Thursday, February 24, 2011

Musician in the making

Dear Maya,

Uncle Matt's a musician, too--you'll have to
 wait 'til you're older to listen to his albums, though!
Mommy and daddy have made an effort to expose you to a variety of music even in these first eight weeks of your life.  Every day we play music around the house, whether it be:
  • on the internet (YouTube, Pandora, NPR music, Musicovery and StumbleAudio --thanks Uncle Matt for telling us about those last two),
  • on the radio (NPR or WKZE for a diverse mix and occasionally WPDH for some rock 'n' roll), or
  • from our CDs (which we haven't really done much of yet but plan to!)

In this past week alone we've listened to the soulful stylings of Nina Simone, Stevie Wonder and Ben E. King, classical movements by Holst, Mozart and Beethoven, and show tunes from Les Miserables, Miss Saigon, and a selection by Mandy Patinkin.  We also exposed you to Japanese music--popular tunes as well as the more traditional enka and even the rhythm of taiko drums to see how you would react to that.  Mommy read an article that said many parents swear by the syncopated beats in zydeco and reggae music to please a baby so we tried that, too.  Basically, there's nothing that pops into our heads or onto a playlist that we haven't given a listen to.  We're getting quite an education, too.

Mommy has also been compiling a playlist on her computer called "Maya's Mix" for our almost-daily singing-and-dancing session.  Every week we add a new song, sometimes one chosen for the lyrics or message, sometimes for the beat, and sometimes just because it's fun to sing along.  Here are our additions so far:

All of this music time is really paying off as you proved your rhythm skills to us big time this week.  A few times each day you would coo, mommy would imitate you, and you would repeat the sound over and over again in near perfect rhythm.  You even started to catch mommy's eye as if to let her know it was time for another back and forth cooing session.  Then, last night, mommy had the idea of starting the cooing game, then breaking into song to see if you would continue cooing, kind of like vocal percussion. did!  It was hard to get on video as you seemed to get stage fright every time the camera pinged on, but this afternoon mommy tried again and caught you singing along!  How awesome are you?!?!?!

Well, we've had a long day (someone woke up on the wrong side of the crib at an ungodly hour) so it's time to settle down for the night.  Love you!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

My funny Valentine indeed

Dear Maya,

You're seven weeks old now--must be lucky seven for us since you've really been progressing this week.

We celebrated Valentine's Day a little early with daddy.  On Saturday, two days ahead, we made a couple little treats for him while he was out of the house.  Mommy made him some apple cake with crushed candied pecans on top.  You made him a sweet Valentine's Day card--mommy traced your feet and cut the shapes out of pink card stock, then glued them to the front of the card in the shape of a heart.  Who knew that babies automatically come with a symbol of love like that?

On Sunday night, you gave mommy and daddy the greatest Valentine's gift we could have hoped for--six straight hours of sleep!  You went to bed around eleven as usual, and when you fussed, mommy couldn't believe her eyes at the sight of "5:08" on the clock.  You were so rested that we just stared at each other for a little while after you nursed, then mommy called your great-grandma to report.  After daddy got up, we made sure to compare notes to see if we could recreate this schedule miracle.

Monday was Valentine's Day, so we went to take some cookies over to grandma and Papa Stan.  They had the cutest card for you and a couple of sweet outfits for you to grow into.  Aunt Bobbie and Kelsie weren't there, but we left them these Valentine cards that we had sent out to everyone else.  After grandma's house we went to show you off at mommy's old office.  All that visiting must've worn you out because you gave us another good night--not quite six hours but mommy'll take 4:45 over the alternative.

Another gift you've given us this week is your newfound sense of humor.  You have been smiling here and there since the beginning, so much so that we don't even know when your "first smile" really happened.  This week, though, you are actually laughing.  Sometimes when we say something in a silly voice or give a laugh (real or fake), you join us with a rattling inhaling laugh.  It's so funny and so cute.  One of your favorite times to laugh is during a diaper change, making an unpleasant job all that more bearable for mommy and daddy.

Speaking of daddy, you've definitely got him wrapped around your long little finger these days.  He loves watching you work hard to the point of grunting during your daily tummy time.  He loves admiring your growing eyelashes while you sleep.  He even loves that when you cry he knows about how long it will take you to settle down if he holds you.  And have I mentioned that he loves the shape of your head?  Daddy's a sculptor so he's pretty particular about bone structure--I guess you pass the test.  :)

Well, mommy's going to go get some housework done while daddy's keeping you busy.  Love you!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

A growing football fan?

Dear Maya,
It's been another lovely week getting to know you.  You're now 6 weeks old and changing every minute!

We took you to your pediatrician appointment last Friday and were pleased to find out you're doing great.  We got a prescription cream for your baby acne and it's starting to work already, none too soon since it was spreading to your scalp, neck and chest.  Your face is pretty clear at the moment so we're hoping these other areas will look better soon, too.  And the red marks you have on the back of your neck and on your left hand?  Well, the former is just a common phenomenon called a "stork's bite" which may take some time to fade away, and the latter appears to be a birthmark that will probably go away before long.

The biggest news at your appointment was your weight gain.  You were born at 8 pounds 9 ounces, but dropped down to just about 8 pounds by the time we left the hospital.  At your first pediatrician's appointment on January 4th, you hadn't gained any weight back so they had us come in a week later to find you had gained 12 ounces.  This time, exactly one month from the day of that first appointment, you weighed 10 pounds 15 ounces!  Almost 3 pounds in one month?  No wonder mommy's so tired!  Oh, and by the way, you've grown an inch longer, too.

We had more snow and then some freezing rain on top of that Saturday, so even when we had nice weather on Sunday, daddy could barely walk outside without slipping and falling.  So, needless to say, we skipped hanging out at grandma's house for the Superbowl, and since we don't have a TV we didn't watch the game at all.  I don't know about you, but mommy and daddy aren't big football fans so we didn't mind too much.  Your grandpa is a huge Giants fan, though, so you wore this outfit he picked out for you in hopes that they'll be in the game next year.  Check out the little football-shaped treads on the feet!

Well, mommy's going to go sneak in a shower while you're taking your after-bath nap.  Hopefully you'll sleep well tonight.  Mommy and daddy love love love it when you only get up once a night, unlike your every-two-hour routine from earlier this week, so maybe you'll take that into consideration...

Love you!

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Our cute little ogre

 Dear Maya,

Today was Setsubun, a Japanese festival denoting the beginning of spring.  Since daddy was out all day, you and I decided to surprise him with a traditional celebration when he got home.  Mommy printed some ogre mask templates from the internet and made one for each of us.  In Japan, it's common for one person in a family to wear such a mask and have soy beans or peanuts thrown at them by the rest of the family, symbolizing the driving of demons from the home.  We only had almonds and didn't really throw them, but mommy did eat as many as the number of her age for good luck.

*this series looks like you're throwing, though*

Another thing mommy and daddy did for good luck was eating sushi while facing south-southeast.  Mommy had never made makizushi from scratch by herself and was worried it wouldn't turn out well, but daddy said it was yummy.  It is tradition in Japan to eat a whole, uncut sushi roll while facing in the direction that is auspicious on that given year.  We made silent wishes while we ate.  After we finished we played with the masks--Clio was so scared when we put them on, her fur standing on end and her ears flattened down, but when you saw us wearing them, you just smiled and giggled.

Your moods, actions and reactions have been much more obvious lately and so adorable.  When we went to grandma's birthday party on Saturday, and when we went to visit mommy's grandparents on Monday, you flashed everyone great big smiles.  And on Sunday when we took pictures for your one month birthday, you had such a cute look for this one with mommy.  Daddy just got a new video camera so his family in Japan can see you in action.  I've put links to his videos on the bottom of this blog.  Forgive him for making embarrassing videos of you--he can't help himself!  He thinks you're cute and mommy does, too!

Well, you're tiring daddy out at the moment and we all have to get some sleep for your check up with the pediatrician tomorrow. 

Love you!