Ruby on the Rise

The Social Security Administration finally released the numbers on baby names for 2005. Nationally, from 2004 to 2005, the name Ruby went up from #158 (2098 babies; 0.1046% of total) to #132 (2421 babies; 0.1215% of total). In Washington state, Ruby went from #64 (88 babies) in 2004 to #76 (76 babies) in 2005. That means that in this state, the name is becoming a little LESS popular, even though it's gaining nationally. (Unfortunately, percentage of total babies wasn't available by state.)

Here's a screen shot from the Baby Name Wizard's NameVoyager, a fun toy showing the popularity of names over time:

(The lighter pink segments are names like Rubi, Rubie, and Rubye). As you can see, Ruby was far more popular between 1900 and 1920 than it has ever been since. At its peak in 1911, it was the 22th most popular girl name (3364 babies and 0.7630% of total). Its current rebound is relatively small, which I remind myself when I start worrying about our Ruby encountering other Rubys a lot.

Odds and Ends

(Click for larger image)

We took Ruby to her first Mariners game on Friday night, to celebrate my dad’s birthday. (True to form, the M’s lost.) Ruby was a hit among the fans around us, and was happy and alert through a lot of the game. I fed her in the “family restroom”, which was basically a single-room restroom that had a chair and a changing table. I was glad it was there, even if it was still a grody stadium bathroom. Sadly, I left our changing pad in there. I’m hoping to get it back from Lost and Found.

Since Ruby was born, Steve and I have both had the same waking dream many times… We’ll wake up halfway, and in a half-asleep state will start anxiously pawing through the blankets looking for Ruby (who is actually sleeping happily in her co-sleeper). Somehow, though, both of our new-parent brains keep getting fooled by blanket piles.

Ruby’s newest trick is standing up. She’ll hold her own weight on her legs for several minutes if you hold her armpits and help her balance. Not only that, but she loves it. She’ll smile and chatter as she wiggles her hips back and forth.

Breastfeeding has finally become easy and routine (thank goodness). Ruby has gotten much more efficient, too, so feedings rarely take longer than 20 minutes total now. (She took 45-60 minutes as a newborn, and about 30 minutes for several weeks after that.)

This week, we acquired a bunch of new furniture, which was exciting. We got a new custom bookcase, a crib, an Adirondack loveseat for the porch, and a set of kids’ Adirondack furniture. All but the bookcase were great deals, too. Getting the crib spurred me to finally finish setting up our top floor, so we now have a guest room and Ruby’s nursery. That was a great thing to accomplish. Next job: organize the basement, which now contains much of the crap from upstairs.

We had some store credit to a kids’ boutique, so we got to do a little shopping for fancy outfits for Ruby. Many of her clothes are hand-me-downs, which we LOVE, but it’s nice to have a few cute outfits too. I’ll try to get some pictures up eventually.

Happy Birthday to Ruby!

Today is Ruby's 2-month birthday. To celebrate, she's going to get stuck with four needles (immunizations) followed by a party with six of her friends (we happen to be hosting our parents' group tonight).

Ruby has really had a mental growth spurt in the last week and has become a social being! She smiles a lot now, and not just at her parents. She actively looks around, and at things. She moves more intentionally, and is showing the beginnings of putting her hands where she wants them. All of this makes her much more cute and fun to hang out with.

Ruby, luckily, has very devoted grandparents who love to spend time with her. That means that Steve and I have time to get things done now and again. We're trying to get our house organized (the upstairs rooms moved down to the basement and her nursery set up upstairs) before I go back to work at the end of May.

Steve made a mobile for Ruby out of a coat hanger, some dental floss, and blue tack; hanging from it are pictures of people in our family. I've always heard that babies love faces, but this is definitive proof. Ruby stares, fascinated, at the mobile. She jerks her arms and legs in excitement and chatters. She watches someone's face circle past, and then turns to watch the next person. We can leave her in her co-sleeper, happily watching the mobile, for 15-20 minutes at least. It's so stimulating that if we do that at night, then move the mobile away, she often drops immediately to sleep.

A Fine Line Between Talking and Crying

Except for last night, Ruby has continued her run of restful nights, which makes for happy parents. She seems to be developing her communication skills by leaps and bounds, and will wake up most days with a new sound to try. She now often “chatters” – making varied nonsense noises, probably in an attempt to tell us something we don't understand.

One thing I have learned to understand, though, is what she says when she's hungry. We noticed it at first because it sounds like she's saying “I'm gay!” and that made us chuckle. Because it was a distinctive sound, I noticed when she made it, and realized it's only when she's due for a meal. Now, when she says it, I hear “hun-GRY!”

Ruby is also becoming more smiley. It's still not as common as it'll get (only about 4-6 a day), but we catch more and more. Each one is a reward, even if she's smiling at the ceiling rather than us.

Best Day Ever!

Today we are having probably the best day yet as parents. First, Ruby's good sleeping continued with a new record stretch: eight hours!

We woke up well-rested, and while playing with Ruby after she was fed, we had that breakthrough moment where we smiled at her, and she smiled back. It happened several times in a row. After grinning at her like fools for a while, I grabbed the camera and tried (with minimal success) to capture it.

On top of that, as I write this, Steve is giving Ruby her very first bottle (of pumped breastmilk), which she's gulping away at. We were relieved when she didn't seem to mind the difference between skin and plastic, or be picky about the type of nipple. This opens up a lot for me… now I can leave the house for more than two hours at a time. My nipples can finish healing (one bottle feeding a day gives more time to heal). Steve is happy and looking forward to adding his own feedings to the schedule.

It's Not All Bad

Ruby treated us to a great night last night, giving us one 6-hour stretch of sleep (11-5) and one 3.5-hour stretch (6-9:30). We all woke feeling well-rested, and today Ruby has been awake almost the whole day. Not only that, but she's been in a good mood – awake and inquisitive.

Ruby at five weeks

(I’m planning to fill in what happened for her first five weeks soon. However, I need to just jump in here and now, or I’ll never start.)

First, you can see lots of pictures of Ruby in this online album: I post new pictures there once or twice a week, and try to post just the best ones so as not to overwhelm the viewer.

Until this week, Ruby has pretty much been an angel (again, I hope to write more about the past weeks at some point). However, this week, “teenager” is a better description. Her face has erupted in baby acne. She’s much fussier. She stays up much later than we’d like.

To be fair, the fussiness appears to have a definite cause. She’s been having some digestive issues… her tummy hurts and so does pooping. During these periods, it’s sometimes hard to calm her, although sticking a finger in her mouth generally does the trick. It’s tiring for us, though, because she needs so much soothing and attention (just putting her in a sling or carrier is not enough).

We’ve started struggling a bit more with sleep at night, too. For several weeks, we were able to soothe her to sleep, then put her in the co-sleeper where she’d sleep for 3-6 hours. Now, she’s started to startle awake more often, so putting her down becomes an endless iterative process. Often, we just give up and whoever’s turn it is will take her downstairs or to the couch and put her to sleep on their chest (where she sleeps much easier). Also, I’m sick this week, which makes the nighttime struggles that much more frustrating.

One positive thing is that breastfeeding is finally going well. We struggled with it for a month, but now it’s working OK for everyone involved. We had assistance from books, our doula, our midwives, and a lactation consultant, and they helped, but I suspect it was just a matter of time and practice. It’s hard to see that when you’re in the middle.

Ruby has started to flirt with smiling, and we’re on the edge of our seats waiting for her to finally bust out a big responsive grin. That’s the reward we’re hanging on for right now.