Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Photos From Hurricane Sandy and the Weekend PrecedingI

I took this drawer out of the dresser to tighten the screws...
What better way to "help" Mommy than to crawl inside?

Playing in the leaves on our weekly pilgrimage to the
playground and farmer's market. She's modeling her
new jacket with Grammy, which is extra puffy on
account of the fabulous faux fur vest underneath.

Walking with Doggy #2. This was during our toiletries
organizing project... she discovered the Spare Doggy
in my closet.

Painting with neighbors is a good way to pass the time
when you're trapped inside due to a hurricane



























































































Hard to decide which to paint... the paper versus the
body
I wonder if it tastes as good as it looks?

Playing at Eleanor's... Calliope adores this!

Her "I'm running for mayor of DiaperLand" smile


Calliope Pushing Eleanor in the Doll Stroller

http://youtu.be/lE2J3y8BadI

We Are Safe!

After a very scary evening with the wind howling and many scary thuds and bumps from the roof, I packed a backpack with diapers, wipes, and clothes for Calliope (plus one pair of underwear and socks for me), the Ipad (in a ziploc bag) and chargers for the phone and Ipad. I put the bag in the bathroom (where there are no windows). Somehow, having that bag packed made me feel better.

Then I bedded down on the floor in Calliope's room. The fan was running on high for white noise (I always run it for her) so I only heard the louder thuds.

I woke up about 4 am and came out into the living room, where it was eerily quiet.

All is well this morning. We never even lost power or internet.

But two people in an adjoining neighborhood were killed at 6 am this morning while walking their dog. Well, they were discovered at 6 am, so they might have been out earlier. It's not clear.

So I'm debating whether or not it's safe to take Calliope out to visit Eleanor.

We spent some time going diaper free this morning since there's no reason I can't sit and monitor her. She kept bringing me books and then climbing onto the potty, but didn't produce anything. I can't figure out why she goes so regularly for the nanny and so rarely for me! She's been signing "change me" and "diaper" when she wants to sit on the potty but this is the first time she's tried to climb on it herself.

The pictures of the devastation are shocking. School is closed tomorrow and the subway is expected to be out for 3-4 days, so my guess is that we won't have school for the rest of the week.

This is the first time I've had to experience a scary storm. It was much scarier with a little one in my care. I hope we won't have to go through this again for a very long time.

And I hope that Barack Obama makes good use of this tragedy, by talking about cuts to FEMA are a terrible idea, and combating climate change is important!

Monday, October 29, 2012

Frankenstorm Night

We are warm and dry and well fed and even have electricity and internet but when the wind gusts, it is loud.

Which is unnerving.

I plan to go to bed now.

I feel like it could potentially be safer to sleep in Calliope's room, where the windows are interior facing, but I really prefer my bed to an as-yet-unmade bed on an air mattress.

We had a nice afternoon -- we visited our friends downstairs and Annabelle (age 4) and Calliope painted. Then they came upstairs for a bath because their tub is filled with water. Our tub was filled with water, last night, but it was only 1/3 full this morning -- I guess the seal on the drain isn't tight. And a full tub was making me nervous with a toddler in the house, anyway, even though I had the door firmly latched. So now I have two buckets of water in the tub, and Calliope is not close to able to crawl into the tub. And the bathroom door is firmly latched.

Afterwards, she took a second nap for almost two hours! She rarely takes a second nap these days but I know she was tired, so I'm grateful.

Although I had given myself the option of not exercising -- such a lovely feeling, that freedom -- I decided that my mental health would be better if I worked out. However, I had taken down my Rip 60 straps, as they hang over the door to the terrace... and it occurred to me that opening the door to the terrace, which doesn't yet have railings on it, during a hurricane could be seen as... not prudent. So I used the elliptical instead.

Calliope woke up pretty miserable from sleeping so late, so we ventured downstairs and went outside for a moment, protected below scaffolding. It didn't seem as dramatic as from inside, but then the wind gusted and we got wet and were glad to go back inside. I didn't want to go in the elevator because I was scared of losing electricity, so I trudged up the six flights with Calliope strapped to my back. A bonus workout!

This is definitely the scariest storm I've ever been through. I'm hoping to go to sleep and wake up with it mostly over, at least as far as the wind goes. I guess the storm surge could affect things for a while on Tuesday.

Wish me a peaceful night's sleep! This is a heady responsibility, being a parent to a small child during a hurricane.

I hope everyone else out there is safe and dry. And that Obernon isn't having too many crane crises!

In The Words of One of My Former Students, "This Sh*t is Getting Real"

Photo taken from the Fairway building in Red Hook, Brooklyn.

The vast majority of my middle and high school students live in Red Hook.





I don't think Calliope and I are in any danger but I'm definitely feeling more anxious now.

The Morn of the FrankenStorm

So far, so good. we had a lovely morning. it was SO nice to not be rushing out to the playground. even though i love our playground time. and i have given myself permission to take the day off from exercise (i may choose to workout later, if i start to get stir crazy, but that's different from HAVING to work out).

We spent a few minutes playing ball together, rolling a miniature soccer ball back and forth between us. Calliope grinned throughout.

I have bad memories of being a totally nonathletic child. I was slower and less coordinated than everyone else, as well as smaller than most everyone, so it was easy to decide that I hated sports. I loved to read and didn't find running around to be all that fun.

It wasn't until I made the conscious decision as a young adult to become athletic that I found the pleasure in being active.

Anyway, it's very important to me to not pass on my baggage around sports to Calliope -- I still shy away from any sport involving a projectile, though I love being active -- but it still, to this day, doesn't occur to me to play ball with her or anyone else. So seeing her pleasure in it was a good reminder to me that she has no reason to shy away from sports at this point. All babies have terrible fielding skills!

So I'm planning to get her some balls for Hanukkah -- a trio of miniature soccer, basketball, and ?footballs.

It's so fun planning for Hanukkah! I never cared about it before. But I'm hoping to get her a kitchen set as well. She's a bit young for it, but I don't care if she plays with it in the way that it's "supposed" to be used or not.

But I digress.

Calliope and I finally dealt with the final box from the move, filled with toiletries, which I hadn't been able to unpack because I didn't have a place to put everything. So I sorted through the contents and went through my toiletries drawer and threw away lots of stuff and organized the rest and now I have a "hair drawer" (with hairbands, headbands, hairbrushes (which I don't use), curling iron and hair dryer (which I likewise never use, but occasionally I have an overnight guest that wants them).

Perhaps obviously, Calliope didn't always agree with my sorting decisions, and sometimes removed items from one pile or another and crawled or toddled off with them.

Calliope's medicine cabinet is now stocked with all sorts of bandaids, neosporin, hydrogen peroxide (I have to tell the nanny only to use this to get blood out of clothes, not on cuts), infant Tylenol, thermometers, extra baby toothbrushes. And I emptied the dishwasher and tidied up the kitchen so that if we do lose power, I'm at least starting with a clean slate.

I do want to take a shower soon, in case I can't later, if we lose power, but otherwise, I'm feeling pretty proud of my productive morning!

But thus far, perhaps obviously, we haven't lost power.

It's raining and blowing but from up here on the sixth floor, it's hard to tell that it's more windy than a just regular windy, rainy day. 

Management finally turned on the heat -- it was a little chilly last night -- so it's quite cozy inside.

So I was surprised to look at Facebook and see some dramatic photos. And to see more drama on the front page of the New York Times webpage.



*parts of this post are excerpted from an email to my friend Emily

Sunday, October 28, 2012

The Calm Before the [Franken]Storm

All of New York City, and perhaps all of the northeastern United States, is battening down the hatches and preparing for Sandy.

I don't have a television -- well, actually, I do, but I don't have cable service -- and I can't seem to find my radio -- I haven't used it in months since reception was poor in my old apartment -- so I'm feeling very out of touch. I've looked for information online but just reading the coverage, it's hard to feel that emotional charge that is conveyed by a breathless newscaster.

Still, I'm a little anxious.

I was never nervous with a storm before. But somehow, feeling that responsibility that a parent carries... it's different.

I'm feeling preoccupied with my need to protect Calliope, even though it's not at all clear to me what I need to protect her from. It seems wildly unlikely that our lives will be in danger. So I don't know what else there is to worry about.

But I'm still sitting here, wondering if I have enough water stored (two kettles, one big soup pot, plus one half gallon jar... plus the bathtub, for use with flushing). And I don't even know for sure that I wouldn't have access to water if we do lose power! My friend's husband says that in their building, the water is not powered by electricity.

But hearing the wind howl through the leaky windows in my top floor apartment... I'm keyed up.

There's not many cars on Ocean Parkway, the major thoroughfare outside my building (my apartment faces it), though I'm hearing more ambulances than usual.

It hasn't started raining yet, yet I'm wondering if I should sleep in Calliope's room, on the floor. I have no idea why that would be helpful, except that I feel anxious about being further away from her. This is a time I wish I could pull her into bed with me. Unfortunately, she is exceedingly fond of her crib and I don't think she would spring for this plan.

It's very disconcerting to see how different this storm feels, now that I am a parent. Calliope was just ten days old when Hurricane Irene struck, and I was so battered by her birth that I was scarcely aware of it. My mom was clearly in charge of our safety and took us back to Massachusetts where I could recover. This is very different. I'm the grown up here, the only one, and Calliope relies on me entirely.

It's a heady responsibility.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Walking!

Not walking but looking very big in the stroller during our 
playground adventures.



Also not walking.
Looking very small, exploring a new playground with big kids
















































































A week after the first sighting (a week before fourteen months), I think, I finally got to witness some independent steps on the day of her fourteen months birthday. (Girlfriend took a few days off after the first effort, to recuperate, I guess?)

It's pretty funny looking. Like a dog or a bear that has suddenly reared up on its hind legs and finds gravity doing most of the work.

And I may have mentioned that I choked down some silent sobs when I first heard the news of Calliope walking. It's a small thing, and yet, it's huge.

She already looks like less of a baby. She's clearly realizing the difference, and clinging to me more, just as she did when she gained mobility with crawling.

So far, though, I'm delighted with her increasing independence, and tend to foster it. I didn't know I would be this way -- there's lots to be sad about -- but I'm glad to see that I'd rather help her walk, slowly, holding my hand, to the kitchen, than scooping her up and carrying her.

But there's lots of cuddles and kisses. She's increasingly enjoying our game of "I'm going to get you!" when we both crawl around her room on our hands and knees, me in supposed hot pursuit of the escapee who has once again evaded my attempts to diaper and dress the little Houdini. Sometimes she crawls away and then crawls back towards me again because she's just so excited for me to grab and tickle and kiss her.

I love this game.

I think Calliope is finally figuring out, though, that this walking thing will eventually be a very effective way to get around.

For now, though, crawling is far faster.

I'm looking forward to having her mostly up off the ground before the truly cold and slushy weather kicks in. It would be hard to entertain a crawling baby inside all winter long.

Here's a very short (four second) clip from the front... she's remarkably resistant to being video taped while walking (though after I showed her this one, she suddenly consented to being videoed.... and then the stupid camera wasn't running! argh! and that was it for tonight.)

http://youtu.be/86Op_QgVpMI

She also got caught once from "behind the scenes."

http://youtu.be/TRAdATSX3eU

In other news, we are officially doing one nap a day. It's rough, but there were at least two weeks of only a morning nap -- at, like, 9:15 am -- and then nothing but playing in the crib in the afternoon.

So last week I asked the nanny to push Calliope back to 10 am, and this week, we moved it to 10:30.

I feel a little bad for Eleanor, who was not as ready as Calliope (I didn't ask the nanny to transition Eleanor, but she decided to anyway). Eleanor was still taking two naps sometimes. Both girls were apparently rubbing their eyes by 5 pm today, and neither really ate any dinner (Amy fed both girls while I had Pilates... a SMC friend gave me a Pilates package in thanks for donated breast milk... amazing!). So we are going to try to re-start an afternoon "quiet time" in the afternoon... even though I think the nanny was enjoying finally being able to go a little further afield with them, what with only having to be home for one nap a day.

It's funny, reading all these books about the vital importance of sleep, like Nurture Shock and Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child, has instilled in me a deep reverence for sleep. For Calliope, anyway.

But that means endless opportunities for guilt when sleep doesn't work out the way I planned. Often times it's my fault, but not always. Last weekend, I put her to bed late two nights in a row. Bad Mommy! And as a result, Calliope woke up extra early on Monday, despite an early bedtime the previous night. Not my fault!

So I sit around and angst about sleep, cheering when I observe a long nap, inwardly cursing when it's cut short.

It's also an endless opportunity to feel frustrated.

I'm working on finding a balance.

And now should work on balancing my own sleep needs!

Calliope thought it was hilarious to hold hands with Eleanor in the car.
Eleanor did not get the joke.



Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Fourteen Months (Updated)

Calliope with SMC buddies Jack and Luna. I guess she didn't like the
book they were reading?





















Yesterday, at exactly fourteen months, Calliope took three steps for me! (We are not counting the alleged steps she took last week with the nanny.)

I tried to capture it on camera, but only got one step and then a plop down onto the floor.

http://youtu.be/SIJu2NEcxrM

Signing: Last week, on two different occasions, she signed "potty" when she saw me using the bathroom at the zoo.

She is reluctantly sort of signing water... only when I insist. A work in progress. "More" took a long time and now she uses it readily... though lately she has been substituting the sign for "food" when she means "more."

She also signs, occasionally, "change me" and "diaper." But "diaper" is hard to decipher because her version of it is slapping her belly... and the signing song that we sing called "change me" also includes belly kissing. Plus I think she enjoys the sound of her slaps resounding off her little belly. So I never know, exactly, what she is communicating when she slaps her belly. But she enjoys it, regardless.

Words: baa, woof, book, ball, mama, neh neh (nurse).

Her receptive language is also growing. If I ask, "are you hungry?" she will make the sign for food... and then crawl to the kitchen. When I say, "Mommy has to go to work," she blows kisses without being prompted.

She loves it when I let her roll over during a diaper change (she re-learned how to roll over!) and crawl away with a naked tush. She laughs and laughs as she knows she's doing something slightly naughty.

She also loves to crawl onto the ottoman in her room, then across the rather wide gap between it and the reclining chair. At first I was very nervous about her bridging the gap, but she is quite the adroit little climber, so I let her. But as soon as she settles into the chair, she throws her arms back and laughs triumphantly, extremely proud of her of her conquest.

Speaking of climbing... on weekend mornings we go to a nearby playground and meet our friends baby Jack and baby Eleanor (as well as other neighborhood kids who are becoming a regular part of our routine) for an early play date before nap time. Jack (pictured above) is four weeks older than Calliope but ever so much physically advanced (also more verbal), and so when his mom stopped climbing after him on the play structure, I stopped following Calliope as well. Of course, Jack was walking well at that point and Calliope was (and is) still crawling, but she was accustomed to the structure and I was reasonably confident by that point that Calliope wouldn't lunge off the structure. I stay very close by, but standing on the ground.

Catherine also taught Jack how to lie down on his stomach to go down the slide, so I taught the same to Calliope. It makes a lot more sense to me -- she's in control and gets to decide if she slides, she's not reliant on me getting her situated in a sitting position at the top of the slide, I don't have to catch her at the bottom -- more independence -- and best of all, I don't have to worry about her tipping over and off the slide from a sitting position.

Well, this past weekend we saw a friendly acquaintance at the playground whose son is a few weeks older than Calliope, and walking well. She didn't follow her son up onto the playground structure, apparently because I wasn't following Calliope. But did station him at the top of the slide (seated) with Daddy waiting at the bottom to catch the baby. Anyway, her son was toddling happily on the playground structure when she suddenly lunged for him. I was on the opposite side of the structure, closer to her son, so I put a restraining hand to his waist, to keep him from falling, but truly, he wasn't anywhere near the edge.

Then she said, "I didn't realize that he could fall from there! Since you were so cavalier with Calliope, I figured it was safe."

This made me kind of laugh to myself.

A few minutes later, she apologized and said, "I didn't mean to say you were a cavalier parent!"

I laughed and said, "hey, it's fine. There's only one of me, so I can't be there every second. And we come here every weekend, so she's used to the equipment and I know she probably won't try anything too dangerous."

But I'm still sort of chuckling to myself about this. My friend Jen made a comment to me about this too, about how she still follows Luna onto the playground equipment and is more nervous than me. I guess I have Catherine to thank for modeling this, but I'm happy to give Calliope a fair bit of independence on the playground equipment. She's probably the only crawler up there without a parent... but I think she loves it!

She has mostly given up the second nap. Today I asked the nanny to keep her up until 10 am because yesterday she was melting after a 75 minute nap at 9:15 and then "quiet time" in the crib in the afternoon because she didn't sleep. She slept two hours today as a result!

(ETA: she woke up to nurse at 5:30 am today, something she has mostly given up.... but then went back to sleep and was still sleeping when I left for work at 7:30, 13 hours after she went to bed last night!)

Her eating varies widely. I think she eats much more with the nanny than with me. I can't figure out why because I definitely don't pressure her to eat. I think the regularity of her weekday schedule probably helps. With me, most of her meals are on the go. Sometimes it looks to me like she has stopped gaining weight again, but today, she looked different and bigger to me after being gone at work all day!

I never thought I would be like this, because I had a lot of trouble overcoming inertia before parenthood (pregnancy, oh my god, terribly hard to do anything!), but now I find that we are always on the go, usually two and sometimes three times a day. There's just so much to see and do out there! It makes me really wonder how I would hypothetically juggle two kids. I love being able to tailor my day to Calliope's needs and interests. I don't remember my parents ever delighting in child-oriented activities, and it brings me so much joy to know that she won't have to experience what that feels like.


Sunday, October 14, 2012

Terrible and Wonderful Weekend

The wonderful part was darling Calliope. We had such a fabulous time together.

Saturday, we went to a pumpkin festival in Carroll Gardens. Free hot dogs (we shared three!), free candy (she sampled her first Reese's peanut butter cup and was VERY disappointed not to have more), pumpkin decorating (you had to buy the pumpkin but the painting was free... we passed on this activity), face painting (no thanks), free balloons (yes please! what is sweeter than the delight of a toddler with a balloon?), and best of all, free pony rides!

I had to change my story about her age once they informed me the minimum was eighteen months. The helmet, even on the smallest setting, kept slipping down over her face. At one point she started to slide sideways off the miniature pony, which of course was still quite large in comparison to her.

But. The look on her face was priceless. Pure joy.

Afterwards, we took the subway to Prospect Park for a cider pressing event, hosted by my summer camp. Apart from our close friends and downstairs neighbors, I didn't know many people, but it was just nice to lounge on the grass in the hot (again) sunshine and bask in the warmth of the people around me. Calliope busied herself with transferring apples from one crate to another.

After that, we walked slowly through Prospect Park with Emily and Annabelle, Calliope's four year old idol. Calliope napped. We went out for Thai food and then back to my place for ice cream. Since Calliope didn't really eat much Thai food, she filled up on ice cream.

Today, we went to the farmer's market and playground in the morning, then she napped for two hours while I worked out. Afterwards, we made an impromptu visit to the Prospect Park zoo, just the two of us. We had lunch while watching the baboons, then fed the goats in the petting zoo.

Another long walk home through Prospect Park, even more beautiful for the silence, apart from the companionable babbling back and forth -- Calliope would toss out a syllable, and I would mimic it back.

It was a perfect weekend together. I kept her up too late and compromised her schedule in all sorts of ways. She didn't eat enough, perhaps because I didn't give her a single meal on her regular schedule and in her high chair. But oh, we laughed so much. I crawled slowly and deliberately and pretend-menacingly, growling "I'm going to get you" as she shrieked with laughter. We took a bath together, singing "rub a dub, scrub a tub, time to get in the tub" and taking turns pouring water over each others' heads. She signed "potty" for the first time as she watched me in the zoo bathroom stall. She also signed "water" when thirsty for the first time. She's standing without holding on for upwards of thirty seconds now, though still no independent walking for me. She joyously brushed my teeth, and less joyously, permitted me to brush hers.

But.

In the other times, when she was asleep, it was dark. Friday night, I called my mother sobbing, grieving the terrible news about Olivia. I slept badly that night, feeling guilty for losing myself to sleep while Aaron and Karina were suffering so terribly. I woke Saturday feeling oh so depressed. It was a miracle that I was able to get us out of the house. I tried to remind myself that it didn't help Aaron and Karina for me to be depressed. Thank god it was beautiful outside. Being out in the sun all day helped tremendously.

Today I was better. I mustered up the energy for a workout, though it was so hard, mentally, to maintain the focus necessary to really push myself. Afterwards, though, I felt rejuvenated... hence, the spontaneous trip to the zoo.

Tonight I saw the email I was dreading. Olivia passed away last night at 8 pm. She died in the loving arms of her parents, peacefully.

I'm glad the news came tonight, while I was home, instead of at work tomorrow.

I thought I was okay with the news. I knew her prognosis was grim. Aaron and Karina are friends I talk to and see once a year. Most of our relationship is memories from long ago. I have no right to be taking this so personally.

And yet, while preparing the crock pot and trying to put away groceries and tidy the kitchen that had been abandoned all weekend in favor of being out in the cheerful sunshine... I find that I am filled with rage. Not at anyone, or anything. Just pure rage. It was all I could do not to throw dishes across the kitchen. I wanted to scream and stamp my foot and shatter things.

So I'm leaving a sinkful of dishes and going to bed. I wish, tonight, that Calliope and I could sleep together... tonight would be a good night to feel my girl's body against me. Perhaps I'll go steal her sleeping body from the crib and rock her in my arms for a few moments. What a blessing her presence is. I am so deeply grateful for her.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Terrible News





















Tonight when I was sitting on the floor in Calliope's room, playfully dressing her in a long sleeve shirt and socks and fleece sack, out of nowhere, came this terrible thought.

"Oh god. Aaron is going to find out today that his baby is dying."

Aaron and Karina and sweet baby Olivia weren't even on my mind when this terrible premonition came to me. Olivia had been responding beautifully to chemotherapy, and her parents were supposed to be able to bring her home to her big brother a couple of days ago, when she suddenly got hoarse and began to have trouble breathing.

I don't know why I had this thought. I thought there must be something wrong with me. Was this some sick way of protecting myself and my own happiness?

Horrified, I struck the thought from my brain as quickly as it came.

But I was right. Perhaps that very moment was when Aaron and Karina learned that although their daughter's kidney tumor had shrunk dramatically... the tumor in her brain has exploded.

Tomorrow morning they remove the breathing tube and say their goodbyes.

There are no words for the unspeakable sadness of this.

If there is any good that can come of this, it's to embrace the children that we are lucky enough to carry in our arms and not only in our hearts. I am grateful that I am happy and loving my life every single day. All we can do is live our life without regrets.

I will miss you, sweet baby Olivia, though I never got to meet you. I will hold your memory in my heart.

http://www.caringbridge.org/visit/oliviarashba

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Baby Squats

This shows Calliope practicing going from the ground to standing (without holding on). I've only seen her do this occasionally, but apparently she went to town with the nanny earlier in the week. I'm grateful she recorded it!

http://youtu.be/Fw8G6OJsk6Q

She also supposedly took her first steps that day, October 9th, Tuesday, but since I didn't see them, I'm not counting it.

Even if I did have to choke down a few surprise sobs when I heard the news.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Three Day Weekend


After a three day week, we had a lovely three day weekend.

Calliope has mostly shifted to one nap a day, but still take that one nap early in the morning. I tried once to put her down later, but it led to a really short nap. So she takes a morning nap and then typically spends an hour plus in her crib having "quiet time." Luckily she doesn't protest and seems perfectly happy to play in her crib by herself.

Mornings are a little strange and guilt inducing, though, because I sleep "late" when I don't hear her... and when I finally go look at the baby monitor, she's sitting quietly in the crib, just waiting patiently. This morning she was sitting up with her legs hanging down between the slats, as if she was watching a performance. Should I feel guilty about this? Because I do.

(I'm also feeling guilty and anxious because her eating has dropped way off suddenly. I've been getting lots of good support and advice about it and am mostly chalking it up to her new obsession with learning to walk. Hopefully she'll get more interested again soon.)

One day... Saturday? she took the extra short nap because Mommy screwed up and put her down too late. Then she played quietly in her room while I finished my workout. What I didn't realize was that instead of playing, she was actually redecorating.





































Saturday afternoon, I had a couple of "old" SMC friends over. We became friends while TTC'ing and now all have one year olds. Amazing! Luna and Jack are both about ten pounds heavier and several inches taller than Calliope, never mind running and walking and talking! Calliope seemed like a much younger and more fragile baby next to the two of them. (Picture pending.)

Yesterday we had an SMC Thinker (who I knew from my old running group) and a Pregnant-With-Twins SMC over for brunch. Calliope was so great and just played quietly on the floor while we talked. Luckily we had an early morning trip to the playground and farmer's market so I didn't feel like she was too neglected. But I'm awfully grateful that she's the kind of baby that can play quietly and allow for adult conversation!


And today we had a wonderful trip to the zoo with SMC Catherine and son Jack. Lots of times outings end up feeling tiring, but this one was perfect.


There was climbing in the outdoor eating area
And laughing at the geese 


More ogling of geese, and saying "quack" (sort of)


And snuggling with Mommy

And capped with Calliope's first trip on the old time carousel in
Prospect Park. Did you know that the steam organ in a 
carousel is called a calliope? Pretty cool, right?

After the zoo and after the carousel, we walked slowly home through Prospect Park and saw some nice foliage, then Catherine and I parted ways and Calliope finally took a second nap. I sat on a bench outside until she woke up (she only slept 30 minutes). Then I came upstairs and dinner was ready in the crockpot... lovely!

Today also concludes my first three days (in a row, for what it's worth) of Week 3 of Rip 60. This time around, I decided to not take it all so seriously, and just to try to challenge myself but not worry about what I couldn't do. I had a lot more fun this time. It's ridiculously hard at times, but now I know that it doesn't matter. I'll get stronger in due time. It's sort of neat feeling sore in my arms and in my lower abdomen, places that haven't been sore like that in years. 

Now I'm completely exhausted though. And my SMC friend who owns a Pilates studio gifted me some free workouts with a student trainer as a thanks for some donated breast milk. I'm incredibly excited because I've never done Pilates or worked out one on one with a trainer beyond a single complimentary session at a gym. It's an amazing gift. But I'm a little nervous because of being pretty darn tired and sore right now.... and it starts tomorrow! I'm hoping that tonight's sleep is especially rejuvenating... and that since I worked out today in the morning and tomorrow's workout is after work, I will be sufficiently (or somewhat, anyway) rested. 


Sunday, October 7, 2012

Counting My Blessings

Birthday breakfast with my best girl


Thursday was my birthday.

Normally I wouldn't do anything for it, but Nastya had asked for a personal day sometime soon to take care of some errands, so we arranged to do that on my birthday.

It was a perfect day.

Calliope and I walked to breakfast at a local cafe. Then we came home and she took a too-short nap while I worked out. But she was never cranky, despite the short nap.

In the afternoon, while Calliope "rested" in her crib, I worked on a photobook I'm creating which will be the Story of Calliope, all about Calliope's conception.

Then we played with Eleanor for a little bit at her house -- Calliope pushed Eleanor around on her push toy/bike -- and then Eleanor and Amy (her mother) took Calliope and me out to dinner.

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Having two 13 month olds at a restaurant turned out to be kind of a shit show.

Calliope dropped a plate on the floor, dropping it. I think this happened the last time we were there, also.

Eleanor kept dropping her ear of corn on the floor. Also, she only wanted to suck on the ends of the ear, which is not very productive in terms of eating. But she screamed whenever the corn landed on the floor, again, or when Amy tried to dust it off. She eventually permitted Amy to cut the corn off the cob for her.

Calliope lost all interest in her yogurt once she saw Eleanor eating corn on the cob. Luckily, Amy planned ahead and brought extra corn.

Eleanor kept shrieking these ear-piercing shrieks. Calliope didn't want to stay in her high chair and I had to let her crawl around the entire restaurant for a few minutes. Luckily it wasn't too crowded at that point, but I was worried that the staff might be sending baleful looks my way. ?Luckily she was entranced by the french fries once they came, and from that point on, happily sat in her high chair.

The floor under the two high chairs was disgusting.

We left a nice tip.

The whole experience was slightly hilarious, if also a little exhausting.

But I walked around the whole day feeling, and am still feeling, like the luckiest girl in the world.

I have my girl. Who is about as perfect as a one year old can be (apart from throwing food, and this could certainly be a lot worse). I have a beautiful new-to-me apartment, where I no longer have to share my bedroom or even my bathroom! I have a wonderful job that is enjoyable and interesting and rewarding yet respects my family commitments. Even my body seems to be improving after a long and terrifying period of constant hunger and weight gain. I feel strong and healthy and energetic.

Even the fact that I am single... I'm so happy about it! So grateful I don't have to expend any energy on another adult. I don't miss sex or companionship. It would be lovely to have another adult as invested in Calliope as I am but... I can't even imagine it, so I don't spend time thinking about it. I have a wonderful community of friends who keep me feeling loved and supported.

I'm everlastingly grateful. What a wonderful birthday and a wonderful life.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Weight Check at 13.5 Months

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Above: Things to do when you have to wait a really long time at the doctor's office.

She's up to 18 pounds, 12 ounces and 29.5 inches.

Which puts her between 5-10% for weight and 25-50% for height.

I thought that was pretty respectable although the pediatrician said they'd like to see her get back to the 25% that she had always been on until she was sick so many times from 9-12 months... but also said that maybe she's just going to be a slender person, which would also be fine.

This wasn't my regular pediatrican; I think my regular doctor will be pleased with Calliope's growth since she wasn't uber-concerned to begin with.

Calliope also got jabbed in the thigh with her first flu shot. I declined it last year, since she wasn't six months (and thus eligible to receive it) until well into flu season... and I wasn't seeing much, if any, flu in my clinic as well as in the news. But this year, we are all over it. She'll get her second dose at her 15th month well-baby visit.

This visit was originally scheduled for two days from now, my birthday, as the nanny had asked for a personal day then. But then the nanny got sick, with what I think was just gastroenteritis, and my nanny-share partner suggested I take Calliope today. So now my birthday is entirely free for fun things! Which is especially nice considering how long we had to wait for our very short visit today. Ugh.


Calliope and Doggy

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Despite the prolonged presence of "Monkey Love" in her crib, I think Doggy is going to be her "security object" or whatever it is one calls these things.

She loves dogs and "woof" has been one of her first words. Both my brother and sister have dogs. Calliope adores both of these dogs, Taylor and Ruby, who disdainfully ignore her for the most part, though one has growled when Calliope has been "chasing" her (with Calliope crawling on hands and knees, it's not much of a chase) around the room.

So we used Grammy's birthday gift card to get this doggy, which looks a bit like "Cousin" Taylor and "Cousin" Ruby. So far, Doggy is a hit!