Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Babycakes Stats Update

Today was her 9-months check-up, and our first visit with this pediatrician in VA. It went pretty well, although she was NOT happy about stripping down and being inspected. (Who would be???) She cried more over getting her ears looked at than she did over the Hep-B booster.

Of course y'all want the numbers: Length = 28.5 inches (75th percentile), and Weight = 18 lbs. even (45th percentile). So she's not as preternaturally tall as she used to be, but she's holding her own and on a good growth curve.

These are all the things she's eating now: squash, sweet potato, carrots, broccoli, spinach, avocado, banana, pears (her favorite), rice cereal, oatmeal, cheerios, bread, mango, applesauce, egg yolks (occasionally) and last night I gave her a taste of the turkey we'd cooked up - she LOVED it and kept asking for more! So I fed her a little more. I'm not interested in making meat a regular part of her diet, but I do want to make sure she gets enough protein. Oh, and she also eats green beans (commercial/jar) which does supply some vegetable protein, right? She wasn't a big fan of peas. I'm going to try her on lentils soon.

It's fun making food for her. We do mix in some commercial baby food, but it's definitely less than half. I like the frozen food cube method; I don't do huge batches at once, just every couple days I'll mash up a banana and avocado together, say, and freeze that. Then a couple days later I'll do a pear or two. And so on. So we have a constantly rotating supply of stuff in the freezer. She usually eats between 2-3 cubes' worth at a sitting (or crawling), and then I keep feeding her cheerios until she's stuffed!

The one thing they wanted us to "work on" was her pincer grasp, but Terry just texted me that Grandma says she's been feeding herself Cheerios all morning - with her left hand! :-) It would be so cool if she were a lefty like Obama. I mean, like her dad, Aunt Rosanne, Grandma and Grandpa Jantzi! Not to forget her Uncle David, and two second cousins once removed: Vince and Reuben. Lefties are cool.

Monday, February 23, 2009


Just thought I should clarify, giving someone a shout-out is not the same as shouting at them. :-) It's more like mad props.

Saturday, February 21, 2009


I just have to give a SHOUT-OUT to my husband, who cleaned the kitchen today.
Did I say cleaned? I meant scoured... rejuvenated... made-over... resuscitated... unearthed...

I could eat off the floor (and probably will). :-)

Thank you, Terry!!!


There is a reason Terry once bought me this book.

While in the throes of trying to implement the Baby Whisperer approach to sleep training, I found myself feeling like the king of the golems in Pratchett's book Feet of Clay. This analogy probably only makes sense if you've read the book... but suffice to say, I felt like my head was full of words of command, all conflicting with each other and driving me insane. "Cry it out!" "Don't even think of crying it out!" "Pick up/put down!" "Co-sleep as long as possible!" "Put baby to sleep in a crib!" etc.

Terry thought for a minute, then said "the principles they all boil down to are comfort and discipline. Not discipline like punishing, but discipline like structure and teaching." He asked me, "what do your instincts say you should do?"

Hence my mantra, and the moment of Zen mentioned in that post. Or, as my therapist put it, I need to find my rhythm, and tune in to her rhythm. That has been a really helpful piece of advice as we've moved away from being die-hard baby whisperers, towards finding our own way that works for us and our baby.

Comfort and discipline, the free play within structure. Some people make it look so easy! I guess everything looks different from the inside.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009


Sometimes I sing Valerie this song as a lullaby, even though I never knew until I just looked it up now that the artist wrote it for her daughter:
If your love were taken from me
Every color would be black and white
It would be as flat as the world before Columbus
That's the day that I lose half my sight
Those men who lust for land
And for riches strange and new
Who love those trinkets of desire
Oh they never will have you
And they'll never know the gold
Or the copper in your hair
How could they weigh the worth
Of you so rare
~ Suzanne Vega, "World Before Columbus"

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

A good day... so far!

Furnace is fixed, toilet is fixed, still waiting for dryer. Babysitter back on duty. Getting work done...!

Sunday, February 15, 2009

9 months!

Valerie, you are nine months old today! You love to pull yourself up to standing; you are entranced by things that move and make noise. Your top two teeth have come in, and you are eating all kinds of different foods. Your hair is long enough to put up in a little clip. You are curious and want to explore your surroundings more and more.

Best of all... you are SLEEPING THROUGH THE NIGHT!!!

This afternoon I was in the basement hanging clothes to dry, and heard you upstairs laughing and laughing at something silly your dad was doing. I felt a happiness so intense that it hurt. We love you so much, Little One-One.

Safely through another week

We had a refreshing weekend. My in-laws watched Valerie for five hours on Saturday, so Terry and I were able to take care of a whole bunch of errands, with time to spare for a nap and an early Valentine's Day dinner at Taste of Thai. We beat the V-Day rush :-)

Today we went to church (where Val took her morning nap in my arms), then met our friends for bagels and coffee. I ran out to the grocery store and Target with V., who fell asleep in the car on the way home. I sat with her and read in the back seat while she slept for an hour and a half. It was kinda nice.

We had dinner with our friends Tara and Aaron, then came home and put Val to bed. Just a nice, ordinary Sunday.

I checked e-mail for the first time all weekend after she was asleep. We've re-opened negotiations with the babysitter... I don't want to go into all the details here, but we'll see how things unfold. I think on principle that it's better to try to repair a relationship than to abandon it, usually.

In family news, please think of my uncle Miguel who is going through serious health issues right now.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Babysitter quit. I think it was because of the toilet. Using space heaters until furnace can be replaced.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Furnace is busted. Can't fix.

Random updates

  1. Val slept 9 hours straight last night!! Too bad I didn't!! I got up a 1 to pump milk, and at 3 woke up because of a weird smell from the vents - like hot oil. We are going to get the furnace checked out today.

  2. That grant application? I'm probably not eligible to apply for it. I may have wasted 5 hours and $30 yesterday.

Let's cheer ourselves up with pictures:

So Tell Me About Your Day...

The voice on NPR describes agonizing cuts in research funding - post-docs and graduate students losing their stipends, labs shutting down - as I drive to the library to print out my research grant application. I notice that the registration on our car expired ten months ago and so try to stay within 10 mph over the posted speed limit. I run into the computer lab, thinking "wouldn't you know, it figures." As I dash from there to the FedEx office, four copies of the application in hand, my cell phone chimes with a text from my husband: "Val asleep, bring pizza, very hungry." Pizza??? I think irritably. Where am I supposed to get a pizza? Why can't he call for delivery? Because the delivery person would ring the doorbell and that might wake her up. I picture my sleeping baby and oh, how I miss her. Almost home.

I spent the last five hours in front of the computer at a coffee shop, hammering out the final details of the application. I'm not so good at details. Even though I was hurt when someone described me to a mutual acquaintance as having my head in the clouds, the shoe fits. So I spent most of my time working on the conceptual framing of the grant application - thinking in grand theoretical strokes, broad abstractions. Language, identity, meaning. I nearly forgot that I had to submit a detailed budget as well. And a bibliography. And my CV. And the cover sheet.

Ok - home now. I creep in the back door as quietly as I can, and slide the frozen pizza onto the counter. I grab a slice of bread and find my husband sitting in the lazy boy with the baby asleep in his arms. I feed him the bread as he catches me up in a whisper on the afternoon and the babysitter's report. So frustrated - baby didn't sleep at all until after 4:30, and then only when held.

I kind of hit a breaking point though when I go to the bathroom and find the toilet bowl filled with crap - Crap! I'd forgotten to flush before leaving the house (see, there's some kind of leak or drip going on, so we turn off the water between flushes, and have to remember to turn it on again when needed)... I think with horror of the babysitter lifting the toilet lid to find... THIS. Then I see the cloth diaper in the bathtub... and remember I'd forgotten to tell her that there were more disposables in the backpack by the door... I feel so defeated. The adrenaline rush from finishing up the grant in time to overnight it by deadline drains from my body. I feel exhausted. How is it that I am so incapable of running a household?

I flush the toilet, then go downstairs to hang up laundry (see, our dryer is busted, so instead of getting it fixed we're line-drying everything...). Upstairs, I draw the curtains - or, rather, the sheets that we are using for curtains - and turn on the oven to heat for the pizza. Baby wakes up. She looks right at me, cries, reaches out her little arms. I gather her up and sit down to nurse her. Here little bare feet are the most precious thing I have ever seen or held. I feel myself begin to relax. And so it is evening, another day.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

sleep update

At the risk of boring my readers, but in the interest of documentation, I just want to quickly update the sleep situation: since we got back from Ithaca, Valerie has only been waking up 2-3 times at night. The biggest change we made was to sleep on the floor in our dining room/office. She is now sleeping in our bedroom by herself. The routine that is working well is as follows:
  1. The usual bedtime ritual (put away toys, play lullaby CD, bath, pajamas, books), starting around 7:30 p.m.
  2. When she is done with the books, she turns towards me and head-butts me in the chest. That is my cue to turn off the light and nurse her.
  3. I nurse her until she throws herself back with a stretch and a sigh. That is my cue she is done.
  4. I say "time to sleep in your own little bed" and lay her down in the pack-n-play (Terry thought it felt cozier that the crib at this point)
  5. She rolls over and goes to sleep, sometime around 8:00 p.m.

Sometimes she gets up and wants another cuddle or to nurse just another minute or two, but from #2-#5 has not taken any longer than 10 minutes since we got back Sunday night. I say 4 nights in a row constitutes a pattern.

The other regularity in the past four nights is that she'll sleep for three hours, then wake up and cry. Terry and only Terry goes in to soothe her back down. This can take from 30 minutes to an hour with varying amounts of crying. He gives her water but not milk. She may wake up one more time 2 hours later, but 2 nights she hasn't, and has slept through until morning.

Between 6 and 7 she wakes up hungry and I nurse her (only on one side, so no more overfeeding to the point of throwing up). We might get another 30-40 minutes' sleep (her, not me) in the lazy boy. When she starts sitting up and cooing/babbling, I figure it's morning and I turn on the lights and open the curtains and we play. At that point Terry goes into the bedroom for another quick sleep until he has to get up for work.

Since I've stopped being the nap nazi, I wait until she's good and ready to go down. Today she was up at about 6:15, and just went down for her nap 4 hours later.

Once we really solidly establish a good night's sleep, we want to move her bedroom upstairs so we can reclaim our room downstairs.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Knock On Wood

I think we may have turned a corner (she whispers, so as not to jinx it).

Last night she only woke up twice! Of course one time she cried for 45 minutes while Terry soothed her before she fell asleep again... but he says it's worth it for the 4.5-hour block of solid sleep we all got before getting up around 7.

I had a feeling that we were approaching a breakthrough when, over the weekend, she started saying "dadada" again. She'd started saying these real syllables some time ago, but it all stopped as soon as we transferred her to the crib. The fact that she started again said something to me about her mental frame of mind. It took two weeks. Two weeks I would not care to re-live again.
Last night Terry admitted that I've been pretty "snarly" lately. I'm beginning to feel more like myself.

Monday, February 09, 2009

Back in the Burg

I wonder how many times I have used that same title for a post?

So we're home again, once again re-configuring our sleep arrangements yet again. Ironically, V. slept really well the night we got home - just like she did the night we arrived in Ithaca. Apparently what it takes to make this baby sleep in long chunks is drive for seven hours and put her to bed late. She did really well in the car, though. Except for the exploding diaper incident on the way home... she traveled the last 45 minutes home in her dad's T-shirt...! It was actually really cute, with her pink hair-bow and black "robe."

Lovely warm day today - went for a walk to the grocery store and she fell asleep in the stroller. Hopefully she wasn't too traumatized when she woke up and found that her babysitter was pushing her instead of me! I handed her over and ran off to a coffeeshop to get some work done...

That darn tooth has still not poked through!!

Saturday, February 07, 2009

in 25 words or less

No teeth yet. Friday night Val slept 7 hours straight!!! Not last night though. Is saying "Dadadadada" again. :-) Doc says no ear infection. Whew!

Thursday, February 05, 2009


From the baby who's been crying "tooth!...ha ha, gotcha!" for two months, we have at last visible signs that the top left tooth will most likely make its appearance today, with the right one soon to follow. Whew!

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

This could be a comment on my approach to sleep training

"Predictably, the revision of analytic frameworks and the development of new theoretical perspectives have tended to lag far behind the sheer restlessness of life."

~ De Genova, Nicholas P. (2002) "Migrant 'Illegality' and Deportability in Everyday Life" in Annual Review of Anthropology, 31:419-47.

Tuesday, February 03, 2009


gonna take a break from obsessing about sleep. turning into the nap nazi is not the kind of parent I want to be.

I wish I knew how to post video here - Valerie is doing THE CUTEST thing recently - she figured out the cause-effect connection with things that rattle. Every toy that fits into her hand, she lifts over her head and SHAKA SHAKA SHAKA! If it doesn't rattle she throwns it away and tries the next one. If it does rattle, she'll just beam and shake the thing over and over again. Also she has discovered that balls can bounce - she has a tennis ball and another ball that shell lift and drop (and try to chew on), watch them bounce 3-4 times, then do it over and over again. Also, she kneels really well, can balance a long time on her knees. And, finally, she has learned how to pull off her hat... we're doomed...


Terry thinks he sees improvement, but I'm running on empty. Even two nights away didn't touch my exhaustion. This morning when I came home she nursed until she threw up again. She won't eat anything but cheerios. We're going to take her to the pediatrician on Friday and see if we can get some help there. I'm going to see my therapist this afternoon to talk about how to cope with the stress and frustration I'm feeling. My babysitters keep getting sick. Thank God for Grandma!

Monday, February 02, 2009


Going to try to get some serious work done today - I'm sitting in a coffeeshop watching the snow start to fall while Val is home with a babysitter. I had a moment of Zen today that I will write more about some other time. I also had a full (and continuous!) 8 hours of sleep last night... but I still feel every bit as tired as I did yesterday, so I'm going to sleep away from home again tonight (if it's too icy I'll see if I can crash at the neighbors' house - good friends of ours).

So last night she slept well at the beginning and the end, evidently not at all in the middle. Terry is pretty wiped out too. I'll spell him Tues/Weds night while he catches some zzzs.

Here's my new mantra:

I trust my instincts as a mother
to find the balance between comfort and discipline.

Sunday, February 01, 2009

Baby Whisperer Day 9: Terry Springs Eternal

For some reason around the house, we started saying "Terry springs eternal" instead of "hope springs eternal," I guess because he's more optimistic than I am, usually. We've also been repeating a quote from Pratchett about not giving people bread today, but bread tomorrow - that will keep them going a lot longer. Anyway.

So I had a long phone confab today with my attatchment Phd friend, and got a picture of how we might do a sort-of "let her cry" approach to wean her of the night waking habit. But for tonight we decided to stick with our Baby Whisperer approach that we've been doing so far. The one change is that I'm going to sleep at my in-laws' house so that I can get a full night's sleep. So yes, no more night nursing. Last night we made it until 5 a.m. then I gave in. She ate and ate and ate and then threw up on me. And then went right to sleep for two more hours.

I am really looking forward to sleeping. Terry is going to hold down the fort here armed only with a bottle of water and the "shush-pat." But then the following night, it's my turn. Medically, she's old enough to go all night without needing to feed.

Right now she's asleep, after the easiest bedtime yet!!! It took only 3 minutes, and I only had to pick her up twice, before she started burrowing into her favorite corner of the crib and then went to sleep. WOW. This is definitely progress.