Unadulterated smiles

Posted by Picasa


Happy Holidays

The holidays have brought everything we hoped and feared, from wonderful memories of waking up at Grandma G's and Grandpa's, to a somewhat horrifying pile of presents that threatened to bury MZ in a wave of consumerism.

We trekked to the grandparents' for our traditional Bay Area crab feast for Christmas Eve, hung the stockings with care, and awoke in the morning to open presents with the family. My parents had the joy of seeing their first grandchild in front of the Christmas tree, and welcomed the lighting of the menorah on First Night, before we sat down to dinner with all the Aunties and Grandparents at the same table. In this, our first set of holidays, we reached equilibrium with Christmas as part of MZ's cultural heritage, and Chanukah as her religious foundation. It helps that she's too young to ask for a Christmas tree.

Since then, we've lit the candles at home, alone or with family and friends, and while MZ has no idea what it all means, she seems to enjoy the candles and rhythmic prayer as much as she does when we observe Shabbat, and I like to think that somehow it will impact the way she looks forward to all this next year. Posted by Picasa

Eleven Months: Teeth!

Dear MZ,

You've been changing by leaps and bounds, from your curly hair to your stair-climbing to your brand-new teeth. It's hard to keep up with the changes, and you are so in the world these days, chatting with anyone who walks by, interacting with the cats and dogs of the neighborhood, seizing on the smallest or oddest things to play with and then hand to us in what we imagine is the first step towards sharing.

It's been a tough month, because you stopped sleeping through the night. You still nap well and we try to believe that sleep begets sleep, but your night wakings are hectic; no more nursing straight back to sleep, you are all about interaction. There's been a lot of chaos, between travel and teething, so we haven't gotten to CIO, but please forgive us for being close. Two full nights of sleep in a month will make us consider almost anything.

However, excepting the weekend in humid Florida when you were teething, you're surprisingly cheerful for being sleepless. Perhaps it's the four cumulative hours of napping you do, or maybe you appreciate that your shrieks get results, but you are a pretty benevolent dictator when you're awake.

You're also incredibly mobile. You don't "cruise" yet, but you fly up the stairs like it's nothing at all. Your dad worked with you briefly, showing you how to place your hands on the next step as you pull up on one leg, and then you were off. Now we have to constantly watch to make sure the baby gates are closed, so eager are you to try out your new skills. You still think sliding is the way to go down, but your Dad and you are working on a better system for the descent. And your crawl is surprisingly fast given that you still maintain that wonky leg. You thrilled me this month by boldly crawling in to the mix at playgroups, grabbing toys you favor and jabbering loudly to anyone who'll listen.

You've continued to be very expressive. We've seen the return of the Prunella face whenever you're annoyed or losing patience (and you do not find it amusing when we imitate this face), and of razzing, which you now love to do at us. You've been sleeping with us a lot these days after night wakings, and you inevitably wake us with a smile and a raspberry right in the face. It's wet, we laugh reflexively, and you do it again. You clap at anything that makes you happy, and love it when people clap back (whether you've been introduced to them or not), and you now have the "bye bye" wave down, although you still sometimes start it just after whoever is departing is out of sight. You also like to blow your finger at us, and we try not to think about what you're trying to tell us with that one.

And your greatest triumph of the month? "Cat," spoken clearly whenever Yudi or Moki rolls through. At first it came out Gat or Ca, or Ga as often as Cat, but now it's clear, and even sometimes directed at a passing dog. You imitate the cats' morning Feed Me chorus, and seem very close to reliably calling us Mama and Dada.

You've also discovered finger food. It started with Cheerios, then Veggie Booty and cheese, and now includes pork buns, peas, tofu omelette and potato latkes. You are a voracious and varied eater, having embraced Chinese food (especially steamed fish and dim sum), curry, persimmons, your Aunt Sarah's peppered cornbread and your Grandma Sharon's pot roast all in the last month. We love going out to eat with you, we have only to choose something that can be diced or sliced, and that's on the "Okay" list for those under one, and you're good to go. You'll try anything once, but sometimes you need a little amuse bouche in the form of some fruit to get you going.

Miriam, in spite of the sleeplessness, you are a joy to be with. You're quick to laugh and happy to interact with us. You love to hold something out, we take it and say Thank you, and hand it back. You'll do this again and again, trading this game only occasionally for the old Dropsie stand-by. You will play for ten or fifteen minutes on your own, then crawl up to me, holding something out with an enormous grin that only gets wider once I engage with you. It lights me up like Fourth of July, and at moments like these, I can't think of anything I'd rather do than hang out with you.

Love and love and love you some more,
Your Mom Posted by Picasa


Sleep is not overrated

It's been a long, sleepless couple of weeks. It started a few weeks ago when R. went to India for a week. Two days in, MZ started waking in the night, full of tears. I knew by the way she looked at me every morning with that, "what, you again?" look that all was not well in her world, and brought her into bed with me. She bounced back just in time for Daddy's return, at which point she stayed up all night patting him, handing him her lion, and generally letting him know how happy she was to have him home.

Things got better after a few nights, and then we went to Florida for Grandma Lil's 90th birthday. To say it was a difficult weekend is unsufficient to describe the sleeplessness we all endured, and the discomfort that obviously consumed her and the resultant worry that consumed us. On the flight home, when she had a fever and refused food for the third meal in a row and blew out her diaper 40 minutes into the flight with a thick, soggy biohazard of a poop, I felt like I had in those first weeks: They let me take her home with me? What are they, crazy? I had no idea what was going on with her and we wanted only to get her home.

We got home, she collapsed into sleep, woke up, chowed down, and all seemed well in the world. Except the sleeping. The sleeping, she did not return to us. The sleeping, she stayed away.

Then, last week, a tooth emerged, and then another. Of course! The fever, the fussiness, the night wakings, even clear but consistent mocos. Symptoms we've been awaiting for months. Since the drool fountain dried up, plus since we've been wrong for seven months already, we barely considered teething.

R. and I have been lucky, MZ has been a good sleeper from the start. So we are extremely unpracticed at this fine art of parenting, nay living, while sleep-deprived. Turns out I suck at this. MZ wakes up grumpy at 4 AM and I try to pretend she's not really in our bed. We decided not to impose CIO when she's on such delicate footing, but I have refused to nurse her till 6 AM, in a quite possibly too-subtle attempt to make the 4 AM start to the day more unattractive.

This morning, for the first time in weeks, she woke up cooing after a full night's sleep. And I feel like a million bucks. And I am grateful, and humbled before the parents who do this for far longer than we have so far.
Posted by Picasa


Girl's gotta move...

I lost this entire post somehow, I pressed Publish and somehow got one lousy line. It's taken weeks to rethink this one, but in short, we went to the SF City College development class, and MZ crawled off my lap during circle time straight to her favorite structure. She climbed right up. And grabbed what she wanted, even if another baby was playing with it. She crawled over to a ball, ignoring me all the while, and then traded it for another. She was busy, let me tell you, and directed. And periodically she'd crawl over to me, climb my leg and touch my face, and then off again, to accomplish more of her To Do list. I was kvelling. Posted by Picasa