Thursday, December 24, 2009

Santa didn't show

We waited until today (Christmas Eve) to take Evie to see Santa. Unfortunately, the mall Santa in J's hometown decided to stay home because of the on-again-off-again snow we're getting here. So we put Evie in Santa's chair by herself. Poor, sad Evie. Actually, this face is a lot more cheerful than she would have been if Santa had been there. We were expecting a "screaming on Santa's lap" shot for this year, since Evie doesn't like anyone but J or I to hold her these days.

Merry Christmas everyone!

Saturday, December 19, 2009

15 Months Old

Happy 15 Month Birthday Evie!

We'll go in for a well child checkup after Christmas, so I don't have official stats, but I weighed her tonight and she is 23 pounds. I have no idea about her height because the number of times she has stood still in the last couple of months is about 3, and none of those times did I have a tape measure handy. But she is in 18 month clothes, can almost open the dishwasher herself and can now climb onto a lot of our furniture by herself, so I'd say she's gotten taller. When she's naked she looks so tall and skinny to me!

Potty learning is going OK. As expected, she had a regression for a couple of days and wasn't interested, but today she rallied and peed on the toilet 3 times. She loves to watch the toilet flush and clap her hands "Yay!" Poop is another matter entirely. I know that poop is often a challenge when potty training a 2 or 3 year old, but I was hoping it would be smoother with Evie. Nope! I am so jealous now of the parents who start potty learning when babies are younger and the kids learn that the potty is a great place to poop, instead of getting comfortable pooping in a diaper. Hindsight is 20/20 as they say. It's only been a few days, but my mother's intuition is telling me that Evie prefers pooping in a diaper at this point and doesn't want to change the system. I don't want to pressure her but instead follow her lead, but it's going to be a challenge to bite my tongue on this issue because MAN would it be nice to not have to spray out between 1 and 3 poopy diapers in the toilet every day! Enough poop talk.

Speaking of challenges, is anyone else dealing with (or has dealt with) the violent streak in young toddlers? Evie is all about hitting, kicking and pinching me these days. She does it some to J, too, and the dogs (although we heavily supervise those interactions) but mostly to me. I believe it's mostly frustration surrounding not being able to communicate her desires and thoughts, but some days I feel as though I'm "fighting" with her all day, that most of our interactions are negative. Either she's doing something naughty and I'm redirecting her, resulting in a tantrum, or I'm trying to play with her and she lashes out at me (testing boundaries I guess). I feel as though I say "no" too much, so I've started saying "oops" or "uh oh" instead, as a warning that she's doing something naughty. That seems to help, but she still likes to yell "NA!" at me as her way of saying "I hear your 'no!' and raise you a 'NA!'" I call her a little stinker a lot these days. :) We've tried to toddler-proof as much as possible, to reduce the number of times we say "no," but there is a limit to how much we can do without removing all of the furniture and padding the walls.

Hopefully this phase will pass quickly, if it is communications related, because Evie's verbal and ASL skills are blossoming. She owns (uses independently, correctly and most adults can understand her) "Mama," "Dada," "ball," "baby," "no (na)," "doggie," "bubble (bubba)," "more," and a few others. She also says several more words with a little modeling beforehand, and she is myna birding a lot. Yesterday she said "chiz peas" back to me after I modeled "cheese please." So cute.

She also uses a lot of non-verbal communication and owns the ASL signs "more," "all done," "eat," "milk," "please," "sorry," (she gets a chance to use that one after she pinches me) "light," "ceiling fan," "music," and "hot." She learned that last one while I was taking a bath this week. Mama's baths are HOT! The water is not as much fun to splash in that way. :( She uses the signs for "light" "fan" and "music" a lot. She figures out quickly where all of the sources of sound and light are in any particular room and then demands that they all be turned on at once. She won't let it go until the room is ablaze with light and playing a song she enjoys. Evie is not environmentally friendly, yet.

Speaking of music, Evie is in a repetition phase right now (with books, too) and doesn't want to hear any new music, only the music she already knows and likes. If anything comes on that has a slow rhythm, is instrumental, has foreign language lyrics or uses an instrument that isn't familiar to her, she shakes her head no until I change the track. If I don't change the track fast enough, she starts crying. If she likes the song she'll either sit still listening, bop along to the beat, or in the case of "Baby Beluga" by Raffi, she'll sing along "baybee, baybee, baybee." When the song ends she emphatically demands (and signs) "MORE."

I love that she has generalized some of her ASL and is being creative in her communication. For example, younger babies only use "more" for food, but Evie uses it for more food, music, book repetitions and games. She has also generalized "all done" by using it to tell me when she's ready to get off the potty. She's also started using it in her crib when she wants to tell me that "no, I'm not going back to sleep. 45 minutes is long enough for my nap and I am ALL DONE with this nap." How can you argue with a baby waving "all done" to you from her crib? I had to cave, but she was miserably cranky by bedtime.

More updates...

Teething: currently, bottom eye teeth and molars. Evie's teeth take forevah to come in, so it's easy to attribute just about all of her cranky behavior to that instead of toddlerdom.

Eating: she just came out of a picky stage and right now is eating like a linebacker. Must be a growth spurt starting. I feel like I spend all day preparing food, feeding her and cleaning up afterward. She's still being fairly picky about what she'll eat, but during growth spurts like this she broadens her choices somewhat and eats enough veggies to keep me from starting her on vitamin drops. Really the only veggie she'll eat outright is peas, but we sneak other things into her with things like this and this.

Reading: her attention span is getting longer, but she is getting picky about which books she wants to read. She prefers books that she can participate in by lifting flaps, pointing out objects that she knows "ball!" "baby!" or that are participatory. For example, books that encourage us to point to parts of our body, sing, clap, stomp our feet or make emotive faces. Once she latches onto a book, she often wants us to read it to her over and over and over and over again. We usually get bored by the fourth or fifth time and distract her before she is truly satiated..."hey, Evie, want a snack?!" We feel properly guilty about this.

Sleeping: with a few exceptions (teething related?) she is sleeping better right now (knock on wood) and has slept through the night (usually 7pm to 7am) a handful of times in the last month. Other nights she is up only once or twice and we have started going in and giving her some water instead of milk when she wakes. The lack of a whole milk snack in the middle of the night has resulted in a VERY hungry toddler when she wakes up in the morning. She heartily disapproves of our desire to start coffee brewing before we cut up her banana. Where are our priorities!?

Visit with G: a week ago, G (Evie's birth father) came to visit. We were very happy to see him, or at least I was. Evie was pretty freaked out and cried at a couple of points. Poor G! I can imagine how that feels for him. I assured him that we show her pictures of him regularly (we do) and that it's only a matter of time before she will understand that he is one of her people and will greet him warmly. I am confident of this because of my recent experiences S*kyping with my 2-year-old nephew. His parents have shown him pictures of our family and taught him our names, so he knows our faces as Uncle J, Aunt Karen and Cousin Evie. I'm sure Evie will be the same at his age, so G doesn't have too long to wait until she will greet him eagerly by name. Anyhow, he was still happy to see her and gushed about how beautiful she is (something we heartily agree on) and how smart (another point of congruity). He is having a rough time right now, due to the economy and lack of jobs. For those of you who pray, please say a prayer for him because he is a wonderful man and needs to have blessings come into his life right now. He came with good news that R, Evie's birth mother, is doing well. We anticipate that she will be able to see Evie again in the spring, which will be very cool.

I'll conclude with a few pictures from this month...

At C*huck E C*heese on my birthday (long story) Evie adored the carousel ride and I love this picture because it shows her face in the mirror. Don't let the expression fool you; she thoroughly enjoyed this!
Another great mirror shot! This one is at a pre-school learn/play center we visited last week. Evie likes to wash her hands these days, and this little sink was made for her. She was not happy to have competition, even though the other little girl is one of her playmates and friends. See that look she's giving? I get that A LOT these days. Exasperation, wariness, frustration and stubbornness:
Here's another look we get frequently: the "tilting my head back so that I can see you under my bangs." This is why she has pigtails and/or bows in most pictures. This pic also illustrates her deep and abiding love for monkey climbing. And, yes, the paci...she was very cranky that day.
I took a lot of photos today, to try to get at least one decent photo of her on her 15 month birthday. This is the best I could do, out of 31 photos. Not only is Evie a bundle of energy, she also takes after her Nana and likes to close her eyes in photos! :)
No video in this post since I've posted so much of it in the past few days.

The next few days will be busy with packing up to drive to Minnesota for Christmas, so in case I don't post between now and then, Merry Christmas everyone!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Wordless Wednesday plus words

(not related to the picture, so the picture still counts as wordless, right?)

So, I am not ready for this new development, but that doesn't matter...I'm just along for the ride! "They" say that girls potty train earlier than boys and that kids in cloth diapers potty train before kids in disposables. OK. But nobody prepared me for the possibility that Evie would initiate potty training at almost 15 months old and that I would be shopping for a training toilet seat this afternoon. Here's the timeline:

10 months: she starts showing interest in the toilet, so I buy her a potty to sit on while I'm on mine

13 months: she starts getting very agitated and defiant about diaper changes, and begins to fight back at the aggressor (me) by pinching my arm as I change her

14 months: I start changing her on the floor so that I can stay out of pinching range a little better

14.5 months: I decide that as long as I'm changing her on the floor, why not put her potty next to me and let her sit on it with a naked bottom before I put on the new diaper?

yesterday: she peed in her potty 3 times in a row (stayed completely dry between times) and shocked her Mama who was not prepared for this development. Once, yes, great, but 3 times in a row?

today: she seemed to have regressed and cried when I tried to put her on the potty this morning, but then made her desire clear by running half naked in to the bathroom and running up to the toilet. I held her under the arms while she peed there, and then again after her nap. Plus, she stayed completely dry during her nap! 2.5 hours! So, after her nap we went shopping for a comfy padded training seat with handles. She loves it, and peed on it 3 times before bed.

I fell totally unprepared for this...I haven't read ANY books about it yet! :) Maybe it's a phase and she'll go back to diapers in a few days and train when she's 2 like many kids do. But maybe not. My mom's advice was to go with it, follow her lead and do whatever I can to help her along. Next goals are to teach her a sign to tell me she needs to go, and try to catch poop on the potty as well. Won't that be nice!

Monday, December 14, 2009

Bonus Videos

I had to capture this footage yesterday (if only for myself as I started recording) because Evie was sooooo tired at dinner (due to only a 45 minute nap...grrrrr...) that she was laying her head on the table between bites. Little did I know that I would capture her very first use of the word "more" without the accompanying sign! I love her jargon in this, I'm glad I have it for posterity.

Right afterward I also taped her playing a little game that we do all the time these days--labeling parts of the face and body:

Saturday, December 12, 2009

By Special Request

A few of the items in this mish-mash are by special request. Oh, and we are seeing G tomorrow so I'll post about that later.

Evie has, ummm... ideas about who gets control of cutlery these days. Around Thanksgiving my mom got this (very short) video:

Evie is ready to eat with utensils, but I'm not so sure I'm ready to release control and deal with the messes! Mommy has issues. Here she is more recently, taking control of her applesauce experience:

And our little monkey is a problem solver, too. Sigh. She pushed her chair over to the baby gate in an attempt to summon her daddy from the basement (where he has a home office). It didn't work, since he was at his real office, but she gave it a good try.
We got couple of inches of snow here this past week and it was Evie's first experience getting to go out and wade in it. Here she is being contemplative about the experience of having a cold, wet bottom (we had a wardrobe malfunction with her snow suit):

I've been playing around with making my own prefold diapers out of old t-shirts, and here is one of my projects. It's hard to see in the picture, but the (former) t-shirt has tiny faux gems glued on as part of the pattern. Every girl should have at least one pair of undies with sparklies, right?
And Safire requested awhile back that I show some of my scrapbooking spreads. I would have more except that my computer recently crashed and I lost some of the photos I have taken of my work. But for now, here's one example!

The background of this photo is also a project of mine; a fall quilt that I made a couple of years before Evie was born. Will I ever finish a quilting project again now that she's here?

Finally, a few recent videos. J got me a new camcorder for my birthday and it is great! Here is Evie doing the motions to Eric Carl's book From Head to Toe. This is by special request of Evie's grandma:

And some video that J captured this morning ("Dancing Queen"):

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Drizzle has a brand new name

Drizzle is definitely a boy (!) who is now blog-dubbed Zeph, short for Zephyrus, Greek god of the west wind.

A had another ultrasound today, obviously, and everything looks great with her and the baby. Not so much with C, Zeph's dad. We really have no idea how this is going to play out in the end. The short version is that A would like to make an adoption plan for Zeph and C would like to be a dad. It is clearly a very stressful and confusing time for them, and J and I are trying to stand out of the way and just be there to support whichever decision they end up making. This one might come down to the wire, so please nobody hold your breath.

Honestly, I feel very peaceful about this situation. I could let myself stress out with the uncertainty of it all, but I have absolute confidence that things will be OK in the end. Whatever happens, Zeph will be loved and we will be happy. We feel that God's hands are in this situation and His will will be done.

However, this is going to be hard on me as the months go by and Zeph's due date approaches because "Planner" is my middle name. I don't need a late-term pregnancy to nest; nesting is in my DNA. So I've already started collecting tiny polo shirts and a blue velour cover for our B*oppy pillow, and a few other items, even before we got the final news that Zeph is a boy. My brain tells me that because of the uncertainty, I really shouldn't go hunting for boyish crib bedding, prepare a second nursery and get the P*ack 'N' P*lay down from the attic. But the type A part of me is truly itching to start accumulating blue scrapbooking doo-dads and these socks. Which side of me will win this tug of war? I'm betting on the second contender.

Finally, I promised in my last post about this topic that I would write about the prospect of having a son. I feel:
*blessed by the chance to experience parenting both sexes
*challenged at the idea of raising a MAN with a gentle spirit and strength of character
*happy for Evie to have a playmate, especially because she seems to be tomboyish so far
*intimidated by the possibility that karma is real and that I'm going to get comeuppance for the stress my little brother and I inflicted on our mom by fighting constantly for 16 years (we're friends now, though!)
*scared that I won't understand him, since I have trouble understanding the minds of most men :)
*disappointed that I won't get to re-use the pink tutu I made (just kidding)
*exasperated that all little boy clothes seem to have footballs, dinosaurs or bugs on them
*excited to discover Zeph's personality, talents and abilities
*confused by the debate over whether or not to circumcise
*prepared, somewhat, by having so many friends and family members with little boys--they will show me the ropes and their sons will be Zeph's pals
*already worried about autism, like every other mother of a baby boy, as if SIDS worries weren't enough
*hopeful that Zeph will be our son

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Christmas Card Photo Shoot

1 Toddler + 2 Parents + Holiday Decor + Christmas Attire + beagle + jingle bell =

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas!

My Shelfari Bookshelf

Shelfari: Book reviews on your book blog