Saturday, December 2, 2006

Another new phrase is "bless you"-- said after someone sneezes. Harper's picking up on the manners thing lately. When she needs help, she asks for it by saying, "Help, please." She's actually quite good about saying please; "thank you" is not as consistent yet but it's really neat to see Harper use these polite words. She is also getting good at saying "hi" to people when greeting them. She is still generally shy, but after 15 minutes or so in a new place, she starts to feel safe enough to venture around and be friendly. However she definitely wants her personal space and always stays within eye-shot of Mama or Dada.

We've already had a social weekend. Today was Avery's 1st birthday party and Harper had fun watching the little video that Tiff and Travis showed of Avery's first year. She danced to the music and shouted, "baby!" at the screen. She and Avery will be cute buddies as they get older. Last night was the Christmas Tree Auction, and Ethan and I had a fabulous time out with friends until the wee hours. Grandma babysat the girl and we had a great, carefree time. Harper is napping right now and so is Ethan. I think I'll go join them for a snooze.

Friday, December 1, 2006

Update, regarding the counting:
Harper now counts to 20 in English and recognizes all of those numbers, too.

Harper also LOVES puzzles these days. She's learned the word "almost" from doing puzzles. When a piece was not quite in, we'd encourage her by saying, "almost!" Now she says it for herself when she's close to fitting a piece in her puzzles or when we enter the neighborhood and she can see that we're "almost home". Pretty cool word. Harper has also learned the word 'patient'. Sometimes, when she was impatiently asking for something, I'd tell her "Just one minute, baby. Be patient." She'd stand there waiting and apparently she began to understand what it meant to be patient because the other day she was asking Ethan to read her a book and she walked over to him and said, "Read it- me, please. Patient." She then stood there and waited for his attention. Harper is also saying the word "pretty". She calls herself pretty when we do her hair or she looks at herself in the mirror. "Perfect" is another of her new words. When she completes a puzzle, I tell her it's perfect and she mimics that. I am not sure she really gets the concept of the word just yet, but give her a couple of days and she will. This kid is quick. Another of her sentences is, curiously, "Ahab says, 'Ahoy, Matey'". I know it's wierd, but she's got a little captain toy that goes with her boat in the bathtub and I've told her his name is Ahab and when I animate him, this is what he says. The girl repeats everything.

Since Aunt Danielle and Uncle Marty returned to Denver after Thanksgiving, Harper's been asking about them both. She plays with a retired cell phone and pretends to talk to them on the phone. "Hi Aunt D. Love you. Soon. (trans: See you soon.) Hi Marty. Marty nice. Soon. Bye bye Aunt D."

The girl is not sleeping well lately. The little fits that she's started throwing also occur during the night when she's not getting ninny milk. This kid would have me be an all night diner if it were up to her! We've been working on pushing the AM nursing from 3 AM to 4 AM and now to 5 AM. This has been tough on all of us. With each adjustment, she cried until she understood that she was still going to get what she wanted; she just had to wait and get it later than she wanted. The hope is that by moving the nursing to later in the morning, Harper's habit of waking at 3 AM and 4 AM and 5 AM... will eventually stop and she'll sleep for longer durations. By the way, Harper's usually going to bed by 8:30 or 9, and waking around midnight first-- don't go thinking that she's waking for the first time at 3. Oh no. This kid has some serious sleep issues.

Ethan and I think it might have gotten bad again because she seems to have more separation anxiety again. And we think that is because her vocabulary is (again) exploding and she's going through a growth spurt. With new skills comes new fear and she is particularly attached to mom lately. Maybe a couple months from now she'll be more comfortable and less clingy. Harper's really smart, but also (because of that) really needy: constantly wanting to talk/converse, read books, hug, love, kiss, be the center of your attention. She's not content to blend into the background, be passed around to strangers, or play quietly on her own when there are so many potential playmates in the room (Mom remains the favorite). Dad is no "chopped-liver" either. When Dada comes home for lunch daily, Harper squeals and runs to him for hugs and wants to play with him. All day she says, "Dada soon" as if comforting herself when she misses him.

After naps, Harper loves to dance with Mama. We put songs on the computer and dance around the loft. She hugs me tight, straddling my belly and slips her hands under my shirt to rub my back. She likes to feel my skin and lean her head against me. We're so tight and fit so well together this way that all the swaying and bouncing feels like one person, not two. Harper even sings along sometimes, catching the last word in the phrase of lyrics and repeating it. I think the dancing gives her a few minutes of quiet closeness that she really enjoys in her day.

Gotta run. The girl wants to play.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Let it be noted that Harper has been counting from 1-10 in Spanish and 1-15 in English for a couple of weeks now.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

It's been a while so there's tons to report. Harper continues to be a very sensitive, smart girl and she never stops amazing us. She is learning to be polite, using the words "please" and "thank you" when appropriate. She speaks in short phrases and sentences more and more. For example, she'll hand me a book and say, "Farm book. Read it to me, please." [The "Read it to me" part is sort of a blur of eedit me sounds, but the other words are perfectly clear.] She also narrates just about her entire life so we'll hear her say stuff like "one orange spoon" while she eats dinner, or "more pickles" or "dirty hands... wash", etc. etc. Speaking of dinner time, Harper is an olive fiend! She would eat an entire dinner of green and black olives if allowed.

ABC's and 123's
Harper knows the difference between letters and numbers, and enjoys being quizzed to show her knowledge. Harper knows all of the letters by sight and can even give you a word that begins with the particular letters when asked. For example, she'll say "M... Mama" and "D... Dada... Dutton" and "F... fox... flower", etc. When playing with her we'll ask her about specific letters, like, "What is the H for?", to which she'll reply "Harper!" We've always asked her this way, but this morning while E changed her diaper, I heard him ask her, "Harper, what letter says 'Mama'?" and she paused and said, "M!" He went on to review many letters this way. I thought it was cool that she could reverse her thinking and she understood what he was asking. When we say our letters, Harper will often know what letter is next, although she isn't yet singing the song. Harper counts to thirteen currently, and we're adding a number every few days lately.

She also enjoys putting her shapes into her shapes puzzle. Each time she gets a shape correctly placed, she claps for herself. Once completed, she tries to extend the fun (and praise) by removing a piece and asking me, "Triangle go?" to which I am supposed to say, "Where does the triangle go?" Then she'll replace it in the proper spot and clap again. We also showed her a couple more shapes (octagon and diamond) and she learned them instantly. It's super cute to hear her say "octagon"!

Speaking of her words, her vocabulary has become too large for me to continue to chronicle. Suffice it to say that she says just about everything you want her to, and even everything she overhears. One of her new favorite words is "awesome!" She says, "Dada's awesome! Mama's awesome! Pasta's awesome! Sat Tatz awesome!" (For those who don't know, our calico is named Sadie Katz and Harper calls her Sat Tatz.)

Harper is becoming more and more attached to her Dada as well. A couple weeks ago while Ethan was out of town for a board retreat, I tried to stay the night at the Ertls for fun. Harper loves her cousins and they treat her like she's the most special little girl. Although we had a great time playing throughout the evening, after bedtime was tough. Harper would not sleep. She would doze for about an hour at a time, sniffling the entire doze, and when she'd wake, she'd ask, "Dada at? Soon?" I always tell her "Dada's at work. We'll see him soon." so she crafted the question form of this to try to figure out what happened to her Dad! It was tough because she could understand that he was missing but couldn't really understand my assurances that he was returning soon. Finally, at 4 AM I packed us up and drove home. On the way home, I told her "We're going home, baby. It's night time and we need to sleep!" I figured, even if we got in bed at 5 AM, there was a chance I could get 3 hours of sleep out of the night and that would be better than none! From the back seat, Harper replied, "Dada home?" Needless to say, we were relieved when E returned home the next evening.

Harper surprised both me and Grannie the other night while Grannie was talking to her on the phone. Harper began actually talking back to Gran! She said, "Hi Nana! (pause... listening) Love you, Nana. (pause...) Bye bye Nana!" Since then, she is pretty good about talking and listening on the phone. That reminds me-- one of Harper's favorite children's songs is by Laurie Berkner and it starts out, "I called you on the telephone, ring a ling a ling, you weren't home..." Harper pretends to hold a phone to cue me to sing that song, stands up on the entry rug on the tiled, stage-like step, and stomps her foot to the beat, dancing. When we get to the next verse, "Went to your house knocked on the door, knock knock knock, and I knocked some more..." she turns and knocks on our front door behind her. Harper's a performer!

This kid loves attention and is used to getting it. Dr. Nagatani asked if Harper is throwing any tantrums yet and I suppose she has started to get angry and frustrated when she doesn't get her way. His advice was to ignore it if she did and that's basically what Ethan and I try to do. She usually gets upset if she wants "up jeear, Mama!" (jeear= there, me to pick her up) and I can't do it right then. Over the last three weeks or so, however, she's started to show a little patience if I tell her, "just one minute". Often, she'll stop protesting and wait for a while.

One of Harper's favorite ways to initiate play is to run around and say, "Catch you!" Her face lights up, and her mouth stays open wide when she's really excited and running with Mom or Dad. She loves being "caught" and ticked, turned upside down, and then set back down to chase some more. She pops around the sides of the couch to surprise you and gets a little scared when you pop around the side and surprise her. She loves to play this way. Harper likes to be physically active, run, tumble, dance. She likes to walk together outside, holding hands to get the mail and then play in the fallen leaves in the driveway for a while before going inside. She's beginning to lose some of the rolls on her thighs (frown) because of all of this running. It's sad to see them go, but her hair is getting longer and those bouncy ringlets as that happy girl runs around assure me that each new stage of her growing up will be full of beautiful surprises.

Monday, October 23, 2006



Harper, Dada, and Bubbles

Harper LOVES the ocean-- calls it "bubbles". We had a great trip to the coast last weekend. We stayed in Cayucos at the Silvieras' beach house right near the shore. It was definitely a highlight of Harper's life. She enjoyed walking in the sand and playing in the waves with Mom and Dad (mostly Dad). When it was time to leave the water, she cried (both times) and reached out for "Bubbles!"


Two Ones!

In the bath this morning, Harper pulled the number one off the left end of the number line, and then snagged the one from the number ten on the right end of the numbers and said "one... one" as she pulled them off. Then she transferred them to just one hand and said, "two ones!" A few minutes later she pulled the six off and then the nine, rotated the nine to look like a six and said, "two six!" She's getting it!

Colors

Harper's got many colors down now. She can name and identify blue, orange, yellow, pink, black, green, brown, and red. It took her a while to transfer the learning from the pages of her book and the rainbow keys of her xylophone, but she started correctly identifying colors outside of those this weekend.

Fake Reading

Any time Harper recognizes that there are words (i.e. the words on the computer screen as I type right now), she points to them and fake reads. Apparently fake reading involves a lot of z's. "Zoogu bak za zib dood zuh..." I am sure this comes from the fact that the first word I ever pointed out to her was "zoo". It may sound random, but the reason why was because she brought me a book with that in the title and said "zoo" as she gave it to me. I responded excitedly and repeatedly pointed out the word on the cover. At first she generalized that and thought that every word was "zoo". Now she's beginning to understand that written words are like the words we speak and when she sees them, mimics speech.

Thursday, October 19, 2006




Numbers!

Harper can now identify her numbers from 1-10 when asked to find a certain one, and she can also say numbers 1-10. She had been working on them for a couple of weeks (i.e. reading counting books, counting bites on her highchair tray, pointing out numbers when she saw them in the world, etc.) but things really kicked in when I threw these foam numbers into the bath. She was so excited! "Numbers!"

The first day she would pick up the six shape and call out "six" no matter how it was turned (even when it was upside down and thus a nine). When I sat down in the bath with her, I picked it up and showed her that it was a six one way, and when you turn it upside down and the circle is at the top, it is then a nine. I repeated it a few times but couldn't tell if it was meaning anything to her by her face. I simply thought it was worth pointing out, but I remembered that many kindergarteners often invert their letters and I wasn't going to be upset if she continued to confuse the two.

The next morning (yesterday), she sat in the bath, manipulating the six shape and calling it six when it looked like one, and then turning it upside down and calling it a nine. She did this by herself several times, as if practicing or reinforcing her new understanding. I was shocked! Today she never missed a beat when asked to differentiate those two numbers.





Quiz me! "Ask me!"

Harper wants to be challenged. In this photo, she is sitting among chalk shapes and asking (with the pointed fingers running over the field of options and an "uh uh uh!" sound) someone to challenge her to find a specific shape. Grammer Lynda began teaching her to say "Ask me!" last night during our date night so she could better articulate what she's wanting. We respond with some variation on "Can you find the _____? Where is the _____, Harper?" She excitedly (and with 100% accuracy) points out the requested shape. As the video showed a couple months ago, the girl has them down.

But the requests for quizzing don't stop there. She also asks to be challenged to find the foam numbers or to locate the animals on the page in her story book... whatever whenever. She's figured out that it is both a way to show her knowledge and be praised and also a way to get more information and learn. I've recently created a number line, a list of shapes, and a page with her full name "Harper Sequoia Dutton" for her, laminated with some packing tape. These are fun for her and she loves to be quizzed on them. She will also narrate if asked to tell what she sees.

She's an insatiable learner and honestly... I hope I can keep up! Ethan and I feel really blessed that we have the extended family that we do and so many resources to turn to with different perspectives and expertise to help us to provide Harper with the kind of learning and stimulation that she so craves.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Congrats to my two pregnant buddies, Katie Briemle and Erin Largoza, who are both expecting BOYS!

Hooray for more good men in the world, mothered by sensitive, smart, beautiful, talented teachers who will raise them to have integrity and moral courage! I can't wait to meet your new sons!

Monday, October 9, 2006




Happy Fall!

Thursday, October 5, 2006



"Phone Balones": short form of "phony bologna"
This is Harper doing her "Phone Balones" face. She says a babyish form of "Phone Balones" and then makes this face and a semi-plaintive, semi-jokey mmmm sound. Another of her funny jokes.

Tuesday, October 3, 2006

Dreamy

Harper has talked in her sleep twice in the last week. I've always wondered what her dreams were like because from the time she was only days old, it was clear she was dreaming. Sometimes she would smile and light up in her sleep, looking happy. Other times she'd grimace and look sad. The content remains a mystery, but some recent light was shed by the girl as she fell back asleep in the middle of the night. The first time it happened, I heard her say, "Nanas... mmmm!" so she must have been dreaming of eating bananas! The other night I heard her through the monitor, "Book! Mama! Mama!", probably dreaming of trying to cajole me into reading another book.

Down!

The girl squirms in your arms and asks to be put "Down!" everywhere we go now. She wanted to explore Costco this way the other day, and she'd prefer to be on her own two feet at every store if it were possible. It's fun to walk alongside her while she holds onto your finger and imagine her perspective. I am always worried that people will walk right into her because she is below the normal line of sight so I keep right by her side. I want to encourage the independence and adventurous spirit she's showing, but also keep her safe-- wow, isn't that a nice summary of the challenge of parenthood?

Time to Sleep/ Goodnight Moon

When Harper was about five months old, we started to establish a bedtime routine of getting a new nappy, putting on PJs, reading books in low light, music, and then breastfeeding. I always read the same three books: Time to Sleep, I Love You as Much, and I Love You Through and Through. On her first birthday, Harper received Goodnight Moon from Amy Silveira and that has now replaced the last of the three and Ethan's now taken over the role of reading the books. It is so nice to sit on the ground and watch as he reads them to her while she leans back in his arms in the rocking chair, holding Hop. She anticipates the next page now, and helps him narrate the books. He pauses for the words she tends to fill in. Time to Sleep follows animal mothers as they put their babies to sleep, and it has a little rhyme to it. Harper either says the name of the animal or the sound it makes as he turns the pages and she looks down at me sitting on the ground with a wide, proud smile. I laugh and act amazed that she knows all of the animals (even though it's not surprising at this point), which probably contributes to the proud look on her face. After books are read, we put Hop in the crib and say goodnight to him, kiss Dada and say "love" to him, and then breastfeed to sleep.

Oops!

Harpers always tried to make us laugh. When she was only a couple months old, she'd make funny noises and laugh and I'd say, "That's her 5-month-old joke!" or she'd muffle her noises with her hands, making a "Wadawada" sound and I'd say, "That's a funny 8-month-old joke!" Well, lately, she pulls one leg up in her highchair and looks at me, saying "Whoops!" with her palms up. She waits for me to say, "Silly old leg! How'd that get up there? Oops! Better put that leg down! That's so silly!" at which point, she puts it down... only to lift it up again and say "Whoops!". She loves this game/joke.

Conductor Harper

Harper also loves to cue us to entertain her. For example, she will point to Ethan or me and make a sound that she wants us to say, like "Boo!" if she wants us to pop out and say "Boo!" or "ooooup! Peekaboo!" if she wants that one. She also cues me to sing her favorite songs. She'll say "Bus" for "Wheels on the Bus" and between verses she'll shout out the next thing she wants me to sing about on the bus. "Talk talk talk" is the Harper on the bus, "moo" for cow, "horse" for horse, "bok, bok" for chickens, etc. etc.

Blue?

Harper's learning her colors right now, but she can't really say, "What color is this?" when she wants to know so instead she'll say, "blue?" It's very charming. She's learning the concept of color, and she can correctly identify blue, purple, green, and orange things (and can say those words). It's also neat to watch her problem-solve to make the language she has work for her.

Saturday, September 30, 2006

A few more new words:

challah
cheek
necklace
earring
eyelash
elbow
pepper

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Found that list!
Here are the words we noted as new (since we posted the last list), but as I said before, there are many I'm forgetting. I think it's neat to have some noted though, because it is telling to see what words she speaks first. You can learn a lot about her diet, her likes/dislikes, her personality, and what her life is like.

Dutton (can tell you now that her name is "Hapah Dutton")
song
dance
tortilla
everywhere (it's the last word in "Goodnight Moon")
home
beef
none (the latter three from the "little piggies" rhyme... she can fill in the blank when you say it with her toes)
some
more (the later two often said together, "some more!", but also said separately depending on context)
There it is!
heart
circle
star
square (these are the words she can say, but she can identify triangle, square, rectangle, circle, oval, heart, and star)
horse (usually said to cue me to sing, "Ride a little horsey down to town, ride a little horsey and down fall down!" while bouncing her)
on
off
top
bottom
in
out
boy
girl
chair
highchair
wash
dry off
towel
done
purple
blue
orange (can often, but not always, identify colors correctly. Today she told me, "blue shirt" and in fact, I am wearing one.)
pants
panties
shirt
dress
button
hands
arm
fingers
thumb
knee
back
toes
mouth
nose
eye
eyebrow
Elmo (sounds like "Alpo")
Grover
Big Bird
purse
Ahab (the captain of her boat in the bath tub)
egg
flap (the latter two from her "Little Duck" book)
Na Na (for "grannie")
Pa Pa (for "grandpa")
MaMa (a variation of Mama, for "grandma" and "grammer")
boo!
socks
shoes
you
stripes
dots
cup
house
mouse
car
bear
apple
nanas (for bananas)
easy (singing along with, "summertime, and the livin' is easy...")
cheese
berries
this
plum
sun
sky
half
bus (when playing with her wooden one, when prompting me to sing "Wheels on the bus")
bye bye
one
two (understands the concept of both one and two-- will answer correctly when asked "How many?" or will just tell you correctly unprompted sometimes too)
four
five (knows they're numbers, but doesn't understand them yet, really)
water
sit (says to the dog, mimics my palm toward dog-- by the way, Parker sits for her, too!)
puffs
those
do- dos
there
brocolli
beans
cute (usually referring to her hair clips)
[Harper also correctly uses plurals and possessives. She'll tell you when there are many "books" and when she is bringing you just one "book", or when she lifts the flap on a page and there are "hops" (bunnies) behind it or when she is holding her stuffed bunny, "hop". She will also ask for bites of "Mama's" food during dinner or ask for "Dada's" cup to clank against hers and say "cheers". If I ask her who's cup she's drinking from, she'll say, "Hapah's".]

Exciting Week
Last Wednesday Harper went to StoryTime at the library, where they read a few books about Autumn. She was very excited to be surrounded by "books!" and sat quietly on my lap while the stories were read, paying more attention to the many other children than to the stories. Next time we go we're going to check out some books.

Then Saturday (while Ethan was playing tennis with Ed) Erin, Miles, Harper and I went to the COS farm here in town. Harper got to see real, live cows, pigs, sheep, horses, and even a llama! She has been talking about it since! She'll list those animals' sounds to me, as if recalling the visit!

After the farm trip, we went over to ImagineU Children's Museum on Main St. We played there a while more. (That's where she learned "orange", from the orange padded play gym piece.) Harper always has fun with Miles. She loves to give him kisses. When returning from the kitchen, Erin and I found the two of them kissing in the living room! They give each other sweet pecks on the lips!

This Wednesday (today) we went to a nearby park and Harper enjoyed the baby swings. I told her she was flying in the sky like a bird so she kept saying "sky" and "tweet tweet!" and kicking her legs. Harper also walked all around that park and enjoyed picking up wood chips.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

I was making a list of newish words that Harper now speaks, but it got lost somewhere. It was very long. I don't feel like recreating the list because it is very tough to keep track of all of them. Let me just say that she is able to communicate very clearly and even attempts many multi-syllabic words (tortilla, everywhere, brocolli, eyebrow to name a few). She always tries to say a word if we cue her with "Can you say _______?" and she understands when we're teaching her the label for an object. She also has a very good memory so she'll reuse the terms we've given her in other contexts as appropriate. All of this contributes to her extraordinarily large vocabulary.

The walking is tremendous. She's on her feet all the time now, getting faster but never out of Mama's sight. She's a cautious little thing. She wants to be right by my side all the time, which is convenient for keeping her safe and unharmed, but sometimes a bit tough because when it's not nap time, I'm expected to be performing and teaching and entertaining. With walking comes separation anxiety (typically) and Harper's no exception to this. She understands the concept of "bye bye" now, and she says it (verbally, and very clearly) to Dada daily. When he's not around, she asks for him, "Dada, bye bye?" with a questioning tone and her hands up. I have to explain to her that he's at "work" (another word she's recently learned) but that he's coming back. Sometimes (the separation anxiety, I guess) she'll get sad-looking and ask me, "Mama, bye bye?" and I have to reassure her that I'm not going anywhere. I feel very lucky that my girl is able to tell me when she's feeling insecure rather than just cry in the isolation that comes from not-being-understood.

We've begun to wean Harper, and I am sure this adds to the separation issues. We cut out the middle-of-the-day feeding and she had a conversation with me about it yesterday. Went like this: "Mama... ninnies... bye bye?" (For those outside my family, ninnies are boobs.) I said, "yes, bye bye ninnies. We'll have some ninnies later." I know she misses it because she talks a lot more about "ninnies" than she used to. I'm still nursing her right before bed, in the middle of the night, and first thing in the morning. The next feeding to remove will be the middle of the night, followed by the first thing in the morning, and then the before bed feeding. At least that's the plan.

Gotta run... more later! So much to catch up about-- I hear Harper waking from her nap!

Wednesday, September 20, 2006



With Elmo-- thanks Susan!

Saturday, September 9, 2006



Carie's Caroline and our Harper

Thursday, August 31, 2006



Walking with Two Ponytails

Harper continues to practice her new skills, but she gets frustrated pretty easily. We're trying not to pressure her to do anything she doesn't want to. It's so fun to watch her walk! It's hard to contain the excitement when she does get up the nerve to try it again. She still does her funny crawl most of the time, and you can tell she is taking her time with the walking because she gets upset that it doesn't come easily. If she falls down, she kicks her legs and her cry sounds mad.

She's also teething again. She's got three big molars, but her bottom left still hasn't poked through and all four of her incisors are coming in, causing her grief. The other night she was acting very whiny and clingy and of course we thought about the teeth, but also chalked some of it up to general neediness due to the walking. A lot of babies have extra separation anxiety while learning to walk, and being the sensitive (and very attached) girl she is, we were blaming a lot of the whining on separation anxiety. When we returned from dinner out and set her down on the ground to play with her toys, she cried out again. I ran over to her and it seemed like she was mad at her sippy cup, so I asked her if she wanted a drink and picked it up. When I looked at the spout, I saw that it had some blood on it. Poor thing! She doesn't allow you but a half second's glance at her teeth and gums so it's hard to know for sure, but I think her bottom left incisor is just starting to break through the gums, which might have been what the blood was all about. We're all looking forward to the end of the teething.

Surprisingly, Harper is sleeping better these days. She went down to one nap a day (around 1 PM) last week, and although it is still a bit of a stretch during the daytime, she is sleeping a lot better at night. She gets tired around 11 AM but we stay up and play, read books, and eat lunch until 1 o'clock, when I nurse her and she conks right out. At night, she's been giving us nice stretches of 4-6 hours (the first stretch) of sleep. She's been joining us in bed anywhere from around midnight to 2:30 AM and I nurse her when she joins us. The rest of the night she tends to wake more often, but until 6 AM, I don't nurse her. Instead I say, "It's night time. Time to go to sleep." She begs a bit, but generally calms right down and settles back to sleep. Then she nurses between 6 and 7 or so and we get up for the day. A few months back, it was so tough for me to figure out how to get this kid to sleep for longer stretches. We were worn out!

I am so glad that she has grown up enough now that I can reason/ talk with her and it works! She knows she's loved, she doesn't have to feel afraid and cry it out alone to learn how to sleep. Patience went a long way, and I am so glad that I didn't jump onto any bandwagons in my frustration. A lot of how I parent, I've learned from Harper. I generally follow her lead. She is needy at night? I meet her nightly needs. Now she understands what I am saying? Now I can tell her what to do and my consistency pays off. She is an insatiable learner? I will continually teach.

Harper continues to talk all the time. Harper's favorite phrase lately is "There it is!". She figured it out one day while I was changing her diaper and asking her where her belly button was. When she'd find it, I'd exclaim, "There it is!" She'd mock me, and now she uses the phrase when pointing to her belly button, as well as other contexts when she finds something she wanted. For example, she will stand up, holding onto her toybox in front of her stereo, and reach her hands up in the air to signal me to play "Bushel and a Peck". I know this because she and I always do the same motion, with hands up high opening and closing our fingers, for the "do do do do do do" part of the song. Once the tune starts, she'll often say, "There it is!"

Another favorite word lately is "Cheers!" I taught it to her one day while we were playing with her stacking cups. She'd hit hers against mine, I'd say :"Cheers!" and then I'd pretend to take sips out of it. Right away, she started to follow suit with the pretending-to-drink. A couple days later, she was demanding that I clang whatever-was-in-my-hands with her sippy cup before every drink and shouting "Cheers!" all the time. She's mellowed a bit about it now, not quite so demanding, but it remains one of her favorite expressions.

She puts words together more and more. This morning, she dropped her book while I was changing her on the changing table. She said, "Mama... whoops... down!" and pointed to the book. She'll also describe the book she's holding when I say, "What's that?" She'll reply, "bear book." She is also saying "on" and "off" now, mostly referring to lights. She also says "wash" now and rubs her hands together. It was funny today after lunch. She told me she was "all done" using the sign, pulled on her bib to tell me to take it off. I did, and then I lifted her out of the seat and she said, "up!" She she told me to "wash" her and rubbed her little hands together. We walked over to the sink and cleaned up. She is increasingly interacting and sometimes I wish she wasn't so clear! For example, the other night on our way out, she pointed to her shoes and did the sign for "all done" and said, "off!"-- clearly asking me to take them off her. I was half-way wishing she didn't know how to make such a request as I explained that she had to keep her shoes on while we were out. Crazy! I honestly don't put anything past her.

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Saturday, August 26, 2006

WALKER!

Harper took her first unassisted steps today! This morning, she took one step after balancing for a while. And just minutes ago, Harper stood up between my legs and got her balance, let go of me, and when Dada called her to come to him, she turned to face him and took three steps, right into his arms! Pretty exciting! It will definitely be a while before the walking takes off, so to speak, but Harper is on her way!

Yipeeee! The baby has become a toddler!

Monday, August 21, 2006

Good Cognitive Skills!

Harper can now say her own name! For the past three days, Harper responds with a "Hapah" when asked, "What is your name?" Super cute! For the past month or so, when she saw a photo of herself, she would point to it and then point to her own chest to communicate that the photo was of her, but now she will point to it and say, "Hapah!" (When she woke from her nap a few minutes ago I was holding her in my arms and she saw a framed photograph of her when she was four months old. She perked up and said "Hapah!" in recognition. She amazes everyone with her ability to recognize and identify people in photographs, even when the picture doesn't look like the person does today. She can also correctly identify baby pictures of Ethan or me, even ones that she has never seen before!)

Other newish words include the following:

shhhh! (with index finger over mouth)
choo-choo (with hands clasped together and bouncing them vertically)
turtle
bubbles
gorgeous
boat
bath
push! (said when she wants to push blocks through their corresponding hole in the lid of the box, i.e. circle in the circle hole)
zoo (says while holding out "Put Me in the Zoo" book)
whoops (says she's holding a book entitled, "Whoops!")
uh oh
toots (said when she or someone else toots)
and many more... it's tough to keep up with this kid!

Harper is also starting to put words together and make small sentences. For example, the other day while she was eating at Grandma's house, she pointed to her placemat and explained in sign language "kitty cat sleeping". Indeed, the picture featured in the center of the placemat was of a sleeping cat. This morning she was talking to Dada in the other room and I overheard, "Va Dada Mama"-- translation: I love Dada and Mama. She also does the signs for "sleepy" and "baby" to tell me she's tired sometimes because I've always said, "Are you a sleepy baby?" She also asks me to play a specific song by sitting in front of the stereo and doing the sign for train (a sign, by the way, that she made up) and saying, "choo choo!" (The song she's wanting is "Little Red Caboose", sung by Laurie Berkner.) She can even find the H in her LeapFrog Phonics Radio toy and tell me it's for "Hapah". It's so fun to watch her express herself so confidently and effectively.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006



Harper and Hop, photo taken during today's AM nap

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Vocabulary Explosion!

Ethan and I were becoming aware of Harper's growing vocabulary, but were having a tough time estimating just-how-large it could be, so we started a list. The following words are ones Harper can communicate, ones she consistently represents the same way every time she intends. Some of the words are very clear or very close to the way an adult would say it, and are recognizable by anyone listening. Others are sign words, which I've marked with a star. Others are words she communicates with a sign/gesture combined with a sound, which I've explained in parenthesis.

Mama
Dada
book
dog dog
ruff ruff
hi *
bye *
duck (sounds almost like a 'quack, quack')
kitty cat (scratches her face by her mouth, says a high-pitched mmmm sound)
all done *
sleep *
phone *
flower *
tree *
silly *
yay! *
bad cat!
up
down
food (says mmm, as if enjoying yummy food)
love (sounds like 'va')
kisses (makes an mmmmah! sound while kissing her hand)
hat
that
light
cow (moos)
lion (roars)
monkey (says ooo- ooo)
giraffe *
bee (makes a zzzzzzah! sound)
snake (makes an ssssss sound)
bird (pinches finger and thumb, says 'tweet, tweet')
ball
mouse (makes an eee- eee sound)
elephant *
brush *
shoes *
bear
fish
push
baby *
owl (makes a whoo- whoo sound)
hop (for bunny rabbit)
shirt
bib
po po
hair *
curls *
hug *
yawn *
boob (said when she wants to nurse)
one * (holds up one finger when asked, "How old are you?")

I believe that's 52 words... and counting. Every day she says something new. It's fun to find which word will miraculously pop out of her mouth today.

We did not include her receptive language here, words she clearly understands like "dance" (she bounces when told to dance) or "scratch" (she scratches surfaces when prompted to), etc. She knows lot of her body parts and can identify them when asked. She can follow commands like "go get the hanger and give it to Mama". She started to play along with the "How big is Harper? sooooo big!" game recently, too. She seems to understand most everything we're saying. She's even sensitive to inflection and gets teary when she thinks she's in trouble or has done something she shouldn't have. We're careful not to sound too harsh when we're telling her to stop what she's doing, or not to drop food on the ground, but she is a sensitive girl and gets upset if she thinks she's disappointed us. There was simply too much receptive language to be able to count. But this list represents the words she can express at her whim... a lot for a girl who just turned one year old!

Friday, July 28, 2006




photo taken on July 22, 2006 (11 1/2 months old)
shopping with Mom and Dad

Tuesday, July 25, 2006




photo taken on 6/29/06, 10 1/2 months old
6/6/06 - 7/5/06 update in baby book, with a few added details

The first week of the month, Harper had a temperature and a rash, which Dr. Nagatani said was just a virus. I think it was roseola, after consulting my baby books and Erin Largoza. Most of the month, however, Harper maintained a slight temperature and she now has her first molar (on her right side). The left one didn't erupt until a month later, and her temperature subsided. I attempted some baby food again, which she took for a while but Harper really enjoys our food best of all. She likes tiny bits of fresh mozzarella cheese, bites of banana and blueberries, bits of bread, and meat sauce pasta put through the Food Mill. She (surprisingly?) even liked dill pickles, feta cheese, and pesto! She loves to eat carrot wheels or puffs, too (crackers that dissolve easily, specially made for babies). Harper became a sippy cup fiend this month, and she drinks a lot of water between nursings. We now nurse when she wakes, before her 9:30 AM nap, before her 2:30 PM nap, and at bedtime. She also nurses all through the night when she wakes up, which is still very frequent. Although it is exhausting to wake so many times at night, I have to mention that it is also a very sweet part of the baby experience, too. Harper whines a bit and roots around, finds my breast, and latches on, and then she often rubs my belly while nursing. She usually only wants to suck for about 2 minutes and then she pulls off and falls back asleep on my arm.

Harper had a tough month in terms of sleep (or should I say Ethan and I had a tough month?). Even naptimes, it was often difficult to get her to sleep much. It fluctuated between some long naps (1 1/2 hours) to short (30-35 minutes) some days. At night, she woke several nights after a very short while and Dada had to help her fall back asleep and set her back in her crib. When she first wakes, we bring her into bed with us but usually that is after about 2 hours on her own in her crib. Some nights (I assume because of the teething pain), she'd wake in less than an hour this month and Ethan would hold her until she fell asleep and set her back down so that we could maintain a couple of baby-free hours at night. We plan to work on moving Harper to sleep full time in her crib after her first birthday sometime.

We got a new kitten, Sadie, and Harper loves mimicing her meow. She makes a high-pitched "mmm" sound to do so. Harper loves books, and never tires of reading with whomever will oblige. We keep many in the front room on a bottom shelf and she will choose one and bring it to you to read, even the large, heavy ones! She often likes to hear the same book read over and over, but you can tell her to "get a different book" and she will! You can even describe which one you want by cueing her with some of the content and she'll find and bring you the book you ask for. Harper is also very musical. She loves her baby iPod, which plays nursery songs. She has begun bouncing to music and often sings when I do, especially as I sing her to sleep for naps. Harper pulls up more and more and is starting to cruise along furniture. If she's ever out of sight, I can say. "Where's Harper girl? Where's Mama's baby?" and she'll come racing back to me, smiling. Such a good girl! Harper also showed interest in a DVD for the first time (Sesame Street Musical Celebration). She points excitedly at the "dog, dog!" and "duck!" and bounces to the songs.

Ethan and I started a "date night" this month, and have assigned family members rotating Wednesday night duties. We are grateful that Harper is surrounded by so many willing, nay-- excited, clamoring-- babysitters! We think it is a win-win-win situation. E and I get some needed time sans child, the sitter(s) get some fun time alone with the girl who is in her own element here at home, and Harper gets to know her family better and begin to see that the realm of safety and love extends beyond Mama and Dada. It's also good for the separation anxiety (both Harper's and mine).

Harper loves interacting and attention, and she shows affection more and more. She gives loving hugs and kisses more frequently these days. She is a very empathetic girl who cries in concern whenever her cat's meow sounds plaintive or her friend Avery's babbles have a whiny tone. We love her awareness and sensitivity, but also feel protective of her tender heart.

Monday, June 26, 2006

Molar!

About a week ago I had a dream that I was telling someone that Harper had eight teeth (as she's had for a couple of months now) and as I was saying it, I looked in her mouth and counted sixteen. In the dream, I was like, "Woah! These showed up when I wasn't looking!"

Well, call it mother's intuition or whatever but it turns out, Harper does have a new tooth that poked through when I wasn't looking. Yesterday I was playing with her and held her upside down, and spotted a white spot on her right top gums. Upon closer examination, it was indeed a molar! It's been there for at least a week or two because it is already quite visible (when you go looking for it). I felt around on the other side and I can feel that the corresponding tooth is right below the surface of her gums but it is not poking through yet.

I just went online to check for typical molar tooth eruption in babies: the range is 12-16 months. At 10 1/2, Harper is super early. This explains the low grade fever she's had for a while now, the drool stool, and (hopefully) the night wakings. There's always something we can blame her wakefulness on.

Thursday, June 22, 2006



"Harper Loving Herselfus"

Monday, June 19, 2006

9 - 10 months (5/5/06 - 6/5/06)

What a month! Tons to report... so behind. I'll inevitably forget something, but here's what I just noted in Harper's baby book about the month.

Harper's scoots turned into crawling at the beginning of the month. She'd do a kind of "downward dog" and shuffle on her knees a bit. Her crawl is cute-- she's up on her hands and right knee, but often pushes with her left foot. She can crawl anywhere and pull herself up to stand, even when asked. She likes to stand up as I fill her bath and she is enjoying bath time more now that she has learned the word 'splash'. Harper also went "swimming" for the first time on Mother's Day. She had a great time splashing Mama. Her favorite toy this month (besides books, which remain supreme) is her Leap Frog Learning Table, which makes lots of musical sounds and plays songs. She likes to stand up and lean against it while making lots of fun sounds with it. (Her favorite is the spinner that sings the ABC's and other whole songs.) She never tires of peekaboo, hiding in the curtains, ducking her head below her own arm, or coming out from around the couch. She will often initiate the game, and once I start narrating, she excitedly continues. It is clear Harper really loves interacting and communicating. That is her motivation for almost everything she does! A recent game we worked out was "roll to Harper, give to Mama", which we play with any round object. She 'got it' instantly! It really amazes me how quickly she excels when challenged. One afternoon, while nursing, I used her finger to explain where my chin and forehead are. Since then, she can point them out when asked. ('Don't know if I've already posted it here, but she could already point out my nose, mouth, eyes, ears, and eyebrow.) Because she is such a sponge, I am constantly narrating our actions and it seems she really understands most everything! Harper also started giving kisses this month. She gives open-mouthed kisses to people occasionally, but gives kisses often to her own reflection. Harper still eats mostly breastmilk, but also consumed significant amounts of cottage cheese, bread, and puffs/wheels as supplements. Our family went on a trip to Catalina Island and Harper traveled very well this time. None of the sleep problems that she had traveling when she was 4 1/2 months old. She had a lot of fun with her cousins, who adore her. Harper also has a new smile that showed up this month, closed mouth with lips slightly puckered. I continue to marvel at her range of expression, how subtle she can be, and how perceptive. She is a gentle and sensitive girl, who loves to give hugs and express her love. We feel lucky she is ours!

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Hugs

Harper is so affectionate these days! It feels wonderful to see that she is already understanding what it means to love and care for someone/ something and how to be kind and show that love. She has been giving hugs for about a month now, often prompted by "Can you give _____ a hug?" but she often does it without any prompting, too. It started with Mama and Dada, then extended into the world of her stuffed animals (Puffin was first), and now she'll even hug the bottle of lotion! It's fun to watch her hug objects because she curls her little arm around it, draws it into her neck and leans her head over it. We always say "Oh... so sweet and nice!", which she waits to hear before pulling back. But it is extra fun to be the recipient of a Harper hug, her little arms reaching across you, her head leaning lovingly against your neck.

Scoots turned into Crawls

Harper's been working on the up-on-all-fours, getting-both-legs-going actions for about a week now, and today she actually got somewhere with this crawl. She still vascilates between her old standby (the scoot) and her new ability, but she's definitely on her way!

Tuesday, May 2, 2006



Fast and Clingy

The girl is getting quick with the scooting around. She generally pulls with her right arm and pushes off with her left leg at the same time and she's covering a lot of ground these days. Her favorite thing is to touch the "breakables" or the "yuckies" of course, like the stereo on the bottom shelf or Dad's flip flops. I have begun to stick those outlet covers on the accessible outlets. It was really funny today while Dada was home for lunch. Harper was scooting along to come join us, and she stopped off at the stereo (her favorite). She sat up from the scoot position (which she has totally mastered by herself now) and the next thing we knew, she had pushed the power button and then the play button, and They Might Be Giants' Here Come the ABC's album started playing. E and I both looked at eachother with bewilderment and laughed at our genius girl. It was probably fluke more than genius, but definitely hilarious (especially if you're familiar with that album and the way it starts)! Along with Harper's mobility comes the separation anxiety typical of this age. She gets somewhere and then thinks I am gone and starts to cry for me. I was so proud of her when she learned how to "Give Mama a hug" on cue, and now she's like leaning in and giving hugs all the time (no cueing necessary). The hugs are sweet, but I do look forward to the time when Harper feels unafraid to discover on her own.

Eating Habits

Harper's decided she's done with the baby food. She positively refuses to eat it anymore and is VERY interested in whatever's on our plates. I've bought a bunch of finger foods for babies because Harper will eat those and they are the melt-in-your-mouth type that she's less likely to gag on. Until she masters the chewing/mashing with her jaw, I am always really careful about what I give her off my plate. The other night we were eating Mexican, and she had some of my beans. All night long the poor girl was tooting. Yesterday, I made cookies in the morning and broke off a piece of warm cookie for her when they were fresh. Later in the day, I was eating another and Harper gestured (shaking arms up and down) and vocalized her desire for a bite. When I didn't immediately oblige, she launched into crying! I couldn't believe it! Crying for a cookie! (Smart cookie!)

"That"
Her fourth word. Said when pointing. Over the last couple weeks she's started to really emphasize the final 't' sound, which is super cute. Sometimes said with a questioning, ascending tone.


Pulling Up

Harper is working on this trick. I have a suspicion it will be the next one because she almost has it. She can pull herself up if she is seated on my knee so that her feet are in front and below her a bit. It's harder for her when her feet aren't below her. She likes to play stand-up-sit-down over and over again on the couch with a little of my help and lots of supervision/ injury prevention. I know the bumps and bruises are inevitable and coming soon, but I want to put them off for as long as possible.

We love watching Harper's personality develop and unfold. She is increasingly understanding and understood.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Scooter

Since April 10th, the night E did our taxes, Harper has been scooting around. She pushes forward with one arm kinda tucked under her, reaching for whatever motivated her with the other arm. She inches around, like she's an infantryman dodging enemy fire. We've found that she'll go the greatest distance for cell phones, remote controls, monitor receivers, and anything else she doesn't normally get to play with. The novelty does it every time.

Sitting Up

Harper's been sitting unassisted for months now, but a new development has occured. She can now go from lying on her back to sitting up almost completely on her own! She's been doing crunches for months working toward this, and Easter morning, she and Dad worked on it. She apparently used her tummy strength to get part way up, and then pulled herself the rest of the way by grabbing onto her crib. When the crib's not around, either E or I will help her out by holding her feet down so that she can tummy muscle her way all the way up. Strong gal!

Thursday, April 6, 2006

Pointer
Harper is pointing to everything these days. The "where's...?" game has evolved from just looking at the object/person in question to now pointing as well. Our favorite is "Where's Mama's/Dada's nose?" She touches it in response.

"Book"
It looks like this is going to be her third word. She says it when she's holding a book or reaching for one. It sounds like the word but without the ending 'k' sound. Super cute.

Rolling all over the place
For the past, say, five days or so, Harper acts like she actually enjoys rolling around on the ground and playing with toys. In the past, that was only fun if Mom or Dad was on the ground with her. She's gotten so much better with her rolling around that it is now enjoyable, and she can cover a lot of ground that way. I'll look at her and she'll be in one spot, mouthing a ball or something, and then less than a minute later, she will have rolled 5 or 6 feet away and is reaching for a new toy. (This mobility makes me want to finish the unpacking and put up a gate on the stairs ASAP!) I think her enjoyment will make crawling come faster now. She's starting to push with her feet occasionally and tuck her knees under herself at times, too. It's fun to watch her figure it out.

Birdies
Harper has a toy that attaches to the side of her crib. Callie gave it to her a month or so ago, and everytime she woke from a nap, I'd hit the little button on the front and Harper liked watching the birdies go round & round to the tune of "Ode to Joy". It gave her a couple minutes to adjust to the waking world before being jostled or talked to. Recently, when Harper wakes up from a nap, she has started to roll over and lift her top half up to that toy, push the button, and entertain herself while she waits for me to come get her. Rather than call me (through the monitor) with a cry or grunt, she's pushing that button and smiling/cooing/reaching for the toy when I come in the room. Pretty sweet!

Friday, March 24, 2006

thenestproject.com
More Teeth!

Feeling around to see if the left-of-center top tooth is poking through to match the right, I felt her bottom teeth and discovered that her left-of-center bottom tooth is poking through! She's a little lopsided for the time being, but will even out soon enough. She's got two sets coming in at once! No wonder she's been a fuss bucket lately.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Harper has moved!

Harper has now spent three nights in our new house. We are getting used to the space and having an upstairs. Things are still in boxes all over the house and Harper is very patient (sometimes) while her mom works on getting things organized. The first morning Harper woke up with the sun, as we did not have any curtains on the windows. We have made adjustments but the rooms are bright in the morning and with only shear curtains, our wake up call is quite early.

Teething continues.
Harper is an enamel factory. Right after pushing out numbers 3 and 4, she has gone full steam ahead with 5 and 6. Number five is starting to peek through on the top and it seems that number 6 is following close behind. When Harper is teething, she usually needs extra attention and has basically been attached to her mother's hip the last few days.

"Dada"
Harper has started to say "Dada" now. She usually says it when she is excited (which makes Dada happy). She says it in a very cute voice, a little higher in pitch than normal. The father is proud.

The "where-is...?" game.
Brainy baby that she is, Harper is getting quite skilled at the "where is...?" game. You can ask Harper "where is Mama?" and she will look right at her Mama. She knows Mama, Dada, Tiki, and several family members as well as a few favorite toys. She seems to be learning so much every day. We are thankful that her mom gets to be at home and spend so much time with her, exploring language and new concepts.

Tuesday, March 7, 2006


Sleep

Our focus for the past couple of weeks has been improving the duration of Harper's sleep. I bought The No-Cry Sleep Solution and we've been keeping record of Harper's naps and night-wakings for the past ten days while trying to implement some of the book's suggestions for helping babies sleep. Though I am commited to avoiding it, I can see why many parents do resort to the "cry-it-out" method... it does (supposedly) yield quick results and exhaustion can make crazy ideas sound sane. I bought this book as an alternative to said crazy idea, and most of its suggestions were already things I'd figured out through the months of sleeplessness. Things are only slightly better; the main problem is night-waking. (She woke up five times last night.) We're trying to focus on the positive, so here are the improvements we can celebrate thus far:

Harper is now sleeping most of her naps in her crib.

Harper is now starting the night in her crib rather than her swing, which she will soon outgrow, and her sleep stretch is longest in the first part of the night (about 3 1/2 hours).

Ethan's been helping me comfort Harper back to sleep when her waking is not due to hunger, and that helps the tired Mama fall back asleep faster.

When she wakes at night, the time spent awake before resuming sleep is shortening.

Her total hours of sleep in a 24 hour period is nearing the range experts say babies her age require due to our efforts to establish an earlier bedtime (asleep by around 8:30) and regular naps during the day.

While I used to walk and sing to Harper for a half hour to get her to fall asleep for a nap, it usually takes me about five minutes these days.

And here is the negative (and it's a biggie):

Harper still wakes up often in the middle of the night. Last night, for example: she was asleep at 8:48, woke at 12:09, 1:00, 2:18, 3;15, 5;35, and then woke for the day at 6:50AM.

The book says a few weeks of consistency should help this. Readers, please cross your fingers and send us some of your sleepiest vibes!

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Harper girl has learned to say "Mama"!!!

She says it spontaneously when she wants me, is frustrated, needs comforting, or when she's in my arms or just wants to get my attention. I can also coax her to say it by asking, "Can you say Mamamamamama?" She'll oblige most of the time. She's been saying it for about a week now. I haven't consulted the books, but her first word at 6 1/2 months seems early to me.

I continue to awe over her genius and her sweetness. This last week she's really becoming communicative, even in subtle ways. She gets it when I am teasing her, even just with a silent, silly grin shot across the room-- she'll laugh with a squinty smile. Last night I was playing with her on our bed, leaning over her and tickling her chin with my mouth and then lying back and she'd grab my face and neck and put her open mouth on me! The game ended, though, when she actually bit my cheek! Sweet thing... I should've known not to play that way. She doesn't know how to cover her teeth with her lips like I do it! I thought it was pretty smart that she knew to emulate me though. We've been playing games like that lately. It's always surprising that she can emulate and laugh and know that we're doing something, you know?

Another little "game" happened the other night. I said "Harper" and then leaned my forehead into hers. Then I lifted my head and said "Harper" again. She immediately knew to lean her forehead into mine and we went back and forth like that laughing until we exhausted the humor out of it and impressed a watching Daddy. She is so fun.

Other positive news: Ethan and I are working on gently teaching Harper to sleep for longer blocks of time because the waking-every-2-hours thing wasn't cutting it for me. I got so exhausted that even when I had opportunity to sleep, I couldn't! The slightest noise woke me, and I then caught a cold because my body was so worn down. We're pulling through the worst of it, though, and Ethan is a big help in the process. He comforts Harper when she wakes at night and we know it's not due to hunger. I've decided I'll nurse her once in the middle of the night (even though at 6 months they say babies don't need to eat at night) and the rest of the time, she just gets rubs or a rhythmic walk to help her back to sleep. This is supposed to teach her that night time is for sleeping, and day time is for eating and playing, etc. We think it's working because last night was the 2nd night of it and she woke up only 4 times instead of 6 the night prior.

Oh, and one more thing-- one of her top teeth is beginning to poke through her gums. Yipeee!

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Organic Sweet Peas!

After telling Nagatani that the traditional starter foods (rice cereal w/ apple juice, bananas) were plugging Harper up, he suggested we try some vegetables. He explained that starter foods do constipate babies because back in the cloth diaper days, moms wanted their babies' doods to be hard to they could just kerplop them into the toilet.

Last night, I gave Harper organic sweet peas and she loved them! She ate them up! It was so fun to feed her last night! No resistance, opened her mouth, the only downside was she nibbled my finger a bit with her bottom teeth. And this morning she's already gone poo! Yipeeeee!

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

6 Months

Harper had her 6 month shots yesterday. She hated it! I hated it! The good news: that was the last time she'll have four shots at once. The next appointment is at 9 months, and Dr. Nagatani said they'll take some blood to test for anemia, and then at 12 months she'll have her chicken pox shot, and that's it.

Harper's been generally fussy since her shots. But she wasn't feeling so hot for the past few days before them anyway! She was beginning to get over a runny nose, slight temperature, and hoarse voice when she was poked. Now the runny nose is back in full effect, she's running a slight temperature again, and her voice remains hoarse. Poor thing.

We're still not sleeping. Harper wakes every couple of hours, and the last few nights her temperature and runny nose have caused her to wake up every twenty minutes sometimes! It is frustrating and sad and it has really shown me how important sleep is to your general well being! I am now a coffee addict, no way around it. And lately, I've been getting frustrated because (addict that I am) coffee is losing its effect!

Harper weighed in at 16 lbs. 7 oz. (55th percentile) and 26 1/2 inches (75 percentile), so she's long and slender. Dr. Nagatani commented on her muscular "shapely" legs, and her long long curly eyelashes, as well as how vocal and strong she is.

Lately the girl has stopped falling asleep for her naps after nursing. She requires me to walk with her up and down the hall, singing "This is Mama's Harper girl..." She cries a bit before falling asleep, resisting it with all her might, and then her cries become sing-songy moans as she falls asleep. I pace for a half hour for her to then sleep for a half hour! But it's worth it: if she misses a nap she's a crank pot. She's also become much more sensitive to the sounds around her and wakes much easier, so if you call my house and get a busy signal-- I'm taking the phone off the hook during naps these days. I usually lay her down surrounded by pillows on our bed (it's the only way I can break free to do things like type in her blog) and turn the monitor on. If I try the cradle or crib the motion of going up and over the side wakes her. I have to pretend that I'm going to sleep beside Harper for her to stay sleeping. Smart, sensitive girl.

I love this age. Harper is very, very aware and responsive. She tries more and more to communicate both verbally and nonverbally, and she is changing so quickly. Her personality is starting to show in her pictures. She is curious and playful. She even gets sweet and lovey sometimes, wrapping her arms around my neck and burying her face when I hold her. Some mornings she reaches up, holds my face in her hands, and puts her face right against mine (I steal kisses for as long as she'll let me). It's been a tough month because lack of sleep makes me cranky and impatient, but it's been a beautiful month because Harper continues to amaze and inspire me as we get to know each other better and better.

Monday, February 6, 2006

Wednesday, February 1, 2006



Beautiful Babe
Teething/ Eating

This whole month can basically be summed up by the above. Harper's been working hard to make some top teeth. It takes a lot of fussing to make good ones and Ethan and I are anxious to see the result of all of this. Every day I rub her gums hoping to feel a jagged edge. Nothing poking through yet, but it has so be soon, right?

All of the teething has disrupted our girl's good sleeping. I used to feel so proud that Harper was a good sleeper, and every night I fell alseep assured that I'd have at least one (if not two) four hour block of solid, uninterrupted sleep. Not so anymore. She wakes about every hour and a half, and is usually hungry and needs nursing to fall back asleep. I took this as a cue that maybe the girl needs some solid food these days. The books say that babies' nutritional needs change around 6 months and they need more iron than the breastmilk supplies. So, I tried the traditional first foods: mushy bananas, rice cereal, oatmeal cereal. Over many attempts, Harper actually showed signs that she might like the taste the other night and consumed more than ever before: about a tablespoon's worth of cereal mixed with breastmilk and a bit of banana. I was excited and hopeful since it had seemed she'd never take to it and I'd be nursing her exclusively forever.

However, the experiment didn't go as well as I initially thought. She hasn't pooped since. This feeding was two nights ago and for some babies, it is normal to go this long between poos. Harper is a much more frequent pooer, however, so I'm beginning to worry. Books say the poo problem will work itself out and it's not uncommon for the introduction of solid foods to cause constipation. I gave her some prunes last night. In the meantime, I can't wait for Harper to do some doods!

Monday, January 16, 2006

Hello / Goodbye

New skill mastered! Harper can now wave hello and goodbye. She really has it down for 'hello'. If we say "Hi Harper!" and wave our hand at her, she will curl all of her fingers together to wave hello right back at us. Sometimes she will wave with both hands at once. She is one smart cookie.

Friday, January 13, 2006

More Milestones

Harper is now working on sitting up and scooting. She's able to sit up unassisted for about a minute or so and she can sit in her highchair easily too. She can sit up on a lap for forever (in fact she's sitting on mine right now) and likes to read books that way. She is scooting on her back pretty well, and she pushes off my hands when she's on her tummy to project herself forward toward a toy. It's exciting to watch her become more mobile and independent, but also a bit scary knowing that soon I'll begin the chasing game and I'll have to actually babyproof. We're moving in a couple of weeks and if the move coincides with Harper's newfound mobility, it could be a recipe for a headache. We'll see!