Monday, October 29, 2007

You know you're sleep deprived when... wake up at 1 a.m. to the sound of the baby crying and think, "Shh, not so loud, you'll wake the baby."

(Yeah, sleep regression still in full force. I am beginning to wonder, at what point does it cease to be a regression and merely becomes your baby is a crappy sleeper? Moxie told me it WILL end--maybe not for another month or so, but it will end--and I so want to believe her. Our new theory: Bat Girl is trying to kill us through sleep deprivation so she can get her hands on those fat new life insurance payouts.)

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Working on it

I just read a blog post from a woman with twins the same age as Bat Girl, in which she said that after work, when the nanny leaves, she is totally focused on her babies (topic of the post was the old to-work-or-not-to-work). She said that she plays with them, reads and sings to them, "work[s] on their fine motor skills."

Um. I always feel weird when I read things like this. Am I supposed to be working on BG's fine motor skills? Because other than pouring Ch*eerios onto her high chair tray for her to mess with while I get her dinner ready, I don't think I have been.

That's a rhetorical question, BTW. I tend to believe that if you give babies a rich (rich in the sensory sense, not in the monetary sense) environment and interact with them as your instincts direct, they will develop just fine. But we just overthink and overanalyze and, well, overparent. We all managed to learn to pick up raisins and bang toys together and knock over towers of blocks without our parents "working on it" with us, after all.

My favorite example is the whole "parentese" thing. Humans instinctively talk to infants in a higher-pitched, exaggerated way (babytalk). We can't help it. Then research found that babytalk actually helps babies acquire language. Great news, because it confirms that what we do instinctively is good for babies. BUT then of course we have to take it too far and now every other article about how to make your baby smarter advises us to "speak parentese." Do we really need to be told this?

I swear I'm not one of those extreme types who thinks experts are evil and we should all go back to some ill-defined halcyon "indigenous" way of child-rearing. But I do think that as parents, we know way more than we give ourselves credit for. And my baby won't be held back in the third grade if I don't work on her fine motor skills.

Edited to add: I don't object to things like teaching babies sign language (it helps you communicate, after all), or making an effort to read to them regularly, and I admit to spending five minutes in front of the mirror this morning with Bat Girl trying to teach her to blow kisses...but what I object to is this idea that we, as parents, have to invest so much time and effort into helping kids acquire skills and meet milestones that they do just fine meeting on their own.

Speaking of sitting in front of the mirror, this might illustrate what I mean: Every night after BG's bath, I wrap her in a towel and then before we head into her bedroom to get her dressed, I stand in front of the mirror and we "say hi to the cute baby!" BG grins at herself delightedly and I wave to the cute baby in the mirror. Sometimes she holds her hand up in the air like she's trying to wave too. A few days ago, I noticed that she was actually turning her head to study my hand going back and forth as I waved--then turning back to the mirror to try to duplicate the movement herself. She's learning how to wave by mimicking me, which is what babies do naturally. I didn't set out to "teach" her to wave. I haven't been putting any special effort into helping her acquire this skill. I just did what came instinctively to me--waving at the cute baby in the mirror, and when BG responded to that, doing it again and again--and she did what came instinctively to her.

I think it's too easy to get caught up in the "25 ways to make your kid smarter" parenting-magazine thing, and think that you have to be doing something special to help your kid learn (like consciously making yourself speaking parentese, as opposed to just doing what comes naturally), when all a little baby really needs is for you to love them and play with them and talk to them. Which, hopefully, you would do anyway. Am I making sense?

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Been so long

Last week we had our physicals for life insurance. (I'm telling you, people, I'm feeling OLD.) Or maybe I should say "physicals," because basically the "doctor" came to our apartment, asked us a few questions, took our blood pressures, had us pee in cups (uh, one each), and drew some blood. Not exactly a thorough workup.

When it was my turn to have blood drawn, he asked me which arm I'd prefer to have the blood taken from. I froze. Based on my extensive experience with the clinic vampires, I know that one arm almost always blows out, and one arm almost always yields a bruise-free, nearly painless experience. Except it had been so long since I last had blood drawn that I couldn't remember which arm was the good arm.

I know--can you imagine? I would never, ever have thought that this piece of information could be burned away from my brain. But apparently it has, so I had to guess. Based on the nasty green and purple bruise an inch and a half in diameter in the crook of my left elbow, I guessed completely wrong.

(Or maybe it was just that the "doctor" had no butterfly needles on him and stuck me with what felt like a knitting needle. Ugh.)

Thursday, October 11, 2007


I've been following the story of this little girl (who is just four days older than Bat Girl) for several months now. So this news saddened me beyond words.

My heart hurts for her parents.

I wish I had donated BG's cord blood when she was born. I wish I were not, frankly, too chickenshit to be a registered bone marrow donor. (I am struggling to overcome this. It is not something I am proud of.) Asian bone marrow donors are desperately needed.

Today was her funeral. I gave my baby an extra long squeeze.

Monday, October 08, 2007

Sleep, the bad and the good

The bad:

Yesterday morning I was so tired that I fell asleep (SITTING UP, I fell asleep sitting up!) while playing with Bat Girl and she fell off the couch. I knew I was pushing it--I had stupidly gone to bed at midnight the night before (vacuuming, sweeping, doing dishes, nothing fun, trust me) and then BG was up every two hours and up for the day at 6. I was so tired, I was practically hallucinating. I was so tired, I felt sure I was going to have a psychotic break. I was so tired, I kept dozing off as I sat next to BG on the floor while she banged her toys together and tried to scale the TV stand (don't worry, we've blocked it off with pillows so she can't actually climb it, but she does like to stand up and pat the TV screen).

So perhaps removing to the couch was not the brightest idea I've ever had. The scary thing is that I didn't even see it happen. One minute I was sitting right next to BG--literally in contact with her body--holding her by the ankle just in case. The next thing I knew, there was a thud and she was lying on the carpet. Yikes.

(She was totally fine, btw. She cried but only for a minute. And this is not as bad as when my husband had her and she fell off the bed onto the hardwood floor. But I still feel like a bad mommy.)

The good:

I went to bed at 10:30 last night and BG only got up ONCE all night AND slept until 6:30. I haven't slept this much in MONTHS. Woohoo!

Saturday, October 06, 2007

Eight months

So apparently yesterday Bat Girl turned 8 months old. How the hell did that happen?

She crawls and pulls up and eats blueberries and avocado and mango and butternut squash and basically any other orange vegetable or fruit you can think of. She has an embarrassing number of toys for a person whose parents swore never to let their home be taken over by plastic crap, but give her two measuring cups and she will happily bang them together forever. My husband swore she said "Dada" the other day but she has not repeated the feat, so the jury is still out.

We seem to be in the throes of the 8-month sleep regression--that's what I'm telling myself, anyway, so as not to want to kill myself every 1.5-2 hours when she wakes up crying. So, you know. Tired. I keep thinking it has to get better, but it's been going on for weeks and weeks and only seems to be getting worse. Bleah. People keep telling me to do "sleep training" (i.e. cry it out) but I'm not willing to go down that road. Yet. Besides, now that she's pulling up, if she cries long enough, she pulls up on the crib and obviously is not going to soothe herself to sleep that way.

I have lots more to say about sleep but I'm too tired to be coherent about it. Heh. Anyway, just tell me that your kid went through a crappy sleep phase and then leveled out, OK?

Other than the sleep thing, she is happy and healthy and beautiful and just the funniest, coolest little thing. Not that I'm biased or anything.


In other news, last week I got to meet the fabulous miss Momo! I'd never actually met a blog buddy IRL before, so I was a little nervous, not that Momo would turn out to be crazy (as my husband said not-so-comfortingly, "You'll probably end up being the crazy one"), but that it would be weird or awkward. But we clicked immediately and couldn't stop talking and laughing, and I cursed the fact that I had to go back to work after lunch instead of just hanging out all afternoon. So if anyone else wants to come hang out in the Big City, call me! Let's get together! I'm not too crazy!