Monday, April 26, 2010

Baby-related trauma

I have a lump on my inner lower gum. It's not a sore or anything, just a bump that kind of gets irritated when I press it with my tongue. It only showed up in the last couple of days, and I couldn't figure out what it was. It grew too fast to be cancer, but I was worried it was an abscess or some other annoying problem.

So I went to the dentist. "That's an interesting little lump you've got," he said, and took an X-ray. "The good news it's not an abscess," he said. "Your bones look good, and you have nice teeth. Sometimes the gums just get irritated from food-related trauma. Did you burn yourself on anything hot recently? Eat a lot of potato chips?" I said no, and he wrote me a referral for a periodontist, saying, "It may just go away in a week or so. If it doesn't, you may have a growth in the bone that's getting infected or something, and you should go to a specialist."

I took the slip and went home. I was happy I wasn't going to have to have a root canal, but a little concerned about the possibility of having some exotic oral disease. What if I had to have surgery? What if they had to remove part of my jaw? What if they forbade me from eating chocolate?

Chloë was a little irritable and I thought she might be tired, so we nursed on the bed and fell asleep together. When we woke up, she was happy and playful; she grabbed the wipe rag and shoved it at my mouth, and I made "Aaaah! Gahhh! Graaah!" noises into it as I've been doing recently, and she laughed and slapped my cheek, then grabbed at my face, as she often does. Her fingers slipped into my mouth and grabbed at my lower lip, as they often do, and then at my teeth and gums. I removed her hand and remembered that I still hadn't clipped her nails like I'd meant to. I think I know where the lump came from.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Status report: Month 9

Chloë is nine months old. Nine months! That's so old! She has now spent more time outside my body than in. She's grown a lot more in this latter nine months--her checkup isn't until next week but she's got to be 23 pounds or so by now, which is an addition of about 15 pounds, as opposed to the 8 pounds she put on in her first nine months. Of course she also started from a single cell in that first nine months, so I suppose we should take that into account.

Nine-month-old Chloë is mobile, inquisitive, dextrous (I mean, for a baby), and fast. She's figured out crawling. Has she ever figured out crawling. She zooms everywhere. I'm sure she looks back on her struggles last month and thinks, "What was my problem? This is so easy!"

She's become fascinated by buttons and wires. She loves to poke at my computer, sometimes accidentally turning it off or on. (Or maybe not accidentally at all.) We've barricaded the stereo in the living room because she loves to push the buttons, turn the volume knob, press the tape deck to make it pop open. Not long ago she hit just the right combination of buttons to make the stereo blare, "OPTION!--" She started back and looked at me in panic. I turned it off, and since then the stereo has been unplugged. I didn't do this, but I suspect it's because Eric was trying to nap at the time.

Sometime in the last month she's grown tiny invisible spikes on her back that sink into her flesh and torment it unmercifully when pressure is applied to them. Or at least that's my guess, as whenever we put her on her back she screams and writhes and does her best imitation of a baby who's about to die of agony. This does not, as you might imagine, make diaper-changing easy, though for whatever blessed reason she does settle down a lot more when we're cleaning up a messy diaper rather than just a wet one. We're both getting better at dressing her while she's sitting or, frequently, standing.

Half the time when I get her in the mornings she's standing at the railing, waiting for me. The other half she's lying down (on her tummy, of course) playing idly with the aquarium or one of her toys. She absolutely refuses to be put in her crib to play when I’m getting ready in the mornings, so her room has been baby-proofed and she plays on the floor in there. At least, she does when she doesn't crawl across the hall to come see me. Then she gets to watch me brush my teeth and hair, and get her own brushed. She wrinkles up her face cutely whenever I do this. Also whenever I put a block or a cup on her head.

She's still mama's girl, but she's reached out for Daddy a few times and has been okay being left with Mimaw and Aunt Angie. She had a great time when her Halmoni came to visit. She was spoiled rotten--held while she napped, visited whenever she woke up in the middle of the night, attended to constantly. She had a hard time getting back to her regular schedule when the visit was over, and she still tends to scream at bedtime and wake up in the night more than she used to. I'm not sure that's because she misses her Halmoni's attention, but whatever the reason, I hope it stops soon.

Naptimes in general have become impossible, unless she's so sleepy she just can't keep herself awake. Apparently at daycare she gets rocked to sleep, which may explain why putting her in her crib doesn't work well at home. She's been taking a lot of naps in her carseat lately. We need to work on the nap issue.

Bathtime has transitioned from the little tub to the big one. This was a little scary the first couple of times, but now she's loving the extra room. She can crawl around, and chase the ducky (also his new friend, Pirate Ducky), and read her floating bath books, and stand up and gnaw the side of the tub. Washing her is a little harder, but them's the breaks.

Food, glorious food! We've gotten more adventurous this month, giving her pasta, cut-up lasagna, bread, crackers, grapes (cut in eighths, thank you), pieces of baked vegetables, and mixed stage-3 foods: chicken and stars, sweet potato bisque, broccoli and cheese. She's gotten much better at the pincer grasp (which means I need to clean the floors more often now that she's down exploring them all the time). She's okay with baby food, mostly, but finger food is by far her favorite. Dinners have started to look like "real" dinners: a couple of different foods, some fruit or yogurt melts for dessert, and her sippy cup. She's figured out the sippy cup, even if she does sometimes drink from it upside down.

She's not taking bottles as much as she used to, but I think that's just because she's less hungry, and the solids come first. She's still fond of nursing. She's started what our friends call "extreme nursing." For example, one of her favorite things to do while lying on the Boppy is grab her upper leg with her upper hand and fling it here and there, like a ballerina doing stretches. Yesterday we were sitting on the couch and she was mouthing my stomach where my shirt had ridden up, so I pulled it up and took out a R.I.N.D.S. interface. Before I could get her into position she simply leaned over, on her knees, and started sucking.

I'm not sure she understands the concept of books yet, but she's starting to be more willing to listen, and less likely to take the book away from me to try to eat it, when we read. She especially likes her bath books. (I think the floatiness helps.) We're also fond of the latest addition to her library, That's Not My Pirate.

She's fond of our attention, but she's growing more independent. For example, I am currently sitting on the couch typing this while Chloë plays with the toys on the living room. Sometimes she comes up to the couch and pulls herself upright to see what I'm doing; sometimes she crawls toward the other room to see if anything has changed; sometimes she looks at me and licks her lips and I'm not sure I want to know what she's thinking. But that's okay. She's becoming a real little person, a third member of the family instead of an appendix or a footnote, and we love it that way.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Elementary, my dear minions

"When I am overlord, everyone must be able to recite the periodic table upon request, or BE SLAIN."

Monday, April 19, 2010

Gerber: 7, Mommy: 10

So Chloë appears to be on a diet--or a bottle strike, anyway. She's happy to nurse, and she's more than happy to have real food, but she took no bottles (out of two) at daycare Thursday and one and a half (out of three) at Aunt Angie's Friday. But she ate all her cereal and baby food and snacks. I'm a little worried about her getting dehydrated, but she seems fine so far. We may start sending a sippy cup with her to daycare, though. She's got her nine-month checkup next Friday, and I'm going to have to talk to them extensively about food and drink. Probably we're doing fine, but I'll feel better if someone tells me so.

We've gotten into a habit of giving her some baby food and some "people food" at dinner--some pear-blueberry or zucchini-corn or chicken-and-stars or whatever, plus bits of bread or fruit or noodles. She turns out to love grapes and bread. She's not so keen on plain pasta, but lasagna from Daddy's plate is heaven. Rice is good; strawberries are good; cheese is good. I roasted some potatoes and sweet potatoes and carrots and broke them into small pieces and she gobbled them right up.

And muffins are good. Eric's very enthusiastic about the Gerber puffs, which she likes and which come in a variety of flavors--peach, apple-strawberry, banana, sweet potato. Last night after her green beans and applesauce he shook out a few on her tray. At the same time, I pinched off some bits from the applesauce-cranberry muffins I had made for breakfast. They have cinnamon and allspice in them, but she gobbled them right up, pretty much ignoring the puffs. Mommy food still wins!

Thursday, April 15, 2010

You may think it's funny, but it's not

Nobody told me about the boogers. The diapers, yes, and the milk, and the sleep deprivation and the crying, but not the boogers. I admit it could be worse. But Chloë is quite a snotty girl at the moment (recovering from a cold), and quite a willful one as well--approach her nose with a cloth or a Kleenex and she moves her head to the side. She used to like the bulb, but she avoids that now too. Try to keep her still and she shakes her entire body violently back and forth and screams. This just gets the boogers smeared across her face, and sometimes my shirt and hand, so lately I've given up. But that means that she gets crusty formations around her nostrils. Which means that when I can (mostly when we're nursing), I get to pull hard booger nuggets out of her nose. I'm telling you, the glamour of this job just doesn't fade.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Food fight

Chloë is working hard on her third and fourth teeth. She's more irritable than usual, waking up at night (though that may be partly separation anxiety and partly that between her recent cold and her recent visit from her grandma she's now accustomed to being attended to when she wakes up in the night), and gnawing on everything. Including me. "No!" surprises her but hasn't persuaded her yet. We'll see if the immediate shutdown of the R.I.N.D.S. upon receipt of bite does. It's mostly at the end of nursing, when she seems done but I offer just to make sure, so I'm not doing that anymore.

She's rejected baby food at dinner the past couple of days, but accepted lasagna and strawberries and Cheerios and bread. We're not sure if this is the food that makes her happy or the food that makes her gums feel better. Either way, we're not going to keep a big stock of baby food on hand. Last night we tried baby food again, and she didn't like it until I offered some on my finger. Then she was determined to get her own fingers into her food, so we decided to let her. We're not sure how much food she took in, but she had a good time.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

On the move

Mom visited this week, and Chloë decided to show off. She had been inching around; by the time Mom left, this afternoon, she was crawling everywhere and pulling herself up on her knees and then her feet. I think we're in some trouble here.