Friday, December 25, 2009

In Just One Year

There was a five week old baby named Grace at church last night. She slept peacefully through the whole service.

Caroline Grace made the rounds. Walking the center aisle to the back, peering into pews one at a time and grinning hugely at whomever she'd find there, lighting up their nights with Christmas magic and then moving on to the next pew. She'd linger especially long at pews with young children in them. And she was drawn to that sleeping five week old.

She was dressed in a lovely blackwatch plaid and blue velvet dress that Mamie picked out for her last year on New Year's Day. We stretched her into the very same tights she wore last Christmas Eve, when she was not yet 8 pounds, when she slept peacefully through the whole service. She was only 3 weeeks old then, and just three days from her baptism. So tiny. So precious.

I said to the mom of the five week old, "Just imagine, in one year..." And then I pointed at our busy little girl who was chasing after an older child with a lovely stuffed Pooh. She said "I know. I can't wait. And yet I don't want her to get bigger. But I do." "I know," I said, "Those first few months... are... wonderful and awful." Her eyes got big. "Yes," she replied, "Yes."

Just one year... the miracle continues..

Friday, December 11, 2009

Do we stop counting weeks now?

For the first time in a whole year we didn't get a blog post up on Friday. Do we shift to Saturdays now? Or Sundays? Try to come up with clever blog titles?

We have tons of pics and videos to share, but as I am in the truly overwhelming final crunch of a totally overwhelming semester a few bullets will have to do for now... more later... maybe... if Kev will do it.

  • Caroline's birthday party was grand. She was a bit overwhelmed, cranky through it as she did not sleep the night before (we ended up saying happy birthday right at 2:34 a.m. as she had woken up screaming, again, just moments before) and only took one short nap during the day. So an evening party with lots of people, including Fiona who just wanted to hug her and hug her and hug her... so sweet... but... she was. not. interested. Fiona would scramble to her and hug her and then she'd scream. Rinse. Repeat. But she LOVED her cake. (Everybody did. My goodness it was good.) And she received several beautiful Christmas ornaments that will be special keepsakes for years to come. We got the tree partially decorated during the party and then I finished decorating it after people left, while Kev cleaned the kitchen.
  • Caroline is definitely walking now! She seems to have crossed that line where walking is her preferred mode of mobility, unless she really wants to get somewhere fast and then it is back to the bear crawl. But, almost magically, in the day before, the day of, and the day after her 1st birthday she took off!
  • Caroline received a great walking toy from Aunt Janet, Uncle Doug, and Cousin Elliott. It is this wooden thing with alligators that clickety clack as you push it and walk about. She likes walking with it and playing with different parts of it. She also likes climbing on top of it, not a good idea.
  • Caroline also received a great set of rhythm instruments from her marvelous Godfamily. She truly enjoys playing with these. We spent a lot of time after dinner with her encouraging her to play her drum and it didn't take much prompting on our part. She played with it in all sorts of different ways.
  • She received many other great presents, too. New books that are just fabulous from Pa and Eepa, and a toy cell phone that she digs almost as much as the real thing, and from us the Leap Frog Fridge Phonics (one of you recommended this! thanks! she loves it!) And an adorable outfit from Aunt Janet and Uncle Doug. A gift card from "Aunt" Nancy. A cool d.v.d. from Silent (thank you so much! you are so generous!) And I'm sure I'm forgetting something else. And above all else she received MUCH love and admiration from many. She is one truly blessed little girl.
  • We had Caroline's 12 month appt on Tuesday. She's growing beautifully. She is now 30.5 inches (90th percentile) and 21.2 pounds (50th percentile), and her head circumference is now in the 93rd percentile. All along she has been, in her doctor's estimation, tall and lean (but not skinny). A very healthy little girl. She got a clean bill of health from her doc and a thumbs up for development. The first thing the doc said to us was "Well, she's officially a girl now. She's no longer a baby. But she'll always be your baby, especially momma's baby." Wow. A girl, not a baby. Wow. Our big girl got 4 shots! Most ever! She wasn't pleased at all. But she recovered pretty quickly. She was fairly cranky the rest of the day, I'm told, and between a budding sinus infection in me and restlessness in her we had a terrible night that night, but... the next night, best night in a long time.
  • Caroline seems to have caught (or to be catching) the cold I had last week (which is now a sinus infection, I think). This is only her second cold since she was born and the first was pretty minor as is this one so far. We hope it passes quickly for her. Poor dear. Ironically something always seems to develop the day after we have a regular ped. visit. Always. A leg gets broken. Thrust symptoms surface. A rash appears. A nose gets stuffy.
  • Her receptive language comprehension seems to be increasing exponentially. Kev would have to tell you examples of what all she understands. In his word, she understands "A LOT!"
  • She continues to be playing with different laughs.
  • I think she has settled into being right handed.
  • And I'm pretty sure her eyes are staying blue and she's more or less blonde.
  • Oh, the results of the birthday ritual! We did this Korean ritual were you lay out various objects and whichever one the child picks up first determines something about their future. We laid out a string (for long life), a 5 dollar bill (for wealth), a pen (for becoming a scholar), a drum (for becoming a musician), a toothbrush (for becoming a dentist)... and maybe something else, I'm not sure. She went straight for the drum, but she didn't pick it up, she touched it, pushed it around a bit, seemed ready to pick up, but then, without warning spun around and picked up the pen. Our guests were delighted. They interpreted this to mean she would dabble in music for a time and then become a scholar... like someone else she knows?! Ultimately though she picked up the toothbrush and started gnawing on it. Come to think of it it might have been mine. Wonder where that cold came from... oops. Though she was sniffling a bit before the party!

I'm sure there's more, but it is 1:00 a.m. and I'd like to do a few more things before going to sleep, so this will have to do for now. Any recommendations for approaches to this blog in Caroline's second year?

Saturday, December 5, 2009

The Birthday Girl!

Three Before the Party Shots

Three During the Party Shots

More to Follow...

Happy, happy birthday, baby girl! We're SO glad you were born!

Friday, December 4, 2009

52 weeks!!!

I think our 52 week old is determined to keep vigil until her official birthday in 5 hours. We've tried bedtime every way we know how... and she is not having it. She can barely keep her eyes open, but she will. not. give. in. Right now she is draped across me in bed, the bed in which she was born, 5 hours from now, a year ago, nursing again... It seems she might, finally, be settling. We shall see.

The smell of "lighter than air chocolate cake" is wafting into our bedroom. Kev is making the layers of this cake tonight which he will then freeze and frost tomorrow. Caroline's cake won't be especially girly or kiddish even. But... we know our girl likes chocolate. Months ago I accidentally dropped a chocolate chip and she gobbled it up. She greedily takes bits of Kev's homemade chocolate ice cream (made with coconut milk and agave nectar). We found a wheat free chocolate cake recipe that seemed a lovely way to celebrate her first birthday.

We have quite a crowd coming over tomorrow evening to celebrate. Jenn and Sean, our dear friends who are expecting their first baby in almost exactly a month. Jenn and Sean kept us company on many Friday evenings through the spring- and they co-planned our shower... and organized meals for us after the birth... They're going to be in childbirth class all day, but then come to join us. Jonathan and Tish, the other shower co-planners, and, in the case of Tish, birth attender/blogger/harmonizer, will be there too. As will dear friend Sam, the nurse midwife who helped me find a midwife here and then became a friend later. She had a baby about six weeks before I did. Her whole family is coming over- hubby, four year old son, and 1 year old daughter. Sung Uk, Young, and Jo An will also be joining us. They joined us for our 100th day celebration and it seemed fitting to have them join us again. Jo An is six weeks younger than Caroline. So we'll have at least three little girls who are all nearly the same age. We're hoping to do a Korean 1st birthday tradition tomorrow and also thought it would be cool to have our Korean friends here for that! Debbie, who was a Godsend when she arrived 9 or so hours after the birth, will be joining us, as will Kimberly (and maybe her family- including her daughter born a few weeks after Caroline) the head of the midwifery practice with whom we worked. Marecha, the primary midwife at our birth, will be stopping by, hopefully, though she has her niece's birthday party to attend. Marnique, one friend from church, will be coming too. I think I'm forgetting somebody. There are others from whom we have not yet heard... so, really, our little house might be bursting at the seams. Should be interesting! I think our little extrovert will LOVE all the attention and will especially love having other kids with whom to play.

Anyhow... developments this past week...

She has made great progress is walking. She still prefers her speedy bear crawl, but walks when she feels like it, quite effectively, and quite proudly. She even stepped over uneven surfaces and kept going this evening. It almost seemed this evening like maybe she'll just take off on her 1st birthday. That would be cool and memorable. I imagine seeing Fiona (Sam's daughter) scooting about, might just inspire her.

Kev reports that yesterday she seemed eager to practice her stair climbing. We have two steps down into our guest bathroom. She kept going down and up them over and over again.

She has been giggling and chuckling a lot lately. She is very ticklish. I was stroking her back while nursing the other day and she started laughing and laughing while nursing. It seemed tonight that she was experimenting with new kinds of smiles and laughs-- they almost seemed insincere at times. Very funny to witness.

She seems to be working on several teeth, again. Her moods have been erratic- high highs and low lows. And she often wakes from sleep screaming intensely. Poor thing. Kev started making roller coaster motions during her swings a few evenings ago. As she was getting more and more excited and wound up he'd make a sound like a roller coaster slowly climbing. And then when she'd start to disintegrate he'd make a sound like a roller coaster racing down, which would usually make her giggle and then send the roller coaster climbing again.

Caroline loves sniffing. She has a book about animals, one of which has a page that says "Rabbits sniff." She sniffs when she sees the cover of that book and races through the pages until she gets to that one when she starts sniffing madly again. Too cute.

Up until today we were ready to report that she had made great strides in gentleness. Aunt Janet taught her a handy saying "Open hands for living things" and she would respond to that or even just "Gentle, Caroline, gentle" by softening her touch and stroking vs. grabbing or clawing. But today... back to aggressive. Ah well. We know she has gentle potential in her.

But the biggest news of all??? CAROLINE HUGS NOW! She wraps her arms around our necks or throws them over our shoulders and squeezes and sometimes pats our backs. It is SO sweet.

We'll surely have pictures of the birthday girl to post tomorrow, but this is all for tonight. She's sleeping soundly now, stretched across me, as I am in the very spot from which I pushed her into the world a year ago. Wow.

More Remembering

I stood before my colloquy group, those 15 students in the introductory theology class for whom I've been responsible as a t.a. this semester, and recited for them my top 10 wishes for their final papers. The last one was "Breathe. Trust. YOU CAN DO THIS." When I arrived at that I said "Today is the first anniversary of 24 hours of active labor in which I NEVER thought I'd actually have a baby. I didn't think I could do it. But I have a baby. She'll be 1 tomorrow. YOU CAN DO THIS."

Remembering that Friday...

When at long last... she came! At 2:34 A.M.

When I discovered for myself that God had given us a daughter.

When I was scared by my bleeding.

When I was too tired to stand in the shower.

When Tish and Katherine weighed Caroline for the first time.

When Tish sang the doxology.

When I had to pass Caroline off to the midwife as she cried and cried so Kevin and I could get some sleep.

When Debbie came and gave me perspective and to make sure all of us ate.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Remembering that Thursday...

As I sleepily try to stay awake to grade more papers on this first Thursday in December I remember THAT first Thursday in December on which we were sure we would be meeting our baby as I was in active labor all. day. long.

Walking, resting, soaking, walking, resting, soaking...

And then pushing, pushing, pushing...

I kept asking "Why haven't we seen the head?"

I blurted out "This is the hardest thing I've ever done."

Eventually the midwives intervened and guided my pushing and I was so grateful... but I didn't want to push anymore. I was too tired, too demoralized, too sure I wasn't going to end up with a baby afterall... but mostly i was too exhausted not having slept for the two nights prior and having pushed for many hours prior... but they all gathered around me and helped hold my legs up and made me keep pushing...

But she didn't come that Thursday.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Remembering that Wednesday...

When I made a LONG birth play list and listened to podcasts in the wee hours of the morning as Kev snored beside me...

When I received a wake up call from Marecha at 7 a.m., I wasn't asleep, but I didn't realize she was outside...

When we went out for yummy pancakes and I knit a hat for Elliott...

When we watched a d.v.d. and tried to nap (neither of us can remember what we watched)...

When we decorated the tree...

When we took a long walk...

When we played Nertz while trying to time the contractions that were coming closer together...

When I tried to go to sleep... but then... longer, stronger, closer together...

Called Tish and the midwives in...

Sure seemed like the baby would be arriving on her due date... that Thursday...

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Remembering that Tuesday...

I awoke early and went to the bathroom.

The bloody show presented.

So much for editing that book for a prof.

Set to readying the birthing room... and did we shop and cook as well... i think maybe yes, yes we did.

And the midwife came at 6 and didn't know whether to fill out the prenate form or the birth form.

She chose the prenate form.

She left saying she was going to get a nap before my 2 a.m. call.

I didn't sleep that night, but I didn't need to call her in either.