S: Vivian Mary Alfred Birth - Six Months
FC: Vivian Mary Alfred Birth - Six Months
1: January 20, 2011
2: Vivian Mary Alfred January 20, 2011 5:48 am 6lbs 10oz 19 3/4 inches
4: First Pictures - A Few Minutes Old
6: The First Few Days
8: Going Home
12: First Bath At Home
14: Monday, January 31, 2011 You Are Still Brand New Dear Vivian, You are 11 days old today! I intended to write this the day you were born, but like all good intentions, some things just don't work out as planned. The past 11 days have been the most joyous, thrilling, and sleep-deprived days of my life. I believe your Daddy would say the same thing. You amaze us at every turn, and we are continuously surprised by your budding personality. From minutes after you were born, you have been a voracious eater. You took right to nursing, and have been a champion about all things involving eating. (We aren't surprised. Daddy and I enjoy eating, too... perhaps a bit too much, sometimes.) A day after you were born, you had dropped from 6 lbs 10zo to 6lbs 3oz. Then, at your 4-day check-up, the doctors were concerned about your bilirubin levels (despite the fact that you then weighed 6lbs 7oz.). All this added up to a bunch of walking around the hospital for blood work, lactation visits, and pediatric visits. We went back the next day, and your weight was up another 2 oz, so the doctors decided you didn't need any extra phototherapy or blood work, just to eat, eat, eat! You've had no issue with that at all. Now, 11 days after you were born, you are over 7lbs 5oz, and no longer yellow. (Not that we minded having an Oompa Loompa, but you are even cuter this way!) During the day you eat and then sleep for a few hours. Around 8pm you become awake. This is our favorite time with you. You love to look around and stare at us, at things we hold in front of you, and even at the pictures in high-contrast books, like Olivia. We read a lot during this time. By midnight you are usually ready for some sleep, and will sleep until 2am-ish. Lately, you've gotten into an "eat, snuggle, eat, sleep" pattern that lasts for about 90 minutes. I love to snuggle with you. Because we want you to sleep more at night, we are not supposed to "engage" you during those hours (the pediatricians advised us not to talk with you or try and "play" at that time) and although we are pretty good at keeping to this, I've been known to let a song or two slip. You seem happier for it, so I'm going to go with Mommy Knows Best here. Because we keep it dark during those hours (I don't know if this is more for me or you), Mommy has downloaded a silly amount of games on to her iPad to help keep her awake and give her a little light by which to watch you. If you are a puzzle master by time you are three, I'll attribute it to late-night puzzle solving on the iPad. Your umbilical stub fell off 2 days ago, and despite popular practice, we did not save it. We figured you wouldn't want it, even if it would make an awesome wedding gift some day. (Not really... it was kind of gross.) Yesterday you amazed us all when you found your fingers and started chomping on those to make yourself happy. This was the point in which Daddy realized he was completely taken over by parenthood - he was shocked that he was so amazed and entertained by you sucking on your fingers for the first time. The whole situation was very cute. Despite your dislike for tummy time, you are doing very well holding up your head (in my opinion) and continue to be a very strong baby. I'll forgive the months of beatings you gave my ribs. I like having a strong little girl whose strength amazes everyone. We can not wait to see who you become, and are loving watching you grow second by second. I love you, little girl. Love, Mommy
18: Thursday, February 3, 2011 Family Portraits, Take 1. Dear Vivian, Two nights ago, you decided that you were most comfortable sleeping on my chest, sitting up. I think your tummy was hurting, and I didn't mind doing what it took to make you comfortable, but it did mean that, while you slept, I sat on the couch drinking cold coffee and watching nearly the entire first season of Glee. (Thankfully, your Daddy got me the whole season on DVD for my birthday... you'd be surprised how much Glee you can watch from 11pm - 6am.) Earlier in the day I had made an appointment to get family and newborn portraits done. At some point on Wednesdays I started to panic that we would have another slumber party night, and that there wouldn't be a single make-up artist that could make me not look like a zombie. Being the sweet girl you are, you woke up twice last night, nursed for 45 minutes or less each time, and went right back to sleep. There was hope for our pictures yet! We made it out of the house on time, with Mommy's hair mostly dry, and no spit-up or bodily fluid of any sort on anything anybody was wearing. (I assure you, this was nothing short of a miracle.) Even though you ate right before we left the house, when we got to the studio, you decided you were hungry. (You weren't the only one. Daddy had to go to Panera and get some cookies because we had both forgotten to eat that morning, and it was now noon.) You woke up and demanded to eat, and did so as the photographer told me about all the cute naked sleeping baby pictures she couldn't wait to take, and how even if you weren't sleepy, she had Baby Voodoo to get you to sleep. Naked sleeping angel baby pictures didn't happen. We're learning something about you, Vivian. You have a trait both your parents have that can work for or against you. When someone says it will be one way, you will do whatever you need to to ensure it doesn't go that way. Hours before my water broke, the doctor told us we had a few more weeks before you would make your appearance. Your pediatrician was worried about jaundice, and you showed them by gaining a few ounces overnight. The photographer told us about all the cute sleepy baby pictures, and you fought sleep like it was your job. Every time we set you in the little baby pillow, you screamed. We have a lot of naked screaming baby pictures that you will regret someday. We did, in the end, get some very sweet photos. Looking at the portraits we chose to have printed, you wouldn't know we were there for a full hour trying to get you to sleep, trying to get you to not scream, and to have you stop giving the photographer dirty looks (you have your father's passion for having your picture taken). Looking at some of the pictures we asked them to include on the CD, you'd get the full story. I am seriously looking forward to busting these photos out whenever you bring your first boyfriend home (which your Daddy says will be in 45 years). The torture ended, and as soon as the photographer said we were done, you fell asleep. I'm not exaggerating... I put you on the piles of tulle so that I could stand up, and you were out. The whole time we were picking out photos, you snoozed and smiled. I thought the photographer might cry out of frustration. And even though we have some seriously crazy pictures, I love that you have such a strong personality more than I love having naked sleeping angel baby pictures.
24: Tuesday, February 15, 2011 Sarah Bat Daniel v'Kara Dear Vivian, I was originally going to include this in your One Month letter (and I can't believe it is almost time to write that!) but a naming ceremony is a fairly big deal, and so it deserves its own letter. You were named for two of your great grandmothers; your Papa Joe's mother, Vivian, and your Grandma Lynn's mother, Mary. Daddy and I kept your name a secret and had some back-up choices just in case you didn't look like a Vivian Mary, but we had decided this would most likely be your name many months before you were born. We took the completely opposite route with your Hebrew name. Your only great grandmother who is Jewish is Great Grandma Lois, and we couldn't give you her Hebrew name, so our great grandma streak was over. Fortunately, Daddy had given your Hebrew name some thought, so when I brought it up (in a bit of a panic - your Hebrew name is very important; it will be what you use for all your Life Cycle events), he had an answer: Sarah. In the Torah, Sarah was originally named Sarai. She was the wife of Abraham, and known for her stunning beauty. Sarai could not have children. God promised to end Sarai's barrenness and, as a symbol of her covenant, her name was changed to Sarah. The name Sarah means princess. I promise, we did not chose the name for the meaning, but for the strong, faithful, and beautiful woman Sarah was. Your naming ceremony was a joyous occasion, and many of our family members came to meet and support you. You have five cousins under the age of one (and one on the way!), and they were all there to see you! I hope that this is the first of many, many memories you and your cousins share. We know that you will ultimately need to make decisions regarding your faith for yourself, and that they are never easy. We will do our best to give you a life full of love, support, and opportunity both inside and outside our Jewish community. Know that you have a large family that loves you and is here to support and guide you throughout your life.
26: Our Trip to Boston
27: Valentine's Day
30: I'm one month old today!
31: Sunday, February 20, 2011 One Month Old! Dear Vivian, You are one month old today! I've been bracing myself for this day for a month now, as I know that just as quickly I'll be writing you a two month letter, then a one year letter, then sending letters to your dorm room (if your father doesn't have us all move in with you - remember, you aren't allowed to do anything until you are 45... his rule, not mine...), and so on. Even though I know how quickly time flies, I've now become one of those people that sees babies younger than you and cautions the parents that "it goes so fast!", even though when people say it to me I get annoyed. I don't like people pointing out how quickly you have and will grow. But you have grown. You weighed 6lbs 10oz and you were 19 3/4 inches long when you were born. On your due date, February 12th, you weighed in at 8lbs 9oz and 21 inches long. Today you are 9lbs and 21 3/4 inches long. As expected, this month was full of firsts. (Technically, you did everything for the first time this month...) You went on your first plane ride. When you were three weeks old, we flew to Boston for your Naming Ceremony. You also experienced your first flight delay, and you ran through the airport to catch a connecting flight for the first time (okay, you rode in a wrap while I sprinted us both across the airport...), both of which you handled like a seasoned professional. Perhaps it was because when you were still inside my belly you flew to Seattle, Paris, Italy, Boston, Rochester, and Wyoming. We were very glad you slept for most of the flights, as we didn't want to be those people - the ones with the screaming baby that seem to be on every flight. The consequence of introducing you to so many people in February was that you came down with a cold. Although you were frustrated, you didn't have any major complications from your cold. I, however, suffered through your cold by staring at you every second you slept, and feeding you near constantly for three days. You are, for the most part, a great sleeper. During the day you have awake time and nap times, and and at night you will sleep for 2-3 hours, eat, and go back to sleep. There were a few days where you would wake up and want to play at night, but that was my fault for changing you after I fed you. For a while you were sleeping for 3-4 hour stretches during the day, and only 2 hours at night. That was frustrating, but we worked through it. Last night, for the very first time, you slept for a four hour stretch, and we were all better for it! This past week marked another milestone; your first bottle. Daddy gave you your first bottle, and everyone enjoyed the experience. Daddy has yet to give you your first 3am bottle, but I think that one is closer than he hopes! You also started "talking" to and batting at your toys. Up until the past few days, the majority of your awake time (which was not a whole lot) was spent staring at faces. You really like to study our faces, and give us some strange looks in return. (I can't blame you... I can only imagine what you are thinking when Daddy and I are standing over you and singing silly songs. I'd make faces, too.) Now that you are awake for an hour or more at a time, we are more willing to put you down and let you play with your toys. You love your mirror and your doll, and have recently become fascinated with your colorful fabric blocks that make noise when you hit them. As a result of your more active awake time, you tend to go from happy baby to completely overtired baby very quickly. After a few days of you nursing to calm down and fall asleep only to be followed by you throwing up all you (over)ate, we broke down and bought you a pacifier. You are much happier for it. After our adventures at the portrait studio in which we did not get the sleeping naked baby pictures, I brought you home and decided I could do them myself. You aren't floating on a cloud in any of them and you still wouldn't sleep, but they turned out very cute. I took you to Ephesus on Valentine's Day, so that I could bring my students their Valentine's cards. They were so excited to meet you! The entire third grade gathered around your stroller to get a glimpse of the little person that had been inside my belly the last time they saw me. The general consensus was that they all adore you and can't wait to see you again! If there is one thing everyone has noticed about you, it is your expressiveness. Aside from being told how cute you are, we are constantly being told how surprised people are at the expressions you make. You make some awesome faces. There are some we know are cues, like the face you make 0.4 seconds before you start to scream, there are some you make that make us laugh or melt, and then there are those that you make and there is absolutely no doubt that you are your father's child. (Either that or you are really great at impersonations for someone your age.) We love all your expressions; even the one that means you are a split second from a meltdown.a Although it makes me sad to know there is no slowing down this train, I'm enthralled by every second of this ride, and wouldn't change it for the world. Love, Mommy
32: Visiting Rochester
34: Springtime in Chapel Hill
38: I'm two months old today!
39: Sunday, March 20, 2011 Two Months Old Today! Dear Vivian, You are two months old today! It is crazy to think that you are twice as old as you were last time I wrote you a birthday letter. The further away from your birth day we get, the more surreal it seems. You've glided seamlessly into our family, and although we can remember a time before you were here, it seems like it was long ago. Much like in the movie The Wizard of Oz, you came in and everything was in color. We didn't know the world was monochrome before, but once you came, life became a whole new experience. And do you ever bring the color! Spring seems to have sprung here in Chapel Hill. This month we spent more time outside, which you enjoy. You also sleep better at night when we spend more time in the fresh air and sunshine. Your daddy has observed that, much like he was as a baby, you observe everything. You are not about to miss out on something fun, and will often fight sleep to stay with the crowd, listen to a few more pages read aloud, or watch the end of the basketball game. You fussed until I put you in the Moby wrap and let you watch me make hamentashen for Purim, and you love to come down to the garden with me and look around. Perhaps it is the garden that is inspiring you to grow like a weed, because that is precisely what you are doing. You are about 10lbs 8oz and 23 inches right now! We've phased out all your newborn clothing and diapers. Even though you are, by medical standard, a newborn for the next month, you have definitely crossed the line from newborn to baby. Instead of just grunting, you now coo, laugh, make baby vocal sounds, and make the "heh" sound. You are strong; you like to sit or stand with help, and you are excellent at raising your head and legs up off the ground while you are on your tummy. Your face is a round baby face, complete with your daddy's cheeks. You also are working on giving up your nighttime meal. You have slept for 6 consecutive hours three times, and one night you even slept for 8 hours straight! We like this trend. Keep it up! You are starting to become picky about certain things. There is a way you like to be held - laying on your right side, facing in - and a way you like to be rocked. Your daddy is your favorite person, and when you hear his voice, even in a crowd, you start searching for him. You spend hours just staring at him, and it is adorable. This month we traveled to Rochester where you met a lot of my side of the family. You met your Nana Susan and Aunt Theresa, Great Aunt Angela, Great Aunt Carol, Great Uncle Johnny, and your cousins Paula, Chrissy, and David. To date, you have been on 7 different planes; that is more than I had been on before I was 21! Grandma took you on your first big shopping trip (you spoiled fashionista!) and you now have more clothes in your wardrobe than daddy and I own together. Fortunately, your clothes are about a fifth of the size ours are. You also played dress up with Grandma's wigs... or at least Grandma played dress up with you. I'm sure this is far from the last time you play dress up with Grandma. While in Rochester, I found some pajamas that used to belong to me when I was your age. Had I put them on you when I found them, perhaps they would have fit. However, I waited until today, and you were too big for them. All I wanted was a picture, though, and a picture I got. Then I promptly changed you into fitting clothes. (I think you were really unhappy, though, because the Duke game was on tv, and you are clearly a Tar Heel.) Grandma Lynn came to see you and spent the day with you while mommy spent a few hours at school, and then mommy and daddy had a date night. Then, we spent the day in Wake Forest with Miss Leslie, who gave you your first chapter book, Howl's Moving Castle. We finished reading it yesterday, and I hope you read it many times over as you grow older, as it is a wonderful book. Uncle Robbie and Aunt Lina also visited this month and brought their puppy, Obi. You didn't seem to have an opinion of Obi, which was just fine. Although you've met a few other dogs (like Maia and Monty), we were glad that puppies didn't make you scared. Perhaps my most favorite thing about this past month has been that you started to smile. Not just new baby gas smiles, but real, genuine smiles. We started holding you to a bit of a routine, and now you wake up happy. You smile when we pick you up, while we change you, when you are about to nurse or eat, and when we put you on the floor to play. You have a little "heh!" laugh that is adorable and occasionally scary. (You tend to giggle after you burp or pass gas, both of which are a bit foreboding.) You also have a rather frustrated noise you make when you think we've taken too long to get you food or a pacifier, which is adorable, even if it shows your little baby temper. There are so many other things that you did this month, and I could go on for pages with the wonder of it all. You surprise us (in mostly good ways) every day, and we delight in everything you do. Love, Mommy
42: Dear Vivian, You were born to travel. Before you were born you had been on at least dozen flights to and from Raleigh, Boston, Rochester, Seattle, France, and Italy. Since none of your grandparents live close by, we knew we'd be traveling a lot with a newborn baby. When you were 2 weeks and 6 days old you took your first flight to Boston. By April 13th, you reached 10 flights. You have been on more planes in your first 12 weeks than I had been on in my first 21 years of life. Mommy and Daddy like challenges and puzzles, and Daddy loves efficiency. With our powers combine, we have become so efficient at getting through security, it is a bit scary. Onlookers' jaws drop when they see how very fast we put all our belongings into plastic bins, take you out of your seat, walk through the detectors, and reassemble on the other side. We've had a lot of practice over the past 10 weeks. Your behavior on planes is impressive for someone your age, so keep up the good work. We receive plenty of mean looks from passengers boarding the plane when they see a potential screaming baby (or maybe it has to do with a baby sitting in business class), but we have yet to get off a plane without someone commenting on how very well-behaved you were the entire time. (You do occasionally scream when they fail to open the door and let us off, but you are voicing what everyone is thinking; Open the door already!) Then, today, you hit a new milestone. On your 11th flight, you were given your first pair of Delta wings. It isn't a club membership (although you have been in several Delta clubs) and wings won't get you free checked bags, but you were recognized for being the well-traveled baby that you are. Some day you will have your own skymiles card, and Daddy has a goal to make you the youngest Diamond member ever (the current record is held by a three-year-old). You will have metal tags for your luggage and get expedited upgrades. For now, I'm happy to keep you as my personal carry-on, and in this ever-busy world, to be given an excuse to do nothing but sit and snuggle with you for the duration of the flight. | Saturday, April 16, 2011 Up in the air, Junior Birdsman!
43: Passover 2011
45: Play time!
46: Wednesday, April 20, 2011 Three months old today! Dear Vivian, You are officially no longer a newborn, and have graduated into the "baby" category, although I haven't thought of you as a newborn for six or seven weeks now. With your chubby cheeks and big baby smiles, long past are the days when you flailed your scrawny arms at us. Many things happened this past month. Developmentally, you are soaring. We marvel at how you seem to grow between morning and night. You chatter to yourself, your toys, and us. Sometimes you even give speeches... usually at bed time. When you see something you want, you try to move it using Jedi mind powers. You haven't quite figured out the purpose of hands (besides shoving your entire fist in your mouth), but you're getting there. On April 5th, Daddy turned 30. Two friends of Mommy's came over to watch you while we went out and celebrated. After spending a few hours with you, Mommy's friends decided that you are someone who will know exactly what they want in life, and work to get it. They based this on your ways of communicating now; when you are happy, everyone knows, and when you are unhappy, everyone knows all too well. One thing that upsets you fairly quickly is when you can't see. You love to see all things going on at all times, and will fuss until you have a good view of whatever is interesting you. Walks are always fun, as you are very alert and curious. I've started wrapping you in the Moby facing outward so that you can see everything. We traveled to Boston twice this month; once for the funeral of a dear friend, Treva, and once for Daddy's birthday celebration. You've started to notice animals, especially large, shaggy dogs like Maia. You loved having your face kissed by Maia and putting your feet in her fur. She loved making sure you had no drool on your face. April 18th was Mommy's first day back at work since my birthday, January 14th. Although I am happy to be back with my students, I miss you every second. I have your picture on my SmartBoard. You've been very helpful when it comes to grading and lesson planning. April 18th was also the first night of your first Passover! (It was a very busy Monday all around.) Our first night Seder was just you, me, and Daddy. On the second night, we shared Seder with Janet and Grandma Cyndi, who came in to watch you for a few weeks while Mommy is at work. You enjoyed both Seders. You weren't too keen on sitting in your chair at the table so Mommy let you sit on the table... and that is how her wine eventually ended up on the floor. A glass of wine spilled was worth having you able to be part of Seder. I'd be lying if I didn't say we missed our teeny little baby girl. (You are now over 12 lbs, and are a tall 22.5 inches.) When we see newborn babies, we sigh and say "Remember when Vivian was that size?" Still, both Daddy and I agree that we are enjoying every smile, coo, and giggle that you've shared with us this month more than we miss you being tiny. We love watching you grow (which seems to go hour by hour!) and eat up every second. I love you, Your Mommy | Mommy (left) and Daddy (right) at 3 months old.
47: I'm three months old today!
48: Friday, April 29, 2011 Babies Don't Keep Dear Vivian, Today marks two full weeks since I have returned to work. You are doing remarkably well during your days. I just wish you could hold off all the growing you do in one day until I come home to be with you. I also wish you wouldn't "scold" me the first fifteen minutes I'm home every day, but after a good cry, you come around and give me that smile that melts me. Then I know that it is all right. For the past two weeks, we have been fortunate enough to have Grandma Cyndi (and Monty) staying at our house to help me transition back to work. Now that she has returned to Rochester, you will start daycare, and life will be getting a bit more hectic. Mommy and Daddy are getting their priorities straight. It is nice to be able to eat off the floor (your grandma cleaned our house so beautifully while I laid on the floor and played with you), and it is preferred that all the laundry be washed, dried, folded, and put away. You can fully expect these things to fall through the cracks over the nest few weeks. You come first, and if I only get to spend a few hours a day with you, I'm going to spend them with you, not around you. I've learned a lesson one can only learn once they've held their baby in their arms: there is a constant heartbreak over wanting to see your baby grow and marvel in the wonder at all they learn in just a short time yet wanting them to stay that teeny little newborn you held on your chest as you watched them take their first breath and open their eyes to the world for the first time. I replay those precious first minutes at least one hundred times a day. I'm not exaggerating, and I fully expect that this is a habit I will never break (nor do I intend to try and break). So for you, my sweet girl, I dedicate this poem.
49: Babies Don’t Keep by Ruth Hulburt Hamilton Mother, O Mother, come shake out your cloth, Empty the dustpan, poison the moth, Hang out the washing, make up the bed, Sew on a button and butter the bread. Where is the mother whose house is so shocking? She’s up in the nursery, blissfully rocking. Oh, I’ve grown as shiftless as Little Boy Blue, Lullabye, rockabye, lullabye loo. Dishes are waiting and bills are past due Pat-a-cake, darling, and peek, peekaboo The shopping’s not done and there’s nothing for stew And out in the yard there’s a hullabaloo. But I’m playing Kanga and this is my Roo Look! Aren’t her eyes the most wonderful hue? Lullabye, rockaby lullabye loo. The cleaning and scrubbing can wait till tomorrow But children grow up as I’ve learned to my sorrow. So quiet down cobwebs; Dust go to sleep! I’m rocking my baby and babies don’t keep.
50: Hark the sound of Tar Heel voices Ringing clear and true | Singing Carolina's praises Shouting N.C.U. | For I'm a Tar Heel born, and a Tar Heel bred, | And when I die. I'm a Tar Heel dead/
52: Daddy's Graduation! May 8, 2011
54: I'm Four Months Old Today!
55: Four Months Old! Monday, May 23, 2011 You are four months old! Truthfully, you were four months old on Friday, but I am now just getting around to your letter. It is Monday. My reason is valid, though. After work on Monday, we packed you into the car and took off for the Outer Banks. I'll write more about the beach trip in a separate letter, as it was a BIG event! Let's get down to the numbers. You have a doctor's appointment later this week, where we will learn exactly how much you have physically grown. After about 10lbs my weight estimation becomes wild, but I will guess that you are at least 15lbs and 23 inches. At some point this month we stopped using weeks to count your age, and started using months. You continue your cycle of chubbing up and stretching out; currently you are stretched. You still fit in most of your 0-3 month clothes, but I can see that going by the wayside soon. Cognitively, you have grown immensely. On May 7th, you rolled over, from front to back, three times. You haven't done it since. You've moved on to other things, it would seem. Other things such as chatting. You always made some gurgles and coos, but this past week you've become very very vocal! You have whole conversations with us. We aren't quite sure what they are about, but you sure are passionate about whatever you are talking about! You seem to be adjusting to daycare still, even though you've been there about a month. The environment at daycare is busy, and you like to be in the middle of everything, always. This means you usually don't nap all day, and come home to crash. A lot of our play time happens on the weekends, when you enjoy helping us out around the house, or relaxing. This month, Daddy graduated from business school! We are very proud of Daddy; you tried to tell him several times during the graduation ceremony. When you weren't protesting the fact that you had to be with me and not with Daddy while he walked across the stage, you slept. (Yes, we bought you a special Tar Heel outfit for the Big Day.) Speaking of special outfits, since Mommy has returned to work, Daddy has been spending more time with you. Mommy likes to (rightfully) dress you in your Jets pajamas, and Daddy likes to make you wear Patriots onesies. As always, we are enjoying watching how much you grow and change every day. As you become more interested in the world around you, we clamor to show you more while savoring these moments we know go to fast. It seems just yesterday we were staring at you, excited to take in every moment you would open your tiny eyes and look at us. Now we delight in holding things out for you to grab, reading you stories so you can react to our words (currently I'm reading A Wrinkle In Time to you while you eat), and making faces at you to see which you will mimic, and which you will cause you to give us the "You're crazy!" look. We love you, baby girl. Love, Mommy
57: Monday, May 23, 2011 The Way We Were Dear Vivian, Last Friday, as Mommy worked, Daddy packed (to the brim) our car. You and Daddy came and picked Mommy up at work, which is always one of Daddy's least favorite events. And it is an event. You are a star of the Third Grade, and are the only girl baby Ephesus has seen in a while. I believe that the Justin Beiber would get less attention if he walked the halls at school. After all the third graders had said hello to you (and some said "bonjour!" as we interrupted their French class so that they could see you) and all the teachers got to hold you and tell you how very beautiful you are, we climbed into the car and drove to The Beach. Since you had used up all your energy being a socialite, you slept the entire three hour car ride. When we say "The Beach", we aren't talking about just any beach. We mean the beach house at Nags Head; The Way We Were. You fell asleep somewhere along 15-501 in Chapel Hill and woke up as we were carrying you up wooden stairs, the sound of the ocean crashing in the background. Talk about waking up to a nice surprise! We knew you'd be hungry, but Mommy and daddy were entirely too excited to introduce the beach to you, and took full advantage of the five minutes before you really wake up to expose you to everything all at once. As a result, we have some very cute groggy, dazed baby photos where you are in the sand, the ocean, on the porch, looking at a shell... As I said, we were excited. | Once your belly was full and you were ready to experience the beach on your own terms, you really enjoyed yourself. The air was hot enough that you could wear a diaper and be comfortable without being stifled. You loved laying in the shade on a beach mat, enjoying the breeze while playing with your toys or a shell. Daddy set up a baby pool for you. The first time we put you in you weren't too fond of it, but the second time you really took to the pool. It likely had more to do with the fact that the water had warmed considerably than the fact that we put you in naked, but either way, we were glad you enjoyed yourself. Our time at the beach was limited, as it was just a weekend trip, but we did have a chance to introduce you to Mrs. Royston. She remembers your Daddy as a tiny baby, and was anxious and excited to meet Baby Alfred. You were rather fond of her. We wanted to let you enjoy the finer things at the beach, such as relaxing on the porch, sunsets with skrimps and wine (both of which you will share with us in due time), and playing in the sun. You fell right into place at the beach, as if you'd been coming here your whole life. (Close... the last time you were "at" the beach, you were a week away from being a teeny baby.) | No beach trip would be complete without a trip to Kitty Hawk Kites for ice cream and fudge. We also found you an adorable shirt that you will grow into in a month or so. Your second OBX shirt! (Your first is one Grandma Lynn gave you from Sam and Omie's.) I carried you around in a wrap, which you much prefer over a stroller; you have a great curiosity, and want to see everything at all times. While at the beach, we thought it appropriate that we let you taste test a North Carolina peach. Although we aren't giving you solid foods yet, we've dipped your pacifier or our finger in different foods to give you an idea of taste. The peach slice was the first whole food you tried, and you sucked on it with gusto, pulling on my hand while I was holding the peach to get it closer to you. As if being born in Chapel Hill and taking you to the Outer Banks weren't fostering your Carolina Girl-ness enough, your first real experience with food is chomping on one of the first Carolina peaches of the season. I'm certain that regardless of where we move, your first home will always be one you identify with: Carolina. We also visited the new pier, which opened while we were at the beach! The pier is beautiful, and I hope that we will visit it many times as you grow up. They have a fish tank with beautiful angel fish that you enjoyed looking at. Maybe some day Daddy will teach you to fish off the pier. The beach is our favorite place, and we hope that it becomes one of your favorites as well. Love, Mommy and Daddy
58: OBX Baby
62: Vivian at Ephesus
64: Sleepy Girl
67: Time To Eat!
68: Visiting Boston Father's Day Weekend 2011
69: Vivian and Keren meet!
70: Welcome to my party for you... Sunday, June 5, 2011 Sweet baby, I've used that title because that is what I wrote nearly a year ago in my journal. Although it is not quite a calendar year (that would be June 7, 2010), what sticks out in my head is not the date but the day of the week. Last year at this time I went to bed knowing that in the morning I would do something important. I would take a pregnancy test. I'd never been so nervously excited to pee in my entire lifetime. Daddy and I had decided that we should start thinking about having children... we just didn't think you would show up so soon! My hopes weren't very high (I had already taken one test that came back negative) but I couldn't shake the feeling that something just wasn't "business as usual." One year ago today, I had just said goodbye to your Uncle Ben (whom I haven't seen since, sadly) before he traveled to Ecuador for the Peace Corps. Our family had a great weekend send-off for Uncle Ben. It was a wonderful weekend, and I was sure the bloated feeling I had was a combination of spending 19 straight hours eating junk food with fifth-graders and a fantastic celebration for your uncle. However, when I sat next to The Worst Smelling Man on the airplane, I started to think that maybe it was more me (or rather, you) and less Smelling Man and junk food. I still didn't imagine that I'd be spending the same weekend one year later mashing up bananas and searching for Mortimer the Moose amongst all the boxes and packing tape. My world, at the time, was constricted to wrapping up a year of teaching fifth-grade, getting ready to teach third-grade, and Glee! (I'm fairly certain that my summer spent nauseous on the couch watching Glee! attributes to your love of the show. Even though we don't let you watch t.v., you try your hardest to see the t.v. when you hear Glee! music. You've even nearly rolled over trying a few times!) A Baby Changes Everything, so the saying goes. When I woke up at 6am on Monday morning, our worlds changed. At first we were scared, nervous, excited, and apprehensive. It took a while for the shock to wear off, "We're having a baby?!", but when it did we were completely thrilled at the prospect of having a teeny baby. To help me out at first (a baby is a big secret to keep), I turned to some friends. I still frequently turn to them for support, particularly in the baby area, as they are mostly mommas themselves. (I hope that someday their babies and you will have fantastic playdates.) Here is what I wrote to them: "Dan's and my (mine and Dan's?, My and Dan's?, oh, I don't know.) baby is the size of a poppy seed and two cell layers big, which is big enough to make peeing on a stick (then a cup, and pretty much anywhere I can every hour) come out with a little plus sign. "I smell EVERYTHING, including the man who sat next to me on the plane (beer, sweat, and old), and my classroom, which was a combination of strawberries and vomit. I kid you not. "We aren't telling people yet (so please don't tell ANYONE!), but we will after my trip to Seattle, after the ultrasound, and after it is a little more than 4 weeks. "But I had to get that off my chest. It is a lot to carry around!" And then the next day: "Dan and I were both calmer today. Is that first 24 hours always hyper? "I have never ever wanted water more. I am pretty sure I cleared out a whole blubbler bottle on my own today. "About every 30 seconds I think about being pregnant, and it makes me giddy. I woke up in the middle of the night giddy. "I want to buy a cute baby something for my Little Bean, but I'm so worried that something could go wrong. I'd be crushed. I love my baby bean! "The smells aren't all bad. I smell pasta sauce right now, and it is divine. I don't feel so bad about devouring everything in sight last week. I'm trying not to say "I'm pregnant, so I'll eat whatever whenever" and be one of those very large women, but I eat when I'm hungry, which is pretty much always. "Did anybody else feel like some of these things are switches? Like "switch" I do NOT want fish. "Switch" congestion. "Switch" this place smells weird. (OMG Whole Foods. Not sure how long I can keep walking into that place...)" And that was the start of you. Rather, it was the start of us knowing about you. And we both agree wholeheartedly that besides meeting each other, you have been the best thing that has ever happened to us. And my friend who congratulated me with the sage advice of "get ready for every.single.thing to make you nauseous, and to either absolutely love or hate everything you smell... the first trimester is horrible, but it is so very worth it." could not have been more correct. Every moment I spent laying on the bathroom floor, every second I spent terrified by negative statistics. "just another test" the doctor wanted to run, or the fact that I yet again could not stomach or remember my prenatal vitamins and was sure I was doing you irreparable damage were worth it. Of course I knew that then, as I dreamed of feeling you in my arms, kissing your sweet baby head, watching you sleep on my chest, but I didn't know it until I lived it. And from the moment I first held you I knew I'd do it over and over again (and that's probably it... 3 babies is a lot of babies) because I had never known any greater joy than seeing you there, blinking up at your daddy and me, a breathing, crying, amazing baby I had dreamed about for longer than I can remember. This past year has been the best of my life, and now that you are here, we know it can only get better. You show us that every single day. I love you, Little One. The best is yet to come. Mommy
72: I'm five months old today!
73: Dear Vivian, You are five months old today! This is likely the last month we will be celebrating in Chapel Hill for a while, as we are in the process of moving back to Boston. Two weeks ago we had your four month well-baby check-up. You weighed 12 lbs, 6 oz and were 24 inches tall! You didn't gain much weight, but you grew a few inches! There were also shots, which you were not fond of at all. One week ago was Mommy's last day at Ephesus. You came to visit and help clean out my classroom. The Friday before, you came to visit while the students were still there. They all love you so much, and will miss you as much as they will miss me. They told me this was true. The Ephesus family has been your second family, and my students in particular watched my belly grow as you did, and celebrated your birth with us. Not a day went by when one of them didn't ask how you were, what you had learned, or when you were visiting next. I've kept many pieces of your "fan mail" from them, and although you may never meet any of them, I hope that you know that somewhere in the world there are 18 children who love you very much. With the end of Mommy's work at Ephesus came your last day of daycare! You did bring home a souvenir; one vicious cold that kept you up at night and made you scream for the entire landing of our flight to Boston. (Passengers on the plane were very understanding.) You are still a bit gooey, but getting better. Shortly after you turned four months old, we started giving you food. To avoid the jarred food route, Mommy has been smashing and milling foods with great delight for you to enjoy. From the start, you ate eagerly, and there hasn't been a food you've tried that you haven't liked. So far you've had sweet potato, apple, pear, peaches, banana, avocado, peas, blueberries, and carrots. We also mixed in some baby rice and baby oatmeal, but you seem to be much more fond of food without the added grain. With super foods has come super baby strength! Okay, so maybe it is typical baby strength, but being slightly bias, we think everything you do is simply amazing (and it is). You love to "fly" when we hold you above our heads and zoom you around the room. You are getting better at sitting up (although you still need some help) and are very good at rolling from your front to your back. As for rolling from back to front, you have decided you can do it, but have no need to show us. You will almost turn over, smile, and flop back to the starting point, laughing. In the past week you also discovered your feet, and that you can reach them if you bend your legs. Whenever we put you on your back, you assume the dead bug position with your legs and hands in the air. You haven't quite gotten your foot to your mouth yet, but you've come very close. On the behalf that everything you grab (and you've become quite skilled at grabbing) winds up in your mouth, we know it is only a matter of time before we find you happily chomping on your toes. It doesn't matter if you are standing, sitting, or laying down, you are happy so long as you can see everyone and everything. When the people around you are talking, you will loudly join in the conversation. You've also started to laugh more often, which is the best sound I've ever heard. Mommy and Daddy spend hours acting like fools to get you to giggle. It is worth every second. You are also very picky about how you sleep. After trying all sorts of ways to ween you from the swaddle, we discovered that the secret is crocheted blankets. Grandma Cyndi made you a beautiful crocheted blanket that you love to poke your fingers and toes through, and toss over your head. You were happy to give up the swaddle for that blanket, but it must must must be a crocheted blanket that you can wiggle your fingers in between, or you simply won't sleep. We wake up to your chattering, and you fall asleep on your own very well, but sometimes when we need to wake you up, we catch glimpses of teenage Vivian. You glare, you snarl, and then you roll over and throw the blanket back over your head. It doesn't help that you likely inherited this from both your parents. We spent the past few days in Boston, where we spent time with Grandpa Richard and Grandma Lynn, and Maia the Doggy. It was cousin Polly's birthday, and you were very sweet while your bigger cousins poked and tugged at you. In fairness, you tried to chew on each of them in turn. We got to meet brand-new baby Heloise, and you spent some time making faces with Granny Lois. You also met a few more Alfred cousins, including your cousin Keren, who is six months older than you. Once we move back to Boston, I hope that you and she become very good friends. Like you did with your other baby cousins, you tried to chew on her and she grabbed at your cheeks. I think it is the start of a beautiful friendship. Through the endless parade of boxes and packing tape, you keep us cheerful and slightly distracted. (It is exponentially more fun to play with you than to pack.) I love you very, very much. Mommy | Five Months Old! Monday, June 20, 2011
75: Leaving Chapel Hill
77: Family Week at Nags Head 2011
78: I'm six months old today!
79: Dear Vivian, You are six months old today! It seems like just yesterday we were marveling at your brand-new, never before seen baby face. Then again, it could have been ages ago. Once you were here, everything before you paled. These have been amazing months. And how you have grown! You weigh 13.2 lbs and are 25.5 inches tall. Cognitively, you make leaps and bounds every day (and I'm not exaggerating). This month you have mastered rolling over (but still choose not to), have figured out how to get toys to come to you (by pulling the blanket instead of rolling, as we were encouraging by putting your toys further away), and grip smaller things (like pieces of food or three hairs on Mommy's head). Shortly after you turned 5 months old, we moved. You didn't notice the move while it was happening. Daddy and I had cleared out our big closet the night before and that was your "room" for the day. Don't worry, we didn't lock you in a teeny, dark closet - it was big enough to be a bathroom and had a window! You were asleep most of the time we were moving. We said goodbye to our kitty, Fenway, who stayed in Chapel Hill with some friends. After that, we drove to the beach, where we spent 10 days playing in the sun (and rain)! Before we left, we spent the morning with Ms. Amanda and Mr. Treve at the pool. It was your first time swimming in a big pool, and you loved it! Over the past month, you've become more of a "water baby", excited to sit in the kiddie pool, swim in the big pool, or relax in the bath tub. When you are overtired or having a cranky day, we put you in water, and it changes your mood completely! This was your second trip to the beach, and you had even more fun than the first time you were down there. You discovered popsicles, spent a great deal of time in your private swimming pool, and you had your first trip to Urgent Care for a sty in your eye. We also started giving you fresh fruit in a contraption that allows you to gum whatever we put into it through some mesh. Whenever you see these mesh contraptions, you get very excited. After our beach week, we drove 12 hours to Boston. We stopped three times, and one stop you slept through. We were bracing ourselves for a great deal more excitement, and thank you for not making the long drive as active as we anticipated! Because Mommy drove most of the way, Daddy became quite skilled at feeding you from the front seat. It was interesting to witness! While Daddy continues to hunt the elusive job, we are staying at Grandpa Richard and Grandma Lynn's house. For the first time, you have your own room. It is actually your Uncle Ben's room (finely decorated with Tar Heel and Red Sox paraphernalia) that he is loaning to you for the time being. The movers brought a few choice items of ours here for us, one of which was your Exersaucer. We hadn't noticed how much you had grown until we put you in the Exersaucer for the first time since the move. Instead of just reclining and staring down the toys like you had before, you started to stand and grab at things! It didn't take you very long to figure out what to hit or pull to make a toy light up or sing, and now Mommy and Daddy absentmindedly sing along with the iguana about red, yellow, and blue. We've been enjoying Boston. The day after we arrived we went to your cousins Jonah and Aliah's first birthday party! You played with cousin Leah and chomped on some watermelon. Yesterday, we drove out to Canton and had lunch with Granny Lois. (You were a bit tired and cranky, so we'll try again in a few weeks.) We've also had a playdate with Tia Jessica, Izzy, and Lexi. We spent your six month birthday walking around the Public Gardens this morning, took you to Dairy Joy this afternoon, and finished off the day with salmon dinner! We have many friends and family members close by now, and we hope you will have many fond memories of growing up with your cousins and friends. The week we moved to Boston, Grandpa Richard testified before Congress. You watched him on the computer! In the past few weeks you have also become more vocal. You like to "talk" to everything and everyone; your family, the ceiling fan, people walking through the park, anyone who will listen. When who or what you are talking to does not respond, you get loud and quite serious. Whenever we sit down for a meal, you get very excited. You've enjoyed all the different foods we've put in front of you, from spinach to salmon. Recently, you've become more choosey. You may fuss for more green beans and pass on the squash, but you have no true aversions, and we hope your broad pallet will stay with you throughout your life. Your favorites this month have been spinach, broccoli and cauliflower, Coco rice crackers, homemade popsicles, and all fruit. In the morning you enjoy your oatmeal with fruit and a scoop of Greek yogurt (made with goat and sheep milk!) mixed in. Waking up and eating breakfast with you is something I look forward to every day! Now that you are a little older, we are back in Babyland Boston, and the weather is nice, we look forward to playdates with our friends and exploring all Boston has to offer! We love you very much, baby goat. Love, Mommy | SIX Months Old Today! Wednesday, July 20, 2011