Archive for the ‘ Development ’ Category

Teeth Talk

Wednesday, July 25th, 2012

We’re all about choppers over here. Vera got her first tooth. Yay! Also: Roy’s into biting us. Boo!

Little girl’s been pretty drooly for the past couple of months. She’s also ferociously gumming anything she can stuff into her mouth. It seemed a bit early to me, but it’s hard to argue with such signals.

Then last weekend, at five months and one week, her first tooth broke through. Bottom right. The second one, right next to it, appeared a couple of days later. Do you think it’s a coincidence that on that very night, she finally and mercifully slept until 4 AM? 4 AM, you guys! She celebrated with a magnificent blowout, which necessitated a complete wipedown and outfit change, followed by over an hour of uninterrupted screeching, cooing and kicking. While I, personally, would prefer a celebration that involved MORE SLEEP, I’ll take it. It was actually pretty cute.

Which leads us to something that’s the opposite of cute. Our sweet, gentle little two-year-old has taken to frustrated explosions, wherein he’ll thrash and scratch and scream like a, well, like a two-year-old.

But sometimes, there is biting. He’ll be so obviously bursting with emotion, over a “no,” or a naptime, or a similar shift in his world that’s not to his liking, and he’ll clench his teeth and growl and come at you, clearly intent on chomping down. Hard.

At first Clint was his sole (and intermittent) target. Eventually, I was fair game, too. We dealt with each bite as it happened, depending on that moment’s state of mind, mostly trying to minimize our reactions, because we figured that negative attention is attention. Things escalated.

Finally, about a week ago, he bit me so incredibly hard that I lost it. Declared I’d had enough and that this was going to stop. Sure, I hated getting hurt. But even more frustrating was watching my little guy’s emotions continue to boil up and over, and not being able to help. Clearly we needed a new tactic. Or, more accurately, a tactic, period.

That night, after a flurry of Googling, I wrote on a piece of paper: “We don’t bite. Biting hurts.” I set it on the kitchen island, so Clint and I could commit it to memory. From there on out, whenever Roy bit (or tried to bite) one of us, we looked him in the eye and calmly and firmly said it: “We don’t bite. Biting hurts.” Then we plopped him on the nearest chair and told him he could get up when he was ready with an apology and a kiss.

I noticed a few things. 1) I was easily able to stay calm, because I knew exactly how to respond. 2) Roy almost always apologized immediately and genuinely. 3) Within just a day or two, the biting all but stopped. Ideally, I wouldn’t have to type “all but” in that sentence, but again, I’ll take it. Perfection doesn’t seem to have much of a place in parenting.

Too bad this tactic doesn’t work on infants, though. Those two jagged little whitecaps hurt!



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Mixed Emotions About Milestones

Thursday, June 28th, 2012

We discovered this weekend that Vera loves her some Exersaucer. I could just cry.

This second time around, I feel a little differently about milestones than I did the first. On the one hand, I want my little girl to develop and grow and explore the world around her with ever-increasing curiosity and independence. On the other hand, I want to bind her little limbs and keep her in a calm, dark room in the hopes that she’ll stay my cuddly chubby baby forever.

Mostly I want that first part.

Clint brought the Exersaucer out at my request. Vera strained her neck to check it out as soon as it entered the room. She watched intently as Clint cleaned it off for her, and when we lowered her into it, she beamed and gaped in excitement and disbelief. She struggled to hold her body erect, head wobbling unsteadily, testing new neck muscles. She willed her hands toward the nubby-eared giraffe, then the clear bead-filled tumbler, swatting, Zombie-like. She worked that thing like a bartender at happy hour, giving attention where attention was due, then promptly shifting it all to the next in line.

“The days of the bouncy seat on the kitchen counter are coming to an end,” Clint said.

Endings. They piggyback in on all these amazing beginnings.

I’m more acutely aware of it this time around, because I know how things unfold and I know she’s my last. I did feel the same way with Roy, whom I made pinky-swear on video, before he hit his first birthday, that he’d live with me forever and ever.

I know. There’s a chance it will not hold up in court due to his minor status, blah, blah, blah. A mama can try.

But I also wholeheartedly cheered the first rollover, the first Bumbo session, the first unassisted stand, without this undercurrent of loss.

Mostly, I live on the bright side. This new development buys me more hands-free time, gives her more exercise and mental stimulation and means we’ll soon be able to get rid of a few of the thousand or so cumbersome swings, seats and things we have propped around the house to contain her.

I can’t stand those damn swings and seats.

I miss them already.

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Time Magazine Breastfeeding Cover: Get Over It.

Friday, May 11th, 2012

Maybe it’s just because I’m currently nursing, but I’m surprised that the Time magazine breastfeeding cover (at right) is causing such a stir. Top Google search? Newspapers across America? Entertainment Tonight? Really? This is the most-talked about topic out there right now?

First off, Time sure knows how to get our attention. I get glances while discreetly nursing my tiny three-month-old under a blanket in public. Throwing a hot young mama up there openly attached to not young child? Yes. People are gonna talk. More than even I expected. All this press, and from what I can tell, the issue hasn’t even hit newsstands yet.

That said, I’m not going to comment on attachment parenting, which is what the cover is actually addressing. (I do have Beyond the Sling, by Mayim Bialik, aka TV’s Blossom, waiting in the reading pile at the moment, so we’ll resurrect that thread when I finish it, hopefully sometime before my kids leave for college, dammit.)

But I can comment on breastfeeding past a certain age. Before I had a child, I’d decided nursing was for babies. Meaning small children with no teeth or verbal skills. It was a knee-jerk opinion based solely on the feeling I got when I saw grown children actually ask for the boob, then climb onto mom’s lap on their own to get at it. If the kid can ask for it, I thought, they shouldn’t be getting it anymore.

I’ve said this before, and I’m sure I’ll say it again: And then I had kids.

I’ve written about my own nursing experience on this blog before, most notably on my post about weaning, but to recap: Before I had my first, I didn’t even want to breastfeed. I told myself I’d give it three weeks, for the health of the baby and whatnot. I ended up nursing Roy until he was a year and a half old. By that time, it was limited to before and after bedtime, but still. You better believe he was able to ask for it.

He wasn’t as old as the kid pictured. But he was a lot older than I ever figured he’d be while still nursing. The experience pushed me into the “To Each Her Own,” breastfeeding camp. I know that’s often the theme of this blog, but it can’t be helped because it’s what I believe. We are different people, raising different kids, and no one has the one-size-fits-all magic formula. We need to quit judging and concentrate on trying to figure out what’s truly best for ourselves and our kids.

Meaning that at this point in my life, when I’ll nurse my child while getting my hair washed at a salon without batting an eye, this cover doesn’t bother me one little bit. You? If it does bother you, especially, I’d love to hear exactly why.



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Estimating Your Child’s Adult Height

Wednesday, March 7th, 2012

Clint built Roy and his little cousin, Arlo, growth charts for their birthdays this year. He made them out of thin, well oiled cross-sections of tree (cedar?), with wood-burned numbers. They can be taken on and off the wall, so moving to different rooms or homes isn’t a problem. Roy will share his with Vera eventually. We’ll give each kid a side.

Thought I’d show it off along with the Mayo Clinic’s information on predicting a child’s adult height.

Two formulas:

  • Add the mother’s height and the father’s height.
  • Add 5 inches for boys, or subtract 5 inches for girls.
  • Divide by two.

“Most children will reach an adult height within 4 inches of this estimation,” the site says.

Or: Double his or her height at age 2.

The first formula has Roy at 5’9″. The second has him at 6’1.”

Hard to imagine either. Then again, it’s hard to believe he was the one we were bathing on the sink just two years ago.

Working on Birth Story: Part Two. Promise. It’s really hard to organize my thoughts in this newborn haze.

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One Month Old!

Tuesday, March 6th, 2012

I can’t believe it’s been a month! It feels like yesterday. But it also feels like ages ago. You know how it goes.

I can’t say we’re settling into anything regular yet, but maybe a pattern is emerging? There are constants, thanks in large part to the routine we’ve established with Roy. We get up at the same time. We eat at the same time. We take a bath and go to sleep at the same time. And now, we do these things with Vera; working her needs into the greater framework of our lives. It’s a perfect fit.

Don’t you just love the stage where they are small enough to bathe in the sink? Eventually, it seems unimaginable. She was small enough to fit into the sink. You need these pictures for proof. To show her, and to remind yourself.

She doesn’t like baths like Roy did. She naps better than Roy did. She won’t sleep in a bassinet like Roy did. It’s so hard not to compare. We’d better work on that.

Speaking of Roy, he’s still enjoying his little sister. He calls her Vera, or Junie, or June Bug, or Sissy, and mimics the way I comfort her: It’s OK. I gotcha. Little sweetie, which he pronounces “fweetie.” The only one he won’t repeat is Shhh. Roy doesn’t like it when I shush his sister, even though it’s my way of comforting; of creating white noise. He thinks I’m reprimanding her,  and though I try and explain otherwise, he does not approve.

I’m not getting much sleep, or many showers. I’m wearing the same clothes for days at a time, and they’re not pretty. They’re comfy maternity clothes, so they’re too big, but my regular clothes are still too small. So they’re baggy and stained in spit-up and it’s gotten pretty bad. One night at bedtime, Roy said, “Mommy. That flannel’s dirty. Take it off.” He even suggested I put on one of my bright tank tops, “Green or purple,” he instructed. I promised him that the next morning when I came to get him out of bed, I’d have one of them on. I did. I wore it for three days straight. So Roy’s gotten on my case. For the record, my sweet husband hasn’t said a word.

But today is a new day. I’m showered. Getting a few things done. Have a dinner plan. It’s nice out—a 50-degree day in March in Minnesota definitely qualifies as nice—so maybe we’ll get in a walk before bed. I’m finding it best to focus on these little accomplishments and not to dwell on the things that aren’t getting done. There are too many of them. Day by day. They turn into months so quickly. She’s testing the seams of her newborn clothes, so it’s time to move into the 0 to 3 months size. This makes me feel surprisingly nostalgic.

Happy One Month Birthday, Vera! Little fweetie.


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