Wednesday, May 31, 2006

sitting up

No, that's not a typo. I didn't mean spitting up, I meant sitting up! Emma sat on her own this past Saturday, as demonstrated in this photo with her cousin Jay.

crawling experiments

I took up a whole roll of film in just 3 days, on E's attempts to crawl. She is making great progress - every day. This first set of pictures is from May 23rd. She was focusing on moving the arm and leg on the same side, so it looks more like rolling practice than crawling practice, but she had already mastered rolling. What I didn't manage to capture was her propping up on the lower arm and straining to get up sideways.

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

picture with Grandpa

I don't have a lot of time this morning, so here's a photo from about a month ago, with Emma's Grandpa.

We had a great visit with Grandpa and all his siblings, as the family gathered in Raleigh this past weekend to move Granny Annie. Her new place (Sunrise Assisted Living) is very nice. She apparently has said, "It's not a dump!" I ran out of film and didn't get a picture of it this time.

More later.

Saturday, May 27, 2006

hey you

Here is a picture to tide you voracious Emmaphiles over for a couple of days. My friend Marie took a whole bunch of close-ups like this a few weeks ago when she babysat.

E and I are off to see relatives, who are all congregating to help move my Grandma into an assisted living home.

My sister started a blog - look for the link over in the right-hand sidebar.

Friday, May 26, 2006


i'm typing with one hand, losing capital letters to speed it up a bit. one of the lessons of parenthood seems to be "don't make plans". i was looking forward to sleeping extra on my day off.... E must not be feeling well or something. crying out in her sleep, woke at 2:30, 4 :00, 5:30 - unusual for her. sour spit-up, leaked diaper, lots to clean up at 6 am. nowhere to put her down safely except her crib because a cat peed on her quilt-on-th-floor playspace this morning. i think it was the older one who has more reason to be jealous. we recently reduced her dose of liver-flavored Paxil; perhaps that was a bad idea. or maybe she has a uti. when the cats act up like this i feel like i need Paxil too. it's extra stressful because once they soil an area, even if it's cleaned, they go back to it. and where else are they going to go next?? what favorite things are going to get spoiled? i sure hope the quilts hold up in a hot water wash.

i've been accused of being not myself because i actually said out loud maybe i'd be willing to get rid of one of our cats. before i had emma that would be sacrilege.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

fun to watch

Emma has been trying to figure out which combination of limbs to move to get herself crawling. Sometimes she raises the arm and leg on the same side and kind of twists her body, leading with with the raised arm. She then usually falls over on her back. Other times she gets in the right position and her legs are going strong but her head falls onto her elbows and she plows into the floor. Also now when you hold her in a standing position on the floor, she moves her feet. She didn't do that before. Her love affair with her feet will only grow stronger now that she's clued into their larger purpose: mobility!

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Dad's Mothers Day gift

David's Mothers Day gift to me was to make the Baby Dedication Service into a very special occasion. I hadn't been planning to make a big deal of it. It was surprising to me that he would participate in the first place since he doesn't go to church (and the service involved standing in front of the congregation), and then it was his idea to invite our parents. We took some pictures that morning in front of our house. I wish I were a better photographer, but here are a couple of the ones of David with Emma.

Capturing this on film was also a gift! Emma was fairly subdued and he was trying to get her to smile. She watches her dad all the time, and his faces make her light up. I now have to shut David out of the room when I feed Emma, because watching him is more interesting than eating!

Monday, May 22, 2006

The Grand-Paparazzi

Now this is what I call being the "center of attention"! David said it looks like they're praying to her. Below is a closer shot. These were taken on Mothers Day, May 14th.

Sunday, May 21, 2006

flying baby tips

Tips on flying with babies (based on two flights only, baby aged 4 ½ months, just one adult with her - me)

Buy her a seat (you may get a discount on full fare) – because holding a baby in your arms is as equally unsafe as you flying without a seat belt. (If I can't persuade you to buy a seat, still take the car seat on board in case the flight is not full and they’ll let you have a seat. You can gate check the car seat if the flight is full.)

Our car seat was rear-facing and I put Emma by the window because it sticks out too far to climb past it. Babies in car seats are not allowed to sit in an emergency exit row, nor (I think) in a row next to it. I took Emma out to hold and feed her during the flight, but only when the “fasten seat belts” light was off. Luckily she didn't need a mid-flight diaper change, because I didn't know how I would manage that. A friend said she once asked the flight attendants and was able to change the baby on the floor up near the drinks station, in an area out of the way of the aisle. Also luckily, I didn't have to use the restroom myself mid-flight, but if I did my plan was to call a flight attendant to stay with Emma while I went.

Because Emma had to be buckled in the car seat during take-off and landing, and the advice for keeping babies’ ears from hurting is to feed them during take-off and landing, that meant I had to have a bottle prepared. It’s too awkward to try to breast-feed a baby in a car seat! Well, I forgot to warm the bottle ahead of time and she wouldn’t take it. But she sucked on a pacifier the whole time and that seemed to work fine for her ears. I was prepared to offer my finger if she didn’t take the pacifier. I had brought the bottle warmer and was planning to plug it in while we waited at the gate, but in hindsight that was too much trouble to even expect myself to do that! Instead I could have put the bottle inside my clothing for 30 minutes or so, to take the chill off it.

Carry baby saline nose drops, especially if it's cool weather, because the plane dries them out. This also makes it more important to make sure they nurse or drink sufficiently.

A stroller is essential, as you probably know, just for carrying stuff and getting from gate to gate, etc. You can gate check it.

Attach a toy and a pacifier (if used) to the car seat or stroller, so that you can't lose it and won't have to wash it as much. Carry a burp cloth in your pocket.

Carry on luggage is an opportunity for testing your planning skills. How do you know what to carry or not, and how much of it? Be sure you practice carrying everything if you are traveling alone with the baby, including your checked luggage, or else plan to hire a skycap. I just managed to push the stroller, wear a backpack, balance a rolling carry-on on the stroller handle, and pull my big suitcase behind me. Then later I realized it was easier to put the handle of the rolling carry-on over my shoulder – then I didn’t have to worry about the balanced bag tipping over onto the baby!

Security is one of the hardest things. You have to take the baby out of the stroller or whatever you’re carrying her in, and send all the apparatus through the X-ray. You carry the baby through the metal detector with you. This means it helps to have some things done ahead of arriving at the machine: shoes untied so you can slip them off (or better yet, wear shoes that you can step into and out of easily), jacket off and draped over the stroller handle, a laptop already out of its case, i.d. and ticket between the teeth is a good place, and don’t have any loose small items in the stroller cup-holder that you suddenly have to figure out how to carry! If you’re not organized you can not get a security guard to hold your baby for you, they’re not allowed.

Apparently, airlines no longer offer for people traveling with small children to board first (at least Delta didn’t). But on each leg I asked the gate attendant if I could board with the first “zone” even though my zone was to be called later, and they said fine.

Saturday, May 20, 2006

6 month check-up

E weighs 16 pounds 3 oz. She's 26 2/3 inches long. Doing well, nothing to worry about. She had 4 shots and of course that was awful, but she recovered quickly. She cried louder when the doctor talked afterward, like she was trying to drown him out. I don't know if she could see who was sticking her, but she sure didn't want that man to be talking!

Friday, May 19, 2006

my side of the story

mom's letting me type



This morning I glimpsed E up on all 4's, in the living room on the quilt that her aunt Cindy made. Her grandmother said she saw that on Sunday but I didn't. I also saw that E could inch herself forward while lying on her stomach. She went backwards once too. I don't think she yet realizes that she's "scooting"; she's just concentrating on getting a toy that's out of reach. She's also been rolling all across the room, exploring her perimeter, and that she is joyfully aware of.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

silly grin

Here's a recent picture of E having fun at Granny Annie's house in April. She was 5 and a half months old. She sticks her tongue out often; I think it feels good on her gums. The quilt is by Susan Smith, a friend who works with me. Yes, that's a birthmark on Emma's leg.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

posting comments

I think I have successfully changed my settings now so that anyone can post a comment without having to be a registered member of "blogspot". But I did set it to require my approval before a comment is published, to avoid spammers getting in there. Thanks for the comments - keep 'em coming!


Tuesday, May 16, 2006

I don't believe it - insomnia!

Something wakes you up in the night (a babbling baby, a rambunctious kitten, a full bladder, pick one...). You have to get up to deal with it; you see that you have almost 2 hours before time to really get up. "Good, I can go back to sleep," you think. Small things happen - the kitten is trying to tell you something by tearing down the hall like a bat out of hell; you remember something you were supposed to do at work yesterday; you decide to turn off the fan; you change your mind and turn it back on.... By now you're awake enough to be worried. You stop yourself from further activity, get comfortable, try to relax. Your husband is breathing too loudly. Is that the neighbor's dog barking? Will this stupid kitten wake the baby? Forgot to clean the litterbox yesterday, maybe that's what's bothering her. Should you clean it now? No, that would wake you up too much. You decide to move to the couch, take the baby monitor and alarm clock. Check the baby still has her blanket on. You wonder whether you should just get up and do something useful, but you hate to give up on the idea of more sleep - this is your chance! Probably just an hour left, now, before either the alarm or the baby gets hungry. You start to get sleepy, physically, but your mind is wandering around - bumping into suspenseful plots of tv shows, memories of old neighbors and acquaintances, and oh-oh, memories of past mistakes. Adrenalin surge into exhausted limbs. Okay, calm down, don't fight it, just process it. Kitten is still wild. Old cat is so excited that you've joined her on the couch, she can't decide which part of you to sleep on. Deep breaths, don't fight it. Concentrate on the memory of sleep. Eventually you get really sleepy - ah, at last, you think. But you know it must be close to 5 am by now. Both cats finally stopped moving. ... ... ... Awakened from half-sleep by kitten scratching on furniture, hiss at her. Know that the alarm is about to ring, which it does. Get up mad. Eat chocolate chip cookies.

Monday, May 15, 2006

good morning

I don't have time to write the thoughtful, reflective "mothers day" message I planned to! I need to build in extra time this morning to give E a bath so that her ears won't smell like sour milk all day, and so that her hair will be nice and clean for the family photo we're taking this evening (for my church directory). I hate posing for formal photographs, and I believe David does too, but he agreed to this. If the picture comes out good I plan to buy the photo package. If it's not good, we'll just look funny in the directory.

David is working today and doesn't know yet about the rest of the week. So E may be with Erma again all week. As soon as we all get to grips with "daddy day care," Daddy gets more work than he's had in months! But that's a good thing.

My first mothers day was wonderful. The service at Meeting (church) was very nice. Emma was dedicated along with two boy babies. She wore a cotton dress made for me 40 years ago by my great-aunt Nell. David and E and I went up to the front, along with our parents who were there, and the other two families. The minister gave an inspiring message to the congregation about helping parents raise children in a spiritual community, and he took each baby and walked them around to show people so they would recognize the child. Emma watched the minister like a hawk the whole time (he has a great voice and was wearing a tie with Tigger on it) and wasn't bothered by him taking her from her daddy and walking her around. After Meeting we all came back to our house for lunch and a long visit of watching, holding, and talking about the grandchild. It was really special to have all of E's grandparents here. They're special people. And you know what else? I am so proud and feel so lucky that both David's and my parents are still married to each other, and healthy, and involved in our lives. Every family has its own degree of "dysfunction" I'm sure, but we both truly lucked out to have such great parents. They're an inspiration to me and I hope E can say the same about us one day.

Okay, yikes, look at the time! Time to wake the babe for her bath (yes, I know, something you shouldn't normally do, but vanity wins out today). I've been awake for an hour now and need to leave in 90 minutes. As I've mentioned before, it takes me a while to wake up sufficiently to get out of the house. An hour and a half might just be enough!

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Mothers Day: a tribute to grandmothers

At right: E shares a laugh with "Grandma Mickey" (David's mother).
Below: E with "Granny Annie" - her only living great-grandparent (Sarah's father's mother).

Below: E with "Grandma" (Sarah's mother).

We are all going to a baby dedication service at Friends' meeting today. I'll write more later.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

6 months old today!

So far today (5:49 am) she has celebrated with a sleepy breakfast at 4 am, loud breathing through a stuffy nose, and a few gusty cries in her sleep. Yesterday she had a big blowout -- not a party, a diaper! What other surprises will this day hold?

first friends

I suppose Emmaleora's first friends are her cousin Mary Catherine (10 months older) and Victor (2 months older), with whom she spends most of her time at the sitter's. Victor's parents babysat last Friday while David and I went to a movie (Mission Impossible 3), and Marie took a bunch of cute pictures. Here are Emma and Victor, interrupted in a calm moment between excited squeals, joyful kicks, and fistfuls of eager hair-pulling.

Monday, May 08, 2006


Another couple of wake-up tips:

* if there is no one else still in the bed when you're getting out of it, pull the covers up and make the bed immediately -- it looks too tempting when you can see the sheets that you long to crawl back into!
* chocolate is a good pick-me-up, but be careful with this one :)
* typing a blog is a good idea, but only if you already have in mind something to say (if you don't, you'll just stare at the screen in a stupor)

We had a very full weekend. Last week was my first "part-time" week, and E and I spent the day Friday with our friends Marie and Victor. Marie works three days a week and her son Victor goes to the same babysitter. (I've set a link to Marie's blog over on the sidebar.) So Emma and Victor hang out together a lot. Victor is almost 8 months old, so he shows Emma the ropes. The sitter, Erma, says he has two speeds: "fast" and "off". But when it gets too much for our laid-back girl, she tells Victor to chill out - by squealing at him! Saturday was when we bought the car seat (see earlier post), and I got my hair cut that evening. Emma went with me and had her bangs trimmed (for the 3rd time!). Sunday we had visitors and we also made a brief appearance at a party for one of David's friends (where E was frightened by someone's booming voice but then calmed - and monopolized - by someone else's grandparents). So by last night after it was all over and her dad had left for Fayetteville for the week, Emma was happy to simply sit and be left alone to read/eat the tag on her bunny blanket, and we both were exhausted.

I'm determined to get to work on time this week. Better get a move on.

Sunday, May 07, 2006

tips for waking yourself up

I learned some of these before I had a baby but they sure come in handy now. This morning she's been cat-napping and so have I, since 5 am.

* turn on all the lights and the radio
* if the sun's up yet, let some sunlight in
* have a very small ritual that you do first thing every morning when you're waking up (I put my kettle on for tea, change the cats' water and refill their food)
* interact with a pet or a baby - talk to them, wake up your voice, smile at them, wake up your face and emotions
* read from an exciting book (you may need to set a strict time limit with yourself!)
* sniff a scent you love (favorite lotion or candle, or food)
* do something that doesn't require brainwork but makes you feel productive (I usually wash a couple of dishes or fold some laundry)
* stretch (standing up stretches only)
* whatever you do, do NOT sit down on a sofa or comfortable chair!

Saturday, May 06, 2006

growing out of the bucket

David and I just got back from buying a new car seat and stroller. Emma hasn't reached the weight limit on the infant car seat, but she reached the length limit, 26 inches. So we got a convertible car seat that you can have rear-facing until she's 20 pounds and 1 year old, and then you can turn it around to face forward when she's a toddler. I thought all the car seat choices were pretty ugly, except one Eddie Bauer one, but I would not be caught dead buying a "designer" baby seat! Luckily aesthetics are not the first consideration in a car seat - and rightly so. We read a Consumer Reports article from 2005 and looked for their "best buy" pick, but apparently it isn't made any more. So we got a variation on it, an Evenflo Triumph. And since these kinds of car seats aren't the "buckets" that you can clip into a stroller, we had to get a new stroller too. (Our current one was just a frame to clip the bucket into - didn't have a seat of its own.) David was moderately interested in one of those jogging strollers, for "off-roading," but I didn't see one of those that was in our price range and had the other features I wanted. I also think I would feel a little hypocritical buying a jogging stroller when I don't exercise! We got a Graco "Vienna" model that weighs 21 pounds and folds up with one hand. It's blue. The two items cost $99 each at Babies R Us.

When I realized that we were getting rid of the bucket I realized this will be a very noticeable change and I felt a fleeting pang of nostalgia. We'll have to carry the baby in our arms or a sling if we don't want to get the stroller out. There's nothing wrong with that, but I've gotten used to lugging that awkward bucket around and sitting her in it in the house sometimes. And it was handy for taking into a restaurant and keeping E clean and contained. Well, it won't be long, probably, before she can sit in a high chair when we go out.

My friend Jeni is going to take the infant car seat and stroller frame, for her baby due at the beginning of July. The car seat used to belong to my niece, Mary Catherine, and the stroller frame we bought new with baby shower money.

And life moves on.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

little things I didn't know

* how much effort it is to change a crib sheet!

Advice to new parents: if you have the space, put the crib somewhere that makes it easy to get to from all sides or else where you can pull it out into the room as needed. Don't try to change a sheet in a hurry. Now I see why they invented some sheets you just tie down and don't have to slip over the mattress. ("The Ultimate Crib Sheet")