Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Pearl's Ninth Month

It seems like I feel this way every month, but this nineth month has been so wonderful it might be my favorite month yet! Pearl is such a joy. She's so playful and silly and fun, even though we've both had a long, drawn-out cold for about two weeks between us and there has been much snot and varying degrees of misery in the household.


At the beginning of this month, Pearl started saying Mama. It isn't exactly a joyous sound as she usually says it when she's upset - "mamamamamamama" when she's tired and hungry, or when I leave the room and she crawls after me. She's shown a little seperation anxiety but nothing major. Anyway, I won't deny that I like hearing it. A few days ago we were reading a book (I believe I've probably mentioned here and there that Pearl likes books, but she really, really likes them. She will sit quietly in my lap while we go through her entire basket of books which is about 15 board books - and sitting quietly is not something Pearl does often! She will also look through them by herself longer than she will play with any of her other toys.) and we got to a part that goes, "Baby jumps in mama's lap" and right after I said "mama" she looked up at me and said, "Mama!" It was a very sweet and happy moment for me.

What to Read, What to Read?

She waved bye-bye to my mother earlier on in the month but that's the only time she's done it. It seems as if she likes to wave "Hi!" though. That's pretty much it as far as signing goes lately. She never has done the potty sign and she does the sign for milk only very rarely. I don't know if I need to implent more so she realizes that it is a regular way of communicating, or what.


As far as pottying goes, we're still doing pretty good. Some days, only a few misses; others, we only catch the after-nap pees, if that.

Imitative fun has really peaked this month and playing games where people alternate doing things with her is a favorite activity - especially the wiggle dance, where she wiggles her little head and body at you, then waits for you to do it back, then she does it again. It is very cute and funny to see. She also has learned to cluck her tongue and likes to do that back and forth with me.

She weighs about nineteen pounds now, but I haven't tried to measure her height recently. Her second tooth popped through - over a month after the first one! So there is a pair of uneven teeth peeking out when she smiles now. Pearl feeds herself like a champ now, usually just by grabbing big chunks of food and gnawing pieces off, then sucking what's left out of her fist, but occasionally using the pincher grasp, too. She's not eating a whole lot of solids but she does eat something a few times a day.

Apples & Silliness

Pearl has really mastered the art of crawling now, and it just is awesome to see her zooming around the house. She learned how to climb down into and up out of the the dining room, though she still bonks her head occasionally. She has free run of theplace other than the bathroom and bedroom, which are kept closed off. She likes cruising and has learned to get down from the standing position with a little whirl and a plop. She has stood for a few seconds but nothing stable or regular yet - which is good, as I am not ready to have her toddling quite yet! She already seems so grown up.

Crawling into the Dining Room

This anniversary of her birth seems extra special, almost sacred. She's existed as long outside of the womb as she did inside. Contemplating that has reminded me of a lot of things about her as a newborn that I don't think I ever wrote about: how her eyebrows were invisible and felt like velvet, the soft lanugo that was still on her upper arms and shoulders... the crimson crescent in her left eye where a blood vessel burst when she was born, how smooth her feet were - I would stroke the soles of her feet and just marvel at how silky they felt, amazed to be touching feet that had never trod anything but the smooth walls of the womb. How she spent so much time dreaming. She goes to bed before we do, and I go and nurse her a few times before settling in for the night. Even though I enjoy my quiet time after she goes down for the night, I don't want to leave her side after she unlatches. I love her so much!

So Little and New


Friday, February 24, 2006

Finally, The Baby Begins to Earn Her Keep

So now that we are a family surviving on one not-so-big salary and have a baby, we're getting a substantial amount of money back on our taxes! Hooray! I'm trying to decide what we should do with it. Mr. Peach said that he wanted a couple hundred bucks to buy some RAM, and I could do as I pleased with the rest. My first thought was: BRACES, since, as I have mentioned before, the state of my mouth is horrrrible. But that would mean.... having braces. Which apparently can be a long, drawn out, uncomfortable process. But, in the end I would have straight teeth! Easier to keep clean and free of cavities, and I could smile and laugh and talk free of worrying about people seeing my horrible teeth!

My second thought was: TROPICAL VACATION! Winter has got me down and I am dying to run away to the beach and just float on the waves and soak up some strong equatorial sun. Eat foreign food, take in another culture. I would love to take Pearl to the beach... but I think I'd rather wait until she's a bit older. Maybe next winter. The thought of getting her to nap in a strange place makes me tremble. Not to mention the plane ride.

My third thought was: SHOPPING SPREE! FANCY CAMERA! WHATEVER CLOTHES YOU WANT! ANY TOY PEARL COULD WISH FOR! Not that she really wishes for toys at this point, so I guess that's really any toy I could wish for her to have.

My fourth thought was: SAVINGS ACCOUNT! Booooooring. But practical.

I don't know what we'll end up doing with it. Assuming it is as big as we have been lead to believe it will be, I think I will at least go to a consultation with an orthodontist and then go from there in my decision-making.


A few days back, some friends of ours took us and a couple of other people out to a Mexican restaurant for lunch, as Mr. Peach had just helped them move. There was a man at the bar near our table, and when he left he stopped by and told me that we had a beautiful baby girl. I smiled and thanked him, and didn't really think anything of it as that sort of thing happens all the time.

When we asked for our ticket, the waiter told us that it had been taken care of, and gestured to the bar. We didn't understand what he was saying at first, and then he handed us a napkin, on which the man had written, "Be good, little girl!" along with his first name and the date. We were surprised and amused, and wondered why a stranger had done that. Another of the waitstaff told us the man had recently been through a divorce, and his ex-wife had gotten custody of his two children, and he was very upset and emotional about it (naturally). I asked him to relay our thanks if he saw the man again, and he said he would, as the man apparently comes in quite regularly.

So that was kind of weird, and sad, and nice. Getting a free dinner is definitely one of those things about having a baby that I didn't expect!

Monday, February 20, 2006

The Half-House

Technically our new place is a duplex, but I like to call it a half-house, as the word duplex brings to mind rows and rows of cookie-cutter units, mirror images of each other. The fact we managed to avoid living in such an impersonal place is something I'm pleased about, as I'd rather live in a home that is a little less reminiscent of a hotel, a place where it's a little less obvious that this is just a waypoint and you'll soon be moving on, just as many others have moved through before you, and more still are doing so all around you.

So it's a little different, a little special. It used to be a whole house, before it was turned into two apartments, a house, incidentally, that my husband spent some amount of time in during his college days. Imagine, if you will, a U shape. At one end of the U is the bedroom, and as you go down there is the living room, go over and there is the dining room, and back up the U is the kitchen and the bathroom. The bedroom and living room are seperated by French doors, and there is a large entryway to the dining room. The entrance to the kitchen and the little hall that leads to the bathroom is big as well, so the whole place has a very open, airy, roomy feel. The living room has a large, low window that looks out south upon fields and a wooded mountain (a small mountain; we live in the Ozarks and they are old and weathered down... I like to imagine what they must've been like when they were new, when they stood surely as tall and jagged as the Rockies, on the edge of a sea that is no longer here...) and is perfect for Pearl to pull up on and look out and cruise along. The dining room used to be a porch, so it is a few inches lower than the rest of the house, and the window has steps beneath it. At the end of the kitchen what used to be a door to some other part of the house is filled with shelves and serves as a pantry, as is what used to be a window and now is my spice rack.

There is a little yard outside surrounded by a picket fence and right outside our kitchen is a huge tree. It's nice to have a little patch of land but it is right on a busy, noisy road so I don't know how much time we'll be spending out there. There are several nice parks in town where I'd prefer to get our "yard" time.

Our lease lasts for six months and after that we rent on a month-by-month basis, which will really take the pressure off on looking for a new place. We'll have more time to begin looking and waiting for a better place then; someplace in a better neighborhood, with another bedroom, with a washer and dryer, someplace that is perhaps even a house rather than an apartment or a duplex. For now this place is great and I'm glad we were able to find something so nice and affordable on such short notice.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006


Not only can my daughter play the piano, but she can play the piano with a fish!


Piano + Fish

She's amazing!

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Self Portrait Tuesday - All of Me

This is my calf:


It is in better shape than it has ever been thanks to months and months - nearly a year - of bouncing on the birth ball, but note the stretch marks. They made their appearance while I was on bedrest during my pregnancy with Pearl. Stretch marks and pregnancy pretty much go hand in hand, and I expected to get them on my belly, my hips, perhaps even my breasts... but my calf?! It just wasn't fair. My breasts and belly and hips stay pretty much covered up, but having my calf stretch marked - and not both calves, oh no, couldn't be symmetrical about it or anything, just my right calf - was a real bummer. No more shorts or skirts, I would moan.

I don't care so much about the stretch marks now, though I still don't love them. I read about women who embrace them as battle scars, celebrate them as badges of motherhood, but I'm just not there yet. I'm still mourning the loss of my smooth, youthful skin, still despondent about the growing effects of age and life on my body. We'll see how I feel about shorts once it gets warm again. Until then, the stretch marks will be there waiting, under my pants.

More self-portraits can be found here.

Friday, February 10, 2006

Bumps and Bruises

So Pearl is crawling, pulling up, cruising oh so slowly, and trying to stand up on her own. With all that comes falling, bumping into things, knocking things over; scrapes, scratches, bumps and bruises. She's a pretty tough cookie and only cries if it's a pretty painful tumble that she's taken. Pulling up on the coffee table and then slipping and bonking her head on the edge two days in a row lead to twin bruises on her forehead and some tears. Our carpeted living room sits about four inches higher than the ceramic tiles of the dining room and she has crawled to edge and stopped, putting her hands down feeling the tiles below her, but then she gets stuck and cannot figure out how to get the rest of her body down. Yesterday she was sitting near the edge and before I could get to her she fell over backwards onto the tile - her head made a thump and my heart stopped, but she was fine, whimpered a little but didn't cry.

and Bumps

I think this all has been more painful for me than for her! I feel so many different things about her newfound mobility and the ability to get into mischief and potentially injurous situations. Sorrow that she's growing so fast, that she's left the sweet helpless stage behind; happiness and excitement over seeing her further exploring the world around her and learning how to navigate it; an overwhelming desire to protect her from all the corners and edges and hard objects. I know I can't protect her from everything, I know I cannot prevent every bruise and scrape but I can't help it, I want to so badly!

Friday, February 03, 2006

Eight Months Old

This eighth month has been a month of many firsts for Pearl: her first tooth, her first move, her first time crawling, first time sitting up by herself, first time pulling up to a standing position, first time in the big bath, first time at home with Daddy while Mama went out, first cat scratch. She has been a busy, busy girl!




In the Big Bath


Lainie and Leftie

Having a baby who crawls has been easier for me to adjust to than having a baby who can pull up, though she started doing both - along with sitting up - during the weekend that we moved. It is just so strange to look across the room and see her standing there, holding onto the couch. She looks so big and grown up. She's even letting go and trying to stand on her own...

Not that the change from stationary to mobile has gone off without a hitch - this place is still not as baby-proofed as I'd like it to be; we're still not quite completely settled in - and I keep leaving things in her reach, forgetting that her reach has extended to encompass anything in the room below the height of two feet, like the potty full of tinkle that she overturned this morning when I left the room to get a diaper.

Her interest in solids foods has exploded and I can't eat anything without her crawling right over to me and making chomping faces while swiping at my plate. She's tasted some new things - lemons, which she loved, pickles, which she didn't - but she's still not eating a whole lot of them, mostly because of laziness and uncertainty on my part. She has not mastered the pincer grasp required for picking up tiny bits of food so I'm assuming she doesn't really need the solids yet, but she does enjoy playing with and tasting food.

She is sleeping pretty well these days. She takes two naps, one about two hours after she wakes, and one midafternoon, and they last She is a bit harder to get to sleep these days but I'm changing up our method... used to be I would always bounce her in the mei tai, lately I've been bouncing her sans mei tai, and next step is to transition from bouncing to rocking, because I am tired of bouncing. My calves are in great shape but rocking is just much cozier. And easier on my back.

Pearl has been so, so social this month! We have been doing a lot of shopping and she just loves to meet new people. She smiles and laughs at them and they cannot resist!

I cannot resist her either. She is so funny and sweet. These days have been more filled with light than any winter I've been through before.