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."

Thursday, September 11, 2008

subtle signals

When my baby stops playing and does this:

I know she's ready for a nap.

I like that we communicate so well.

hanging with grammy, or, week 2 at the grandparents

So, better late than never. The second week of our visit to grammy and grandpa consisted of a lot of work for me, and a lot of fun for my daughter. Each day was a delightful routine of waking up with grammy, taking a walk, having breakfast (during which a sleepy mom would finally emerge), sometimes taking a bath in the sink!, and more fun.

In the afternoons, we would all take a swim. Not only did Kiddo love the water, she also looked dang cute in her suit.
We also got to go out to eat a few times. She has gotten very proficient at sitting in her baby seat, and eating socially.
Then, in a great surprise, a family in our ward was flying home on the same second flight as us. So, someone else could entertain her for a few minutes while I got to go to the restroom without a stroller, and without the heavy diaper bag.
I actually got a few pages written during my "vacation" and have continued to keep up the work now that we're home, but not at quite the same speed, because I have to take care of the kid, and make dinner, around here. But it's great to be back in my house, with my husband.

Monday, September 8, 2008

stealing a moment of time

When my daughter wakes from her nap, she makes noises in her room until I come in. I never wait until she cries because 1) she's really patient, and I think it would take her a long time to cry (her noises do get more insistent if I try to finish up what I'm doing), and 2) I don't want her to think that crying is a good way to get my attention (we reinforce that lesson enough when trying to put her down for sleep). When I walk in the door she gets incredibly excited, and lifts her arms and head up and kicks non-stop, which makes it a little tricky to pick her up. But, the moment I have her, she gets calm, and rests her head on my shoulder for a moment or two. I hold still, and revel in it, because I know that very soon she will lift her head up again, her legs will start kicking again, and it will be time to go, go, go! I love that moment.

This is a picture that my friend Wendolyn took of that moment (except this is the pre-nap moment, which is also good).

And this was going to be my post today. A golden picture of the finer moments of motherhood - until I put her to bed.

Tonight during our still moment, just before I lay her down for bed, she threw up all over me. This was not a petite spit-up, that has happened once or twice in her life. This was not a big spit-up, that leaves a mark on my clothes. This was a dumping of all that was in her stomach - which was a full eight ounces of formula, and various other things. It was all over her, all down my side, and all over my feet.

For some reason I expected to not be grossed out. This is my child, I carried her, I birthed her, I would do anything for her. But I was grossed out by all that was covering her, me and the floor. And I was inexplicably disappointed in myself for feeling that way.

My saint of a husband saw my dispair, and cleaned us all up for me. He is so very good. And my daughter is fine. She did not act sick before or after. She just clearly shouldn't have had that bottle right then.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Baby and the three tubs (4 really) by my husband

Kiddo has outgrown many clothes, a bassinet, an excersaucer, and now - sadly - her bath tub. You can see below that it just isn't big enough for her - especially now that she is mobile.

So we set out to look for a new tub. First we tried the big tub. Here we are. The macho flowery swim trunks are not there so we can take the picture, the swim trunks are there because she is very grabby and try as we might we cannot trim her nails to be dull. My wife and I had a small argument about who should get in the tub based on how badly she could hurt each of us. I lost, so I got in but I put my trunks on first. This does give Eleanor enough room to kick around in, but it was just a little too big, and she is very slippery in the tub.

Try number two was Grammy's sink. This actually worked pretty well. She had a towel beneath to keep her from slipping (and the water from running out). It wasn't so big, and best yet it was at a good working height for scrubbing her. The downside - and the reason we haven't adopted this strategy at home is that it requires that the dishes be done and the sink cleaned and the plug to hold water for a reasonable length of time. Sadly, it is just too much work.

Try number three is a baby bath we inherited from our neighbors down the street. It required a lot of scrubbing to get it in working condition. The silly person who designed the tub thought it would be a great idea to have a collapsible tub for - I don't know - storage maybe. It now leaks water so it has to be placed inside a normal bath which makes it a little awkward to work with. However, since Kiddo is the only thing we wash in it, it is easier to keep clean. (I used the cup to wash out her hair. It also served as an impromptu bath toy until she managed to ladel a full cup of soapy water up to her mouth, abruptly ending bath time.)

So which is the new bath of choice? Big tub, dirty sink or leaky tub. The jury is still out really -- so far none is "just right". Probably it will be whatever seems most convenient at the moment. Whichever one we choose though it is guaranteed that she will kick kick kick the water about in her usual happy way.

The End

Friday, September 5, 2008

amazing legs

My daughter sees her legs as extra arms. If there is something at her feet that she would like to explore, she reaches around for it with her feet and toes, then lifts it up to her hands and, of course, mouth. Using her legs this way allows her to truly experience a toy. She can hold it with her feet, leaving her more delicate digits (fingers) to touch, push, grab, and enjoy. She's been doing this for at least a month, and it's amazing. (It would be more amazing if her father wasn't equally dexterous with his feet, but it's still pretty impressive.) This facility with leg usage would probably explain why she learned to clap her feet long before she learned to clap her hands.

Just in the last day, she's started to use her legs in a more traditional way, to push up on all fours, and threaten me with actual crawling (the threats are in the form of a sweet smile that seems to say "look what I can do!"). Oh how that will put a cramp in my style. Stay with your baby crawl sweetie - there's no rush.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

a juxtaposition of talents

While visiting the grandparents, Kiddo developed a new skill. Her chair for eating was at an awkward angle, so she was consistently slouching. After a number of adjustments, we got it fixed enough that if she started to slouch, she could grab the sides of her tray, and pull herself up to sitting. I was almost as proud of her for figuring this out as she was that she could do it.

After lunch today, she was a little out of sorts. She wasn't hungry. She wasn't tired. She wasn't thirsty. I wasn't sure what to do. So, I figured we'd go for a walk to kill some time. She squealed for joy when I opened the door. She hooted happily as I set up her stroller. I sat her there, and she anxiously tried to sit up straight (as opposed to the reclined position that it sits at normally). I assumed that I could get the seat to sit at a right angle, and pushed it that way while I was tying my shoes. When I let go of the seat (to figure out how to get it to stay that way) the seat reclined, but my daughter did not.

Well, she started to, then she pulled herself up to sitting, using the tray to help. And spent most of the next 30 minutes sitting straight up (who needs seat backs?), holding on to the tray, and telling every one we saw how great it is to be outside.

I knew it was time to come home and nap when she decided that reclining was good enough for her.