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July 14, 2009

I haven't been posting for the last couple of days - it must be summer!  We've been quite busy.  Deck-building, berry picking, jam making...  Did you know that making jam isn't a terribly baby friendly activity?  I guess I did intellectually but it didn't register how unfriendly it was until we had large boiling pots of jam and water on the stove.  Luckily Erika is already learning to babysit.  She's great at entertaining Elizabeth, but not so great at letting the babies sleep. 


In addition to all of the above, Elizabeth and I have been taking advantage of some of the many activities available in Ottawa for moms and their infants. 


We checked out a free Kindermusic class this morning.  It was pretty similar to babytime at the library, but the activities were a little more varied and the instructor explained the purpose behind each activity as we went along.  For instance, babies have 1/5th the vocal range of an adult.  Apparently singing glissandos is supposed to help them increase their vocal range more quickly because the babies will imitate you (she used a slide whistle to demonstrate).  Looking online after the class to see if I could find out more, I tripped across a study that actually talks about the applications of research in musical education which is quite interesting if you are into that sort of thing.  There were a few different dances as well, apparently to encourage vestibular development


There were many instruments (mostly various kinds of rattles) that were given to the babies to play with.  Each type of toy was given only for a brief period of time, and then cleaned up.  In some cases the toys were dumped into the middle of the mats and the babies could choose the ones they wanted.  The idea is to reinforce "sharing" and "cleaning up".  It seemed to work better with some children than others.  Elizabeth was a bit overwhelmed by all the noise and commotion at times, but wasn't bothered at all by putting the toys back (she's still in the "out of sight out of mind" phase).  Some of the older children objected quite loudly.


All in all, the music class was interesting but I'm not sure I'm ready to pay $13.50 per class + $46 for take-home materials.  Babytime is not quite as varied, but it is also free!  The fall Kindermusic classes are a bit cheaper, so we might decide to try them.  There are quite a few other musical classes available as well so I'm going to try out a few more before making up my mind.


July 11, 2009

I think we're going to call this photo "A hard day's play"...


Elizabeth cried on and off all night last night, leaving her parents rather tired.  The injection sites are a bit red and sore, but we think the main issue is that she is remembering this scary thing that happened.  In between screaming fits she seems quite content.


We were going to go berry picking again this morning, but it was pouring rain and Elizabeth was napping after her interrupted night so Brendan bravely volunteered to babysit.  Erika, Grandma J and Auntie Yukiko came as well.


July 10, 2009

Elizabeth had her four month checkup with the pediatrician today.  It was much less traumatic for mom and baby this time, but Brendan still got to be the bad guy while I cowered in the corner.


We got to hang out in the cute princess room this time.  Elizabeth weighs 5350 grams, and officially measures 60cm long.  This puts her at the 10th percentile for weight and the 25th percentile for height, and means that she is maintaining a consistent growth curve.  We are highly skeptical of the height measurement because they measured her lying down, while wearing her cloth diaper.  Elizabeth spent the time wiggling and frankly I'm not sure that the nurse tugging on her leg to stretch it out resulted in an accurate number at all.  My last measure of a standing, naked Elizabeth was 63cm.  In any case, Elizabeth is somewhere between the 25th and 75th percentile for height, so is growing well.


We put Elizabeth down on her back on the examining table while the nurse was asking us questions to determine whether Elizabeth's physical development is on track.  "Does she smile and laugh? Does she coo?  Does she blow bubbles?"  We were particularly amused when the nurse asked up whether she is able to hold up her head.  We just looked at Elizabeth, who had flipped herself over onto her stomach and was holding up her head and looking around proudly.  "I guess she can roll" said the nurse.  "Tummy to back?" she asked.  "All directions" we answered.


Last time they took off her diaper before giving her shots, which resulted in terrified screaming baby at every diaper change for the next 24 hours.  This time they let us keep it on.  Elizabeth didn't react too much to the first needle, but the second one was obviously unappreciated.  She cried only a few minutes though and then listened to Daddy read a story about a curious monkey getting a needle too ("Curious George goes to Hospital").


The pediatrician saw her and declared her healthy.  After admiring her and commenting on her beautiful blue eyes, Dr. Russell finished her examination and tried to put Elizabeth's diaper back on.  Elizabeth, obviously having decided that the doctor needed to see first hand just how clever a baby she is, promptly demonstrated her exceptional ability to wiggle and roll.  Dr. Russell did an admirable job of getting the diaper on despite all the wiggliness.  She commented that Elizabeth moves like an 18 month old and that we would have our hands full when she learns to walk.  I can just hear Grandma H laughing now...


She was pretty content for the rest of the afternoon.


July 9, 2009

Elizabeth went to university for the first time today, in order to participate in a language development study.


When we were invited to sign up, research assistant Tamara described her study as follows: "We're investigating infants' ability to use sound detail when learning a new word. In order to do this, we will have infants sit (on a parent's lap) watching an image on a TV screen at the same time that they hear a word being played over and over (labelling the object on the screen). Once the baby becomes bored with this word, we will switch it with a similar but different sounding word. If the baby notices the switch, as indicated by an increase in looking time at the screen, then this will show that they can distinguish the two similar sounding words."  Apparently infants can usually distinguish between all sounds at birth, but by the time they are six months old they begin to lose the ability to distinguish between similar sounding words if those sounds are not found in their native language.  The research is intended to help clarify how this happens.  They are particularly interested in analyzing the impact of exposure to multiple languages, especially for bilingual children.


Unfortunately, while Elizabeth was very happy to coo and smile for Tamara before the start of the experiment, Elizabeth became quite upset as soon as the voice started talking.  She didn't seem that thrilled by the pulsing dots on the screen either.  I wasn't allowed to speak during the experiment and was given a pair of headphones playing music to drown out the voice.  The idea was that this would prevent me from cuing Elizabeth when the sound changed.  We tried a couple of times.  The second time Elizabeth had her rattle.  She was happy as a clam chewing away even during the pulsing dots phase, but as soon as the checkerboard pattern came onto the screen and the voice starting talking, Elizabeth started to wail.  Apparently some kids don't really like it when they can't see the person who is talking, and Elizabeth is one of them.


Given that Elizabeth was so uncooperative, I was a bit too shy to ask permission to take photos.  Luckily the lab has a virtual tour which shows what we experienced extremely well!


July 8, 2009

Elizabeth has discovered how to scoot around on the floor.  (She started out in the middle of the activity mat behind her in the video).  Shoving herself along on her chest seems to be a vital component of her technique, so I don't know that it would work on carpet.  Normal kids usually end up wearing holes in their elbows and knees.  Elizabeth looks like she'll be wearing holes around her tummy.  Good thing she's outgrowing things pretty quickly at the moment! 


Less good is the suspicion that we're soon to be outgrowing our cloth diapers.  Time to go cloth diaper shopping again I guess.  (If anyone has recommendations, we're all ears.  Especially if there are features we might appreciate as she gets older that might not be obvious based on our experience to date.)


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