Tuesday, June 28

flying solo.

Only a few days ago I wrote that Iris wasn't too sure about crawling away from me. She would get most of the way down the hall then turn about and reach out for me to come get her. Well, today she'd had enough of banging about on her cake pans with a wooden spoon. She took off down the hall as fast as her wiggling bum would take her! Disappearing from sight into her room, I started anticipating the "mamaaaaa!" I was certain would shortly follow. I listened. She squealed. I listened. I heard her little knees swishing again on the carpet. 

I tiptoed to the door and peeked around the corner. There she was, grinning mischievously at the poor Kitty. I stayed hidden and watched silently for 20 whole minutes as she chased the Kitty around, throwing toys haphazardly when they obstructed her path. She paused occasionally to look around, fling a toy and realize that I wasn't there to cheer her on or pick her up. She didn't seem to even think twice about me. She crawled to her playmat and crinkled the elephant's ear. She poked at the tassels on the carpet. She pulled at her toes and sighed happily. Eventually, I sat in the doorway and waited to surprise her. She turned and burst into a huge smile, squealed gleefully and made a beeline for me. She climbed up for a quick hug and set off once more to explore on her own. 

Monday, June 27

music monday.

We've been listening to a lot of Muse around here lately.
Great rediscovery - I find them very relaxing.
I often listened to this song when Marius was deployed to Iraq '08-'09.

catch that cat!

Iris has slowly been discovering that the Kitty is not so out of reach after all...
When we are playing in her bedroom, he hides underneath the crib. She hasn't figured out how to crawl on her tummy or duck her head to get under there, so he can watch from a position of safety.
In the open, however...

Pooooor Kitty.

Saturday, June 25

dear Iris

You've evolved so much in the last few weeks! Lately, you've decided that only little babies go to bed at 7pm. You're a big girl who's going to stay up until midnight! You have been keeping Mama very busy and tired, as you do all your intense learning and dreaming late at night. Two nights ago you learned to crawl! You can pull yourself up on the furniture and on me, but you're also determined to stand up on your own as you poise yourself on hands and feet. You're pretty subdued during the day lately, but at night you're an alert little owl!

Recently, you've started sleeping on a flat surface, having outgrown the inclined rocker we loved so well. With all the changes going on in your life, you seem to need me to sleep with you, lest we get no sleep at all. I love cuddling with you. If I move too far away from you, you reach out for reassurance with tiny sleeping fists that caress my skin. During the day, you climb into my lap for hugs, kisses and milk. It's the best feeling ever.

Your eyes are always alight with delight in everything. You love to straddle my tummy, grab my shirt and bounce up and down while I exclaim, "giddyup!" You think it's funny that my feet are ticklish. My long hair is still one of your favorite things and your mouth opens in a huge 'O' when you see it . You've been obsessed with my mouth lately and take every opportunity to push your little fingers inside to feel my tongue and teeth. You also have started making barking noises at the kitty, which is particularly disturbing to him in addition to your new crawling superpower. You laugh a bit easier these days, though you are still the portrait of A Cool Cucumber. Your unrelenting and sober gaze is noted by many.

You are finally getting your top teeth now! You love to chew and sip on a sippy cup of ice water to help your gums. Solid food still perplexes you and you shudder and make a face if it's anywhere near your mouth. You're interested in watching me eat and you like to hold a baby carrot while I snack on them. I've given you a few tastes of blueberry kefir and hummus, which you don't find too horribly offensive. Mememe-milks is still The Best Thing Ever.

I reorganized the coffee table so you have your own section of books, which you pull down for me to read to you. You prefer the books to all your other toys. You love to play peekaboo with Mama, Daddy and the Kitty too. If you're playing on your own, you always look back at me to make sure I'm watching. You've perfected crawling away from me to catch the kitty or see what's down the hall. But once you realize how far away you've gone, you call out for me to come scoop you up and hold you close.

A year ago, I was 6 months pregnant with you. I am so amazed at the sensitive, affectionate and yet stoic little person you have become!

I love you so much!

Your Mama

Tuesday, June 14

a small study on growth.





the zoom groom

This past Sunday, the Kitty went to "the place where the naughty kitties go." The vet! He goes in for preventative care twice a year - he gets vaccines, deworming, general checkup and dental analysis. How do we afford this? Pet insurance! We pay somewhere around $18 a month for a basic healthcare plan and according to the last bill, this has saved us $1000 over the last two years!! 

This trip he was very nervous and tried to cling to me th entire time. By the end of the visit, I was absolutely covered in cat hair. He despises being combed and tries to bite the comb, wriggles around and basically makes it impossible to shed out that extra fur. This is frustrating because our curtains where he sits at the window are covered in hair and it's just everywhere no matter how much I clean. So, I decided  to take a look around PetCo for an alternative brush and found the amazing Zoom Groom.

He adores it. 

Though it kind of looks like some torture chamber tool.

It gently pulls loose hair out and feels like a massage for the cat.

And it WORKS.
I brushed him for five minutes and he even purred the entire time. Now his coat is so soft and smooth! We can pet him without ending up with a handful of hairs! I plan to do this once a week from now on. This thing is amazing! If you have a cat, you definitely need to get one!

Monday, June 13

Saturday, June 11

links I love

I love to drool over handmade toys on Etsy. 
Here are a few of my favorite wooden ones! 

Hand carved forest animals. I would almost buy these for myself...

Stacking puzzle.

First cellphone. Not sure about the nail on top but I love the rest.

I loved "lacing" toys as a child. This one is so unique!

Stacker toy.

Push or pull rabbit. I imagine Iris toddling around a year from now, 
pulling this bunny along.

Thursday, June 9

wheeere's Iris?

There she is!

introducing... videos!

I created a new YouTube account a few months ago and have finally gotten around to starting uploads. A lot of my videos of Iris were taken with my Rebel Canon before I adjusted the massive file size, so YouTube won't upload them until I resize them... so until then, here's a video of the Kitty. 

He was trying to get the bits of rice leftover in the bottom... he ended up completely soaking wet but I couldn't capture it because Iris was upset over something. More videos to come! 

Note: You can tell how old I am by my tendency to call digital media "videos"!!

Wednesday, June 8

wordless wednesday.

why we're only having one child.

Just about every time I've expressed that we've decided not to have any more children, the statement is met with amused smirks, disbelief and concern. It seems that most people find it difficult to wrap their minds around a young, happy couple who doesn't desire to procreate excessively (not that we don't practice!) When I say "oh, we are very happy with our one little girl," the response is generally "you'll have more, you'll see," or "oh, just wait!"

My childbirth experience with Iris was amazing up until the end. It was perfect, in fact - up until I birthed my uterus. I had an inverted uterus, which means that the entire organ came through my pelvis and was outside of my body. The experience was extremely traumatic for myself and Marius. We both thought I was going to die as I bled out on the table and the doctor struggled to figure out how to literally push my uterus back inside me. Fortunately, it was manually replaced into my body, but without any sort of pain medication. I can not find the words to describe the intensity of the pain. It was worse than labor and pushing Iris out. I am actually amazed at my capability to remain conscious - most likely only due to the hormones released after birthing Iris. This is an urgent reason as to why we do not desire to have any additional children.

Having a single child is also a financially smart decision, especially in the current economy. Having only one child omits huge financial burden and stress. We are very lucky to be a military family - our insurance pays every penny of childbirth costs, which is upwards of $10,000 for a hospital birth. You can read a bit more about the cost of children here.

Many worry about the myth of the Only Child Syndrome - our one child could be raised to be spoiled, self-centered, unsociable. This assumption is untrue, as studies find quite the opposite. Single children are more socially and emotionally precocious, as they are raised to interact with adults on a regular basis. They will only be spoiled if we fail to set the example for respectful behavior, gratefulness and empathy. Single children also generally have a higher level of self-esteem and independence, which is very different from "selfishness - lacking consideration for others". 

Some believe that Iris will be lonely growing up, worry about being our sole caregiver when we become impaired with old age, and fear being alone when we die. We will be making a conscious effort to ensure that she is able to have a childhood surrounded by her peers. We will welcome her friends into our home as often as she desires and she will have extracurriculars to learn how to function in a large group. We have no worries that she will be responsible for us in our old age, as our  long-term financial plan will deliver freedom from the usual concerns in this area. As for her being alone when we are no longer physically present, we can only trust that she will create her own happiness and find comfort in other "family - a group of people related to one another by blood or marriage."

Closer friends and family seem to have easily forgotten the frighting aspect to our experience of having children. They are confused about why we wouldn't want at least one more baby to "complete the family". Before Iris was even conceived, our family was complete. Marius and I were the most important people in each other's lives. We still are today. Iris made our family, our hearts and our love bigger. However, we know that the most important thing a couple can give their child is a healthy and happy relationship. This means that our love for her is boundless, full and deep - but our marriage does not revolve around her. We are able to give her our fullest attention, encouragement and energy while still having time for ourselves. 

Academic studies show that couples with children are just as happy or less happy than their childless counterparts. It seems that the more children, the more stress, rush and disagreement exists. Parents get much less time to themselves, if any at all. Their once "free" lives morph into simply living for their children. They feel obligated to provide for and sacrifice everything for their children's benefit. They feel as though who they "used to be" has been lost. We are different in the fact that we live for ourselves, and no other. We are responsible for Iris and we adore her, but she is not the meaning of our lives. It would be more difficult to retain our own enjoyment of what life has to offer if we were to have more children. I understand how few people may be able to accept this notion in our child-obsessed culture.

We are the type of people who favor logical choices over emotional ones. From our standpoint, having one child is the the most sensible and sound decision. If you disagree, please explain why!

IMG_1387 (1024x683)
We are very happy with our one little girl!

Edited to add extra clarification - We would have made the same decision even if I hadn't had childbirth complications, but it certainly does reinforce our choice!

Saturday, June 4

what I've been up to lately.

In the last week or so, I've been doing quite a lot of reading - something I haven't done much of in the last year. First, it was the discomfort of the later months of pregnancy which kept me from sleeping properly and getting comfortable enough to fully enjoy a book. Then it was caring for a newborn who wanted to nurse for 5 hours straight, and I certainly hadn't mastered doing everything one-handed in those early days. The older she got, the more awake and active, the more attention she required... Now she is mobile and needs constant supervision! Between playing and reading with her, changing diaps and bathing, making dinner and cleaning, there isn't too much room for devouring books like I once did. I do spend time on the internet because it's easy to navigate with one hand while Iris nurses in the crook of my other arm. That is where I've been doing my reading, though it's not quite as satisfying as turning pages it makes up by being... well, the greatest  collection of knowledge in existence. I read mostly about philosophy, self improvement (not to be confused with self-help) and parenting.

This week I made the best meatloaf ever. Marius proclaimed it was "fraking delicious" and demanded that I save the recipe. I also attempted to make my own homemade granola bars, but I didn't push the mixture down into the pan enough, so they kind of fall apart easily. Though they still taste amazing!

Last weekend we tried to get Iris interested in french toast with syrup. With syrup! and she still wanted nothing to do with it, or pancakes. Or buttered toast, or juicy mango! At this point, I'll give her just about anything just to see if she'll try it. I think she is just very texture sensitive. My breastmilk will be sufficient nutrients until around a year old, so I am not concerned in the least! She's a very healthy little girl - has never been sick once (by the way, we don't sanitize but that's another post) and she is growing like a weed.

Big girl reading her "Daddy Book!"
In other news, my goals for last week were very helpful to me. I followed through with them and continue to do so. This week on Sometimes Sweet, the topic was Loving Life and Having Fun. Aside from the fact that I've been busy with other things, I really didn't feel the need to post or make goals about loving life and having fun. I do that every day! I value life more than anything else and I enjoy it very thoroughly. That post certainly would have been redundant! 

I will admit to having missed my Small Changes Saturday post last week too, but guess what... I remembered our reusable bags!! Okay Marius did, but that's not the point.

Marius and Iris!
Today, Marius and I are going to see the new X-Men movie in theaters! This will be the first time Iris has been without us - ever - and I'm quite nervous about how she's going to take it. A friend and coworker is coming over with her adorable 4 year old daughter to babysit. I'm leaving her with a list of things Iris loves if all else fails to keep her happy. This list includes: the PS3 controllers, my old cellphone, an empty bottle of 5 hour energy, and magazines for ripping up. I'm trying not to be nervous about it and just enjoy the time Marius and I will get to spend alone. Wait, alone? What's that??

Friday, June 3

placido domingo.

Iris had a profound experience with opera today.
Placido Domingo on Sesame Street.
She stared at him for the entire song, listening intently.

When I replayed it for her, she started smiling at him. 
Unfortunately, I could not find the clip she was watching, but here is an example of his exquisite voice.

This reminds me of when I would watch La Traviata as a child.
I guess I'll be playing more opera around here, now!