Laurel is so much happier being able to move. Each morning I put her on the floor and she gets this intrepid look in her eye, rolls over, and takes aim at her first object. She’ll do a few little swimming motions and then scoot, scoot, scoot over to whatever it is. She can’t get enough of movement.

But these new skills come with a big downside: she’s hurting herself a lot more. She doesn’t seem to be at all aware of where her head is, so she constantly bonks it into things — table legs, the couch, etc. Unlike some babies we know, who shrug off injuries and keep going, Laurel will start crying at the slightest head-bonk, and will want a cuddle. It’s sweet, but sometimes she hits her head several times in the course of a scoot session and eventually I begin thinking about getting her a helmet or something.

Some of these encounters have shown us places where we need to babyproof. For example, last weekend during a nap she woke up and scooted right off the bed. Fortunately, she landed on a soft pillow and was completely unharmed, just very startled. The next morning, she managed to pull the fireplace grate down on top of herself. And today, the worst yet, she pulled the Playstation 3 over onto her face, resulting in the red marks on her nose and cheeks you can see above. It was pretty scary, and resulted in lots of cuddling. At that point, we both needed it. :-/

We can’t possibly swaddle every item of furniture in bubble wrap, despite the temptation. We’ll probably get something to soften the corners of our few square-edged tables, and we’re borrowing a bed rail from a friend — probably a stopgap until we put the mattresses on the floor for a while, I’m guessing. She’s already trying to pull herself up to standing, and that’s not going to go over well in a bed as high off the ground as ours.

It’s so hard watching her go through this. Until now, the world was a relatively safe and gentle place, and now that she’s going at her own pace she’s discovering that it’s a hard and unpredictable one. We can only protect her so much. Devin’s pretty easygoing about it, but for me, it’s difficult.

— Beth


Laurel spent the Labor Day weekend deciding it was high time to get mobile. Here’s a short video from today:

(Unfortunately I can’t figure out how to get WordPress to embed a Flickr video; click through the link to see it).

Crawling will probably come with time, but for now she has a way of getting what she wants. :)

— Beth

Happy half-birthday

So, we’ve managed to keep an infant human being alive for six months. I’m not sure how that happened; I can’t even keep most plants alive that long. I can do cats, but cats are much more self-sufficient. But Laurel seems to be not just alive, but thriving and happy and developing just as she’s supposed to. That makes us feel like pretty good parents, so far, but then she hasn’t learned to say “no” yet.

It’s amazing the skillset you build as parents in the first few months of a baby’s life. We started out feeling pretty new and unschooled, but now we have all kinds of fu for changing diapers, soothing and entertaining, getting her to sleep, etc. Those skills have come in handy, as the past two months have been difficult developmentally, with seemingly constant shifts in how she sleeps, eats, and interacts with the world. A friend of mine said between five and six months, her daughter grew so much that there were days she wouldn’t recognize her in the morning. I had at least one of those mornings, and more than one in which I swore her legs had gotten longer overnight.

All of this makes me wonder what it’s like from Laurel’s side of things, but she’ll never really be able to tell us, other than through basic smiles, cooing, screaming, and so on, none of which are all that precise. She has specific cries for “I don’t know this person and they’re freaking me out!”, “I’m exhausted and can’t sleep!”, “I’m bored!”, and so on. She doesn’t cry much for hunger anymore, and doesn’t cry about dirty diapers ever.

Slowly, we’re getting to know Laurel as a personality. She loves to interact and “flirt” with people, as long as Devin or I is holding her at the time. She’s excited by the colors bright red and purple. She loves plastic bags and keys, but she especially loves Mouse. (Every time Mouse comes into the room, Laurel lights up and tries to go after her. We’ve had several “practice” petting sessions, mostly because Laurel’s technique involves grabbing handfuls of kitty fur/ears/tail and squeezing tight, which causes Mouse to swat at her.) She loves nursing, even if she’s finicky right now about when and where she’ll do it. She likes public transit and being with other babies. She seems outgoing, despite her discomfort with people she doesn’t know. She smiles. A lot.

It’s tough to know how to summarize the first half-year of someone’s life, but when I worked at the Examiner, we often did a “by the numbers” sidebar to add useful information to a news article. So here’s a bit of Laurel, by the numbers:

Months alive: 6
Weeks alive: 27
Days alive: 191
Diapers soiled (est.): 2,160
Inches grown: 7
Pounds gained: 10
Naps taken (est.): 573
Nights she’s slept by herself: 0
Uninterrupted nights of sleep for her parents: 0
Breast milk (mom’s) consumed (est.): 18 gallons
Clothes outgrown (est.): 10 lbs.
Cost to ship domestically: $41.55 (priority mail)
Muni routes ridden: F, J, N, L, T, 1, 14, 22, 23, 26, 38, 44, 49, 52, 108