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Sunday, July 29, 2012

Six Months

I met Anna and Heraldo's baby girl last week and I'm amazed at how much babies change in such a short time.

Six months ago, there was a tiny, floppy, helpless human who was learning how to eat. Now we've got a strong, opinionated little lady who is... well... learning how to eat. Hmm. No really! It's so different!

She's now had avocado (bleh!) and banana (interesting... yum?) and peaches (okay, I get it now... yum!). Remembering to work "feed the baby food not from a bottle" into the daily routine is proving tricky, as is "brush the baby's tooth/gums" each day. But really, the change is amazing. Two weeks ago, there was gagging and shoving the food back out of her mouth and a look of utter betrayal. After weeks of watching us it, this looked a lot like, "Um, so this looks way more awesome when you do it. What is this dreck?" Last night when I fed her, it was giant open mouth, leaning forward to get to the spoon. She plowed through a cube of peaches and a chunk of banana in under 10 minutes. Hungry baby now knows that food is found at the end of a spoon. The next food is yam. Just steam it up, blend it, and see if it gets the seal of approval.

Athena started noticing the cats a few weeks ago. Previously, I'd actually been surprised by how little she cared about them. Now, Leeloo walks into the room and she just squeals with glee. Leeloo is dubious about the whole thing. Meanwhile, Pepper is fat and lazy, so when she's lounging on the bench, I've sat Athena on my lap and let her pet Pepper. Pepper is generally not concerned enough about this to actually move, so Athena loves it. Then we stopped by Kevin and Rachel's place to meet the new kittens. These foster babies are a trio of orange boys who think people are awesome and that this tiny human seemed just fine. Athena thought the kittens were the most amazing thing she'd ever seen. I've never seen her so motivated to move, but on her tummy, she started using her legs to push off and scoot forward. Kittens may just be the key to her learning to crawl. We'll see. The screaming giggling glee was amazing.

With a baby, you'll do anything for a smile. Our latest game around the house is the Baby Girl song:
We started doing this with bouncing her along to the song, but now when we turn and sing it to her while she's in her exersaucer, she bounces along to the beat. She even stops for the pause. I can't tell you how absurdly joyous this whole thing is for all of us.

At bedtime, we've got a routine where she gets bundled up, then we have a bottle and sing the bedtime song. It goes:
  There's a cow who's in your room just to jump over the moon.
  And the stars, they shine so bright, to keep you safe throughout the night.
  And the moon he likes to look at his bedtime storybook.
  And the planets overhead swirl and twirl above your bed.
  And your mommy gives you food to put you in a sleepy mood.
  But we're all just counting sheep til the baby falls asleep.
This is all sung while her Soundspa plays the ocean sounds and does a projection of a cow and smiling stars and a moon reading a book and sheep. So yeah, long nights of trying to get her to sleep led to a song growing. Her room is kind of magical. It's got a moon that changes phases, a ladybug that projects blue stars, glow in the dark stars as a border, an IKEA mobile with stars and planets and a moon and a rocket, and the soundspa projector. She loves watching it all til she drifts off to sleep. And then she usually sleeps from around 10 p.m. til around 9 a.m.

Yeah, we hit the baby lottery. Totally.

We started this insane garage project three weeks ago. The garage now has a foundation, studs that actually hold it up, a roof without holes, siding, and a new concrete slab. It still needs the side-door rehung, sheetrock hung, a bazillion nails in the siding, paint, electrical, a garage door opener, and a new rubber gasket on the bottom of the main door. The rest of the house apparently got jealous of the attention being paid to the garage and decided it needed some love. Last Friday, the a/c wouldn't turn on. While investigating that, Erik went down to the basement and noticed it smelled damp. A flashlight pointed at the drain to the kitchen sink revealed a giant crack in the pipe. He asked me to turn on the faucet. Everything we sent down the sink in the past few weeks was sitting in a big puddle under the house.

A round of emergency calls to plumbers got us a plumber a bit before 3 p.m. $600 and 3 1/2 hours later, we had a nice new drain pipe and Erik had mucked out all of the sewage under the house. Of course, the air conditioner was still broken and it was 95 degrees. We didn't hear back from the A/C company til Monday, and they initially said the first available appointment was on Friday. Luckily, one of their guys had a job on 10th Street, so he stopped by on his way home because he heard we had a baby. A few minutes of cleaning a fried earwig off the on/off connector and we were back in  business. Unfortunately, earwig electrocution is not covered in our warranty, so that was another $110.

Weeks ago, Erik interviewed for a full-time/permanent/tenure-track position at De Anza College. He got to the second round interview, and then we didn't hear anything. After the first week of waiting, we figured he didn't get it. After the second week, it seemed really unlikely. But as time stretched and we still didn't have a yes or no, either response started seeming more likely again. Weeks and weeks passed. It was torture. The kind of slow nagging torture that you can't explain, but leaves me just tense and touchy. Instead of actually planning a vacation, we would say things like, "Well, if you get the job, then let's totally do that cruise. If it's still cheap." And if you know anything about me, it's that interrupting my ability to plan is a Bad Thing. So five weeks later, he gets the call - he's hired!!! Yay! He's teaching Chem 1A on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays. And yes, the cruise is still cheap. We're going to Alaska! On a boat! Woo! Can't wait! And also... he got the job!!! Woo!!!

Of course, that led to today's totally weird project: filling out a passport application for the baby. Did you know that "Occupation" is a required field? Pretty sure her whole job is "be a baby" but they say I'm supposed to just write "Child." The other thing is that she has to carefully follow the rules for a photo. Because yeah, sure, that photo will be really useful for identifying her over the next five years. Sigh. Security theater. A child under 2 need not have a seat on the plane, but she has to have her own passport to fly out of Vancouver. Go figure.

The other thing we had this week was baby's first sniffles. Since she's been busy borrowing my immune system, she had to wait for something that actually caught me to get sick. And well, here I am hacking with an unfortunate summer cold and she sounds just pathetic. As these things go, it had to happen eventually, and it's just not that bad. She was more fussy cutting her second tooth than she's been suffering through this cold.

It is at once hard to believe she's already six months old and hard to believe we've only been doing this crazy thing for six months. And now I'm half way to my one year goal for breast feeding. Someday, probably in January, I get to sleep all night long rather than waking up between 2-4 a.m. to pump. Eight hours of sleep in a row sounds like a mythical fantasy world, but in just 26 weeks, it could be mine again!








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