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May 30, 2008

Week 35 | Becoming a "Big Girl"

Ari - Week 35

Arianna turned eight months old this week (check out the photo shoot Ania did), and it's clear she's beginning to grow up a bit. We just went to baby Christian's first birthday party the other weekend, and last Saturday, we celebrated cousin Lily's first birthday with a small family gathering at Mom & Dad's. Ari was very interested in Lily's gifts, and they started a bit of tug-of-war over one, but Lily did a great job of sharing and they worked it out. It was really sweet to see them play together!

Cousins sharing I think Ari is feeling the influence these "older" babies. This week, she moved into the "big girl" car seat, sat in a restaurant high chair for the first time, and started using a training potty! Plus her second (bottom, front) tooth popped through. It's really strange to hear and feel teeth scratching on the ice cubes we give her for teething! (And yes, we're careful and hold the ice for her.)

She's even going to start eating "big girl" food! She had her 8-month checkup today, and the doctor said she's doing great, and cleared her to start eating table food! She can have cheese, meat, vegetables, etc., they just have to be mashed up enough for her. She had her first yogurt today, and loved it! She had her first Cheerios too, but wasn't so sure about that.

Ari first Cheerios Exercising your ability to make choices is a part of growing up. Ari's been choosing which toys she wants from her toy box for a while now, but lately she's been showing us what she wants and where she wants to go. It's the cutest thing ever to see her stick her arm out and start leaning in the direction of whatever it is that's caught her fancy. If you don't respond, she'll start making noises to let you know she means business! Somehow, I doubt this will remain cute forever...

As much as all these developments and new things are great, I still want to keep her as a baby! :(

Milestones & Metrics

  • Turned eight months old!
  • Stats: Length: 29.25", Weight: 20lbs 4oz, Head circumference: 45cm
  • Starting to recognize (and love) herself in the mirror:
    Kiss the baby
  • Second tooth popped through
  • Moved into the "big girl" car seat
  • Got a training potty! (29 May) Did her first #1 (29 May), and first (and second) #2 (30 May) in the training potty.
  • Sat in a restaurant high chair for the first time
  • Went from sitting to prone in pursuit of a toy
  • Comfortable and happy to sleep on her tummy
  • Can roll both ways in bed
  • Ate her first yogurt and first Cheerios
  • How Arianna looks this week:
    Ari Closeups - Week 35

May 28, 2008

Photo Shoot: Eight Months

Ari turned eight months old today (28 May)!
Ari at 8 months

Grandma Wanda made a beautiful bouquet for Arianna from the flowers she's been growing in our yard, and Ania took some adorable pictures of Ari over at Mom & Dad's house.

Ari at 8 months
Ari at 8 months
Ari at 8 months
Ari at 8 months
Ari at 8 months
Ari at 8 months
Ari at 8 months

May 23, 2008

Week 34 | Unspoken Communication

Ari - Week 34

I've noticed that you can see Arianna's smile in her eyes just as much as on her lips. I jotted that down the other day in my notes, and looking at it as I began to write this entry, it made me think about the fact that all of her communication now is unspoken. (I had originally written non-verbal, but Ania pointed out that making noises is "verbal", in a sense.) At almost eight months old, she can make noises, but she can't talk, so she has to find other ways to tell us how she feels and what she wants — and she does!

Ari smiling eyes

Sometimes it's quite clear, like when she jerks and thrashes — a new way she's found to say "Feed me now!" Other times, it's not so obvious, like her tendency to emit loud, long, high-pitched squeals. We don't know what these mean, but they don't appear to be either happy or unhappy sounds (well, they often seem to be more happy than not, but sometimes they seem downright neutral); maybe she's just seeing what it's like to make noise and hear herself.

We're teaching her unspoken forms communication too, like waving (which she seems to really enjoy) clapping (her newest skill), and some basic baby sign language (milk, water, eat, more, mommy, daddy, all gone) that we've been trying. I've always been in favor of explicit communication, and generally discourage relying on non-verbal cues whenever possible. Being a new parent has caused me to revisit this approach, at least with Arianna.

Before our daughters were born, Jene and I were talking about the Dunstan baby language, featured on Oprah. I watched the show and thought it was incredible, and was sure Ania and I would buy the DVD. Jene pointed out that while she agreed with the general idea that babies cry differently for different reasons, it's something parents can learn on their own, and don't necessarily need a book or DVD to learn.

I've come to agree — it's really true that a baby will give you signs for what she needs, even if she does so unconsciously. Becoming attuned to these signs is part of learning to be a parent. For example, Ari was getting pretty cranky this morning, which is rare unless she's tired. So, I put her down about half an hour early for her nap and she was out almost instantly. This wasn't a case of decoding her cry so much as her behavior, but it was a good reminder of the importance of being aware of and responsive to my daughter's communication, long before she can talk. And no, I didn't buy the DVD.

Ari went to her first birthday party this week! Taylor & Rossy's son, Christian, turned 1 year old, and we went to Golden Gate Park in San Francisco to celebrate. Ari had a great time, and really enjoyed her first ride on a carousel.

Ari - Week 34

Ari spent the rest of the week having a good time looking at books, playing with toys, checking out bubbles, working on waving and clapping, and playing with Grandma Wanda.

Ari - Week 34

Milestones & Metrics

  • Really able to wave now
  • Learning to clap her hands
  • First night without 10pm feeding (22 May)
  • Slept on her tummy most of the night (22 May)
  • Rolled to the right for the first time this morning! (18 May)
  • First eye doctor appointment (22 May)
  • Seems to be responding to the camera! Clearly did so when I began to take "Friday pictures" this morning (23 May)
  • How Arianna looks this week:
    Ari Closeups - Week 34

May 16, 2008

Week 33 | Tooth!

Ari - Week 33

We saw the beginning of Arianna's first tooth while bathing her tonight! (16 May) It's just a little tiny dark spot that's pretty hard to see, but it's there!

Ari first tooth Ari chasing hairbrush

I'm amazed by how Arianna can be so fun, smiley, and interactive, yet quickly flip into serious mode and studiously focus on something that captures her attention. Sometimes this happens with a snap of her head; she'll turn and zero in on something — almost like a hunting animal that thinks it's caught the scent of prey — until she's satisfied, then she moves on. A really fun example of this is when I brush her hair at the end of her bath; it used to seem to calm her down, but now, I think the sensation of the brush touching her head piques her curiosity, and she arches her back and tilts her head back trying to look at the brush. She's fanatical about seeing the brush, and it cracks me up!

This focusing happens in a different, but also very evident way when she meets someone new; she'll just spend a few minutes calmly gazing at and studying them. So far, everyone seems to have passed muster; Ari's generally very sociable and happy to meet new people, and is always friendly after this initial phase. Here she is with Uncle Kenny (with whom she's hung out a fair amount, but not enough that she instantly remembers), studying, then smiling:

Ari study/smile

Speaking of socialization, Arianna is starting to learn how to wave! She doesn't quite know the difference between "hi" and "bye-bye" yet, but she's been copying us by moving one arm when we say either one and wave to her. It's adorable!

She's been having fun drumming this week, and is starting to follow her toy drum, banging on it after it prompts her. After an intense jam session, she often likes to kick back and down a sippy cup or two of water.

Ari drumming water break

Milestones & Metrics

  • We celebrated our first Mother's Day this week!
  • Can rotate 360 degrees on her tummy (15 May)
  • She's back on track with sleeping through the night; for a few days she started to wake around 3-3:30, but seems to have settled back into her all-night sleep routine.
  • Started jerking whole body when angry/hungry; becoming rather willful!
  • Starting to wave
  • How Arianna looks this week:
    Ari Closeups - Week 33

May 11, 2008

First Mother's Day

This is Ania's first Mother's Day, and we're both overjoyed to have this holiday apply to us. :) Neither of us could imagine a more perfect Mother's Day gift than this!

Happy Mother's Day from Arianna

Ania is a natural mom, and that's never so clear as when you see her with Arianna. Of course she's great at all the practical stuff, but it's when she's showing Ari how loved and cherished she is that Ania really shines. You can see from how happy Arianna is that Ania's doing an excellent job in every aspect of motherhood, and it's wonderful to see how happy and fulfilled she is in this new role!

Here are some of my favorite mommy/daughter moments from Ania's first eight months of being a mom:

PHOTO SUMMARY Mother and Daughter First 8 Months

May 09, 2008

Week 32 | Night Moves

Ari - Week 32

I'm still really backlogged in publishing entries about Arianna, but I have been taking notes every week. I think it's important to write it down, even if it's not edited and the pics aren't chosen yet. There's no reason I can't catch up from both directions!

Ari's been moving up toward the top of her crib during the night, sometimes getting wedged into the corner. We've been fortunate that she's doing really well with sleeping through the night, but this new moving around thing has been waking her up.

Ari sleeping

Sometimes she wakes up pretty unhappy about the fact that she's in the corner or against the side of the crib, and I'm a bit paranoid about her wrenching her neck in frustration, so I'm yet again glad we got the video monitor about which I've sung praises before. Ania inclined the mattress to try to keep her from moving up, but Ari countered that by going perpendicular! The problem is, she's just about as tall as the crib is wide, so that's gonna be a very tight squeeze soon. She was so adorable when I went to get her this morning (07 May) and saw her all turned around, looking up at me as if to say, "Look what I did!"

Ari getting perpendicular

Arianna has a very distinct personality now, and is clearly enjoying learning how to interact and communicate. She loves to smile and seems to purposely do things that make us smile at her, looking for our reaction; what a joy it is to indulge her! Sometimes I wonder if we're starting to see Ari developing a sense of humor...

We've been enjoying visiting with Jene, Carter, and Lily, and the two babies are great together, sharing toys, and even collaborating on a little music. It was especially nice to be able to celebrate Jene's birthday with her this year; it's been a while since we've been together on her birthday.

Ari and Lily enjoying each other's company

We usually keep Arianna's face pretty clean while feeding her, but Ania was having fun one day and made a moustache on her face. It was so cute, she couldn't help continuing to play. I love this picture where Ari looks like a forlorn clown!

Ari getting perpendicular

Arianna has long been holding her own bottle, which is great, but it's also a double-edged sword. I liked holding it for her, because it very directly involved me with feeding her. Bottle feeding is already one layer of abstraction away from breast feeding, which I can imagine must be a wonderful bond to experience. But now, having fostered her independence by teaching her to hold the bottle, I've move yet another layer away from the process. *sniff* On the other hand, it's really fun to say "Hold the bottle!" and see her hands shoot out & take it, and watch her negotiate getting the nipple into her mouth, holding that big glass bottle. :)

Ari holding her own bottle

Some of my favorite times are when we just sit quietly together, and Ari absorbs the world in the comfort of my arms. Times like this, I feel like Ari and I really "get" each other — perhaps this "Daddy/baby time" is my equivalent to breast feeding, but instead of food, I'm nourishing her sense of security and love...

Daddy holding his baby

Milestones & Metrics

  • Grandma Wanda has been teaching her, and now Ari can open the door and mailbox in her toy house by herself.
  • Started eating prunes and avocado.
  • Getting much stronger on her tummy, staying up higher and longer on her arms. Wanda said that today (09 May) she was even turning pages in the books she reads (Mommy taught her that a long time ago) while on her tummy!
  • Rolling over "for the fun of it" now, but still not always happy to end up on her tummy, and can't yet roll back. She also never rolls to the right, always to her left.
  • Started a bit of tantrum like crying; this is generally a sign of hunger, but I think it's evidence of the Dark Side too, and believe me, the Force is strong with this one!
  • Loves high-pitched squealing. Yes, we hear you, Arianna! :)
  • Twisting her tongue in her mouth; prep for talking?
  • Started rocking back and forthon her tummy, probably a sign of pre-crawling!
  • How Arianna looks this week:
    Ari Closeups - Week 32