Archive for June 2013

New spoken words this month: 姑姑 (Aunt Sally), 舅舅 (Uncle David), no, meow (for cat), moo (for cow). New “signed” or understood words: mouth, down, blink, 笑一个 (smile), smile.

Melting in Glendale, AZ.

Melting in Glendale, AZ.

That’s right, you say “no” now, but not in the defiant-toddler way where it’s a default response to everything. When you say it, you’re either mimicking us or pre-empting us, because we’ve either told you not to do something, or you know we’re just about to. You’ll shake your head, wag your finger, and say, “No-no.” Aunt Sally gets the credit for teaching you that trick. Now I can’t help myself; sometimes I wag my finger at you for no reason at all, just to hear your matter-of-fact “no-no!” (For the record, telling you “no” or “stop” isn’t terribly effective at getting you to stop whatever it is you shouldn’t be doing.)

You totally light up when you see pictures of babies and children in books or magazines or flyers, pointing and giggling “baby!” as if those images were a well-delivered punchline. You enjoy perusing photos of yourself, too, and you’ll make clown faces at your reflection in the mirror.

Operetta face?

Operetta face?

I swear I never set out to teach you tricks; it’s all you! In addition to your previous repertoire of funny faces, you know how to pout, blow a kiss, bat your eyelashes (cue: “blink blink”) and do this:

You react with great drama whenever the doorbell or phone rings, or when the timer goes off for the toaster oven or microwave. Perking up, eyes and mouth wide, insistent “Ah! AH!” You know it signals something – probably something momentous – and you expect us to go get it already!

You love visitors, and scramble to show them all of your things. Seriously, you’ll dig everything out from under the exersaucer (where I store them) and present each toy, one by one.

You’ve started showing an interest in erecting towers, as opposed to only knocking them down. You can balance blocks on top of each other.


But more often you’re into “nesting” things and gathering small items into various receptacles. You’ll put your rock collection into a tupperware container, stir sticks into a paper cup. Then you’ll take them out, one by one, and transfer each object into another makeshift container.

There’s also the sneaky planting of “surprises” around the house. Like one of your rocks in the diaper bag, or crayons in the kitchen cupboards alongside the pots. Or maybe in a pot. Surprise!

For someone who rarely ever stays still – somehow I manage to dress you while you’re running away – you’re surprisingly cooperative when I put your shoes on. My theory is you’ve figured out that shoes signal going out, and you’re always up for that. Once, because we had a bit of a cold snap, I broke out your socks; once they were on you headed straight for the front door. (This shows that, one: I’m probably right, and two: I don’t do socks in the summer.)

Crayons are good for more than just eating.

Crayons are good for more than just eating.

You understand and obey when I point across the room and say, “Ashelyn, go get me that.” I always say it offhandedly, vaguely, not really expecting you to respond with comprehension. But you do! You think it’s fun to blow my mind, obviously.

You’re able to unscrew the caps off bottles and jars, provided they aren’t twisted too tight. You even unscrew the tip off the water spritzer I keep at your change table.

The other evening I saw you pretend to punch numbers into the iPod touch (it was on the passcode lock screen), then hold it up to your ear and say, “Hi!”

Let me push my own stroller!

Why sit in my stroller when I can push it?

Seems like we have a phone hog in the making. When either of your grandmas are on the line, you’ll completely hijack the call, drowning out our end of the conversation with your fluent – and loud! – gibberish. Inevitably it becomes a dialogue between you and grandma. Yes, a dialogue – you leave space for her to speak, listening and responding like a seasoned conversationalist, albeit a slightly frenzied one.

S: Did you hear what Kanye West and Kim Kardashian named their baby?

K: … who?

And that, my friends, is the right answer to the whole kerfuffle.

womp womp

Posted on: 20 June 2013

Last night was a bit of a gongshow.

Ashelyn seemed tired, so I put her to bed at 8:30. I don’t fall asleep myself until 1:30. Dumb, yes, but I’m desperately behind on a bunch of translation work (as well as blogging).

3:30AM – Ashelyn wakes with a stuffed-up nose. Her thwarted attempts to nurse wake us both up. Then I notice that she has weird little welty bumps on different areas of her body. WHAT.

Bug bites? I’d brought her to band practice Tuesday evening, and she’d gotten some from the trip. These look kind of similar, more welt-y. Yet nothing had bitten me. Allergic reaction? But to what?

I think of waking Kevin, then think better of it. He has a fully-booked day tomorrow. Wait, that means he’ll be out all day. How am I going to survive on two hours of sleep??

What with all the on-and-off light switching, nose wiping, examining of the mysterious bumps, looking for the snotsucker, finding it in the cloth wipes basket in the living room … I’m wide awake, but what’s worse, so is Ashelyn. Crap. I start to see the light of dawn filtering through the curtains.

5:30AM – Ashelyn is finally asleep again. That means I can sleep too. We sleep till 11AM.

Come “morning,” the bumps seem to have vanished without a trace. (??) But it’s apparent that Ashelyn has a cold. Her nose is a leaky faucet, and she’s coughing. (Incidentally, none of her previous colds ever involved coughing.)

Then, in the afternoon, she has a mini coughing fit while breastfeeding, which causes her to choke, which causes her to throw up on me. And since I can’t shower till evening, I pretty much smell like rancid milk for the remainder of the day.


I don’t feel strongly about “defining my parenting style.” (Natural parenting, gentle parenting, free-range parenting? What does that even mean?) However, I always chafe at being pigeonholed, and for some reason I’m especially resistant to the “attachment parent” label, even though – or maybe because? – I practice many of the things attachment parents advocate.

I had a natural homebirth. The “home” part was an accident, but it will forever make an awesome story. I was indeed crossing my fingers for a natural birth, but it was supposed to occur at the hospital. (I felt safer having my first at a hospital, you know, in case of complications. Plus the facilities at BC Women’s are wonderful.) But I held off too long and Ashelyn came too quickly. Strictly speaking, I had a freebirth, or unassisted birth.

I breastfeed. I’m fortunate and thankful to have encountered no hurdles here, so the boob it is. It’s convenient. It’s free. Ashelyn’s a fan. Actually she’s never tried formula; she’s never even used a bottle, because I’m crazy lazy. We’ll probably continue until Ashelyn wants to stop, unless she turns two and still doesn’t, in which case HELP. (I’m no elitist, though. If a mother who is perfectly capable of breastfeeding chooses to use formula just because, we can totally still be friends.)

We chose baby-led weaning. Because who wants to bother with separate food prep for munchkin? Certainly not I. We try to avoid processed foods and excess salt and sugar, although now that Ashelyn’s older I’m less likely to freak out if someone gives her a piece of croissant. I don’t care about buying organic or avoiding GMO; I’m not convinced the benefits justify the price.

I babywear more often than I use a stroller. We started with slings, but haven’t really looked back since acquiring an Ergo. It’s just that I’ve found a carrier to be more versatile, and more likely to result in peaceful cooperation. I’ve also done my fair share of toting Ashelyn around in my arms (and I’ve got the biceps to show for it).

We co-sleep. A while ago we sidecar-ed the crib, but Ashelyn doesn’t spend a ton of time sleeping in her space, preferring instead to cuddle with me. Which is sweet and all, but bedsharing is the one thing I’m not proud to admit, because ideologically I believe in the marital bed, not the family bed. Unfortunately Ashelyn was a sleepfighter from day one, and this is where the path of least resistance has led us. I still haven’t committed to any form of sleep training, not because I’m opposed to CIO, but because I doubt it’ll work on my girl without crossing a threshold of unpleasantness to which I am opposed.

We do EC and cloth diaper and use disposables. Ashelyn has pooped in the potty since she was five months old, because she is awesome. So is poop-free cloth diapering! Still, there’s no denying the convenience and absorption power of disposables; we use them, sparingly, for (longer) outings and overnight.

We vaccinate. On schedule. In all other matters I stand behind the decisions of well-meaning parents, even controversial ones like spanking or crying it out. But unless your child is immuno-compromised, if you don’t vaccinate, I say you’re doing it wrong, and I shake my fist at you for weakening herd immunity.

I’m a proud product of the public education system, and biased in its favour. Although there’s plenty of time for shifts of opinion on this front, presently I’m not very interested in private institutions, and I don’t intend to homeschool.


I’m no expert on babies. I am, however, an expert on one baby. And that’s all the authority I need.