Monday, February 23, 2009

Play(mat) Pals!

Penelope has really been getting better at spending time out of the apartment without freaking out -- so much so that we had a playdate with Julie and Colin's baby, Ronin! Julie was 10 weeks ahead of me, pregnancy-wise, but I am extremely competitive and had my baby FIRST FIRST FIRST. Nonetheless, Ronin is ten times bigger than Penelope. Also: he loves her. Right after I took this first photo, he looked at her adoringly, reached over, and grabbed her hand. She just stared up at his playmat. "I love you." "Nice car."

The minute we got home, I hopped on the local parents' network and found a playmat of our own, which Penelope's been loving for the past two days. I wouldn't have even put her down on the mat with Ronin if Max hadn't insisted I try it out, and now we have a whole new world of fun!

In addition, she was so exhausted after her outing that she (a) slept for six hours straight and (b) hung out in the bassinet for a couple hours the next day. w00t

Penelope is now SEVEN weeks from term! I am so happy to see her developing out of being a total newborn after some three-plus months of, you know, NEWBORNOSITY.

Oops. I hear screaming. But, you know -- progress!

Pics of that coming soon.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

A Grand Day Out

We're finally meeting up with a new mommies group! Last night we went to Wine and Whiners at the local wine-bar, and Penelope did a great job of hanging out quietly and interestedly! She did get overstimulated toward the end, but so did all the other babies (so reassuring!) and really, we had been there a while. I was so proud of her!

We had a chat with Fritzie yesterday -- remember, the lactation consultant from the NICU? -- and she had many reassuring things to say. One of them was just to keep putting P in the bassinette, keep putting her in the chair, keep letting her have a few minutes to herself, and eventually the amount of minutes will increase. I mean, I knew this, I'd been told this, but it's good to have it reinforced. And it's true: today she was in her chair for a good long time, kicking her legs the way I remember Harry doing. She's really developing, all of a sudden, all at once (no wonder she gets fussy! it's so much work!)

Here's Penelope with her new BFF Lauren. They are discussing lightbulbs and ceiling fans.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Smiles, Part le Deux

You can hear the classic "kitchen sink" drama A Taste of Honey in the background. That's what I'm quoting to P -- she's a huge fan of early 60s British working class melodrama. the proof is in the smiling!

Monday, February 16, 2009

What The Hail

You guys, it is HAILING like crazy right now! I am pretending it is snow. We haven't had a walk in a few days because there's been weather -- this is the craziest.

We seem to continue the pattern from the hospital: one quiet day, one crazy day. Sunday was so quiet that I was just bathed in the light of happiness, snuggling up with Penelope as the rain raged outside... and then boom, she decides to spend 4 hours crying at 4am. Oh, crazy child!

Of course, I totally deserve it. On Saturday, Randy was in the other room and I decided it was time to try giving the child a raspberry. This is what Randy heard:

(shocked silence)

so, you know, I get what I deserve for being such an abusive parent (and for almost falling off the couch laughing while Randy rescued Penelope from me).

Friday, February 13, 2009

Afternoon Delight

Behold the amazing Margaret, who offered herself for a few hours today to hold Penelope and entertain her while Randy and I went on an honest-to-God date! We had sushi and cuddled. Penelope was wailing when we left, but by the time we got to the sushi bar, she had settled down and was fast asleep. We came home a few hours later to the idyllic scene you see here: Margaret telling Penelope all about boys and burningman. Then Penelope caught a whiff of me and started wailing! "Wait, I forgot I missed you!" Silly girl. I'm so relieved to know she can survive in my big, bad living room without me. Briefly.

Thank you, Margaret!!

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Drivin' and Cryin'

Hokay. I never thought I'd be one of those people, but... today, after the doctor confirmed that, in fact, my daughter was crying till she was purple in the face for no discernible reason, Randy and I headed North to Mill Valley, which I'd never seen. What the heck, if we have to drive around, we might as well have a destination.

It's very cute. Looks like Larchmont, and there's a place that sells Indian burritos. When I went in, while Randy tootled Penelope around the block in the stroller, I asked, "Do you have kids?" "I have tweens. But now they are beeg." "Did you ever have to drive them around to make them stop crying?" "I deed it, honey. Now you do it too."

Now we're home. She settled down somewhat, and spent some time in the bassinet staring at the cool mobile that Grandpa Harry told us to get -- but now she's sad again.

Facebook friends recommended gripe water, Mycilon, and changing my diet. I'm trying ALL OF IT.

Here's us on the road, and then back home during a brief respite. And bonus Eli and Penny having a mini-sleepover!

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Smiles, everyone! Smiles!

We have started getting smiles. They are fleeting, flitting creatures, lighting up Penelope's face for a few seconds, but they are definitely smiles. How do I know? She only makes them at certain times of the day -- during her quiet wakefulness. All other times of the day -- when she's fussy, when she's sleepy, when she's hungry, whatever -- she makes all sorts of faces, but not that funny little crooked smile. I'm telling you, we're really getting there...

As you can see, her Chuck Mangione ... er, her hemangioma is really getting big. On Friday, her ped said yes, it's time for us to have it looked at by a derm, and arranged for us to have an appointment toot sweet, on Monday. Which is great, because I had called the same doctor and was told there were no appointments till April. Gotta love the power of the back-channel direct orders.

Another thing he confirmed is that Penelope is at a developmental phase where she's just a lot more fussy. It stands to reason: she's developed enough to know when she's uncomfortable, and strong enough to be vocal about it, and may be frustrated that she can't do a damn thing but lay there looking goofy while I ask stupid questions about her emotional state. He counseled us to wait, give it 2 weeks, and we'll have a radically different baby. Well, for the past bunch of months, every two weeks has definitely brought us a radically different baby, so I see no reason to doubt him. And I'm reading Weissbluth, who says the same thing.

They both also say that she won't sleep on me forever. Again, the six-week mark is a magic time -- at that point she'll almost certainly be able to spend longer and longer times in her crib. We'll see. Just today, she spent a good bunch of time in her swing, listening to her Rockabye Baby Beatles albums. Honestly, I did not believe these could be bearable, but I got the Radiohead one for my sister for her birthday (i know, SO LAME to buy her something for her kid for her bday) and was compelled to buy the first Beatle one... and it's totally great. I hope this isn't the start of a slippery slope toward Raffi.

I am thinking back to the early days in the NICU. I visited today with another mom who went into labor at exactly 29 weeks and 6 days, like me, exactly four weeks after I did -- and she told me she'd heard my story from a mutual friend, and said to her husband, "can you imagine?" and then, you know, she DID. I'm amazed how similar our babies are -- even their habits of grunting while eating, grabbing on as if to force more milk out of the boob, their fussy periods. Amazing. The whole thing made me remember how scary those first days were -- how unreal. How did we get here? Amazing.