Monday, January 28, 2013

Starting Solids

I can’t believe we are almost done with January!  I’ve had this blog post in my head for the past month . . . but then all three of us got a wretched cold that knocked the entire house out for a couple weeks.  If you’ve never had to deal with trying to get a sick baby to go to sleep, you are very lucky.  It is not fun!  Finally all three of us are feeling better – we had lingering coughs and congestion for the longest time!

A couple days after Guinevere turned 6 months, we decided it was time to start “solids.”  I put that in quotation marks because somehow purees don’t really seem like solid solids.  Like most babies, Guinevere’s first taste of non-breast milk food was rice cereal.  She didn’t quite know what to make of it. She seemed really excited to put the spoon in her mouth, but then she tasted the cereal and I don’t think she understood that she was supposed to swallow the stuff that was on the spoon.  
Her second food was peas.  I made the pea puree myself from real peas, which I thought would taste much better than the jarred stuff.  It tasted good to me, but Guinevere just thought they were “ok.”  But then again, she still didn’t totally understand that she was supposed to swallow them.  She would “eat” them off the spoon, but then they’d just come right back out and get all over her face and bib.  A couple days later I tried giving her peas from a jar, and she seemed to like that much better . . . or maybe it was just that she was finally starting to understand that she was supposed to consume them.

In addition to the purees, we are also incorporating some Baby Led Weaning techniques.  Baby Led Weaning is a method of introducing your baby to solids without any purees whatsoever.  You just give the baby finger foods from the beginning and let them feed themselves.  It’s kind of neat!  Since we are not fully doing BLW, our general schedule at home is that we feed her a puree while our dinner is cooking.  Then once dinner is ready, we pull her high chair up to the table so that she can join in.  Then we give her finger-length sticks of foods that are appropriate for her at this point in time.  Usually I will put them on my plate first and then give them to her so that she feels like she’s participating in the same dinner.  She’s had carrots, squash, bread, cucumbers, green peppers, green beans, chicken, etc.  So far her favorite finger foods are bread and cucumbers. So far it seems that she likes everything we’ve given her.  She loves carrots (pureed and cooked finger food) and cucumbers (finger food).  I think the cucumbers feel good on her gums because they are so cool.  The only thing she doesn’t seem to like is sweet potatoes – which isn’t that surprising considering neither Aaron nor I like sweet potatoes.

Now that we’ve been feeding her for a couple weeks, she seems like she’s finally getting the idea that she’s supposed to swallow the food on the spoon.  In fact today, she ate all of the oatmeal and pears that I prepared for her!  Last night she actually bit off a piece of bread and swallowed it!  It’s so amazing to watch this little person start to form opinions about food and begin to understand the technique of eating (who knew there even was a technique to eating?).

Monday, January 7, 2013

Guinevere's First Christmas

Wow!  The holidays have come and gone.  Now that we are back to real life, I should probably get a post out about Ginny’s first Christmas.

I am very fortunate to get the entire week between Christmas and New Years off, so we were able to spend a lot of time with our families.  We spent the first weekend with Aaron’s mom and Aunt.  Then we went to my parents’ house in San Diego for one night.  Then we went to Orange County for my family’s traditional Christmas Eve get together.  I felt bad because she was tired and hungry by the time we arrived.  Instead of greeting everyone with her usual smile, she burst into tears the moment we stepped through the door.  Once I fed her, though, she returned to her usual happy self.

Christmas morning, we got up stupid early to cart ourselves down to the airport to fly to Oregon to visit my aunt.  My side of the family does this every year – getting up at a ridiculously early hour on Christmas morning, opening presents before dawn, stuffing some bagels and coffee in our faces before heading to the airport.  We’ve always flown out of San Diego, but this year Aaron and I decided to fly out of LAX and meet up with my parents for our connecting flight at the San Francisco airport.  This way Guinevere could sleep in her own crib Christmas Eve . . . and we could save a couple hundred dollars.  However, next time, I think it might be worth the extra money to fly out of San Diego.  In San Diego, it seems that most other people do their traveling before Christmas Day, so the airport is usually pretty calm when we leave.  I was shocked at how busy LAX was at 5am on Christmas morning!  There were lines everywhere!

One thing we learned - United Airlines does not let people with infants board early.  They are not a very family friendly airline.  Honestly, though, it’s probably for the best that we didn’t board early, since we had to sit on the plane for about an hour and a half after boarding before taking off.  Our flight was almost an hour late because they took too long loading our luggage.  Unfortunately, we had a really tight connection in San Francisco.  There is only one flight per day that goes to the tiny town in Oregon where my aunt lives and we almost missed it.  We ran (holding the baby and pushing the stroller) through the airport to the shuttle to a different terminal, and then we had to go up an elevator to run to our gate, just to go down another elevator.  The guy at the gate told us that had we been 2 minutes later, he would have had to close the door and we would have missed our flight.  If it hadn’t been for my parents standing there at the gate, assuring them that we were on the way, the airline probably would have closed the doors and left without us.

We finally got on the plane, and I pulled out my hooter hider (a special cover that lets me see the baby while feeding her, but no one else can see my business).  Feeding the baby on take off and landing is the advice every mom gets about how to help babies’ ears when flying.  The flight attendant came up to me and said, “I’m sorry, but we have a policy that baby’s can’t be attached to you on take off or landing.”  When I protested, she said, “It’s just for take off and landing.”  I said, “But that’s the whole point.  It’s supposed to help with their ears.”  I was a bit offended and thought to myself that perhaps it was the attendant’s way of telling me not to nurse in public.  Later in the flight, the attendant came up and asked if we had a Baby Bjorn (but she pronounced it “B-jhorn”).  Apparently, the policy is that the baby can’t be attached in a carrier, like a Baby Bjorn or Ergo, and she thought that’s what the hooter hider was.  She apologized for the confusion, but I was still irritated from the cumulative effect of everything.

When we finally arrived in Oregon, my aunt greeted me with arms outstretched.  Of course, they weren’t stretched for me.  Oh no, they were stretched out to hold the baby.  My aunt doesn’t have any children of her own, so Guinevere is like a granddaughter to her.  It was her first time meeting G, and it was love at first sight on both parts.  My aunt has always been good with children, and Guinevere seemed to warm immediately to her.

My sister and her fiancé came out to join us the day after Christmas.  Unfortunately, their flight was an hour and a half late leaving from New York and they did miss the one flight per day to my aunt’s tiny town.  My dad had to frantically call the airline and find a flight to the nearest town, which is 2 ½ hours away.  Then he and my mom drove the 5 hour round trip to go pick them up while Aaron and I stayed in with my aunt.  Of course, their luggage didn’t make the new flight, but it arrived the next day, so it wasn’t too bad.

We had a great time hanging out with family and doing a little relaxing.  Though we did learn the hard way that babies need routine!  I know I’ve read this in countless places, but never truly understood it until now.  Guinevere has never been a great napper.  Somehow at daycare they manage to get her to take 2 solid naps per day.  She was never consistent with us on the weekends at home – and then you add on top of that all the travel and new people and new things to see and you end up with one very over stimulated, over tired baby!  By the end of our travels, it was taking an hour or two just to get her to go to bed at night.  And it wasn’t just the little whimper/fussiness that she often does while trying to fall asleep.  I’m talking about an hour of full out screaming, leading up to what Aaron and I call the “scream of death.”  The scream of death is a particularly painful cry that she gives that makes you feel like the worst parent ever – like you are doing something wrong to her.  It is horrible!  One night Aaron and I looked at each other and said, “we can’t keep doing this.  There has to be something we can do.”  So we decided to ask our daycare person what her schedule is and then emulate that at home.  We’ve also come up with a bedtime routine that works for us and that we are sticking very strictly to for right now.  It is amazing the difference routine makes!  We have our happy baby back!  I’m not going to say that putting her to bed is always a breeze.  But it’s not an hour of screaming – so now I have a little energy left for cleaning, blogging, relaxing, or whatever else I want to do in the hour and a half that I can manage to stay awake after putting her down.

Some of my favorite images from the holidays:

Guinevere and Grandma Kathy

Learning how to open presents

With Aunt Peggy

We almost lost Guinevere amongst all the presents.