Monday, August 31, 2009

Beach Preparedness Checklist

Swimming Suit - Check
Ponytail - Check
Seashell - Check

We just came back from our second beach trip of the season, and Ella enjoyed herself immensely. I think her favorite part about family vacations is having everyone together. Aunt Becca convinced her that ponytails are pretty, so she wore one most of the day Saturday. This was huge considering the fact that she usually pulls a barrette out of her hair the minute I put it in. She enjoyed spending time with Aunt Becca and Aunt Jess (who is really her cousin) while they were getting ready for dinner one night. She wanted to be with the girls, doing girl things. It's so cute to see her primping and proud when Aunt Becca fixes her hair or pats her face with the powder puff. She's all girl, even if she is rough-and-tumble while she's running the streets inspecting rocks and dirt and things.

With impeccable timing, she managed to cut her first molar the day we left for the beach. I'm pretty sure that what we did the night before cannot be considered sleeping. Sleeping with her didn't fix it, nursing didn't fix it, and at some point during the night I came to my full senses and realized she was burning up with fever. We were up for the day before the alarm went off at 4 a.m. It was a looooooonnnnnnnggggggg day. As with her other teeth, she was fully snotty and clingy and whiny and way too tired given our lack of sleep and her inability to nap through the teething pain. However, once I finally got her settled down that night - after repeated false starts due to nightmares (which always happen when she's overtired) - she woke up the next morning feeling much better and with two new teeth to show for the effort. At this point I can see the whole top of one molar and one point of the second one. I can also see the bumps where the top ones are getting ready to come in, so this peace won't last very long. All I can say about it is: I'm so glad I don't remember teething because those places in her mouth looked so ragged and painful it made me cringe. The poor little pumpkin kept putting her hands on the sides of her face in what I believe was an effor to tell it hurt. : (

Bits of randomness from the last few weeks...
She started stomping her feet over the weekend when she's excited about somehting, and she does it really fast so it looks like she's running in place. Her use of her hands continues to amaze me. She dropped something in a hole too small for my fingers and I told her to use her fingers to try to get it. She tried, but they couldn't quite grab it. While I know that she understands what we say to her, it still amazes me sometimes when she follows instructions. On the way home from the beach, she figured out how to take her peanut butter crackers apart and only eat the sides that had peanut butter on them. She's learning to throw, so she practices frequently - with a ball or her cup or whatever might be handy. She will make a bracelet out of anything round that her hand will fit through. She can finally open the flaps in her lift-a-flap books. She brought me her carrier while we were on the beach because she was ready for me to wear her back to the house. The other night she could hear Dave talking in the other room and she was pointing and saying, "Dada". When I told her he was in the other room talking, she said, "Dada talkatalkatalka." She now takes her own dirty diapers to the garbage can - this is our effort to teach her that only yucky things go in the garbage, since she likes putting things in there. She insists on feeding Georgia a cookie anytime she remembers that the cookie jar is on the counter. Georgia doesn't complain. She freely gives her babies and stuffed animals kisses, and she waves and says, "Hey!" to the piggy banks on her dresser when she wakes up in the mornings. She's one busy girl.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

I think it's time for a new bedtime routine.

Last night, for the first time ever in the history of EGR, she needed Daddy had to help put her to bed. I’m not sure if it was because he wasn’t there when we started bedtime, or if she just decided he needs to be involved, but after nearly an hour of wrestle-rocking her, I gave up. I was tired, she was tired, and we were getting no where fast. I put her in the bed where she laid quietly for about a minute before she started crying, so I sent in The Daddy.

As expected, she didn’t want him to get her and she screamed louder, but he brought her to the living room to read a book. She decided that was okay since I was there, too. He sat on the couch beside me, and she crawled into my lap and laid her head on my shoulder while he read her book. His deep, rumbly voice made her little eyelids very heavy, so he turned off the lamp and sang to her. She stretched out in my arms and asked to nurse, and I made him keep singing. Within 5 minutes she was passed out. The whole process may have taken 15. It was magical.

Given the success of that little operation, I informed him that it’s time for him to become part of the bedtime routine. The new plan of attack is for Daddy to come with us into her bedroom when she starts winding down after the bath. We’ll all lie on the big bed in there while he reads her book and sings to her. She can nurse if she wants, or just cuddle with us. Once she’s asleep, we’ll move her to the crib. I’m not comfortable leaving her unattended in the big bed all night yet. She can get out of it properly, and there is a rail to keep her from rolling off, but when she wakes up in the middle of the night, she’s usually walking around in her crib when I get to her. I don’t want that to happen in the big bed.

I know he told me he didn’t care if I nursed her to sleep until she’s 14, but that method is becoming less and less effective as she gets older (and rightly so). My ultimate goal is for him to be able to do bedtime without me, so we can eventually take turns. It might take months to make the transition, and she’ll probably still want to nurse at bedtime for several more months, but it’s time to gradually change up the routine because sometimes Mommy needs a break.

Thursday, August 13, 2009


Looking amazingly like her Uncle Joshua when he was a toddler, she was trying to see the picture on the camera display while I was taking it. Toddling around in pajama clothes, because I was wearing pajamas. Otherwise, she prefers just a diaper.
With Brown Bear.
Sleeping with her favorite kitty.
Helping with the dishwasher.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Brown Bear

Brown Bear is Dave’s childhood teddy bear, and he now belongs to Ella. He is nearly as big as her, and she’s taken to carrying him around the house and sitting in his rocking chair.

Last night, Dave was trying to get Ella to settle down to read a book (that’s his part in the bedtime routine), but she was just so busy she couldn’t stop – despite the stumbling and rubbing of little eyes. So, he asked Brown Bear if he wanted to read with him. What do you know, but Brown Bear found his voice and answered him! He cuddled in the floor with Brown Bear and the book in front of him, and they commenced to reading and discussing the pictures just like he does with Ella. It got her attention. She didn’t know what to think about Daddy reading with someone else. She walked around them, giving them funny looks for a few minutes before she sat down to read with them. A few minutes later, she tossed Brown Bear out of the way. I’m pretty sure the look on her face was jealousy.

I’m not sure if Daddy has given it a second thought, but I think it’s pretty significant that our Mama’s Girl was jealous of Daddy reading to Brown Bear. It warmed my heart.

Friday, August 07, 2009

Mid-Night Party

That's mid-night, as in "the middle of the night," not the actual 12:00 a.m. midnight, because the party happened at 3:30 a.m.

Now that EG is walking everywhere and generally running us ragged all day long, her sleep has dramatically improved. I guess the extra exercise is enough to keep her asleep for longer periods of time. (Because I'm putting this in writing, I'm sure she'll have two weeks of sleeping no more than two hours at a time, just to make a liar out of me.) She was asleep in her bed last night at 8:30. At 9:30, she woke up and it took a brief 10 minutes to rock her back to sleep. Thank goodness I went to bed right after that instead of practicing my normal idiocy of staying up all night reading.

At 3:20 (6 hours later!!), I knew from the happy sounds coming through the monitor that it was about to get interesting. When she became bored of entertaining herself in the dark, she cried out. I was on my way to her room with my pillows when Dave told me (through the monitor) that he was getting her. (Don't ask me where he had been. Only God understands his nighttime habits. Well, maybe Ella does, too.) He brought her to our bed, where I tucked her in between us to nurse. She nursed. The she fussed and scooted and kicked until I rolled her over to the other side to nurse again. When she was finished, she popped right up and try to raid my bedside table, talking and pointing. I put her back in the middle, shhh-ing and telling her to lay her little head down because it was bedtime. She did, for a minute. Then she started patting Daddy and saying, "Dada, Dada, Dada." This crawling, flopping, kicking, talking went on for about an hour. Each time she would get still and quiet, Dave would move so that the bed creaked, and that was reason enough for EG to sit up and play some more.

I finally took her back to her room at 4:30 to rock her to sleep. Oh, it didn't take but a minute. She was very still - not even picking her toes or pinching her eyelids or kicking her feet like she normally does when we rock. In the dim green light of the baby monitor, I could see that her eyes were closed and her breathing was even. I made my move to put her in her bed. She popped right up as soon as her head touched the pillow. I had been completely faked out! She was standing, talking, even bouncing a little when I got her out of the crib again. She pointed to the big bed, so that's where we went. She still crawled and moved and talked until I wrestled her down with her back to me and wrapped myself around her like a human straight-jacket. Finally, she was still enough to fall asleep. It must have been 4:45 at that point. Dave woke me up for my shower at 5:30. EG snoozed until after 6:00, and greeted me with a happy, energetic, "Hey!" when I walked in the room to get her.

I'm very thankful that this doesn't happen often. It usually takes less than 10 minutes to get her back to sleep when she wakes during the night, but every once in a while she is just too energized. I was tempted to send her with her father to the living room to play (since he admitted he was wide awake anyway), but I have a strict policy of keeping it dark and quiet during the sleeping hours because I don't want her to get any ideas that partying at 3 a.m. is an acceptable habit.

Her methods of fighting sleep are only getting more creative as she gets older, bigger, and stronger. This eyelid pinching thing drives me nuts. She grabs a tiny bit of skin between her thumb and forefinger, stretches it away from her eye, and lets it go so that it makes a little POP! noise. Some nights her eyes roll back in her head as soon as she reclines in my arms, and some nights I feel like we are battling to the death before she gives it up and sleeps. Those are the nights I leave her room weak and breathless from wrestling her in my arms. She definitely has her father's sleep personality, and I'm doing my level best to convince her that sleep is a good thing. For all of us.

Monday, August 03, 2009

Working from Home

I am fortunate to be able to work from home occasionally when things come up and I can't leave Ella with the grandmothers. Today was one of those days, and while I was stressing about it because work has been so busy lately, I'm really glad I've had the day with her. She's been hilarious.

After making the rounds in the office so everyone could see her (She wanted a sip of the boss's coffee, but she settled for a business card, instead.), we came home and she played for a couple of hours while I actually did some work. Then we had lunch and a nap. I'm a huge fan of the lunchtime nap. Seriously, can't the U.S. just adopt the tradition of siestas? After the nap and answering a few emails, we had to play in the yard. Because it was about 120 degrees in the front yard, we opted for water sports. Ella and Georgia shared the pool (she's not at all interested in her own little pool), and Ella had a blast running around the yard while I sprayed her with the hose. When she was ready to come inside, she started hanging on my chair, telling me, "I done." So she had snack. Again. I put a casserole together while responding to emails and talking on the phone with a coworker.

She has talked and talked today. Whenever she stands up from sitting or falling down, she say's "Up!" She fell and rolled onto her back in the yard, and she kept telling me, "I stuck!" while she laid there. I kept telling her she wasn't but she just kept repeating it until I helped her up. While I was in the kitchen, I heard her bumping around in the dining room, then I heard, "I stuck!" When I investigated, I found her climbing out of her car, via the windshield, because it was lying on it's side. She's walking backward every where (a new thing she started over the weekend), and when she runs into something she says, "Bump!"

I'll say this, we're all bit more disheveled after a day of working from home than when she stays with Grandmother. She started in clothes, but she's running around in diaper with sticky hair (watermelon, which she tired hard to say, and spaghetti-os) and the house is trashed. Oh well. It was fun.

Oh, and my child who will not drink juice, decided she likes Crystal Light lemonade today after she insisted on having a drink from my cup.