Idle speculation

So, some chain of facebook/surfing an article popped up about how metabolism, not upright stance and pelvis size limits the length of gestation in humans. That our infants are gestated longer but come out seeming more immature compared to other primates.

So it occurred to me, if our babies are born more dependent and less “developed” despite gestating longer than other primates, what if that’s because there’s an actual advantage to a baby coming out not programmed to do much more than latch on, eat, and make people fall madly in love with it?

Other primates don’t change climates very often, as far as I know. They don’t have to adapt quickly to different biomes or environments, right? So it is to their advantage to come out as adapted as possible to the environment that they are going to live in. And other mammals don’t tend to move as much either. Birds tend to return to the same nesting grounds damn near forever, even if they migrate around the world.

But we go everywhere. And our saving grace, the thing that makes us thrive, is our adaptability. So we gestate long, mostly dreaming, are born with an incredible number of neurons connected, and we start to prune them to adapt to our environments as soon as we are born. It wouldn’t be helpful if we were born more advanced, doing more things… who needs to be running after a toddler moments after giving birth? Better have them small and portable. Some of them will spend a lot of time in a container, some of them will spend a lot of time in arms or in carrier, but they’ll be more adaptable forever if each child adapts to the environment of the parents, and the species survives because it survives everywhere.

And babies adapt to their environments starting in utero, we know that. The food the mother eats, how much of it she gets, the soundscape she moves through, the way her body moves, period… we know that uterine environment matters and it matters for generations, but each generation can have a profound shift to the next generation simply by doing things differently.

If we were more hard wired, gestated longer, gestated shorter, had more mature or less mature young, it wouldn’t all work nearly so well, as demonstrated by the fact that it doesn’t.

When a child doesn’t lose those infantile reflexes, it usually means there is some kind of malfunction in the brain. Might be a little one, might be huge, but it means something isn’t working as it should.

Premature babies, if they manage to avoid the pitfalls of subpar system functioning due to prematurity, tend to catch up to their actual ages over time, vs. their gestational ages. There are both disadvantages and advantages to a child to come out and experience the world early, so long as that world is not one which causes pruning in inopportune ways. (Kangaroo care’s successes tend to support that supposition…)

It is humanity’s flexibility and variety that helps it survive, no? Uniformity would have doomed us eons ago. Or maybe it did, and we changed because of it.

Just one drop: Breastmilk for healing

So it’s one thing to hear breastfeeding moms crow about how well breastmilk worked to clear up a baby’s red eye, but another to experience squirting oneself in the eye with fresh breastmilk.

First of all, it is painless. Soothing, even, if the eye is already irritated (and if it’s not, why bother?). Breastmilk is the exact balance an eye wants, and doesn’t create any sort of “foreign body” reaction. Mechanically, it washes the eye. But it also, fresh, contains leukocytes which directly fight infection. It contains sugars and nutrients which inflamed cells can use to help repair and function instantly. And it contains stem cells, which helps it repair damage directly. It blurs the vision for a few minutes, because it is not transparent, but it clears quickly, the inflammation settles down, and the pain goes.

But that’s just the beginning. When I burned my arm badly, I annointed the burn with breastmilk. The pain fled. Healing was rapid. Scarring minimal. I love hydrocolloids for burns but I’d rather apply breastmilk. My housemate gasped when a bad, fresh grease burn vanished in minutes with a few drops of milk on it. To the point where a year or two later, when a couple injuries happened at once, plus an old skin inflammation that had been failing to heal for months… I offered to find someone to donate a small amount of fresh milk, and the offer was accepted, strange as it sounded.

But it didn’t sound strange to my community of moms… my request was answered by five volunteers within half an hour. A few hours later we had a small jar of milk fresh in hand, and shortly after that healing had already begun, wounds that had been frustratingly difficult to heal for months had started to close. “More please?” was the request the next day. And another mom offered another half ounce. Not enough to deprive a baby, but such a tiny amount of precious liquid to heal a long hurt.

A couple years ago, I foolishly tried to clean an immersion blender and nearly chopped the tip of my finger off. It was cut to the bone, white, gaping. Direct pressure and breastmilk started helping quickly. By the time the EMTs arrived, it was holding together enough that I didn’t have to go in, by their judgement. The tip of my finger was dead white, and I annointed my finger with milk along the wound, visualized blood and lymph and nerves flowing, healing, functioning. I watched the tip of my finger pink up. They say that people with fibro have more nerve connections than they should, with more connections specifically to blood vessels and that the nerves do more than they’re supposed to. In any event, if I have poor blood flow in my skin, and someone points it out (a white splotch despite massage, for example), the moment they point it out it will pink up. It causes pain, it causes fibro, it causes reynauds… but it also might just have saved my fingertip. I kept applying milk. I kept visualizing. It kept pinking up whenever I thought about it. I thought about my finger for months (couldn’t help it, the nerves felt buzzy everywhere downstream from where they’d been cut.)

Two years later, and I’m still a little buzzy but blood flow and function are perfect. Barely a scar is visible. I wonder if it is because the wound was bathed in stem cells every time I thought to put a drop on it. There was a V-shaped flap. Even that healed. There was no infection.

On my birthday in 2014, I turned 42 and my son fell against a crate and split his lip. It was bad. And bleeding. And I nursed him immediately, and by the time he stopped, the bleeding had stopped, and the wound looked ten times better than when we’d started. He has a scar there, a small one, but milk and nursing saved him a trip to Urgent Care, and healed him fast.

My mother skeptically agreed to try it with one infection, and came asking for it the next time one struck.

The magic of breastmilk is transitory. Even refrigeration can inhibit the best parts of it.

But I think about how a drop of fresh milk could make a new burn vanish (milk was applied within minutes of the grease landing on the arm), and I think about how many gallons of fresh breastmilk a breastfed baby will consume… And yeah, I’m pretty sure formula will never do that.

People ask me why I don’t call formula a second choice, but a fourth choice. And it really comes down to the fact that fresh breast milk is a magic thing. And if it’s not possible, frozen or fridged from the baby’s mama is very good. If that can’t be had, donor milk is very beneficial and has helped many, many babies. (In my community, there are babies who have only ever had breastmilk despite their mothers having had mastectomies or severe blood loss that inhibited milk production). And if those things don’t work for a family, it’s a very good thing that formula is widely available, but it’s still the fourth choice. This is NOT a slam on formula feeding. This is not a criticism of people who can’t breastfeed or don’t feel comfortable taking donor milk. It’s a reality check. The “ideal” is not always possible in parenting, but we really ought to have a realistic knowledge of what the options are before we determine what the best fit is. It would be ideal for me to take my gregarious kid to social gatherings every day. With my chronic pain and fatigue issues, that’s not happening right now. But I’m not going to pretend that our routine is my “first choice”. My first preference would be to get up cheerfully in the morning, get Shiny off to school, go do something fun and educational with Miles with other children, come home, fix a nutritious lunch, do something productive and creative, and then make a fantastic dinner. But I haven’t gotten Shiny to the bus in four months because of an injury. Other people do it. Thank god they’re there to pick up the slack.

I don’t have milk anymore. When I had the embolism last year, I went on coumadin, and my levels jumped up and down on a daily basis because my special snowflake metabolism wouldn’t know consistent liver function from a sparkly unicorn. After shooting from 1.3 to 3.6 and ending up in the ER pissing blood for no good reason whatsoever, I asked to go on Xarelto… and put Miles on short shifts at the boob because the medicine does appear get into the milk, and being orally absorbed, may cause anticoagulation in a child. Not ideal in an active toddler. I dried up quickly. He still nurses now and then, despite saying he was done every day for six days, on the seventh, he lost his shit and begged for boob and I shrugged and let him nurse for 2 minutes and he was fine. Like magic. Even without milk.

So if I was being granular about it, I’d rank my own “preference/ideal” scale for infant feeding (<6 months) thusly:
Fresh mama’s milk at the breast
Fresh mama’s milk in a bottle or SNS (note that logistically this can be the single most draining approach to new baby parenting.)
Fridged mama’s milk
Frozen mama’s milk
Fresh donor milk (assuming a safe donor, which is an assumption that should not be made casually)
Fridged donor milk
Frozen donor milk
Pasteurized donor milk (personally, I react badly to cooked milk from cows. I can drink fresh raw milk or fridged raw milk or cooked-then-cultured milk without issues. It’s an enzyme thing. So feeding babies exclusively pasteurized milk, even human milk, isn’t high on my personal list of preferences, though it may have less risk of infection, it also does much less than fresh milk to help prevent infection and illness. But compared to formula, still gold.)
Cow-milk based formula (and here I’d rather have organic)
Cow-milk based whey hydrolysate formula (i.e. Good Start)
Cow-milk based full hydrolysate hypoallergenic formula (i.e. alimentum etc.)
Soy formula
Homemade formula
Goat milk
Cow milk

When people say, “every drop is precious”… yes. Even if a mom only produces an ounce a day for her baby to drink, and the rest comes from something else, think about the magic that even that ounce can do. One drop to heal a small burn. 1/2 ounce to heal a couple of injuries and start healing on several more.

There’s a reason why it was worth it to me, when Shiny was still new, to weigh her, nurse her, weigh her, pump until I got to our “goal” and then feed that pumped milk immediately by bottle. The more of my relative-to-her normal stem cells that colonized in her gut, the better off she would be. I wish I’d bathed her in breastmilk, head to toe, though certainly I leaked enough in the early days that essentially, I did.

Entertainingly, scientists managed to create a rat forelimb using a collagen scaffold and seeded cells recently. It is remotely possible that one day we will have disembodied mammary glands that produce a reasonable facsimile of some of the biodynamic parts of breastmilk for feeding babies who can’t nurse. Add formula to the thing, have it convert that into something more alive.
And it will probably still be a distant second, third, or fourth to a mother’s own milk, to fresh milk from a donor. Because we still don’t fully understand the complexity that is human breastmilk. It’s possible we never quite will. Sometimes it seems that the more we learn, the more we learn that there is still to learn. What we know now is just one drop in the bucket.

Baby food purees are a racket. Jenrose’s guide to babies and eating.

This comes up all the time, so I’m putting it here so I don’t have to keep typing it. The questions are, “When should we start solids?” and “What should we use as first foods?” and “Why not wait longer than 6 months to start (or conversely, why wait past 4 months to start solids?)

There’s quite a bit of research (and a lot of parental experience with grabby babies) that says there is a “sweet spot” around six months for starting experimenting with solids. Babies started later than six months or earlier than four statistically speaking tend to have more allergies and reactions. Too early and the gut is still quite permeable and immune reactions can be triggered, too much later and they don’t get the small exposures that teach the immune system to ignore food as not-a-problem. Theoretically.

But this is not going to be a line by line cited official paper, this is how I feed my kids, and an approach to eating for babies that I think makes a lot of sense. I’ve been parenting for 21 years,  have three children of vastly varying dietary foibles, allergies, sensitivities and pickiness, age 3, almost 10 and 21 1/2 at this writing, and have a zillion food issues so tend to read constantly on the subject. This is drawn from many sources, so if the wording appears familiar, it’s because I burned it into my brain at some point and don’t remember where I got it. I’m not looking up a darned thing for this right now, it’s mostly “what I tell people when they ask about it online”.Continue reading

On finding out the gender

Snipped  from a conversation about finding out the gender in utero.
Today, my 3 year old son insisted on wearing a skirt all day. Amusingly, his black, heavy shoes are handmedowns from his 9 year old sister, who needed them for orthotic reasons (they were her shoes when she was 7 or 8. He’s 3.) The skirt he picked out at Costco for himself. The fish shirt is his FAVORITE. The jacket is supposedly “girls” from the tags.
My 21 year old is now using they/them pronouns, has hair almost as short as my son’s (was shorter), and rarely wears anything remotely feminine. I’m over the whole gender binary thing. When people say boy and girl, these words, they do not mean what people think they mean.
10497915_10152420534729849_2662585520854324173_o10921642_10152654843104849_500544171207620351_o (1)
I guess my point is that one might find out in utero what sort of bits and bobs a kid has, but it will give absolutely not one iota of information about the person they will become. Not a thing. Our abstract gender notions are so far off from the reality of who kids are, that it’s pretty meaningless, even if they are cisgendered in the long run, what it means to be “boy” and what it means to be “girl” are so wide and overlapping that I just don’t see the point. It’s like our abstract notions of what it means to be one race or another. The variations within any one race are greater than the differences between races, in almost every marker. The only things an ultrasound can really say (and even then it’s not infallible) is whether a child has a penis or a vagina. Heck, with transgender men giving birth, and transgender women banking sperm to use later, and lots of people not actually having kids at all, it doesn’t even tell you if they’ll someday be a mother or a father.
I understand having expectations change. I had that in spades when my middle was diagnosed with a chromosome difference that completely blew out of the water all my expectations about parenting, pretty much from the moment she was born and every moment after. I’m not saying it’s wrong to be sad or glad or whatever. Feelings are feelings. They’re not wrong or right. If you’re sad, you’re sad. If you’re delighted, you’re delighted.
But realistically, even if you know, and you “get what you want”… you don’t know, and won’t know and maybe even can’t know. I have a friend who transitioned at 46 years old. And know kids who are transitioning as young as five years old. All that little hamburger or hotdog on the ultrasound will tell someone is whether their kid has an innie or an outie, for the moment. It says nothing about what they will like, what they’ll want to play with, who they will be, who they will love, or how they’ll want to dress. It doesn’t tell you whether they’ll be energetic or quiet or bookish or athletic or good at math or amazing with colors or struggle endlessly or float through effortlessly or whether they’ll look good in pink or whether they’ll be delighted at spinning in a twirly skirt until they tumble to the ground.
I’ve been thinking a lot about gender, about neurodiversity, about social expectations of children and cultural notions of what it means to be male, to be female. I’ve never felt like there was anything inherently wrong with having female bits (although I was thrilled to no longer have a uterus once I was done using it for babies), but I’ve never in my life been much good at “being a girly girl” as our society seems to define it. And as I see a lot of young people struggling with notions of gender, my feeling that the whole binary thing is just so much horse pocky gets stronger and stronger. There’s nothing wrong with my gender. There’s nothing wrong with my skirt-loving son or my short haired daughters. Society, on the other hand, is really fucked up.
I put Shiny in pink sometimes, and she wears dresses sometimes, because they’re colorful, she looks good in pink, and the clothes are cute. Miles gets more pants and shirts… but often throws a skirt on top if he has his druthers. Handmedowns provide him with an endless supply of pink jammies and twirly skirts and dresses. He honestly dresses almost exactly the same as K did, 18 years ago, with almost an identical frequency of skirts, or pants, or sometimes both. Which just goes to show you exactly how much influence a twirly 3 year old’s penchant for circle skirts and tulle has on their identity as an adult. We just don’t know, and it just doesn’t matter all that much. Like I’m going to love them one iota less?
My main struggles are editorial and habitual… I was raised a fairly strict grammarian, and singular they in reference to a known person just makes me twitchy. Not morally, not intellectually… grammatically. And I spent 21 years thinking of K as “she”, and it’s a brain plasticity failure that I haven’t made the leap easily.
But that’s my problem, not my kid’s. I may stumble over pronouns, but I stumble not at all on loving them with my whole heart.
ETA: It’s been three years since I wrote this. I now identify as nonbinary myself, and am very comfortable using they/them.

Hip Dysplasia and babywearing?

This is mostly a “catch all” post pulling together things I’ve written other places. So it’s not perfectly organized, but keeps me from having to sift through years of Facebook posts to find these things.  Most of these are from late summer/early fall 2012.

A while ago I posted this (just so that we’re clear that I am REALLY not a fan of the Baby Bjorn original style carrier):

Look, hate the Bjorn because it’s not comfortable for heavier babies. Hate it because it’s an awkward thing. Hate it because it turns people away from babywearing as “too uncomfortable” at a time when babywearing becomes supremely useful. But terrifying parents that they’ve damaged their children’s spines by using a bjorn for a few hours a day for a couple of months? SHOW ME THE GODDAMNED RESEARCH. Bjorns are not the same as swaddling or cradleboards, which CAN cause hip problems.

Yes, there are better, cheaper, whatever carriers out there. But let’s not make parents feel like shit about something that’s probably better for their kid than hanging out in a carseat all day (and we’ve got research on why that’s not a good idea…)

This was posted:

Along with a link to Boba’s blog and a rant about front facing out being awful.

I responded:

I’d really like to see the research specific to the Baby Bjorn that says that that kind of carrier causes hip dysplasia. Swaddling the hips tightly, sure, but the Bjorn is not the same position as a tight swaddle, and swaddling tends to be done 24/7 whereas babywearing (especially facing out) is very time limited in comparison. 

I don’t like the Bjorn for a lot of reasons, but I think it is hyperbole to tell parents they are harming their child by using it, and I’m tired of us not supporting parents in doing what it takes to nurture their babies in a way that works for them. 

It is very easy to get snobby and elitist about “good” carriers vs. bad carriers, but I really just love seeing people wear their babies however is comfortable for them and their baby. If the Bjorn is working for someone, great, I just hope they don’t stop babywearing entirely when their baby gets too big for the Bjorn. 

As for front facing out… People need to get a grip. Overstimulated babies show clear signs of overstimulation. They yawn. They hiccup. They rub their eyes. They cry. They go to sleep. If your baby is not doing those things, your baby is probably not overstimulated, and front facing out isn’t hurting him. One of the arguments FOR babywearing is that babies get more stimulation being up at parent-level. So again, making parents feel bad because it’s not a position you like? Really not cool. 

I’ve been babywearing for more than 19 years, and doing babywearing education for 18 years, and I have seen some wacky and dangerous carriers. The Bjorn is merely short-lived and potentially uncomfortable. 

The spine-and-hip development argument started with an opinion by a chiropractor, and what has followed from that is essentially a circle-jerk of people referencing each other, NOT research, not anything scientifically defensible. What we do know is that babies in arms tend to cry less and be happier than babies who are not worn. We know that we get more done without making our babies scream while we do it when we wear our babies. We know that babies airways need to be protected. We know that we should stay alert and aware of our babies while they are being worn. We do not know if the few hours a week most Bjorn users use the carrier are actually harmful, but the odds are low that they are.

If there was good, solid research showing the bjorn was harmful to spinal development, there would be a huge fuss from doctors and we’d be scrambling to differentiate the bjorn from other carriers in the eyes of the public. There is not. So until there is, give families a break, and be glad that that baby on the left is grinning…. and what the dad is doing looks like fun too. The baby on the left is attached to mama, and that’s the important thing, no?



So then….
I contacted the International Hip Dysplasia Institute to ask them about what research they had to support their claim that Bjorn-style carriers cause hip dysplasia, since their graphic was being used all over the Internet to support that claim. Here is their response:

From the IHDI Medical Advisory Board –

Thank you for contacting us and expressing your concern.

The International Hip Dysplasia Institute does not endorse or advice for or against any type of infant carrier. As you have noted, there are many benefits from baby wearing that must be weighed against any potential for harm to the hips. You are correct that there is no evidence for or against baby carriers as a cause of hip dysplasia. It is regrettable if our statments are being used inappropriately as “evidence” as you have indicated. However, there is ample evidence that hip dysplasia is influenced by environmental factors including swaddling. More than 90% of hip dysplasia is discovered in adolescents and young adults as early onset arthritis. Those individuals did not have neonatal hip instability that is the widely recognized form of early dysplasia. This suggests that the hips in the arthritic variety do not develop properly at some point in time although they were not detectable during infancy. Breeds of dogs that are susceptible to hip dysplasia have normal hips at birth and do not develop the arthritic form of hip dysplasia when they are prevented from walking until six weeks of age. In human studies, hip dysplasia is more common in Northern climates and in those born during winter months. Thus, there are potential influences for hip dysplasia besides swaddling. Our advice is to maintain the hips in a natural position for the first few months of life while the joint is forming, ligaments are often loose, and muscle contractures are still present.

We hope that this response is helpful to you. Should you have any further questions or concerns, please don’t hesitate to ask, we will help in any way that we are able to.


Susan Pappas
Assistant to Charles T. Price, MD, FAAP
Director International Hip Dysplasia Institute

So there you go. I’d buy swaddling as something that exacerbates hip dysplasia, but swaddling and bjorns are entirely different, stress-wise.

Another post…

So it’s driving me crazy how the babywearing community seems to have turned into piranhas about this carrier or that carry being “unsafe” or “bad” simply because they don’t fit some perfect ideal of what babywearing should look like in that person’s mind. Y’all know how much I love babywearing, but carriers are TOOLS.

Babywearing is something that may approach religion for some, but for most is simply a convenience. If I’m just hauling the baby from the car to the couch, I may stuff my kid in the top of a mei tai, standing in it, hanging half out of it with one hand holding him in. Is is perfect babywearing? No. Would it be safe if I took my hand off him or was trying to wear him for hours? No. Is it functional for the 40 steps from the car to the couch? Sure.

There are MANY carriers out there that are not perfect. For me, wraps are not perfect, especially for back carries. My teenager could tell you how many times she’s rescued the baby off my back with me with a sour expression on my face because something went horribly wrong while I was trying to get a specific back carry to work. I have mobility issues right now. While I *can* bend more than most people, I really shouldn’t because it damages me. So there are back carries that just aren’t functional for me. Does that make wraps “bad carriers” or “inherently unsafe” just because I can’t get it right? No. It just means they aren’t the right carrier for ME with this baby, at this stage in my life with this mobility level.

And don’t get me started on front facing out. After watching my friend Kimberly carry her daughter on her hip facing out(without a carrier), and watching many men carry their babies sitting facing out on their arms like their arm was a chair, I cannot abide the argument that front facing out is “unnatural” and I get stabby when people start ranting about how it overstimulates babies or will somehow warp their hips for life. How about instead we talk about how to wear babies in a way that is in touch with what they need? How about we talk about being in tune with signs of overstimulation (hiccuping, yawning, looking away in tiny babies, getting hyper in older babies, rubbing eyes, griping) and that an overstimulated baby should be turned around? How about we discuss getting babies into a well-supported position instead of scaring parents that somehow they’ve damaged their babies? Trust me, they haven’t.

I will say this. There is no one right way to wear babies. There is no one perfect carrier that works “best” for every situation or family. People need to get off their high horses and get some perspective.

Some gorgeous babywearing photos have been posted recently, and the comments are full of how those parents are doing it wrong. GET A GRIP, PEOPLE!!!! Just because you don’t like wearing your ergo on your hips and your baby throws a hissy if he can’t see over your shoulder doesn’t mean that smiling baby on his daddy’s back is somehow miserable because he’s “too low”. Talk about off-putting. You want more people to wear their babies? How about you don’t criticize every detail of how they wear their babies? Save it for the real unsafe stuff, like babies deep in pouches with their chins on their chests and blankets over their heads. Save it for the situations where real safety issues are present. Quit giving people a hard time because it’s a bjorn or it looks funny to you or wasn’t what you were taught.


The nice thing is that the dominant attitude among most babywearing experts that I know (and I know a lot of babywearing experts) is now “Practice, not product”, which teaches that babywearing is a skill, not a specialty item. And in that vein:
“Practice, not product”
“Why is Arie wearing a Bjorn?” How to make a bjorn more comfortable.
Awesome, awesome post on babywearing as a practice and a skill, and getting past the “quest for perfection” that can be so defeating.


And an amusing postscript… Bjorn has made a website saying basically what I’ve been saying (we don’t have research to say front facing out is bad). But they recently announced a carrier that they are developing in conjunction with the IHDI, with better hip position. It is hard to imagine how better hip position would NOT create a more comfortable carrier. So yay, change.

And lest anyone jump in with “if you had hip issues you might take this more seriously…”

I have hip issues. I have hip issues galore. In me, they are not caused by being worn in a frontpack. They are caused by childbirth. And having Ehlers Danlos through three pregnancies. (I was born with uneven creases and developed severe hip pain during the birth of my second child, and have been dealing with hips that don’t like to stay properly aligned and a sacrum that goes wonky at the drop of a hat ever since. None of which has ANYTHING to do with how I was carried in infancy.)

Please don’t be sad that your children are growing up

I see this all the time, parents expressing sorrow that their children have hit another milestone, have left another stage behind.

I understand being wistful, I still don’t grasp how that newborn I held is suddenly this active little boy. But regret?

No. Not even for the last baby.

I also see parents so eager for the next stage that they push the envelope… rushing ahead. Not even for the first baby.

I’ve not been wildly successful at a lot of things in my life, but one that I’m doing quite well is enjoying Miles’ stages while he is in them. He leaps forward in bounds, now crawling, now talking, now conversing, now jumping and spinning and throwing tantrums and I know that Why is just around the corner…. And as he leaves each stage behind, I do not mourn.

I had a baby who stayed a baby. Shiny was a newborn for months. She was an infant in arms for over a year. A scootching and then crawling baby for many years.

And I will never tell a child, “Don’t grow up”. I will never tell a child, “Stay the way you are”. I’ve seen that. It’s not what you think.

I don’t push Miles forward, but I don’t hold him back. I love the stage he’s at now… and will be grateful when he leaves it behind, as he’s left every other stage behind. Because that’s what children do. What they are supposed to do.

And when they don’t, if you get that wish that they’d just stay this way…. something has gone terribly wrong. Please don’t wish for that.

Another for the “I don’t know what to think” files…

I was sitting here, Miles was playing next to me.  All of a sudden I heard a thump, and a rustle and a cry.

“Oh my god, Miles just fell out the window,” I said to my husband.  He ran outside.

I looked out the window to find my son standing in the ivy about 5 feet below my window, hollering. I could see a spot of blood in his mouth, and put my hands down to him. He reached up, took my hands, and walked up the side of the house until I could bring him inside. There was a red mark on his side. Another on his elbow. He wouldn’t let me look in his mouth.

I latched him on. And gasped. Because the niggling little discomfort I’ve always had when he nursed was gone.

He apparently popped the last of his tongue tie.

He’s acting 100% fine now.

I’m sitting here with the crazy eyes and the nervous laughter.  I just don’t even.


I can’t list them all, but here are some of the words and phrases Miles uses at almost 19 months:

Pees (please)
Gack-oo (thank you)
Sowwy (sorry)
Ug (hug)
Mah! (mwah, when kissing)
Ow, Ouch
Dapoo (diaper)
Showah (Shower)
Bah (bath, sometimes an alternate pronounciation is used, see below)
Chayah (Chair)
Whee-chay (Wheelchair)
ah-SY! (outside)
Dock (dog)
Cah (Cat)
Bee-Bird (Big Bird)
Buh-FY (butterfly)
Ahmo (Elmo)
Cooookie (Cookie)
Mahter (Monster)
Zoe (Monster and neighbor cat)
Tari (Atari, the neighbor dog)
Reh (Red)
Owah (Orange)
Lellow (Yellow)
Gree (green)
Bawoo (Blue)
Poopuh (Purple)
(he’s still parroting colors, but is starting to get the concept)
Fwoh (frog)
Burip! (ribbit)
Mouw (Mouse)
ee-Yow? (sound a dog makes…lol! Also cats, but he often says “Dog, Meow”)
Mama, Mom, Mommy
Daddy, Ah-oo, Dad, Dada
Sissy, Shiny, Niney,
Grampa and Grampa (Uses same word for both my mom and dad…lol)
LURRRRRR (his cousin Laura, whose name is always yelled)
Cash (Cas, our former roommate)
Shut (shirt)
Bock (block)
Bet (Bed)
You (and he’s starting to use these correctly about 70% of the time)
Dink (drink)
Eeee (eat)
ongy (Hungry)
TSHEEE (cheese)
Geeps (Grapes)
bawoobeyyey (blueberry)
Booger (Burger)
Sawsee! (Sausage, but also he uses the same for music?)
anana (banana)
BUM! (plum)
Peas (and he means it–freeze dried peas)
Shiny Tie (Signing time)
Win! (wind)
Ky (Sky)
Go (and Go outside, go other places)
Barfoom (bathroom, lol!)
Uhstays (upstairs)
Gay (gate)
Nefick (necklace)
Boorsh (brush as in teeth)
Piggies (Don’t think he knows they’re actually toes yet… oops)
bayeebunin (bellybutton)
Boop! (boob)
Noursh (nurse)
Neeepo (nipple)
Muck (Milk)
Peen (yep, that)
Butt (Bus)
Butt (Butter)
Butt (Bath)

And today, I’m pretty sure he said, “Shih”.  And meant it… Shiny had just crapped everywhere.

So that’s more than 100 words off the top of my head. He does plenty of “Go ah-SY, go barfoom, Gack-oo MUSH (thank you very much)” and “all done/all gone/no mine” type phrases.

Every day he’s learning many  new words.

Because pink hearts mean he loves me.

His current favorite thing to carry around (carrying around=srs bzns for babies) is a broken heart clacker that Shiny got for Valentines Day. He clacked with it until the cheap plastic broke and now he just carries it around for the most part.

In a related development, he has discovered the concept of Hammering. And the related activity of Thwacking.

So now his FAVORITE thing to do is to climb up onto my arm and thwack me with a hot pink heart clacker that no longer clacks. I gently remove it from his hand, and toss it over across the room, and admonish “no hitting mama. Hit THAT.” (that=stuffed animal, other toy, chair, whatever, as long as it is not me and not his sisters).

2 minute later he hops down, toddles off, picks up the clacker, toddles around thwacking things with it for a while, and then climbs up and hits me with the heart clacker.

It’s like the cutest, most surreal and yet simultaneously annoying game of fetch ever.


I have a toddler. How the heck did this happen? He TODDLES. Like, he mostly doesn’t crawl anymore. And he says things. Not a lot of things, and not very well, but he’s able to sign yes and say no, can ask for boob or monkey noises, can say “diaper” and sign it… and he is loving imitating things, like using a fork, or my keyboard. TODDLING WHAT IS THIS NONSENSE.

Oh, and he also climbs. And puts things inside other things. And on other things. And knows that if he can get people to let him pick up their shirts, they all have bellybuttons. Which are fun to stick fingers in.

Cas managed to teach Miles to make dolphin noises, like he needed any help.

It could be worse

Jumble of things today… the holiday season is bearing down on us (pun intended) and two friends just had babies at home. Oh, I am happy for them but it is so bittersweet. I am so, so done. Having surgery in a month so that can never happen ever again done. It could be worse, I could be pregnant. (well, not really, my fertility not having yet returned and me yet being too paranoid to risk anything that could possibly cause pregnancy). But I have several friends due in December and oh, I do not envy them. I’m remembering suddenly how sick I was a year ago. That was bad. I mean, it was SO bad. For those not on LJ, I came down with a lower respiratory nasty at, oh, 32? 34? weeks… and at 36-ish weeks a rib dislocated while I was coughing. During my pregnancy with Shiny I’d had whooping cough from 22 weeks to 36 weeks and cracked a rib at 28 weeks and THAT was bad enough without a baby landing on the broken rib every time I moved. I joked in early pregnancy that “At least I can’t get whooping cough this time”. No, I got pneumonia instead. It’s very possible that if I had not, Miles would have been born at home.

I do mourn that lost homebirth, for all his birth at the hospital went as well as one could possibly expect under the circumstances. I take that back. It was absolutely unreasonable how badly the epidural went and how much relief it did not give me, but  given that I was able to push him out without help and was able to stand minutes after the birth to deliver the placenta, it could have been worse. I’ve hidden many of the midwives on my friend list on Facebook, mostly because it hurts to see radiant, happy mamas glowing over their homeborn babies because I want to be happy for them but just feel this niggling regret that I didn’t, and won’t, and never will again, and don’t even want to at this point. And because there were so many, many lies I was told, that keep getting told, that I just can’t listen to anymore because I’ll say something I’ll regret that won’t make a thing easier for anyone.

It bubbles up because I know the lights are coming. I dreamed of pushing my son out into the world by the light of a Christmas Tree… we brought a tiny little USB tree to the hospital and I could not even see it… I birthed him in the middle of the afternoon and it was behind me and oh well. My Christmas baby turned into a New Year’s Baby and then not even that, he has his own day and it’s probably better but having a due date of December 25 is something I’ll probably never quite let go. I love Christmas lights, and wonder if I will love them so much now…

He took his first stumbling step two days ago. It has gone so fast and I feel like I should be mourning his lost infancy, but I’m not. It has all been harder than I thought it should be, but unlike his sisters, he has not kept me waiting, not since he was born. I have not had to wonder, “When will he….” because he does things so much earlier than I expected. The other two fit the personalities of their births so exactly… Miles makes me wonder if I’d not gotten sick, if he might have come flying into the world at 38 weeks, catching me completely off guard. It would suit him better.

Anyway, I started this a couple days ago, thinking on the way home from the bus, “This walk could be worse. I could be trying to do this without an ample selection of the most comfortable baby carriers known to Mom.”

Babbling in babies (or not)

A member of my due date club has a little girl who is 9 months old and not babbling. Knowing a bit of my history with Shiny and Shiny’s language issues, she asked what I would do about it.

What I did and what I recommend doing are two different things. I was so overwhelmed with Shiny that a lot of things slipped by the wayside and were done later than I would consider ideal. What I recommend doing is getting her in for a hearing screen, insisting that they screen in whatever way they need to (they CAN screen with clogged ears, a bone conduction test will tell if the brain is hearing, and you can get an idea of how much hearing loss she has, if any, with the glue ear) and asking for intervention to be done sooner than later if she has demonstrable hearing loss.

Intervention #1 is to attempt to clear the ears. I would give this up to six weeks max, using antibiotics or whatever you need to do before shifting to something more invasive, like tubes. That may be all the intervention necessary if the only problem is glue ear.

Intervention #2 is to start using sign language with her RIGHT NOW. Get the Signing Time DVDs, your library may have them, or you can download them I think, also. Don’t worry if she doesn’t pay attention to them, YOU use them to learn sign vocabulary. Reinforce the major words you say to her with signs. Mama, Daddy, Eat, Milk, Sleep… etc. That gives her language reinforcement NOW, and makes sure that her language is developing by any means. Signing time makes sign language very sticky in your head. smile

Intervention #3, which I would consider if she gets to about 11-12 months without babbling, is to visit a speech/language pathologist. If they don’t have them for kids under a certain age, occupational therapy should be considered if it looks like she has motor planning issues for language.

We got Shiny talking with bananas, in part. We’d say, “Banana! MMMMM!” and she started going “MMM!” to get a bite.

You want to make her world rich with language. Talk to her a lot. Say things normally, repeat yourself simplifying, emphasize with sign…. Use songs, finger plays, food, whatever, to reinforce everything.

And don’t panic. There are kids who don’t say a word until age 2 or 3 and then don’t shut up, but it is very worthwhile to make sure that all systems are go before you decide she’s just not ready to bother yet.

What would YOU do or advise? Answer at the blog ( please!