Sunday, December 28, 2008

embarrassed by a bounty of riches

This is not actually my daughter's first Christmas, but since she was 10 days old the first time around, this is certainly the first one where she could join in the celebration. We spent Christmas Eve and Christmas morning with my family. Two of my brothers, my sister, and respective families, as well as my parents were there. We played games, read stories, sang songs, and generally got into the spirit of things.

That afternoon we spent with my husband's family, immediate and extended. It was a quieter affair, but that is largely just a result of numbers.

The sheer amount of gifts given and received were phenomenal. Kiddo made out like a bandit, with many more books, clothes, and toys. My husband and I were also the recipients of serious generosity shown to us by our families. We are so blessed.

Did I mention that Christmas is more Christmas-y when surrounded by family?

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

home for Christmas

After 4 hours in the car, 3 hours in the airport, and 6 hours in the plane, we arrived at my husband's ancestral home (and my ancestral home too, just not as recently) for Christmas. We were stung by our daughter's good sleeping habits, she is so good at sleeping in her crib that she is lousy at sleeping on our laps in the plane. So she effectively got to bed at 1 am. She has been tired today. We're hoping she can get somewhat caught up before the fun with cousins starts tomorrow. Despite the struggle to get out here, we are grateful to have come.

Christmas is more Christmas-y surrounded by families from near and far, especially when we don't see them very often, so we're glad to be here.

Merry Christmas!

Friday, December 19, 2008

take a bow

On YouTube is a video of Leslie Feist on Sesame Street, singing "1, 2, 3, 4" which Kiddo LOVES. She dances along to it, and has now officially seen it too many times. I know it is too many because Kiddo knows all the dance moves, including taking a bow at the end of the song, exactly like Feist does.

If you'll be where we are at Christmas, and ask nicely, we may show off our baby's dancing skills. She's good.

being there for her

Yesterday my daughter had been whiny and clingy all day, had no appetite for table food, and had a fever. It was a long day for the two of us, since my husband had a long day at work yesterday (grading 100 or so finals). She went to bed just fine (albeit a little early, because she's had lousy naps and wasn't feeling well), but because my husband had been gone all day, we stayed up a little later to talk. At 11:20 as we were finally going to bed I remembered that I wanted to check on her before I went to bed, and peeked into her room.

She moved as soon as her door opened, and looked at me. Shoot! I picked her up, and hoped I could rock her back to sleep. She felt pretty hot though, so I decided to give her some Tylenol first. As we were sitting in the rocking chair, trying to get the Tylenol bottle open, she coughed, then coughed some more, then threw up all over me. I called out for my husband, and then she got the rest of her dinner out on me. Why does this always happen at night?

We were all up by this point, so we cleaned the baby, her carpet, me, threw the clothes in the washing machine, and took her temperature. Definitely warm, but not enough to wake anyone. I assume this is a response to her vaccinations, and all I can think is how grateful I am we're doing this now, and not in three days on the plane for Christmas.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

green pants

Not long after my daughter was born I found these great green pants for her at Target. I seriously considered buying a pair in every size so she would always fit into a pair, but decided that was extravagent, and thus she only had the one pair. But let's be honest, with pants that cute, I regretted that decision.

A few weeks ago, I saw green pants again, for bigger girls. Our financial situation has changed since then though, and the pants seemed a silly whim that I could pass up, and I did. Except I didn't. I obessesed about how cute the pants were, and decided I could get them. By this point though, our Target no longer had her size. Argh.

We went out of town that weekend, and ended up stopping at two more stores before I finally found the right size. I have to thank my husband for supporting me in this crazy obsession, but you can see the evidence right here - didn't I make the right choice?

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

family togetherness

When it's grey and cold outside, and my daughter needed a 2 am snack, it's hard to get up in the morning. So when she starts calling out, one of us will get her, then pull her into our bed with us. She cuddles sometimes, but this is really her indicating that she needs to be fed. We don't worry about this creating bad habits of her wanting to be in our bed with us (which works for some, but really, not for us), because as soon as she's had her morning bottle, she is on the go. She does not snuggle with us, in fact she climbs all over us, gets her books, expects to be read to, and pokes our faces. Sometimes she'll "stroke" our hair, which is not so restful as it sounds (chalk it up to still developing 12 month old motor skills).

After she has bored of us, she wants out of the bed, so she can turn on my clock radio, dance, turn on and off my touch light, and investigate anything else that catches her fancy. And she is content to entertain herself, unless my husband and I should try to cuddle at all. As long as we lie on seperate sides of the bed, she ignores us. If we move next to each other, she immediately wants in on the action, and insists that she should be with us. She stands next to the bed, whining loudly until we lift her up with us. But she is not content to join us calmly and quietly, in order to catch a few more minutes of quiet before the day starts. No, this just starts another round of poking, prodding, and general wiggling, until we have both resigned ourselves to our opposite sides of the bed once more. Then her job is done, and she can get down and play again. Unless we should leave our designated sides of the bed...

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

happy birthday baby

On Sunday, Kiddo turned 1. For her birthday, we went to church, then took a nap. After her nap, we made cake, and while it was cooking, we opened presents. She got a lot of them (especially a lot of books, which is just the way we like it), and enjoys all of them.
Her favorites, by far, are a doll from her Aunt, and a walker/lion from her grammy (no pictures of that). She has learned to pat the doll, and we encourage the love she is showing, but we think, given the enthusiasm of her patting, we won't let her pat her new cousin just yet.
We had cupcakes with whipped cream, which she enjoyed, but she really loved dinner: spaghetti and asparagus. It's nice that her sweet tooth is not fully developed.

The next day we visited the doctor, and she received a clean bill of health. She is 31 inches long, and 19 lbs 12 oz. In other words, she's still tall and skinny. But because she follows her growth curves so exactly, the doctor is not worried, and neither am I.

She is a blessing in our lives in every way, I'm so very grateful to have her.

Friday, December 12, 2008

ode to my forced air heater

My heating system has only one thermostat, which means that the temperature tends to fluctuate a lot from room to room, depending on the time of day and whether or not the doors are open or closed. The vents are in the ceiling, which makes sense given that the system is in the attic, but makes less sense to think of all my warm air exiting, and staying, near the ceiling, which, given that hot air rises, is not an ideal place to put the warm air (although we have low ceilings, so I guess it's not so bad). But recently, I've grown to love my system, and this is why:

1) Forced air heating keep air circulation up, which is important to reduce the risk of SIDS, which was a constant low level concern for me last winter with my newborn.
2) It also provides A/C in the summer, which most duplexes in my row do not have.
3) Our heating bills are significantly less than our neighbors.
4) It serves as a white noise generator when I'm putting my daughter to sleep.

And then yesterday I was visiting my neighbor with her 10-month old, and realized the real reason I love it:
5) The old system was vents on the floor, which get hot. She spends all day making sure her boy doesn't touch them. My daughter can't get any where near our vents, so there is no danger there.

I have enough things I'm trying to keep my daughter away from without adding that to the list.

I love my heating system, and will miss it when we move. (which is not for many months, but I continue to dream.)

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

a lefty?

In the last week or two, Kiddo has finally mastered the cup. She can hold it by herself, knows how to hold it and actually get water out of it, as opposed to needing me to hold it for her. It makes helping her drink much easier.

So, when she's mostly done with her meal, I hand her her cup, and she drinks like a parched girl. Then as she finishes her meal, she carefully cradles her cup in her arm, in case she should need it again.

She always cradles the cup in her right hand, and does the bulk of her eating with her left hand. While sufficiently dexterous with both hands, she seems to prefer the left. I find this fascinating to watch her motor development.

the saddest sound

You know how your voice sounds when you're a little sick, sometimes a little higher, sometimes a little lower, and definitely more scratchy than usual? That's how my daughter's voice sounds today. Which means her throat is just a little sore. The poor kid.

(no surprise, she seems to be taking it all in stride, and is still having a great day)

Monday, December 8, 2008

maybe not

Yogurt should be on the no list, because it requires me to feed her. But, I figured out that she would drink it with my help (and who wants to waste any more baby food than necessary?) But then she decided that she wanted to make this happen by herself too. So we probably won't go back to yogurt any time soon. (But she sure was happy trying to make it work.)

Sunday, December 7, 2008

a mother's rite of passage

Today would be the second or third time I've fasted since I became pregnant with Kiddo. And it was the first time I had to fix her breakfast of real people food when I couldn't eat. I'm not a fan.

Friday, December 5, 2008

no spoons here

Kiddo will now only eat food that she can pick up and eat herself. Her cousin has been this way always, so I feel for my sister-in-law, but up until the last week or so, I could still feed my daughter. This requires further creativity in what to feed her, and frankly, it's taxing my brain.
It's also taxing her clothes, since she's not as good with her hands as I am with a spoon. Where is her bib? you may ask. They are too small, and she just takes them off any way, so I've stopped fighting for a while.

She does love spaghetti, which makes me happy, because it's one of my favorite meals too. She especially loves the meat. I never would have guessed. In fact, she carefully picks the noodles away from the meat (and often drops them to the floor so as to not cramp her space) so that she can enjoy it in it's pure form. She then goes after the noodles, as can be seen in this photo.

Second Cousins

This year for thanksgiving, I feasted with my husband, my daughter, four of my cousins, their spouses and children, at the home of my ever generous aunt and uncle. The children portion of the event consisted of 5 kids under the age of one, and a 2 1/2 year old. The good times were plentiful. The pictures are of my daughter interacting (parallel play for sure) with her second cousins that are closest to her age.

This is the one that is three months younger than her.

This is the one that is 10 days younger than her.

There were also three-month old twins, and the aforementioned 2 year old. The 2 year old was particularly helpful, and soothed Kiddo to sleep one day when we were having no luck in getting her to nap. He took the initiative for helping all by himself. I am grateful for his help, although I would not have thought to solicit it.

It was a great weekend, and a welcome break from conference prep, conference attendance, and the general activities of our life. Family is really what it's all about.

a mathematician's birthday cake

It was my husband's birthday this week. He got books, and gift certificates for more books. This is good, because he's been rather forlorn for the last few weeks with "nothing to read" (which is somewhat ridiculous if you could see the number of books we have in our house, but I recognize that it's always nice to have something new).

I made him a cake, and we opened presents together as a family. I didn't have enough candles, so he did it in binary. Clever.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

new friend and new hat

Yesterday I watched a friend's child so she could volunteer in her other daughter's school. The little girl is four, and she had a great time with my daughter. At one point she had Kiddo laughing because she was being silly as four years olds are. As the play progressed though, Kiddo stopped laughing, because that's what people do. The little girl tried to recreate the moment, and said "I want to hear her laugh again." Apparently baby laughter is magical to everyone, not just adults.

I put the finger puppet bag on Kiddo's head. She left it on there for a quite a while considering her adversion to hats. Isn't she cute?

In other news, my husband is safely home after driving through snow and wind for three hours in the dead of night to get here. It's nice to have him home.

This morning my daughter was so excited when she saw him in bed she almost leaped out of my arms to get to him. I let him change a dirty diaper, then I took Kiddo to another part of the house so he could get some much needed rest. About 20 minutes later she determined that we needed to walk to my room. As she approached the door she announced "Da!" and then pushed the door open, and moved quickly to touch his feet (the closest part of him). After a moment I reassured her that yes, dad was now home, and we needed to let him sleep. It's good to have him back, and apparently I'm not the only one who thinks so.

Monday, November 24, 2008

color for a dreary day

The high today is projected to be 40 degrees, but it's already 1:30, and it's just barely reached freezing (32). It's supposed to be the warmest day this week. Yet we had no car, and I needed to get some paperwork up to campus, so we bundled up, and away we went.
She was ready to be inside when we got to the house, until I pulled out the camera. Fun! Excitement! Smile! But she was also excited to loose the mittens and hat. She wears the mittens because she can't get them off, and the hat because it represents going outside. I'm glad she takes it all in stride.

Here's a close up of her rosy cheeks.

all Kiddo all the time

My husband is out of town for a professional conference. As this signals the end of this year's busy season, I am grateful. As this puts another line on his vita, which is valuable for his future job prospects, I am grateful. As this helps show his advisor that yes, he is a capable student that should graduate soon, I am grateful. As this means that its just me and the babe for four days straight - well, that strains the gratitude a bit.

Especially because my husband's departure fell on the second day of the Priest-Laurel conference, of which I was mostly in charge (with one or two other leaders). So, we started off dad's absence with a day of shepherding and interacting with 175 youth and their assorted leaders. The conference was a success; most of our youth just don't get to see that many others that believe as they do. Granted, it took inviting half the state to get that many 16 and 17 year olds, but I was grateful to help out. This did unfortunately mean that on day 1 of our time together, Kiddo got a grand total of 30 minutes of nap (compared to her usual 2 or 3 hours total), while I sat on the floor of the afternoon dance.

Day 2 of dad's absence was marked by church, which meant she got one of two naps. Why this obsession with naps? Well, first off, because I am obsessed with sleeping patterns, because I love to be well-rested (or at least, I believe I would love being well-rested, having not been in this condition for years, it is a largely theoretical belief), and I can only get enough rest if my daughter does. And a lack of naps means poor nighttime sleep, and the cycle continues.

Although the sleep is an issue (obsession), having the conference and church were actually good things, because it meant we were out of the house with much to do. As mentioned, the conference was full of people, and Kiddo loves people. And then the dance was certainly a highlight too - loud music with a beat! what more could my budding musician dream of?

I believe that came the next day, while we were in church, singing hymns in Relief Society. They asked me if I would lead the music. As Kiddo prepared to sing along she realized that momma can wave her arm to the music! So she happily joined in, singing and waving along. It makes me happy that while she loves a beat, she loves the hymns more.

We've scheduled visitors for today and tomorrow too. When my visiting teachers asked when they could come, I encouraged them to come when my husband would be gone. And when a lady I visit teach needed someone to watch her little girl, I quickly volunteered for the opportunity, then explained that she would have to come to me, because dad took the car. But he will bring it home soon (with himself inside - thank goodness), and hopefully then he won't go anywhere without us for a long time. (Until he starts interviewing for jobs, at least.)

Monday, November 17, 2008

more help around the house

My child also likes to help out dad with the chores.

why crawl if you can walk?

Today after her morning bottle, my daughter was standing between my legs as I was sitting on the couch. She turned around, grabbed my fingers in her fist and held her hands up in what was unmistakably the position she is in when we help her "walk" around the house. Who was I to disagree? I stood up and we walked around for a while. She thinks she is so big to get around this way. I personally am grateful that she is tall - I don't have to hunch quite as much to get her around.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

small friend

One of my really good friends moved to Alaska today. We exercised together at 5:30 am for over a year. She was the first person outside of my family that I told I was pregnant. She took me shopping when I couldn't bear to look at clothes because nothing fit, and helped me find my favorite pregnancy pants, bar none. She loved my daughter, shared generously with her, and called her "small friend." I love the intimacy in that term.
As she heads off to the north, we wish her nothing but luck and good fortune, but I wonder how long it will take me to stop missing her every time I walk past the library...

no meds

I had a dentist appointment yesterday to get a cavity filled. This must have been a small cavity (which matches my proactive dentist's way of doing things - she announces to me at each visit all the things we might have to do in the future, she's watching, and none of them sound fun), because the dentist informed me that I probably wouldn't even feel it if I wanted to go forward without medication. Now, I am not keen on tooth pain. But, I'm also not keen on the needles it takes to get the rest of the procedure painless (thanks to my long-term eye issues), so I weighed the options and said: let's do it.

She drilled and filled without any discomfort, and I was home faster than any of us expected. Which means I could have left the child at the neighbor's as opposed to dragging my husband home, but how was I to know that?

Monday, November 10, 2008

helping out

My child loves the dryer. When the door is open, she likes to pull herself up, look inside, and generally thinks its grand. She is even more excited to find clothes in the laundry, because she really likes to take things out. She is not particular to what the things are or where they are, she just likes to get them out of it. So today we opened the dryer to get out the clean and dry dishtowels. As she started pulling things out, I thought, if I put the basket in the right place, she can empty the dryer for me.

At first, she specifically tried to avoid the basket, until I showed her three times that we can take out a towel, and put it in the basket. Then, she did it once, and I cheered her on so much that she couldn't wait to do it again, and again, and again.

So, now someone else can unload the dryer. Except when Kiddo does it, I need to stand there to help her keep her balance, keep cheering her on so she continues to put them in the basket, and get the clothes that are past her reach, so maybe this isn't such a good deal after all.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

crunch time

November is the stress season around our house, because an important conference for my husband happens at the end of the month, and he works long hours to prepare for it. When he works long hours, that means lots of quality time with me and the kiddo. So, the last few days have been hard. And, when Kiddo only takes one nap (like today, again) she's what we call "delicate." An example of her delicate feelings are that she squealed with joy to see her dad walking towards her when he came home, and was soon crying inconsolably when he put her on the floor in the kitchen - usually one of her favorite places to play.

My good husband, although exhausted from his own work, had seen during the last few days that I was at the end of my rope too. So he offered to make dinner tonight. Knowing that I also needed a break from our sweet daughter, tonight he wore the backpack, and Kiddo watched the cooking from her favorite perch.

My husband used his considerable talents in the kitchen to make a delicious stew, and we had a nice hour or so together before putting the baby down, sending him back to school, and me settling in to get the work done I intended to do during her nap.

We'll all be glad when this month is over.

nap schedule

A few weeks ago my daughter finally found a nap schedule! Hallejujah! This meant I could plan my day, I knew when to put her down, and when to go out. I was no longer at the mercy of her - and it was easier to leave her with others, because I could provide them with a plan. It was beautiful.

Note the past tense. Then came the end of daylight savings time. While Kiddo was remarkably quick to adapt (her bed time was back to "normal" by the clocks in two days time) she lost her nap schedule along the way. So we are back to going from one to three hours in the morning, trying to tell when she is at the right stage of tired to nap, and not being able to plan my outings, because I don't know when she'll be tired and need a nap.

(And we've ended up skipping naps the last two days - and we are done with that. Neither of us is happy by the end of the day when that happens.) Oh well, the schedule was nice while it lasted. Perhaps it will come back some day.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

receptive vocabulary

The number of words that my baby understands continues to grow. It is fascinating to watch her communicate how she knows some of them. She will wave "bye-bye" when instructed, although the wave may be fleeting, covert, and/or late depending on her other interests at the time. She will clap on command, and knows that it is a way to express joy or excitement. She shakes her head vigorously when the word "no" is used. This has an interesting side effect. When she is heading off to do one of the two or three things that I have been very consistent about not letting her do, and instructing her "no" when I move her away, she shakes her head no. It's a great early warning system.

The most consistent demonstrations of her understanding come in reading. She knows the stories so well that she does the actions as we are turning to the page. In the book that says "no, no" she shakes her head. For the book that "says good bye" she waves. And when the hungry catepillar turns into a butterfly, she claps.

And of course, for the books with serious rhythm, she dances.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

civic duty

Our state does not have early voting.

So this afternoon my daughter and I picked up my husband from school, and we went to the polls. We were in line for an hour and a half. Kiddo did great, even though we were there over dinner hour (she had a piece of bread). I was grateful that the weather was decent, and that we voted before the sun went down. It actually dipped beneath the horizon, and got much colder, while we were in voting.

What I was really grateful for though, was the opportunity to have a voice in my country's government, and that I used that voice.

This is my child's second voting experience, and I hope that by planting the seeds early they'll go deep.

kitchen help

Now that she can get around better (what with the big girl crawl and learning to pull herself up, and let herself down), my daughter is now more and more into everything. She is particularly fond of the kitchen.

She helps with the laundry, by taking all of the clothes out of the basket. (She is particularly fond of the whites.)

She helps with the dishes by unloading the spoons, and verifying their cleanliness by licking them. (Thus ensuring another go round in the dishwasher.) She also sometimes pushes the spoons under the fridge to make sure I'm cleaning the dust out from there. She would prefer to work with the knives, but somehow those never seem to be in the dishwasher for very long if she is.
And lately she's taken to cleaning the knobs on the cupboards - although her methods are untraditional.
She also likes to watch things cook, although there are no pictures of that. Today she had a little melt down while I was trying to get dinner on. She was inconsolable. I knew she needed to be held, but couldn't cook (with raw meat and the stove) with her in my arms. And if I didn't get dinner on then, my husband wouldn't get a chance to eat tonight. So, I went to the attic, brought down her baby backpack and stuck her in. It was not the most pleasant cooking experience for me, but she sure had fun, yelling "DA DA DA DA..." in my ear and pulling at my hair. Our best moment was when I tried to squeeze in a little laundry, and was trying to move clothes from the washer to the dryer. She would pull the lid of the washer on my head while I was trying to fish out the last of the clothes.
She's such a great help.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

first snow

A few days before Halloween, we had our first snow of the season. In many ways it was also Kiddo's first snow. Yes, it snowed the day before, and days after she was born, and when people flew in to visit, but we had never taken her out in the snow. And at that point in her life she would not have been cognizant of it.

So when she got up from her nap, I bundled her up, and took her out in the snow. She was surprised when the first big snowflake hit her face, but then got into the spirit of the event, and really enjoyed our five minutes outside.

Note that she's standing, with help. I wanted a picture of her whole ensemble, and so while this was a very awkward picture taking moment, she's still pretty cute. It's also hard to see the snow, but trust me, it was there.

too warm for penguins

Last November while still great with child, I bought an infant costume hoping that it would be the right size for my baby. My husband wanted her to be a turtle, but just did not have time to make a costume, so we went with the store bought one, which was warm, but it was an usually warm day to begin with. So I think she was overly warm for some of the day, but really cute for other parts of it.

fall in our county

Her cute Halloween outfit, "So cute it's scary." (Thanks grandma!) Notice the one leg in the air. She kicks to show excitement, and she was excited then.

We went out to take pictures of the leaves. They had just really gotten colorful, and the next day we had heavy winds which threatened to take all the leaves down, so we took pictures that day. You can see from her little red nose it was not warm outside, but she just didn't care.

We took her to a story telling evening in the park behind our house. She's all suited up to keep her warm. She stayed warm. I did not. We also lost one of her mittens. I suppose this should have been no surprise to me, but I tried so hard to keep track of them...

And what would fall in farm country be without a picture of a baby and some pumpkins? We drove out to a farm that sold pumpkins, and considered taking a tractor out to the pumpkin fields, but then decided that it would be just as good to take the picture next to the previously picked pumpkins. We can take her on a tractor ride next year, when she'll appreciate it more, and we'll enjoy it more too. (This picture is a giant step up from the one I considered, using the pumpkins from the grocery store as a back drop - thanks honey for getting us to the farm.)

why my baby loves the computer

I haven't posted for a while because I can't ever figure out when to do it. Our computer used to be in the room that is now my daughter's. So that I could work during her naps, it had to be moved out. So, in alignment with the prophet's counsel, we put it in the living area (not that we had that many choices - after her room it was our room or the front room, we choose the front room). This was a good move, and made it easy to snatch moments at the computer (which is sometimes good and sometimes bad), until my daughter got mobile. Now it is more challenging.

In addition, we only have one computer that is truely functional, which one would think was plenty for two people that have access to an entire univeristy worth of computers, but some how it is often not enough. Computer use post-baby-bedtime is at a premium. Either me or my husband or both of us need it for school work. Computer use pre-baby-bedtime is equally complicated. During nap time, I need to be maddly doing school work. When it's not nap time, well, at those times we try to avoid the computer, because Kiddo loves the computer.

She likes to sit on my lap and "help" type. She likes to crawl towards the color printer, in order to press the on/off button (so it makes noise) and also open the front of it. When we're not guarding the computer, she pulls herself to standing so she can reach the keyboard and "types" (read: pounds) on the keyboard. It would be frustrating (and it is a little), but I know that this is just her trying to be like us, we seem to use the computer all the time - so it must be exciting. Plus, we can watch pictures of her on the computer, and sometimes we even watch videos on it!
So Kiddo loves the computer, and the amount of time that the computer is free and she is asleep (and I am awake) is small, so posts have become few and far between. Today I can use it while she is awake, and let her dad run interference (which he is doing excellently with the help of the piano, which may very well may be her new love), so we just may get caught up.

Friday, October 24, 2008

chickens need friends too

Somewhere along the line, this became a blog exclusively about my child - which I didn't intend to be the case. Yes, it was to be mostly about her, but it was truly designed to be some sort of family record. And parents are included in our family.

My husband is keeping more than busy teaching two sections of mathematics, researching for his dissertation (and the accompanying project and presentations), and starting to look for jobs (no, we are not finishing until next summer, but one applies for academic jobs early). He is recently published. I would tell you where, but you wouldn't understand it anyway, so let it rest that it is in a sufficiently academic publication. I am very proud of his hard work.

I have just finished entering my dissertation data, and will actually look at it tomorrow, starting to look for trends and patterns, and the stuff I look for. This is a monumental day for me. Every day I pray to be able to work well, and finish this thing. There is a light at the end of the tunnel, albeit a very faint one, that I sometimes wonder if it's just a figment of my imagination.

Our town recently declared that three friends are as good as five. The city council had hearings on chickens in town, and decided that you can have no more than four. One man recommended that, given the social nature of chickens, they would prefer to roost in sixes. But, we don't want to go overboard with this legislation, so we'll keep it at four. (The councilwoman who supported the no more than four position was careful to point out she was not anti-chicken. As this was a burning concern of mine, I'm glad she addressed it.) I sometimes pretend I live in a city, but then something like this happens, and I'm reminded that I live in the middle of nowhere.

We're happy here, and grateful to have such a beautiful place to start our family. Now back to the child.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

big girl crawl

Today Kiddo made a break for the swing that is semi-dismantled on her bedroom floor, so she can push the buttons and make the swing action go (since the swing is not there, the hinge just moves pointlessly back and forth, but she's a big fan of the button pushing). As she crawled I thought, why is she moving so slowly? this looks awkward, is everything okay? And then it hit me:

It looked wrong, but really it was right. She was not on her elbows, but instead was on her hands, and knees! She was crawling like a big girl. Throughout the day she has practiced more and more and is getting quite proficient.

That being said, she is still faster on her belly. She proved this to us when my husband tried to film her, and she was so excited that she dropped off her knees, and scooted very quickly towards him, or actually the camera.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

getting up, but not getting down

My daughter is getting better every day at pulling herself up. She can do it in all sorts of places are good, and others that I would prefer she didn't. It's great when I come in to get her out of her crib, because she can stand herself up, so it's easier to pick her up. It's bad when I try to put her down, because she can pull herself up to standing, and that makes falling asleep a lot harder. (We rock to sleep a lot these days.)

The problem is, she can't get down. She hasn't realized she can just let go and fall on her bottom, and so she leans, and twists, and shuffles (or tries to) until she finally falls over. Which means that just as the little bruise on her forehead was fading she got a new one on her cheek, which I'm sure will be followed by another somewhere else. 'Tis the season, I keep reminding myself. She'll fall for a while, but she'll learn. And, she is completely unphased by any of it. She falls over, looks surprised, then rolls over, pushes herself to sitting, scoots next to whatever she was standing next to, and pulls herself up again. Good for her.

Friday, October 17, 2008

think versus feel

My mom was on speaker phone the other day, and Kiddo was EXCITED about her voice, and the phone, and a whole bunch of other things. I told my mom this: "She thinks cell phones are exciting." My mom, who is always encouraging gratitude replied "I think it's exciting too; I can hear her sweet little laugh and voice." And I know my mom is truly grateful for the miracle of modern technology, and doesn't take it for granted as much as I do. But I wasn't getting my point across.

"No mom, I mispoke. She doesn't think it's exciting, she feels that it is exciting, so much that my daughter is quivering with emotion, and can't even make noise she is so overcome by the marvel that is this talking phone." And about the time I got that thought out, Kiddo finally squawked for joy, and started yelling about the goodness of it all.

Anyone want to call and talk to my kid? She loves it. (but you'll have to call our cell phones, our land line speaker isn't portable)

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

quiet time

In conjunction with learning how to stand, Kiddo forgot how to put herself to sleep. Putting her down in her crib led to much protest in the form of heart-wrending cries and sobs. She would only fall asleep if she was rocked and rocked and rocked, and even then it wasn't clear that she could be easily transferred to the crib. When it was only her naps that were being effected, it was challenging, but when her frustrating sleeping patterns moved to her night sleep as well, I was not okay with it. After two or three nights of going in and out of her room to help her fall asleep, I had had enough.

So last night we sucked it up, and "reset" her sleeping patterns, by letting her cry it out. I hate doing it, and am no good at it. But we did. She finally fell asleep, and this morning, went down for her nap with limited protest. It's nice to have things settled again.

Monday, October 13, 2008

the concept of cup

Kiddo understands that a cup is a cylindrical object that is closed on one end, and open on the other. You put it up to your mouth to drink.

So when she found the extra garbage can (that thankfully holds no trash) in our room, that is plastic, cylindrical, closed on one end and open on the other, she knew exactly what to do. Put it up to her mouth and try to drink. Luckily, nothing came out.

from rap to ravel

NPR played a piece of a new parody from Weird Al this morning, about the economic crisis, based on a currently popular rap piece. Kiddo got her groove on to that music. She was boppin and wiggling her heart out. I was sure it was the strong beat.

My theory was tested a few moments later when they played a teaser for the classical music portion of the day, and played a flute and harp piece by Ravel. Kiddo danced her heart out to that one too.

Was she primed by the rap music? Perhaps. Does she love (and dance to) all music? Yes. Is she the cutest dancer ever? I think it's likely so.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

stand up

My daughter stood herself up for the first time today. She's been trying for most of the week, and could do it with just a little help. She no longer needs our help (to stand, in very specific circumstances.)

She first did it while I was sitting on the couch. She pulled herself up, and commenced playing with the two remote controls that we actually use. The couch used to be a safe zone. Clearly it is no longer. Later, she did it in her room, and pulled all the towels off a shelf of her changing table. Later, against this box that keeps her from climbing to the door. The saddest time was when I was insisting she take a nap. She cried intently for 14 minutes, and I finally decided that she wasn't settling. I was right. She was standing next to her crib railing crying her heart out. (As this was our third attempt, despite her tiredness, at this point I gave up on the nap.) It's not clear to me that she knew how to get down from standing, but I'm sure she'll figure it out.
At least we know what we're doing this weekend: childproofing the next few feet up.

just say no

I believe that you have to set limits with children, and that whining should not get them every thing they want. And certainly we do not need to buy every thing that catches the eye at the store, especially things that make noise. And the first time I faced the actual situation, I failed (against my nine month old, no less).
We were checking out a new store in town to see its children's section. I notice that there were a lot of velour pants for my budding toddler. We don't need any. (I mentioned to my mom that they were "in." She noted that it was too bad we still didn't have my toddler velour pants... Hmm.) And we looked at toy key rings and cell phones, because Kiddo really liked the one she saw when we were visiting some friends last week. She was so enamored with this set of plastic keys (that made noise when she pushed the buttons!) that even though I wouldn't let her put it in her mouth, she still wouldn't let go of them. She fussed everytime I acted as if they might get removed from her tight little grip. I caved, and bought it for her. She got upset when I took them away so the lady could ring it up. Does it need to be said that we did not get a bag?
Now, there are some extenuating circumstances here. 1) I was actually in the market for such a toy. 2) Kiddo came into some money last month by participating in a health study, so in fact I was spending her money. 3) We had just returned something else I had bought with the money, so it was with us at the time. I want to think that given my life currently, no matter how much she liked them or fussed when I put them back on the shelf, we would not have bought them. But this did not seem to bode well for our shopping future.

what's for breakfast

Eating while pregnant was always a chore. I would find something to eat, and then two or three days later it would make me sick. So I'd try something new, which sometimes worked, only to need to be replaced a few days later. Then, about this time last year I found scrambled eggs. Two. With a piece of wheat toast. And suddenly, I had a breakfast that I could eat every day. And did. And do. A year later, each morning I still have two scrambled eggs with a piece of wheat toast. When the good bread is on sale, it's an excellent breakfast. When it's not, it's a good breakfast.

So, toast may have been one of Kiddo's first real foods. She loves it. And I've recently started her on eggs too. It took us a little work to figure out how she could eat eggs (she didn't want to be fed them) but now we have a little routine.

We sit her in her chair, and she has cheerios while I get her breakfast. She has some baby oatmeal, then some sort of fruit. When she won't eat any more of that, she plays in her chair for a bit while I make my breakfast. Then we share my two eggs and toast.

This morning, she was having trouble picking up the eggs and getting them into her mouth. I marveled at her ... innocence in this process. She would carefully pick up the egg bit, and try to get it to her mouth. Sometimes she couldn't pick it up, sometimes she dropped it on the way to her mouth, and a few times it slid out of her mouth once she got it there. Undeterred, unembarrassed, and undaunted, she tried again until she made it. When is the last time I've been so diligent about accomplishing something that I wanted but wasn't that good at yet? What a good example my baby is to me.

Our first attempt a few weeks ago... (this time she let me feed her, which explains the amount in her mouth.)
Don't you love this smile?

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

a lesson in comparing babies

I try not to compare my daughter's talents, looks, skills, growth, etc. with other children. But, being a human, and having three or four friends, plus a brother and a cousin with kids that are within 6 weeks of my daughter's age (plus or minus) makes this a lot harder. But hopefully, I've learned my lesson.

I read on a friend's blog that her boy clapped along with pat-a-cake. I thought: how cute is that? Would Kiddo do that? It turns out that, yes, she will, and in fact, it's not so cute at all. (Well, it is cute, because she's cute, but other than that, not cute.) Perhaps it is because she will sit there forever listening to me chant the rhyme, and then as soon as I get to the end she will start clapping her hands to indicate it is time for an encore. And then again, and then again. I don't know how long she'll ask for it, because I certainly can't stand it as long as she can.

The last time I found myself in this cycle I thought, maybe we'll chant some other rhyme and clap along. Nope. That wasn't good enough. She "nya-nya"'d at me until I went back to the old favorite.

The worst part of this situation is that even when I'm not entertaining her with the chant, it still drifts through my head in a never ending loop: pat-a-cake, pat-a-cake...

Saturday, October 4, 2008

I love doors

Kiddo's favorite room by far is the bathroom. Not that she ever goes in there, except in a heavily supervised fashion, but she likes it all the same. I know because she crawls toward it whenever the door is open. Next place she likes is the pantry/closet. The only thing that makes these loves bearable is the amazing invention of the door. We close them, and she can't get in.

I know, I know, it won't last forever. But that doesn't mean I shouldn't be grateful while it does.

messy eating

My daughter has always been a clean eater. As a baby, she didn't spit-up. When we started solids, she just took in the food. A little food on her lips gets licked up, not smeared everywhere. Food on her bib was more likely to be spilled by us feeding her than by her mess. Until recently.

She's learned that she has choices - like when to eat or not eat. So if she isn't in the mood, she shakes her head back and forth with amazing speed, and this may result in some food on her cheeks. In addition, she wants to hold the bowl and spoon, which often results in food on her hands, which gets pushed onto her tray and chair.

The last two days have been particularly messy.

This was not her fault. Her dad just dropped her food bowl, and got oatmeal everywhere. The second picture is of her trying to lick it off the tray.

This was. She hit the spoon, and peaches flew everywhere. Note her arm pulled into her sleeve. She seems to be figuring out sleeves these days. Later in this feeding (or was it the next time?) she made a lunge for the cereal, and succeeded. Ah for the clean days again.

Friday, October 3, 2008

unexpected chores

I was getting more diapers from her room when I heard a crash in the front room (where the baby was). It was not followed by a scream, so I assumed that things were okay, but I still ran to figure out what made the noise.

Kiddo had finally managed to knock over the plant. So began the list of things I didn't mean to accomplish that day. I had to get the vacuum out, so I found the time to vacuum the rest of the house. I had to replace the plant in its pot. Since we had potting soil in the car, and I have been meaning to repot the silly thing for at least three years, we finally got that done.

Later on that day she just wouldn't take a nap, then I was inspired to take her somewhere in the car. So I got the bills ready to go, and made a trip to the post office (it worked - she fell asleep). Not much happened that day that was supposed to, but plenty of other things did.

I read in a magazine once that instead of making a "to-do" list at the beginning of the day, a lady made an "I've-done" list at the end. That was the kind of day I had.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

wave bye-bye

Kiddo has always moved her hands, but within the last few days we have successfully taught her to "wave bye-bye" (obeys single commands- yes!). When Dad walks out the door for school, or when we leave the house, or when we leave a set of people, we tell her to "wave bye-bye" and she (usually) does her approximation thereof.

Sometimes she makes a fist and bends her wrist once or twice. Sometimes she moves her hand up and down.

My favorite application of this skill is while reading. The book "Oh my oh my oh dinosaurs" by Sandra Boynton ends with the page "Dinosaurs looking right at you to say good-bye because we're through." With no prompting from us she figured out that this was "saying bye-bye" and she waves to the dinosaurs. I love it.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

weekend with dad

Kiddo spent most of this weekend with dad. On Saturday I was working furiously on my literature review. I finished the first draft late in the afternoon, after six or so hours of work. While there will be plenty more drafts, it is nice to have the first draft on paper. My daughter and husband did fun things, like trips to Target, stories, watching After The Thin Man, and all the other things one does with a child during the day. It was nice that my husband could take the day off from work and spend the day with the girl.

On Sunday, I had to visit another ward for my calling, and for the first time, left Kiddo with dad. That meant he got her ready for church, she played on the floor during his Primary lesson, and they spent the afternoon together. It was nice to do my calling without her - and while she doesn't know it, she appreciates not having to ride in the car for such a long time.
I think they enjoyed the time together, and she'll be sad when dad goes back to work tomorrow morning.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

but I wanted that

I gave my daughter a small empty water bottle to play with in the car on the way home from the grocery store. I took it out of her hands to get her out of the car, and put it near her feet so it would be convenient to get next time. She didn't want to leave it behind, so she wrapped her feet around it, and carried it out of the car. She held it that way for about a minute before something else interested her enough so that she dropped it. She's very talented.

Friday, September 26, 2008

gravity lessons

The eating routine is firmly established. Kiddo gets strapped into her chair, the tray gets snapped into place, her bib is put on, then she gets some Cheerios or sweet potato puffs to keep her busy while we prepare her food. And at some moment in the eating process she pulls at her bib until the velcro gives, and the bib comes off. Then she looks at the bib, considering it, then she waves the bib around a bit, then she drops it over the side of the chair. A moment later she leans over, to make sure it's fallen to the floor. We can this learning about gravity. My dad calls it learning about anti-gravity, because most things that a baby drops get returned to them. I think for my daughter though, it really is gravity, because most things don't come back after being dropped.

This bib game does create the obvious problem of there being nothing to protect her clothes from her dirty face and dropping food. So we've added a clip to her ensemble. It only took her once to learn that the bibs aren't going anywhere any more, and she's stopped trying. But if the clip isn't put on... the bib is over the side, and gravity wins once again.

Thursday, September 25, 2008


You know that sound that partially full water bottle makes if you're carrying it in a bag, the slosh of the water hitting the sides and going back and forth?

That's the sound my daughter's belly makes right after she's had her bottle when she starts to play. It cracks me up.

marco polo

The fact that my daughter crawls (belly down) makes some things in life easier. For example, I can go into the kitchen, and a few moments later, she appears. This means I don't have to carry her every where (just most every where).

Yesterday I popped into the kitchen, and could hear her scooting my direction, and expected her little head to pop around the corner any moment. And then everything was silent. People who know children know that silence is not golden, that's only when children are asleep, when they're awake, it's a danger sign. So I started to call her name, to distract her from whatever was holding up her progress. I called it two or three times with no response, and then, just before going to check on her I called out "ehh!" which is her favorite sound. She piped back "ehh!" started moving, and soon came around the corner.

So she doesn't know her name just yet, but she does know sounds that mean we're talking to her.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008


Today my daughter and I communicated about something specific. This wasn't noise for noise sake. This wasn't a general outburst that I then had to decipher and guess about, it was a direct instruction.

I was helping her have a drink as we approached the end of breakfast. Although I was holding the cup near her, I decided to wait a few more chews before offering it to her. She made a distinct squawk that meant "drink now." I was so happy to understand what she wanted I was more that willing to oblige. She drank gratefully. What an incredible moment.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

say hi to dad

I was leaving a message on my husband's cell phone the other day, with Kiddo right there (as always). We were doing it by speaker phone because it is more interesting to her. After I was done saying my piece, I turned to her (who still doesn't understand any thing we say) and instructed: Say 'hi' to dad. At that exact moment she yelled into the phone. (Yelling is her favorite form of communication these days.) I was so proud. And now her dad has a special message to save forever.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

nine months and all is well

Kiddo had her nine-month check-up yesterday. In the last six weeks she added a pound (17 lb 3 oz), plus two inches (29 1/4). The nurse asked if she understood "no" yet, I assured her that Kiddo did not. She also asked if she followed one-step commands like "get your blankie and come here." I didn't have the heart to explain that at its simplest, that was a two-step command, and at a much more detailed level, it was much more than that. No, my daughter doesn't do that either. (She does come to me most of the time when I ask her to, but it is really because she wants to be with me, not because she understands 'come here'). Then the doctor asked if she pulled herself up on furniture yet. Yet again, no. But I'm fine with her progress. And, she had her hemoglobin checked, not once, not twice, but three times (this is the finger prick test). She was very calm about the first prick, even wanted to test out the blood, but the second prick was just not fair, and she cried vigorously. She's fine now, and it kept her from having blood work done at the hospital, so that's good.

But, today she figured out how to pull herself up, not to standing, but just enough so she can reach into her toy bin and pull out whatever she wants. This allows her to play with what she wants, not what I give her. Let's hear it for increased independence.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

getting bigger

Entertaining my daughter takes a lot of creativity. Yes, she entertains herself for a lot of the day, thank goodness. But (as we should) at other times we play. And often that play requires creativity to find something new to do. Oh yes, she'd do the same thing every day, but I need to shake things up for my sanity.

Yesterday I put her in the computer chair, and I carefully spun her around (which she LOVED). She looked so cute, and I took her picture, remembering that I had taken her picture there a few months earlier (early april to be exact). So I decided to compare the pictures.

In the earlier picture, she could not sit up on her own, and it was quite amazing that we could get this picture at all. (We took another picture of her at the same time in a bebepod, and she had a distinct tilt.) Now, she sits by herself, can rotate while sitting, and dance, and even can get herself to the seated position. She is so much bigger! And one more change, she smiles like crazy. Especially any time she sees the camera. And, on Sunday one of my friend's mentioned that she doesn't look like an infant any more, and looking at these two pictures, I can see what she meant.

ps- my husband mopped the floor, thank you!

Monday, September 15, 2008

please come clean my floors

My daughter is seriously mobile now. Which means she crawls (still army man style) across our living room, into the kitchen, and checks out everything along the way. She's slow, but it gets her where she wants to go. Today I let her poke around the kitchen while I ate lunch. When I went to pick her up she was dusty. Yuck, I need to clean my floors.

Which, incidently, is why my mom started really cleaning her floors. Her little kids would have dirty knees from crawling around on them, and that just didn't seem right. I agree, and now floor washing is moving higher on my priority list.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

fun with the family

My husband's mom and brother came to visit us. My mother-in-law laughs a lot, and my baby is a social laugher, so every time Grandma laughed, so did Kiddo. We just spent time together, and my daughter loves her family.

We are currently being visited by a number of wasps/yellow jackets, some form of stinging insect. Their hive is being built in the eaves of our home, and some have found a way in. Usually to the tune of five or six a day. We have not been stung by any of them, but it's still disconcerting. So, we bought a trap for them, and needed to hang it by their hive. Although my husband is tall, he was not tall enough. So his brother helped him get the extra height:

We, of course, couldn't let this happen without some photo documentation.

My one regret is the ending. My husband was more or less dumped on the ground (not his brother's fault, my husband just really doesn't remember how to get down from this position, considering he's not often on someone else's shoulders) and was spread eagle. My wifely instincts jumped in, and I was too busy checking to make sure he was okay to get a picture. I have one in my head though, so that's a consolation.

in and out day

Today my daughter is 9 months old. She has now spent as much time outside as she did inside. I can't believe how independent she's grown in the last while. She can propel herself anywhere in the house (slowly, but she'll get there). She feeds herself her bottle (although I do have to make it for her). She would feed herself her solids, but pureed carrots are not really finger food. She's weaned. (A decision fraught with emotion, but it's been the right choice.) She still needs us though.

I took a picture of the two of us. It amazes me how little she looks next to me. After holding her, and feeding her, and carrying her, and chasing her all day long, it seems that she must be at least my size, perhaps bigger. She certainly takes up more space that her physical appearance indicates.

My life has been turned upside down by this incredibly happy, friendly, and good little girl. She is growing up remarkably fast. Although, in all honesty, I looked at the new babies in church today remembering fondly the times when she would sleep anywhere (as opposed to currently, where she'll really only sleep in her bed). I also looked at the older baby narrating her life: "dump it out" as the contents of the bag got dumped all over the floor, and was excited to her Kiddo's voice and start to learn her thoughts. I guess that's what happens at each stage. You remember fondly where they were, look forward to where they'll be, and still try to enjoy each moment as it comes. Because it's really fun right now.

Happy 9 months Kiddo!

on the metro

We met grandma and uncle in Washington D.C. It provided us with a welcome trip to the temple, plus some fun family time in downtown D.C. This also meant that my daughter got to ride an escalator, and a metro. She loved all of it, of course.

Kiddo had been wilting, so we were taking her back for a rest and some food before we traveled home.She perked back up on the train back to the hotel though. At one point, a lady sat in front of us. She smiled at my daughter, who was smiling at everyone. Kiddo kept making noises at the lady, especially every time the lady looked away, to get her attention again. She's totally a social smiler. My husband and I were finally a little embarrassed by our daughter's flagrant attention seeking behavior, so my husband said "We're sorry, she's an attention hog." The lady brushed aside our apology and said "She's an attention magnet, you can't help look at her beautiful eyes and smile and smile back."