Monday, October 18, 2010

Unconventional lullabies

I have to admit - I’m not very good at lullabies.  I can hum them, but when it comes to singing, it’s often too high of a key, then I forget what all the words are, and then I start making things up, and it goes down hill from there.  Plus, before having Jillian, when did I ever really have the need to sing a lullaby?  They aren’t really the kind of songs you rock out to in the car while playing the steering wheel drums (oh… did I just admit to doing that?!  Yes. Yes I did.)  And I recall an awful time trying to remember a lullaby to calm my niece, and all I could come up with was the Battle Hymn of the Republic (My eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord…).  Not good.

I remember some of the early days with Jillian very vividly.  I was breastfeeding at the time, and was up every 2-3 hours at night to feed her.  She often couldn’t latch, and therefore couldn’t eat, and when she did latch it was like toe-curling pain for me.  We were both very cranky.  She’d cry b/c she was hungry and sleepy, I’d cry because I couldn’t feed her and was exhausted – it was miserable.  One night, I got the bright idea – let’s try singing!  THAT should calm her down!  But that’s when the problem hit – I couldn’t for the life of me think of a song to sing.  No soothing baby lullabies were popping in to my head.  Thanks to her little Glo-worm, I know them now (Twinkle Twinkle Little Star, Mockingbird, Frere Jacques, etc), but they were definitely NOT coming to me then, at 2:30 in the morning, when we were both crying. 

So what did I do?  I improvised.

The only songs back then that did pop into my head were rock-out-in-the-car songs.  So I created my own lullabies.  Boom Boom Pow by the Black Eyed Peas became one (sung softly and with less emphasis on the booms), though it was pretty awful.  One favorite was “Sweet Child of Mine” by Guns and Roses (infinitely better than Boom Boom Pow – and Jillian does have ‘eyes of the bluest sky’).  Matt would sing “Three Little Birds” by Bob Marley – she still loves that.  And another favorite that was a popular song last fall, and that really did the trick in the early days was “Say Hey (I Love You)” by Michael Franti.  It’s still one of her favorites today.

But my all-time favorite is “More” by Matthew West.  Matthew West is a Christian music artist. I’ve been listening to Christian radio for about 5 years now – it’s a really nice and encouraging start to my day, and calms me while in the throws of rush hour on I-95. I had heard this song before having Jillian, liked it, but didn’t fully appreciate the lyrics and the beauty of the song until I had such a miracle of a child in my arms.  It just popped into my head one day, and stuck.  The song is actually written as a love song from God to us, so it’s just perfect.  I mainly sing the chorus over and over to Jillian when I rock her to sleep, and I can tell she knows that it’s ‘Mommy’s song’.  She instantly calms down, and knows it’s time to rest. 

So this is one of my ‘unconventional lullabies’, and mine & Jillian’s special song:

"More" by Matthew West
Take a look at the mountains / Stretching a mile high
Take a look at the ocean / Far as your eye can see
And think of Me
Take a look at the desert / Do you feel like a grain of sand?
I am with you wherever / Where you go is where I am
And I'm always thinking of you / Take a look around you
I'm spelling it out one by one.
I love you more than the sun / And the stars that I taught how to shine
You are mine, and you shine for me too
I love you, yesterday and today / And tomorrow, I'll say it again and again
I love you more
Just a face in the city / Just a tear on a crowded street
But you are one in a million / And you belong to me
And I want you to know / That I'm not letting go
Even when you come undone
Shine for Me / Shine for Me / Shine on, shine on / Shine for Me
I love you  more than the sun / And the stars that I taught how to shine
You are mine, and you shine for me too
I love you, yesterday and today / Through the joy and the pain
I'll say it again and again
I love you more
And I see you / And I made you
And I love you more than you can imagine
More than you can fathom / I love you more than the sun
And you shine for me
For a little snippet: (

Friday, October 8, 2010

And she's off...

Our girl is WALKING!!!

On Monday night she took her first 4 steps – the first time to get to the laundry basket, and the remaining times to get to Daddy. Those tiny little tentative steps were so precious. Matt and I just smiled and clapped and must have said a hundred “YAY”s. We couldn’t get over it. Such a big girl! This has all gone quite fast, as she didn’t crawl until 9 months. Now she’s walking on her own at 10.5 months!

On Monday she wouldn’t really walk to me (again with the Daddy preference), so I didn’t get to see her face as she did it. Tuesday night, she was consumed with playing with the ball-popper, so there was no walking. But on Wednesday when I dropped her off at school (in her new shoes, by the way), she stood right up by herself, and started toddling towards me. She had the biggest smile on her face, and an expression of sheer joy. I was so proud of her!

Jillian's first walking shoes

Hopefully we can get some video soon and share it with you. I’ve tried to post video to the blog in the past couple of weeks, but haven’t been very successful. Here are a couple of action shots though.

Hmmm – what are some other things that we’ve done recently? Jillian and I walked in the Komen Breast Cancer 5K Walk last Sunday with Matt’s cousin Mary Kay and her family. I didn’t have to push the stroller at all since my niece Macall and nephew Jonah took turns the whole way. It was a bit interesting when Jillian got hungry a mile in to the walk and I had to feed her a banana bit-by-bit as we walked. But she did great, enjoyed herself, and was pointing at all the people. I had never done the breast cancer walk before – and I have to admit, it almost brought me to tears at times. At the end, some volunteers created a human tunnel to congratulate all of the Survivors that walked. Seeing each woman, young and old, walking through that tunnel with smiles and high-fives was just amazing. Each of those women survived breast cancer! It really hit home for me. I need to check myself more often.

What else? Jillian had her first two playdates! We went to my cousin Laura’s house for dinner one night, and Jillian got to play with her second cousin Emma (15 months old), and Emma’s friends Meredith (almost 2 yrs old) and Preston (3.5 yrs old) who were there with their parents too. Emma, Meredith and Preston walked and ran everywhere, so I think that’s where Jillian finally got the bug – you could totally tell that she wanted to be running around with the big girls, and not just pushing the little shopping cart! I think she had fun, and we’ll definitely have to do it again soon. The next day, my friend Sruthi (from college, and now work) came over to our house with her son Joshua. Joshua and Jillian were due within 2 days of each other, but Joshua was born 3 wks early, and Jillian was 10 days late, so they are technically a month apart. Anyway, it was so cute to watch them play. I couldn’t believe how forward Jillian was – she brought her toys to Joshua, tried to touch his hair, and was really trying to get him to interact with her. Maybe she was smitten with his beautiful curls :). Joshua was a little hesitant, sometimes with a look of “Who IS this chick?”, but he warmed up, and they played well. Up to this point, I never really saw Jillian play with other kids, so it was really neat to see that she is a social girl, and likes to play. However, we need to work a little on sharing :). It’s not nice to try and steal your push car back from your guest.