Plum at 10 months

Goes from horizontal to sitting up on her own! It is shocking and amazing to look down and see my baby sitting up when she wasn’t just a moment before.

Still rolls most places, but now combines rolling with army crawling. I love how much she hurries when she sees something she wants.

Claps all the time, even on command; loves songs that have clapping integrated like “If you’re happy and you know it.” She also does other gestures as part of that song: claps her feet and puts arms up overhead for “hooray.”

Waves, sometimes belatedly, but fairly consistently when asked whether she’d like to say bye-bye

Loves to repeat consonant sounds over and over: ba, ba, ba, na, na, na, da, da, da

Answers most things we say with one emphatic, “Da.”

Sometimes adds a “t” sound on the end of da, like “dat.”

Has two bottom teeth, and doesn’t mind when we brush them

Expert at pincer grasping everything, even slippery foods and tiny pieces of leaves and pet fur, which she then eats

Still eats everything. New this month: chicken noodle soup, turkey, cranberry sauce, mashed potatoes, cornbread stuffing.

Often holds a piece of food up high out to one side and looks at it, then brings it to her mouth with a flourish

Laughs delightedly and often. Grins hugely when she sees family members, especially the pets.

Loves to interact with all people (at the fabric store, grocery store, etc.) and especially loves other babies.

I hold my phone as if to take a photo and she turns on the cheese immediately.

Can turn board book pages if I first lift the page up and then ask if she’d like to turn the page.

I have a podcast!

If you’re like me, you’re alternately watching Twitter, the TV, and the chocolate chip cookies you’re baking to combat your anxiety (ahem). Let me offer you what I hope is a fun alternative to election coverage: my new podcast.

Called Friendlier, it’s a collaboration with my dear friend, Sarah. Every episode, we’ll catch up on life lately, talk about what we’re reading and eating, and chat about something specific. In our first episode—released today!—that something is our college experiences.

We’ll release new episodes every other Tuesday. You can listen on our website, on iTunes, and soon on Stitcher (we hope). If you like what you hear, please subscribe wherever you listen to podcasts, and either way, we want to hear what you think!friendlierlogoitunes

Plum at nine months

She met (and was held by!!) President Obama this month. Pretty much the most incredible day ever.

Loves all food. Lentils, cheese, lasagna, bread, et cetera. She is also getting really good at picking food up on her own and tries out the pincer grasp more and more.

Still happy foot claps for food and other exciting things.

Rolls all over and changes directions fast by pushing with her feet while on her belly.

Hangs out a lot on her side in sort of a lounging pose with her top leg bent and the sole of that foot on the floor (looks a little like Burt Reynolds in a certain centerfold photo).

Sometimes gets up on knees and elbows and rocks back and forth (go, baby, go).

Sits much more steadily in her high chair and in our laps, but doesn’t sit up on her own from lying down yet.

Claps more and has waved a few times.

Conversational and quick to giggle. Mimics many sounds and even convincingly repeated “Obama” once.

Has two bottom teeth.

Loves to pull the dog’s fur and try to eat it.

No longer has a dream feed (one last feed after she goes to bed, usually while she is pretty sleepy). We are sad to not see her after she goes to bed, but she doesn’t seem to miss it.

Plum at eight months

Her tongue is out all. the. time. She likes to stick it out and grin or talk.

Loves to look in mirrors. Sticks her tongue out and grins or squeals when she sees herself in the car mirror. 

New food of note: prunes. We introduced them because this baby loves cheese and eggs, but her digestive system needed some help with these heavier items, and luckily she loves the prunes, too. 

Eats and loves most things, including peanut butter, black beans, and sardines. Does a happy foot clap for most foods. 

Started refusing her third nap some days and lasts pretty well from 2:30 or 3 until bedtime between 6:30 and 7 pm. 

Inexpertly and sometimes a little desperately claps, which seems like a logical extension of her love of holding her own hands. 

Blows raspberries all the time, especially while rolling around in bed and refusing the third nap. She also contributed an impeccably timed raspberry to a conversation about one of the candidates in the upcoming presidential election.

Laughs much more readily.

Leans toward us to be taken out of her car seat. 

Deliberately rolls with even more purpose, including off the changing pad, which she didn’t used to be able to do, and over to the Roomba, which she turned on. 

Has one tooth (lower left front). 

Chatty as ever.

On her back, pushes with her feet to lift her hips into sort of a baby bridge pose. On her tummy, uses her feet as leverage to change directions while rolling.

Why I am glad we hired a doula

I wrote this list for a friend the other day, and I thought others might benefit from reading it. Our doula was wonderful, and I have no regrets about hiring her.

1) Being able to contact her (an extremely knowledgeable source for all things pregnancy and childbirth related) whenever. I know Andrew texted with her a lot when I was in early labor and she helped him to understand what kind of progress I was probably making.

2) The prenatal meetings. I honestly was stressed out about scheduling these at the time because it just felt like more to do, but in retrospect they were great. We had two and I liked getting to know her and having her reassure us that things were normal and help us think of things we hadn’t considered.

3) The help she gave us to think through our birth plan.

4) That she came to our house to be with me while Andrew went to the grocery store and installed the car seat so that I wouldn’t labor alone and helped us decide when we should go to the birth center. Again her vast experience of birth came into play here.

5) The position and comfort measure suggestions she made during labor (more of us using her knowledge!). She also made sure I stayed hydrated and nourished. And I think she cleaned out my puke bucket.

6) Having her help breastfeeding after Plum was born.

7) The postnatal visit. She brought curry and it was really awesome to have someone a little bit emotionally removed from the birth who could help us remember things and process and also reassure us that things were normal (like the baby refusing to sleep anywhere but on us)

8) The very positive feelings that I have about Plum’s birth. I can’t 100 percent credit the doula with this, but there is evidence that continuous labor support makes a birthing woman less likely to have negative feelings about childbirth.

Plum at seven months

Rolls everywhere! Onto all surfaces. She’s able to change directions by twisting her torso, so she can sort of roll toward things. It doesn’t always work and sometimes she ends up exactly in the opposite place as where she wanted to be, but since there are now toys all over the floor she generally just goes with it and grabs whatever is closest.

She’s eaten so many foods: bananas (chunks), apples, pears, squash, lentils (mashed up, not puréed), oatmeal, barley, and more. She still loves to feed herself with the spoon, and is learning to pick things up. Also enjoys drinking water from a small open cup or slurping it from a straw if we hold a finger over the other end.

New noises include more consonant sounds (ka, ya), squeaking, shrieking, purposeful smacking, and lots of talking with her hand or something else in her mouth.

No teeth yet, but evidence of one or two on the bottom very close to popping up.

Wants to touch the cats and dog so badly! The cats cleverly stay just out of reach. The dog is less clever, so we either watch them closely or keep dog and Plum separate.

Enjoys: books (the Global Babies series is tops), her dad’s return from work, being naked, other babies—especially my young nannying charge, eating

Plum at six months

Rolls back to belly and extricates stuck arms with ease. She was less good at rolling belly to back initially, which led to at least one 3:30 am wake up when she found herself on her belly and didn’t know how to flip over. She has done the back belly to back roll several times now.

In addition to avocado, has now tried green beans, carrots, and green peas (all purées). Loves to hold the spoon herself and is actually pretty good at getting it into her mouth and then slurping the food off of it. I’ve taken to a two spoon feeding method, where I load up one spoon, hand it to her and then get the next spoon ready so as to offer her a trade when the first spoon is empty-ish.

Is very expressive with her feet. She regularly wiggles them when you offer a toy she likes or kicks them like a frog and then smiles when people greet her in public (like at our grocery store). She also sometimes does the froggy kick before she falls asleep, and it seems like a self soothing thing.

Puts her hands on adult faces and in adult mouths. I’ve taken to offering her my thumb to hold on to while we nurse so that she will stop grabbing my mouth.

Is mostly wearing 12 month clothes.

Best ways to elicit laughs: check her armpits for ticks (we do this every night at the suggestion of our pediatrician), do a fake laugh with her, brush my hair over her face.

Still holds her own hands, but has also gotten really good at holding and moving toys to her mouth or into view for closer examination

Loves to play peepeye or peek a boo, but can’t quite uncover her own face if she accidentally pulls a blankie over it

Enjoys watching other people, especially babies and kids, and seems to prefer to roll to her tummy in order to get a better view

Is just starting to get distracted while eating and at times does better if we go into her room rather than staying where the action is

How we cloth diaper

How we cloth diaper |

Note: I’m not sure that anyone cares about this, but I read tons of posts while pregnant to get an idea of how other people were doing cloth diapering. So here we go!

Years before I was even pregnant, I bought cloth diapers from a friend when she was finished with them. They were FuzziBunz, which were recommended to me by my friend, Sarah. I moved those diapers to North Carolina from Nashville and then to all three of the places we’ve lived in NC. But our current place, our favorite place we’ve lived in NC, with the best landlord, the fantastic location, and the awesome neighbors, has a front loading, high efficiency washer. And as I started to read the mountains of info that was available online about washing pocket diapers (diapers that require you to stuff an insert into a two-layered diaper shell), it seemed like it was going to be a real pain to wash the microfiber inserts that had come with the diapers I bought from my friend and get them really clean.

I sold those diapers on Craigslist and started looking into what might work best for our set up. I knew I didn’t want to spend a ton of money, and that I wanted the diapers I got to last through toilet learning for Plum and then to be able to reuse them should we have another child at some point.

I don’t remember what I was like before I did a PhD, but now, at least, I like to research things completely to death. Lucie’s List, Amazon reviews, YouTube videos, and blog posts are my absolute jam. It borders on compulsive, but I’m just rolling with it for now. I’m sure that I could do way less research and be happy with whatever I decide, but the fact that I spend so much time investigating baby gear means that is it really validating when things work how I hope they will. And this diaper situation has so far worked great!

The diapers: I ordered size large, organic Cloth-eez Flat Birdseye Diapers from Green Mountain Diapers. I went with flat diapers because they are so easy to wash (more on this below) and because they are so versatile. You can fold them up into pretty much any shape and there are lots of tutorials online. For daytime diapering, we used a mini kite fold when Plum was little and now we do a modified version of the regular kite fold. We use a Boingo to fasten. For night time diapering, we used to fold one diaper into a rectangle/pad shape and put it inside of the kite fold. Now, we just do two diapers folded together into a giant pad.

These diapers get softer and more absorbent as you use them more. To prep them we washed them something like four times, maybe a few times without detergent and a few times with detergent. This part is kind of hazy because our postpartum doula did most of it. If Plum hadn’t come two weeks early, I would have done it myself.

The covers: We started with six Buttons covers and four Blueberry Coveralls. I’ve been happy with both covers for different reasons. I chose these types because they can be reused to cover a fresh flat diaper multiple times before washing and both brands have double gussets (an extra layer of PUL—polyurethane laminate, a plastic-y waterproof fabric—and elastic) to hold poop in at the legs.We have never had a poop blowout in either cover, and I cannot say the same for disposables we have used while traveling.

The Buttons covers worked really well for day and night early on and for day time until recently, when they stopped fitting my [98th percentile for weight] baby. I think if we’d been using the snap-in inserts for the Buttons covers, they would have fit for longer, but fitting them over the large flats stopped working for us.

I definitely don’t regret starting with the Buttons covers because the Blueberry Coveralls were too big at first. The Blueberry Coveralls are marketed to fit children 10-40 pounds, but they didn’t fit well until Plum was around 12-13 pounds. We’ve been using them at night to cover the giant two-diaper situation for a while now, and just switched to using them during the day. Plum has plenty of room in them, and I think we should be able to get through to toilet learning.

I recently picked up a few more Blueberry covers on ebay, some Coveralls and also some Capris in size two. The Capris are nice because they have flaps at either end of the cover, so you can stuff them with something absorbent, kind of like you would with a pocket diaper. We just tried using a Capri cover at night with two flat diapers folded together into a giant pad, and that worked pretty well.

Wipes: My mom made us a bunch of cloth wipes from old flannel pillow cases and receiving blankets. They have been awesome. I highly recommend cloth wipes if you’re cloth diapering because then everything can go into one laundry bin. We wet ours as we need to with plain water using the peri bottle I got after Plum was born. We also use this weighted wipe dispenser box, which we received as a gift.

Laundry: We keep dirty diapers and wipes in a plastic food storage bin with a lid that seals (we used to keep cat food in it), and wash them every three-ish days. The flat diapers are great in our high efficiency washer. Because they are just one layer, they wash as well as a cloth napkin or a dish towel. We do a double rinse cycle to remove the poop and pee and then run a regular wash cycle with hot water. After the introduction of purées, we also had to add a rinse for poop diapers using a diaper sprayer so that anything more solid goes into the toilet. Then we dry the diapers on the line. They dry fast in the NC heat. Sometimes I give them a quick tumble (about five minutes) in the dryer to soften them up, but sometimes I skip this step and it’s fine. Diaper covers get wiped of any poop with cloth wipes, and then washed with normal laundry.


Plum at five months

Moved into her own room in her big bed (I might have cried as I dismantled the cosleeper.)

Screeches and grunts are her new noises this month—extra expressive! Frequent giggles.

Rolls over onto her side a lot, and has rolled from back to belly twice unassisted. Her arm got stuck underneath her both times, but it’s definitely a sign of things to come. She has also started to really enjoy tummy time; I think because she can look around better in that position.

Tried out the shower with me a few times and liked it.

Tasted her first solid food, avocado, several times and seemed to enjoy the experience, if not the avocado itself.

Grabs for the cats and got a [deserved] warning bite once from Zeda

Likes to grab and pull adult hair, skin, and glasses

Hold her own hands and sometimes even presents them to you when you approach her, as though she wants to show you how amazing they are