The creatures are conspiring

I don't sleep particularly well when Robert's away. Turns out neither do the rest of the creatures in the household:

10:30 PM: Reading-to-sleep ritual* interrupted when MZ inexplicably awakes screaming. I finally bring her to bed with me where she finally falls asleep, as do I.

1 AM: Carry MZ back to her crib.

3 AM: Awake to inexplicably loud Siamese meowing from downstairs. Think about hurling cat from third floor window, fall back to sleep instead.

5 AM: Awake to inexplicable sounds of a garbage basket being rolled around the room. Look down to see blue Siamese eyes staring up at me innocently. Again consider hurling, again opt for more sleep.

5:20 AM: Give up on sleep when MZ awakes coo-ing, gurgling, splttting and laughing. At least she's in a good mood. Bring her into bed again.

7 AM: Awake to find that both MZ and I have fallen back to sleep, that is, until Yudi begins his backwards wakeup call. (Add MEEE-ow to his long line of idiosyncrasies.)

*All this reading about sleep training makes me realize that if someone put me in my crib and expected me to just fall asleep, I'd scream, too.


Ten Months: Let's motor!

Dear Miriam,

Gone is the cautiousness of your first few weeks of crawling, now you go full tilt wherever you want. You still hold that leg up in a skootch position more often than not, presumably so you can easily return to a seated position, but when you really want to get somewhere, you drop the leg and off you go. You chase Moki, you follow our voices from room to room, and your attraction to ethernet cables is frankly unreal.

This has changed your playgroup behavior dramatically. Where you used to sit quietly and watch intently, you are more apt to get in the mix now, and have even experimenting with snatching toys. After weeks of watching toys get snatched, I'm cheering you on, even if some other moms are a bit stunned.

Last Monday you crawled up to a much larger boy and snatched his blue ball away. He seemed surprised, and grabbed it back, but you were determined and took it again. I warded off an attack from his mom by rolling an identical ball past you, and thankfully you went for the moving ball, leaving him in the dust.

You're also standing up on everything these days. When you first started pulling yourself up, you seemed most comfortable doing it on one of us. You soon moved to your baby gates and learning table, and now you'll pull yourself up on almost anything in the house. You're still shy in unfamiliar places, but it's only a matter of time before you're pulling yourself up the play structures at the park.

While your mobility has changed a lot of things -- most notably the house, there are gates everywhere -- it has also made hanging out with you a lot of fun. You love to move from room to room, on your own, and when you discover one of us in your travels, your face lights up into a smile that would melt glaciers.

Moki is astoundingly patient, and you two seem to be evolving a mellow relationship, where you don't grab fistfulls of hair every time you pass each other, and he tolerates it when you can't resist his tail. Yudi, on the other hand, has entered another circle in his own private hell. He watches you in shock and horror, darting up or down the stairs if you so much as look his way. His elusiveness is clearly a drug to you, you cackle maniacally whenever you catch a glimpse of him, compounding his fear, so that you two escalate through a new cycle of hysteria daily. By the end of the day, I need a valium to deal with all that unrequited emotion.

You also seem to be moving your bedtime successively earlier. Our 9 PM party girl is now an 8 PM pumpkin, with clear signs of moving even earlier. This worries us, of course, because if you move much earlier, your Dad may never see you awake. Which would really bum you out, because he is the light and the sparkle in your eye. You listen for him in the evenings, and when you hear him trudging up the stairs, you pause expectantly and break into a gorgeous smile the moment you see him.

You have only slightly less enthusiasm for your grandparents, kicking your feet and grinning broadly whenever one of the three of them enters your world. You seem to love your days with them, you especially like the outings to the park and the mimicry we all do with you. You get a gleam in your eye as you come up with ever more complicated sounds for us to repeat.

Although I can't believe you're already mobile, I am so excited for you and all the explorations to come.

Your Mom
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Hucker MZ

MZ is currently obsessed with the Dropsie game. Ever since she learned "ah oh!" everything gets hucked -- from the highchair, the changing table, the stroller, her car seat. We keep a few small toys at the changing table, to try to control for wiggling, which she hucks from the table, AH oh! over and over.

Of course, this activity -- intereactive though it may be -- does not count towards the total allowable time on the changing table. Exceed the limit and face her wrath. The changing table used to be so much fun, but now that she's mobile, she's got places to be, things to do, and we are keeping her down.

She also hucks hats, socks and shoes. Backtracking in search of hucked stuff was a regular feature of our trip, and one toy never did get recovered, even though it was strapped to the stroller with a link-a-doo. When I'd rush back to her with her item, she'd grin slyly. I couldn't tell if she thought this was the best game ever or if she was frankly surprised at our resourcefulness.

Anyway, she's got a deejay name if she ever needs it.
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Typhoid Miriam

Just sitting there with her thumb in her mouth, staring innocently with those big blue eyes, you'd never know our daughter was Patient Zero. She gets a little runny nose, no colorful mocos, just a clear drizzle that makes us wonder if she's finally getting teeth. Two days later, we're knocked on our tails with sneezing, coughing, runny nose... we're a Nyquil commercial in the making.

So what's this about breast-fed babies not getting sick? Or am I taking her to the most infected places ever, and the breast feeding helps her to get off easy?

I don't know, but I definitely feel as though I am getting inoculated to all 200 strains of common cold right there with her.

Now that's love...
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Nine Months (finally): On the Move

Dear Miriam,

You are nine months at last, a milestone that feels almost as big as your birth. You've finally been out as long as you were in, and where those nine months crawled at a snail's pace, this nine months has flown.

This month brought your first camping trip, and you handled the extended playgroup session like a trouper. You weathered the cold night, even though in retrospect we didn't bundle you up nearly enough.

It also brought your first forays into real food, which you love much better than that flavorless single-ingredient stuff. You like curry powder and chile powder and you will tear off fingers in your excitement to get to chicken noodle soup. You love fish and anything orange, and when the chef at a bistro in Paris prepared a special plate of sauce-less roast cod with carrot and fennel mousseline, you dug right in. You still prefer to be fed, and seemed generally weirded out by many textures, such as mango or the torn up baguettes we kept trying to give you throughout our stay.

You are also officially crawling. You are the most hilariously deliberate creature, I think you refused to crawl until you knew you wouldn't get stuck on your belly, and even now you hold your right leg up most of the time, as if poised to resume sitting. And crawling is noisy business, accompanied by grunts and squeals and gurgles that get louder as you get closer to your target. You started crawling two days before you turned 9 months old, and you're still quite cautious, reserving this effort to the few feet necessary to reach a toy or an electrical cord, your obsession.

You're so much a part of our lives that I can barely remember when you weren't with us. I mean, you weren't with us when we were swooping down the mountain on skis or bikes, or in that mosquitoe-ridden, Ganges-River-view-having hotel room in India, or my suprise 30th Birthday get-away weekend, yes, I remember that, but oddly enough, that doesn't bother us at all.

Sure, life was different then, and there are some things we just don't do anymore, but you have made our life so rich, so filled with laughter. I'm glad we have those comparisons so we understand exactly how happy you make us.


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It's 4 AM and we're all awake...

Yes, we're back, and yes, we're jet-lagged. It was a fabulous trip, it took a few days to find our groove, but once we did, relaxation and total enjoyment of each other kicked in. MZ did amazingly well in spite of a nap routine that never exceeded an hour or so, no matter where or when. French people say "COO'-coo" to babies, iffen you didn't know, and MZ ate it up. She also ate up roasted cod, carrot and fennel mousseline, the tuna and potatoes from our Nicoise salads, and more haricots vert than you could shake a stick at. From a fork, even!

We ate up cheese, macarons and the gorgeous views that met us at every turn. That's one crankin' city, that Paris.

However, that return flight always makes me happy to be home, and if we could all just start sleeping till it gets light out, I would be so grateful.
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