Wednesday, March 5, 2014
Alex and I have been reflecting on the pervasiveness of social media in our lives for a while now. Namely, on its ability to compete for our attention and distract us from making the best use of our time with the most important priorities in life. Like, say, when a certain baby in our lives sits up on her own for the first time this past weekend at 21 weeks. Serene was beside herself with elation. We were, too. Though we ended up snapping a couple of photos to memorialize the milestone afterward, we were thrilled to just have been able to witness it firsthand and rejoice with her. To really revel in the moment, I suppose, and not get sidetracked by the social media on our phones or laptops. Which sounds so silly, but has sadly occurred enough where we've pledged to turn off laptops by an evening curfew, and to banish phones during mealtimes and quality times. Alex ended up preaching a sermon on social media and the gospel this past Sunday that was convicting and so relevant. So much so that as we anticipate our first family trip with Serene next week for our second anniversary, we're committing to being offline in order to truly savor our respite together. I cannot wait!
Monday, March 3, 2014
My dear Serene Joy,
I can't believe you're already 5 months old. It confounds my mind that a human creature can grow so quickly in such a short span of time. You’ve shown us loud and clear that you are not so teeny anymore. At 14 lbs and 25 inches long, you’ve been transitioning to some of your 3-6 month clothes these past couple of weeks. We used up your size 1 diapers, so we bought you your first stash of size 2 diapers over the weekend to herald in your 21st week of life. You’ve also been declaring strike on your cradle for the past week. Gone are the days when the cradle was your most preferred sleep spot. When we put you in it for naptime now, you attempt with all your might to roll over in it, or to arch your back and screech at the top of your developing lungs. Yes, you learned to squeal at 20 weeks. The first time that came out of your mouth, you were so surprised that you were capable of such a high-pitched utterance that you did it again to confirm your newfound ability. And then again for emphasis. And again to ensure our undivided attention.
And you’re so good at doing so. You’ve made us laugh so much this month. You’re such a goofy character. You giggle, gurgle, and are full of glee so much of the time. Though you chatter away cheerfully when you nurse, when you play, when you wake up, and when you encounter friendly folks, your favorite people are your daddy and me. You’ve developed some intense separation anxiety over the past couple of weeks. Enough to subject your baby-sitters to hours-long teary meltdowns. Indeed, your daddy and I perceive your happiest moment in a day to be my return home from work. When you see me coming through the door, you literally jump for joy as you giggle and wriggle your entire body. You grin so hard that you end up panting and whining to be held at the same time. It’s one of the sweetest and funniest things, for sure. But overall, your joy seems to augment by the month. People constantly remark on your joyful disposition when they’re in your presence. You dole out those heart-melting smiles unabashedly, sweetheart.
You’re keen on exploring your environs, especially objects that are right in front of you. You think it’s the bee’s knees to reach for something and touch it. Always with your hands first, and then with your mouth. These days, you’ve left consistent drooly trails on Sophie, your baby gym, your mama’s or papa’s hands, your blankets, and your carseat mobile. Teething is another culprit for the wake of wetness you leave behind. You’d get pretty fussy last month, but the effects of teething on your mood have waned this month, thanks to the amber necklace. I was pretty skeptical of its ability to soothe your teething aches, but lo and behold, it really has been helping with those bothersome gums of yours. Now you sport it every day. Your daddy calls it your sorcery necklace. Needless to say, we’re believers now.
Of all the things you manage to put in your mouth, whether you’re teething or exploring, your toes are the toys of choice. You’re a big fan of your feet this month. We’re not sure if you comprehend that those wiggly little digits belong to you yet, but every time they parade before you, you grasp them and your mouth attacks. They entertain you for a long enough stretch where you grab your feet and talk to yourself for a while once you wake up in the morning.
You’re gaining mobility, slowly but surely. This might be the last month where you’re stationary most of the time. You roll over from back to tummy, and vice versa effortlessly. You manage to inch yourself around and about like a giddy little worm during tummy time. You’re partial to the seated position, and this past Sunday, you nearly sat up all on your own, even if you were hunched over and it lasted 10 seconds. You thought it was the niftiest milestone ever, and so did we. You’re so eager to sit up and move that you even attempt to do so in the middle of night. You’ll squirm yourself into some funky position, which means that we find you with your feet caught between the bars of your crib.
Speaking of scooting about in the middle of the night, your dreamy stage of sleeping through the night ended at 20 weeks. You’re currently going through some hardcore sleep regression. Your noggin is just on overdrive so that you can’t fully rest at night. I confess I’m not usually grateful those several times you do wake up in the middle of the night out of tiredness on my part, but we’re so thankful that these “wonder weeks” are an indication that big milestones are headed your way. We are here to celebrate every move of the way. We thank God every day that we’re blessed to see you grow and thrive, little love. You are such an indescribably sweet gift from the Lord, and you teach us so much about the Father’s love for His son. We pray that you'll get to know Him and be in awe of Him one day, for as much as we love you, our love does not compare to Christ's love for you.
Love you so,
P.S. Serene Joy at 0, 1, 2, 3, and 4 months.
Wednesday, February 26, 2014
There's something about having a baby that makes you attract parenting advice in the frequency of traffic in Los Angeles. I'm referring to the interesting (that's a euphemism) things people tell you you should (another euphemism) do for your baby. It comes from everyone, everywhere, every time you see them: your parents and parents-in law, older people you see occasionally, and even strangers in the grocery store check-out aisle. This phenomenon has hit us since the day Serene came home from the hospital. Each time we encounter people, they have the irresistible urge to offer child-rearing advice along the lines of:
"Ay! She has hiccups. You know, you need to dab vinegar across her forehead." How thoroughly naive of me to think that vinegar's uses were limited to salad dressing recipes.
"Why isn't she wearing a hat? Put a hat on her head. If you don't, it will affect her brain development." The day she gets straight Fs on her report card, I will bemoan my irresponsibility in not putting a hat on her head at every waking moment.
"Don't put her in zippered onesies. I don't want her to wear those. They make her uncomfortable. Poor baby is so uncomfortable." I'm pretty confident that anyone who has changed multiple diapers at 2am would praise the Lord for inventing zippered onesies.
"You need to put a hat on her before the wind gets into her head. Or else she'll have headaches her entire life." Hey, it could be worse. At least they're not lifelong migraines.
"She has diaper rash? Spray your breast milk on her bottom. Do it right now." As in, take your goods out and do it right then and there. Who cares if there are 15 people lingering around within a 10 foot radius?
And best of all: "She's cold." This is the one we receive on the near daily, which absolutely boggles my mind (the ultimate euphemism). People, we live in Southern California where the sun shines perpetually and it's 80 degrees in January and February.Of course, I wrote the commentary above with a degree of playfulness because I'm sure they think I'm just plain silly for not knowing these things. When we receive these entertaining nuggets of parenting wisdom in reality, we just smile. And remind ourselves that people mean well and they're speaking from their own experience (usually), which more often than not stems from a time decades ago and cultures elsewhere. Nevertheless, the doctor's recommendations are reigning supreme around here. If we heeded everyone else's advice, Serene would smell rancid twice a day, her bum would drip of breast milk, and she would be so bundled up that the only skin that would be showing would be her eyes.
Not that we don't listen to advice. We've so much to learn in this amazing new realm of parenting. We're garnering legit recommendations at every new stage (which seems to occur weekly!). We're so thankful for our community because we're not raising her on our own. But at the end of the day, no one knows a child better than her parents. Even though we're new at this parenting gig, we see her more than those who see her once a year, once a month, or once a week. And I write this to remind myself that as we figure out how to do the best for Serene as we go along, to remember not to startle new parents with my opinions someday.
Monday, February 24, 2014
Though I work downtown, we don't usually find ourselves there on weekends. Alex had a suit fitting in the area over the weekend for a wedding he is in next month, so we made an adventure out of it. We trekked over to the city's first-ever open-air market for lunch and people-watching. Alex had been wanting to sample these egg-centric burgers, and they were surprisingly worth the hype. Serene, on the other hand, was hyped about the flurry of sights and sounds of this unfamiliar, people-packed place. I'm thinking more local adventures are in order now, especially since she is so unabashedly curious about her environs these days.
Thursday, February 20, 2014
Serene is 20 weeks old today on the 20th, but I snapped these pictures of our little sweetheart last Sunday when she was 19 weeks to commemorate her first Valentine's Day weekend. Plus, she had a red polka-dot bum that was begging to be immortalized on camera, so who was I to resist? I like to think Serene's a go-getter because her favorite pastime of late is grabbing things. If she succeeds in nabbing the target, she chatters gleefully. If not, she gets frustrated and whines as if the world is about to end. As you can see, the targets in these photos were her feet, and then the camera. There were moments of victory when she grasped her feet, and of defeat when her toes wouldn't stay in her mouth and when the camera didn't budge from my hands. I couldn't help but crack up when I looked through these pictures at her endless(ly amusing) expressions. Seems as if she has ambition; we just need to work on perseverance. ;)