Wednesday, November 30, 2005


I am typing with one hand as Harper nurses for the seventh time this morning. She goes through days where she wants to nurse constantly and wants to be held the entire rest of the time. I've attributed it to growth spurts, but that doesn't make it easy to get through (for me or for Harper)!

Yesterday I was ambitious and tried to run a few errands in one outing-- drop off suit at the cleaner's, stop by Casual Corner's going out of business sale, buy a tie at Gottschalks for the Christmas tree auction, and stop by Target for deodorant, diapers, and batteries. I was feeling proud leaving the house because Harper had a full belly, she was in a clean diaper, and even poised for a nap in the car if I was lucky. Thngs were smooth sailing-- went by the cleaner's, got a good parking spot at the mall, changed Harper's huge poopy diaper without getting any poo on her outfit, and even got to try a couple of things on at Casual Corner while Harper held her stuffed cat and chatted with me in her stroller. I found the perfect tie for Ethan right away. We made it to the checkout line at Gottchalks before things fell apart. I had taken her out of her stroller because she was getting pretty vocal about wanting to be held. We were looking at ourselves in the mirrored column by the register, smiling. Harper was sucking her fingers, as usual. All of a sudden I hear the familiar gag sound from my girl.

For the last month, she hasn't thrown up when she gags like that. It seemed she'd learned from the twenty times she vomited that way in month two that removing the fingers saved us all a lot of headache. But somehow, she regressed. Perhaps it'd been so long she'd forgotten again. I grabbed a burp cloth to wipe her wet chin. About 5 % of me though she might hurl. A moment later, up came the belly full of milk in about five heaves, the last of which made Harper strain, poor babe. Vomit was all over me and her, as well as the ground near us. I wiped what I could, paid for the tie and raced out of the mall. Harper squealed and squaked as we left, obviously not traumatized or sick.

We went home. I changed. I bathed her and put on fresh clothes. I nursed her because she had an empty belly. Determined to finish what I had intended, I packed up for Target. As I clicked Harper's car seat in the back of the car, I heard her do more poos. We went back in, got a new nappy, and finally left for my favorite store. The shopping experience was benign. We came home. E was researching for a paper and Harper was fussy the rest of the evening, basically wanting to be attached at the boob all night. We tried a different type of bottle; she rejected it. We settled in for the long nursing session around nine.

Most nights are like this: Harper sleeps from, say, 10:00 to 3:00, nurses, Dad changes her, sleeps again until 6:30-7, same drill, sleeps again until 9:30-10. Not too painful for Mom & Dad. Last night was not so. H slept in 2 hour blocks all night, reminiscent of her newborn days. This morning, on our walk down the hall to change her diaper and start the day I heard her gag. We raced over to the bathroom sink, and I caught most of the vomit this time. What is up? After cleaning her up and dressing for the day, Harper nursed for about an hour solid.

She's doing better now. Currently, she's reaching for toys in her ExerSaucer. Although trying at times, I wouldn't trade my time with Harper for anything-- vomit and all. Must be love!

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Harper is sleeping on me as I type this on the laptop in the living room. It took her the span of two songs to relinquish her hold on wakefulness and give in to sleep. I stood in front of the funky silver mirror and watched the fight as I swayed persuasively, trying to coax her into a nap.

Harper has expanded her range of "talk" lately to include sounds that mock the rhythm and flow of language. She still gurgles and squeals from time to time, but she'll more often string together m's, n's, g's, and b's with various vowel sounds in between.

She doesn't like most strangers. E and I think her way of handling it is kind of funny. When approached with the usual "gootchie goos" by an unfamiliar face, she doesn't turn away as one might guess a shy child would do, nor does she lean into her mom or dad for security. Instead, Harper just starts crying right in the face of the well-intentioned stranger, maintaining eye contact as if to deliberately communicate her dislike confrontationally.

She is getting really good with her hands. She reaches with greater accuracy now (i.e. touches my wedding ring or my nose) and plays with small stuffed animals. She grabs with both hands and plays with toys that way. She also reaches for the pictures in books. She tries to grab my plate or my cup if I'm holding her while I eat, so we have to be careful now to watch what is within her reach.

She's been sucking and chewing her hands like a mad woman, entering the perpetual state of teething that is characteristic of babyhood. Who knows how long it will be until we see that first tooth but her gums are definitely swollen and she likes to chew on my hand or hers for relief. She momentarily tries her toys in her mouth sometimes, but doesn't seem to like them as much as she likes flesh. Similarly, she's not one to enjoy a pacifier or a bottle. She's a purist: breast or hand only.

When I hold Harper these days, she seems to hold me back. She grabs onto my arm, shoulder, or hair and it feels like a hug. It is so fun to just be together everyday and I'm trying not to think about January 3rd when I have to go back to work. I savor our hours of closeness, playing, sleeping, singing, talking, reading, just loving one another. What joy this is.

Saturday, November 12, 2005

Third Month Update in Baby Book

Harper was immunized at the beginning of the month, which caused her to be susceptible and catch her first cold - poor baby! She's been congested and sneezy most of the month, which makes it tough to nurse well sometimes. As she becomes more aware of the world around her, Harper is fascinated and distracted by objects and her hands or feet often. She talks a lot and has a wide gamut of sounds. Lately, she likes to screech (Dad says like a pterodactyl) or blurt with her lips like she's playing a trumpet. She likes to play on the ground with Mama, reading books and reaching out for rattles or toys. She also enjoys her new toy, the ExerSaucer . Lately, Harper has slept more on her back between Mom and Dad (most of the night) or she also enjoys sleeping in her swing. She's got a little bald spot on the back of her head now from sleeping this way. Harper has started drooling more and makes spit bubbles. She can hold herself up when lying on her tummy, and seems proud of herself when she stands up tall on surfaces.