Saturday, September 11, 2010

Swimming Lessons


Dear Story,

Happy seven month birthday!!! So by now we know each other pretty well, and it should be no surprise to you that I occasionally isolate from the world, seemingly drop off the end of the earth and have no time to update my blog. But just because I don’t have time to write you love letters, doesn’t mean I don’t notice every tiny little changing detail in your world and note it with significance.

For example, just the other day, as we lay on mommy and daddy’s bed, bathed in the yellow glow of morning sunlight, you outlining mommys face with your cherub chubbed fingers, you took your hand to your leg and itched a little spot on your upper thigh where you had recently had your tetanus shot. You scratched an itch! While I know this may seem insignificant, it involved the type of pain-hand coordination that little babies can't grasp. But you my dear, you are not a little baby any more. I sighed and was overcome with gratitude that I am privileged to watch you as you blossom.

Of course, there are many more exciting developments then your ability to scratch an itch, but each one is special to me and daddy and I want to make sure that you know we see them all.

July and August were very busy months for our family and while you emerged unscathed, there were a lot of challenges and adjustments. For starters, we camped our way from Ina and Poppa’s house to Aunt Katryn and Pearl’s house and then to our new home in sunny LA. You LOVED camping. Please see evidence below.

I theorize that you just loved sleeping all night next to mommy and daddy and having every day together as a family. But you may have actually loved the camping experience of roughing it without daily baths, wearing the same clothes all day and sleeping in the car. All I know is that you smiled and laughed throughout it all. Even when mommy and daddy were yelling at each other about missed exits, what is considered a reasonable amount of time between bathroom breaks, and where we should stop for lunch.

Once we arrived in LA, we set up our new house and then mommy and daddy turned all their attention to you. This is when we discovered that you had developed some bad sleeping habits and we had to do a little Ferberizing. Mommy read the book and then Daddy read the book and we were all ready to put it into action when you suddenly decided to sleep right through the night from 7pm to 7am, all by yourself. Just like a little angel.

Of course, you didn’t stay in this zone, so eventually we had to Ferber. And here is what we did. We bathed you and put you in your footed jammies, made you a big bottle and laid you gently on the floor in your new room to feed you. Daddy read you a story and then we both kissed you, collectively about 100 times so that you knew how much we loved you. Then mommy put you in the bed and said, “Goodnight sweet Story Brynne. Mommy loves you so much. You are going to have a long sleep and feel so refreshed in the morning. Dream about colors and feathers and whatever babies dream about when they are sleeping soundly. See you in the morning.” And then I left the room and you screamed so loud I thought you were going to bust open a vein on your forehead.

Oh how it hurt mommy’s heart to hear you scream, but I knew we had to let you learn how to put yourself to sleep. I wanted to make sure you didn’t feel abandoned or ignored, so after about three minutes I came back in the room and kissed your tears away and told you I loved you and that I would see you in the morning. You calmed as I left the room again and then you worked yourself back up into a frenzy and I set a little egg timer for five minutes and paced outside your door. But then something amazing happened. You stopped crying at about the four minute mark. The longest four minutes of my life!! But you stopped and you didn’t make another peep until 7 am the next morning. I praised Allah, Jesus, Joseph and Buddha and told everyone you were now sleeping through the night.

But like always, just when I think I have you figured out, you switch it all up on me. Within a few days, you were waking up again at all hours of the night and I had to do the egg timer again to set you straight. I think you started to understand that we were not far away and were just on the other side of the door. You cried less and less and then it happened that you just started closing your eyes before I even left the room.

So now it’s been about two weeks of solidly sleeping through the night. Sometimes you sleep 12 hours, but most the time you sleep 11. You go to bed every night at 7pm and wake anytime between 5:30am and 7:30am. And some times, you just eat and go right back to sleep until 8 or 9. This is called "sleeping in" and only allowed on Saturday and Sunday mornings.

Sleeping through the night is such a big milestone and we are so proud of our little honey bear. But don’t think we haven’t noticed that you are quickly approaching a second big milestone; crawling.

We have tried our best to retard your movement and slow your mobile growth. Daddy would like to bind your legs together so you never figure it out, but even with your legs bound I have a feeling you would find a way to scootch yourself across the floor. Right now, you roll over on your back, arch into 'bridge', and push yourself across whatever surface you are on by balancing on the top of your head. This particular move frightens me and I much prefer you learn to crawl on your belly like the cartoon babies on the corner of the Gerber food.

You definitely want to move. Things that motivate a creative rolling or scootching technique and requisite tears of frustration include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • mommy’s phone
  • daddy’s phone
  • sharp objects like mommy’s scissors and Global knife set
  • mommy’s new 3G iPad
  • medicine bottles
  • full and empty baby bottles
  • full cups of hot steamy coffee
  • and the sight of mommy's naked teets
I’m pretty sure that any one of the above will finally get you up on your knees. But for now, I’m content with your frustration. What you like to do instead of crawl, is pull yourself up on things like mommy’s leg, the coffee table, your crib and the chest of drawers in your bedroom. You like to stand up in your new high chair when I try to feed you. And food is another one of your exciting developments.

This last month, you have started getting bored with a single serving of solid baby food number 1 strained sweet peas. So we started with the twos and adding oatmeal and giving you puffs and yogurt drops and cheerios and letting you hold the spoon and trying out a sippee cup, and wouldn’t you know it – you LOVE to eat!! You pretty much start giggling whenever mommy gets close to the high chair. When you eat something you love like pears with oatmeal and cinnamon, you smile and throw your head back and hum, “mmmmmmmmm”. It’s only the sweetest sound I’ve ever heard, besides the sound of you laughing in the bath tub.


You love bath time and you are usually so tired by the time it arrives that you deliriously laugh through the entire experience. Dad usually gives you a bath. It’s his special time with you when he gets home from school and I love to hear the two of you playing with your bath toys over the hum of the bathroom fan. Daddy has voices and accents for all the little squirters in the tub and when you are not trying to drink the water, you smile and grab daddy’s wet arm hair and coo and scream and laugh.

Your laughter is so delicious that mommy could eat it for breakfast, lunch, dinner and dessert. Though I would have to get a side of baby babble, because that is also very nourishing. And mom needs a lot of nourishing these days. I’m a little homesick for familiar faces, spaces and sounds. I’ve never loved change. But I’ve always loved the idea of change.

Starting out new somewhere involves a period of transition where everything and everyone is new and you have to date new places, new meetings, new friends and new modes of transportation. Awkward first encounters are to be expected. But with each visit to the new coffee shop, each new AA meeting, each freshly discovered route home from the grocery store, it gets easier. And that’s a lesson worth learning and worth passing on to my baby girl. The quicker you push yourself into the uncomfortable abyss of newness, the quicker you emerge on the other side. When we go to swim lessons, we don’t put our toes in the water and then our thighs and then our heads, we just jump right in, take the shock all at once and we are used to the cold water before we know it! Which reminds me, we are late for swim lessons.

My dear sweet Story Brynne Hesson, one more thing about mommy is that she is always late. But again, like the isolating thing, this doesn’t mean she doesn’t love you or appreciate you or see you and all that you are becoming.

Let’s get kicking - Mom


Rachel said...

love it! welcome back to blogging! i've missed you! xoxo

Anonymous said...

Welcom back Ingrid! I have missed your blogs as well!

I just left Philly for the west coast as well and I'm excited to read about all your adventures!

allie said...

happy seven months beautiful story! i have missed your posts so much, ingrid. i am so glad you are back! you were missed, for sure :)

Gemma said...

Nice to welcome you back Ingrid :) Looking forward to more of your posts. I myself have just started infant swim lessons with my oldest and its so much fun. Watching hi splash around in the water is one of my many highlights every week :)


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