Welcome! This is the place to be for photos and updates about our sweet bunny baby.


Thursday, January 30, 2014

So Many Mamas

This Millie Bea is a girl of few words. She has a good amount, but not nearly as many as her girlfriends do. Throughout the day she talks a lot in just "Mama"s, and let me tell you something... this girl has So Many Mamas! Here are a few of the major ones:

The first thing I hear when she wakes up is the "come get me" or the "I'm ready" Mama. It's a loud and drawn out call, but not urgent or anything. Just how I taught her to do it when she needs help. "Mamaaaa!"

Of course there's the whiney "Ma-ha-ma", most often heard when food is not happening fast enough. For example, immediately following first breakfasts, which is to tide her over while I'm preparing actual breakfast. This "Mama" is usually accompanied by a tugging at my leg, a pout of the lip, a stumbling backwards as if one is about to faint from upset-ness, or all of the above.

There's a particular "Mama" she uses to alert me to silliness. This "Mama" is said in a chuckling voice, with eyebrows raised. Like when her pretend animals have gotten themselves into a situation of humor- they've all piled into the wagon for a ride, one of them has been placed with the sleeping (real) cat, or perhaps Peter Rabbit has been drinking my tea again. She also uses this "Mama" when she sees a picture of a baby or animal, and when the pets are doing something cute.

Then there's the tattle "Mama", said in a high-pitched voice and accompanied by pointing- "Mama! Mama! Mama!" Mostly this is reserved for Sneaky Pete, when he's barking out the window or scratching the wall next to the door. This happens multiple times a day.

Her questioning "Mama?" is mostly used during play, meaning "Mama do you want to do this with me?", "... read this book", "... drink this pretend soup", etc. Also when she's telling me to do something, like take a sip of water, she'll do the questioning "Mama?" and a smile.

A slight variation on the "questioning Mama" is the proud "do you want to come see what I did?" Mama. This one happens a lot while I'm cooking dinner or doing anything in a separate room from her. It goes a little something like this:
Millie: (comes walking into the room with her hands folded on her belly) "Mama?"
Me: "Yes Millie?"
Millie: "Mama?" (smiling now, perhaps nodding her head yes)
Me: "Yes baby, what is it?"
Millie: "Mama?" (extending a hand towards whatever it is she wants to show me, like when a waiter seats you at a restaurant)
Of course I know what she's doing, but I can't resist having her go through the whole routine. Usually she's been organizing her belongings or putting blankets on her animals. Pending a positive reaction from the Mama, this scenario can go on repeating itself for quite a while and turns into a game of it's own.

At bedtime tonight I heard my favorite "Mama". One that doesn't happen every day like the others. It's a rare one, reserved for very intimate moments. Similar though to the other "Mama"s she uses, this one cannot be explained in a one-word translation. This is a magical one that is loaded with emotion- contentment, fulfillment, peacefulness, extreme joy... and then beyond that there is no word that exists to describe the feeling. We had such a wonderful day today, my girl and I. When it was time to snuggle down for sleep, I lied down facing her and placed my hand on her back. We wiggled towards each other until we were face-to-face. Then the sweet lamb put her hands on my cheeks and rubbed her nose and forehead against mine. She pulled back a little to see my eyes, but kept her hands on my cheeks. Then she sighed the coveted "Mama...", meaning "Here we are together, Mama. Don't we just love each other so much."

My baby. So many things I want to remember.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Story time at the book store

We've been having a really lovely winter here, mostly staying inside as the temperature has been in the teens all month. It has given us a chance to sink deeper into our daily and weekly rhythms, and establish some comforting consistency for the little bunny. For the Mama, it's given me a chance to read up on some Waldorf-inspired ideas about early childhood, and natural/mindful mothering.

Instead of a "new year's resolution", we have chosen a family motto for the year: "make stuff!" We want to continue to simplify our home and belongings, use what we already have, and not bring anything new into the house unless it is a necessity or will be used up (like food). Right now Brady and I are working on writing down our budget for 2014, which we hope to have finished (along with our taxes) by the end of the week. I am working on making a "mom-planner" which includes all our family goings-ons (that's a word, I think), along with a parenting journal and nature journal combined.  My mom-friends and I are working on some homemade toys for the girls, and hopefully we'll be arranging a swap soon.

Our daily rhythm stays the same each day, and our weekly rhythm has about three parts that change during each of the days: one "activity", one household chore, and one dinner theme. Wednesday is our "outing day"- the day to schedule appointments, run errands, go on a fun trip, or anything like that which requires a car ride and leaving the house for a while. The chore is "tidy up one area of the house", so after making chocolate chip pancakes this morning Millie and I cleaned out her closet and put away some too-small clothes. Then we packed up some snacks and headed to Barnes and Noble because we had a book to exchange. When we arrived it turned out they were having a make-up story hour in the children's section! It was a lot of fun- the story guy (Ben) read a new Eric Carle book, sang and played songs on his guitar, then brought out coloring pages and crayons! Millie really enjoyed it, and I loved that Ben was very gentle and soft-spoken, and even his songs were peaceful and had none of that terrible quality of "only the kids will like this and the grown-ups will cringe because it's so annoying".
Here is MB dancing with a ribbon, and coloring the giraffe picture:

I was very proud of Millie during the whole event. She sat on the bench for the story and wiggled her feet around when she got antsy. Most of the other children (and their parents, ahem) were having some serious trouble controlling themselves, which always makes Millie a little nervous and Mama a lot ticked off. Luckily when Ben started playing the guitar she loosened up a bit and we did some silly dancing. She was very respectful of his space, politely accepted a ribbon to dance with and even helped clean them up when the dancing was done. She was the only one who waited until the end for the coloring papers and crayons, when Ben said it was time and handed them out.
I learned a great parenting tip recently that I'm super excited about: to praise the character quality that your child is displaying and you want to encourage (as opposed to repetitive empty praise like "good girl" or "great job"). This was a great opportunity to practice it, telling Millie "Those crayons will be fun to use after the song. I can see that you're being patient and waiting until the man says we can color". I wanted her to know that I recognized her self-control while the other kids were running amuck (ripping the papers, dumping the crayons, and coloring on the floor!) My hope is to help her learn what these positive qualities feel like from within, so that she can identify them inside of herself and choose the correct response. The phrase "because I told you so" is not in my parenting vocabulary ;) I also don't want her choosing an action just to superficially please us, although she could see by the look on my face and by my tone that I was very glad she was being so respectful and participating in an appropriate way.

Anywho, after the other parents praised ME for Millie being a "good girl" (the irony!!!), we made a pit stop at the potty and water fountain, then went to the cafe in the bookstore to have our snacks and a Starbucks. Then we picked out the book we wanted to get in the exchange. We chose Jerry Pinkney's "The Tortoise & The Hare". It is SO beautiful!
Before leaving we walked around the toy section, which I just love at B&N. Millie found some little stuffed animals that apparently needed help going to sleep, so she piled them in her arms and walked up and down the rows "shushing" them for a long time. Eventually we put them back and she blew them kisses goodbye. I can still remember the feeling of being so attached to my stuffed animals and really believing they were alive, so it's fun to see her play with them and imagine what she's feeling.

If you've read this far down you get a bonus picture! Here is the bunny eating her snack yesterday. As you can see, it is more of a formal meal, as she has set out a placemat for herself and is reading a tiny book in between bites:
pears and parmesan cheese- yum!

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

December 25, 2013 ~ Christmas in Oregon!

presents from Santa (Peter's not talkin)

playing with cousin Emma
playing with cousin Juliana

new instruments!
family portrait :)

how did Santa know this girl loves bunnies?
                                                          grateful baby
why yes Nana, I would love some pie... both please
some pretend baking followed by some real baking, while wearing a new Nana-made apron!
nap time on Christmas Day
We had such a wonderful time celebrating Christmas with Brady's family on the west coast. It was a busy day, as you can see! Millie Bea had a great time learning the ropes from her cousins. These photos are all from Christmas day, and we have more to post/write about coming up.

ps: blogger is being difficult, as always, so the best way to see the pictures is to click the first one and scroll through them.

Saturday, January 4, 2014

January 3rd

Yesterday was the 1-year anniversary of Millie-Bea's spinal surgery. Millie and I were sorting through some things in the bedroom and we found her hospital gown and i.d bracelets- they say "8 months, 7 days old". It just seems unbelievable that she went through all of that as a baby. Of course she's still going through it, but her day-to-day activity is 100% normal. We're much more optimistic about her condition, and hoping that last year's surgery was the only one she'll need.
I have recurring images from that day that pop into my head at random times... Brady and I changing her into the blue surgery gown; carrying her down the long hallway and catching graphic glimpses of the other ORs in progress; holding her tiny hand and kissing her goodbye while she went under; clasping her amber necklace in my sweaty hand while we waited upstairs and watched the clock; sitting with our neurosurgeon as he drew a picture of her spine and told us he had to cut a piece away to be tested for some other awful thing; leaning against the wall next to Brady, outside the recovery room doors, waiting for them to let us see our baby; sitting next to her for HOURS in recovery and feeling sick about the morphine they were giving her; looking down at her puffy face when I was finally allowed to nurse her in our pediatric unit room; trying to comfort her scared and painful cries while she slept; holding her by the window the next morning and watching the red and pink sunrise over Brooklyn.

It is such a surreal feeling to have the worst day of your life, a living nightmare, also be the greatest day that brought hope for a "normal" future. Brady and I continue to be grateful every day for Millie's wonderful doctors, nurses, and everyone we've never met who contributed to this amazing world of modern medicine.

On a lighter note, here are some ordinary things the bunny did yesterday, which could also be considered miraculous things depending on your perspective :)

On January 3rd, 2014, Millie...
- climbed up the stairs 7 times
- walked, bumscooted, and hopped down the stairs 7 times
- used the pot 6 times
- stood on a chair to help make granola and pizza dough
- kneeled on the floor and sat at her table to draw and paint her Christmas thank-you cards
- played "run back and forth while yelling like Tarzan" (a new game she learned from her cousins!)
- squatted down to feed the cats treats 2 times
- bent down to scoop dinner into the cat bowls
- climbed up into her high chair 3 times
- walked to her snack cabinet for a bowl and cup... about a million times
- climbed onto the couch to look at the snow out the window 3 times
- danced to The Doors record and also to Mama's silly singing
- paced back and forth while rocking her babies/animals to sleep

1-3-13 . Baby Millie recovering in the "crib cage" as we called it:
luckily we convinced the nurse to let us co-sleep:

 1-3-14 . Free as a Bird: Millie recently learned from Gaga how to "say cheese!"

It's kind of fun that her surgery was at the beginning of January... puts a whole new emphasis on Happy New Year!

Friday, January 3, 2014

Christmas baby Part 1

This year we had a very special Christmas in Oregon (lots of pictures to come!). Before we left, Santa had a surprise for Millie: her stocking showed up on the final night of advent, filled with fun things to do on the plane. Her baby (Peter Rabbit) also had some fun that night, staying up past his bedtime so Millie could read him "The Night Before Christmas" and feed him pretend bunny food.