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Wednesday, February 28, 2007

My Daughter's First Love

Charissa will be one month old tomorrow and she has grown and changed so much. It's fascinating to watch her see things for the first time and her reactions to them. We've discovered that she hates wind and tries to hit it away from her. She only wants to be on her tummy when she has the boppy pillow and if she's flat she'll scream her little head off.

But one thing that I never expected was my daughter to fall in love already. I think she developed a crush when she was about 6 days old and by the time she was two weeks old it was a serious love affair. She'll spend hours and hours just staring at him. It's hilarious to watch her when she's fussy and then she catches a glimpse of him she goes silent and her eyes get really big. I've tried to figure out what she finds so attracting in him, but I think he just quite literally lights up her world.

Here's Charissa staring at her love:

And here is her love:

That's right. Our daughter is in love with the lamp. It fascinates her. She just stares at it for hours, which works well for me because it allows me to read and talk to Britt with her being quiet and completely entertained.

Oh I love my baby! She is so entertaining and fun! And I bet she'll only get funnier as she learns to move and talk.

Tonight when we were at our Community Group Charissa found out that our friends Brian and Julie also have a lamp that is oh-so-nice to look at. I watched her fall for that lamp as well. So apparently her relationship with our lamp at home isn't exclusive!

Monday, February 26, 2007

Conversations With Charissa

One of the things I read in a lot of baby books was that I need to be talking to Charissa on a regular basis. And not just rambling on and on, but having "conversations" with her so that she knows that when people talk there is a pattern of exchanges (i.e. one person talks and another responds). Surprisingly, this is something that is very difficult for me to do and I have to constantly remind myself to talk to her. It doesn't help that she is also extremely quiet unless she's crying so she's not exactly lending herself to conversation. The other thing that makes this difficult is that I don't know what to talk to her about. Someone told me to just dialogue what I'm doing with her, but that's hard too because I don't normally talk about getting dressed. I'm not really inspired to say, "Here comes the onesie! And now we're putting on the dress ... and now the first sock ... and the second sock ..." I do it sometimes - but it's just not my nature to be "cutsie" like that. Don't get me wrong - I love babies and I'm extremely fond of my own, but I've never been that person that gets in a silly voice and talks about their toes. I'm more of the person who says, "Wow ... that was a lot of spit-up! Do you like to spit-up? Is that your favorite hobby?" and other random comments. (I realize that as my daughter grows to be able to understand what I'm saying I'm going to have to SERIOUSLY reign in the sarcasm.)

So what do I talk to Charissa about? Let me give you a few sample conversations we've had this week.

B: Are you so so hungry?
B: You want chocolate milk? I'm sorry but it doesn't come in chocolate.
B: A pina-colada? No you cannot have a pina-colada either! It'll be a long, long time before you have a pina-colada.
B: Well I'm sorry that you're upset, but you're just going to have to be ok with regular milk for now.

B: Whatcha thinking about?
B: I have also often wondered why your clothing comes with pockets.
B: I know, I know. What do you put in them?
B: You're right, your pacie is probably the only thing you would be able to fit in there.
B: Hmm ... doesn't fit. So it seems that pocket is pretty much useless.
B: Well thank you! It's so nice that you appreciate me carting all your stuff around for you.

Yes, I do enjoy my little chats with Charissa. For the most part she's a great listener and only occasionally falls asleep when I'm talking to her.

Stay tuned for more totally ridiculous conversations!!

Monday, February 19, 2007

I Need Your Help!

Recently Britt and I have been amazed with the number of babies that are being born at our church. When I got pregnant I was the first of my friends outside of church to be pregnant, and there was only one other woman pregnant that I was close to. Because I didn't know much about pregnancy or how to be a parent and especially not how to afford a child, I read a TON of books. I discovered that about 90% of them are the same and about 50% of what they say is somewhat useless. At least it was for me because I don't have an unlimited nursery budget and I'm living in the real world.

So this got me thinking about how I could help these other young mothers prepare for the arrival of their child. I started assembling the notes I had taken from the books I read into a short packet of information, and then started compiling ways that I had saved money on clothes, diapers, all the big stuff, etc. But then I thought, "I'm only one person that has had one baby (and really recently). I'm sure other people have more experience or different ideas about how to prepare for a baby."

And that's where YOU come in! I would love to hear from as many people as possible about how you saved money preparing for the arrival of your child, what things where really important for you to know, the most helpful advice you heard, what you've learned, what was a good product to have and what wasn't, etc., etc., etc..

I'm really looking forward to compiling this information and giving it to these ladies because I think it would be a huge blessing to them. But it will be much more helpful with your input, so please let me know everything you know about babies!

Friday, February 16, 2007

House Arrest!

The first time that Charissa and I went to her pediatrician they told us that we need to stay away from "crowds" for two months. Their definition of "crowds" includes the mall, the grocery store, church, restaurants, etc. They told us that two months was decided on because that's when Charissa will get her first set of immunizations. That first round of immunizations includes polio, hepatitis, diphtheria, tetanus, and pertussis. All are common illnesses that I fear my child will get at the local grocery store. But as my mom said, "All it takes is one person to lean over Charissa and say, 'What a cute baby!' to infect her with something that could put her in the hospital." So we're being good. We're staying at home away from all the germs. But fortunately for us our church is small enough that we can get away with going. YAY!!

So what do you do when you're under house arrest? Well, let me show you what Charissa has been up to ...

Charissa sucks on Mom's nose ...

She snuggles with her daddy ...

She *sometimes* enjoys tummy time ...

Frequently stares at large white objects (i.e. the walls, ceiling, refrigerator) ...

And mostly she just sleeps ...

On April 1 (exactly two months after birth) we're going to celebrate rejoining the rest of society. But until then we're going to enjoy bonding and getting to know each other. Of course we'd love visitors!! As long as you're not sick or carrying polio, pertussis, or tetanus!

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Life is SOOOO Different Now

Baby Charissa is 11 days old today, and my life has never been changed so quickly. Even getting married didn't turn my world upside down the same way having a baby has. But I have enjoyed it immensely! I've learned so much in the last 11 days, experienced new things, and been completely overwhelmed with love. Let me share with you the highlights from my brief parenting life.

  1. Love isn't based on what you do - it's who you belong to. I loved my daughter before she was born, and now that I've seen her I love her even more. And nothing she does makes me love her. I love her because she's my daughter. Just like how God loves me because I am His child, despite the fact that I can't do anything to make Him love me. But this is reassuring because both Charissa and I cannot do anything to change the way we are loved.
  2. Singing hymns can calm the wild beast. When all else fails, Charissa loves to hear her parents sing hymns and praise songs. I am reminded of Saul and how he had David play the harp for him when his spirit was in unrest. I am hoping the similarities end there because I'd rather Charissa not throw a spear at me one day.
  3. Squeaks can be the sweetest sound. Since she's too young for talking, or even cooing, Charissa communicates her happiness in little squeaks. I've found that the tiniest little squeak can make my heart melt.
  4. A feeling of helplessness overwhelms you. Last night Charissa was crying her little heart out and I couldn't figure out what was wrong with her. She had been fed, she was dry, she wasn't sick, she was in comfortable clothing and yet she still wailed. After about 45 minutes of her screaming I began to cry. There was nothing I could do for her, and yet I would have done anything for her to make her happy. She's so small and fragile and I just long to protect her, but I know I can't do that forever. I've been praying that I entrust my daughter to God because He is infinitely wiser and more capable of caring for her than I.
  5. Baby kisses make me smile. Now I know that an 11 day old baby cannot really kiss, but sometimes when I have her up by my face she puts her mouth on my cheek and it makes me laugh. She loves her mommy and she's trying to show it!
  6. Phantom crying will haunt you. There are moments when Charissa is sleeping soundly but I hear crying in my head and I turn to go check on her, only to realize that I'm just imagining it. Sometimes I think that she's crying softly, but still just in my head. Whenever she is crying it's always quite robust so I don't know why I ever think the tiny cries I hear in my head are actually her.
  7. A distinct baby smell will permeate everything. Now I'm not saying that everything will smell like poop, but there is a distinct baby smell that will get on your clothes, your hands, your furniture, the air ... and you'll learn to love it.
  8. Forget the schedule. Everyone says to get the baby on a schedule as soon as possible, and I completely agree. But when your schedule requires a 4:00 feeding and your baby is still asleep and you try to wake her up for an hour, what are you supposed to do? It's nearly impossible to wake a sleeping infant, so you just have to flow with it. As long as she is happy and eats farther apart that every 2.5 hours, I'm ok with it (although Charissa usually waits about 3.5 hours between meals in the day and 4-5 hours at night). I'm sure when she's a little older we'll get on a regular schedule, but for now we're not going to try to add the pressure of a schedule to learning how to be a family.
  9. Small bodies require large equipment. It's amazing how a 7.5 pound baby necessitates so much stuff. The crib, the changing table, the diaper champ, the rocker, the swing, the bouncy seat, the high chair, the bathing tub, the toys ... and then there's all the clothes, towels, blankets, hats, burp clothes, and pillows! Our once very neat and organized house has been consumed with little pink things.
  10. All the stories you've heard about explosive poop are true. The first day Charissa was at home her Nana was changing her diaper when Charissa decided she wasn't quite done. Let's just say that there was a load of laundry done immediately. And that the walls had to be cleaned.

Oh the joys of parenting! And we've just begun! I'm so excited to see how Charissa grows up and changes our lives even further.

Friday, February 02, 2007

Baby Pictures !!!

Here are some pictures of our sweet little girl: