The Baby Bean Blog

Sunday, April 30, 2006

Something So Small

I've been buying a few clothes, here and there, for the Expected One that I can't resist. I say it that way because we already have everything we need. Little Two will be born in the summer, just like Little One, so we've got the right size in the right season. And since we did not know Ella's gender before she was born, we've got just about everything in neutral colors (my dislike of pink also contributes to that). Ella was only about 10 weeks old when we found out that my partner was pregnant, so as I've continued to buy things for Ella, I've stayed pretty neutral, gender-wise, so that we would not need to re-buy clothes if the new baby is a boy. The point of all this is that we've got an entire wardrobe for a baby 0-12 months, no matter the gender. But even so, I've still bought a few new onesies and the such.

I haven't seen Ella's 0-3 month onesies for quite some time. She'd outgrown them easily by the time she was two months old (at two months, she already weighed 16 pounds!). I packed them away to make room for the new size(s), and I haven't seen them since. So a week ago, when I bought two new 0-3 month onesies, I was taken aback by how small they are. And we will have a baby that small in just a couple of months. Holding one of those onesies up to Ella, I can't believe she ever fit into them (no matter how briefly).

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Standing On Her Own Two Feet

Today, Ella stood on her own, without my assistance, for 15 seconds or so. It was quite impressive. She was kind enough to do it in a room full of people so that everyone could have the opportunity to bask in her glory. A couple of the other babies in my moms group are already crawling around. "Ha! Crawling! Watch me STAND!" she seemed to say.

Well, actually, she seemed to have very little interest in their crawling except that the crawling babies inevitably came over to where she was and took the toy she was playing with and then crawled away with it. She wasn't distraught. More like, "Wait, what just happened?"

And then there was the aforementioned standing. She sort of looked like she was on a surfboard or something. Arms outstretched, hips jerking back and forth a bit. After about 10 seconds, she was clearly pleased with herself and started to thwack her arms up and down, which she does when she's very excited. Shortly after the thwacking (which perhaps unbalanced her a bit), she started to head dive into the floor, but her hovering mother grabbed her with about six inches to spare and saved that beautiful face.

Speaking of beautiful faces, have I mentioned that her favorite food is prunes?

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

30 Weeks

Somewhere around now, my partner is 30 weeks pregnant. I preface it that was because the week counting system is flawed and not because I don't know when she got knocked up. After all, I did it. Anyway, a human pregnancy is supposed to last (give or take) 40 weeks. Those of you who are very astute might have taken note of the fact that the insemination took place on a Tuesday. So one would think that the weeks would change on Tuesdays, yes? But for some reason, the pregnancy wheel puts her weeks ending on Thursdays. I really, really don't get it. So I sort of think of Wednesday as the compromise day, and that means that she's 30 weeks pregnant.

But I digress.

This is quite cool. 30 weeks really sounds like you're on the downslope of the pregnancy, closing in on the end. She's 3/4ths of the way through. Only 10 weeks to go. The baby is coming, and sooner rather than later.

That was enough euphemisms to last you for most of your life probably.

The point is that I will be meeting my second child soon. I'm quite excited.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

She Rolled Over Again

That makes two times now, with about a month long pause between rolling episodes. It's good to take a break, you know, to catch your breath. This roll was the same as the first roll--tummy to back, same direction, same coaxing from yours truly. But I think she might be getting ready to roll on her own simply because she wants to and not because I'm maniacly shaking a rattle over her head and she flips over to see what all the racket is about. Now, when lying on her back, she rolls onto her side all the time with absolutely no provocation from me. So, I assume, one of these days, she'll actually roll over onto her tummy.

In other news, she's getting more and more competent at standing and walking--always with our help, of course. But it's clear that she's seriously thinking about ditching us because she now realizes that all we are is dead weight. I've actually wondered if she will walk on her own before she becomes a competent roller.

Sunday, April 23, 2006

Okay, This Has Nothing to Do With Babies

But as a side note to my previous post, are these not the coolest bookcases you've ever seen in your life?



This image is from an architecture book called 10x10_2. This book was "recommended" to me by Amazon.com because I recently bought a book of the work of an Japanese architect named Tadao Ando who mostly designs buildings using concrete. Peter, Ella's biological father/sperm donor, dreams of building a house made of concrete, which seemed absurd to me and also ugly. But then I heard of this Ando guy, and I decided to check out what concrete was capable of. Still haven't looked at it, so I can't give you my final opinion, but that's how 10x10_2 came into my life, and via that, the above bookcases, which are frickin' cool. I would almost buy that book just to have a closer look at those bookcases except that the damn thing costs $47.25.

Hey, I even sort of managed to make this a little bit about Ella with the Peter reference. Clever, aren't I?

Saturday, April 22, 2006

Understanding Wood Paneling

Even though I'm not the one who's pregnant, I am nesting. I remember the nesting urge when I was pregnant--it propelled me to set up the nursery and complete some home improvement projects. But I wasn't sure it would hit me this time around because I attribute nesting to a hormonal thing, and as I'm not pregnant, I shouldn't have a hormonal thing. But nonetheless, I am having a nesting thing.

As the nursery is more or less set up, I am doing the other activity from last time around--home improvement. I am finally finishing the back room, which needed new dry wall put up and then all those annoying finishing touches like paint and trim. And just to make things more difficult, I put in two built-in shelves. What a hassle. I figure it's best to get it done now as opposed to later. It's hard enough to find the time with one baby let alone two. And having this back room done will mean that we can take a bunch of our crap out of the living room and put it back there, which will free up space in the living room for even more baby crap.

But back to the title of this post. I hung the drywall today. Hanging drywall is not particularly hard, and it's rather satisfying, as you can hang huge pieces which cover vast amounts of space, and then you feel like you're really accomplishing something and accomplishing something quickly. Where drywall sucks is in the taping, and if you've ever taped drywall, you know exactly what I'm talking about.

It's at this point in the process--after hanging and before painting--that I really understand why people put up fake wood paneling. Under normal circumstances (i.e. all other circumstances that are not taping drywall) I detest wood paneling and look sharply down my nose at anyone who has it. But while taping, I think, "Wood paneling isn't that bad after all."

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Seven Teeth

So Ella cut her seventh tooth yesterday. I must say that I think she's fallen down on the job. I mean, she's eight months old, so I expected her to have at least eight teeth. I looked in her mouth yesterday and said, "Stop slacking!" I think my efforts were not in vain, because I think the eighth tooth will be with us sooner rather than later.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Heavy

I have to say that I've been thinking a lot about my mother and my upbringing lately. I think it is natural when you become a mother yourself, you look at your own mother in a new light. I've certainly heard that refrain from many of my friends who became mothers before I did. And the refrain usually ends with, "Now I can really appreciate what my mother went through, and I have a new respect for her." So here I am, thinking about my mother. But my refrain doesn't sound that way. The more I think about her and my childhood, the angrier I get.

I guess what it comes down to is that before I was a mother, I always gave my mother the benefit of the doubt. I always thought to myself, "Being a mother must be very, very hard. Everyone says so. She did the best she could." Only, now that I am a mother, I don't think she did the best she could. I think she could have done better. I deserved more. Any child deserved more.

I don't want anyone to get the (completely) wrong idea. I wasn't beaten, or denied food, or locked in a small dark room for days on end. Nothing like that. I guess the way I would sum it up is that my mother didn't like me. No, I'm not hypothesizing that was the case. She told me. "I love you, but I don't like you." What the hell does that mean? I would go into all the other ways she displayed to me with actions and not words that she did not like me nor want to spend time with me except for the fact I've only got a limited amount of time to blog these days.

It's bizarre to me to see the dynamic between my grandmother, my mother, and myself repeating. My mother did not like her mother and believed that her mother did not like her. However, my grandmother loved me, and I loved her. As you know, I named my daughter after her. I never thought that specific dynamic would repeat itself. I mean, what were the odds? But now I see it laying itself out for the future. I have to wonder, does my mother have it in her to be the kind of grandmother that her mother was? Honestly, I can't imagine it. But I highly doubt my mother could have imagined it from my grandmother either. The second question is, do I have it in me to give my daughter and my mother the chance to form such a relationship? In that way, I do respect my mother. Somehow, she managed to keep herself out of the relationship between my grandmother and me.

I keep waiting for this anger in me to subside, but it doesn't. Quite to the contrary, I keep getting angrier and angrier and angrier. It's time for me to see someone about this, to get some tips from a professional. But who? I guess I'll have to find one.

Monday, April 17, 2006

Eight Month Letter

Dear Ella,

You are in a very interesting phase right now. Currently, your favorite item in the house is the dog’s kong (a red, rubber, snowman-shaped, chew toy). As I write this, you are making your way towards it (with Ima’s help) to pick it up. Now you have reached it, and you promptly put it in your mouth to chew on. You know, just the other day, I was in a pet store to buy dog food, and as I walked down the dog toy aisle, I did notice a remarkable similarity between those toys and baby toys. I was thinking this could be a problem because the dogs might mistake your toys for theirs. I hadn’t really thought through that you might mistake their toys for your toys. Well, what can I say. Perhaps I shouldn’t let you gnaw away on an item that has recently been completely slobbered on by a dog, but I’ve always heard that dogs have very clean mouths, and anyway, I’m sure this is good for your immune system.

So this is life with an eight month old. That’s two-thirds of a year, in case you’re keeping track of these things. The weather is turning warmer, reminding me of when you were born at the end of a hot summer. We took walks all fall, in weather much like this, and I pointed out the leaves on the trees to you. Now they are finally making a comeback, sprouting from the branches. And I can’t help but notice how you, too, are sprouting. Yes, in terms of size, but more than that, in terms of intellectual capability. Every day you seem more alert, more engaged, more intrigued by the world. “Aye, yi yi yi,” you’ve been saying a lot. Sometimes it’s a sad sound, and you seem to be saying, “Aye yi yi yi! Woe is me!” More often than that, you seem surprised and a bit overwhelmed, like, “Aye yi yi yi! What will this world come up with next?!”

This past month marked the first time you rolled over. When you did it, you just sort of flipped over from your tummy to your back. You were very matter of fact about it. Like, “Ho hum, I guess I’ll do this to get you to relax, Mommy.” And now that you’ve proven you can do it, you haven’t bothered to do it again. But nonetheless, you seem to be seeing yourself as more mobile. You’ve started turning around in your exersaucer and lunging towards things when you’re in our arms or seated. But by far, your favorite things to do are 1) stand while holding on to our fingers, and 2) walk while holding on to our fingers. You do not appear interested in learning to crawl. “Crawling?” you seem to ask. “Why would I do that? I am a person, and people walk, so I will do that. Now give me your fingers, woman, and let’s get to it!”

This month also marks the first time you met your biological father, Peter. You two seemed quite taken with each other, and I must admit that I hope this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship for the both of you. I don’t know what you will want from him nor what he will want from you, but I hope you can both make each other happy with whatever your relationship evolves into.

You’ve started hugging me back when I hold you in my arms, and I cherish that feeling. I cherish all the days and hours and minutes I get to spend with you, and I am so grateful that I am able to be here with you every day, and I look forward to all the days we have together in the future. And even way down the line, when you are out on your own, and days, weeks, even months might go by without us seeing each other, I hope that this time we’ve had together is still in your heart as I know it will be in mine.

Love,
Mommy

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Allison

I know it's springtime when the children reappear on the block. While I was sitting in the car in front of my house, waiting out Ella's nap, I saw Allison walk down the sidewalk. I couldn't believe it. She's become a pre-teen. Not a little girl anymore. Not a teenager. That ellusive age between that doesn't seem to fit anywhere.

I sat there in the car, my daughter (still feels weird to say that) behind me, and seeing how much Allison has changed made me realize how much I have changed, too.

I've lived on this block for almost 8 years now. When I first moved to Philadelphia, I rented a house across the street from the house we own now. I was single, just (finally) getting out of a long-term, bad relationship. I'd quit my job, and I was more or less living on some money I'd gotten from a settlement from a bad car accident I'd been the victim of. My plan was to try to "make it" as a writer, whatever that means. I guess at the time it meant trying to get published. Which I did here and there.

I also did other things, like buy a 1975 Honda CB360 motorcycle that needed work. I'd been riding bikes for years, and I'd always wanted to learn how to fix them. 1999 seemed like the time to do it. I remember taking apart a carburetor and laying out the pieces of it on an ironing board in front of one of the side windows of that rental house. It looked out on a driveway between my house and the next. In a block of rowhomes, it was the only driveway to be found.

Despite my landlord's greatest efforts (he lived next door to me), the neighborhood kids usually played in that driveway. In our concrete neighborhood of rowhomes and sidewalks, it was the largest open space that was not the street. Allison was one of those kids. She and her brothers (cousins?) ran up and down that driveway again and again, playing some game I couldn't make any sense of. Seemed mostly to be comprised of yelling non-words and chasing each other. But sometimes the game would stop and Allison would stand on her tiptoes to peer through my window and ask me again and again what I was doing. I guess she must have been around 4 or 5 years old then.

The kids disappear with the cold weather, and every spring, they come back out again. Sometimes I wouldn't recognize them; they changed so rapidly then. But the familiar yell of their mother out the door, "Allison! Malcom! Jesse!" would also ring up and down the street, proclaiming the temperature change, too. And I would look around until I saw that dark-haired little girl, now a bigger girl than I remembered.

So here it is again. Spring. And Allison. She was walking down the sidewalk, talking to a boy, and this boy was not one of her cousins (brothers?). The cycle of seasons has brought her outside, and the cycle of life has brought a boy to join her.

Her mother is no longer calling out, "Allison!" She's too old for that now. Old enough to wear black capri pants and walk down the street with a boy.

Seeing Allison today, getting so much closer to being grown-up physically, made me realize how much I've had to grow up in these last 8 years. I've met the person I want to spend my life with, bought a house, bought a station wagon, had a kid, and am expecting another.

Who knew, that spring day seven years ago, as Allison and I looked at each other through my screen window over that carburetor that the future held for us black capri pants and black station wagons? Not me. And I imagine that if, seven years ago, I had leaned down towards that screen and said to Allison, "One of these days, I'm going to see you walking with and smiling at a boy," she probably would have scrunched up her nose, squealed some of those non-words, and ran away down the driveway. And if she had told me about the station wagon, I might have joined her.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

In Other News

My partner is now six months pregnant. It's the last leg of the journey, the third trimester. The Expected One moves around all the time, and I get to feel him/her every day. It's starting to seem like this new little person is, in fact, a little person.

I'll write more about Peter soon, but this was important, too, and needed to be commented upon.

Sunday, April 09, 2006

We Liked Him. We Really Liked Him.

And perhaps more importantly than that, Ella seemed to like him, too. She doesn't allow many people to hold her for very long, but with Peter, she let him carry her as we walked along.



And she sat happily on his lap for a long time while we sat in a cafe.



And when she decided she would rather stand, Ella let herself be supported by Peter on one side and my partner on the other.



All in all, it was much better, much more relaxing than I had even bothered to hope it would be. We all spent about six hours together, and I must say that I am left feeling calm, happy, and quite sure we made the right decision when we picked him to be part of our lives based on so few details.

Tomorrow night we fly home...

Saturday, April 08, 2006

Vacation Update: The Return of My "Visitor"

Naturally, my period has chosen now to reappear. I had a feeling last week that I was ovulating, but I hoped that either A) I was wrong or B) my period would not return until next week. I felt like ovulation happened somewhere around Thursday or Friday of last week, which should have given me until at least Tuesday or Wednesday of next week. Oh well. No use crying over spilt milk, right? It's here now, and I'll make my peace with it. It's almost a year and a half since I had a period, and that's pretty good.

About the trip--it's been great. We've been having a great time hiking Big Sur with Ella strapped onto one of our backs with the Ergo carrier. Some of the spectacular views, she's gotten to enjoy.



Others, not so much.



I hear you saying, "Yeah, yeah, nice pictures. Now get on with the juicy stuff!" Well, my impatient little readers, we have not met Peter yet. That is to happen tomorrow. Don't worry, you know I always share all the dirt with you, my internet people.