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Thursday, March 31, 2005

Before I Get to the Bruise Story ... 

Don't worry, even though several repeat ballotters ensured that "Feeding Celeste" won the poll (48.84% as of 7:30 p.m. Thursday night), I will discuss "My Giant Bruise" (32.56%) in a moment. For those who can't bother to wade through a story about Celeste, click here.

But first, let me just note that today has been a pretty good Celeste afternoon (and by writing that I'm surely dooming us to a bad Celeste night or at least a week of Daddy-Daughter Disaster Days). Also, note, this is not the "Feeding Celeste" entry of the poll.

I've been sleeping terribly this past week or two because of work and putting in long days at the office (yesterday was at least 14.5 hours), so it's no surprise that I jumped at the idea of a nap at Celeste's first sign of tiredness. She actually fell asleep while taking a bottle, but woke up as soon as I shifted her to the crib. For about 15 or 20 minutes she was happy babbling and playing by herself — when I went up to check on her, it looked like she'd been struck by a toynado; one blanket tossed here, another there, a bear on the opposite side of the crib from where it had been, and poor Lamba was soaked with drool.

Since she was up, and I was ready to go down myself, I took her to the big bed and suggested we be nap buddies. On Sunday, this strategy had worked, but this time she was still in play mode, although she was happy to just play there next to me. I did some fake snoring to try to encourage her to sleep; it just encouraged her to pull my beard and nose. Eventually, I woke up and found her there asleep next to me. I think we ended up falling asleep about the same time (she was on her way), but she probably had enough time to steal my credit card and buy a few things from Babies “Я” Us if only she could walk/crawl/move by herself.

After her nap, Celeste was pretty hungry: I signed EAT to her and she responded by grabbing my hand and biting. I didn't bother with any jokes about biting the hand that feeds.

So, getting to the title of this thing before moving on to “My Giant Bruise,” I'd read that babies will start to refuse food when they're full. Apparently Celeste either won't, has different clues, or is a bottomless pit. She ate two cubes of sweet potato, two cubes of peas, one cube of pear mixed with oatmeal and a little breastmilk to thin, some yoghurt, and another half-cube of straight pear. And she washed it all down with more than a few sips of diluted apple juice. And now, about an hour-and-a-half later, she's having her before-bed breastmilk. I don't know where she puts it all...

So, without further ado ...

My Giant Bruise

It probably doesn't portent great things when I have to start off this entry (part deux) by noting that I was not drunk. I'm pretty sure I hadn't had so much as a glass of wine or even some orange juice that had turned.

Ours is a finished basement, a remodeling project that seems to have been done in the early 1980s or so, complete with some fairly thick carpet in a sea-foam green hue. Said carpet extends up the stairs to the kitchen. Said stairs are on the steep side to begin with, and the thick carpeting has made the steps even narrower.

It's pretty obvious where this is going, innit?

So, Saturday night, Evelin was watching the remake of Little House of the Prairie and I headed downstairs for something — maybe it was to changeover the laundry or to get a bottle of fizzy water, I don't remember (and not because I hit my head) — when, not quite half-way down the stairs, I launch into the air.

Evelin says she heard three distinct bumps/bounces followed by me muttering a lot. Rushing to the basement (and navigating the stairs with much grace), she finds me pacing and holding my left haunch. I, with way more grump than is called for, wave her back upstairs as I continue my wounded beast impersonation. Nothing's broken, but I'm definitely sore and know there's going to be a bruise.

That night, I find it painful to lie on my left side. Evelin is impressed by how much heat the wounded area is throwing off and there is a bit of a carpet burn on the afflicted area. I am glad that I didn't have my keys in that pocket.

By Sunday morning the bruise is beginning to make itself known; it is a fairly large, purple mass, roughly oval-shaped and covering a good 28 square inches of skin. I consider naming it "Wally." By Sunday evening, it's continuing to darken and is still tender to the touch.

Tonight is Thursday, four full days since the incident, and it is still warm and painfully tender (while playing with Celeste on the floor this afternoon, I rolled the bruise over a fairly soft toy and let out a little yelp that startled Celeste ...), but things are starting to breakup. You can see the purple fading in some places and spreading in others; I imagine it will be around for a while yet. No, I will not post pictures.

Tuesday, March 29, 2005

You Write the Blog 

Okay, so if I only have time for one entry over the next day or so, should it be:
Feeding Celeste (45.83%)
The Garden (10.42%)
My Giant Bruise (31.25%)
Something Baseball Related (2.08%)
\^/38 633|< 5+üph (6.25%)
Culling the Wine Cellar (4.17%)

Current results (48 votes)
Chicago rules are in effect. Vote early and often. All votes welcomed: Regular readers (both of you!), lurkers, random arrivals from Google ...

[Update: (31 March; 7:45 p.m.) Okay with "My Giant Bruise" blogged above, I'm putting the final(ish) results above. I don't think Web Poll Central will let me close the poll, so people can still vote, but it won't do much good.]

Monday, March 28, 2005

Easter Weekend 

So Celeste woke this morning at about 3:45 a.m. and I was having trouble getting back to sleep, so I decided to head off to work at about 4:30 a.m. ... which woke up Celeste again and apparently she was up for about an hour, although Evelin thinks they both dozed a bit in and out.

In some ways, it was a repeat of Easter morning. I was awake at 5:30 a.m. and figured I'd run out to get the paper, but as soon as I left Celeste decided it was time to wake up. I got home and there was an Easter basket full of Cadbury Creme Eggs on the porch for me; Evelin and Celeste were inside as awake as could be (well, at least Celeste was). Celeste got her Easter duck, which was received with a bit of indifference, and a pinwheel that she wanted to eat. (At Christmas, she was really into watching a fan, so I thought a pinwheel would be a good toy for her; she does like it, but she's not ready to play with it ...)

Before the rains came, we decided to give the Piggyback a go, and Celeste was a bit unsure as she was being strapped in, but seemed fine while on my back ... until about a half mile away from home when she started bawling. We were at the park, so we took her out and let her try the swings for a while (no strong reaction) before putting her back in the backpack and heading home. As we were leaving the park, we stopped to talk to a guide dog in training; Celeste was in the pack, so she didn't get to interact with her too much, but Evelin and I really liked her. She was a labradoodle (poodle–labrador retriever mix) and really sweet. Evelin offered to take her if she washed out as a guide dog, but apparently the backup option is life as a therapeutic companion dog, so we're a distant third in any claim on her ...

Easter supper was at Evelin's uncle and aunt's house, where Celeste's 10-year-old first cousin once removed, N---, was really interested in her. For the most part, he was really good with her, but he did get her crying once or twice. A---, her 13-year-old cousin once removed, was a bit calmer with Celeste, and though she was up past her bedtime and was getting cranky by the time we left, she did really well.

K---, Evelin's aunt, always forgets that I am a vegetarian, so it didn't surprise me when Evelin said all I could eat was the confetti salad. I was okay with that, but it turns out the potatoes would have been okay to eat: Evelin'd just been teasing me ...

Easter supper actually made for two good out-of-the-house evenings in a row for Celeste. Saturday night, we went for an early dinner at Samantha's; she was really good watching the baby at the next table, watching the people at other tables, and watching the cars and trucks passing outside.

Saturday, March 26, 2005

How to Drive Me Crazy ... 

I haven't posted in a nigh a week because it's production time for a major contract publishing gig, and we're running late. I think the latest I've gotten in to work any morning this past week was 6:00 a.m. and (except for Tuesday and Thursday), I don't think I've left until 6:30 p.m. or 7:00 p.m. On Tuesday, I had to be home at noon, of course, so I actually left for work around 2:30 a.m.; on Thursday, Evelin was home because of spring break, so she let me stay late that day. I ended up leaving at 1:00 p.m., quite frustrated by the lack of progress on things, but it was really nice having an afternoon with the three of us. The weather was overcast, but decent, and we took a little walk around the neighborhood. (And I only had to deal with a few project e-mails/phone calls during the time we were in the house.)

Okay, with apologies to Dooce, when it's 6:30 p.m. and you are over a week late with materials for said project (even if you are the client) don't babble on about getting me something "this afternoon." It was barely afternoon still when you told me the same thing at 5:00 p.m. and now it is well into the evening and you're going to say "this afternoon" when you're talking about sending me something from home later? And by the end of the conversation you're saying it may not be until sometime on Saturday? Much screaming and cursing could be heard from my office by 6:45 p.m. last night.

Today, I was thinking I'd have something to work on (because the printer was expecting materials on Monday), but there's been no activity in my e-mail in box (except the usual tons of spam, of course). Sigh.

Other Things

Celeste: I know Celeste is much more into her mother these days than her father. I have to work to get a good smile from her, but Evelin just needs to walk into the room. And when they went to the video store yesterday (Finding Neverland, very good), Celeste apparently couldn't figure out what I was doing on the other side of the counter: She kept staring some guy with dark hair, glasses and a beard who needed a haircut. Again, sigh.

This morning we all went to REI and picked up an REI Piggyback child backpack carrier. We'd passed along the BabyBjörn a while ago, and I'm just not comfortable with the sling, so I've been wanting somesort of backpack carrier for a little while now, and with spring and summer coming up, it'll make going hiking a lot easier for all of us.

We tried both the Piggyback and a Kelty model in the store, walking around a bit. Celeste didn't like getting strapped into either of them, but she stopped complaining as soon as the pack was on my back and we were walking around. The Kelty had better adjustments for raising her up in the seat, but the Piggyback was more comfortable for me and had a more secure strapping system for her. It also was easier to get Celeste in and out of.

Best of all, since I found my 2003 REI dividend while cleaning up my desk a few weeks back, we got that $1.58 off the price and a 20% discount, which more than made up for the fact that the sunshade/rainhood was sold separately for the Piggyback. Maybe next weekend the weather will be conducive to a short hike ...

Diet Coke: I drink way too much of the stuff (usually two 20-ounce bottles a day, but there are some days, especially when the sleep deprivation reaches a critical threshold, that I need more), so you'd think I'd have won a couple of 1-liter bottles by now. After all, supposedly 1 in 12 will win, according to the little green caps that signify the current contest/promotion. Well, since those bottles started appearing during the second week of February, I have won exactly two 1-liter bottles. And the first one was on Wednesday of this past week. I won a second one this morning. Either I'm finally hitting a lucky patch with these things or the promotion is about to end and 7-Eleven will no longer accept the caps ...

Cooking: Not much to report on the kitchen front. On Tuesday, I was craving corn and ended up making a corn soufflé for dinner (along with Boca Bratwurst and some beans and onions). Celeste was getting a little fussy while that was going on, but she was very interested in watching me whip the egg whites. I was blending a Martha Stewart recipe with one from Deborah Madison, and it turned out okay; I think I should have kept more of the kernels whole, however, and maybe put in more cheddar.

Monday, March 21, 2005

She Can Sleep in the Car ... 

... she just doesn't want to. Saturday, we went up to Pennsylvania for J--- and M---'s second annual Easter egg dying party. When Evelin was culling her old Martha Stewart Livings earlier in the year, she pulled all the articles with fancy egg-dying tricks and sent them to M--- and we got to try a few during the party. The one that worked the best was to put the dye in a shallow bowl, add some olive oil and run a fork through it to break up the oil slick, then roll the egg through the mixture once or twice and pat dry. The oil keeps the dye from sticking to all of the egg, creating a marbleized look that was pretty cool. For the second year in a row, Evelin took home the prize for best-looking egg.

Celeste slept most of the drive up and was really good while we were there, even taking a short nap, but she was a bit grumpier on the trip home. Naturally, I didn't make things better, because when Evelin suggested we leave at about 4:00 p.m., I thought it was so that we'd have time to flip by Va La Vineyards on the way home; she was thinking so that we'd be home around 6:30 p.m., before any serious meltdown.

When we got to the vineyard the compromise was that I could run in and pick up some bottles, but no tasting. (I wasn't worried — we've bought some of their wines before and they have never disappointed — although I would have liked to have had a few sips ...) We didn't get home until around 7:15 p.m. and Celeste was a bit on the grumpy side ...

As for her sleep, she's doing pretty well, if she's in our bed. She'll still wake up several times a night, but seems to either soothe herself back to sleep or take the pacifier and quickly fall back asleep more often than not. After the New Jersey trip (and long sleep home), she seems to have realized that she doesn't need to eat in the middle of the night, giving Evelin a bit of a respite. She still doesn't want to see me during the first few hours after she falls asleep, however.

The rest of the weekend was pretty bland: Sunday, after an early morning trip to the landfill to drop off a lot of spent batteries at the household hazardous waste recycling center, I spent much of the day on work stuff and straightening up the wine cellar (there's a lot of wine in there that I bought with plans for holding a tasting that never came together and now they're all in the questionable/past prime/what was I thinking phase, so we're planning to open up a few things over the next week or two and dump if they're no good). We did get to the farmers market for some apples and a cup of chai, too, but nothing exciting for any of us.

Friday, March 18, 2005

Stray Things 

Evelin was worried that "Lifechanges ... Delayed" has turned into an all-Celeste, all-the-time zone. I know some people prefer that (Hi Mom!), but for those who want some of the eclectic rambling that I would do before becoming yet another self-absorbed parent, I present a couple of rambling entries ...

Corndogs

I always liked corndogs (with lots of ketchup, please), so I'm really glad that Morningstar Farms makes an excellent vegetarian corndog. And now, I have just found out that tomorrow (19 March) is National Corndog Day (and don't miss the NCD blog). I don't think I want to overload on beer and tater tots, but corndoggity goodness sounds like it might need to be on the menu for tomorrow. (Via Enjablog)

Headlights

I don't know if Hyundai makes extensive use of child labor or not, but it takes some serious contortions and scraping of knuckles to replace the bulbs in the headlights of the Elantra. Last week, on my way to work early on Thursday, I noticed that the passenger-side headlight had gone out, so I picked up a new bulb and replaced it while Celeste sat in her stroller watching and offering moral support that afternoon. On the passenger side, the window washer fluid reservoir fill makes the spacing a bit tight there, but I was able to get things replaced without too much difficulty.

On Monday night, on the way back from meeting Evelin, S---, E--- and G--- in the District, Evelin pointed out that the driver-side headlamp was out. I had to drive padiddle Tuesday morning, but I picked up another bulb on the way home. Since I was going to need to pick R--- up at the Metro at some point that afternoon, Evelin took my car to work leaving me the T.R.U.C.K. and the snap-in base for Celeste's carseat, which meant I didn't fix the headlight that afternoon.

When I finally got to it Wednesday evening, I figured it would be easy. Just remove the piece of plastic that was covering the area between the battery and the headlight casing and there I'd be. Well, on the driver's side, there's an air intake under that piece of plastic that had to be popped off, and while it looks like there's more empty space between the battery and the headlamp than on the passenger’s side, it was actually a little bit more difficult to work in that bit of space than it was working around the reservoir-fill pipe.

Eventually, it was done, but not without a bit of cursing and bleeding.

Making things worse is that Hyundai uses the little spring clips to position the bulbs and hold them in place. Getting it back into position was a real pain, especially as the battery blocked any clear view of whether or not the spring and clip were lining up.

Naugahyde

Every now and I then I get a query from one of my fellow editors. On Wednesday, K--- called late in the day wanting me to confirm the spelling of Naugahyde®. That query led to the Naugahyde® website and it's explanation of where Naugahyde® comes from:
The small chameleon-like animals known as Naugas™ [elsewhere on the site identified as being native to either Sumatra or Rome] have long been known as the source of beautiful and durable fabrics that look like fine, soft leather. And since Naugas shed their hydes without harm to themselves, the fabrics they help make came to be known as Naugahyde®, The Cruelty Free Fabric™.
None of it's really that funny (I can see now after a fairly decent night's sleep*), but I think in my karōshi-induced mindset it cracked me up a bit.

*No Celeste is not sleeping through the night, but I only woke up once or twice with her, and I let myself sleep in to about 6:15 a.m., so I'm feeling better this morning, thanks for asking.

Thursday, March 17, 2005

We Must Be Crazy 

I think I'm more tired right now than just about any other time since Celeste was born. Work is in full-bore karōshi mode. My sleep has been crap since before we went to New Jersey. We've been mixing in a bit of low level entertaining every night this week (Monday, drinks after work with E---, S--- and G---; Tuesday, my cousin R--- gets to town; Wednesday, low-key hanging out with R---; and tonight, we're having E---, S--- and G--- over for a spot of dinner). I'm no where near where I should be for work on Monday, but we're popping up to Pennsylvania to see friends on Saturday. I just got Celeste down for her nap, and I really should be napping, too ...

Actually, she was pretty funny. She made big sleepy faces, so I took her up to her crib and put her down and she protested, but no big tears. I let her do some small fussing, with periodic checks to make sure she knew I was around, but also hoping she'd soothe herself to sleep. After about 15 minutes, she was smiling really big and waving her arms like she really wanted to get up; I figured I'd misread the sleep cues, picked her up, and the floodgates opened.

After a little walking and bouncing, I put her back in the crib and she was still sobbing, but not as much, so I tried singing. Sometimes that works for me, often it doesn't. I started in on some Billy Bragg, but that didn't seem to work for her, so I picked up the closest songbook to hand — The Irish Pub Songbook. Maybe because it's St. Patrick's Day (Erin go bragh!) or who knows why, but she calmed down by the end of the first verse of "Dirty Old Town" and she didn't even cry when I missed (badly) some of the notes in "Danny Boy." By end of "The Old Bog Road," she was out.

Wednesday, March 16, 2005

So ... The Rest of the Day 

Well, Celeste's nap yesterday lasted all of a half hour and she woke up crying, which is never a good sign. After a bit of just hanging out and a trip to the grocery store, I set her up in the exersaucer to get her dinner ready. Apparently, hunger was again an issue: It hadn't been a full three hours since she last ate, but she downed a 4+ ounce bottle of milk, a cube of butternut squash, a cube of pear, and a cube of sweet potato ... and I'm not sure she was 100% sated.

About the time she was finishing up with dinner, R--- called to say he was at BWI and about to board a MARC train to head down, so Celeste and I loaded up and headed to the New Carrollton Metro station. She was good on the way there, in part because I took one of her current favorite toys — the Vtech Little Smart Tiny Touch™ Phone Plus — which lights and beeps and plays tunes. She had the speaker partially covered, but she kept pressing the cat button (I don't know if accidentally or purposefully) every time I went over a bump in the road. Because the sound was muffled, for a couple of blocks I thought it was some part of the T.R.U.C.K. that was making an odd squeaking noise.

We picked R--- up and she was starting to get cranky — it was getting to be past her bath time and close to bedtime — to the point of a little wailing about one-third of the way home. We got her to settle down by rocking the carseat a little and by switching the radio from NPR to Rhinoceros Tap, and she was asleep by the time we got home. Evelin was home at this point, so she took Celeste upstairs and let her sleep in the bucket for about an hour while we got dinner ready and chatted. At the one-hour mark, Celeste woke up, angry to still be in the carseat, but able to be moved to her crib and soothed back to sleep.

Tuesday, March 15, 2005

I Should Have Known I Was in Trouble 

When I got home, Evelin told me that Celeste was being a joy today, lots of smiles and happiness, two naps, a pleasure to be with. That should have been a warning to me.

Things started off well, we had some giggles on the zebra rug, some good bouncing time in the doorway bouncer thing (K--- had outgrown hers, so we got to bring that back from New Jersey on Saturday; Sunday Celeste wasn't too sure, by today she seems to be loving it), a little bit of time on the playmat, but then she started to get a little cranky.

Evelin was feeding her when I got home, so I figured she wasn't hungry; it'd only been an hour an a half or so, so I went with she must be tired. (If she'd already had two naps today, I figured, she was finally starting to catch up on the sleep she missed over the weekend and yesterday during her trip to Mount Vernon*.)

Big miscalculation. There was some fussing, I figured that was to be expected, but I tried to soothe her ... and it only got worse and worse and worse: Lots of tears, lots of screaming, a giant booger, and a phone call to Evelin.

After a while (probably eight to ten minutes), decided to see if hunger was the issue; she wasn't paying attention to signs, so I showed her the bottle and she grabbed at it, so I figured we'd try food. This bottle was still on the very cold side, so while it was warming in some hot water, I figured I'd give her some solids.

Mistake number two. In my rush to soothe/feed her, I didn't pay enough attention to the baby spoon, which'd turned white indicating that the applesauce was too hot. She had been sitting there calmly waiting for her second lunch, but as soon as the hot food got to her mouth she spat it out and started wailing. I tasted it; it was on the warmer than usual side, but I don't think it would have burned her.

I quickly offered her cold sweet potatoes, which she wolfed down between sobs, followed by the now cooled apples. I was afraid she would shun them, but she ate them up without too much hesitation.

By then the bottle was warm, so I gave her that (and she only drank about half of it, sigh), and then we settled down for the fun game of play or nap. She was making some tired motions, but any moves toward her room would illicit crying and screaming, so we used the jumper and played with some blocks and a few rounds of antelope and lion, intermixed with a few more attempts to get her to go down, which only yielded more screams. Finally, she fell asleep on me and I was able to put her down ... now let's just see how the rest of the day goes.

Adding to things, my cousin R--- is coming to town for some meetings and is going to be crashing here tonight and tomorrow; it was a bit of a last-minute thing and I don't think we warned him adequately about what it might be like in a house with a baby who still wakes a few times each night ...

* She and Evelin spent the whole day yesterday with S---, E---, and their baby boy G---. For the most part things went well, but, apparently Celeste had very little asleep time and one big meltdown.

Which seems a much better name for the game than cannibal and missionary. She also really likes it, which makes me worry that if she were ever mauled by a dog, bear, or lion she'd start laughing.

Monday, March 14, 2005

I am Mark Bellhorn 

You scored as Mark Bellhorn. You are Mark Bellhorn! You are extremely quiet, which makes you mysterious. You don't express your emotions a lot or smile, but when you do it can brighten up a person's day! You are also very humble and nice and don't let your talents, as well as looks, go to your head. Ring my Bellhorn!

Mark Bellhorn — 83%
Johnny Damon — 73%
Jason Varitek — 63%
Curt Schilling — 53%
Manny Ramirez — 50%
Theo Epstein — 47%
Kevin Millar — 43%
David Ortiz — 40%

Which Red Sox Player Are You?
created with QuizFarm.com


Quiet, moving about under the radar, there in the clutch, yet still king of strike outs ... sounds dead on ...

(via The Red Sox Times)

Sunday, March 13, 2005

Myth: Babies Always Sleep During Car Rides 

Once again, Celeste is proving that she just hates to sleep. We drove up to Evelin's sister's new place in northwestern New Jersey yesterday day for K---'s first birthday party (no cake-throwing antics; she actually was very upset by how the frosting felt on her hands and wanted nothing to do with the cake) and for the six-or-so hours in the car on the way up, Celeste slept for less than an hour.

Saturday morning, I woke up around 5:00 a.m. to get some work done before we had to leave, and Celeste decided she'd rather be hanging out with me than sleeping, so she was out of bed and in her exersaucer by 5:30 a.m.

We had to run into the District to drop off some baby food and a note at the Topaz Hotel for some friends who were flying in later that day. They have a little boy, G---, a few days younger than Celeste and we're going to meet up with them all on Monday or something but we wanted to make sure they didn't have to try to find a grocery store or anything as soon as they got here. G--- eats a lot.

Anyway, to make this side trip and still get up to New Jersey in time for the party, we had to leave around 8:00 a.m. Celeste did fine getting into her car seat and watching the activity as Evelin and I got everything together for the trip, but, on the way back from the hotel she started getting fussy, which is when Evelin checked the time and realized that Celeste probably would have like to have had her second breakfast about the time we were getting on the road. After a quick stop at a park for a feeding, we were on the road to New Jersey by a little past 9:00 a.m.

M--- and M--- used to live just the New Jersey side of the George Washington Bridge. It was a pretty easy three-and-a-half to four hour (if the New Jersey Turnpike wasn't too trafficky) trip. After K--- was born, they needed more room, so they moved out west near Lake Hopatcong, which is about 45 minutes from the Delaware Water Gap. Instead of being all interstate/turnpike, the trip now includes a long stretch of two- and four-lane roads with lots of stoplights and, on a Saturday midday at least, a lot of traffic.

We arrived around 2:15 p.m. or so, and I brought in a few maps to see if there could be a faster way home, probably through Pennsylvania. Adding to things was that Celeste had only two sub-30-minute naps the entire trip. This was the first long road trip Celeste has taken since Thanksgiving and Christmas, and back then she was pretty good about sleeping in the car: Not this time. Evelin had to stay in the backseat with her, fetching toys as they were dropped out of reach and otherwise talking to/playing with Celeste.

Originally, we planned to spend the night in New Jersey, but I was stressed about the work I should be doing now (as opposed to blogging) and I was growing increasingly worried about Celeste's refusal to nap in New Jersey. (She did go down for about a half hour during the party, but she was well into the realm of overtired and was still refusing to sleep.) After some consultation with Evelin, she agreed to head home that night.

The plan was to try a Pennsylvania route (something the all-New Jersey crowd at the party had trouble figuring out; they kept suggesting easterly routes to the turnpike or the Garden State Parkway that wouldn't really save us much time). M---, M--- and M---'s brother-in-law, did come up with a higher-speed road route down to Allentown, which we ended up using rather than the two-lane roads that would have been a diagonal, albeit slower, route there.

It was a bout 6:45 p.m. and we struck out, heading west on I-80, turning south on PA-33 to get to I-78 where we could pick up I-476 to head down to I-95. We were home by 11:15 p.m.

We did have to stop for gas, one bad crying jag, and two missed turns, but it still turned out to be a quicker trip home, about four-and-a-half hours, which would probably have resolved to about four hours if you take out the having to double back on the missed turns and the stopping for gas. Even though it was all high-speed controlled-access roads, the scenery north of Philadelphia (as best I could tell in the dark) was a lot more scenic than the New Jersey route — although the New Jersey way did pass some very nice old buildings, especially around Princeton.

The best bit was that Celeste slept almost the entire trip. After a bit of crying early in the trip, Evelin moved into the backseat and Celeste ended up falling asleep pretty quickly. About 90-minutes later, she had a five-minute fit of hysterical crying that she didn't really wake up for, and there was a little more crying around the three-hour mark. Both times she was able to be soothed back to sleep. The final wakeup of the trip happened near Goddard Space Flight Center, with only about 15 minutes to go. She didn't really get back to sleep after that until we got home, but she did learn that she can go for longer than four hours without eating; maybe she'll take that lesson to heart and start to work on the sleep-through-the-night thing.

One funny story from the party: As a decoration on the present we brought K---, Evelin tied these Bobbing Sprites bath toys to the ribbon. They have a suction cup that sticks to the bathtub wall or floor and the baby can push them around and they make noise. K--- was having fun shaking them, while Evelin and M--- were playing with the suction cups. Evelin stuck one to her forehead — and I'm honestly surprised this ended up happening to her and not to me — when she pulled it off, it left a big hickey dead center on her forehead. I can see it right now from across the room. Hopefully, it'll fade some before she has to go to work on Tuesday, but Evelin thinks she'll be experimenting with some makeup before then ...

Friday, March 11, 2005

Today, It's Pandas All the Time ... 

Zoo Tries Artificial Insemination (washingtonpost.com):
After several mating attempts by the National Zoo's giant pandas were unsuccessful, the animal care staff today turned to artificial means to try to achieve a panda cub birth.

Starting about 5 a.m. zoo employees first anesthetized male Tian Tian and took his sperm. Once he was recovering, they anesthetized female Mei Xiang and artificially inseminated her. Zoo officials said both are recovering from the anesthesia.
Last year, the IUI attempt was made almost as an afterthought; it was probably too late in Mei's cycle, but she was already being examined and the sample from Tian was onhand and available. It couldn't hurt, so an IUI was done.

This year, the timing is much more likely to bear fruit. And, considering that Tian Tian has super sperm (the one count I heard about last year was something like 800-times what would normally be expected based on data from Chinese panda IUI programs). So, if everything works out, there could be a baby in the panda house by Labor Day.

Of Course These Things Can Be Complicated ... 

Pandas 'Out of Sync' In Attempts to Mate (washingtonpost.com):
The National Zoo's giant pandas made several attempts to mate yesterday, even as animal care staff prepared to turn to artificial means to try to achieve a panda cub birth.

The celebrated panda pair were put together yesterday morning and afternoon, but their mating attempts were unsuccessful, according to zoo scientists. If 'effective mating' did not occur during the night, zoo officials said, they would resort to artificial insemination this morning.

It Looks Like Panda Love ... 

I received an e-mail with the official line from the Zoo last night:
Mei Xiang, our female giant panda, has begun to show signs of going into estrus early this year. In an effort to reduce stress to both her and Tian Tian, her mate, during this critical mating period, The Fujifilm Giant Panda Habitat will be closed to the public for the next few days.
They pair are still viewable (sporadically) via Pandacam 1 and Pandacam 2, but it could be that the bears are being a bit discreet.

So, with apologies to Willis Allen Ramsey, America and, of course, The Captain & Tennille:
Panda, panda candlelight
Doin' the town and doin' it right
In the evenin'
It's pretty pleasin'

Panda Mei, Panda Tian
Do the jitterbug out in panda land
And they shimmy
And Tianny's not so skinny

And they whirled and they twirled and they tangoed
Singin' and jingin' the jango
Floatin' like the heavens above
It looks like panda love

Nibbling on bamboo, chewin' on leaf-eater biscuits
Tianny says to Mei, "Honey, would you please be my missus?"
And she say yes
With her kisses

And now he's ticklin' her fancy
Bitin' her tail
Muzzle to muzzle, now anything goes
As they wriggle, and Mei starts to giggle

And they whirled and they twirled and they tangoed
Singin' and jingin' the jango
Floatin' like the heavens above
It looks like panda love

La da da da da ...

Thursday, March 10, 2005

Hungry Bird 

Have you ever seen a bird diving into a swarm of bugs, snapping its beak at things left and right and progressively eating its fill? That, pretty much, was Celeste this afternoon.

Although she would never admit it, she was a bit tired after only having a 30-minute nap in the car/in her bucket on the living room floor after we got home (Evelin took Celeste with her to work for a lunch-time meeting). However, after our short stroll around the neighborhood and Celeste helping me change a headlight bulb in the Hyundai, Celeste decided that her stomach was more important than a nap.

She wolfed down the cube of apple I mixed with oatmeal, and then vacuumed up a cube of sweet potato — I think she's starting to get the sign we're using (SWEET + POTATO) for that. Throughout this, she was opening her mouth really wide (sometimes without having swallowed everything she took in on the last bite) before flinging herself mouth first at the spoon. It was both funny and frightening. This was all interspersed with little squeals and squawks from her that really sounded like she was trying to boss me around. "Feed me more!" "Feed me more, now!"

After the sweet potato was gone, I got introduce a new food — banana. On Sunday, we picked up some organic bananas at Whole Foods, and they are getting to be ripe. So I mashed up about 112 inches of banana and let her try it. The results were mixed. She only ate about four bites, but from the first she wasn't too sure about it. It could be the texture was too off (I mashed it with a fork whereas her other food is nicely ground up by the KitchenAid) or maybe since it was offered last she wasn't hungry enough to try get excited about something different. Oh well, there are at least three bananas left, so we'll see what she thinks tomorrow.

After eating, she spent about 30 minutes in the crib complaining/playing until she finally fell asleep and I could sneak out of her room. We're approaching the 30 minute mark, so I expect to hear some wakeup noises all too soon ...

[UPDATE: Just as I go to post (and Blogger is acting balky), the wailing starts. It was like the nighttime inconsolable crying, and it proved easier to have her wake and stay up even if she is still tired than to soothe her back to sleep — when she's crying like that she wants to see her mother much more than me ...]

Wednesday, March 09, 2005

Another Night ... 

... of lots of waking (at least for Evelin). I was the bad husband who slept through the near-hourly wakeups until about 3:00 a.m. — after 3:00 a.m., Celeste was still waking up, but I was getting up, too. I was exhausted from her 12:30 a.m. wakeup the night before, where she stayed awake for about an hour, and I was more awake than not until I had to leave for work at 3:15 a.m., so I completely missed the rough night Celeste was having. Part of it was probably due to having had her immunization shots that afternoon, but the rest of it was probably just her sleep pattern ... or lack there of.

Actually, the doctor yesterday said that her sleep troubles could mean that she wants/needs less sleep than we do and/or we think she does. He said that, when they're tired, babies will fall asleep in strange places and positions. Evelin and I agreed that this did not describe Celeste.

Today, she had a mixed bag of good and bad naps. We'll see how she does tonight...

Tuesday, March 08, 2005

My Little Girl Is All Growed Up 

Well, not really, but she did have her six-months check up today, and passed with flying colors. Evelin scheduled the appointment for the afternoon so that I could go (as opposed to the four-month checkup, which I had to miss because it was during a busy time at work).

She's now 15 pounds 10 ounces (1 pound, 1 ounce shy of trebling her birth weight), 2412 inches long (it looks like they messed up measuring her height at the five-month visit), and her head circumference is 17 inches. She also got four jabs — DTaP (two jabs), Prevnar, and HIB.

She's eating oatmeal, apples, pears, butternut squash, acorn squash, and, as of Sunday, sweet potatoes. Rice cereal was quickly discarded as being icky.

And ... tonight she found her feet. Or at least she gave them two good grabs during her bath and then a few during post-bath naked baby time on the changing table. I cheered and clapped whenever she grabbed them, but after three or four times, she just started lifting her feet up and holding her hands near them before looking over to see what I would do. Obviously, she views me as a trained monkey or, considering that I need a haircut/beard trim, a dancing bear.

The doctor was happy with her eating and weight/height gain, reflexes, sounds, looks, etc. We talked about her sleep and he didn't really have much to offer, but he also didn't express any concerns, other than saying not to breastfeed her when she does the 45-minute wakeup thing (which Evelin'd stopped doing a while ago).

Thinking of the sleep, last night Celeste had a bit of relapse of sorts. She went down as usual, but then woke up at 12:30 a.m. and wanted to scream. Evelin asked me to try to console her, which lead to me picking her up and Celeste crying harder. Evelin tried to ask me something, but I couldn't hear her with the in-ear wailing going on, so Celeste and I walked into my and Evelin's bedroom and Evelin said "Oh, she's coming to bed with us?"

I hadn't intended that, but we were all there, so we put her in the big bed and she proceeded to flail around for a while and to grab both of our noses for about a half hour. She eventually fell asleep, but was still in and out of sleep for the next few hours, finally waking to feed about 15 minutes after I left for work in the 3:00 a.m. hour.

This morning, she had two good naps before we went to the doctor, which meant she was quite sociable — talking a lot to the nurses, the doctors, people in the waiting room. She fell asleep in the car on the way home from the doctor, and slept in her bucket for a little while after we got home, but after that she was awake (and sometimes grumpy) for the rest of the day.

She did have a nice meal of apples-butternut squash-oatmeal-with-a-splash-of-breast-milk mixed up around 5:00 p.m., followed by some sweet potatoes, followed by a 2-ounce bottle (I'd fed her the other half-bottle before we went to the doctor). At first she wasn't too willing to eat the blended concoction, but I took a bite and she looked at me like "Hey, esse, that's mine!" and then quickly ate the rest of the bowl and then demanded more.

Right now, she's asleep and I'm really hoping for an easy night ...

Where Do They Make Balloons? 

I can't decide if They Might Be Giants are evil, geniuses, or evil geniuses. We have all three of their children's albums now, and they are fun but insanely infectious. Thankfully, I have purged "In the Middle, In the Middle, In the Middle" from my brain (at least I had until I typed that), but I am currently plagued by "Where Do They Make Balloons?" [video] (both from No!). Last night, I found myself whistling that song over and over and over again.

With that stuck in my mind (and because we were looking at the map to figure out if we do go to Evelin's cousin's wedding in Montana this summer where else we might try to visit with a not-quite-year-old), I figured I should look at the World66 maps to see where I've been.

Thus far:

Map of the World

4% of the world (10 countries) — although that counts the United Kingdom as one country (the Europe map below counts it as up to four) and it counts French Guiana as a seperate country instead of as an overseas département/région.

Map of the United States

60% of the United States (31 states) — but if we do go to Montana, we'd probably try to add at least Wyoming and maybe Idaho or a Dakota to the list, too ... I did not count states where I never left the airport during a layover; if I did count those, I'd get to add Colorado, Missiouri, and Ohio.

Map of Canada

38% of Canada (5 provinces)

Map of Europe

15% of Europe (8 nations)

It looks like I still need to get a few places.

Create your own maps

Monday, March 07, 2005

Balloon! 

Celeste with her balloon

This balloon has been around for about three weeks now, and as it slowly loses its buoyancy, its getting easier for Celeste to grab. She's also getting better at pulling it down to her, either by jerking the string down or, in more careful moments, pulling it down.

Ask and Ye Shall Receive 

So around 4:15 a.m. Evelin said to me that she kinda missed having Celeste in our bed. Last night she went down okay a little before 7:00 p.m. with the usual fitful wakeups at the 45- and 90-minute marks, woke to nurse around 9:45 p.m., 1:30 a.m. and around 4:00 a.m.

Well, about 4:30 a.m., Celeste started whimpering, so I went in to calm her, but that did little good and got her crying harder, so we brought her back to bed where she quickly settled in to sleep.

I got up around 5:30 a.m. (I really need to get back on a better schedule; I've been really messed up sleepwise since coming back from California), but they're both sound asleep up there for the moment.

Sunday, March 06, 2005

Back to the Zoo 

This afternoon was my first time with the pandas in a long, long time. In total, in the six months since Celeste was born, I have done three behavior watch shifts (previously, I did at least two shifts each month). Naturally, I had forgotten a few things.

Which is why I found myself scrambling to remember camera numbers and angles, the grid for describing where the bear is at any given minute in the yard, and some of the codes for various behaviors. I also — for the first four scans — was watching Tian Tian instead of Mei Xiang.

Once that was cleared up, however, things went pretty well except that Mei is coming into estrus and seems to be intent on speeding things up this year. Last year, she wasn't ready until late April, and by then Tian's ardor had pretty much faded. Right now, the erratic behavior is all about Mei — she spend the first 55 minutes of the watch running/walking/pacing throughout the yard, refusing to go in to eat, but not really doing anything but wandering at random and occasionally stopping to mark an area. Tian seemed his usual self, although there were some reports of restlessness on his part earlier in the week, which might be a sign of musth.

Walking through the rest of the zoo, it's still amazing how much work is being done. The first third of the place (from Connecticut Avenue into the park to the elephant house) is pretty heavily torn up with Asia Trail Phase I construction. They are supposed to have it all ready for 2006, but looking at it, that's hard to believe.

The only animals I got a good look at that I usually don't see were the maned wolves (Chrysocyon brachyurus). Every time I've been by their enclosure in the past, they've either been off exhibit or in their little dog houses and all I could see would be their ears. (They have very big ears.) This time, two of them were out and walking around. I was surprised how long and lean their legs are compared to their bodies; the photos I've seen of them didn't really convey that. They looked kind of like giant foxes on stilts.

Three Squares and a Cot 

Well, for a little while, it looked like last night might be touch-and-go. After her 6:00 p.m. bath, Celeste and Evelin went upstairs for a feeding and bedtime and I called an order for some takeaway Indian food. Forty-five minutes later, when I'm back home with the vegetable biryani, alu mattar, pakora, reshmi kabab, naan, and garlic naan (as well as a six-pack of He’brew Genesis Ale), there's Celeste in her swing, not at all tired.

Evelin had me try to put her down, but Celeste was having none of it, so she sat and watched us eat our dinner. With all of her grabbing at our food, we decided to see if she wanted to eat something solid and, well, it looks like Celeste is moving to a three-meals-a-day plan.

She scarfed down a cube of pear, a cube of butternut squash, and some oatmeal like she was starving. Every bite was accompanied by the same exhortation: "Feed me faster Mumma!" Finally, she slowed down, let us clean her up, and went fairly quickly to sleep.

We did have a wake up at the 45-minute mark and at 45 minutes past that, but then she slept until 1:00 a.m. or so, fed, and then woke again around 5:30 a.m. to feed. I then heard her playing quietly around 7:00 a.m. and I went and got her. (She might have played quietly for a while and maybe even fallen back asleep, but figured it be good to get her out of the crib before she started crying.)

This morning, after playing for a little while, she was acting hungry, so we gave her the last two cubes of acorn squash; she didn't relish them as much as last night's dinner, but she did eat well.

I think sweet potatoes and/or bananas are next on the food-introduction list, so we'll see what looks good at the farmers market and/or the co-op and/or the grocery store ...

Also thinking of things in three, she has been in size 3 diapers for a week or so now. Actually, about two weeks ago, the 2s seemed to have stopped fitting, mostly because of her thighs, but then she had a little bit of a growth spurt and her body shape changed and the 2s fit again, but the 3s still fit better. We've had a bunch of 3s in the house for a while now (baby presents from people who were thinking she'd outgrown Ns and 1s more quickly than she did), but we kept finding 2s in the bottom of the diaper bag and other places throughout the house. Finally, I think she's done with those and it's all about the size 3s now.

Saturday, March 05, 2005

Catching Up on Sleep 

I'm sure blogging this will cause a relapse of the previous two nights, but last night was pretty decent. The big difference (during the day) was that Evelin didn't try getting Celeste to go down for a nap until she was really, really, really, really ready for one. She ended up taking only one nap around noon, but it was close to a two-hour nap.

She went to bed around 6:15 p.m., and slept reasonably well. There was a wake up around the 90-minute mark to eat (she was too tired to feed well when she went down), and a few little cries a little past 8:30 p.m. and a little before 10:00 p.m. She woke up to eat at 11:00 p.m. or so and again at 3:15 a.m. or so. At a little past 4:00 a.m. she came to our bed and slept through to a bit past 6:00 a.m., getting up to feed at 6:30 a.m.

Albeit with a few interruptions here and there, Evelin and I got a decent amount of sleep (me a little more than her, both because I didn't have to get up to feed Celeste, and because I conked out on the couch for an hour or so while watching Sky Captain & the World of Tomorrow — Evelin is on somesort of Jude Law kick, she also rented I ♥ Huckabees.

Helping me conk out were both the fact that I was totally exhausted and a glass or three of 1999 თბილღვინო (T'bilvino) ოჯალეში (Odjaleshi or Оджалеши), a nicely structured, fruity semi-sweet red from Georgia. It tasted almost like a weaker ruby port, the flavor was nice despite being on the sweet side of things; there were notes of plums and other black currant — very pleasant.

Friday, March 04, 2005

The Big Oh-Point-Five 

Yep, today is Celeste's half-birthday, and now that she thinks she's all grown up, she thinks her bedtime should be adjusted and that she should have a few more freedoms — even if she hasn't found her feet yet.

Last night, she started the night waking up screaming pretty much right at the 45-minute mark. After the third of these wakeups, Evelin got her down for a few hours, but by 1:00 a.m. the fun was starting. Celeste wanted to be up. Evelin distracted her and soothed her back to sleep within a half-hour, but it really sounded/felt to me like it took about three hours.

CORRECTION: She woke to eat around 1:00 a.m. and went back to sleep with no problems. But then she started crying again around 3:00 a.m. I apparently woke to see the clock around 1:00 a.m. and again when the 3:00 a.m. crying started and thought it was one continuous cryfest. Evelin laughed at me. We now continue our regular blog, already in progress ...

Of course, when she woke again and started the same game around 3:00 a.m., it did last for about two hours — sooth and distract, leave her awake but quiet, listen to the various noises but try to go back to sooth and distract before she entered the full-on wailing stage, repeat ad infinitum.

Every time Evelin would move out of Celeste's range of vision, she would start whinging again. Finally, she brought her to our bed around 5:30 a.m. for about 15 minutes of cooing/playing with the blanket and our faces before she feel asleep. We didn't have a pacifier with us, but Celeste was trying to suck on my knuckles, so I tried to show her that she can suck her thumb. That got her to sleep for about 15 minutes, but then she needed a pacifier.

I don't know what's up with her, but Evelin's right we do need her to figure out how to sooth herself back to sleep and the co-sleeping is cool, but if she sees it as playtime instead of sleep time then it isn't really co-sleeping is it? This weekend Evelin wants to continue to try some sort of modified Ferber/CIO/NCSS sleep strategy. Naps are a problem, but not as big of one as the overnight sleeping/not sleeping, so we're focusing on that.

[ASIDE: And in case anyone wonders why it was Evelin dealing with Celeste all last night, lately I am no good at all in the evenings with her. When she wakes up crying she wants her mother and all I do is stretch out the pain for her ...]

Go Red Sox!

Way to go defending World Champion Red Sox, winning that first game of spring training. MLB television pretty much stunk over dial-up. The audio was okay, but since it was the NESN television feed, the commentators didn't do a good job of painting the scene for a listener. I watched/listened to about two innings between screamfests before going to bed.

Thursday, March 03, 2005

Danger! Danger! 

She's down for the moment, but today is obviously going to be difficult.

About 15 minutes after I left for work this morning, Celeste woke up ... for the day. Evelin said that she was up from 3:30 a.m. or so until about 6:30 a.m. when she went down for a half-hour nap. She's had one or two other 30 to 45 minute naps today, but that's it. I'm really hoping she power sleeps until about 5:00 p.m. right now; a three-hour nap might give her what she needs to get back on schedule (6:00 p.m. or so bath with bed time sometime before 7:00 p.m.) and to only wake up three times overnight — and to go back to sleep after said wakeups, of course.

The one thing I think may have been the difference is that she came to our bed fairly early last night, around 9:00 p.m. Maybe she figured that after six hours in the big bed, it's time to start the new day. When she starts co-sleeping at 1:00 a.m., that's fine (heck, 7:00 a.m. is better than fine), but not when she wants to wake at 3:30 a.m.

[UPDATE (3:22 p.m.): Well, that didn't work. I went in at the half-hour mark to try the prëemptive soothing and it worked for about 15 minutes. And then, when I thought her REM sleep phase was over, I stepped back, the floor creaked and she woke up with a start. I thought for a moment she'd get back to sleep but she had other ideas.

Right now she's cycling between smiles and cranky looks, playing in her exersaucer, but I'm sure we'll have at least one more nap-battle this afternoon ...]

Other Stuff

Her Name: Celeste definitely knows her name, at least when I say it. It's not like Evelin has a strong New England accent or that I have some identifiable Louisiana drawl, but when I say her name, Celeste turns to look at me. Evelin doesn't get that reaction, but Celeste will look at her when she says "Hey, Sweetie." I guess it's what she hears most from each of us or something.

Red Sox: Finally! Tonight is the first game of spring training for the Beloved BoSox. They're playing the Twins, first pitch is at 7:05 p.m. (EST), and MLB TV is streaming the game for free. I have a feeling, unless I've collapsed by 7:00 p.m., that we're going to see how well this new computer (and dial-up connection) handles a video feed.

Computer: Thinking of Evelin's new computer, it's been here for a few weeks now and we're both liking it a lot. It's a Dell Inspiron 6000, and I customized what's on it to suit our needs. It's a lot faster than the old Gateway, but we are definitely feeling the limits of dial-up and will probably have to bite the bullet and get DSL sooner rather than later.

Whenever we do that, we'll probably set up a wireless network (whether I've gotten around to upgrading my computer in the basement yet or not), but I'll be sure to secure it — unlike the two networks in our neighborhood that this computer keeps sniffing out. If I knew whose they were, I'd try talking to them about it, but for now we just have to deal with little balloon alerts from XP that a wireless network has been detected ...

Wednesday, March 02, 2005

I Don't Sleep With My Glasses On ... 

Well, I have fallen asleep with them on (and broke one pair that way a decade ago), but generally I try to not sleep with glasses on, which means I can't see the clock that well. Thus, when I'm asked in the early morning what time it is (because Celeste is crying and we need to figure out is this a soothing opportunity, a self-soothing opportunity, or a FEED ME NOW opportunity) and I say it's 3:30 a.m. but it turns out to be 1:30 a.m. (and barely more than an hour since she last ate), I can't be completely blamed. The blurring caused by the astigmatism made the 1 look like a 3 for some reason ...

The other funny overnight story is that when Evelin put Celeste to bed a bit past 7:00 p.m., she told her to sleep until midnight. When she woke up about 12:15 a.m., I was very excited that she'd slept that long ... until Evelin pointed out that I'd happily snored my way through the 10:00 p.m. wake up. (Oops.)

Other than that Celeste did pretty good last night — while I am willing to grasp at any crumb of hope, I'm sure it will prove the exception rather than the rule. She woke at 4:15 a.m. to eat and then slept through until almost 7:30 a.m., and if I could have read the clock at 1:00 she might have slept through from midnight until 4:00, which would have been heavenly ...

Tuesday, March 01, 2005

Oatmeal and Cannibals 

We may be able to make Celeste apple sauce and squash purée and other solid foods, but cereal has to come in a box, as best I can tell, so we picked up some Earth's Best Organic Whole Grain Oatmeal Cereal a little while ago. (Celeste never really cottoned to their rice cereal, and I can see why, it's pretty bland; the oatmeal at least has a nice oaty taste.) So, after Celeste downed a cube of apples and a cube of acorn squash and was claiming to still be hungry, I decided to mix up some oat cereal for her.

Dear Earth's Best: Can you please make a pourer for the box that doesn't dump a half-cup of oats at once? Twice I ended up with oaty flakes everywhere, but I don't need to worry about trying to figure out if Celeste had one tablespoon or eight of the stuff — three bites in, she decided "this isn't the applely-goodness I was previously enjoying" and she sealed her little food-smeared face against any more whole-grain oats.

Evelin suggested (it was only my third phone call of the afternoon) adding some apple to the oats to see if she'd take it then, but she wasn't reacting when I'd ask if she wanted to EAT, so I decided to skip it and to play with her for a while instead.

She definitely is in a leap/stage/phase of somesort. She's being a little more standoffish and reserved than she was a week or two ago, but you can get some really good laughs and giggles out of her if you work at it. Today, she was really into playing "cannibals and missionaries;" not the logic problem, just the usual nibble on ears and fingers and neck and belly game with lots of grrr, grrrr, grrr soundeffects. She even got into the spirit of things between laughs by chomping down on my fingers and nose.

[ASIDE: I can't believe she has been down for nearly an hour. This is two long naps this afternoon, and she has only had the solids and one bottle; we figured she'd have three bottles before Evelin got home. This girl refuses to allow herself to be figured out ...]

Hurm ... 

If that worked, I'll be very happy. I got home just as Celeste was going down for a nap. On her way out the door, Evelin suggested trying some "preëmptive soothing." We know Celeste has a built-in alarm clock that tells her to wake up (99% of the time) about 30 minutes after she starts a nap. So, in an attempt to hit the snooze button a few times, I snuck into her room after about 25 minutes of sleep and just waited.

It must be something about her sleep cycle, because at about the half-hour mark she started fidgeting and tugging quickly on her pacifier. So I put my hand on one arm and let her hold a finger. Generally, I was hoping it would feel comforting to her.

Right now at 10 minutes past the wake up point, <touch wood>she's still asleep</touch wood> — not as quietly asleep as she is sometimes, but no sounds of stirring. If she gets a real nap, that would be so cool. (Of course, if I were a little smarter, I'd be getting a nap right now, too, but, alas, having kids can make you lose IQ points.)

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