.

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Monday, February 28, 2011

A day at the Aquarium

Yesterday we got up early and headed out to the Shedd Aquarium.  Kate had only been once before, but she was in-utero so she didn't get to see anything.  This time was much more exciting.

We started out with the dolphin and beluga whale show.  It probably wasn't the best thing for a child her age since most of the time was spent talking about how the animals are trained and less actually seeing the dolphins and whales up close.  I guess I have been spoiled by Sea World...

Anyway, she did enjoy some of it.  This is her "What happened?" pose.  This was happening when the guy rambled on for too long about whistles and water slapping and the animals were at the far side of the pool.
 
 Kate would clap when the audience did which was funny--first time I've seen her cue up to what others are doing.
She loved it when the dolphins would jump out of the water.
 Sometimes she would only see something because it was on the screen. She does have a rather assertive point, don't you think?
Next was lunch which was a bit early for us but based on the crowds of people with kids we hedged our bets that it was going to be super crowded if we waited.  Sure enough, by the time we were finished, people were waiting in line for a table.  Go us!

Then we headed downstairs to see the dolphins and whales from the glass windows.  This was much more exciting for her and sadly, we were so involved with letting her run around on the ledge by the glass that we forgot to get pics except for this one.
Naptime was fast approaching so we were going to pack up and head home but I gave her a bottle first and she ended up falling asleep on me.
So, we walked around and looked at some of the exhibits that she would have trouble seeing like the frogs and the smaller fish.  She slept for just under an hour and I was worried that she would be terribly grouchy from such a short nap.  Fortunately, we had made our way over to the shark exhibit where it was relatively dark and quiet.  She woke up to manta rays and sharks and was thrilled.  There was also a place where you could walk over the rays on a glass floor and then lean over a rail to see them as well. 

When we first went in to the Aquarium it was a bright, sunny day.  By the time we left at 2:30 the clouds had rolled in and it was starting to sleet.  We made it home and spent the rest of the afternoon playing and watching the weather outside be frightful!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

I guess I'll just read a book then

Kate watches approximately 5 minutes of tv per week.  It would be zero except that she needs a weekly mani/pedi and the only way I can guarantee she will sit still so I won't cut her fingers/toes is to put her in her bumbo seat and turn on the telly.  She is mesmerized and motionless which is great for my purposes but scary in the power it seems to have to completely stop her in her tracks. 

All this to say that she only sees me turn on the tv once a week and already she has learned what to do with a remote.  The one she has in her hands is an old remote we no longer use, void of batteries. Notice the firm grip on the wooden dowel in her left hand.  It is a permanent fixture with her now.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

The aftermath (and happy birthday wishes!)

To followup on the nap saga, Kate ended up sleeping from 2:20-4:20pm yesterday, AFTER spending an hour and 20 minutes apparently tossing everything out of her crib.  This is what I walked in to when I went in to get her:
She woke up quite pleased with herself and loved seeing her handiwork being photographed.  We played, had some supper and then played a bit more when Len came home.  Then she asked for "Baba" with Daddy, went happily to her bath and quietly to bed at 6:40pm.  Amazing.  Every day is a surprise.

On another, very important note, today is Len's 45th birthday!  Happy birthday my love!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

It takes a "virtual" village

Reading this post today, I realize that I use both Facebook and this blog as a way to create my own virtual village, much as the author of that article did in her standoff with her toddler.  We live in Chicago which is so far away from our families in FL and our friends in DC that I oftentimes feel isolated and alone with my new job of parenting.  I am sometimes resentful that I finally became a mother as I lost my entire social network that I had built up from living in DC for 12 years.  We threw annual Mardi Gras parties where as many as 60 friends would celebrate into the wee hours of the morning and now I am hard-pressed to put together a dinner party for 6.

Three of our old neighbors on Rogers Drive have had babies since we moved.  I think often of how nice it would be to have Kate grow up with them, to have my good friends right there when I need support or advice or even just a stroll around the block.  I am working hard to build that here and have made some in-roads in that department.  But, as with anything worth having long-term, it takes time and effort to build the kind of friendships I left behind.

Even though Facebook, email and this blog can be a huge time-suck, it has also been a lifesaver.  The comments and advice I receive from my blog ramblings, the instant support I get when I post something on Facebook, they both save my sanity and let me know that I'm not in this alone.  That I haven't lost all my support just because I moved across the country.

*PS  Update on yesterday's napping situation:   Kate finally fell asleep on her own at 2:40pm, nearly 2 hours after I had put her down to begin with.  She slept until 4:20pm and was ready for bed at her usual time.  She went to bed without drama at 6:40pm and awakened at 6:45am.

She has pulled the same deal with today's nap but has shortened the drama time.  This time I put her down at 1pm and she played and sang (no crying so I never went back in) until she finally fell asleep at 2:20pm and is currently still napping.

I was telling Len yesterday that I feel so guilty leaving our daughter in a dark room with a sound machine for most of the afternoon, like she's being kept in an isolation chamber.  He did his level-best to assure me that she needs her rest and is learning to self-soothe and I do hope he is right.  It seems so since today took a considerably shorter time to get from drowsy-but-awake to asleep.

PPS--If you live in Chicago, go VOTE!  We are getting a new mayor and a new alderman this year!

Monday, February 21, 2011

I swear Kate can read this blog

And does so merely so she can prove me wrong.  Remember this line from yesterday's post?

By the way, anyone who says that a baby will eventually tire herself out and fall asleep has not met Kate.

Well.  Harumph.  On this note, I am happy to be proven wrong but did it have to be right on the heels of a statement I put out into the blogosphere?

Kate woke up happy this morning at 6:30am.  That means she slept for 14 hours last night.  Her cold appeared to be better and since it was supposed to start snowing in the afternoon (and it has) I took a chance and took her to her Wiggleworms class this morning.  She thoroughly enjoyed the morning, sitting right in front of Ms. Julie and clapping along with the songs.  She even stood, ON HER OWN WITHOUT HOLDING MY HANDS, for 15 seconds.  Twice!  She only fell when she got so excited to discover she was standing alone that she started to windmill her arms and lost her balance.

So, home by noon, lunch, reading and bottle.  She nodded off in my arms so into the crib with her by 12:50 and, right on cue, she roused herself a few minutes after I had left the room and started tossing some of her toys out of the crib.  Then she turned on her mobile and sang for a while.  By 1:30 she started crying so I went back in to see if she was still hungry.  I got an emphatic slap of the bottle combined with a vigorous head shake to indicate NO!  So, we sat down and read 2 more books.  She started rubbing her eyes and glazing over.  I turned out the light and the crying started.  Yay me.

I walked her over to the crib and she kept pushing for me to put her down so I laid her down.  She thrashed around and didn't want me to keep a hand on her back (this is indicated by her waving her arm behind her to push my hands away).  So I whispered It's time to rest and walked out.

She cried quite loudly for about a minute and then started tossing out the rest of her toys.  More talking to herself and general mully-grubbing about the situation she was in.  Then...nothing.  I turned up the monitor.  Still nothing. 

She fell asleep at 2:40pm--almost 2 hours after I had put her in her crib for the first time.  All by herself.  I am still in shock.  And really hoping she didn't knock herself out and the reason for the silence is she's unconscious.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Kate's Not-So-Perfect Day

I guess for every sweet thing there needs to be a bitter thing in order for the sweetness to truly be sweet.  Or some such pithy saying.  

Well. 

Today we are mired in the bitter.   Actually, let's just throw in the whole weekend because, let me tell you, it has been a doozy.

Kate has a cold.  Yes, she's had approximately two in her whole first year which for a baby is not that many.  And this one doesn't come with a fever.  But still.  She's miserable and you can't put a price on baby-misery.  It comes with it's own special brand of torment and sorrow.

See?

This is what happens to Kate when she will not nap, will not rest, will not allow herself to be cuddled.  She just crawls around, sobbing, unfocused.  It is heartbreaking.

Kate's tale of woe began at 6:30am.  Which would be fine if she had had a good night.  Her night began like all others.  Bottle, bath, books and bed by 6:30pm. 

Oh, another tangent.  This was Kate's first time in the big bathtub--the yellow ducky tub has been retired.
She slept for approximately 45 minutes.  This was AFTER she had only napped for a grand total of 30 minutes all day Saturday.  She did the up-and-down thing until almost 11pm which for Kate, at night, is very unusual.  Her naps may suck but she has been a GREAT nighttime sleeper for many months.

Anyway, up at 6:30am and not in her normal, cheerful, chirpy Let's-play-with-my-mobile way.  It was more of a I've-had-a-very-bad-dream, get-in-here-NOW! kind of way.  So we get her and bring her back to our bed and read some books until that gets old (like 5 minutes) and then it's up and time for breakfast.  She's cranky and tired by 8:30 which starts our cycle of trying to get Kate down for a nap. 

By the way, anyone who says that a baby will eventually tire herself out and fall asleep has not met Kate. 

So, we get her out of her room at 9:45 and get dressed to run some errands and have some brunch.  It's a rainy, cold day so this will be our only fresh-air outing of the day.  Kate is relatively good-natured on this trip but nearly everyone remarks about how tired she looks.  We make it home by noon and take her in for nap attempt #2, which is her normal nap time.  Total fail.  She pops up and stands at the crib rail and wails for 30 minutes.  Len and I take turns all afternoon:  playtime, snack, books and wind-down for nap.  Each time Kate cries until she is hiccuping and feverish.  I would love to even just hold her while she sleeps at this point but Kate is not a cuddle-baby.

So this lasts until...um...right now. 

It's 4:30pm.  We fed her supper and did her bath at 4pm.  Len just walked out of her room and I hear...nothing but the sound machine for the first time all day.  I don't know what finally worked but she's asleep*.

For now.

*Update: 5:06pm.  Kate is awake and crying loudly.  We gave her a few minutes to be sure she wouldn't just go back to sleep but we could hear her escalating and then stand up and start shaking the crib rail.  Len went back in and by 5:13 he had her calmed back down enough for him to leave the room.  We may try to eat some dinner*** before the next round.

**PS--On top of everything else (this will fall in Len's over-sharing category but since it doesn't involve his penis I think I'm ok), I have clogged milk ducts from weaning Kate.  I am the proud owner of one very deflated but leaking boob and one rock-solid, painful boob.  I look a bit....off.

***PPS--tried to eat dinner and the fresh crab claws I brought home today were spoiled!  Seriously?!  What is going on around here?? 

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Over-sharing

There are some moments when Len reads what I have written and cringes.  Not very often but they do happen.  Today I showed him a post from another blog that I read and said:

When you think I have over-shared something about our personal lives, I'd like you to remember this post from a fellow blogger and cut me some slack. I want it on record that I have never discussed rug burn or eating carpet. 

Yet.

In the meantime, enjoy this little song.  I guarantee you will be humming it the rest of the day.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Has it come to this?

Len sent me this article yesterday and we were both dumbfounded.  As a former high school English teacher married to a man who has a PhD in English, we both have seen how our school system is consistently letting our children down.  Teaching to the test, in my opinion, has been our greatest disservice to them.  No Child Left Behind has been a dismal failure.

I was lucky enough to have Mrs. Betty Sands as my high school senior English teacher.  Her class not only covered "the mandated curriculum", it went above and beyond to expose us to art, popular culture, music, and drama.  She would bring in playbills from NYC Broadway shows she had seen, Mardi Gras coins from parades in New Orleans, and discuss the political and social motivations behind such songs as American Pie.  She gave me something more valuable than just answering a bunch of multiple choice questions testing our memory recall of Macbeth.  She ignited my curiosity to see the world.  She was the first person to really make me wonder about the world beyond my hometown and the people I had grown up with.  I wanted to see a Broadway play, I wanted to explore Manhattan, to experience a Mardi Gras parade, maybe even travel to Europe.  And I am happy to report that I have done all those things and more.

She taught that what is important is not just basic knowledge to pass your SATs but to be curious about the world around you, to question, to be able to talk knowledgeably about a variety of subjects.  These skills have stood me in good stead over the years both at work and socially.  Is there anything more mind-numbing than being stuck at a dinner party with someone who has no foundation to be able to discuss anything beyond the weather or last night's tv shows?


"My idea of good company...is the company of clever, well-informed people, who have a great deal of conversation; that is what I call good company.' 'You are mistaken,' said he gently, 'that is not good company, that is the best." 
--Jane Austen (Persuasion) 

Today I have become friends with Mrs. Sands.  In fact, we vacation with her and her kids and extended family every summer and I consider them some of our closest friends.  She remains one of the most interesting people I've come across and her children are no exception. 

When you spend your time teaching your children that what matters is regurgitating the "right" answers, you might miss the opportunity to teach them something more valuable.  They may get into the top programs and make the highest scores but they may also hate school, hate learning and have no curiosity for much beyond texting with their friends on facebook and going to the movies.  And that may make them terrifically "educated"...and terrifically boring.


"The person, be it gentleman or lady, who has not pleasure in a good novel, must be intolerably stupid."
Jane Austen (Northanger Abbey)

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Kate's perfect day

Maybe it's the change in the weather (we hit 58 degrees today!) and the promise that winter will not last forever but Kate had a wonderful, really good, very happy day.  She awakened very chipper and ready to face the day at 7:30am.  Len got her up and dressed, she had oatmeal mixed with carrots and some milk.  We then headed over to Sara's for our weekly mama group by 9am.  I am happy to report that for the first time in many months, I only had to dress us in fleece instead of our normal arctic attire.  She was definitely much more amenable to a fleece top than she is to the fleece top, fleece pants (these on top of what she wears around the house), booties over her socks, snowsuit, mittens, and hat.

All of Kate's friends (Elliott, Lina, Ava, Arnav and Jacob) made it to our group today.  Everyone played relatively well and enjoyed the carrot muffins that Sara made.  As all good things must end, the kiddoes started their usual meltdowns around 11am so that was our cue to pack it in and go home.  Lunch was served (taco meat mixed with zucchini, some cubed avocado and pureed carrots) and then Kate indicated that she would like nothing more than to have her "Baba" and a rest.  15 minutes with the bottle and is there anything more beautiful to a tired, hungry mama than the sight of her baby's eyes glazing over and shutting?  I think not.  I put her in her crib and she was out cold by 12:20pm. 

I got to have a leisurely lunch of spinach salad with leftover chicken while I caught up with Gossip Girl on the DVR before she woke up at 1:45pm.  Kate has learned to say "walk" now and as soon as I got her up and changed she started in asking to walk walk walk.  She likes to hold my hands for walking a lot of the time and that's what we did until she saw her walker.  I quickly grabbed the camera to show you how she has learned to turn the walker....this after she failed to turn it and catapulted over the top of it last week.  Lesson learned.


As you can see from the video, she was starting to get a little grouchy with all the walking so we sat down to play "Let's have a picnic", "Let's look at the word book", "Let's play with the shape sorter" and "Let's take everything out of the toybox".  All fun times as you might imagine.

Around 3pm we had a quick snack (apricot, banana, pear puree) and headed out the door for a stroller walk.  This time of day tends to be Kate's less-than-charming period so I figured a stroller ride was a good distraction.  She was so happy to be out of the house without a hat on that she giggled and clapped her hands for a good half block.  We headed to the park and got on the swings for the first time in what seemed like years. 

We got back around 4pm and still had an hour to go before I started the preparations for her dinner.  Kate had enough of walking and general toybox destruction so we moved to the other play area in our room and worked on some fine motor skills.  She has actually been doing this with her car for a couple of months but it's the first time I got it on film (I know, right??). 


What the film did not capture was her moving the pack-n-play across the room.  This is her new skill--furniture movement.  She will move the dining chairs and her highchair as well.  So far the sofa has proved immovable--but not for lack of effort.

Every day just before 5:03pm, Len will text me to let me know he made the train home.  So everyday when I hear the phone chime I say "That's Daddy--he's on his way home!"  Today when the phone chimed, Kate whipped her head around and before I could say anything she pointed to it and said, "DADDY!".  That's one smart girl if I do say so myself!

So, dinner was served and eaten (leftover herbed chicken, quinoa, carrots and avocado, milk), we did a few more laps up and down the hall and then Kate started to melt down.  With 10 more minutes to go before Len would be home, I scooped her up and we sat in her room to read books and listen to some quiet music.  Len arrived and Kate slithered out of my arms and crawled to her door and eventually followed him down the hall to our room where he was changing from his work clothes. 

Len took over from here and gave her a bottle and some cuddle time.  Next was brushing her teeth, taking her bath, lotion, jammies and storytime.  A kiss goodnight and into bed.  About 2 minutes of half-hearted crying and then she was fast asleep by 6:45pm. 

That was Kate's perfect day.  And not a bad one for Mama either.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Our little hamster

When I was little I used to have a gerbil.  Make that two gerbils.  They aren't known for their longevity and so my first gerbil, Pumpkin, died within a day or two of bringing her home.  I remember holding her motionless body in my hands as I walked into my brother's room so he could verify that something was indeed wrong with my new pet.  He was so sweet as he let me crawl into his bed with my dead rodent and cry on his shoulder.  After a very solemn memorial we buried her under the wisteria vine and then headed back to the store for another gerbil.

Peanuts lasted much longer and the thing I remember most about having a rodent for a pet is that his need to chew was manic and unending.  I would give him endless rolls from the toilet paper and paper towels and he would sit there, clutching the roll in his tiny hands and simultaneously typewriter-chew from one end of the roll to the other and back again until he was sitting amidst a great sea of shredded cardboard.

I was reminded of all this when I opened Kate's door a few weeks ago to discover her covered in tiny white dots.  Wondering if this was some new kind of pox I started to inspect her closer and discovered it was paint.  From her crib rail.
 
Remember this post where her hamster-like tendencies were documented?  Not wasting any time, I quickly got online and ordered these crib rail guards, got them the next day and installed them.  They were plastic and had rubber grippies on the back and multiple rubber straps to hold them in place.  Feeling confident, I put her in for her nap later on that day and as usual, I heard her NOT SLEEPING but playing around.  I went in after a bit and discovered that she had not only spun the guard rails so they would be open on the top, she had also managed to unstrap more than half of the straps.

After gathering all the straps back up, I refastened them and put everything back the way it was supposed to be according to the directions.  Rinse and repeat 3 more times before yanking what was left of them off the rails while uttering many oaths...piece of shit waste of money, nonreturnable because I had to cut them to fit the length, mutter mutter crappy product...

Back to the drawing board.  In the meantime, she continued to chew...
So, now we have this item up and so far it seems to be doing the trick. 
Kate has not figured out a way to untie the straps (I double-knotted them--Good Mommy!) or spin the cloth around.  As long as she doesn't discover the other rail on the back we're good.  Maybe I should start saving up those toilet paper rolls again...

Monday, February 14, 2011

Happy Valentine's Day!

This bit of picture manipulation is courtesy of Tricha.  She and her partner Maria sent it to Kate for Valentine's Day so I thought I'd share the love.  Kiss your loved ones today!

Sunday, February 13, 2011

What happened?

As most all babies do, Kate loves to drop stuff and then watch you pick it up.  This game provides endless fascination for her and just SEEMS endless to me.  Her new affectation though, is to drop something and then hold out her arms and shrug as if to say, I don't know HOW that happened?! 

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Love Letter, Month 13

Dear Kate,

You are thirteen months old today. You are a very busy girl this month. You have so much to do, to see, to taste, to dance to. I am sorry to tell you that you have the Jimmy-legs, just like your Daddy.  And it's driving me nuts.  Could you please just stop kicking for one minute while I change your enormous, meat-filled poopy diapers?  You lay there on your back and pedal your legs like Lance Armstrong on the final leg of the Tour de France, all while laughing and beating your stomach like a sumo wrestler.  It really is quite a spectacle and most of the time I think it's hysterical...just not when there is imminent danger of both of us winding up with recycled chicken and dumplings on our faces.
By the way, do you notice all the hair in that last picture?  That's right.  Your Nana actually sent an email last week simply entitled SHE HAS HAIR! You are finally getting some hair on that perfectly formed fuzzy dome of yours.  When you are ready, you have a jewelry box crammed full with barrettes and bows with which I am itching to decorate your head.

Your independence is showing up more and more every day.  You are grabbing the spoon and fork to feed yourself most of the time now.  You will still examine everything that approaches your mouth, like you are convinced I am trying to sneak something like yogurt or banana past your unsuspecting lips.  And you are right.  I am trying to sneak these things into you.  When something doesn't meet with your approval you will take it off the spoon with your other hand and squeeze it to a fine fare-thee-well and then look at me accusingly.  I guess the straight-forward approach of cubed banana on a fork doesn't work as well as hiding banana in pureed kale.
Your dexterity is improving daily.  One of your favorite games is to play with your shape sorter box.  This has the added bonus of having a yellow circle shape which is your all-time favorite.  You pick that one out of the box first, clutch it in your left hand while we put all the other shapes back through their respective holes with your right hand.  Although you cannot fit these in by yourself, you are able to get the round peg into the round hole all by yourself pretty consistently.  The challenge comes when you realize that you have now released your FAVORITE YELLOW SHAPE into a closed box and OMG, the torment and anguish until we can get it back out is almost too much for you to bear.

You don't wait well.  You come by that honestly is all I'm going to say on that subject.

Your repertoire of words is expanding. You can say "T T" for Ms. Tricha, "Meow" for kitty, "Up", and "Hat" (although Up and Hat sound pretty much the same so I have to read your sign language to see if you are holding up your arms to be picked up or patting your head to indicate hat).  Your signing has gotten a lot better too thanks to Ms. Tricha.  You can sign "more" and "all done" when you are eating.  You understand what Push and Pull mean and you use it to push your shapes into your shape sorter and push or pull your high chair table on and off.
Your love of books seems to know no bounds.  You will now point to your favorites for me to read, sometimes opening them back up when we have finished to read it over again.  You will rock your shoulders back and forth into me as you settle in to help me turn the pages.  You giggle every single time the Goodnight Gorilla is caught by the zookeeper's wife sneaking everyone into the bedroom to sleep.  You will point out the kitties in Goodnight Moon and meow to be sure I know that you have seen them.  You can point to your mouth, your tongue and your ears courtesy of Horns to Toes and In-Between.

Your awareness of body parts has extended to your father's nipples.  Every weekend morning we go and get you when you wake up and bring you back to our bed.  We generally laze about and try to keep you from pitching yourself face-first over the side of the bed.  The one thing that will keep you mesmerized for a couple of minutes are your daddy's nipples.  When you realize they are there you point and laugh, looking first at me and then at your daddy to see if we realize what a funny discovery you have made.  The day you found out that he had not one but TWO nipples was like Christmas.  You shrieked and pointed and bounced up and down, clutching great handfuls of his chest hair.  I wasn't sure what was entertaining me more: watching your face and body rigid with glee or watching your daddy's mad scramble to save his chest from being denuded and his muffled yelps of pain when you pointed a little too generously.
Speaking of nipples, I have mine back now.  You and I have pretty much weaned from nursing this month.  It was led more by you than by me as your tolerance for laying there not moving is practically non-existent.  It seems to be a bittersweet time for both of us though.  Just when I thought you were through, having not spent much time nursing at all in the past few weeks, you woke up a bit cranky yesterday morning and made those familiar Uh Uh Uh UH UH! noises that meant you wanted to nurse.  It was a sweet time while it lasted but you became frustrated when the well ran dry after only 5 minutes.  I'm afraid that part of babyhood is over for both of us and I'm glad to see you are as bummed about it as I am.
I am still having trouble referring to you as a toddler instead of my baby.  Technically you are not yet "toddling" but it is coming.  You stood completely on your own without holding onto anything for a couple of seconds a few days ago.  You insist on doing a minimum of a hundred or so laps up and down the hall every day either on your walker or holding on to my hands.  You had your first major fall when you ran the walker into the corner of the shoe molding so hard that you catapulted over the top and landed on your face.  You managed to split your lip but keep your teeth intact all while giving your father and me a near-death experience.  That part wasn't fun so if you could avoid that in the future that would be swell.

You are becoming fixated on particular toys or objects, like your wooden dowel or your brush, and scream bloody murder when it is time to put them away.  This disturbing behavior extends to Wiggleworms class when it is time to put away the shared toys into the bin.  You haven't grasped the concept of releasing toys and having them go away and you make quite the scene every week THANKYOUVERYMUCH IT'S NOT AT ALL EMBARRASSING.  You are a rather demanding little tot and your imperiousness is in full bloom when you demand to sit in your bumbo seat and then can't reach any of your toys.  You proceed to point vigorously at each of your toys and have started to hint at the scream that could occur if your needs are not attended to.
 
You do love to be tickled though and part of the reason you like to be in your chair is so you can do this maneuver so I can reach your tummy for tickles.
Your eighth tooth made it's appearance this month amid much drooling and chewing on anything that was within reach, including my shoulder.  I have had to make your pacifiers disappear

The pacifiers you wanted NOTHING TO DO WITH until this month. 

Suddenly, I'm sure because you were weaning from nursing and your new tooth was trying to come in, you started digging your pacifier out of the toybox and keeping it in your mouth...all day.  I noticed that you weren't talking anymore, just pointing and grunting.  You stopped drinking water from your sippy cup.  And you became enraged when it was time to put it down to eat or sleep.  So, the pacifier fairy was summoned to take the pacifiers back to the land of plastic rubber nipples so they can run free and grow old in peace. You don't seem to have noticed that they are gone and have instead substituted the red (NOT the orange or green, oh no!) knobby cube from your school bus.  Putting this toy away doesn't seem to elicit the same panicked response as the pacifier debacle so, Yay me! Score one for Mama!
It is so fascinating to watch as your personality develops.  You are no longer this little cute blob who was so easily mollified with a piece of lint or a scrap of paper.  Now you want not just the scrap of paper but the entire contents of the trash.  You enjoy every step towards independence from brushing your teeth to helping me put on my shoes.  I am going to try to use this to my advantage as soon as possible.  There are a lot of clothes that need to be folded around here.

Love,
Mama

Friday, February 11, 2011

Splashy Splashy

Len always is the first one to get Kate up in the morning and the one to put her to bed at night.  This includes bathtime, one of Kate's favorite times of day.  She is still small enough for her ducky tub as you can see in the video which is great since it's warmer than the large tub would be.  Here's a glimpse into Len and Kate's routine.  Looks like fun doesn't it?

Thursday, February 10, 2011

My First Book!

So it's self-published but still.  It's a book!  After researching a few websites that allow you to take your blog and print it into book form, I settled on blog2print.com which has a very easy platform for what I wanted to do.  I had been thinking that by the time Kate gets old enough to read this blog, it will be so large and unwieldy that she may bag the whole thing.

Since the monthly love letters that I write to her are specifically to and about her I thought that was a good place to start.  This website allows me to include comments that people make in response to posts as well.  Sadly, if you just email me privately, those comments don't make the blog (or the book) so in the future it might be nice to have some of the comments (NANA, MEME, YIAYIA--this is aimed at you specifically...) you guys send to me posted directly onto the blog instead.

YiaYia--I did take the love letter you emailed to me for Kate's birthday and put it in the comments section for Month 12 under my alias and then signed your names so she would have it in her book.

I may go back and make a book about the pregnancy but for now, this seemed a fitting start to her yearbook collection.  I think it turned out really nicely!

Here's the front cover.
Here's the back:
And here's a sample page inside:

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Dibs!

In Chicago it is "legal", when there is a large snow and you have taken the time to dig your car out of a spot on the street, to hold your spot with various items from your house until you return.  I say legal in the sense that it isn't really something on the books but the police turn a blind eye to it as long as you aren't holding the spot once the streets are cleared.  The current mayoral candidates were asked their opinion on the unofficial policy and only one curmudgeon was opposed.  But there is currently a petition going around asking residents to hang Chair-Free Chicago signs in their neighborhood.  I don't see any signs in our neighborhood but I do see a milk crate and a dustpan...

Friday, February 4, 2011

Update to blog roll

I know that quite a few of you link to other blogs on this site so I try to keep it relatively current.  I have added a few blogs that I have recently found that I thought others might be interested in.  I would also like to point out a few that have been on here for a while in case you missed them.  You can find the links to them on the right hand side of this blog.

One is On the Go Chicago written  by a fellow mom here in Chicago.  In her words:
I'm an urban explorer of mom and kid friendly events, activities, classes, and restaurants in Chicago. My mission is to discover, explore and share my adventures with other families.

The Roof over my Head is written by a mom/designer who lives and works in Los Angeles. I found her site through The Little Green Notebook which is one of my favorite eye-candy blogs and fulfills that empty design hole that has been left with my retreat from working.

Christina's Favorite Things has been on the list for a bit but I wanted to point it out.  She is a friend of ours that Len used to work with.  Her blog is for the fashionista in you, with helpful links, pictures and sometimes pricing on things she falls in love with.

On the Other Side of Broken is written by a high school friend of mine, Jodie, who I had lost touch with for 25 or so years.  When we reconnected on F@cebook last year, I found out she had been living with M.S., had a teenage son and was living in TN.  She has since moved back to FL and blogs about what it is like to live with MS but she also takes you on a journey back through her life since high school.  She has a charming voice that I think you'll like.

Everyday I Write the Book is also written by one of Len's former coworkers.  She also writes the Piggy and Bunny blog.  The former is, as the title suggests, a book blog.  When I am at a loss for what to read next (which is not very often these days), her blog provides a lot of inspiration.  She also has occasional book giveaways.  The Piggy and Bunny blog follows her twin girls and their exploits.

The last one is DC Kitchen, which I found through my friend, Nancy, who lives in the DC area.  This is a great little blog primarily about food but her writing reminds me of the way Nigella Lawson writes the introductions to her recipes.  The backstory sometimes makes all the difference don't you think?

I also did a bit of cleanup, removing some blogs that seem to have gone dark.  I am leaving some of the Nepal blogs up for now even though we no longer have a horse in that race.  I like to keep up with a few of them either because I'm invested in their stories or because they update regularly with interesting news.

Happy reading!

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Well, THAT was a lot of snow

I kept believing that this was going to be yet another over-hyped bit of news that so often occurs when you have 24 hours of airtime to fill with NEWS.  Since there were no major hurricanes or landslides or tornadoes lately, I figured the weatherpeople needed some equal time and were playing up the BLIZZARD OF 2011!!!!! Well, huh.  Whoda thunk it?  They were actually spot on!

The storm started fairly punctually at 2:30pm Tuesday.  I was sitting in my favorite coffee shop enjoying a very pretty hot chocolate
when Len texted and said he was on the metra home and could I pick him up.

Not to worry, Tricha had Kate safely at home, playing happily. 

By the time his train pulled in at 2:50pm the weather had deteriorated absurdly rapidly.  Although it wasn't quite white-out conditions just yet, it was blizzardy (yes, I made that word up) enough to make driving a slow-go process.  By the time we got Kate in bed and were eating supper on the couch around 7:30pm, this was what our front windows looked like:
Our side porch had snow drifts:
Later that night the thundersnow started which was quite impressive!  The lightening lit up what was otherwise an impenetrable sea of gray to reveal driving snow.  It howled through the night and was still snowing when we woke up to hear on NPR that for the first time since 1999, the Chicago Public Schools would be closed.  In fact, the entire city was pretty much asked to stay at home.  Lake Shore Drive had about 900 cars stranded on the road because Lake Michigan started sloshing waves onto the road, turning it into an ice rink.  And this was what our place looked like.
 
We made it outside around 1pm to find most people trying to dig their cars out.
I'm glad this wasn't our car:
However, this was what our alley looked like from inside our garage:
 
So I set to work shoveling (I wanted the exercise so Len stayed up with Kate for her nap, which she never took...) with our neighbor Steve and when we were done, it looked quite nice!
We did take Kate for a sled ride, first down the sidewalk and then down the middle of our street since it had not been properly plowed yet.
 
 
And then we hit a rough patch where the snow had drifted quite deep.  I'm happy to say, despite what the pictures might indicate, that I did not tip over my child into the knee-deep snow pack.




We headed home after that harrowing bit of off-roading. 
Len has been able to work from home the past two days although today he did go to MY FAVORITE COFFEE SHOP WITHOUT ME to finish a speech.  It is difficult at best to work here these days because Kate has become very, very, VERY attached to her daddy.  Which is a good thing unless you are trying to keep her from pressing buttons on your laptop and totally screwing up the next speech for the CEO of your company.

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