Friday, November 26, 2010

Hey Shorty

Our baby boy is one year old today. I have fleeting memories of those first everlasting days together. The two hour cycles that led from that first day to the middle of spring in one long, dreamy stretch of bleary time are a thing of the past. Then, I could hardly put him down, and now I can barely pick him up.

He is scarcely the tiny breeze he was when we first met; he is now a dynamic, powerful, gale-force wind - a wee hurricane. He has changed so much I can hardly keep up, and he continues to evolve and grow faster than a williwaw. Yet he still lives up to his name:

The name Zephyr has evolved from the ancient Greek word "Zephyros", meaning light and beneficial. The Zephyr is a gentle breeze from the west during the summer solstice, and is comfortable for the people it blows upon.

For his birthday, we let him eat all the blueberries he wanted. I even put freshly-whipped cream on some of them (this confused him, and I think he prefers them unadulterated). He had two (tiny baby-sized) helpings of pumpkin pie. And for dinner I made him special turkey broth-soaked tofu cubes, which he happily crammed into his mouth one by one. He really loves tofu.

Zephyr is going through a clingy phase right now, preferring playtime from the comfort and safety of a lap, or opting for cuddles and tickles rather than balls and cars. He is giving many more hugs and wet, open-mouthed kisses, and I just can't get enough. I expect it's a developmental milestone about to strike, so I'm relishing every delicious, snuggly moment before he's too busy running down the cats and climbing stairs to hug his mama.

He sings with us during his lullabies, lilting, making the sweetest babymusic. He dances to all kinds of music and with equal aplomb: Cat Stevens, Kanye West, Department of Eagles, Andrés Segovia, and the lyrical stylings of his two parents - an earnest presentation of Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star (sung desperately to stave off a launch off the changing table while struggling him into his nightly jimjams) will usually invite him into a little on-the-back dancing. Usually his dance is a back-and-forth head bob, but he will sometimes employ the full knee-bounce if the groove is just right.

Our little boy is a thing to behold. I can't wait to see what the next year has in store for us.

Thursday, November 18, 2010


We finally have a third tooth. Just in time for his first birthday next week! You can see it there poking out. I keep hoping he'll end up with a diastema. Since Scott and I were both gap-tooth kids, signs point to 'yes'. Mine was "fixed" when I had a crown put on my front tooth (I broke it in half on my 18th birthday), and I wish they'd left it alone. Oh well, chances are Zephyr'll have one, and will hate it, and I'll always tell him how awesome and adorable it makes him, but he'll never believe me.

Here he is practicing his waving. He does this a lot, waves to himself by opening and closing fingers like the sign for "nurse." He will actually chase the cats through the house on all fours and stop to wave at them (he combines the wave with the "c'mere kitty" sign when he does this).

I have no idea, either. Best just leave this one a mystery.

His new camera face, though, appears to be bracing for the flash. I hate using the flash, but it's so dark all the time now, what with the rain and all those moody doldrums in the air. Nowadays we spend a little more time snuggled under a blanket watching cartoons and a little less time strolling around. I do get stir-crazy, though, and I'm sure he does too. Our house just doesn't feel big enough for all his explorations and I will probably start making the pool a more regular occurrence. I want to take him to one of those baby gyms but I don't want to expose him to all the ick that covers toddlers. But I know his little immune system needs a workout, too, so maybe I'll concede. Or maybe I'll just invest in some good rain gear for him.

Other news this week:
  • Stacking is sticking around. He will stack things up in his hands, Scott's hand, and mine. However, if I am the one who stacks, he instantly destroys the stack. This has prompted the invention of a new game: How Fast Can You Stack Before Baby Smash
  • He can use the sign for "more" (though it ends up being more of a touching his palm with his index finger), and he uses it a lot for food. If he thinks I'm holding out with fruit, he will ask for more until he's eaten about twice the capacity of his stomach.
  • He freely gives objects to me if I present my open palm.
  • He can drink with a straw (though he still prefers to empty a cup all over his dinner tray and himself).
  • He can climb up and back down stairs. One more hallway needs blocking.
  • Today he opened the under-sink cupboard. I went to put the locks on it, but turns out, we bought 5 of the latches for the fridge and none for cabinets. There is presently a rubber band around the cupboard handles, and this seems like it'll do the trick just fine.
  • He can now stack those stacking rings back onto their peg instead of just picking them off and throwing them to watch how far they'll roll.
  • He will put his toys BACK in their basket when I ask him to! Sure, he often picks up the basket and dumps them back out, but then he puts them back in!
This is all pretty much in one week! I can't believe how fast things change; once he's picked up some momentum, this boy is unstoppable.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Detachment Parenting

I'm just not cut out for attachment parenting. Sure, I wear Zephyr strapped closely to my body, but that's only because it's so much faster than opening the stroller every time I need to do some grocery shopping, and time management is important.

I still nurse four times a day (and will probably follow World Health Organization advice and continue to do so for another year or so), but it's only because I can't be bothered to walk around rocking him when I can just stick a tit in his mouth and put him right to sleep. Zephyr slept in bed with us until he was five months old or so, but that was just because I was too lazy to get up to feed him in the middle of the night.

We use cloth diapers, but I guess I should come clean and admit that it's really because I like saving all that money by not using disposables. I even make my own organic baby food and everything, but that's because I have control issues and want to spare myself future food struggles. Completely self-serving, I assure you.

Try as I might, I just can't accept the whole-package attachment parenting dogma. You know why?
  • There is no magical "village" that lets modern mothers have their proverbial (gluten-free) cake and eat it too. So get over the idea that it takes one to raise a child. Okay, there's that one village in Opuwo, Namibia where Babies was filmed. Why don't you move there and tell me how you like it. I'm sure not being vaccinated will work out really great.
  • There is no scientific evidence supporting the claim that ADD, ADHD, learning disabilities, autism, dyslexia, dyspraxia, asthma, bed wetting, thrush, finicky eating, chronic ear infections, multiple sclerosis, fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome, rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, type-1 diabetes, chronic cystitis, colic or eczema are caused by an imbalance of gut flora, nor that they can be treated or cured by putting someone (young children, in particular) on a restrictive diet. On the contrary, the author of Gut and Psychology Syndrome (and accompanying GAPS diet), Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride* has been published in a peer-reviewed medical or scientific journal exactly ZERO times.

  • Discipline is not the same as punishment. Boundaries and structure make children feel safe, not "dishonored." There's a very thick line between the kind of discipline I got as a kid (hint: my dad thought Dr. Spock was a "fucking bleeding-heart pinko") and saying "no" to discourage unwanted behavior. Let's just grow a pair as parents and be the authority figures we spent our teen years raging against.
  • Letting a three year-old (or a two year-old, or a one year-old) cry and scream out a tantrum will not cause permanent neurological damage. There is a difference between letting a baby blow off some steam and abject, Ukrainian orphanage-level neglect. A really, really big difference.
  • There is no scientific evidence that supports the claim that bedazzling a baby in amber, no matter how old, unpolished, or Baltic, will prevent or treat teething pain.

  • Conventional, rigorous education will not destroy a child's creativity or "spirit." Your hang-ups about conventional, rigorous education might destroy a child's creativity or "spirit." Parenting from the emotional baggage from your own childhood probably will.

I know, I know. Zephyr is definitely going to grow up completely brain-damaged. Sociopathic, probably. He'll require tons of antidepressants and therapy. Because clearly, his mother doesn't love him enough.

*Campbell-McBride wrote (and self-published) Gut and Psychology Syndrome based on anecdotal evidence using her own child as a subject, and runs a clinic in the city of Cambridge (though she claims she's "at Cambridge," falsely implying she's affiliated with the University of Cambridge). Dr. Campbell-McBride is a graduate of the obscure Bashkir Medical University in Russia. Her website is run by NuTriVene, a company that sells the nutritional supplements that her dietary program prescribes.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010


Zephyr had his first Halloween. I'd been dreaming for years of dressing a baby as a character from a video game, and Zeph's plump and curvy body type matched perfectly to Tingle, the 35 year-old cartographer and map seller (from the post-Majora's Mask Zelda games) who is obsessed with forest fairies (hence, his green costume). His catch phrase is "tingle tingle kooloo-limpah!" (or kururimpa in Japanese).

Quite the match, don't you think?

I'd like to assure you that the costume didn't look nearly this bad in person - the stupid flash made the colors look all wonky. I only sewed two strips of fabric to the bottom so his hat would be more like a hood and stay on, but it ended up looking like a strange, green beard in the photos. Nevertheless, this was an awesome first Halloween costume, and regardless of what his Auntie Tanya says, he will not need years of therapy when he grows up because of it.

New favorites and firsts this/last week:

He had his first swim outside my body on Monday, with our new mom friend Rachel and baby friend Fred. Thank goodness for the Mt. Scott Community Center family swim! It falls perfectly between morning and afternoon nap times, and if we get the hang of getting changed before and after swimming then we even have time for lunch without pushing the afternoon nap too late. It was so cute seeing his little legs kicking gently in the water, and we danced and danced around that pool, splashing woo at each other.

I've been sewing soft toys for him out of recycled felted sweaters. So far I've made him a little blue fleece Totoro plushy (with lavender in the stuffing to help him get sleepy), an owl with orange leaf wings, and a fuchsia frog that looks more like a one-armed monster with an extra chromosome. The frog is the overwhelming favorite among the folks we know. I made an etsy page to sell more of these whimsically ugly plushies, because I'm having so much fun sewing them, I thought I might try to make a few bucks off it. Now I just need to add some items to it.

His new favorite thing to watch is Mio Mao cartoons. He will actually belly-laugh when the cats get into their claymation foibles. It's hilarious. He's also becoming much more adept at putting things into his stacking cups and drinking from sippy cup without help. He can drink from regular cup without help, too, but has a hard time putting it back down without spilling water all over the damn place (which he does on purpose sometimes).

All of our photos this week seem to be of Zephyr in costume or eating. If this glorious weather keeps up, I'll be getting some obligatory baby-in-festive-sweater-sitting-in-pile-of-leaves photos. Maybe this afternoon.

It's not a bloodbath, it's baby's first beets.

Oh, speaking of eating, we have another new first this week: today, Zephyr ate his first booger.