Monday, April 28, 2008

My Day So Far (Or Why I Can't Mail a Card)

(I originally wrote this up as an email to Corinne, but thought the story was fun enough to share)

Setting: Monday morning, 30 minutes before a play date on Corinne's birthday.
I had, of course, bought Corinne a card WEEKS ago, but somehow never got it in the mail. So here's what happened when I tried to do so today:

Me: Lily, we're going to walk to the mailbox, come get in the Ergo
Lily runs across the apartment wailing miserably
Me: Lily, do you want to go for a walk?
Lily: okay (runs to the door and stands by it)
Me (putting on the ergo): Okay get in the Ergo
Lily: no no no (crying accompanied by "becoming a noodle" as I try to pick her up)
Me: Ok then, we're not going out unless you get in the Ergo
Lily hangs from door knob looking miserable
Me: you can ride on the way out and walk on the way in
Lily: Okay
More meltdown occurs as I try to wrestle her on my back - give up
Me: Okay then no walk
Lily stays by door whimpering pathetically

(repeat scene 3 times)

Finally in a rush of poor parenting technique fueled by a desire to actually get the card in the mail we go out - both by foot (so yeah, I gave in).

We get all the way to the mailbox - realize this journey of one block takes about 20 minutes in toddler time. There's far too much to look at apparently. And we must stop and say hi a billion times to every crew working on a house in our neighborhood - thankfully only 2 houses like that today.

Get to the mailbox - I've got the other two items, but NO CORINNE CARD! I start freaking out as the card has her gift in it too. Great.

So we hurry back to our street - there's the card lying on the sidewalk - phew. Even the simplest tasks get pushed up a notch with a toddler!

Happy Birthday Corinne!

Ergo torture - someone save this poor child!

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

16 Months: not a baby anymore!

One fascinating thing about having a baby is watching them grow and change so quickly. I remember when my friend Dennis' first daughter Abagail was born he told me how amazing it was to watch her learn new things. At first I though - oh just another love-sick new parent - but now I totally get it. Probably because I am also now a love-sick new parent. But whatever the reason - it IS fascinating.

Lily is 16 months old today - well about 4 hours ago. In the past month she's had one of those rapid change periods when you look at her one day and can't believe your eyes. Today was kind of one of those days. Over the past two weeks she's blossomed from baby to toddler right before our eyes. I cant' decide who's changing faster - her or the mad-growing chives we've got in our herb garden! Here's some of her new big girl behavior:

When Gordon brings Lily to Mimi's for day care now she walks up the steps (with his help) like a big girl, helps ring the bell and then waits for Mimi. When she opens the door she trucks right into the building and heads to Mimi's apartment. Sometimes she looks back and waves to Daddy, but not always.

She STRONGLY prefers to walk by herself now. So much it's a bit of an issue and occasionally ends with a full-on kicking and screaming sidewalk tantrum when we're on a busy street and she needs to hold my hand or be carried.

A new favorite activity is sitting on the couch and "reading" books. I love it because she wants to sit on the couch to do it - it's really adorable (see photographic evidence of extreme cuteness above).

She's got the routines of the house down. Before we leave the condo she points to the alarm panel to make sure that we turn it on. Today when we got home she wanted my car keys. So I let her carry them up to the apartment. When we got in she stood in front of the key hanger near the door and pointed at it until I hung them up in the right spot.

When she's bored at home and wants to go out she gets her coat, walks to the door and calls me. While this behavior is sometimes cute it can be not so fun when I have to tell her that we're actually not going out right now.

She's given up her pacifier during naps at Mimi's. I found this out today. She hasn't quite done it at home yet. We tried tonight - she got in her crib, looked around for it and then looked up at us and made the "where is it" gesture (palms up, questioning look on face). then she kept repeating "this this this" over and over. The funny part was she never cried - she knew she'd get it - it was just a question of when. She's getting baby-sitters (we love you Shawn and Liz!) tomorrow night and we don't want to sabotage them. So we'll try this again at home over the weekend.

It's so fun to watch her change and grow - but we miss our little baby too!
Happy "Birthday" Lily

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Deck Garden: The Beginnings

In a little change of topic from the usual stuff I post - here's some photographic evidence of this year's deck garden. Gordon and I both love the idea of growing our own herbs/vegetables. Of course our space is limited since we opted to go the condo route, for a little while longer. However a big plus about our place is that we have a great back deck with Southern exposure that gets tons of sun. Last year we were pretty successful with tomatoes in pots and herbs in the big planter box. In fact the herb garden was more successful than we ever hoped for. Last year we bought chives, tarragon, oregano, rosemary, thyme and basic from the local flower shop and they did wonderfully. So wonderfully in fact that the chives, tarragon, oregano and thyme have come back on their own this year with VERY little help from us. The huge pile of "grass" in the picture below are the chives - they just went wild this spring . The tarragon is just in front of the chives towards the right and the stuff in the very front is the thyme. It's not looking like the rosemary is going to make a repeat appearance, but we're pretty psyched with the stuff that did return!

On the vegetable side, I've decided to step it up a bit this year with some help from Magee and Stuckey's "Bountiful Container" book. Due to my lack of imagination I'm going with two container gardens that they laid out for me. The first is a succession garden that starts off with snap pea bushes and bok choy. We bought a big old whiskey barrel for this one. Last weekend I planted the peas and bok choy seeds and put some pansy transplants in to make it pretty. I am VERY excited to report that the bok choy has started sprouting already. You can see it a little in the photo below if you look closely in the center of the barrel.

I'm also trying a "toddler garden" for Lily. This container starts out with Easter Egg radishes and Thumbelina carrots surrounded by pretty orange/yellow pansies. The radishes are fun because they are all different colors - so picking them should be neat. The carrots are really cute - they're these little golf ball size/shaped carrots - SO cute. Something has started poking through in this garden too - I think it's probably the radishes - they're supposed to show up first. At this point Lily's only interest in the garden is playing in the dirt. Hopefully she'll be excited to watch the vegetables grow.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Our Big T Adventure

Today Lily and I got to go on a bit of an adventure - well an adventure for us at least. With a lot of help from my brother, Gordon and I found a nice rate on a new loan for our condo. So after much paperwork we finally had a closing scheduled for today. The trick was that we had to get a law office in Brookline. So G went into work late today and the three of us jumped in the car and drove down there. The closing went fine - Lily was very patient (thank goodness I had a bag of kashi mighty bites stashed in the diaper bag). Afterwards Gordon took the car to work and Lily and I started our "long journey" (as Julia would say) home.

I took the Ergo with us and put Lily up in a back carry for the walk from the law office to the Coolidge Corner T stop. Definitely a little bit of a haul. But Lily really likes the Ergo so we were fine. I'm quite proud of myself for finally getting the hang of getting her into and out of a back carry on my own. She really seems to enjoy being up there. Sometimes she pats me on the back for encouragement and when she's tired she'll rest her head on me - it's very sweet. The first picture shows Lily in her Ergo - it's not from this trip though - I didn't have a camera (or Gordon!) with me.

Once on the green line train I took Lily down from the carrier and let her sit next to me in her own seat. She really seemed to love that. She watched the scenery outside the train and made friends with anyone who would engage with her inside the train. She especially liked waving hi and bye to people as the came on or got off the train. We rode the green line all the way into Park Street and then transferred to the red line for the rest of the trip to Davis. I am so psyched that I was able to get her up and down from the Ergo for the train switch.

Upon arrival at Davis things got a little hairy - Lily was starting to lose patience in terms of the whole "not having lunch yet" thing. We did a quick run to the post office and then I sprinted off to Anna's Taqueria with a crying toddler on my back. Once in Anna's Lily continued to melt down further. I tried to get in line with her to order and she just wasn't having any of it. I couldn't pick her up, I couldn't leave her standing on her own. She'd stand there stomping her feet and spiking her sippy cup into the ground. I've decided that this stage of toddlerhood is karma's way of evening the score for every time you've ever seen parents out with toddlers and have thought to yourself "gee - they should really learn to control their kid". So those of you that are planning kids in the future - be kind to us poor saps now! Anyway we left the line, ate some cheerios at the table and then went and got food when she had calmed down - and the line had evaporated. I hope the two guys who were standing behind us and left weren't driven off by the wailing.

After lunch it was back up into the Ergo for a quick walk to the bike path. Once on the path Lily was free to walk on her own - and boy does she LOVE that. Taking her out has gotten a bit more challenging as of late because she only wants to walk by herself - and that means NOT holding on to Mommy/Daddy's hand. So the bike path has become a total blessing. We liked that we were close to it, but didn't realize until now how invaluable the safe walking path would be for a toddler. Lily walked on her own all the way from Davis to the park at Lexington Street. She had a wonderful time chasing after the birds - and even added the word "bird" to her lexicon. The trick was keeping her focused on the birds that were ahead of us, instead of those behind. Otherwise we'd lose all the ground we had just made. She was also rewarded with a few dog sightings. And let me tell you - she is definitely saying "doggie" now. It's clear as day - and she can spot one a mile away. She also got to practice another of her favorite new words: "Hi". Everyone who passed us got a nice "hi" from Lily and a wave. Below is a picture of Lily on the path (not from today's outing)

Since Lily was leading the way home there was no avoiding a stop at Lexington Park. She loves the park and complains loudly if we try to walk past it. So we hung out there for a bit, swung, played with a ball and made some new friends. We got home about 5 hours after we originally set out and Lily's been asleep ever since!

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Lily and Murphy

Our neighbors across the hall, Tom and Montie, have three cats: April, Murphy and Kyra (okay I'm not sure how they spell that). The way our condos are set up our unit sort of shares a back deck with theirs. There is a fence separating them, but really it's all one deck. Murphy and Kyra like to go venturing outside some and they often come over to our deck to visit. Perhaps they just like the change of scenery - or maybe they're hoping to get some extra food out of it. I often feed the "meow monsters" when T&M are away on vacation. I suspect they've started to associate me with copious amounts of dried cat food. Also, Gordon gave Murphy a chicken leg once!

Anyway, Lily is also a BIG fan of the cats. She loves them - Murphy in particular. Her love affair with him started long before she could walk. She has a book with pictures of things and their names in it. The cat in the book is orange like Murphy. For a long time she would pick that book just to get to the cat picture. She'd sit through the beginning getting more and more excited until you reached the cat picture. Then she'd laugh in delight. I find the whole thing amusing because I also have a soft spot for Murphy. He looks ALOT like our family cat Sunshine. Sunshine is no longer with us, but he was a wonderful and very loved member of our family.

When Murphy or Kyra appear on our back deck Lily will race to the kitchen door and demand to go outside and see them. Kyra pretty much takes off the minute Lily makes an appearance, but Murphy will stick around and hang with us a bit. Here are some pictures of the Murphy and Lily during one of his visits. In the first you can see how delighted Lily is to see Murphy.

Friday, April 4, 2008

Hot? or not

In the spirit of writing down things here so I have a record of what all happened when... here's an update on Lily's words. You might remember that a month or so back she surprised us with doggie. Well since then she's slowly added some more to her repertoire. I have to say though - I fear that I am utterly failing on the whole "figuring out what the heck she's saying and giving her credit for it" thing. We saw the doctor and he asked how many words she had and I was like.. umm none? I think my expectations are too high. I expect her to say it repeatedly, in context and with proper pronunciation. Anyway, when Lily's Aunt Que was here last weekend she informed me that Lily's saying "lots of stuff". So I'm listening more closely and interpreting more freely now. Here's what we've got so far:

HOT: This is by far the clearest and most used. Pretty much every meal is accompanied by lots of hand waving over food and proclamations of "hot". Sometimes the food actually is hot, sometimes it came out of the fridge. You never know when she's going to pull it out. The best part is her expression - we need to capture it on film. She looks at you with her big eyes very wide as if to say "please, blow on this before I incinerate myself". My favorite usage is when she really means "i'm bored with this spinach and would like some cheese please". She'll be eating something (like spinach) just fine, and then all of the sudden she puts her hand on it and finds that it has become hot and she can no longer eat it anymore... oh - we're on to you little girl!

Dog: Thanks to our walks on the bike path she has LOTS of opportunity to practice this one. And does so with gusto whenever one of our four-legged friends appears.

Car I have not heard this one, but Gordon says she says it alot when they're in parking lots and stuff.

Daddy/Dada Lily's been saying this FOREVER. She used to caper around the house in her happiest moments chanting "dad-DY, dad-DY". Now she seems to be attaching it to Gordon as well as to pure bliss. Can anyone say daddy's girl? The most forward use of Dadddy came on Monday when she decided that she was tired of being alone with me, got her coat and walked to the door saying "DaDa" loudly. Oh the joy.

Kitty: Lily has a knit stuffed kitty that Auntie Dory made for her. We play with it in the crib all the time (kitty goes meow meow meow and then attacks her - great fun for all).

Duck/ducky She really likes ducks. We have a bunch. She's got something that she says that starts with a "d" and seems to relate to these items. I'll give it to her. Lately there's another word in there that I believe sounds like quack too.

Moooo: well in Lily's world cow's don't really moo so much as just say "mmmmmmmmm" They must have their mouth's full.

Mama Notice this comes after her sort of moo sound. I'm not really convinced she's saying it - and she says it in relation to me, the woman who birthed her, very rarely. But I have heard it once or twice, and sometimes she kind of glances my direction. So for my sake - I'll count it!