Archive for October 2012

Early this month, at a friend’s house, daddy was making you chase our old iPod Touch to and fro across the carpet. This was great entertainment for everyone, and soon you were surrounded by a ring of iPhones. After a moment of WHOA! MOTHERLODE! you went for the one with the camouflage patterned case. (To be clear, all the others were black.)

Bright, shiny objects catch your attention – jewellery, cell phone screens, faucets, the metal legs of the loveseat at grandma’s place.

You hate it when I sit in front of the computer. I’m thus in a perpetual state of being behind on my correspondence.

The sounds you make are freaking hilarious. There’s the scream, and the squeal, and the squeak. There’s the simba growl. There’s the mocking babble, just like the teen tuning out the nagging mother: Blah blah blah, whatever. (I promise not to be a nagging mother …)

I’ve noticed that you go, “Uuhn uuhn uuhn!” when you want to be picked up. You also started doing the outstretched arms thing this month.

You’ve got a nasty, all-fingers-at-once pinch. And a nasty habit of pinching the boob that feeds you.

You’re trying to stand on your own. Or you forget that you can’t quite do that yet, and you’ll let go of whatever you’re holding onto for support. Then you fall on your butt, and the shocked expression on your face is priceless.

On the solid foods front: tofu, papaya, and cantaloupe have been the biggest hits. You’ve also had avocado, broccoli, banana, zucchini, shiitake mushroom, bits of rice and noodle. You weren’t a huge fan of egg yolk or pomelo. Whenever we introduce a new food you make this sour gollum face, like, “What the heck is this?” but usually you’ll eat it anyway.

This month also marked your second cold. Most likely you caught it from daddy. It wasn’t really his fault, because even though he tried to be super careful, I wasn’t. I need an extra set of hands and eyes sometimes, alright? So I can do normal human things, you know, like shower. Also, antibodies. I have high hopes that you inherited the impenetrable Zhou immune system; you were only snotty for a couple days and well again within the week.

You like to mess with daddy by kissing mama but refusing to kiss him, eh heh heh. Instead, you’ll give him the hand. And smirk.

Whenever I begin to think Ashelyn’s sleep patterns might be settling into something like consistency, she switches it up on me. Lately she shows signs of sleepiness at a reasonable hour of the evening, so we wind down for bed, except then she either doesn’t sleep or doesn’t stay asleep.

Confession: Ashelyn breastfeeds to sleep. Not during the day, at least not always, but at night this is what has worked for us. I feed her, she zonks out, I roll her over beside my pillow and she sleeps until some ungodly wee hour of the morning.

But these days she only dozes at the boob before inexplicably waking up wanting to play.

We did finally get around to lowering the crib mattress, thank goodness, so I can plonk her inside without risking much more than a head bump. Her antics are still worth watching, though, because she’ll pull up and do this crazy dance comprised of

  1. hip thrusts
  2. vigorous shaking of the head
  3. exaggerated chewing of imaginary gum
  4. murmuring or squeaking

My strategy is to let her wear herself out, which eventually happens … around midnight or 1AM. At first I hoped exhaustion would translate into longer sleeps, but guess what? IT DOESN’T. I’m still up a handful of times. On a good night, once or twice. On a bad night, I lose count …

Kidding. Four or five times on a bad night.

Actually, Ashelyn occasionally pulls this trick of waking at 4AM all fired up to play, and that is the worst. It takes hours to get her back to sleep. She’ll even shimmy over and kiss my face, and then I feel bad for wanting to throw her out the window.

I’ve read that even previously good sleepers may have disturbed nights at around six months, due to (1) teething, (2) separation anxiety, or (3) developmental progress, as in they’re so excited about their new skills that they want to practice them upon waking. Ashelyn’s been drooling since her third month, but to date remains toothless. And she’s not unusually clingy; besides, at night I’m RIGHT THERE. She does, however, start clambering around deliriously even before she’s fully awake.

I haven’t yet committed to anything heavy-handed, because despite sporadic bad nights we’re still making progress. For one thing, Ashelyn is now able to nap on her own, often for half an hour but sometimes for an hour and a half. She falls asleep in the carseat or stroller without as much resistance as before. Now and then we’ll have a really good night, where she’s down before midnight and sleeps until late morning with only one feeding in between.

With future children I’ll probably be much more deliberate about fostering “good sleep habits,” but even if I’d taken a more textbook approach with Ashelyn I’m not wholly convinced that things would be different now. Left to her own devices, she never would settle herself down, only work herself up.

It’s an inconvenience I’m willing to live with.

Sometime over the past month or two we crossed into a new era. The simple days – of setting Ashelyn down someplace and expecting her to mostly stay there – are over. Now, if we leave her unsupervised for even a second, she may go kamikaze on us.


Crawling. It’s a true, hands-and-knees (sometimes hands-and-feet) crawl now. Understanding of physical laws, such as gravity, not included. Ashelyn would crawl straight off the edge of the bed if I let her. I’ve tested this.

Pulling up. She enjoys this even more than being mobile, possibly because it’s more hazardous. In addition to swan-diving out of the bassinet, Ashelyn has also face-planted from the crib while it was flush against the bed. That is, she face-planted onto the bed, no harm done, phew. Needless to say, it’s time to lower the mattress.

Cruising. There isn’t much at home to facilitate this, but Ashelyn manages to shuffle from one end of a piece of furniture to the other. Actually, she smashed into the headboard while doing this in the crib, so for a day afterwards it looked like she’d gotten punched in the eye.

Climbing. Not that we give her much opportunity to practice, yet. I prefer not going prematurely grey.

Walking? Not unsupported, no, but she can take steps while holding onto our fingers.

At the time, I didn’t know those early months were “simple.” One day I’ll remember these days as simple, too … one healthy child, sassy and spirited, too young to know deliberate disobedience.

Ashelyn just pitched head-first out of the bassinet … and I caught her, an inch from the floor.

I need to go lie down now.

There’s a game we often play as an icebreaker with groups of teens and young adults, called “I have never.” Basically, we go ’round and ’round the circle sharing things we’ve never done. Everyone starts off with ten fingers, with one finger being eliminated every time someone else’s “I have never” doesn’t apply. There isn’t really any winning or losing involved; only that the last one standing may get some teasing for being the most, I don’t know, innocent?

So, just for fun, here are seven of my own, things I’ve never done:

1. Shaved my legs.

Of course I do know Chinese girls who shave their legs, but my impression is that a lot of us don’t because we’re comparatively hairless there. At least I’ve never had reason to. The hair is so fine it’s unnoticeable, similar to arm hair, and people don’t shave their arms, right? It was one less thing to worry about while pregnant, thank goodness.

2. Broken a bone.

I’ve certainly had my share of scrapes and bruises, but let’s just say my guardian angel has never had cause to take stress leave.

3. Dyed my hair.

And I get $15 haircuts maybe three times a year. I’ve gotten $50-60 cuts before and, honestly, there isn’t much difference … except in the higher price range they sometimes serve you tea.

4. Been drunk.

Alcohol was never one of those things I missed during pregnancy, because I don’t drink. It’s an acquired taste I never acquired. I don’t even appreciate wine as an ingredient in food.

5. Faked an orgasm.

Okay, I could write a whole post on the two tectonic shifts our sex life has undergone, first in late second trimester and again post-baby. But I probably won’t because, umm, TMI? I swear it’s an unusual story though.

6. Watched a horror movie.

I cannot watch horror movies. I am a gigantic wuss when it comes to movies. Anything above a very low threshold of stressful can mess me up for ages. (I pretty much watched The Passion of the Christ with my coat over my eyes. Afterwards, a friend remarked, “Congratulations, Sarah, you just listened to a movie. And it wasn’t even in English.”)

7. Dieted.

I’m not delusional enough to think I need to lose weight, not at the numbers I elicit from the scale. Case in point: at 39 weeks pregnant I remained within the normal, non-pregnant weight range for my height. I’ve joked before that I could stand to keep all twenty-five extra pounds, but they’re gone! Ah, genetics.