Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Rambling thoughts on fatherhood

The other day as Husband and I were driving to work, I was thinking how lucky the Bean is to have a daddy who's so actively involved in her life, and who wants to be an equal partner with me in raising her. So I told him so.

"Growing up, my mom always told us how lucky we were that my dad didn't stick around," Husband answered thoughtfully. "I always thought that she was full of it. I felt like having a bad dad would have been better than having no dad. But now I wonder if having a bad dad as a role model would have made me less likely to be a good dad to the Bean."

I almost didn't hear what Husband was saying because my heart was too busy hurting for him.

Husband's mom raised six kids on her own. She had a lot of help from her brothers, thank goodness, but no father in the picture. Husband's dad left when he was just a year old... he never ever looked back. Much of the person that Husband is has been informed by his childhood as the son of a single mother.

I think he truly appreciates the valuable role that a father can play in the lives of his children because he grew up without one. His dedication to raising the Bean in a healthy and loving environment is beyond the pale.

He doesn't talk about it much, but I know that exploring who he wants to be as a father has been a painful reminder of the relationship he wishes he had with his own father. I hope that I can be a supportive partner and help him focus on the beautiful relationship he is actively cultivating with his daughter.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Omega-3 fatty acids and breastfeeding

Ever since the Bean was born, I have suffered from a debilitating medical condition known as Tofu Brain. Tofu Brain sufferers have actually had their lovely gray brains replaced with a creamy, lukewarm slab of medium-firm tofu. In my case, the slab of tofu is kind of crumbly, and there are a couple of chunks actually missing. Tofu Brain is more commonly known as "baby brain", and is also discussed by Bean-Mom here.

Back in the pre-Bean era, I thought that baby brain was a mental state of distraction. Of course you can't concentrate at work! You have an adorable baby waiting for you at home. And wouldn't you rather be home playing with your adorable baby than planning out a stupid cloning scheme on GCK? Of course you would.

But no. Baby brain isn't just a state of being distracted and sleep deprived. It's an actual state of decreased mental acuity. I can remember returning to work when the Bean was just three months old and having to give lab meeting the following week. I could barely speak. I would rack my brain for words like "sensitivity" or "release". Frankly, it was embarrassing.

Recently, Husband heard a seminar given by Bruce Ames. Ames was giving a seminar on his recent public health work looking at nutritional deficits and human health. One of the classes of nutrients that Ames discussed was Omega-3 fatty acids.

Omega-3 fatty acids have been all over the news (and your food labels) of late. From cardiovascular health to the treatment of mood disorders, Omega-3s are the current darlings of the pharmaconutrition world. Why are they important?

Omega-3s, including ALA, DHA, and EPA, are important structural components in building cell membranes. In particular, Omega-3s are in very high concentrations in the brain, with DHA prominent as THE major fatty acid of neural tissue. Noteably, long-chain Omega-3s like DHA and EPA are thought to be important in brain and organ development in newborns.

The best source of dietary Omega-3 fatty acids is salt-water fish. Unfortunately, most Americans do not incorporate salt-water fish into their diet at the recommended frequency (2 servings per week). In addition, pregnant and lactating women are often advised against incorporating too much fish into their diets for fear of mercury contamination.

Benisek, Shabert, and Skornik (2000) report that pregnant and lactating women in the United States consume an average of 54 mg of DHA daily. An expert panel convened by The International Society for the Study of Fatty Acids and Lipids made the recommendation that pregnant and lactating women should consume 300 mg of DHA daily (Simopoulos et al., 1999)...The level of DHA in breast milk is directly proportional to DHA in the maternal diet.
-Blanchard, 2006

Meta-analysis of some old studies of Omega-3 supplementation has been inconclusive, but the studies are suggestive that supplementation of Omega-3s during the third trimester and during lactation has a positive impact on the cognitive development of children. For this reason, formula makers have started producing baby formulas with added DHA, with the first formulations of this hitting the market back in 2002 (though I'd like to note here that getting your DHA-supplemented formula costs about 25% more... formula makers are continuing to produce and sell formula without DHA).

How does this all relate to my tofu brain?

Ames pointed out in his talk a recent paper in which the authors monitored the levels of long chain Omega-3s (specifically DHA) in red blood cells in both lactating mothers and their infants. The authors found that over the course of the 4 month study, DHA levels decreased in the lactating mothers, while DHA levels remained constant in the nursing newborns. Ames went on to note other anecdotal evidence (for which I have no references to offer) that DHA and other Omega-3s are being shunted by the nursing mother to her rapidly growing newborn. He jokingly(?) suggested that this could be responsible for the notorious decrease in mental acuity experienced by mothers of newborns, and recommended that breastfeeding mothers supplement their diet with Flax Oil to increase their dietary Omega-3s.

I've been taking Flax Oil since my second trimester, but have recently increased my daily intake. Time will tell if Bruce Ames is right, that the Bean is sucking my brains out directly through my boobs, leaving me with a crumbling pile of mushy tofu.

*Note, I am not a medical doctor, yada yada yada.

Edited to add
: Fish oil appears to be a much richer source of DHA than Flax Oil, which is primarily ALA. Fish oil, then, may be a better supplement for nursing moms.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Newest trick

The Bean's newest trick? Clapping.

We've been working on clapping for months with the Bean, and she showed absolutely no interest in the past. But in the past week, there were several times that I thought maybe she was doing it on purpose.

Now there's absolutely no question that Bean is clapping. I walk into the nursery in the morning to wake Bean up, but she's sitting in her crib clapping. On the changing table watching her fish mobile, more clapping. It's time for breakfast, let's clap! Pup is eating cheerios off the floor, she gets a round of applause.

Good times, folks, good times.

In training

You may (or may not) have noticed my new little training log off over in the sidebar. Training? you ask. For what?

I am trying to get myself back into shape. Before I got knocked up, I was in pretty much the best shape of my life. But pregnancy does horrible things sometimes, and now I am in rotten shape. I have missed running, and I am happy to be getting back to it.

But going from the best shape in my life to being in terrible shape is pretty discouraging. Going from running 40 miles a week to struggling with a 3 mile run is disheartening. So to keep myself on track, I have decided to train for another half marathon. I think having a goal, like being able to run a certain amount by a certain date, will keep me focused. It will also keep me from skipping runs because I'd rather hug my baby than drag my a** up a big ol' hill.

So the half marathon is June 29th. Lots of time to get myself back into running shape. I have an old friend coming to town that weekend, and she's going to run it with me. So I have a goal set.

I'm going to be logging my runs and keeping track of my progress, because when you're an anal retentive runner, there's nothing better than logging the miles, yo. It's going to be a little slow here at the start because I'm trying to get my lungs back, but while my runs are still fairly short, they are really hilly. So that's giving me more power than the little counter over there might suggest.

So anyway, you'll probably be hearing more about my training as the months wear on. I am really looking forward to race day!

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Reflections on The Weekend

So this weekend Husband, Bean and I flew to Los Angeles to attend the wedding of one of my dear friends. About 2 dozen of my oldest friends, most of whom I see only at Christmas, were there for the event. It was stressful, surreal, fantastic and difficult, all rolled into one.

I have been to L.A. exactly once. Well, not so much been to L.A. as driven through it on my way to do some charity work in Tijuana with my church youth group. It was kind of a hilarious experience to arrive in L.A. and be surrounded by well dressed women with big fake racks, to see that it actually was gorgeous outside (even though it's february), and to see streets actually lined with palm trees. Seriously. Palm trees.

We stayed at the hotel where the after-party for the wedding was going to be held, in order to increase the chances that I might actually be able to get in some time with my friends. It was the most bizarre place I have ever been. The hotel has this ultra-mod decor, complete with silly high-design furniture and a glass-walled bathroom (meaning that the shower offers no privacy whatsoever). Everything in our room was gray, except fora yellow stripe across the curtain which continued onto the wall... It was all very trendy and forcefully hip. The concierge who checked us in pointedly said to us "We don't get a lot of kids here." Well, then!

The clientele at this hotel took themselves no less seriously. I had hoped to take the Bean swimming for the first time in the roof-top pool. But when I went to scope the pool situation out, I found exactly 0.0 people actually swimming in the pool, but about 2,000 fully dressed hipsters standing around the pool drinking $8 Pabst Blue Ribbon and looking pointedly bored with the world. I wasn't about to go put on my bathing suit and splash around with my 10-month-old in front of a bunch of people whose only joy in life is to judge others. So I hastily retreated back to the room.

So instead we prepped ourselves to attend the rehearsal dinner. We got ourselves all gussied up and went down to the hotel lobby to have a cocktail while we waited for Arduous to come pick us up and take us to the rehearsal dinner. Normally, I might have felt a little funny wearing stiletto heels and a satin halter top at 5:00 in the afternoon, but the hotel was designed to make it constantly feel like nighttime. The lobby has almost no windows, and was purposely underlit. I think it's so that people don't feel like jerks when they have a cocktail at 3:00 in the afternoon. So we settled in with our drinks and let the Bean have a rollicking good time climbing on the lounge-y furniture and crawling in the very deep shag carpet.

The rehearsal dinner was a blast, held at a nearby hole-in-the-wall cantina. It was wonderful to see all my friends and the Bean was TOTALLY into the mariachi band. We had to retire early, of course, but the Bean was a real trooper and lasted till 8:30.

We were most likely the only people in the entire hotel to go to bed at 10:00 that night.

The Bean, who is not good at sleeping in strange places and who was on the final stages of cutting a tooth, woke up four times that first night. It was difficult for everyone involved. At Bean's 2:00 a.m. wake-up, I could hear the people in the room across the hall from us out in the hallway. A bottle of champagne was popped.

Bean slept in until 6:30, and we made our way downstairs to the hotel's 24-hour restaurant for some urgently needed coffee. A HILARIOUS group of 80s glam partiers sat at the booth across from us, finishing out their night. It amazes me that people can really put in the effort to have such polished personas. I felt like a slack-jawed yokel in comparison, wearing just jeans and a sweater.

After breakfast we returned to our room to put the Bean to sleep and found the hallway filled with the odor of a certain kind of party. Apparently our neighbors across the hall were still going strong.

That night was the wedding, which was amazing. It was held in an amazing art deco ballroom, and the ceremony was held in the round, which was lovely... no one was more than about 6 feet from the bride and groom, which made it feel very intimate. The bride was absolutely gorgeous. Frankly I am a HUGE sucker for weddings, and this one was particularly lovely. Bean tried to serenade the bride and groom during the ceremony, so Husband opted to take her outside, but other than that she was a very good girl. (Oh, and she looked adorable, even if I do say so myself)

Husband took the Bean back to the hotel soon after dinner so that she could go to sleep and left me to enjoy my friends (best husband ever? yes, yes he is). After the ceremony was over, we went back to the crazy hotel for drinks at the rooftop bar. The absurdity of the whole hotel experience was captured perfectly when we saw Ron Jeremy having drinks about 10 feet away. I made it till about 1 a.m. before I started to crash and decided to go to bed.

The next morning, the Bean was being extremely fussy, but we chalked it up to a combination of teething and staying up too late. We were rushing around all morning trying to get packed and ready to fly back home. The airport shuttle was late and the driver gave us a hard time as we wrangled the car seat into the van. He proceeded to get lost on his last pickup, so by the time we got through security at the airport we were rushing to make our flight.

We got on board and a tired little Bean nursed right to sleep. And then she slept. And slept. And slept. For two hours she slept. The Bean NEVER naps for two hours. When I bent to kiss her forehead, she was burning up. We roused her so that we could take her temperature. She had a fever of 102!

So Husband got some napkins and water and we tried to cool her little body down while we waited for tylenol to do its magic. We landed about 30 minutes later, grabbed our bag and headed straight to the Urgent Care center at the Hospital. Where we waited and waited. And waited. And then we waited. Finally, 4 hours later, we left with a diagnosis of yet another ear infection. That makes 3 in the last 7 weeks. Poor Bean.

So at 9:30 last night we finally got home, 11 hours after leaving the hotel in L.A.

It was an exhausting weekend, but I was reminded what an amazing group of friends I have and I was so happy to see all of them. But traveling with Bean was a lot harder than I expected. It's really hard when she's not comfortable, and when the location isn't exactly baby friendly.

Our next trip is going to be even scarier... Husband and I are going on a mini-vacation sans Bean next month... stay tuned.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Aw, shucks!

Both Ecogeofemme and Arduous awarded my little blog an E! for excellence this week. Very kind, indeed! I write because it keeps me sane, it keeps me in touch with friends and family, and it helps me exercise my wee brain (which is at risk of turning completely to tofu).

So anyway, I am honored, and I want to take the opportunity to point people in the direction of some blogs that I think are particularly outstanding (in no particular order):

1. The Bean Chronicles... Intimate, hilarious, poignant, breathtaking.

2. On Being a Scientist and a Woman... ScienceWoman and co-blogger Alice talk about the day-to-day struggles and triumphs of being a woman on the tenure track in STEM.

3. Arduous Blog... Your average gal's guide to going green.

4. Thus Spake Zuska... A kicka** blog on feminism (in science and beyond).

5. A Natural Scientist... Fits of snark, straight from the bench.

6. A K8, a cat, a mission... Scientist and soon-to-be-mama Kate calls it like she sees it.

7. Female Science Professor... No fuss, no muss, a straight-shootin' look at tenure track.

8. See Jane Compute... A mama on the tenure track.

And, because I can't resist... Postsecret isn't exactly your average blog, but then again, it isn't your average blog. An amazing expression of the commonality of the human experience.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Sunday, February 10, 2008


Mornings are the best time of day. The Bean always wakes up cheerful and ready to play. This morning I heard her cooing in her crib at 6:00, so I grudgingly got up to get her. She rewarded my efforts with a giant grin when I peered into her crib.

When I go to pick her up these days, from her crib, from the car seat, she lifts her arms up towards me. Her limbs cling to me like an amazing little tree frog. When she wakes up, she is so happy to get out of baby jail, so happy for some company, that she nuzzles her head into me neck to cuddle.

We lay down to nurse, and when she's done, she rolls away and smiles at me. The she flips onto her belly to go wake up daddy by fish-hooking his lip or pulling out an arm hair or two. We usually let her crawl around the bed for a few minutes, until she starts hanging her body over mine to peer at Pup.

Breakfast of cheerios, bananas, peaches and "oatmeal" (breastmilk mixed with infant oat cereal). She makes a grand old mess and complains when we wipe her hands and face. Then it's time to play.

This morning, as I was laying in our Baby Octagon (a safe play area whose boundaries are formed by some couches, a well-placed toybox, the TV stand, and a wall) I was thinking about how much she has changed in the past few months... and how there are so many milestones of development that you never think to expect.

-This morning we were playing her new favorite game. I take one of her toys and she watches as I hide it inside another toy. The she crawls over, and "finds" the toy. She didn't do that even a month ago.

-I watched her as she crawled over to her toy basket, reached inside and pulled out one of her gigantic colored beads (a favorite toy). She then continued fishing in the basket and pulled out a second bead. She then put one on the index finger of each hand and crawled away. I've never seen her search for a specific toy in the toy basket before. Ever.

-She can often pull herself up to standing while holding a toy. This morning, I watched as she crawled over to the couch with a very large toy and tried to stand up. It was too big and she could only get to her knees because the toy was getting in her way. She put the toy down, finished pulling up, then bent over and picked up the toy. Um, problem solving anyone?

-Over the last month she has become VERY interested in Pup and our two black cats. She gets excited when she seems them, she will chase after them and try her best to pet them and eat their paws and/or tails. (All of the pets have been exceedingly patient with the Bean.) Bean has now realized that if she throws Cheerios to Pup, she will hang out nearby and might even lick Bean's hand. Bean's usual pattern of Cheerio eating is now "One for me, three for you..."

And this morning we discovered a new game. Not long ago Bean discovered my back massager (one of those hard plastic things that you rub on someone's back and it feels so good... this one is shaped like a star). Bean claimed this as a toy because she could grip it in one hand and crawl around with it... it makes a lovely noise on the hardwood floors. Anyway, so this morning I actually used it on Bean's little back. It must have tickled like crazy because every time I did it Bean squealed and arched her back. It was great fun.

Now Bean is napping, and I am about to go out for a run.

Happy Sunday!

Saturday, February 9, 2008

A caucusing we go...

Today was my state's caucus. And up until this morning I was still very undecided as to whether I wanted to vote for Clinton or Obama. So I spent the morning doing a lot of thinking. We had some friends over for brunch and a playdate, and we all actually sat around and talked about the candidates for awhile. After they left, while the Bean napped, Husband and I talked some more.

Ultimately, I decided to caucus for Obama. And the reason I decided to caucus for Obama is that when I talked about Hilary, I realized that the person I wanted to vote for was actually Hilary 10+ years ago. I feel like Hilary today is so enmeshed with the party machinery, that I was afraid of just getting more middle-of-the-road policy making (as she has been voting for the last 8 years). Obama, on the other hand, fills me with a lot of hope for the future. And while he may not achieve everything he is setting out to do, 'm really glad that he's aiming high. I also think his general likeableness has a good chance of helping him achieve even difficult things.

Anyway, so I made up my mind. And at 12:45 we dragged poor Bean from her crib where she was napping and headed out to caucus.

It was kind of more amazing than I remembered from my first-ever caucus in 2004. There were LOTS of people. There were apparently more people than they had ever had in previous years, so the gymnasium we were in was overflowing with people. Everyone around was smiling and happy.

My crazy neighbor is apparently a Kucinich supporter and was trying to pass out Kucinich literature to me as I signed in (totally illegal because she was one of the organizers, so she wasn't supposed to be trying to influence people as they wrote down their preferences). Anyway, so there was a good number of my neighbors there milling around our precinct sign. We chatted and laughed.

When it was time, the head chick gave a big speech about what a landmark year this would be for the history of our country, and how we should all volunteer for the party this election year. It was very nice. Then we said the pledge of allegiance (I literally can't remember the last time I said this). Then we got down to business.

The organizer for our precinct stood on a chair in the middle of the group and talked to us about what was about to happen. Anyone who wanted to was then given up to a minute to speak on behalf of their candidate. About 10 people spoke on Obama's behalf, my crazy neighbor spoke for Kucinich, and nobody spoke for Clinton (kind of disappointing). Then we all divided up according to our candidate. It wasn't even close. There were about 40 people for Obama, and 6 for Clinton (my neighbor decided to stay unpledged). So our precinct qualified for 5 delegates. 4 went to Obama, 1 to Clinton. Afterwards, we were all allowed to submit issues to be considered for incorporation into the party platform. Then everyone left.

Oh, and there were lots of children there. That wasn't a problem. In fact, the Bean in her "Little Democrat" bib was the hit of the caucus.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

I am a huge sucker.

Tonight, during dinner, there was a knock at the door. I got up to answer, and there was a woman there, arms full of (ugly) teddy bears.

"I'm out tonight selling teddy bears to help out little 8-year-old Brenda Berlin who was hit by an uninsured driver up on 220th. We're raising money to help cover her medical bills" she said.

I contemplated. There was about a 50% chance that this woman was a big fat liar and was just scamming people. I hadn't heard about a little girl getting hit in our neighborhood. I asked for more details.

"Well her pelvis was fractured and she'll be in a cast for a long time. Her mother doesn't have any health insurance, and so we're out here tonight raising money to help cover Brenda's care."

Hmm. Uninsured mother. Big medical bills. Injured child. Stupid driver on a cell phone. Either she's telling me a really tragic story of a family in need, or she's telling me a huge tearjerker of a lie because she can tell I sometimes cry at commercials.

"Okay," I said, knowing full well that Brenda may not exist. But on the off chance that she did exist, that there was a scared mother and a hurt child in a hospital somewhere... "Here's $10. You can hang on to the bear."

Sure enough, after the woman left, I googled Brenda Berlin. Nothing. I googled all the details of the accident. Nothing. I'm pretty darn sure I got ripped off.

I can only hope that the real reason that woman was out selling teddy bears would have equally merited my "donation" and that it's actually going to buy her kid diapers or to pay her rent.

Good luck, teddy bear lady.

Jerky jerks

So, I used to run. A lot. And I thought, when I got pregnant, that I would keep running. Then, along about 8 weeks into the pregnancy, I started to feel very sick. And tired. And running wasn't very fun. I could barely make it through the work day. So I stopped running. After my first trimester I definitely felt better. But I didn't start running again. Because I was lazy.

Since the Bean was born, I kept promising myself I would get back to running. I love running and I missed it. But I didn't. Because starting back at zero with absolutely no lung power? Very discouraging. And spending time away from my precious Bean? Not very desirable.

But I am trying to get myself back into shape, lose those last 5 pounds of "baby weight" and treat myself to some "me" time. So I have been quietly trying to start running again in hopes of doing another half-marathon in June.

It's going pretty good. Husband has been on Bean duty when we get home from work on M-W-F so that I can get out for a quick (as in short, not as in speedy) run, and I've been going out once on the weekends. My 2 mile run is getting easier, and I'm starting to feel better about it. My lungs don't burn quite as much, and I'm not dreadfully sore the way I was after the first couple of runs. All in all, I'm pretty happy with my progress so far, even though my runs are still pitifully short. Once I can get my lungs into shape again, I can start increasing the mileage. My legs and joints are doing well, so I know that won't be a problem.

All of this to tell you about my run last night.

When I used to run, I would often get catcalls from construction workers and honked at by passing cars. It always made me feel really self-conscious about my body, and I detested it. But I was usually running during the day, with people around. So it would piss me off and make me uncomfortable, but I could deal with it.

Last night I went for my (pathetic) run after work. It was rainy and getting close to dark (because I live in the land of no sun and crappy weather). In the first 3 minutes of my run, a car honked at me. It kinda pissed me off, but it wasn't too bad. Well, towards the end of my run, I'm on a side street and there's a group of about 4 male teenagers up ahead. And I start to get really anxious. Eyes down, I forge ahead.

They don't say a word to me, but I can hear them laughing across the street. As I pass, two of them actually turn around to look at me. My cheeks burn and I pick up the pace.

A non-event, perhaps, but it made me really upset. I doubt that male runners experience the same kind of discomfort when they're out training. It's frustrating to feel like I can't just go out for a run without feeling intimidated and harassed by strangers. What in the hell makes men (and boys) feel like they have the right to harass a woman on the street? To at best make her feel self-conscious and at worst make her fear for her safety.

Mamas don't let your babies grow up to be cowboys...

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Rough night

On Tuesdays and Thursdays I am taking a Computational Genomics class. It's difficult for me, but it's very applicable to my project, and I am enjoying it a lot. I never expected to like computer programming at all, but it's actually rather fun. Logic problems, all.

The class is not designed for someone who has to pick up their kid from daycare, however, as it ends about 10 minutes before we have to pick up the Bean from school. So on Tuesdays and Thursdays, Husband drives north to pick up the Bean from school while I am in class. Husband and Bean go to our local library which is conveniently located on a bus route that I can take from the University. In general, it works pretty well, even though it means Bean's dinner is slightly delayed.

Yesterday, however, Bean only took one 20 minute nap. The. entire. day. Needless to say, this does not a happy baby make. So she played happily at the library until I got there, but on our way home, Bean fell asleep.

This was not good. The Bean still needed dinner. She needed to nurse. (She also needed a bath, but that was perhaps a lower priority.) She needed to be awake.

So we brought the Bean upstairs in her bucket seat and put it in the kitchen while I worked on getting the days milk in the freezer. I figured all the noise of sink running, Pup jumping for her dinner, bottles clattering and Husband watching the news to hear about Super Tuesday would certainly rouse her. No dice.

So finally I reach in and scoop the worlds sleepiest baby out of her seat. She whimpers and lays her head on my shoulder. I sing to her gently and jiggle her out of her coat. She's still half asleep. I heat up her dinner with her on my hip, and then take her over to her highchair. She sees her dinner and starts to kick her legs. So hungry!!! I put my finger into her dinner to test the temperature. It's too hot. Crap. So I take the bowl and put it in the freezer to cool down. This is not what the Bean wanted. This instigates a full meltdown.

At this point I realize that maybe I should have just put her to sleep, but at this point the damage has been done. I retrieve the cooled-down pasta and start feeding her dinner, which she laps up hungrily between screams. Whole wheat pasta, spinach and corn are splattered all over both of us, but I think the vast majority of her dinner ended up in her tummy.

So now I have to wipe her down. She hates all wiping of face and hands. More screaming. Then it's pajama time. She hates getting dressed. More screaming. At this point, with the Bean laying in front of me, mouth agape in an angry shriek, I can see that the Bean's top front tooth, which has been mocking us beneath the gums for weeks now, has finally broken through. Poor sad little Bean.

After a good nurse and a few whimpers, poor little Bean falls asleep hard.

On nights like that, Husband and I are often shell-shocked. The crying can be so stressful. We often putter around in silence for a few minutes, or give each other supportive hugs after an all-out cry-a-palooza. And the funny thing is, Bean's not much of a crier in general. I often wonder how other parents can keep their sanity. How does a single parent handle it when they don't have a partner to help?

We expected a hard night, with that mean old tooth poking through. But the Bean actually slept all the way through the night. She has only done that about 10 times EVER. I'm hoping that this trend of improved nighttime sleep will continue... even though, as ScienceWoman pointed out, child development is not a linear process...

Monday, February 4, 2008

Swear Jar, continued

ScienceMama: That guy is such a dildo.

Husband: Swear Jar! 25 cents!

SM: What!? 'Dildo' isn't a swear word!

H: I thought our criteria was stuff we wouldn't want the Bean saying at school. Do you want the Bean saying 'Dildo' at school?

SM: Fine. That guy is a phallus-shaped jerk.

Friday, February 1, 2008

Haiku 9

Angry little yowl
Oh the indignity of
being tricked to sleep!


Well, there was excitement in the Science house last night...

We were at a meeting with our parenting group and all the babes were playing on the floor, surrounded by approximately 283 toys. Little Bean had a ball of which she was particularly fond and she was crawling around and pulling up with this ball in her hand(s). Well, she pulls up on my leg and is standing there, one hand on my knee and one hand holding the ball... then she lets go of my knee so that she can examine the ball with both hands. And she stands there. Not holding onto anything. For like 30 seconds.

It was freaking incredible.

Before I had the Bean, I thought that motor skill development happened in these magical Ah-Ha! moments. You hear about baby's first word, the first time baby crawls, the baby's first steps. But it doesn't really happen like that. When Bean started crawling, she didn't just one day up and crawl. She was on her belly, dragging herself an inch here, and inch there... and gradually over the course of about a month she went from army crawling to up-on-all-fours crawling. So there wasn't really a moment(!) to write down in the baby book or whatever. When Bean started to pull up, it was a gradual thing too... First grabbing onto the couch, occasionally making it up to her knees. Then onto her feet for a minute before toppling over. Then finally making it to standing. And after that the cruising came over the course of about a week.

But last night was a real Ta-Da! moment. For the first time, Bean surprised us. I was so excited, frankly, that I could have peed my pants. Okay, maybe I did a little. Bean repeated her performance several times last night, and each time my heart grew three sizes.

That little Bean is on her way. She'll be walking soon, and then we're really in for some trouble...