Sunday, November 14, 2010


I got tagged! I was just thinking, boy, all I ever do is post about Layla, so I'm going to take this as a challenge to post about the rest of my life for a change.

Here are the questions:

1. What is one of your fondest childhood memories?

I had three pets I was crazy about - my horse Rocky, my other horse Silk, and my dog Archimedes. Most of my really fond memories revolved around them.

2. What do you love most about your spouse/significant other?

This is hard! I have too many things to say in a short post. What I love most, I guess, is that he is so dang attractive - he IS the Studly Hubby, after all. But I also love that he is constantly seeking new adventures and wants to grow as a person and husband and father - which he really has done! And he is also so dang attractive, did I mention that?

3. Where do you see yourself in 10 years?

Hopefully still married, with another kid (or 5, see below), and a good job that I like in a city I approve of. And most important, I want to be somewhere that I will STAY - I'm tired of never being sure where I will end up.

4. What is your favorite book?

This is hard too. The Harry Potter series is definitely in the top 10. When I was in high school, it was 'the World According to Garp', but I haven't read it in so long now I don't even recall what it was about. My favorite book from recent times is 'The Poisonwood Bible' by Barbara Kingsolver. My two favorite book club books (I've been in a library book club since I moved to Seattle) are 'Bel Canto' by Ann Patchett and 'the Color of Water' by James McBride.

5. Who is someone you look up to, and why?

My Ph.D. boss and my post-doc boss are both really amazing people and really amazing at what they do. I was very very lucky to have been placed in the hands of such great people. I also look up to my mother and father, and my grandparents on both sides, because they have all led really amazing lives and they have each done things that inspire me.

6. If you had unlimited funds and could plan a dream vacation, where would you go & what would you do?

Recently we have been wanting to go to Hawaii because it's close and seems relaxing. But really if I had unlimited funds (and unlimited vacation time) I would either bike around Europe or go build a house (or hut) in a developing country - preferably one that speaks English, since I am horrible at learning foreign languages.

7. What character traits do you have that are most like your mother? What ones are like your father?

I worry a lot, which both of my parents do. I am like my mom in that I worry out loud, and always want feedback about it - but then we both usually end up making decisions we are very happy about. I am like my dad in that I am baby crazy!! My dad had 5 kids and wishes he had more, I never understood it until I had my first and now I want 5 more.

8. What has been the biggest challenge you've faced this year?

Juggling a baby that I'm crazy about with a crazy career.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

8 months!!

Layla is a big 8 months today!! Here are some of the things she's been up to:

EATING! She loves to eat, and gets a lot of variety at daycare (they have an in-house chef and provide 'baby-food' versions of all their meals to the baby room). At home, she LOVES cheerios, which we introduced this week, and bananas, and she's still fond of oatmeal, sweet potato, squash, and carrots. She's decided she dislikes avocado and really, really hates quinoa, unless she gets it at daycare (she loves everything to do with daycare).

PLAYING!! She plays so hard at daycare she hardly pauses to take a nap, and when she's at home with us she plays hard too, until it's bedtime (6 pm, see below).

SLEEPING! Layla takes bedtime very seriously. If she isn't heading to bed at 6 pm, she throws a huge fit until she's happily sleeping in her crib, and then she stays in her crib until 5 or 6 am the next morning... she is a BIG sleeper.

COMMUNICATING!! Layla is communicating all over the place. At daycare, she is learning baby sign language and practices words with her friends (yesterday Layla and another girl told the daycare worker 'no! no! no! no! no!'). At home, she tries to tell us about her big days at daycare, her likes (cheerios) and dislikes (avocado), and every once in a while she says something intelligible. Her first real word was 'mama', her second was 'hi!', her third was 'dada', and her fourth, 'no!' (the last two are less frequent and I'm not sure if she really means 'no' or just discovered the new sound). Today she spoke her first sentence, which was 'hi dada!' - except it was to an empty, dark room (when I took her in to show her dada, she was stunned into silence). She is also showing lots of emotions - she hugs and has been known to give kisses, apparently she consoled an upset daycare worker the other day, she asks to be picked up and held, gets excited when she sees her mom and dad, hates getting dressed, and LOVES daycare.

GROWING!! She is still growing fast, although not as fast as when she was a little-little baby. I am very happy that she has worn the same size pants for over a month now, although she just outgrew all of her 6-month size onesies.

So there's Layla's 8-month review. I'm still working on an alleged baby book, so these are some of my notes that I will use for it. It's easy to forget some things when everything changes so fast!

Monday, November 08, 2010

The amazing 12-hour sleep

Layla has become a reliably good sleeper since about 4 months, when we officially 'sleep trained' her (out of necessity). Now, she sleeps from about 6 pm until about 6 am. Everyone says we are very lucky, and I feel very lucky, but this does come with a little trouble that we are still working around.

First, going to bed at 6 pm is fine as long as your parents managed to get home from work, pick you up, feed you and bathe you and get you in your pajamas by then. If not, then we have to deal with an insane mad tantrum (she says 'GET ME TO BED RIGHT NOW!!!' and throws a mega-fit over it). We have tried with all our might to change her bedtime to a little later, but it seems we are working against some sort of internal clock that can't be changed.

Second, it is actually about a million times harder to get up at 6 am than to get up at 7 or even 6:30 am. At 6 am I am totally wrecked. And she often gets up even earlier, like at 5:30. And for a week she got up at 5:15. It almost killed us. Our house is small, so even if one of us gets up with her to let the other one sleep, it's not very good sleep. And when she gets up at 5:15 or 5:30 she demands to go back down for a nap at 7:30 which is right when I want to pack her up and head off to the daycare (and when you've been up since 5:15 you really want to just go back to bed at 7:30 which I did one morning but it wasn't really helpful).

And third, the time just changed so now she wants to go to bed at 5 and get up at 5, which is much much worse. So while everyone else is saying 'yay! I get to sleep in an extra hour!' I am grinding my teeth and worrying how I'm going to accommodate our little sleep monster's super-sleep schedule.

Fortunately, the first day of the time change (today) she slept until 7 (which is now 6) and stayed up until 7 (which is now 6) so maybe she's adjusting herself and it won't be so bad. I have always wondered if her internal clock is actually responding to external things like when she gets home from daycare and when the neighbor starts up his car early in the morning. If so perhaps this will not be so bad after all. Nevertheless, I've convinced the Studly Hubby to go to bed at 8:30 at night for a few nights just in case. It's weird but the extra sleep has been soooooo nice...


Layla has had a big new development over the last two weeks - she's started talking!!! I mean, really communicating!! There was no 'hey mom and dad, I'd like a sandwich' but rather a particular sound ('mama') that she started to use more and more when she wanted something (especially when I am nearby), along with an obvious understanding that I am her mama (she looks at me when someone says 'where is your mama?' - on that note, she also seems to know her own name now too). So after a week of debating we finally decided over the weekend that 'mama' is definitely her first real word. Then, very surprisingly, they reported at the daycare today that 'Hi!' is her second word!! She turned around to one of the daycare workers today, waved at them, and said 'Hi!', completely surprising everyone. Then she did it all afternoon, but of course she didn't do it when we came to pick her up. Fortunately, we actually heard her first 'Hi!' last week but we didn't think it was real (we were still debating 'mama').

So it's pretty obvious now that Layla is a baby genius. I am going to try not to be surprised when she actually does request a sandwich next week. They told us at daycare that she must have smart parents but I denied all possibility of it - it takes me three full days just to write a paragraph of a paper I'm writing for work so I'm not feeling 'genius' at all right now - and I don't think I was a genius as a baby either (although I must say I was pretty darn cute). But it's nice to revel in my baby's genius. And probably the rest of her family should revel too because if it didn't come from me it had to come from one of the rest of you all and you might as well take credit for it (while you can - baby genius may not directly translate into adult genius).