Juniper says...

Hey! Did you know that summer is almost over? I know! It's a major bummer.  Mom and Dad tell me that when I was a little baby, there was this thing called a fire in our woodstove. 
 I know, I don't believe them either.  

Dad finally decided to stop copying my hair and cut it off.  We took some pictures first though so we can remember when it looked the same and laugh about it later.  

I fell asleep a couple days ago, and when I woke up there was the ocean and my thumb to chew on.  

Then my grandma came, and mom and dad went surfing, and I fell asleep again.  

Then I got to make faces with Mom and Dad

and with my great-mimi

We went to the beach two days before the huge swell.  Never have I ever seen the beach so empty.  We were literally the only ones out in the water.  Yes the waves were small, but when you haven't surfed in, oh, a year, small waves are fun waves.  
Jury is out on the floor bed.  Awesome for naps, I'm still adjusting to nights- we'll see if it lasts.  

Happy end of summer!  


Montessori Madness: The Floor Bed

One of the ideas I like most about the Montessori child's room is the floor bed.   I love that you give the child the opportunity to explore her environment freely and that the child gets the sense that she is capable and able to do things on her own.  Yes, cribs are convenient for parents duing certain stages, but it seems to me that they are problematic as well, i.e. you cant lie in them with your child, it's a back breaker to move your baby in and out of the crib, your child will eventually learn to climb out of one and then you've got to transition to a real bed, etc.  But, I don't know anyone in real life who has used a floor bed, so when I was pregnant, while I loved the idea in theory, I shied away from it thinking that I would later come to regret it and have to get a crib anyway.  So we got a crib and I set up the rest of her nursery as close as I could to the Montessori ideal.

The other night I was going back and forth yet again about Juniper sleeping in her crib versus our bed, and I couldn't really get to a happy place regarding either.  The next morning I had a head slapping moment when it occurred to me that what might solve some of our problems would be to switch to the floor bed.
Juniper has, mostly, been falling asleep while we massage and wrap her leg while she's lying in our bed.  This was both good and bad.  Good because it seemed like wrapping was starting to be a sleep cue for her, and bad because I couldn't see how this would ever work with her sleeping in a crib.  Floor bed to the rescue! This way we can do the routine in her bed on the floor.  I think it also may solve the night issues as well because I won't have to haul her out of her crib to change and feed her, I can just do that in her bed too.
Basically, I've given myself the excuse to try this (maybe crazy) Montessori idea that I love in theory for real.  I reserve the right to put this experiment into the major parenting flop pile in a few months as well.
We talked a little about buying a twin futon, but since the room is so small, and we already shelled out for an organic crib mattress, we decided to just use that, and before Juniper's morning nap we'd moved the crib out. 
So far, the only drawback is that Juniper seems to really like it, and today she napped a little less than normal as a result.  
I think as she settles in and it becomes the norm this will be less of a problem, but maybe not.  We're keeping the crib for the foreseeable future in case this turns into a major disaster, but I'm really hoping that it works out.

P.S. Juniper only naps with a blanket, this is because we are always around watching her.  At night she wears a wool sleep sack over her jammies.  Also, right next to the bed is not the permanent or normal home of her toy arch!



We went to the jazz festival up here over the weekend.  I was kind of nervous about how it would go with such long days all weekend, but Juniper was such a champ.  We went right after her morning nap, she hung out for about an hour and a half and then took a good nap in her peapod, hung out some more, took another good nap, hung out some more, and passed out in the car on the way home.  All was well until we tried to put her to bed and she had a minor meltdown which was stopped, oddly, by my wrapping her leg.  I thought, well she's freaking out anyway, might as well wrap her.  As soon as I got the first layer of cotton on, she totally calmed down and I was able to lay her down and finish wrapping, and she pretty much slept through for a solid five- ish hours.  Maybe the wrapping is actually becoming a sleepy cue for her? That would sure be nice. This scenario was not quite repeated on Sunday evening, but close. 

 Juniper wore her jazz festival outfit (dubbed that by Daniel when we got it in the mail back in June), which I neglected to get many pictures of.

The icing on the cake was coming home to (my first ever) pot roast made with the last bit of our grass fed cow, and late dinner on the deck. See? The cooking thing is happening for me again.  I think I missed it, but I'll let you know in a few months.
 Also, the mornings are cool here again and the light is changing into that early fall sort of light.  I love it, but I am a little sad that my happy summer nest is about to get shaken up in a few short days.  Sniffle.


{pretty, happy, funny, real}

A blog I've read for awhile now does a Thursday linkup, and this week I thought I'd join in, mostly because I'd like to include the non-doctor related aspects of our life too.  Here goes:


We got a lot of gardening done last week, and then we've had a lot of rain (for us here) so my plants are  happy (and pretty).  I will not, however, show you the ones that the tiny fawn promptly snacked on the day after we planted them- those are decidedly not pretty.  I guess the baby didn't understand that spirea and sage are 'deer resistant.'

Kale and swiss chard seedlings.  I stupidly did not plant a vegetable garden this spring, so I'm hoping we can get a small fall harvest.  
I started cooking again!  Daniel has taken on the majority of the chef-ing in our house since I had Juniper, and I have to say I really don't know how women with husbands who don't cook manage in those first few weeks.  But, it had gotten to the point where I was just out of my cooking groove and I really just needed to get over it.  My favorite tomato and basil salad that my grandad made every summer.  Last night I even made a full meal and the sky didn't fall!  Huzzah!
Sadly, these tomatoes are not from my garden, but were delicious heirlooms from the farmers' market.  Basil was , however, from our garden


I got the bumbo potty seat this week, and it's a big hit.  I'm not a fan of the regular bumbo seats for babies, but for little EC babies this seat is awesome.  Daniel just laughs every time she's on it.  Photos do not do the hilarity justice.  


We found out after  our hour long drive and arriving at therapy that our appointment on Monday was cancelled.  
We improvised and did Juniper's massage on the table outside.  Waiting around for three hours until her next doctor's appointment wasn't super-fun, but we're done with 3 x weekly therapy appointments now so we got over it pretty quickly.  
This is actually a pretty good shot of me doing the massage on J's thigh right after we took her bandage off
So, that was pretty much our week.  I had a meeting on campus yesterday which was definitely a reality check that going back to work is coming up soon.  I should probably start prepping....


Three months

Juniper is three months old today.  I know I'm lucky to have had this long off of work to be with her, but I'm freaking out about going back in two weeks nonetheless.   I'm happy with the child care we have set up, but it's not making it easier for me.  I know it will be good to go back, and she will be just fine, but I'm having a hard time really convincing myself of that right now.  Thus, I'm expecting frequent emotional outbursts (from me, not from Juniper) for the next two weeks, so consider yourselves warned.  
Juniper got two presents today for her three month birthday: a wooden rattle and her Pc vaccine.  Guess which one she was more excited about?

Just kidding, she really does like the rattle, I think.
She is so funny right now.  We sat for about twenty minutes this afternoon and had a conversation, and during that conversation, pretty much everything that is frustrating about Juniper melted away and I was so happy to just be there with her.

Since I've been thinking abut going back to work, I've also been thinking about how fast this summer went by.  There were definitely times where each day felt like an eternity, but it really does feel like she was just born and now she's three months old and laughing and reaching for things and trying to sit up.  

I know she's out of focus, but the tongue jut cracks me up
Everyone tells you, but you don't fully absorb how fast it all goes.  My point is that I'm going to try and just be here with her for as long as I can.  It's too easy to rush it all, to feel like you should do certain things just because you should.  Like, she can ride in her stroller now, and there are times when having her in the stroller is awesome.  The stroller has built- in shade, it's not as hot as wearing her, etc., but last night the reality that she's getting heavier kind of hit me, and I kind of think I'm going to go back to wearing her more for walks as long as I can.  Its not really a matter of if not now, when, but rather if not now, never.  We also put her to bed in her crib two nights ago, and it went really well for Juniper.  For me, not so much.  But, I felt like I should put her to bed in the crib if I can, so I did again last night.  You know what though, friends? I don't totally like her sleeping in her crib.  I really don't like getting up to feed her, and I like less how clingy she was yesterday (after sleeping the whole night in the crib), and how when I brought her to bed at about 3am last night that she snuggled so close to me she was in my armpit, and how when I got up she spun herself sideways in the bed trying to snuggle up to a mama who wasn't in bed anymore.  I like the snuggles, but I didn't like how desperate for them she seemed to be.  So maybe just because she can sleep in her crib or ride in her stroller doesn't mean that she should just yet, at least not all the time.
For now though, happy 3rd moon, Juniper!

12 pounds, 13 ounces
23 3/4 inches long (when will I start saying tall, I wonder)
She still rolls over, but not as much now that she is bigger, and she just started this week grabbing and holding on to toys.  
She laughs, she smiles, she screams!


All in the Family

Yesterday we had our appointment with the geneticist.  I was really apprehensive about this visit for some reason, I think mostly because I didn't know what to expect, and I wasn't quite sure what was going to happen since they didn't have us do any labwork ahead of time.  I did what I normally do when I am nervous about an event: overdress.  I put Juniper in a fancy romper (See how adorable she is? Nothing is wrong with her, right?  RIGHT?) and hoped she wouldn't puke on it in the car (she didn't).  

 Did I forget to mention that I also made her dance? Right, I dressed her in her fancy romper, then I made her dance.  She's working on it, but she's still not quite up to par, she loses it at the end there.  Pesky head control.  

I guess I thought that the appointment would be kind of a waste of time since we didn't have any labwork, and I expected that we'd all have to get that done and go back in a couple of weeks.  When the doctor came in and started asking some weird questions about lymphedema (Why would your OT emphasize in Lymphedema? That's a strange thing to focus on.  Um, I think you'd have to ask her.), I thought we were in trouble. But, things quickly improved and I actually ended up liking the doctor.  He checked Juniper all out.  He looked at her spine, tested her reflexes, remarked on her fancy outfit, and generally basked in her cuteness.  He basically said what I already knew: there's nothing wrong with Juniper other than the lymphedema.  He scoffed when we mentioned Noonan syndrome (Who brought that up to you?).  He also put to rest the tiny head issue when he busted out the measuring tape and measured Daniel's head and my head.  Turns out that D and Juniper have the same percentile sized head.  I, on the other head, have "a rather large head for a woman." 

He said he hadn't seen a baby with lymphedema in at least ten years, and didn't seem to think that it was a genetic issue, rather just a fluke of nature.  His reasoning was that if there was a gene mutation at play then the lymphedema wouldn't just affect the one leg.  Now, this is different than most of what I've read about primary lymphedema, but it works for me.  In his opinion, Juniper's potential future children would be no more likely than anyone else to have lymphedema, and neither would any potential future children of Daniel's and mine.  
I don't know why I felt such immense relief when we left the office yesterday.  I didn't really ever think that there was anything else going on with Juniper, but I am just so happy to have someone else say so. I also appreciated the fact that he basically made like the whole thing is no big deal, and really it isn't.  I'm reminded of that every time we go to these pediatric specialists, and I know that I do really need to keep it in perspective.  Obviously it's no big deal to Juniper.  
One more time because it's freaking hilarious


Are we there yet?

Juniper only has two therapy appointments left.  A few weeks ago I was scared for it to end because I wasnt sure I'd know how to do it on my own.  Now I don't really know what I feel.  Actually that's not true, I feel discouraged. Juniper screamed through her whole appointment yesterday, and the one before that, and half of the one before that.  I'm not sure why.  I think she might be over driving an hour there and, now that she's older, I think she's less tolerant of sitting still-ish for an hour while a [relative] stranger messes with her.  Regardless, it really sucks for many reasons.  Mainly because I don't like to see her that unhappy, but also because the copay for our therapy sessions is expensive, and that with gas makes for a really expensive and stressful day.  

The day after she was born.  These kind of make me sad to look at since they're from when everything was bright and shiny and hopeful.  Not that things are so sad now, but it kills me that this was before.  Rewind, please
 At the beginning of the summer I was so hopeful because I felt that by the end of August we'd have made some progress, and I guess really I hoped that she would be better.  She's not.  She won't really ever be better, not really.  If I'm honest, I was still holding on to the possibility that we'd wake up one morning and it would just be gone, or at least drastically reduced.  Until probably mid-July, every time I changed her diaper in the middle of the night, and I'd take the legs of her pjs off, I'd hold my breath hoping that her legs would look the same (both like the small one, not both like the big one, that's a different kind of breath-holding thought).  I kept feeling like if we just do a little bit more, we'll start making some more progress, it won't be so noticeable, people won't ask me what's wrong and if she'll grow out of it.  Well, there's not really a little bit more that we can do right now: we are doing everything that we can for now, and I don't feel like it's making a huge difference.  I'll admit that I am looking forward to cooler weather when she can wear pants or leggings more.  Thinking that makes me feel discouraged because how can I think like that and set the precedent for her not to care what other people think? Oy.  I've heard from a lot of folks that they think I'm handling this all really well, I think that's just the Catholic in me effectively repressing.  
Hands in action
We've been wrapping her leg at night now, so she's wearing the bandages for about 12 hours straight and she is being such a champ about it- no fits or screaming (other than what has become her normal bedtime screaming, but that is another issue entirely).  She has totally adapted and lifts and kicks both legs the same now, even though the wrapping makes her big leg even heavier.  Her leg really does look good in the morning, but then it just fills up again in a few hours.  I know that this won't really be resolved until we can either a) get her into a compression stocking during the day or b) wrap her for more hours during the day as well.  Friends, option b is not happening, so we will have to wait I guess.  

Hello, have you met my friend wrappy?  My leg shrinks so much overnight that he just slides right off, then mom poses him creepily next to me right after I've woken up.  
Kind of a good before shot, although this was taken about a week ago.  You can see that the wrapping is really bringing her calf and foot down, everything kind of seems to get backed up in her thigh right now.  Got to work on that
Life carries on.  Juniper found her hands a few days ago, and they are the coolest thing ever to her.  She lays in bed in the dark and just turns them over and stares at them. She stares at us and smiles and laughs, she stares at the ceiling and laughs at her own little jokes.  

Can't wait for her to tell me what she's laughing at.