Saturday, February 28, 2009

More on the baby

Firstborn is now working on pulling up (although she seems to have quit for a while after falling and hitting her head each time--low pain tolerance).

We are working on clapping--she can slap mommy's hands but not clap her own.

She has started sharing some--she will offer me what she is playing with occasionally, I will take it, and then I will give it back (or trade). Sometimes she will give it back again. She's just so precious, and I get so much joy from just watching her and thinking about her.

It is a great thing to be happy. Now that I know what it's like, I am going to try to hold on to it. And with that sweet baby girl around, it won't be hard.

Firstborn is growing so quickly. At nine months, she's outgrown half her 6-9 month clothes and some of her 9-12m pants, and can wear some 18 month pants. I had to buy her new clothes (that was a fun shopping trip). I had to go to the toddler section instead of the infant section. She's growing so fast! It really is a little bittersweet; I so hope I will be going through all this again (and again... and again... and again...)

Oh, and she's definitely scooting forward now. Right now, in fact, to pull on my keyboard wire.

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Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Theology and punctuation

I have long believed that proper punctuation and spelling is important. This is near and dear to my heart. I react to written statements like "I don't want to loose control" or "I went over they're" or "My son Joshua, had an evaluation done" or "There are too many law's today" much the same way a musician reacts to Junior Asparagus singing, or normal people react to the sounds of fingernails on a blackboard. Nothing annoys me more--well, okay, maybe negative attitudes about children. Conversely, a semicolon used correctly fills me with peace and joy. And maybe I have issues, but I have a point, I think, somewhere further down.

At any rate, proper punctuation is of the utmost importance in theology. Consider the name I plan to give my firstborn son: Peter Immanuel.

Peter means Rock. Immanuel means God is with us.

Taken together: The Rock God Is With Us. Obviously this is theologically inappropriate. Its meaning should be rendered: The Rock, God, Is With Us. This is just a silly example, obviously. (And no, it won't be Peter, Immanu,el.)

But today I read that someone thought a certain worship song contained the line:
Oh my God, this love, how can it be?
He thought it sounded like a "valley girl" misuse of God's name, as in, OMG, I love your hair!

Clearly this is part of a widespread problem in which worship songs are improperly punctuated. The correct punctuation is: Oh, my God, this love, how can it be? "Oh my God" is perilously close to a misuse of his name; "Oh, my God" is more clearly an address of the Father.

I don't know how all these mispunctuated songs end up in church computers. Some are theologically troubling; some merely funny; some are noticed only by the sort of grammarians who thought Eats, Shoots and Leaves was one of the funniest books ever printed. But it takes away from the sincerity and focus on the worship of God--at least for me. Maybe they were released that way; maybe someone typed something incorrectly along the way. But commas don't just go wherever you take a breath, or where there's a line break. Proper punctuation determines what a sentence means. A comma splice looks unprofessional to those who know it's wrong, and those who don't won't care if a semicolon is used instead.

As the sound guy's wife, I've occasionally had the opportunity to fix glaring problems before they were inflicted on the congregation as a whole. It feels really good. I encourage the stewards of church worship music to either properly punctuate the songs yourselves, or seek out someone who can. I, for one, would be thrilled and honored. Punctuating is almost as fun as compiling survey results!

This public service announcement has been brought to you by the Save the Semicolons foundation.

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New things

My doctor's visit went fine. I hadn't felt depression for most of the intervening time, though, so I think it was just a cycle thing. So I just got a physical, which included a tetanus shot.

Basically the only other thing that might be a problem is the abdominal pain I got when I may have ovulated last month. I'd never had ovulatory pain before, and it wasn't what I would have expected it to be like. So if I have it again, they might want me to get an ultrasound (ew).

Some new things that Firstborn is doing:
She shared today. She wanted to give me a postcard she was playing with. And then I gave it back, and she shared it again. Great fun, it appears. So I traded her for an envelope. She was uninterested at first. Then she picked it up and waved it around, saying, "Dada, Dada."

So we wrote a letter for Dada. She really is not to the point of wanting to write on paper, even when shown how it is done. (I am not suprprised or dismayed by this, just noting it.) And I addressed the (used, wrinkled) envelope to Dada. We went to the mailbox. She tried to pull off her hat when I put it on her, which she had not done before. (No, really. I have a nine-month-old who doesn't mind wearing things
on her head.)

Just a few minutes ago, I saw her move forward on her tummy to get a toy out of reach. Certainly the first time she's purposely moved forward that much.

The other new thing: she can bite. Hope we can nip that in the bud (so to speak).

Daddy claims he heard her say "kitty" when the cat ran in front of her. I'm unconvinced. She's also called her shoe kitty. And her father. All reports of new activity don't count until Mommy sees them.

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Tuesday, February 17, 2009

The Tooth

As of February Fifteenth--nine months exactly--Firstborn has a tooth!

On Friday I was at my parents' and had looked up when I got a tooth. It was on the bottom in the front--but at around six months.

Saturday night I dreamed I held Firstborn over my head, and noticed she had a tooth in the bottom front.

Sunday at church I checked, and I could feel but not see a tooth in the bottom front. By the time we came back to Grandma and Grandpa's (my in-laws--we go there for lunch after church every Sunday--though we actually went to a party for a friend's deceased mom in between and had lunch there this week) the tooth was visible if one looked closely. Grandma was impressed. I called my mom yesterday, and she was impressed as well.

I had really expected the eye teeth to be out first--she's had bumps for those since about three months.

And now she's sleeping much more peacefully. Yay!

So now you can file this under "things only first-time mommies care about" and be back to your regularly scheduled life.


Sunday, February 15, 2009

Valentine's dinner

We decided not to exchange gifts this year--M'Love says that I get a mortgage refinancing for Valentine's day. Since I'd gotten such an extravagant and thoughtful gift, however, I figured I could at least make him a fancy dinner.

Okay, okay. I'm being a little bit uncharitable here. The lower interest rate means lower payments and thus we will have more money each month with which to theoretically do romantic things.

Anyway, here's what I did for dinner:

A special new creation of mine: fake lasagne.
If you have a lasagne-lover but think it's too much work to bother with the layering and the huge, fragile noodles, this might work for you too.
One box of small shells, cooked
A little over half a big container of ricotta (small container would work as well), mixed with one raw egg
About 3/4 of a pound of shredded mozzerella
Hamburg or sausage, cooked and crumbled (I used leftover hamburg, previously incarnated as tacos. More would have been better--I'd recommend at least a pound.
Tomato sauce to taste.

Mix it all up in a big ol' casserole. Throw it in a 325-degree-F oven for about half an hour. Serves about sixteen (we'll be eating this a while).

I pushed it into a heart shape on each of our plates. I also made salads with a heart like shape (his in lunch-meat turkey and mini tomatoes, mine in pepperoni). I made pink milk (courtesy of Wilton's food coloring). M'Love was quite impressed.

Firstborn had rice krispies.

For dessert (later in the evening), we had peppermint ice cream pie (scoop about right amount of ice cream into graham cracker pie shell; let stand on shelf awhile; smoosh down to conform to shell; refreeze. Inspired by a recipe in the Parade around Christmastime) topped with a dollop of whipped cream and a conversation heart.

Firstborn's dessert (immediately after supper) was leftover pureed peaches followed by leftover pureeed bananas. Then she had bedtime snack while we watched a DVR'd "Are You Smarter than a Fifth Grader?" (Not quite as intellectually stimulating as Jeopardy, but one of the cleanest shows in Prime Time television, 'cuz hey, they got fifth graders on there. Oh, and don't think we have real Tivo; we have a hacked-together homemade DVR system including a computer hooked up to the TV and free software that took about a month to set up, and still isn't perfected now that someone is causing us to need subtitles.) We followed that up with some Netflix Deep Space Nine; Firstborn finally drifted off partway through, and we had our dessert while watching the last part.

M'Love was impressed with the Valentine's day meal; he thought the fake lasagne was as good as the real thing and even suggested sending some in his lunches. He is the only one in his office whose wife makes him a lunch, and he likes to show off.

Firstborn let us sleep through the night last night, unlike the night before. She's been sleeping erratically the past couple weeks, due to a growth spurt (she went from still fitting most of her 3-6 month clothing to outgrowing some 6-9 month clothing in less than three weeks. All of a sudden I look at her and she looks huge, and I never noticed her growing up till now) and teething. Why did I wake up at 4:30 then? No clue. I dreamt she grew a tooth, so I'll find out when she wakes up.

Happy (day after) Valentine's day!

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Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Birth Story

Because hey, everybody loves birth stories, and I never posted mine.

So here goes.

I was teaching at Pioneer Clubs on Thursday, May 15 and had been feeling pretty awful. But then I'd been feeling awful more nights than not, and we were needed, so we went. Coincidentally, I'd read up that morning on how to tell when your water breaks, so when my water broke (around 7:30), I was pretty sure that's what it was. But hey, plenty of time, so I finished out the teaching segment and M'Love and I left rather than staying for gym time. As we turned out of the church parking lot, we debated whether to go home or to the hospital. We had a bag in the car, but there was more stuff I wanted. So I said we'd go home quick. By the time we got to the main road, though, I'd changed my mind.

It hurt quite a bit, and the contractions weren't quite by the book--about a minute to a minute and a half long at most but very close together--sometimes less than a minute apart. I had worried about not knowing when I was in labor. Well, I was partially right. I can't distinguish labor from a stomach bug, except that the pain is less constant in labor. I know because I'd had a stomach bug a month before. Same pain, and we ended up in the hospital, IV and everything--but no contractions. And I'd had some feeling-off type stomach pain every evening for weeks before the fifteenth, because I remember it was worst on Thursday nights. But no one noticed, because the monitoring was in the mornings, and I never had anything then. I'd also been dilated enough to feel her head for over a week, and not realized that either. They hadn't been checking me at appointments, which was fine with me. They'd offered at the last one, but when I asked if it would really tell them anything, they admitted it wouldn't, so I declined the extra handling.

When we got to the hospital, they let us skip the incessant filling out of paperwork, and once I got a bed, I was at seven centimeters. I felt like I had to pee, but couldn't. The contractions were so close that they couldn't get my vitals. I wanted to move but was not allowed to. They wanted an internal monitor, but they refused it, and because of my size and I kept moving, the external monitors were flaky. I knew Firstborn was fine. M'Love said at one point there were nine people in the room, but I wasn't looking and didn't have my glasses on anyway. They made me stay on my back, and I made M'Love and the nurse get cold washcloths and put them under my lower back. They made me do the stirrup thing too. When I had to push people held my feet and thet helped some. I could feel Firstborn coming closer and then sliding back, but it hurt so much less when she slid back. The doctor (whom I had never met before) was talking about sucking her out, but was going to just do an episiotomy first (necessary to get the vacuum in place anyways). At this point I'm okay with anything and just want to finish this, of course.

The next push--as M'Love puts it, "as soon as he got the scissors out of the way"--I felt her head come out. I knew it was almost done, that it would be just one more push, so I kept pushing and out she flew. Apparently it looked seamless to M'Love, who later opined that he then knew why they called it catching. My palindromic baby was born at 10:01 PM.

I just kept saying, "My little girl! My little girl!" I had expected, I think, to recognize her somehow, but I did not. We had discussed cutting the cord on the way to the hospital, and my husband had expressed a desire to leave that sort of thing up to the professionals, but they handed him the scissors and told him what to do, and he did it. They kept trying to take her, but I wanted to hold her more. They were stitching me up (I had torn as well as being cut) and I told him it hurt worst than pushing her out. He told me he was using more "numb medicine," and I told him "Use as much numb medicine as you want." I tried to feed her but she wouldn't latch on. Then they took her. As we had arranged ahead of time, M'Love went with her because they wouldn't let me go. I did end up taking a short nap. I rung my bell and no one came, so I wandered out in my hospital gown, found someone, and told them to take me to my baby or I'd go find her myself. They took me. They had her under a heat lamp, and she was sleeping. Apparently doing well.

They kept us in the hospital three days because of some strep thing, and somehow during the hour I was in labor there they didn't quite manage to get as many antibiotics into me as they had wanted. The second night M'Love went home for a good night's sleep and a change of clothes (knew I needed to do more packing) so that he could help comfort Firstborn some of the time. She didn't look like the name we had picked out, but rather than changing it at the spur of the moment, we figured she would grow into whatever name we picked and stuck with it. The days in the hospital were not restful, and I only really managed one good feeding. I did manage to get a sensation of letdown, which they wouldn't have let me out without--don't think I've actually felt it since. (This despite the fact I'd been leaking for a month.) I think she was two or three months old before she really got the hang of breastfeeding.

I can't help but wonder if she would have nursed better if I'd gotten more chance to try that first time. I could have kept her warm enough. I also think maybe I could have gotten her out without getting cut open if I'd been allowed to move. It makes me want to avoid a hospital next time. But I don't know what other options I have around here. I am not sure about getting where I'm going--or if we have a midwife, her getting here--in time. It bothers me a little, but my husband doesn't really want to discuss it--something about the order of my horse and my cart. I have pointed out, though, that considering it will be even quicker next time, he doesn't want me hesitating because I don't want to go to the place I'll be giving birth, unless he wants his next offspring named LeSabre--or worse, F150.

And then I had four months of afterpains. Just had to throw that in there in case anyone's jealous of my two-and-a-half-hour labor. And then some more at six months for a little while. The doctor said something to the effect of yup, that's weird, guess it sucks to be you. And my episiotomy didn't heal right, but they didn't notice that.

Not once in the whole process did I consider not doing it again. Well, maybe once. When the afterpains came back again at six months post-partum. But I still rejected it.

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Monday, February 09, 2009

Time for another update

Well, since I last posted, the carbon monoxide detectors went off, the car died, I attended my first Magic: the Gathering tournament since Firstborn was born, Firstborn started taking breastmilk from a cup, I had an actual real-life conversation with someone who has more than four kids at my church, the youngest of whom is a little younger than mine....

Life is good. God is great.

Firstborn is still rolling and rotating but not crawling. She can get to all fours, but then goes backwards. She ends up backed into corners.

Our attempt to do a major, all-day event with Firstborn in tow went about as well as could be expected. I don't remember my final scores (I played two flights, Husband judged) but I had fun and Firstborn didn't suffer too much--though she didn't always get fed on time. She spent some time in her playpen (which we barely use at home) and some time walking with Daddy. Quote for the day: "Judge! The baby needs more puffs." It made me feel a little better about things in general. I really can do things still, when it's worth it.

I think I finally got a real period (I'd had fake ones for a couple months). Perhaps some of my depression-type stuff came from that, and I'm not really slipping back into how it was before. I feel optimistic about this cycle. I'm really thinking this might be it--and feeling optimistic at the beginning is unusual for me. But I also think saying anything jinxes me.

Firstborn's been a little fussier lately, probably teething I think. Hard to tell though. I think she's been teething over 5 months, but no teeth yet.

She absolutely loves rolling around on the floor now, and she's napping again more days than not. It is so nice not to have to hold her all the time. Not that I don't love holding her--sometimes now I pick her up when she's not demanding it though.

She has a beautiful smile that makes everything better, anytime. I can't see her sweet smile and be unhappy.