Saturday, August 29, 2009

Finding her voice: Ten weeks

Once Amalie started smiling and gazing at objects, she went through about a four week period in which she was satisfied with her behavioral repertoire and kept things pretty much the same. I wondered when she would decide to start interacting with the world directly. Then, almost right on her two-month Birthday, she began reaching for objects and making verbalizations that were more than just grunting and crying.

I took this video with my phone when Amalie and I were in my office a couple of days ago. Amalie was getting fussy (she doesn't much like office visits!) and I was about ready to pack her up to go home...but then she started "talking" to her little stuffed bunny. I almost perished from glee. My heart wants so badly to know what Amalie has to say to the world.

Amalie has the most delightful personality. She has several different types of smiles, including an "ecstatic" smile that involves a wide-open mouth and a head tilt, and she uses them often. She seems to have a robust sense of humor and loves it when Dad and Mom make fools of themselves.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Two months old and starting to "talk"

Happy two month birthday, Amalie! In the past few days, our little girl has begun sleeping for six-hour stretches at night (woo hoo!). Also in the past couple of days, we have seen an upsurge in cooing and babbling. Her favorite syllable is "awr" (while pursing her lips), but there are also some "guh"-type sounds. We can tell when she is about to speak, because she really concentrates as she works up to it.

Here she is "speaking" to Mama:

The mobile is still a huge hit. (Kimono outfit courtesy of Great Uncle Rick and Great Aunt Nancy.)

She is also starting to hit and grab on to things if we put them right in front of her hand. It is difficult to tell if she understands what she is doing yet, but it is funny to see her punch a dangly toy (she has TWO elephant toys that make chiming noises when they're hit) over and over as she smiles in delight.
Unfortunately, another new development is increased reflux, which means that furniture, clothes, and Mom and Dad are covered in spit-up, and Amalie is uncomfortable after she nurses. We're hoping it will pass eventually.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Hey, there's a world out there!

Amalie turned six weeks old this past Wednesday. I have to say that the past week-and-a-half has been rewarding for Mommy, because little girl has started noticing things outside of herself. At four weeks she started really, truly looking into our eyes, and at 4.5 weeks or so she gave us her first smile in direct response to our voices and gazes. Now she smiles reliably to us and to her favorite visual stimuli.
The most popular is her Zanzibar mobile. The zebra and elephant are particular favorites. Jon jokes that the mobile is like "baby heroin", because it is guaranteed to make her smile and gawk unless she's in complete meltdown.
The other favorites are black and white patterns. She has flash cards and a Powerpoint filled with black and white clip art. She takes note of any high contrast stimuli, including the ceiling fan and picture frames, if they're dark enough. She loved visiting Grandma Driscoll's art studio yesterday.
Mom report: I am experiencing some anxiety over all of the things that are on my "to do" list for work that aren't getting done. I feel like I have snippets of time that could be used for writing my grant proposal, but my cognition and motivation are impaired by the sleep deprivation and my new "milk truck" role.
I understand completely that it is silly to worry about the "to do" list when I should be relaxing and enjoying this special time with my daughter. I think that the drive for productivity has been so ingrained for so long that it cannot be separated from my identity, at least not very easily. After all, it has served me well professionally. This will be an opportunity to grow, to think about how I frame my life priorities. Amalie and Jon are always going to be first, which will mean NOT having guilt about making work second. Guilt is a fascinating phenomenon that reveals much about the person experiencing it, including assumptions that we make about our world, baggage that we carry from earlier in life, expectations that we have and assume that others have for us.