Monday, September 29, 2008

A few of my favorite things

I just have to list some of my favorite things about Roxanne right now. As cheesy as it sounds, she's changing every day, and I don't want to lose track of any of it. So here goes. And I'm just warning you, some of this will probably be offensively sentimental.

*Her weird little Woody Woodpecker giggle. It's recently become a very common sound that she makes, and it's just one of those sounds that makes me feel warm and fuzzy. She used to make it at random times, especially when she was concentrating really hard on something, but now she does it as laughter. Serious laughter.
*Her squawks. She does these throughout the day. They make me think of that Whitman poem, when he talks about sounding his "barbaric yawp" off the rooftops. Roxanne has a lovely "barbaric yawp." In fact, she sort of embodies "Song of Myself." She feels such fierce and undiluted happiness when she's playing. If you really think about how unfettered her little baby mind is, it could move you to tears to watch her chew on a book.
*Her round little tummy. It's really getting to be a Buddha belly, and it's delicious to watch her pat it. I love to blow on it while I change her and see her tense up and laugh. She's also ticklish on her neck. That's a fun spot to snuffle in and she just howls with glee. Adorable.
*Her newfound skills in mobility. She is such a good and sturdy little thing. Sometimes during the day she sees Ben coming towards her with a toy, and she squints her eyes closed and braces herself. So even if he knocks her over she just readjusts and keeps busy. But now she can get back up and follow him if he has something she is interested in. She might end up a bully if we're not careful.
*Her face when I brush her hair in the glider during our nighttime routine. I usually do it when I'm singing to her, and she gets so still and wide-eyed, looking up at me with this funny face, trying to stay awake but so relaxed and sleepy. After a minute or two, she reaches up for the brush and tries to get it into her mouth, but while I'm still able to brush her hair, it's such a nice serene moment. Her hair is very very blond, almost gold, and it gets shiny and silky when you brush it.
*Her snorting. She scrunches her face up and does this airy snorty laugh when she's really excited. It usually also includes Tigger-like bouncing. Sometimes hand and arm waving, too. It's a full-body reaction.
*The way she vocalizes when she's eating something really yummy. Sometimes I give her frozen whole wheat mini bagels to chew on, and she absolutely loves it. While she gnaws on it, she goes "Mmmmaaaammmaaaammmmm aaaaammmmmm..." You get the idea.

OK, that's enough for now. Too much more and I'll start getting choked up. But I needed to get some of that out of my system.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Screaming Monster Baby

Roxanne is going through a difficult few days. In my perception, babies seem to go through little phases of baby puberty where they are just totally fussy and unhappy. The worst part of all for Roxanne is the high chair. I am really getting frustrated with that. She doesn't seem to be able to stay in the high chair long enough to eat a full meal before she's having a meltdown and arching her back and banging her head on the back of her seat. During lunch while I'm at work, I just basically let her have her tantrums. Usually by the end of the meal, she's had at least three or four. I typically give her something to try and curb it, like a sippy cup, which amuses her for a few minutes as she sucks water out and then spits it out (loudly), or a baby spoon, which she chews on furiously. Both of these usually get thrown on the floor several times over and these days Roxanne says "uh-oh" as they go overboard.

I'm thinking that one of the drawbacks of us sort of skipping over baby food is that I'm not sure she's really getting a lot of food at mealtimes. Sometimes I think she is fussing because she's hungry and can't get full fast enough. Or she's just stubborn. Or both. On Sunday night I made a big batch of mashed potatoes just for Roxanne, and we basically stripped her down and plopped a heap of them on her tray. I want her to get some practice with feeding herself with a spoon, and the potatoes are perfect. She's pretty good so far, but she definitely makes a BIG mess.

Spending all of my time with Roxanne is really wonderful, but it does allow me to see how frustrating she can be from time to time. Which obviously is normal. But it's funny how the rose-colored glasses come off fairly quickly once you get to spend more than three waking hours a day with your baby. It's so much more than that though. Even when I'm frustrated with her, I still have so much gratitude that I'm getting to watch her throw a fit. Isn't that the cheesiest and most cliche thing you've ever heard? Sue me.

I've also been able to exercise a lot more lately, taking Ben and Roxanne on 30-45 minute walks at least four days a week. I also started Weight Watchers on Monday, which is not super fun, but seems to be working. I definitely feel better already. I'm eating more vegetables than I ever have before. And I actually like them! Just in time, too, since Roxanne is crawling more and more and I want to keep up with her. She also pulled to standing on Ben's new fire truck on Monday and even took a couple of shaky steps as she pushed it along the floor. She's going to be leaving for college before I know it.

Sunday, September 21, 2008


We're sick. The whole house. We're not dying or anything, but we've all got the sniffles and scratchy throats and body aches and general ickyness. Hopefully it will wrap up soon. I'm sure it will. Even though it stinks to get sick, I'm definitely relieved to report that this is the first time since I started my new job that we've been sick. Before, Roxanne pretty much had a permanent runny nose and we were all getting sick every week or two. Just another reason that I love my new job.

Roxanne has been extra fussy lately, but only because of her little runny nose. And she still goes through lots of parts of the day where she is happy and happier and bouces all over the place. She crawled a few more times today, but only a few steps at a time. She was going for her Rhino, which is the toy we chose to keep in her crib. But don't worry, we put it up against her leg in the crib so that she feels a warm body near her, and we're very careful to keep it away from her face. It was a recommendation in the sleep book I got. I was just reading about how babies at her age start latching onto specific toys and lovies, and Roxanne is definitely doing that these days. Specifically, she loves the rhino (it's a Sandra Boynton rhino, and it's really soft and snuggly. She is obssessed with her orange and yellow squeaky starfish bath toy. She carries it around after her bath and we can't get it from her until she falls asleep. I tried to take it from her the other night by handing her a stuffed animal, and instead she ended up keeping both. She's really getting into her demanding phase, where she pitches a fit when she can't get something, but only when she's really sleepy. Otherwise she just sort of growls. She loves plastic water bottles more than anything else. That's usually what sets her off. She can't stand it when we have a water bottle and don't give it to her. Who needs toys?

Friday, September 19, 2008

9 Month Doctor Visit

Today is Roxanne's 9 month birthday. She went to the pediatrician with Justin for her check up. Everything went well, and she only had 2 shots and a toe poke (they were checking some blood levels I think). They gave her the first of her flu shots, and we have to go back in a month for the second one. I need to get Justin and I a flu shot. Ick. Anyways, here's her new stats:

*Height: 29 and 3/4 inches, 95%
*Weight: 21 pounds 9 ounces, 90%
*Head Circumference: 17 and 1/4 inches, 50%

In reading the little handout they give us at each of her appointments, she's a little behind in some areas. Obviously, she's only sort of crawling, although today she was pushing herself backwards all over Ben's room. As you can see above, she's really good at getting into the crawling position. It also says she should be able to pull up to standing, and Roxanne only pulls up to her knees. And she definitely can't cruise on furniture. If I pull her to standing and let her hold herself up on a piece of furniture, she's fine and loves to bang on the surface of the object she's leaning on, but she doesn't take steps yet. Of course, I'm not worried at all, especially since Roxanne only turned 9 months old today. And because she's obviously a healthy and happy little baby, and the timelines just don't mean that much to me. But I am trying to make more of an effort to play with her in ways that might help her development, and instead of handing her toys, I try to let her go get them herself. She might fuss a little, but she's good at ending up with the prize. And she's definitely on par with talking. I was just telling Justin that it's funny to listen to her on the baby monitor these days, because often, she wakes up and chats in her sleep, rather than her usual crying. It sounds so funny. She says "mama," "dada" and "hi" but not always in a meaningful way. Sometimes it's just chatting. Her favorite thing to do is blow rasberries. She does this ALL THE TIME. She likes to wave to people, and she's very very friendly. She's really a fun baby to be around. And I'm only a little biased.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Look Out World...

Roxanne took her first real crawling "steps" today! She took about two or three little crawling steps towards me today right after lunch. She was concentrating so hard, and when she finally gave up and slid onto her belly, I clapped and cheered, and sat her back on her bottom. She did it again, and I cheered again when she gave up. So then she started crawling for one step, then sitting back up onto her booty (another new skill she learned today, going from flat on her belly to her booty) and clapping. She did that a few times, too. Sort of defeated the purpose, but that's OK. It was cute. I think maybe she was just waiting for today, since it's her Nana's birthday today, so now I will always be able to remember what day she crawled for the first time. Also, her nine month birthday is Friday, so she probably wanted to make sure she started crawling at eight months instead of nine.

Sadly, when I got home, I tried to get Roxanne to show her Daddy her new skills, but she pretty much just kept flopping onto her tummy. We think maybe it's easier for her to crawl at Ben's house because they have this rough rug that she plays on, and maybe the traction helped her. Or she's just exhausted from all of her efforts today. She had watermelon for breakfast, and it was her first time trying it, so maybe it gave her extra strength. Actually, she had broccoli for lunch, and that was her first time with that, too. Either way, we are proud parents tonight.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Rough Day

Today sucked. It just did. We had such a lovely weekend, but Roxanne kept me up most of the night screaming. In the process of trying to figure out what was wrong with her, I realized that she is cutting four teeth at once. Poor little thing. Soon she'll have eight teeth! So anyways, I hoped that since I was tired, the day would be sort of laid back, but it was not to be. There were worker's tearing up the old driveway at Ben's house, and it was a very loud process. Nobody really napped (well, they did a little, but not at the right times and not for long enough). My carefully crafted schedule went out the window. Consequently, everyone was fussy for most of the day. And at one point, I caught Roxanne with a dead cockroach in her hand, and she was starting to shove it in her mouth when I caught it and had a total freakout. I seriously considered washing her mouth and hand in the faucet and calling the Pediatrician immediately. But then I realized that I read over and over again about how babies eat gross things off the floor and it's not really that big of a deal. Easier said than done. I still get shivers thinking about that disgusting thing in my little baby's hand. I guess it would have had some protein...

In other news, Roxanne is getting really big. Justin and I had picked out some super cute fall clothes for Roxanne in the 12-18 month size, but she's already fitting into them now. I'm a little worried that we will end up having to get new clothes this winter. I've been able to follow my plan of buying some basics at Baby Gap and then supplementing with consignment sale pieces. I've had great luck at the sales this season, although every time I go I swear to Justin that I'm only going to look for a baby gate. Funny thing is, I have yet to find a baby gate, but I've gotten lots of cute clothes. So it goes. I went to one on Saturday morning (Roxanne and I go really early, like 8:30 so that Justin has the house to himself and can sleep in peace for a little while) and bought somewhere around 15 pieces for $8.25. Pretty awesome. My favorite are these Baby Gap floral jammies. If you can tell, they are very snug. Evidently jammies are supposed to be very snug for safety reasons, but these are 12-18 months, and they are really almost too small. Roxanne's arms look like little sausages.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Small World, Fate, etc. etc.

So my wonderful Step-dad, Mike, has been doing a lot of family tree-ing in the last few months. He's been finding all kinds of super cool connections and tracing both my mom's family and his family back really really far. This week, my mom e-mailed to tell me that he had discovered a Roxanna E. Conner, who was the older sister (by 3 years) of my maternal Grandma's great-grandfather (Lemuel Pinkney Conner). My mom nudged him to do a little more research on Roxanna, and it turns out that she was in fact Roxanna Elizabeth! She was the oldest of nine children, and she actually had eight children herself. Funny thing, she had seven girls and one boy. Further evidence that my family has to really stick it out to get a boy.

My mom pointed out that even through some ridicule, we stuck it out and named the baby formerly known as Hosey Roxanne Elizabeth, and we ended up one letter shy of a family name! Spooky. Technically, I chose Elizabeth as her middle name to honor my Dad's mom (we called her Gramma Zaic) who passed away while I was pregnant. But I'm even happier to realize that we (accidentally, or serendipitously) honored my Mom's side of the family, too! Now I can tell all those jerks who ask me if I named Roxanne for that song by the Police that her name is a family name. How nice!

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

She likes feet...

Roxanne seems to love feet and toes. She tries to get mine during the day when I'm sitting on the couch and she's playing on the floor. I guess that's another great reason for me to never ever wear flip flops again. I know that they are gross, but sometimes I just put them on in the morning because they are easy. Of course, Roxanne also tries to eat Ben's feet. I let Ben lay on the couch next to me in a Boppy and feed himself his bottles. Usually Roxanne is content to sit on the floor and play by herself during all of this, but sometimes she gets fussy and wants to be held. When this happen, she sits on my lap and tries to grab Ben's bottle. Then I move her backwards a little, and she tries to eat Ben's feet. Personally, I can't see the connection between the two items, but I guess they are equally fun for her. Of course it makes me really nervous, because when she play-bites me, it hurts. She bit my knee-cap yesterday and it really felt like a cat bite. Actually, more like a bunny bite. Regardless, it hurt. So I'm nervous that she will hurt Ben, but he of course thinks it's really funny when Roxanne tries to eat his feet.

Babies are so awesome.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Mommy Wrist...

Goodness me... Reading about all of the afflictions that can happen to new moms is pretty daunting. I mean, some of the highlights include massive hair loss (polite way of saying "balding"), hemorrhoids, leaking fluids from various parts of your body, etc. etc. I remember being 9 months pregnant and reading the list and wondering if my pregnant lady cankles were really as bad as I thought, and that maybe I wasn't in such a rush for Roxanne to be born. One weird thing that I never read about is a type of tendinitis or carpal tunnel that a lot of new moms get. From what I read, it happens more with really new moms, like a month or two after the baby is born, but I'm guessing the sudden increase in picking up several children all day long is what is causing mine. It started in one wrist and has now spread to the other. It's really uncomfortable, and it doesn't look like there are a lot of options for treating it that don't include a doctor. And I'm definitely not going to ask for a morning or afternoon off of work considering I have only been working for them for a month and a half. I read a lot of moms recommending some stretches, and using ice and heat alternately to help the pain. I think I'll try this. I'm sure it will clear up soon. In the meantime, I've got to try to keep my thumbs down when I'm picking up the little ones. Fortunately, Ben just started walking this week, and I think Maddie is close behind. I think this job is definitely helping my weight loss crusade...

Roxanne's fifth tooth is mostly out now. I'm trying to get better about brushing her teeth every night, and tonight when I did it, she loved it! I'm guessing it felt good to have her gums rubbed and she kept trying to bite down on my finger. Usually she fusses a little when I brush her teeth, so this is a great improvement. Maybe she finally noticed that the Orajel is kind of tasty.

So Roxanne is not crawling yet (still) but she is really getting very mobile. She's pretty quick at scooting around on her booty, and she can traverse pretty long distances like this. It's really funny to watch. She's also really good at sitting on her booty and then bouncing herself forward onto her hands to reach for a toy and then falling back onto her booty. She's started taking toys from Ben and Maddie every once in a while, and much to their chagrin, they can't always effectively snatch them back. Watching the three of them interact is hysterical. Maddie is the funniest in some ways, because when she's having a tough day, she fusses whenever anyone grabs a toy that she's playing with, but if they don't try to take the one she picks up as a replacement, she sticks it in their face so that they can play tug of war with it. Keep in mind that she continues to fuss through this whole procedure. Roxanne is much less into mind games. She just puts anything and everything she can get a hold of into her mouth.

The photo above is Roxanne meeting Benson. He's the first horse she has touched! We went to my Dad and Colleen's farm over the 3 day weekend, and Roxanne had a blast with her cousins.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Playing with her shadow

Today Roxanne spent a while playing in the sunlight on the floor of the rug in Ben's living room. She was waving her arms in the air like a little monkey and watching all of the movement in her shadow. Then she would lean forward and scratch the rug, like she was trying to pick it up. She's like a little lady Peter Pan.

I tried putting Roxanne in shoes today, since I know it will be getting cold soon and her little feet will need to be covered. Plus, my sister got us some very cute little Teva baby shoes that are bright orange and green and have a soft suede sole. They look very hip and granola-y. Of course, midway through breakfast she was banging one of them on her food tray and getting cheerio and peaches all over it. I saved it before it got yucky though, and we're going to keep trying. I'm sure she'll get used to them eventually.

I joined the zoo yesterday and I'm really excited. There is a members only night this Saturday called "Wild Child" and it starts after zoo hours. It looks really fun, with a costume contest and a family band, etc. I think we will be debuting as zoo members. Also, just as a gentle suggestion come holiday season, since we have so many toys and so little square footage, ride passes to the zoo would be awesome for Roxanne. They have a train and a carousel. I'm looking forward to taking her on them both. It looks like sometime in the near future I'll be taking Ben and Roxanne to the zoo during the week. Maddie is starting pre-school on Thursdays and Fridays, so both days will be just the little ones and me. I'm really looking forward to it!

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Tooth Number Five is a Mean One

Poor Roxanne is having a tough time. Her fifth and sixth teeth are coming in. The top left one next to the front tooth is just coming through, and the right one is not too far behind. She's really struggling with them. She hasn't been sleeping well, and we've been giving her Hyland's Teething Tablets at least once a day and I've given her Tylenol the last two nights to help her sleep with the low grade fever that the teething is causing. At least she doesn't have the runny nose.

She seems to be an independent lady, and is really not happy to eat baby food any more. I have to offer her the spoon at least four or five times before she will finally take any food off of it. It's just easier to give her table food. She just tried chicken last week (cut into tiny pieces) and she seemed to like it. Her favorite foods seem to be grapes, peaches and avocado. She also loves anything that Gerber Graduates makes. I hate giving that stuff to her, but sometimes it's just too convenient not to. I only give her the banana puffs (they are Ben's), the carrot wagon wheels, the "little crunchies" and the zwieback toast. It seems like all of it is a variation on Captain Crunch or Cheetos, and so she clearly loves them all. Sigh.

The other day I dragged her to Target after work to buy an umbrella for Justin (it was a total waste since it was a rainy day and the only ones they had left were rainbow stripes or High School Musical themed) since he misplaced his. She was tired and hungry, so I picked up a can of the Gerber "little crunchies" in some kind of "veggie" flavor. I hadn't bought these before, but I figured they had to be healthier than apple cinammon wagon wheels, which were the only other option. The crunchies look just like Cheetos cheese puffs, and apparently the are just as addictive. I was feeding them to Roxanne as we walked around the store, and she was ravenous for them. She had one hanging out of her mouth like a cigar, one in each hand, and was trying to scratch the lid off of the can with one of her little chubby fingers. She probably ate like 15 of those things by the time we paid for them. She smelled like she had been eating sour cream and onion chips or something. They will be reserved for emergency situations only from this point forward.

But honestly, I do mainly stick with diced up fresh fruit and veggies and organic cheerios (or Teddy Puffs). She's not really drinking as much water as she should, since I can only interest her in filling her mouth with it and then swilling it back out down the front of her shirt. She definitely loves that part, but the whole "drinking" thing seems uninteresting to her refined tastes. I tried giving her diluted apple juice to see if that sparked her interest, but she couldn't have cared less. Her pediatrician told me she needs to be drinking a few ounces of tap water every day for the flouride. I'll keep trying! It seems like a mom could go crazy trying to meet all of the requirements that books and pediatricians suggest for babies. But, since Roxanne is still nursing at least 3 or 4 times during the day and a few times at night (she still is sleeping in her crib for only half of the night, but we're making progress!), I don't worry as much about her food intake. I've read about a lot of moms who only breastfeed for the first 12 months (as in, no other food), and while I think that's way too extreme, I have read in very reputable places that the majority of a baby's nutrients do still come from breastmilk or formula for the first year of their life. And judging by her rolls, Roxanne is getting by.