Consistently Changing

4/08 Once we got the EASY figured out from reading Baby Whisperer, we settled down into a pretty sweet routine of six three-hour cycles per day from 6 am to 10 pm. It was just wonderful to have begun to learn a new language—you know the old adage, “a little Birdie told me.” It really is true.  We packed up the breast pump and put it away for “good.” (Until the next premie.) We helped her learn how to go to sleep in her own bed on her own without too much fuss. She did so much better when we let her sleep undisturbed when it was time to sleep and feed her at regular intervals and bath and play with her only until she was ready to sleep again. She slept 1-2 hours every three hours in the day and all night long. Then one day Grandma was holding her at the dinner table. Dinner time is DaddyGrandma time. R started fussing and Grandma was certain she was hungry. So we fetched the baby spoon out of the 9-month box and Grandma fed her mashed tatos and gravy off her plate. Sure enough, everything that went in the beak went down the hatch. So R graduated about the first week of March from infancy to babyhood. We had to figure out a new routine again. At the same time she started showing interest in toys, reduced her sleeps to two naps a day anywhere from one-half hour long to two hours, and started reaching for everything in front of her. Now I can’t hold her on my lap while working on the computer anymore because she’s desperate to push buttons and test everything for edibility. We’ve been feeding her blended cooked cereal and fruit for breakfast and supper and blended tatos and a vegetable for dinner. She eats four meals a day about four hours apart and still sleeps all night. She eats or tries to eat nearly everything that gets within reach of the beak—except green beans. And believe me, Daddy pokes everything in her mouth that he eats with very few exceptions. She doesn’t want anything to do with bottles or sippy cups. She has to drink out of Daddys’ cup or spoon. Even Caf-lib or V-8 juice is great. Just as long as Daddy drinks it first. I tried her out in her exersaucer. But at best she would last 10 minutes before wailing, Get me out of here—now! Finally the cousins loaned us a jolly jumper—a seat hanging from a spring in the doorway. It only took her two minutes to get the “hang” of it. She will go boing-boing for an hour or more at a time! I don’t know what I ever would have done without it because she was getting extremely difficult to keep busy. And she wasn’t sleeping long enough for me to get my to-do list done anymore! Now the weather is warming up so we’ve been able to take her out on the sled more frequently. She sleeps most of the time but at least she gets her sunshine and fresh air while we get our exercise. At seven months old April 4th she is pushing 14 pounds and 25 inches tall. Her personality is developing and we are glad to see her smile most of the time—except when she feels ignored! (Oh well, that editing deadline is done now so we can live again.)

She has also learned the joy of making noise. She has taken to screaming in delight. After a gazzilion times one day in her jumper I began to wonder if maybe I should not let her get in the habit of screaming in the house. My feeble attempts to discourage it weren’t effective. The next day Grandma R confessed that her mom had said she loved to scream just for the fun of it. Obviously she has grown out of it since then. At least I know R comes by it honestly now!

Sabbath School
Once she started showing interest in toys, holding things, and grabbing for things, I realized she was ready to start Sabbath School. Now cradle roll Sabbath School is something I’m pretty ignorant of but which my mother and her sister are experts at. They have been writing their own programs and have been on my case for years to help them get them published. So now that I have someone to try them out on, my interest is suddenly awakened. Mom had given me her binder containing the program, When Jesus was a Child. It contains the music for a couple dozen songs with the info as to what hand motions go with it or object the child should hold. I searched around the house and dug out my box of stuffed animals. Now I’m disappointed that I had given away most of my collection of more than four dozen animals. But there is enough here to get started. The first attempt was very educational for me but not much for R. I didn’t know the songs so tried to play the piano while she held onto whatever I gave her. When I turned to look she had dropped the fish on the floor, leaned over, and was sucking on the arm of the rocking chair. Oh well. Now we try to save Sabbath School for when Daddy is here to help. It works much better. Either that or we have to play the music on CD so I can help R do the hand motions and hold the object. Now that we got the hang of it, she loves it. She doesn’t even fuss when I ask her to give the object back to mommy. This is great education. She is learning give and take and sharing before she can walk and talk.  Of course the best parts are the little chickie that chirps (special gift from Daniel M), the Loon and Snowy Owl that make their real sounds (Audubon birds from a gift shop), the bell, and the spoon and tin lid we get to clang together. Everything else is just fun to chew on.  Her Sabbath School lesson arrived just in time for the 2nd quarter of the year. They are just beautiful!! Check out The cradle roll lesson goes through the Bible in one year (highlighting only a few of the best stories.) There is a ring-bound book of nothing but gorgeous 8x10 paintings with five illustrations for each week’s Bible story. The lesson booklet has a one-page rendition of the story with ideas for hands-on illustrations. Now the first experience with reading the lesson to R was educational as well. By the second time we figured out why she was fussing nearly the whole way through. She hasn’t any experience yet with something being held in front of her that she can’t eat! So before she even learns to crawl, she is getting the opportunity to figure out that not everything in the world is available to be mauled up and tested for edibility.

Got a Toothache?
April 5th she fussed and fussed all afternoon. The next day Grandma R said “welcome to teething!” Then she warned us that babies will fuss and fuss night and day for several days until the teeth break through the skin, releasing the pressure. She already had a fever and hadn’t been eating normally. After dinner I put R in her swing while she continued expressing her misery. I remembered just exactly how it felt because not too many years ago I had all four wisdom teeth carved out of my head during Christmas break, my first year of college. The general anesthetic lasted only so long. I couldn’t keep any pain pills down. So Mom got the bright idea to put a charcoal poultice around my jaw. I didn’t care how cute I looked with a dishtowel around my head. I was just thankful it took the pain right away! I even completed a video class in the last two weeks before school began again. While R kept up her wailing, I got out my activated charcoal powder that I keep handy in a five-gallon pail in the bathroom cupboard. Here’s the “recipe:” ½ cup activated charcoal powder ¼ tsp cayenne pepper enough cold water to make a paste drop two tablespoons onto a paper towel. Wrap completely so that no charcoal escapes but there is only one or two thicknesses of towel between the skin and the paste. Place the poultice on the aching area (jaw, cheek, lips, wherever) and keep it there for about 20 minutes. I picked up a headband from the hair brush section at Wal-mart. With a safety pin it is easy to adjust to her head size to keep the poultice in place with just the right amount of pressure. Repeat with a fresh poultice as often as the pain returns. In five minutes she stopped fussing and went to sleep. In fact she konked out so hard that she only cracked an eyelid briefly when I took the poultice off and put her to bed. Looks like she’s going to sleep this teething thing away.  Can’t tell you how relieved I am. We’re working cows all this week and I was not looking forward to sleepless nights!!! P.S. I’ve been getting my activated charcoal powder from Leicester, NC. If anyone knows of a Canadian source for bulk charcoal (or the recipe to make it myself), please let me know. And if you aren’t familiar with all the awesome uses of charcoal, just check out You’ll soon want to order your own five-gal pail!