Monday, December 17, 2007

First Solid Food!

Today Ella sat in her highchair at the dining room table and had solid food for the first time: rice cereal mixed with breastmilk. She was up for the experience and ate almost all the food I prepared -- and the rest ended up on her face, hands and bib.

More videos and photos as always at

Friday, December 14, 2007

Smiles for the Camera

Her first illness this week: a virus that hit early Wednesday a.m. She threw up after her first feed of the morning, and had a mild temperature of 100.6F and diarrhea. Since then she's been pale and has been pooping green (5-7 times a day), but is keeping food down. These pictures were taken this morning. In spite of the virus, she's been cheerful between naps.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Monday, December 10, 2007

Month 5, week 4

Ella is one week away from her 6-month birthday. Her hair is growing in, and is very soft. It still stands up at the crown, even after she's worn a close-fitting hat on her head for more than an hour. One of the moms in the June babies group said she looks as though she's put her finger in a socket. A nurse (Jen) at the pediatrician's office said Ella looks like Shiloh Jolie-Pitt (meant as a compliment).

Ella does many fun and sweet things: she walks her fingers around my face, in my hair or in my mouth while she's nursing; she reaches out now to touch everything -- the flow of water under the faucet, the walls as we're going upstairs, items in the refrigerator, Michael's and my face and hair; likes to pull herself up to a sitting and standing position holding onto our fingers, and smiles when she does it as though she's just won a prize. Loves to look in the mirror, and says a lot of syllables now ("da da", "la la" and "thppppp"). When she's crying her 'mad' cry, she sometimes 'talks', saying "DA DA DA DA DAAAAAAAAA!!" as though she's telling us what she's upset about.

Technically, her first word was "Da Da", though Michael and I are pretty sure she hasn't used it yet as a reference to Michael; and occasionally she'll say "Aay-la", which sounds a lot like her name. We often practice with her, saying "Ma Ma, Da Da" and (pointing to her) "Ella". She watches us intently, grins in response and says "da da da thppppp". She has recognized her name for months now, responds when we call to her, and understands the gesture/word "look!", "shhh", and others. When we point to something, she follows the direction of our finger to whatever we are pointing, and when she's fussing and I'm finding it hard to think, I'll look at her and put my finger up to my mouth and say "Shhh", and she'll stop and look at me as though it might be the start of a fun game and she's waiting to see whether I'll do something else that might be entertaining.

She's been rolling from her back to her stomach since her 4th month, and does it very quickly. At yoga class, when I lay her at the head of the mat on her back (like all the other babies), she flips over very fast and pushes up on her hands to get a look around the room.

She prefers to sleep on her stomach now, and when she wakes in the middle of the night, she cries and pushes up on her hands to look at the doorway from her crib. When Michael or I tiptoe to the bathroom at night and the floorboards creak, we'll see her fuzzy head pop up over the side of the crib and she'll see us through the doorway (darn those creaky floorboards). We're starting to crawl to the bathroom on our hands and knees now in the middle of the night to get past her doorway without detection.

She's sitting up independently for short periods of time and if she starts to tip, often catches herself and corrects her balance well enough to avoid tipping over. Right now, the safety labels on her toys are more interesting to her than the toy itself, and when Michael wears a Magpie T-shirt from the Australian Football Club, she studies the logo with interest (black and white) and reaches out to touch it.

Pictured: sitting on the rocking chair in her room; sitting on the living room sofa with the TV remote; her camera face; sitting in her bouncy chair (hair sticking up).

Sunday, December 9, 2007

December Union Hall Meeting

Today the June Babies Club met at Union Hall in advance of the holiday break. We had a gift exchange (Secret Santa/Happy Hanukkah) and every baby got a present. They're all starting to sit up independently, maintain prolonged eye contact, smile broadly, and enjoy being held by other parents. Although each baby is different and has a distinct personality already, we're amazed by the similarities as they develop. They are all in the exploration phase, and putting hands in our mouths/hair as they nurse, starting to giggle, teethe, etc.

Stella (3rd from right) has the best head of hair in the bunch and has since she was born!, and Alice and Soren are tied for second place in the 'Great Hair' category. What Naomi lacks in hair (4th from left) she makes up for in length. She's the 'supermodel' baby of the group: the longest, most slender, with long, pretty legs. Matteo (on right end) was born in May and was the first to sprout two of his lower front teeth. He and Oona look related, and take adorable photos together. Ella and Henry hold hands when they meet at yoga or at Group meetings. Max (2nd from right) stays at home most days with his father, who is a professional chef. Alice is the newest member of the group.

Here are photos from the lineup (see pictures of babies on red corner sofa). Initially they were all upright and cheerful (they enjoy sitting next to each other). But now that they're in the wandering-hands phase, it's a very short time before one baby's hand gets into another baby's hair or mouth. Soren and Ella were straddling a huge gap in the sofa cushions and listed to the side, creating a domino effect. By the time the parents backed away and started snapping photos, the gang was listing and starting to wail...
Group pictures (from left to right): Alice, Oona, Henry, Soren, Ella, Naomi, Stella, Max, Matteo.

The cloud overshadowing the day is that Golden is in the hospital getting a blood transfusion to alleviate his anemia. Jen estimates they'll be in the hospital until middle or end of this week while they conduct tests and doctors try to determine the cause of the illness/anemia/low platelet count. This is a shout-out to Golden, Jen, and Brian, who were greatly missed today. In the first group photo of the babies (taken on Labor Day, September, 2007 - see above picture of babies lying on a striped blanket), Golden is second from the right. By the 2-month mark, while some of us were fretting over breastfeeding challenges and the babies' weight gain, Golden had grown 3 inches and gained 3 pounds. He has one of the sweetest dispositions of the bunch. We're all thinking of the Randolphs every day and praying that they find the root cause of his illness, he can recover quickly and come home, and play with the rest of the June babies again.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

First Giggle

Ella giggled for the first time last night during a drive home from IKEA. She was in her carseat in the backseat of our car, and Amanda and her daughter Oona were sitting in the backseat too. Amanda was entertaining Ella by showing her the back of her whoozit toy, and she giggled several times! The sweetest sound.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

First Snow

Ella saw her first snow on Sunday, December 2, 2007. Pictured: Ella looking at the snow on the deck; the deck furniture covered with snow; Ella laying on the playmat flashing her sunny, gummy smile.