Archive for Milestones

Chubby Jokes

While most of us prefer to lose, rather than gain weight, chubby is good for a newborn–allowing one of the few acceptable opportunities for otherwise un-p.c. jokes.

Junior’s large size (10 lbs, 4 oz at birth) has prompted a number of zingers. The best one, so far, comes from one of DH’s co-workers.

How big was he at birth again? And how big was the baby he ate?

Hahaha.

Got your own chubby baby joke?

Or do you want to hazard a guess about how big he’ll be at his two month appointment on 10/30? Here are some clues: He weighed in at 13 lbs, 10 oz and measured 24.25 inches at his one month appointment. And here are pictures of him from a week ago on 10/23 (I’ll even include one with me and with an infant car seat for reference).

I’ll post his weight early next week…



She’s Like a Rainbow

After the highly anticipated first word, comes the flood. When the pediatrician asks for a count, I haven’t one. The child seems to know the word for everything she’s ever seen and rapidly absorbs new ones.

The set of words that seems to amaze all the other parents is the colors. Months ago she mastered red, green, blue, yellow, orange, pink, and purple (spoken in two syllables with a mix of awe of and surprise). Now she’s moved onto “hot pink” and light and dark blue. She’s very particular about which color bow she selects every morning and which crayon she uses.

I reassure them that she counts 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6…1…um…

Although I doubt this has deeper meaning, it can be fun to speculate. Will she be a designer? A decorator? An artist?

Of course, she’s just as likely to become a physicist…but allow me to indulge in my daydreams.

What words are your toddlers into? And what could it mean?

Taking the Plunge

My daughter has been almost constantly by my side since she was born. The number of times we’ve been apart is in the single digits.

Call it baby separation anxiety.

At the start, it was new mommy attachment–I didn’t want someone else taking her because she was my baby. I had just worked through 24 hours of difficult labor with complications to bring her into the world, and I felt like I wanted to hold her forever.

Then, we found out about her heart condition and I found myself alone. With my husband deployed and family so far away, it didn’t seem fair to ask another to accept the responsibility for her care, assuming anyone would have.

After the operation, there were months of house hunting and moving and several phases of developmentally appropriately stranger anxiety. And recently, she added the breath-holding and fainting to her infrequent but intense toddler explosions.

Most of the time, though, she is a happy and social child. A real flirt at playdates, where I notice little toddler boys feeding her fruit.

When I signed her up for swim lessons, I thought we would enjoy the experience together. But the Mommy and Me class was geared for much younger babies–“Now if your baby has good neck control, you can try this…”

So, I held my breath and dove in–splurging on the individual lessons. Lessons that required I hand my precious child to another person and then walk away. I could watch from the observation deck, but she would not be able to see me.

As she approaches her second birthday, I am realizing it is long past time. Time for her to embrace new experiences. A healthy attachment is a beautiful thing and so important at the start. At the same time, I do not want to limit her. I have to let go, just a little, so she can grow.

I know she feels loved and secure. I knew she could do it. I just was not so sure about me.

So, yesterday at the the pool, I released her into the arms of a trustworthy someone who is not a blood relation.

And for the first ten minutes she screamed. She howled and raged at the betrayal. And I gripped the rail and felt terrible, for her, for myself, and especially for her poor, patient swim teacher.

But after that, she was finally distracted by the joys of the pool, the fun toys, and the excitement of actually being encouraged to kick–the lure of the forbidden fruit. She swam, and she smiled, and she didn’t even start crying tears of accusation when I returned poolside to pick her up 30 minutes later.

All the way back home and the rest of the day she talked about “swim fun.”


There you stood on the edge of your feather, expecting to fly. While I laughed, I wondered whether I could wave goodbye… (Expecting to Fly, Neil Young, Buffalo Springfield)

You’re a Superstar, That is What You Are…

Baby Diva had her 18 Month well baby appointment and, except for a little eczema, all looks great!

Vital Stats: Her weight had plateaued for a while and was making me slightly concerned. After all, this child had been riding the 90th percentile curve since month one, then suddenly stopped gaining weight at about a year. She was 21 lbs at 9 months and then barely gained anything over the next half a year. I feel like I am feeding her non-stop, though, and all signs point to a happy, well-fed baby, so I wasn’t too nervous. Well, this visit showed she added a little more weight: she is 24.5 lbs (60th percentile for weight and 75th percentile in height). The delicious pudge is fading and my little girl is turning into a bean pole! The doctor also said she is incredibly big and healthy looking for a tet baby.

Diet: We went through all the usual stuff–and the new pediatrician thankfully did not even blink when the response to “And how long did you breastfeed?” was, “Until about two weeks ago.”

Yes, the Diva has weaned. I suppose as I finish up the first trimester my milk changed taste. She had already dropped down to about two feedings a day (sometimes more, sometimes less) and then a couple of weeks ago, she just decided she was “all done” (her second favorite sign after “more”).

Next came the developmental milestones.

Words: tons. She says bowl, book, cat, up, mama, dada, papa, bad (in association with aforementioned cat), duck, lots of animal sounds, blue (to summon her favorite food, blueberries), no (so it begins…), and a bunch more. She generally prefers signing to words when she knows a sign, and has started to form mini sentences in sign language (“more book please,” being her favorite, closely followed by “more cheese please”).

Fork and spoon: insists on it.

Walking, running, climbing, and generally making mommy twitch: oh, boy, yes.

Language recognition: absolutely. She knows the names of everything in the house and she can bring you specific books if you ask (I am assuming she is recognizing the cover picture and not reading…heh).

Following simple directions: for a while now. In fact, she is following two-step directions. At this, the pediatrician actually looked surprised and exclaimed, “she’s a developmental superstar.”

So, now her official medical diagnoses include “chronically cute” and “a superstar.”

Okay, I know that hitting milestones a little fast or a little slow is meaningless at this stage. Anything within the normal range is, well normal. But I can’t help but enjoy that a little. Don’t worry, I won’t start bragging at playgroups (I’ll leave the real bragging to the experts…the grandparents)…but I get to be a little proud on my blog, right???

Linguistic Milestones and Triumphs

Going to bed very soon over here. Baby Diva has been doing lots of growing up and she wants to keep practicing at night.

She’s been walking all over the place and brings me my shoes and the sling when she wants to go outside.

For a while she’s been “quacking” whenever you ask her what sound a duck makes. Captain Dad, joker that he is, has also taught her to sound like a “demonic duck” (quacking, but in a throaty, gravelly voice).

Daddy also likes to amuse us by mispronouncing words. I imagine I’ll have some interesting conversations later with her Kindergarten teacher: “No, she doesn’t have a speech impediment. She just has a father with a dry wit.”

I’m also very interested to see how she’ll use other languages. We incorporate a good bit of Spanish and a little Russian into our days and she definitely has a basic vocabulary in each, even when words are brought up in different contexts.

Right now, though, she’s just starting to expand her repertoire of spoken words. Her grandfather swears he hears her parroting what I say but mostly it sounds like gibberish to me. For me to call it a word, it has to be crystal clear. Maybe I should give her more credit.

Every once in a while, she’ll turn to me and say, “I love you, mama.” But, much like Michigan J Frog, she’ll give no encore for a larger audience.

Today she treated me to actually saying “duck” when she saw the picture in the book. She was very proud to be able to show off her new found verbal skills tonight to Daddy, and even held something in reserve for him. Tonight she triumphantly pronounced “Moo” and “Baa” when she saw the appropriate bovine and ovine creatures during Daddy’s command reading of “The Big Red Barn.”

Of course, she still points to your breast pocket whenever you say “sheep.” Daddy likes to wear Brooks Brothers polo shirts. I caught her giggling last time she did it so I think her insistence that sheep live on people’s chests is another example of her wicked sense of humor. She knows that mommy really wants her to point to the picture of the sheep so she persists in being contrary just for the laugh.

Well, it’s pajama time and the moon is sailing high in the dark night sky so goodnight stars, goodnight air, goodnight noises everywhere…

I Saw The Sign

Teach your baby sign language and she’ll be able to communicate with you BEFORE SHE CAN EVEN TALK.

Sounds great, right?

Well, it is…but make sure you want to know what’s on the mind of a one year-old before you give her the ability to gesticulate what she’s thinking.

Apparently “food” is on her mind. And “more food.” And “nursing.”

Oh, and she likes to tell you that she is “all done” when you are doing something she doesn’t like, such as clipping her nails or wiping her face.

Sorry, kiddo. You may be all done, but we aren’t.

Babies also do the over generalizing thing with signs that they do with spoken words.

At first, Baby Diva only used the food sign when she was hungry. Then, she started emphatically insisting she wanted to eat moments after I fed her a large meal. I would hand her a snack and she would push it away and sign more frantically. Finally, she picked up a book and stuck it in her mouth.

Okay, that makes sense. She chews on her books, so obviously they are food.

Food for thought, sweetie.

Besides, if she signs “eat” and points to something, she usually gets it. So why bother being more precise if mommy will figure out what she wants, anyway?

And then there is the sign for milk, our darling’s first sign!

Captain Dad is playing with the Diva and Mama is getting a moment of relaxation when all of a sudden, two figures appear.

Captain Dad, carrying Baby Diva sedan-chair style announces, “She wants to nurse.”

“How do you know?”

“She told me.” To emphasize the point, Baby Diva solemnly lifts one hand and makes the tell-tale squeezing motion.

If she’s really hungry, she uses both hands–as if to say, “This is a two mammary meal, mommy!” I’m sure it will only be a matter of time before she is chasing me around the house, squeezing both hands, looking like a demented crab.

A few weeks ago I had the bright idea to reintroduce the sign for “more.”

Baby Diva loves this sign and now more or less uses it to indicate the opposite of “all done.” At first, however, she failed to grasp that this magical sign was a modifier.

So, for about a week non-stop she would constantly put her finger tips together to ask for “more.”

“More,” what, baby girl?

More everything mommy.

We Now Return to Your Regularly Scheduled Cuteness

When I first started blogging, I focused on the political, then shifted to the personal for a number of reasons. Now that I am a mother, I find myself increasingly interested in the political in the broader sense of the word (rather than the which of the various identical candidates is going to win the next election sort of way). After all, now that I have an heir, her inheritance becomes of central importance.

I find myself thinking a lot about what sort of world I want to leave my child (and hopefully children).

So, you may occasionally have to endure, skim, or skip (your choice!) my rants and raves about supporting breastfeeding or the value of motherhood to society or what have you…but for now, back to your regularly scheduled cuteness.

Baby Diva

Baby Diva With Loco Loki

Baby Diva is High Maintenance

Ahhh…doesn’t that feel good? But, ack, what happened to my tiny baby??? Someone’s been sneaking in at night and turning her into a toddler! We’re not quite there, yet, but my goodness, look at her!

What’s new?

The Diva has started to stand on her own and in typical Diva fashion wants no assistance in achieving this new milestone. She is having tons and tons of fun and very proud of her new achievements all by herself thank you very much. (Yup, Granny’s curse is coming true)

Speaking of Granny, my mom taught the little bean to raise her foot when you say “Piggies” (for “This little piggy…”). Now if you even mention the word “piggies” or “piggy” in any context, the kid will crawl over and lift her foot expectantly.

Oh, and lots and lots of kisses! I cannot tell you how exciting it is to be covered in drooly baby kisses.

Baby Diva also likes to kiss the kittens in her story books.

She’ll also kiss me if she accidentally hurts me or if I tell her I love her, which is exciting because she is clearly connecting the word love and the act of kissing with affection!

Thursday is the big ONE! We are celebrating her birthday on Saturday with a lot of family and friends and I am so excited to see everyone.

Where’s the Kitten?

If you check out Mamanista, you know that I’ve been trying to introduce Baby Diva to other languages, specifically Spanish and Russian.

One of her favorite new books is Where’s the Kitten? (English/Russian bilingual edition). I’ve been reading it in Russian and Captain Dad reads it in English. When I ask “Gye Zhe Kotyonok?” she squeals and points to the kitten. At first she found it easier to find the kitten when it was standing solo. After a little while, though, she had no trouble finding the kitten in a box of toys (which cuddly creature IS the kitten) and in a bag of groceries (he’s hiding…but THERE’S the kitten!).

Then we tried a different book, that refers to the feline as a “cat.” “Where’s the kitten?” No problem. She points right to it. How about the horse? Simple, mommy. Wow.

Whenever we stump her (please point to the sheep), she squeals we delight as we identify the correct animal or object for her.

So we’ve been trying a few other items. A couple of days ago she went and fetched “The Pirate Ship” and “The Ball” from a big box of toys.

ETA: Oh, I forgot my favorite part. We asked her to point to “Daddy’s ring,” even though we had not really used the word “ring” with her before. She looked puzzled so I hinted that “it is gold and shiny.” And just like that, she pointed right to it!

This is probably completely normal, and I understand that they comprehend a fairly large vocabulary at this point, but color me impressed.

Don’t Hold Your Applause

Today we did our bedtime routine, I nursed Baby Diva, and put her down to sleep. I came downstairs and heard the dreaded sounds of fussing an crying. So, I went up to comfort her but she just wanted to play.

I called Captain Dad in for a consult. We tried to pretend we were asleep but Baby Diva just kept shoving her pacifier down my shirt (what would make mommy even cooler? if she had a paci there, too…three is so much better than two!). Eventually I couldn’t stifle the giggles any longer so we just gave in and decided to try again after some quiet play.

Baby Diva, as she so often does, had other plans.

She chose this exact moment to start clapping for the very first time.

Because I don’t want her to be stuck clapping alone like that guy in that teen movie spoof, I clapped too. So did Captain Dad.

Ecstatic at how quickly she trained us to clap on command, Baby Diva continued her performance for about 15 minutes. Since she was showing no sign of flagging, we brought her back downstairs, listened to some calm classical music.

Once she started rubbing her eyes, we brought her back up and re-did the bedtime routine. This time she collapsed, without protest.

Goodnight little one.

Bravo.