October 26, 2008

Reflections on Growth

Alden had his 9-month well baby check this Thursday and we were reminded, yet again, just how large his noggin is (97th percentile!) relative to his body weight (10%) and height (25%). Even my brother Ben, who makes it a point not to get all caught up with this "baby nonsense" has taken notice. Ben and I took Alden to the YMCA yesterday and swam in the pool for a bit. He then took Alden to the basketball court while I scurried off for a workout. When I met them afterwards, there was another small child, about 15 or 16 months old, running up and down court after a basketball with his dad. Ben was surprised that Alden's head was so much larger than that of this fully mobile, and much larger child. This kid probably had a normal head, but it looked disproportionately small, especially after you get used to looking at Alden all the time. Just more evidence to support my anime ancestor theory.

Alden is starting to stand a little more on his own and to pull himself up using the front of the couch/stool rungs/table legs as props. He still can't stand unassisted yet, but he's getting pretty good at holding himself up. He still shows no interest in crawling and won't get up on all fours. I'm trying to put the crawling-is-best-for-motor-development mantra out of my mind. In fact, I'm trying to put all preconceived notions about what he should be doing out of my mind. Alden has been behind on just about every milestone in the book, so rather than get worked up about it, I've chosen to simply stop reading. Part of my post-partum media package from the hospital included a magazine called American Baby with A COMPREHENSIVE MONTH TO MONTH GUIDE TO YOUR BABY'S LIFE! EVERYTHING YOU WILL EVER NEED TO KNOW FROM BIRTH TO 1 YEAR! !!!!!!!!!!!! This issue lists developmental milestones and things to anticipate for each month. It was a mistake to read it. I started to fret back in March, when Alden wasn't tolerating tummy time and when, according American Baby "by now your baby is lifting up his head when placed on his stomach". Why wasn't Alden lifting his head? Was there something wrong with him? Are we doing something wrong? This is when project Tummy Time began, and ran intensively for the next 3 months. Then I made the mistake of reading Month Three when "by now, your baby is sleeping 8-12 hours at a time at night". Seriously?!?

The infuriating entries continued, but I won't bore you with all the details. It's really upsetting for me to think that my child is already behind and he's only just started his life. And I'm well aware that everyone develops at their own pace and it doesn't matter much in the long run, but it's hard not to feel crummy about it. I'm a classic over-achiever so perhaps it says more about me and my expectations than anything else. But books like these emphasizing milestones that we haven't hit yet just make me feel bad about my child and about my parenting. So, instead of reading up on what Alden should be doing every month, I decided to stop reading. I've banished my Dr. Sears to the upper shelf of the bookcase where it could only be referenced when absolutely necessary and I shoved the magazine under the bed. I forgot all about it until I unearthed it, covered with about 1 inch of dust and 40 hairballs, while cleaning last week. Curiosity renewed, I stupidly flipped to the entry on the 9th month. " Now your child has completely mastered the art of crawling and is all over the house".


"He is also starting to stand unassisted for short periods of time, can clap his hands when he is happy and is starting to write short pieces of fiction." Why do I torture myself by reading these things? I don't really know, but this time American Baby finally landed in the trash where it belongs.

October 20, 2008

On top of the world

Life is so much more fun in a carrier.

October 18, 2008

Inside-out Day

Inside-out day cupcake

Inside-out day is a celebration I invented to honor Alden spending more time in the outside world than inside Ilana. I hope it is something that catches on because it was really fun to do. My rules for the Inside Out celebration are as follows:

An Inside-out party should be held on a day within a month after the child turns nine months old (or, if you can pin it down, the time between conception and birth... which is usually close to nine months).

The celebration is for well-wishing adults to share knowledge, observations, and interesting physical stuff from the outside world with each other and the child. Other children are encouraged to attend.

Really good food and drink should be provided by the hosting party for the guests.

Pictures should be taken and someone should try to record the 'wisdom' that is shared.
Alden and I wore our T-shirts on the outside of our long-sleeve shirts for Inside-out Day. This was a physical representation of inside-out-ness, and also to teach Alden the importance of dressing like a hipster (in his CBGB T-shirt!!).

Alden playing the drum machine again.
The drum machine was quite popular. Here's Lorna, Willie and Susie's daughter, giving it a go in puppy dog face paint. Take that, Peter Criss!

For Alden's Inside-out celebration Ilana made some delicious squash soup and tortellini salad and I made cupcakes (two awesome foods). We also had cheeses, olives, wine, and homemade bread. We partied from about 2 to 7 and people came and went, usually staying for a couple hours. We played some Bocce and some drum machine, and it was a very enjoyable day.
Bocce withe the Burnes'. Lil' Evelyn Burns cannot be seen here, she's strapped to Ian's back.
Karen and one of Ilana's bosses, Willie Wilson enjoying dinner.

Wisdom that was passed to Alden today includes:
Keep your tax records in one place.
Take care of your health and knees.
Don't trust Whitey.
It's important to keep learning and stay curious.
Don't let other people make you feel bad about the music you like.
Just because you like something doesn't make it good.
You don't have to be the center of the excitement to enjoy what is happening.
Spend time with those who love you.
A good bath at the end of the day sets everything right.

October 15, 2008

Ear Infection Revisited

Alden is battling another ear infection (in the same ear!) and a cold to boot, which he also gave to me. Not much sleep for anyone, thanks to runny (and tasty!) snot.
I myself am oozing out of what seems like very orifice. Even my brain feels leaky. Alden, however, manages to remain functional and playful through the illness. Mere seconds after emptying his stomach, he's happy and ready for the fun to begin. Mostly, that fun comes from watching the grown-ups scurry about, cleaning and redressing the bed/floor/fronts of their shirts and pants. I can't wait for this to be over, but I suspect that we have many more ear infections ahead of us now that he's in daycare 3 times a week.

October 1, 2008

Drum Machine Continued

Alden discovered the accompaniment feature on his drum machine and now has music to back up his funky grooves. It's a whole new level of entertainment. Enjoy.