Friday, January 30, 2009

attack of the little people

I watched the neighbor down the street yesterday while his mom had an appointment. He is two months younger than Kiddo, and this is the first time we've tried this out (but not the last, she goes to his house on Monday). It was good; they played well together, or played well next to each other. But it took a lot of attention. Since neither has any impulse control yet, there was plenty of poking, touching, and stealing of toys, all of which needed to be pretty closely monitored.

Near the end of his visit they settled on a particularly fun activity, walking up and down our long hallway. One would start, the other would follow, and there would be expressions of joy all along the way, especially when they reached the end. They have both recently become comfortable on their legs and the joy of walking! well, it reminded me that perhaps this daily occurrence should not be taken quite as much for granted. At one point, this was an accomplishment.

My daughter also illustrated that she had figured out yet another part of the world. She found our set of extra keys that we let her play with. She picked them up, marched straight to the door and tried to put them in. She didn't bother with the door knob, just touched the keys to the door. That's what I do right? The partnership of the doorknob with the keys seems to still be a mystery, but I'm okay with that.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

it was then that I carried you

It snowed yesterday. Which meant that once again, we were inside all day, or most of it. When it was snowing big fluffy flakes, and we still had about an hour to go before Dad came home, and I was going stir crazy, I decided that she should enjoy the snow.

So we put on her boots, her mittens, her coat, my coat, my mittens, my hat, my shoes and braved the outdoors. We walked down to the mailbox. I had a super tight grip on her wrist so that each time she slipped I could catch her before she did a face plant in the snow. She actually did quite well, considering that she has a hard time walking in her camo boots. It made me smile to look at our two sets of footprints trekking down the road.

On the way back to our house, the footprints tell a different story. Every few steps, Kiddo felt the need to bend over and touch the snow (with her mitten). Then she would look up at me and tell me about the snow. I would convince her to take a few more steps, and then we would stop, and she would touch it again, and be impressed by the marks her mittens left. Each time we stopped it took that much more prodding and pulling to get her started again, and she went that many fewer steps before pausing, until she really just stopped. I tried to convince her to move, to walk, but she was done. She was content to touch the snow and look at her boots. So I picked her up and carried her the rest of the way home. (To her defense, it's the distance of five duplexes from our house to the mailbox, so it's not a short walk, and the way back is uphill.)

Once home, we shed all the layers, changed her wet (from the snow) pants and were sufficiently refreshed from our break from the house.

Monday, January 26, 2009

hair, the day after

This is her Monday morning look, in case you thought I was exaggerating.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

music please!

Kiddo was standing on the pack-n-play so she could reach the table (plus I think she likes the change in perspective). She saw me, yelled "da!" and pointed to the radio, and shook her little hips. She can't talk, but she sure can tell me exactly what she wants. I put in some Sunday music, and she happily danced along.

She repeated this action later while we were preparing dinner. She feels the music, and must dance.

before and after

Although it sometimes seems a lot of work, we put Kiddo's hair up in little ponytails for church. She gets loads of complements, and it's true, she looks adorable. As a friend said today, "I think she gets cuter each week." "Me too!" I excitedly replied. This is her all ready for church.

But she's not really a fan of having her hair up. The first victims are always the ribbons. She touches them, then pulls them out. Since she is a moving target to begin with, it is hard to retie them with any degree of success, so I usually just tuck those in my pocket. Not long after the ribbons go, she reaches up her hand, and as fast as I react to keep her away, she usually manages to pull out the elastic on one side.

Then the fun really begins. I try to put it back in, but it never looks right. It will be too high, or too low, or too far back. And her hair is so soft that the elastic starts to slide out any way. And it is only a matter of time before she pulls out the second elastic, and by that point, game over.

Except, it's not. Her hair stays relatively bunched together, and sticks up even without the elastics. This picture is two hours after I gave up on the elastics. In the morning, one side will be flatter (she will have slept on it) but the other side will still be going strong, and will continue that way until I soak her head.

Whether she likes it or not, she is committed to ponytails.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

appearing taller

Kiddo can now access the table. She's still a little too short to get there, unless she stands on her (folded-up) pack-n-play, then she can see a lot more. According to dad, she was trying to put an (empty) pitcher of water on the table tonight. So the safe zone of the table has just gotten a lot smaller.

But the real way she seems taller is because today she made the switch of choosing walking over crawling. Even though she still crawls when it's too hard to stand, if she is standing she will walk to the next place on her agenda. Which means that more than once today she walked into whatever room I was in. She's pretty short at just over 2 1/2 feet, but compared to her height crawling, well, that's quite a different picture.

(Though she now walks independently, she prefers to walk holding my hand, or more correctly my finger. I'm not sure I can express the joy of walking hand in hand with my delightful, adorable daughter, but I sure like feeling it.)

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

and there she goes

Somewhere in the last few days, Kiddo has moved from a few steps that end with a crash landing to really walking... sort of. She can now walk the entire length of our house (maybe 100 feet? I can't really estimate distance, so I don't know, the length of four small rooms), and chooses to walk many places. There is still commonly a crash at the end, but that does not stop her. She often gets up and goes again.

The whole idea of firsts, as in "first step" is nebulous to me. So, I have no date for her walking. She seemed to move from walking with our help to walking on her own without pausing for a "just one step day." So when did she really learn to walk? Well, if you watched her walk, you could reasonably argue that she is still learning. (In her efforts to keep her balance she often sticks her little belly waaay out, and it is so adorable.) But she is now able to do it quite well on her own, albeit slowly and with much fanfare. She likes walking to me or my husband best, because she knows at the end we'll scoop her up, should hooray, and act like she has made a major accomplishment, which she has.

a historic lunch

Kiddo and I watched the inauguration on the internet today while we had lunch. She loves to clap along with the general applause. She listened well enough to the speakers, but really liked the marching bands at the end. We watched not only because I wanted to see it, but, even if she is only 13 months old, I wanted Kiddo to be a part of it too.

Benjamin Jealous, the president of the NAACP said it best: "I will never forget the look on our 2-year-old daughter's face as she watched Hilary Clinton and Barack Obama debate. My wife and I realized that our little girl would only know an America in which every child can aspire to be President. Reflected in her gaze, we saw the faith of generations - men and women of all hues who have never stopped believing that as great as America is, we must be greater still."

Whenever I stop to reflect on it (which is never often enough) I am always floored by the immense bounty my family and I experience, and expect, on a day to day basis. As my daughter and I watched the culmination of a completely peaceful transfer of power, I was once again amazed and humbled to live in this amazing country. God bless the USA.

Monday, January 19, 2009

da, da, da, da

While she really has a lot of sounds, for purposes of communication with others, Kiddo only uses two. (Her full range can be heard when she is babbling to herself, not to others.)

The first is "Da!" It means: look at that. Or sometimes: tell me about that. It is accompanied by her adorable little finger pointing at something. Like her butterflies on the wall, or her pictures on her bookshelf, or anything else she'd like to draw our attention to.

A current favorite is at meal time, when she points to a picture of my siblings that hangs on the fridge. All seven of us are piled on the couch at my parents house; the picture is about 8 years old. She will point, announce "da" and not give up until we point to each face and tell her who it is. It is clear that it is exactly what she wants because as I (or my husband) says "Uncle G, mama, Uncle M, Uncle B, Uncle D, Uncle C, and Aunt L" she smiles as if all is right in the world. We will need a new picture soon.

Her other sound is "mmmMMMMmmm." This used to announce that she likes what she is eating. Or, that she would like to eat what she has just found. So, she will pull a clementine orange out, announce "mmmMMMMmmm" and try to take a bite. She found a leftover black bean on the floor yesterday, and I was grateful for her announcement of the delicious food she just found, because it gave me just enough time to snatch the hardened piece out of her hand. She eats many things, but those she truly loves get some positive feedback. It's very sweet.

We look forward to new sounds, but she is getting along with these just fine, so I don't expect any great changes soon.

Friday, January 16, 2009

trading places

This morning my husband stayed home with the baby, and I went to school. When I got home, he had started the laundry, swept the kitchen floor, done the dishes, changed the burnt out light bulb, and I'm not sure what other great home tasks. As I sincerely thanked him, he said, well, since I was the homemaker this morning, I thought I'd pitch in.

What a good man he is.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

that's my little girl in there

Last night we went to buy boots and mittens for my little girl. The only gloves were camo (with a sweet camo hunting cap too!). The only boots were cowboy. So when she's all suited up, she's a little cowboy... er, cowgirl, as my neighbor corrected himself today. Does it help that she's next to her doll and wearing a pink onesie?

wanting to walk

My daughter wants to walk. She now takes a few steps towards us or other objects, then loses her balance and crawls the rest of the way. On Sunday I saw her push herself up to standing without any support. She only holds one hand while walking. She wants it. Soon, I'm sure she'll have it.

her dad's chagrin

Kiddo finally made it to the toilet yesterday. I was brushing my teeth, she was watching me. She pulled up on my legs, and it was a short step to the toilet, where there is water! Lots of it! As soon as I felt her let go of me, I knew where she was headed, and pulled her away milliseconds after she got her hand in. But we weren't done yet. As I started to get her to the sink, she tried to put her hand to her mouth to drink said water. I stopped that one before it happened.

While he shudders at her adventures, her dad still likes her.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

all caught up

There were many things I didn't do during my vacation, and blogging was one of them. I think I'm mostly caught up, and surely there is no more news to report.

It was lovely to see our families. It was nice to ignore work. We are home now (blanketed under about a foot of snow). My husband is back at school, and Monday means back to writing for me too. This upcoming year will be a big one, with two graduations, a new job, a new place to live, and other new things we can't even anticipate right now.

Stay tuned.

new tooth for a new year

On January 3rd, Kiddo's aunt felt her first tooth. I saw it the next day, although it was just barely poking out. It is now semi-visible, if you can catch her with her mouth open just the right way. It's on the bottom, her left. There is only one, but it is one, and she is no longer the toothless one. 12 months and three weeks. Yeah, she's a late tooth bloomer.

coming home

On Wednesday, Kiddo and I flew home. My husband had flown back a few days earlier for a conference and some job interviews (but there is no news on that front, so okay then). I prefer having two adults to one kid, but I was okay coming back, especially because I've learned to ask to be next to an empty seat. It meant sitting in the back row of the plane, but Kiddo and I had two seats instead of just the one we paid for. And in a moment of heavenly blessings, we were sitting next to a grandpa, who was more than happy to show Kiddo the lights, let her lean on his arm, and poke his leg.

The hardest part of the trip was actually navigating the airports, because Kiddo insisted on pushing the stroller, as indicated by this picture. Her dad was not pleased that I was enjoying his discomfort so much as to take a picture (but I had done my time with holding her and letting her push), but perhaps he was just tired, and frustrated that the bags were still not here.

A long car ride home, and we finally walked in our door around 10 pm. Kiddo was overwhelmed in her joy at seeing home. She pointed to everything "DA!" and looked at her books, and smiled, and showed me that I although I claim to love to come home, I don't feel it like she does. And she reminds me to feel emotions more.

I am glad to be home.


For her birthday Kiddo got a toy that lets her push it around, and walk by herself. She loved it, and was developmentally ready for it. She would walk holding our hands all around the house. But it's huge, and certainly couldn't come with us for Christmas. Luckily, we visited Great-Grandma, who has a walker of her own.

It didn't take my daughter long at all to see that it was perfect to support her walking needs. She wheeled all over the place it in.

And, she continues to develop in this. Over Christmas she started to stand for a few moments by herself, and will now dance just a little unsupported, until she loses her balance again. And now she walks only holding one our hands (as opposed to insisting on two -she has a tight little grip), and will even take a few unsupported steps toward my husband or me. Today she even took the time to balance herself before she started walking, which was another big development. I think she is looking forward to leaving crawling behind.

our parents

My child is blessed with three living grandparents who adore her. And I think she may have her late grandfather's chin, but I'm not sure.

Here she is with my husband's mom. She laughs a lot, and Kiddo is likely to join in. This grandma is also willing to help Kiddo look good, and enables her Feist habit (here Kiddo is dancing again).

Here she is with my parents. We went out for a wintry walk. You can tell it was cold, because Kiddo consented to be completely wrapped up.

If my child has good parents, it will surely be the result of years spent with our own.


This is a recent picture of me and five of my college roommates. Four of them lived together freshman year, then I joined them sophomore year, then the last joined us junior year. The good times just kept coming that year. Shortly after junior year, three of them got married, and the other two were married within the next two years. Children were plentiful, I think their current total is 21 or 22, depending on how you count.
I am the oddball of the group: I live out East, I got married much later, I only have 1 kid (slacker!) and an overabundance of education.
Thanks to the insight of one of us (yay Gwen!) we keep in touch with a long lasting round robin letter. With this recent trip out west though, we all got together, and despite so many years and experiences past, it was just as fun as ever. I LOVE these women.
(Yes, I am the one in the shadow. My husband even pointed this out to me. But the sun off the snow was so bright, and my eyes hurt so bad, I couldn't bring myself to move. I regret that decision now. But at the time, well, I refused to look at long term, and just made an immediate decision. That should be a lesson to me.)

family pictures

While out west we took family pictures on my husband's side. Here she is, with her hair done by her aunt, getting her bow tied by her grandma. Is she not adorable?

I'm sure the rest of the pictures (and people in them) will be beautiful too.

does it play music?

One of kiddo's favorite presents was this popper, provided by her aunt. You push the red plunger, then little plastic balls come flying out of it, accompanied by loud uptempo music. Kiddo likes the balls, but is content when they've all scattered across the room. What she cannot live without is the musical accompaniment. Have music, will wiggle her little bottom for a good dance.

She will be thrilled when it shows up in the mail; it will be like Christmas all over again.


My kid has met quite a few of her second cousins, but very few of her first cousins. This trip changed that.

Here she is with her newest cousin, my sister's girl. Since Kiddo is enamored with babies (she may love them more than computers), this was a major event for her to be so close to another baby. Other pictures show how many hands it took to keep the infant safe. (And an adorable shot of the two of them is here.)
Kiddo also enjoyed doing as the big boys do: watching the oldest play his nintendo ds,

trying to get even closer...

and patting heads, the official way to say 'I love you' in our home.

So, in case your counting, that's a total of seven cousins met (three previously), five to go.

heeding the prophet's counsel

As counseled by our church leaders, we keep our computer in the main living area. My daughter is in love with it (as she is with all electronics). Although we try to set up various road blocks to reaching the computer, we have not been entirely successful. And sometimes it is just easier to let her play there than other places... such as helping us pull things out of the oven. We have learned to not leave thumbdrives plugged in, because she will pull them out. We have learned to leave the mouse out of her reach, because she will stare into the light on the back. And we have learned that if we put the keyboard out of reach, she just pulls on the cords until it falls at her feet, and then we have problems like in the above photo. It turns out that ctrl-alt-arrowkey is an interesting feature on our computer.

We continue to try to keep her away, but her love knows no bounds.

all around the mulberry bush

You would never guess from this sweet picture of my daughter and mother that the very next day (and every other encounter afterwards) this sock-monkey jack-in-the-box has terrified my kid, and will send her racing to hide next to any human possible, so long as she doesn't have to see the monkey.
We really don't get it. She loved it on day one. Day two was not so smooth. This present hides in the closet right now. Perhaps she'll be ready for it another day.