Friday, October 30, 2009

47 weeks!

Well... we have lots of pics from this week and even some videos... but it will have to wait until Sunday when I have time and energy to post them! But the good news is that waiting until Sunday means you'll get to see our little monkey in her halloween costume. As those of you who follow me on facebook now, I actually SEWED this week. Nothing too impressive- I just sewed some felt onto the front of a sweat suit to make a monkey belly and some felt ears onto the hood of that sweat suit. And I made a tail out of a stocking knee high, some cotton stuffing, and several pipe cleaners twisted together and then I sewed that shut. Kev cut out the felt and consulted on the tail. It was a collaborative effort for sure. One would think that every time she latches on I would feel a surge of "I'm really a mommy." But I think because she nurses so frequently I don't often have this experience. But setting aside my school work for an hour or so and picking up needle and thread, the awe and wonder of it all swept over me again.

For the first few months Caroline was with us I felt that so often. I feel it less often now, but it is good to know I can still feel it.

We aren't going to a Halloween party or anything and we aren't taking Caroline trick or treating so there was no real reason to make the costume, but we've asked Jenn and Sean if we can come over for a bit tomorrow evening to show our little monkey off. Jenn is happy to oblige.

So, news from this week...

  • cutting LOTS of teeth... sleeping little... erratic moods
  • She has taken to raising her eyebrows at us, especially when seated in her feeding chair and it is hilarious.
  • She also has become fascinated with the chandelier above our dining room table and the shadows it casts on the ceiling. Well, we're not entirely sure whether it is the chandelier and its light bulbs or the shadows that are more captivating to her. In any case, several times a day while seated in her feeding chair she leans back, looks up, as if enraptured, and reaches for the ceiling. It is as if she is communing with the divine. We have some pics, but haven't captured her full rapture yet.
  • She was much pickier about food this week, perhaps because of the teeth? Who knows? Kev made her a new dish with cauliflower, carrots, and lentils- a very tasty dish, if you ask me- and she would frequently reject it. But then, if she was sufficiently distracted she would eat it, or sometimes she just wouldn't reject it. Sometimes if we put it on a spoon with something else she likes she'd eat it no problem; sometimes she'd spit out the bites that were combined. So bizarre. She did a lot of turning her head away from us and jerking to the side to escape the spoon. The strange thing is that when she did take it she seemed to like it just fine. Very weird. The only other food she has rejected has been a cauliflower/cheese dish so maybe she just doesn't like cauliflower very much. I never did as a kid.
  • Kev said she taught herself to open cabinets today. Must put safety latches on.
  • She's got rhythm... She has been clapping along to rhythms lately and Kev shared that he was listening to some drumming on-line today (he has started African drumming lessons at our church and is doing research on his own time) and started off tapping his foot to the rhythm, but apparently this was distracting her from eating her lunch so he stopped. But then she started knocking her foot into the tray on her feeding chair repeatedly, in sync with the drums.
  • She's got music... she seems to be singing along to music more and more. Kev plays various c.d.'s when she's in the car and we'll hear her mimicking sounds in the back seat.
  • She is REALLY into books. I read about five or six with her, and some of those several times, in about a 15 minute period earlier this evening.

Daddy K here. A couple other noteworthy items:

1. On Thursday, Caroline was WIRED!!! She was very active during breakfast, and I jokingly asked her, "So you're going to be a lot of fun today, huh?" To which she replied with, I kid you not, a knowing smirk and a bordering-on-evil laugh. This made us laugh, too, but little did we know it was a sign of things to come. Caroline wasn't out of control, but her energy level was cranked to 11. For example, while riding in the car, she took to vehemently practicing kung fu (Bill Cosby yelling and all) on her jangling kitty that hangs over her car seat. She was in constant motion around the house, and she didn't take a nap until the late afternoon. I am happy to report she slept VERY well that night.

2. I got to play The Disciplining Father for the first time today. As Sarah has already mentioned, Caroline is teething hard these days. Today I was holding her on my hip comforting her, and things were going pretty well until she bit down hard on my shoulder. I immediately let loose with my most authoritative "No!" and put her down for the next several minutes. She cried and wailed mightily, but my heart remained hard and my resolve remained firm. After the break I did pick her back up and assured her that I did love her, but that biting was not okay. The rest of the day went well, and Caroline did seem to get the message, and she was very gently affectionate toward me for a good span of time after the episode.

Friday, October 23, 2009

More pics, Less Text- From the Last Few Weeks- Including Two from Today 46 weeks!

Check out the bottom of her feet. These were hand me downs. I just thought they were cute socks. I didn't realize they were funny!

At the zoo with daddy while mommy graded papers and researched her own paper. The carousel? Something to look forward to. The bird? Less interesting than the people.

In a pinafore her mommy once wore.

Caroline will pick up books now, hand them to us, and sit in our laps. So gratifying.

I think this was an outfit that her Aunt Katherine used to wear, but maybe I did.

My beloved friend, Fran, gave us this mini-shopping cart. It has served different purposes in our marriage. Currently, it holds napkin rings. And is a toy for Caroline. She loves crawling under the dining room table to it and dumping it out.

So. Incredibly. Cute. Onesie from Aunt Janet; Skirt from Cousin Abby; baby legs from 1st cousin once removed Laura.

Playing with second cousin Kate and Kate's water bottle.

Playing with Godsister Abby the day before Abby's baptism. (Abby is wearing the jacket Caroline's Aunt Katherine bought for Caroline right after she was born!) Abby has GREAT toys. And a great dog. Caroline loves visiting Abby.

Caroline and Abby hung out with Abby's Grandma and Grandpa and with Abby's teacher from day care while mommy and daddy went out with Katie and Haddon and Katie's brother Dan to see a comedian. Abby slept the whole time we were gone. So Caroline got lots of quality attention. Abby's teacher commented that Caroline's hair is coming in beautifully and that she thinks it is going to be thick. She also said that Caroline's speech is very unusual, not problematic, just different. I think she sounds like a cartoon character. Katie's brother Dan said that she sounds like a very cute cartoon character. Her favorite sound last weekend, said rather explosively, was "Beeyo!" Dan took to calling her "Beeyo!" Abby's grandma (So Caroline's Godgrandma?) made Caroline a BEAUTIFUL sweater- and here it is!

With Godsister Abby on Abby's baptism day. Abby's eyes got wide when the water touched her head. Caroline wasn't there to see it. She was having a blast in the nursery. She did great in the care of others this past weekend. When we came to the nursery to get her after church she was strapped into a bouncy chair (something we never had) and looking quite content. Mindblowing! I couldn't believe our little active baby was happy to be strapped down! But she was. Good for them!

Jumping in her crib. Not that you can tell that that is what she is doing in a still shot! But funny face, eh?

Yesterday... I've been eager to put this shirt on her! And it fits!

And today- in a sweater and a hat her mamie, my mommy made for me! And chomping on a spoon.. Something she really likes to do!

So a few quick updates-

  • another tooth is cutting through on top!
  • Caroline is rather destructive. She's gnawed chunks out of some of her books and ripped the cover off another. We're trying to teach her better ways to love her books. She'd LOVE to gnaw on mommy's books... so far we've avoided that.
  • new foods this week- minestrone soup specially made for her by daddy, cheese breadsticks, and she tried hummus again and liked it, a lot! And it was a pretty strong batch! She had a lick of salsa this morning and liked that too! Such a good eater...
  • So close to walking... appears to be trying to step from independent standing now. I think she may have even taken one step today. She'll walk even if we just hold on to one finger and stand still. She can do it. She just needs to decide that she can!
  • I don't think I mentioned before that the funky mobile that used to hang over her crib broke and so is stashed deep in her closet. She has discovered that if she crawls into the closet she can get her hands on one of the little creatures on the mobile. And she tugs and tugs on him as if to liberate him.
  • She truly has mastered climbing. She always wants to get higher, higher, higher. And she has no fear of edges. She has made us very nervous more than once already.
  • Kev just reminded me that on Tuesday (when I was working from home), Caroline called out from the kitchen "Ma!" And then immediately made her way around and back to the bedroom where I was working.
  • We have a fun toy on the fridge that is a barnyard musical matching thing. It involves the fronts and backs of animals. If you match them you get to hear the animal sound and a fun song about the animal. If they're mismatched you hear "you're silly!" and a fun song anyhow. The other day a duck front was matched with a cow butt. And Caroline seemed to be trying to place the cow front on top of the duck front. She hasn't grasped that she has to take one out to swap it up, but... maybe she's matching?

Friday, October 16, 2009

45 weeks and sleepy...

Daddy K here.

We're all sleepy tonight. A long day at the end of a full week with the promise of many good travels and visits this weekend. We'll be headed to Atlanta tomorrow for the baptism of Godsister Abby on Sunday. So look out doggie bowl, Caroline is on her way!

Tonight was an evening of good visits, too. Caroline got to meet a first cousin once removed Suzy (Kevin's cousin) and a second cousin (Suzy's daughter Kate). (N.B. We're basing the "first cousin etc." and "second cousin" designations on info gleaned at Wikipedia.) Suzy and Kate, who can usually be located with the rest of their family (Erik and Emma) in Lexington, KY, were in Nashville for a soccer tournament Kate is taking part in. But they made time to stop by and visit (thank you!!!). A good time was had by all, and we will be posting pics of the event soon. Kate did a GREAT job with feeding Caroline at dinner, and also taught us a new-to-us and very fun card game: Wizard.

No major developmental news this week, but several smaller indicators of things to come:
  • Caroline is steadily getting more and more into books. She's been finding much enjoyment in a pop-up book gifted to her from a family in New York, and she regularly enjoys sitting on Daddy's lap in the afternoon for the reading of a few books. And she can often be found leafing through one of several board books scattered through the house. She's even taken to flipping through Mommy and Daddy's books if she comes across them.
  • Standing on her own continues to develop, and she's cruising like a champ. No steps being attempted without support yet, but over the past couple of days, she's started enthusiastically taking several steps when being held by her hands and following along when the hands-holder steps away.
  • Caroline is definitely trying to climb things in order to be able to reach higher. Teddy bears, a push-car, and even Daddy's leg are all fair game for use as stepstools.
  • Caroline is taking a lot more interest in going for walks. She perks up when preparations are being made, and she definitely focuses on notable aspects along the path: butterflies winging their way over flower patches, the boundary of sidewalk and grass, leaves and branches being blown by the wind. She particularly perks up when a dog barks, looking excitedly for the source of the canine greeting. (Look out, Lulu! Caroline is coming and she wants to be your friend!!!)
  • Teething seems to be progressing steadily. More often than not, Caroline can be found with her tongue jammed into one corner of her mouth or another, applying pressure to the gums there. And discomforts both mandibular and maxillary are definitely present at times.

A good week, and if I'm forgetting anything (have I mentioned we're all tired?), we'll be sure to include it soon. May your weekend be a good one!

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Fun with Food and Water- A pic and two videos! 44 weeks!

Yum! Injera and Goldfish!

And here she is enjoying a homemade breadstick...

And getting a proper sip of water...

Friday, October 9, 2009

44 weeks!

So, if you haven't done so already click on the top picture in the 10 month most so to bring up a larger version of it. When my Aunt Debbie did this in order to get a closer look at Caroline's two top teeth she was astonished to see bumps all along her entire gum line. We hadn't done this. And Caroline won't let us look inside her mouth. She locks her jaw even (especially if she has put something in her mouth that doesn't belong there!) But... Debbie appears to be correct... which explains... a pretty awful stretch of nights, lots of unexplained screaming fits days and nights, lots of clingy stretches, and LOTS of nursing whenever she had the chance. Today, apparently, she wasn't evidencing much mouth pain, for a change, but was needing lots of playful attention from daddy all day long. (She boycotted naps today.) Debbie says it should all be over in 3 weeks judging from the appearance of her gum line... so just about when midterms are over... so. very. tired. But really... our poor girl... I can't imagine so many teeth wriggling their way up or down at once!

She's teetering on the edge of standing self-sufficiently. She's been doing lots of standing, squatting, standing.... unsupported... for longer and longer stretches.

She had another adventurous eating week- new foods this week- Injera (an Ethiopian bread that Kev made- high in protein and iron), Goldfish, Breadsticks (made special for her by daddy) which we dip into a beet/apple combination that Kev also made, and an avocado dip. She loves all the carbs. LOVES them and gnaws, gnaws, gnaws on those breadsticks. Perfect teething food. I just love that our girl was introduced to Injera and goldfish on the same day.

Caroline is mimicking sounds more regularly now. And I swear she said "Wa" while reaching for my water glass. But still... no definite words other than da da, ma ma... lots of creative babble however.

She's taken to laughing when either mommy or daddy fart- lots of occasions for laughing on that front! Especially with all the lentils we've been eating of late! I've also been meaning to record the sneezing pattern she's settled into- she almost always sneezes twice. After the first sneeze she looks stricken or distressed, after the second sneeze she almost always grins and giggles. Very cute.

It is easier and easier to get her to laugh, really laugh, these days.

Kev reports that tonight she was doing a lot more intentional cruising.

Kev has been reading lots more to her and she has increased patience to make it through books! She loves "One Oogly Eye", "Grumpy Frumpy Happy Snappy", "Look at the Animals", "Tickle One Baby", "Bathe One Baby", and she likes patting the bunny now, which is good, she needs gentleness training.

She has been doing a lot of putting things into containers and taking this out of containers. She loves pulling bins out of the cubes they're in in her nursery and reaching in and pulling things out which she sometimes then puts into another bin she pulls out. We need to get clever and put good learning things in the bins. Kev reports she was taking a small jewelry box she was playing with in our bedroom and putting it into the bed of the truck Mamie gave her. She also loves dumping the bin of big lego blocks and carrying the blocks around her room, sometimes putting them back in the bin.

I know that the parenting wisdom now is that you can't spoil a child in the first 6 months. What about the 2nd 6 months? Caroline definitely knows that if she throws a fit she'll get what she wants... should we already be trying to teach her patience? What think ye wise ones?

Pics and maybe video to follow on Sunday if energy and time allow...

Monday, October 5, 2009

10 months old! Oh my goodness!

Really, 10 months ago at 2:34 in the morning our gift was finally given? 10 whole months? I sang Caroline Grace the Dixie Chicks "Lullaby" as I rocked her to sleep tonight. I remember singing and singing that refrain aloud and in my head as I pushed and pushed and pushed.

These pics were taken yesterday and today. Kev just scanned the last several posts and said "We have a darn cute baby." Indeed we do. I am so, so, so grateful for this gift finally given. I love you, Caroline Grace.

(And I love that you're sleeping soundly in your crib at the moment... I'm a bit sobered by the realization that I haven't slept through the night in 10 straight months.)

Sunday, October 4, 2009

pics from last weekend and this weekend- 43 weeks

At the breakfast table at her Godfamily's house, Godsister Abby in mommy's arms...

With mama. Godmama, and Abby...

Ah, the dog bowl...

Fun with Goddad, Had...

Two beautiful girls with beautiful matching bracelets! Thank you, Mark and Linda!

I forgot to tell this story... Friday night Kev and I were babysitting Abby and Caroline while Katie and Haddon were at a church event (for awhile anyhow... Abby was having a rough night and daddy came home early). At one point Caroline crawled quickly away from me and I though she looped their long kitchen island and hence disappeared, but when I looped the island, I didn't see her. My heart skipped. Where could my baby have gone? The house isn't that big! She hadn't been out of sight long! Then I heard something... she had crawled into their laundry closet- which I think she might have opened her self and was pulling clothes out of the washer. She was delighted. We don't have a picture of that, but she made her way in there on Saturday and was enjoying her reflection in the glass window.

Unfortunately we didn't get a better pic with the dog whom she loved and was very patient with her. This will have to do.

Congratulations, Julie! We're so happy for you! And thanks for your hospitality.

A few shots from yesterday- can you see the top teeth in the first one? And you can see her fascination with the wheels... kind of...

our little doggie!

We thought she was a monkey, but...

This may well horrify you. We didn't let it go on for long. We were baffled at how she even figured out to do this never having been in the company of a dog before and never having consumed liquids in this way before... and we had to get a video before redirecting. Thanks to Godmama, Katie for recording and laughing!

Friday, October 2, 2009

43 weeks!

We have marvelous photos and an even better video to share, but... aie. So tired. So let's get the text up and then see what happens!

Caroline did great on our weekend of travels. She discovered the joy of pets- LOVED the black lab at her godparents' home and would try to chase it around the house. LOVED the cats at Julie's house. t (And she loved the bowls of pet food and water too... wait until you see the video...) Tried to chase them around. She discovered the joy of a full set of carpeted stairs. The first time she tried to climb them she was chasing a cat and we were right behind her. She zipped up the first six or seven stairs and then, the cat long gone, and many stairs ahead of her... it was as if she forgot her purpose and got overwhelmed. But... before the weekend was over she climbed that whole set of stairs on her own. (With us right behind, but not assisting!) And she was most proud of herself.

Daddy got sick while we were in Georgia so Caroline and I went to the installation service on our own. We got stuck at some train tracks and so made it there a few minutes late. I didn't have time to ease her into the nursery, but she was just tired enough and just fascinated enough by all the kids and the busy-ness of the space that she went from my arms to the arms of a caregiver without a squawk. And I ran off to join the commission for the pre-service meeting. Apparently she was fine the whole time she was with them so long as someone held on to her.

She did well on the drive home, sleeping for part of it. The last 30 or 40 miles she was pretty riled up, but all in all... she continues to be a good traveller.

When we got home Sunday night Kev had a fever of 102. So... we decided he needed a day of total rest (or something approximating it) on Monday. Lacking any child care options... Caroline came to school with me on Monday. I was hoping she'd fall asleep on the drive to campus midday as she had been in a pattern of a midday nap the previous several days... but because I hoped it... no such luck. I decided to treat the day as an experiment, an opportunity to discover if this is ever actually an option. For various reasons I was already planning to record both classes so if I had to leave... so be it. She was WAY too excited about all the people around to settle into a nap in the very large class I am and of course started babbling as soon as the soft spoken professor started the meat of his lecture. I took her out and tried nursing her down in the hall, but she was too interested in people coming and going. So I went into the Graduate Student Lounge study room, turned off the lights, nursed her and sang to her and she was sound asleep in less than 10 minutes. We made it back to class for the second half of the lecture. She woke up when the class ended and people started milling about. We then zipped on to our next class and I asked the prof (who had granted permission for the bringing of her to a THREE HOUR seminar) at what point I should take her out- happy noise? loud noise? angry noise? "You don't need to take her out," he said. "We'll see," I said, "but thanks." He opted to start class with a 10 minute guided meditation and I thought for sure I'd have to take her out, but I sat still with her on my lap and breathed deeply and she remained pretty calm for most of the time. (I need to remember this. Centering myself while holding her might have a calming effect on her.) About half way through the meditation I started nursing her to keep her quiet. Because the prof was so welcoming of her I felt free to let her down to crawl around and explore and she did, with glee. She managed to quickly find the four things she should avoid so I did a lot of letting her go, then following and redirecting. She delighted most everybody. She was highly fascinated with the guy sitting next to me who seemed least interested in her of anyone in the room. Lots of people were vying for her attention- he won it! As did computer cords plugged into the wall on the other side of the room, a table top podium in the corner of the room which seemed an ideal thing to climb, a dry-erase board eraser which she thought was pretty tasty, a trash can, and the bags of my colleagues, particularly those with pens sticking out of them! Caroline nursed down for a 40 minute nap at the end of class. All in all... it was an exhuasting, but pretty successful experience. With the right prof... I guess it is an option... sometimes. Though not all the time... surely.

Just asked Kev for updates from the week that follow-

He is wondering if she's taking after her father's mother's father (the engineer) because she is very into wheels. When riding in her stroller she leans over the side and watches the wheels very intently and has been playing with the wheels on the suitcase that we used last weekend.

She has taken to taking two spoons into one hand at a time and passing them back and forth as a unit. Which means three spoons are needed for every feeding!

She seems to be echoing words more clearly now, though still no first word proper.

Her top teeth have continued their descent and she's been making intentional use of her bottom teeth by placing cheerios intentionally on top of them and pressing them into her teeth with her fingers to break the cheerio up.

She curiously rejected some food the other night... food she ate happily the day before. But for the most part she continues to be a great eater.

She's been taking lots of walks with daddy. It has been a beautiful week of reasonable temps and sunny days.

She's been doing a lot more drinking from big people cups. She LOVES mommy's water cup. She seems to think that she should be able to pick up liquids the way she picks up cheerios or cheese... hasn't quite grasped the physics yet!

It seems to me she's taller every day...

That's all I can think to share for now. I promise to get some visuals up... soon... (Sorry for a laundry list like post... I stayed up VERY late last night working on some school stuff.... dragging...)