Better late, not never

Once again, I flubbed. I called the pediatrician’s office too close to RiAnne’s ninth month and the first available appointment was a month past it. Talk about a busy practice!

And, since the calendar is never available more than a month ahead, I’m always told to call them “later” to be added to the schedule. I forget. I procrastinate. We fall a little behind on our well baby visits. I worry about whether to settle for an earlier appointment with a different provider. We love our Dr. B, though, and she’s been seeing Ri since her birth.

Hubs was parent in charge for this appointment, so I missed the firsthand experience.
10 mos

The post-visit play by play is pretty detailed, though:
Ri, socialite extraordinaire, greeted everyone in the waiting room and waited impatiently for reply. If any chose not to acknowledge her, her “hi!” grew louder and more punctuated. How dare they ignore her!

She made friends with a little boy. He liked her. He apparently wasn’t yet as fond of his little brother, who was nearby but not involved in whatever “play” hubs insisted our 10-month-old was enjoying.

In the private room, she fell asleep. Those boring wallpaper scenes are nothing save stimulation for slumber. She woke when Dr. B arrived and though sleepy, belted “Haiiihh!” in her peculiar little accent. Dr. B, surprised, responded directly to her little patient.

She scribbled in her chart and told my husband, “My, how social and alert. She’s so advanced.” He didn’t have to relay that he beamed at her, realizing others, too, knew he created a prodigy.

When it was time for her shot sequence, hubs said she was a trooper. It’s a good thing. Last time, she recognized the tray of needles and cried even before the piercing pain hit her thighs. Bravo, mama, claim your delayed appointment as cause for her memory lapse.

She fussed. She babbled. She probably told that nurse exactly how she felt about those needles.

He concluded his report by handing me a “Summary of Today’s Visit” print out – something new the practice is doing. “I didn’t have to write it down,” he said. But I noticed he’d scribbled her details onto the back of her photocopied shot record as the nurse spouted them off. He remembered my chastisement for forgetting the last time he’d been parent-in-charge at the well baby. Go ‘head, hubs. I noticed.

Little darling remains, well, little. She’s barely 16 lb 7 oz and stands a modest 27 inches tall. Taking after her mama, after all.

Wonderland continues: a game of croquet

We’ve been in this commercial photography circuit for a few months and have learned quite a bit about it. There’ve been some products we’ve been sent that are hardly worth the effort to wear, let alone photograph. Other opportunities have given us amazing costumes, clothes, and accessories. You might say it’s a toss up and not every booking need be accepted.

When Chi and Ri were booked for modeling Halloween tutus, I initially didn’t think much about it. I should’ve. The kids – – all of them — take great pleasure in working together on Mommy’s photo shoots. And Chi, especially, loves to take on new personas.


I don’t know if Cara (Cara’s Custom Tutu’s) had seen our Wonderland shoot. Then, Ri was a Mad Hatter and Chi was my modern interpretive Alice. Cara wanted the girls for a Queen meets Alice costume set. I accepted, knowing her work is quality and it’d be fun to pursue Lewis Carroll’s fantasy further. Although I suggested otherwise, Chi was cast for Alice and Ri was to be the royal Heart. “I wanted to be the queen!” Chi complained, but she graciously obliged me in completing her role.


In the end, after a consult with the original text, our croquet game came together well. The girls were in character (though I hardly think Ri has any idea what hers was) and the location was perfect. We even had a visit from a photogenic dragon fly who – unlike the Cheshire Cat – was willing to stay long enough for his own portrait.

FIRST 52: 14…15..16. You

Dear Ri’

Right now, you’re snug asleep. You’ve created a personal spot nestled among the many pillows of our bed. Daddy is probably nearby watching the news, because he says you know when he leaves and will immediately wake up. I’m a little skeptical about that, but he insists that’s a thing ya’ll share. Admittedly, you do like to be close to someone – and you still pick and choose who that’ll be and when.
ri & ya 33013
RiAnne EasterIt’s been interesting seeing your subtle changes in personality these past three weeks (eek!). Today, you’re 16 weeks old and on Sunday, you’ll be exactly four months “new.” You are *almost* sitting up, though the sit looks a bit uncomfortable as you lean forward and support yourself with your arms. I worry that you’ll force out your last meal if you stay in that position too long. But never fear, you have created a lean and roll technique that gets you out of the sit and out of tummy time when you are ready.

There’s this new arched-back scoot that you’ve begun. It got you off a pillow once, and apparently that was all the success you needed to make efforts to perfect the move. Now whenever you’re where you don’t want to be, we can expect you to propel yourself from the offensive placement (or kick and fuss until someone assists you). It’ll be no more simply laying you on the bed or setting you in your bounce chair for a second without seat belting you in for safety.

Happy bucketYou have become so interactive now – babbling on and on, flashing smiles, clinging to a willing loved-one during frequent kisses and embraces. We love the games you play. Ya was trying to get a good picture of you the other day and every time he said “Smile!” you dropped your face into the plush covers of our rented townhouse in Edisto. He’d suck his teeth or groan in frustration, and you’d lift yourself up on your arms and smile broadly at him.

Oh, and you love playing with your big brother. You grab at his ears, you continue to trace the contours of his face with your hands, and you always offer him smiles when he is near. I’m always telling him to get out of your face, but you never seem to mind the close proximity of your noses or the intermingling of your exhalations. Except when he goes to kiss you, you always offer him a cheek.

You’ve experienced so many new things during our Spring Break trip. You saw goats, deer, donkeys, ponies, ducks, peacocks, and chickens in a petting zoo. There was no fear, no concern as each sounded their calls or passed near. You simply looked, brow furrowed with inquisition. I wonder what you were thinking.

Edisto beach
At the beach, you gasped at the wind. It definitely challenged you as it swept past your exposed face. On a warmer day, your toes toyed with the gritty sand. You didn’t get to wade in the ocean waters, but you enjoyed a dip in a lukewarm Jacuzzi where bubbling jet streams of water massaged your outstretched arms. I think you just might be another water babe.

And you laugh. Always unexpected, it lights up our world, warms our spirits. Sometimes a squeal, sometimes a spritely “ha,” it’s a sound we treasure.

I can’t say it enough – – I’m loving learning who you are.

ri & dad 4 6 13w

Week 14 – Babies simply love to be touched. In fact, they thrive on it — touch is a critical part of growth and development. All that skin-to-skin contact not only helps you and your baby bond, but it’s comforting when she’s upset and soothing when she’s irritable.

Week 15 – Your baby is starting to draw conclusions about the world around her. He’s looking at everything with curiosity, even her own reflection.

Week 16 – When placed on her stomach, your baby will probably lift her head and shoulders high, using her arms for support. This mini push-up helps strengthen her muscles and gives her a better view of what’s going on. She may even amaze you (and herself!) by rolling from her back to her front, or vice versa.

FIRST 52 (11)


You simply are amazing.

This week, we’ve been experimenting with tummy time far more often (albeit during our nearly daily “photoshoots,” but you know that’s my thing). We’ve got a little set up in the formal sitting room: a large chair – an extra firm pillow and soft and supple pillow sit atop the seat cusion – and a white yard of fleece remain at the ready. It’s sort of like your launching pad for play. If I lay you on your tummy, your feet find the chair back and you bend your legs and extend them to bounce forward. If I cross your arms as a pose, you crane your neck for a moment, smile (too quickly to capture by camera), then lean to one side. You laugh when you roll over, then, knowing full well that a sibling-spotter will brace your landing and shield you from harm.

You still have a sincere dislike of hats, but you don’t at all mind headbands (although you refuse to keep your head still long enough for me to get a tie back on). And when the hair accessory gets in your way, you know how to pull it off with a hand or you rub your head back and forth to slide it away.

You sit up – backed by pillows, of course – and give me the most intriguing expressions. A furrowed brow, a single raised eyebrow, a smirk, a pout, a “who, me?” pursed lips. Your eyes, bright and alert, explore the surroundings, sometimes settling on the black third eye of my camera and sometimes purposely avoiding it. You wring your hands, gum at your knuckle, wave to the world. And you kick those already powerful legs.

I watched you yesterday explore the surface of your brother’s face. You lay on your back and he leaned over you for a cheek kiss. You reached out and caught his cheeks in your hands, freezing him in a hover above you. And, like a sightless person searching for identification, you traced the contours of his head, gripping his lips (ouch) and his ears, then touching his eyes (thankfully closed) and his nose and chin. Patiently, he allowed you this discovery, despite sometimes painful poking. He’s decided, I think, that being a big brother is okay and is releasing claim on being the baby.

Your preferred place to fall asleep still seems to be sitting against Daddy’s legs. One moment, you’re watching television flickers or softly cooing a conversation, and the next, your head lolls to the side and your eyes close as you rest your chin against his hands (which you’ve insisted upon holding with your tiny fingers).

You’re a bit of a people person. You don’t mind strangers. You hardly cry except when hungry. I’ve been asked this week by our substitute care provider if she could “keep you,” that’s how sweet you can be.

Ri, you are such a compliment to this family. We’re so blessed to have you.

Your little one’s movements are getting a bit more coordinated. You’ll notice that the jerky arm and leg movements of her newborn days have given way to smoother, more circular motions, especially when she’s watching people.

Give your baby enough space to stretch and move her arms and legs. Lay a blanket on the floor and let her move as she pleases. These movements can help your baby strengthen and tone her developing muscles. On her tummy, she’ll start to push off with her legs — the first step in getting ready to crawl.

Do you know

that when you smile at me, my heart flutters?
that you can erase the stress of my day with a simple coo?
that those furrowed brows of inquisitiveness make me remember wonder?
that every day I learn again what love is when I see you?

that your cries, however limited, make me sad, too?
that I feel more complete now that you are here?
that your siblings cherish you and long to show it?(and I adore watching them with you)
that you were prayed for, wanted, loved even before we knew you existed?
that you are dreams fulfilled?
that you are perfect?
that you are amazing?
that you will do great things?

hole in the head?

Feb. 17, 2013
We’ve reached a rite of passage of sorts:
Ri got her ears pierced.
We placed little gold balls in each lobe.
Now she suddenly looks older.
She smiles and locks eyes with mine often.
She talks with me – – sweet voiced coos in changing intonations matching mine.
I think I’ve heard her dreams.
(She is one of mine.)
And she laughs!
It is beautiful.
She is beautiful.

Week 10 + 3 days

From Baby Center “Your 2-month-old: week two”
Your baby is growing stronger every day. She may now be able to lift her head, chest, and shoulders off the ground when she’s on her tummy.

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