - Up from nap, breastfeed.
1pm - Lunch (Pureed rice and greens with a protein, either beans, meat or a scrambled egg)
3pm - Breastfeed, down for nap*
4pm - Up from nap
5:30pm - Dinner (similar to lunch, but we try to mix up the protein/veggies so she gets a variety)
7pm - Bed
(When I'm working, she gets a bottle between 9-10am and I nurse her at 4pm after her nap, instead of before).
I've loved all her different phases, truly, but I think this current age is my favorite.  I'm SO happy that she's started moving more and playing.  I feel like I'm really interacting with her now, instead of just taking care of her.  She makes me laugh out loud a dozen times a day.  Seriously guys, I love her so much, and even though I'm kind of sad that her baby-lump days are behind us, I'm really excited for what the future holds.