Thursday, July 30, 2009

Our Journey into Toddlerhood

I can only imagine the sense of freedom and power that learning to walk must give a child. Somehow, walking makes the world a much bigger, more interesting place than it is on hands and knees. It's the same world, but it certainly looks different on your own two feet.

EG is exploring her new power and freedom. Now, when the front door is left open while Daddy loads the car in the morning, she just trots right out after him. Because she can. Now, when she wants to play in the dog's water bowl, she just goes right through the pet door to the laundry room. When Mama throws away the empty yogurt container, she follows right behind to open the trash can and get it out again. Then closes the lid like she'd never been there, but for the evidence in her hands. When Daddy leaves the room for a shower, she's right behind him to make sure he has the appropriate amount of soap and wash rags in the tub with him. Now, when the bathroom closet door is open, she just helps herself to a roll of toilet paper as she sees fit, leaving a trail through the house behind herself.

I had my first chaotic toddler moment last night where I chased behind her from trouble to trouble, with her three steps ahead of me the whole time. Stupid me, I brought home a foam alphabet puzzle for her. The kind that the little foam letters come out of? Well, it didn't take but a minute for me realize I hadn't thought this through. Did I really give a teething, mouthy, toddler little bits of foam to play with? (Told you my brain has been mush.) The first thing she did was pop out the number 7 and put the whole thing in her mouth. It was just the right size. So, I commenced to rounding up all the puzzle bits to put them away until she's older (like three or something). As I followed after her, finding the pieces that had already been strewn in a very few short minutes, I lost track of what she was actually doing. Until I heard a the suspicious sounds of liquid running onto the carpet. And at first, I really didn't know what the noise was or that it was coming from her general direction. When I clued in, I saw that she was standing on her tiptoes, helping herself to the ice cubes in my tea glass that I had inadvertently left in her reach on the end table. (Note to self: Stop leaving drinks unattended.) Half of the tea had already poured out onto the carpet before I got there to take the cup away. I dropped my puzzle bits and ran for towels to soak up the mess. She passed by as I made my way back to her puddle, on her way to find more trouble. As I was cleaning up the mess, I realized that I'd left the puzzle lying on the couch, and now she had the letter T in her mouth. I took it from her, put the puzzle out of her reach, finished cleaning up the mess, and right now I can't even tell you where she had ended up at that point. I just know that I very shortly had her contained her in her highchair, eating raviolis and green beans.

I remember thinking to myself when I got home that since we were having left-overs for supper, I could sit down and relax for a little while. Ha!

Monday, July 27, 2009


Over the weekend, during our usual shopping, we looked for new shoes for EGR because the one pair I found in the hand-me-down bag were almost too small. We sat down in the shoe aisle at Target, and what do you know, but her size was on a shelf right in her line of sight? She went all grabby on me and the first pair she picked were bright pink, sequined and glittery, Mary Janes. She then picked three more pair: black Mary Janes, pink moccasins with flowers on the toe, and brown moccasins with flowers on the toe. I could see immediately that we had different agendas. I was there for tennis shoes, thinking that this pair should last a few months and it will be Fall soon. She obviously had the impression that we were buying shoes for every outfit.

Looking for something neutral that might also meet her taste for the sparkly, I picked a pair of khaki and pink shimmery tennis shoes. I attempted to try them on her, and she immediately yanked them off and gave me the pink, diva, Mary Janes. I put them on her and she hopped up and strutted around the aisle, causing passersby to comment on her new shoes, which made her proud. A vicious circle was started. I got her back in my lap and she gave me the other pairs, as I was explaining to Dave that I wanted some for the Fall. He found a pair of shimmery pink and purple tennis shoes as a compromise. I put them on her. She decided they were cute enough to walk around the aisle and solicit more comments, so we bought them. I think she thoroughly enjoyed the shoe buying process, which is good because next weekend we need to find some church shoes. Probably the black Mary Janes she picked this time.

She's decided that she really likes her new shoes. She carries them around the house, or seeks them out and tries to put them on herself when she's ready to go outside. She doesn't like to wear them in the house, and when they come off, the socks come with them. But when she goes out barefoot on the pavement now, she sits down, picks up her foot, and looks at the bottom like she's trying to figure out why it hurts or why there is stuff on it. At that point, I offer shoes and she's all about them. Then she goes where ever she thinks she might need to go - across the street, to the next door neighbor's house to visit his dog, down the hill toward the creek. And she does NOT want me to hold her hand, regardless of the fact that she goes too fast and falls every three steps when we are going down hill. She did get her first skinned knee Saturday, but she got over it pretty quickly and she still wasn't convinced that she should hold my hand.

What I'm trying to figure out is how I gave birth to a tiny diva? Maybe I need to start channeling Aunt Becca, because I'm having issues with pink shimmery tennis shoes and red t-shirts. I forsee polka dots paired with flowers in our future. I'm already cringing, but far be it for me to squelch her spiritedness. She'll certainly need it as she makes her way in this world.

Monday, July 20, 2009


Work has been so busy. The kind of busy that leaves me slack-jawed and empty-eyed as I walk out to my car in the afternoons. The kind of busy that I feel certain will keep Alzheimer's at bay because my mind is mush by the end of a week of thinking so hard. I've been so mentally exhausted that I put down a book I started last week (for entertainment) because it required to much thinking to keep up with the story. (Salman Rushdie's Shame, if you are wondering. This was to be my second reading.) I can feel my social skills suffering as I numbly listen to others talk at me and try to remember to engage in the conversation while my brain is buzzing with work not quite left at the office. My husband must be growing tired of this. It is better after a weekend, but by Friday afternoon, I am in sad shape. It's been this way for weeks, and it's getting worse as our deadline looms closer and closer. It's good though, I guess, because it means there's enough work to keep me employed (for today anyway, but I won't go there in this public forum).

I've quit pumping for Ella. On the one hand, I have a tiny bit of guilt (if I let it hang around) because I could still be providing the best thing for her. On the other hand, it had become a source of stress for me to find the 15 minutes once or twice a day to pump. She's drinking cow's milk with no problems, so that's what she has while I'm at work. She's still nursing at bedtime and during the night, so I can feel good about her getting my milk then. I thought I would feel really liberated when I no longer had to carry my giant bag every day. It's still in the car, just in case there is some sort of milk pumping emergency. (Read: I haven't cut the cord from the major connection to my baby that made it possible to get through those first few weeks after maternity leave in three hour blocks at a time. I pumped at 9, 12, and 3 and if I could just make it to each pump time, I could make it through the day.) I considered cleaning it up and packing it away over the weekend, but I couldn't do it yet. Maybe I'm mental. Anyway, what was really liberating was that first day that I didn't pump at all and I had no bottles and parts to wash. I hadn't even considered the extra time that would buy me in the evenings! Granted fifteen minutes isn't much, but it means starting supper and packing lunches immediately instead of washing a sink full of stuff first. As soon as those things are done, the people are fed, the kid is bathed and played with and rocked to sleep, I get to sit down and veg for a few minutes before I go to bed and start all over again. Life is fast.

Speaking of fast, EGR's preferred method of motion these days is walking. I'd say she's walking 90% of the time. Over the weekend we added shoes, and that didn't slow her down much. It still catches me off guard when she comes into the room on her feet instead of her hands and knees. And walking, it seems, has opened a whole new world of things to explore. She roams from room to room by herself, looking for things to get into. She's all about the china cabinet, which she can open so quietly it's as if a sound vacuum is created that attracts my attention and gets her caught every time. She hasn't actually swiped anything out of it yet, but we are really working on "Just look; don't touch."

She has also developed a new found love for her books (Yay, oh yay! I couldn't be happier.) I find her sitting in a circle of them, flipping through the pages, studying. She's so much like me in this manner, down to the need to look at many books at a time with them spread in a circle around herself.

We had a very funny incident happen yesterday - well, funny for me. :) She was playing in her little car, getting in and out, shutting the door behind herself, putting her cup in with her, pretending to drive it, etc. I decided to take the floorboard out to see if she could move it herself (we push it for her now). I put her back in it with her feet on the floor and showed her how to move. She stood up and started walking backward in it, so I was cheering her on, telling her she was doing it right when suddenly she lost her footing. Bloooop! She slipped right through the car floor and her little legs flew up into the air as it rolled backward over her. She was scared, but unharmed, and ready to get back in (floorboard in place) a few minutes later. The best part of the whole thing was that Dave caught it all on tape. He replayed it afterward and said it was awful. I watched it and burst out laughing. Sorry, but that's Funniest Home Videos material if I ever saw it. I'm thinking we should submit it and try to win some college money.

Monday, July 06, 2009

First Steps

Friday morning, I woke up thinking that Ella would take her first steps over the long weekend. A few hours later, Grandpop was sitting in my kitchen with Ella standing in front of him, holding one of his fingers. She took a step and let go of his finger, then proceeded to take four more steps across the open floor before she fell on her hands and knees. I was holding my breath and gesturing wildly to get Dave’s attention so that I wouldn’t scare her and he wouldn’t miss it. I’m so very thankful that she decided to do it while I was home.

She didn’t take any more steps until late Saturday afternoon, but she did practice standing without holding on. A lot. She even drank from her cup without holding on to anything. Saturday evening she took about six steps across Grandmother’s living room. Sunday, she practiced walking all day long. She would take several steps and fall, then get up and go again. I had to make her get out of the bath tub last night because she kept trying to walk around in it. By bedtime, she was walking across the living room, even turning to go a different direction. She was so obsessed that I had to make her go to bed and it took a while to wind her down. I think she’ll be primarily walking by the end of this week. I could just sit and watch her practice all day. It never got old yesterday, and I really didn’t want to leave for work this morning.

We had a very busy weekend full of birthday parties, BBQs, and fireworks. She had a blast, but she was exhausted. Friday night she asked to go to bed just as we were serving dinner at Grandma’s birthday party. She actually passed up bites of my food, and pointed to her bedroom. Saturday she played with her cousins all afternoon and ate ribs and potatoes, and then we went to watch fireworks. She fell asleep on the way home and actually slept until 9 Sunday morning. She’s usually my alarm clock on the weekends, but I got up before her, moved her to her crib, and she kept on sleeping. Weird.

She continues to amaze me as she grows and changes.

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Tea Parties

Until recently, EG hasn’t become attached to any characters (Elmo, Barney, etc.) because she doesn’t watch TV. I never turn it on for her, and we usually don’t turn it on at all until she’s headed to bed anyway. I know the grandmothers occasionally turn it on shows for her, but she doesn’t pay much attention because there are so many things to do (The exception being the new Garfield movie because it’s filled with cats and dogs). If I tried to sit her in front of the TV, she’d just crawl away to do something else. I’m so grateful for this, and I hope she generally remains too busy for TV. I’m also grateful to still be blissfully ignorant about all the kid shows. People with young kids talk to me about them, and I just have to smile and nod like I know what they are talking about.

At any rate, she recently adopted a Pooh Bear from the local Wal-Mart. As the story goes, she was riding in her stroller along the toy aisle when she nearly threw herself out of it in an attempt to turn around and look at something. That something was Pooh, whom she took home with her that day. We can only assume that she recognized Pooh from one of her books. She has several dolls, but she hasn’t formed an attachment to any of them yet. It seems that Pooh will fill that capacity for her at Grandmother’s house.

She also has a little plastic tea set that she just started playing with this week. When I dropped her off yesterday, she showed me how she feeds Pooh. With a spoon and bowl. She scoops out a bite and puts it to his mouth. Today she showed me that he drinks from the little cups. I am just amazed by this. One, because she doesn’t feed herself with utensils yet, though she is starting to try. Two, because it’s the first real evidence of her imagination at work. I know she must have a whole world happening in her head while she’s playing, but to actually watch her pretend that there is food and drink in her toy dishes is just really neat.