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Mo and Obe

When I met Mike, he had a cat named Oberon. This cat had shown up on outside his apartment some years earlier and Mike took him in. Obe is very emotionally fragile - he does not trust easily. So, a screeching, unpredictable, miniature human does fit well into his world. But he is amazingly patient with Mo.

This is the cat that bit my nephew and my niece when they were minature, screeching and unpredictable. Yet somehow he just knows that Mo is part of our family, our village, our team, and he lets her get away with things he would never tolerate from someone outside that circle.

It started before she was even born. When I was pregnant, Oberon used to curl up around my belly and snuggle with the baby.

During my maternity leave, it was often just the three of us at home - me, Mo and Obe - and we could be found spending our days like this:

He was very interested in her from the beginning, and things were much easier for him when she was a mostly motionless blob who slept a lot.

Then she started to notice and acknowledge him, and he was even more curious.

But then she became mobile, and she really found her voice. Now she chases him around squealing with glee while Obe runs from room to room trying to escape her. He tries to relax on the couch, but she finds him and screeches and laughs and tries to grab his tail or fur.

That's not a great picture to depict how she inadvertantly torments him, but Oberon's face usually looks like this:

Yet he never ever makes a move toward her. He never hisses or growls or swats. He just tolerates. Hopefully someday he'll learn to trust her (and she'll learn to pet him instead of grab at his fur), and he'll cuddle with her the way he did when she was in my belly.

Oh, one more thing. Mo LOVES to play in Obe's water and eat his food.

But don't worry, she shares her food with him too.



Where she goes each day

Time for a daycare update. It has been almost three months since I wrote about the food issue (here and here). Daycare has been a series of ups and downs. First we thought we only needed part-time daycare, and then found out we needed full-time daycare due to a family issue, which was a huge emotional adjustment. Then we spent a lot of time and energy finding the right daycare. Then we settled on one, and when Mo was four months old we took her to visit, and I panicked. Then a couple weeks later, we sent her off and it was hard. And then we spent a couple months working through lots of kinks, like getting them to keep her on a routine and understanding why she had a blow out nearly every day. And when we finally worked through most of that, it was time to give her food, and yeah, see the links above.

At that time, we were considering whether we needed to find a new child care situation altogether. We didn't like that state regulations were telling us how to feed our child and over ruling what we wanted to do as parents. Maybe we needed to get out of a state licensed daycare. And that's pretty much where we left off.

So where are we now? We're still at the same place. We put lots of feelers out again after the food situation, but there was only one bite. A colleague of Mike's has a baby a couple months younger than Mo, and his wife was looking for a way to stay home full-time with her son. We tossed around the idea of her watching Mo too. So we had them over for dinner to see if there was something there. And then a few days later, lo and behold, the colleague's mother decided to retire and offered to stay home with their baby, meaning they no longer needed the income from watching Mo. Oh how convenient for them!

And we've never gotten another lead since.

So we're still at the same place, and it has been OK. We got Mo to eat purees, and now she is hardly interested in anything else, which irks me because we're ready for her to eat table food and she only really wants purees even though she loved table food before the purees and whatever, it's not a big deal. Only it's daycare's fault because they made us give her purees! But it's fine, and she does well at daycare. She eats well there, she sleeps well, she plays with all her friends. She's no longer the littlest there and she's quickly becoming one of the "big kids."

Part of me still hopes maybe someday the right alternative will present itself. Maybe a grandparent will retire and agree to watch her a couple days a week. Or maybe a friend (or friend of a friend even) will want to stay home and will be interested in watching Mo full-time, or even part-time. Or maybe a miracle will occur and we'll be able to afford for me to work part-time, and I can stay home with her a couple days a week.

But in the meantime, I focus on the positive aspects of daycare. And I accept that this is our situation. We don't always get the ideal situation in life right? And if she has to be in daycare full-time, I'm glad we've worked out some issues and have come to like the place we bring her every day.



"Mo"nthly Photo - Ten

Miss Mo is ten months old. The other day my sister and I started talking about a first birthday party for Mo and her cousin Will. I can't quite wrap my mind around that -  her first birthday is just minutes away. In November last year we were meeting with our doula, preparing for the birth. We were celebrating this baby with our families at a shower. We were also switching doctors - from the OBGYN office to my primary doctor, which turned out to be a wonderful choice. And this year I have a busy, mobile, hilarious 10 month old.

Unfortunately Mo has been sick recently. I had a cold, and then she inevitably caught it. Considering she's in daycare full time, it's actually pretty impressive she didn't get sick before 10 months. But it was so sad and pathetic. She had this scruffy little frog voice, and a bad cough. She was so tired but had trouble sleeping, she wouldn't eat, and she was constantly fussy. We don't call her Angel Baby for nothing, she's normally amazingly well behaved, and this was such a drastic change. Mike and I kept looking at each other like, "What the hell do we do?" We don't know how to take care of a difficult baby. After all her other symptoms went away and she was still very not herself for several days, I finally called the doctor. They wanted me to bring her in, but her usual doctor wasn't available. We saw someone else instead, and she made me feel stupid. She did the whole condescending, "Is this your first?" when nothing looked seriously wrong. This is why we love our doctor and I hope we never have to not see her again.


Even though I hated seeing her sick, she did become a little love muffin. Mo is not a cuddler. She likes to sit on our laps and she'll tolerate a squeezer, but she's not a snuggler. So when she was sick and buried her head in my chest for hours at a time, I was in heaven. I missed two days of work when she had a fever so I could stay home and soak up all the cuddles and try to help my baby feel better. 


Mo now has four teeth, and she grinds them a lot and it drives me crazy. Between her top teeth she has this amazing gap. I can't even stand how cute it is.

I've been trying to teach her how to give kisses or blow kisses, but she's not quite getting it. She doesn't respond to commands for anything really. I know she can clap and wave, but she will never do it when we ask. She's still not talking much. Some dadas and gagas, but definitely more squeals and giggles and grunts. And she whispers a lot. However, I'm not worried about her communication because she's very alert, and she's obviously working on other things. She has great fine motor skills, and she's getting stronger on her legs. She's taken a few steps behind her push walker toys, and she's a pretty fast crawler. She hasn't quite figured out how to consistently get down from standing though, which means we often find her like this when she should be sleeping:

We had our first big choking scare a few weeks ago. Mo crawled over and sampled a piece of cat food, and I wasn't too worried because the pieces are really small and a little cat isn't going to hurt. Except she choked on it! I watch her pretty carefully when she's eating, and sometimes she'll choke a little but a few coughs and she's got it worked out. This time she couldn't cough and I knew we had a problem. I tried to swipe it out, but I kept scratching her throat with my finger nail, so I quickly flipped her on her belly over my arm and whacked the damn thing out. It only lasted a few seconds, but we were both a little shaken afterward. She also had her first bloody lip. While she's learning to stand and walk, she falls a lot, and a couple times this month she has bitten her lip and made it bleed. Even though I know she's ok, my mommy instincts do not like to see my baby bleeding.

We celebrated her first Halloween. At daycare she was a chicken, but the zipper on the costume broke so at home we squeezed her into a too-small elephant costume. It was a cold, rainy evening, but my family came over to trick or treat, so we took Mo out to a few houses. It was pretty adorable.


Shortly after Halloween I packed away her 6-9 month clothes. She's now in 12 month clothes, which seems crazy because there are some things I bought in that size before she was born and at the time I couldn't believe she'd ever fit into them. And now, certain things are even a bit snug. Like these pajamas. I bought them before I was pregnant even, and the seemed enormous, and now her delicious thunder thighs are barely contained in them.

Mo has remained a pretty good eater. She still prefers to eat from a spoon so we mostly do purees, but she'll eat just about any pureed fruit or veggie. We've been introducing more finger foods - cheese, chicken, eggs, puffs, cut up vegetables. For awhile she didn't seem to understand those things were for eating, but she has been getting the hang of it. We recently rearranged our front room to better accomodate an eating area, and we try to have dinner at the table whenver possible now. Mo is also figuring out a sippy cup. That's something we've been offering her for awhile, and she has always grabbed at it eagerly, but only recently did she start to tip it up to drink. Even now I sometimes have to remind her, and she'll act surprised when water comes out.

She seems to understand the concept of chasing now. If one of us crawls behind her and says, "I'm gonna get you," she laughs and crawls faster until eventually she curls up in a ball in anticipation of our tickles. We're getting ready to put a few more gates up because she has discovered the stairs to the second floor and it's only a matter of time before she figures out how to scale them. As proficient as she is at crawling though, she mostly prefers to hang out with us so she rarely crawls out of view. Although the other day I was putting away her laundry and I watched her crawl out of the room. I quietly followed to see what she would do. She crawled down the hall, stopping to looking into every doorway, until she noticed the stairs (going down) ahead of her, and then she bolted toward them. I had to hustle to grab before she reached the edge. 

Despite being sick and grumpy lately, Mo is such a joy for us and everyone. She is easy-going and very chill. She is pretty easily amused, but she won't laugh at just anything. When she does chuckle at us it's all the more rewarding because we know it was something truly funny. Her giggles are not a raucous laughter, but they are the sweetest sounds I know.

A distant friend of mine lost her baby at one month old recently. When I heard about it, I immediately got Mo out of bed and snuggled with her for an hour. I don't know why life thinks I need this constant reminder of my good fortune, but for some reason the people around me keep suffering these awful tragedies that never let me forget for a second how blessed I am to be Momo's mama. 


Ho ho help! To "do" Santa or not.

Does anybody reading this not do the Santa thing? Or know someone who doesn't? I've been thinking about it, and I like the idea of not going Santa crazy, but there are some things I'm not quite sure how you'd manage in a culture soaked in Santa.

A long time ago, loooong before kids were a real possibility for me, I was all, "Santa is a fallacy! I'm not doing Santa with my kids!" I'm not nearly so dramatic about it these days, but before we had started a family, Mike and I talked about whether or not we wanted to play Santa with our kids. At the time we thought maybe yes, maybe no, let's decide when we have children for real. Well, here we are. We have a child and we're just over a month away from Christmas, and we're not sure what we want to do.

This isn't a religious thing. And it's not actually about lying to my kid - I imagine there will be lots of tactful lying in the future. It's more about greed and entitlement and knowing where your blessings come from. I guess I don't like the idea of Mo thinking that presents just show up. I want her to know that people work hard to earn the money to purchase things that make her happy because they love her. They being us, in particular. Maybe it sounds like we just want the credit, but even if it wasn't us giving the gifts, I'd want her to know where they came from and why. 

Plus Santa creates this whole socioeconomic imbalance which is difficult to explain to kids who think they are getting gifts from the same jolly man as every other kid. Why does Santa bring one kid an xbox (are those even cool anymore?) and he brings another kid socks if she's lucky? I'm very uncomfortable with that. And though I'm sure there are ways to explain it, I wonder if I'd rather just cut to the chase and explain that Bobby's parents are able to give him more than we're able to give you, but we work hard and do what we can to give you gifts because we love you.

At first we talked about keeping Santa alive, but minimizing what Santa does. We'd buy a few gifts, Santa would do the stockings. We were both good with that, but then I got all thinky about it, and I thought maybe I don't want to do Santa at all. (Mike is sitting back while I deep think this, and then he'll weigh in on what I suggest. It's his way.) 

I'm pretty ok with not giving my kid the experience of believing in Santa. He never had much of an impact on my life: I don't really remember believing in Santa, and I don't at all remember finding out the truth. And I think you can still easily accomplish the magic of the season without a gift-giving Santa. It's not like Santa will go away. He will just be a fictional character, like the many characters she'll read about in books or see in shows or movies, rather than a real person. We can still talk about Santa, and we can even visit him in the mall if she asks to. But it'll be Santa the big guy in the red suit who is a symbol of Christmas cheer. Not Santa who brings her gifts while she sleeps.

But I don't know how committed I am to this. We haven't made any decisions, and in the end it might just be a hell of a lot easier to do the Santa thing and move on. If that's we decide, that's fine. We'll do a low-key Santa situation and be done.

However, if we do decide to forego Santa, there are a couple things I'm not sure to handle.

1. Where does it end? Would that mean we also don't do the Easter Bunny or the Tooth Fairy? Somehow it seems less impactful to give a fairy credit for a couple bucks in exhange for a tooth (Though I did see that the son of a Facebook friend recently got $20 and an expensive toy for his tooth. Has the Tooth Fairy really upped her game since I was a kid?), as compared to giving Santa credit for a mountain of gifts under the tree. But maybe that's discriminatory.

2. How do you navigate what the rest of the world believes? Or at least what most of the rest of her world believes. She'll be in daycare and school with kids who believe Santa brings them gifts. Even her cousins believe that. We can tell her that some families believe different things than us, just like lots of people have different beliefs about religion, and that those beliefs are important to them, so we need to respect them. But you can't stop a kid from saying to their peers, "Santa isn't real. My mom and dad told me what you believe is wrong." I suppose that happens inevitably at some point anyway as kids grow up and have realizations at different times. But I do not want my kid to be the spoiler for everyone else far too soon. 

It's in large part because of that, number 2, that I think we should just hop on board and play Santa. It's easier, and who really cares all that much anyway? But I'm not a big fan of doing things just because of everyone else does them. I like to overthink and overanalyze everything, make a thoughtful decision, and if it's the same thing everyone is doing, that's fine. If not, fine too. That's why I'm giving this so much thought. (Wouldn't you just love to live with me?)

So. Anybody else not do Santa? Or do you maybe do some alternative approach to Santa that might be interesting to us? 



Mo has lots of nicknames. Mo being one of them, of course. But we also call her a lot of other things. Mose, Mosey, Mosey D, MoMo, Mo Doan, Miss Mo, Mad Mo. My mom calls her Mosie (pronounced the same as Mosey, but that's her special spelling). Sometimes she's Punkin or Peanut or Peanut Pie. Sometimes Peens, which is an odd abbreviation of Peanut. I also call her Big (which came from Biggest Girl or just Biggest). 

Mike and I will call her funny variations of Mo. Like Motown, Motel 6, Mozilla Firefox. Or Mozambique, Moby Dick, Motor City Madwoman. Now I can't stop. Mo Rocca, Mo Money Mo Problems, Motorola, Mochaccino, Holy Moly. And so many others.

When she was really little we called her Princess and the Pee (because she got upset so quickly after peeing her diaper!), Princess Pooper, Billy Goat (because of goat-like noise she made) and Pea Pod. None of those have really stuck though.

But one that did stick from early babyhood, and that I think is my favorite, is Peach. Or Peachy, Peachest, Peach Pie, Peachy Pie, and Peachest Pie. I think it started because she had peach fuzz hair, but also, she really is such a sweet little peach. 

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