My baby TALKED!!!

Okay, so I know this will sound like I am making it up, but I promise I am not. Believe or disbelieve at will, but Lydia talked! As in, she said WORDS at the tender age of 10 weeks old. We are still in shock.

It began with Abe saying “I love you” to Lydia. We say this regularly to her, and he has been saying it repeatedly to her for weeks now. The other day I found him repeating the phrase as he changed Lydia’s diaper, and she was cooing back to him. “It’s working!” he exclaimed excitedly. “I’m telling you, her first words are going to be ‘I love you’! She’s going to say it one day soon.”

“Mmmhmmm…” I said indulgently. Inwardly, I knew babies don’t talk this young, so I dismissed his prediction off hand. I mean, Lydia has been cooing up a storm and we totally encourage her sounds (we both read a bunch of research saying a baby’s tendency to verbalize is not based on how much exposure she has to language, but rather how much people around her respond to her vocalizations), but I never actually expected her to bust out WORDS.

And then…we were driving home from Springfield yesterday, and Abe was leaning over Lydia’s car seat doing his “I love you” repetitions. I was driving, and Clark was seated next to me. Lydia was cooing happily back to Abe, when all of the sudden we distinctly heard her say, “I loff oo” to Abe.

!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!            !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!         !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!         !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I almost drove off the road. We all jerked around and stared at Lydia.

“Oh my gosh,” Clark gasped, “she just said ‘I love you’!”

I was trembling. “Yeah,” I said shakily. “She totally did.”

Abe grinned proudly and said, “Oh, Lydia, I love you too!”

She tried again. We listened, and her next couple attempts at the phrase continued to mimick Abe’s voice. It was incredible. And scary. I just kept thinking, “Oh man, who is this baby? How am I going to mother this child?” I don’t know if it makes sense, but the whole thing freaked me out. By the time we got back to Hyde Park, I dismissed the talking thing as a fluke. I mean, almost 11 week old babies just don’t talk. They don’t! So I figured I wouldn’t worry about it and continue on as if everything were normal.

And then it happened again, only this time I was alone. Abe was out unpacking the car, and I was cuddling Lydia inside. She was smiling contentedly at the ceiling, and I asked her if she was smiling at her angels.

“Angel,” she said, still looking at the ceiling. I about fainted. The “g” was really gurgly, but the “An” and the “l” on either side of the gurgly g were quite clear. She said, “angel.” I really about died.

She hasn’t said any more words today, and I’m still waiting to see if these were just fluke sounds. In the meantime, I guess I have to stick Lydia’s “first words” sticker on her baby calender and try to remain calm.

(P.S. We also discovered Lydia may be getting ready to teethe this past weekend. We can see her teeth and she is drooling up a STORM. I checked the baby book and it says babies can teethe as early as three months, so this is not abnormal.)

Oh, and in addition to hearing my infant speak (AAAAGGGHHH!!), I also discovered that we’d been visited by an elf in our absence. Details and a pic in the next post. Elf, if you are reading this and don’t want a post out (there was a little hint in your letter that you wish to remain anonymous to certain people) feel free to let me know not to post about you. I have no idea who you are, but Abe has me convinced you are real. He said you’re a little more than 4 feet tall and wear green shoes. From your letter, I think you read this blog. If you don’t want to be blogged about, I suppose you are magical and can find a way to tell us not to blog about you. Otherwise, you might share Lydia’s spotlight in the next Darais Family Blog post. =)

Very exciting news! A dear friend–who shall remain anonymous until she decides to go public with the news–just told me that she is pregnant! I am so excited for her, and she asked for a blog post about baby must haves. I know everyone’s must-have list is different, and friends, please amend this list in the comments. I think my friend will appreciate different perspectives. Here’s my list.

Basics: Car seat, stroller, diapers, wipes, assorted clothes.

A double electric breast pump + hands-free pumping bra!!!! Although pumping is tiring (and gross), I could not survive without this. Even though I feel like I spend all day nursing Lydia, I pump multiple times a day in my free time. In fact–this may be too much information–I am pumping as I blog. It is great for multitasking, and it also ensures that when my baby melts down because she is too agitated to latch, I can still feed her! Also, I’ve found that there are times throughout the day where my milk supply is down, and if Lydia happens to be hungry at those times, I NEED to have a bottle on hand.

Lots of burp cloths. I still have to write some thank you notes for burp cloths wise moms have given to Lydia. I didn’t realize this before, but you really can’t have too many. Even though we’re usually too lazy to actually put the burp cloths on our shoulders when burping Lydia, we use them to wipe her face off and wipe ourselves off.  Lydia now sleeps in her own room at night, but she spends all day in bed with me, so I spread those cloths out on the bed to protect the sheets from spit up. We even sometimes swaddle her with the bigger cloths.

Sleepers, onesies, gowns, and a Sunday dress. (Thank you, Megan, for Lydia’s dress! She wore it every Sunday until last Sunday, when she finally blew out of her diaper onto it–just in time to graduate onto the other bigger dress you gave her!) I like the sleepers because if Lydia kicks off her swaddle, she’s still covered. The gowns are great because of diaper access. And the Sunday dress (assuming your baby is a girl) is really fun because you get to dress your baby up.

HAIR PIECES!! Thank you, Ashley, for sending us these! They have made a world of difference in the cute department. We loooooooooooooooove using hair pieces, and I’m pretty sure we would still use them even if Lydia didn’t have so much hair.

Nursing pads for you. Sorry, but leaks are a no-fun reality of nursing.

A bouncy seat! (Thank you, Sarah and Dick!!!) Lydia spends TONS of time in her bouncy seat. It’s the only way I can cook or go to the bathroom or do anything that requires being physically separated from Lydia. I just sit her where she can participate in the action, and she’s good to go. She just sits there and amuses herself in the bouncy seat, and I can get whatever needs doing done.

A My Brest Friend (Thanks for lending us yours, Sarah!) and eventually, a Boppy. At first, the Boppy was a waste of my time, but then Lydia outgrew the My Brest Friend and I lost 35 lbs (Woo-hoo!) and all of the sudden, the Boppy was a possibility.

A nipple shield. For those of us who struggle to attach ourselves to baby, this is a God send. This little piece of plastic means that I can read and scroll around on the internet while nursing. (I can’t really type, but at least I can kind of poke around here and there.) I would go completely crazy without this thing.

Okay, please amend this list away. Also, for those of you who might not have seen on Facebook, we have two new exciting pictures of Lydia:

Like father like daughter
Suzi pointed out on Facebook that Lydia is actually reading to Uncle Clark! What a super baby. 😉

More Lydia! =)

Lydia has been experimenting with her fists for a while, but she finally figured out how to soothe herself with them yesterday. Right now she’s sucking away contentedly while I blog. So cute!
Wash me!
Streeeetch!
Daddy took over hair styling duties…
Today’s photo. Lydia’s hair is growing straight UP. We even try to comb it down, but it goes up despite our best efforts.
A smile!!

Liquid nutrition

I am told that most women recover from labor within six weeks of delivery. Lucky ducks! I just had my six week check-up on Friday, and I had the joy of explaining to my dear doctor that I am actually less mobile now than I was the first week after Lydia’s birth. I had been in the habit of taking Lydia for walks around Evanston, and ever since I learned to read while nursing, those walks had become especially delightful. Lydia and I strolled through the stacks of Evanston Public Library while various titles caught our attention. Then I would consult her on what titles to check out before we crossed the street to get groceries and return home. That was our routine, and it provided us with both structure and vitamin D. However, this walk has become increasingly painful. On our last stroll, I practically had to crawl home because the pain was so bad. So now, even if the weather is great and Lydia and I are both dying to get out and about, we do nothing but lie in bed cuddling, napping, and breast feeding in turns. The only breaks in this routine occur when Lydia needs a diaper change. I have not cooked for a long time, and so my meals consist of microwaved cheese on bread with the occasional yogurt cup (that is, if I have time to eat before Lydia realizes she’s alone in bed and starts wailing). Abe has had to fend for himself. I realized that the situation had become dire yesterday during church when Abe whispered that he was hungry and that he needed to run to the car to get a nutrition shake. Within five minutes he was back, smiling and sated. After church I decided to take a look at the shakes that have been powering him through this food-free period, and to my horror, I discovered a giant pack of CVS branded bottles of “Liquid Nutrition” in the trunk of the car. “Liquid Nutrition?” I asked in disbelief. “You’ve been drinking this stuff?” I think nutrition shakes in general sound gross, but at least some of them are better titled! Abe nodded sheepishly. Before I could examine the label, he confessed, “I know it says it’s a nutrition shake, but corn syrup and corn syrup solids are high on the ingredient list…” his voice trailed off. “I used to drink these a lot when I was single,” he added weakly. I sighed. To these new lows my dear husband has sunk. His diet has returned to pre-marital status.

So…I haven’t been posting a lot lately. There are both obvious and less obvious reasons for this state of affairs.

Obvious:  Babies take time and energy! Lydia has been a little more wakeful recently, and so I spend more time cuddling and playing with her. She is smiling now, although her smiles are fleeting and usually give way to expressions of bewilderment and concern. I suspect she is bewildered by all of the excited sounds her smiles elicit from Mommy, and she probably becomes concerned at how mentally unbalanced Mommy seems when she is making crazy faces trying to get Lydia to keep smiling.

Less obvious: 1) I am terrified that when I do blog, I will whine. Whining subject of choice: post labor recovery. No one warned me about this process, and I could easily write pages upon whiny pages about how yucky this stage is–especially since I have the good fortune of experiencing medical complications in this process! Yay for me. BUT…I spent nine months writing whiny pregnancy blogs, so I think I’ve forfeited my rights to keep complaining.

2) I am scared I will effuse too much over my adorable baby. She is SO cute, and I could write a book that would probably bore everyone else to tears about all the cute things she does. For example, I would love to write about her sweet little noises (my favorite are her exasperated sighs) and her floppy moods where she collapses onto me and becomes this little butterball of cuddly love. And how she looks so imperious during bath time…she is sooooooooo adorable!!

Because of the obvious reason listed in the beginning of this post, I am tired. Lydia fell asleep almost two hours ago, and I have spent the time pumping, going through post-labor care routines, cleaning, and now blogging. Off to bed I go! Ah, the joy of knowing I have at least three hours of solid sleep ahead of me…

Of parties and picnics

A couple weeks ago, my Food Network Magazine had a wonderful insert: 50 recipes for different tea sandwiches! http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes-and-cooking/50-tea-sandwiches/index.html How fun! I wanted to try/eat them all, and so I needed an excuse for a tea party. Enter this month’s AMAZING issue of Martha Stewart Living. Inside was a beautiful craft for a Mother’s Day card. (See here: http://www.marthastewart.com/how-to/pop-up-card-for-mothers-day?comments_page=1)

So I thought, why not have a small tea party with some of my high school friends and make Mother’s Day cards?  Also, Abe and I have been discussing family traditions, and we thought it would be fun to do a yearly tea party with Lydia. As the party approached, Abe was almost as excited as I was for Lydia’s first tea party.

Side note: we had her first tea party on the day of the royal wedding. It was a coincidence, but a very happy one at that. =)

Since this was my first time hosting a tea party, I learned many things.

1) Tea sandwiches take a while to make! I was totally duped by the pamphlet. Each recipe is approximately 2.5 sentences long and leaves the reader with the impression that assembling tea sandwiches is a snap. I beg to differ. By the time the tea party started, I was sweating it up in the kitchen with nary a sandwich in sight. I was caught between boiling eggs, blanching asparagus, mashing up lemon parsley butter, cutting grape tomatoes, and throwing watercress everywhere. The scene was a disaster, and if Abe hadn’t come to the rescue, we would never have eaten. As it was, we ended up starting almost an hour late–at which point we realized we had totally forgotten the tea part of our tea party. So at our tea party, everyone just drank water until we had some water heated up for tea. Note for future parties: start working on the sandwiches more than half an hour before the party starts!

2) Narrow down the sandwich selection. I wanted to try all of the sandwiches, and so my final list consisted of the following: Cucumber, Watercress, Tomato Cheddar, Curried Egg Salad, Smoked Salmon and Cucumber, Asparagus and Egg, Ricotta and Marmalade, Cream Cheese and Strawberries, and Nutella with Raspberry Jam. In the end, I had to cut down that list a lot or we never would have eaten. Seriously, it was just too crazy trying to make all of those in half an hour. Next year we’ll streamline.

3) Not to be sacrilegious, but Martha Stewart tends to skip steps in some of her recipes and crafts. I’m sure this is just because she is so busy and talented–she just figures everyone can read between the lines and figure out how to make a pop up origami bouquet of flowers on their own, but some of us can’t. For future parties, I am going to give the crafts a test drive first. Or at least pick a simpler craft.

4) The leftovers are perfect for a picnic! The next day, (conveniently May Day), Abe and I took Lydia for a picnic by the lake. The weather turned cold and windy just in time for our arrival, so as we were entering the lakefront, crowds of people were leaving. That meant we got our favorite picnic table right by the Wilmette beach, conveniently vacated in time for our arrival. Abe dressed Lydia up like a little hippie for our picnic, and she seemed to enjoy herself (or at least slept so soundly through the whole picnic that we had no reason to believe she wasn’t enjoying herself).

5) I need to take more pictures. Abe took some of the tea party, but I am too lazy to get up and post them on the blog right now. Lydia is asleep next to me, and I just know as soon as I make a move, she will wake up. So I will post more pictures later. Until then, Lydia’s first tea party and May Day picnic will be commemorated by this picture-less post.