Saturday, February 27, 2010

Guest Blog...An Evening with the Millers

For this evening's entertainment, I present "An Evening with the Millers," a montage shot (mostly) during Grandma and Poppa T's recent visit to our fair Elm City. Keep your eyes peeled for uncredited cameos by "Marvelous" Marvin Miller and Sailor Girl Sterud-Miller.

As always, we appreciate your comments and thank you for sharing our obsession with all things Audrey...Enjoy!

Sunday, February 21, 2010

The Daily Audrey: Bed Bugs

As my readers may have noticed, Audrey pretty much refuses to nap unless she's pressed against me in some way or another. At night, she generally sleeps in her co-sleeper with little or no fuss. (Its not until the wee morning hours that she weasels her way into our bed.)

This is us right now:

She fell fast asleep right before I could implement my Audrey Sleep Experiment #1. What is Audrey Sleep Experiment #1, you ask? Before I answer, let me preface with an explanation of my neuroses. I have spent the last seven (!) years researching and writing about literature. Now, as a mom, my professional inclination is to read everything I can about child-rearing and attempt to formulate my own hypothesis. But much like my first year of graduate school, all this reading is just leaving me confused, insecure, and in desperate need of a glass of wine. Due to my very liberal arts education, I also distrust everything I read. I assume that everything I read is either trying to indoctrinate me or sell me something. Yet still I read and read and everything seems to be telling me that my baby should be taking some sort of regular naps and be engaging in some sort of regular sleep pattern. She is, hallelujah!, sleeping through the night, except for one night feeding. But we put her to bed pretty much when we go to bed (hours that vary wildly) and nap time is loosely interpreted as when she falls asleep during the day.

Here is a typical evening. Fall asleep whenever you want! We're just hanging out!

(Can you tell that I'm rudely interrupting some serious father/daughter time?).

And here is a typical nap. We'll bounce you and rock to your heart's content. You just sleep and wake at your whimsy!

Mainly because all the books tell me it's what I'm supposed to do, but also in hopes of eliminating The Evening Cranky, I've decided that we're going to aim for something a bit more rigorous in the sleep arena; hence, the Audrey Sleep Experiment #1 begins.

1. Morning and afternoon naps around the same time everyday.

2. A nighttime ritual to let her know that we're getting ready for bed. I think this will be a bath followed by a book.

3. Bedtime will be at the same time every night. Or, at least, we will get her ready for bed at the same time every night, in hopes this begins to provoke some sort of auto-sleep response.

3. We might even put together the crib. And I might even put her down to sleep in it and shut the nursery door. Yes, dear readers, Audrey has never, not once, slept without me within about 10 feet of her. (Its probably usually around 5 feet). I think it might be time to let her have her own space. I think this will help her nap better, too, though I'll probably spend the whole time slumped against the nursery door waiting impatiently for her to wake up.

Good night, and good luck!

The Daily Audrey: Like Mother Like Daughter

The other day my mom and I had a conversation via text message about dressing age appropriate. My boundaries are pretty loose in that regard. Behold my 3 month old daughter in her first of what I assume will be many denim mini skirts:

And here's me (standing in front a broken brick wall that Dolly Parton once crashed) in a denim mini firmly into my third decade:

Life will be so much simpler once Audrey and I can just share clothes.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

The Daily Audrey: In Pictures

A new slideshow by Pop Miller. I haven't seen it yet myself, so watch at your own risk:

Sunday, February 14, 2010

The Daily Audrey: It's Valentine's Day!!

I've always thought it was slightly ridiculous to put bows and clips in the hair of baby girls. Babies don't have enough hair to necessitate hair accessories; the accessories are only there as gendered decorative items. "Look! I'm a girl" the hair bows exclaim, lest strangers assume the girl baby is, oh my god!, a boy baby and thus undermining the heteronormative rules that govern our society. In the Miller household, we're pretty cool with dressing Audrey any gendered way we want:

Despite our best gender-breaking intentions, Grandma Sterud bought Audrey Valentine's Day clips. And since they were a gift, and it is Valentine's Day, I felt Audrey had to wear them. And, oh my god!, so cute! so right!

Look at this little baby! Bring on the clips!

Baby, your clipless days are over. Hair bows forever!!!

The Daily Audrey: Valentines

My Valentines:

Saturday, February 13, 2010

The Daily Audrey: Rock and Roll All Night . . .

. . . and Potty Every Day!

You Woke Me All Night Long

I had initially believed that Audrey's sneaky transition from her co-sleeper into our bed was based on her sweet desire to snuggle with Mom and Pop all night. But it has become apparent over the last two nights that her intentions are more self-satiation in nature. Baby knows that if she's snuggled sideways against my sideways chest, then the milk bar is opened all night. And she is drinking it up. I was up all night last night with this little bar fly as she lazily nursed one after another, but would cry in frustration every time I tried to cut her off. Her all night bender has resulted in a few long naps today, as she attempts to "sleep it off."

Friday, February 12, 2010

Grand/Mom's Visit

My mom was in town this last week. Among the many highlights . . .

. . . Grandma getting snowed in for two of the nights. We had a big ole Sterud girls slumber party!

. . . Grandma finding Beautiful Butterfly just as entertaining as her Granddaughter. (Notice Sailor in the background yearning for a walk, attention, anything!!)

. . . Shopping trips in which Grandma significantly added to Audrey's wardrobe. These floral bell bottoms are a clear new favorite!

. . . Grandma helping out with nap duty since Audrey refuses to nap unless its on warm body.

. . . Audrey wearing her new Grandma-made bonnet.

Although my mom has just left the confines of Newark airport, I miss her terribly already. Who will I get lunch margaritas with now?

Parenting, Class

Last Thursday was our parenting class reunion, where everyone brings in their babies to show and tell and secretly judge. Momma Miller got a little swept up in the moment, and in what I fear bodes badly for future play dates, school interviews, and pool parties, a bit of her old high school self returned. I wouldn't say I was a condescending bitch, but other people might.

And so, in the spirit of high school, here are the parenting class award winners:

Best Dressed: Clearly. Do I even have to say? Audrey won hands down. Was it her denim jacket? Or maybe her tight leggings? Or was it the combination thereof mixed with motorcycle boots? She looked like a Calvin Klein model and, she worked it.

Biggest Baby: You'd think Little Miss Almost-Fourteen Pounds would've been handed this award on the spot, but you would be wrong. Another 10-week old baby in attendance clocked in at 17 pounds. Woah, Nelly.

Best Hair: I thought Audrey would be a shoe in for this one. The Sterud women have a long history of Best Hair. Unfortunately, a sweet baby girl with African-American curls beat out Audrey's thick, black, lightly-cradle cap encrusted hair. Sigh.

Cutest: I know all babies are cute in their way, but some ways are cuter than others. And Audrey, baby, I love your way.

Despite the fact I spent most of the evening passing judgement on the other parents and their offspring, I did manage to enjoy myself. The buffet table delighted in ways that only free food can. It was also nice to hear sympathetic tales from the newborn trenches. (Together we will conquer till we make it to ToddlerLand!) I didn't learn much more about parenting strategies, but I did learn that Audrey vomits more than the other babies, so I guess she wins that award, too.

Friday, February 5, 2010

The Daily Audrey: Dissertating Attempt #2

Audrey is refusing to nap anywhere today except against my doughy midsection. This is me attempting to appease both my daughter and my dissertation advisor. That's my second chapter in the lower right hand part of the photo, awkwardly balanced against my baby's bum.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Fussin and Poopin

Assuming this actually works, you should be able to view the first Miller-family music video, "Fussin and Poopin." As you can see (hopefully), this is really just a compilation of some early footage we've shot with the Flip Video, some of which has already been posted by my lovely wife.

Stay tuned for more footage (and blatant copyright infringement, of course (thanks, Roy)).

Play, girl

Everyday Audrey and I have "Purposeful Playtime."  I assume I didn't come up with this term myself.  All that alliteration seems beyond my limited poetic abilities, and besides, I'd probably call it something much more literal like: "I'm So Exhausted After Working Out That I Will Just Lay On The Floor Next To My Baby And Play With Stuff."  So I probably read the phrase while perusing baby websites during some ungodly hour feeding Audrey and it thereafter stuck into my consciousness.

Anyways, Purposeful Playtime consists of "playing," (my more intelligent readers can probably guess the rest) "with a purpose."  I began this activity time because I worried (oh, how I worry!) that I was just playing with Audrey in an off-hand distracted manner, while my mind was on other things: Doritos, pedicures, sleep, etc.  And thus, my mind wasn't really engaging her mind and she wouldn't never, not ever, get into Yale.  So now we engage in all sorts of fun activities, usually right after I work out.  (During my workout, she usually lays on the floor and watches in wonder as I fling my body all over the place and contort it into unnatural positions, activities she never sees me perform the rest of the day.  We're more couch people.)

After working out, I collapse next to her and we play some of her favorite games:

1.  Call and Response.  I make some sort of goofy noise and she responds with her own take on the goofy.  This activates both her hearing and speaking and helps her prepare for her future role as a revolutionary leader.

2.  Beautiful Butterfly.  This awesome toy makes a myriad of noises while its eyes turn a demonic red. This makes Audrey coo and giggle, which further develops her flirting skills.  You can't become a world leader without a bit of charm.

3.  Bicycle.  After the Beautiful Butterfly starts to lose its luster, I bicycle her legs and we talk about the big day ahead and what big plans we have for the future, namely, when she'll be riding a real bike.

4.  Reading.  Initially, Audrey wasn't much of a reader.  From her first days, as soon as her eyes would open, I'd shove a book under her gaze and read to her about the ramblings of some such animal or another.  Until recently, she was totally disinterested.  But of late, she has come round and we've been mutually enjoying the hijinks of Gossie the Gosling.  You wouldn't believe what crazy antics that gosling is up to!  Clearly, reading has all sorts of benefits.  I like to use it to spread propaganda, but who knows in what subversive ways Audrey will utilize this awesome tool.

Finally, its all fun and games until Audrey gets the hiccups.  This usually signals an over-stimulated baby and we end playtime with a trip to the changing table and if The Hunger isn't yet calling, we head to the showers.

Monday, February 1, 2010

The Daily Audrey: Happy Hours!

This last week we've gotten into my favorite bad habit since happy hour.  Somehow Audrey has crept from her co-sleeper bassinet right into our bed.  And thus the sight that greeted me the other night:
Putting Audrey between Mom and Dad seems to put her right into a cozy sleep.  Its a great way to get her to sleep at night, and an even better way to get a few extra hours during the weekend mornings.

I do put her right back in her bassinet once she falls asleep, so she isn't sleeping the whole night with us. But after a particularly fussy night last night (or I guess it's morning when it's 3 am) I did put her next to me and the Sleep Fairy instantly worked her magic again.  I woke two hours later to her batting my boob around, looking for her early morning breakfast.

Speaking from our experience with our dog, once you let them into the bed, it's hard to get them out.  But I'm not sure if this cozy little bad habit is one that I'm interested in breaking any time soon.