Monday, June 23, 2008

Not for the faint of heart

My sister slipped and fell while carrying the baby today.

Charlotte is fine, thank god, but Nicole's leg is scraped to hell and she was pretty close to hysterical. Matt, Nicole and Charlotte had gone out today since Matt took the day off and Nicole has this week off. I was working at home, and the three of them went to Yankee Candle. There was a crazy huge storm that was starting to slow when they got home, and Nicole slipped in her sandals while carrying the baby in. She kind of went down on her knee, then threw herself back. She insists Charlotte never hit the ground, and I'm inclined to believe her. Charlotte had some puddle dirt on her leg, but she was untouched otherwise.

It was jsut before the back stairs going into the apartment, which is where I have imagined a slip-and-fall since the first time we brought the baby home. I was working in my room in the front of the apartment when I heard Nicole scream - I ran out and Matt already had Charlotte and handed her to me to check over in the light. Her hair was wet, but it was raining, and one of her pant legs was wet. No scrapes, bumps, red marks or anything. Nicole was a mess, physically and emotionally.

We all got straightened out, but there was a fair amount of panic there. I don't think any of us handled it particularly well - I tried to reassure Nicole, look over the baby, and yell at Matt for letting anyone else carry Charlotte in bad weather. Matt was feeling guilty about that and also trying to take care of Nicole, and Nicole just felt awful. I think the three of us were still coping with the horrible visuals of poor Charlotte's head hitting the stairs, while Charlotte was standing on my lap, giggling and gesticulating.

After everything was calmer, and Nicole's wound was taken care of, and we had assured her that none of us were holding grudges, I started to over-think it. Was I too cavalier in dismissing Charlotte's possible injuries? Did she maybe have a concussion, or shaken baby syndrome, or something? Is it possible that I was being too relaxed about the whole thing? Matt and I talked it out, and we know Charlotte is fine, and we'll keep an eye on her, but that kind of fear is not a feeling that dissipates quickly. Ever since I knew I was pregnant I have turned into a worrier of epic proportions, and it's seriously exhausting.

Charlotte slept in our room for almost 8 months - partially because I do believe in co-sleeping as a tenet of attachment parenting, but I'll admit that it also had a lot to do with me being too scared to have her sleep away from us...okay, away from me. I'm hardly the first parent to say this, but seriously, one of the first things you think as a parent right after "Oh my god, this is my BABY," is "Oh my god, what would I do if she died?" And you spend the rest of your life trying not to think about it.

Part of learning to be a parent is wallowing in that fear, and then setting it aside. Yeah, it will always, always be there - and in some cases it comes rushing back with a sickening thump, but you learn to live with it. Gradually, you learn to let go and relax a little, because you just can't live like that. Then you kinda laugh at yourself that you ever were that crazy. And then there is a story on the news about some 6 month old baby who was shot in a domestic dispute, or some asshole nearly rear-ends you, or your baby starts hysterically crying for no reason and fight-or-flight kicks in and you think, "How could I have ever let my guard down?"

It's the circle of life, and it is a fucking roller coaster.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Charlotte is punishing me for going to work.

That's what it seems like, anyway. Last Thursday was my day in the office, and Charlotte started crawling. I was talking to Matt on the phone, and he said, "You better tell Nana [my mom] that Charlotte is probably going to start crawling at her house this weekend - wait, no, she just crawled!" He took a little video of it, but she's crying the whole time, and it kinda seems like me must be torturing her, so I'm not gonna post it.

Today I was in the office again. When I got Charlotte out of her crib this morning, I said to Matt, "You know, one morning we're going to come in to get her and she'll be standing up."

Matt sent me an instant message today at work that said, "you know how you said one day we'd go in and she'd be standing up in her crib? she was standing up when i got out of the bathroom." So I missed it. But Matt took good pictures.

My brain is a little fried, I don't have anything clever or witty to say. There's a lot of baby stuff on my mind - the wife of a co-worker is due at any second, and will be induced on Monday if baby doesn't come this weekend, and a friend-of-a-friend who I'm hoping to get to know better is due any minute also.

Oh, and a friend of mine at work is pregnant, and another one has a 3 month old.
It's nuts, I tell you!

I'm very excited for these folks, and it really does seem like so long ago that I was in their position. I say to Matt all the time, "Can you believe that we didn't know it was her in there? I mean, we knew it was a girl baby, but we didn't know it was CHARLOTTE." I don't know how to explain it better than that.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Next, she'll be getting a job to help with the rent.

Charlotte is growing in leaps and bounds! I just realized that she is now officially too big for 80% of her 9 month size clothes. Thank god we have so many damn clothes. Part of what encourages us to buy so much clothes is that we don't have laundry on site, and we go to my sister and brother-in-law's house or my friends Kelly and Chris's house to do baby laundry once a week or once every other week. So it's actually kind of important to have enough clothes to get through two weeks without needing to do laundry. Right.

Biggest news here is that Charlotte started crawling last Thursday! June 12, to be exact. I was in the office (thus fulfilling my fear that I will miss all her major milestones on the one day a week I have to go into the office) and I called Matt on my break to say hi. He was saying that I would have to call Nana and tell her that Charlotte might start crawling when we were visiting, and just as he was saying that, he said, "Oh,, she's crawling now. She just crawled."

When I got home that night he showed me the little video he took on the camera. "You should put it on YouTube," he said.

"I can't! She's crying the whole time! It's like you're torturing her!" The video is hilarious, but I don't think I am going to post it - it really does seem like
Charlotte's crawling towards him against her will, wailing the whole time. She has this hilarious crawl. She sort of goes into downward dog pose, then hands and knees, and then she moves her hands and kinda hops her feet forward. Soooo funny.
Charlotte did this for one whole day before she decided that not only does she want to cral TO things, but she also wants to BRING things with her. She's spent the last couple days trying to crawl with toys in her hands.

On Friday, Charlotte also started clapping, spontaneously. It's awesome and hilarious. Matt and Charlotte and I went to the new Red Robin in Holyoke with Nicole and Josh. It wasn't even open yet, but Nicole had gotten coupons to go on their training night and get a free meal. It was pretty chaotic, but Charlotte did a great job. She sat in the highchair and ate Cheerios and tried to pick our waiter's pocket. She also clapped on command - I said, "Hey you guys, Charlotte can clap now! Show them how you clap!" and she did.

This weekend we went out to my Mom's house in upstate New York to hang out with my siblings and their assorted partners. On Sunday, Father's Day, Bob (my stepfather) had invited his daughter to come up with her 8 year old.

We had a blast on Saturday. We took Charlotte to the beach for the first time, dressed in her new bathing suit that Matt got for her. We sat her in the water and she loved it right away. There was a slight meltdown when Charlotte tried to put a handful of sand and rocks in her mouth and a whole bunch of grown-ups (myself included) freaked out and swooped in on her. That startled her so badly that she burst into hysterical tears, complete with the I-can't-catch-my-breath-and-stop-crying hitching cries. She did stop eventually and I took her out in the water and dipped her down to her chest. She then happily sat on the beach blanket with Nana and ate her beach toys while me and Matt splashed around for a bit.

The whole weekend was great - it was awesome to be in the woods and hanging out with my family. Mom's house has a little apartment over the garage, so we could unpack the pack n' play and just not worry about bothering anyone with all the baby crap. The one downside to the whole thing was that Charlotte was so excited and overstimulated that she hardly napped and barely ate practically the whole weekend. We managed to get some food in her at the end of each day, but she would go from 7 am to 4 pm with just a couple ounces from her bottle and a few handfuls of Cheerios. It was very stressful to me because it was so hot and I was so scared that she'd get dehydrated. It bugs me that people get so nonchalant about it - "Oh, when she's hungry, she'll eat." No, people. That's not true for babies. Toddlers, yes, adults, yes, but not babies. They don't understand their drives or appetites yet. It's entirely possible that she could get too hungry and too dehydrated if I don't keep trying to feed her. Seriously.

All in all, though, it was wonderful. Seriously something to look back on and remember fondly.

Next post I may try and untangle the whole Mother's Day/Father's Day/expectation experience of this year, but for now, I'll just leave with a video of Charlotte's first time at the beach.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

That was a bad choice.

My sister is a Montessori teacher, and one of the things they stress a lot in that style of teaching is choices. When a kid is having a rough day, we used to call it a "fragile" day at the Children's Center. Since Nicole works with older kids, they say that so-and-so is having a hard time making good choices.

Jenn is having a hard time making good choices.

I'm having technical difficulties with work, and so I'm even more frazzled than I usually am in the morning before Charlotte's nap. And she's been really iffy about breakfast these past couple of weeks, but I really needed breakfast. So I sat her in her high chair and tried to feed her yogurt, which is possibly supplanting avocado as her favorite food. She was not having the yogurt, but it gave me a chance to eat a big piece of sourdough bread with butter. Charlotte was whining away in her chair and I was trying to hydrate when I noticed the bread crust on my plate.

You know where this is going, right?

It's a really hard crust, I'm sitting right there, it's not really a choking hazard if I make sure that she doesn't break a piece off. We know she's not allergic to wheat because she's been wolfing Cheerios for a week, getting at least 50% actually in her mouth. So I gave her the crust of bread to gum for a minute while I tried to drink some tea and get some caffeine coursing through my system. Charlotte went to town - clearly this was the most exciting thing I've ever given her. It lasted for about 2 minutes, which is when I realized that the bread was getting really soggy and would soon break off into chokable chunks.

So I took it away.

You would have thought I hit Charlotte instead of just taking away the crust. She got all upset and started WAILING. Now, I'm pretty sure this is some kind of developmentally appropriate behavior, indicating things like object permanence and some such. But it was loud and upsetting. For once, Mumma was the bad guy - and I'm NEVER the bad guy. Charlotte gave me dirty looks and kept crying and reaching even when the bread crust was in the sink and out of sight. Clearly she's beyond the "out-of-sight-out-of-mind" mentality that has stood us in good stead these last 8 1/2 months.

This is super exciting and cool, both in a mommy way and in an intellectual way. But I am feeling nervous. Charlotte's spent a lot of time these last 10 days or so making her opinions known, and I think our "easy" baby luck is starting to fade. Charlotte may look just like Daddy, but I think she's got my, um, feisty-ness. Which is super exciting and the next big adventure and all that, and I just can't wait. I do think, though, that I'm going to need a LOT more caffeine.

Monday, June 9, 2008


Bullet point entry because I'm lazy.

* Charlotte started sleeping the whole night, in her crib, in her room. I'm excited and proud, but also sad. Seriously, she's getting so big!

* Her feet smell, well, for lack of a better term, footy. I've never met a baby with stinky feet before.

* Now that Charlotte has a whopping 2 teeth, we've introduced her to Cheerios. She takes her solid-food duties very seriously.

Monday, June 2, 2008

8th month update

In in May, Charlotte:

* got her first 2 teeth.

* got baptized.

* became a rolling machine - she rolls front to back and back to front, no problem.

* learned to click her tongue.

* is almost crawling - gets on hands and knees easy peasy!

* stopped sleeping through the night, oh no!

* started eating watermelon, apples and peas.

* is starting to go to sleep in her crib, rather than the co-sleeper.

* loves going for walks in the stroller.

* really loves books.

* figured out how to suck her toes.

* likes to sit outside with Daddy.