During my pregnancy, I remember reading all about "pregnancy brain." We all know what I'm talking about, the "where are my keys, I've been looking for them for five minutes, oh they're in my hand" or the "gosh, I know I'm in my car driving for a reason, but where the heck was I going?" or the "what's my name again?" I actually recall something that talked about a woman having less brain cells for some reason or another when she's pregnant. Don't know if that's true, but I could certainly buy that.
My question is, now that I'm no longer pregnant, why am I still so forgetful? Today really drove home just how many brain cells my little lovely might have stolen from me.
Enter the breast pump:
Sitting cross-legged on the living room floor, I turn on the pump. Thirty seconds later, my leg starts feeling warm, then wet. Literally 30 seconds later, my brain finally processes something's not right with the pump. Is there a small leak? I look down, my leg getting warmer and wetter by the second. Oh no, I completely forgot to attach a bottle to the pump, so I'm pumping breast milk straight onto my leg. Oh goody! Is Babies 'R Us running a special on mommy brain cells this week? Oh please tell me they are.
Georgia hasn't really gotten the chance to experience rain quite yet. The few times we've had a warm rain, I've been a work. And when I'm home, it's been a cold, dreary downpour. But soon the clouds will align just right, and Georgia and I will feel the rain. I wonder if she'll face the sky to feel the drops on her cheeks? Or will she bury her head into the depths of a mommy's protective shoulder?
I love the rain, and the cleansing effect it has on not only the earth around me, but on some days, my outlook on life. It's amazing what a cozy day of water falling, drops splashing, a constant hum on the roof, tiny pings at the windows can do for a mood.
Today, just watching all of it from inside the warmth of our home had to do. It was cold out there. My little beauty kept touching the cold, wet, glass door for a second, and then pulling her hand away. Then repeat.
Georgia studies a lot of things her daddy and I do, absorbing life through those dark chocolate eyes of hers. One thing she really zeros in on every time is when we drink from a cup. She even makes a grab for the cup, just missing it every time.
Today though, we were the ones watching her. Georgia got her first taste of a sippy cup.
She did pretty good for a newbie. Drank that water like she was a big girl, doing it this whole time. Not, of course, without giving daddy a much needed watering. She's a sharer.
Oh, and we have a second bottom tooth poking through! Growing, growing, growing...
She just stares and laughs and watches and giggles. Georgia can't get enough of the mirrors around our house - whether it's just her and her "identical twin" in the kiddie plastic mirror on the floor...
... or whether it's mommy and daughter dancing and making faces in the bathroom mirror. (Darn, I haven't figured out how to take a picture of that one. Darn, darn. And I really wanted to show everyone too).
But as much as Georgia loves to study herself in the mirrors, I know it will never compare to how much and how often I love to just study her, devour every bit of her. No mirror needed. I am just mommy mush when I see her, and just still amazed that she is here and she is mine. How did I get so blessed?
I wonder if there will come a day when her presence no longer amazes me and literally takes my breath from me? Maybe it's just naive new mommy ideals, but I really don't think I'll ever see that day. My daughter fills my sight and she fills my world, and I know she always will. I can't wait to see what I'll see tomorrow and every single day of her life. Georgia is my pair of rose-colored glasses.
Wasn't it just yesterday you struggled simply to hold up your head little one? And now here you sit, yes SIT, playing your little piano. And you've been doing this half balanced, half teetering move for a couple of weeks now on your own.
I need to figure out how to stop blinking. Every time I do, something changes. Part of my breathes in the fascination of your leaps-and-bounds growth, but another part of me wants my little baby here for a little while longer.
We have a food trend going here, but hey, the girl has got to eat.
So take a look at this picture. When Georgia and I woke up this morning, I noticed something lingering...
OK, it's not a lot, but there are a few spots of dried sweet potatoes in her left eyebrow and over it! Daddy getting a little crazy with the feeding session last night? Ah, but mommy's here to fix it and clean up my little one. Who knows, maybe sweet potato's good for the skin?
... she's eating solids! A big food score in our household today. After one cereal, two fruits and a green veggie, Georgia eats solid food on the fifth try. And what else would a little one with the name of Georgia finally decided to eat - SWEET POTATOES! She likes them, she really likes them. See for yourself:
As I watched my adorable daughter start to slather herself with the orange wonder starch, I started to wonder if sweet potatoes carry the same slogan as Johnson & Johnson baby shampoo? Are sweet potatoes "tear-free?" I've even resorted to the baby Q-tips to get the stuff out of her nose, but hey, if she's eating it I don't care where she puts it as long as some of it makes it into her mouth. (I feel I will live to regret those words soon, very soon when I'm scrubbing my ceiling)
Thank God for sweet potatoes!
Our day started with questions and ended with answers.
I've had a list up on the fridge for about two weeks now, jotting down little reminders as questions arise. "Solids" and "weight" were scribbled there, as were "belly button" and "hits head." And this afternoon we headed to the pedi's office for Georgia's six month check up, and that list came along to get my questions/concerns answered.
16.75 pounds. 27.25 inches long. All skills and learning right on track. Georgia is a healthy little girl, even if she is refusing to eat her solids. Maybe that's one reason why her weight dropped from the 75 percentile to the 57 percentile. So her doctor wants her to eat more. Hello, have you met my daughter's adorably chunky legs, her Buddha belly and her lack-of-wrists chunky arms? If not, let me introduce you. I think those are all signs of a perfectly healthy, happy baby whose weight is just fine.
The highlight of the doctor's visit though was when it came time for Georgia's shots. No, I'm not some sadistic kind of mother. Trust me, I've been dreading these shots since at least last week. No, what was so great is that nurse stuck those two needles into those chunky little legs and... nothing. No tears!!! In fact, Georgia was laughing at the nurse a minute later as if to say, what that's all you've got? Or maybe it was the cute Scobby Do band-aids.
And although I had many of my questions answered at the doctor's office today, that's not where my "answers" of the day came from. Instead, I found the here:
A tranquil walk through the neighborhood this evening with my two favorites. Watching the utter fascination cross Georgia's face at the sight of all things simple - a tree, a cloud, the sky, a house, another child - I felt rounded, warm and whole. It's my answer of why we do all we do - make time in our day for pedi appointments and head in with list in hand, wrestle drippy, pureed foods into a resistant mouth, learn a new vocabulary with words like poopy, daycare, breast pump and onsies, give up a "me" room in exchange for a nursery. All my answers are right there, wrapped up in a little, chunky-legged bundle who is growing up so fast she didn't just sit in the playground swing today, she actually let us give her a push.
I remember as a child sitting at a well-worn organ with my grandmother, testing out my childly, clumsy fingers with tunes like "Three Blind Mice" and "Chopsticks." I was never really any good with those ivory keys, no matter how much she practiced with me, and that's about as far as my musical aspirations went. But I bet my little fumblings also made my mother smile, no matter how much they in tune they sounded to the cat screeching at night.
The other day Georgia tried her hand at the hard-plastic, rainbow-hued piano at her daycare. You know the kind that sits on the floor. She was so in to beating those keys that her teachers shot a few pictures and proudly showed them off to daddy and me. Low and behold, when I get home from work who has her own version of the musical plastic rainbow? Our little maestro of course.
She loves to bang on those keys with all her might, sending high and low pings dancing through our living room. It might bring back memories of some night cat, but those sounds make this momma smile.
Another beautiful day, another beautiful walk, but this one minus mommy. As I was leaving for work today, Georgia and daddy were leaving for a stroll through the neighborhood.
I love it when toy = score! Georgia's Easter toy, the laughing snail, is getting daily love from my little darling. Even if that love sometimes consists of ten bashes to the head with a tiny fist, complete with fits of giggles.
And the snail gets a kiss, or is she licking it... hard to tell. Baby love either way.
We tend to name all of Georgia's toys with a name that starts with the first letter of what the toy is... I know, not very original. That's what you get from two sleep-deprived parents. We have Octavius the Octopus, Winston the Whale, Pixie the Panda... you get the sappy idea. Hmmm... what are we going to call the snail?
So if it's just a half birthday, do you just sing half the song? Yes, Georgia turned six months old two days ago, but due to my wacky work schedule, we never got the chance to show her the cake. And there's a beautiful side to this cake.
You see, that beauty lies within my husband. He doesn't let it show all the time that his heart is truly as pure as they come, but sometimes you can't miss it. Sometimes the kindness is as black and white as words on a page, and not only is that book laying wide open on the table, the words are highlighted in fluorescent yellow.
Hence the cake, which my husband picked up while I was at work because he just couldn't stand Georgia not having a cake on her six month old 1/2 birthday. Even if she can't take a single bite of it, who cares? The girl got her cake.
Call it ingenuity or perhaps a little bit of laziness (nahhh), but today Georgia was tickled that she figured out how to get her stuffed poodle's foot into her mouth using no hands, and she was lying on her back the whole time.
I blinked. I swear my eyes only fluttered shut for a fraction of a second, barely long enough for my lashes to brush one another. I blinked and in that fraction of a second months passed, and when I opened my eyes once more a little one six months of age was staring back at me. I saw myself in her eyes.
Is it possible? Could six months have really passed by? I know it was just a moment ago that her smells were foreign to me, that I watched in a mixture of horror and amazement as a blackened lump fell to reveal a belly button, that teeny tiny feet wouldn't fill the smallest of socks and a miniature little body was swallowed up by the tiniest of clothes.
My baby darling turned six months old today. Happy 1/2 birthday my precious. You are so beautiful and so charming and so delicious. You have made these last six months the most cherished six months of your mommy's and daddy's lives.
I guess after a short lifetime spent indoors hiding from a frigid Nebraska winter, this shouldn't surprise me, but Georgia is just fascinated with the feel of grass. Today we headed back out to my beloved garden for some more tidying. I laid a blanket on the shady grass for Georgia to lay on, but it seems the only blanket she wanted was a grassy one. She kept moving her feet or the blanket or both until her feet were sitting in the grass, and then she just kept wiggling her footsies to get a good feel of the blades below.
And there in her floppy, flowered sun hat, we just watched the sky to see just how blue it could blush.
We also tried a new food today - bananas. Exact opposite reaction of what I expected - she hated them. Spit them out just as quickly as that nasty rice cereal. Do I have a picky eater on my hands?
When the air turns warm, when the frost puts on its last disappearing act, when little green heads start to peek out from their hibernation dens, my heart stirs. In my garden, I find myself. There surrounded by friends whose names my husband can never remember, like vinca major and astilbe and viburnum, I breathe a little deeper and move a little lighter. Funny, one of the things Georgia already finds the most interesting is the plant sitting on the counter in our home. She never misses a chance to touch it. Maybe she has a little of me in here there.
Today, I immersed her in plants. I've missed my sleepy little wonders, and it was time to help them awaken and clean up their homes.
Georgia was there to watch with her steady gaze as I straightened and pulled and cut. She even tried to help me with a dried branch.
And she reached her hand down to caress the grass like it was a friend she was trying to remember. OK, and then she yanked a handful of it out, but for a moment I swear she was loving on those leaves.
Isn't the lack of baby wrists just divine? Just how the baby chubbiness tumbles down the arm and then the hand begins, and somewhere in there and underneath it all the wrist temporarily gets lost. I love my daughter's baby wrists, or non-wrists. But I digress.
So in a cushion of grass, mommy and daughter just sat for a while and watched the clouds lumber by and listened to the sounds of spring awaken around our neighborhood, and I think we both were breathing a little deeper today.
Naptimes around our house tend to be where ever Georgia falls asleep, typically a lap or the couch. I know this practice will see an end soon as Georgia starts to discover the world is mobile, and so is her little body. She start to prop her shoulders a little bit higher above her hands and pull those adorable knees and feet up under her body, and all the sudden our nap rountines will move to the walled confines of her crib.
But for a little while longer I will relish having her close by as she dreams, her cherubic face and soft breaths just within my sight. Today as Georgia slept, my husband followed her lead and took a nap where ever he fell asleep. It was right on the floor next to our little one.
My two favorites, together even in their dreams.
So the rice cereal was not a big hit in this house. It flopped harder than a million dollar budget movie that no one goes to see. So next production in our home (with a $2.00 budget) - apples!
Now there are theories out there that say don't do fruit before veggies because your baby will never like veggies. It seems like there's always a ton of "theories" for everything these days, doesn't it? We spend more time coming up with theories than living life. Well, we're tossing those empty, pesky theories aside and we're going with fruit.
And this mom's doing it homemade-style. I found a great website with recipes and instructions for homemade baby food. I know some of it just takes a little common sense and enough familiarity in the kitchen to know what a pot is, but this mama wanted a little guidance. It also has a section on what freezes well and what's a flop, and since I plan on making big batches of food Georgia likes and freezing it in cubes, I'm finding that section delicious.
Here's the website:Wholesome baby food.
And here's my first foray into the homemade baby food world:
So after the research, the preparation, the love - the blood, sweat and tears (ok, not really) - did my little monkey like her breast milk-infused homemade applesauce?
Ok, we're still trying to figure that one out, but she did eat a couple of teaspoons worth. That's good, right? Next stop, bananas, on this fast moving life express.
Oh my daughter, watching your pain take you to a world of miserable just steals my heart and bashes it up against a jagged rock. That fussy cry that almost no amount of kisses can soothe. The pain-induced whine even you don't truly understand, while I grasp for the answer to make it go away and return a smile to your face. Oh my little love, how I wish I could lift your burden that seems to encompass your world and carry it as my own. I ache to soothe your pain.
But then a little smile, eyes thrown to the side as if making sure I caught this brief bought of happiness. With Georgia's bottom two teeth coming in, her usual unstoppable smile isn't quite as fluid these days. It has found its kryptonite. But she bounces from one mood to the next - happiness to tears, smile to pain - like life is full of cloud-like trampolines. She's not a fan of store-bought teethers to quell the throbbing of her gums but is more than satisfied with her thumb or the softness of a blanket.
And when mommy's heart is breaking for you, anything is forgiven and forgotten almost in the same breathe they happen. Like when you grab ahold of mommy's necklace as she gets ready for work and pull until it snaps, letting it fall into your lap, the prized toy of persistence.
There are times in life when things astonish me, moments that make me lose all thoughts, instances where my gaping mouth is a signal of my disbelief, times when I can only shake my head back and forth as if this will somehow rattle some understanding into my head. Today was one of those times and it all started with a fairly innocent-looking letter in the mail. You know the kind. You see it laying quietly in the stack of magazines, store advertisements and bills, and you think it's just some routine correspondence - an appointment reminder or a receipt or the like. And then a quick flip of the letter opener and you feel the hit in your gut. Mine is a $230 punch, with the promise of more to come.
This is how I found out my insurance company will not pay for any more of Georgia's immunizations or well baby check ups. These are considered "routine" visits, and she has already hit her max for the year in April. Oh yeah, that got my chin dropping and my head rockin'.
I will probably never understand how this makes sense. That at this point the insurance company will not pay for a measles vaccination, but they'd pay the much heftier bill if my daughter caught the measles because I didn't get her the vaccination. Or Whooping Cough or Rubella or any of those dreaded things we stick needles in her legs to protect against. Of course, she will continue to get all of her vaccinations because that's what we do as parents - protect no matter what the cost.
That I can understand, but the logic of insurance companies I believe will always escape my grasp.
My little lovely just won't slow down! She refuses to keep the term "little" associated with her. She's trying to shed it as quickly as we're all shedding our winter coats around Nebraska, packing them up and putting them in a closet with the hopes of forgetting they exist. Look, she's already standing tall (with a little help from the couch).
Her latest brush with growing up today equals a big miss on mommy's part. I'll marinate in my "bad mommy" guilt for a while but will hopefully not reach the point of grilling myself, over and over again.
Today I found out Georgia has cut her first tooth. Not the 'oh I see her gum bulging with the anticipation of delivering a perfectly white tooth' kind. No, it's the 'put your finger in her mouth and you'll get bit by the little spike' kind of tooth. It's already through the gum, and I never even noticed. It would be a little salve for my wounds if it had been my husband or maybe a relative who had noticed, but no, it was Miss Carol at Georgia's daycare. See, "bad mommy" guilt.
My little lovely has been a little out of sorts the past few days, but I just blamed it on the fact I gave her my cold (more guilt). Leave it to my little Georgia to let all that tooth pain add up to barely a whimper in her life. That "little" is turning to "big" in such a rush through life.