9 Months and Cosmic Changes

Yesterday we went out to lunch.  As we were sitting there, Daniel and I started talking about how big Juniper seems all of a sudden.  Not so much size-wise, but more in the way she interacts with the world.  She is moving from just figuring out herself, to figuring out how she fits in the world around her.  When she was smaller, she would happily play independently for very long periods of time, regardless of where we were in the house.  Now, she wants to be near us, she wants to know where we are, and, usually, she wants to be right next to us.  She still plays independently, but for shorter periods of time, and she is more distracted by what is going on around her.  I think she now realizes how big the world is and how small she is.  She is more conscious of her need to feel safe and secure.  She understands that we provide security, and she notices when we aren't right there.  

I know this sounds a little out there, but I think (and I'm pretty sure Maria Montessori supports me on the this one) that she is going through a cosmic change.  She's now been out 9+months, longer than she was in.  Each passing minute, this world is more familiar to her than the one she knew when she was inside of me. The invisible thread that connects us is getting longer and finer as she moves into becoming a more independent being.  This is where separation anxiety comes in to play.  She is struggling with her new freedom and independence.  She understands more about the world around her, she can (sort of) crawl and move around where she wants to, she is discovering limits.  

All of this compounds to mean that my little baby isn't so little anymore.  She has always been alert, but she takes in everything more completely now.  She takes joy in new experiences, not just because they are novel, but because of the things that are happening.  The cold of snow on her face, the way the top of a hanger spins around, the air from the heating vents blowing her hair, the feel of snow melt dripping from the roof on her fingers. The world is so vast and scary, but at the same time full of marvels.  It's exciting.  It's exhausting.  It's pretty cosmic.  


Asymptotes and Dropping Shoes

Just when I thought my frustration was at an all-time high,the other shoe drops.  I don’t even know how I came across the article.  Well, actually, that’s a lie, I do know how I came across the article, but it’s embarrassing.  I was searching for ‘lymphedema spontaneous recovery.’  A mother can dream, right?  Anyway, what I got was more to freak out over.  Awesome. 
So Juniper’s big toenail on her right foot (her good leg) has been looking a little funky for the past couple of months, and I’ve been worrying about it, and I was planning on mentioning it to her doctor at our next well baby visit. Hence, when the words ‘yellow' and 'nail’ popped up in my previously mentioned miracle-hunting search, I was intrigued.  

Turns out some things are best left undiscovered.  My research is full of holes I’m sure, but basically there is a very rare disease with the charming name of ‘Yellow Nail Syndrome’ that presents with the glorious triad of yellow nails, lymphedema, and lung problems. But wait, Juniper doesn’t have lung problems!  Oh yeah, all of the research I read said that you basically consider the patient to have yellow nail syndrome if only two of the symptoms present themselves, because, don’t worry, the third will eventually present itself in time.  See, the awesomeness just doesn’t stop.  
Like she’s not going to have enough going on with her leg, now we’ve got ugly nails and potential major lung and breathing issues to worry about?  Freaking out over here, I’m not going to lie. 
It was a rough week last week.  We’re not really noticing any improvements in swelling, and since Juniper is crawling now, it is getting really hard to do her massage, wrapping is a totally impossibility so we’ve been relying on her tiny tribute.  I was already feeling like I was at my breaking point, and this is tipping me closer to that edge.  It’s not really so much an edge as it is an asymptote- you’re always getting closer to that edge, but you can go on approaching it infinitely.   Someone please tell me that it’s all going to be okay, because it’s really starting tofeel like it isn’t. 

Yesterday we went out to dinner with Daniel’s family for his Nana’s birthday.  Daniel’s aunt and uncle gave us a christening gift for Juniper of a lovely crystal frame.  In the frame, they’d put a photo of Daniel, Juniper and me from when we visited them when Juniper was a little over two weeks old.  So, before everything happened.  Maybe it’s because there’s still the pregnancy weight in my face, but I swear I look ten years younger in the photo than I do now. It’s a great shot of us, we look so totally happy, and I’m so glad to have it, but it also makes me really, really sad. 
There’s good stuff happening over here too; like the crawling all around the house to come and find me, and the babbling, and the laughing.  I don’t want the crappy to outshine the amazingly good, because the good is so good, but I am frustrated, and angry, and sad, and I guess that’s just how it is.  
I promise next time I will have some sunshine to share, but for now friends, I'm feeling like the storm we're supposed to get: about to bring two feet of snow to the world around me.  



This day, eight years ago, Daniel made me breakfast and proposed  (after not proposing to me when we went out for fancy French food the weekend before. Even when proposing he has to be a smart a*&).   This day, twelve years ago, Daniel and I had our first Valentine's Day date and he didn't make reservations, so we ended up eating Indian food, which was delicious.  This day, last year, Daniel was out of town, but he went home before he left and brought me up a weekend's worth of firewood and covered the counters in chocolate: in other words, pregnant lady heaven.  

Today, we have this little valentine whose sweetness knows no bounds.  No chocolate for her this year, but maybe we'll let her snack on some dust bunnies.  

Happy St. Valentine's Day, friends.  I hope your days are filled with love, good snacks, and not so much sugar that your stomach hurts, but just enough to be yummy.  


The finches are back! Spring is on its way.



Animal tracking is something I'd never really heard of before Daniel and his family introduced me to it. The Gray boys can get lost for hours staring at a small patch of dirt, deducing what animals came through, where they were going, and where they were coming from.  Sometimes I really enjoy tagging along, sometimes it's boring for me.  It all depends on the day I guess.  
Juniper hadn't logged too much outdoor ground time until recently.  This summer we were so worried about bugs and sun that we generally kept her in her peapod when we were all outside together.  Last weekend we had somewhat of an impromptu picnic in a grassy park.  It was only then that we realized Juniper had never really been able to explore grass before; our yard isn't grassy and really grass does not abound anywhere we usually spend time.  She thought it was pretty cool and made for a not-so-tasty snack.  Juniper has been really using her pincer grasp lately, so tiny blades of grass and pine needles are excellent toys.  
Yesterday afternoon, we loaded up to go tracking with Cobo (grandpa for the uninitiated).  I erroneously forgot the baby carrier at home so we just carried Juniper in our arms to the tracking destination just a few hundred yards off the road, and set her on a blanket.  She didn't stay put for too long because not only did the pine needles beckon to her, so did the dirt.  

Mmmmmmm, tasty, tasty dirt.  She basically dove face-first into the sandy dirt surrounding her and got a huge mouthful.  I wouldn't say that she liked it (she did let me wipe her mouth out with a damp bandana), but she didn't really complain, and seemed rather pleased with herself.  
okay, mama, I guess you can take these hunks of gravel out of my mouth
After some dirt sampling, she moved onto pine needle sampling.  I think she is maybe, sort of, starting to move out of the everything-goes-in-the-mouth phase (I realize that seems ridiculous to say given this post is about her dining on dirt, but there you go).  She did try out the pine needles, but she was definitely more interested in moving each one with her fingers, breaking them in half, and grabbing for new ones.  
So far, she doesn't seem worse for the wear.  There has been, um, evidence that she did in fact eat and swallow some dirt, but otherwise all is well. I guess she just needed some more minerals in her diet?

Photos by G Gray, 2013


The Boot Update

So, remember when I posted about the boot/night garment that was going to change our lives?  Well we got it a few days after the holidays aaaannnnnnnnndddddddd...

Yeah, wop wop.  Didn't fit.  The front part was about an inch shorter than the back part.  Luckily, Solaris is a pretty great company and they just made us another one.  They even let us keep the not-so-great-fitting one to use in the meantime.  We got the second one last week aaaaaannnnnnnnnddddddd...

I have no photo!  I am terrible, I know, but since the boot goes on at bedtime, photos are not usually at the forefront of my mind, sorry. Here's another view of the old one.  If I get a good picture of the new one I will update.  But, it does fit, Huzzah!
See how the front and back aren't even? 
The new one once has a sparkly mermaid decal on it instead of the butterfly that was on the old one.  In a true example of men vs. women, Daniel wasn't so keen on the mermaid, but I liked it.  Then we took Juniper to PT last week and our therapist exclaimed how much cooler the mermaid was than the other one.  I guess it's a girl thing.
I will include random cuteness to make up for lack of new boot pics
It has been pretty life changing, because it really is so much easier to velcro the boot on her at night than it is to wrap her, especially because she wants to move pretty much all the time these days, which makes wrapping her a total PITA really difficult.  I was completely sold on the boot until 4am last night the other night.  Juniper has been teething, and last night the other night was particularly bad, but when I was lying there, not sleeping, as Juniper pinched my cheek, I realized that her sleep has been pretty bad since we started using the boot.  I'm really hoping it is just coincidence, and we get a good night of sleep in with the boot on soon, so I don't have to admit that maybe there is a connection.  I can't imagine that it is less comfortable, but maybe it is just a matter of getting used to something new.
Her Christmas wagon is finally assembled.
One of the benefits to using the tribute that Solaris talks about is that the swelling is improved because of the consistency of the garment.  For instance, when I wrap Juniper the foam layer doesn't end up in exactly the same place, the wrapping isn't always the same tension, it may end higher or lower on her leg, or different parts of her leg and foot end up with more or fewer layers; there's just a lot of variables.   Juniper's leg has always been the smallest when we are consistent with her wrapping and massage.  If she is sick, or goes to sleep before we can wrap her, or gets cellulitis and we don't wrap her for a few days, it usually takes a week for the swelling to kind of normalize again.  The idea with the tribute is that it takes the consistency to another level because not only are you wearing it every day, but the leg is getting the same level of compression, in the same places, every time.  Her ankle looks way better than I have ever gotten it to look with just wrapping, and the top of her foot is looking better too.

So there's the boot update.  Since I wrote this Juniper has had some better sleep in the boot, and some not great sleep with her leg wrapped, so I think it's a who really knows situation.