Monday, November 26, 2012

rolling over, and just when I needed it

Guess who decided to roll over today?

Yes, even though she's been sitting unsupported for almost a month already, Nell hadn't rolled over until this morning

In a strange way, it came at a perfect time.  It's not that I wanted or needed Nell to roll over by a certain age, but as it happened, over the past few days I had been questioning my ability to be a good mom, second-guessing my parenting intuitions, and wondering if I was making all the wrong choices.

There was her pediatrician telling me last week that I ought to have introduced solid foods by now.

{I haven't.}

There were the friends and acquaintances whose six-month-old is being 'sleep trained,' whose five-month-old is being left to 'cry it out,' whose two-month-old sleeps through the night in her crib already.

{Nell sleeps with us, we don't leave her to cry herself to sleep, and she most certainly does not sleep through the night.}

And don't even get me started on all the moms who seem to manage to keep perfectly tidy and well-decorated homes, all while their babies nap on predictable schedules and, of course, you guessed it -- sleep through the night.

I have a happy baby, and Nathan and I are happy, and we generally feel that what we're doing seems to be working for us.

Lest you think that I'm writing any of this from some perfect ivory tower, while I did say that I have a happy baby, I do not have a baby I plunk into a crib who yawns and promptly falls asleep.  I have a baby who is sometimes content, when swaddled, to fall asleep by herself for daytime naps.  A baby who sometimes needs to be nursed to sleep.  A baby who wakes anywhere from 2-5 times a night to nurse (usually twice) or just needing to be re-settled.  (To be honest, I don't keep track, and I usually can't remember in the morning how many times she woke up.  And I don't want to.  It's probably better for my sanity that I don't know.)  Today this baby has not napped all day unless I was with her.  She has a stuffy nose and has been crying all day, the poor little girl, and is currently refusing to sleep at 10:00 pm, after attempted bedtime at 7:00, fussing and crying, finally a brief success at 9:00, and oh...  just kidding, Mom!  Awake again by 9:45.

But like I said, happy baby and happy parents.  Things are overall good.

Still, there are those moments of self-doubt, you know?

And while I knew all along that Nell's 'delayed' rolling over was probably due to her general contentedness, or maybe even her being such a chubby baby, or maybe, as my sister pointed out, due to her big cloth-diapered bottom, I was glad she decided to start rolling today.  There was something about her rolling over that just made me feel like it's all going to be okay.  She rolled over on her own timetable, just as I knew she would.  Perhaps I am not the world's worst mother, after all.

I was glad it happened this morning, and that she and I were just hanging out at home, and that I was there to see her roll over for the first time.  I cheered, and flipped her back to her stomach, and she did it again.  And again.  And a fourth time!  

She was oh-so-pleased with herself about it each time.

Aside from the fact that Nell's rolling abilities have (quite irrationally, I know) helped me stop feeling like the most incompetent parent in the world, I've also been doing some reading when I could lately.  I'm all for intuitive-type parenting, but it's nice to have some facts to back up what you feel right about doing for your family.

Here are a few things I've read recently that I more or less liked.  I like some of these more than others, but all of them have something to say that I think is worth reading.

"Our babies believe that we will be there for them unconditionally, so when we refuse to parent them in the same way at night as we do in the daytime – answering their cries, cuddling when they are sad, feeding them when they are hungry – they become confused. I refuse to risk breaking that sacred bond of trust that is formed at birth."

This whole post is just great.  If parenting is of interest to you, and you're not necessarily doing the mainstream thing, you will appreciate this post.

2) Harvard study decries the 'Cry It Out' method: Children Need Touching and Attention, Harvard Researchers Say

"[Commons and Miller] say that American childrearing practices are influenced by fears that children will grow up dependent. But they say that parents are on the wrong track: physical contact and reassurance will make children more secure and better able to form adult relationships when they finally head out on their own."

"You can teach good sleep habits and associations, but you can't force your baby (or yourself) to sleep. You can train your baby not to call for you in the middle of the night, and that might mean you get more sleep, but that does not necessarily mean that your baby will be getting more sleep. He or she might just not bother trying to get your help."

4) A friend posted this on facebook: The Key to Whole Baby Nourishment, and this bit jumped out at me:

"For one thing, don’t we want to teach our children to associate close physical contact with emotional intimacy?"
I've been ruminating on that one lately.  Quite the impetus to put down whatever else I'm doing while I'm nursing and just connect with my baby.  Even something good, like a book, can wait for later sometimes.  And certainly checking my email on my iPhone can wait.  I'll give those chubby legs a gentle squeeze, or offer a finger to that little grasping hand instead.

I'm aware that this blog has been woefully neglected of late.

The blog isn't the only thing, either.  The house is a mess, for example, and I'm behind on my bookkeeping for my work.

You know that little 'Babies Don't Keep' poem?


Friday, November 16, 2012

it's the little things

I love Fridays, although I'm not really sure why, since as a musician I don't exactly get a 'normal' weekend.  Tomorrow I'm teaching from 9:45 to 5:15!

Busy schedule aside, the past two weeks have been filled with good little things for us.


My section leader 'sponsored' my chair for our Mahler concert last weekend, and it appeared in the program: "Sponsored to welcome Nell Cecilia."  What a sweet gesture!


I got to see my Dad's company at their Boston trade show.  

Pretty fun to see my 'little' brother in a management role these days, too.


This cuteness happened:

Nell 'helping' Dad get some work done, swaddled up and ready for bed.  At least one of them appears to be having an enjoyable time.


I stepped out of a rehearsal last week to the first snowfall of the season!


A pair of baby shoes I made for Abby's daughter Natalie three and a half years ago have come full circle to adorn my own daughter's feet.

Thanks for including them in the bag of hand-me-down shoes, Abby!


We voted!


My brother-in-law Andrew watched Nell for 30 minutes for me while I taught a violin lesson.  When I went upstairs afterwards, I found her sitting happily on his bed, "wearing" his brown dress shoes (and no pants... some people forget to put them back on after doing a diaper change, it seems).

Yes, you can always count on my blog for some blurry photos with horrible coloring.  Hey, at least the subject of the photo is as cute as can be.


Is there anything more beautiful than the Agnus Dei from Faure's Requiem?

That, and everything else about All Saints' Day at my church, was so moving and beautiful.


Mustard yellow tights for $6.  Now the question: will I actually be brave enough to wear them anywhere besides my trip to the grocery store this morning?

Coming soon:

Nell's six month post, snapshots of my time with my family last week, and a few of the funny things my students have been saying lately.

'It's the little things' is just my way of remembering weekly the small things as well as the momentous ones; the little everyday things that make life good.

Want to participate by blogging about some of the little things that made your week good?  Use the link-up feature!  Remember to link to your specific post, and not just your blog homepage.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

at the mall

This morning, Nell and I went to the mall in search of baby socks.

I left with five pairs of Baby GAP socks ($10), but not before wandering around a bit... and composing a few mental notes in my head.

* * *

Dear Baby GAP,

Please don't think that because I only bought socks, I don't ardently admire all your baby clothes, because believe me - I do.  Corduroy pants, peplum tops, knitted sweaters, and polka dotted tights?  Be still, my heart.  I may not have the money to afford such items, but I do have the cutest of babies, so if you ever feel like using her as a model and letting us keep the clothes, just let me know.  I think my baby and your clothes would be a match made in heaven.

* * *

Dear Stride Rite,

My goodness, do people really pay $50 for baby shoes?  While I find your prices a little crazy for something my girl would outgrow in a few months, I must compliment you for carrying those baby Sperrys I saw in the window.  Baby Sperrys.  Sheer genius.

* * *

Dear Starbucks,

Everything emanating from beneath your green sign smells delicious.  I saw that you have gingerbread, and resolved to bake some soon.  You were probably hoping I'd buy yours.  Sorry about that.

* * *

Dear Aldo,

You have some pretty perfect riding boots.  I'm kind of hoping that my husband will buy me some for Christmas.  (Now if only he actually read this blog, this could serve as some kind of none-too-subtle hint.)

* * *

Dear Godiva,

Thanks for having that free chocolate of the month thing.  You probably hate people like me who come and pick up their free chocolate and then don't buy anything else, but I sure enjoyed my roasted almond truffle.

* * *

Dear JCPenney,

I used your store as my means of entrance and exit to the mall today.  To my surprise (no offense), I walked past some clothes that looked cute.  I might come back sometime and try on a few things.  Way to go with getting some cool stuff in your store.

* * *

Dear woman-who-said-hello-and-asked-how-old-my-baby-was,

I really enjoyed chatting with you, and hearing you share with me, a complete stranger, that you just found out that you're pregnant.  I meant what I said.  I think it's going to be the most wonderful thing that ever happened to you and your husband.  Babies are cute, and other peoples' babies are fun and all, but your own baby - that's an indescribable joy, and you're going to love it.

Monday, November 12, 2012

The One Thing

The past week flew by with nary a blog post from yours truly.  I was busy rehearsing and performing Mahler's fifth symphony, and more importantly, spending time with my parents and my brother Jonathan who were in town.

I do plan to write down some highlights very soon.

In the meantime, it's Monday, and while I took a respite from The One Thing plan over the past week with family in town, I actually have pictures to post from the previous week.

One of the things I accomplished by taking on one non-essential project a day...

I made hair clips for Nell!

I've made about six or seven of them so far.  Yellow with polka dots, pink with polka dots, brown argyle, white and purple, and more.  All you need is ribbon, alligator clips, and a hot glue gun!  You can find all sorts of tutorials if you're not sure where to start, like this one from Make It and Love It.

Nell's hair is getting so long on top, I needed a way to work with it.  Cute hair clips to the rescue!

As I was gathering my supplies to make these, I couldn't find the glue sticks for my hot glue gun anywhere.  I searched my craft supplies time and again, and kept asking Nathan and Andrew, "Have you seen my bag of glue sticks?"

About the tenth time I asked, Nathan said, "Oh, your glue sticks for your GLUE GUN! I thought you just wanted one of those Elmer's glue sticks or something.  I have your glue gun glue sticks in the TV room.  I was using your glue gun to repair my speakers."

I guess I use his drill for my craft projects; he uses my glue gun for his, um, craft projects.

Makes sense.

Inspired by Mark Twain, the One Thing series is all about making life manageable by taking on one thing a day, one project or task or errand outside of the daily essentials that adds beauty or order to life.

Friday, November 2, 2012

it's the little things

Happy November!

Yesterday I kept thinking about how recent it seemed that I was worrying about working and motherhood as the school year got underway... and now two months have gone by, and Nell and I are both still alive.  We're doing it, this whole life thing.  Go, us.

And it's been another week of little things worth celebrating.


Cozying up with my little family and surviving Hurricane Sandy safe and sound.

My chrysanthemum in a pot on the front step was lifted up and out of the pot and blown down the front walkway, but the only damage we suffered was a tree beside our garage and shed that fell... away from the buildings and not on top of them, thankfully!

I know it's easy for those of us largely unaffected by the storm to say, "Oh, pish-posh, that was nothing!  What was all the fuss about?  Why were all the businesses and schools closed?"  But then I read about a man dying only miles from here in an accident on the highway during the storm, and I'm grateful Nathan, Andrew, and I didn't have to go to work and were able to stay indoors and safe.  So many have lost their homes and even their lives... we are grateful to be safe, and to have a roof over our heads that kept us warm and dry.


Nell's first Halloween!

I grew up with a more harvest festival-type celebration of Halloween; we dressed up (in fun homemade costumes), but we didn't go trick-or-treating.  I'm not sure yet how we'll choose to handle Halloween as Nell gets older, but when I found a $2.00 ladybug costume at a thrift store earlier in the week, I couldn't pass it up.

We invited a few friends over for a very low-key Halloween party.  Everyone brought stuff for tacos, and all together we ended up with quite a spread, with minimal effort for each of us -- the perfect party for busy people. 

The three babies on their first Halloween: Ian the {unhappy} monkey, Nell the ladybug, and Emmett the peapod.

Me and my little lady{bug}:



She sits!  Over the weekend I began to notice that she was sitting fairly well on her changing pad when I'd do buttons on her back.  By Monday or Tuesday it was clear: Nell had flipped the switch from not-sitting to sitting, just like that.

She sits like a champ... with the occasional toppling over.

Who me?  What's the big deal, Mom?


Striped pants!  So cute.


Mahler's Adagietto from the 5th Symphony.

{I'm off to a rehearsal for Mahler 5 tonight!}

'It's the little things' is just my way of remembering weekly the small things as well as the momentous ones; the little everyday things that make life good.

Want to participate by blogging about some of the little things that made your week good?  Use the link-up feature!  Remember to link to your specific post, and not just your blog homepage.