Wednesday, July 28, 2010

A fun summer day

Carolina woke up at 6am this morning, but clearly still tired. I think it's the molars coming in (ugh) that woke her up early. So got her fed and ready to go to the baby gym for 9am on the east side. After "open gym" for 30 minutes there was a class so we had to leave. I was walking along 57th St toward the westside so I could go shopping at Whole Foods for her fruits and veggies before heading home.

Got on the M57 bus, gave her the morning bottle, and got off at Central Park since I realized she was too tired to go to the store. I was going to go later in the afternoon and do a quick walk in the park with her before heading home. I figured she'd want to nap about 11 instead of 12.

Well she decided she wanted to sleep at 10, while I just started to walk into the park entrance. It wasn't worth going home, and it wasn't TOO hot. So I found a patch of grass and sat down. Then I laid down since it was too uncomfortable to sit. I rested too, but didn't fall asleep. 45 minutes later she was up and much happier.

I had not brought her shoes (yes, I forgot - again!) since she was only going to the gym, so I only had her socks. I let her walk around in the park. Super dirty socks, now, and all. She was happy. Had some water and a teething cracker, then headed over to Whole Foods.

Called Papa and we met him near Columbus Circle for lunch outside. She wandered around and went up to many people and smiled.

She's now dancing to Dora the Explorer "We did it" song. Hilarious.

Whenever the next nap is, I'm looking forward to it. I need a bit of a rest. I walked everywhere with her in the baby carrier since it's NOT easy to get to Lex & 59th during rush hour with a stroller. Besides, I have NO idea how to get from the N train to the street at Lex without climbing a LOT of stairs. *Sigh* this city is not baby or old person (or handicapped) friendly.  It's primarily for the youthful, fit and well-off. Glad I'm still the first two of those ;)

Friday, July 23, 2010

Ready to walk? Oh, yes indeedy!

This week she has taken a few more steps everyday. Culminating to this evening when she walked the entire length of my parents' apartment (ok, maybe like 20 feet) straight. And then in and out of all the rooms. Closed a door, even. For about 45 minutes she was getting up (or being helped by a hand) and walking. Sometimes many, many steps and other times just a few. There was lots of "Very good, Carolina" and clapping. Both by Carolina and the three of us.

She is very proud of herself and I expect this means there is only more walking in the coming days. Hooray and I should be worried.

Since we were at the mall, yes really, I didn't give her a snack between lunch at about 2.30 and dinner at about 6.30. Actually I tried but the teething and whining (boredom. Wanted to crawl around and one-leg walk instead of stay in the stroller) she didn't want the rice cracker I offered her. Maybe gums were too sore?

But she ate a great dinner of chicken, ravioli and some bread. Finished her whole bottle, too. I think she wanted more dinner but seemed really frustrated. Again, maybe sore gums and chewing hurt.

She's been grabbing her ears and sticking her fingers in them, particularly her left ear, all week. There was a LOT of that today. I hope these damn molars come in soon. She's suffered enough and I like her better when she's not so terribly irritable and will let me put her down. It was like having a little monkey on me today. A very cute, good smelling monkey.

Bedtime was about 8. I think there was some headbanging --as to be expected. The foam columns my dad and I came up with for the metal rods on each corner are working well. Actually it was my therapist's idea but we implemented it nicely. Ok, dad did. Ha!

But she's resting well now. Phew. What a day, kiddo! Good job!!!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

She's a great dancer, and likes to play with other kids

Two things I learned about Carolina this week are:
1. She likes to dance, and has a good sense of rhythm. She prefers music with a Latin beat. Seriously. (Our first indication was a trip to Vallarta in Feb 2009 before she was born, and we were in the Cuban restaurant where they play really great music. She was kicking me like never before. She was our 'tiny dancer'.) She was rocking out to a Ricky Martin song today at the local Gymboree.

2. She likes to play with other kids. Now I knew this already but I had no idea how much now. We've just started a discount/trial month at a Gymboree on the UES (got it through She's in a play/movement class once a week on an afternoon and we go to the gym when they have 'open' sessions twice a week in the early morning. During today's open gym, she was so very very disappointed when we had to leave. She was playing 'catch' with an older boy by rolling the ball between them. She was very interested in playing with a 4-year-old girl who was running around, throwing herself on the mats, and jumping up and down. Carolina tried to keep up with her for a bit, then looked at me a little confused. I smiled and said "Go ahead. Keep going." And she smiled and kept trying to keep up, but she couldn't.

She climbed on everything and was seemingly very proud of herself for being so independent. I have to say, I was impressed. I try to usually keep back and let her do her own thing when I can. She almost didn't need me at all. Woo hoo!

Food, these days, is another matter. Her pickiness continues. I've been given some very helpful advice to give her what she likes and wants, instead of what I want her to eat. This has turned out to be surprisingly healthy, for the most part. Yesterday she ate her first (whole) navel orange, and today her first (entire) peach.

Today at lunch after her nap was pretty funny. She took a few bites of the cod I was eating, then didn't want that. I gave her a bunch of peeled grapes cut up from her snack before nap and after about 10 of those, she was done. So she was pointing to the blueberry muffins on the table, which are next to the peaches I just bought yesterday. I decided to give her a peach instead of the muffin she wanted. She cried, very loudly, with tears when I put a few small cut up pieces of peach on her high chair tray. Carried on like it was the end of her little life.

At one point she threw her head back and opened her mouth widely while wailing, and I put a piece of peach in there. She closed her mouth as she brought her head down and had no choice but to taste the peach. She stopped crying immediately, made a few contentious noises and then ate it. And grabbed the rest on the tray with gusto. She then pointed to the counter where the rest of the peach was and started to make a fuss that she wanted more. This resulted in her eating the ENTIRE peach.

The crying and carrying on is exhausting for me to listen to but, really, I'm glad we now have more food on her "approved" list, which includes:

1. blueberries
2. hummus
3. spanakopita (Greek spinach pie)
4. raspberries
5. peaches
6. grapes, green ones
7. cherry/grape tomatoes (although they frustrate her since she can't eat the skin but she loves the taste and that they are juicy in her mouth.)
8. rice crackers (the Mum Mum kind)
9. Graham crackers
10. broccoli (sometimes)
11. caesar salad dressing (not a meal but as a topping. I hate giving her this one since it's so salt/fatty so I don't unless I'm desperate.)
12. squash/zucchini (sometimes, and only with something else like spanakopita or hummus)
13. navel oranges
14. strawberries (but they seem to give her less than a handful of  little pimples on her face every time)
15. Berry flavored "fiddlesticks" (rice crackers in a stick form she can easily hold)
16. Cheerios cereal
17. Life cereal

Of course there's cake and apple/cherry/blueberry/orange juices on the list but above is what I can get her to eat. MOSTLY without fuss.

With fuss, recently, there's chicken, fish, beef. I'm working on getting eggs into the list and watching her face breakout/not since earlier in the year she loved eggs but they gave her the same thing that strawberries seemed to. I'll try it again.

And in terms of naps, she's almost solidly a 12pm-2pm girl. Sometimes takes until closer to 12.30 and sometimes only until 1.30pm but I can mostly get her to take her nap on schedule, which is nice. For me.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Reading and walking

I should have mentioned this awhile ago. She loves to sit with a book and flip the pages. She has been doing this for about 4 months. The past two months have been where I've noticed her taking the most concentrated time to look at the pages. I dint know if she is going over how we read them together, or just studying what's on the pages. Many times the book is upside down. It's terribly cute and endearing.

Today she took about 3-4 steps going between us, about 4 times while we were on a skype video call with the Abuelos. It was very cool. We clapped everytime she did it, so she clapped too and looked very proud of herself. Still, it's mostly one leg being dragged type of walking.

I've been reading Michael Palin's "Diaries" from 1969-1979. It's very interesting to read about how a creative, comedy writer fills his days. And I'm envious of that kind of life. Also, all the while he's having kids. He not once writes about the babies keeping them up all hours and being too tired to work. AND he and his wife seem to travel all over with them AND go out to dinner. Even when they are quite young. I'm going to write to Michael Palin and ask him if they used a neighbor as a babysitter or how they did it. Maybe he and his wife are less high-strung than me, or all his kids were able to nap anywhere or some combination of personalities that lent to a much different life than we have. OR he just never complained about it all but it did happen.

Anyway, yes, I really intend to write and ask him these things.

A few things about living with Carolina

I've been so preoccupied with Carolina's molars coming in, and they still haven't, that I completely missed a third front/bottom tooth was en route. It appeared Friday morning. She has been on frozen blueberry overload these past two weeks.

Gratefully she's sleeping through the night and the earliest she got up has been 6am, but still she's got some pain that goes into her ears or the back of her head -- from where I can see her grabbing. I know I've said this before, but I'll be glad when this latest round of teeth come in and we get a few days (ojalá que sí) rest from teething.

For some reason, and it might be totally standard and I just don't know better, the past week to two weeks she's been very, very picky about her food. She's no longer content to have the same mix of food day in and day out. I used to change it up a little but mostly some combination of: meat, veg, starch. And breakfast was rice cereal, apples/pears, prunes and her vitamin mixed in.

No more. She takes food out of her mouth and throws it on the floor, and also just uses her tongue to forcefully push it out of  her mouth and will not let it back in. So it has to be all nice and interesting food all the time, or there's a crying fit. And I always lose, unless I'm willing to let her go hungry. She's interested in snacks (toddler crackers, cookies), blueberries and hummus. Sometimes I can get her to eat by covering the bowl of food in hummus or tomato sauce.

I constantly worry I'm on the wrong side of spoiling her, but most of the time I am worn down by the whining and crying and just want to her to eat. I still won't give her cookies or crackers as a meal but some days, really, it's been almost exclusively blueberries for dinner.

Here are her top 3 hits:
1. The swings at the park (Regardless how hot it is and how much heat rash she's itching.)
2. Blueberries, most recently prefers frozen over all other types. (Made her blueberry muffins yesterday and only wants the part of the muffin with the blueberries.)
3. Dora (Knows which TV has the DVD player with Dora disc in it, and which one has it on the DVR list and knows how to use the TV remote, more or less, to try to get to what she wants.)
4. Music and dancing. (Often asking us to put on the iPod stereo and has a sense of rythmn I can vouch for!)

She's even taught me some features that my iPhone can do that  (A) I had no idea about and (B) would never have found on my own. Additionally, she showed us how to change the "source" on our TV without using the TV remote, just from the cable remote. So now we only need the 1 remote. Thanks, baby!

So now that she's getting along with the babysitter and I find that I enjoy not being at home every day, I'm starting to look for some work. I realized I have no interest in going back to an office full time and would have to make a butt-load of cash in order to cover the babysitter AND taxes. I'm not ready to put her into daycare, which would overall be a cheaper option than sitter or shared nanny. So maybe a 1-2 day/week job. Maybe freelance so I don't have to be in an office. Maybe nothing. But the extra income would be much nicer. Anyway, time for bed!

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Last few weeks

Have been very, very hot and humid. This past week, after 3 days of only going to the park early in the morning for about 30 minutes on the swings and then after her mid-day nap, hanging around the apartment until bedtime -- mommy had enough. So I called my mom and Carolina and I went there for Thursday and Friday to go to the pool and hang out with grandma and grandpa. MUCH more fun!

Carolina didn't sleep very well overnight, but at least she didn't bang her head too much. She's been teething with at least two molars coming in, one on each side. There might be a 3rd or 4th molar also coming in but I'm having a hard time telling. I just wish the two mounds in the back of her mouth that are sore would just have the teeth break through and be done with it. She's been suffering more with these molars, as expected, than any other teeth so far.

I signed her up for another set of music classes and got a deal on "open gym time" at a Gymboree in the city for a month. Since she's napping from about 11-1pm every day, they have open gym time at about 9.30 on Tuesdays. So I'll take her to the UES for some fun with other babies.

We didn't join the local, private park -- the only one with grass in the area. I principally object to having to pay for access to grass when we pay a very large portion of our income on city tax and a portion of that tax goes to maintaining all the city parks. Why Sunnyside can't get that park to be part of the Parks Department, I don't know. I'm sure there's a good reason, other than keeping it for middle-class white people in the area. Yes, I did just say that and yes it is true.

Anyway, Carolina is starting to say more words -- or at least repeat them. She repeated, fairly clearly, this week: "Okay", "Grandpa" and "delicious".  Yum-yum is definitely the key word for letting her know it's time for dinner or lunch -- and gauging how hungry she is by how quickly and emphatically she says "yum yum" back to you.

She's standing more and took another 2-3 little steps today. I'm guessing that by the time we leave for Celaya late in August, she'll be walking. But that's just a guess as I have NO idea how this all works on timing.

Well, she's asleep -- it was a regular/early night at 6.30. So time for me to make dinner for the grownups!

Thursday, July 1, 2010

one nap a day: mommy, i can do it myself

So the past two days, the morning has been a bit rough. She gets tired, wants her bottle and sort-of wants a nap around 9am (old first nap time). So I take her outside and she gets whiny but I keep her up until about 11am.

I give her 1/3-1/2 of her lunch just before time to go for a nap, and then the surprise. The past few months, I've been itching to just put her down to sleep and walk out. But she wasn't ready. She must have been ready for at least a month since it's been the 2nd nap that was tough to get her to relax so I could put her down. Her babysitters, both, found the same difficulty.

So, independently, both Hannah and I have put her down after only a minute or so of holding her realizing that she's not able to get comfortable in our arms. She just lays in the crib and falls asleep.

Clearly, my mother (who told me to try this last week) was right. She was ready to put herself down for a nap as long as I was smart about WHEN to do it.

In addition to this being the one-nap-a-day transition, it's also the mommy-i-can-do-it-myself transition. Both are mostly transitions for me.

I've also been considering whether or not to consider working again. But that's another story and far too early to even write anything more than what I just did.

So, baby's asleep. Time for me to relax!