Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Teething? Growth Spurt? Mental Takeover by Aliens?

It's been a crazy couple of days around here! I think Pearl is teething but I am not sure, having never had a baby before let alone a teething one. I know it is early (though not impossibly so) but she is displaying many of the classic symptoms... tons of drool, marathon chomping-on-mama's-hand sessions, irritability, sleep weirdness. When I peer into her mouth I can see two little ghost-teeth beneath the surface, but having never had cause to peer into her mouth before I don't know if those were there all along or not. At any rate from what I've been reading it can take weeks for them to appear so unless they pop out tomorrow I may not ever be sure if this is teething or not.

Anyways, on top of that I think Miss Pearl is going through another growth spurt! Yesterday she slept from about 4:45pm until bedtime and about 9:30pm, broken by several brief wakings to eat and go potty, and then slept through the night! That evening sleeping was very unusual. And today has been a very sleepy and eaty day too, interspersed with moments of playfulness followed shortly by tired crankiness.

During the happy awake times she has just been a rolling fool! She's getting really good at it and hardly ever stays on her back anymore - she goes straight to her side when I lay her down. Have you ever diapered a sideways baby? It's hard. She's been going barebottomed more and more as of late. Sometimes she likes to hang out on her side for a while and chomp on her hands, but more often today she's been rolling right on over to her front. And once, after a pause to listen to mama's congratulations on her rolling success, she rolled back over to her back! I was so proud of my sweet little rollypolly baby.

Here is a photo of her taken this morning right before a descent into crankiness began:

New Orleans

The past few nights I have been dreaming about the hurricane and its aftermath. My heart goes out to the people affected by Katrina. We live far enough north that all she brought us were a few days of cool, gusty winds...

Monday, August 29, 2005

A Passing

On Saturday my maternal grandmother passed away. Her health had been very bad for a few years. She was a smoker and drank nothing but diet Pepsi and had a hard life, and those things took their toll. She came to stay with my mother a few weeks ago because she was no longer able to care for herself, so she was there when my sister and I took our babies home for a visit. I'm glad that she got to meet her newest great-granddaughters, and that Pearl got to see her even though she won't remember it.

I wasn't particularly close to her. She wasn't the sort of grandma overflowing with hugs and cookies. I know she went through a lot of hurt and troubles and I guess she never let go of them. She always seemed to me an unhappy, hard sort of woman and I never really warmed to her. So I am sad for my mother, who no longer has any parents in this world - how strange and lonely that must feel - and I am relieved that my grandmother's pain is over but I do not feel a great personal sense of loss as we didn't have much of a relationship. I hope she is at peace now.

Saturday, August 27, 2005

Three Months Old!

Pearl is three months old now, a whole quarter of a year. Her third month has been a busy one. It has been so amazing, seeing her grow and further explore her world. My favorite example of this is the toys on her bouncy chair - when I first introduced her to them, she was very new and didn't even look at them. A few weeks later when I put the toybar on again she saw the mirror and for a while talking to the baby in the mirror was her favorite thing to do! Then she learned to bat at the toys and make them whirl and rattle, and this month she has learned to grasp the toys and the toybar itself.

She is becoming more active, more flexible, more in control of her limbs. One amusing feat she can do is rotate herself in a circle while laying on the floor by way of arching her back and twisting to one side, keeping her head in the exact same spot all the while. Pearl also uses that arch-and-twist move to try and escape situations she finds unpleasant, like having a diaper put on. She's getting much closer to getting her toes in her mouth, by raising her butt with her legs bent froggy style. She'll grab onto those cute little toes and before we know it they'll be in her mouth. I can't wait, I think that'll just be the most adorable thing ever.

And I am proud to announce that as of yesterday, she can roll from her back to her front! It is quite startling to look over at your baby and find that she is not in the same position you left her in. It's going to take some getting used to, for sure.

She has begun to enjoy being read to - or at least looking at the pictures in the books! I bought eight or so baby books when I was pregnant, including several Dr. Suess classics and that is what we've been reading. My husband also reads aloud from whatever he is reading when we're in bed at night, which is currently a book on the history of civilization. I think she must already know more about Egyptians than I do.

Pearl really loves interacting with her daddy. Even when she is very grumpy and is doing her best to ignore me despite my most entertaining efforts, her daddy can walk into the room and say something to her and she will just grin at him right away!

We've been practicing Elimination Communication for a month now and it has gone splendidly. We probably average about five wet diapers a day lately, and along with going tinkle in her little potty, she has gone held about the big potty at Grandmama's house, and above a diaper in the car! I am not yet brave enough to attempt it in public restrooms, and am far too tired to attempt it at night. Once we have it completely down during the daytime I intend to start doing it at night but for now I'm content to just put her in a Fuzzibunz and leave the potty business until morning, as she sleeps so well next to me anyways, waking several times to nurse but always drifting back to sleep. I love having a family bed. It is just so nice to have my husband and my daughter right there to cuddle and snooze with.

We took our first longish car trip by ourselves this month; a forty minute drive to Grandmama's. When I say "by ourselves" I really mean without Daddy driving, without Mama in the back seat to offer comfort if need be. My sister and her her daughter, who is Pearl's elder by three days, accompanied us. Amazingly, both babies slept the entire trip there and back, and a good visit was had by all.

The day after that a few friends of mine from high school came to see us. That was interesting. I don't have much in common with them other than the fact that we went to school together, so I feel odd talking to them sometimes. We only interact about once a month but they are still my friends and it is nice to have some girly chatter. They found Pearl to be pretty cute and Pearl even laughed at Ashley! That was her first laugh. Since then she's done it a bit more, not even a real laugh yet, just the beginnings of one.

They brought lasagne that Jamie had made and I didn't turn it down though it contained dairy and that led to a week of reflux. It is better now, still not completely gone, but it does appear to have been caused by the dairy and wasn't just showing up at that point in time, which is good. I was worried that it was going to be something more permanent. All in all it was a harrowing experience and I absolutely will not be eating dairy again until she is weaned. I am so glad my sweet baby is feeling better.

Friday, August 26, 2005


Of course, now that I have given in and purchased fistfuls of pacifiers, the child has gotten much better about getting her hands in her mouth.

Thursday, August 25, 2005

Things the Baby No Longer Does

Newborn behaviors that Pearl has left behind:

  • She doesn't whip her head around frantically searching for the breast when it is in fact right in front of her. She knows where the food is now!
  • She doesn't root at all now, though I wish she did. It was much easier to tell if she was hungry when she was so blatant about it.
  • She doesn't reach behind her head and play with her hair as she nurses.
  • She doesn't sleep like the dead.
  • She doesn't make a kkkkkhhhhhhhh sound after every yawn.

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

A Day of EC Success

So far today, Pearl has had four wet diapers. To put that in perspective, she usually has 3-4 pees in about an hour! And those four misses can be attributed to me and not her - she sigaled by fussing/hooing at me each time but I couldn't/didn't get to her in time. She's doing so well at this.

New Toy

Pearl tried out her new play mat this morning and was mildly amused by it.

Last night was better than the previous few. I made sure she got plenty of sleep throughout the evening and I think that helped. She didn't do the screaming thing anyway, although she was pretty fussy. But that is definitely better than screaming.

Tuesday, August 23, 2005


Today hasn't been a good day, nope. I'm really tired. We even slept until 8:30am but, yeah, tired. The reflux and gassiness and crankiness of the past few nights is taking its toll. It is heartbreaking to hear her cry so and frustrating to not be able to fix it, stir in the guilt of it being my fault and I'm just really strung out.

Pearl and I went into town to go to the library and buy some pacifiers. I also bought a few new toys for her, toys that do not make a 'pssssss' sound when they rattle as I think that was causing some confusion with the whole EC thing. I picked up the toys and pacifiers at Target, then we went to a park in town and I fed her and walked around with her a bit, talked to a grandma and her nine-month-old grand daughter. Then we headed to the library, I put her in the mei tai, and into the library we went, where she promptly started squawking. So I ducked into the ladies' room and tried one of the pacifiers. She was not at all impressed with it and acted insulted that I had stuck it in her mouth. So I got her out of the mei tai and the mei tai back into the diaper bag (no small feat when there is nowhere to set the baby down - lazy me, I leave the changing pad in the car, gotta stop doing that) and held her facing out on my hip and chomping on that hand while getting books and checking them out with the other hand.

Many times now I have wished we had bought an infant car seat rather than a convertible. If Pearl won't be content in whatever carrier I'm using it is near impossible to get anything done while out and about alone. Of course there is no guarantee she'd be any happier in a bucket at those times, but at least then I wouldn't get strange looks. Also, she'd be able to sleep continuously without being disturbed by the in-and-out of the carseat business. I now understand the importance of not interupting a baby's sleep, oh, yes I do.

I offered her the breast when we got back to the car but she would only suck long enough for the milk to start flowing, then pop off. So I offered her the pacifier and she kind of chomped/sucked on it but couldn't keep it in her mouth by herself so she started crying once I headed to the driver's seat. And she screamed while driving still (oh how she hates stopping at red lights) so I pulled into a Sonic and got in the back seat and this time she accepted the breast and nursed for a few minutes until she was asleep. Then we headed home. I took a few extra roads as to not wake her from the sleep she really, really needed and I got some peace and quiet.

And she was a crankypants when we got home too but I finally bounced her to sleep in the mei tai, which is where we are now, in the mei tai, on the birth ball, in front of the computer. Very tired. I am going to try to lay down but sometimes she wakes up when I get her out of this thing, wish me luck.

So Little

Look at how small she seems! I guess she was about five weeks old in that picture. So sweet.

The screaming continued last night, and the gas drops were no help. I tried to get her to suck on my finger but she refused so I'm not sure how much help a pacifier would be, but I'm going to get some today to try. I finally calmed her by nursing her to sleep propped up on pillows. She stopped screaming pretty quickly. Which makes me think duh, of course she calmed down when switched to the second breast yesterday, I had to elevate her head then!

Monday, August 22, 2005

The Week of the Hands

Maybe it's been more like two weeks, but it's been all about the hands lately. It's so awesome watching Pearl gain control of her hands and use them to explore. She can grab things quite on purpose now. She grabs the toys on her playbar along with batting at them, and if I put a toy on floor in front of her she'll grab it too. She also likes to grab fistfuls of my hair, and her toes when she sees them. She seems to be showing a preference for using her left hand but I can't be sure; I thought the same thing about her right hand earlier on. She likes to touch things with her hand open and fingers spread, running it along a quilt or her daddy's beard. She does the same thing to the skin she can see around my breast that isn't covered by clothing when she's hungry. I can almost see her thinking, "I know it's around here somewhere!" And when she is eating, she is pressing her fingers into the flesh right next to my nipple, and sometimes goes on from there to try to put her fingers in her mouth while she is eating, which breaks the latch and greatly disturbs the whole feeding process.

However, she still has not mastered the art of sucking on her hands/fingers/thumbs when the boob is NOT in her mouth and that is frustrating to both me and and her. She can find them okay if she is held kind of scrunched up, with her arms kept close to her body, like when she is in the sling. Otherwise she can't really keep her hands in her mouth - unless she's hungry, then the hands go into the mouth just fine! Except that she has gagged herself with her long fingers a few times.

I thought I wrote about my pacifier dilemma here but I guess I didn't as I'm not seeing it in any of the recentish entries. The dilemma is that in the past few weeks Pearl has wanted to suck, but has not wanted milk, and can't get her hands in her mouth in a satisfactory way most of the time. I've been able to soothe her in other ways successfully, but it would be so much easier to pop a pacifier in her mouth. I really didn't want her to have one, I'd much rather she sucked on her thumb or whatever. I don't want to have to deal with the pacifier dropping all the time, getting lost, getting dirty, plus the trouble of weaning her off of it. I used to work at a daycare and I saw too many 3 and 4 year olds attached to the things. Maybe their parents just stuck them in their mouth anytime they cried; I know lots of parents who do not use them so constantly and have had no trouble getting the child to stop using it. But the image of a 4 year old with a paci in her mouth still looms when I think about whether to get one for Pearl or not.

The past few days I really do wish I'd had one though, as poor little Pearl has had some reflux. It's been horrible. I ate some cheese in lasagne that some friends from my hometown brought when they came to visit me on Friday (that's a whoooooooooole nother post), bad bad Mama, and Pearl paid for it. She screamed a bit Friday evening, but it was even worse on Saturday. Her whole body tensed up and she cried these awful cries, I could just tell she's hurting. And when she wasn't crying we could hear the little gurgle-then-gasp of something rising from her stomach but not coming out.

I can remember hearing that sound in the past few days, thinking, was that a burp? But I can't recall if it started before Friday and the lasagne or not. I was reading up on infant reflux and read that dairy consumption can indeed make it worse, so I guess we'll have to wait until it's out of our systems to know whether it was caused by the dairy or just worsened by it.

At any rate, on Saturday she just screamed and screamed. I stripped her down and examined her to make sure wasn't hurting, no hair wrapped around a toe or anything like that, nada. I cried too. We tried everything, finally I laid down to nurse with her, and sent my husband to the store for some infant gas drops. I nursed her on one side while she screamed, then she calmed down and ate on the other and finally went to sleep, poor child.

Yesterday evening it started again and we gave her some of the gas drops and that helped her relax and her daddy rocked her to sleep. We could still hear the reflux but it didn't seem to bother her.

Anyways, another thing gained from my daycare experience is the knowledge that pacifiers can be good for babies with reflux. Brady, who came to the daycare at the age of 6 weeks, had reflux pretty bad and had to be fed and laid down with his head elevated, given gas drops with each feeding and then a pacifier. The pacifiers help by keeping saliva production going. The act of swallowing helps keep the milk down and the saliva neutralizes the acid.

So I'm going to keep an eye on the reflux and her sucking needs in the next few days and maybe get a pacifier for her. I was really hoping she'd learn to suck on her hands but it hasn't happened yet.

Another interesting effect of the dairy was Pearl's poop - it was very curdy looking, which is a sign of undigested protein. And she pooped twice Saturday in the night. She has only had one poopy diaper since we started elimination communication, which was Friday night (coincedence? I think not.) and only half a poopy diaper as I managed to get her on the potty once I realized she was pooping and she finished pooping there. She hasn't pooped during the night since weeks before we started EC. So that was definitely odd.

Poor baby.

Saturday, August 20, 2005

More Clouds

I had a crazy, busy week, but haven't really felt like writing about it. I guess it's like when you let the dishes pile up, and the longer you let them sit, the less you want to do them. So, yeah, more cloud photos.

Tuesday, August 16, 2005


Monday, August 15, 2005


For the past few days I've hardly left the couch. Pearl has wanted to eat and eat and sleep and sleep and sometimes both at the same time. She'll eat a lot, then potty, then be tired and cranky and want to nurse, but not sitting up, oh no, I have to lay down while she nurses and drifts off to sleep, dreaming and smiling, nipple half in her mouth, wait until she's asleep soundly before carefully crawling off the couch. She's getting plenty of rest but I feel exhausted.

Also, my background image is missing. I don't know where it is but if you see it please tell it to come home.

Thursday, August 11, 2005

I Missed It!!

I set Pearl down on a quilt for some quick tummy time - she had just peed and I needed to empty her potty - and when I turned around from grabbing her potty she was on her back and not where I'd sat her down, and looking quite surprised. She rolled over for the first time!

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

We Love the Mei Tai, But the Hotsling Gets Some Use too.... when the mei tai is in the wash.

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

First Photo of My Child Smeared with Chocolate

The chocolate face was bound to happen sooner or later.

I wear Pearl in the mei tai a great deal of the time, and often while I am wearing her I eat. I try not to shower my child with crumbs but as I like to combine eating time with either computer time or reading time in order to get the best use of my baby-doesn't-need-me time, my attention is very divided. So a chocolate chip fell from my granola bar this morning, and melted on us. Oops.

Here's Your Morning Dose of CUTE!

Saturday, August 06, 2005

Fluffiest Skein Ever!

I picked up this yarn today while shopping from wide velcro for my diapermodding, because it was on sale and sooooooo fluffy. I'm crocheting my little sister a scarf for a birthday present... she'll be 13 in November! It's Yarn Bee "Frosting". I think Yarn Bee is Hobby Lobby's own line of novelty yarns. The skein itself kind of cracks me up because it's so round and fluffy... like a bumble bee. As with all eyelash type yarns it's damn hard to work with, but this one feels so soft and plush that it's worth it.

The only crafty thing I've done lately is just diapers, diapers, diapers... crocheting soakers and sewing prefolds into fitted diapers. So it is nice to be working on a purely fun project again.

Thursday, August 04, 2005

A Very Tired Girl

Pearl has been very, very sleepy today! She is still really young and is supposed to sleep a lot I know, but today she has slept even more than usual.

We got up at an ungodly hour to make it to an eight o'clock well baby visit. It was quite strange to have to be waking up and getting ready to go somewhere, rather than sleeping as long as Pearl will allow.

Her well baby visit went well - she now weighs 12lb 12oz and is 23 3/4 inch long, in the 95th percentile for both those measurements. Her head was in the 75th percentile, measuring in at 15 and a bit more inches around.

We told the doctor that we did not want Pearl vaccinated at this point and he was less critical than I expected; less critical than the doctor we saw last time. He made a note of it on her chart so hopefully we won't be badgered about it next time.

I am not overly fond of our pediatric clinic. I know you're "supposed" to go and interview pediatricians and pick one you like while you're pregnant, but that would entail going out and talking to strange people. Not my cup of tea, thank you. I regret it a bit now. There are like ten doctors who practice at this clinic and while you can state a preference for who you'd like to see, there's no guarantee that that doctor will have a slot open. The receptionists are not very friendly either. I want them happy to see me, damn it! We're paying them a lot of money! Well, our insurance is paying a lot, at least, and we're paying a little.

And today was kind of weird... the clinic has two entryways, one for well visits, and one for urgent care. I thought this was a nice feature, you know, seperate waiting rooms for the sick kids and the ones just getting checkups. Well, today we went in the well visit entrance as usual and told the lady we had an appointment, and after puttering around on her computer she says, "Oh, well visits first thing in the morning, you go to the urgent care entrance, on the other side of the building." Well, how nice of you to tell us beforehand, people! And what were the other people in the waiting room doing, then? Why didn't they have to go to the other entrance?

We have an appointment with yet another different doctor when Pearl is four months old and I'm thinking about finding somewhere else to take her... cause even if we love this next doctor there is no guarantee we'll ever see him again! I don't like this luck of the draw business. So I might either find a new place to go or just not go, if she's healthy and I don't have any questions, there's not much of a point to it since we're not having her vaccinated at this point.

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Our New Toy

We got a digital camcorder! A Canon Elura 90, to be precise.

I decided I had to have one... because I know I'm not going to remember all this as clearly as I would like to and it will thrill me to death to be able to watch footage of Pearl batting at toys when she's grown and too busy running around with college boys to call her mama. *sob* Seriously though, I think it was a worthwhile investment, not just for me, but perhaps for her someday as well. Maybe one day when her daddy and I are gone she will enjoy watching us together when she was little. Also, it will be nice to give family members opportunities to see things they can't be there for in person.

Well, writing this post is a lot more depressing than I anticipated. Yeesh.

We're waiting on the delivery of a special board for the computer so we can transfer videos stored on the mini DV tape to the computer and toy with them, perhaps after that I will be able to post some clips here! That'll be fun.

For Those Of You Who Are Still a Bit Puzzled...

... as to what exactly Elimination Communication is, here is a concise, informative wikipedia entry on the subject.

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Elimination Communication Update

Don't you just love saying "Elimination Communication?" I do. It's great fun, has a lovely rhyme and cadence.

Anyways, I was going to keep my mouth shut on the whole EC thing for a day or two but daphneblue expressed interest, so prepare for gushing about tinkles and cues and so forth!

As I mentioned the other day, intuition is a good thing. I just stick Pearl on the little potty whenever I start feeling like she needs to go, and say "pssssssssssssssss" and she pees. Well, not every time, of course, and of course there are still wet diapers, but yesterday she peed in the potty four times and today I haven't been keeping track - but it's been very successful! She had a lot of wet diapers in between waking up and her first nap, didn't put her on the potty at all in that period, but after that I have been putting her on it and I think we've just had one wet diaper, she woke up wet from a nap. It seems like she needs to pee twice in between each feeding. I say "pssssst" and she goes! It's really amazing. I expected it to be successful but I didn't really expect to have this measure of success so soon. And it's not more trouble than a diaper change, really - I take her over to the same spot as I would to change her diaper, take the diaper off, put a diaper on, take either a dirty diaper to the diaper pail and dump some baking soda in too, or take the potty to the toilet and dump and rinse it out.

The diapering situation has to change though. I'd like to be able to get them off as quickly as possible when she starts acting like she needs to go - squirming, popping off the breast, getting a little fussy. Unfortunately the wool soakers I crocheted are harder to get on and off than I would like, and wrestling with the snappi is time consuming too. Although she hasn't peed during the undiapering yet, she waits til she's on the potty and I say "pssss, psssssst" to go, so maybe it's not such a big deal. Still, easier is better when it comes to diapering so I am going to continue converting prefolds into fitted with velcro, and make some wool wrap-style covers that also close with velcro, so I can whip them both right off when the time comes. Perhaps by the time I get all that accomplished, I will have more confidence in our EC abilities and won't be so concerned about it. At the moment I'm still kind of wary.

Again, I am amazed by how successful we have been. It really seems to be a natural way to take care of her elimination needs, too, considering how well she's taken to it. I don't think she's "trained" at all, I think there is something much more basic and instinctual about it. I remember when I first heard about elimination communication, in the context of being how babies' elimination is dealt with in China, and thinking it was really, really weird - they have the bottomless pants and just hold the baby away from them when it's time for them to go. It doesn't seem nearly so weird now!

I've Created a Monster

Pearl likes to gnaw/suck on my hand. A lot. Anytime my hand is near her mouth she lunges for it. We play this game I call Back Up, Back Down, where I lounge on the couch and lay her sort of perpendicular to me, and she holds onto my thumbs, and whenever she crunches her abs and lifts her head I pull her into a sitting position for a little while, then back to laying down, saying "Back up!" and "Back down!" at the appropriate time. She loves this game, and I suspect it is because when she is sitting up she has the opportunity to chomp on my hands. However she only likes to chomp on my hand while we're playing this if she is holding on to both of my thumbs. Holding on to only one thumb is unacceptable and leads to wailing. Why, I don't know. She's a weirdo.

Monday, August 01, 2005


Pearl just tinkled in the potty! Hooray!

That's three successful catches. I've put her on the potty and said 'pssssssst' probably about three times a day. Easing into it here. I would've caught another tinkle this morning if I had listened to my instincts rather than brushing my teeth, but ah well.

Anyway, today I went into town for water and various other items... inlcuding the movie The Royal Tenenbaums, which I love, and some printouts of digital photos of Pearl to distribute to lucky family members.

I tried to print some photos out at Target's Kodak printer kiosk the other day, but I had to wait ages for the Target employee to come punch in a passcode, and when he finally did he didn't bother to wait around and see if it worked. Which it did not. So I got no photos, and took my photo needs to Walmart, where we have not shopped in a long while, since they're sort of evil and all. However they did give my little brother, who works at a Walmart part time, two weeks' vacation, so they aren't that horrible, right?

Walmart's online digital photo printing service is pretty nice, actually. I was impressed. You can upload your photos to their website and order which ones you would like printed in what size at your local Walmart, and an hour later, there they are! Very inexpensive and they look great. So, Walmart for photos it is.

Update: She peed in the potty again! Two catches in one day, woohoo!

Second Update: Make that four tinkle catches in one day! Wow! And two sits on the potty with no tinkles. Ok, I'll stop with the EC stuff for now!