Thursday, April 28, 2011

Welcoming the Competition

Maia Verity Snyder
Born 27 April 2011 at 14:51
3.54 kg (7lb 12 oz), 52 cm (20.5 in)

Monday, April 25, 2011

Status report: Month 21

Chloë the 21-month-old is full of energy and words. “Dahhhhhhhhh!” she calls as she’s running down the hallway. “Dada sleeping. Dada wake?” she says hopefully in the mornings, and slides off her bed to dash to our bedroom when I say “Yes, you can go wake him up now,” if it's a reasonable hour. "Outside! Shoes on?" she says when we so much as hint at the possibility of going outside, and runs to the shoe rack. "Chloë tumble, naked while!" she says happily as she tries to turn somersaults on her bed in the time between clothes and pajamas.

She's so big! So tall! So smart! She's growing more clever, I think, or at least more facile with her words and actions. One day I was giving her a snack of cheese and crackers and she said "Wash hands?" (which she still loves to do) while I was preparing them. "Not until after you finish your cheese crackers," I told her, handing down a piece of cheese. She handed it back and said, "No cheese crackers. Wash hands now?"

"Now" is a notable recent addition to her vocabulary. (So are "coming," "time out," and "magic missile.") Mostly she uses it to make demands (e.g., "You can have more chicken after you eat some of your potatoes." One bite later: "Chicken now."), which are increasing in number. She seems to have gotten the hang of either/or questions, too; before if we said "Do you want grapes or strawberries?" she'd either nod if she wanted the strawberries or say "No," if she wanted the grapes; now she'll say "Dawberry" or "Grapey."

She gets frustrated very easily, such as when she's trying to play "peeky-boo" and a corner of the blanket is stuck under her or not falling over her face as she wishes it, but her meltdowns usually don't last long. Yesterday, at Mimaw's for Easter, she was exceedingly unhappy when she had to leave the house tricycle to go inside for dinner, and that was a lot of crying for her: a few minutes of inconsolable sobbing, stopped suddenly when she touched her cheeks and said, "Tears?" and then, seeing her Aunt Michelle start up the staircase, "Mimi upstairs?", her little voice catching on the remnants of her sobs. This is often how her fits of crying end.

She says "Chloë make?" hopefully whenever I mention making a meal or look through my cookbooks. When I say yes, she pushes the chair we have in the kitchen toward the counter and asks to be lifted up, and then when I'm getting things ready says anxiously "Chloë do," over and over until I hand her a measuring cup of flour and ask her to dump it into the bowl, or tell her to push the 'on' button of the scale. Then when we're done, she cries because she can't do any more. She runs to help when she hears us open the dishwasher, and asks "Turn on?" whenever we close it.

She continues to be a stellar eater. She'll eat an entire banana for breakfast and ask for more. She also asks for candy pretty often now, though it's almost always without actually naming candy--we just know what she means because she tends to specify what she wants otherwise. We keep it in a drawer in the pantry, and she goes over to it and says "Have some?" or "Have couple?" because we'll usually say "Yes, you can have some chocolate," or "You can have a couple of jelly beans," when we consent. She got an Easter basket from her Mimaw, which will keep her well-supplied for quite a while. I may steal the Milky Way egg, though. I'm not so sure about caramel for toddlers. She does very well with chewing things in general, though--she can now eat raw carrots, and whole grapes ("Bite," I told her anxiously the first several times I let her try this, and she looked at me as if to say "Duh, Mother"). Also, the other day she had raw garlic, and then the marinated spinach salad the garlic was going into, and asked for more of both. Eric winced and said, "I'm going to make you some bland food."

She's been enjoying drinking water from a Dixie cup the last week or so, and so proud of herself. She's improving with her fork, and we're now encouraging her to use it whenever possible. She loves dipping waffles or pancakes in syrup or chicken in barbecue sauce or pretty much anything in ketchup, and while she favors using her fingers she's now pretty good at stabbing food with her fork to dip--that is, when she doesn't try to dip her fork directly. She's already pretty good with a spoon. She doesn't understand the concept of cutting things with it, but that's okay. We introduced her to ice cream--well, to ice cream in her own little bowl--and she needs to have it in pieces that she can scoop up to eat it successfully. She's very keen on ice cream. She and I had some the night of my birthday, after a special run out to the store to get it, and almost every day since she's asked "Eye keem?" We say, "Not until after dinner, and not every day," but it doesn't stop her from asking.

She can name the baby in Mama's belly, and knows that the quilt I was working on until yesterday is Maia's. She kept saying "Koë banky" anyway, and wrapped it around herself while I was finishing the binding, but she didn't object when I put it away when it was finished and had her snuggle in her own quilt. We bought her an I'm-a-big-sister book, Best-Ever Big Sister by Karen Katz (we have two other Katz books she likes), and it's at currently the top of her to-be-read list, crowding out even Elmo and Green Eggs and Ham. At naptime and bedtime I routinely ask "What book do you want to read?" and she routinely says "Big Sister." Then, when we finish, she says, "More," or "Again." It's a different story depending on whether Mama or Dada reads it to her, since we modify it differently--for example, Eric skips the "I can poop in the potty" page, while I read it and explain that she'll learn to do that soon. Because she will. Right?

She's started trying to brush her own teeth, especially in the mornings when I brush mine (we only routinely brush hers at night), and wants to hold the floss holder when Eric flosses her. She also wants to brush her own hair, which is less successful since (a) she tends to stroke the flat part of the brush against her head and (b) her hair is a tangly flyaway mess most of the time anyway. Baby brushes are just not cutting it. Combs and my brush (the kind with small balls at the end of the bristles) work much better, but she doesn't like the pulling. So half the time the back of her head is a nest of frizz. She can also climb into the car into her carseat--well, mostly; she needs a boost to get turned around, at least in my car--and likes to click the carseat harness together.

She's definitely fully settled in her new room, though she still occasionally wants to go into the nursery for a change or to jump in the crib (we just say no, and she accepts this). The singing I used to do for ten minutes or more to get her settled for sleep is now down to one or two songs, if any, and she glories in having a bed that's also a playspace. She loves when I sing "Pop Goes the Weasel" and make her monkey dance around her and "pop" into her face or the air. She slides out of the bed expertly, though climbing up still mostly causes her to ask for help (though she can do it herself if she's determined enough). She's been waking up early, and so very tired by the time bedtime rolls around, but we're not sure what to do about it. For now, I'm going to bed earlier so as not to lose sleep, and trying not to worry about it. She's still happy and energetic and smart and so very, very cute; a few hours of lost sleep won't hurt her any.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Last days

Chloë's been waking up early and often this week. She often cries, possibly in her sleep, around midnight or one, and then wakes me up with screaming around four. Then she comes into our room at around six-thirty, which is hour before her usual wake-up time, saying "Chloë wake!" I pull her up in bed with me and have her snuggle down in the hopes she'll go back to sleep and I can have my usual extra hour. She snuggles, but she doesn't sleep. Instead, she says, "Mama wake? Dada sleep. Chloë wake. Mama wake? Mama up! Chloë up! Go down? Mama glasses. Baby crib [referring to the bassinet]. Baby sleep? Dada sleep? Mama sleepy? Go down!" until I have to get out of bed before I throw her out. I don't know what's causing it (the early waking, I mean; I know what's causing the chattering). Does she know these are her last days to have Mama and Dada all to herself?

I am now more pregnant than I've ever been, at least if we assume my LMP due date is accurate. (Since I was still breastfeeding at the time and my cycle was still getting back to normal, I'm more inclined to trust the ultrasound's, which is five days later.) Yesterday evening I kept thinking "This time last pregnancy, I was in the hospital." Then I started having crampy contractions and began to panic, because I've still got a few things I really want to get done before I have to drop my life in order to have the new baby. Luckily they must have been Braxton-Hicks...or else the pure force of my ire when I told Eric I felt funny and he began making faces at me convinced my body to hold off a while.

I don't feel ready for this second baby, not quite yet. I even avoided the crackers on the dinner table on purpose. Setting aside the projects I want to finish (nothing vital to the baby--we've got carseats installed and clothes washed and the bassinet set up and, aside from one piece from the midwives that they can fax in, my paperwork in place), I've been thinking about my labor and delivery and early days with Chloë, and regretting all the things I did wrong. Luckily there was no lasting damage to her, and if my only problem is a bad attitude going into labor I'm doing fine, but I still feel I've got a bad precedent. Maybe that will only make it easier for this time around to be better. I know a lot more this time, after all. And I don't think I'll really have to let the pieces of my life scatter and pick them back up afterward, which is kind of how it's feeling on this side of things (being understaffed at work, and then having my sole true peer go on vacation for a week because it's his last chance until after I get back from leave, doesn't help).

As far as the medication during labor debate goes, I've settled on a strong, firm "I'll wait and see how I feel." If I get to the hospital and am doing okay, then fine. If I get to the hospital and am panicky and despairing, I'll get an epidural and take a nap. At least while I'm at the hospital Chloë won't wake me up early.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Chloë do

Chloë spent this morning while I was prepping for work running up and down the upstairs hallway, shirtless, saying "dah-ah-ah-ah-ah-ah-ah-ah," as her pounding footsteps jolted her. Every once in a while she'd stop and say brightly, "Koë hak [walk]," or "Koë coming," or "Koë go!" and take off again.

The letting her help bake thing was a mistake. Now she wants to help cook and bake everything. This would be awesome if she could hold a measuring cup steady or were allowed to get near the hot stove or could be told there's nothing more to do without getting upset. Actually, it's still kind of awesome, just also a bother. I made bread the other day and had her dump in flour and yeast and then push the buttons on the scale. She liked the buttons. She told Eric and me proudly later, "Koë make beh [bread]." She was most unhappy last night when she couldn't help with the mac and cheese, but consoled herself by eating the leftover chopped onion out of the measuring cup.

Yesterday she decided she wanted to drink from a real (Dixie) cup, and spent about ten minutes at the table taking drinks of water with a look of fierce concentration and then setting it down to grin delightedly when she didn't spill any. Eventually she started trying to stick her fork and her fingers in the cup, which meant it was time for dinner to be over.

Now that I'm near the end of my pregnancy (one week! Or so), picking her up has become rare (and uncomfortable...I wonder if lifting weights would be any use during labor; it feels like it). But I've been asking her to sit down with me, and now she'll ask me to sit down so we can snuggle. It's very sweet, and makes me feel better about the upcoming postpartum stage where I'm not supposed to lift anything over ten pounds or so. We still read a lot, she picking out books (usually it's Tickle Me, My Name is Elmo, which I am so sorry I picked up at the bookstore) and then willing to put them back but generally unable to unless I help her make space in the bookcase. I think she'll be willing to help fetch diapers and things for her little sister. I'm looking forward to seeing how big a helper she can be.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Three-word phrases and four-syllable words

Chloë's most recent word is "incubator." We have the AAP's Your Baby's First Year book, which lately has seen most action when Chloë wants to look at the drawings of babies in it. One of the pictures is of a preemie in a NICU. Usually I skip over it because it's not very detailed and therefore not interesting, but the other day I decided to stop, for whatever reason, and explain that this was a very small baby in an incubator. "I-koo-bay-tuh," she repeated. I blinked. I said, "That's right. You were in one once, but only for a very short time." Later she was able to repeat it to Eric when I prompted her. I doubt it's going to stick in her mind, since it's not a word that's going to see common use, but I was impressed anyway.

And she's been working on her three-word phrases lately, which thrills me no end, though I admit it's cute when she uses two sentences in the place of one ("Koë more. Do more") because she can't figure out how to fit everything she wants to say into two words. I've heard "Mama go down," "Bird fly up," "Chloë help Dada," "Push garbage can" (Is that really a three-word phrase, since "garbage can" is essentially a single word?), "No pokey nose." She says this last one a lot...then does it anyway. She's definitely approaching two years old.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Our daughter the frood

Chloë is having a weird relationship with baths lately. She doesn't ask for them as often as she used to, but she still asks (always complete with sign). Then, when we say "Bath time! With bubbles! Time to get naked!" she wails, "No bath! No bath!" and tries to run away. It's not the naked part. She loves being naked; that's why we say it. It's a special part of the day, being naked "for a while" after getting out of and before getting into her pajamas each day. And when she actually gets into the bath, she's okay. Yesterday she was clutching three of her ducks to her chest, saying triumphantly "Tree ducky!" She still hates having her head wet, but there's nothing we can do about that. Her Mimaw coaxed her under the shower head at a recent sleepover, but that doesn't work for us unless we want her collapsed in sobbing terror.

At the same time, she's gotten inexplicably interested in her towel. There are two that are hers alone: A big rectangular one with butterfly wings and antennae and a square one with an embroidered frog, both hot pink and hooded. She's taken to requesting them whenever we're in the bathroom (the current one hangs on the door) and carrying them around until she forgets about them. She is, after all, not even two. But overall she's awfully interested in where her towel is.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Cookie monster

Chloë helped make her first batch of cookies today. They were oatmeal cookies, the Quaker Oats recipe but with cinnamon chips added. She was a bit perplexed at first when I dragged the chair up to the counter and started pulling out ingredients, but she was delighted to help dump in sugar, flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, vanilla, oats, and cinnamon chips. Also got some tips on the fine art of cookie dough tasting--that is, that it's better to get a dollop on your finger after the dough is all mixed than get lumpy dough spread across your knuckles.

She got a bit anxious when there was nothing more for her to help with--"Koë hep," she cried--and even more so when the oven went off but the cookies weren't quite done. "Koë cooky!" She was appeased when I promised she would have a cookie as soon as they were baked. And she did, or at least part of the one that we all shared to determine whether they were truly done. She wanted more, but I told her she could have another tomorrow. We'll see whether she can hold out until after breakfast.