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.