Posts tagged baby
Way back in December, a few days before Christmas, I was at Joann browsing the aisles and came across a cute little kit for a shopping cart cover. Emma wasn’t sitting up yet back then, but I knew she would be soon so I scooped up a kit and put it in Emma’s stocking. Because, you know, it was really a present for HER, right?
The included some pretty adorable animal fabric for one side, and a nice blue and green pattern for the other side — the cover is reversible. It also included a long piece of elastic to make the outside edge conform around the shopping cart, and a set of rudimentary instructions. I had to provide the thread, batting to sandwich between the two layers of fabric, and embroidery floss for tying (vs. quilting) the cover together.
Construction was pretty easy — sandwich the batting between the two layers of fabric and sew the edges. I then sewed around the edge again, about a half inch farther in, to create a casing for the elastic. I measured and cut the two leg holes and secured those edges, and then tied the quilt using floss. I had never tied a quilt and that technique was a little time-consuming, but it worked great. (In fact, I am inspired to FINALLY tie the t-shirt quilt I made almost 10 years ago. Hopefully I’ll do that soon!)
The final step was learning how to make buttonholes! I needed two of them, each ~2 inches long so allow the buckle and straps from shopping carts to pass through so we can still secure Emma in the cart. My sewing machine has an automatic buttonhole feature — but it couldn’t make a hole long enough! I had to go old school and sew the buttonhole manually. Fortunately that process was pretty straightforward.
Once she was able to sit up well enough, we started putting Emma in the car whenever we are out running errands and she loves being able to sit up and look around. Good thing I gave her such a great Christmas present, right?
(Also: Her hair has grown a lot in just the 2-3 months since these photos were taken. Wow.)
Emma’s been going through some kind of sleep regression over the last week or so. She usually goes to bed SO easily. Drink a bottle, change into pajamas, read a book, lay her down in her crib, pat her back and say “good night Emma!” She smiles, rolls over, and goes to sleep. Just like that!
But for the last week, she smiles, rolls over…and then as soon as she sees me leave the room, she starts crying. HARD. And doesn’t stop. We’re usually successful rocking her to sleep at that point (at night anyway; rocking doesn’t always work for naps), but the rocking is not without her chewing on my shirt and her little hands clawing at my hair, my arm, my neck.
Chalk it up to a growth spurt, or a developmental leap, or your choice of reasons — whatever the cause, it stinks.
Although I know that in the grand scheme of things we have been SUPER lucky and that overall she has been an awesome sleeper, the sudden change has caused me all sorts of stress and frustration. Last night she started screaming as per usual when I tried to leave the room, so I sat down on the floor next to her crib.
I’ve tried this before, and it doesn’t work either because she sees me sitting there and decides it’s play time. She pulls herself up to standing and starts giggling like crazy. It’s outrageously cute — except for the fact that she’s supposed to be going to bed. So last night I quickly gave up on that idea and resorted to rocking her.
Twenty minutes later, I was tired of getting manhandled by a 9-month-old who still seemed to be wide awake. I gave up, put her in her crib, and prepared to leave the room and just listen to her cry for a bit. As an afterthought, I stuck the crib toy that my mom got her at Christmas on the railing. We use it often for naps, but haven’t used it for bedtime. It doesn’t really help anymore anyway — she just plays with it instead of going to sleep.
I clipped the toy to the rail, turned it on, and left the room to the tinkling sound of classical tunes.
I walked into the living room and picked up the baby monitor.
She was lying in the crib and no music was playing.
In about 30 seconds, she had looked over, turned off the music (which she already knew how to do), laid down, and went to sleep.
Without a peep.
If I wasn’t so surprised, I would have been really annoyed.
Thank you Baby Einstein.
My friends Katie and Andrew welcomed a baby boy a few weeks ago, and I wanted to make him a little something to celebrate his arrival. Katie is a language arts teacher and LOVES the Harry Potter books, so my original idea was to find some Harry Potter-themed fabric and make a baby blanket. However, apparently Harry Potter fabric was only produced for a short time and more than a decade ago. (This was pretty surprising to me, but I guess Rowling is fairly protective of the brand!) While there are still some pieces from 2001-2002 available on Etsy and eBay, the average price is around $100/yard. Not exactly what I was hoping to find!
So I took a different approach and started searching for Harry Potter-themed quilts. This led me to a WHOLE WEBSITE dedicated to quilt patterns for fans of various things — Harry Potter, Doctor Who, Lord of the Rings, etc. It kinda blew my mind and made me fall in love with the internet all over again. It also had exactly the right thing for me with a huge selection of Potter-themed paper-pieced quilt blocks. I’d been wanting to learn how to paper piece already, since it lets you make some very intricate and impressive blocks. This seemed like the perfect excuse.
I chose the Gryffindor crest — a very cool lion — and decided to turn it into a taggie toy/sensory blanket backed with soft red minky and bordered with some pieces of ribbon for Baby Boy to grab. I had to enlarge the pattern slightly to make it what I wanted, but that was easily done on the computer. In retrospect, I certainly could have picked an easier block for my first attempt at paper-piecing! But I took it slow, triple-checked everything before sewing, and got the hang of it as I went. (This paper-piecing tutorial from Fresh Lemons was also quite helpful.)
The lion was made up of 6 smaller sections that were then sewn together into the final block. (The picture above shows the 6 sections.) I thought it would take a lot longer than it actually did. After the first few pieces, I started to get the sequence down and the repetitive nature lent itself well to just plugging along — sew one piece, press the seam, cut a piece of fabric for the next piece, line it up, and repeat.
I did make a couple mistakes and you can see the biggest one in the upper left corner. That piece was the first of the six that I did, and I didn’t fully understand yet how important it was to cover every single bit of the seam allowance. I didn’t realize how critical this was until I had sewn the whole block together. Fortunately I was able to fix it by changing the shape of my crest — if you look at the first photo showing my completed blanket, you’ll see how I made the top corners of the crest curve inward. Doing that eliminated my error. Whew!
Once the quilt block was done, the rest of the project was super simple — just a normal blanket with the pieces of ribbon thrown in for fun. (Be careful if you’re using the photo above as a reference for actually making something of your own. That was just me figuring out where to place the ribbons, but it’s NOT how you should line them up for the final sewing! Before you sew, they need to be tucked in between the layers of fabric pointing towards the center, so that they stick outside when the blanket is turned right-side-out for finishing.)
The lion himself is made from several different fat quarters in a variety of yellow patterns, and the crest is a single mottled maroon print. The background is a cool navy fabric with tiny gold polka dots. I chose three different kinds of ribbon to coordinate, and used some nice bright red minky for the back. I think I’ve used minky in at least half of the baby items I’ve made. It’s just so soft! I love it.
I packed this up in an envelope and mailed it off to Ohio only a day or two before the baby arrived — I think this was probably waiting in their mailbox when they got home from the hospital! I was SO happy with how this turned out. I think it looks amazing and can’t wait to take on another paper-pieced project in the future.
And I think Robert likes it too!
Good news! You get to spend your 9-month birthday at home with me! The bad news? It’s because you threw up at daycare this morning AND suddenly developed a fever, so I had to pick you up only 30 minutes after dropping you off. At least you were happy for your monthly photo this morning…although in retrospect, your squirminess and refusal to sit straight up may have been a sign.
You’re napping at the moment after a dose of baby ibuprofen and we’ll be picking up some antibiotics at the pharmacy later this afternoon. Or more accurately — different antibiotics, because you’ve already been getting antibiotic drops in your ears since Friday, when we took you for your 9-month checkup and discovered that the ear infection diagnosed two weeks ago was still hanging around. SIGH. I can’t even express how frustrating it is to see you constantly under the weather in some way, shape, or form. Even when you seem otherwise fine, your runny nose and cough never seem to fully go away. I know this is to be expected from a baby in daycare, and I know that your immune system is improving every day. But sometimes it seems like you are doomed to be sick forever. Today I ended up in tears right along with you, because I couldn’t make you feel better.
But on to better things! In the last month, your abilities have, as per usual, exploded. You started saying “mama” and “dada” on a regular basis and even though you probably don’t really mean it yet, it’s definitely music to my ears to hear the word. (Even when you’re screaming, like you did one night in Charlotte. “Waaaaaaaaaah…dadadada….”) You squeal and grunt when you want something or are pleased with something you did. And your laugh has evolved into different flavors. You still giggle when something really makes you laugh, but now you also do what I can only describe as a chuckle — a quick “heh heh” that never fails to make me smile.
You are also starting to take slightly longer naps, which doesn’t seem like a big deal, but let me tell you: when you’ve been a serial 45-minute napper for months, an hour and a half feels like a long time! Last weekend your morning nap was two hours and 15 minutes and I started to wonder if someone had swapped my baby out for a different one. (And yes, I kept checking the monitor to make sure you were breathing. It seems this is something all moms do.) The downside of this is that I think you’re also starting to transition from 3 naps per day to only 2…but if those two are longer, I think it’s a fair trade.
But by far your biggest accomplishment has been learning to pull yourself all the way up to standing. Two weeks ago you couldn’t do it, and now it feels like you’ve always been able to. You pull up on everything — your crib, your bookcase, the coffee table, your car seat. Yesterday you even pushed yourself up on a giant package of toilet paper while we were unpacking groceries. Whatever you can find is perfectly acceptable. You’re an equal opportunity pull-upper.
Every day you become more observant, more aware of the world around you, and more adventurous. You bonked your head pretty good after a fall at daycare one day, and if you didn’t have Dad or me shadowing nearly every move, you would have taken several head-first swan dives off the couch by now. It seems your desire to explore is running ahead of the development of any sort of self-preservation instinct!
By far our biggest adventure this month was going to Charlotte for a week to see my half of your family. Everyone was there — Gima and Grandfather, Uncle David, Uncle Brian and Aunt Cindy, and your two cousins Daniel and Lucas. And Aunt Katie and Uncle Joel even flew in from Seattle so that our visits could overlap! We gathered on the front porch for a family photo that we’ll all enjoy for years to come. Although this photo will probably seem funny to you someday because it doesn’t include any of your future siblings and/or cousins, it seems funny to me because my family is so much bigger now! What was a family of six for so many years has now doubled in size. Amazing!
We also drove up to Durham one day so you could meet your Great-Grandmother and I’m so, so glad we did. She is 98 years old and you are the first great-grandchild she has been able to meet. I haven’t seen her as excited about anything in a very long time as she was about seeing you. It made all of us — Great-Grandmother, Gima, and me — very, very happy.
During the first quarter of my freshman year at college, my family came to Atlanta for the weekend to visit. I was so homesick and spent so much time crying that your Grandfather came back the very next weekend to take me home to Charlotte for a few days. That was 1996, and I guess since then I had forgotten what it felt like to miss your family that much. But now I remember. Our whole week in Charlotte was fantastic and went by far too fast. For the first time in 17 years, I actually cried when it was time to leave North Carolina.
Emma, having you has made me realize just how important family really is. You’re here, and you’re the most important part of it. You and Dad. Going back to Charlotte with a child of my own made me think about a lot of things, and who knows where that might lead. But wherever we go, you guys will always be my home.
I mentioned a while ago that one of my goals for the spring was to take Emma to some swimming lessons. At her age, of course, lessons are really just “lessons,” with emphasis on the air quotes — they’re not learning how to swim, but just getting used to the water. Last night we had our first class at a local swim academy. It was a nice little place with two pools and plenty of places to sit and hang out or watch other lessons.
I got Emma all ready to go with a swim diaper and her cute new purple swimsuit and we cautiously stepped in. She likes bathtime a lot and I was pretty confident she would like the pool, but you never know. After just a couple minutes of looking a little uncertain, she made her decision: she LOVES the swimming pool. Like, seriously LOVES it. She splashed, she waved her arms, she kicked her legs, and generally had a grand old time. We’ll see how it goes next week when the teacher puts her face in the water for the first time, but for now? She’s a fan.
Jose came along too and since only one parent is allowed in the pool, he took a lot of pictures. Yes, I am totally posting photos that include me in a bathing suit on the internet. THAT’S how much I want you all to see how cute my kid is.
It was awesome and totally made my day to see Emma having so much fun. Can’t wait for next time!
You are 8 months old! Last month I complained that time was starting to slip by more quickly, but this month provided a bit of contrast. March 2013 can be separated into two distinct phases. We started off with two solid weeks of the never-ending stomach bug…and as soon as we all recovered from that horribleness, you decided it was time to REALLY keep us on our toes by entering the era of mobility.
March 19 shall now be known as the day you learned to scoot. (Don’t worry, I recorded it in your baby book for posterity!) It’s been completely amazing watching how quickly you went from the initial wiggles-in-a-generally-forward-direction that I recorded in that video to your current full-on army crawl. On Saturday, I plopped you down on the floor and let you explore the entire living room. You crawled over and rocked your car seat back and forth for a bit, and then scooted over to explore the bottom shelf of this bookshelf. Lucky for you, someone had preemptively stocked it with toys and books!
I don’t know if it’s related, but your sudden mobility has coincided with a still-ongoing bout of increased fussiness and clinginess. Sometimes you’ll be totally content on Dad’s lap and then a split second later, you’re squirming and groaning like it’s the worst thing ever and geez Dad, why don’t you just let me down already?
And then other times I’ll put you down on the floor or in the exersaucer and you are totally content until the instant I get up to get a snack or do some dishes or grab a magazine or do anything that involves being more than 2 feet away from you — and then your face will crumble and the tears start to fall. It’s somewhat annoying but also rather endearing to think that you want me right there with you all the time.
I guess it’s all part of your little personality starting to shine through! You are more adventurous than ever, constantly trying to dive bomb your body off the edge of the bed or couch with no recognition that doing so might not be the greatest idea. You reach for the bowls of food we hold, because you like to dip your fingers in and see how it feels. I watch you on the daycare video and see you scooting and rolling all over the floor, literally going from one end of the room to the other and back. And when I walk in to pick you up, you always greet me with a big happy smile and a flurry of arm flails.
We pushed our boundaries a little more this month and took you out to lunch and dinner a few times. Yes, we’ve been doing that for months already, but now you’re eating 3 solid meals a day, so while you previously would just hang out in your car seat while Dad and I ate, now there are high chairs and bibs and little containers of baby food involved. There’s also the fact that you can get really distracted when there’s action going on around you — people! lights! stuff to grab off the table! — and the fact that you often get fussy in the evening because you don’t get enough sleep at daycare. But we went out several times this month with different groups, including a massive 30-person dinner get-together when one of my old co-op friends and his family were in town, and you did great each time.
Last weekend was your first Easter, and it was a nice one. The Easter Bunny visited you at daycare and I’m happy to report that amidst photos of other babies looking wary, sporting uncertain expressions, or outright crying, we were greeted with a photo of you gleefully clapping your hands and smiling for the camera. Your teachers decided you’re meant for a career in pictures, but I think it’s more likely that you’ve just gotten used to people (namely yours truly) egging you into grinning for a photo. You also got an Easter basket with a few toys, and your favorite was this plastic book. Delicious.
This month we also had a nice visit from Grandma, Uncle Alex and Krystle that turned out to be perfectly timed between the end of the stomach bug and the beginning of crawling. You were in a spectacularly good mood both days they were here, and who can blame you? They gave you non-stop cuddles and attention, not to mention several new toys. We are already looking forward to spending a week around Corpus this summer so all of your dad’s aunts and cousins can snuggle you too.
Once again, I’m a few days late with your monthly letter because I didn’t find the time over the weekend to sit down and write it. You’ve got (another) cold, and on top of that I suspect you’re mere days away from popping out your top two teeth, so I spent most of the weekend wiping snot from your nose, drool from your chin, and snuggling you when you were fussy. I wish there were a way to make your immune system strengthen faster, but I guess we just have to keep toughing it out. You’ll find that there are a lot of things in life that are like that — things get worse before they get better. But you can also count on me for snuggles, real or in spirit, anytime you want.
I’ve barely made anything for Emma since she was born, which is kind of hard to explain. I think it’s a weird side effect of having so many things I’d like to make that I can’t seem to actually get started on ANY of them.
Fortunately, she has two awesome grandmothers who have picked up the slack and made her two adorable dresses. The first was a bright blue smocked dress from my Mom. I showed a picture in Emma’s 7-month letter, and my mom will be happy to hear that I got over the fear of it getting messed up and put Emma in it when we went out to dinner over the weekend.
My mom included the leftover fabric in the package, and I used that to make a matching diaper cover. It was a good little project to do with my new serger, since I didn’t care about making it absolutely perfect. I used this pattern and tutorial for The Perfect Diaper Cover by Dana (her “Made” blog is one of my current favorites!) and it was super quick and easy.
And a few weeks ago when they visited, Jose’s mom brought this impossibly cute pink butterfly dress (and matching diaper cover) that she made just in time for spring.
Emma, your mom has been kind of a slacker so far. Hooray for grandmothers!
Today is April 3, 2013. My little girl is getting bigger by the day. In 3 days, she’ll be 8 months old.
On April 3, 2012, I had my anatomy ultrasound and we found out that Emma was a girl. I remember it very clearly — the little ultrasound room at my doctor’s office, the cold goo on my stomach, the feeling of being poked and prodded with the sensor, the bubbly personality of the tech who told us we were having a daughter. Jose and I looked at each other with big smiles on our faces, and called both of our parents before we even left the parking lot. That afternoon after work, we went to Target and bought a pack of girly onesies to celebrate.
That was a really good day.
On April 3, 2011, I was in the emergency room. I remember that very clearly too — the rough hospital gown, the random late-night Cartoon Network crap eminating from the tiny TV, the deep fatigue of finding myself still awake in the wee hours of the morning, Jose’s hand gripping mine. I remember the doctor telling me in the nicest way possible, confirming what I already knew, that I was having a miscarriage. The day before, I had been about 9 weeks pregnant. And then suddenly, I wasn’t.
That was a really bad day.
I never wrote about that first, sadly very short pregnancy. Outside our immediate families, I’ve only ever told a small handful of friends, and not even then until I made it to the relative safety of my second trimester with Emma. It was one of the worst things I’ve ever been through, but I chose to work through the loss in my own way, on my own terms, and I’ve never regretted that.
But I was thinking about it again today, two years later, and it occurred to me that maybe I will always think about it on or around April 3. I don’t know. But I might. I have read so many stories similar to mine on other blogs and forums, and in the months before Emma came along, it gave me comfort to realize that I wasn’t alone — that other people had experienced losses, many far worse than my own, and still gone on to have plenty of happy, healthy kids. It feels like the right time to put my own story out there.
Last year I remember thinking about the bittersweet coincidence of finding out that my baby-to-be was a healthy little girl exactly one year after losing what would have been our first child. But we still had 4 months to go before Emma arrived, and I couldn’t help but be irrationally cautious about “tempting fate.” So I did my best to put it out of my mind, because it was supposed to be a happy day — and it WAS a happy day.
But this year I’m not scared of it anymore. I’ll probably always remember that horrible day in the hospital. But I now have happy memories of leaving that same hospital with my adorable newborn daughter just over sixteen months later. And April 3 is also the day I learned that Emma was going to be Emma. And it’s the day I’ll go home from work and watch her roll around on the floor as she learns to crawl, and open her mouth wide for a bite of yogurt or oatmeal at dinnertime, and giggle when I blow raspberries on her tummy.
I can think about Emma and about the baby we never knew, and I can be a little sad but mainly happy. Mostly, I’m just struck by how much has happened in only two short years. Life is…well, it has a way of keeping you on your toes, doesn’t it?
You take the good with the bad, or the bad with the good. But either way, there’s good.
So we discovered tonight that Emma can…well, I won’t call it crawling yet, but it’s a step in that direction. Point being: she’s becoming mobile, which is simultaneously awesome and terrifying.
I distinctly remember early last fall, and thinking that September seemed to last forever. You were 1 month old and while I felt like some of the newborn-induced haze was starting to lift, the month just stretched on and on and on. I thought the 2 month mark would never arrive. But now we are here. 7 months old. And now I feel like 6 months was just yesterday.
Every day you seem to learn something new, and I can almost see the wheels turning in your head just by looking at you. Just a few days ago, you learned to clap! It looks like all of our clapping each time we finish singing “Itsy Bitsy Spider” finally paid off. You clap at the end of songs, or pretty much anytime you’re happy. You’ve also developed a love of what Dad has nicknamed “slapping,” which is a pretty simple game where you just smack the heck out of whatever you happen to be holding. If we hold out our hands in front of you, palms up, you’ll give double high-fives, which is also pretty cool.
Sitting up is SO last month — you’re solid as a rock when you sit, unless it’s on something lumpy like our bed. This has opened a whole new world on the weekends when we’re out running errands because you can sit in the cart now! This is infinitely better in your humble opinion, because you can see everything going on around you instead of being stuck in your car seat and stroller. And speaking of strollers, we finally put you in the stroller normally for the first time, instead of just snapping your car seat into it. You held on to both sides as if you were scared, but you also gave us several grins so I think it’s just a matter of getting use to the new perspective.
Your personality is never more apparent so far than during mealtime. You have strong and definite opinions about food: yes to your bottles of formula, yes to all fruits thus far, yes to oatmeal and yogurt, yes to anything orange (sweet potatoes, carrots, butternut squash, and peaches)…but a big fat NO to anything green. It’s neat to see that you can already identify and remember that if the spoon has something green, you don’t like it. But you should really reconsider, baby girl — peas or green beans are not so bad, I promise.
You got a fantastic surprise present from your Gima this month — a beautiful smocked dress that she sewed just for you! She was worried that it might already be too small, but it was a perfect fit and you looked absolutely adorable in it. The only problem is that I’m so scared of messing it up that I’m worried to let you wear it for too long.
This past Saturday morning, you woke up with what we will politely call “tummy trouble.” This is the first time we’ve all dealt with this particular malady and wow, it’s really no fun for you OR for me. Despite late-night diapers changes in an attempt to at least contain the mess, you’ve woken up three of the past five mornings in need of a bath. A messy diaper got you sent home from daycare at lunchtime on Monday. You got to hang out with Dad all afternoon, and since their rules are that you can’t go back for at least 24 hours, I stayed home with you yesterday too.
As it turns out, keeping you home all day was a good decision. Around 5:00, my 7-months-minus-one-day streak of having a baby yet NOT having ever been covered in baby vomit came to an end. It was a good run — one that disappeared in a puddle of all the formula that you had literally just finished eating. Your stomach wasn’t having it, and apparently decided that the formula would look better on you, me, the couch, and the floor. Ew. Gross.
We kept you home again today, and the good news in all this is that your generally sunny disposition hasn’t suffered too much. You’ve been a little more clingy, and a little more fussy, and a little less interested in eating, but overall? Life goes on, and so do you. The bug seems to have passed, and tomorrow you’ll rejoin your little buddies at daycare, but the whole experience has taught me a lot — and I’m not just referring to the logistics of dealing with more poop and vomit than I’d care to repeat (no matter how much of a “parenting rite” that may be).
See, I was actually kind of nervous about the idea of staying home with you all day. I haven’t been with you alone for that long since my last day of maternity leave, and you were an entirely different baby back then — fussier, yes, but also easier in some ways. You napped more, and all I really needed to do was keep you clean and fed. These days, you require interaction. It’s not just about changing diapers and making bottles anymore. There are books to read and songs to sing, and so many things for you to learn. It’s intimidating! And what if I’m doing it wrong?
But we had a really nice day. I could tell you didn’t feel 100%, but we still made the best of it. After you threw up, we snuggled on the couch for the rest of the evening. And I remembered this: I don’t have to be the best mom ever. I just have to be YOUR mom.
And that’s something I just might be able to handle.