Friday, July 30, 2010

More than a Few Steps

Hannah walked 10-1/2 feet today!!! Yes, we measured, we had to because it was amazing and the farthest she has ever walked and because we missed her first couple of steps and were therefore unable to count. (Her previous record: 7 steps.)

More later....

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Hannah Pushes the Stroller...All the Way Home

My dad came to visit yesterday afternoon while Sondra attended an event at Camden Yards.  Since it's been eons since we'd spent any daddy/daughter time together, Eric offered to hang back when I suggested that we all walk to the playground.  Since the playground is seven blocks away, we got plenty of time to talk and catch up on the way there, and once there, he transitioned from Dad to very happy Grandpap, and I transitioned from daughter to trigger-happy mamarazzi.  Unfortunately, most of my photos, including those on the swing and sliding board, are extremely overexposed.  Here's what I could salvage:

I'm pretty sure I mentioned Hannah's pension for pushing her stroller around the house.  She also likes to push it around the playground.  Yesterday, rather than put her back in the stroller for the walk home, I steered her up off the mulch and onto the sidewalk in the direction of home, figuring I'd let her exercise her legs until she got tired.  Well, she didn't get tired. She pushed that stroller the whole way home.  She tripped a couple of times and landed on her knees, but refused the snuggle and comfort Pappy tried to provide, forcefully squiggling her way out of his arms and back to her position behind the stroller.  At green lights I held up her sippy cup so she could drink from it without removing her hands from the stroller. Her cheeks were flushed when we got home, but she seemed as alert as ever in spite of having walked seven blocks.  Seven! I think that's crazy.  And amazing. Maybe she'll grow up to be a super hero like Wonder Woman or something.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Getting the Gift of Gab...And Coordination

I think Hannah might have said "kitty" this morning when Kaya jumped up on the bed, and I'm pretty sure she said "easy" yesterday while hanging out next door at MC's.  "Easy" is what we are constantly saying to Hannah as she bull dozes around the house thwacking people, things and kitties so it's a word she hears a lot of.  She was thwacking things at MC's yesterday when MC said "easy, easy," and Hannah turned around and repeated it back to MC.  The room was full since MC's parents are in town so I have a lot of witnesses on that one, and we're all pretty sure that although her speech is still garbled with baby talk, she's getting the gift of gab...

She is also developing her ham-it-up skills, and learning how to keep all attention on her and get it back if it strays for a moment.  She's got this funny fake laugh/yell thing that is hysterical and always makes us crack up. The first time she did it, I laughed, and then I could see her thinking about what had just happened.  In the spirit of true science, she tried the laugh again, and again I cracked up.  She grinned with pleasure at this new power she'd discovered that she has, and since then, she uses it frequently (with success) to get everyone to stop talking, look at her, and laugh.  I don't know if all babies/kids are so dramatic, but this one is totally a star performer and will probably rock at that Cranium category when old enough to play.

Another development that got me all excited yesterday is that she figured out how to push the little button thingy up and down to get the number 2 elephant in her Playskool Busy Poppin' Pals toy to pop up.  My brother's wife's parents got that toy for her for Christmas, and since then, she's been excellent at closing the lids, but has not been able to make them pop up again. Yesterday she made one pop, and I got all excited and clapped, and she tucked her chin and got that grin on her face that she gets when she's proud of herself.  I yelled for Eric to come watch, and she did it again! I am loving all these fun developments!

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Hannah's Daddy Graduates!

On Friday, Hubby graduated with his Bachelor of Science in Intelligence (funny thing to get a degree in, huh?? He's educated in Intelligence, heheheh.). Here's a family pic we snapped before the graduation while we were all milling around waiting to get into the auditorium. I'm glad we took this one because we never got around to taking very many pics after the graduation like we thought we would. For some reason Hubby looks a little possessed in all of the pics we took before the graduation (which is why I didn't post too many)...Nerves maybe.

Here's Grammy entertaining Hannah. I packed a backpack overly full of toys to keep us entertained while we waited.  Having Grammy there was more helpful than the backpack full of toys though. I was especially grateful for her presence when I needed to use the bathroom and had a full and heavy backpack, purse, camera case, and baby.  That's a lot to have to schlep into a public bathroom stall. I'm happy I didn't have to!

We took the long telephoto lens and were able to get close as a result, but I had trouble focusing it. This is the best one I got of him walking.

Like my mom said, "I always knew you were smart, but now you have proof." 

Thursday, July 22, 2010

A Post Partum Story

Earlier today I was chatting with Laura on Gmail chat while she was reading an article on Gwyneth Paltrow's blog about postpartum depression.  The fact that PPD can kick in up to one year after the birth of a child shocked us both so she sent me the link, and I read too.   The facts are interesting, but it's the true life story from Bryce Dallas Howard that captivated me. (I had to Google her name since my pop culture knowledge could fit into a pistachio shell with room to spare for the pistachio.  Apparently she's an actress and was in the second Twilight movie.) Since I have so many friends with new babies right now, I thought some of those friends might be interested in the article too. It definitely made me think about my own experiences, and although I didn't suffer anything severe, I might have had a minor case of it myself.  She had two points that I related to: the feeling of nothingness post birth and the part about yelling expletives at her husband.

The nothingness was shocking.  In all the movies and documentaries the rush of love the mom feels as she pulls her freshly birthed baby to her chest is obvious, so obvious that it fills up the screen and makes me feel all warm and fuzzy from my seat on the couch.  When I birthed Hannah, I felt relief, and I felt calm, but I didn't feel a rush of love.  When the nurse or midwife or whoever placed her on my chest, it felt awkward, surreal. Three thoughts flashed through my head: 1. Please let me have the energy to keep this baby from rolling off my chest. 2. The whole idea of putting your baby directly on your chest after being birthed is silly. 3. Where's the rush of overwhelming love????  These thoughts were fleeting though, dismissed almost as soon as I thought them. In general, I felt brain dead, sorta like I'd had a lobotomy.

I was a robot operating on auto-pilot.  The first time I thought about it and put those words to it was back in May when Mary had her baby. I stopped by the day they arrived home from the hospital, and she asked if I had been terrified to bring Hannah home, leave the safety of the hospital. ""No," I said, "I didn't."  I don't remember feeling anything, least of all worried.  I mean, in general, I am not a worrier.  You know those stories about parents who call the pediatrician every time their child sneezes? Well, in this whole first year of Hannah's life, I never once made an inquisitory or emergency call to the pediatrician.  Granted, Hannah has been super healthy, but even so, my general belief is thaty "Everything's gonna be alright," and when it's not, we'll cross that bridge when we come to it. So no, I didn't worry about bringing her home.  Like Howard, I felt nothing. I did everything I knew I needed to do to keep Hannah healthy, and I snuggled her and carried her around and napped with her napping on my chest, but it took a week before I felt the first tiny twinges of love, and months before I was in love.  In the meantime, I slept when she slept, ate when the hunger pains were to strong to ignore, and tried to remember to drink a bottle of water every time she nursed because otherwise I got a headache.

Then came the anger.  Howard wrote: "[My husband] would ask what he could do to help, but knowing there was nothing he could do, I screamed expletives at him, behavior he had never experienced in the seven years we had been together."  We all know that Eric and I were barely together for 1 year before getting married and pregnant, so he didn't have quite as much of a frame of reference for typical Terri behavior and was probably wondering what he'd gotten himself into when I started kirking out on him. I don't remember when it started, maybe as early as the second month, but maybe not until the fourth. (I'm sure if I dug back through my blog entries I could figure it out--I know I had some pretty crazy ones.)  I don't even know where all that anger came from, but I have never, ever in my entire life felt like that before. If I were a cartoon character, I would have been blowing smokestacks out of bright red ears.  I was so angry that I would clench my fists and my jaws but even then I wanted to throw things, BAD.  That's actually how the bowl to my mini cuisinart got a crack in it. I flew into a rage while washing a pan or something and after rinsing it, pitched it into the dish rack angrily where it landed on the little plastic bowl of the cuisinart with a loud crack.  Ooops!

Right after having Hannah I read It Sucked and Then I Cried, a present from Libby and the start of my fan club adoration for Heather Armstrong.  Like Howard, I could relate to a lot her passages, but overall, her experience was waaaaaay more severe than mine. I mean, she ended up checking herself into the hospital for help.  I was nowhere near that bad off so when I started getting my 'roid rages, I wasn't sure what to attribute it too. I thought the hormones were long gone from my body and didn't realize the symptoms can appear anytime within that first year. It did get bad enough that I put forth the effort to sign us up for family counseling.  I still think we had some real issues with adjusting to the responsibility and cooperation needed to operate as a team, but I know it took a long time before I learned how to broach this issues sanely and without screaming expletives.  Shortly before our first scheduled appointment, my hormones stopped raging and our communication started to click again. The night before the first appointment was a bad one with Hannah up for hours, so I canceled the meeting and never rescheduled. I haven't since felt the need to.

Marriage pre-baby might require team work, but it's the kind of team work required to play on your local neighborhood softball team.  Having a baby puts your team in the big leagues overnight and requires way more cohesion, communication, synchronicity, etc. All of a sudden you need the rule books and the play books and you need everybody onboard and playing for the same team.  It ain't an easy adjustment.

I don't know if I had a minor case of PPD or not, but either way, it's a relief to know that plenty of other women freak out and lose themselves post baby, and also to know that my marriage is strong enough to withstand that temporary freak out and loss of self.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Diaper Days

Libby brought the munchkins over yesterday.  The girls played together in the crib for a while, and it was so cute, I had to go all mamarazzi.

When we went to the library last week I picked up a bunch of books with rip-able pages instead of board books. I'm so tired of the board books...Hannah is not much interested in having me read to her, but she does like turning the pages and reading to herself, and so far, she is turning the pages nicely. 

On a separate topic, my three favorites snuggled up this morning, another cause for going mamarazzi.  I love them.

And no, we don't dress her anymore.  Not to putz around the house anyway.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Lazy Beach Days

We made an impromptu trip up to the beach at Oregon Ridge on Sunday.  It was Artscape weekend, and this was the first in like five or something that I didn't go (last year I was balancing cups on my big ol' preggo belly). As much as I would have loved the opportunity to blog about Hannah's first Artscape, we opted to join Mary and some of her friends, cooling off at the swimming hole instead of sweating it out with the crowds.

The impromptu beach run was inspired by Mary who rounded up a group of friends and brought Adelaide, who just turned 2 months.  Hannah was enthralled with the baby and walked laps around the stroller, tickling her toes occasionally, more often yelling at her (in a "wake up and have fun with me" kind of way).

All that yelling and toe tickling eventually woke her up. I love the arms up position! Like she's cheering or something...Yay for beach days!

Here are the guys, maxing and relaxing in the rays.  (Greg stayed with us this weekend before heading off to a week of training in Frederick. That's him in the back.)

Eric is watching some terrible apocalyptic movie called The Road that has my heart beating like a djembe drum.  I really don't understand why anyone is at all interested in "relaxing" with a movie about how terrible life would be if the world blew up, unless, maybe to be grateful that the world hasn't blown up and life is great?? I don't know.  I think I do a good job being grateful without having to think of how bad it could be, and stuff like this gives me nightmares.  And day-mares for that matter.  Time for me to go hide out in a different room. 

Sunday, July 18, 2010

This Time Last Year: Baby Shower

Our baby shower was on July 18 last year and since I never posted pictures, I thought I'd do it today.  Laura, baby shower hostess and photographer extraordinaire, took all of the below photos.  I'd like to link her blog, Come On and Wake Up With Me, to her name, but for some reason when I click on it in my Blogger dashboard, I'm getting the "blog not found message"....Until I get that figured out, props be given to Laura Mae Socks for taking and then giving me these photos.

The shower was at a pavilion in Cunningham Falls (Catoctin, Maryland), and Laura's decorations were more perfect and prettier than I ever could have imagined.  I'm so happy that so many people were able to come, even though it was on a Friday.  I wish we could have done it on a Saturday, but I waited too long to decide on a location and when I did decide, said location was booked on all weekends.

I'm ashamed to admit that I still haven't sent out thank you notes for all the thoughtful presents everyone brought.  I had intended to send them out in the two weeks before Hannah was born.  Remember how my last day of work was Friday, July 31 so that I'd have at least two weeks to pack our bags, get the car seat installed, finish buying diapers and readying the nursery, and RELAX before her arrival? Yeah, and then remember how my water broke on August 4?  Yeahhhhhh.....So we were out of town for a wedding that whole weekend, and then I did some baby shopping on Monday, and then that was it.  Times up! After her birth I was so overwhelmed with all the screaming for the first 5 months or so that writing thank you notes was pretty low on the priority list.  And then I think I just forgot for a while....A couple of weeks ago I came across the cards I received and the list of gifts that Jessica kept for me while we were opening presents, and I put them on the desk so that I could attend to them. You guys just might get your notes yet!!  Please know that we are eternally grateful, we do remember what everyone got us, and we often tell Hannah who got her this or that item.

Without further adieu....Wasn't it pretty???

Libby, Ben, and Asa.

With my dad and Sondra and my Aunt Earlene and Uncle Chuck.  Earlene and Chuck drove all the way from Boston!!

With the grandmas.  Eric's mom, Jeannie (right), came all the way from Michigan.

I totally HATE the preggo belly hold thing that proud papas-to-be do in pics.  Ugh!!! But Chip (my brother, on the right) is holding Erica's preggo belly in every pic, and I didn't want to not put up a pic of my brother and sister-in-law because HELLO! I love them.  Unfortunately, I am also a victim of the preggo belly hold in this one. Darn it Eric!!

Crazy group shot!

I didn't recognize Kathryn and Caroline when they were walking up the pavilion; it had been SO LONG since I'd seen them, and you know how much growing happens in those adolescent years. Hehehe. (No, we are not sisters. I hung out with them in a role of babysitter/big sister when they were in elementary and middle school. The Stanley's quickly became my second family/Baltimore family.)

With Jess and Todd. (Love them!!)

With Kerry (mum to Kathryn and Caroline).

With my Aunt Pam (my mom's younger sister) and Uncle Donny and my cousin Kim.

End of the night.

I included this one only because it showed just how big how I was, and the other day when I was trying to remember how big I was, I couldn't really find any good pics.

Between opening presents and the prom-style photo shoot and the fact that it was on a Friday when most people had to work all day, there wasn't as much play time as I'd hoped for, but it was awesome all the same and exactly what I wanted--a fun, outdoor/picnic-style party with most of my favorite people.  Thank you to everyone who came and an even bigger THANK YOU to Laura for throwing what I'm pretty sure is gonna go down in history as the prettiest and coolest baby shower ever!! And no, I'm not trying to get out of sending thank you notes by posting a general thank you on my blog...sheesh! What kind of lazy bum do you take me for???  I'm totally getting around to the notes....

Also, stay tuned for more "this time last year posts".....

Saturday, July 17, 2010

The Laughing Copycat

The time has definitely come to start monitoring our behavior in front of Hannah.  Yeah, yeah, we should have done it from the get go, and we did to some extent, but now we've gotta get serious because she has totally started copying our behaviors.  For instance... the zoo she got ahold of  Eric's cell phone, held it up to her ear, and started talking. her room the other day we were playing with the tea set that my Aunt Pam got for her, and I was showing her how to pour tea, add a spot of cream and a lump of sugar, stir, and sip.  She took her little plastic tea cup in both hands, held it up to her mouth, and tipped her head way back like she was dumping the imaginary tea straight down her gullet (she gets this drinking technique from her father). the library story time yesterday she actually shook the jingle bells and shook them enthusiastically with a big grin on her face.  She's been able to shake them a little for a while, but always seemed kinda perplexed by the concept, but now she gets it, and she likes it.

She also likes to push her stroller back and forth across the first floor but has a hard time maneuvering it and often gets it stuck in the legs of the dining room table chairs.  Unfortunately, her reaction to being stuck is similar to mine--scream out in frustration.  Looks like she inherited my lack of patience...For that reason, when she starts pushing her stroller, I try to replace the stroller with her wheeled push toy that her Grannah got her.  She loves that toy so she's usually pretty happy to make the switch.  When frustrations happen anyway, I respond calmly and ask if she needs help, using the sign for "help." I think she could be quite the diva if indulged and if constantly attended to so I'm trying to wait a minute before jumping in to rescue and also encourage her to ask for what she wants BEFORE freaking out.

I took the below pics a couple of days ago.  At the beginning of the scene, Hannah was on the long couch with me and Eric was on the short couch, but the second he picked up his guitar and started strumming, Hannah slid off the long couch, made her way over to him, climbed up onto his lap, and then climbed in between him and the guitar.  At first she hit the strings like she was trying to teach him how to play it.

But she quickly grew tired of playing guitar teacher and pushed the guitar off his lap so that he could refocus all of his attentions on her. 

And her laugh....My guess is that most parents think their child's laughter is the most gorgeous, bell-tinkling-ly beautiful sound they've ever heard, so I'm not unique in thinking this and have no unique way of writing it either, but seriously, the laugh is awesome.  She laughs at everything now and laughs hard and the harder she laughs the more it makes me want to keep doing whatever I'm doing to make her laugh and since I'm laughing right along with her, my face gets all sore which makes me think that laugher is like push-ups for my cheeks and that that thing that optimists used to say about how smiling exercises something like 200 muscles in your face is probably not bull-honky.  So I'm laughing, and she's laughing, and I'm so addicted to her laugh that I'll do anything for it, including things I used to require alcohol courage for, like dancing.  All those insecurities I used to have about looking stupid while dancing are long gone these days as I flail myself around the room being as silly and dramatic and having as much FUN as possible sometimes in beat to the music, sometimes not, because let's face it, I'm not coordinated, but I don't care anymore how stupid I look, and in fact, the stupider, the better if it'll make her laugh longer and harder.  Some times I feel more liberated now than I did before Hannah. Weird, huh? 

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

A Thunderous Bubble Storm

Yesterday we had our first thunderstorm of the season, an occasion I've been waiting for since the back porch got finished back in....May? June? (I have no concept of time these days except that it passes all to quickly.) One of my favorite things to do is sit on a (covered) porch and watch the lightning and the rain beat down.  After one particularly loud boom crackalacka in which we had to clap and say "yay" because Hannah got a horrified look on her face, it occurred to me that this was Hannah's first thunderstorm.  So I ran for the camera and jumped all over the opportunity to go mamarazzi.

I thought about not posting this first pic since it's a teeny bit revealing of dear ol' dad (I should have grabbed his shirt when I ran in for the camera but didn't notice the partial nudity until hours later when I was uploading the pics), but I am so in love with the dialogue that they have going on in it, that I had to share.

Bubbles seemed like a good way to enjoy the storm.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Lions and Tigers and Bears....

We took Hannah to the zoo for the first time yesterday. It was actually both mine and Eric's first visit to the Maryland Zoo as well. The temperature was in the mid 90s so most of the animals were hiding out in the shade, and a lot of the exhibits were close for renovation.  It wasn't terribly exciting as a result, but the area is gorgeous with big, beautiful trees and shaded walks, and Hannah loved the animals that were out and about, especially the birds.  If we had extra money right now, I'd get a membership; it's only $99/year for a family ($115 if you want to always be able to bring 1 guest) and it's a great place to take a walk especially since it's within 5 minutes of our house.  Paying for the day is $14 which I don't see us doing too often.

The Maryland Wildlife section of the zoo has farm animals and a petting zoo with goats. 

We didn't see the lion--missed him somehow when we went to the chimpanzee house--and there's no tiger, and the only bear is the polar bear who wasn't thrilled with the weather and was slumped over in a furry heap in the shade made by his shelter. But we loved all the ducks and birds, the giraffes and elephants, the monkey that put on a good show, and the little goats the stood by complacently while children ran around brushing and petting them. It was a beautiful day!