In my uncle's garden
Thursday, August 21, 2003

It's hot. I know that has nothing to do with Delphine, but I can't get around the fact that it's hot. It's 21 degrees outside, but about 26 in here because it didn't get cool enough overnight to cool the condo down. I closed all the windows because the air quality is 64 ("People with respiratory disease should limit prolonged exertion. General population at some risk."), but the fuggy smell is lingering inside. I think I might run the air for half an hour or so after Delphine wakes up, to get some clean air in here and move it around a bit.

I have to wait until Delphine wakes up because she's asleep on the big bed right underneath the air vent, and I don't want to chill her awake. She usually sleeps for an hour or so after I wake up, which gives me a chance to have some breakfast and get a chore or two done. Today I should be folding diapers, putting on a load of laundry, maybe even taking a shower, but I'm writing this entry instead.

These are crabby times. Del seems to have come to an unfortunate stage in her development where what she wants to do vastly outstrips what she can do. I can see her looking at a toy, thinking, "I'm going to grab that, and stick it in my mouth!" and then waving her fist ineffectually at it. It's very sad, but her grabbing-things ability has increased vastly in the last couple of days, so soon she should be able to grab at will. And stick things in her mouth, which is really where this is all heading.

I think she's also crabby because it's hot, but it's hard to tell. She's not getting any easier to understand as she gets older, she's getting more subtle. And quick to anger.

In the last week or so she has been very insistent on being held. If I try and put her down in her high chair, most of the time she wails until I pick her up again. It makes it hard to do things, so I've more or less abandoned any ambitious housework; I'm just doing the basics: laundry, running the dishwasher, vacuuming. Showering.

She's okay when I carry her, and she's happy when I play with her, helping her to stand up or sit up. She likes being out in her stroller, so we've been going for lots of walks. If I were to anthropomorphise, I would say she doesn't like to sit in her high chair because it's static, and she doesn't have any control, and she feels like she's missing something. If she's anything like me, that's at least part of the problem. She probably also wants my attention. I'm not a babyologist, but those are my guesses. I just keep telling myself she won't be like this forever, and that one day (soon?) she'll be able to play by herself for a few minutes.

It's making me think those play saucers are a good idea. She loves to stand up, so I bet she would love one. But they're really expensive, and I don't know how long they're good for. It says (on the one I linked to) 4 months to 12 months, but I bet as soon as she's mobile she won't be interested in being stuck in one place. This one converts to a toddler table, so at least it wouldn't be fit for the pit after a few months. As does this one. So maybe they would be worth it? I don't know.

Delphine has been having some diaper rash problems. (My mother thinks it's because we're using cloth, but I'm pretty sure disposable-diapered babies get diaper rash too.) We've tried various zinc oxide preparations, and the one which seems to work best is Pfizer's Desitin, which contains cod liver oil (so Baby smells fishy). I'm experimenting with using the Desitin when she's actually rashy, and Vaseline as a prophylactic when she's asymptomatic, because the Desitin is too expensive to use at every change. It seems to be working pretty well, but I'd be happier if she didn't have any rash at all. It's mild, though, and doesn't seem to bother her; there's no correlation between presence of diaper rash and crankiness.

And of course, the funnest treatment for diaper rash is Naked Baby Time! We have a pile of blue pads which we bought for the home birth (hah), and I set her up on one of those. She loves to be naked. I did it yesterday for a while, but then realized that since the blue pad is plastic, it was really warm to lie on. So even that solution is not viable until it cools down. Oy.

This week I put Delphine in the baby swing at the park. She hunkers down at the back of the seat, and grabs the edge of it and I gently, gently swing her. She was content in the baby swing for at least ten minutes, and I went into a kind of trance pushing her.

That's the only thing we can do at the park just yet, but I go almost every day anyway, when we go out for a walk. I sit on a bench and watch the other kids play, and often someone will stop and ask about Delphine, how old she is and so on. The other week I took my friend Ellen and her baby Dexter to the park, and at least half a dozen people stopped to talk baby with us. Dex was only five weeks at the time, and the younger your baby is, the more people want to talk about them.

Yesterday Delphine and I went to visit our friends Douglas and Tanya and their baby Ursa, who is just three weeks older than Delphine. They're moving to New York this week, and they won't be back until next April, so next time we see them Delphine and Ursa will be all grown up and in college! Okay, not quite, but you know.

Delphine and Ursa hadn't seen each other for a few weeks, so yesterday we re-introduced them. They made eye contact and each smiled at the other; it was the first time Delphine had interacted with another baby. Her first friend! After that they pretty much ignored each other.