Friday, April 30, 2010

Anjali speaks and squeals before bedtime.

Click on this link to listen to Anjali from a couple nights ago before bed time.

Who makes funnier noises, papa or Anjali?

The Bottle

Eek! The bottle. Anjali is not feeling the bottle yet, and mama is going back to work part-time in 4 days. I cannot blame her for not liking the bottle. For one it's simply a foreign object to her. Two, the nipple is plastic and not warm flesh, and certainly very different than Anjali's mama. Three, all of the warm, cuddly and cozy associations with nursing are changed with the bottle. And certainly mama's scent and the complex exchange of hormones between mama and baby are missing.

Enter the bottle, and Anjali is asking, "Why is papa trying to feed me? What is this tube? This looks nothing like a breast! Where the hell is mama?!" [cry, scream, etc...]

The Bottles:
Granted, we have only been giving this effort for about a week, and we are told and have read it takes time and persistence. We have tried different bottles: Dr. Brown's Natural Flow by Hand-craft, Mimijumi which looks very much like a novelty you might find at Condom Nation or some related sex shop (and was quite pricey!), and we're currently trying the Tommee Tippee which seems to be less novelty than the Mimijumi. The regularly shaped bottles, such as the Dr. Brown's have failed miserably. She was taking the Mimijumi, but then something seemed defective about it. I would test it by holding it upside-down over my hand, and sometimes nothing would flow out, sometimes it would drip and other times it would just stream out rapidly. The past two days she has actually taken the Tommee Tippee briefly, but the problem overall is that Anjali is just playing with it in her mouth and doesn't seem to really be "latching" on or sucking on it, but rather just playing around with it. I do, however, see some milk in her mouth when she's doing this, but she only very briefly will close her mouth around it and look like she's drinking from it. Ultimately I end up cup or spoon feeding her. Spoon seems to be working out great.

The Feeding Session:
Prior to feeding sessions mama leaves the house while Anjali is sleeping, so Anjali doesn't so much as smell or sense that mama is in the house (If you could have the real deal why would you settle for less?!). Now, granted, we have been told not to try transitioning to the bottle when Anjali wakes up starving. But the whole timing of this has proven difficult.

So, Anjali up and as the bottle warms I potty and change her and get her bib on. Sometimes she's calm, and sometimes she's already crying in hunger. When she is crying I try to calm her by talking and singing to her and generally acting goofy. This seems to work.

Holding her sideways on my lap evokes a cry right away, so I have taken to facing her front on my lap while I lean back on the couch. This works better. Yesterday I had her like this and she took the bottle for 3-5 minutes before getting fed up and wailing. However, like I said, she wasn't really drinking it seems. It's also clear she is hungry, smells the milk and yet is not getting the appropriate delivery. Hearing her cries and seeing her tears evokes horrible emotions for me. I feel so bad I cannot give her what she wants. And when she doesn't calm after 5, 10, 15 minutes, it even gets frustrating for me. I try to keep calm, to talk to her, sing to her, hold her, bounce her as I sit on the yoga ball and sooth her. And breathe, because she obviously senses if I get frustrated. It is just a visceral reaction I feel and I want to do everything I can to sooth her frustration...And mine, because there's almost this anger that builds in me because I am frustrated too that she won't simply take what she wants (milk) from whatever method of delivery. Yesterday I released some tension by simply tensing up every muscle in my body for a few seconds and then releasing. I did this several times and it helped me remain calm after she had a 15 minute crying bout.

Anyway, when she's calm I go for the cup or spoon. The spoon seems to be working out. The spoon we're currently using is a medicine spoon (like this one) . I hold it up to her mouth just resting on her bottom lip and she laps it up with her tongue and upper mouth. In fact, I even found her using her hands to guide my hand and spoon to her. The spoon is a bit messy; hence the bib. But she is most certainly drinking it. She is not getting as much as she would with mama, but she seems satisfied after a certain point and is certainly not upset.

Mama is also a fan of the spoon. She wants to ditch the bottle altogether because when she's been around for one of my feeding attempts and hears Anjali cry for even a minute she absolutely hates it. I don't blame her; I hate it too. However, I am not 100% about ditching the bottle altogether. Originally the plan was try the bottle and if not working give up after 10 minutes. Calm Anjali down and try the cup or spoon. Now mama is trying to use the spoon intermixed in some of her normal nursing to remove any bad associations Anjali may have with the whole bottle or cup or spoon feeding. I am thinking that when I feed her I should exclusively use the spoon for a while, so she has good associations between papa and feeding. Then, maybe eventually try introducing the bottle as well...But stopping when the crying starts.

Conclusion:
I am confident that Anjali is eating, at least from the spoon at this point. Persistence and calm are definitely key. If mama could get through those first 2-3 weeks (actually, those first 4-5 weeks) to get nursing down, I can certainly persist here.

Also, if Anjali never takes the bottle and only uses cup or spoon when mama is at work, is this such a bad thing? We think not. Bottles perhaps are just the most accepted method, but not necessarily the one for us. And not using a bottle will help Anjali make a quicker transition to using a cup or spoon herself as an older infant into child- and adult-hood.

In the meantime, I will be driving to mama's work for her lunchtime so Anjali and mama can be together, enjoy the most needed company and so they can nurse. In this way I am confident we can make it through those days when mama is at work, even if Anjali is only getting about an ounce of milk during her feedings with papa.

Stay tuned...

Thursday, April 29, 2010

On Baby Wearing

Just here to tout baby wearing. In fact I am wearing Anjali in a Moby wrap as I type this. Of course occasionally I have to stand up and sway back and forth a bit if she squirms, fusses or makes any sign to the effect of, "Hey papa, 'I like to move it, move it!'"

Anyway, mama and I have only experienced and read positive things about keeping baby close to us, whether awake or napping. Since Anjali is now big enough to be worn facing out that's a great way to have her when she's awake, as she can observe the world better than facing in. Facing in is much better when we know she is close to nap time. But either is great because she goes where we go and experiences with such closeness all of the things we do. This way we can do things hands free, have Anjali close to our body and let her experience all sorts of sites and sounds in our daily lives.

For example, right after I wrapped Anjali to me I checked my text messages, brushed my teeth, emptied her potty, did some dishes, put some other items away, and now am typing this. She just fell asleep. After this I will make a few necessary phone calls, possibly play tabla for a bit, and continue with my day.

Just to mix it up, so she does not get used to just one way or place for napping, mama and I vary between putting her down in her bassinet, our bed, her swing, in arms/lap/chest or wrapping her. The benefits of putting her down in bed or crib are that we are a bit more free than with the wrap, and that Anjali gets used to a bit of distance from mama and papa. However, this usually involves a ritual of singing to her, bouncing her on the ball, putting her in the bed/bassinet and likely picking her up and repeating these steps a few times, plus shushing or singing to her. It's also likely that once we leave the room she make wake 10 minutes later with the possibility of repeating the process again. Also, everything needs to be quiet for this process to work because infants at this stage do not have great ability to block out all sorts of distractions that older kids and adults can, such as household noises (refrigerator, fans going on and off, computer, etc) and street noise.

With the wrap, little to none of that is necessary. Just being close is enough! I can clank dishes, hit drums, sing, have conversations with people, do laundry, etc. And she will still fall asleep and remain asleep 98% of the time.

Yay wrap! Time to make a phone call...

Friday, April 23, 2010

Friends on the Journey

We have great friends who are on the journey with us with their new beloved babies. Uma Pai was born in November and has a wonderful blog here: www.umapai.blogspot.com. We got to hang out with her and her awesome parents Radha and Sheila on Tuesday. Luke Kelly was born in March to Nancy and Chris and they have a great blog here: www.thekellynewlyweds.blogspot.com. We are thankful for them and their love & support. Check out their blogs too!

Doctor's Visit

Today marked Anjali's two month well visit with Dr. Flood. She is 12 lbs 3 oz and doing well. Among other things, she is to keep her hats on, to be examined for ticks if we go to the park, have us prevent sunburning, protect her hearing from loud motorcycle revving (don't even get me started about these people!), let her get some sun exposure for Vit D3, ask sick people not to visit, make sure that all caregivers have short fingernails, and to continue on as we have been doing. Our pediatrician is very thorough.Yay! Oh yes, and she doesn't have thrush and never did.

Also this week, Anjali got to meet mama's office staff at Lewis House. And yesterday, she started to lap her bath water! She got to visit with Rachel S, meet Julie & Irwin, and she says "hi" alot.

Pics from the Week

Thursday, April 22, 2010

More on EC

Our EC endeavors have been going really, really well. We are able to pick up on alot of Anjali's cues and since she was born, we've had only about 5 soiled diapers in total. It is so much easier to clean a plastic potty then a poopy diaper and baby. We are catching a lot of pees to prevent wet diapers, but this is always more challenging. However, we are catching on to her cues more often. We've been asked about EC alot and the following from the continuum-family website is a really helpful explanation.

 Getting Started with EC

There are two main things you need to get started with EC. The first is a shift in mindset -- EC is really a whole different paradigm than most of us are accustomed to. Here are the key points:
  1. EC is not training, it's communication -- it is a gentle process of responding to the baby's cues and needs in the moment. It is never coercive or punitive.
  2. Babies are born potty trained -- they instinctively want to avoid eliminating on themselves but need someone to assist them in the early months. The practice of diaper training has taught us to ignore our baby's signals, which in turn teaches our babies to tune out their own needs and stop signalling. Then, they lose the control and awareness they were born with only to have to re-learn it later on.
  3. EC is not some "out-there" alternative parenting approach -- it is what millions of parents around the world do every day and did long before diapers were manufactured and marketed.
  4. EC is true "child-led" potty training if we just tune in and listen to them from the start.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Anjali's Nicknames

We have many many nicknames for our darling baby daughter. (These are ours though, you'll have to come up with your own!)

Bun
BunBun
Bunny Bun
Bunny
Bunjali
Bun Angel
Baby Bun
Bunny Bear
Bunny Pie
Nubnub (BunBun backwards)
Nubs
Funbun
Little Pigeon
Cutie
CutieCute
Sweetpea
Sweetiepuss
Googlypuss
Snow Princess
Baby Princess
Munchie Munchie
Pie Pie

Product Testing by Fuzzy

Hello all. Fuzzy here. I've been dying to tell you what I think about some of these baby products and gifts that have filtered through the house in the last couple of months. Ah....comfort! It makes up for the new baby who has usurped attention from me. I wouldn't mind her but she wails loudly, sending everyone running to her and me running away. I'm not sure what they see in her. I should try this wailing tactic too. If anyone can think of captions to these photos, have at it!

Formal Photo

This is one of Anjali's professional photo from her shoot done when she was three weeks old. These are by Allyson Crozier and I humbly scanned one so you can see. They were all beautiful:

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Happy Birthday Beloved



I like you because because because
I forget why I like you but I do.
So many reasons.
On the fourth of July I like you because it's the fourth of July.
On the fifth of July, I like you too.

Even if it was the 999th of July
Even if it was August
Even if it was way down at the bottom of November
Even if it was no place particular in January
I would go on choosing you
And you would go on choosing me
Over and over again.
That's how it would happen every time.
I guess I just like you because I like you.

Iska to Iske

Anjali cooed at and reached for the cat ornament that we have in memory of Iske, our beloved cat who died December 15, before Anjali was born, and the namesake for her middle name. She would have liked to have met her we are sure. This is the first time Anjali reached for an object.

Peapod

New Wraps

We are loving babywearing! Our beautiful Girasol wrap finally came in from Guatemala via Germany (Girasol's headquarters). Woven wraps are awesome and I love this colorway. It is very cushiony, supportive and comfortable. Woven wraps allow you to go every type of carry from newborn to toddler age and then can be repurposed as a child's hammock. Back muscles get stronger too! The other wrap is a Moby which we thought would be good for summertime. Anjali is finally ready for some forward out wrapping and enjoys looking at the world at adult height.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Intuition: Recognizing it...Or not

We have read in several EC books and websites that recognizing your baby's cues to potty are important. But there is also an importance in listening to your intuition. We read that there are times when mothers or fathers just sensed that their baby had to pee. So they pottied them and, in fact, they were right.

This morning I was giving Anjali a leg massage and had her on the changing table with no diaper on her. There was a moment when I had this intuitive feeling that Anjali may have to pee. She was not cuing however, so I let it pass. Only 5 to 10 seconds later out came the pee while she lay on her back. Oops. Maybe I should trust my intuition, as it may be one of the most reliable senses!

Trip to Lancaster

This morning we decided on an impromptu trip to Lancaster, PA. Mama and I wanted to change up our normal routine which often winds up getting us outside much later in the day. So, after Anjali's morning potty around 7am, and a bit of awake and play time with Mama and Papa, Anjali went down for a long morning nap. In that time we got everything ready, so when Anjali awoke and we got her situated, we could go and enjoy the beautiful day.

The ride there was uneventful, and Anjali eventually fell asleep. Keep in mind Lancaster is about an hour and 15 minute car ride for us, so this was the longest car trip we have taken with her. We made it there and Anjali only started fussing at the very end of the ride. She was getting a little too hot in the car seat.

The sun was definitely very bright for Anjali's sensitive eyes (perhaps a trait from papa), so we had to stick to the shade as much as possible today. I can't say we ended up doing that much while in Lancaster on this trip. Anjali was a bit tired, and being outside of our normal house routine made it difficult to do certain things. We were not so good about watching the time and helping her to nap after 90 minutes. Stimuli was difficult to control. Plus, moving around so much meant she couldn't nap for as long as she wanted. Also, we have not yet implemented a travel potty system so we were unable to EC and instead simply changed the diapers. Also, if there was nowhere to go and potty her and she was clearly cue-ing that she had to go, we would cue her to simply go in her diaper and figured we would change her at the next best chance...in the trunk of the car.

We did, however, calm her to nap while we ate lunch at a restaurant...And we had Shoe Fly Pie. Yum! But papa ate to much.

After lunch we decided it best to make our way home. Oh, but the car ride home was not as smooth as the way out. We had to stop shortly into it because Anjali was crying and uncomfortable. We stopped and she nursed. We changed her in the back of the car, and figured we had our bases covered, and that the movement of the car would rock her to sleep.

Um...wrong. She did not want to be in that car seat. Well, she did fall asleep for a while, but she awoke when we hit terrible rush hour traffic and pretty much wailed for the next half hour it took to get home, occasionally being comforted by sucking on mama's finger, by our shushing and our voices, and by this cute froggy toy. In general though, it was really difficult because we were stuck in the car. And clearly Anjali was telling us to get her out of that seat and into our arms. She was staring at mama, and even with mama's hand around her she was not comforted. It was as if she was looking at mama like, "Why are you not getting me out of this thing?! You're right there!" Anjali has no understanding of the necessity for her to be in that seat in the car.

Anyway, when we got home she was calm pretty much as soon as mama picked her up. She sat on the potty very relaxed for a good 10 or 15 minutes. Nothing came out, but she was calm. Then mama fed her, and shortly thereafter sat on the potty again and pooped. Mama said after that she was like a different little girl--much relieved and relaxed. Perhaps she really had to go while we were in the car...Or perhaps she did really just want out of that seat and to be held. Sometimes it's hard to tell.

The funny thing is, I guess we drove all the way to Lancaster for lunch and Shoe Fly Pie! Haha! It was worth it though to get out of a daily routine, enjoy the outdoors, and always to learn more about our baby...

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Loving Bathtime

Anjali loves the bath! Sorry the video is a bit dark. We turn the lights down during bath time as part of the bed time routine.

Tag Team Dinners

Ah, the essence of timing...Or lack there of. There are various scenarios where we are constantly developing our timing and anticipation skills. Of course, trying to be "baby led" parents, while trying to incorporate the knowledge and wisdom we have read, often means timing is thwarted.

Some different timing issues include:
  • Baby led nap timing vs. going out (either a specifically scheduled appointment or event or something as simple as trying to go to the park and enjoy the day). There were times today, for example, when we thought, "when she wakes up, nurse her and then we'll go to the park." Of course, she slept longer, or after nursing immediately fell asleep for another round of nap! We did eventually make it to the park, by about 4:30 pm or so.
  • Bedtime Routine: Trying to get the bedtime routine to coincide with when Anjali is actually ready to go to sleep is a bit of an exercise in patience. We're learning everyday though, and I think our new bedtime plan may just work out...It did tonight. It's all about flexibility though. but more on the new bedtime routine in another post.
  • Meals: How many times have I cooked something only to have it ready just when Anjali wakes up and has to nurse, thus leaving mama less than hands free. It's something I can often anticipate will happen. but we've learned to have tag team dinners. This, of course, is when I'll eat while mama nurses Anjali, and then mama eats while I take Anjali. There are times--somewhat messy times--when mama will attempt eating while nursing, or I will attempt to eat while holding Anjali. This might be called partial meal on baby's head...

"Getting Stronger..." by Anjali

Anjali's view:

I'm growing so fast and in so many ways. Not only am I growing out of my first clothes (mama is getting sad and sentimental about it), but I am making new leaps developmentally, both physically and mentally.

For one, I really love having conversations with mama and papa. One of my favorite conversation times is in the morning, shortly after I wake up. Papa potties me and then lays me on the changing table. After about the 2 or 3 seconds it takes for me to focus and absorb, I give him the biggest smile. This usually warrants a big smile from papa. That's when he starts talking and singing to me. Lately papa's been singing Frank Zappa's Let Me Take You To The Beach, which is a silly song but so much fun. I imitate him the best I can...And he imitates me, eventually degenerating in to a back and forth of goofy sounds and babble. But we smile a lot and have fun. Mama noticed that I try to respond when they say "hi," "hello," or "hey." Of course my versions are a little different (and way cuter).

Also, in addition to staring at mama and papa, I am staring and focusing more on certain objects. There's an adorable wool owl that I love to look at while papa holds me in the glider chair. And mama finds me looking at the books. I love when mama and papa read to me. My favorites are Brown Bear Brown Bear, Moo Baa La La La, The Very Hungry Caterpillar, and my bedtime books, Goodnight Moon and The Napping House. Sometimes I really love to look at the pictures and try to say the words the best I can. Other times I am distracted by other things around me and mama and papa have to stop reading.

On the physical side, I am really enjoying the comforts of sucking on my hand. This means mama and papa have to be vigilant about washing my hands. But it's nice for mama to know that I can comfort suck on my hand without needing to latch onto her, that is, when I'm not really hungry and perhaps a bit fussy...And no need for a pacifier; I don't really like the pacifier.

My legs are getting super strong. I love when mama or papa holds me in a standing position. My favorite game is when mama stands me up, lets me push off and jumps me to another place, like on the other side of her, or on her knees, or on a chair. She says, "Jump!" I smile and make lots of sounds during this game. Papa has caught on to this one too...
Also, my neck is getting stronger. Look at these pictures of this evening's tummy time.


I'm generally able to hold my head up really well now, and I have a good deal of control so I can move my head where I want it to go, rather than it flopping around like a soggy noodle. I can turn my head directly toward mama when I am hungry. Or if we're going for a walk and the sun is in my eyes, I can simply turn it to the other side.

And finally, notice how pink and rosy my cheeks are. This is because I am so well fed and loved by my mama. I stare and smile at her and talk to her to let her know I love her too!

Flashback

Second First

The other first that Anjali accomplished today was getting excited about a thing. Not our faces but a toy. I jiggled the fluffy pig with a bell inside and Anjali got all excited and moved her arms and legs really fast. She did this a couple of times then stared at herself in the mirror (a previous accomplishment). Today opens up the world of toys.

Rembrandt Pages

First Dress

Anjali had a few firsts today. The first first is that she wore her first dress! Up until now, it has been more or less cold and dresses aren't the best things for winter. Good quality onesies are the easiest to put on her for EC, for less ride up, and for no tears, and we especially like the kimono versions. We think babies should look like babies.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Friday, April 9, 2010

Grampa and Anjali

Grampa and Anjali were really bonding the other day...



Here are some adorable pics of Anjali with her Grampa!

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Wonder Weeks

We are reading this book called The Wonder Weeks that chronicles the most important neurological developmental weeks of babies in the first year. The book is written by two Dutch researchers and tells you when the weeks are, what to expect that week, what the babies will learn, and how you can help them. They are weeks 5, 8 (that's us now!), 12, 19,26,37,46,55. This week is the world of patterns: babies start to recognize patterns visually and aurally. The researchers studied a bunch of babies and followed them throughout the year. They found that all babies go through these developmental weeks. Babies tend to be extra fussy and inconsolable because it is scary for them. So, extra care and comfort is needed.

Today, Anjali interacted with her own image in the mirror, was fascinated by the rotating lambs on her swing, by the books on the shelf next to mama's chair, and by the patterns on papa's shirt. Actually, she couldn't stop looking at them, even when she is moved. This is the first time she is really interested in things other than our faces.



Snoozing in the Park

With the gorgeous weather today, we went to Liberty Lands park and relaxed under a shady tree. Anjali stayed asleep on papa.  The trip was a success and we can look forward to future trips to the park. The good thing is that if things go south, home is very close by.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Junk Toys

"Like junk food, junk toys can be fun but are devoid of nutrition. Buying them requires little forethought. They are excessively commercial, and are often linked to cross-marketing schemes. They excite children at first, but that initial flicker doesn’t endure. Also like junk food, junk toys have hidden environmental and social costs for which the consumers pay." - Judith Rubin
 It's hard to imagine that ubiquitous and innocent gifts as plastic toys or stuffed animals made from synthetic materials could have such a negative impact on a child, a family, and their world. It's even harder to raise a healthy child when society wants you to raise a good consumer. The toys that we provide children have a part to play in that. Plastic toys give off chemicals that disrupt the endocrine system, do not degrade in landfills, are petroleum by-products, are often made in sweatshops, are often made in China, use excessive resources to make and transport, do not last more than one generation, and many are overly commercial. Life Magazine reports, "Except for the small amount that has been incinerated — and it’s a very small amount — every bit of plastic made still exists." YUCK! This isn't the world we want to leave Anjali and her friends.
 
How can you tell a junk toy from a good toy? Here are some great questions to ask yourself when selecting toys:
  1. Will this toy eventually turn into dirt-i.e., could I compost it? 
  2. Do I know who made this toy? 
  3. Is this toy beautiful? Have human hands bestowed an awkward grace, a uniqueness lacking in toys cranked out effortlessly by machine?
  4. Will this toy capture a child’s imagination?
 Where to find these toys? Well, they are everywhere if you know what to look for. And there are lots of websites devoted to beautiful toys:

www.palumba.com
www.bellalunatoys.com
www.thewoodenwagon.com
www.novanatural.com
www.etsy.com

(dolls from AsherJasper on etsy.com)

Some things that we liked can be found on Anjali's Wishlist at Amazon.com. There are such beautiful crafts out there and the artists are worthy of support. It's much nicer to have one good toy then twenty junk ones.

Beautiful Spring Day

After massage class yesterday, we took our samosas and baby to the University of Pennsylvania campus and spent time on the lawn enjoying the weather.