Archive for September 2012

Dear Ashelyn,

You’re six months old! You don’t look much like your newborn self; your complexion has lightened considerably, for one. Do I even remember how to handle a floppy infant?

You haven’t been floppy for a long time. A couple weeks ago you surprised us by pulling up into a standing position in the bassinet … and almost pitching over the side. Is sitting up not enough for you? You’re really good at that now, no more toppling over. Now you want to hold onto our fingers and do squats. Girl, I can barely do squats.

You’re a robust one, for sure, brimming with energy and eagerness. Lately you’ve been working on your crawl. Though it’s still in caterpillar-shuffle territory at the moment, I’ve a feeling that won’t be for long. You’re hitting every milestone so early I have to remind myself it doesn’t mean anything beyond bragging rights for the parents; all babies learn to walk and talk in the end.

I still think you’re a genius, though, of course. That’s my prerogative as a mother.

Two favoured syllables have surfaced from your abundant chatter. One is “ngar,” the happy word. I like to watch you say it, the odd way you work your tongue to shape the sound. The other is something like “nya” or “yeh” (as in, “Nya nya NYA NYEH YEH!”), clearly a complaint along the lines of, “Why aren’t you picking me up?!”

When you’re really excited, you scream. And sometimes you’ll beat your arms against your tummy in accompaniment. You know your uncle David, the one who’s always all up in your face? He’s your future drum teacher.

I’ve seen you cross-examining your fingers, slowly clenching and unclenching your fist. Undoubtedly scheming what to snatch out of our hands next, how to stuff it into your mouth before we can stop you. Already you’ve swiped one of my mugs off the counter, where the handle broke off against the kitchen floor.

Last Sunday you somehow managed to give your father a nosebleed, WHILE YOU WERE ASLEEP. Apparently you were napping in the sling when you entered thrash mode and attacked his face. One of your fingers went up his nose and scratched a little too hard. When I arrived at the scene of the crime, you were still sleeping innocently, and your father? He rolled his eyes at me, a wad of bloody tissues in his hand.

See, this is why daddy sleeps in the spare room. Unfortunately you aren’t the greatest of sleepers, though I wouldn’t say you’re a terrible one either. You haven’t slept more than eight hours in a row; recently it’s been closer to four or five, occasionally less. We might want to do something about this soon.

Anyway, you make up for that by pooping in the potty! So far I’ve caught five and missed one. Yes, that’s six poops total over a span of three weeks. Yesterday you pooped twice, perfectly normal peanut-butter poops, after ten days of complete pooplessness. Even I was close to calling the newborn hotline. Except you were still so happy! If this is how your plumbing works, well, let’s just say it’s not far from my normal but very, very far from your father’s.

Also, even though I can’t tell when you pee, we’ve caught five in the potty. Easy catches, like after naps. The cool thing is you seem to have made the necessary associations on your own. And you’re so proud of yourself afterwards.

For better or worse, motherhood has awakened a part of me that will always be aware of your existence. Even when someone else is looking after you, there’s a corner of my psyche preoccupied with where you are, how you’re doing. I wonder if this ever lets up. It’s alright if it doesn’t, because you are a delight.


After a friendly debate over the right way to make kabocha soup …

S: “Anyway, do what you want. I’m going to shower.”

K: “But I can’t do anything if I have to watch Ashelyn!”


You’re a squirmy worm, on the floor AND in our arms. You’re always drawing your knees up, twisting from side to side, undulating. You’ll periodically attempt to climb up my body while I’m holding you. This is kind of exhausting. Also, I don’t appreciate being kneed in the chest. Stop it.

The corollary is that you’re surprisingly mobile for a pre-crawler. I set up a playspot of those interlocking foam tiles for you several weeks ago, and have since had to expand it. Now we’re out of tiles.

We’ve moved on from “assisted pseudo-jumping” to, well, assisted jumping! Often on my stomach.

You really hate having your nose cleared. I have to sneak up on you with tweezers while you’re sleeping. It’s ridiculous.

You’re interested in the source of a sound and pinpoint them with ease. There’s an electronic alphabet book at your grandma’s place that your oldest cousin used to play with, one of those toys that plays music and talks at you in a radio-operator voice. Well, you ignored all the fancy light-up letters and honed right in on the unobtrusive speaker. And at a wedding last weekend you kept turning this way and that in daddy’s lap until you identified the nearest speaker, hidden up in the rafters of the ceiling. Then you settled down to stare at it. Said Kevin, “She found it.”

Soon after you were born, my cousin gave you a little teether toy, basically a stuffed bunny with rubber paws. You love this toy, except you prefer to chew on its ears, making them spit-soaked and gross.

Your sleep resistance has become so pronounced that you’ll be on the verge of dropping off, then suddenly jerk awake, like, HEY! I almost fell asleep! You tricked me!

Can we talk about that time on Monday when you fell off the sofa? Yeah, sorry about that. I didn’t know you could squirm free of all those pillows, and I ONLY TURNED THE CORNER FOR A MINUTE. I’m sorry there’s no carpet in this house. Luckily I haven’t been able to find any injuries, despite obsessively checking your scalp for head trauma after recovering from six heart attacks.

You’ve learned a new maneuver: the boob grab. You may also boob grab other women.

You love attention, and you love people, even people you’ve never seen before. We get a lot of, “That just made my day!” because strangers generally don’t expect babies to beam at them right off the bat. But you do.

After months of dawdling, I finally got around to ordering a potty for Ashelyn.

It’s the BabyBjörn smart potty, which took forever to find in an acceptable colour (ie. not pink or blue) at a distributor for which I had gift card credit.

Why a potty so soon (or, for EC purists, so late)?

Well, I’m reasonably certain I can catch 80% of Ashelyn’s poops. She goes relatively infrequently – every handful of days – so it’s not like I need to be on constant poop watch. Besides, she’ll grunt.

I have no idea when she pees. Our cloth diapers handle that perfectly well, though, so for the time being I’m not trying to catch those. I’m in a bit of a hurry to establish pooping in the potty because solid foods are just around the corner … and with that comes solid food poop. If I can spare myself some of those diapers, why not?

I know I’m not aiming for a pipe dream here, because Ashelyn successfully went in the potty on the very day we brought it home! Which necessarily precipitated this tweet, sorry, I couldn’t help myself:


What happens when a Pampers Baby Dry accidentally goes through a soak cycle with the cloth diaper laundry?

It swells up into a giant water-logged sausage.

I knew disposable diapers get their absorbency from a polymer gel that holds a hundred thirty times its weight in water … but whoa. No wonder crunchy granola mothers say that disposables these days are “too good.”

I’m just glad it wasn’t a poopy diaper that ended up in there. Eww.

And that it didn’t also go through the dryer, in which case it may have exploded into a mass of tiny gel beads all over the other laundry.

(Because, as I later learned, that was what happened to a friend of mine.)

You’re all about the making of new sounds. Like the gurgle. And the fake cough when you want attention. (Why must you make such an irksome noise?) And daddy heard you say “mama” the other day, so it’s not just me!

You can resist sleep for HOURS. Eventually you’ll fuss and conk out. Sometimes you’ll do this singsongy sleepy babble before dropping off. Are you trying to convince us you aren’t tired? It’s not working.

You prefer to keep us in sight and may yell if we leave the room or otherwise move outside your range of vision. Lately this has applied in the car, too, in that you dislike being alone in the backseat where you can’t see anyone. Essentially you’ve kicked daddy out of the master bed and me out of the passenger seat …

You can be coy. Occasionally you’ll mess with people by refusing to make eye contact when you know that’s what they want. Instead, you’ll turn your face away and smirk. Once someone came to our door soliciting donations for an organization, but he seemed kind of nervous and new, and you kept smiling at him and throwing him off his lines.

The universe cannot contain this much happy so early in the morning.

It took multiple attempts to get a good video clip of you rolling back to front, because you’d do it so fast I couldn’t capture it in time.

You play with your feet during a diaper change. This is helpful for wiping, but not so much for putting diapers or pants on.

You’ll go several days without pooping, then one day with a number of poops. Earlier last month I think you were poop-less for a week. We were mildly concerned, except you weren’t showing any other signs of constipation or discomfort.

A month ago you were examining objects intently with your eyes, but the thought that you could touch them with your hands hadn’t really occurred to you. Now? You reach for everything – the walls, our drink glasses, tissue. And if some part of it fits in your mouth that’s where it’ll go next. If I’m wearing a necklace you’ll fiddle with the pendant. You have a pretty solid pincer grasp.

Om nom nom.

You stare in fascination when we play the guitar. And when I play piano with you in a sling, you’ll twist around and reach for the keys. You’ve also tried to remove my hands from the keys so that you can press them yourself.

We don’t have an exersaucer or jolly jumper, but you’d probably enjoy something like that because you’re bouncing up and down on your feet. Assisted pseudo-jumping, I call it.