Saturday, March 29, 2008

My Baby Can WALK!!!

She took NINE steps in a row for her debut. Walked straight across the playroom to her image in the mirror; she would have kept going but had to stop and sit before running into it. She repeated the feat downstairs as soon as Dashing Daddy got home, and again at night.

She also now has TWO teeth.

She signed nurse to ask, she signed hat when she saw lone hats sitting in a store display.... wowzee.

She did all that on Friday. On Saturday we discovered she also signs diaper.

She had a great time meeting her Nonna's side of the family for the first time!

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

It's time for another installment...

...of "look what my baby can do!"

I know I've had a lot of this lately, but dangit I want to record this for posterity. Surely some grad student in 400 years will be grateful I noted exactly when the great TF was able to utter "dog." And the baby book hasn't been touched in months... ueerggh....

So every day brings new sounds and words and signs. Some of it is what TF can understand, like when I said "baaa" about the lambs on her dress on Easter, and then way later that morning we were reading the new Easter book her Nonna sent and there's Jesus the Good Shepard holding a sheep and I say baaa, and TF looks down and points to the sheep on her dress! So cute. There are a million new words she's clearly aware of and able to understand like that. "Where's Ice Bat? Where's your sock go? Where's your ear? Where's the bird?" And she finds the toy or item, points to the body part, and points to the illustration in the book. She likes the lil birds in the Italian language Elmer book right now.

She signed dog all by herself today, unprompted, when some dogs came to play at the park. She's also signing light NONSTOP. Granted, there are sources of light all over, and she often sees a light that's off and signs until I turn it on.

She's also trying to say words... she's doing mama a lot more now, and of course still does dada. She's stopped with "hiiii" so much now that she waves more. She definitely has been saying dog, and it seems she's trying to say both ball and ballooon-- and maybe bird, too. But they all sound like "ba!" of course. She's pretty specific and insistent though.

Okay, this post was interrupted and now concludes the next morning... someone needed mommy and only mommy to read her to sleepiness and then nurse.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Her Mother's Daughter

Sophie signed book!

I've been doing the sign for book for months. It was one of the few I could remember. And today she finally did it back! We were doing one of our regular marathon reading sessions with the stacks of books on the chair-side table (or filing cabinet, rather), and I would ask her if she wanted "more" "books" and finally she started putting her hands together in the book sign after each book, impatiently waiting for the next. She never does that gesture otherwise, so while it's a bit rudimentary, it's clear. No big deal; she already knew how to point to the stack of books and clearly demand the next, but her mama the English teacher and bookworm is proud today.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

For Drama Freaks Everywhere...

Yes, you can get a napkin.

I SO wish they'd come sing at my mall!

Just Appalling

Sorry, I had to delete the flash show b/c it kept playing (music!) and I can't figure it out right now. Click on the link below to see it....

This is where we put our children, and then we say it's not worth the money it takes to care for them, to be sure they are safe, to help them thrive? And meanwhile, we have something like one out of one-hundred people incarcerated in this country. I guess you don't have to pretend to take care of them once they are criminals, which makes it easier. If we invest now in our children, we can close jails within a generation.

I just don't get it. And my heart is going out to my fellow educators who give themselves so completely and get treated like trash. I just don't get it.

Here's a good page for learning more and getting in touch with your representatives. They work for us. Even Arnold. Let's tell them what we want.

Monday, March 10, 2008

If You Have Netflix... need to watch this now:

The Business of Being Born

Watch instantly!

Nursing now; more later!

First Tooth!

Loving looks

Sophie finally cut a tooth through (we could finally feel it Sunday after a couple miserable nights). It was the bottom middle on her right. I bet the other bottom middle tooth is on its way soon, and the left side top one continues to produce a big white dot on the gums, so it must be putting pressure on the gum. I guess I'm in for a lot of those miserable nights (Sophie tossing and wailing sometimes every few minutes with maybe some deep breaks in there I'd guess). It's so sad to hear her wake up crying! And it's interminable each night.

She also stood by herself (mama let go of her hands) for several seconds this weekend. She was NOT happy about it (she is very reluctant to cruise or have us let go of her hands, but if she's interested in something, she'll forget and let us walk her about with just one hand touching). But Dashing Daddy and I both got to squeal with delight, and afterwards she got a lot of cozy hugs. Proof that her muscles are capable! She just knows we're there for her :) Hmm, now where could she possible get that whole not-a-dare-devil quality?

She is very big on clapping her hands and rocking to music, giving high-fives, and making the "here have this microscopic something wonderful between my fingers" pincer gesture. It started with her handing over whatever tiny things she found on the floor to us ("Sophie, what do you have? Don't eat it! Can I have it?") and now she likes to try to feed me my hair, and endless bits of nothing. I think she's starting to associate it with eating, which is good; it IS the sign for cereal, and it IS how she picks up her food. Maybe she learned it from the baby signs book! Not likely as we just bought the first cereal we might try with her... it's probably processed garbage but it's something NOT wet she can snack on that'll vacuum up without leaving a colorful stain behind, and I am starting to get a mama impulse to be sure she's getting more vitamins (and yes she must get a lot from her food) by the time she's at a year. She HAS started eating more and more. I try to let her go at a bunch of food (garbanzo beans and blueberries today!) for a looooong time. I never worried with breastmilk if she was getting enough (after the first week or so when she surprised me by being such a speed-nurser); nursing was easy! Now we're getting down and dirty and industrious. But at least she's got a tooth to chew now!

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Great Banana Bread!

I just made this last night for the first time (I finally break down and buy bananas, and there are three totally brown ones left on the counter?!), for breakfast-for-dinner, and it was great! I've made a standard recipe before, and I had no idea what to expect from this one, but it was so tasty. I just googled banana bread and honey, because I was looking for something a bit healthier if I had to make banana bread, and this was the first thing to come up! Whole wheat pastry flour, and no eggs, no milk, no white suger, just honey. I used the local wildflower honey I found at Jimbo's, and added finely chopped walnuts, no carob chips. It made a LOT of batter so I had to bake it about 50 minutes instead. It tastes as good as anything, if I may say so myself!

Banana bread

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Brain Storm

I think Sophie's little head is going to explode, the way she's suddenly clued into language. Seriously, last month it was suddenly FOOD and now it's WORDS!

Someone mentioned doing "So big!" with their baby and I thought, "Oh yeah, that's a fun baby thing," and tried it-- and Sophie picked it up immediately. Now she sometimes does it on her own to get me to smile and say it. And she can already say "Hiiiii" and "Da-Da," and she can do an increasing number of signs. That's what's freaking me out a bit here: this morning I was reminding her of the sign for "nurse" and I don't know if it was the word or the sign, but she started pulling at my shirt to get to the nursies, and had a couple sips. Then later we were watching the video below and totally on her own she put up her hand and did the nurse sign! Wow!

She is also big into putting things on her head right now, and so now if you say "head" she touches her head. But if I say "nose" she touched MY nose, because we have played a game since she was a newborn where I say "finger finger finger finger NOSE" wiggling my finger at her until I tap her nose. So she likes to play with me too, now (tho she's been doing that for quite a while).

I can hardly believe she's picking up signs and doing them on her own so quickly. I had some idea in my head that it would be months before she would communicate in this way to us. But her mother did used to carry a Roget's thesaurus she got for Christmas to school with her, so what did I expect?

She is also asking all day long, over and over, to sit on my lap in the comfy chair and read books, turning the pages, pointing at pictures, listening to me read. She has her favorite pages at which she'll laugh, like the cactus in Hop on Pop and the lion in La Giornata di Elmer. She loves to find the moon in The Going to Bed Book and Goodnight Moon; I think that might be a new word, soon, because I was saying it, talking about the painting in the playroom, and she started pointing and wanting me to read Goodnight Moon to her. I guess I should teach her the sign for moon to see. She's always loved looking up at "her moon" at night, and I did call her my little moon-face the first week after her birth.

She was so tiny then; I can't believe she's growing into such a little linguist already!

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Completely Normal

Not that we care too much about being "normal" around these parts, but isn't this video, a TV spot from Puerto Rico, a beautiful reminder of the need to normalize breastfeeding?

Here are a couple articles I've enjoyed recently on this topic:
Becoming Breastfeeding Friendly
Taking Down the Almighty Bottle
Why is it so important to welcome and support breastfeeding in our culture anyway? It IS important. Here's some great reminders of the myriad ways it is vital (some definitely surprised me as I started learning about all this a couple years ago! WHY isn't it common knowledge that choosing not to breastfeed, for instance, raises various cancer risks for mom and baby by more than a THIRD?!)

Monday, March 3, 2008

No, Thank You!


I've just received some rather disturbing news. According to some very glossy, colorful, and scientific-looking packaging and brochures, my child is suffering from malnutrition. Wow, how do these people sending me things in the mail KNOW this about my baby? Well, obviously, every "toddler" (I didn't even realize she WAS one! Thank goodness for these founts of information!) is starving, scraping along on empty milk and toddler foods. GASP! My child is not getting the BEST??? Oh my, please tell me what to do to amend this situation! Oh, look, $19 worth of coupons to help me buy the product that will fix this! WHEW!

Enfamil would like me to know that "The fact is, milk lacks some key nutrients toddlers need." This is boldly printed on the side of a fun polka-dot and multi-colored box that came in the mail last week. I was so excited because I thought it might be my husband's birthday present arriving... alas, no. Instead it was a box less than a cubic foot that weighed about the same as me. The thing nearly demolished my coffee table. I swear it has nearly the gravitational pull of Jupiter. (All those fossil fuels that went into shipping it! Not to mention the resources spent on creating the liquid formula in the two huge cans inside, the toxins involved in the pretty packaging and shiny propaganda....)

Now, here's the thing that gets me. The milk my daughter drinks several times a day (and night) is not lacking ANYTHING she needs right now. It's enough on its own to sustain her and help her thrive for the first entire year of her life. And it's exactly what she needs to help complete her diet when she does move to a greater percentage of solid foods (not toddler foods! Not processed ground up foods with added sugar, or empty cereal products, or other "kid" foods! But the same foods we eat, fresh or cooked in a healthy manner right here at home). IT'S MY MILK. It's the milk that my daughter, as a human mammal, was designed to drink. I was designed to create this milk that was designed just for my daughter. I provide her with everything she needs (as well as proper grammar! "The fact is, milk..."? What is that comma doing in the middle of that predicate? Yes, now I REALLY trust you people).

Of course the friendly little chart on the inner brochure explains that they are talking about COW'S milk (there's even a cute little picture of a cow to illustrate, in case you were confused). But this is the ONLY kind of milk mentioned in any of the package. Next to the picture of the cow is a picture of a sippy cup to illustrate the "Next Step Lipil" column with data on all the wonderful nutrients it provides, which are lacking in cow's milk. But there's a third column missing-- where is the human milk? The cans themselves subtitle the product as "A Nutritious Alternative to Milk." Without specifying, they seem to be happy to allow this to be an alternative to human milk as well as cow's milk. NOWHERE in this package is breast milk mentioned. What happened to "breast is best"? I guess they don't even have to make that token acknowledgment of the inferiority of formula now that we're talkin' toddler formula... but the package says this formula is for "9-24 months." and yet even the AAP recommends breastmilk for the first YEAR. But I suppose no one is forcing the formula companies to stick "breast is best" on these toddler formulas, so now not only are they, in the USA, free of the WHO code on ethical marketing of formula, but even this weak last protector of a baby's birthright. (What's the WHO code? It's the code that says there should be NO marketing of formula to parents, no pictures of happy babies on the packaging, etc, etc... That's right, in most of the world, formula is not allowed to push itself on TV, with mailings, in hospitals for Pete's sake. It's necessary at times, but breastfeeding is too important to give over to the corporation and immediate bottom line.) And of course the coupons only come at first, when they're trying to hook you (and they send more, big, coupons to women who say they want to breastfeed, too!); then you need to pay the big bucks for months and months yourself. Hmm, I don't really like a company that shares its sales techniques with crack dealers ("The first one's free!").

I love how the packaging and brochure are covered with statements beginning with "The fact is..." and "Fact:...", and ending with vague weasel words, glittering generalities, and vagaries. In that spirit of presenting the "facts," I'm going to add in that last missing column. Let's see, what does breastmilk contain for my growing toddler?

For 12-24 months, 448 milliliters of mama's milk contains the following percentages of the minimum daily requirements:
Energy: 29%
Protein: 43%
Calcium: 36%
Vitamin A: 75%
Folate: 76%
Vitamin B12: 94%
Vitamin C: 60%

(K. G. Dewey, "Nutrition, Growth, and Complementary Feeding of the Breastfed Infant," Pediatric Clinics of North America 48, no. 1 (February 2001): 87?104.)

Here's a bunch of other great facts, from Kellymom.

WHAT? You mean breastmilk isn't empty of nutrition after 6 months, or a year? I seem to hear a lot of women say their pediatricians told them this. Wow. It's scary how ill-informed a doctor can be!

And let's not forget that toddlers that are breastfed get to experience good health the way nature intended. Breastmilk is full of immunological elements that protect the nursling for years, from birth until self-weaning. Breastfed toddlers are sick less often, less severely, and get better faster. Or to put it more accurately, children who are formula fed or prematuraly weaned get sick more often, more severely, and stay sicker longer.

Now, what exactly goes into making up this magical formula dropped on my doorstep, anyway? It boasts it contains DHA and ARA! Oooooh, Ahhhhh. I'll leave this one to Hathor to handle: please click here to see just a little bit about what's in formuala these days. Now, I know I sometimes have a brownie or some processed junk I'm offered, but mostly my milk is made of local organic food, or at least healthy, nutritious whole foods. Even the toxins we swim in as modern women that get into our breastmilk don't outweigh the benefits of breastmilk, as studies have shown.

Well, my sweet baby who has been suckling for a while is now up and delightedly hollering at me to play, so I'm out. We'll drop the formula off at the women's shelter later today or this week, and laugh as we dump the propaganda in the trash, where it belongs. The very idea, that I needed something delivered to me, to save me and my baby! I've got everything I need for her right here.