Sunday, July 31, 2011

Asha at 9 months

Asha turned 9 months last week. Where did the time go? I still feel like she was just born and here she is, 3 months away from being a toddler. I have not posted much this month and you will know why on reading this one. In one word, it is due to sleep. Or lack thereof. But more on that later.

Motor Skills

Asha’s motor skills continue to develop rapidly. She now stands almost all the time and has started cruising, walking while holding on to furniture (or your legs). She no longer abruptly lets go and falls to the floor. She deliberately lowers herself to the ground. In the last couple of days, she has managed to let go of furniture and stand by herself for a couple of seconds. However, the second she is aware of it, she collapses to the ground. Just a couple of weeks ago, she started to crawl up the stairs. She can crawl up the first two steps but then gets stuck. She is able to pick pasta and cheerios now but rarely eats them. She brings it to her mouth, licks it and chucks them on the floor.

Verbal Skills and Comprehension

Though she has been saying mama all day, every day, for the last couple of days, I do not think she knows what it means. She says it to me, Gregg, Giggs or her bottle. This may be a phase like last time, when she said nothing but mama and baba for a few days and then stopped for weeks. Now she is back to it. She still prefers expressing herself through yells and screams and oooohs and aaaahs.

However, she has started understanding more words I think. She has a dog called Violet (that is what LeapFrog calls it, not my name choice). Two days ago, she was screaming for my laptop, so to distract her, I asked, “Where is Violet?” To my surprise, she looked at Violet. I have repeated it since and she clearly knows Violet, mommy, daddy, Giggs, milk and “up”. We have been working on “no” and she clearly understands it. However, getting her to obey is another matter. She will stop what she is doing for a second, then resume it. I think “no” is going to be my most-uttered word for the next few years.


So, I most definitely jinxed myself after saying she was sleeping OK in my last post. I should have known better. She started waking up twice a night soon after and then we took a trip to CT to see Gregg’s parents. Since we have been back (almost 2 weeks now), she has gotten up at least twice a night. The first time, she usually stays up about 45 minutes and the second time about 30 minutes. But for the past two nights, she has been waking every 2 hours like clockwork. It has been exhausting. Yet, she is not teething or sick or anything. I hope she stops soon. I had hoped she would be sleeping through the night by the end of summer, so that the fall semester would be a little easier but no such luck!!! If anyone has any suggestions, I would be glad for them. I have tried everything I (and anyone else) could think of but to no avail.

Naps are soooo short!!! She takes a 30-minute nap in the morning and max. an hour in the afternoon. She wakes at 6am and goes to bed at 9pm – and on a good night, wakes up twice for at least 30 minutes each. It has been increasingly more difficult to get anything done these days since she is awake most of the time and refuses to play by herself for more than 10 minutes at a time.


Her play has certainly gotten more complex. She still likes tearing up papers but she also likes to manipulate things. She is getting more fond of Violet but other than that, she is not yet a doll person. She loves playing with trucks and cars and anything that lights up and makes sounds. We just bought her some boats to float in her bathtub. They are stackable and she adores them. The funny thing about the paper play is this: she tears them up into tiny pieces and then tries to chew on them. If they go into her mouth, she screws up her face to show how much she hates the taste. Here is the thing: when I give her pieces of pasta or cheerios, she plays with them, tears them up and rarely puts them in her mouth. If she does, she screws up her face in the exact same expression and then spits them out. She NEVER spits out the papers. I have to take them out of her mouth. Why doesn’t it occur to her to spit out the inedible papers but she spits out the edible pasta????

Her other favorite play is my favorite: books. If you give her a board book (where she cannot tear out the pages), she will stay in her crib and turn the pages for about 5-10 minutes at a time. Sometimes the book is turned upside down but still, this is my favorite of all her play.


Finger foods have been a disaster. She throws everything I have given her onto the floor. To be fair, things have been a little better recently. When I first gave her finger foods (pasta, bananas, teething biscuits, baby cheerios etc), she did not put a single thing in her mouth. In the past two weeks, she has been putting it in her mouth and spitting it out. Today, she ate about half a piece of pasta and no cheerios. So maybe we are making progress.

Asha HATES her high chair. I think it is because she dislikes being strapped into the chair – she likes movement and restraint is irksome to her. Yogurt is her morning snack and she loves it. She does not dislike cheese. The turkey did not help her sleep through the night though. But I cook it with onions, peppers, cheese, thyme and rosemary. Pretty much everything but salt. Of course, then I puree it. For vegetables, I have been giving her everything from peppers, mushrooms, cauliflower, broccoli, anything we eat. I do not want to end up with a kid who refuses to eat anything but mac and cheese. She is a picky eater and I do not want her to think that she can whine her way to eating anything she wants.


Wow, she is determined/stubborn happy little person. Once she wants anything, she leaves no question in your mind about what it is and it is extremely hard to distract her. As a rule, she is happy. I love her morning smiles and whenever I lift her out of her crib. She is very good in public places – she does not cry when strangers talk to her but mostly stares and hides her head in our shoulders. It is very easy to take her to restaurants and malls and grocery shopping.

Driving to CT with her was a disaster. She screamed and yelled the whole 5 hour ride. This was very unusual for her (she usually sleeps in the car) but again, I think it has to do with being strapped in. So, on the way back, we left CT at 9pm and arrived home at 2am. This time she slept the whole time. We are planning a one-day trip to VA with her to visit some relatives – we will see how it goes!!!

Asha has started giving kisses sometimes. But she must have learnt kissing from Giggs and not from us. It is more like licking than kissing. She opens her mouth as wide as possible and puts it on our faces. Then she sometimes closes it – thereby licking every part of our face.

We stopped watching TV around her except for 30 minutes of sports at night (Gregg) and some news (due to the debt crisis). We did this because she was clearly in love with John Stewart. Any time she saw The Daily Show, she would put a finger in her mouth and laugh while staring at the TV. Colbert did not have the same effect. So, we stopped watching all TV around her (including both Stewart and Colbert).

Other than the sleep issue, the past month has been a lot of fun. In a later post, I want to cover our CT trip where Gregg and I got to watch Harry Potter and spend some time by ourselves. I have so many thoughts on that trip – and on Harry Potter. But that is for another day.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011


This mundane topic has been a source of discord in our house for some time now. Gregg and I are not cleaning-oriented. Yes, we square away (sometimes) and make the bed. We always do the dishes and Gregg does all the laundry. But vacuuming, dusting and hard core cleaning has always been a chore we both tend to avoid. It used to get done more regularly BC (before child) but has been done less and less since. Gregg mows the lawn and does all the yardwork generally and the laundry. We both do the dishes (we have a dishwasher). I cook, square away, clean the kitchen, pay bills, make beds etc. I probably do more of the childcare but Gregg watches her when I am not home and sometimes when I am. Neither one of us cleans or wants to. The difference is that, while Gregg frets about it and complains about it, I let it go. My attitude tends to be: “I will do it just as soon as I am done doing the other million things I have to do.” Gregg complains that this is unhealthy, unsanitary (just to be clear, our house does not look like a pigsty) and sets a bad example for Asha. We have to “find time” according to him.

But if there is a secret to this, I would love to know it. How can a person (or two) hold down a full-time job, take care of a baby with zero help, do basic upkeep of a house, cook and clean? Either I am very lazy or others are super productive. But we have to do something. I have started vacuuming one room every morning after Asha wakes up but this sets her off and she screams and yells at the loud noise of the vacuum cleaner and at being left to herself. Currently, I am reading a book on feminist (she objected to that characterization) Charlotte Perkins Gilman (of “The Yellow Wallpaper” fame) and starting to like her idea of state-aided housework. Not the cooking (I like that part) but the cleaning.

Seriously, any ideas on how to balance cleaning against everything else? What cleaning is essential on a daily basis and what is not? How often do you clean the house from top to bottom?