Monday, October 28, 2013

19 Months

She's done it again. She made it yet another month. She's growing, she's learning, she's becoming more independent. She's still the apple of her daddy and mama's eye(s).

She loves:
- daycareschool ("koo"),
- babies,
- waffles, cookies, crackers, and all carbs
- buses, trucks, and airplanes,
- horse, elephant, and lion noises,
- saying "idno" and shrugging her shoulders sheepishly,
- going for walks ("wa") to the park ("pa"),
- playing with the potty and saying "pee" when she sits on it clothed,
- helping and asking for "hup",
- taking her shoes/boots/socks off and trying to put them back on,
- her purple Keen shoes and only those shoes,
- spotting squirrels,
- when I say "G double O D E Y E" when she spots said squirrel,
- being included in any parent activities, e.g. being held while cooking dinner, drinking water only out of mama's glass, etc.,
- being with both mama AND daddy at the same time and being the center of their attention
- watching mama exercise on the elliptical trainer,
- coming into our bed every morning around 5:30 a.m.,
nursing before bed (yes, still),
- requesting I sing Wheels on the Bus ("buh, buh ... waaah, shh, shh"),
- tells me "go" everytime we get in the car,
- expressing her emerging opinions on many, many things, e.g. what she wears, what she eats, whether she can be touched, what toy she will play with, who she wants to hold her, etc.,
- pouting every time she bonks anything and requesting kisses

She doesn't like:
- veggies,
- any of the 43 pairs of hand-me-down shoes besides the purple Keen sneakers or the purple snowboots,
- putting on clothes in the morning,
- getting her diaper changed,
- being told "no",
- sitting in her high chair to eat,
- playing with toys alone,
- riding in the stroller more than 5 or so minutes,
- cries everytime Alex leaves, every.time.

According to my weekly email from Baby Center, kids at this age are starting to actually spend time playing with toys, up to 20 or 30 minutes. Not so for my little Bean, at least not yet. She will play around some by herself in the living room, but if I so much as get up to refill my water, she's drops what she's doing and beelines it for me. She's also not interested in TV, despite the fact I've been trying to get off the hook to cook dinner by plugging her in to Sesame Street. When she was sick yesterday, we did manage an entire 9 minutes of TV time on the couch snuggling together. I'll take it. This is all especially ironic because I thought we would be the kind of family to take pride in the fact our kid didn't like TV or video games or electronic toys. We would be proud that our kids only wanted to play outside and be active or read inside or do art. Hah. Sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do to catch a break (you know, a break like changing the laundry or cooking dinner). Or at least try for one. This weekend, however, she started actually playing with her baby doll. She waterboards her (she's probably just pretending to giver her milk), then covers her with a placemat, presumably for a nap.

Her language skills still far outpace her speech production. She seems to have a very large vocabulary, although I have no idea whether it is the same, better, or worse than any of her peers. Some speech path I am. I swear she learns a few new words each day. Helmet, under, raspberry, school bus, tractor, squirrel, store, washcloth, away. You get the point. Not that you would understand these new words. They sound so much like her old words. "Buh" might mean bus, belly, bird, bonk, bath, bear. Or "buh buh" might be belly button, booger, blueberry, etc. But I usually know what she means. Plus being in context always helps. She's just barely started combining words, with a decently long pause in between, like "hup ... pee" (translation = help please), and uses gestures pretty effectively. She knows "two" and appears to know "too." She demonstrates this with accompanying gestures such as by holding one finger on each hand to show that she has two crackers or she sees two dogs, or by pointing to herself for "too," as in, she wants to come on a walk too. She has an emerging understanding of colors, although most everything is blue, then maybe green or purple. She still likes to sit in her carseat and run through a list of everyone's name she knows. "Mama, daddy, ish. Mama, daddy, ish. Beebee. Mimi, Papa, doh doh." She still says "yeah" more than "no," but "no" is making up the difference.

Although I would never describe her as being very physical, she certainly doesn't like to sit still. Ever. She "runs," and I say this with quotes because it doesn't quite resemble the run of a grown child, but is a speedy  little trot, nonetheless. She doesn't giggle when she runs, but she sure laughs every time she sees someone else out for a jog. She still likes to dance and move around to  music, and she can stomp her feet and attempt something of a jump when shown how. She hasn't liked to climb up or down the steps nearly as often lately, and if she does attempt to go down, she wants to go down facing forward, on her butt, or by holding my hand, and reaching for the railing.

She's not great with self-feeding with silverware, but about a month ago I realized I hadn't even really been giving her the chance to try. If I scoop the food onto the spoon or fork, she gets it into her mouth the correct way. But if she tries to scoop it herself, she sometimes turns the spoon a bit to the side and will lose the contents as often as she eats it. She's obviously fine self-feeding with her fingers, and truth is, I always default to easier finger foods so I can multitask while she is contained in her high chair. That is, if I even make her sit in her high chair. I'm a terrible mother and I let her eat on the floor in the living room or running around more often than not.

She regularly naps midday. Left to her own devices, I think she'd go down between 11 and 1. But when I'm home with her I try to push it back a bit so that we can actually do something fun in the morning. If I'm home I still nurse her to nap, except she finally is at the stage where she nurses only a couple minutes, still awake, then I give her the Neenee and cuddle her, still awake, and then lay her in her crib. No cries anymore. At night she goes to bed between 7 and 7:30. On work days, she's up by 7 a.m. Sometimes she's still an early riser with Alex at 5:30 or 6 a.m., and some (non-work) days we stay in bed together until past 8 a.m. She regularly comes to bed with us every morning between 5 and 6 a.m., and I nurse her then for just a couple minutes, and then not again when we actually wake up for real. Needless to say, I'm not tired. And if I am, it's my own fault, probably for eating too much junk food or something. But certainly not because of my child (usually). Now that I've said that she'll probably start being a gremlin or something.

And finally, as if it doesn't go without saying, I love her and she's the best. And I'm still usually her best friend. And she mine. Even if she does disobey when I ask her to not poor water all over the rug or not to put rocks in her mouth. Plus, she's super helpful by putting things in the trash when I ask, or taking spoons from the dishwasher, or moving clothes from the washer to dryer. I think she's the cutest toddler I've ever seen, and I'm right.

Here are some outtakes from our photo shoot, because she was hamming it up this month. She clearly knows what's going on, once I put that fabric on the wall in her room. But she needs to be plied with snacks, as you can see from the remnants of goldfishy crackers on her chin ...

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Fruity Loop!

It's that time of year again, when we joined forces with the Menne's and toured the beauty between Hood River and Mt Hood to pick apples, eat pear dumplings, and take photos of our cute kids. This year, however, we were in not one but three cars, as our growing families have outgrown the trusty Hinda Pilot, and we had extra brothers and grandparents along for the ride. The weather did not disappoint. It was a perfectly crisp and clear sunny autumn day.  After now 6 annual Fruit Loops, I have mastered the art of eating well without overeating, and remembering the names of our favorite regular stops. As Ligan would say, the "Fruity Loop!" was another enjoyable success.

Bugs, Bugs, and Broken Things

On Sunday, the suby wouldn't start and AAA came to the rescue, towing Alex's car to the shop for the second time in two weeks. Yesterday the Volvo gear shifter was reluctant to move out of Park, and I thought I would be trapped in the daycare parking lot. Instead, I bruised my palm banging the shifter button into place. Today, it wouldn't move out of Drive. The Bean and I were officially stuck in the neighbor's driveway (I was using it to turn around en route to daycare and work). AAA again to the rescue, my car also towed to the shop for repair. Alex is now driving one of my dad's POS cars, and I'm the proud driver of some Enterprise rental - a Nissan truck that I'm getting for the price of a sedan. Yeehaw, what a steal.

This is just the beginning of the sad, sad tale that is Joanna and the Terrible Horrible No Good Very Annoying Week.

I got a parking ticket on Friday when the Bean and I met my cousin downtown to walk around, shop, and drink juice. Except it wasn't even a real parking ticket. The dickhead parking cop (I know he/she's just doing his/ her job) wrote me up for my missing front license plate. Thanks for noticing, pal, it's been, like, 5 years. And today I couldn't find a parking place at work. Fortunately, I was already several hours late (see above), so what difference would an extra 15 make? Plus, if I get ticketed for parking illegally, they won't even know who to write the ticket to because I'm in a rental (again, see above).

My hands, wrists, and ankles are spotted with scabbed over flea bites, remnants of my compulsion to itch despite having read about the resurgence of the Black Plague just this morning at breakfast. We also have an intermittent problem with fruit flies, and a persistent problem with sugar ants. Should we bomb the place? Well, there's the baby to consider. Plus, we've already sprayed about a half-dozen times. I guess I shouldn't be too surprised when Francie shows up with her period at age 9, or grows an 11th toe, or survives some rare brain cancer, what with the environmental toxins we are knowingly exposing her to and all.

The lawn mower is broken. Our dishwasher is on the fritz. The MacBook stopped working a few weeks ago and we haven't gotten around to taking it to the Apple store for a work-up. We still haven't stained the fence. Book Club is in a week and I haven't even gotten ahold the book yet, let alone read it. I noticed this morning that I may have gained a few pounds. So I ate apple pie and peppermint ice cream for breakfast, and then snacked on candy corn. I can't afford to get my hair colored regularly, so I'm rocking an off-style "ombre" look. We still seem to spend more money than we make, despite feeling like we are pulling back very tightly on the reigns. I mean, I finally squelched that desire for a new living room rug by relocating the plain grey one from the nursery. That's progress, right? And then there's the current-but-temporary marital discord. Therapy anyone?

But good thing I have a mom to complain to regularly! Oh wait. Well at least I have all my besties close by and get to see them regularly! Oh wait. Good thing I have my hobbies, and so much free time/energy to invest in them! Oh wait. There's always retail therapy! Or binge eating! Or layinig on the couch and watching a 90210 marathon without any responsibilities! Not so fast ...

I know, poor me. Wah wah wah.

If I said that to Francie, she would poke herself in the eye, attemting to rub them like a crying baby. Then "shh shh shh" she would say immediately, learning from Wheels on the Bus coupled with daycare just how to soothe a crying babe. Or a whiny mama.

But for reals, I do have my health, my beautiful little family, a cute house to call our own, a supportive father and a moving-closer brother, and fabulous girlfriends both near and far. And this blog. Thank goodness for this blog, where I can air my #firstworldproblems for all the Interweb to read. I think tonight I'll read Francie one of my favorite childhood books, Alexander and the Terrible Horrible No Good Very Bad Day.

Saturday, October 19, 2013


Fallin ... For this amazing October sunshine! Nothing better than having April Hill Park just a few steps (and 20 toddler minutes) away. We got robbed this September, but October is more than making up for it with a rash of clear skies and warm autumn weather. Attempted a photo shoot with the Bean, but she says I'm not paying her enough to model for both the iPhone and the real camera. Diva.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013


When the Bean was about one year old (although it felt like she was still just a month or two), people started inquiring about our plans for making a baby brother or sister. If Alex had it his way, we'd have been working to get me knocked up in the early summer. (Aside from not being ready, who.has.the.time? to even consider that kind of productive hanky panky).

Reasons to wait. (Ironically, I'm tabulating this list in my head while having (protected) sex with my husband.)

1. Two is more than one. More work. More time. More money. More.

2. I only recently started getting regular, full, uninterrupted nights sleep.

3. I just love the baby (toddler, I know) that we already do have. I feel like we lucked out. I don't want to push my luck. Or seem ungrateful.

4. How on earth would we afford for either me to stay home full-time, or pay for childcare for two?!?

5. The prospect kind of feels like cheating on the Bean.

6. 40 weeks is a long time to be pregnant - morning sickness, weight gain, infinite fatigue.

7. I just barely started getting my period again.

8. We don't own enough cloth diapers for two people who still poop their pants.

9. I don't want to have a double wide (stroller).

10. We would for sure need to get a bigger car.

11. Have I mentioned the financial aspect? And the subsequent stress about making ends meet?

12. Having that much sex sounds a bit like a chore. Plus, Alex and I are really liking that Burn Notice show right now.

13. There are ecological factors to consider, too. Like, over-population is actually a big deal. Seriously. And then there are the environmental factors, like, the world is a corrupt, fucked up place - am I really ready to sacrifice another offspring for the sake of my own desires?

14. There's a chance the Bean and I will go on an adventure of a lifetime with "Beebee" (aka BDA, aka Dad, aka Al) in the spring/summer of 2014, and I sure as hell don't want to be preggo then. Walking across Spain or France with a toddler sounds like enough work on its own, carrying extra weight wouldn't be any help.

15. I just barely started my new job, which I happen to really like. And Rachel and I are in the works for developing our own private SLP practice.

Reasons I know we'll talk about bringing up another baby. Some day.

1. Alex and I both loved having siblings. They were fun to grow up with, and make for some great BFFs as adults.

2. The Bean is so sweet and caring and nurturing that I think she would make a great big sister (endentured nanny, anyone?).

3. I've always envisioned having two children.

4. Alex is such a great daddy, and he wants two kids. He's half of this equation after all.

5. If we have two kids, we will replace ourselves in the Circle of Life.

6. I love to daydream about baby names. Alex has always liked the name Oliver for a boy. And I want to honor the uncles with some offshoot of "Brian." Maybe if we have a boy we'll call him Oliver Brian, and if we have a girl we'll call her Olive Brianna. Or something like that.

7. I love being a mama. Seriously, it just completes me.

8. I miss foot rubs. Alex has massaged my back or shoulders for greater than 2 minutes approximately three times since I was pregnant. It might just be worth it.

9. I should make use of all those maternity clothes that I wore for only a few months. Elastic waist bands are soooo comfortable, and apparently I'm not supposed to wear sweatpants to my real job.

The point is, I'm just not there yet. I'm so loving where I am right now, that I imagine my desire for that second child will just sneak up and surprise me one day. I'll consider legitimately talking about plans for #2 come next year. In the meantime, I'm just gonna to love on that Man and the Bean that make my world go 'round.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Columbus Day

When I just walked through her room, she meeped "mama" twice even though she was fast asleep. Such a sweet little Bean.

Today was a day of firsts. The first time I've been home alone longer than 20 minutes since March 2012. The first time Francie sat on a toilet. And the first time I've folded my laundry in 6+ weeks. 

Being that I'm a federal employee, I got today off for work, honoring that rapist and pillager we all know and don't love. I debated about whether or not to spend the extra day with the Bean, or to use it to get some things done. Being that we already paid for daycare, I opted for the latter. I dropped her off at her normal time, around 8 am, and felt immediately guilty about taking her to daycare when I have the extra time to hang out. To make matters a bit more difficult, she decided after a weekend of anti-mama sentiments to become sweetly attached to me. Girlfriend did not want me to leave her at school today. As soon as I got in the car after drop-off, I Facebook-confessed my mom guilt to a private group of girlfriends, headed home, and was immediately absolved of said guilt and thus productive. I completed some continuing ed courses, vacuumed  and mopped the floors, ate lunch in front of the TV, and ran solo errands. Of course there still wasn't enough time to get through my 17 page To Do list (today didn't  seem like the right day to "make a quilt" or "start yoga" or "learn to knit" or "paint the front door"). When I picked the Bean up this afternoon, she was pleased to see me and was never the wiser that I cheated on her with my free time. 

As for the potty - we are in no such hurry to get Francie out of diapers and into undies. But tonight, after her bath, during nakie baby time, she was rubbing her Buddha belly and dancin around our room when she started to pee a little on the carpet. I didn't notice, but Alex commented that she seemed to pee only a little bit and then cut it off. "Do you have to pee?" I asked her. "Yeah," she said, like she does to most everything. "Do you want to put on your diaper?" Vigorous head shake refusal. "Do you want to sit on the toilet?" "Yeah." So I picked her little naked self up and propped her on our toilet, hovering precariously over the large bowl. She never did, in fact, pee, but indicated she wanted to use the toilet paper, so I went through the motions of wiping her as though she were a bigger kid. Not so oddly, she seemed proud of herself. 

And the laundry? It took me nearly an hour to fold and put away. Lets see home long I can keep it like this.

Sunday, October 6, 2013


I got something done! Seriously, for, like, the first time since the Bean's birthday in March, I finally to something started AND finished. Just like walking on water. Except, alls I did was (finally) fill the windows/frames Alex hung in our living room months ago. I'm pleased with the results, but now all I can see is the hideot ikea light, and my hatred for our current rug and couch.

Also this weekend? I got vitamin D. The real stuff. We had one of those fantastic October days not once but twice on Saturday AND Sunday, so we hung with friends, hit up the punkin patch, and enjoyed what will likely be the last of this great sunshine.

Xander and Francie sitting in a tree ... At April Hill park. 

Girlfriend giggles with Harlow at the Children's Museum.

Painting face. Dee has the same photo of Harlow at the same age in the same hoodie. So darling.

Love triangle. Menne boyz love at WL Homecoming.

Oy. Penguin hats and rosy chubby cheeks. Must be chilly outside.

Pumpkins or bust. First horse ride? Loved it. Large sow? Not so much.

Mimi and Francie.

Pumpkin fun with garret and Laura.

Ad then I made this. All by myself. For reals. It was health AND tasted good.

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