Archives for the month of: January, 2013

IMG_4036I could go on and on about breastfeeding.  It’s the most obvious and perfect decision I could have made – as if it were even a decision I needed to make, to feed my baby the way nature intended.  But I’ll just say I love it.  I love how easy it is now, I love the bond I have with Catherine through it, and I love seeing her chubby thighs and knowing I did that with my body!  I love the calm, almost euphoric feeling I get because of the endorphins breastfeeding releases in my body.  Even when I’m not breastfeeding, I still get these sudden bursts of happiness throughout the day.

But we’re also having fun introducing fruits, veggies, beans, and grains into Catherine’s diet.  She’s had oats, millet, brown rice, and farro (at first blended separately with breastmilk, and now blended together with homemade applesauce, bananas, blueberries, or raspberries.  She’s had all kinds of veggies – beets, asparagus, broccoli, sweet potatoes, squash (kabocha, summer, butternut), leeks, carrots, and so on.  The other day, I was making lentil soup for Chris and me, and I made Catherine her own lentil soup in my smallest pot using lentils, onion, garlic, parsley, potatoes, carrots, celery, and a little water (leaving out the salt and sausage).  I pureed it and she loved it!  It was naturally sweet from the vegetables and she ate it up.  It takes so little effort to freeze batches of pureed food for days I don’t get a chance to cook, too.

UPDATE: I thought of something to add here.  I love to cook and have been cooking dinner most nights for years.  So it is easy for me to cook Catherine’s meals for her.  For someone who doesn’t enjoy cooking, I can imagine it’d be more of a challenge to make all of baby’s food.  Taking a few weekend days and roasting/steaming-pureeing-freezing fruits, grains, and veggies in ice cube trays then storing them in tupperware so you can grab, mix, and match is a pretty simple solution I think.  A cube of applesauce, a cube of beets, a cube of oatmeal, and you’ve got a tasty balanced meal. 🙂  The applesauce and beets actually taste delicious together!


I can’t get over the adorableness of her learning to play her xylophone…this was a couple weeks ago when she first figured it out, but now she hits it and looks at me immediately for praise.

IMG_3988You, my dear, are with your nanny Juliana.  You see, I got a talking to, because we were supposed to transition.  You were supposed to go twice a week for a few hours, gradually increasing the time, until I go back to work 3 days a week beginning February 11.  This way, you and Juliana have time to get to know each other before Mommy must leave you for such long periods of time.

But Mommy is experiencing a bit of separation anxiety.  I would pick you up early – hours early.  And drop you off late.  And Wednesday, I called and canceled because you were running a slight fever after your vaccinations (secretly high-fiving you because I wanted to keep you with me anyway!).  That must have been the straw that broke the camel’s back for Juliana.  She told me we needed to discuss her working conditions.  She told me she thought we’d agreed to “transition.”  That she is worried about you not taking a bottle or taking your naps because you’ve not had time to build trust.  I understand her points.  So, that brings me to where I am now – my favorite coffee shop!  I used to come here when I was pregnant with you, and happily type away while you kick-kick-kicked me!

To be honest, it’s something I’ve missed.  I’m not sure how long you would sit patiently in your stroller while I write and ignore you.  However – we did stop by here after our run on Tuesday.  I got a tea and I got you a little plastic cup and straw with filtered water.  I thought, we’ll see what she does with it.  We sat down at a little table and I held you in my lap and let you put the straw in your mouth.  To my delight, you sucked on the straw and water came up into your mouth and you swallowed it!  I almost jumped up out of my seat and held you up like the champion you are and shouted “She did it! She drank out of a straw for the first time!”  But I thought, no need to cause a scene.  So instead I just praised you quietly, saying “You did it! You did it, Catherine! You can use a straw! What a big girl!”  Your response?  To smile without looking at me while still holding the straw in your mouth, meaning you understand that I’m praising you and it makes you a little shy but you like it and I can tell you’re proud of yourself when you do that.

The above story just goes to show life doesn’t change so much after one baby.  I mean, I love you wayyyy more than I love myself.  I’d do anything – I mean anything – to make you happy.  It’s so natural to want to fly to the moon and back for you.  So in that way, things have changed.  But you fit right into life with your Daddy and me.  Except life is so much richer now.  We have everything we ever had, but soooo much more.  I still go to my favorite coffee shop (even if only for 20 minutes) – but now I’m sharing it with my little buddy.  And I see it in a whole new light.  It’s not just a place where I go and sip my usual caffeinated beverage, and it’s – for now – not a place where I disappear into a world of writing.  It’s a place where new and exciting things happen for the very first time – like drinking out of a straw.  Suddenly the clanging of cups and the whir of expresso machines are more interesting because because you’re interested.

—Okay…hours later…

Just as I was in the midst of this blog post, I got a call from Juliana because Mommy left you will milk but no bottle!  So, I raced home, grabbed a bottle, and brought it to Juliana. Now you’re napping and I’m writing again.  And now you’re awake… 🙂  So this is how life has changed, too.  🙂  Never a finished blog post, never a refined piece of writing.

While I have a few seconds, let me mention your 7-month doctor visit stats:

15lbs 12 oz (30th percentile)

27 inches long (75th percentile)

He said you’re ahead of the game with motor skills and sitting!  That’s because you can sit up very well and use your hands very well while sitting.

You were a complete charmer while we were there.  You hammed it up so much that your had Dr. Elliot laughing!  You kept flirting with him and goofing off, trying to get attention.

I mentioned our current eating schedule – 5 nursing sessions/day and 1-2 tbsp of solids that I make myself for dinner.  He said it’s perfect.  I asked him if you were missing iron because you don’t get storebought rice cereal, which is fortified with iron.  He said nope, because the soluble iron you get from my breastmilk is so much better.  Now, we will begin giving you breakfast and then lunch as well, after your milk, so you fill up on milk first.

I told him about Juliana speaking Spanish with you.  He said that is WONDERFUL because it will make the language part of your brain all the stronger.  I have also been teaching you bits and pieces of sign language.  As a language person, this is my contribution to you.  I hope you don’t ever ask me to help you with math.  We will have to find a math tutor for that, if you need one.

I told your doctor about you waking up at 3am.  I didn’t tell him about you sometimes waking up at 11, 3, 5, 6, and 7.  He said the 3am feedings must stop.  He said we have to put you down awake and let you cry.  Well, I put you down awake now since he said that, and I let you cry but not too  much.  We’re easing in to it. You’re only a baby.  I do want you to begin sleeping through the night not so much for me but because I want you to have good sleeping habits for you.

Okay, your patience is done, going to get you out of your crib now…


You. are. adorable!  So charming, intelligent, silly, opinionated, and beautiful!  You turn heads.  I’m not kidding.  I feel like I’m with a celebrity when we go anywhere.  Calm down, calm down, everyone – she’s not doing autographs today.  But more about that in a follow up post (because I’ve found photo-heavy and content-heavy posts don’t work together for me).  For now, let us gaze upon your cuteness. 😉

IMG_4068 IMG_4070 IMG_4071 IMG_4080 IMG_4090 IMG_4093 IMG_4108 IMG_4126 IMG_4128

IMG_3861Ma-ma!  Ma-ma!  Yesterday, for the first time, Catherine demonstrated full, undeniable command of the word mama.  She’s used it plenty of times before, but yesterday it really seemed to click for her that she could call me by name and I’d come running.

IMG_3838So I heard it all day.  Sitting on her playmat, she’d get tired of playing, look directly at me, and yell “mama!”  Waking up from her nap, I’d hear her wail “maaaa-maaaa!”  Done with the high chair, she reached for me and cried “ma-ma.”  It’s the coolest thing to hear her look at me, say “mama!” and smile because she knows that’s who I am.



Chris has been out of town this week, so it’s just been us girls – oh, and let’s not forget Mr. Meeks! After all, he’s been such a good big brother and only getting better.  Catherine has taken to grabbing his beard and yelling at him, and Meeks gives her lots of kisses.  But anyway, I was saying, Chris has been gone since Monday, and days get very lonely around here while at the same time being filled with nice moments.

Today, it occurred to me that the pet store in our backyard could be an “event” that was just as good as any zoo or aquarium!  And I was right.  In fact, it was better because it was quiet and empty and more Catherine-sized.  She loved it.  I didn’t take great pictures because I was more interested in enjoying the moment, but here are a few.  Btw, right now I’m thoroughly enjoying teasing my sister about getting my niece a “pet,” since the poor thing desperately wants one (it’s incredibly adorable) thus the hamster photo.

By far, Catherine’s favorite were the kittens!

photo photo photo She kept looking back at me as if to say “Mommy, are you seeing this??”photo photo


For dinner, Catherine had roasted and pureed butternut squash.  She loved it and ate it all up!

photoAnd I made a solo-sized eggplant parmesan with vegan “cheese.”

photoRight before Catherine went to bed, we read books together.  Catherine crawled off my lap into this goofy position.

photoWe miss our Chris, but we’re having fun.  I love my goofy girl and my little family.

Catherine is staying with her nanny again for a few hours this morning.  Just another session to help ease her into this “being away from mommy” thing.  But it’s not sitting well with me.  I think I should have waited until I actually went back to work before doing this.  I don’t like the quiet, I’m nervous that she isn’t being good for the nanny, that she’s crying, not sleeping, that we’re wasting precious pumped milk that could have been frozen for a day when we really need it…

Then there’s the little red bump on her forehead that I forgot to explain to the nanny – the nanny’s name is Juliana, so let’s just call her that from this point on – so now Juliana is probably wondering what kind of mother I am.  This morning, while I was getting ready Catherine showed me that she has outgrown her little seat by tipping out of it and bumping her head on the floor.  Don’t worry, the seat is low to the ground and I caught her as she did it.  But she was so upset and wrapped her fingers tight around the bar of the seat as if to save herself and I had to pry them off before I could pick her up off the floor and hug her.

I have separation anxiety.

It will be easier when I’m working.  Right now it feels so pointless.  I should be using this time to do something amazing, something I can never do unless she takes a very long nap.  Instead I spent the first hour walking in circles around our house feeling anxious.  I went to Starbucks and bought a tea.  I always go to Starbucks with Catherine in the little baby carrier getting a bird’s eye view of everything we do, together.  I actually got tears in my eyes thinking about it while I paid.

Yes, there definitely needs to be a damn good reason to leave my baby.  I can’t do this anymore until I actually start work.  Chris and I went on a date and left Catherine with James and Margaret and I felt great!  I couldn’t believe how nice it was to be out eating dinner with grownups and having a grownup conversation!  Of course, by the end of the night I was very anxious to get back to her, but at least I had a purpose and something to do while we weren’t together.

I don’t know why I chose the morning to drop Catherine off.  She always takes her nap around 9:30, and I dropped her off at 9:45.  Awesome.  So, I left Juliana with an overly tired, cranky baby to put to sleep in a strange place.  Why didn’t I just wait until after her nap???  Maybe Juliana is regretting accepting this position.

I also don’t know why I haven’t already typed up a sheet of instructions – including Catherine’s schedule, preferences, quirks, etc., to make sure things go smoothly.

Signing off to go pump…

I just dropped Catherine off to stay with her nanny for the first time.  It’s a 3-hour, getting-to-know-you session.  I’m trying to ease her into it while I try to figure out this whole “return to work” business.  The house feels so, so empty.  :-((((

IMG_3600Confession:  I love shopping for toys.  I normally refrain from giving toys as gifts to my nieces and nephews, because I know how toys can quickly pile up and take over the house.  But sometimes I can’t resist.  And for my own child, well that is a different story.  I get to carefully select the cutest toys for her, give them to her, enjoy her excitement, and play with her.  The only hard part is narrowing down which to buy because we don’t want to overdo it.

IMG_3602One amazing thing about having a child is you sort of get to be a kid again!  Reliving vicariously all the things you left behind when you became an adult (trick or treating, seeing or doing things for the first time, etc).  So since I’m now newly obsessed with toys, I’m going to talk about a few toys I – oh, and Catherine 😉 – love!

IMG_3615 IMG_3617First, I have to mention Lamaze cloth books.  I was a big reader growing up and I’m hoping Catherine will be too.  Not only do books teach you to slow down and relax and focus and be patient (hard to come by in today’s instant gratification world), they also expose you to new perspectives and philosophies and you absorb these much better than if you watched them passively on the tv.  Not to mention your language and communication skills improve with reading.  Sooo…long story short, my mom read to me and I read to Catherine.  But she isn’t quite ready for regular books.  Her attention span is short and she grabs them and tries to eat them.  That’s where these books help.  I’m not sure why, but she will actually focus and sit quietly, captivated, while I “read” her Mittens the Kitten Lamaze cloth book.  I say “read” because this particular book doesn’t have words so I make up the story, which I think has a lot to do with why she’s more interested. But even when I make up the story for her board books, she doesn’t sit still for those stories the way she does for Mittens the Kitten.  Maybe the colors, the soft feel, and the crinkly cat on the cover has something to do with it.  Catherine loves Mittens so much I ordered How Do I Feel, Peek-a-Boo Forest, and Emily’s Day.

IMG_3702 IMG_3707 IMG_3709 IMG_3714 IMG_3715Another toy we love around here are these blocks by Apple Park.  Catherine got them in her Christmas stocking from Santa this year.  Each one makes a soft jingle, chime, or squeak.  They stitching and detailing is very nice, making these an attractive toy to have around the house or on a shelf.  Most importantly, Catherine loves them.  Each side has a number, a color, or a baby animal on it.  They’re great learning toys!  I show her the animals and she looks and listens as I say the names and make the animal noise.  She has now learned how to roaaarrr like a bear (though I’m sure she doesn’t understand that’s the noise a bear makes)!  They’re soft and just the right size for her to grab and throw.  Plus, they have a cloth tag she loves to chew on.

IMG_3788 IMG_3803And since we’re talking about Apple Park, here are a couple more Apple Park toys we love:  this bee critter puppet blankie with a wooden teether attached.  Catherine has a weird obsession with cloths and linens.  She’ll take anything and put it over her face or suck on it, but it’s nice to have this soft, pretty little blankie she can hold on to easily using the wooden teething ring.  I love that the blankie is so pretty.  Good for baby, good for mommy. 🙂  IMG_3604And…this bunny puppet!  My only complaint about this puppet is that my hand barely fits in it, but other than that Catherine gets a big smile on her face when she sees Bunny and gives him a hug.  Bunny is good for car rides and diaper changes and he has long ears that make excellent chew toys too.

This next toy is highly recommended…

IMG_3720_2 IMG_3724 IMG_3728 IMG_3759 IMG_3767 IMG_3768IMG_3778The Haba Toot Toot Rattle is a MUST.  I’m not kidding.  Chris picked it out before Catherine was born.  I was skeptical because it looked slightly boyish and she already had some teething things.  But this little teether holds her attention longer than…I do believe…any other toy she has.  It is especially useful when we go to dinner as it’s small and keeps her occupied.  There’s absolutely nothing toxic in the wood or paint, so she can chew away without me worrying!  And as a bonus, this toy is really nice to look at.  You almost want to display it.  I plan to buy more of these toys for her, as there’s a huge selection for all stages.

IMG_3627Yet another hit from Chris – and he’d been eyeing this one since before we were even pregnant – this Fun On The Farm Stacker from Pottery Barn Kids is a BIG hit with Catherine.  Not only is it a really pretty toy, there are so many things you can teach with it – animals, animal sounds, colors, sizes, etc.

IMG_3629Catherine loves to aggressively attack her stacker and take it apart then chew on the top.  I hold the little animals and tickle her with them, making the animal noises, and she laughs! Don’t let this photo fool you. Someone was ready for a nap. 🙂


IMG_3686Okay, so this next one is something I’m hoping will sort of grow with Catherine.  It’s the Pure Nature Organic Doll named Bea.  It was Catherine’s Christmas gift from Mommy.  I’m trying to teach her to “love the baby” and “kiss the baby” and all that sort of sweet, gentle stuff.  She hugs Bea for a second, then grabs her by her spaghetti hair and shakes her aggressively.

Catherine really loves her toys, and it’s so much fun to watch her greedily try to play with them all at once, and eat them and love on them and shove them out of her way when she’s done.  Her eyes light up when she sees them and she gets a big smile on her face.

IMG_3584So, I need to stop. But toys are so much fun to photograph since they always put Catherine in a good mood. I’m sure there’ll be many more toy posts to come!