Jul. 6th, 2014

cloudscudding: Photo of Abra Staffin-Wiebe (park)
I'd planned on writing a 6-month update for Theia, but instead it is apparently going to be a 7-month update! The delay in writing about her is related to her existence, too.

Theia is currently a fairly healthy baby. Parapertussis is only making her cough a little bit. Her "eczema" has stayed gone since we stopped treating her with an anti-fungal and switched baby soap and laundry detergent. She hasn't had any soy/dairy problems since Mother's Day, so if all stays clear until August, I'll actually get to eat a bit of dairy and see if she's okay with it! One month to Caesar salad, baby! Ooo, or maybe a donut. Or just a block of cheddar cheese. Or mac 'n cheese! Or--okay, some planning still needs to be done. Do you know, it's almost two years since I've been an omnivore? I really miss it.

Her 6-month doctor's visit went well. She is a remarkably tall baby, very strong, with a great reach (that allowed her to snag the doctor's big hoop earrings). She got her shots. She also got complimented on how much she likes being on her tummy and how well-shaped her head is. At six months, she weighed 17 lbs., 10 oz. (74th percentile) and was 2 ft., 4.35 in. tall (99th percentile), for a BMI of 15.4 (15th percentile). So it would be nice if she were fatter, but at least she's staying on her growth curve, and her development is at a normal pace. Unfortunately, her doctor is switching to working in the hospital, so we've got to switch doctors on her. We had this problem with Cassius, too.

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She is quite tall, as you can see from those stats. At six months, we moved her into the 18 month clothing size. She isn't chubby like many babies are, so I fear that she's inherited the Staffin super-skinny-until-30 body type. That always leads to lots of fun conversations with pediatricians. She has also inherited Phil's blue eyes. I can only hope she got his fighter pilot eyesight, too. Her hair is blonde and very fine. The poor thing got my hairline. Her tramp-stamp birthmark hasn't faded yet. Aside from that, she's still young enough that it's hard to guess what she'll look like when she grows up, but she and Cassius are *very* clearly brother and sister.

The kids get along really well, although sometimes Cassius wants to roughhouse with her, and she really isn't old enough yet. There's lots of, "Giving her a hug is great, but crawling on top of her or rolling her over is not. No, not even if you're being a snake." Lots of hugs, lots of ugga-muggas, lots of holding hands, lots of playing with baby toys together, lots of trying to push her in her swing. On her side, there's lots of squealing happily at him, waving her hands toward him, crawling after him, and grabbing big fistfuls of his hair. Earlier today Cassius crawled on the floor ahead of Theia so she could chase him, and then they had a crawling "race" side-by-side along the floor. The cuteness, it is ridiculous.

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She is army-crawling very well, although she has yet to lift her tummy off the floor. Cassius never did, so she may not. Who knows? I'm really happy we bought a playmat for her to roll around on and practice her sitting up and rolling over and crawling on *without* banging her head repeatedly against our hardwood floor. Things learned as a second-time-around parent! Other developments . . . She is very good at grabbing things with her hands and passing things from hand to hand. She has mastered sitting, though she preferentially rolls onto her tummy and lounges that way. Or crawls. She recently started babbling syllables. Phil was over the moon the day that she decided the best thing to say, all day long, was "Da-da!" That may be her first word, though I don't know if it counts if she's not actually speaking yet. I think she's going to be a thumb-sucker, although she prefers her toes when she can get them.

Her favorite activities include crawling all over the living room, hugging and nomming on cats, bouncing in the johnny-jump-up, grabbing her brother's hair, grabbing people as they walk past the johnny-jump-up, and being cuddled.

She's showing interest in food, so we'll start that soon. She's tasted some brownie with raspberry sauce, some orange juice, and some cherries.

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A normal day has her waking up around 6-7 AM, taking a morning nap from 9 AM - 11 AM, an afternoon nap from 2:00 PM - 4:00 PM, and going to sleep for the night at about 9 PM. She's sleeping through the night almost every night right now. No teeth yet, so I'm sure that'll change once she starts teething. She nurses about every hour and a half. After nursing, I try to keep her upright for a few minutes in the bug exersaucer or the johnny-jump-up. When she's no longer interested in standing, she gets to lay in the kitchen swing or crawl around the living room, depending on what she tolerates and where I'm trying to do household chores.

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cloudscudding: Photo of Abra Staffin-Wiebe (park)
I had a 4th Street! There were panels! I listened to them, took notes on interesting bits, and worked on writing a story longhand in my notebook the rest of the time. I will talk about these things in a different post. I also went to the writer's workshop beforehand, though I was admonished a bit for going, because it's geared more for beginning and intermediate writers. I managed to share a couple of meals with people, but mostly ate with family/alone. Dietary restrictions are hard, and so are time restrictions, and it's really a pain in the stomach when they combine. No weather catastrophes struck this year, although we did all get little LED lights as our attendance gift.

I am no longer sure if writing a story longhand during convention panels is a good idea. Yes, I end up getting some writing done, which is yay! But I lose that "deluge of ideas colliding against each other and reforming" effect. It's the shower effect; good ideas happen in the shower because the mind's idle cycles are not actually idle. Hearing smart people talk about interesting things is kind of an idea shower, and not doing anything except listen (and take notes) frees up the processing cycles to come up with really interesting intersections and ideas. Writing uses those cycles. Maybe. It's a hypothesis. I might need to try a panel or two without and a panel or two with so that I can compare the quality of my notes/ideas. The amount of writing I get done longhand is relatively small. If I choose to write and lose the shower effect.

I was even on one of the panels, the one about sentences and grammatical structures. I managed to mostly avoid sounding like an idiot, although I did flub my introduction because there was banter! And I was flustered! I need to work on my panel persona, though. Turn the personality and the funny up a notch, as it were, and not just be "painfully earnest studious person," which is not really me either. It would be easier if I were standing on a stage instead of sitting behind a table. As is, I tend to tighten up, which is not so entertaining. I had a pretty dress, though! Cassius told me so, when I left the hotel room. I also did homework for the panel, in the form of reading Artful Sentences: Syntax as Style. It's pretty damn good, and I'll have to think about and work on its techniques for a while before I can integrate them fully. I think this was also the only panel where at the end, most of the panelists offered homework assignments, in the form of books they recommend reading.

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I also had a six-month-old, a two-and-a-half-year-old, and a thirty-mumble-old in tow, so the amount I was able to do outside of panels was inevitably limited. On short breaks, I was running up to our hotel room to nurse the little girl. On long breaks, I was running up to our hotel room to nurse the little girl, give Phil a break, and try to figure out where I could safely eat food. Mostly Phil and I just ate together, either at a "safe" restaurant or from supplies we'd brought from home (baking a double batch of ginger cookies and taking them along was a great idea!). I could eat some of the food in the con-suite: pita chips, fresh fruit, eggs, that sort of thing. Cassius could (and would) eat some of it, too. One meal we managed to eat at the hotel restaurant with a bunch of my local writerfolk friends. Not recommended--it was overpriced and the food wasn't fantastic. Good company, though. Another meal I ate with friends and Seanan McGuire, who as it turns out knows Martha Hage from way back in the day, so Mars actually showed up at 4th Street for the first time, too. Double-take time! We chose to eat at the Irish pub while America was playing in the World Cup, so that was--a thing. There was loud chanting. Fish and chips was tasty, though!

That was one of the ways I could give Phil a break--take the energetic two-year-old downstairs to run around and burn off energy and maybe see if I could persuade him to eat something while we were at it. Although I couldn't eat the pizza welcome dinner, Cassius managed some of it. I also had success (for the first and possibly only time) walking the boundaries of the conference room with him and explaining that he had to stay inside them or we'd be going back to the hotel room. Another time, I wore Theia in the Moby wrap and took Cassius to the small upper plaza and let him run around while I sat and talked to people; it helped that there were also cards he could look at and play with, even if he was very insistent about the pictures on them being of lizards wearing hats in jars, instead of snakes. They were totally snakes. And after the conference, Cassius and I got to go swimming! He did pretty well with floating, once I got him in a life jacket with one of those foam noodles to hold on to. There was a slightly older little girl who became very upset when he talked about there being fish in the pool, because THERE WERE NO FISH AND EVERYONE SHOULD KNOW THAT. Kids are funny.

I had maybe a couple of half-hour segments in the evening to socialize solo, but I've basically forgotten how to do that. Socialize, that is. I listened to music. I chatted with friends. I played a smidgeon of Cards Against Humanity. I stilted! Gaea taught me how, using one-foot-high stilts and the assistance of Tim, who is large enough to possibly actually catch me if I fell. I did not fall. I only wobbled once. I was impressed by a) how weird it felt to be as tall as a professional male basketball player, and b) how tight those things have to be tied on.

. . . Somewhat more thinky panel notes to follow.

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