Sunday, May 30, 2010

Anjali's New Instrument

Uma & Anjali

Uma is 3 months older than Anjali. Check out Uma grabbing Jeremy's beard. Anjali is working very hard in the background. Go Anjali go!

Friday, May 28, 2010

Me and My Buddy Fuzzy

Look at my handling skills!

It's Not Just About Milk, by Papa

As mama returned to work part-time at the beginning of May and I am a work-at-home papa, I have to troubleshoot when Anjali clearly just needs mama. Many people figure that so long as I have a bottle or spoon, Anjali will get what she desires. Well, yes, she loves mama's milk...but there are times, even when she's hungry, that slurping the milk isn't really cutting it. It's not just about the milk! She needs that closeness, the skin-to-skin contact, the eye exchanges (mama's eyes specifically), mama's smile, mama's scent, mama's heartbeat, etc...And most importantly mama's love.

When Anjali is crying and not wanting milk, I give her Sofie, the giraffe teether, to suck and gnaw on. One time, I sat with her on the glider chair and held her sideways, as if nursing, and let her suck on my finger. That's about as close to nursing as I can get.

But Anjali cannot yet rationalize where mama is or when she is returning. Of course I have my own special relationship with my daughter that I cherish - I'm not knocking myself. I give her as much comfort as possible...And as I have all of these tools in my troubleshooting belt (and always learning and finding more), our days have gotten better and better with minimal crying.

Grateful as we are that mama only has to work part-time, we do curse our country for it's double-standards when it comes to family. It's all about 'family values', but there's no support when it comes to the need for mother and child to be together in the first year. There should be more support than a 3, 6 or 12 week leave from work, period. I suppose if I knew my extra tax dollars were actually going toward such a thing I would gladly pay more, as in other countries. But usually such changes require a cultural and/or national change in mindset first.

I Love Sofie, by Anjali

In the last couple of weeks I have really developed my hand-eye coordination. I reach for things and can pick them up and grab them. And whatever I pick up must pass product testing via my mouth. Yum.

I am also signaling with my hands a lot. If I want something, I will reach for it. Or if I want my mama or papa to pick me up, I hold out my hands and arms.

Look at this video of me with Sofie, my giraffe teether.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

My World by Anjali

One of my favorite games that I play with my mama is "Up and Down". My mama has been playing this with me since I was 6 weeks old and I love it so much. My mama props herself up with pillows and bends her knees. The knees are higher than her head. Then she picks me up and sits me on her knee so that I look at her. I smile at her and talk to her so she knows its my favorite. Then I straighten my legs, arch my back, and she helps me 'fly" or slide down her leg, landing on her tummy where she showers me with kisses. Then I get really excited and want to do it again!

Another game we play is when she lies down on the bed and I sit on her tummy. She bends me forward and we are face to face. We are so close that when I look into her eyes, she has one big brown cyclops' eye and I have one big blue cyclops' eye. We coo at each other and tell each other how much we love each other. It's my mama's favorite.

Picnic Afternoon

Yesterday, a lovely day here in Philadelphia, Anjali and I met our friends Nancy and Luke at Liberty Lands Park for a nice afternoon. Under the shade of some beautiful trees, Anjali and Luke nursed, played, cried and slept while their mamas talked. Baby schedules are never set in stone, but the little ones allowed us to at least get there with some food in our tummies so that we can catch up on all that has been going on in our lives. Nancy and I met through the Hypnobabies webgroup, an all encompassing birthing course that got us ready to birth our babies naturally. After hours and hours of relaxation training, we both had very nice births without drugs.

Friday, May 21, 2010

more tummy time

Me and my Ikea toy, by Anjali

I love to play with my Ikea play set. Now that I reach for things and grab them this toy is so engaging. My friend Uma really liked it when she was here yesterday, except she can sit up and play with it. I'll definitely be trying that someday. For now I like laying on my back, grabbing pushing, swinging and talking to all of these hanging objects...

Uma and Radha's visit, by Anjali

Papa and I got to hang out with our good friends Uma and Radha. Uma and I were entranced by Radha's drumming. Papa and Radha talked about stuff, and Uma and I talked as well. I saw that Uma can sit up. That's a pretty neat trick. I'll have to learn someday soon...In the meantime they got to see me eat with a spoon! And we went to the Random Tea Room. That chai they make smells out of this world. Someday I'll drink some. In the meantime I'll fall asleep while papa drinks his.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Today I...(by Anjali)

Today I...
  • Only had to have my diaper changed once (this morning)...Well, at least so far; It's 5:15pm now...
  • Ate from my awesome new Medela Soft Feeder spoon thanks to mama's research and papa's delivery. So much easier and less messy for papa.
  • Did not visit mama at work. I missed her very much, but at least I didn't have to suffer in that car seat with no one back there with me! All in all the day went well despite not seeing mama until 4:30pm.
  • Rolled from my back onto my stomach (the other day I rolled from my stomach to my back!)...And then enjoyed some tummy time...And tried to eat the cloth carrot on my map. (Check me out in the video below)

Friday, May 14, 2010


This morning Anjali woke up from a morning nap crying. Usually she sleeps for a while in the morning and she had only been asleep about 45 minutes in her bassinet, so I found it peculiar. I quickly went to her and picked her up, but she continued to cry. I figured it was a good time to check the diaper, which was wet. And, though she was still crying I thought I would give a potty opportunity, figuring if she keeps crying or intensifies I won't keep her there (her body language is very clear when she wants off of the potty; she straightens her legs or pushes off and stiffens).

But indeed she calmed quickly and peed and pooped. She even gave a sigh of relief. After I put the new diaper on her she went back to sleep in my arms.

Not only can she hold it, but she can communicate clearly that she needs to go. Yay Anjali!

Bathtime Munchie Munchie

If I Wait Too Long: Papa's Story

Yesterday afternoon was quite hectic, and not having a car made it more so. Philly Car Share is a savior, but it requires more steps than getting into my own car. We have to walk to the car. Then I have to install the car seat base before getting Anjali settled in. And reverse the process for the way home. These few extra steps may not seem like a lot, but it adds time. Add to that that Anjali is not a fan of being in the car, and I feel terrible because she's in the backseat all alone. She cries for sure, although if the ride is long enough--at least 10-15 minutes - she falls asleep. However, she awakens shortly thereafter when she has to be transferred out of the car.

Yesterday, our car excursion took a bit over 2 hours. I fed her right before we left ,but she tends to eat every 2 hours, o she was so distraught at the end of the car ride. She calmed during the walk home but was wailing as we neared the house. This was gut wrenching because I couldn't get home any quicker.

She was so upset and I couldn't get her calm enough that I could spoon feed her. Eventually I got her a little calm and she took some milk. this was frustrating because she was hungry, but wastoo worked up to eat. This is what happens if I wait too long. I even attempted a bottle, because although she was taking some from the spoon, it was clear she needed to suck! I put milk on the outside of the nipple, as a friend suggested, and she did take that for a minute...but I wasn't set up for bottle feeding and the top was leaking and making a mess. At that point, though, she was calm enough and gulped down the rest of the milk from the spoon. Minus some usual dribblage, she ate about 2 ounces. That's pretty hefty for a non-mama feeding!

Even after that though, she still was looking to suck. She sucked on my nose, but I thought it might not be the most hygienic. Then I tried showing her Sofie, a rubber giraffe teether which she has been really taking to and reaching for and grabbing. Indeed, Sofie did the trick and she loved having Sofie's head in her mouth! I don't ever want to wait too long to feed my sweet Anjali...but if I am ever in a bind, I know who to turn to.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Working Mama

Leaving Anjali at home has been difficult. I got to see her today at lunch and she gives me a big smile when she sees me. It just melts my heart and makes it all worth it. Today, it was raining, so Jeremy + Anjali were in my office, and we got to lock the door and spend the next hour being together. I am so happy that she is with Papa, and I feel good about that when I walk out the door. I do miss some of the developments that occur though. She is grabbing things and pulling them closer. I got to hear about this yesterday. But I got to hear her laugh, and to see her try to roll. At work, new changes are occuring and they are introducing electronic medical records which will disrupt my work flow. Finding time to do the things I need to do will be challenging and may incur some late days :-(. I can't exactly take work home, as I wont have any time to do the work once I get here. Life is certainly different!When she was leaving today, she started to cry and she was looking at me. I miss her very much too.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Tummy Time, by Anjali

I am getting really strong. I keep my head up with my neck and arms for a really long time now. I used to fuss after a few minutes. But now I can hang out like this for 5-10 minutes. This is an activity that isn't just work anymore; I'm beginning to really enjoy it. I like when mama or papa (or both!) sit in front of me. They smile and talk to me, and I smile at them, or shoot them a knowing glance. They're suckers when I give them these looks. They smile and giggle and tell me how cute I am and that they love me. Of course I love them too...

Stay At Home Papa

This is the end of the day three since mama has been at work and I have been a stay-at-home papa. It's a tough transition for all involved, but I feel like we're handling it quite well. In addition, mama has an extra day thrown in there this week (4 days instead of 3) and they are extra tough days of call. So, we are looking forward to the weekend. Of course, I have to spend some of that time searching for a new used car...

Yesterday and today were really great but not without some hitches. Yesterday, Anjali and I went to pick up our Philly Car Share car and the car wasn't there! Not cool. I then had to walk 5 blocks to another car with a very upset and screaming baby. Anjali is not a big fan of the stroller. With those not-so-cared-for Philly streets and sidewalks, can you blame her? Alas, we need to take the stroller because we need the car seat.

In general, it is not fun when Anjali is crying and hard to console. Luckily, her crying bouts are not so long, and they are with good reasons: tired, gotta poop, miss mama, miss nursing, hungry, hot, cold, etc. Today, she fussed and cried a bit, but no full-on wailing all the way to the car. (Man, I can't wait to get another car! And neither can Anjali).

Feeding is going great with the spoon. Anjali is eating almost 2 ounces in a session, and today we had three sessions. If I had a third hand, I would take a picture or some video because she seems so satisfied and happy afterwards. She sits on my lap, she smiles at me and we talk. I show her these awesome Art Cards for Baby by Wee Gallery. These are high contrast black and white cards with great animal pictures on them. She is loving these cards right now. She can stare at one for several minutes. I move it all around and she follows it. She smiles at times and even talks to the ones she really likes, like the owl and the cat.

When she's super upset and crying, sometimes I crank up some music on the ipod. She loves "Just Ain't Fair," by NRBQ. She almost immediately stops crying, and then I dance with her and I sing along. We also listened to Regina Spektor today, and shortly thereafter, she crashed on me while I sat in the glider and listened to a great album by Bela Fleck and Mohan Bhatt.

The best part of the day is when we visit mama at work. It's so beautiful and peaceful where we meet. No one else comes to this little nook, so we have it all to ourselves. It smells fantastic with lots of flowers, trees, and tons of birds, all with different songs. And you can hear noises of frogs (I think they're frogs) coming from the pond. The best part is that mama and Anjali have time together to explore and nurse and just be together.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Clyde & Bathtime

Clyde is Anjali's giraffe and lovey companion and makes his appearance during naptime. It is scented with mama's natural scent. Anjali's new thing is that she wants to gum our finger when in the bath. Other things she did this week: attempts to turn over, copies our sounds when singing, cries right before she has to pee making us believe that she doesn't want to be on the potty (and the reason for some of the misses), rubs her feet together, stuffs both her hands in her mouth, and yawns and sighs loudly. We are enjoying the new changes because they are *cute*  and because they are so short lived.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Papa's Story:

Well, the day we dreaded finally arrived. Today mama had to go back to work. I won't go into all of the emotions and thoughts I/we have regarding our cultural acceptance, or rather demand, that mothers not be afforded the ability to spend a year on work leave with their babies. We'll save that for another post. Just some highlights from today...

This week mama has to work 4 days, though typically she will be working 3 days of the week. Compound this with the fact that I am car-less until I find a new one. But Philly Car Share will suffice in the meantime. I had to pick up some things from the car share in order to use a car today. This meant Anjali's first subway ride which went very smoothly as she was snuggly wrapped in the Moby with me. The trip up and back went smoothly. I did have a panic moment when I thought, 'Oh..Um, I didn't bring any bottles of milk. What if she wakes up and is hungry?!' Mental note for next time.

The First Feeding
We got back and I unwrapped Anjali. She cried for a moment, but calmed when I laid her down and sang. Dry diaper, but I failed to get her to the potty in time. Only pee on the changing mat.
She ate like a champ without fuss, the spoon again proving itself, and Anjali proving that she will eat peacefully while mama is away. And a few pats on the back for me too! She ate about a half to 3/4 of an ounce. Not much by mama's nursing standards, but fairly typical for the spoon feeding sessions so far. I went for a refill on the bottle but got a fussy baby on this second round.

So, we listened to some music, calmed, and then I laid her on her play mat which she enjoyed. I was able to sneak away for a few and make a quick lunch for me for the road. And we caught another pee, though she over shot the potty-hat and got my pants a bit. Potty accident number two, sort of...

Off To See Mama
Getting everything together for the car ride is much harder on the solo mission. But I was able to prepare here and there as I held Anjali. This was just about the end of a 90 minute cycle. good timing I think. Her eyes were closed by the time I got her in the carseat/stroller.

The trip in the stroller to pick up the car was less smooth (thanks to Philly sidewalks being what they are!). Anjali cried a good part of the way, and the whole time while I put in the car seat base and figured out for the first time how to start a Prius. However, once we hit the highway she fell asleep and we were on our way to mama.

Happy Reunion
Three and a half hours is the longest chunk of time that mama and Anjali have been apart. Needless to say Anjali was happy. And so was mama.

Mama and Anjali nursed and hung out in this little park area where mama works. It's quite beautiful. I ran off to the post office and bank in the meantime.

The ride home was smooth. Anjali slept the entire ride, and continued to sleep as we strolled home, and for another 45 minutes when we got home. This gave me a bit of time to get some work done and make a few phone calls.

Afternoon Snack
Anjali woke up crying a bit, and she woke up tired, if that makes sense. In fact, when I laid her on the changing mat she fell back to sleep for a few minutes. And she was hungry. She gulped--and I mean gulped--down another 1/2 ounce or so of milk. Then she was fussy. I tried a second round of milk, but it was a no go. But we listened to ocean sounds on the Ipod while I held her. I laid her on her changing mat on the floor and she smiled and we talked to each other. And she had some tummy time which she thoroughly enjoyed. She seemed tired and a little fussy. No surprise as she was nearing the end of another 90 minute cycle (amazing when that really works!).

Pottied her again and then I thought she might be hungry. She was. Again, she lapped up milk from the spoon in about a minute. Another 1/2 ounce. No fuss, and in fact she was happy and smiling. Yay!

I sang her sleepy time song to her and swayed with her in my arms and she fell asleep quickly. Still, the ocean sounds were playing in the background. I'm finding that I like them...And I think she does too. Less shushing for me!

Now she's in her swing looking quite precious. Hope mama's home soon...She has a Brown Betty cupcake waiting for her!

Video of short tummy massage