Saturday, July 21, 2012

Life is fragile.

Ripley and I were out shopping yesterday and I got scared. In the middle of Target I got scared. I thought that at that moment anyone could harm us if thy chose to. Anyone could shoot us and hurt us. For a fleeting moment I was terrified.
These thoughts were not irrational, extreme, yes, but sane. In that moment I realized the goal of all terrorists: to make people afraid in their daily lives. 

Last year, Gabby Giffords, a Rep. for Arizona, was shot in the head in front of a grocery store I used to shop at. The gunman had her in his sights but killed and injured others as well. The night before last, 12 people were killed (and over 50 more injured), at a movie theatre in Colorado. Everyone there just went to see the new summer blockbuster, never thinking that something so horrific could occur. 

I think about death a lot since Mia died. I felt so safe and untouchable. Now death is the underlying current in my life, a reminding buzz in the background.
I am sad for the friends and families of the victims. When death comes so suddenly, it knocks the wind out of you and reminds you of how vulnerable we are.

Today the President said this (and it made me cry):
" is fragile. Our time here is limited and it is precious. And what matters in the end are not the small and trivial things which often consume our lives. It’s how we choose to treat one another, and love one another. It’s what we do on a daily basis to give our lives meaning and to give our lives purpose. That’s what matters. That’s why we’re here.”


Thursday, July 19, 2012

Fever baby

It's been a rough week here at the casita. Chiquita has spent the last few days at less than her full Rawr! potential. Initially I thought she was having a reaction to pears. We are introducing new foods at snail's pace due to my extensive list of allergies, and this week after pears we noticed that her tummy was acting up. After a few days of super poop she went beyond a food reaction and totally into stomach virus mode. She was feverish and sleepy and only wanted to nurse. I called the nurse and she advised that we just make sure she was hydrated (props to me for restraining and not driving her to an ER).

Her spirits are still good, but now that her tummy is a little better, she has a runny nose and a little cough (which kept us up most of last night). I can vaguely remember all these symptoms just before her teeth popped through. And now that I'm thinking of it, she has been a super drooler lately. Plus, she's been all about the biting - of everything. It's most likely teething, and not some rare disease that they only find in Antarctic naked mole rats. Ok, I'll take us all off of Defcon 1.

Mama love makes it better.

Friday, July 6, 2012

7 months

Wow! The 6th month was such a blur! June was the beginning of summer for the boys, so not only did we have our day to day, but we had two more monkeys in the mix. Between home and camps and the pool and the beach and grocery shopping and boredom and reading and missed naps and the park and dinners and a visit from Nana and more missed naps - I didn't have much time to chronicle it all! So here's one mega post for her 7th month birthday. Happy 7 months baby girl!

"See that camera? I wanna eat it. See mama's hand? I wanna eat it. See everything? I want to eat it all!" Chiquita is full tilt into using her taste buds to gauge the world. If she can't move it to her mouth, her mouth moves towards it. It is quite drooly, but very cute (in a "I'm her mama and don't mind her spit" kinda way). 

Teething only adds to her oral fixation. This month two of her bottom teeth popped up. They are completely adorable (until she's breast feeding and suddenly decides to chomp down - um, ouch!). We've added frozen teething rings into her daily rotation, but she still prefers gumming fingers instead.

See her sleeping on her own? This is rare.
One of the biggest challenges we face is codependence. Ripley is very much a mama's girl and still only really sleeps on me or near me. When she was born I didn't mind that she always wanted to be in arms, I needed her close. But, unlike a lot of babies I've met, she really never wanted to be put down. I so wanted to take pictures of her curled up in infant sweetness. However, no matter how heavy she got, as soon as I would lay her down she'd cry. I would try to soothe her and reassure her that I was near, but nope, she wouldn't have it. She is also a very light sleeper, which means that if I do happen to slip away while she sleeps, she'll wake up after a few minutes and search for me.

When pregnant I read that you can't spoil a baby before 4 months. A young baby has no ability to manipulate, so if they cry, go ahead and pick them up. All of a sudden she's 7 months old and I definitely know that she cries because she wants me to grab her. She is very vocal about her wants. Very vocal. And of course, as soon as she's in my arms, she's either smiling, or back to sleep. So somewhere between 4 months and now she's grasped the routine and refuses to let it go.

Here we are, 7 months in and she co-sleeps with me and takes naps in my arms. Which means, for 2-4 hours in the day and from 8pm (ish) on, I am immobile. Occasionally she falls asleep in the car seat on the way home (score!), but it's fairly rare. Twice I've been out of the house and she's slept without me (after super tantrums that wear her out), so we know it's possible (see above photo for proof).

It seems strange to me that there are only two methods I hear about. Co-sleeping and Crying-it-out. Most parents I've talked to admit that they tried the ol' cry cry method, but really ended up co-sleeping until 1, 2, 3 or 6 years old. The only crib sleepers I know of are the babies who were naturally inclined to sleep on their own since birth. Once again here I am, faced with the old "all babies are different" mantra. Why don't they just preach that to all pregnant mamas? All babies are not the same - so stop trying to fit yours into the mold.

My train of thought is this: Babies have been co-sleeping for centuries. Primitive cultures and most animals don't expect their babies to be all quiet and asleep for hours on their own until they're more self reliant. This is such a western concept. So while yes, I would like more time during the day and I would love my bed back to just D and I, I am not ready to listen to her wail and watch her pull her hair and scratch at her face just because she wants to be near me. If I had a 9-5 and she absolutely had to learn independence, then yes, I would try harder, but for now I will be the calming comfort in her world. (This may be where all my parenting regrets can be traced back to in the future). Moving on...

There she is - Queen of the bed.
One of the best things that has happened this month is the giggle. She would kind of chuckle before, and definitely smile lots, but now she has a full on giggle. Her brothers are the silliest and funniest things in her universe - they always get her laughing. Good thing it's summer because there is a lot of time for them to entertain her. 

Now that she doesn't scream bloody murder when we put her into the car seat, we can actually take her with us almost everywhere. Besides everyday tasks like grocery shopping and Target (Oh yes! Target, the God o' suburbia, at which we worship once, twice, maybe three times a week. Seriously - who needs that much stuff from Target? Everybody!) we also get to do fun stuff, like swim tryouts for Boo.

Cheering her brother on at Junior Lifeguard tryouts.
Car seat lovin' also means it's much less stress to take her to her doctor's appointments. This time when we were there we happened to run into her lactation nurse. The nurse was so surprised at Ripley's growth. After months and months of worrying about my milk supply and her weight loss - here she is, gigantor baby! The nurse was thoroughly impressed. So was the doctor who gaged her height and weight at 97% and 96%. It's no wonder chiquita doesn't fit into any 6 month clothing - she is definitely onto 9 month and 12 month sizes. 

All smiles even after horrible shots.
Another thing that's growing like crazy is her hair. She has some serious baby-fro after her bath. When it dries it has a mind of its own. I know there's a haircut in her future, but I kinda wanna just see where it goes.
She may or may not be related to Kramer from Seinfeld.
Sunday mornings are a favorite around here. It's the one day a week that the chiquita can lounge with her brothers while they watch cartoons. Z loves to be cozy and always has a blanket or two in tow. He brings out his red fuzzy one so much that we call it the Red Ghost (it gobbles him up!). Since his sister has become less fragile he loves to bring out blankets and stuffed animals for her too. And sometimes the Red Ghost gobbles them both up!

The Red Ghost strikes again!

When the monkeys are with their bioMom, the three of us go on our own adventures. Friend having a birthday? During happy hour? With a loud band? No worries. We have that covered.

My little Princess Leia head :)

We also celebrated her first Father's Day. Since the monkeys are older, D spent most of the day on the golf course with them. However, chiquita got plenty of daddy time before and after.

They kinda like each other.
More proof that she tolerates the car seat. D and I not only get lunch dates, we actually have a chance to eat before she gets fidgety!

Chiquita still adores her bath time, which has evolved into Daddy/daughter time. The two of them get to splash around together while mama gets a break (usually just enough time to inhale dinner). We've been using the bath sponge, but lately all she wants to do is flip around. I think a bath seat is the next up on our cleanliness journey.

This was the first picture got to take of her teeth (without her tongue playing with them). We had about a week or two of super drool and baby pain medicine, but once they popped she was all good.

The majority of my afternoons look like this:

Before the girls were born D and I had discussed who we'd want to be their guardians if anything should ever happen to us. It's quite the process to go through your family and friends and think of not only who would be great care takers, but who would have the time, resources, desire and ability to commit, not only to your children, but to your whole family. Parenting is a crazy thing. Sure almost anyone can go off and procreate after puberty, but being able to make a child doesn't automatically mean you have the ability to raise it. We wanted to know that the girls would be loved and raised by people we respect and already consider family.
We made our decision, but then life got in the way. You know, the whole two babies, doctors, marriage, trips, doctors, holidays, doctors, one baby, birth, new baby sort of thing. Finally we got the chance to invite our choice into the family- and they said yes! Los Padrinos: David & Lorena.

Since she grows out of clothes so quickly it's hard to get attached to outfits. There are the few here and there that are so cute they stick with you. It's always a sad day when those have to retire. Cheers to my favorite strawberry romper. You are adorable.

Ripley's Nana came to visit this month too. She hadn't been out since Mia's memorial in the end of January. It was so wonderful to have her here for a bit. She also got an extra gold star from me cause she's the only person so far that thinks Chiquita looks like me.

Nana learning the power of the new teeth.

Splashing about makes her hungry.
In general I feel like our life (especially after 3pm) is hectic. D has work and meetings, the boys have camps and junior life guards, plus there's tutoring and reading/study time to keep their brains sharp. And of course dinner has to happen somewhere. Controlled chaos. Despite the busy schedules I feel like every now and again the universe slows, we find ourselves without an agenda, and we get to have a casual afternoon with family and friends. Those are always the best days.

Uncles are good at lego construction.

Uncles are also good at baby bouncing.

(just before Rip got pegged by a foul ball! Poor girl is gonna be tough)
She loves all animals (especially ones with long ears to grab!)

Did I mention that Leeloo loves her brothers? Because she LOVES her brothers. She loves them so much, that if they come home and go into their room for a bit without playing with her first,  she will yell until they come back out. She doesn't cry, she actually yells at them to come back. Good thing they like to play with her. I have a feeling that she'll charm them into doing a lot for her.

Here's a better look at those new teeth:

Feeding the baby cereal and fruit is fun. Giving her her solid cookies that require chewing as well as swallowing? That's a little more daunting. In my mind I know that the cookie is engineered to be super soluble, but I hold my breath a little hoping that she won't choke. I thought it was a first-time mama worry until I saw D break up the baby cookie into itty bitty pieces. Just one more thing to add to our over-protective list. So far she's swallowed a couple of pretty big chunks and coughed a few times, but I think she's getting the gist of this chewing thing. Sigh - I must repeat - the universe is not out to get us.

She's still working on the whole "food goes inside the mouth" thing.
Ripley met my Jeffery for the first time this month too. He was the Best-Man-of-Honor at our wedding, and we lived together for years before I moved to California. He moved to San Diego right after I did, and we used to tromp around together all the time. However, since I got pregnant and live in suburbia we don't get to see each other that often anymore. Lucky for us he came up for lunch a couple of weeks ago. Yay for Uncle Jeff!

Once again, these two love each other:

Part of our month was dedicated to selling Pop's house and moving Grandma Mimi out. It's the end of an era. D and his siblings grew up in Del Mar and have known that house for most of their lives. It's sad to know that we won't have anymore holidays or Sundays there. Luckily a young couple fell in love with it and want to keep it as is (instead of demolishing it for new construction - the fate of most houses in that area). So, even though it's sold, it will be there, holding the memories for us.

Mornings and afternoons are fairly chill around here. The little one and I just hang out and play or read or try new things - like sitting!

My brother and his family also came for a visit. We headed downtown to a very busy Old Spaghetti Factory to meet them for dinner. She absolutely loves being in busy places. She also hung out for the very first time sitting in the highchair. So very grown up!

It's hard to take good pictures in a dark restaurant!
Whew! Mega super post! I definitely need to write more regularly so I don't have to play catch up! Here's one last giggle video. Happy 7 months Ripley!