Tag Archives: baby

Astrid: First 20 Words

Using chopsticks is an advanced milestone
Our doctor asked if Astrid could say 20 words. Apparently it’s a developmental milestone for 18-month olds. She hit that mark when she learned ‘purple‘ the other day. Here are her first 20 words, roughly in order.

  1. Mama
  2. No
  3. Yeah
  4. Dada
  5. Hi
  6. Uh-oh
  7. More
  8. Please
  9. Bye
  10. Up
  11. Down
  12. (Ba)nana
  13. Apple
  14. Toes
  15. Shoes
  16. Baba
  17. Night
  18. Row
  19. Mine
  20. Purple

She also knows how to sign “Thank You” (but can’t quite pronounce it) and points at her mouth when she’s hungry. In the past few weeks she’s been more interested in repeating words we say to her, which is how she learned ‘purple’, when Baba was reading to her.

Astrid: Month 11

Mother's Day
Emily is now back at work and Astrid has started daycare. It’s been a hard transition, but luckily we had a full month to ease into it with mostly half days at daycare. Astrid no longer cries when she’s dropped and (fingers crossed) has started napping there. We’re lucky to have a patient caregiver to look after Astrid during the day, although I’m sure it’s been hard on her listening to Astrid wail when she refuses to nap.

For me, the hardest part has been giving up our data collection. With Astrid at daycare, we decided it was no longer worth collecting sleep, feeding, and diaper statistics. Asking our caregiver to use cloth diapers and feed Astrid a vegan diet was enough of a stretch without also asking her to track the timing of her poops and naps. So after 10 months of beautiful data, that project has come to an end.

I'll have 1 broccoli please
Astrid’s new love is climbing and standing. She’s so determined to master standing. She repeatedly climbs up something, lets go, and topples onto her bottom. It looks jarring even with her padded diaper, but she does it over and over. I admire her tenacity, but I was less impressed when she refused to sit in the bathtub, in her crib, and on the potty (aerial bombardments). Luckily that phase only lasted 2 weeks and she’s less fidgety now.


In the past week, she’s learned how to walk with a walker. She’s growing up so fast.

Ramp
She’s a lot of fun to play with right now. She can spend longer playing independently and she’s more interactive when you play with her. Our favourite game is hide and go seek. I’ll go hide around a corner or behind the couch and say “where’s daddy?” and Astrid crawls around and lets out a big giggle when she finds me.

Broccoli
Her other favourite game involves opening drawers and cupboards and emptying their contents. Classic.

Seeing the World Through a New Lense
It’s fun to rediscover the world through a child’s eyes. You can see her processing new experiences all the time, like how the tupperware lid makes everything look purple or the sound the pot lid makes when it hits the ground.

Exploring the Grass
Now that it’s truly summer in Vancouver, we’ve been enjoying more time outside. Astrid loves playing in the garden and eating dirt. We’ve taken her on a few bike rides and hikes. Nothing too adventurous yet, just some local hikes and a few a seawall bike rides.

Whyte Lake Hike

We picked up a used bike carrier and after some repair work to ensure the wheels don’t fall off, we’re ready for more bike adventures.

Biking on the seawall

Astrid is making a lot of noises and babbling. Her vocabulary includes “baba”, “booo”, “mama”, “lala”, and “pbwbbbb”. No “dada” yet and we’re not sure if “mama” means anything other than “feed me”.

Future Artist

We’re grateful Astrid has been healthy. Her skin has been better, with hardly any eczema on her arms or legs and only a small patch on her cheek that comes and goes.

Walrus

More photos.

Astrid: Month 10

Climbing

We’ve got a climber. Astrid’s bucket of skills and tricks continues to grow at a rapid pace. I was lucky to be home for 2 weeks this month to witness her transformation personally. She quickly learned to crawl, climb over obstacles, pull herself up into a standing up, and open drawers. Every day she seems to move with more confidence and coordination, and get into more mischief.

A lot of her growth seems to have come after our Easter weekend in Kamloops. Hanging out with her cousin Jacob has inspired her. It was adorable watching the two of them interact. It was also reassuring to to my sister Kelsey who is pregnant with her second, and Emily and I, as we transition Astrid into daycare.

Play Time

Zoom Zoom

Yes, daycare. That’s our big accomplishment of the month. Although Emily deserves all the credit for doing the frustrating work of calling over 50 daycares and reading through hundreds of Facebook and Craiglist posts. She found Astrid a spot starting next week at a small in-home (or rather in-condo) operation with 1 other kid that’s only a 20 minute walk away. It was the only spot we found, so we didn’t have a lot of choice, but we like the lady who runs it and her references were glowing – and she’s agreed to feed Astrid a vegan diet and change her clothe diapers (we’ll see how long that lasts).

Daycare in Vancouver is ridiculous. It’s expensive ($1300 – $1800 per month per child) and even at those prices there are hardly any openings. We’re still on the waitlists for the bigger facilities, but even though we applied as soon as Astrid was born we don’t expect to hear back from any of them. The YWCA let us know we were #120 on their list. It’s crazy. We’re in the midst of a provincial election right now and the NDP have promised daycare improvements if elected. Hopefully we’ll see some progress soon (please VOTE!).

Using the Potty

The other big news this month is Astrid has started using the potty. She’s far from potty-trained, but every time we change her diaper we sit her on the potty, and she’s intuitively known what to do from the start. Although I almost screwed it up. The first time I put her on she peed, but I didn’t notice and failed to give her any positive feedback. The second time I sat her down, I wasn’t holding her and she face-planted on the ground. Luckily, no lasting potty aversions, and she usually poops and pees in the potty once or twice a day.

Picnic in the Park
Picnic in Queen Elizabeth Park

It’s been hard going back to work. I enjoyed being a stay-at-home parent for two weeks. I took Astrid to the play gym, music class, and story time at the library. We went to the park as a family and enjoyed the swings and had picnics. It was luxurious, but now it’s time to earn some money so we can pay for that daycare spot.

Tea Time with the Hirtles
Tea time with the Hirtles
Standing
Standing for the laptop, of course

More photos

Astrid: Month 9

Only 9 months but it feels like a lifetime already. It’s amazing how fast Astrid is changing. She’s almost crawling, using a worm-like shuffle to move forward. It’s a fun age. She’s giggly, mobile, and adventurous.

Pillow Fort

In previous months, it felt like she had to be constantly entertained. Now she’s able to move around more and amuse herself. She still likes it when you play with her, but it feels more interactive now. She likes to echo the noises we make, laughs when she’s tickled, and plays with her toys. She still likes putting everything in her mouth, but she also spends more time examining her toys and moving them around.

Good Morning

Astrid is sleeping well at night and has transitioned to 2 naps a day. A few short weeks ago she was barely staying up for 2 hours in between naps. Now she’s going 3-4 hours, which has opened up more opportunities to journey further from home.

Pouch Food

Astrid’s skin is still in rough shape (getting roseola while we were in Whistler didn’t help). We stopped baby-led weaning and took her to see a naturopath, who recommended a more restrictive diet mixed with expensive vitamins and lotions. No more peanut butter, apples, bananas, or avocado. It has been hard cutting back what she eats because she loves food so much and she has 7 teeth she likes to use. We’re going to continue to follow the naturopath’s advice for now, but we’re seeing mixed results. Her hands are better (with only small eczema patches), however she has new rashes on the back of knees and neck.

Triumphs

  • One night at dinner, I was spoon feeding Astrid peaches but she was getting frustrated that she wasn’t in control. She was moping and whining, so I scrunched up my face and mocked her by making the same whining noise back. She burst out laughing, which put everyone in a better mood for the rest of the meal.
  • We spent our anniversary in Whistler and Emily was determined that it wouldn’t have the same sleep problems as Victoria. Before our trip, she got Astrid comfortable sleeping in a pack ‘n play at home, and during our trip she slept like a champ.

Nature's Little Squeeze
Fails

  • We bought reusable food pouches to let Astrid feed herself while protecting her skin. The pouches work well but after a few days she refused to eat from them.
  • You would think that less baby-led weaning would mean less food mess, but she’s managed to stain all of her bibs, clothing, our walls, and ceiling with blueberry smoothy spots.
  • Roomba riding
Gridlock
Driving is overrated
Mischief
Mischief maker

9 Months Old

More photos.

Astrid: Month 8

Astrid

February was spent jet-setting around the world and enjoying snow and surf. It was a month full of ups and downs and several highlights and lowlights.

Highlight #1: Astrid used her passport for the first time as we flew to Mexico for her Auntie Kerry’s wedding. The highlights were the beautiful sunset wedding ceremony on the beach (and officially welcoming Megan, Katie, and Tyler to the family), the time spent relaxing by the pool with our relatives, and the awesome weather and lack of snow.

Porter Wedding

Astrid did well with all the changes (new foods, hotter climate, new faces, and 2-hour time change). It took her a few nights to get used to the hotel room and crib, but she slept well for the most part.

Palm Trees in the Pool

Most days were spent rotating between the buffet, the pool, the beach, and then back to the room for a nap. Astrid amazed everyone with her ability to destroy bananas and make a huge mess at mealtimes. She enjoyed floating in the pools and eating sand. We got off the resort once – took a taxi to Sayulita to check out the hippie, surf town. But for the most part we were slaves to Astrid’s nap schedule.

Waiting for Waves

Full Mexico photo album.

Lowlight #1: The biggest lowlight of the month was Astrid’s worsening eczema, especially on her hands. Baby-led weaning has not been kind to her skin, mostly from contact with acidic foods. Her skin got especially bad after we left the warm, humid Mexican air. We’re slowly getting it back under control by limiting the foods she’s eating, putting socks on her hands so she doesn’t bite and scratch them, moisturizing every few hours, and using hydrocortisone cream on the worst patches.
Eczema Hands

Highlight #2: Early in the month Dan visited from San Francisco, and Rhea and Tina also came over. We got a dump of snow that day so we had fun playing in the snow with Astrid.
Ice Thrown

Dan made this amazing snow throne for Astrid to reign over her subjects.

Snow Angels

Lowlight #2: Is Victoria the city that never sleeps? According to Astrid it is. We had a good visit with friends, but had to cut our trip short by a day when Astrid became a sleepless, grouchy pants. She refused to sleep in her pack-and-play, so I spent hours bouncing her in the ErgoBaby to get her to nap.
Beacon Hill Walk

At night, she would fall asleep in our arms, but the second we tried putting her down she would start screaming. None of us got much sleep the first night. The second night, we tried co-sleeping with her for the first time. She slept much better, but it was a rough night for Emily and I. We were squeezed into a double bed with Astrid in the middle, afraid to move for fear of waking her. Midway through the night she rotated 90° so that when she flailed about she simultaneously punched me in the face and kicked Emily in the head, but we were happy she was sleeping.

Victoria photo album

Highlight #3: Astrid is starting to move more. She’s mastered rolling and has the arm strength to lift herself into plank position. She isn’t crawling yet, but she can cover a lot of ground by rolling, rotating, and shuffling backwards. We’ve ordered a large play mat to give her a surface to play on – she quickly rolls off the yoga mat and blanket we have for her now.

She’s also tossing and turning in her sleep. Often after a nap, we find her on her stomach or curled up on her side. The first time she napped on her stomach we kept checking on her to make sure she was breathing, but we’re used to it now.
First Time Sleeping on Stomach

She is also very ticklish. I don’t remember her reacting to tickling before.

Astrid now has a Goodreads account, if you’re curious what books we read to her every night. She has quite the library. https://www.goodreads.com/astridnaut

More photos and data.

8 Months

Astrid: Month 7

Selfie
Astrid is now 7 months old. That means lots of fun new experiences (swimming, eating, and cutting teeth) and mastering some existing skills (sitting up, rolling over, and bouncing). She’s also developing a stronger sense of who her parents are and a bit of stranger-danger when someone else tries to engage her.

Swimming Astrid is getting ready for our trip to Mexico with swimming lessons. She’s learned how to float, glide, and dunk with minimal crying. She doesn’t love all the splashing and getting water in her face, but I think she enjoys being in the water and soaking in the experience.

Toes in the mouth Astrid has found her toes and is generally more squirmy now than she was last month. During diaper changes she loves to grab her feet and rock on her back. You really have to watch her closely, which I learned the hard way when she tumbled off the change table when I turned around to check my phone. Luckily she’s a resilient kid. She cried a bit but Emily was able to calm her down. I still feel horrible about it, but happy that she wasn’t hurt and that Emily handled the situation so calmly and never berated me for being negligent.

Food Face
The favourite part of Astrid’s day is the two meals she eats with us, following baby-led weaning. It’s also the highlight of my day. I’ve taken dozens of photos of her covered in food and love watching her explore new tastes and make a huge mess.

1st Tooth
Soon after she started eating solid food, Astrid got her first tooth (almost like she’s evolving). She’s now a drool monster. Luckily we have these cute drool bibs that Baba made for us.
Drool Bib

She loves bouncing in her jumper and has developed an adorable laugh. Even with the large collection of toys we have, she usually prefers playing with an empty box of toothpaste and plastic spoons.


Astrid is back to sleeping through the night (rejoice!). If you like data, it’s all available online. If you like cute photos, there’s plenty below.
Continue reading Astrid: Month 7

Baby Led Weaning

Food Experiences
Astrid has been eating solid food since December 11. Although “solid” is a bit of stretch. She spent the first two weeks eating applesauce and carrot mush, served on a spoon that she would eagerly grab and jam into her mouth. It was messy but she enjoyed it. We tried to feed her while we also ate dinner, but keeping her spoon loaded was a full time job.

At the end of December we discovered baby led weaning. The principle is simple, let babies explore real foods on their own and at their own pace. No texture-less purees. No spoon feeding.

Broccoli
Our first baby-led weaning meal was broccoli. It’s a strange first food but it was recommended by the Baby Led Weaning book because it comes with its own handle. Astrid loved it and mowed down several steamed broccoli florets that night. It inspired us to try other foods.

Spaghetti

At first, we doubted she was swallowing anything, especially without teeth. However, her changing diaper contents (I won’t include any pictures) are proof that she’s eating even if her stomach doesn’t know how to digest it yet.

Feeding Boo
A lot of the food ends up on the floor. Luckily we have a cat who enjoys patrolling around her high chair and cleaning up any food that falls off of her tray.

Pasta
The hope is by allowing Astrid to explore food now that she’ll be an adventurous eater as she gets older. Even if that doesn’t work, it’s been fun watching her explore food and we get more time to enjoy our own meals. After trying baby-led weaning, we wouldn’t go back to purees.

Continue reading Baby Led Weaning

Baby Data Nerd

ProjectAstrid.jpg

It’s time to unveil Project ASTRID – Analytic System Tracking Rapid Infant Development.

I’ve been working on it for the past two months in my spare time. It’s a webapp hosted on Github Pages that visualizes some of the baby data we’ve been tracking. Originally, I just wanted to analyze Astrid’s sleeping patterns, but the website has morphed into a digital baby book with milestones and growth charts. I’m still adding features to it, but it’s polished enough that I’m happy to share it.

The chart below is probably the most interesting one I’ve created so far because it quantifies the quality of Astrid’s sleep. It shows her night sleeps, with the longest stretch in blue, the second longest in red, and the remainder in orange. Like all parents, our goal has been to get Astrid to sleep through the night. So that means getting as much blue as possible.

overnight_sleep.png

On October 7, after weeks of crappy sleeping, we started sleep training with Astrid. We didn’t realize it at the time, but there was a steady improvement over the next month. Then we hit sleep bliss. Astrid slept for 12 hour stretches every night for 3 weeks. We were living every parent’s dream. But last month, we hit the dreaded sleep regression. Luckily it only lasted 2 weeks (although it felt like it would never end at the time) and things have been better lately. We’re still waiting for those consistent 12-hour nights again, but she’s only waking up once a night right now, which seems very manageable.

Project ASTRID is open-source and adaptable for anyone else who might want to use it for their own child. Although realistically I know I’m probably the only one who likes having this much data about their baby. I just hope that one day our daughter appreciates the nerdy, data-heavy view of her early life, or at least isn’t completely embarrassed by it.

Astrid: Month Six

Snow Watching

December is always a busy month, and Astrid made it more exciting with a bunch of new developments, including eating solid food, sitting up, rolling over, and getting croup. It also snowed in Vancouver, which made it feel much more festive.

First snow

Astrid loves looking at the snow and she enjoyed playing in it the first day. But I’m not sure she likes the cold. She wasn’t too happy being outside for extended periods. After a week of sub-zero weather, she picked up a wheezing cough that eventually prompted a visit to the walk-in clinic. The doctor said she might have asthma and prescribed an inhaler. A few days later, Emily took Astrid to our family doctor who said it was just croup and she would recover all on her own, no inhaler necessary.

Inhaler

And by Christmas her croup was pretty much gone. A nice Christmas present.

Stocking Time

Astrid had a number of development leaps this month. She smiles and laughs a lot when she’s amused. She’s learned how to rollover consistently in both directions, but rarely on demand. She definitely finds it easier without a diaper on.
First Rollover

She also learned how to sit up on her own without any assistance, which we only noticed when she was chatting with Baba and Gido on Christmas morning.
Skype with Baba and Gido

She’s also eating solid food now and continues to chew on anything that comes near her face. We usually feed her pears, applesauce, and carrots. I think pears are her favourite at this point. She’s also tried avocado, perogy filling, borscht, vegan sour cream (not a fan), and other dishes we’re eating that aren’t too spicy.
First Solid Food
Expensive Tastes
Chewing Necklace
Piggy Bib

All of these new skills came at a cost – her parents sanity. The first 2 weeks of December saw a big sleep regression. It started with her naps. She started to have a really hard time falling asleep. She would cry as soon as she entered her bedroom. None of the old tricks worked anymore (swing, walks, soother). We’d spend 45-60 minutes trying to get her to sleep and when she finally gave in she would only sleep 20-30 minutes. After a week the lack of naps started to affect her nighttime sleeps. She was waking up every 2-3 hours. 😦 After getting used to 12 hour night sleeps, this was very hard to deal with.

The stress of this situation fell largely on Emily since she handles most of the naps and nighttime feedings. The morning after she had a particularly trying day, she decided to try something different. She just put Astrid down in her crib and walked out to see if Astrid could put herself to sleep. She cried for a bit, but it worked! She fell asleep on her own. And it continued to work for subsequent naps, often with little or no crying. Who knows if it was Emily’s approach or the timing, but Astrid picked that moment to end her sleep regression (after 2 weeks). She still isn’t sleeping through the night, but she’s lasting 4-6 hour so there’s often only 1 or 2 nighttime feedings.

Handprints and Footprints
Emily and Astrid’s Christmas present for me – a beautiful drawing/tracing of Astrid’s hands and feet
Story Time
Story time with Astrid

6 Months Old

Wacky Christmas
Emily discovers Facebook’s Christmas photo generator

Astrid: Month Five

Tummy Time
Our little girl is now five months old and not so little anymore. She continues to grow and mature at a rapid pace, and is still in the 75th percentile for weight and height.

Standing Up Assisted
Astrid’s biggest development leap in the past month has been learning to stand with some assistance. She still doesn’t roll over or sit up on her own, but she loves standing, especially when she can look out the window. She’s jumped a few milestones but I’m sure she’ll figure out rolling and sitting soon.

Sleeper

Our sleep training last month has paid off and she now regularly sleeps through the night, often in 10-12 hour stretches. We have a nice bedtime routine with lullaby music, a feeding, a fresh diaper, changing her into a nightgown, and reading a story. Then the lights go off and the white noise is turned on. Some nights she falls asleep on her own and sometimes she needs some help with a soother and some bouncing.

More Interested in the Cat
There are lots of little changes in her personality and perception of the world. She’s taken an interest in our cat for the first time, reaching out to grab his tail. Luckily he doesn’t seem to mind. She also gets distracted during feedings for the first time, with any new noise pulling her attention away from eating. She has much better coordination and is able to pick things up, use both hands to hold things, and bring toys to her mouth.

Chewing on her spoon

She’s teething madly and loves to chomp on anything nearby. At dinnertime we give her frozen washcloths and a rubber spoon to chew on. I’ve tried giving her solid food a few times (avocado and pear), but she’s not interested yet.
Eating Avocado

She had a very infrequent month for poops, a few times going 8 days without a bowel movement. Luckily that pattern seems to have changed in the past few days, although it does mean more messy work for us.

More pictures …
Continue reading Astrid: Month Five