Dear Fiona

Formerly "Dear Fetus", now a cyber journal to my newborn child



Dear Fiona

You are no longer strictly a boob-milk gal. For the past two weeks or so, we’ve been introducing you to the world of “solid” food. By “solid” I of course mean, barely thicker than runny yogurt. First, we tried avocado and behold! You loved it. It was thin and mixed with a ton of breast milk so I guess I shouldn’t have been surprised. That very first time, you ate all of what I offered you and didn’t look too surprised by what was happening. This was encouraging! I wanted to delay giving you food as long as possible but seeing as you accepted the avocado so readily, I knew it was the right time. Next up was banana. Of course, you loved that, even mixed with avocado. Peas…. that was when we hit out first bump in the road. I am not entirely sure it was the taste so much as the texture. I had a difficult time making a smooth puree and when I tried to strain it, only pea water came through the other side. So you took one bite trustingly, another bite trepidatiously and then finally you refused to open your mouth for more. Improvising, I mashed in some banana and you nibbled some down, though with suspicion. In subsequent days I had great success with peas and bananas mixed. When the time had come for a new food (we are following the four day rule of food introduction) I decided to be even more non-traditional (I’d already skipped tradition by avoiding rice cereal or any other nutrientless, processed baby cereal) and go for yogurt. There is a youtube video that I believe is just called “babies eating lemons” and the hilarious faces from that video where pretty close to the ones you made after trying yogurt. Each bite was a whole body reaction but you wanted more and more. On day two of yogurt I tried to give you peas mixed with yogurt and you weren’t too jazzed. But when it came time for pears and I mixed those with peas, you went ape shit, slapping the table for more. I made you three helpings of what your dad is calling “pp” (or pee pee, if you prefer). This combo is tied for favorite alongside the banana and yogurt mix. Now onto the way you eat the food. The first few times you ate, it was seemingly necessary for you to stick your fingers in your mouth to aid swallowing, but even now you put your fingers in your mouth between bites. Things were really messy in the vey beginning because we started a week or so before we received your high chair. Sitting in your orange and brown Svan bouncer to eat, you had ample ability to really make  a mess. Between bites you’d pull your fingers out and slap them contentedly on your thighs, smearing them with food. And what could I do really? I mostly watched and laughed, though the cleanup was difficult and often left you with crusts of pea or banana in the folds of your neck (usually discovered at bath time). Because your hands are always covered in food while you eat, your hair is usually filled with it as well as your eye lashes and occasionally, your eye itself. On Sunday you had a partial pea shell just chillin in your eye. We left it there and eventually it worked its way out. Now that we have the highchair your legs aren’t smeared in food anymore but the rest of you still is.

In other news you had your 6 month pedi visit yesterday. You are 27 inches long (95%!) 15 pounds 14 ounces (50%) and your head circumference is, to quote the nurse practitioner, “off the charts.” You got one vaccine and that is likely why I have time to write this. Last night you slept from 7-7 and went down again around 7:45 this morn. You are still sleeping. Booya


The Footsie Roll

Dear Fiona,

The first time you rolled from your back to your belly was in your sleep. At first, you used the bars of the crib as extra leverage to help you complete the roll. As a result, your dad named your night time acrobatics “the footsie roll.” In the beginning, not only did you need the crib to help you, but you couldn’t figure out how to get your arm out from underneath you. And so, for about two weeks, you woke every few hours with the need to be turned onto your back. It really seemed to piss you off. After all, you still don’t love tummy time. Once you’d been returned to your back you’d snuggle up to Norman (the sleepy town doorman) or your newest snuggle buddy, Quimby, and fall almost instantly back to sleep. Its nothing new that you move all over the place in your crib but with all the flips and turns, its like you are competing in the baby sleep olympics!

After awhile you got used to the tummy thing and started to like sleeping there. We are down to only one or two baby flips a night now and that is usually when you’ve stuffed your head into the corner of the crib or just gotten yourself twisted in an un-comfy way. It amazes me how many times you change sleep position. A few nights ago, I left you asleep facing one way, and when I came back to check on you ten minutes later you had flipped 180 degrees. Every time we check on you, you’ve struck a different pose. You’ve taken to sleeping on your belly, arms at your side with your butt in the air. And occasionally you will be spread out on your back, arms bent and above your head, legs spread wide like a V. We’ve also found you with both arms through slats in the crib and once, your leg got shoved so far through the crib slat that we had to the pull the bars apart to get it out. The best thing about all of these incredibly cute sleep positions is your final morning pose. You always wake up happy, and you always wake up on your tummy, arms out in front of you and head up with a big smile. Its the first thing I see in the morning and I will never forget it.


Teeth and Food and Stuff

Avocado face. Booya!

Dear Fiona,

I wrote this a few weeks ago and didn’t publish it:

Finally! You have decided to do a few quintessiential baby things that until recently you weren’t down with. For one, you actually like to put things in your mouth all of a sudden. For the longest time, anything but your fingers in there made you wrinkle up your face in disdain. It started with your beloved spoon. For nearly a month now, we have been giving you a pliable silicone baby spoon to play with while we eat, in preparation for your own eating extravaganza yet to come. That spoon made you happy from the word “go.” About a week ago though you decide to take it into the trusting circle of your drool mouth. First, you poked your cheek, then your eye and a few more places on your face, but once the spoon got in your mouth, you never missed again. Now you sit and intently gnaw on it whenever it is made available. You also chew on your other toys, pieces of your clothing, pieces of my clothing, Norman the Zebra, the corners of books, purse straps, teething beads and anything else within reach. This morning I looked in your little mouth and definitively saw a small mound on the lower right. It won’t be long now for tooth number 1!

Reading back, its amazing to me how much you have changed since then. For one thing, it now seems as though the perpetual object -in-mouth thing has been happening forever. The first thing you do with anything you grab is go for your mouth, but your fingers do still seem to be your favorite teething object. Speaking of teething… you have cut both of your bottom teeth. They aren’t in really, they are just barely raised above the gums. The first one- the lower right- seemed to be no biggy for you to cut through. The lower left definitely kept you up last night, which I am assuming is when it broke through. I have to say, even though it really doesn’t have anything to do with you consciously, I feel really proud about your teeth. Its amazing how sharp they are but they are also just so little (especially since they haven’t come all the way out) and really darn cute.

Coinciding with your newly acquire teeth, we have started you on solids. We decided to go for avocado first. From the very first bite you loved it. What surprised me most about feeding you was how unsurprised you were about it. It seemed natural to you and you only wrinkled up your face the second time we fed you, when the consistency was perhaps a little too thick. What you like to do is take the spoon, get most of the food in your mouth and then stick your fingers in to help you swallow. When I get the spoon close to your mouth you use your fingers to sweep food off of the spoon and into your mouth. You grab the spoon sometimes and fairly accurately lick the food off it. Of course it gets everywhere but that is part of the fun!  Today you ate almost a third of an avocado. WOW. If there is one thing this all tells me, its that you are so ready to eat. Next we are going for sweet potato. Your poop was already green but looks like its about to go orange!

Many New Things

Dear Fiona,

Shoot! I’ve let an entire month slip by without marking your monumental changes. You are now able to sit up by yourself for short periods, you love standing and your jumperoo is a haven of play time (instead of being overstimulation station like it was before). You love putting stuff in your mouth and you are a tummy time pro. We’ve taken you camping (which you excelled at) and you finally seem to be accepting the car. A few things not to forget:

When I hand you a spoon (practice for eating solids) you get very excited and hold it out at arms length, swishing it from side to side and admiring it like its a trophy. When I help you get it in your mouth though, it disgusts you and  you wrinkle up your face in horror.

Your new favorite buddy is your “lovey” we’ve named Norman. He is a small zebra blankey with a head. You sleep with him every night and he keeps you calm in the car. You love to stuff as much of him as you can in your mouth and you put him over your face to block out stimulus. He is kind of a life saver and he came as a gift from Drunkle Devin. When we put you down for naps (which you hate and scream about, every time) Norman mellows you out pretty quick. Sometimes I will tell you to “get your Norman” just like dad says for you to “let your fingers do the work” (you are a rather voracious finger sucker, it is becoming a bit of a problem, really).

Your favorite toy still seems to be the honeycomb ball with a ball inside it that you got from your soon-to-be buddy Maya. At first you just marveled at its brilliance, now you toss it around like a pro.

The other day you gave me my first kiss. I was holding you up on the bed and you leaned in and sucked on my cheek for a second, then pulled away and smiled. It was magnificient. It hasn’t happened since, but I am sure you will see fit to give out more soon.

Raisin cat is finally interesting to you. Today, your dad and I could tell that you wanted to grab her. Uh oh….

You’ve been teething something fierce the last three days. You woke in the night last night (you almost never do that) and didn’t really sleep well until morning. But the funny thing was yesterday evening. You were both feeling teethy and starting to get hungry. You were so mouthy that you were trying to get your hand, foot and your teething beads in your mouth at the same time. This was obviously impossible, and the result was so funny. You’d get your hand in there for a second, then pull it out, stick in the beads, pull them out stick your hand back in, pull your hand out and grab your foot, suck your toe for a second and then repeat the cycle. 

You are a funny gal and you’ve got a beaming smile to prove it. Golly I sure love you.

Daddy Day!

Dear Fiona,

Today is father’s day and unfortunately for all of us, your dad is in Florida sweltering in the heat and working his butt off. But that doesn’t mean we can’t celebrate his awesomeness.

Your dad is, quite simply, the best dad I can imagine. He is patient, kind and loving and he doesn’t mind doing a lot of poop wiping, cloth diaper cleaning and middle of the night walking. Even before you were born I knew he’d be the best. During my labor with you he was so supportive that even Kara, our doula, was amazed at his strength and energy. She wished she could have taped his efforts to set an example for all other dads!

Many nights, your dad has held you patiently, singing Sun Kil Moon songs to you at just above a whisper, rocking you or bouncing you to sleep even if it takes hours. Every morning he gets up when you do and changes your diaper, cooing over you and playing with you, no matter how tired he is. He makes you laugh. He makes you do tummy time even though you hate it. He draws amazing pictures of you.  But these descriptions fall pretty flat in really expressing how cool your dad is. I know that as you get older, he will continue to get better and better at dadness. You are one lucky girl!



Baby Essentials: Bust a Move!

Dear Fiona,

Now that you are strong and able to sit up fairly well, you are really moving like mad. If I just keep my hands loosely around your torso you will gyrate and bump all over the place, often lifting up on your legs and thrusting yourself forward. When I lay you against my raised knees, as I have done often since you were newly born, you will try to flail forward with your whole body, occasionally succeeding in bringing yourself into a seated position. It used to be that when I put you in your upright swing, you slumped hopelessly to one side. Now, you sit so straight and are even starting to grab for the toys I put on the swing’s tray (usually if I want you to grab something I have to touch it to your hands before you really go for it).  You don’t hate tummy time as much anymore, now that you can really lift your head and shoulders with ease, and you’ve even rolled over a few times.  You bat at the toys in your play gym (though still timidly) and you stuff everything you get a hold of in your mouth. But the funniest moving you do, dear Fiona, is in your sleep. On any given night, you rotate at least 360 degrees in your crib. Sometimes, you might make two full circles. You don’t do this by flipping over though. You force your legs up into the air, making a 90 degree angle and then use the momentum to propel yourself in the direction of your choice. The rest of the movement is all little scooches and scrunches. Last night was one of your (blessedly few) restless nights. You woke several times, enough so that I eventually put you in the bed with me (Dad is in Florida). I ended up inhabiting about 1/16th of the bed. You pushed me over gradually, moving ever southwestward. I moved you to the center of the bed MANY times, but you always came scooching back. Around 6am you startled yourself awake by flipping onto your belly and rotating a good 75 degrees all in one fell swoop. I corrected your position again, but by this time you’d had it. So I lay on my 1/16th of the bed and watched you thrash around, stuffing your hands in and out of your mouth, forcing yourself onto your side, nuzzling against me until the 1/16th turned into none of the bed at all and, exhausted, I picked you up and changed the ol’ diaper. At this rate, it feels like you will be crawling in no time, or maybe be the first infant Olympic gymnast.

Baby Essentials: The Crying Game


Boy George knows all there is to know about the crying game.

Dear Fiona,

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. You are a good baby. And what I mean by “good” is that you don’t have colic and you aren’t impossible to deal with. You also happen to be fun, funny and cute as shit, but that is another topic. When it comes to crying, you are, I would say, an average baby. You cry everyday, periodically throughout the day, but not for unreasonably sustained periods. We have yet to have a crying session that can’t be solved by nursing and/or going outside. That said, you hate the car and will cry for as long as it takes to get to the destination or for you to exhaust yourself. So that sucks.

But I was realizing in mothers group today that baby tears really are a crying game. Why are you crying? More importantly what do I need to do to stop it? In the beginning, you pretty much just cried because you were hungry. As you age, myriad reasons for tears have sprung up. I would say that two times out of ten you cry because you are hungry, five times out of ten you cry because you are tired (and sometimes this combos with the hunger to make a real doozy of a time) and the rest of the time…. the dreaded overstimulation. Let’s face it. I am not a mellow person. I like to be entertained and I like to entertain. You too, enjoy both of these activities. It just appears that neither of us know when enough is enough. Lately, you have a new cry that is really gut wrenching. I don’t know how to describe it, but when it comes I want it to stop and it seems to be the hardest one to squelch. And I can’t nurse you out of this state. Usually I start by taking off your clothes and hugging you and then I bounce you and let you “dangle” and then I take you outside and then I try and nurse you again and put you to sleep. Yesterday, I lost the crying game. Today, I caught you right as you were pulling into overstimulation station. I scooped you up from your seat, removed your clothes (you get really hot when you cry) and took you outside. I actually had to walk around the park across the street before you were fully mellowed. I tried to sit once, and boy was that a huge mistake! When we came back home, you were ready to nurse, which we did for oh, two hours before you fell asleep. I won that round (I guess?).

I really can’t stand it when you cry, even though I think your cry is “cute” (all mothers have to think that or they would go completely insane). I don’t know how people let babies “cry it out.” I never let you cry for more than 5 minutes tops, unless we are in the dreaded Prius machine (your dad named the car Lieutenant Commander Data). After leaving mothers group today you cried and cried and cried and finally I pulled over, gave you the ol’ dangle walk, nursed you and (ahem) bought you a new toy. I recognize that this “new toy when you cry” thing has to stop as soon as you are self-aware, but hey, you needed a new ball.

The crying game is all about fixing the delicate balance of babyness, but more importantly it is about anticipating the tears before they come. Fiona, I swear I am going to get better at this. I already have. In the beginning I “lost” more crying games than I won. Sure, eventually you calmed down but after a certain point I had to concede. Now, I win at least 75% of the time. I know I will never be undefeated at this game, because you will keep throwing new stuff into the mix. Way to keep it interesting Scoopy Butt!