Wednesday, December 19, 2012

12 Month checkup, stats, and "Christmas" pictures

We went to the doctor today for Hannah's 12 month checkup and shots. She is 17.5 lbs, and 28in, and has made it up to the 25th percentile! Woohoo! I kind of thought she might have had a growth spurt when we discovered she could eat an entire chicken breast + veggies + fruit for dinner every night on the cruise. She did well with her shots, not even getting a fever this time, and we were happy because our favorite nurse came and did them while Hannah sat on my lap. I hate lying her on the table when I know it's perfectly possible to give shots to a baby in its parent's lap instead.

 Here are two pictures in front of the Christmas tree:




Monday, December 17, 2012

The Miracle is One and Gets a Smash Cake

Happy Birthday Hannah!!!

Today, my baby turned one year old. I know every parent says this, but I can't even hardly believe it. We weren't going to have any kind of big deal thing for her, until everyone we work with at the ministry started asking us what "we (them included)" were doing for her birthday. I tell you, this girl is loved.

So, we ordered a cake:


And a smash cake:



 Lots of friend came and stared at Hannah and the cake, so she stared back at them. The Cake was suspicious looking anyway.




Then she found out it was squishy! 


 And fun!

 And delicious! She LOVES cake, Mommy!

Bonus deliciousness:

She got a little cake drunk.

 Hehe... who wants more cake? (Oh, oh, oh, oh... pick me!)





Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Christmas is coming! Birthday is coming!

...And I still don't have internet at home. This is a very short post to say that in the last few months Hannah has:

-Started saying Mama, but is still working on Dada. At least she's not calling Daddy "Mama" anymore.
-Gotten very good at getting on her tiptoes to pull the phone off of the table.
-Made a habit of giving kisses.
-Started waving "bye-bye," but only to inanimate objects. People just get stared at.
-Perfected her "I'm so cute" face
-Developed a decided preference for chicken.
-Received enough bigger cloth diapers to get us through her next year of growing (thanks to the great Black Friday Deals listed on http://allaboutclothdiapers.com).
-Not taken her first steps despite having been cruising on furniture since 6 months. I guess a watched pot never does boil.

My baby is so big. And when I say that, she throws her hands in the air as if to show how tall she's gotten. I wish I could share a picture!

Monday, October 22, 2012

A Tale of Two Babies

My best friend and I have been good friends since elementary school. We graduated high school as co-valedictorians, stood up at each other's weddings, compared notes through medical training (me as a nurse, her as a doctor), and generally did everything together. Through all this, I was the calm one. She was the one on Ritalin. She would want to run around in circles and I would be the one holding the video camera. She would study by talking and obsessively cramming between study breaks; I would read my books in my room and the quiz myself in my head.

Somehow, by the grace of God, we also became moms at basically the same time, and we both had girls! So, whenever we can, we get the girls together. I knew something was funny when I visited her for a week after her daughter was born, and little baby B actually slept for more than 45 minutes at a time, and "cried" by saying "meh" (and only when she was hungry). The irony became much more obvious the last time they saw each other. I could describe it, but you can see it best in picture form... guess who got the calm child and who got the hyperactive one?



Thursday, October 18, 2012

The Current Favorite Game

video

What you are witnessing is the game in which Hannah crawls to a certain spot on the bed, then waits to be dragged away and tickled. Rinse and repeat. Giggle often.

Musings on my Most out of Place Wedding Gift

I was going through old keepsake boxes the other day, and came across this card from my best friend and bridesmaid:


Yeah, it was funny at the time. As was the fact that somebody I didn't know had accidentally been invited to my out-of-state bridal shower, AND had accidentally gotten confused about what kind of shower it was, AND had missed the shower anyway, but sent the gift with my friend to my wedding, knowing full well by then that it had been a bridal shower. It was, of course, a baby quilt, with a matching pillow, hand-made, and the words "Children are a gift from the Lord, may your quiver be full of them" embroidered across the front. You know, one of those things a pushy Grandma-want-to-be-Great Grandma gives you for your wedding, only not by accident.

2 years, 1 miscarriage, and an infertility lifetime later, it wasn't so funny anymore. The card was thankfully forgotten in the bottom of a stack of memorabilia, but the blanket was in my closet, taunting me like a sick cosmic joke. I couldn't decide if it was something of a promise that we would eventually have children, a representation of an idolatrous desire of mine that I needed to get rid of, or simply a benign coincidence that just happened to strike the wrong bride. Whatever it was, I couldn't get rid of it, even when the thought of it sitting there collecting dust reminded me that I hadn't cried enough yet that month. I'm not one to look for signs, but I couldn't help thinking that God's hand was in this one, if only I had enough optimism to truly believe that receiving that painful gift was really meant to bring the comfort of believing that we would surely have a baby to sleep in its warm embrace someday. 

The truth is though that I never really believed that the blanket was a sign. I wanted to believe it, but I always knew that God could choose otherwise, blanket or no blanket. I mean, come on... God's not bound to arrange our lives according our interpretation of accidental gifts. Except that nothing is an accident to Him... which lead me back to wondering if it was supposed to mean something... and that endless cycle reminded me of a man... with power...


Carey Grant clip for the uninitiated:

Of course, eventually, I got pregnant with Hannah. The first time I felt her kick, I thought of the blanket, and the anonymous not-a-friend who had given it to me. I wanted to thank her, to tell her that her gift was finally going to be used, and that while I was angry at it for a long time, it had also given me hope, and now it was bringing me joy. It was the first thing I got out and put in the unfinished nursery. I planned the colors I wanted around the colors of that blanket (green and white). I still cried when I read the Psalm passage on the front, but this time they were happy tears. 

I tried to get the full name and address, but the friend who had thought that we knew each other and brought me the gift was no longer in contact with her. I wrote out a long thank-you note that never got mailed. I think, just maybe, that God wants all the credit for this one, and I hope that He gives my anonymous quilter a great big reward in Heaven. I am so grateful, and her gift has meant more to me through the years than I could ever tell her, even if I had an address to mail that thank-you card to.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Bedrooms and Babblings

Oh look! A real post!

We had a wonderful time with family on the cruise. Hannah is shaping up to be a perfectly predictable extrovert, and behaved like an angel the entire week, just soaking in the attention. Her cousin is SO much bigger than she is, there was no exaggeration! Mr. Myth's brother is quite tall, and his wife is above average as well, so it's no surprise that "little" Zach is the linebacker of the baby lineup. It's always fun for me to watch different babies of the same age so clearly express their own personalities and preferences. Hannah likes to mug for people and concentrate on picking up small items. Zach likes to climb and throw himself at anyone he happens to stumble across. I wouldn't say that they got the hang of playing "together," but it was a real pleasure to have them both around.

One of the fun things that I did while I had no internet was sew Hannah a few little dresses. Of course, one must share, and here is the fashion show:

The Pretty-pretty dress

The fun-fun dress
Enough of the babblings, on to the bedroom. I had a pretty difficult time doing a nursery while I was pregnant. Firstly because I was thinking that Hannah would sleep in our bedroom anyway, and secondly because, without being superstitious, it was kind of hard for me emotionally to do any kind of preparation/ planning that wasn't absolutely necessary while I was pregnant. It's hard to explain, but I think I was holding my breath waiting for something to go wrong, and it was hard for me to let loose and simply enjoy being a mom for a good while even after she was born. Don't get me wrong, I don't believe that I failed to thoroughly savor each moment, it's just that it was hard for me to imagine that the next moment as really going to come. 

So, although we had a room ready to be a nursery, it only got painted at the insistence of some wonderful volunteers at the ministry who basically forced their way into my house and made me pick out colors, then did the job for me. Cue subsequent guilt for not doing anything with it even after it was painted, other than put the changing table against one of the walls and hang her clothes in the closet.

That finally changed when I got introduced to the concept of Montessori bedrooms for infants when Hannah was 6 months old. I, uh, didn't do much research beyond looking at pictures of rooms with floor beds, so I can't say that I'm a "Montessori Mom" or anything like that, but I was inspired! I loved the idea of her being able to have a whole room where she could explore anything, sleep if she wanted, not sleep if she didn't want to, and not have to be told "no." Plus, I had the perfect floor bed already available, in the form of an heirloom cradle that was able to be taken off of its base and put flat on the floor with the side folded down for easy baby access. It was ready, minus the curtains (which are now made and hung), the day she turned 7 months old, which turned out to be a great time to transition her to sleeping on the floor bed for naps and her first stretch of night sleep.

So here it is, the full tour of my Beatrix Potter dream-come-true nursery:

                                                              





It has been tested and thoroughly Hannah approved.



She's taken some time to get used to the idea, but now she'll get out of the bed if she doesn't really want to be there. I love that, because sometimes she'll just play and not need attention for a few minutes, but even when she crawls over to the gate and cries, it makes it easy for me to tell that she needs me, instead of wondering if she's just crying for a few moments before she falls asleep. 

Friday, September 28, 2012

Aaaaand, we're back! But gone again too.

I finally got my internet back two days ago! After taking care of urgent business, I have a bit of time to write a brief update. We are leaving today for a cruise with Mr. Myth's family, and will be gone all of next week. It's Miss Hannah's first vacation, and her first time meeting her cousin, who is exactly 3 weeks younger than her (but apparently twice as tall!). I can't wait to share about those adventures.

In the meantime, I am packing.


Hannah is helping.


Be back soon!!

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Internets and other problems

This is just a public service announcement that my internet has been no faster than a speeding turtle for the past several days, and I was told, when I called, that it would "hopefully" get looked at "sometime this week." I can't load pictures or do anything fun. Actually, I'm hoping that when I hit "publish" that it will, in fact, publish. 

Anyway, there are fun things to come! Tune in for: 

The Picnic o' Fun
Hannah turns 7 months and finally has her nursery mostly finished
Musings on my most out-of-place wedding gift
The Match

Friday, July 13, 2012

Random pic of the day

Because play saucers are so much more fun when they are not actually being played IN.



Monday, July 9, 2012

Weekend fun with fireworks and Grandpa

We have had fun, fun, and more fun this week!

Wednesday, Hannah wore her outfit white-side-out (I made it reversible) for the 4th of July dinner:




Friday, she wore it blue-side-out for fireworks!

Sam an I decided we like the blue side the best, but they are both quite cute.


Grandpa came to visit, and helped with the fireworks and baby. Hannah is starting to get a little bit of stranger/ separation anxiety, and wasn't quite sure what to think of Grandpa, but she warmed up as the weekend went on!



Saturday was Mr. Myth's and my 5th anniversary! We drove to the "big city" where Grandpa drove around and watched the baby for an hour or so while we ate all by ourselves to celebrate. Hannah has never taken a bottle, and I haven't made any kind of effort to store extra milk for her, so this arrangement worked out perfectly. We found a local fine dining restaurant quite by accident, and then got a family picture before heading home. Haha, Hannah is so tired in this shot. She slept awesome that night! 


Monday, July 2, 2012

Sun, sand, and summer fun

Sam had his work holiday today instead of on the 4th, so we did all the fun summer things.

First, we broke the cardinal rule of parenting, and actually woke the baby up. I have a picture of her sleeping to prove it, and, incidentally... she is no longer swaddled for sleeping at all anymore!





Then, we schlepped her off to the beach, because she hasn't yet had the chance to wear her cool beach hat.

At first she wasn't sure what to think, or what was worth getting up early for.

Then, we got to the beach, with the sand, and the sun, and the breeze, and the cool pier to camp out under, and she loved it!






I LOVE the beach! Thank you for bringing me to the beach!









----------->









Then we got in the water. The following aptly summarize most of the water experience.

Not fun, not fun, not fun. >:(
I HATE the beach! Get me out of here!







Daddy, of course, being the magician with the camera that he is, caught her one moment of happiness on camera.









Then some nice tourists from Brazil/ Georgia (the state, not the country) offered to take a family shot (Yeah! I love family shots!):


At this point, we were in naptime territory, so we bailed and let her sleep in the car for the hour it took to get home. Except we didn't go home, we stopped at the park so that we could eat the picnic lunch we'd packed for the beach.


This was, incidentally, also Hannah's first time at the park, so we tried out the swings! That went muuuuuch better than the ocean. She loved her some swing time while Daddy set up the picnic. Notice the yellow watermelon that nicely matches her outfit. Totally unplanned, but it cuts down on stains! 
Yellow watermelon is delicious, by the way.










And, now she's asleep again. Tomorrow morning, I am NOT waking her up early! Fun things to look forward to in the next week: Grandpa (my dad) is coming to visit for the weekend! I finished a fun dress for the 4th, and it's reversible, so we'll get some good mileage out of it over the course of the actual 4th, the fireworks on the 6th, and church on Sunday.

This Saturday, Sam and I will have been married 5 years, and Grandpa is going to babysit for a couple of hours while we eat dinner together. I'm so excited!

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Mythbuster: Circumstances surrounding EA adopting couples

Under Inspection:

Embryo adoption is a last-chance option to be considered once you've tried everything else.


Background:

I heard this one from the Reproductive Endocrinologist whom we saw for the first time after we'd decided to do EA. He told us that there were a lot of issues surrounding "third party reproduction" (which term puts EA in the same category as sperm/egg donation and surrogacy), and that we shouldn't be considering it at our age (mid-20s). He was confident that I could get pregnant easily with a minor surgery and some ovulation inducing/strengthening medications. "Embryo Donation," he said, "would be a good option for an older couple who has tried everything else."

Factual Experience:

I don't really see why he thought his opinion mattered. To be fair though, we didn't push it that visit- we waited until our follow-up a few months later to tell him we hadn't changed our minds. I'm not sure what he thought we'd regret, but whatever it is hasn't materialized. Any kind of adoption might be a choice made after other family-building attempts, or it might not be. For us, we were considering adoption at some point in life anyway, so it didn't take much to push us in that direction. And the fact that we were young made EA all the more attractive, because it gave one more element in favor of embryo survival! It's funny, but right now having a biological child feels much more like a fairly tale than the path we chose.

Conclusion that EA is only for aging, desperate couples who are out of other options: False (but you might have to work a little bit harder to convince your RE)!

The proof is in the pudding, as they say:


Tuesday, June 26, 2012

In which we visit the library and Mommy gets angry over a book

I finally realized, now that I'm not working 7:30-4 every day, that I can go to the library!! I don't know why I didn't think of this before- I practically lived at the library growing up. Of course, it was a 5 minute walk from my house, and now it's a 25 minute drive, and this library is about 1/4 the size of the small library I grew up with, but this is still worth it. So, I packed Hannah up and went to get us a card!

Here she is, enjoying the fruit of community-sponsored literacy:


Now, to be fair, I didn't actually open the books for her, because she is currently obsessed with crinkling and trying to eat paper. All things in good time. She does have books at home that she can eat with abandon. I hope this is the beginning of a long an very fun tradition.

For me, I checked out the third "Hunger Games" book, praying that they'll find the second one and call me to come get it before this one is due. I also perused the parenting section, and decided to check out On Becoming Babywise, since I've had several people recommend it to me. I intentionally hadn't read it yet, because I knew it was about scheduling and leaving your baby to cry themselves to sleep, neither of which I was comfortable doing. Now that Hannah's 6 months old and I feel confident that we're doing well together, I wanted to see what all the fuss was about.

It's hard for me to say this knowing that it might alienate some other moms, and I want to preface my opinion with the caveat that I harbor no judgement towards those who find that some of the things in Babywise work well for their families. I firmly believe that every baby is different, and if yours is hungry every 3 hours and you have the breast storage capacity and milk supply to feed that far apart, great! If your baby sleeps best without you, who am I to say that you should teach them to sleep with you? (Actually, Hannah won't sleep with me, or even go to sleep if I am holding her. It makes me kind of sad, but I do understand how nice and easy it is that I can lay her down and go do something else for her nap time.)

That being said- I HATED the book. I couldn't find anything good in it. I can't even say that I "took the good and left the bad." The whole thing reeks of superiority based on absolutely no expertise whatsoever, and flies in the face of everything we know about lacation, parent/child bonding, and infant psychological development. Let me say that there is NO evidence that I'm aware of even that it's best to "eat-play-sleep." Who decides that it's bad for babies to have a nice, full tummy and the comfort of a parent's arms to feel comfortable enough to sleep? Gary Ezzo? With a degree in.... theology, and a wife whose couple of years as a practicing nurse in a hospital (not even a primary care clinic) can't be confirmed to have had anything to do with pediatrics? Don't even get me started on the doctor who got so brainwashed as to ignore all of his medical training and add his name to this book because he wrote the forward.

If you haven't read it, be prepared to be guilted and threatened the whole way through. If you have read it, try reading it with new eyes, because the whole thing is about insulting others' intelligence and puffing yourself up with pride at doing things the "right" way and reaping the formulaic child. Notice the fictional babies that drive the story- you know, the ones where the babywise baby is perfect, and the other one is a selfish, living terror who grows up with no friends because of her anti-social personality disorder? This is a "straw man fallacy", and the rest of the book that attacks anybody who chooses any different path as stupid or emotionally unstable, or living in chaos, is a "black-or-white" fallacy.

That's just the reasonable/ think-it-through logically side of me reacting to propoganda presenting itself as good reasoning and research. The other side of me that reacts violently is the nurse, because unlike Mrs. Ezzo, I really do have a background in pediatrics, and have seen multiple cases of failure to thrive, and have spent a lot of time doing one-on-one teaching and observing mother-baby couples in primary care clinics as they grow. This book is dangerous. Maybe you or your friend didn't have a poor outcome, for a variety of reasons, but the ideas can cause serious damage physically, emotionally, and developmentally. I find it best not to play with fire, myself.

Many, many babies need to eat more often than every 2 1/2 hours (Ezzo's minimum), and not just during growth spurts. It's not appropriate to ignore a baby's cry for 45 minutes at a time, because it's "sleep time" and they shouldn't eat before bed. And it is definitely harmful for a book to tell you to ignore the advice of the certified lactation consultant who tells you differently, and to demonize her and warn your other Babywise friends (who are also struggling to maintain their milk supply) to stay away too. Babies are also known to have no sense of "others," and that's something they grow into, not something they have to be taught. They don't even know that mom is a separate person for the first few months. It's not fair to a helpless infant to be "taught" that they're not the center of the universe, because it's a lesson they're not capable of learning. All they learn is that communicating a need doesn't result in that need being met, and that it's easier to just give up than to continue to let everyone know that they're lonely/hungry/bored.

Ignoring babies to get them on a schedule and spacing feedings for the same reason is a recipe for Failure to Thrive. Based on my training and experience, I knew this as soon as I heard the idea, and became more convinced of it as I read the book. Then I found the site http://www.ezzo.info/, which made me sick to my stomach, because it contains multiple stories of just that scenario. Look it up. Read the "Voices of Experience." They're not crazy or uneducated people. They're not people who did it wrong. They're the evidence of rotten fruit produced by a system that can't deliver on its promises.

I was going to outline some things I do believe are good about parenting styles, but this post is already too long. If you want to believe that I am that fearful, exhausted, uneducated mom slaving away to her child's every whim in order to repair the trauma of childbirth... that's a good sign that you've taken most of your parenting advise from the non-expertise of Gary Ezzo and his supporters. In the meantime, I am going to return the book to the library since I don't really have the funds to pay the fine I'd get for burning it, but I'm going to include a "warning" bookmark for the next person who checks it out. May their baby not be the next one admitted to the hospital for FTT because of the mis-guided endorsement of friends who didn't know that's where following the book's advice could lead them.