Saturday, February 26, 2011

I'm considering revoking his Grandpa privileges.

Maybe you can't see it here, but what Chloë has just put in her mouth is broccoli. Broccoli dipped in ketchup, to be exact. She got the idea from when her Grandpa was here, and tonight, entirely unprompted, that was how she wanted to eat her broccoli. I suppose I should be grateful I'm no longer in my first trimester and can handle the idea without my stomach going into violent revolt.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Status report: Month 19

"I really like this age," I said of Chloë the other day.

"You say that at every age," Eric said.

Which I suppose is true, starting at about six months, anyway. I can't help it that kids get more awesome as they get older. (Don't tell me when this starts to reverse. I don't want to know.) Chloë at nineteen months is subtly different from Chloë at eighteen months, but the differences are there, and yes, I like her better now than I did a month ago. Why shouldn't I?

Nineteen-month-old Chloë really, truly does not feel like a baby. She's off her bottles and doesn't wake me up with crying. Well, she does occasionally, like the other night, when I think she might have been having a bad dream. She woke up screaming around 4:30, settled in my lap for about fifteen seconds to rock in the chair, and then told me "sleepy," and "nap," indicating she wanted to go back to her bed to sleep.

But in the mornings it's "Mama," and "up," and when I come in she doesn't immediately want a drink or to be held; she wants to talk. She's so tall; she can scramble up on the couch, and walk up and down the stairs by herself (if she's not arrested in her tracks by the sight or sound of a dog, or Mama downstairs, or Dada upstairs, or Ganpa in the living room). She's pretty good, though not perfect, about staying with us in stores. She loves to color and to splash. She wants to play with or eat specific things, or see specific shows, or rock with Dada instead of Mama. She needs to work on some self-confidence, since she's still a pushover with other kids and asks us for "hep" more often than she actually needs it, but she still knows who she is and what she wants.

(Come to think of it, she stopped waking routinely in the early morning around the time we stopped giving her bottles. Now she doesn't even want a drink most of the time, and if she does water or juice are often her choice.)

She's starting to get rebellious, running away when we try to put her diaper on, then repeating "Here?" and "Now?" when we tell her to "come here now" until I want to either scream or laugh, depending on how tired I am. She's learned what "burp" means (though she applies it to gas at both ends). Whenever she does it I say, "Say 'excuse me,'" and she says, "No?" with a grin. She did actually say it once the other day and I made sure to praise her profusely. The rest of the time I fight not to grin back, because she's so cute when she thinks she's being annoying. Mostly she's still a good girl, but we're waiting in trepidation to see what comes these next few months. She screams sometimes when she doesn't get her way, but we haven't really been seeing what I'd call real tantrums yet. Though she did get upset during dinner prep tonight when she thought I wasn't going to give her another piece of raw onion.

She reliably identifies herself as "Kha-ee" now, even in photographs, where before she was "Baby." When we try to impress on her that she's being bad by calling her "Chloë Snyder," she often repeats "Nye?" but I'm not sure she realizes that's part of her name, too. She does understand "name," as in when Eric asks her "What's my name?" She understands so much. And has started repeating it, too--it's time to start watching our vocabulary.

Her own vocabulary continues to expand. Strawberries have featured heavily this month--Eric bought a box that smelled really good, and after that Chloë would run to the fridge and yank at the handle trying to open it, saying "Dobby?" She's still keen on asking for yogurt, though not necessarily on eating it. She knows "napkin" and "heavy" (mostly "heavy book"), and "diaper" and "nipple" (because she noticed hers one day and thought they were "ows"). We're trying to work on "thank you," and she'll sign it sometimes when prompted but has only tried to say it once or twice. We'll keep working on it. She's still good at "please," and when she asks for something if I wait with my eyebrow lifted, or Eric says, "And...?" she adds "Pee!" with a good grace.

We've started working on letters, numbers, and colors this past month. She knows A, B, D, E, I, L, M, N (at least, we think so...she may also be mixing it up with M; it's hard to hear the difference), O, P, R, T, and sometimes Y. She routinely mistakes the C for a moon. A lot of things are moon-shaped, it turns out. She knows one and two and five fairly well, probably mainly because we count body parts a lot, but is still shaky on three and nearly nonexistent on four. And she likes saying colors (I never knew that "purple" was such a cute word) but is iffy on their application.

She's doing a lot of "X"/"No X" these days. It started with the kids in glasses in the Little People book. Then it was our glasses. Then it was the Little People balls--she now knows that they're only on that one page, and she delights in flipping through the book, looking up at me and saying, "Balls? No?" at each spread, until at last we arrive at the schoolhouse page, when she waits for me to exclaim, "Balls!" Which of course I always do. If she's wearing socks and I'm not sometimes we'll discuss this, she pointing alternately at my feet and hers until I get tired of saying " socks..." I have a bruise on my arm from a really bad blood draw a couple of weeks ago (for glucose testing--no gestational diabetes here), and sometimes she'll push up both my sleeves, or my sleeve and hers, to point and say "Ow?" at mine, and "No?" at hers. And there's in/out and up/down, too. At her bath tonight, Eric and I were both reciting, "The scrubber is in the water...the scrubber is out of the water!"

She's starting to get into two-word phrases. Her first and best is "More please," but she's also doing "flower baby and "sky baby" and "water baby" to indicate her different videos, and "see Mama," "read book," and "Ganpa bye-bye?" She's still saying this last one, though he left Monday. It's like my ceramic pumpkin that she took a fancy to a few weeks ago. She wanted to play with it, and I let her. Then she brought it into the bathroom, and of course at some point she dropped it and it shattered. I got it all cleaned up without injury to either of us, and explained a bit grumpily that the pumpkin was broken and it had gone bye-bye and that she should not poke around in the garbage where the pieces were. For a while after--and she's still occasionally doing it--she would look at me at random times, or when something else turned up broken, and say "pumpkin, broken."

Dad was in the area for a business trip last Thursday, so he came for a weekend visit. It was a very quiet visit, if you don't count the constant "flower baby" video watching and litany of "Ganpa. Mama. Dada. Kha-ee." Chloë certainly enjoyed herself; she was more boisterous and smiley than usual, grinning and contorting herself in weird ways and running here and there. She and Dad made up a game in which Dad would pretend to sleep, Chloë saying "jeepy" (sleeping/sleepy). Then Chloë would point and say "Hwake!" and Dad's eyes would pop open. She would ask after "Ganpa" whenever he wasn't around, including at bedtime, but when we summoned him she wouldn't go to him for a hug. She would blow kisses, though, or her version of it: clapping her hand to her mouth and making kissing noises behind it. I guess the "blowing" part hasn't sunk in yet.

She's still doing the sleepy/wake game with us, and still asking after him, especially when we go into the spare room. She goes to the bed and says "Ganpa" because while he was here and she wanted to play on the bed, I would say "No, that's Grandpa's right now." His memory is definitely lingering more than it did on previous visits, much like she still remembers "Ha-ee" from Mom's visit, which makes me happy. Her memory in general is improving, which is pretty neat to see in action, even when I want to tell her to give it a rest with the pumpkin already.

(Of course, now we have to get her to identify the spare room bed as hers, because the next big project is to move her in there before Maia comes. We're going to be taking the bed off its frame and moving my stuff out this weekend.)

She's taken an interest in my belly lately. I don't know for sure that she's noticed it's getting bigger, but she likes to tickle it and blow raspberries on it and kiss it, more than she did before. We tell her that there's a baby inside and it will come out soon, but we've been telling her that for months and no baby has appeared, so I'm not sure she believes us. She nods when we ask if she'd like to have a baby live with us, which is a good sign, though I'm kind of expecting her to enjoy the baby for a couple of hours and then say "baby bye-bye," or something similar. But I can't really imagine what she'll be like in two months. Even though she's not growing as fast as she was the first year, she's still learning and changing so much every day. I'm finding myself trying to drink her in, to actively enjoy her and remember that she won't always be like this, even if she does continue to be more awesome. I'm also afraid of missing out on her when the new baby comes. But that's my problem, not hers, and I think she's going to be a delightful big sister. She is a silly, happy, growing, learning girl, and we're proud of her.

This toddler thing is in the bag.

Thursday, February 17, 2011


Chloë didn't want to try the potty this morning, but she came in with me while I brushed my teeth. She went to her basket of bath toys, extracted her favorite blue cup, and said, "In." She's been saying "cup" for a long time now so I waited to see what she was talking about. She put it carefully on the floor, pulled out her favorite duck (her first one, with the blue bow), and placed it in the cup. "In," I agreed.

She was dissatisfied with the tight fit of the duck, and kept saying "Hep," so I suggested a smaller duck and pulled out Mad Professor Duck. She took it and placed it in the cup, where it fit perfectly. Then she removed it and put her sippy of juice in instead. "In?" she said, looking up at me.

"Yes, the juice...cup...your in the cup," I said. I was relieved when she took the sippy out and put her toes in instead.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Labors of love

I'm sitting here watching my belly move under its own power. Dude, there's a baby in there, I think. And then: dude, it's going to have to come out! Dammit! The idea of labor was much more academic the first time around. Not that I'm living in dread of it this time; I know what it's like, but I also know I got through it and got over it, and I can also reasonably hope that this time will be better or at least shorter.

I'm also contemplating pain medication. I'm wondering if I got brainwashed last time into thinking that natural childbirth was the ideal for no good reason. After all, no one ever talks about natural appendectomies. I still think the idea of a needle inserted into my spine and left there is pretty darn squicky, but then Nancy used Nubain and said it was great, and that doesn't sound so bad. We'll see. I've still got a couple of months to think about it.

In the meantime, Chloë continues to be awesome and funny and ever more like a kid than a baby. Today we went to a quilt shop I'd just heard about, and on the way out she wanted to stomp in a puddle while looking at the moon. (And talking about it. "Moo'? Moo'? Moo'. Howah [water]. Howah! Pa [splash]! Moo'? Moo'? Dahr [star]? Moo'? Ka [car]! Howah. Howah. Moo'? Moo'? Moo'?") She had a fabulous time. Eventually I said it was time to go and tried to take her hand, and she screamed "Nooo!!" and then "Dada!!" (like he would have been on her side) and had a meltdown while I carried her to the car and strapped her in and removed her shoes and socks because they were sopping wet. At home she had to be instantly read a couple of books, including the Valentine's Day book she's owned since yesterday and read about six times already, before I could make dinner.* During dinner, she commented that her eggs were broken (she was eating an omelet). We started bedtime preparations a little early because she was so obviously tired--she was hiccuping, and while on the potty was trying to call out letters she knew from the box of bath foam letters, but the hiccups were interrupting her, and this was totally hilarious. Then she burst out laughing when I pulled her shirt off. Such a giggly happy funny girl. I hope the new baby won't seem too boring in comparison.

*This happens in the morning too. I stumble into her room bleary-eyed and am reading books before I know what I'm doing, because how can you resist a one-year-old in a panda sleeper holding out Goodnight Thumper and saying "Book. Book," and then calling "Dupah!" in imitation of the way you do it, but with an adorable high baby voice instead? And then your spouse laughs because the book doesn't actually have that in it, just a line about "Then Thumper heard something. He listened closely. His mother was calling for him. It was time to go home" and you put the "Thuuuuum-peeeer!" call in yourself, so it's entirely your doing that she now calls "Dupah!" every time you read that page and also at random times during the day?

Friday, February 11, 2011

A farewell to bottles

Chloë has gone without bottles for a week now. We started out eliminating the morning bottle, then the naptime one. She objected to those, though not very much, but then she settled into it; and so last Friday we gave her a sippy cup instead of a bottle at bedtime. "Bowah!" she said, to inform us we'd gotten it wrong.

"It is milk," we said, and she drank it. And she's drunk it every night since.

I hadn't expected this final step to be so easy. But she's been happy to drink her milk--she says "mok" now, when it used to be "bowah" for bottle and before that, "babul"--and then proceed with the rest of the bedtime ritual. Maybe it helps that we now read during the milk-drinking, so she's not wholly consumed by the drinking process itself. Maybe she's just a big enough girl that this wasn't a big deal. Either way, I'm pleased, and impressed.

I'm not feeling all teary about her no longer being a baby, either. I mean, I get maudlin about that sometimes, but not because of the bottles or lack thereof. It's because she's so tall now, and helping to put her clothes on, and obeying (or disobeying) my instructions, and asking for yogurt or cheese or strawberries, and loving her boots and the moon, and reminding me to put on my socks.

(And still calling Daddy a monkey.)

So Chloë is off of bottles. Her dentist should be happy. We bought more sippies today, along with some bigger sleepers and socks and a set of three squirty ducks for the bath. I stopped at the clearance rack and looked at all the very small clothes until Eric cleared his throat and asked me to remind him what we had actually come to Babies R Us for. Maybe it helps that I'll soon have another baby, though I hope she won't be on bottles much for a while.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Monkey business

This morning Chloë and I read one of her books, "Wait for Me!", which involves a monkey, a parrot, and a snake generally making life miserable for an elephant, though not on purpose. On one of the pages Chloë pointed to the monkey and said, "Dada."

Now, to be fair, the picture in question did look a lot like a pale human with brown hair, which Eric is. I giggled, and said, "No, that's a monkey."

We finished the book, and upon closing the cover, Chloë pointed to the monkey on it and said again, "Dada." I laughed again and said, "Dada is not a monkey."

She grinned, and insisted, "Dada!"

"Dada is not a monkey."

"Munky," she insisted. "Dada!"

"Dada is not a monkey! You're the monkey!"

"Dada! Mukky!"

We were both giggling at this point, she repeating "Dada" and "munky," which she hasn't before (monkeys have always been identified as "eee eee"), and totally enjoying the joke. It got slightly less funny when she laughed so much she spit up her breakfast milk all over the both of us, but she's been looking at me, grinning, and saying, "Dada. Mukky," at intervals all day.

Friday, February 4, 2011

She also knows Pirate Duck says "Arr."

Chloë pointed to Eric's Gatorade container the other morning and said "Dada." I agreed, "That's Daddy's juice." Then she pointed to her sippy and said "Kao." I said, confused, "Craisins? Chocolate?" It took me a while to realize she was saying "Chloë," as in, "Chloë's juice." She hasn't done much spontaneous naming of herself, though she's been big on "baby" the past several days, and I'm sorry I fumbled it. But what a smart girl. Things belong to people.

She's been particularly interested in our glasses lately, and in looking at her Little People book we've pointed out the kids that have glasses and the kids that don't. We got to the point where she would point to a kid and I would say "Glasses!" or "No glasses!" without her having to say that was what she meant. In the past couple of days she's taken it up a notch: she points to my face and says "glasses" ("goggul"), and then to hers and says "No?" and I echo, "No glasses!" Then she runs and gets her sunglasses and puts them on, and I say, "Glasses!"

She's got a LeapFrog phonics thing on the fridge, a collection of letters and a little house where you put a letter in the slot and it sings, "B says buh! B says buh! Every letter makes a sound, B says buh!" or whatever sound applies. She enjoyed making it sing, and then just moving the magnets around. Now she actually knows a few letters. She brings a letter to me and says, "Bee?" and I turn it around, and it's the B. She also knows the R and the D and the M--she's especially pleased with the M, probably because I made such a fuss the first time she correctly identified it for me--and is tentatively okay with the E, L, and C (despite not being able to properly say either of the last two--it's "eh" and "gzhee"). She can point them out in her foam mat, too. We've been naming the foam letters in her bath*, but I really wasn't expecting her to pick up their individual names for a while. Heck, maybe in a year she'll be able to read and then we'll be off the hook for There's a Wocket in My Pocket.

*Of course, sometimes it goes like this:

Me: "Here's the E. E is for ear! And..."

Eric: "Extrapolate! And effervescent!"

Me: "...Here's a J. J is for juice."

Eric: "And jujube!"

Me: "And jail, where you can visit me after I have your dad killed."

Chloë: "Ki'!"

On instincts

(Note: if I ever say "to make a long story short," I'm probably lying.)

Chloë's been waking up screaming around midnight pretty often lately. As previously mentioned, I'm finding it hard not to go to her and give her what she's asking for, even if I know she doesn't need it, because now she can ask, and the sad sound of a baby crying in the night is nothing compared to a toddler's piteous "Bottle! Bottle! Mama! Bottle!", especially to pregnancy-hormone-addled ears. She slept through the last few nights and I was so relieved, but last night I woke up around one to her screaming for juice.

We've been working on weaning her off bottles, and she now only has one for bedtime. Sometimes she doesn't even want milk when she gets up in the morning, preferring juice or not asking for anything at all. And she's not always asking for milk in the night, obviously. But we don't want to encourage her to have tooth-rotting liquids in the night, either. And we had discussed the night wakings previously and agreed that we should probably try delaying our response to see if she'll just go back to sleep.

So when I woke up, I checked the time. After a few minutes, I got up and waited in the hall for Eric (who was in the office on the other end of the hall, with Chloë's door between us) to get up to try to stop me. He did, saw me, and indicated "five minutes." So I went back to bed. Chloë continued to scream "Ju! Ju! Ju!" Then she started to slow down. The five minutes were up. There was silence. I started to cry because my baby was probably sitting in the dark with tears drenching her cheeks thinking that nobody cared enough to come to her, since I knew she could hear me get in and out of bed. Then she started up again: "Ju!" and "Bowah!" (her new word for bottle) and then, "Mama!"

I went. The five minutes were more than up and my maternal guilt was overflowing. Eric joined me as I picked Chloë up and stroked her back while she cried. Eric told her that juice was not for night time, but she could have water; did she want some? She wailed, "No," and went on crying, her little body shuddering with sobs. After a while I sang to her and Eric turned on her planetarium night light and brought her a doll and wiped her nose and cheeks with a Kleenex, and she calmed down. When she had stopped crying and had started pointing out stars, I put her back in her crib. She said, "No! Ju!" and started to cry again.

I retreated to bed for another few minutes, listening to the screaming continue to ramp up, starting to cry again myself. Finally I blew my nose, grabbed a second Kleenex, and went down to meet Eric in the computer room. "Would you put some water in her sippy and bring it to her?" I said, and he, probably afraid of the sleep-deprived weepy pregnant woman, agreed. I pressed the Kleenex in his hand--it was for wiping Chloë's face, though I'm not sure I actually communicated that to him--and went back to bed. In a few minutes I heard him go into Chloë's room, and the crying stop.

A few minutes after that Eric came in to check on me. "Thank you for waiting the five minutes before you did what came naturally," he said, which I hated him for, but he was right. I've been having a lot of mood swings this pregnancy, more than last time I think, and a lot of primal-mother-instinct behavior toward Chloë. I don't know if I'm having a worse time with the hormones this time around or if being pregnant while already a mother is just like this.

On the other hand, I'm a little conflicted on instinct in general. The first couple of months of Chloë's life I felt I had no mothering instincts whatever, but people all around me were telling me that I did and I had to trust them. (While other people were laughing at me for being stressed out when she was hungry, but never mind that.) Now, when I do have them, I'm being told to deny them. But I was pretty sure Chloë was truly thirsty last night, and I knew that she doesn't actually mean "no" half the time she says it and would probably have accepted the water if offered. That was why I eventually asked Eric to bring it to her, which I knew was against his own judgment. This is not to say that we should have given her a drink immediately, or even gone in to her at all; training is exactly about going against instinct; I know that. I'm just not sure when it's to be trusted and when it isn't. When I'm pregnant, it probably isn't, but not necessarily. So what's a hormone-riddled pregnant woman who's beginning not to be able to hold her toddler all the time to do?

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Words, words, everywhere

Some of this week's words:

-Window. There's a window on the landing, and she likes to look out it and point out the cars and the snow and the birds (whether any happen to be flying by at the time or not).

-In and out. At one of our baby showers we got a gigantic gift bag, and it's been folded up in the spare room closet with the other giftwrap items. Chloe spied it a few days ago and was curious, so we opened it up. It's about as tall as she is, and she wanted inside. So she got it. Then she wanted her ball of yarn and her foam numbers in with her. It's been a favorite fort/plaything ever since. "In," she says, pointing. You lift her in, and she sits happily and plays a bit. "Ow," she says, and you lift her out. (Sometimes she substitutes "up" and "dow".)

-Book. She's known what books (or stories) are for a long time, of course, but she's only recently started saying it clearly.

-Sparkly. Mom gave Chloë a couple of shirts with Hello Kitty sketched out in rhinestones. She adores these shirts. "Parky," she says, running her fingers over the bumps. We went shopping at Meijer the other day and had to stop in the girls' section for her to check out a shirt with "parky" sequined stars all over it.

-Broccoli. We made a potato/cheese/broccoli casserole last week and had leftovers over the weekend. "Brocky," she said, fishing out the green bits and poking them into her mouth.

And her first two-word sentence is, apparently, "More please." Did we mention she's a big girl?