Monday, November 22, 2010

Lunar Birthday

Today is my lunar birthday. One year ago, this same full moon was shining in the skylights on the stairs and in the bath. My mama remembers because she was coming up the stairs late in the evening before my birth and the full moon was shining gloriously on my in her big round belly. She stood for an early contraction or two, bathing in the light of the moon. Not too much later, when it seemed more clear that the contractions weren't going away, my mama took a bath in the light of the full moon coming through that skylight. This was her last real moment as her self without me. She went to bed after that and woke up full at 3 am with active labor contractions. Then, of course, I was born just after 7 am with that same full moon bright in the sky with the sunrise on the horizon. So as you can tell, this full moon is memorable and special to my mama. In fact, it is not so very common to see the moonset and sunrise simultaneously, like in this photo. Yet one more reason my mama remembers the full moon and would like to honor my lunar birthday each year. She thought the last full moon was my lunar birthday. I think I even told you that before, but she realized that it didn't feel quite right last moon. Yesterday, she remembered why when she saw the moonlight that lit up the whole stair and hallway and the memories came back. A special day indeed....Happy Lunar Birthday to Me!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Snack Station Update: Making My Way in the World

My mama told Christine Auntie about my snack station. Here is Christine Auntie's "trip down memory lane" about Aumar and the snack station. This keeps being a better and better idea. Now, pretty much any time my mama wants to give me food, she puts it down on my snack station. My mama usually gives me some fruit, toasts me some toast and makes food while I munch and crunch around the house.

I feel so comfortable in my house. My mama was thinking about all the things she and my daddy have chosen to do with me: homebirth, babywearing, cloth diapering, cosleeping, elimination communication, signing, and baby led solids/weaning. Out of all of them, she thinks the Uma led solids are most constructive of our relationship, my independence and my development of self. Baby led solids means I am "allowed" and encouraged to eat whole food, real food, the food my parents eat. My mama doesn't mash up food for me. I explore the textures, colors, smells, shapes, sizes, temperature, and weight to better understand how to eat and what I need. My mama watches me closely and see what I do and how my body reacts to what I eat. For instance, she noticed when I was sick I started to eat a lot of oranges. When my teeth started acting up these last couple days, I have wanted the frozen apples that last month I despised. (Yup, I might get my first tooth on my lunar birthday tomorrow.) She has seen how I gag and cough up foods and spit out things I am not supposed to eat. I don't seem to be the kind to swallow any old thing off the floor, though it is not beyond me to have a little taste to see what the thing is about. My mama is convinced that independence in what and how much I eat helps me develop my skills and confidence and understanding about myself and my world.

The snack station is just the latest development in my overall independence around food, but actually connects to my mama's overall vision for my home environment and our relationship. She so misses the little baby I once was, but she watches and learns from me each day with awe in her eyes. She looks at me with such adoration and love. If she is willing to let me find my way and my self, slowly and with guiding hand, I feel ready to move into the world with confidence and assurance. I listen when she or my daddy say "no, no, noooo" in a rhyme I recognize. I know No means "hurt" might be in store for me if I keep doing what I am doing. This communication helps us build trust with one another. Learning to nourish myself is just one part of figuring out my life that I will need to do. She thinks this snack station will provide many opportunities for me to do that.

Of course, she is just counting her blessings each day because anything could change our equilibrium at any moment. Having read about the evolution of Aumar's snack station into reality of life with four children, she knows that all these rhythms and melodies and harmonies we have found will shift and be reinvented just as they have since birth, though perhaps on a much bigger scale. Right now, though, we are still going strong riding the waves of creating a new family. We are loving each other up, and I continue to love my life......despite the pain of the two teeth pushing the final millimeters out of my gums.

My First Real Gig

My daddy had a kirtan/qawwali gig in New Jersey. I went along since it was Saturday and only an hour away. As you can see, I loved it! They had huge crystal singing bowls, and there was a little boy I liked playing with, Shamananda. He is three and a half. I loved his mama, Dhanya, immediately. I went right to her with open arms and asked her for a bit of apple later. I danced and sang and ran around and gave kisses and slept in the sling. Then we went and ate dosas and idlis and chaat afterwards. It was my first real gig as a walking, "talking" person.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Creating Family: Snack Station and Structure

My little snack station is working out really well. Thanks, Christine and Aumar, for giving my mama the idea all those years ago when Aumar was my age!

While my mama made dinner she gave me some toast and some oranges. Then we ate burritos (again). I loved them (again). I ate my own, Uma-sized burrito all up! Then I ate some more of my mama's filling. I also tried some romaine lettuce because my mama seemed to enjoy it so much, but that was difficult to eat. (I liked yesterday's steamed young red chard much better and actually ate that.) My mama was still hungry after that; she has to make me a lot of healthy, rich milk. She ate some hearty, whole-grain cereal (including heirloom kamut and quinoa as well as millet, and other protein and nutrient rich whole grains) with unsweetened hemp milk (rich in amino acids, healthy omega fats, and protein). She gave me a dry piece. I seemed to enjoy that a great deal, though it took me a bit to eat it, so she gave me some with hemp milk by putting a few pieces at my snack station.

I ate piece after piece after piece, but the coolest part was that I really started to be able to rely on that as an actual snack station. I feel like my mama and I understand better how that stove/oven of mine can work for all of us. She cleaned the downstairs last night (by herself!) and even put the kitchen towels on one of the shelves of my oven! I don't mind sharing; it's wonderful to feel part of a family hustle and bustle. I felt so comfortable as she moved here and there cleaning and eating. I moved here and there and ate, too, coming back for pieces of cereal, then pear. I ate so much for dinner last night, both in my seat at the table with my mama and at the snack station while she cooked or cleaned. Actually, my mama wonders if I am moving through another growth spurt because I am eating a lot and still drinking a lot of milk.

I did whine rather regularly, though not overly often, wanting to be picked up, tugging at my mama's legs. She would just tell me what she was doing and sing me a song about it. She wouldn't pick me up, and that was ok. I would go off and play again and go and get another bite from my snack station.

My mama put some kitchen items, carefully selected by the both of us, in the cupboard of pots and pans that I like to open and close. A lid to a pot, a tray, a lid I found in the storage container cupboard, a part to the blender, a strainer. I played and made noise with those things while my mama took our table scraps and mixed them into food for the dogs. I played with balls and instruments while she cleaned the living and music rooms. We had a good night, and then we went upstairs to have a good rest.

I feel like my family is forming a structure to our days and our relationships. I feel like I am getting my needs met, and I am doing so independently fairly often for a just-turned 1 year old. I am loving life.

Daddy's Double Duty

Wednesday, my usual day to see my friend Anjali, my daddy watched both me and Anjali while her daddy, Jeremy, played a gig for a few hours. We had a wonderful time. At one point, Anjali did get a bit sad. She saw the front door, realized her daddy had gone through, realized that door went to Far Away, and her lip started quivering. My daddy carried her around and told her comforting things while she had some feelings. Her crying made my heart sad; I started crying, too. My daddy moved Anjali to one strong arm and picked me up in the other. I leaned over and gave Anjali a kiss and a hug, and we all walked around and had some feelings. Soon after, Anjali fell asleep on my daddy's chest while he sat on the couch with one arm holding a bottle with me. Exhausted from a full morning of excitement, I sat quietly next to him gulping away until Uncle Jeremy walked through the door. My daddy is a mountain! I love him so.....

Friday, November 19, 2010

I Love Music

I love my daddy. I love music. I love my daddy's music.

My daddy downloaded some Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan songs. He really likes them. I really like them, too. They make me so happy! My parents taught me to say Hari from the kirtan and chanting they do sometimes. When I get really excited about music, I do what they taught me and squeal away!

I took a late, long nap after staying up all day with daddy and Anjali. I woke up in time for ONE rehearsal. I love music, but I love to listen to my daddy play. I watch transfixed. This time, I saw another instrument. The guitars Thomas and Raji Uncle were playing fascinated me, particularly the strings. I got so inspired; I played my daddy's drums and then got some instruments of my own and started playing.

Monday, November 15, 2010

More Developments

I am 110% over my illness. Today I showed the full effect of my nookiness. I nooked about all day with my daddy. I actually gave him a most memorable experience. I was playing happily when I decided to go over to my daddy, give his arm a couple of caressing strokes and leaned in for a kiss on the mouth just like my mama and daddy like to give me! My daddy loves kisses. This was the first one I have really given him completely on my own out of the blue just because I wanted to. My mama has gotten a few kisses this way, but my daddy, who loves kisses even more, was waiting and waiting. When I gave him that kiss, he just melted into a puddle. He had to play drums for an hour after that. I obliged by walking over to the little table where my mama keeps instruments for me, grabbing my new clangy cymbals, walked back over to my daddy and started playing with him! Of course, he could barely contain himself. After all that loving and playing, I took a long, two-hour nap.

When my mama got home I was still sleeping! I woke up and smiled away when I heard it was my mama coming to get me. I woke up so happy! Then I played and played.

My mama read me a book, one she has only read once or twice to me. After hearing her read it and pointing and signing to the dog and telling mama that the baby in the book is asleep. Then I took the book and read the first page in the same sing-songy melody my mama used to read that page. She was excited because this was my first real attempt at reading a whole page. Well, I guess technically the last attempt was with "A horse says 'neigh'" in one of my books. (The last page, of course, so I remembered how the words went.)

Later my mama wanted to put a diaper on me. I was fine staying on the changing table. I knew what she was doing because she told me with her words and her hands. My mama has noticed that in the days after my flu, I have been incredibly intentional about watching her hands and trying to make any signs she is using. Well, for the first time, I tried to sign diaper back. It is a harder one, but I was doing the finger closing and the two fingers with thumb, but not at the same time. I also tried to say diaper. I said the "di" part because I can already say that. Then I only got as far as the 'pah' sound in a separate part, as if I was talking very, very, very slowly. In fact, this is sort of true, because the human brain's processing speed doesn't hit full adult capacity until late in adolescence. I process things more slowly. That's why I don't mind when my mama says things over and over and says them slowly. I stare intently at her face and hands and listen closely to her voice.

The last cool thing that happened was in the kitchen. After we read books it was time to make dinner. My mama and daddy were busy making this and that, and I was busy walking around and eating. My mama sensed that I was ready for my own little food station. She had been waiting to see if I was ready or not, but something told her my "oven and stove" would be a good place to put snacks. She thought of this years ago after seeing daddy's friend AJ and his wife Christine spontaneously create such a space for their little one about my age. Aumar (their baby boy) learned in just one day where to go if he wanted more snack. Just like Aumar, my mama wanted me to have the independence during snack times to grab whatever I want out of the things she left. Yesterday she left out some orange, which I have been loving all of a sudden lately (for the Vitamin C after my illness?). She also put out some toast, later a pear and a little glass of apple juice. I started with the orange. I chose the toast and then went back to the orange. Finally I got thirsty and grabbed the glass with one hand. My mama told me to use two hands and she showed me. I grabbed the glass with two hands and began to drink on my own, just like a big girl! Of course, the next time I tried I dumped it on the floor, but that's learning for you! It was nice to have the ability to grab a snack that I wanted and then nook about until I was hungry again. It didn't ruin my dinner either because I ate the paneer, cauliflower and peas my mama gave me.


Sunday, November 14, 2010

New Developments

Well, I've been through and done a lot this last week or two. Here are some moments my mama thought were memorable:

1. I got sick for real for the first time. Stomach flu. Puking, on the bed and on my mama. I was not myself; I didn't want to walk or stand or be put down. My mama loved holding me close because I rarely let her do that, but she was no happy seeing me so lethargic. Those of you who have seen me stand and walk know that my balance is fairly good for one so little. This flu had a dizziness element to it as well, so when I was ready to walk I was unsteady. It made me a bit unsure of myself. Then, even after all that had gone, I still had that tired feeling come over me after a good bout of play.

2. However, while I was sick, I did more singing than ever. In between two puke on my mama sessions, my mama was changing the sheets and singing to me. I sang back to her the same pitch. We made a little game for a minute or two. Then there is my own singing. I love to sing the song my mamama taught me. I like to sing my own little ditties too. This morning I I was singing and drumming on the bed at the same time. I even drummed and sang with a syncopated rhythm! My parents have been impressed with how I have picked up clapping rhythms that are more than the basic. It seems this parroting phase is a great time to learn just about anything, regardless of how complicated.

3. I like to talk on the phone. I know what it is. I pick it up and say hello and have a conversation. Sometimes there is someone there and sometimes there is not. I also pick up other objects and test to see if they are phones....or perhaps that all just play fun.

4. Talking is much more frequent and fanatic now. I like to tell all kinds of stories. I am learning to use my voice. I will make it high and low and loud and a whisper. I make it crack like an adolescent boy. I make my voice sweet like a siren. It is fun learning to use my voice. Who knows what I can do?! Once my E-ma was reading me a book. She read it a few times: "The cow says 'moooo.'" I said "mooooo." Then later I read it with my mama. I took the book from her and made my voice go up and down like hers did when she said, "The horse says 'neigh.'"

5. I am now signing up a storm. Once in a while I get tired and/or confused, or my parents get confused. Most of the time, though, we all make sense to each other, and signing has helped us understand each other better overall. For instance, when I was wailing inconsolably once, I told my mama something "hurt." She asked me what hurt. Did my "tummy hurt"? "Teeth hurt?" "Head hurt?" I watched and wailed as she asked me, and then calmed down a bit and signed that my "tummy hurt." Then I thought about it and got a bit upset and said my "teeth hurt" too. I signed sleep more throughout the whole sickness because I was sleepy a lot. I have been signing "all finished" regularly and "poop" often. These, especially the "all finished," are very helpful for moving us on to the next thing. I say I'm all finished eating, pottying, sleeping, staying awake. I'll say I'm finished having a bath or even I'm all finished having a mama distracted by something else! I know when I am tired and my mama is taking me up how to say "Bye," I'm going to "sleep!" Yesterday on Skype I stood up, pointed all around ("over there") to where Baby Violet was with Alaine and Alex, and said "Bye" to my grandparents. I said "I'm going over there. Bye!" and walked away. It was a bit rude, but funny to all.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Nookah?! Nook

A long time ago when I had Malcolm over for a sleepover, we took a bunch of videos. This was one that my daddy liked. The video misses everything, but my daddy explains what happened and we oblige by giving a little taste of what went before.

Rediscovered Footage

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Fever-induced Sleep

Updated Puja Pictures

My mama updated the pictures of the scaled down Hindu ceremony. Check it out!

Olivia and I Learn to Count