The Baby Bean Blog

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Moved: Update Your Links and Bookmarks

This blog has been relocated to here,

Like many before me, I've jumped ship and gone to Wordpress. Come on over and check out the new place!

It's very exciting over there. For instance, there are pictures of... ME.

Saturday, June 17, 2006

Ten Month Letter

Dear Ella,

You are ten months old now. It occurred to me this month that you have now been outside of my tummy longer than you were inside it. That makes you more…real…in some odd way. You seem more grown up, more independent, more your own person.

This past month you took your first steps by yourself. You still much prefer to hold onto our fingers while you walk, and who can blame you? It’s easier, as long as we go along with wherever you want to go. And if we dare to resist your leading, you become angry.

That’s another thing you’ve really developed this past month—getting angry. Just the other day, you were screaming in anger. Not crying, but yelling, pissed. I was startled, and I have to admit that I was a bit amused as well. You’re very cute when you’re angry. I promise not to ever say that to you. I know I never liked/like it when someone laughs at me when I’m angry. But it’s the truth of the matter in this instance, and hopefully when you’re reading this, you’re not angry, so it’s okay for me to admit it.

Another thing I’ve noticed this past month is that you’ve become less something that I bring along with me—like a backpack—and more like someone who I am going somewhere to hang out with. We have fun together, shopping, or at the zoo, or at the park. Speaking of the park, about two days ago, I put you in a swing for the first time, and you had the time of your life! We also got on a little see-saw, and that might have been even better than the swing. Whenever you are presented with a new thing or a new experience, you smile in happiness.

Except for food, of course. With that, you grimace and look at me as if to say, “What is this? Why have you given this to me? I reject it! Unless it is a pickle. A pickle, I would enjoy a great deal.” I find your love of pickles to be odd. They basically taste like vinegar and salt. Aren’t babies supposed to like sweet things? Apparently, not you. Heaven forbid we give you applesauce. Then you gag and spit it out like we’d just fed you poison.

One thing that has been fun about your advancing age is that you are getting more and more cuddly. When you are feeling tired or shy, you rest your head on my shoulder and often grab my shirt with your hand and pull yourself in close to my body. My heart melts everytime.

I don’t know what you have in store for me this coming month, but I can’t wait to find out.


Monday, June 12, 2006

Falling, or Not So Much

Ella is getting better and better at this walking unassisted thing, which is great except... The girl does not have a lot of experience falling. You see, I'm always there. Always. I catch her. She doesn't fall. I'm there so much, so close, that one of my friends thinks that Ella's first words will be, "Back off, Mom."

This being so close thing hasn't really been an issue up until now. But now I'm a little worried. If she had learned how to fall earlier, from lower heights, maybe she would be better equipped for falls from higher heights and faster speeds. In addition, if I wasn't so (okay I'll say it) enabling of her walking while holding onto our fingers, she would not go nearly as fast. She's also used to leaning forward on our fingers, so when she walks on her own, she's always leaning forward.

Well, I guess all of this is to say that I'm certain there are some nasty falls in her future. When I imagine other kids learning how to walk, they certainly fall, but they fall onto their bottoms, or they know how to hold out their hands to break their fall, or something like this. Ella looks like she's about to go crashing face first into the ground--or the corner of a table--before I catch her.

If you have kids and you remember this time--learning to walk--what do you think? Am I being paranoid? Or do I have a point?

Thursday, June 08, 2006

Eight Months Down, One to Go

My partner is now 36 weeks pregnant. It's the homestretch if you will.

She never particularly relished being pregnant they way that some women do, but it was not too difficult for her. But now here, at the end, it's getting harder: she's more tired and more uncomfortable. Ella still has this cold/virus thing, and that means that none of us are sleeping well at night. I'm sure that doesn't help matters any.

We met with our doula again yesterday. Have I ever mentioned that we decided to hire a doula for my partner's labor and birth? I can't remember, so if I'm repeating myself, I apologize. We decided to hire one because we felt like there was one of me and two people who might need me at the same time: my partner and Ella.

I have mentioned Ella's food issues, which basically means that at least 95% of what she consumes in a day is breastmilk. Another of her issues is refusal to take a bottle. Those two things together mean that she needs me to be around.

My partner, ideally, would like me to be around, too, but she can understand why I might not be able to whereas Ella cannot. So we hired a doula.

The plan is for all of us to go to the birth center together. As long as Ella is happy playing with the doula, I will be with my paartner. When Ella needs to eat--or just needs a little Mommy time--the doula will be with my partner. Since we're doing this at a birth center, it's a home-like environment, and we can all be together in the bedroom/birthing room or Ella can go to the family room or kitchen area if/when things are too intense in the bedroom. Hopefully, this will work out for the best for both my partner and Ella, and I can be there for both of them when they need me.

There is another upside of hiring a doula--one I had not anticiapated. We've had two lengthy prenatal appointments with Jessica (the doula), including yesterday, and one of the things that's been great about these meetings is that they really give us some time to concentrate on my partner's pregnancy. In general, Ella is the focus of our lives (you're shocked, I know), so having that time with the doula to be about my partner's pregnancy and birth has been really valuable.

Our meeting yesterday was also a reminder of where we are in this pregnancy--close to the end! It's exciting. Perhaps because of yesterday's meeting, last night I had a very vivid dream about the Expected One's birth. It was a boy!

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

First Steps, or Holy Crap

Yesterday, Ella took her first, unassisted steps. I'm excited and proud, and I'm also terrified because life as I know it will now come crashing down all around me, and I mean that literally because I still haven't anchored the bookcases to the walls yet.

She certainly didn't walk across the room or anything. It was just two or three steps on her own. However, I heard recently that once they start taking steps, it's only a couple of weeks until they are competent walkers.

Now I'll tell you how it happened, for posterity's sake. She had been tearing around the house with her walking apparatus, i.e. me. She's quite demanding about it these days. She holds her hands out, clearly waiting for me to put forth my fingers, which she uses like handlebars. If I don't do it quickly enough, she narrows her eyes and grunts as if to say, "Come on, woman! Give me your fingers. Do it. DO IT!"

I walk behind her as she cruises from here to there. And she's gotten quite fast. Really, the kid is practically running. Oftentimes these days, she tries to go so fast that she outpaces her feet and would fall down face first except that I'm right there, holding onto her little hands, and I drag her back up to verticle.

So we were doing this yesterday, and she was just going, going, going, no particular destination, just on the move. And eventually, I got tired. Finally, I sat down on the floor and said, "The walking apparatus is tired, little one." She was okay with that for a few minutes, and then she held out her hands and grunted at me. I gave her my hands so that she could pull up, but then I remained sitting. Our coffee table was just about two feet from where we were, and it looks like this:

From Ikea, of course.

All of those cubbies used to be full of my crap, but now they are full of Ella's toys.

So there it was, two feet away. Ella stood there, looking at it. And then it happened. She bounced up and down, bending at her knees. She shook off my one hand that I had offered to her for balance while she stood. Then she did it. First, she lifted up her left foot and plopped it down. After a second or two, she did the same with her right foot. Next, the left foot went back into action and then.... the leaning tower of Ella started to fall, but I grabbed her and set her upright again.

The table was stiill a little ways away, so she took two more steps and then started to fall. I could have repeated this process once more, but I kept having these visions of her falling into the table, and with the table being so close at this point, I might not be able to grab her in time, and then she would of course hit the table right at her mouth, and all those teeth would slice through her lip, leaving her scarred for life and it would be all my fault.

I set her close enough to the table to get whatever toy she wanted.

And that's how it happened. First steps. We'll have to see how quickly this progresses.

And I better keep cracking on that baby-proofing thing.

Monday, June 05, 2006

Gay Nanny!

I got an email with the subject line "Gay Nanny!" about a week ago. Since I have become terrified of having two infants to take care of, a little help seemed like a good idea. This girl was looking for fulltime work, and my partner and I do not have the resources for that, but it seems like there's a "nanny-share" trend going on, so I emailed her to see if she would consider splitting her time, and if she would, we would be interested in some of it. As it turns out. she was already talking to another woman about working 30 hours a week, leaving 10 hours available. Perfect! Well, perhaps not for my sanity, but for our budget.

She's moving to Philadelphia in the fall, so the gig wouldn't start until then, but that should be just fine as my partner will be home until then on maternity leave. The Lesbian Nanny (let's call her that, shall we?) was in Philadelphia this weekend, however, so we set up a time to meet.

She took the regional rail out to our place, and I met her at the train stop. I'd sent her some links to pictures of us so that she would know what we looked like. Not that the local train stop was hopping at 9:30am on a Saturday morning, but I thought she might like a peak at us. I didn't know what she looked like, though, so as I sat at the train stop and waited, I wondered. How butch? How femme? In other words, what kind of lesbian were we dealing with here?

The train arrived, and people filed off. Mostly middle-aged, very clearly straight people. One 50-ish heterosexual couple even blatantly flaunted their sexuality by walking arm and arm. The nerve! And then she arrived, and I knew exactly what kind of lesbian we were dealing with: Punk Lesbian.

She had dark brown hair that had been dyed platinum blonde at some point because about an inch of the tips remained that color. And I think she might have been sporting a mohawk at that time, because the top and back of her hair was longer than the sides, and that was also the part that was blonde. Besides her hair, she also had a nose piercing and a lip piercing.

In other words, her entire persona screamed one word: NANNY.

I walked her back to our house, and we spent a good deal of time together (with Ella and my partner of course). Lesbian Nanny seems like a nice person and has been taking care of kids for quite some time now. She's also an artist (naturally). And like most people (in my experience) who seem odd on the outside, she came across as a "normal", middle class, suburbia-raised person.

So we're going to offer her the gig. I think that our kids deserve a gay, punk nanny, don't you?