Thursday, December 27, 2007

Rounding out the week

Well, it was a busy Christmas!

As usual, we had Christmas Eve at Kipp's parents' house with the family. Kiki was not fond of the older children running around playing. Between getting over stimulated and her stranger anxiety -- well, darn it, Mommy and Daddy were the only ones allowed to hold her all night.

Still, she made her appearances, all decked out in her holiday dress, so Mommy was slightly mollified.

Speaking of behavior problems, our oldest is still doing the comparison sulk at Christmas. She's got to grow out of it someday, doesn't she?

Kiki's stocking was stuffed with plastic spoons with big handles and a feeding package that included a sippy cup. Soooo... at lunchtime on Christmas Day, I whipped those puppies out for a test drive.

She wields the spoon pretty darned well, I have to admit (I have video to prove it!) Granted, we have to fill the spoon for her. But once she realize I wanted her to grab for the spoon, she grabbed for it every time. She made it into her mouth most of the time, with the prerequisite stops in her hair, along her cheek, her eye, her nose, and all over the high chair. Best part is she LOVES it, so she doesn't even know she's working!

And before anyone hits me with the sippy cup controversy.... YES, I know, I've heard it from the doctors, the PT, WIC, blah blah blah, give 'em a REAL cup (with supervision), sippy cups are evil, yadda yadda yadda.

People, I have to draw a line somewhere. Here's my line. I understand that we're making progress all the time, and every decade or so we have to pooh-pooh a dozen or so tried-and-true parenting foundations and replace them with new and improved and oh-so-much-better blah blah blahs, but you know what? We did away with spankings a few decades ago, and look where it's gotten us. I'm not exactly sold on everything new; not everything new is improved.

And also, everyone I ever knew who raised children with sippy cups did not put them exclusively on sippy cups. You still get your child to try to sip out of a real cup, with supervision, as often as possible. Which she does, by the way, thank you very much. But her arms and hands are still not reaching for and grabbing and holding onto things, so I will stick to the sippy cup with handles for a little while, until she gets the knack of holding, tipping, and grasping, thank you very much.

I feel like ranting about misbehaving children and the virtue of fear in parenting, but I will put it off another day or so.

I only hope that I don't become one of those parents I complain about!

Okay... this is NOT a video of her feeding herself (I'll post it one day!), but I found this site that hosts videos and... well, we made this video of her when she was 2 months old, and haven't showed it off much. So here it is!!

Friday, December 14, 2007

Warm Fuzzy Thoughts

Getting towards the end of the year, when New Years' resolutions are almost upon us. I admit I almost never keep my resolutions, but this time of year does at least make me introspective and self-analytical. And some things this year have been "duh" types of epiphanies, but they've made me wonder how I've managed so far in my life being so stubbornly set on so many insignificant and ultimately futile little rebellions in my own mind?

My resolution this year is to truly learn to live and let live, live moment by moment, cherish the blessings, and not to dwell on the disappointments. Heh. If you knew me, you'd be laughing your ass off right now.

I'm behind on the 8-month picture debut. I know it. I got some cuuuuute pics of her last night in her high chair though. I even wiped her mouth off for them.

The wild child has taken to rocking back and forth in her high chair while she's eating. It's a new game. Her mouth has become a moving target. Ha! Catch me if you can, Mommy!

And now she also shakes her booty while we're changing her diaper. We can't help but shake our booties with her. It reminds me of Friends, when Ross and Rachel sang "Baby Got Back" to make their baby laugh. Shaking her bare booty to get us to shake ours makes her whole face light up. You are my monkeys! she giggles at us. Dance, monkeys! Dance!

Still no teeth. There are bumps on her gums but nothing as yet is breaking through.

Ohh, an update on the fluoride thingie... someone had posted a comment about the bad effects of fluoride. Which panicked me, and I read up as much as I could find on it, and then took it up with her doctor, the hematologist when we were in KC, a friend of mine who is a dental assistant, and even more recently the geneticist. All of them were in agreement that the correct dosage of fluoride has been proven to have extremely beneficial effect on developing teeth.

And I may not have mentioned this, but the town we live in does NOT add fluoride to its drinking water. And I checked the dosage on the vitamin supplement I'm giving her. It's actually well below the "danger" dosage I've read about in articles.

The one thing that's beginning to irritate me though? I mentioned to the geneticist that Kiki's almost constantly constipated. Downs babies evidently have problems with their digestive systems anyway, and it turns out that the iron in the formulas makes it worse. So I thought, okay, I'll find a formula without iron.




I don't think such an animal exists. I mean it's bad enough that you almost have to go to a vitamin store to get a vitamin that doesn't have iron in it (I am horrendously sensitive to iron supplements. They make me sicker than a pregnant landlubber at sea with the stomach flu who ate bad spinach dip.), so I figured it might be challenging to find a formula without iron. But no. Not challenging. IMPOSSIBLE.

So we shall continue with the constant dosing of prune juice. And peaches. And I finally found white grape juice to make her cereal with, so hopefully that will work too. NO RICE CEREAL NEED APPLY. Jeez.

Monday, December 10, 2007

In the space of one day...

On Sunday, Kiki:

1) Sat up on her own.
2) Starting truly babbling (ba ba ba ba)
3) Recognized her daddy again and took a bottle from him


Sunday, December 9, 2007

Another milestone!

Okay. Typical Sunday morning, although not completely. We had Kiki sleep with us last night so C could stay out of the girls' way and sleep in the nursery. She slept in until 8:30, which is pretty late for her. Of course, it was still practically dark because the weather is dreeeeeary today. Good thing we cleared enough of the garage out so that Kipp can park his car in there, and he won't have to unfreeze it every morning.

I digress.

Tend to the dogs, change and feed the baby, get breakfast for the kids (which is a lie -- they do that for themselves, bless them!), put the baby in her swing until I get her playpen set back up in the living room, put the baby in the pen, then take a work call, then cruise back into the living room to check on the baby because she's raising a fuss and ....

what the...

how did....

did the girls....

they say no, so...

Somehow Kiki sat up. In her playpen. By her self. And was trying to play with her block. Or was trying to get back down. Either way she'd sort of gotten too far into a corner, so her head wouldn't let her get close enough to the block or get back on her belly without hitting the mesh of the playpen and blocking her.

Hence the fussing.

But, did you catch that?


Granted, she still sort of slumps forward when she sits unassisted, but let me reiterate. She was not on her back. She was not on her belly. She was not on all fours. She was on her butt. Technically? SITTING! POSITION! UNASSISTED!

I feel it's become necessary to set up a video camera, trained on her at all times.

Saturday, December 8, 2007

Hi Santa!

Well, we had breakfast with Santa. And a more authentic looking Santa you couldn't ask for either! He talked with the group of kids there gathered for breakfast, and then he read them a story, and then he got us all to sing Rudolph, and then he went off for his day of posing.

We kind of left before that because we learned 2 things: our older kids are TOO old for Santa, and our baby is too young to wait for anything. So, no photos with Santa yet, but ah well.

Today was B's birthday, so I took her shopping for clothes after the Santa thing, and then we came home and had a family party. Her cousin is spending the night, and Kipp announced it was a girls' night, so they have exclusive play rights on the Wii, while C is upstairs doing something on his own. Which sounds sad except that C is usually pretty much happier doing his own thing anyway, and with B distracted, he has no one torturing him.

I know the stranger anxiety is a big, and actually positive step, in Kiki's development, and I tell you what, it's my first trial of patience as a parent. Luckily everyone is being very accomodating -- I was worried about my mother-in-law, but she held herself in restraint, though it was hard for her.

I've learned that if Kiki is in her car seat, her swing, her playpen, her stroller, or being held by me, she's not at all bothered by people messing with her and talking to her. It's only if someone (other than me) tries to hold her. That's when she seems to get scared and unhappy. On the plus side, she let Daddy hold her for about 20 minutes straight at the mall today! His goatee is almost back.

So the point of seeing a geneticist, apparently, is so that we have a specialist tracking her progress and medical record to ensure that all of the necessary testing is being done in a timely fashion. So far we are on track. He was also pretty impressed by her strength; first when he took her hands and moved to pull her up, and she took the initiative and pulled herself up instead. And second when she rolled over on her belly, got on all fours, and started rocking. She's such a little show off, but he was VERY impressed, so of course Kipp and I were very proud.

Oh, and I guess if she's lying down, she's okay with strangers too. Again, it's only if someone she doesn't know tries to hold her. It's all in the holding, I guess.

Well, not much more to update now. I wish I'd read up more on this stage before it hit. It makes me wonder what else is going to blindside me!

Thursday, December 6, 2007

It Has A Name

It's called Stranger Anxiety. Duh. And she'd begun to show signs of it a few weeks before Thanksgiving. And at Thanksgiving, it was at its worst. She managed to finally get comfortable with Grandma and Grandpa, but it took a whiiiile.

So the concensus on the web is that you need to work through it, but not by ignoring her distress. In other words, have "strangers" (who may include the non-primary caregiver parent in extreme cases -- prepare for some self-bashing in a few minutes here) approach the baby slowly, offering toys and whatnot, but only after having been in her presence for a while. And let Mommy comfort while people approach.

It figures I've been doing it all wrong, doesn't it? It's not like my instinct wasn't to rush in, scoop her up, and calm her down, either. It's more like everyone telling me, "You've got to let her cry sometimes." And my mother-in-law, God love her, who will cling to the screaming baby and tell me with a smile, "Crying babies don't bother me at all."

And then I'm torn between wanting to comfort my baby and feeling like an idiot and feeling like a mean daughter-in-law who won't let her bond with her own granddaughter.

I'm about ready to lose hair over this. Honestly. It's like I can't trust my gut, but I have to trust my gut, and whoever decided I should be allowed to have a baby anyway? This is RIDICULOUS. I SUCK AT THIS.

I knew about stranger anxiety, in an abstract way. I had all these plans that I would socialize Kiki from Day One with all sorts of people all the time so when this stage hit, it would not be like this. But I didn't take her out enough, obviously. The best-laid plans and whatnot. And okay, everything I'm reading is telling me this is normal and natural and moreover necessary in her development of her sense of self, but it still feels like I'm fucking up somehow.

I keep apologizing to Kipp because I feel like I did this, somehow. He tells me his older kids did the same thing at Kiki's age, and that it passes, and it's okay and it's not my fault.

Still. It would KILL me if she had decided I was the stranger.

And from what I read, no more sessions like last night. Slow and patient, without alarming or distressing her. Which should make it easier for me as well, as selfish as that sounds.

Only one more day til Santa. Let's just focus on that for a bit.

Tough Parenting

I don't want to sound whiney because I know I've had it waaaaaay easier than many. many parents, but so far this year I have faced what I'd consider tough parenting moments. And it's only my first year! I mean first there was the moment when they told me my newborn baby had been taken to the NICU; then there was the moment when I tried to watch them put an IV in her head; then there was the moment she banged her head on the sofa console thingie; then there was the moment we thought she might have leukemia; and so on, and so on.

Last night was one of the toughest parenting moments for me yet. And she wasn't in any danger, and she wasn't in any pain, and in fact, there was absolutely nothing wrong at all.

Let me begin at the beginning.

Our general routine has become like this: During the weekdays, Kipp tends to give Kiki her last bottle before she goes to bed. This gives them time to play and bond with one another. It's a very, very rare night this doesn't happen. And on the weekends, he does just about every feeding except the morning feeding.

Except for the last two weeks, Kipp has been working overtime, and he's missed a lot of the weeknight feedings. Then on Friday, he got a haircut and shaved his goatee.

Now Kiki loved that goatee. She loved to snuggle with her daddy and stroke his goatee, and she loved it when he tickled her cheek with it.

Kiki hasn't been big on strangers for some time now, since she's started teething or thereabouts. She's more patient with women than with men, but even then she'll only take so much before she's done.

And suddenly, Daddy became a stranger. When he tried to give her bottle last Friday, she rebelled. We laughed it off a little then, calling her a mommy's girl, lalala, and didn't think much of it. Then on Saturday, I had to run an errand, and while I was gone, it came time for her lunch, and Daddy stepped up, as he always does on the weekends, and...

When I came home, her bottle was untouched, and while she was no longer crying, she had the hiccup-breaths that come with prolonged and strenuous crying. Kipp looked exhausted. She had been screaming the whole time I was gone.

From then on, it's been the same thing. If she's with me, she's all smiles and laughs and giggles, and she'll take her bottle or solid food no problem. If it's Daddy, she'll scream herself into a fit.

On some level I suppose it should be flattering that I'm the center of her world and all, but I don't think it's at all healthy. I mean sure she's only 7 months old, it's just a stage, whatever, but it's troubling, very troubling, to me. It just can't be good for either of us that she's so suddenly and so completely dependent on only me.

So last night, we decided to take the bull by the horns. Daddy and baby, feeding time.

It was horrible. She actually, swear to God, screamed herself blue. It took everything I had not to swoop her up and comfort her, but she wasn't being tortured, she wasn't being ignored, she wasn't hurting, she was just throwing a tantrum. Kipp kept holding her, patiently talking softly to her, bouncing her a little bit, trying to get her to take her bottle. It went on for hours and hours or at least 20 minutes before we decided it was late, she needed to eat, calm down, sleep.

So he put her down in her playpen where she settled down IMMEDIATELY. We left her to herself for about 15 minutes, then I got her and fed her. With me, again, she was like a totally different baby: cheerful, playful, happy, engaging. When I put her to bed, she rolled over and immediately went to sleep.

We're hoping it's just the goatee. It's growing back, and for the first time since I've known Kipp, I'm actually cursing the fact that he's such a slow grower of facial hair. I'm not entirely fond of facial hair in general; mind you, I think it looks great on some men, but certainly not all men, and I prefer my husband clean-shaven.

But the baby has spoken, and the baby rules the roost. The facial hair must return.

While I know this ordeal has been bad for Kipp (if the roles were reversed? I wouldn't even be getting out of bed. Rejected by my own child? I can't imagine anything worse!), I think there's some part of him that is relishing this little bit about his facial hair now becoming a mainstay.

After all, he'll say in a few weeks when I start grousing about it, it's for the baby.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

How Mama Kisses Santa's Ass

Sometimes (often) (all the time) I nap in the late morning. I can usually count on a nice little 2 hour nap sometimes, just before lunch. Now, I used to sleep very lightly. I'd wake up at the sound of the kids rolling over in their beds above us.

Not any more.

Now I sleep like the DEAD. Notice the caps? Yes, I'm emphatic about that. The DEAD.

So anyway, I'm in the middle of this little snooze when the phone rings, and evidently I hear it, and evidently I answer it, and evidently it's my husband, and evidently he's telling me something very important, and evidently he finishes, and evidently I hang up, and evidently I don't wake up for a second.

Because later that night, I suddenly ping on my latest obsession. And it's an obsession because I didn't even THINK of it until GoddessKristin mentioned having taken the GoddessBaby to see Santa. PING! It's SANTA SEASON! I have a child the perfect age to prop on Santa's lap!! MUST GO!

Anyway, I suddenly chirp up with, "Hey! We need to go to the mall and get pics of Kiki and Santa! We could do that Friday since you're getting off work early anyway!" (She has an appointment with a geneticist, which is a whole other blog.)

Kipp gives me this funny look. It's kind of a cross between wanting to laugh, wanting to cry, and wanting to shake me, all at the same time. "Don't you remember me calling you?" he says, patiently.

I think about it. Really hard. "I think... you called... and... wait a second... I dreamed you won something..."

No, Victoria, it wasn't a dream. My husband won free tickets to have breakfast with Santa on Saturday morning. SCORE! And we have C & B that day too! I mean they're kind of old for Santa, although C last year... heh... I was watching tv with him, and watching his reactions at commercials, trying to determine what he might want for Christmas. I got nada. Zip. Zilch.

So I went for broke and asked him outright what he wanted for Christmas. He gives me this HAUGHTY glare and pronounces, "I still believe in Santa Claus, you know."

So you know, the kid still believes in Santa Claus. Maybe we'll get a pic of the two of them together.

Anyway, I had to do some grocery shopping today. And I have been VERY GOOD and not bought things we Do Not Need, but Kiki needs blanket sleepers, and I KNOW she's getting some for Christmas, but 2 extra won't hurt, and oh my goodness I found the cutest little furry red boots with white cuffs in JUST HER SIZE, and also? The coup de grace. A darling red shirt that proclaims "I love Santa!"

My goal is to have Santa so smitten he shuts out all the other kids, and gives my kids everything he's got.

And maybe a second helping of pancakes. Yummy!

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