Tonight I gave in. Birdie has been grabbing at spoons and forks and stray pieces of bread for the last couple weeks and after consulting at length with our family doctor/Naturopath and doing a bit of reading I realized it really and truly was time to start her on food. I've been a bit conflicted about a LOT of the things I was told (and NOT TOLD, ahem, ahem...) by our former pediatricians (I tried a few, you know) regarding quite a few things and beginning solids is one of them. To make a very long story short, and because I don't really want to go into too many particulars as every family/baby is different, I have decided that she really might be ready already and to not begin with grains this time. Even though rice cereal is supposedly the easiest to digest of all grains, there seems to be little reason to begin babies on this (as opposed to gentle fruits or vegetables) except for the way that it can magically create better and longer sleep by filling their tummy nice and solid. And there are new studies afloat about when, exactly, certain enzymes necessary for digestion of grains become present and questions about babies' early diets and tendencies for juvenile-onset diabetes, etc.
On the advice of a doctor I trust we are beginning with iron rich foods. First up? Carrots. She loved them.
Something very interesting our current (and beloved) doctor told me about introducing food: if baby pushes at the spoon with his/her tongue, then... HE'S NOT READY. His gag reflexes are not developed fully enough to handle food even if all other signs of being ready seem present. No one told me that before. And it seems rather like good info to have, you know?
Baby Birdie Adeleine... You turned 4 months old this week, and every single day you've become cuter, funnier, and more intent on besting your older sister's milestones.
You already love to be held in a standing position, where you can plant your little feet firmly down, lock your knees, and wave your hands wildly about. In fact, whenever you grasp someone's hands, the first thing you do is try to pull yourself up to stand.
You reach for everything that comes anywhere near you, and when you are able to grasp something you do so very intently and very particularly. You roll over and over--back to front, mostly--and when you're on your tiny tummy you can push yourself up high on your little, lady arms and rotate your body slowly around in a circle. When sister is anywhere NEAR you, your little legs tuck up under you and you grunt like you're determined to crawl SOON. I seem to remember telling your sister to please slow down--and I'd tell you the same thing, but it looks like I'm just not going to have a relaxed, laid-back, happy-to-be-a-baby sort of baby. Not unless your Daddoo and I decide to try this baby thing again in a few years, and even then my money would be on "Mover" and "Musical" and "Confident". That seems to be our baby brand.
You are such a kissy, cuddly girl, always coming at me with your mouth open to give me big, slobbery kisses on the mouth and cheeks, and you love to wind your little arms around my neck and get your tiny fists tangled in my hair while you rub your rosy little cheeks against mine. I can always get a smile out of you by rubbing my nose behind your ear and making silly noises about your chin.
At your 4-month appointment we found out that you are just shy of 13 pounds, well over 24 inches long, and that you're hitting all the 6-month developmental goals, minus sitting up by yourself (and don't get any silly ideas, baby).
You can now wriggle out of the tightest swaddle and maneuver out of your sleep positioner so nighttime has been interesting of late. Your Daddoo has found you wide awake in strange positions at the opposite end/side of your crib several nights in a row. Until now, swaddling you securely has been the only way you'll sleep but done right you''ll sleep almost all night. So even though I should be thrilled for you, I'm mostly just sad for me and all the sleep I'm starting to lose again. It's been like a return to the newborn days around here the last couple weeks. Also due to your teething pain, which has necessitated a return to our bed for the entire night instead of just from the early morning hours on. As cozy as it is to snuggle with you for a few hours, I just don't sleep very well when I can't stretch out in normal fashion for any part of the night Sorry if that sounds selfish, but it's the truth.
Your smile, when you first see my face in the morning, just might be the best thing ever--the amazement in your eyes that it's really and truly me, the shrill cries of delight, your long but tiny fingers reaching out to grab my face and hair...
I love you, Birdie. You make me happy every single day.
Posted by Annagrace at 10:05 PM
"I would maintain that thanks are the highest form of thought, and that gratitude is happiness doubled by wonder." (G.K. Chesterton)
A gorgeous roast turkey; sweet potatoes with orange; roasted carrots and parsnips with sage; sourdough dressing with sausage, figs, thyme, and garlic; mashed red potatoes with chives; gravy with cognac and cream; cranberry salad. Oh--and we began with the yearly cheese ball, stuffed olives, two sorts of good salami, squash soup, and soft and chewy rolls with fresh sage. To finish? We are traditionalists: apple and pumpkin pies, with what I'm pretty sure were the best pie crusts I've ever had (and I am really picky about crust), made by my brother. (Ladies? He plays music and bakes pies...hmmmm?)
We worked on a big puzzle. We drank SO much French press coffee. We were a smaller group this year, but it was relaxing and calm. We laughed and played with the babies. We thought about the year that's coming to a close and everything good and bad and hard and stressful and happy and unexpected that happened. And felt thankful.
And I felt very happy and content (and tired).
Hope you all had a lovely, peaceful day with people you love and who love you in return.
Posted by Annagrace at 11:56 PM
The last couple weeks of Pea suddenly not sleeping well at night, coming into our bed between 2 and 3am, and then waking a good hour earlier than her normal 8 o'clock, have been rough. Add in a baby who is beginning to teethe and has had to be back in our bed in order for us to not be up every hour and who tends to wake quite a bit earlier when sister is also in the bed and rolling around and kissing and hugging her against all passionately-whispered parental directions. That and a busy (and compacted) week of work for Jeffrey. It all equals "aaaarrrrgggghhh." I am TIRED. Behind on blogging. Staring at the half-painted walls of my bedroom, a project I began several weeks ago, wondering when, exactly, I am ever going to have the time or energy before the year's end. And whenever I'm this tired other things start piling on: I feel huge and still enormously post-partum, I'm way behind on getting more regular massages, I'm behind on the reading I want to be doing personally, my patience with Pea is thin and feeling more so every day, I'm feeling even fatter, I still haven't organized our closet properly, our garage needs a LOT of help if it's ever going to have that playroom, I should be doing more crafts with Pea, I keep forgetting to fit in 20 minutes of daily exercise...
Posted by Annagrace at 11:20 PM
The weekend was nice, you know. The house was thoroughly cleaned. Most of the Thanksgiving shopping is done and household items are restocked. The girls' Christmas order arrived--we're only buying for the children this year, including family, and it's such a relief and so much more to the point. We got to hang out with some new (and quite lovely) friends for Pea's dear friend Adam's birthday party (she calls him "Annam!") and we had the best time. Jeffrey's car is now the proud owner of new tires and brakes. I have freshly cut and colored hair. And I have half-emptied the kitchen pantry (again) in the hopes of (finally) figuring out the best way to organize this large, square space. I'm half-way done and of course I have a seriously full day tomorrow, complete with company for dinner, so I will have to rush around to figure the rest out pretty quickly. Oh, and Jeffrey installed a new shelf in the kitchen so I could move some of my small vintage-y things off the counters. Pictures, eventually.
It was good. It was full. Birdie turned 4 months today. I'm working on a post for her that will catch you all (and one day, her) up to speed... She's still just the sweetest thing I've ever seen or met. It's been a while since I've written Pea a little letter, too, so I'm hoping to get to that soon, too.
Tomorrow begins bright and early and if I get a solid night of sleep I will be pleasantly surprised. But mostly surprised. Off I go...
Posted by Annagrace at 11:51 PM
I wasn't tagged but here I go.
1. Political show - Daily Show but online.
2. Picnic food - Fruit, cheese, bread, and chocolate.
3. Mixed drink - Sidecar. Absolutely. Unless I'm in the mood for a mojito.
4. U.S. President - Well, Andrew Jackson always did seem rather intense.
5. Kind of student to teach - Just my children, for now. At some point I want to teach natural birthing classes, though, and work in birth education and advocacy.
6. Hobby you do or wish you still did - Knitting. Really want to relearn.
7. Sports commentator - Nope.
8. Sport to watch on TV - Olympics and University of Oregon football. That's it. And not very often.
9. Animal to have as pet - I can be easily persuaded dog or cat. I like Crummy Cupcake's rules about all things caged, though.
10. Halloween costume you have worn - White-trash bride. Dress with a skirt up to THERE, fake tattoos of cats and barbed wire, electric blue press-on nails, black hair-metal wig, foil-covered plate of sliced up Twinkies (wedding cake)... Scary and amazing.
11. Kind of dessert - Gelato. Or really good bread pudding. Or panna cotta. Or my brother's apple pie. Just so you know, I put chocolate in a class all its own.
12. Comic strip - Calvin and Hobbes forever.
13. Style or make of footwear - Flip-flops. Black. And really high heels, if only my post-baby feet agreed...
14. Ice cream flavor - Toasted coconut sesame brittle. Pretty much the best thing ever. But I'd settle for some pistachio gelato or nectarine sorbetto.
15 College or university president - Why?
16. Internet news source - NPR. And Andrew Sullivan.
17. Vacation spot- The sea. Anyplace near or on it.
18. Wine - Red or white, but mostly red.
19. Way to waste time instead of working - Facebook, of course. And reading blogs.
20. Student excuse for late work - Nothing ever worked. I was home schooled and my mother always knew where we were and what we were up to.
21. Reality show - Not usually a fan. The Amazing Race is alright, when I have time.
22. Jewelry on a man - If it's not a wedding band or a nice watch or every now and then a cool bracelet, you probably shouldn't. There are always exceptions but rarely.
23. Pizza topping - I'm open. My favorite late-summer creation is freshly made dough topped with sauteed zucchini and garlic, thinly-sliced ham or prosciutto, and mozzarella. I also love Kalamata olives with fresh or dried tomatoes, fresh basil, feta, and artichokes.
24. Children's movie - Babe.
25. Celebrity you wish would retire - Too many to list here. But let's start with Tom Cruise.
I'm not tagging anyone. It's the weekend.
Posted by Annagrace at 11:12 PM
So I know it looks like I totally skunked out on the whole NaBloPoMo thing, but hear me out. I have blogged a straight 19 days, which is probably more than I blogged the last 3 months (you can check me on this, I'm too tired), and I'M NOT DONE YET. I'm not doing this for the prizes, anyway--I'm doing this so I'll write more in real life and compose fewer amazing posts (complete with pictures, natch) in my head. As my friend's middle school teacher used to say, "It's not over til the fat lady sings. And I'm not fat!" I'm still in this, yo. Maybe not technically speaking, but I'm keeping the badge on my blog to remind me to keep at it. And when the month is over I'm going to put up another badge, of my own making, that says something along the lines of, "I really need to do this more often, starting NOW."
Thank you to everyone who's been stopping by. A lot of you aren't leaving comments (ahem, Utah and Montana readers...) but I trust that you're reading me because you actually care--and not so you can steal pictures of my girls and pass them off as your own.
More comes tomorrow. Try not to fall off the edge of those seats.
Posted by Annagrace at 8:50 PM
The Marriage Bed
The marriage-bed is the center of happiness,
a point from which all things ripple outward,
a nest from which all things learn to fly.
It is the sign of return, part of the great rhythm
of the seasons and of the years.
It is the dream of return, the strength and faith
that sing of home.
It is the wren’s nest woven of twigs and string,
the swallow’s nest of saliva and mud.
It is what we return to, as migratory birds
passing over marshes and fields
dream of the end of the journey.
It is what frightens night-devils away,
even in winter.
It is the tree that grows through the house,
the hollow of the tree that has never known death.
It is the crystal of all feeling, the flower of all
understanding, the small containing the large.
It is the nautilus growing its many chambers of love.
It is the sudden outburst of one who has long been silent.
It is the idea that a calla lily can be shaped
like a wineglass on a long green stem.
It is the heart-stone.
It is the name of all names
that thinks it is a star and a rose.
It is a conch-shell rough on the outside,
pearly in its intimacy.
It is a snail rolling over and over
building a staircase.
It is an animal, an almond, a repose.
It is an oyster opening in the full of the moon.
It is a mouth telling a secret.
It is a kiln where clay battles fire.
It is the simple happiness of sleeping on a boat.
These are the walls we’ve pressed back into a circle
in the shape of our merged bodies
And it will take a long time for the waves
spreading from the center of our intimacy
to reach the ends of the world.
--By Michael Simms, from The Happiness of Animals
Posted by Annagrace at 11:58 PM
Birdie looks like she had her coffee, too.
Pea, mid-jump. She's pretty happy to be here.
The seals were so close today and for once the viewing area wasn't crowded.
Disregard my fat-looking pointy-fingered arm. I just really like Birdie's little face here, looking over at her Daddoo.
And then the polar bears swam up close, too, over and over and over. It was the best day I ever remember having at the zoo, animal-wise.
Sandwich break. Pea is going to hate us for this one day, but we LOVE taking pictures of her eating. She just really gets into it. Especially anything that includes ham or bacon.
I can't even handle the way this kid walks. Those arms are out of control.
She's looking like such a big, grown-up girl to me these days.
Laughing because she told Jeffrey that a certain picture of a Red Ape looked like Uncle. I'm pretty sure Jeffrey fed her her lines but it was still pretty hilarious.
On the train, her favorite part. She is completely fascinated by trains and loves "mokestacks", train whistles, and anything engine or caboose.
Sweetness. I love that you can see how smiley her eyes are--you really don't need to see her mouth to find the smile with this one.
Covered in Pirate Booty and so so SO happy to be on the "tain"!
Elephant Ear. Tell me--what,exactly, is there NOT to love about fried dough and cinnamon and sugar? And this one was particularly good.
Penelope and Josiah. She's not quite sure what to do with him as he's not a fragile baby and yet he's not big enough to chase her around. So she stares at him a lot and basically tries to provoke him.
The sweet baby elephant that was born just a few weeks after Adeleine. My dear friend Jess and I were actually watching Brandi Carlile sing at the zoo as the Mama elephant was in labor...such a good memory.
Posted by Annagrace at 11:01 PM
You would never guess,
looking at these photos,
that both subjects have massive head colds and one of them was mighty cranky
for most of the day.
But it's all true and more. Much coughing and whining and gallons of snot and acres of tissue and more whining and gnashing of teeth and forced rest and forced fluids and finally, at almost bedtime, we decided to become human again.
I am exhausted. I have a heavy, sleeping babe in my arms that's about to be tucked securely into bed and then it's lights out for me.
Posted by Annagrace at 10:30 PM
I will show you our zoo pics tomorrow. Promise. Too tired to deal with all the loading and ordering and and cutting and pasting.
Instead--a list of words, the ones I love (not counting my daughters' names) and the ones I loathe.
And when people (who shall remain nameless) pronounce familiar "framiliar" and mischievous "mischeevious". Now I sound like a snob. But it's true.
Posted by Annagrace at 11:44 PM
Two Penelope stories I love to tell:
1) Sometime in September, I remember that Birdie was still awfully tiny, we were at our local Lowe's looking at paving stones and seed for our yard/front garden. Pea was in the cart, Birdie was in her sling, and we were waiting while Jeffrey took a look at some grass seed options. I was talking with Pea to keep her happy and help her patience and right then in the middle of whatever it was we were chattering about a man walked over to the shelf across the aisle from us. He was quite tall, had long, black braids and was black. Pea turned her head to see who had walked by, and suddenly said very loudly, "Mama! Dat man look like Uncle!" He turned his head, a smile on his face, and then smiled even wider when he saw who had said it-- and her red-haired Mama.
I was so proud my heart just about jumped outside my body. We might live in the notoriously white suburbs and we may not currently have a ton of friends who look different from us, but my daughter saw him as just another man who was tall and had a friendly face and brown eyes. Just like her uncle.
2) Today in the car as we drove to the library she wanted to talk about traffic lights. These days she just says, "Mama--talk about...(whatever it is she wants to hear about that minute--hospitals, birds, fire, grocery stores, cameras.) I asked her if she remembered what the red light meant and she said, "Stop!" I asked her if she remembered what the green light meant and she said, "Go!" Then I asked her if she had any idea what the yellow light meant and she thought and she thought and then she ventured a guess: "Go Ducks?!"
That's called: How to Make Daddoo's Night.
Posted by Annagrace at 9:19 PM
Today was very satisfying, I must say. I managed to wake up before Penelope, bundle a very cozy and just-awakened and crowing-like-a-little-chicken Baby Birdie into her swing, and take a deliciously relaxed shower. I had a coffee on and emails read and breakfast sitting on the counter by the time I heard Pea whimpering at the top of the stairs. Then we ran around for a bit, getting girlies dressed and fed and changed and faces washed, before we were off to see good friends. The next few hours were spent in much talking and laughing and children and coffee and lunch and more talking. And then I bundled Pea and Birdie back into the car on this very wet and blustery day and get us home just in time for naps and oh, sweet Jesus, they napped so well today! At the same time! I even got to sleep for about 40 minutes and it was so nice to have nothing to do but just lie down next to a warm little baby body while the weather thrashed and poured outside the windows.
I'm learning, hopefully not too late, that there is usually nothing that really needs doing more than taking a few quiet moments every day with her. She just gets sweeter and funnier and more kissable as each day goes by.
Just got off the phone with my friend Karli, who is out of the hospital, thank goodness, and doing much, much better. I've been really worried about her so it was good to hear that things are turning around.
More good things planned for tomorrow. New friends over for lunch and play times. This weather, people--this weather is complete shit. Spitting rain, standing water on all the roads and slippery leaves under everything, and blustery wind that rattles the windows and shakes the doors. The beautiful, clear-skied fall is officially over for another year.
Posted by Annagrace at 10:44 PM
Things that fill me with gratitude this evening...
1) An email from a long-lost friend. She sounds happy and loved and I am so relieved and so glad and so glad to know that she hasn't forgotten me. She was the only friend I had for several ever so long and lonely years, and if that sounds melodramatic then come, sit a spell. I'll tell you a few stories that may end in grace but start out rather chilling.
2) Friends made along the blogging way. Some of you I now know in real life and some I don't, but your open hearts and kind words always come at the perfect moment.
3) A baby sleeping deeply beside me. She has crazy, wispy hair and a big bald patch on one side of her head and she is absolutely stunning to me.
4) A partner and husband who is striving to be faithful in small things; who doesn't give up easily and who is fiercely protective.
5) The sudden realization yesterday, as I was thinking ahead to Advent, that the mystery of the Incarnation is not just a story of a baby born a long time ago in a barn, as extraordinary as even that is. It's the story of a god who always shows up in the middle of our pain; who can exist inside of it along with us, and who is willing to physically experience it with us. I am lost without this.
6) The knowledge that as early and fast as morning will come, there will be a steaming press pot of fragrant coffee to ease me into the day and the only person making the schedule is me. This just might be why I could never ever work for someone else again. (I mean happily, of course.)
7) Night trains. Always the night trains. I can't explain to you so I won't. But the sound of the far-away whistle is listened for every night and it wraps around my dreams and somehow ties me to both childhood dreams and the beautiful present and...well, I don't know. It's like a nightly reminder of how safe and happy and longed-for this life is.
Posted by Annagrace at 10:57 PM
With gratitude, as I'm far too tired too write anything intelligible tonight.
OF POPULAR SONGS
By Mark Haynes
- - - -
The Beatles, "I Want to Hold Your Hand"
I want to do it with you.
- - - -
Marvin Gaye, "Let's Get It On"
I want to do it with you.
- - - -
Led Zeppelin, "Whole Lotta Love"
I want to do it with you.
- - - -
James Blunt, "You're Beautiful"
I want to do it with you.
- - - -
Sir Mix-a-Lot, "Baby Got Back"
I want to do it.
- - - -
Elvis Presley, "Hound Dog"
You're doing it with everyone.
- - - -
R. Kelly, "I Believe I Can Fly"
I believe I want to do it with you.
- - - -
Patsy Cline, "Crazy"
I want to do it with you so much I'm going fucking nuts.
- - - -
Frank Sinatra, "Strangers in the Night"
I'm drunk and I want to do it with you.
- - - -
The White Stripes, "My Doorbell"
Using metaphor, I want to do it with you.
- - - -
Little Richard, "Good Golly Miss Molly"
I'm doing it with Miss Molly, and she's totally into it.
- - - -
Duran Duran, "Rio"
I'd love to do that chick dancing on the sand.
- - - -
The Beatles, "Why Don't We Do It in the Road?"
I'd like to do it with you right now.
- - - -
Carly Simon, "You're So Vain"
We used to do it, but then you did it with someone else, and now I'm not going to do it with you, although I wish we were still doing it.
- - - -
Pulp, "Common People"
I once met a stuck-up European who wanted to do it with me.
- - - -
I'm filled with self-loathing, and, though outwardly I hate everything you represent, I want to do it with you.
- - - -
Kate Bush, "Wuthering Heights"
I'm an 18th-century fictional character and I want to do it with another 18th-century fictional character.
- - - -
Bob Dylan, "Blowin' in the Wind"
The Man is currently doing it to you.
- - - -
Elvis Presley, "Jailhouse Rock"
Incarcerated men will on occasion do it with each other.
- - - -
Meat Loaf, "I Would Do Anything for Love (But I Won't Do That)"
Hey! You won't believe what this one chick said while I was doing it with her!
- - - -
Kings of Leon, "Sex on Fire"
I did it with you, and now it hurts when I pee.
- - - -
Céline Dion, "My Heart Will Go On"
Even your death has not stopped me wanting to do it with you.
- - - -
AC/DC, "You Shook Me All Night Long"
We did it yesterday.
- - - -
Fifty Years of Popular Songs Condensed Into Single Sentences By Marc Haynes
This is the sort of thing Jeffrey and I laugh til we're hoarse over. If you want to imagine what it's like at our house after the babies are asleep, well... Now you know.
I'll write something for real tomorrow. All going well.
Posted by Annagrace at 11:28 PM