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kitty in the window
Actually, that's not exactly true. We've had a very hard time with the breastfeeding, so I've mostly just been pumping and bottle feeding, but the concept is still there. Emma's 3 months old and this will be my second post about her. Heck, my second post, period. So many things have happened, so many little awakenings, tiny developments, itsy bitsy, beautiful cutenesses, and they've...

Three hours later...
And THAT is exactly what I'm talking about.

In the middle of that last sentence up there Emma made some sort of noise, and I got up to check on her, found her needing a diaper change, and things just went down hill from there. Not really down hill, 'cause I love every minute with her, every instant holding her, even when she's crying, but it'd be nice to be able to finish a thought once in a while ABOUT how cute she is! :^)

In the last three months we have experienced the following, in no particular order:
- Smiles, pouts, giggles, frowns, laughs, and cries... while she was asleep. After the first month or so she started doing the smiles while awake, and I have to say that is one of the most beautiful things I have ever set eyes upon. I love it when she smiles at me from across the room. I get home, come into the room, she's laying in her bed and turns to me, and that beam just brightens my entire day.
- Explosive poops and awesome farts. Jon and I are poop- and fart-lovers. Yeah, you might think that's weird, but we don't care. Talking about Emma's poops and laughing about her farts is one of our most enjoyable past times, besides watching her laugh, smile, sleep, wriggle, giggle, and coo, of course.
- Finding her thumb. It started with her knuckles, then her fingers, and it appears her thumb has slipped in there somewhere, but she doesn't do the traditional thumb-suck yet. But she'll get there, eventually (and then we won't have to sit next to her with the pinky-binky in her mouth until she falls asleep).
- Rolling over. Ok, this one isn't as awesome as it sounds, 'cause gravity was assisting there. But it was funny when she landed on her face and started crying. By the way, she just HATES tummy time.
- Turned her head to the left, on her own. You're probably wondering why this is significant. Emma had some sort of tight muscle in her neck when she was born and for the first 6 weeks she would NOT turn her head to the left unless you actually forced it, which seemed to cause her discomfort. This created a very significant flat spot on the back of the right side of her head, to the point that we were actively using props and supports to get gravity to help her turn her head while she slept. Didn't work. The tight muscle was actually stronger than gravity. But it seems to have fixed itself. She had her 6 week growth spurt and it was as if that tightness had never been there.
- She looks at my boobs. Even when I'm wearing clothes. It's the oddest thing.
- She holds a stuffie to herself now. Actually, she'll hold just about anything soft to herself. If you put your hand near her she'll grab your fingers with her hands or your hand with her arms and just pull it torward her. Of course, if they're fingers, they will end up directed into her mouth, but that's to be expected. I bought her a book called Counting Kisses and there was a stuffed kitty with the book. I handed her the kitty and she hugged it and pulled it into her mouth and sucked on it, and squeezed it with her arms. Yesterday she got one of the kitty's paws in her mouth and sucked on that thing for, like, a couple hours. The paw was soaking wet with saliva before she was done.
- Noticing her mobiles. She's always noticed her mobiles, but the incredible thing is the single-minded focus she puts into examining them. Sadly, it doesn't take her long to get bored with it... or something. After about 5-10 minutes she starts fussing and getting very agitated. It's obvious it's because of the mobile 'cause she looks away occasionally and calms down, then looks back and freaks out all over again. She does love the bell mobiles though, and will play with those almost indefinitely. When I pulled a bell out of a bin and rang it for her the first time, the look on her face was priceless. She was in awe. Then I hung it over her bed, and she discovered she could swat and kick at it and make the same sound. She fell in love, I believe.
- Sitting up. She's not strong enough to sit up on her own, but less than a month ago, maybe 2 weeks, she started struggling to sit up. If she was laying flat on her back she was fine, but recline her at all, whether to feed, or just be held, and she'd start doing a little tummy crunch and grunt until we sit her up on her bum. She absolutely loves it. I've been worried that it would affect her back, maybe cause scoliosis or something, 'cause her muscles are still too weak to keep her spine straight, but I read on BabyCenter.com that if they want to sit, help them. It allows them more opportunity to strengthen the muscles in their neck. Which brings me too:
- Holding her head up on her own. Of course, she's been getting better and better at this since day one, but the day she was able to hold her head up in an upright position without support was a great one. And being able to lift her head when on her tummy (she hates tummy time, and for some reason she refuses to do a mini-push up, she just arches her back but refuses to use her hands down to push up with) has eased a great deal of worry on my part.
But in the last month she's gone from needing support at the back of her head when you pick her up from a laying position to not even needing to be held behind the neck at all. Well, almost at all. She might still wobble like a baby bobble-head doll, but right now she can basically keep her head wherever she wants it, and two months ago it felt like I'd have to hold her head up for the rest of our lives.
- Ah, yes. Breastfeeding. Emma was born refusing the breast. The first time at the hospital I put her on, she said "NO" in no uncertain terms. She pushed at me with her tiny hands, she screamed at me with her tiny mouth, and she cried huge tears WEEKS before all the literature and the doctors said her tear ducts would be ready to produce a single drop. No one ever said the baby might refuse the breast. I was told that it would be me, not producing enough milk, or getting lazy and not putting her to breast enough to produce milk, or just giving up altogether and shoving a bottle of formula in her mouth, that would keep Emma from breastfeeding. No one EVER told us that Emma wouldn't want me.
So, partly because I refuse to be refused, and partly because Emma needed my milk and formula was NOT going to cut it, and partly because we just didn't budget for formula, so we couldn't afford it anyway, I started pumping the first day after she was born. Nothing happened. Well, almost nothing. They say you only get a little bit of colostrum. Again, no one ever told us that "a little bit" might be a DROP. Yeah, one drop, from each breast, each time I pumped. And I put that thick, honey-like drop on my finger and I put my finger into Emma's mouth, at which point she would proceed to scream.
Emma weighed 6lbs 11.3oz at birth. Within 24 hours she'd dropped 10 ounces. The doctor was concerned and recommended we start her on formula. So, every 3 hours for 30 minutes I pumped my one DROP of colostrum, and Emma ate her formula. I was incensed. Still am about that, actually. But we tried to get her to the breast by using all sorts of gadgets that were almost more trouble than they were worth. Feeding syringes, supplemental nursing systems, nipple shields. It all worked to get some food into her, but it didn't get enough food into her, and a couple days after we got home we realized we'd have to crack the seal on the bottles we'd gotten for our baby shower and put the formula in there.
I think those bottles were the smartest idea I've ever had. I researched "breast-like" bottle after "breast-like" bottle, and just happened across the First Years Breastflow during one of my searches. I had my heart set on one particular bottle but I'm glad we went to the (one and only) baby boutique on the island to get a closer look at it because that nipple was nothing like a breast. After that, I found the Breastflow online, showed the specs to Jon, and we decided to put that on our registry.
I don't know where we'd be now if someone hadn't bought those for us, because they really do work just like a real breast, and after three weeks of eating on those, and occasionally trying my breast again to no avail, Emma and I found our latch, and she was able to go back and forth from bottle to breast with no trouble, and now it's like we'd never had any trouble at all, and we have the best of both worlds.
Oh, one thing I forgot to say. Took my milk about 5 days to come in, and after another week we were able to stop feeding her the hateful formula 'cause I was producing enough milk to feed her AND the entire infant population of the Third World.

And, now it's my own bed time. Got Emma to bed about 1/2 hour late, but that's, I think, the first time we've ever gotten her to sleep within an hour of her scheduled bedtime (7pm). So, YAY for us! Another memorable moment for the Emma Files.

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Why we had Emma, part 1 (a rambling diatribe)

My Thea


The day my daughter was born, like Alice, I stepped through the looking glass. I reviewed the history of my life backwards and saw the instantaneous changes that had been wrought on me by this tiny, yet huge, addition to my existance. My mind was completely rewired, and my priorities shifted, and, though I had been a relatively selfish person before hand, now I care only for her. Of course, everybody hears this from new parents. "My life was turned around." "I was made complete." "I would die for her." Any good parent would say the same.

Problem is, I hated kids before Emma arrived. Really, I did. When asked if I wanted children, I told people this and they said, "It's different when they're your own." And maybe that's true. But I don't know yet, because the things I don't like about kids haven't come up yet. What I do know is that the stuff I mildly disliked about children doesn't seem to bother me, with her. The crying, the poopie diapers, the neediness. I don't care. Actually, I DO care. I love hearing her cry - not in a sadistic way, of course, but in the sense that her cry is like an affirmation of her life. She makes noise, I know she's alive, and I can rest well. Or at least rest as well as someone who spends all her time feeding, burping, changing, swaddling, jiggling, rocking, patting, stroking, and all the myriad things one does for and to a newborn to keep them happy.

So, if I went into this thing hating children, you probably wonder why I got pregnant in the first place. I wonder that myself. I guess the fact that I'm thirty-eight and didn't want to die without leaving the world a little piece of myself was a big factor. See, I'm a bookkeeper. JUST a bookkeeper. I love it, but I know it's not a glamorous job. No one knows me, recognizes me, or even cares about my work. I'm not going to win any awards, cure any diseases, or eradicate Third World hunger. I just count beans. And they're not even very good beans at that.

My friends and extended family will remember me after, but I've made such a slight impact on other people's lives that after they're gone, that's it. It's not like I've been made Honerable Auntie to their kids and will live on in tales of "Crazy Aunt Aimee." Besides which, most of my friends don't even have kids.

Like for many other people, my daughter will be my legacy. When she has kids, and they have kids, the only reason they will even exist, and the things they do will be done, is because I decided one day that I would prop my legs up after sex and see what happened. Just so happened that day was the day Emma's little ovum was coming down the fallopian tube, and Emma's little sperm was swimming around in Jon's testicles. I'm grateful for those little guys, taking the chance to meet and have a dance. I wonder if they had dinner first, or did they just go out for coffee. "Going out for coffee," - the new meeting at a bar for a couple of drinks.

But I don't just want a legacy, really I don't. That would be a little selfish of me. I wanted more. Now that I have her, I realize that Jon and I were missing a vital bit of the puzzle to make us a better couple, or "to prove our worth" so to speak. We hear people complain about how difficult it is, we see how many kids are screwed up by bad circumstances, lazy parents, inadequate education, and inappropriate media, and we wanted to build a better life for a little one. Of course, you needed the little one first. Hence, we tried for Emma and when we got her we knew we had our chance at the Big Leagues of helping to build someone else's life, and sharing our life with her.

We do this thing called medieval reenactment, and we've been doing it so long that we've encountered several couples that have dropped out of it because they claimed that when they had kids it just became too difficult to keep going to events. Personally, I think that's a load of bull. I think the Society for Creative Anachronism is a cool place to raise kids. (At least during the day. The night-life is a little hedonistic for under-18-year-olds.) If you've been doing the SCA for any length of time, the packing, storing, toting, unpacking, and otherwise hobo-like lifestyle of camping in the SCA felt like the perfect training for having a kid, so having a kid shouldn't preclude you doing those things to attend SCA events. Yeah, I've only had Emma 13 days and haven't been to an SCA event in about a year (not for want of trying), but the work I go through to keep Emma happy at home would be, I think, no more exacerbated doing it at an event (in cute little medieval baby clothes, no less!). It'd just be a different chair, a different fabric swaddle, a little more time sitting in our friend's open pavilion, but the same feeding, burping, changing, swaddling, jiggling, rocking, patting, and stroking as at home.

TBC

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Holiday wishes from the Garden Isle...

Whovian Xmas


As you've probably already read, lots of changes have been going on in my life recently. I just started my new job on Kauai, and Jon's still finishing off his job in Daytona Beach, but when that's over this week he'll be packing up everything he can't sell and shipping it, and himself, off to meet me here in Hawaii. But, from the picture, I bet you can guess that's not the BIGGEST thing we have going this holiday season. After trying for 5 years, sometime in early to mid August we're gonna be adding a new gamer, a new SCAdian, and a new misfit to our little household. It'll be hard being away from everything we know and everyone we love during this time, our family and friends will definitely be in our thoughts as we go off on this next great adventure.

I wish you a happy, healthy, Merry Christmas, and a Happy New Year.

Just saw the funniest thing...

My Thea
There are chickens roaming free EVERYwhere on Kauai. They cross the road in front of your car, they hang out on the patio (called a lanai, here), and they just add a general color to the whole experience of being here. And I'm sure if I look hard enough I'll find myself some free eggs.

A girl chicken and a boy chicken just walked up to the lanai, I could see them through the sliding glass door of my unit. The girl seemed kinda interested in the boy, and he a little in her, but they were still just sort of flirting. She jumps on the patio table, and he wanders around a bit on the concrete. All of a sudden, another rooster walks up, struts really, and starts advancing on the first rooster. Kinda slow-like, the first rooster starts walking away, and faster, the second follows, and they wander away past the corner of the building where I can no longer see them. All of a sudden, I hear some loud not-happy noises. A moment later the first rooster streaks past the window with the second rooster chasing him. After about 5 seconds I hear what is obviously a rooster fight, and then a few seconds after that the SECOND rooster struts back to the patio. By now, the girl's back on the concrete, and she's not happy. She wanders away from this jerk, past the corner of the building where I can't see, with the rooster hot on her heels. I hear some, again, not-happy clucking noises evident of a struggle, and then a pause. And then a crow. And another crow. And another crow. And another crow. And then the rooster slowly wanders past my window again, head held high. A moment later, the girl comes back onto the patio ruffling her feathers and cleaning out the bugs.

In humans what just happened would be considered illegal, immoral, AND unethical! Poor chicken!

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Beautiful Hawaii...

My Thea
So I've arrived in Hawaii, and am settling in. It's been raining since I got here, I've been working these two days and haven't seen much of the island yet, I'm tired and still adjusting to the change in time zone (I keep getting go-to-bed tired at 7 and waking up at 4), but what I've seen is beautiful, the people have been nice, and my work is going to be interesting (I started the day after I arrived). As soon as Jon gets here I'll be happy. In about a month. :\

If you want a post card from where I work, send me your address.

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What do you do...

My Thea
...when you have ALL these plot bunnies, and you know you're not the right person to write the fics? I keep coming up with really cool, "What if the THIS happened?" ideas, and I know I just will not do these plot bunnies justice if I'm the only one to try my hand at them.

Had a Doctor Who/Firefly crossover DREAM (of all things) night before last, and I think that the particular scenario would be... well... cute, if nothing else.

Like, OMG!

Whovian Xmas
Ok, so I just realized it's less than three weeks til Christmas. This isn't a concern for me as it is for most other people, 'cause I don't celebrate Christmas, with all the gift giving, travelling, carol singing, and stuff like that. What IS a concern, and what all this time I'd been thinking was still MONTHS away, rather than just a few short weeks (been really distracted what with packing for moving to HAWAII and all), is the showing of the Doctor Who Christmas Special on Christmas Day. THAT is how I celebrate Christmas, by watching a tv show about a dorky yet lovable old coot of a Time Lord who can't keep himself or his companions out of trouble. And today, just 5 minutes ago, I realized it's only 18 days til the Doctor Who Christmas Special.

SQUEE!

Sew...

Sewing
When Jon and I came to Florida, we left most of our worldly belongings in storage in California. It was hard to decide what to bring and what to leave behind, and one of the things we left was my sewing machine. It isn't fancy, it isn't special, but it's a sewing machine. And I like to sew. We're in the SCA, I make garb, and occasionally I like to fix stuff, or make costumes. But, I thought that since our plan was to only be in Florida 10 months, I wouldn't have that many opportunities to sew, and I could wait til I got home to work on any projects that came up during that time. BIG mistake. The sewing machine is the ONE and ONLY thing that I have wished I had access to more than once of all the stuff I left behind. Obviously, this proves to me where my priorities stand, but that's getting away from the story.

A few months ago I finally threw my hands in the air and researched getting a new machine. We'd just rented an apartment, signed a year lease, given up the ghost of moving back to California and getting my sewing machine back (easily), so I went to JoAnn's during a sewing machine sale. I decided I liked the Viking machines (metal gears), and the bottom of the line Viking was sort of within my price range, at $350. That's cheap for a good machine, but definately more than your run-of-the-mill Singer. Sadly, Jon and I quickly decided we couldn't afford it, and I bought a 1971 Singer from someone on craigslist for $30. That was an awesome deal, but since then I've discovered the machine's not very powerful. Functional, but not powerful.

Today I got a voicemail from the sales person at JoAnn's telling me that the machine I had my eye on three months ago is now at $239 for the display model. I immediately texted Jon, but he never replied so I almost forgot about it til I got home and he announced that his credit card company gave him a $250 credit limit increase and that was JUST what we needed to get the sewing machine.

Happy Anniversary to me! :^)

Now we just have to ship it to Hawaii!

6 days and 7 nights...

Hawaii
In seven sleeps I'll be boarding a plane for the great unknown, otherwise known as a new job in Hawaii. I'm counting down the days, I even have a big desk calendar on my wall with the days numbered, and I just crossed off today's day, with the number 7 on it. Next Wednesday I start a new life, one I really never ever thought I'd experience, but have always wanted. I can't wait. :^)

HAPPY HAPPY HAPPY!