Saturday, July 25, 2009

Visitors!

There was a time when people came to our house to see us. No longer. Now, people come to our house to see our baby. And that's just fine because she's just so darn cute, how can I blame them?

This month, we've had a good batch of guests. Uncle Graham came to see Hadley, and they were quick buddies, mainly because Uncle G plays the guitar and, it turns out, Hadley loves the guitar. Here is a shot of their first meeting:



Then my college roommate Lydia came, and after Hadley gave her a bit of a hard time for a few days (read: cried when Lydia held her), Hadley decided to reward Lydia's persistence with smiles and coos and snuggles. Evidence here:



I love Hadley's hair here. It looks like a bad hairpiece, and it's just so funny.

Then Jason's mom (Grandma) and sister (Auntie Crystal) arrived. Hadley is a fan of theirs, and she especially responds to Crystal's voice and to the funny faces she makes. In fact, Crystal got Hadley to laugh--as in, throw-her-head-back-and-belly-laugh--the other day. It was fabulous! Here's Hadster with her aunt:


This morning, our friend Tasha came to see Hadley. Tasha threw me a beautiful baby shower brunch in a ridiculous April snowstorm, making it all even more memorable, and she came back from California (where she now lives, sniff, sniff) for a short visit this week. Hadley LOVED her--nestled right into Tash's arms and took a lovely nap (and our faithful readers know how Hadley doesn't like to nap). Tasha promised to take Hadley shoe-shopping when, well, when Hadley needs shoes. Picture of Hadley and Tasha coming soon...

After Crystal and Sandy leave, we're taking a little break from visitors and trying to figure out how to raise a baby while both of us are working. (Gulp.) I go back to work a week from this coming Monday, but I'm not going to think (or write) about that right now. 

For now, we're just going to enjoy this week...happily with Hadley.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Hadley Talks to a Light-up Star (and to her mommy)

Hadley has a playmat that our friend Molly Spelman gave her before she was born. Hanging above the playmat is a star with a smiley face. It lights up and plays a few bars of several classical songs, and Hadley goes crazy for it. Who would have guessed? She howls and squeals and kicks her legs and laughs--and sometimes she yells at it. I swear she's saying, "Sing it to me, Crazy Star! Bring it on home now!" Maybe she was meant to be a Baptist.

That playmat is the reason I get to bathe in the morning. I put Hadley under it, turn on the flashing star, and run into the bathroom (which is right next to Hadley's room) for a quick shower. She squeals her little heart out while I lather up. The flashing star is pretty much saving my sanity. I owe you, Molly. BIG TIME.

Here is a video Jason took of Hadley's response to the star. Warning: Don't turn your volume all the way up.

video

As you can tell, Hadley has no problems being vocal. The previously reported grunting has subsided--thankfully--and now she's into cooing, squealing and making vowel sounds. (My brother, who visited last week, swears she said "Hi" to him. She does it often and with perfect intonation, like an adult who is talking to a small child. It cracks us up.)

It's amazing how quickly Hadley changes. Just when I was sure she'd be grunting her way through kindergarten, we've entered this new realm of sounds, which are much more pleasant. We have conversations all day long: I say a few sentences, and Hadley gurgles back and smiles. And then I say a few more sentences, and Hadley squeals. It's actually a lot of fun.

I'm pretty sure that just this morning, she said, "Gee, Mom, I am one happy kid. Now, where's that flashing star?"

Friday, July 10, 2009

What I Want for Hadley



So I've decided that this parenting thing is pretty fabulous and totally befuddling. Just when I get a handle on one phase, Hadley moves on to something else. (This week: catnapping.) I feel like Jason and I have pretty good instincts, and when we're wrong, we look at each other, shrug and say, "Rookie mistake." What else can you do? 

I assumed a lot of things about babies before I had one, and most of those assumptions were wrong. Example: Babies sleep whenever they need to sleep. Not so! Babies sometimes sleep when they need to, but sometimes (read: often) you have to work really hard to get them to sleep, even when it's apparent to everyone--including the neighbors--that your baby in particular needs to sleep.

(In Hadley's defense, I do have to say that she's a very good nighttime sleeper. Last night, we put her down at 8 and she slept until 7 this morning.) If only we could figure out this napping thing...

Which brings me to my point about parenting being a bit tricky. Napping is kind of a minor detail in the grand scope of things. She'll get it eventually. We'll figure it out. But as she gets older, it'll get trickier to teach her the things she needs to know. She won't necessarily become compassionate child, or curious, or joyful. We'll have to help her develop those skills. Sometimes I wonder...How exactly will we teach Hadley these things?

And so, while I'm thinking about how being a parent pretty much makes me feel like a total rookie most of the time, I've decided to write down a few things I pray Hadley becomes.

--First, while I want her to be happy, I hope happiness is never her end goal. A lot of parents say they "just" want their children to be happy. I don't feel like that sums up my feelings at all. Sometimes, we encounter situations that require us to do what makes us most unhappy--because making that choice is right and good, even if we feel grumpy or lousy or really disappointed about it. And making those choices is one way that I think God gives us joy (which is really different from plain ol' happiness).

--I hope she's brave. I don't want her to grow up without fear (of jumping off the roof, say, to see if she can fly), but I want her to feel the thrill of trying something that scares her a little bit. I don't want her to always choose the safe route; some of the best surprises in life happen when we see what's beyond the imaginary boundaries we each have.

--I hope she's honest. I don't just mean that I hope she tells the truth, though I do hope she tells the truth. I mean, I hope Hadley is the genuine kind of honest, the kind of honest that makes her speak up when her friend is hurting, or when the nerdiest kid on the playground needs someone to stick up for him. The kind of honest that gives her the courage--and the conviction--not to hide behind cliches, not to avoid confrontation when someone or something needs to be confronted. I hope she learns that quiet is not the same as peace, and that disagreeing isn't the same as disrespecting.

--I hope she's curious. I think this goes with being brave. This world is a fascinating place--scary, yes--but also amazing. I want Hadley to fear the truly evil and to embrace the unknown. Helping her find that balance is going to be a big job for Jason and me, but if she gets it, it will be so worth it.

--Finally (for now), I hope she grows up with some inkling of how deeply we love her. She'll never learn these other things if she doesn't know love--big, honest, spilling-all-over-the-place love--first. How can you believe in goodness in the world without knowing love? How can you feel confident enough to try something that scares you a bit, if you haven't known the security of love? How can you love someone else, like the nerdiest kid on the playground, if you haven't felt loved first? 

When it comes to Hadley, we'll always be rookies. That's how it goes with first children. Her firsts are our firsts. So we begin by loving her with this crazy, big love we have, and we'll do our best to teach her these (and about 978 more) skills. When we get it right, we'll rejoice and breath a sigh of relief. And when we get it wrong, we'll try again until we get it right.

Now if anyone has advice on napping, send it our way...

Monday, July 6, 2009

Pipsqueaks Need Not Apply...


We had Hadley's two-month doctor's appointment today, and Jason and I were taking bets on how much Hadley would weigh. I guessed 12 lbs, 7 ounces; he guessed 12 lbs, 11 ounces. We were both wrong. Hadley weighs 13 lbs, 5 ounces, which means she has gained four pounds in the last six weeks. Holy moly. Somebody likes the mama juice. 

She's 24 and 3/4 inches long, which means she's in the 99th percentile for height and the 95th percentile for weight, and her head--which looks huge to me--is in the 90th percentile for circumference. The doc said that we want her to be proportional, so she's just perfect. I could have told him that.

During the first part of her visit, she was cracking me up. The last time we were at the doctor's office (when she was two weeks old), she screamed most of the time. Hated it. This time, Little Miss Social was all smiles and coos with the doctor; she's really interested in faces and voices, familiar and new, and she just couldn't get enough of the pediatrician. She's growing up!

And then came the last few minutes of our appointment and Hadley's shot--her first immunization (not counting the Hep B shot she got in the hospital right after she was born). We opted to do what's called an alternative vaccination schedule, rather that the schedule recommended by the CDC, since it calls for six vaccinations at two months. After a good deal of research, we decided that we didn't want to overload her little system with too much too soon, so we're spreading out the vaccinations.

(Don't get me started on how the government tracks a person's immunizations--here in Colorado, there's a government-run database into which patient info goes...and the law says that anyone the government deems "necessary" can see patient info. We opted out, thankyouverymuch.)

Anyway, she howled. Screamed. I sort of thought I was going to throw up. I couldn't watch her face, but Jason said she looked shocked. And then really mad--and hurt. It's enough to break a mama's heart.

But she's resting peacefully now, and she seems no worse for the wear. In fact, I think I'm more worn out than she is. We have to go back in about a month for another round of shots and in two months for another well-baby visit. And in the meantime, we're busy growing a big, healthy baby who is just now waking up. That's my cue!