Sunday, April 29, 2012

What a Klutz!

I am turning into a huge walking accident these days.  In the last two weeks, I've spilled my coffee about five times.  The first time a huge cup dumped all over the stack of EOBs and medical bills by my computer.  The next few times were less major.

This morning I caught myself wondering why I am so clumsy.  Within a few minutes of that thought, I manged to dump about 16 ounces of very hot sticky cream and sugared coffee right into the center of the keyboard on my laptop.  Nick spent about an hour taking it apart, seeing what he could salvage, if anything.  But it's fried.  We can't recover anything from the hard drive.  Sigh.

So now I am typing on a very old laptop that keeps inserting the letters I type into random places.  It took me over half an hour to look at a few pictures.  So frustrating.  My dearly departed was at least an old laptop of Nick's that needed to be plugged in at all times, so it's not like I killed a brand new computer.  But I am not one to covet new appliances (yes, I still use an old non-smart phone and everything), so I told him I could make do with something we already have.  But I don't think that will work.  I think I'll be shopping for a new laptop this week, even though it is most definitely not in this month's budget.  But I can't even do any work at the moment, so I'm hoping to get it sorted out soon.


Nick has officially banned me from eating or drinking near any electronics ever again.  But what I wonder is why I am suddenly prone to such destructive and silly behavior?  Perhaps it's the cumulative lack of sleep for a year and a half.  Yeah, that must be it.

As for Cora, she's been sleeping a lot.  Still waking at night, but perhaps not quite so many  times in the past few days.  And she's suddenly taking long afternoon naps, to the tune of two and a half hours.

At first I thought that it might be the result of her new milestone:  learning to move into sitting on her own!  Yes, we are quite excited by it.  On the hardwood floors, she tends to move into the splits first, which is NOT the way her therapists would encourage, but what can we do?  On the bed, grass or any other softer surfaces, she gets up on one knee and then pushes up.  I am so proud that she's finally figured this out.  Of course, it's now virtually impossible to get her to do any tummy time at all.  I've caught her sitting up in bed at night crying, and we've discovered her with her knees tucked under her during naps.  So she's definitely learning new ways to move her body.

She is also starting to get her first tooth finally, which I just noticed peeping through her lower gums.  She doesn't seem too bothered by it and we're excited to see a pearly white finally emerge.

Yesterday was another kind of milestone for us:  my first day away from Cora.  I went to the Northwest Down Syndrome Association's All Born In conference, which was incredible.  I was gone for about 10 hours, although Nick did bring her by for a lunchtime nursing session.  More thoughts on that later.

As for now, I've just got to try to get my bearings on this new imposter computer and plan my next move.

Hope you all are enjoying a lovely weekend!  (Don't know if you need cheering up like I do, but these pictures just may do the trick!)

Friday, April 27, 2012

Talking About Breastfeeding

Yesterday a friend asked me how long I intend to breastfeed Cora, commenting that I must want my body back after all this time.

Because little Girlie is showing no signs of slowing down.  It's difficult to get her to sip out of a cup, since she'd rather throw it on the floor.  And why should she?  She much prefers getting the good stuff and her snuggles at the same time.  As for a bottle... don't even think about it.  She dropped bottles shortly after she started breastfeeding.  I can't say that I blame her, especially considering that we practically force-fed her what didn't go through her feeding tube, at least until after her heart surgery.

So breastfeeding it is.  And seems like it will be for a while yet.

And the truth is, I love nursing.  I don't feel that it's an invasion on my body at all.  I love getting to snuggle Cora into me, legs tucked up in my arms, cuddled in.  It's usually a combination of eating time and playing time; with my silly goose coming up for smiles, giggles and babbles, and periodic attempts to grab at my face or get her little fingers into my mouth. 

And since it was such an enormous accomplishment for her to learn to nurse and to do so efficiently, I am in no hurry to give it up quickly.  Factor in the great immune benefits it's seemed to offer her and her slow progress through solid food and I am even more pleased that she is such a good little nurser.

I read a blogging friend's post earlier this week about breastfeeding her daughter with Ds.  Meriah from With a Little Moxie shared her story of the process of learning to breastfeed Moxie, despite the medical professionals doubts and despite the perseverance it required.  Her post is a beautiful testament that often a mother does know best, even when the professionals disagree. 

It was wonderful for me to read another positive breastfeeding story about a baby with Ds, since I know that these stories abound.  Yet time and again, it seems that medical professionals are doubtful.  And then the seed of doubt is planted, and maybe a new mother just stops trying, thinking that it's probably not worth the effort.

When we were desperately trying to get Cora out of the NICU she had to show that she could eat enough to go home.  Breastfeeding wasn't happening all that easily, so a nurse that I liked told me that if I could get her to take x mL we could get her out of there.  And that if I gave it to her in a bottle it would go faster, would be easier to her, and we could just work on breastfeeding later when we were home.  Well, the volume that Cora had to take kept increasing and she just couldn't successfully keep up.  So we chose a trial run of an NG feeding tube, thinking that a little help might be just what she needed to get over the hump and do it on her own.  But she still couldn't keep up.  So then we tried fortifying her expressed breast milk with formula (even though at first I couldn't conceive of being willing to do such a thing), so that she would need less volume to get the same calories, but still she couldn't keep up.  Eventually we petitioned to take her home with an NG tube.  The hospital didn't like that idea very much.  We had to prove we could do it, go through training, rent equipment (that cost well over $1000 and that we never really used anyway), talk to case workers, and repeatedly convince the doctors on staff that we were competent.  But, 18 days after going to the hospital with our little blue girl, we took her home with the tube.  And a few days later she didn't need it anymore.  Sure, after a few weeks, as her heart failure progressed significantly, she needed it back badly, unable to drink even an ounce out of her bottle. 

During all this time, I attempted breastfeeding, a little every day.  For weeks her heart-failure induced reflux was so bad she couldn't even try without gagging.  But she'd cuddle against me and smell me. 

When she started nursing less than two weeks after her surgery, I was amazed.  And we've never looked back.  She didn't need a nipple shield, we didn't need a whole bunch of lactation consultants looking over our shoulder (although I am sure that their earlier recommendations helped me a lot).  We were off and running.

I am very proud to have been able to nurse her.  But mostly I am proud of her.  If you know me at all, you know that I think she's pretty amazing.

But the thing that I am not very happy about now, looking back, is all the advice I received.  The NICU nurses, the lactation consultants, the occupational and physical therapists, the NICU doctors, the speech therapist and who knows who else had all told me that it would be more work for Cora to breastfeed than to bottle feed, especially with her heart defect.  And because I wanted her to be able to successfully feed at all, I stopped trying so hard. 

But the crazy thing that I have learned since then is that the American Heart Association states that "the "work" of breast-feeding is actually less than the work of bottle-feeding. Sucking, swallowing and breathing are easier for a baby to coordinate, and the amount of oxygen available to your baby is greater while breast-feeding than when bottle-feeding. In general, when compared to bottle-fed babies, breast-fed babies with congenital heart defects have more consistent weight gain."   

What!?  Excuse me??  

Then why in the world were all those doctors and nurses telling me exactly the opposite?!  It's maddening, is what it is.

Truthfully, Cora may not have done that well with breastfeeding initially anyway.  She was in serious heart failure pretty early on, and did need a feeding tube and more calories than my breast milk alone provided.  But still... I should have been provided accurate and up to date information.  All parents should be.  Especially those women out there with a Down syndrome diagnosis.  The excellent benefits that breastfeeding a child with Down syndrome offers make it worth getting that information out there.  And getting more of the success stories out there can only help that along.

Silly Goosie sneaking a mid-feed smile at Daddy.

Cracking her mama up over here.  Or is it the other way around?

Sweet baby.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Reading Bloom

Last week I finally finished Kelle Hampton's book Bloom.

And I have to admit, although I was looking forward to it, I appreciated her book even more than I thought I would.

I was introduced to Kelle's blog the week that Cora was born.  Within a couple of days, one of my friends e-mailed me Nella's birth story.  Since I was a brand new mom struggling my way through the beginning of my baby's NICU stay, still reeling and aching from a surprising diagnosis, Kelle's account of her own daughter's surprise Ds diagnosis hit home.  While I had been feeling so alone in my feelings, reading about Kelle's shock and grief really helped me to accept how I was feeling.  To know that I wasn't the only mother who had felt that she had been given the wrong baby, to know that the feelings of grief and shame and sorrow were not unique to me was so important to my own healing process.  I was happy to find that Kelle was able to bond with her daughter so quickly in spite of her tumultuous feelings and was able to express her love so purely.

As life with Cora progressed, I enjoyed occasionally getting my fix of Kelle's beautiful blog; perusing her gorgeous photos and reading stories of the joyful moments with her daughters.  But sometimes, especially when I was despondent over not being able to feed Cora, or quaking with fear over heart surgery, I couldn't relate to Kelle's happy and normal posts.  I just wasn't quite there yet.  After Cora's surgery, as our lives indeed began to feel normal, I was able to get back to Kelle's blog.  I know that there are people that feel that her outlook is too positive and not very true-to-life about the stress involved in a life parenting a child with special needs.  But, I don't really agree.  Yes, she is mostly positive.  And for me, I need perspectives like Kelle's.  I need to be reminded about the myriad of beautiful moments to be appreciated if you choose to look.  I need to catch glimpses that remind me of the importance of perspective, even if my own photos aren't quite as flawless, and my own Northwest weather not as accommodating year-round, and our own activities often more mundane.

Yes, Kelle is inspiring to me.  So when her book came out, I was excited to read it.  I was ready to feel motivated and inspired.

And although Bloom delivered that, it also delivered much more.   Kelle's book was not so much about Nella, but about her own journey during Nella's first year.  It delved into the details of her process into acceptance and revealed more raw emotion and a longer grieving period than I had expected after reading her birth story.  She talked about a health scare with Nella, which as any parent who has shared this kind of fear knows, puts your true values into perspective fast.  She talked about her nervousness meeting older people with Ds, and the worries about what life will be like when her daughter is no longer in the "cute baby" stage.  She wrote about wondering what to say to strangers, and even initially whether she had used the beautiful name she had chosen for the wrong baby. All of these worries and thoughts were part of her process, even after falling in love with her girl. And they are not unique to her.  Many of the mamas I have met in person and online since Cora's birth have struggled with similar things, myself included.  So it was really nice to gain insight into this side of Kelle.

I also really appreciated seeing how big a role her friends and family played for her.  My own network of friends is considerably smaller, but just as important.  And although I may have held people at arm's reach for a little while as I gathered my bearings, the support of my family and friends was crucial.  I will never forget the night that my mom and my youngest sister stayed with Cora at the NICU while I rested, being too loud during quiet time and partying with my wee girl as they somehow coaxed her to drink a full bottle.  Nor will I forget how important Mira's pep talks have been to me; always offering me a new way to look at things and the insight to actually appreciate my circumstances.  But certainly most important to me is the absolute love that has been shown to my girl from the second she was born.   Yes, hearing about Kelle's appreciation for her friends and family really reminded me how very thankful I am for my own.

And while my own enjoyment of Bloom was affected by my own similar experiences, it is a beautiful book that can be thoroughly enjoyed by readers that haven't been through something similar.  In fact, I am sure that a great many of the people reading this best-selling book don't have children with special needs.  But they are certainly gaining insight into at least one such life.  And this is a great book to offer that glimpse.  It is a beautiful book with a wonderful message and it does an excellent job of conveying how beautiful life can be, even when it takes an unexpected turn.  And that, my friends, is a great lesson for everyone to learn.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Wrapping up our Week

Wow, has it really been almost a week since I've posted here?  It's been a typically busy week for us.  Story time at the library on Monday, me going into the office for a couple hours on Tuesday, swimming on Wednesday, play date with some adorable little friends who sports an extra 21st chromosome (plus a new little 12 week old friend who is SOO cute) on Thursday, and seeing a live music puppet show on Friday.

But almost no pictures, oddly.  Cora has been entertaining herself by inching around a bit on her bottom.  I had a laugh when she got herself stuck on the corner of a bin.  This is something that I had hoped we would avoid... the butt-scoot instead of the crawl.  But my stubborn girl will not be swayed.  Yet.  We're still working on it.  She is in general getting much more control and stability and even occasionally lets me get her on hands and knees.  So I guess she's still making progress.  We've taken out the crawling track again, and she will move down it with enough cool toys at the bottom, so that is good.

This week she said "bubble" and "bye bye." (Quite similar sounds, actually. "Bubble" was "buh buh.")  I can tell she's working on saying other things, since she'll practice in her stroller and carseat.  She'll repeat different syllables over and over again, pronouncing each one separately and emphatically.  "Ba. Ba.  Ba.  Da.  Da. Da."  But so far she is mostly mimicking, rather than using words to communicate at specific times.  Although a couple of days ago after a diaper change she flapped her arms, spontaneously declaring "ah duh!" over and over (all done!)

Hmm, what else?  She's working on feeding herself with a spoon and is getting a little better at it.  Though she does have a tendency to fling.  Oh yeah, and last night she decided it was fun to feed herself lasagna with her hands.  This is new for her, since so far she has only wanted to self-feed crunchy things, rather than deign to touch gooey messy smooshy stuff.  So that's something new-- new tactile information and a new way of feeding herself.  And the fact that she is gradually able to swallow things with more chunks (like the soft small pieces of rice pasta with meat sauce and some cheese) makes this possible as well.

And today, we went to the zoo for the first time as a family.  This is Cora's third time in the last few weeks, since we just got a zoo membership.  But today was the first time Nick could make it.  It was a beautiful afternoon, which was quite a novelty around these parts.  So far, it's still a little tricky trying to get her to notice all the animals we're looking at, yet alone trying to photograph her with any animals.  But here are a few from the zoo today, anyway.

Cora and Mumma both love watching the penguins!

Checking out the sea anemones with Daddy.

You can't forget lunch.  Cora enjoyed her lasagna almost as much as she liked watching all the kids play on the grass.

Having a blast hanging out by the giraffes.

So far it's been a good weekend.  And we're looking forward to another gorgeous day tomorrow.  Unfortunately for Cora and for me, that means full body sunscreen, hats and not very much time in direct sunlight.  Yes, it's a liability having white white skin. 

But at least we're in good company.

What kinds of fun are you having this weekend?

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Pure Bliss

Sailing through the air in the swing.  Grinning and beaming and shouting with pure abandon.

Your bliss is contagious.

And you, my sweet, are my purest bliss.

Friday, April 13, 2012

15 Months Old- State of the Beanie

For Cora's 15-month day, I thought I'd post a few updates on what she's doing and where she's at these days.  So, without further ado, 15 things about Cora!

1.  Cora’s signs right now include “more”, “all done”, “milk”, “mommy”, “daddy” and “bye-bye”.   The most common one is “more”, which she pretty much does all day long.  Last night while snuggling up on the couch she repeatedly and intentionally signed mommy and daddy, grinning all the way.  Be still, my heart!

2.   Cora has been sneakily starting to speak.  But, in true Cora fashion, she doesn’t speak on cue, and not all that often, so it leaves me wondering.  And some of her newest words were said to someone other than me.  So I’m still waiting to hear a couple of them. 

The other day, while watching Baby Signing Time with her Daddy and talking about hats, she looked up and him and clearly said “hat”.  Complete with the “t” at the end.  Then she did it again a few minutes later.

Yesterday was a major milestone day for speech.  At the end of the day, Cora had added 3 new words/expressions to her speaking vocabulary. 

At the pool, while her Favorite Auntie Mira was trying to pacify her while I dressed, Mira said she clearly said “mama” while reaching for me.  I didn’t hear it, but I have to take Mira’s word for it.  She's been saying "dada" for a while now, often saying "Hi da da!" 

And yesterday morning, while changing her diaper, she repeatedly said “poop”.  It was a funny way to say it, since she made a raspberry sound with her lips to form the “p”, so it came out like “pppp-pp-ooooooo-ppp-p”, but it was clearly “poop”.  Ha! 

And last but not least, after she finished nursing and I signed and said “all done”, she said “aah duuh”.  No consonants at the end, but it was pretty clear nevertheless.

She’s so funny, though, because when I try to get her to say something it never works.  But I am thrilled she’s actually got some words now!  So far, "mama", "hi", "dada", "hat", "poop", and "all done."

3.   She knows body parts, and can often correctly identify colors and animals.  Typically she demonstrates what she knows by using my finger to point to a picture of the item in question.  Or she’ll point to her body or mine.  Most of the time, I avoid directly asking her where something is, but I will name other things and then name the item in question.  If she’s in the mood, she’ll point it out.  But she’s not always in the mood.  And other times, she’ll play jokes.  Like last night when I said “eye” and she pointed to her toes.  When I said, “No, Cora that’s your toes, where is your eye?” she grinned and jammed my finger into her eye.  It’s so freaking cute.

4.   Her favorite foods are Cheerios, veggie stix, and plain greek yogurt.  She happily eats most of my homemade meals, if they’re pureed.  She doesn’t mind different textures, but has a hard time swallowing things with chunks and needs assistance washing them down with a thinner puree.  We’re working on it.  She will self feed crunchy things, but refuses to touch anything mushy, liked cooked fruit or veggie chunks.  She self feeds with a spoon with assistance when she’s feeling like it.

5.  She still gets at least 50% of her food via nursing.  She is not giving that up anytime soon!

6.   She loves to read, nestled in my lap, helping me turn pages and pointing at all the pictures.  She also loves her BrillKids Little Reader reading program and singing songs with me. She knows the motions to her favorite songs, and makes my hands do them to tell me what she wants to sing.

7.  This week she army crawled maybe 12 inches total. Yes, the girl that army crawled across the room 3 months ago is pretty much not doing it at all now.  But she is managing to push herself backward all over the place, a fact which upsets her often. 

8.   She is getting better at standing, but needs to hold on and is still pretty wobbly.  Her therapists are convinced she needs orthotics, so we’ll be going through the process of finding good supportive size 1 shoes soon, along with getting her itty bitty feet fitted.  She can pull to stand when sitting on a step or a little bench, but not from the floor yet.  Another milestone she is avoiding since she refuses to get on her knees.

9.   She is still in love with going swimming.  Seriously!  She yells herself red most of the time, kicking her feet with gleeful abandon and practicing her moves.  She definitely is not afraid of moving in the water, and even likes to be dunked.

10.  She is a mama’s girl, often crying big crocodile tears when she is set on the floor. 

11.  She is a Baby Signing Time addict.

12.  She is great at playing ball, throwing and rolling the ball with her hands and feet.  Yes, this girl is pretty good with her feet.

13.   She is a little ham.  Once she warms up to people she’s often all grins and babbles.  She is a people magnet and draws smiles and comments everywhere she goes. And she loves to show off her silliest faces when she's really happy.

14.   She has no teeth.  I swear she’s been “teething” off and on for 6 months or so, but there’s nothing there.

15.  She weighed 17 lbs 10 oz last week.  Not sure how tall she is, but somewhere a little over 27 inches, I think.  100% totally cute!

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Heart Day Giveaway Winners

After a whirlwind trip to Victoria, B.C. to play with lots of relatives and one very mobile and articulate little cousin, we're back in town!  But lucky Cora has visitors again. Cousin Kai is here (along with Favorite Aunties Erin and Mira), so I expect we'll be too busy to allow me much posting time.

And once again I've discovered that when I'm having fun I forget to take photos.  There are a couple of the cousins together, but not much documentation of all the fun Cora had with all her zany family.  She even got to meet her uncle Rob for the first time, who had a double lung transplant last year.  It was wonderful to see him off his oxygen!

In the meantime, time to announce the Heart Day Giveaway Winners, before we go off to find some rainy day activities.

Winners please contact me at (unless you hear from me first)!

My little Easter bunny.

Playing with the Easter goodies.

Cousins swinging.
Ferry fun!

    Friday, April 6, 2012

    Cora's First Heart Day and a Giveaway!

    Has it really been a year already?  A year ago today my baby had the heart surgery that saved her life.

    Looking at my smiling girl, tucked into my arms, I say “baby” and touch her little chest.  And she beams an enormous toothless grin, thrilled to be my baby girl.  Under the smooth white scar rests her tiny beating heart; strong, solid, growing, perfect.  The patches are holding, the valves show no leakage.  A perfect repair.

    Even though she’s had this new and improved heart for most of her life by now, it still feels like yesterday that she was white and gray instead of pink, that she couldn’t eat more than ½ ounce by mouth, that she sweated through her clothes just by trying to breathe, the skin around her ribcage sucking in with each breath.  It doesn’t seem that long ago that we waited in fear for the day of her surgery, feeling like it would never come, knowing it was the only way she would be able to survive.  So very afraid. 

    We knew that it’s usually a successful procedure, that the risk of death is less than 5%.  I’d try to hide the statistician in my mind who bubbled up a few times to tell me that she had had a smaller chance of having Down syndrome than she did of dying during open heart surgery.  I’d shove that little voice down deep, but I could still hear it whispering.  When we signed the consent form, the surgeon had written three words down under risks:  bleeding, infection, death.  Of course you try and keep your mind away from that third word.  You are afraid to even think it.  Realistically you don’t think that it will happen, but you know that it could. And could is enough to paralyze you.

    I am not the only mother who has handed off her infant, kissed her sleeping head while holding back tears and prayed to see her breathing in just a few hours.   

    And breathing she certainly was.  Even on the ventilator and covered with tubes, she was pink for the first time, finally able to circulate her blood properly.  Within a couple of days she was able to eat, really eat.  Within a week she was nursing, even after we'd been resigned to bottles and feeding tubes.  

    And in the last 12 months she has done so much.  She’s been capturing hearts with her silly smiles.  Lord knows that she has me wrapped around every pudgy finger on each of her little hands.

    She is stubborn, she is silly.  She is smart and she is beautiful.

    I am so thankful for the gift she is in my life.  I am beyond grateful to the cardiologist who cared for her, for the surgeon whose hands repaired that tiniest of hearts, for the doctors and therapists who help her achieve her potential, and for all of the people who love her and have prayed for her.   

    I am grateful for everything that she is.  I wouldn’t change any of it.  I wouldn’t erase that little scar or wipe away the memory of my own fear.   I will be forever grateful that one year ago today the doctors saved my own heart when they repaired hers.

    Happy 1st Heart Day, my beautiful girl!


    And to Celebrate... A Giveaway!

    To celebrate the one year anniversary of my sweetie girl's perfectly repaired heart, a few little things donated by some of the people who love Cora the most:

    • A handmade heart applique shirt, lovingly made by Cora's Grammie Melanie (and yes... it's like the one Cora is wearing above, but in blue and red!)  The winner will get to choose the size onesie or shirt that it comes on.
    • Antique Copper Book Locket Necklace by Cora's "Aunt" Christine.  Christine was the first person (other than birthing staff and me and Nick) to hold little baby Cora.  She snuggled her in tight for hours while we all slept.  And even more, Cora shares her Heart Day with Aunt Teenie's Birthday! (Happy Birthday to my beautiful Twinnie!)  Visit Christine's shop Teeniebirdie on Etsy for more fun finds.

    • A beautiful little flower, handmade by my sister Mira.  This can be put on a headband or a clip.  Winner's choice!
    • And a set of two white flower baby barrettes made by me.

    To enter the Giveaway drawing, just leave a comment on today's post, and become a follower of Our Cora Bean (if you aren't already).  The winners will be chosen at random and announced on Wednesday, April 11th.  (After we come back from our Easter weekend to Victoria, B.C.)

    Wednesday, April 4, 2012

    An Epic Day with Daddy

    I've been giggling about Cora's day with her Daddy yesterday.  OK, so really it's a couple of hours with Daddy, but it still counts.  On Tuesdays I go into work for a couple of hours, so Cora keeps her Daddy busy.

    Yesterday I came home to hear about their adventures: a trip to Costco and lunch.  I also came home to find a handful of pictures on the camera and Cora dressed completely in PINK.  Turns out Daddy had to find her entirely new clothes after a diaper change of epic proportions.  Proportions so severe that he felt the need to take pictures (most of which I deleted, for propriety's sake and the rest of which I will NOT share here.)  Then I got to hear a play-by-play of the events leading up to said diaper change, and the clean-up process afterward.

    Pretty funny.  Good thing Cora's Daddy is such a good daddy indeed, willing to roll with the punches, even when they entail a cloth diaper and a massive load of laundry.

    "See, Daddy.  That wasn't so bad, was it?"
    "We'd better get this mess cleaned up before Mom comes home."

    "Look, Dad!  Only 1 hand!"
    Guess we'll have to see what Cora has in store for Nick next week.

    And keep your eyes open for a special post on Friday, as we celebrate an important anniversary.

    Monday, April 2, 2012

    Moving Around

    I've been thinking about movement today.

    These thoughts linger with me particularly after a conversation with another mom at story time today.  She was certainly not the first mother that has expressed a little envy at the fact that my own daughter, of toddling age, isn't toddling yet.  Or moving really at all, beyond a few inches here and there.

    Yes, occasionally when I'm feeling lazy, the fact that I can sit with Cora in my lap while the rest of the moms chase their crazy children all over the place seems like a benefit.  The fact that I can plop her in the center of the room with a toy or a book and walk away, confident that she will be in the same place when I return, has some positive aspects.

    And I understand that a typical babyhood goes by so fast.  Before you know it, your baby is moving and crawling, shimmying and shaking, running all over the place and you can barely baby proof fast enough, let alone ever keep up. I get it.  I see it happening all around me.

    In the meantime I am trying to patiently coax a girl who for months has been barely army crawling into a quadruped, kicking and screaming all the way.  I am trying to convince her to push up on her arms, to learn to get into sitting on her own, to even attempt to move from her comfort zone the slightest.  But she'd rather me do things for her.  Get things for her.

    And I keep thinking of all the things she's still missing out on:  interacting with others other than me, getting to the good stuff, experiencing a sense of independence (beyond the control she manages to wrestle when choosing what to eat and when to keep us awake at night).  I have to keep reminding myself that she'll get there.  But it's hard not to think that she could benefit so much from it now.

    A lot of this is just her personality.  She's not ready to do things until she's good and ready.  And she's not inclined to want to move around.  She loves to sit and play, be played with, read and sing and interact, all while sitting on her cute little tush.

    And that's OK, really.

    But sometimes it bothers me when people tell me how great it is that she doesn't want to move.  They are completely speaking from their own exhaustion, this I know.  They don't even think about the fact that it hurts me just a bit, that my own girl isn't quite capable yet, or if she is capable, she's not ready.  And that this is taking a great deal of work for her to do things that their own children were doing in the blink of an eye and with virtually no encouragement.

    So sometimes it gets annoying.

    But I know that the intent is good.  And I really do appreciate the interaction with the other mamas.  I like it that Cora gets to watch their children run around and play, hoping that one day she might find the idea of joining in appealing.

    In the meantime, I try and encourage her independence.  I don't run to get her things, but try to help her get them herself.  But she still needs a lot of help.  And I'm here to help her.