Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Building Blocks

Bridgette received this toy from Gramma and Grampa Hoose for Christmas. She likes to handle, bang, and throw the pieces about. That's what I do when trying something new too. In this household, it's what we call learning.

This week I began medication to up my breast milk supply, and it seems to be working. I'm not overflowing with milk and honey, but my child appears to be getting enough for the first time in a month. Since she bites... ow!... I no longer nurse but spend a great deal of time (did I mention that I spend a GREAT DEAL OF TIME) pumping. So I can quantify her milk. And it has increased. Yip, yip!

As of Sunday and Tuesday, Bridgette was eating better too. As of Monday she was not. Still touch and go in that department. Similar results with her sleeping. We still don't get more than 6 hours in a row (oh, but that was a beautiful night) on good days, but on bad days, like last night, we're lucky to get two. Again, not sure what's happening, but someday she'll speak in full sentences and explain why she is upset.

Actually, I think last night she may have had her first true night terror. Poor babe.

Today the blessed news is that she picked up a Baby Mum-Mum (a specially-designed melt-in-your-mouth rice-crisp) and jammed it in her mush. Success! Did I mention today was a good eating day? But she really really doesn't like peas. Or Gourmet Organic Chicken Mango Risotto that happens to have split pea flakes in it.

Our one outing this week was to the mall on Saturday while Papa Jeff was home. The intent was to traipse around and look at stuff thereby increasing the connections in Bri's gray-matter. But we ate at California Pizza Kitchen instead. It called to us. And who are we to shirk a call to eat pizza? Actually, I got split pea soup. Oh the irony.

In this photo at CPK, you will see Bridgette in one of my favorite new outfits... because I really like sea turtles. Of course, she was mistaken for a boy. But it was worth it.

Here is a picture of the Johnson girls on the "girl couch." We end up together a lot. Sometimes on the other girl couch. Or the girl bed. Or in the girl office. Sometimes we all lie on the girl floor. Sometimes Chewy joins us and then it's no longer sexist.

In school news, I completed my first of many FEMA independent study courses today. It was a daylong, drawn-out, laborious process punctuated by feedings, pumpings, nappings, cryings, playings, and picking-toys-up-off-the-ground-again-ings. But the first of my building blocks has been stacked. And at the moment, I feel ready for more.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009


(i nawgye raysh'n) n. -
1. a formal ceremony to open or mark the beginning of something
2. the act of putting something into operation, or an occasion on which this is done

I missed Obama's inauguration because Bri was eating peaches -- actually eating them on purpose, not being force-fed. Choosing between these two inaugurations, I picked the one closer to home.

After a filling lunch of milk & fruit, Bridgette sat on the bed with me while I pumped. This was the result:

And here are Bri and Chewy because they're both so cute.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Who Am I?

We have heard that Bridgette looks exactly like a lot of people. Here are some who have made the list: me, Jeff, my mother, my father, Jeff's father, my grandmother, her cousin Emma, my older brother, and my younger brother.

But we know who she really looks like!

She looks exactly like Bridgette!

And speaking of Bridgette, her cutest new nickname comes from one of the little girls in our neighborhood who calls her Widget.

Last Saturday we took babsy to the Living Planet Aquarium in Sandy. We started in the Utah ecology section where Bri was terrified and traumatized by the trout tanks -- big slimy copper-scaled monsters with gaping mouths swarming in to attack her. I was just beginning to think that perhaps this was not the enriching experience I was hoping for when she got interested. I think it was the cool blacklit jellyfish that did it.

Above: Gently Petting the Stingrays
Below: Bri's favorite part was lunch. She's wearing a fish bib.

Bri's 2nd tooth emerged this morning. It's just a smidgen of a line right now, but she already seems a titch happier than she has for most of this week. She has lately refused to take anything but milk and even that in small quantities.

This is not terribly unusual. She seemed to be taking solid foods quite well, but after one week of eating beautifully she became more and more finicky and finally refused to eat at all. When she does eat, or when we force her to eat, the baby-food goes through her sometimes in a matter of minutes.

In fact, Bri's pediatrician has placed her on malnutrition watch because her weight percentile dropped in two months from 80th to 55th. While 55th is healthy, and we still receive skads of comments about her chubby legs, we hope she stabilizes there. If she continues to drop, then we'll know she is malnourished.

I like to post pictures of her smiling, but the truth is that she's between grumpy, angry, and thoroughly sad most of the time now. She won't or can't eat when she's hungry, but then she doesn't sleep because she's hungry. The result is a houseful of grumpy, hungry, tired people.

In the photo below, you'll see that Chewy had jumped onto the couch to greet Bridgette when we came home, but when she started screaming he slunk away. He's really quite sensitive.

Today's repast has been a lovely relief. She actually slept for an hour this morning and has been down for 10 minutes so far this afternoon - more than she's slept for weeks.

Bri received some mail from her great-grandma yesterday. She had a tree planted in her name on Arbor Day and got this card commemorating her place in the conservation world.

Bridgette thought it was silly to send a paper card to commemorate the conservation of trees and decided to recycle it herself.

In Kelly news, I am pushing to get a whole bloomin' bunch of schoolwork done in the next 2 1/2 months, so I can walk in April. I don't know if it's physically or chronologically possible, but I shall try. I'm afraid if I don't push on, I will quit. I'm dreadfully close to quitting as it is.

All of this malnutrition/sleep-deprivation trouble began at the near-end of last semester. It's sorrowful and taxing, and I find I only have between 3 & 45 minutes each day to do anything but console my babe. I choose to use this time for the basics of life: eating, hygiene, and/or the never-ending pumping to eek out Bri's milk supply. But perhaps I could cut something out for school's sake. Like showering.

Our Little Widget

This is some fine footage of Bridgette falling asleep at the Living Planet Aquarium. We had reached the room with spiders and snakes, but apparently they were too boring.

A bit of tomfoolery.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Baby Has a Tooth!

The cranky-monkey is revealed!

Thursday, January 8, 2009

6 Months Today

What's better blog fodder than a 6 month old baby?

The week started out a bit rough - no sleep and much difficulty eating. We weren't sure if she was sick or teething or the ultimate picky-eater. We're still not sure, but she's been considerably happier the last two days.

Here was Bridgette's schedule today:

4:00 A.M. -- Wake up.
4:10 A.M. -- Basic care: bag emptied, diaper change, nurse.
4:45 A.M. -- Pretend to be sleepy.
4:46 A.M. -- Swaddled and put in crib.
4:47 A.M. -- Pretend to be content.
4:50 A.M. -- Begin to cry.
5:05 A.M. -- Cry progressively harder.
5:20 A.M. -- Finally rouse Dad who gives her a bottle.
5:30 A.M. -- Sleep.
7:03 A.M. -- Wake up.
7:04 A.M. -- Repeat basic care.
8:00 A.M. -- Sit on sofa and play with toys; bounce in doorway; sit on Dad's lap while he works from home for the morning.
9:30 A.M. -- Have birthday song and 4th breakfast.
10:00 A.M. -- Pack up.
10:30 A.M. -- 6 month appointment with pediatrician.
10:40 A.M. -- Read Pat the Bunny with Mom while waiting.
11:20 A.M. -- Shots :(
11:30 A.M. -- Sleep in car; oblivious when Dad gets dropped at work.
12:15 P.M. -- Wake up in Costco wonderland.
1:00 P.M. -- Let everyone at Costco know that it's been a long day.
2:00 P.M. -- Get home.
2:10 P.M. -- Spit out chicken-paste baby food.
2:15 P.M. -- Repeat basic care.
2:45 P.M. -- Listen to Mom read Peter and the Starcatchers.
3:00 P.M. -- Nap.
4:04 P.M. -- Wake up livid.
4:15 P.M. -- Repeat basic care.
5:00 P.M. -- Play with Mom.
5:40 P.M. -- Watch Dad walk in the door.
5:45 P.M. -- Eat celebratory fries for 1/2 birthday.
6:30 P.M. -- Spit out chicken-paste baby food again.
6:45 P.M. -- Bag change and bath.
7:30 P.M. -- Bottle and bed.
8:30 P.M. -- Dream about Mom writing blog entry.

Two Shots at the Doctor's Office

Guess Who Gave Bri This Bib...

Yum! I got Pop's Fry-Love Gene.

Not from today, but here's another shot of a toy up around her arm.

Happy happy 1/2 year!

Eating her first fry, doctor approved.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

A Small Amalgamation

Bridgette - January 2009 - 6 months old

Bridgette's development has reached a stage of constant change. For example, she decided to sit up on New Year's Day. She held her own bottle on January 2nd. This being January 3rd, Bri surprised us by reaching for Jeff when he leaned down to pick her up.

We recognize that these are simple developments that are exciting to few besides ourselves. But we're excited all the same. Oddly enough, Bri can turn pages in a book on command, but she shows absolutely zero interest in rolling over. I know that sounds far-fetched, but it's true, on both accounts. It will be interesting giving that report to her pediatrician at her 6-month appointment this Thursday.

I'm going somewhat stir-crazy after only two weeks at home and have discovered a new talent: creating superficial reasons that require me to leave the house. So far Bridgette likes adventures as much as me and responds well to the sensory stimulation.

Whoa! Bridgette is sitting in Jeff's lap while I write this, and she just let out the biggest banana burp ever.

Here is a winning shot of Bri with Chewy & Piper. Getting them all in one frame is difficult enough. But to get their heads close together with all three looking at the camera? What a feat!

The next three shots illustrate the difficulty of photographing three moving souls with the attention span of ... well... an infant and two puppies.

This was very funny. After I took this fun shot of Bridgette and Piper "playing" together, I left the room for a moment. When I came back, I discovered that Piper had dropped her new toy in Bridgette's arms. So I guess the word "playing" doesn't actually need quote marks.

So, according to the Chinese, Bridgette is a rat. Born in the Year of the Rat, Bridgette brought in the Western new year by wearing her celebratory rat t-shirt. (I know, I know... the Chinese New Year is in February, but the shirt may not fit then). Her rat personality, as printed on the back of the tee, is this:

quick-witted and charming
resourceful by nature
master of mind games
hyperactive crib shaker
protective and loyal to friends,
especially mom

I question the hyper-active crib shaker line, given her no-rolling-over status. Still, to end the entry, here are three more pictures of our adorable little rat.