Monday, March 30, 2009

a quiet Sunday afternoon

My husband had baby duty most of the day as I visited another congregation for my calling. By the end of the day, he was all tuckered out. Luckily our daughter is perfectly content to read on her own. In this picture she is reading a children's book, but she is just as happy to read the Time magazine, the Ensign, and vaccination reports. I like these two people.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

kitchen help

The other night Kiddo wanted to help with dinner, in the form of stirring the pan on the stove. Since that pan actually held hamburger meat that was browning, this seemed like a bad idea on multiple levels. But, as she is prone to do right now, not getting her way was accompanied by a loud scream and then sorrowful crying while holding onto my legs. Which has its own problems, since I was trying to make dinner. Then inspiration struck:

I would give her her own pot, her own spoon, and since she's pretty smart, something in the pot. It worked like a charm. She was happy, and stirred, and stirred, and stirred.

Except, I chose to put dry lentils in the pot. And apparently those are good.

In addition to being tasty, they also make great noises when dropped on the floor (no picture available). So my plan mostly worked. Next time she'll be cooking Cheerios.

An additional bonus: later after the floor was coated with lentils, so were her feet. That could be uncomfortable unless you walk on your toes. Ta-da! New skill acquired.

note: the scream and crying tend to be a making-dinner-thing. In most instances she yells a little, then moves on with her life.

Friday, March 27, 2009

15 months

Her 15-month anniversary was almost two weeks ago, but we visited the doctor yesterday. She was model patient, for a 15-month old. She was not fond of having her ears looked at, but let's be honest, it's not that comfortable.

All in all, she's a healthy kid. Her head circumference jumped from the 55th to the 90th percentile. (Her height and weight continue of their appropriate curves though.) But the dr was pretty sure that was measurement error. Having watched the measurement process, I could guarantee it was measurement error. Kiddo was mad to be there, and was letting the nurse know. The doctor was also surprised and mildly concerned that she has no words (none, we repeated, not mama, not dada, not bottle, nothing). Perhaps he would have been less concerned had I told him other members of her family take their time too. He was not as impressed as I thought he should be with her myriad of animal noises and motions.

So that night at dinner I decided to do a little talking practice. "Say mama." I instructed. She looked at me, but no words. "Can you say dada?" She looked at me with her thinking look, then with great concentration said "Dah. Dah." No, it's not her first word. But she says "Dah!" all the time to indicate things, and she showed me she can say it twice. She's so smart.

This gem is from a Sunday morning, where we hadn't got her dress on, but she asked to wear her boots. She's great.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

at the store

I have many pictures to post, and no time to do it, so instead I will write this.

Kiddo and I made a quick jaunt to the store today. First, I approached a sweet parking space just as someone else did. I stopped too early so that he could take it, then he motioned me in. Thank you kind sir. I hope when he saw my little one he felt better about his good decision.

Once we got inside the store, I asked my daughter if she wanted to walk. Since our communication is pretty sophisticated these days (considering one of us doesn't talk), she immediately leaned forward so I would know to put her down. We had taken all of two steps when she reached up so she could hold my hand. Is there any more perfect moment? I think not.

She let go five or six steps later when she realized there was freedom to be had. She loves walking in big spaces like stores. Later she made a break for someone else's cart (our list was not big enough to merit a cart), and kept trying to push it, so our trip was then over, because she was pretty upset. (The donut hole seemed to aleviate the pain though.) After paying, the check-out lady handed me a pen to sign my credit card receipt. Kiddo wanted to help write (and was tired, so her tolerance was small). I couldn't sign it with her reaching for the pen, so I set her down, and instructed her: Cry really loud so everyone will know you're at the store. Recall, our communication is finely honed; she did just as I asked.

Now we're home, and she's asleep, and I'm still happy she wanted to hold my hand.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

the end of this sprint

My parents are going home today. I have worked very hard, and am now caught up with my analyses. In other words, I cannot write any more, because I haven't yet run the data. I will do that tomorrow, and start writing again. And of course, there is always editing. Oh yes, there is always editing.

My cute daughter has loved being with the grandparents. Grandpa tickles her belly, and she laughs her sweet laugh. Sometimes if he holds his hand next to her belly, she moves it the rest of the way so they can have tickle fun. Grammy reads and reads to her, and takes her on multiple walks to the mailbox everyday. My daughter could wish for little more.

I have missed her (and my parents) while I worked long hours each day, so it will be nice to be around more, but I have not missed having to make dinner, do the dishes, and take care of the house. Come back soon.

Luckily, my husband's mom comes soon. With all this help, I just may finish my dissertation yet.

Monday, March 16, 2009


My mom is in town, because she loves me, and is helping me get more work done. She watches my girl while I write and write and write. The only downside is that now I have no excuse not to work.

But I expect to make great progress on my dissertation, and Kiddo is already thrilled to have another member of her entourage. Grammys are good like that. I've been anxiously waiting for her, and am so grateful for her help. (And with any luck, grandpa shows up before the end of the week!)

hi, hi, hi

Kiddo has figured out that when she waves at people, they smile, and wave back. So she now waves at most anyone she sees. Once they wave back, she smiles even bigger, and waves again. If she sucks you in, she'll do it as long as you continue to wave back. She even got the big burly somewhat gruff man in the back row to smile at her.

In Sunday School during her walk up and down the aisle (yeah, my kid is the one walking around, but she's at least being quiet), she would pause at each row to wave at the person there. They would smile and wave back, then she'd move on to the next one. "Hi!" she waves.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

a card for great-grandma

We went shopping for a birthday card for my grandma a few days ago. I made the mistake (?) of showing another card to my daughter, one that plays the opening phrase of "you are my sunshine." She was hooked, and made sure I bought it by touching it with her sticky little hands. The play mechanism is a little tricky, if the card is not completely open it will not play. So my husband and I get the opportunity to hold it while she dances. Unfortunately this is a still shot, and you can't get the full impact of her girations. Do not underestimate her need to dance.

Tonight it was particularly strong. She danced to the music on the card, then found that there was still dancing to be done, so would stop in the middle of doing something else to bounce a little, wave her arms, and do it some more. Sure, she would groove to her books (that mostly come in sing-song variety) but mostly it was just to the music inside her. She hears it.

I never wanted toys that make noise. Now I find myself searching after the ones that play music, because there is nothing that pleases my daughter more than a good dance.
Posted by Picasa

Friday, March 13, 2009

thank you

My dad jokes about teaching kids about "anti-gravity," that when they drop things they come back up, because you pick it up and put it back on their tray (usually when eating). I've been pretty determined not to teach that to Kiddo, so when she drops things we say "uh-oh, it's gone now" (and let her find it later that day).

The unintended consequence (and there always is one) is that she drops things off her tray when she is done with them. If she is ready for toast, she will drop her eggs off the side. If she doesn't like the chicken, it's over the side. Anything that doesn't make the cut is gone. It's hard to stop her, because by the time you figure out it isn't going to her mouth, her hand is over the edge and there it goes. This is funny when you're watching someone try to feed her, and infuriating when it's you.

So for the last few weeks I have been diving and catching and (gently) scolding that we don't drop food on the floor, we either leave it on our tray (fat chance!) or "Give it to Mama." So now she gives it to me: the unwanted crust, the misshapen bean, the undesirable meat, the tasted, but not eaten, lump of whatever. She holds it all out and insists that I take it. The meal cannot continue until it is in my hands.

And I say a hearty thank you, and praise her for giving it to me, and mostly mean it. Half-eaten noodle anyone?

Thursday, March 12, 2009

joy revisited

Kiddo is feeling better. It seems we were going through a lot there, we had colds, then travel, then flu, and suddenly, it's almost spring, and we're all healthy again. And in the last two days it is evident that she is all better. She can entertain herself for longer periods of time, she is talking more (surely in no language I understand), and is basically thrilled with life again. I'm glad she's glad.

Some random thoughts that I don't have time to make more interesting:
  • Kiddo has four new teeth on top; it makes for a lovely kiss/bite when she's feeling friendly.
  • She's started to develop a bit of stranger anxiety, which means she has been known to wail when my husband or I (but particularly me) leave the premise. Waving bye-bye helps sometimes.
  • I've just taught her a new sign "eat," which helps us near dinner time when she's melting down and I can't figure out why she can't just let me get dinner ready, until I remember she's starving, so I get her in her chair, throw some food in front of her, and we're happy again. This is added to "more" and "done" which may just be about all we learn.
  • And she's decided that since daylight savings came, she needs less sleep. This does not mean she goes to bed later (since the sun is still up). No, she still goes down between 6 and 6:30 pm, but wakes up about 6:30 am. She used to wake with the sun, now she wakes in the pitch black. Clearly she has a powerful internal clock.
  • Continuing on that theme, I think she's trying to transition to one nap. It's tough on us both.

Monday, March 9, 2009


As we approach the end of the book, usually at the second to last page, Kiddo starts turning the pages back towards the front, usually one at a time, so that we don't read the end of the book. I think she assumes that if we don't read the last page then we'll keep reading forever. Often this seems to be the case.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

some light reading

We are a family that reads in the bathroom. It's a habit that comes from my side of the family, I tell my husband it's because with seven kids, it's the one place you can (almost) be assured of some peace and quiet.

Kiddo seems to have picked up the habit remarkably early.

(Unfortunately the camera, and the photographer, were not fast enough to get the shot when the magazine is actually open.)

In truth she carried that catalog around all day. And the day after she carried her Friend magazine. She likes magazines. I think she never wants to be without reading material, and they weigh less than books. I can sympathize.

Friday, March 6, 2009

this week

I had arranged with two friends to watch Kiddo on various afternoons this week so I could really get some work done this week. I called the first one Monday about an hour before she was supposed to show up to say that my daughter was out of sorts, and I was uncomfortable leaving her with someone else that day (and feeling really paranoid for not trusting any one). Turns out my instincts were good, she threw up all over the floor about 15 minutes later.

Turns out she has the flu. I think I've changed her clothes more times this week (and run more loads of laundry) than I do in a typical month. She has made multiple disgusting messes, and is generally tired and clingy. We've watched a fair amount of TV.

But her spirits are improving, she's happy for a few hours each day (an improvement over Monday and Tuesday when I couldn't put her down), and I think we're almost done with this. Hopefully.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

some things she knows

My daughter gets that animals make noises (although I suspect she'll be surprised when she hears what noises they truly make, as opposed to the ones we tell her with our human voices, which don't really sound so much like the real thing). And she makes a bunch of them back.

She can:
  • hiss like a snake (or in fact, a salamander, which may not hiss, but hey, it's snake like)
  • make snapping motions with her hands for an alligator/crocodile
  • roar like a lion/tiger (although this one is less in vogue right now)
  • trumpet like an elephant (with accompanying trunk motions)
  • make mouthies like a fish
  • flap her arms like a penguin
  • meow for a cat (my favorite, it's such a sweet little noise she makes)
  • make the "go out to play" motions for a duck. Because, "Five little ducks go out to play..."
  • but the "mama duck goes quack, quack, quack" and for this she opens and shuts her hand

In addition, she loves songs, especially those that allow her to participate. Which means that if her toy can make music, she can get it to play for her. She can do the motions to "Five little ducks go out to play...", the chicken dance, and the "wheels on the bus." She also bows, keeps time to "barnyard dance," and does the "pookie shimmy." Come visit, and you can dance with her. I really should be doing a better job of teaching her sign language. It seems she might excel at it.

In fact, yesterday we turned off a kid's video she was watching, and she started frantically signing "more." Since this is the first time (since she was first taught the sign) she has used it out of a food context, we put it back on for a while. I find her amazing.

She selects the books she wants to read from the shelf. She can pick out some from their spine. Others she has to pull out. She'll stare at the cover, consider it for a moment, then either drop it on the floor (not now) or bring it to us to read to her.

And, she knows where her feet are. (Thank you Dr. Seuss.)

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

I love to see the temple

My husband and I finally got ourselves to the temple on Saturday. (A temple is a sacred place of worship for LDS people like ourselves. The closest one to us is in Washington D.C. (4 hours away) and it is only open to worthy adults - no kids allowed (until they become adults, then we hope they will go).)

This meant a few things. One, we took turns taking care of Kiddo while the other went inside, for approximately 2 1/2 hour blocks at a time. Two, Kiddo spent a lot of time in the visitor's center, where one can learn about our beliefs and most importantly, Christ. She loved the movies, the space, the picture of the Lion and the Lamb, and walking up to other (bigger) children and taking things out of their hands.

It was a long day for all of us, but it was rewarding for the time spent in the temple, and the opportunity to remind ourselves that being there is worth the sacrifice of 8 hours in the car, and hours walking behind Kiddo as she enjoys the liberty of exploring.

To me, the moment I realized it was all worth while is when we got home. It was about 11 at night, and we were changing my daughter into her pajamas for (basically) her first sleep since getting up at 7:30 that morning (okay, okay, she had two 30 minute naps in the car, one on the way down, and one on the way back). As we changed her, she was insistent that we all look at her picture of Christ on the wall. "Da!" "Da!" "Da!" she would say, and point. The rest of her things, which are normally very exciting to her, held no pull. Apparently a 14 month-old is already to learn, or perhaps remember, about Christ and his love.