Thursday, December 30, 2010

When women rule the world

I was felled by Chloë's stomach bug at just about the time she recovered from it, but just before that we fit in the ultrasound. L.E.O. the Sequel is one pound two ounces, healthy as far as our untrained eyes could tell, and a girl. Will she and Chloë team up to rule the world? Or destroy it with the nuclear forces of their sibling rivalry? Only time will tell.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Status report: Month 17

Chloë would say "Merry Christmas from the Overlord!" if (a) she could say any of those words and (b) she weren't throwing up left and right. Christmas was spent with a grandma recovering from a stomach bug and an aunt and cousin (a very huggy cousin) coming down with it, so I'm not surprised, though I am very sorry (and so is Eric, who has to keep changing his clothes as well as hers).

Other than that, it was a great Christmas. She got books and movies and clothes and electronic toys, and a new doll and a sock monkey and a fuzzy blanket, and a package of four nubbly balls that, along with her armchair, were really all she needed. She opened that first on Christmas morning and we had to open the box and get the balls out for her, and even after ten minutes of play we had a hard time convincing her that maybe she could look at the other presents that needed opening. She did enjoy ripping into the presents, hers and ours, and was restrained with difficulty from opening the ones still under the tree for her cousins and grandmas and such. And she was okay wearing her fancy Christmas dress for the family Christmas, though she was a little concerned when she was asked where her belly was and couldn't find it under the skirt.

Christmas was the first TV-free day she's had in a while, a trend we're not excited about. She asks for TV early in the day and keeps asking, even if she's seen a couple, and mostly we've been letting her watch one or two of her Baby Einstein shows. (She got a new one for Christmas, Baby Neptune, and the next day we watched it. Afterward she pointed to the TV and said "Baby," so I got out Baby da Vinci, which is what she usually means when she says "Baby" these days, but what she wanted was to watch the Baby Neptune one again.) We're not keen on letting her be a couch potato this early, so we're putting up with the whining and encouraging her to play with her blocks, or dolls, or Leapfrogs, or talking purse, or books, get the idea. Mom brought her a couple of teach-your-baby-to-sign books, basically miniature ASL dictionaries with kids doing the signs, and she loves looking at these. Anything with kids or babies in it is tops with her these days.

This past month she has continued to pick up vocabulary at an alarming rate. She knows "honey," for example, and "pepper." She can say "car" pretty clearly. She's been practicing "Halmoni," based on pictures on the fridge and the webcam call we had on Christmas, and it's now more of a "Hah....eee" than a "Hal." She now uses "Mimi" we think to refer to Memaw, Eric's mom, though that one's hard to tell. She calls all cats, or at least all black cats, "Shadow" ("ahh-daoh") now, after Memaw's cat. "Ba" is box (normally her jewelry box), or sometimes sheep; "pih" is her piggybank; "gkaoh" is chocolate. (She learned it because she got it daily, or anyway every day she remembered to ask, up until Christmas because she got an advent calendar from Memaw, though we switched out the "chocolate" in it for Hershey's. We'll see how it goes from now on.) She's getting better at calling oranges oranges instead of apples; she was excited to correctly point them out in her How Are You Peeling? book this past week. The peppers still perplex her, especially when I point to the red and green ones side by side and call them both peppers. I don't know if she connects them with the pepper shaker on the table or not. Poor kid.

"Button" is now "buh," which I hear pretty frequently, as one of her favorite pastimes is to sit on the spare bed and open up my button tin and let all the buttons cascade out. Then she shows me the pretty ("piee") ones, or we play "button eyes" or "stack the buttons" until she starts flailing her hands about in the pile and flinging them about, and then it's time to pack them up again. She's good at helping put them away. She's also good, after having been told several times, about not opening up the little bags with the special buttons in them. "Nanana," she says, holding them up to show me, and I nod and say, "That's right, that's a no-no. Thank you," and she puts them to the side. "No" is showing up more and more. Sometimes it's in response to "do you want your drink?" which is okay; sometimes it's in response to "come here so I can put your diaper on you," which is not. The definition of "no" will, we know, be ongoing for pretty much the next seventeen years.

She can also name various body parts. Previously we would say "where's your nose?" or "where's your arm?" and she'd point to it. Now we point and say "What's this?" and she says "nohh," or "ahm." She knows her leg, and her knee, and her cheek and chin and back and bottom (which makes everyone laugh).

She continues to be an excellent eater. She does very well eating things like applesauce and oatmeal with her spoon with not too much mess, and spearing things like cheese and eggs with her fork with great readiness and pretty decent accuracy. She gobbled up the green beans and turkey at Christmas dinner. Also, she seems okay with spicy foods. Eric was picking out a cheese cube from the tray and realized too late that it was a hot pepper cube, not Swiss. He offered it to me; I took it and was reaching for a cracker to eat it with when Chloë, who was in my lap, leaned over and took a bite. We waited for her to spit it out or make a face, but she swallowed, considered, and took the rest of the cube.

In the past couple of weeks she's been very keen on helping with chores. Our standard routine after meals is to get a wet paper towel to wipe down her hands and face. She's been taking it to "wipe her hands" for a while, but now she also wipes her face, and sometimes the tabletop, and when I get her down from her chair she wipes the chair, too. She recently started bringing in plates and food from the table after dinner--unasked. And she and Eric went grocery shopping one night, and when Eric started loading bags into the trunk of the car she started lifting bags to hand to him.

She continues to like me to pick her up a lot. This is becoming troublesome, since I'm now noticeably pregnant (here come maternity pants, at five months, sigh) and my back is noticing, and picking up a thirty-pound toddler is not helping. I've started coming down to her level and letting her climb in my lap, or sitting down and lifting her up that shorter distance, but we're going to have to work on weaning her off of Mama's arms as well as bottles. The bottle-weaning is going fine; we're doing sippy cups in the morning with no trouble. When we gave her milk at dinner the other night she commented "babul," and went right on. Naptime bottles will probably be the next to go.

Potty training, on the other hand, is at a standstill. Most of the time she refuses to sit on the potty seat. Sometimes when Eric or I am on the toilet, she'll come in and sit, but once her pants and diaper are off she sits for about two seconds and then rockets upward again. Though this morning while I was taking a shower she decided to try it, and removed her pants and diaper herself and sat for a while. The diaper thing is new. Oh boy.

She's a one-nap girl now. It's still usually before lunchtime, which we're probably going to have to work on, but her schedule seems to be working out for her. She often wakes around seven, and if it's earlier she's usually happy to get a bottle and a change and go back to bed, so that works out for me, too.

She loves, loves, loves her bath. We get her undressed in the bathroom while the water's warming up; then we plug up the tub, set her inside, and let her play in the running water until the tub is full enough. If she hasn't stood up too much (this doesn't happen much anymore), she also gets to play with running water afterward, while we're giving her a final rinse and putting away her toys. She tolerates the scrubbing; when I've finished one foot she'll hold up the other. She still hates having her face cleaned, but she's learned to tilt her head back when we wash her hair, which has seriously cut down on the stress of that part of the bath. She stands up while we wash her bits, and then again when she's ready to get out; Eric lifts her out and puts her into the towel I've got waiting, and as I wrap her in it and sit down to begin the process of drying her off (a process that must happen quickly or it doesn't happen at all), I say "Say 'bye-bye, bath,'" and she says, "Bah-bah."

She's very good at tooth-brushing time now, too. She says "ahh" and opens her mouth wide, even for flossing. She has eleven teeth now--four incisors top and bottom in the front, one first molar on the bottom, and two first molars peeking in on the top. Afterwards I hold her up to the mirror and say "Say 'night-night, Chloë.'" She waves at her reflection and says, "Bah-bah."

She can climb both up and down stairs unaided now, though we insist on accompanying her, especially when she's going down, and anyway she prefers to hold onto one of our hands as well as to the wall or balustrade. She can tell when she's got socks without traction dots on and is more likely to ask to be carried when she's wearing them. She's gotten better about keeping her socks on, especially downstairs (where we insist), though she's now growing keener on taking off her pants and occasionally shirt. We're not sure whether it's a good thing it's winter or not.

We've spent this month mostly saying "What a big girl!" and "What a good helper!" She loves to help, she loves to talk, she loves to show off, she loves her life. And we love her.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Getting in the Christmas spirit

It's a good thing we never vowed not to let Chloë watch television. It's all she wants to do now. She wakes up, has her bottle, and says, "Baby?" and "Babul?" which currently mean "The Baby Da Vinci show with all the kids in it" and "The Baby Santa show with all the pretty ornaments in it" respectively. She wasn't sure what to make of the trains and the reindeer puppet (it is the ugliest attempt at a reindeer I ever hope to see), but she loves the shiny ornaments and the children spinning in their velvet dresses.

She's also taken to kissing her laughing doll. It's extremely cute, though it's also extremely difficult to focus on trying to make dinner when I'm hearing loud sucking noises from my seventeen-month-old french-kissing her doll.

In other news, it has now been three months since I took my last antidepressant for PPD. I haven't noticed any lapse, other than what could be expected from first-trimester blahs and pregnancy hormones, and neither has Eric. This is especially good since I tried calling up my counselor to get essentially a mental health check-up a couple of months ago. After going back and forth with her answering service a few times, she left me a message: "According to our records, you've never been to this office. So we can schedule you for an appointment, but I'm going to need more information first." So I decided to forget it--or at least her. Either they had a fire they're not telling me about or they have even worse administrative support than my old OB/GYN. I'm not filling out her novel-requiring questionnaire again. I went there several times and paid several copays. She held my baby when I brought her along because I couldn't get a babysitter, for heaven's sake. And now she has no record of me?

Ahem. As I was saying, I haven't noticed any problems since I went off Zoloft other than what can reasonably be attributed to (a) feeling sick/dizzy/exhausted or (b) random bouts of sadness unconnected to daily events that evaporate equally randomly, or in other words, hormonal shifts. I think I'm a little sadder overall than I was when I was pregnant with Chloë, but I also have more stressors now. I was a bit worried about going off the medication, since I responded so well to it; but it looks like PPD really was temporary for me, which relieves me quite a bit. If I get it again, with luck I'll have the same kind of response.

I've been enjoying the Christmas season a lot more than I did last year, even though there have been all sorts of plans and parties and projects going on. We're nearly ready for Christmas, except for one gift Eric is intent on getting Chloë and one Amazon shipment that's still in the mail. Chloë has been very well-behaved about the tree; she helped put up ornaments (all on the same branch) and has, after a few warnings, been good about not taking them off again. She say, "Gdhree," when asked what that hulking new thing in our living room is. She likes to poke at a gift box a friend of ours gave us, two mugs with candy and cocoa (packaged in plastic), but has been leaving the other boxes alone except for rearranging a few bows. She's going to have fun Christmas morning, though, and I suspect we'll need to pack up the presents that aren't for her before we start opening things. Christmas is more fun with a little one, I think. I'm probably a little more scatter-brained than when I was pregnant with Chloë, too, but Christmas will be well, and I think we're doing all right.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Open the pod bay doors, Hal

Chloë's visit with her halmoni was great. Mom arrived Thursday night and left Tuesday evening, and in between they drew pictures, played with blocks, watched babies on TV, shared clementines and potato-cheese soup, and chased each other approximately 173 times around the living room. "Halmoni" was too hard to say, but she could point to Halmoni when asked, and started to call her "Hal" by the end of the visit. Mom took her in the mornings so I could get extra sleep. When we left for the airport she gave Halmoni a hug and a kiss and a bonk (and then started screaming when I walked out the door too--I guess after five days she forgot that Mama goes away sometimes) and waved, saying "Bah-bah," very sweetly.

Mom was impressed by how well and how much she eats. We had rice and stirfry and dried seaweed for dinner one night, and Mom was amused by how much of the seaweed went down Chloë's throat, and how quickly. (When I came home from the airport I had the leftovers, and offered Chloë a piece of seaweed, tearing strips off and leaving them on a napkin on her little table. She finished them sooner than I'd have thought possible and started saying "Pee! Pee! Pee!", jumping up and down and gesturing at me--I was talking to someone--until I realized she was saying "Please" and wanted more. We repeated this until my meal was finished and the seaweed was all gone.)

Wednesday morning I got her her bottle and changed her diaper and set her down on the floor, and she immediately toddled to the spare room, saying, "Hal?" I felt so sad for her, seeing the empty room where she expected her grandmother to be. "I'm sorry, sweetie," I told her, "Halmoni's not here anymore. She went home." Chloë stood there a moment. Then she went to her paper and pencils on the floor and started to color, something she and Mom would do in the mornings but she and I or she and Eric normally don't. Ever since, she's been crankier than normal, and harder to get to sleep. We've decided Halmoni isn't allowed to come visit anymore.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Yes, you will

Chloë's been saying "Nana," for a while now, to indicate that she understands we've told her no about something. But she hasn't really used it personally, shall we say, until today.

She and Halmoni (my mom, who's been visiting, and was responsible for the new chair, which Chloë adores) and I were eating oranges (which she persists in calling apples) and her hands and face got drippy, as was to be expected, so her halmoni got her a paper towel and wiped her clean. Chloë wanted the paper towel herself, to finish the job, as she always does, and Mom gave it to her. Chloë wiped herself and then threw the paper towel on the floor. "Go pick that up and throw it away," I told her. She looked at me blankly and I thought I'd packed too many things into my instruction, so I broke it down: "Pick that up."

"Nana," she said, and shook her head violently, something she's just learned to associate with "no."

"Excuse me?" said Eric, who was standing nearby. "Pick that up, right now."

Chloë just stood there a moment. Then she picked up the paper towel and took it to the garbage. "Good girl, thank you," Eric said, and so did I when I had uncurled from my fit of silent laughter and turned again to face her. It probably shouldn't have been that funny, especially considering this is the first step in a defiance escalation. I was sure she was going to refuse outright to do what I said. Eventually she will, and we'll have to decide what to do. For now, we have a reprieve.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Chloë's newest acquisition

"It's not a throne...but it'll do."

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Games we play

Chloe toddles over to the pantry and points to the crate of clementines. "Apul!" she says.

"Orange," I say, taking one down and starting to peel it.

"Apul!" she says, with a grin.

"Orange," I insist. We've been over this. She's said orange (or "oh-ahh") before. She knows what it is.

"Apul!" she says happily. "Apul, apul, apul!"

"Orange, or you're not getting any," I say, with a smile, holding out a section.

"Oh-aah," she says.

* * *

She loves to play in the laundry. I've taken to telling her she can play with the unfolded laundry only. I sat on the couch just before bedtime last night, folding towels. She came over and reached for the stack of folded towels. I quickly put my hand over it. She slapped her hand alongside mine, then left it there. "Play with the laundry that isn't folded," I said sternly, pointing to the basket. Then, when she didn't move, I took the towel in my lap and threw it over her. "Where's Chloe?! Where is she?"

She clawed her way out from under the towel, and I took it back because she didn't seem pleased. She grabbed it back from me and threw herself down on the couch pillow that she had previously tossed on the floor, then attempted to drape the towel over herself like a blanket. I helped, and asked if I could cuddle with her. She let me, but only if I let her brush my hair out of my face.

* * *

Eric accidentally taught her how to head-butt. He's since taught her that it must be done very gently. I haven't been encouraging it, but I admit it's cute. When Eric asks for "a bonk" she inclines her head in the most delicate forehead bump, and then more often than not runs to deliver one to me as well. (Often when he asks for a hug or a kiss she gives me one too--sometimes first, if she's in my arms at the time. When we picked her up at Memaw's the other day she gave hugs all around, including Eric and me, I guess to be absolutely fair.) She wouldn't go to Eric's arms for a hug and kiss last night, so he asked for a bonk and received one. Then she turned toward me. I tried to decline, but she reached out for my cheeks to hold me in place so she could bump my forehead. Apparently the problem is not that Mama doesn't want a bonk, but that she doesn't understand how to receive one.

* * *

Our main floor is very open, with separate spaces for the living room and dining room and entry but no doors between, and there's a small section of wall in the middle where the TV is (and, often, the vacuum cleaner). It's very easy to run in a circle around it. When I come down the stairs and Eric says, "There's Mama!" it's very easy to let Chloe see me, then duck behind the wall and wait for her to get up and try to follow me. I wait until she sees me, then move ahead, around and around, until finally I run up behind her and shout, "Boo!"

She jumps, and then she says "Boo!" back and squeals as I lift her up, and again when Eric takes her to toss her in the air, giggling madly until we all collapse on the couch.

Sunday, December 5, 2010


I've been feeling very ambivalent about this second pregnancy, even when you discount the why-can't-I-just-be-hooked-up-to-an-IV-rather-than-eat feelings and the tiredness and dizziness and shortness of breath and other symptoms that I will not discuss here but that Eric knows thoroughly. (I'm not a stoic person.) I thought it was mainly that it was a little earlier than we'd been expecting, and that it's disrupted our plans to try to move. Not to mention my occasional Daisy, Daisy/Everything She Wants* feelings that I'll never survive having two children.

But last night Eric and I were driving home from a party (with the honest-to-goodness singing of Christmas carols, no less--since most of the people there were trained singers or musicians or both, I sang quietly) and the baby was moving around, probably in response to the grapes and strawberries. I thought, "Hush, little baby," and immediately felt terrible, and suddenly realized why I've been feeling so ambivalent: I don't want to call this baby my baby, because I already have one. Chloë is my baby. It feels disloyal to apply that idea to anyone else, especially some stranger.

I realize, of course, that this is absurd, and now that I've identified it it's gone away somewhat. But not entirely. I'm still not excited about the idea of changing up our family just when we're settling into our roles and getting used to each other, at least as much as you can get used to a little girl who changes daily. Today at the dinner table she started to say "please" without prompting once we had identified what she wanted. She also ate maybe a cupful of lentils, after a plentiful breakfast and lunch and snack and part of an apple before dinner because she begged (read: whined) so hard when she saw them in the refrigerator. The girl likes her lentils. She spooned them up herself and then pointed the spoon at me and said "Hep" when it got too hard to do herself. She's marvelous. Why would I want another baby?

At our second baby shower all the guests made little scrapbook pages with comments and advice, and our friends Matt and Carol, who had recently had their own second child, wrote, "You will love the second one just as much." At the time I thought it was kind of funny they thought it was important to say that for the birth of the first, but now I see why, and I'm glad they did it. Right now I don't really think I could ever love another child as much as I do Chloë, but I'm willing to trust that I will, and that helps a lot.

*By Wham!, the relevant lyrics being:

I'll tell you that I'm happy if you want me to
But one step further and my back will break
If my best isn't good enough
Then how can it be good enough for two?

Friday, December 3, 2010

She's always known

One of Chloë's new words I haven't been able to figure out is "Mimi." She says it often, but it doesn't seem to refer to anything--sometimes she seems to mean me, sometimes Eric, sometimes random other things. Her cousin calls their Aunt Michelle Mimi, but we don't so it's unlikely that's what she means.

In the meantime, Eric hooked up a spare yoga strap to a laundry basket today and pulled Chloë around in it. This was a severe mistake. Not because she didn't like it. Because she did, and when he stopped, she screamed for more. So he got a lot of exercise today.

He was telling me this story when I got home, adding, "'Pull me again, minion! What are you waiting for?!'" I laughed, and turned to her and said, "Say 'minion.'"

"Mimi," she said.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Status report: Month 16

I really need to update more often. I've got so much to say, and so many pictures to show off. (This would be less of an issue if my new computer were working properly, I suppose.)

Sixteen-month-old Chloë is all about talking and independence. She wants to do things, but she wants to do them in her own time and her own way. Did you know you can bribe a sixteen-month-old with a wipe to lie down for a diaper change? Did you know I have to most days? I think she's a bit more of a challenge this month than last, but we're also proud of how much more of a big girl she's getting to be.

Talking is huge. She's picking up words like litter, except without her propensity for putting them in the garbage can and carefully closing the lid, then applauding herself. She's much more willing to imitate things we say than she used to be. She knows "jacket" now that we've been using it a lot; she can say "Ahh-ee" (Addie) and "Aay" (Rae), or she could at Thanksgiving when we asked her to. (And she can say "Dude" when her mother is exclaiming over something.)

Separation and stranger anxiety seem to be nearly gone. She waves me good-bye in the morning, and comes to greet me at night, but she never asks to be picked up; usually she points at my shoes and says "Djhou!" or my jacket and says "ahh-keh" or just comments "Mom," and goes on with what she's doing. She had a great time with Grandpa and Halmoni when we went to visit, particularly Grandpa--I'm thinking she remembered him from when he visited for her birthday.

She says "kagul," which can mean either cup or the water in it; I keep a glass in the bathroom and when she says it I fill it up and give her a sip. She can't hold it herself and drink, not successfully anyway, though she loves to try. She likes playing with her cup in the bath partly because there, it doesn't matter if the water spills out. She surprises herself occasionally by getting it all in her mouth; she sits there (she's much, much better with the sitting lately) with big eyes after the gulp, and I sing one of my many Chloe-specific adaptations:

"I have a little daughter
Her name is Chloe S
I put her in the bathtub
Because she was a mess

"She drank up all the water
She ate up all the soap
She tried to eat the bathtub
But it wouldn't go down her throat"

She continues to be a good eater, sometimes too good. She loves everything: fruits, vegetables, meats, breads, tiny sips of hot chocolate, whole olives. Even raw dough. We were making egg rolls the other night; Eric and I were at the stove discussing meat:veggie ratios, and Chloë was over by her little table, where we have a bowl of crackers or fruit most of the time and her sippy. (Not so good: she doesn't like water anymore, unless it's out of my glass. But she drinks her half-and-half juice with pleasure.) I turned without knowing why and saw the package of egg roll wrappers in her grip, the wrappers ripped at one corner and one whole one stuffed in her mouth. "No!" I shouted. "Nanana!" she cried around the wrapper, still chewing.

The egg rolls turned out well anyway. They did end up being too late to be dinner, so instead of sampling one, Chloë had tofu with barbecue sauce. Neither Eric nor I would touch it--I don't like barbecue sauce and he doesn't like tofu--but our fusion child scarfed it down and asked for more. She likes artichokes, too, and pasta salad, and pumpkin pie, and green beans in butter. She especially likes anything of the right consistency for her to stab with a fork and successfully bring to her mouth herself. Mealtime is sometimes quite messy, but it's usually a lot of fun.

She's on her way to becoming a one-nap child instead of a two-nap one; she sometimes refuses to sleep in the afternoon and sometimes takes only a very short one. Other days she sleeps practically all day. She's taken to asking (by pointing) for her pillow and blanket from her crib and snuggling down with them on her floor, even when she's not actually tired. When we're in the living room watching one of her shows, she'll often put her head in my lap or curl up next to me. It's a sweet time. Though I have to remember to keep a book or something close at hand, because she's only got a few shows and I know them pretty much by heart.

One of them, Baby da Vinci, features the "Head, Shoulders, Knees, and Toes" song. She loves the video in general because it has so many kids in it ("Baby!" she says, turning to me to make sure I'm aware. "Baby baby baby!") but her favorite part is when that song comes on, and lately I've been having to play it for her four or five times in a row. "Heaaaa," she says, patting her head. She knows where her shoulders are, but during the song she usually hits her head, her toes, her eyes, and her nose, and is content to wait for the song to catch up with her. Eric and I tap the appropriate body parts during the song to help her along.

She has three winter hats, one her halmoni bought her and two that I made, and she loves to pull them on and tromp around the house in them. She also likes trying on Eric's blue hat, which is enormous on her but looks adorable when we turn the brim up. My fears of her freezing to death because she wouldn't keep a hood on are assuaged for now, though of course we haven't actually taken her out in truly cold weather yet. We'll see how it goes.

We're not really doing anything on the potty training. She likes to sit on the potty, and occasionally she does something in it, but I don't think she's made the connection that she's always supposed to do that in the potty rather than in her diaper. Mom and Dad say we need to time when she normally, er, eliminates, and make sure she's on the seat at those times. We haven't yet gotten our act together to do that, but it sounds promising.

Her understanding is amazing. I tell her things like "We need to change your diaper so we can go shopping, so let's get your pants off," and she leans into me to let me remove her pants. I say "Can you hold your bottle when we go downstairs?" and she walks from her room to the top of the stairs with it, stopping to close the lid to a box, and waits for me there to lift her down. She can obey instructions like "give this to daddy" or "put that in the trash," and is often helpful when I'm folding clothes by putting her bibs in the special bin we keep them in. She's so pleased to help, and I'm so proud.

She's gotten very keen on trying on clothes lately. Usually when she's already fully clothed. She'll extract a shirt from the basket of laundry I'm folding, or pants from her drawer, sit down and try to pull them on. (It's always on her legs.) She's actually gotten close to getting on a sock a couple of times, and is pretty good with her hat and mittens. She also continues to enjoy removing her pants. At least, I have to assume she enjoys it; why else do it?

She's a good girl overall, reasonably obedient, but she's starting to explore more. Thus, the egg rolls, and how we're moving things away from the edges of counters and tables. We got her some crayons and a coloring book recently, and since then we've been having to constantly define what can be drawn on and what can't. When we've all been in our bedroom messing around and she toddles down the hall, we don't let her go in silence more than maybe a minute. She hasn't gotten into serious trouble or injury yet, but it's only a matter of time.

She's fond of pretending to eat my face, probably because it usually ends in her being tickled and hung upside down. When I make funny noises she makes them back at me. She loves to go in to wake up her daddy; sometimes she flops down and uses him as a pillow, sometimes she sits and stares, and sometimes she starts jumping up and down on the bed. She's definitely continuing to be a lot of work, but she's also definitely continuing to be worth it. Chloë times are fun times.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Na na na na, na na na na, hey hey hey

A quick rundown of Chloë's vocabulary thus far:

Ap-ul (applies to apples, oranges, strawberries, cherries, and occasionally tomatoes and peppers)
Ah (eye)
Ah-ee (owie, mainly the scar on my knee)
Uppee (up please)
Pee (please, always said with a big grin)
Pee (pants)
Tzcheee! (cheese--I haven't actually figured out what that first consonant sound is; always said with extreme enthusiasm)
Babul (ball--we've regressed)
Babul (button)
Babul (bottle)
Babul (potty)
Duh (duck)
Dahr (star)
Dah (shoe)

And, within the last couple of days,"Nanana," which as far as we can tell is her imitation of us saying "No. No. No! NO!" I say it when she tries to grab the toilet paper off the roll. Eric says it when she takes dishes out of the dishwasher. (He did allow her a dispensation for helping me unload the silverware, because she carefully took out a piece at a time and handed it up to me until it was all gone, and he was unable to resist the cuteness.) Yesterday, she pointed at both while we were using them, saying, "nanana," and keeping her distance. "That's right, 'no.' Good girl!" I said. Then I asked her if she needed a diaper change. She said, "Nanana," and walked away.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Little fish, chatterbox

Chloë's Uncle James and his girlfriend Amanda got her a nice little sweater and some foam letters for the bathtub while we were out in Seattle. I like the sweater more than she does (a sweater, in her eyes, is something to take off) but she adores the foam letters. They're bright but not obnoxious colors and stick to the side of the tub when wet, even if they've got chew marks on them.

She's recently become attracted to running water (thus her new nickname, OCD Baby, because whenever she hears water running she wants to "wash her hands") and her favorite way to start a bath is to select some of these letters and toss them in the bathtub, then be lifted in so she can sit among the letters and play with the water as it streams from the faucet. She also likes playing with them while she's sitting on the potty, looking at them or chewing on them or, for some reason, trying to shove them between my glasses and my face. I've been showing her the A and saying "A is for apple!" and the C and saying "C is for Chloë!" Now she calls all the letters As.

She's also evidently gotten to the "let's pretend" developmental stage. She has a toy remote that makes noise when you press the buttons, and was putting it up to her ear the other day. (Obviously, we use the phone more than the TV.) When I was on the phone with my parents last night and wanted to stop her continually pushing the pretty red button that ends the conversation, I fished out the remote and she happily pressed it to her ear, which made the different buttons make their different noises. Then this morning, when she was on the potty and playing with her As, she happened to have the H. I said, "H is for hello! Can you say hello?" She put it up to her ear and said, "Ah." So I picked up a G, put it to my ear, and said, "Hello, is this Chloe?" She didn't want to continue the conversation, but she passed me more letters so I could. Then she picked up a couple herself and chattered into them.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Andrew Lloyd Weber I'm not.

Baby, baby
Give me your answer, do
I'm half crazy
Being the mother of you
I'll love you all of your days
Even if they're in a haze
But how will I
Ever get by
Being the mother of two?

Friday, November 12, 2010

The answer, my friend, is blowing

We're all sick, Eric the worst of us, Chloë the least; she doesn't seem to have any symptoms other than a stuffy nose and somewhat more short-temperedness than usual, and that last may just be normal tantrums due to her communication skills not keeping pace with her comprehension and desires.

But she's finding solace, as her mother does, in Kleenex. (Accept no substitute!) She spent a chunk of last night blowing her nose. She aims the Kleenex (or washcloth, or whatever she's got in her hand) at her nose, but doesn't necessarily cover it. That doesn't stop her from blowing. These are productive blows, too. She was quite pleased with herself, and I had to wash her hands several times. She screamed when I took the dirty Kleenexes away, then quieted when I handed her new ones, and continued to blow. She wasn't excited about me wiping up the leftovers from her nose and lip, but she allowed it. She seemed to like the application of Aquafor (petroleum-based lotion) to keep her skin from drying out, too. This morning she allowed me to apply a Kleenex to her face, and when I instructed her to blow, she did. If she's inherited my nose, this is a very, very good thing.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Eat at Maummm's

This pregnancy is giving me food trouble. I can't remember whether I had this much trouble last time. I know in the first trimester I was sicker, but in the second was I having so much "nothing sounds good"-itis? Yesterday I was home early to watch Chloë and trying to come up with something for lunch. I didn't want toast. I didn't want peanut butter. I didn't want pasta or a burrito or soup or anything we had handy. I rifled through the cupboards in desperation and found the ingredients for rosemary-artichoke hummus, and decided that that didn't sound bad, and anyway I needed protein. First I had to get Chloë her lunch, but she's easy; she ended up with scrambled eggs with cheese. Then I started the hummus.

Chloë got interested and, when I spooned it into a bowl, wanted a taste. Now, this stuff has garlic, and rosemary, and lemon juice, and chickpeas. It is very much Weird Food, as Eric calls it. But Eric had also just told me about an article he'd read that mentioned strong tastes, like garlic, get into amniotic fluid and babies whose mothers eat such things prefer them afterward, and I know I wasn't having food trouble my entire pregnancy with her. So I figured I'd let her try. I scooped a little into a baby spoon and handed it down.

She made a peculiar face, and I looked around for her sippy to help her wash the taste away. Then she made her "Uh! Uh!" noise and pointed the spoon up at me. "More?" I said hopefully. She nodded, and I gave her another spoonful. And another. Eventually, replete, she stopped begging for more and I was able to eat some myself. Yes, she's definitely my daughter.

And very recently she's started claiming me as someone other than "Dada." We've been coaxing her to say "Mama" for months. She still doesn't, quite, but she does say "Mom." Or rather, "Maummm..." like she's trying to say that final A but it gets stuck on her tongue. It's cute, and I love it. Though she woke up in the night last night and was screaming "Maummm...! Maummm...!" and I thought it might have been better to let her keep on calling me Dada.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Many a slip twixt cup and lip

Chloë went to bed early last night, after drinking only about half her bottle and then sliding off my lap to wander aimlessly around her room. We put her in one of her new sleeper pajamas for warmth, and she went down easily, except for the aforementioned spitting. Around nine-thirty she woke up screaming. She hasn't done this for months, so I went in to check on her. I couldn't find anything wrong--diaper okay, not feverish, no tarantulas in the bed--so I put her back down. Ten minutes later Eric went to check on her. A few minutes after that I pulled her out and rocked with her. Normally this quiets her down, but she kept crying, so we applied some Orajel--we think her molars are coming in--and put her down again. She kept screaming. After another interval we tried baby ibuprofin. I took her out of the sleeper, in case she was too warm, and put her down. She kept screaming. Eric and I looked at each other, confounded. "She must be overtired," Eric said finally. After another twenty or thirty minutes of crying (not helped by me going in to cover her with a blanket too early and starting her off again), she went to sleep.

I woke at twelve-thirty when she started screaming again. I kept my eyes closed, thinking, What could possibly be going on? and noticing that I was thirsty and needed to use the bathroom as usual, though not as much as a few weeks ago--I'm definitely moving into the second trimester.

Then I got up and told Eric I was changing Chloë's diaper and would he please bring her a drink of water. Her diaper wasn't very wet, but I changed it anyway. I was pulling her pants back on when he came in with her sippy from dinner (with dinner detritus wiped off). She shrieked and reached for it. I set her upright as Eric handed it to her, and she drank. And drank. And drank. Eric and I exchanged looks of horrified guilt. Eric sat down in the glider with her so she could keep drinking, and I told her, "I'm going to bed, but I'll see you in the morning." She nodded, unconcerned. A few minutes later I heard Eric put her back to bed, where she lay quietly. The next word we're teaching her is "drink."

Monday, November 1, 2010

There and back again

Chloë, Eric, and I went to Seattle Wednesday through Sunday to see her grandparents. It was a great trip, though the travel itself was wearing; it turns out Chloë doesn't sleep well while flying. She was also disconcerted by the leash we put on her in the airport, but other than that she did pretty well. In Seattle, she woke up every morning around 4 AM Pacific time, and despite this was spoiled by her grandparents anyway. She came away with several new tricks, including:

-the word "baby."
-a much more accurate pronunciation of the word "ball." (One syllable, even!)
-when you hand her a paper towel and say "Wipe hands" or "Wipe face," she obeys.
-pointing to her grandpa when asked "Where's Grandpa?" ("Halmoni" was a little harder.)
-spreading her hands out, palms upturned, with a wide-eyed innocent look as if to say "What happened? I just don't know!" We haven't quite figured out what she means by it, but that doesn't stop us from being slayed by its cuteness.

Possibly also:

-making spitting noises to herself in bed. She did this tonight after we put her in bed. I'm thinking she was remembering the sort-of-spitting contest she and Grandpa had at dinner Saturday night in which Grandpa got covered in baby spittle and, speaking as a mother, totally deserved it.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Status report: Month 15

What is Chloë like at fifteen months? Well, let's look at this morning. She woke up at 5:30, half an hour earlier than usual, despite having had only one nap the day before. I went in and told her, "It's too early to get up." She wailed and screamed and clung to me. I went and fetched her a bottle and changed her diaper while she drank it, and put her back in bed. She went without a whimper.

We woke again at 7:30. She put her arms up when I told her to, to get her pajama top off, and stood on first one foot and then the other while I got her pajama pants off. She helped push her hands through the sleeves of her shirt. She wandered away before I could get pants on her and came back with a book. "We can read that when you have pants on," I told her, and carried out that plan as stated. We read for a while, Chloë exclaiming "Ap-uh!" whenever an apple appeared. Or a tomato. she patted her diaper and walked across the hall to the potty and opened the lid, so I got her pants and diaper off and helped her sit. We read more books while she sat, and when she said "up," to signify she was done, I told her, "Okay, wait here while I get a diaper and a wipe." She did. (I don't think she realizes that she can easily get up from the potty herself.) We got her pants back on, though it required my King Roland (of Spaceballs) voice saying "Come to meee, come to meee," which always makes her laugh and run into my arms.

She walked to the end of the hall and pointed downstairs, so I held her hands while she walked down. I decided on French toast for breakfast, and while the pan was heating she helped me unload the dishwasher by handing up silverware, one piece at a time. When breakfast was ready, I told her, "Bring your sippy, it's time to eat," and walked into the dining room with our plates of food; and she followed me with her cup, handed it up for me to put on the table, and waited for me to lift her into her chair.

In summary: fifteen months is awesome. She's starting to talk, she excels at walking, she understands commands, she has a sense of humor, she knows routines, she's trying to communicate. We're starting slow on the words, but we're getting there--she has "up" and "dog" (sort of--whenever she hears a dog, or sees a picture of one, she pants like a dog, points out the window, and says "Da!") and "apple" and maybe "duck." And she's shaken her head once or twice when I've asked her something. I'm hoping she's catching on to what shaking her head means; it would be nice for her to be able to indicate "no." (I know, I say that now...)

She's removed her pants a couple of times, and the past day or two she keeps putting a hand down the back of her diaper. We can't figure out why; she doesn't have a rash or anything. Maybe just because she can? Unfortunately, because there is now no good time to cut her nails and she flails whenever I try, she's gotten some scratches back there. I wonder if the pediatrician will ask about them at her checkup tomorrow.

We're starting to wonder where she picked certain things up. One of her books lists the "Wheels on the Bus" song, and whenever we open to that page she twirls her arms around each other the way you're supposed to in the first verse. But we never did it with her until she started doing it. Likewise, she learned "The Itsy Bitsy Spider" mostly from her creepy singing dog toy, but she does the finger-and-thumb motion (or at least tries). She may have picked that up from me, but she does it awfully well. She does a lot of things well. She can stack four, sometimes five blocks, and recognizes the pictures she knows on them (apple, dog, duck--and she's starting to recognize C, because I always say "C is for Chloe!" whenever we come across it in one of her several alphabet books).

She's been very big on stairs lately. But instead of going up, the new attraction is coming down. She holds both my hands (or Eric's), and very carefully steps down each step. Sometimes she'll do it going up, too, but more often she crawls up one or two, swivels, and says "Up!"

The potty is a big thing this month. We're not serious about training her yet, just getting her used to it (especially since we're going out of town in a few days), but she does seem to understand that she should be sitting on it when her diaper is dirty--though of course we're going to have to help her figure out that it would be best to do it before the diaper gets that way. She likes to sit there, probably because we sit and read her books, or stage fights between her ducks. Well, I do.

She's very fond of jewelry; I gave her one of my old jewelry boxes, and almost every day she wants to look in it, try on her plastic and jade bracelets, and play with the old chain. She likes the bracelets especially, and will often pull on hair ties or a bag strap or her daddy's watch onto her arm.

She's learned "arm" and "chin" and possibly "leg" this month. Still no "Mama." She does bottle, sort of, as "dobbul," and whenever she sees or plays with her ball she says "bob-ul," which sounds suspiciously like bubble to me. (Also "bauble," but I doubt anyone has used that around her.) She won't say "ball." Just "bob-ul." We do have a book that shows pictures of bubbles, but I don't think she saw it before she started doing this.

The same book has a picture of a drum, and she delights in my demonstration of how to use a drum--pounding on the book. Now she pounds the air whenever we open this particular book.

Regarding other uses for her mouth, she's still doing the Indian-war-cry thing sometimes, and enjoys making silly sounds, especially if we repeat them. She's still doing well with food, eating pretty much everything--especially if it's on my plate and I don't want to share. She also got her first taste of barbecue sauce the other day. She seems fond of it. She's not ready to dip her own chicken/tofu into it, though.

We've finally stopped nursing. Or at least as of this writing we haven't done it for a week, and she hasn't tried very hard or very often. She still likes to pull up my shirt to lay her cheek on my belly, though, or blow raspberries on it--though we've started calling them "zerbertz," Eric's name for them, because when we say "raspberries" she looks up expectantly as if waiting for us to offer yummy fruit, and the raspberry plants are done for the year. She seems happy with her bottles, and so we're now beginning our campaign to switch entirely to cups. I feel bad about this, but I also know she's a big girl, and she'll handle it just fine. Half the time she plays around with her bottle while drinking anyway, which just leads to spatters of milk and extra laundry. And that's if she isn't traipsing all around the house with it.

She's very fond of her daddy. Not that she isn't fond of me; she comes to the door every day when I get home and waits to be picked up. But then she'll often reach out for Eric. In the mornings, she'll hear the bed creak and exclaim "Dada!" On the weekends, she often goes into our bedroom to try to wake him, and she's always excited when I tell her "It's time to go wake up Daddy." I think being home with him has been good for them both.

It's been a crazy month, though in a different way from, say, a year ago. She knows so much! She picks things up from the strangest places! Where did she get her sense of humor? Why are her ribs suddenly ticklish when they weren't before? Why does she throw herself with such abandon onto my pillow when I leave it? When will she stop saying "up" when I've told her for the twentieth time "not right now"? Fifteen months is fun, and tiring, and educational, and a ride for all three of us. Just like a roller coaster--we're hanging on for our lives, and loving it.

Thursday, October 21, 2010


A few words are now fully established in Chloë's vocabulary; among them is "apple" which, true to toddler form, is distinguishable only if you're very liberal with the pronunciation. How does one tell for certain it's established? Point at the apple on the counter: "['ɛ-ph]." Ask "where's the apple" and she points to the apple on the page.

So one of her books has apples on one page, and oranges on another page. After saying "['ɛ-ph]" to the former, she then looks at the following page... and says the same thing to the oranges.

I told her "You're comparing apples and oranges."

Which was then followed by a horrible groan from Jenny and "you have to blog this."

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Potty mouth

We bought Chloe a potty seat over the weekend. The guidebooks all say she's too young, that kids normally aren't ready until 18 months at least, but she's shown great interest lately when we use the toilet and has started patting her diaper to indicate she needs a change. And apparently my brother and I were toilet trained well before 18 months. And wouldn't it be awesome if we didn't have to have two kids in diapers after all?

So we bought it, figuring we'd start slow, get her used to having it around, that kind of thing. She was interested in it right away: opening and closing the lid and the compartment for flushable wipes (did you know there were flushable wipes? I didn't), playing with the little plastic pee-screen for boys, pulling the seat and the waste receptable out of the base. It's a three-stage model: first a complete potty seat for first learning, then a stepstool plus seat-that-fits-over-a-real-toilet-seat for learning not to fear the toilet, and then just the stepstool. Lots of moving parts, so lots of fun for a one-year-old. I had to tell her the seat itself was not a chew toy.

She wanted help sitting down the first few times, but once she sat she was content to stay, reading books or having her toes counted. We need to get her a tiny chair. I wasn't planning on even trying to have her sit without her clothes, just get her used to the sitting. But yesterday, she came to Eric and pointed at her diaper, and then at the potty. He figured, "Why not?" and removed her diaper and helped her sit down. And she used the potty! Only a little, because some had already gone into the diaper, but enough.

Eric heaped praise on her (once he got over his surprise), and we're wondering if we should be offering some kind of reward. The problem is, she's too young for stickers or similar, and toys or books would get too expensive, and food isn't a good idea. She's sat a couple of other times and hasn't produced anything, which is fine, so maybe it won't be much of an issue for a while. (It also helps--or hurts?--that she can't say "potty" yet, so it's a judgment call on what she means when she pats her diaper. She's working on "apple," though. Still no "mama"--the closest she gets is "danma.") Still. My baby girl is starting to learn to use a potty!

Monday, October 18, 2010

Time to go home pregnant.

Do you people HAVE to talk about this stuff? The smell of reheated fish is bad enough, now you're talking about cooking eggs in the microwave at work and eating chili with pickles?

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

The good stuff

We put Chloë to bed together these days--it takes two of us to brush her teeth, and that's the last step before bed. Last night I carried her from the bathroom into the bedroom while Eric turned on her ladybug planetarium nightlight and put her stuffed puppy back in her crib (she likes to throw things out of her crib if we're not quick enough to get her after naps).

"Good night," I told her, and hugged her. She hugged me back and gave me a kiss, and then leaned over to kiss her daddy, too.

He held his arms out, and she went to him for a hug and a last snuggle before he set her down and turned on her aquarium and I spread her blanket over her. She is the sweetest girl in the world.

Monday, October 11, 2010


First, Chloë sends a shout-out to her new cousin Aubrey, born yesterday. Welcome, Aubrey! You may have been born even bigger than Chloë at birth, but you've still got a lot of growing to do to catch up, so get to it!

Second, Chloë's potential new sibling is still smaller than a thumb but already causing trouble. I spent most of yesterday either sitting down or lying down, panting. This out-of-breath-ness is a new thing; it didn't happen when I was pregnant with Chloë. Of course I wasn't toting around or chasing down a toddler when I was pregnant with Chloë, either (except for a couple of times we were with our nieces and nephew Addie, Cindy, and Steve Jr.). For some reason yesterday was especially bad; I had to lie down after my shower, wasn't up for taking Chloe outside, couldn't stand terribly long. It's a good thing Chloë has started wanting to be changed on the floor rather than the changing table.

In the meantime, she's really taken to "up." I'm wondering if she's generalized it from "pick me up" to "Mom, do something for me." It's seemed like it a couple of times. We'll have to pick a new word to work on. "Drink" would be a good one. She mainly indicates she's thirsty by pulling up my shirt. I don't think she's serious about nursing half the time; that's just the only time I know to ask "Do you want something to drink?" And "drink" starts with D, which means she's halfway there already. Eric is still trying, with more hope than success, to get her to say "Mama." She persists in calling me Dada, just like him. We're wondering if she figures "Dada" just means "parent." I mean, as well as "book" and "tree" and "outside" and "deoxyribonucleic acid" and such.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Warm and cozy, if restrained

Lately I've been more aware of whenever Chloë wakes up in the night. Generally this means I stumble out of bed toward the door, lean against the doorway while I wait for the dizziness to clear up, and then realize that I'm not actually supposed to be responding to her right away anymore. But often I go in, and usually the problem is she's cold. Wednesday night she woke me up at 12, and 1, and 3, and 4, and 5. Thursday, I decided I'd had enough, and got out her Sleep Sack.

We used these last winter to great effect, and the last one I had bought was enormous, good for up to 28 pounds and 18 months. I wasn't sure how she'd react, since she can stand now and likes having her legs free, but I wanted a good night's sleep and we don't have any footie pajamas. So I put her into it just before we laid her down for bed. She yelled a little, but then she settled down. She whimpered a little bit an hour or two later. Then I went to bed, and heard nothing until morning. I may go get a couple of fleece pajamas, so she can move her legs around, but I think I know how we're dressing her for bed until she learns how to pull her blankets up.

Friday, October 8, 2010


We have achieved words! Chloë's first words appear to be "dog" and "up." We asked her Aunt Michelle to watch her for an hour or so a few days ago, and by report she walked into Michelle's house, pointed at the beagle, Maggie, and said, "Dog!" We weren't sure we believed that, since she says "Da" all day long and probably in her dreams, and maybe it just sounded like "dog." But the other day, Eric says, they heard the neighbor's dog barking, and she pointed out the window and said "Dog!" So that's that. So much for "Mama" and "Dada." I mean, she does say "Dada," but she says it for everything, so it's hard to be sure she actually means her daddy. We think she's trying to say "duck" sometimes, too (when referring to her rubber ducks and the ones in her books), but it comes out "dun" and "dut" so I guess we just need to be creative listeners.

And "up" is definitively Chloë's first word to me. I've been encouraging her to say it for a while now, and gotten attempts in the form of "uh" with outstretched arms. But she's gotten better at it, and more consistent. Yesterday she decided to climb the stairs twice after I got home. Each time she decided in the middle she'd had enough and reached out to me, saying a distinctive "up!"

The second time I told her "Oh, no. You're the one who decided to climb up. You can finish." She glared at me and said "Upupup!" So I had to carry her the rest of the way. I'm already wondering why we were so eager to teach her the power of words.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Overlords are not like cakes

Yesterday was a beautiful fall day, and while Eric went grocery shopping, Chloë and I went outside. I intended that we'd take a walk; but after we crossed the street a few times (she's getting better about having her hand held in the street) what she really wanted to do was crawl up and then be helped down the porch stairs. Over and over. Occasionally she'd vary it by walking to the front door and walking back, or walking down the front path to the driveway and back, but mostly it was up and down, up and down, up and down.

Eventually she grew tired of that game--momentarily; we wandered to the backyard and then it was the same with the back porch. Then she spied the container of drying onions and elecampane roots I had on one corner of the porch. She examined them with great interest. She picked up an onion--these were all baby onions, smaller than a golf ball--and bit into it.

"Ugh!" I exclaimed, as she got this unhappy look on her face. I pried the bits of onion peel out of her mouth and wiped the dirt off her chin. "Now aren't you sorry you tried that?"

She looked at me, and looked at the onion, and bit into it again with a crunch. Then she picked up another one and did the same thing.

I let her do it. Who am I to argue with a girl who likes to eat raw onions?

Monday, October 4, 2010


Chloe was uncooperative at bedtime last night, probably due to a long walk tiring her out early. She didn't cry much when I put her down for bed, but she didn't go to sleep immediately. After a while I went in to put her blanket back over her, since she always tosses it off and it's not like she doesn't need it; there have been times when I've woken to her cry at four AM and found her lying there, uncovered; I shake out her blanket and spread it over her and the crying stops at once. When do toddlers learn to pull up their own blankets?

At any rate, a few months ago I wouldn't have dared go in until she was asleep, but she's been better about accepting that my presence in the room after bedtime doesn't mean it's time to stand up and beg to be lifted out. So I went in. She was lying on her back, uncovered, as I thought. She rolled her head a little to see me, and handed me her pants.

I took them, noticed her bare legs as I hadn't before, and then I left the room so I wouldn't startle her with my laughter. When I was recovered, I went back in and put the pants back on her. She didn't protest, so presumably that was what she wanted. I covered her up with the blanket, whispered a good-night, and left the room. As a friend of ours once said about his son: the nekkid years have begun.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Status report: Month 14

I've been trying to write this post for a week, but the necessary energy and mood haven't been there. If you haven't yet heard, there's a reason why: the Overlord will, in about seven months, have competition. Let me tell you, dealing with first-trimester fatigue, nausea, and dizziness are not as much fun with a toddler as without. Even when the toddler is as awesome as Chloe has been this month. Why didn't anyone tell me one-year-olds are so much fun? And so much work.

For two days running last week, Chloe ate an entire tomato at dinner. We're not talking small tomatoes, either; these are big, meaty heirloom tomatoes from the garden, thick with sweet, meaty flesh. She eats them like candy (or, I guess, the way she would eat candy if she had ever had any). She asks for them the way she asks for everything--by pointing, and saying "dzuh?" in her best video-game sound-effect voice, and if we're not quick enough, by whining. She's getting very good at the whining. Also the screaming and kicking her feet. She's fourteen months old but she acts like a two-year-old, at least when it comes to tantrums.

She is such a big girl now. We can hardly remember when she couldn't walk, even though it's only been about six weeks. We went out to the community college where Eric teaches a class today Monday, and she and I walked all around, looking at the grass and the trees and tile in the floor and the hawk flying overheard. She hesitated at the steps, then decided she would crawl up them, and then took my hands to step down them afterward. She doesn't run, but she walks awfully darn fast. She loves to walk around in the grocery store now, but it usually takes two of us to let her; she dashes this way, and she darts that, and if we're not constantly keeping track she's likely to end up in the cereal aisle while our cart languishes in produce. Unless she decides to push the cart. It's great when she pushes the cart.

She understands and--mostly--obeys instructions we give her, and she seems to understand things like "I'll be back in a minute." She's very fond of nodding. It's not totally reliable, since she'll nod when I point to Guess How Much I Love You and then push it away when I start reading, or when Eric says "Would you like an alligator for dinner?" But she knows it's a way of communicating. We've just got to get her to figure out how to shake her head as well.

There are still no words, though she does have a special way of saying "Uh" when she's trying to get me to pick her up that I'm thinking may be her attempt to humor me when I tell her, "Say 'up,'" before I'll lift her. I'm not as worried about this as I was. She definitely understands, and she definitely communicates. She's taken to patting her diaper when she needs a change. She points to the TV to watch her show. She pulls at our shoulders to get a piggyback ride. She twists up my shirt when she wants to wear it as an apron.

One of her books is a book on opposites, with little slide panels to show the opposites. One of them is day/night, with a cloud on one half and a partial solar eclipse on the other, which perplexes us, but Chloe's favorite is the happy/sad one, which features a little girl who looks a little like her, smiling on one sad and crying on the other. Today Tuesday I said "Happy girl!" in a bright voice when the smiling girl was showing, and "Sad," in a syrupy sad voice when the crying one was showing. Chloe moved the slider back and forth as fast as she could to hear me do the different voices, and kept switching back and forth until we were both laughing.

She can point to Daddy, and Mama, and Chloe, and her ear, her eyes, her nose (if she has trouble, I say "beep beep" and she knows exactly what we're asking for), her mouth (she stuffs her hand into it), her belly, and her toes. Eric keeps working with her to add on different body parts. She can point to Mama's or Daddy's toes or ears, too, though it's best for us to have our glasses on if we ask her to point to our eyes.

We've started telling her to be "gentle" with things, and whenever we say the word "gentle" she smacks herself on the side of the head. Some things we didn't teach her.

She loves her bead necklace and bracelets, and sometimes she plays, carefully, with the one-year ring that my mom gave me and I gave her. She adores seeing herself on our phones and the camera, and gets upset when we take them away. She's started showing interest in the posters on her walls, too. We need to get her a good big family picture.

Bathtime is still our great tribulation. She won't sit down, even though she does it when we ask her other times (for example, when we need to put her socks and shoes on--she plops right down if she thinks it's time to go for a walk in her shoes). She screams when we hold her down, and if we don't hold her down she walks around, lifting one foot in the air and stomping on it. Sometimes she falls. She hasn't had a bad slip, but it's going to happen. We're going to get a bath chair tomorrow.

Otherwise, ordinary life is going just fine. She loves her Baby Galileo DVD; she likes to play with her blocks--she can stack three sometimes, if her placement is lucky--and her popper and her balls. She still loves being held upside down, and getting raspberries on her belly. Today apparently she kept rubbing her daddy's belly--for the fuzziness, we think.

We're winding down nursing, for the reason mentioned in the first paragraph. We've gotten down to only-when-she's-really-upset, which I'm hoping will ease into never, and I'll have the R.I.N.D.S. to myself for a couple of months at least. She's loving almost all foods, especially tomatoes, fruit of all kinds, cheese, and dried seaweed (the kind you use for sushi). She doesn't like being denied a bite, even if it's something you wouldn't think a girl with only eight teeth could handle. One of her favorite pastimes in the kitchen is gnawing potatoes, and the other day when I was taking apples out of the fridge to make apple pie bars with, I set them down on the floor before moving them to the counter, and that was a mistake--a delicious one, for her.

She uses a spoon, more or less, and has made forays into using a fork, but her hands are still her preferred method of food transfer. Luckily she likes washing her hands. I have this habit of sucking water from my fingers when I wash my hands, and now she's picked it up, to the point where she doesn't always wait for me to rinse the soap off her hands before sticking them in her mouth. Or mine. I'm working hard on teaching her about the rinsing part.

She's a curious girl, a loving girl, a girl fascinated with life. Fourteen months is all about being independent, for short stretches, and then running back to mama or daddy for snuggles or help getting her leg off the play table or yet another read of How Are You Peeling? or Little Cloud. I love that she's learning to entertain herself, and I love that she knows she can rely on us to be there and to help out with her difficulties. It's a beautiful age. Eric got all sentimental the other day and told her firmly, "Stop growing!" But she won't, and I think I'm glad, because she gets better every day.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

On the case

We went to Costco last night, and Chloë would have loved it if we weren't constantly deflecting her from other carts' paths, stopping her from running into the lady with the pretty shoes, picking her up when she refused to walk in the direction we wanted her to go, stopping her from taking another baby's blanket, moving her in and out of the cart as she refused to obey or pleaded to get down. Eric still doesn't like the idea of a baby leash, but it's growing on me.

I started feeling awful while we were there, so Eric took charge of her during the last part of the trip. We went home--sharing a nectarine between the three of us because we were all starving--and Eric fed her dinner, and I went and laid on the couch. I could see her, just barely, and she could see me over Eric's shoulder. She ate and drank happily while Eric helped her and talked to her, but she'd peek around him to look at me, with a "why are you over there?" look or a smile.

"I know, Mama's usually here at the table with us," Eric said, when he caught her doing it. "But Mama isn't always going to be here at dinner. Just like I'm not here sometimes at dinner." I lay there and was miserable, because I didn't feel good and I wanted my mommy, but I was the mommy, only I wasn't being it at the moment. I would have if I had to, I know, but I didn't, so Eric fed her dinner and got her cleaned up and put her in bed. I did go up to help with tooth-brushing and to say goodnight. I went to bed early and I feel better today, both physically and mentally. After all, I was there, and if she had needed me I would have done whatever was necessary. It just wasn't necessary. And mommies are allowed to have a break too, especially if daddies are on the case.

Friday, September 17, 2010


It's been a bad week at work and I didn't want to think about cooking, so we went to Friendly's for dinner last night. This was one of the first times we'd taken Chloë out to a restaurant by ourselves when she was going to eat table food, and we didn't think to bring her sippy cup or plate or fork. We will next time. But she did great; she took water from my straw, and then learned how to suck from the straw itself. She seemed to like it, though she got a shocked expression whenever she got a mouthful (it was ice water).

She explored the table, and my purse, and then started looking around. There was another child in a high chair down the way, a boy maybe two years old. She pointed. "Dah!" she exclaimed. She struggled to get out of the chair. So I lifted her out, and we walked toward the boy.

"We're here to say hi," I said to the boy's parents when we got there, and they smiled and told their son, "Can you say hi?" He said, "Hi," obediently, and I asked Chloë, "Can you wave?" She did, a bit, but seemed more interested in staring at the boy and trying to touch him. After a minute or two she seemed to have her fill, so I told her to wave again and they told the boy to say goodbye ("Bye," he said, possibly with more enthusiasm), and we walked back to our table.

She was thirsty again and the food was there, so we got her her own little cup with a straw, and the waitress brought us a plate to put food on for her. She got bits of bun and veggie burger and beef burger and mushroom and tomato and mozzarella, and kept stealing fries from Eric's plate. I offered her a taste of fry with ketchup once or twice, but she seemed to like Daddy's better. Eventually he wised up and turned his plate around. She also kept staring at the little boy and pointing in his direction. That stopped momentarily when we gave her little bites of our strawberry-shortcake sundae, but one of the last things she did was point again and say, "Dah," very definitely. That, I take it, settles the matter.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Also, did we mention she's adorable?

So we found the camera. What I didn't find was energy to locate the cable and fire up my laptop to download the pictures. (My desktop only recognizes the camera if it's hooked up before the computer is turned on, and not always then. It didn't used to do this. Eric just shrugs when I complain and says I need a new computer anyway. I trust my IT support will be better in the Overlord's regime.)

But I certainly have energy for bragging. Witness the Overlord's most recent accomplishments:

-She's still fond of slobbering on my shoulder, or belly, or whatever appeals to her at the moment. She did this one morning and I said, "Ew!" and took a fistful of her onesie to wipe it off. Later, she gave me a sloppy kiss, and grabbed the front of her onesie to try to wipe it off. She's still offering her onesie or shirt whenever she slobbers on me.

-We went shopping today. She pushed the cart. (I steered.)

-I cut up strawberries for a snack this morning and brought them into the living room to share. She picked up a few, with difficulty because of their slipperiness, and ate them. I noticed her fingers were red and wet, so I got a Kleenex and blotted them off. She ate another strawberry. Then she took the Kleenex from me, blotted a strawberry, and picked it up with ease. I can't positively say that she did it deliberately, or deliberately to help with her traction, but she did it a number of times and it did, indeed, help.

-After that plate was cleared, we both wanted more, so I started cutting some up. But I got lazy and sat back down with two strawberries cut up and two simply cleaned and de-leaved. She picked up one of the whole ones and took a bite. Then she offered it to me, gravely, for my own bite.

-She may have settled on a first word, "Ba," meaning bottle. Eric says so. I know earlier she was saying "Ha. Ha. Ha," earnestly, but I couldn't for the life of me figure out what it meant. "Da" is still her favorite sound, but she's started seriously branching out.

-She likes washing her hands now. Actually, she likes getting her hand wet (we do one at a time) and seizing the faucet in a death grip. I haven't yet worked out why.

-At dinner tonight, she indicated she was done, and we wiped her hands and face with a wet paper towel as usual. When she was on the floor, she picked up the paper towel and took it into the kitchen. Eric followed her to find that she was waiting in front of the garbage can. He opened it, and she deposited the paper towel into it.

-She LOVES the book How are You Peeling right now (which we didn't even buy for her). She likes the onions best. She points them out whenever one turns up on a page.

-After a Kroger trip today, I was preparing to put her into her carseat (it's front-facing now). She pointed upward. I looked up, and saw a white seagull circling us. She exclaimed, and watched with rapt eyes as it floated against the blue sky. I watched her, and then the bird. She made a scolding sound at me, and I, chastised, went back to the business of buckling her into the car.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Wrap her up

Chloe went to bed without nursing for the first time last night. (I mean, no bottle either.) She got her bath and dried and dressed, and we settled down in the chair, but she resisted being laid down on my lap and pointed at the bookshelf instead. So we read a few stories. Then she pointed at her crib, so we brushed her teeth and I set her down to sleep.

She didn't lay right down, but that seemed to be because I didn't offer her the correct blanket at first. She's gotten more particular about her bedding lately. She went right to sleep, and when I checked on her later she had her arms wrapped around one blanket, her pillow under her torso, and a second blanket wedged under her legs. She's definitely her daddy's daughter. This is why there are three blankets in the crib.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Does a body good

Extreme nursing is getting ridiculous. Recently Chloë wanted to nurse, so we went up to the glider and I settled her on the Boppy. She stayed in place for about 1.3 microseconds, then started wriggling and pushing her butt up into the air, head digging down into the chair, feet scrabbling against the Boppy and my arm. I sighed and read my book.

In a few minutes she came up for air. I helped her get upright, and watched as milk ran out both her nostrils toward her mouth. One of my lactation consultants called the stuff "liquid gold." I don't think Chloë values the stuff as much as some.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Status report: Month 13

Well, this month's status report is just going to have to be mostly pictureless. We can't find the camera. I know we had it a couple of weeks ago, when we went to Eric's dad's pool party and took pictures of Chloe swimming, but it's disappeared.

So this month was all about alternative modes of travel. Swimming! Riding! Walking! Tumbling off the couch onto mama's soft unprotected belly! I guess "swimming" is misleading. Eric's dad has a big pool, five feet deep or so, and I got in and held Chloe in the water. At first we had a swimsuit-with-built-in-life-vest on her, but it was a little too big and she sank through it (and got her face dunked when I tried to see if it would support her), so after that she wore her blue leopard-print bikini and I held her while we sloshed around or played ring-around-the-rosy with her three-year-old cousin. She loved it. I want to take her to the beach, but it's getting cooler so it probably won't be for actual swimming this year.

She's learned about the joys of piggy-back rides and shoulder rides--the former when she was climbing on my back anyway and I took her for a ride, the latter when she saw her cousin on my shoulders and wanted to try. She gets the biggest grin on her face. I can't wait to take her on a roller coaster.

And in just the last few days she's turned the corner from just trying out this "walking" thing as a novelty to using it to get around. She tumbles more now than she did when she was first trying to walk, but she doesn't mind, just switches to crawling or gets up and tries again. We're going to have to go shoe shopping soon. She has wide feet, as apparently Eric did as a baby, so it's going to be a little complicated, but Eric's mom has plenty of good information for us.

Her constant "da da da da" has been slightly adulterated by the occasional "na" and "ba" and "uh," but she still doesn’t have any words. She's going to have to come up with some soon, though. We're still doing well on her gestures--pointing, patting, grabbing, nodding--but there are times when she points and says "da da da!" and we don't know what she wants. And I'm doing better on the "what do you want?" and "say 'up'," even though I know perfectly well she wants me to pick her up.

She goes to the door or the windows sometimes and gestures outside, meaning she wants to go out. She's loving her raspberries, and the pears that are ripening and just her size (because I didn't prune them enough). She likes sitting in the grass while I'm getting herbs from the garden. She loves walks, and will point at the stroller to say, "Take me somewhere in the fresh air!" Now that it's cooling down we're more willing to accede, since we're the ones who do the actual walking. If she's got the hang of it, maybe she can push me next time.

She's in 18-month clothes, mainly because the 12-month shirts ride up over her belly and the sleeves and legs are too tight. She likes rubbing her belly. Then, when we're changing her diaper, she likes rubbing further down. We're okay with this as long as she waits until we've cleaned her up.

Meals continue to be great. She's pretty good with a spoon, and loves spearing things with her fork, though she's not terribly patient about it; sooner or later--usually sooner--she gives up and just uses her fingers. Relatedly, she's learnd about real hand-washing, too.

Weaning is going okay. She still points and pants when she wants milk, and yanks at my neckline, but I'm working on giving her bottles and Eric says she now prefers the whole cow's milk to the frozen breastmilk during the day. There are still a few packages left in the freezer that we might as well use up, but I've given up pumping finally (hallelujah!) and this should all be coming to an end pretty quickly. Half the time when she pulls my shirt up it's to blow raspberries on my stomach anyway.

Discipline is not going so great, mainly because she's into everything and there are so many "no"s in her day. We're trying to figure out what kind of discipline works. My particular problem is the toilet paper. She only messes with it when I'm using the toilet, so I can't pick her up and put her in another room, which I've done with other things, and my hands aren't big enough simply to cover it.

She learned about piggy banks earlier in the month. She has two gold piggy banks on the top of her bookshelf, and one had ten gold dollars in it. I had taken to calling them "Loud Pig" and "Silent Pig" and gave them voices to suit. One day she got curious about what was inside Loud Pig, so we opened her up and looked, and I showed her how to put money into the slot. She thought that was pretty cool, so we got some more coins from Eric's change jar and practiced. I shout "No!" and take everything away whenever she starts a coin toward her mouth, and so far she hasn't swallowed one. Putting Money In now rivals Turning Pages Fast as her favorite in-her-room activity.

She likes brushing her teeth now. At night, after nursing and pajamas, I sit with her on the toilet seat and Eric hands her one toothbrush and uses another. He brushes her teeth, and she--sort of--brushes his. In the mornings she points at the toothbrush longingly, but I've been saving it as a treat for the evenings. The dentist recommended we use floss between her bottom middle teeth, and we got some of those plastic holders with about an inch of floss, and those turn out to work really well.

Bathtime has gotten slightly stressful again. Now that she's confident about being on her feet, she loves to stand during her bath. This would be okay if she weren't likely to fall over and hurt herself (she did this a few weeks ago and had a dark bruise on her cheek, and I felt awful). So we're trying to get her to sit down. After a couple of attempts to forcibly sit her down, which didn't work, we've started being very active and playing when she's sitting, and removing the toys and being silent and still when she's standing. This would work better if the bathtub itself weren't such a great toy. She pulls on the knob that turns on the shower, and tries to gnaw on the frog-covered plastic spigot cover, and stomps, and splashes, and draws her fingers along the smooth tile. Last night she was stomping, which I admit did make a neat noise, and puffed out her cheeks and said "Da! Da! Da!" impressively. She looked like a very fat Asian policeman puffed up with her own importance, and I put my head down so she wouldn't see me laughing.

She's doing well in Daddy Daycare. She regularly goes into Eric's arms for a bedtime hug, which she didn't before. Now when I leave in the morning she's usually okay--she just waves--and when he leaves she cries. I have mixed feelings about this, but it's good for her to be attached to her daddy too. She responds better to him than to me when it comes to settling her down for sleep, but that's always been the case.

She seems older than she did a month ago, but in ways less easy to define. I'm guessing that's going to be the case from here on in--except for things like learning to talk. She's more confident, more sure of us, attempting to communicate more, attempting to control us more. She's still fascinated by every little thing, still enjoying motion and new places and new faces--she came with me to a doctor's appointment yesterday and charmed the nurse and an elderly patient with her grins. She's still adorable, still wonderful. And still growing.