Thursday, February 22, 2007

Baby Group

I joined an English-Speaking Moms group here in Paris. I have met an incredible group of women. Each week we have a regular Baby Group on Thursdays, and then usually one other day a week we have other events- like picnics, swimming, breastfeeding information meetings, etc. It's been so great to get to know these people and since everything is divided by where you live, all the events are close to my house.
I find the groups very reassuring. It's a place where you can meet people who are dealing with some of the same things, and you realize that you are not the only one who has doubts about your parenting abilities. I think when you're a first time parent, you try to be prepared for all the new things you need to do. You learn all about feeding, bathing, and changing. And then, something unexpected happens. You think that you are drying them well after each change, but they get a little raw spot of diaper rash. You think you have know how long they need to feed, and then it takes twice as long and the baby is still hungry. You think that you can keep them asleep if you put them down a certain way, and then they become more sensitive and wake up no matter what you do. The great part is, that in this group, someone has been through the same thing and they probably have great advice to correct it.
But my favorite thing about Baby Group is seeing all these sweet, adorable babies together. It warms my heart to look around the room at all these children who will be the Love Bug's peers. They are all healthy and strong, with parents who love them. As much as the media focuses on all the things that are wrong in the world today, it's incredible to see that so much is right.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Look Mom, I've Got Hands!

The newest discovery for the Love Bug is her hands. Obviously, she always knew they were there, because she could suck on her thumbs. But now, she knows that they are actually hers, and controllable! The Bug can hold and shake rattles, grab ahold of hair and necklaces, and will actually reach out for things. Sometimes she seems to want to get rid of something and has not quite figured out how to open her hands, so she just jerks her arm and the “offending” object goes flying!

The other funny thing about this new discovery? Love Bug holds her hands in front of her face and just stares at them for hours... it's so cute. How amazing to get to see their little minds working and churning!

The best thing is that now she can reach out to us when we come get her out of her crib... it's an incredible feeling to be the best thing in her world!

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Rolling Over

B had the Love Bug on her tummy, so he could take a few pictures of her up pushing up with her hands yesterday. She has been doing a lot of "tummy time" play and is getting very skilled at pushing up with her hands and holding her chest and head very high. Suddenly, with a quick movement, she kicked one leg and rolled over onto her back! It was not intentional, because she seemed surprised and almost unhappy about it. But it happened and she seemed more pleased when we fawned over her. How exciting! I wish that we would've known it was coming or we could have taken a video. We'll get one of her rolling over soon and figure out how to link it on the blog.
This has really made me think about how my baby is no longer a newborn. She is wearing 3 - 6 month clothes and really looks so grown up in her face and movements. Just walking around the bathroom, holding her on my hip, reminds me of how much she's changed. Now she is steady, head held up on her own... when it seemed like a few days ago, she had to be cradled carefully. I can't believe how fast the time has gone... and I know it's just going to get faster.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Happy Valentine's Day...

... from all of us at the Beginning of the Alphabet!

Playing on her new "Tummy Time" Garden spinner... gotta love the location of that heart!

Success!

Okay, so it's not really a success per say... but attempt #2 at sleep training was great in my eyes. I put her down while she was half asleep after her last feed. The Love Bug opened her eyes as soon as I put her down. I decided to just give it another go and ducked down and ran out of the room, as quietly as I could. We heard Love Bug kicking and moving around a little, but 10 minutes later, she was asleep.
I guess I didn't succeed at letting her cry without wimping out, but I prefer this way. Maybe I can successfully get her to sleep well without ever having to let her cry.
I know, I know... dream on.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Mothers and Daughters

Sometimes I have this weird feeling that I'm raising my best friend. I feel this way because with the exception of my husband B, my Mom is my best friend. I see the Love Bug and myself, one day having a similar relationship. Don't get me wrong... we won't start out that way. I definitely don't feel the need to have my kids feel that I'm their friend. When it comes to bad behavior, I'm their worst enemy. I want to handle things similarly to the way my own mother did. She was my mother first and disciplined me accordingly... but somewhere in between me telling her everything, planning my wedding, and talking almost every day, she became one of my best friends.

When you say "best" friend, it implies that this person is better than all of your other friends. In the case of my Mom, it's true. She was the one who swooped in, a week after the Love Bug was born, and did the dishes, washed clothes, organized the Love Bug's stuff... and even took some of the night shifts so I could sleep. All without being asked. All with a blissful smile.

This is the thing I'm most thankful for now, because it concerns my place in the world right now, as a new Mom, but there have been so many other wonderful things she's done, I could never list them all, but I'll list a few of my favorites:

She played Rainbow Bright with me, even when she needed to get ready to go out, just because I was nervous about having a new babysitter.

She made a special effort to get to school early to pick me up, when an older girl kept teasing me after school.

She drove back and forth to the hospital, over an hour, to stay with me when I was scared, even though I was an adult... and even when she had to work.

She made every skating costume, Halloween outfit, Easter dress, Christmas dress, and even plans to make a baptism outfit for the Love Bug.

She made cupcakes for my class for every birthday, brought food for every school party (because she was always a room mother), and even made my 3rd birthday cake when she was in labor with my brother (yes, we have the same birthday).

Can I ever be this kind of "best" friend for my Mom? No.
Can I ever do this many great things for her? No.
Can I ever calm her fears, the way she calms mine? No.

But I can do something better... I can do all this for the Love Bug. I can make sure that my Mom never has to worry about her grandchild.

Maybe I can't be my Mom's "best" friend, but I can be Love Bug's.

Friday, February 9, 2007

I'm a wimp

We decided to let the Love Bug go to bed drowsy tonight and see if she could fall asleep on her own. B agreed with me that we wouldn't let her go more than 5 minutes once she started crying, because we wanted to start slow (yes, a wimpy start, but it gets worse).
So B puts her down, starts her lullaby CD, turns on her Turtle light, and leaves the room. She starts crying about 3 minutes later....
I proceed to cry about 30 seconds after she started crying, blubbering that "she'll never trust us again"... and then I go get her about 30 seconds after that.
So much for attempt #1 at "sleep training".

Sunday, February 4, 2007

Feeding on the Airplane

We are trying to plan the Love Bug's baptism for this Spring. The planning is not going very well because we can't find a day that everyone has free. To complicate matters, my in-laws live in the area, but don't really have a "church" they go to, so we don't have any way to connect with a priest who might want to help out with our unique situation. We live overseas and don't currently have a home church in the USA. I'm about to just tell the two godparents to get on a plane and come here.

The other thing I'm a little concerned about is trying to feed the baby on the airplane when we fly back. Lately, there have been two different incidents of mothers on airplanes being told that they need to cover up with a blanket or stop breastfeeding. Well, for anyone out there who has fed a baby and tried to completely cover up with a blanket... let's just say it doesn't work so well. I've tried a few practice runs and the Love Bug just hates having a blanket on her head. Someone at the Embassy suggested that I just take her into the lavatory to feed and my response was... well, I had no response except that my mouth was hanging open. What?!? Feed her in the bathroom? Well, I hope the next time this woman flies (and gets a beef platter), she sits next to a vegetarian on the plane. Hopefully, the vegetarian will complain and the flight attendant will ask HER to sit in the lavatory to eat her beef. Ridiculous and unsanitary! A male co-worker of B's said that he would rather sit right next to me, feeding the Bug, than have me use the bathroom to do it. Don't assume he's just this sensitive wonderful guy, because he proceeded to point out that I would be holding up the bathroom line for 20 minutes. As one who has been on many overseas flights, I can verify that the bathrooms need faster turnover as it is, not a mother feeding her baby. I read the news and I know these babies were older and maybe these women were showing some skin, but it still is strange how weird we get about breastfeeding. Hollywood stars walk on the red carpet with gowns showing much more skin than a breastfeeding mother, and no one has a problem with that. I think we just need a middle ground... less crazy breastfeeding mothers who show everything to make a point... and less crazy prudes who see it as something sexual (which trust me, there is nothing sexy about it).

As for me, I have a few specially made tops that cover EVERYTHING and B next to me to shield the other travellers views...