Archive for the ‘Family Life’ Category
I fully appreciate the irony that this post fallows hot on the heels of my previous post where I said Nicki was going to skip crawling. Not 48 hours later she was already proving me wrong.
I first noticed progress on this milestone Friday evening. Nicki got on all fours reaching for a book on a book case and ended up stumbling forward a step. I thought to myself “Hmm, I’ll bet some people consider that crawling.” (Pre-baby I thought milestones were always obvious when they were hit, in truth they hardly ever are. Some people count the first time the baby does the action, others count the first time it appears intentional, and still others wait until baby is doing it consistently. We fall into the latter most camp – if she’s not doing it consistently enough for me to get photographic evidence of it, I don’t count it!)
Saturday evening Domingo was watching Nicki while I was getting ready to start the bedtime routine. He suddenly called down to me “she crawled!” Apparently she had done the same half step stumble I had seen earlier, this time to reach a power cord. We quickly realized that she was willing to move a step forward on her hands and knees if it got her closer to an object she wasn’t supposed to have. If we tried to entice her with a toy, or something else she was allowed to play with, she’d protest until we helped her walk to it.
We decided to test this theory out with the object of mommy’s she always covets – the iPhone. Success! After a few minutes of just staring at it, she actually crawled forward a couple of steps. I was so excited a posted a video to facebook.
We worked with her Sunday and she was took to it like a fish to water. Once we were able to cox her to crawl about a foot it was like a light switch went off in her head and she suddenly realized she could reach anything she wanted under her own power. As soon as I put her down on the floor, she was off! I almost had to break my photographic evidence rule. I couldn’t pick up my camera fast enough to record her crawling! That’s also why all the photos of her crawling are slightly blurry. No time to setup the shot, baby’s on the move! Mommy needs to practice with a moving target!
Bedtime tonight was a little delayed. Nicki was throwing a ball, and crawling to go get it. Yes, she was playing fetch with herself. It was too cute, and I loved the progress she was making, so we let her stay up a little later. It is amazing how much they can change in just 24 hours.
Nick’s Pediatrician thinks she is going to skip crawling, just like she skipped rolling over. She turned over from stomach to back a handful of times, but wasn’t rolling over consistently until 7 months. On the other hand, she could sit unassisted at just 5 months. In fact, the first day she rolled over from back to stomach was also the first day she stood up on her own – at 6 months. Nicki is cruising with confidence, and can walk the length of the house while holding onto hands. When I picked her up from day care yesterday, she leapt out of Ms Laura’s lap and practically dragged her to me. It was more of a toddler run than baby wobbly walk. She’ll scoot on her butt, and drag herself a few inches while on her tummy, but she’s still not rocking on her hands and knees, the canonical precursor to true crawling.
Most days I’m like “Cool, she’ll figure it out when she’s ready.” But some days I fret. I get into my mommy worry bubble and I start to wonder why she’s not doing it. Is it simply my fault for not enough tummy time? Is there an underlying problem? And then I read articles like this, which lists all of the possible detriments to skipping crawling – including reduced gross motor skills, and reduce spatial skills.
I can’t help but feel this is how the mommy wars gets started. The above article is just conjecture. Conjecture by scientist and pediatricians and other very smart people, but conjecture none the less. There are no studies that prove it, one way or the other. Yet, we take these theories as gospel. Instead of “every baby and every situation is different”, suddenly you’re seen as irrevocably harming your baby for being different and not measuring up. I’ve already been told Nicole’s going to have delayed speech because we let her have a binky, even though she was already showing signs of being an earlier talker.
Here’s the thing with babies: they’ll learn to do it eventually. There’s a reason when someone learns to crawl, walk or talk isn’t on the college admissions application. When infants reach milestones are not a strong indicator of intelligence latter in life. Rather than dwell on not crawling, I will wait patiently for Nicki to take her first independent steps. We’re not that far from it now. Come on sweetie, come to mommy!
We’re entering the double digits of months. Oh. My. Gosh. Where is the time going?!
You have made great strides towards walking. Literally and figuratively. As soon as you could cruise, you were off! You’d do three or four laps around your activity table in a row, it was the cutest thing. You also enjoy cruising on the coffee table, and discovering all the non-baby safe things mommy forgets to put away. You used to hold onto the baby bumper, but you quickly learned it was more fun to have your hands free. The only issue? You can only balance on your feet for a second or two. It wasn’t a problem for you for long, you learned to lean your chest against the table for support so you could hold an object in each hand.
One handed Standing.
Mommy needs to learn photoshop. I have so many adorable photos with something in the background (in this case diaper wipes.) Sigh.
You are very into your toys these days. It’s amazing watching you development, you make such leaps in perceiving your world. You offered your binky to Fuzzy Bunny, by putting it on his mouth. We weren’t sure if that’s what you were doing, or you were just bashing your toys together, until you tried to put your pacifier in Mommy’s mouth! You thought it was absolutely hysterical, and kept trying to get mommy to take it. You had your little spider push the buttons on the remote control, and seemed to be making him crawl up the table. You also put the pretend purple phone to your ear without being prompted to. I know I’m biased, but I’m pretty sure that level of “role playing” is very advanced!
My little ham
The many outtakes of Nicole “Pookytron”
You now eat cheerios, Gerber “puffs” and yogurt melts like a champion. You weren’t as keen on the steamed vegetables yet, though you did put some carrots into your mouth. I think it’s the texture that you’re not sure of, you take the pureed vegtables very well. Even peas, which you hated at first. You’re also not a fan of cooked pasta, egg yoke or cheese yet, but we’re working on it. After rejecting banana in non-pureed form twice before, you shared one with mommy on Monday. Mommy will let you in on a little secret: if you share your banana with the kitty, she will love you forever. Kitty loves people food.
Enjoying her time in the swing
You have been a little miss giggle fits this month. Everything makes you happy. You squiggle up your nose and squint your eyes with a big ear to ear grin. I hope you never grow out of this phase. I just want to gobble you up, I can never get enough of your face! Seriously, my 1 TB hard drive has less than 2 GB free. I have a full 32GB card I can’t download because I’m out of space!
Mommy and Daddy
This weekend we went to the park. We’ve been going every so often since the weather warmed up. Nicki loves to swing in the baby swing, and sit on her blanket in the grass watching the other kids play. Since the swing was occupied, I set her down in the grass. I had my camera with me and I was taking photos while Domingo kept an eye out at all the loose dogs around. Most people ignore the lease laws in the area and let their dogs run and chase Frisbees. Fine. Whatever. We want to pick up Nicki should a dog venture too close. Even a friendly dog that has never bitten before can bite if provoked and we don’t know how Nicki would react to her first dog encounter. She’s not exactly gentle with Lily kitty and she adores her kitty.
Playing in the grass
An older woman walked by with her two terriers on leashes. The one was clearly nervous – hair on edge, defensive posture, the whole nine yards. The other was more curious and approached Nicki. The woman let the dogs get within two feet us. She introduced the curious one as “the friendly one” and then asked if Nicki would like to meet her dogs. We declined.
Nicki was tense. She wasn’t complaining or fussing, but she was also not smiling or making gestures like she wanted to meet the dog. The ‘friendly’ dog, perhaps sensing Nicki’s uncertainty, seemed to tense up to: tail low and still, shoulders back, head down sniffing in Nicki’s direction.
The woman was completely oblivious to what was happening. She noticed my camera asked if I needed the baby to smile for the camera and offered to hold the dog up over Nicki to get her to smile. (Because nothing can go wrong holding a nervous wiggly dog over a nervous baby’s head…) She could tell the baby wasn’t happy, but it didn’t occur to her the problem was the unfamiliar dogs. We kept saying, “no, that’s okay”, but she continued to offer. She went on and on about her grand kids loving it when she holds the dog above them. We were curt in our responses, hoping she’d get the hint and leave. After a few minutes she walked away, only to cycle back a few minutes later and ask again!
The situation was awkward, in part because neither Domingo nor I knew what the other was thinking. Domingo wanted to ask the lady to leave us be, but thought I would be embarrassed and upset. And sure, pre baby me would have been mortified. I hate confrontation and she was just trying to be helpful, after all. Yet hurt feelings would have been a worst that happened. In the grand scheme of things, that’s not so bad.
We made a decision that we both need to be comfortable with whatever the situation at hand is. If either one of us is uncomfortable, we’re allowed to say so. Better safe than sorry. We’re giving ourselves permission to be grizzly moms, err, parents.
A little over 2 months ago I decided to start tracking Nicki’s sleep. At the time she wasn’t sleeping very well and I wanted to have a dataset I could analyze.
Histogram of the number of hours Nicki spends sleeping.
It may appear like a left skew distribution, but that’s because I was using a sub optimal bedtime during the initial few weeks of my study. Without those weeks her histogram shows a normal distribution with mean 11:30-12:00.
For this analysis I mostly looked at correlation. Correlation shows the statistical relationship between two sets of numbers. It ranges from -1 to 1. Negative correlation [-1,0) shows two variables are inversely related. As one increases, the other decreases. Positive correlation shows two variables tend to increase or decrease together. The closer to 0, the weaker the correlation.
Correlation(Time put down, Time spent asleep) = -.72
When I put her to bed earlier, she tends to sleep longer.
The time I put Nicki down for bed is correlated with how long she sleeps – earlier bed times mean more sleeping! That makes intuitive sense. My circadian rhythm wakes me up at certain points, provided I’ve slept a decent amount. I’m now in the habbit of waking up at 7:00 am, regardless of what time Nicki wakes up. (Mommy misses sleeping in until noon on the weekend.) Nicki could be the same way. Earlier bedtimes mean there’s more hours between when she goes down and when she typically gets up, which could correspond to longer sleep intervals.
Every baby book I own says “Early to Bed Late To Rise“. In other words, put the baby to sleep early and she will sleep in longer. What do my numbers show?
Correlation(Time put down, Time Woken Up) = -.21
When I put her to bed earlier, she tends to wake up later.
So yes, she does tend to sleep in longer on days she goes down earlier, but it’s weak correlation. It could be that the relationship is weak, or that there are other factors at play. One possible factor is day light savings time. Specifically the position of the sun. We’re in the middle of Spring, sunrise is getting earlier and Nicki tends to wake up around sunrise. If I take a weekly average of her wake up time, I see it inching forward for the first three weeks.
Another aspect of sleep I care about is how long it takes her to fall asleep. The books all say over tired babies have a harder time falling asleep. Was it true for Nicki?
Correlation(Time put down, Number of Minutes needed to fall asleep) = 0.4
When I put her to bed earlier, she takes less time to fall asleep.
My analysis shows that, at least for Nicki, earlier bed times lead to better sleeping.
Still asleep after sunrise. Love the bear on her butt!
Of course, Correlation does not imply Causation. There could be other factors at play. Our bed time is between 7/7:30. On days she’s extra tired, she goes down a little earlier. Less sleepy, and bed time is closer to 7:30. A tired baby is more likely to fall asleep quickly and sleep longer.
If I were to do a true study I’d have to randomize her bedtime. That means some nights putting a wide awake baby down, and some nights trying to keep a tired baby awake. I may love data, but even I’m not that crazy. Still, it’s neat to see Nicki’s sleep numbers.
Newly instantiated baby objects can be quite confusing. The initial software they come preloaded with is quite buggy. Luckily there’s a series of patches that get gradually applied that improve functionality considerably.
Today’s lesson: The object-permanence-patch:
Initially babies are born with a single level cache of size 1. An object in view of the baby is inserted into the cache, evicting the previous object in view. The baby’s memory access function is rather error-proned, and cannot access anything not in the cache. This is not very useful memory system, so somewhere between four and seven months the object-permanence-patch is applied. This patch upgrades the cache to a two level cache with increased size. Now when something’s evicted from the first level cache it enters the second level cache. Baby can now remember things that are no longer within visual range.
One side effect of the patch is the so-called separation anxiety bug. The separation anxiety bug can occur when an object, usually the parent object, is evicted from the first level cache to the second level cache. The baby’s main process attempts to promote the object back to the top level cache, but fails. Alas, babies do not have an error handler nor do they recover gracefully from errors. (Aside: a patch for graceful error handling is sadly not forthcoming any time soon.) A secondary bug can occur when the baby’s main process predicts the parent object is about to be evicted from the first level cache, before the actual eviction.
While it may seem that baby is stuck in an endless cry loop, there is a work around. Baby’s main process is still a single threaded at this point. A well timed interrupt can push a new function onto the function stack, distracting baby from checking the memory cache. Once the parent object has been successfully evicted from the second level cache in memory, baby will cease trying to restore it to the first level.
There is a patch for the separation anxiety bug, but sadly it is usually not applied until about 2 years.
Yes, we’re working on separation anxiety. It sucks.
Babies grow too fast. Once again I find myself behind, playing catch up. This time it’s with toys! Despite the fact that she loves to play with the remote, and we have a up purposed keyboard for her to bang on, I didn’t realize we were ready for toys with buttons and dials until we were at the baby store last month and Nicki started playing with a piano marked for “6 months +”. Woopsie. Problem rectified!
This month it’s all about the developmental toys.
Without a doubt, one of my favorite baby gear purchases to date has to be the Fisher-Price Musical Table. Nicki was an early supported stander, but we don’t have many good surfaces for her to pull herself up on or practice standing. She really only tried only practice when holding onto us or in the bathtub, (I have no idea why she thinks the tub is a ‘good’ place to stand, but she does.) Her standing skills seemed to stagnate for two months. Enter the activity table. She loves it. She wants to stand all.the.time. After two days she started bending her knees and bopping to the music. Six days latter she was cruising from corner to corner to get to the other toys. This past week she started walking with support. In under two weeks! The change has been amazing!
The down side to the huge shift in her new found abilities, however, is this means she’s already out grown the jumperoo. I don’t regret the purchase as she did enjoy it previously and I think it was helpful in strengthening her legs. I’m just surprised it didn’t last us longer. The playmat lasted us well into 7 months!
We actually have this table and the LeapFrog Musical Table. (Dada wanted to have one upstairs, it was an amazing sale – 50% off! – and she loved, loved, loved her table.) After owning both I agree with the online comments that the Fisher Price one will probably last longer. It has more play modes, and more buttons/activities. Both are excellent purchases, and were a big hit, but I predict she’ll still be playing with the fisher price one long after loosing interest in the Leap Frog. My recommendation is to go with Fisher Price, unless there is a good sale on Leap Frog.
Next up, a baby remote! We had a play date today and Nicki’s friend had a cute cell phone rattle. She had a blast pushing the buttons. Since we’re outgrowing the rattle stage, I wanted to get something similar that lights up with music. We did get the piano too, but it only has 5 very big buttons and I really wanted something to help her finger dexterity. I don’t really like the sound effects (the piano and table have much higher sound quality). Nicki doesn’t mind. She loves that thing.
We can’t forget the fill and spill toys. Nicki loves these. We still have her Easter basket with the plastic eggs out and she loves playing with them. Her friend also has a shoe box full of all plastic container lids which she was having a grand time with. (We are totally stealing the shoe box and plastic lid idea!). We previously had the Lamaze soft sorter but I wanted even more. More textures, more objects. So we went with this bug jar. Right now she’s more into the bugs than the container, but I’m hoping that will change with time.
Last, but not least, we got a ball popper. I was hoping it would encourage her to crawl, but not so much. She does love it, and she is getting really good at throwing the balls back into it! (We removed the spinner on the tail, it didn’t work.) She has been throwing all kinds of things in it, her plastic Easter eggs, binkys, rattles, stuffed animals… Even her Taggies alphabet blanket has made an appearance in the dragon. What makes this toy a major winner in my book is how much exploring she is doing with it. Everything and anything is going into the dragon, she’s even learning to throw!
I didn’t think this day would come. Nicki rebelled against nap time in the crib from the start, so I gave up and put her back in the rock and play. Then we decided to try sleep training in the crib. We had marginal improvements that first week at home where I could be consistent, but her day care teachers are only allowed to let babies cry for 5 minutes. Naps at daycare were non-existent. She’d go the whole day without sleeping and pass out in the car on our way home. Without true consistency, it was looking bleak.
On Tuesday Nicki had her first fever. I broke out the rock and play for the first time in over two weeks just so she could get some sleep and start to heal. She embraced the rock n’ play like a long lost friend, as though we had never tried this dastardly sleep training thing. I put her down awake and she happily drifted off to sleep on her own, napping longer than she ever did in the crib. I was sure I was resetting the clock on all our hard sleep training work.
I was bracing myself for epic melt down for her Wednesday morning nap. I put her down. No wails. Wait, what? She was looking up at me, dry eyed, sucking away on her Binky. I hesitated a moment in shock, then quickly left the room and shut the door. I listened. Still quiet. I tip toed down stairs to check the monitor. She was curled up on her side ready to go to sleep, but fidgeting. A minute later, she was out. She slept for 28 minutes. The only difference I could think of was I let her keep the Binky when I put her down. Usually I don’t. So when the afternoon nap I made sure to give it to her again. She lay peacefully on her back for a few minutes before rolling over and going to sleep for 21 minutes (an average length nap these days).
We had suddenly turned a corner. Thursday she had her first nap in the crib at daycare in weeks. It was 30 minutes even! She was home with me again Friday. After our morning success of 38 minutes (!!!) I decided to try sans binky. She fussed for about 90 seconds before sleeping for 24 minutes. Since then we’ve had 3 more 30-40 minutes naps and no tears.
My goal is to get back up to two 60-90 minute naps a day. In the mean time we’re doing three ~30 minute naps so she gets adequate rest. I’m mixing it up with regards to the binky. I plan to not let her go more then 3 naps in a row with it. It appears to be helping, but I know it’s a sleep crutch and I don’t want her to become dependent on it. She stopped using the binky at night time around 5 months, and she is able to nap without it during the day.
Do you realize what this means?! Our sleep struggles might be OVER. That is until her next bought of teething. And when she next gets sick. And when she starts voicing an opinion about when bed time should be. And night terrors. But, beside that, OVER.
At least I assume it’s her first.
Monday night she felt feverish to me, but the forehead thermometer said her temperature was 97.0. She slept alright, waking up once at 4 am but going back to sleep by herself. Despite getting 12 hours and 13 minutes of sleep (I’m still collecting her sleep data) she woke up seeming extremely tired. Normally she lifts her head and pushes off on her hands to look for me, but not this time. Not even when I walked into the room. She stayed curled up flat on the mattress crying for me.
The second clue that something might be wrong was breakfast. Nicki gets a yogurt in the morning. She loves and devours it. She almost never spills any, yogurt is precious to her. Today she turned her head away distracted by other things, getting some of the yogurt on her bib. She even left a bite. In all the months that she’s gotten yogurt she has never, not once, failed to finish her yogurt.
When I went to put her down for her morning nap in the crib and I noticed that she had thrown up the night before. All over the middle of the crib mattress. It was still wet. I felt terrible I didn’t notice it when I picked her up in the morning. Things just seemed off so I ended up putting her down in the rock n’play. She needed sleep, badly, and I thought that was her best chance. She had broken sleep from about 9 until shortly before 12.
Again she felt feverish and looked flush, but again the forhead thermometer reported 97.0. This time, I called baloney and broke out the backup thermometer. New forehead temp was 98.6 (close to fever)! That’s when I broke out the second backup baby thermometer (yes, I’m a first time mom, why do you ask?) a rectal and most accurate thermometer. 100.4, fever town! BTW, that first thermometer is now serving time in the bottom of the waste basket.
Lunch fared worse than better than breakfast. She eat about half of what she normally eats. So I got out a juice cup to make sure she stayed hydrated. She wasn’t up to playing so we cuddled up together with the Lorax. About twenty minutes later the Tylenol kicked in, we turned off the Lorax and I put her back down on her mat with her toys.
I didn’t bother with the crib for second nap, it was straight to the rock n’ play at 2. When she woke up extremely distressed at 2:45. She looked terrible and was crying, but it was too early for a second dose of Tylenol. She clearly needed more rest but was too uncomfortable to sleep. After lots of rocking and far too many lullabies to count she finally drifted off to sleep and napped in my arms until 4:45. Yup that’s almost 6 hours of broken napping throughout the day. Actually, she would have kept napping, but it was time for dinner and I wanted her to be able to fall asleep at night. We gave her a second round of juice before dinner and this time she eat much better.
Today she’s doing much better. She still looks a little flush and has a slightly elevated temperature but the fever’s gone and she’s eating and playing well. Today we’re taking it easy at home, she’s right now asleep in the crib. She even went down for her nap without fusing! Daycare has a symptom free for 24 hour policy, so she needs to be fever free for 24 hours before she can go back anyway.