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.