Wednesday, November 26, 2008

. . . it in 'the sky'

Exactly six months after baby-adorable was born, she got a super special present in the form of a seven pound baby boy named Tyson. She loved him as soon as she met him, and even though she occasionally stole his socks, he loved her back.

Since baby Ty lives in Mississippi, baby-sweetheart doesn't get to see him all that often, so you can imagine her excitement when she found out he was coming to Georgia. She quickly packed up all her travel necessities and headed up to Stone Mountain for a weekend of camping and holiday adventures.

Averie and Ty had a grand time playing together, and we-the-parents had an awesome time hanging out with his Babymama and Daddy. The tiny friends had a stroll on the grassy plain, took a trip up the mountain, had a morning dance off in the camper and even got the chance to experience a little bit of Christmas with a train ride.

It was a wonderful weekend with wonderful friends, and baby-sweetheart even had the opportunity to recruit 3 new members to her cult. The baby girl misses her friend, and has spent the last day calling out his name and walking around looking for him. Early yesterday evening, she finally said, 'Ty home, mama'.

Here's a photo of the girl and her friend playing straw wars. It's gonna be the cutest thing you've seen today - promise.

Friday, November 14, 2008

. . . chocolat

Hot chocolate. Yum.
See baby-adorable with her first ever sip of fall's special treat.

Monday, November 3, 2008

. . . some spooky

and without further ado, we-the-parents present the cutest little kitty cat you've ever seen:

The ever independent baby-cat did not deem it necessary to cooperate with mama during photo sessions, and so there are few photos of her and her costume in it's entirely. Most of the graphic record of her second Halloween is either her facing away or missing her ears. Nonetheless, you can see the full-length her right here.

After an awesome party with her friends, she ventured out to a local hot-spot for tortillas, glow sticks and several stolen gulps of mama's tea. Later on in the evening, she enjoyed some cuddle time with daddy and milk in the glow of her pumpkin before heading off to bed in her special Halloween pj's.

It's hard to believe that a year ago, our tiny Bee looked like this.

Friday, October 24, 2008

. . . a pink ribbon (or two)

Back in the 1950s, baby-sweetheart's great-grandmother purchased some amazing fabrics. Like most seamstresses, she had a lot of things to sew and not enough time to use up all her fabrics. Years later some of her textiles were passed down to her daughter - baby-adorable's Gram - who is also an amazingly gifted seamstress. Gram sews up a lot of lovely things for the growing girl much to the delight of Babymama who wore so many of Gram's creations during her own growing up years.

A few days ago, a special present arrived in the mail. Mama and her girl opened it to find the most adorable cotton topper. Mama immediately fell in love with the vintage fabric and the innocent pink ribbon tied neatly across the pink, brown and blue squares. The tiniest girl couldn't get enough of the ribbon, and played with the tails, curling them around her little fingers until the ends were frayed with her pulling.

It's fitting that the baby girl received such a sweet gift in the middle of October, which is, after all, the pink month. And it's perhaps even more fitting that this tiny gift and pink ribbon comes with an even sweeter secret. The vintage fabric Gram used to make it was left from great-grandma, picked out long ago with her very own hands, the tiny squares of baby-pink and blue perhaps chosen for just such a tiny girl and finally, years later beautifully stitched by the loving hands of her daughter.

Averie will only know her great-grandmother through the stories and memories of her family, for she is the great-granddaughter of a woman who survived breast cancer and a mastectomy only to die of lung cancer years later. And sadly, the odds are that she will know the all-too-real worry of whether not breast cancer will affect her own life.

Mama hopes that time will change this. Mama hopes that soon we can find a cure, so that her little girl, and all little girls, can grow up to know a world where a pink ribbon is only a pretty symbol of a child's innocence and grace.

Learn more. And then help make it happen.

Monday, October 20, 2008

. . . pink: the sequel

In recent weeks, we-the-parents have been watching for signs that our baby-sweetheart is ready to begin moving toward the next stage of her toddler years. For months now the growing girl has been following mama in to 'powder her nose', and though she's still a bit young for full-fledged potty training, mama went ahead and ordered this little pink potty for the girl.

It arrived a little over a week ago, and baby-adorable immediately loved it. She began sitting on it every night right before bath time - not really doing anything but smiling and talking about going tee-tee. And then, a mere 2 days after it arrived, baby-smartest decided she really did need to go tee-tee. So she did. In her potty. And she even asked mama for tissue to wipe.

OK, sure, mama hears you. A fluke you say. A random accident. She's too little. Which is exactly what we-the-parents thought until she did it again the following morning. And then again the next day. And then, well, then she really did have an accident - on daddy's shirt while she was waiting for mama to get out of the shower and open the door so she could get to her potty.

Since then, the baby's been sick and so has not been on her potty as much, but after missing a few days of her regular sittings, she got right back in the swing of things a day ago. This blushing color is turning into our magic charm, and we-the-parents feel certain that thanks to the pink potty, our days of diapers are numbered.

Just because it's adorable, here's the smiley girl demonstrating the proper use of shades.

Monday, October 13, 2008

. . . a whiter shade of red

Many days it seems that the adventure which is our life is wrapped in an ever-growing pink ribbon. The color is everywhere in our days - from petit breakfest bowls and furry bunnies to toys phones and little shirts - as though the arrival of our baby girl cast a pink tint over the world.

In truth, our trip down this rosy road began before the baby-sweetest was born. The journey started with a soft pink corduroy jacket that mama bought for the girl on the very day the sonographer announced to we-the-parents that our tiny Bee was a girl. Soon after that announcement tiny pink blankets, socks, onesies and other soft baby things began to fill our home. Even so, baby-mama was determined not to let the color overtake us, and made sure the growing baby had plenty of other, less 'girly' colors in her life. Of late however, pink does seem to be the color of choice for our girl. Take for example, her new shoes.

Way back before mama knew Bee's gender, she customized two pairs of shoes for her still-in-the-womb tot. One pair was blue with green details and the other pink with green, and mama vowed to order them as soon that baby was born. Time teaches parents much - especially that good intentions and lots of other things get postponed in the world of life-after-baby, and for some reason, mama never got around to ordering the shoes. Last week, though, she made good on her promise and picked up these.

The girl loves them, and has happily pranced around wearing them and various articles (or not) of clothing all week long. Happily, she does not try to un-tie the double-knotted laces - in fact it appears that she doesn't notice them at all. Babymama could go on and on about how she's the 'you-know-what', but at this point, it probably goes without saying . . .

See her here, just like mama:

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

. . . the return of the faux

You may recall many, many months ago when the sweetest baby was sporting a feminine version of daddy's hairstyle. It was her first foray into things faux and we-the-parents have not seen the likes of such ee-mee-tah-see-on, if you will, since. From the moment the rest of her hair grew in, our forthright girl has been nothing but the 'what-you-see-is-what-you-get' kind of baby - making it fairly easy for us to gauge her behavior and our responses to it.

The first hint of a reemergence of the faux came during a recent dinner at one of the girl's early haunts. The independent, self-feeding baby-grown-up started choking on her (V-8 Fusion cleverly disguised by mama as) juice. Mama reacted with the expected lightning-speed pats on the back, which seemed to help the tiniest girl recover.

After breathing a sigh of relief, mama was beginning to return to her own dinner plate when her efforts were arrested by the 'ack, ack, ack' sounds coming from baby-adorable. Quickly dropping her fork, mama moved in close to her tiny baby and started patting her on the back again. After a mere moment, the 'ack, ack' sound was replaced by a low 'aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaahhh', interrupted with the staccato thuds from mama's pats. Mama stopped her patting, and looked at the girl, who was nothing but serious as she began to 'cough' again.

"Ack, ack, ack", said the baby, and looked expectantly at mama with her big, brown eyes. "Ack, ack" she said again insistently, waiting for the next pat. Of course, you can imagine how we-the-parents responded to what must now be the cutest-thing-ever. We could barely keep our laughter at a socially acceptable level as our girl studied us with her oh-so-serious eyes and fake coughs.

In the end, honesty won out, and baby-truthful dissolved into laughter with mama and daddy, we-the-family happy and completely amused with one another and the first, innocent deception of our growing girl.

And, to brighten your day with an example of the kind of sincerity we're talking about, here's a picture of those eyes. Go ahead. "Uh-door-uh-bul".

Monday, September 22, 2008

. . . a Fair Warning

Yes, we-the-parents keep thinking we've totally baby-proofed the house - at least the main areas where baby-adorable plays. And just about the time we think we've really got everything fastened, locked and placed out of the reach of little hands, our tiny girl shows us just how wrong we are.

Take, for example, the photograph below. That white, rectangular thing in baby-sweetest's hand used to be a fairly functional cassette tape of circa 1981 vintage. The talented baby girl has released it from the confines of it's plastic case with a little help from Remy the cat. It's further proof that a toddler's reach is equivalent to twice the length a parent believes it to be.

*Yes, we still have tapes hanging around. Yes, we're mostly digital, and we both love our iPods, but we do feel a responsibility to preserve a small part of history for a girl who will most likely never own a cassette of her own.

Monday, September 8, 2008

. . . new levels of cute and a little independence

The sweetest is seemingly cuter every day. We-the-parents don't know how this happens, as to us, she's always been the cutest thing we've ever seen, and yet, daily we sit and watch as this adorable factor multiplies. Sometimes, the cuteness gets you right in the chest.

Yesterday, for example, baby-sweetheart noticed a doll that was sitting high on a shelf in the back room. The doll was mama's own doll when she was tiny. It's wearing a purple dress with matching purple bloomers - both trimmed in little white lace. The doll was a gift from babymama's grandmother, and the dress was made by babymama's mother. It's a special doll that mama has saved from her own childhood, and one that the baby girl immediately desired.

'Uh! Dat!' she pointed at the doll. Her little face was so excited and hopeful. So mama decided to give it to her . . . and the rest of the day, the little 'mama' carried her 'baby' with her everywhere. She fed the baby a bottle (imagined by the girl from a container of eye-make-up remover she took from mama's bag), covered her up and patted her back. And then in the what was one of the cutest moments of our family life, she found a comfy spot on the ottoman, pulled her baby into her lap and a box of baby-wipes to her side and proceeded to carefully wash the baby's face - one wipe after another.

This morning, first thing after getting up, baby-cutest grabbed her 'baby' and held her to her chest as she watched the Wiggles. She sat on mama's lap and held her baby for a few more minutes, and then carried her baby into the bedroom to show daddy while he was getting ready for work. When it was time to leave for school, both of the 'babies' were waiting by the door.

Needless to say, mama's little girl took her 'baby' on the car ride to school, and mama is still smiling thinking of how cute she looked strapped into her car seat with that baby-doll hugged close to her cheek. So grown-up already.

And in the realm of grown up, the ever learning toddler that is our Averie has started putting on her own pants. Mostly she likes to put them on, stand up and then take them off. She hasn't mastered the art of pulling them up all the way over her diaper, but we feel that's coming soon. It appears that we're nearing the stage of potty chairs, and mama can't wait to try this one.

Friday, September 5, 2008

. . . her first enigma

We-the-parents have been feeling pretty lame over the past month after realizing that our baby-brilliant has outgrown most of her toys. Our ephiphany came after watching her play with an adorable little boy who's a little shy of 2 years older than our girl. She loved him, and she loved his toys - little cars, a table and chair set, some great art stuff, etc. Our return home was a sad one for all of us: she, tiny and disappointed to be home again, missing her new pal and stuck with a bunch of baby toys, and us, older and disappointed in ourselves for not seeing the obvious.

But hark! Thanks to John Spilsbury, a remedy (albeit one in-progress) has begun, and our recent toy shopping selections included three wooden puzzles. Even though the puzzles are designed for older kids, they've turned out to be the perfect fit* in the tiny one's daily entertainment schedule.

Baby-smartest figured out the shapes puzzle right away, even managing to get the confusing diamond, rectangle and square shapes into their respective homes. The other two puzzles are farm animals and jungle animals, and the sweet girl loves to work on both of them at the same time.

Speaking of animals, the girl loves them, and can demonstrate even more animals sounds than before. She does the most amazing owl imitation. She's so good at it, in fact, that when we-the-parents awakened in the dark a few nights ago, it took us both several minutes to figure out that the sound we thought was coming through her baby monitor was actually a real-live owl outside our window. Whoo-hoo-hoo-hoooooo!

*That one is just to make daddy smile. It's a joke, see? A perfect fit? You're laughing, right?

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

. . . a dance in five steps

The less-baby, more toddler sweetheart that lives in our house has a new chant these days. This enthusiastic mantra, like many of the girl's expressions, includes full body movement, and we-the-family have started to participate in it together, as one, whenever we have the opportunity.

It starts suddenly, so if you'd like to join in, you need to know the steps. Here's how to share the fun:

1. Suddenly and unexpectedly stop everything you're doing. Drop things if necessary, but you must come to a complete standstill.

2. Stand up and bend forward a little, at the hips, so that your back is at roughly a 25-degree angle to your hips.

3. Be sure your eyes are serious and your will resolute before continuing.

4. Bend your knees and push your body upwards, extending both arms (shoulder width apart) toward the heavens while shouting, "The sky! The sky! The sky!"

5. Finally, smile and laugh and give a tiny jump on one foot while leaving the other one on the ground. Laugh some more and repeat.

Of course we love it, and swear it's the, well, you know . . .

Mama must admit, however, that there are times it feels a bit cult-like.

* Also new in the world of adorable, our girl recently (a la the 23rd) discovered wind during a morning walk. She loves it, and we think she finds it funny. Whenever it blows around her, she stretches out her little arms and waves them back and forth, up and down while scrunching up her face and laughing. Mama is glad the tiny one likes it, and feels that this will be a good thing as the family (sans Daddy, sniff) makes plans for another upcoming dance - this one with three not so great acquaintances. .

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

. . . it like it's hot

Because it was and it is hot. And baby-sweetheart needed a little time in the sprinklers. She loved it, and we-the-parents loved it. What a great way to cool off on a hot afternoon.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

. . . a new dance move and an expanded vocabulary

Just in time for your mid-week fix, Babymama offers this fast dose of adorable for your Wednesday bloggy consumption. But first, a photo of baby-sweetest checking out a fountain:

The tiny toddler knows lots of things these days*, and we-the-parents are surprised daily with a new word, phrase or action from the baby girl. Phrases like 'stomp, stomp' are spoken with great authority and are accompanied by expertly executed little stomps. Little fingers point at early morning coffee cups as a little voice says, 'hot! hot!', and an exuberant 'Tal-yon' bursts from her lips during dinners that include items like pasta and pizza. We are impressed, of course, and happy as we can be over our girl's emerging knowledge and understanding of her world.

In the mornings, we look for trucks on our way to school, and baby-friendly cheerfully says 'hiiii!' and waves as we pass every pick-up, SUV and 18-wheeler on the road. She loves to walk up the sidewalk on the way to her classroom, and asks mama 'dat?' when we encounter a jackhammer, the fence or the pool that's been set up for a water day. In the evenings, kisses and hugs abound for everyone, including her bear, her lion and Remy the cat. She loves to dance to the ringtone on mama's phone, and can do all the motions to her favorite songs, including the raised-arm-fist-pump and 'hooray' in the last verse of 'If you're happy and you know it'.

Her newest dance move surprised us, but not because it was in itself a new one. She loves to watch Bunnytown in the mornings, and we-the-family all sing and dance together during the daily performance of the 'Bunnytown Hop'. Even in the early days of the show, baby-smartest picked up quickly on the 'hop, hop, hop' verses, and did her athletic best to perform her own version of this bunny activity. Of course it's the cutest thing ever. Or it was. Until that tiny little sweetie added a new step to her routine. Only a few days ago, baby-bunny picked up the pair of these that mama gave her for easter, and after carefully placing them on her head, she stood up in her dollbed and loudly proclaimed, 'HOP! HOP! HOP!'

It's ok to say, 'Awww'. You know you want to.

* Babymama is proud to announce that baby-brilliant has added many new words to her vocabulary, including head, stomp, grape, tortilla, pasta, apple, jump, duck, shoes, Italian, palm tree, help, please, thank you, up, stop, step, and a wide variety of animal sounds, the strangest of which is 'macaw' - you know, for the bird.

Monday, July 14, 2008

. . . the sun, sand & sea

Before the miracle of our baby-adorable brought such wonder and joy to our lives, we-the-parents (like others who share the good fortune of living near the ocean) spent much of our free time at the beach, relaxing, reading, resting and generally enjoying the sound and feel of the waves, wind and sand. It was a place of rejuvination for us - a spot amid the rush of life where we could share a bit of calm.

After our girl arrived, we spent many days talking about how we couldn't wait to take her out to the islands, to show her the sand and let her feel the foamy ocean as it lapped up to the beach. We laughed as we imagined what she'd think about the texture of the sand, how she'd like splashing in the water, looking for crabs and gathering shells. We planned and plotted and waited for the perfect day to make our first trek to the shore.

Since baby-sweetest was too tiny to have sunscreen her first summer, babymama and daddy opted to skip the sunny expanse until she was old enough bear a little SPF, and so, until a few weeks ago, that tiny girl hadn't had the chance to dip her toes in the Atlantic. One impromptu visit to our own South Beach sans bathing suits only convinced us that we needed to carve out more time for a 'real' trip.

And finally, two days ago, we managed to arrange a family day at the beach. Early Friday morning, we packed up the cooler, our beach bags and to-go coffees (and juice bottles) and loaded all of the gear and ourselves into the car. A short time later, we arrived to a nearly empty beach and found the perfect (read: super-close) parking spot. After pulling into our awesome parking space, we quickly discussed our options, pulled together a strategy, and began to implement it:

• First, get baby out of car. Set her on blanket on trunk and strip her. Put on swim diaper (yeah, Babymama knows what you're thinking - but the trip to the beach is a fairly good drive, and we knew we'd have to change her diaper as soon as we got there, and swim diapers are more expensive and less absorbent, blah, blah, blah).

• Cover baby in very high SPF sunblock - avoid eye area. Put tiny bathing suit on baby. Shove tiny feet into stretchy beach shoes. Dance around like crazy people before realizing that the stinging you've been feeling for the last 5 steps is coming from the inhabitants of the large ant bed you're standing in.

• Baby-mama takes baby girl and beach bag number 1. Baby-daddy takes cooler and beach pack number 2 with umbrella. Put sun-hat on baby. Parents and baby walk across dunes to beach. Commence to having fun.
The day was a great success and baby-beachy had a wonderful time, though there was little digging in the sand and minimal splashing at the water's edge. Her main focus was the 'dirdies' and she happily chased them across the wide beach as long as her little legs could hold out. When the sandy girl had walked what we estimate to be the toddler equivalent of ten miles, she sort of slowed to a turtle's pace until Babydaddy picked her up and carried her back to the blanket for some juice and fish. After her snack, she played with mama while daddy went out in the water before we packed up our things and headed for the car.

As 16-month-old parents ourselves, we're still new at figuring out how to manage things with an ever-changing 16-month-old toddler, so Babymama is happy to report that most of the steps in our plan worked out perfectly. They were, however, just a tiny bit harder than we thought they'd be. For one thing, swim diapers are tight - by necessity surely, but nonetheless, they are not easy to put on or pull up. For another, swim shoes are also tight, and perhaps useless, as we-the-parents learned after removing them in the car to find multiple blisters on our tiny girl's feet. Also, the loose sand of the dunes is a difficult surface for tiny legs to master, making it necessary for at least one parent to have a free arm for carrying the baby. (Actually, a wagon would be a huge help in this process - fun for the girl, helpful for the parents. The baby-girl likes this one though mama wonders if she shouldn't have more of an ATV type to handle the sand . . .)

It must also be said that photos of our adventure are few, as mama was more than busy making sure that the baby-sweetest didn't chase her 'dirdie' into the ocean, but mama did snap the one below near the beginning of the day. It's very representative of the entire morning . . . baby-girl running, we-the-parents chasing.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

. . . a little 'Taken by Cars'

Baby-adorable loves to use her words. She hasn't many of them*, but those she has are put to good use at mostly appropriate times. Her favorite word of the moment is 'uh-oh', and she uses it as a pre-cursor to any action on her part that involves dropping something. This 'something' could be a toy she's about to toss over the baby-gate into the small, but unknown spaces of the kitchen, or it could be the slimy and partially mushed
broccoli that she's decided to pull out of her mouth and hurl to the floor. The key thing about 'uh-oh' is that it always comes before the fall, so to speak, and is a type of emergency alert system for we-the-parents, putting us on notice that something which should probably not be, is about to be sent to the floor.

Hearing our baby-sweetheart utter the 'uh-oh' often comes early enough that a quick parent, or one in close proximity can step in and avert the upcoming disaster, so when Babymama heard 'Uh-oh! Uh-oh! Uh-oh, Mamamamama!' as she was washing sippy cups yesterday morning, she quickly stopped and looked around to see what the 'uh-oh' was bound to be. Strangely, the baby had nothing in her hands, and mama coudn't see anything spilled, dropped or broken. The tiny toddler smiled at mama, and walked off to play with her toys, and mama, satisfied that nothing was amiss, continued her work at the sink.

It was moments after leaving the kitchen that Babymama realized she'd missed something. A few steps from the doorway, mama felt something cold, wet and a little squishy under her bare foot. Holding her breath, she looked down to see what horror lay under her foot. It was a baby-wipe . . . that led to another baby wipe . . . which led to another baby wipe, which in turn led to a pile of baby wipes nearly eight inches tall. Nearby was the nearly empty remains of what had been a brand new package of wipes picked up specially by Babydaddy only yesterday. Seems they somehow made their way, one by one, out of the package and onto the carpet, and baby-truthful came to let mama know right away.

Luckily for Babymama, wipes are easily rescued from the carpet, so the 'accident' was only a tiny hiccup in our morning routine. The real problem here is the timing change of the language. It seems our system of recognizable foreshadowing is disappearing in favor of a contextual expression of the word, leaving we-the-parents without an early alarm, less time for accident interception, and more time for berry juice to soak into the carpet. Uh-oh for real.

*Some of the words Baby-brilliant loves to speak: Daow, hi, bye, stars, mama, daddy, tack-tack (quack-quack), hot, dat? (that, as in 'what's that?'), truck, juice, ruff-ruff, hop, tree, all-done and of course, uh-oh.

Friday, June 27, 2008

. . . a 'new' toy

When babymama was a little girl, her own mama and daddy gave her a hand-made doll-bed for Christmas one year. It was tiny and the perfect fit for all her dollies, and it came complete with a quilt made by her own mama and two afghans made by her grandmama. Babymama loved to play with her babydolls and made sure she tucked them soundly into their special bed each night.

Babymama grew up, but never out-grew the love she had for her childhood doll-bed. She kept it with her, taking it from one college apartment to another, moving it carefully each time, before it ended up in her current home. Until recently, it's been stored away - a secret memory of mama's growing up, waiting to be revealed to a new little girl with new little dolls. And earlier this week, mama spent a little time with a polishing cloth getting it shined up to share with baby-adorable.

One evening, before dinner, mama sat down with baby-sweetest to show her how to make up the little bed and how to tuck her 'babies' in under the now-vintage blankets. Mama was so excited to see how much fun her little girl would have putting her babies to sleep - just like she did twenty, um thirty?, years ago. But baby-sweetheart is an independent-kind-of-gal, and promptly tossed the babies out of the bed. She has her own ideas about how that bed should be used, and she immediately set about putting those ideas into action.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

. . . a cucumis sativus with a pH less than 4.6

If estimates are correct, baby-so-sour's favorite pickled snack was probably first picked and rotted about 4400 years ago in the land between the two rivers. In terms of holiness, you probably couldn't find a fruit closer to earthly paradise (now, before you protest, think about where that infamous 'apple' lead), so it is nothing but fitting that our little angel absolutely loves them.

Her first taste of the salty, sour cucumber happened at a barbeque restaurant of all places. It was served along side babymama's pulled pork sandwich - cool and crisp, a refreshing sour to the sweet, rich, buttery melting of meat on mama's plate. As mama ate, baby-insistant kept pointing to what mama thought were her french fries. After repeated attempts to quiet the increasing volume of the hungry girl's pleas with a fry, mama finally understood that baby-demanding wanted the pickle.

You can easily understand the, ahem, pickle in which we-the-parents found ourselves. It's a pickle for goodness sake, and baby girl is a mere 15 months old . . . arguably an age that is entirely too young to appreciate, much less enjoy, the many virtues of vinegar and garlic combined with fruit and fermentation. It is, however, a near-impossible feat to distract the baby-girl once she has focused her attention upon any desired food item, and so, with warnings in baby-tongue intended to prevent what mama knew would be the inevitable tears, mama handed over the pickle.

Amazingly there was no crying, and thankfully, no vomiting (as was the case with the veggie puffs and cooked carrots). The baby's eyes widened as she took a small bite, quickly realizing the sourness of the fruit. She pulled her head back, puckered her lips, and then she shuddered - a full-body, head-shaking shudder that drew those puckered little lips down into a grimace. We-the-parents braced ourselves for the wailing that never came. Instead, we saw a smile, and our adventurous little eater leaned in and reached for a second helping of the pickle that mama pronounced 'soooo sour'.

Since that first taste of kosher dill, the baby-girl always asks for our pickles, often enjoying a whole side of them on her own. At her last trip to the land of lemon-pepper-wings, baby-sweetheart ate 3 spears nearly back to back, and mama and daddy now keep a jar in the fridge just for her. We've not introduced her to the gherkin yet, or the bread and butter variety, but we plan to do so well in advance of next year's International Pickle Week, so she's well prepared to celebrate with the rest of the world's pickle lovers. If you're so inclined, you can get some of Daddy's favorites here, and you can check out the 39 flavors (yes, that's right) offered here.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

. . . the cognitive process of deriving meaning from written & printed text

Baby-sweetest comes from a long line of readers and writers. Both her Grammy & Grampy and her Gram & Grandpa spend many of their days wrapped up in the printed word, and even her great-grandparents were poets and journalists. Babymama herself is an avid reader and has been since she was a baby - (Gram & Grandpa often tell the story of how it took 50 books before bed to get the infant babymama to fall asleep). Babydaddy is a writer and reader as well, though he refuses to consume one of the best books on the planet (- under 100 pages, free to download here, and a great read for a myriad of reasons). Needless to say, we the parents had hopes that our baby-brilliant would take to literature, and we began pumping various authors into her ears even before she was born.

Seeminlgy, our efforts to help baby-smartest develop a love of books and reading are beginning to pay off. It started with one to three books at bedtime - books chosen by the parents from the baby's ever-growing bookshelf. Babyparents would try to help the not-so-sleepy baby focus on the stories, or at least the pictures, and baby-tolerant would humor us with a few minutes of her time before returning her attentions to the contents of her toybox (our living room floor).

Recently, however, baby-brilliant is bringing her very own choices to us for story time, which now takes place several times a day. She toddles over to her book pile(s), picks out a book and walks it over to whichever parent she decides is the best to interpret the story within. At the conclusion of the story, she makes her way back to select another book, and again, chooses the appropriate parent for the text. This process repeats itself, oh, roughly sixteen times a session. Baby-mama knows this because that's how many books are currently strewn about the carpet after last night's storytime.

Baby-cerebral's current favorites include Hippos Go Berserk, The Belly Button Book, Barnyard Dance, Pat the Bunny, Moo, Baa, La La La, The Going to Bed Book, A to Z, Christmas in the Manger, Clifford's Animal Sounds, Dear Zoo, Big Little, Prayer for a Child, Little Bee and My Many Colored Days. Here is a picture of her with that Seussical story of color and emotions as she makes her way over to babymama's lap.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

. . . a tumble and a goodbye

She's a walker, but even so the baby-sweetheart is not quite the most balanced toddler on the beam. She manages her way around on two feet nearly all the time these days, and is much faster on her tiny legs than she used to be. She is, however, a bit wobbly, and is often found hands down, bottom up as she struggles to stay upright. Many more times than not, this wobbliness leads directly to a (mostly) graceful crash and the subsequent and variable punctuation of laughter, stunned silence or tears.

Her most recent tumble of note began with the 30.5 inches of baby girl chasing the 70 inches of daddy around the bedroom. Alas, baby-sweetest is not so adept at changing direction quickly, and she lost her footing during an atempt to turn on the proverbial dime. Her tiny feet got tangled and she fell, ka-boom-splat, face (forehead) first into the (metal) bedframe.

Although babymama moved with lightening speed, she was not able to swoop in before the collison, and only arrived in time to gather baby-goose-egg in her arms just as those first, horrible screams started. Thankfully, this injury, (unlike her recent lip puncture) did not draw blood, but it did leave a 2 inch wide purple and red line across her little head, and a sizeable knot accompanying it.

As you may well imagine, babymama is not accustomed to the sounds of her baby-adorable crying in fear and pain, and mama's immediate response to all of the baby's wounds is to insist, with tears in her eyes, that babydaddy drive the family to the doctor immediately, now, this second.

Babydaddy, on the other hand, is definitely in the 'let's take a moment to see how this looks and then decide if she needs an x ray' camp. You may be able to picture how this little scene unfolds again and again - much to the entertainment of the baby, who after a short cry and some hugs is happily chewing on her shoe and watching her parents debate whose philosophy of emergency medicine is the best.

Suffice it all to say that in the end, babydaddy called the nurse, who gave firm instrutions to watch the baby, wake the baby, and wait to see how the lump progressed. Which is what we did, to find the following truths:
1. Babies heads really are tougher than we think. This appeared to be a serious knot - and even so, a mere 24 hours later, the red mark from the edge of the frame was nearly invisible and the bump was beginning to go down.

2. There is no procrastination like the procrastination of two sleep deprived parents who know that they must go in and wake up the very baby who they just spent two hours preparing for bedtime. Each time we had to do it, we sat on the edge of the sofa contemplating just what the nurse meant by "check to see that she can still perform age appropriate actions like walking, talking, etc."
Does she really mean walking, or just moving her legs? Does a sigh count as talking or do we need to sing "itsy bity"? Um, what does she mean by "etc"?
And what if she won't go back to bed?'***

3. Our baby is fine - walking and tumbling normally, eating normally and playing normally. She's even sort-of sleeping normally, which is amazing in itself as we are in the middle of the 'transition' to big-girl-crib in big-girl-room. We, too, are fine, though watching these types of injuries is enough to shred and nearly stop our hearts.
. . .

It's been a heart-shredding kind of week here at the house, and while babymama usually does not high-jack the baby blog with other happenings, it feels somehow wrong to leave a space empty of the mention of one of our other babies, our little cat Darlin'.

Dar', as baby-sweetheart so lovingly dubbed her, was with us nearly eight years, and was, until the baby girl arrived, strictly her father's cat. Averie's arrival, however, saw a softer side of Darlin' who loved the baby as much as the baby loved her. She was a good cat who never bit, scratched or even hissed at the tiny girl who daily pulled her tail, pinched her toes and often fell directly on her furry tummy. She left us suddenly a week ago tonight, not sick or ailing, not really old, just gone. We all loved her much, and miss her terribly. Here is a photo of our Darlin' One with the baby who was her constant companion.

*** The baby girl does not go back to bed. Not really. Once awakened in the night and made to do things like walking, moving, talking and other age appropriate actions, baby-princess fakes sleeping in her crib for about two and a half hours. After that, she will only sleep if allowed to first cuddle on mama's chest and then sprawl out horizontally in mama and daddy's bed - no covers or socks allowed.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

. . . a clean deciduous set

As diphyodonts, we humans only get two chances to grow some pretty pearly whites, and baby-smiley is in the early stages of getting her 'milk teeth'. The process through the eyes of we-the-parents, seems to be long and painful for our tiny girl, and we want to do as much as we can to take extra special care of those itsy-teeth that have been so difficult for her to grow.

Thanks to the ingenuity of rioting Englishmen and a few hundred years of continued innovation, baby-adorable has a head-start on her first set of healthy teeth, and with her improving coordination, it certainly won't be long until she's brushing all on her own.

In other itsy-news, baby-sweetest is learning how to sing. Songs with gestures are her favorites, and just two days ago, she surprised mama and daddy with her first ever vocal rendition of this children's classic ode to an arachnid. Her sweet little voice was matched with her sweet little hands and fingers - twisting and turning their attempts at making it up the water spout.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

. . . Mothers' Day

    Dance little baby, dance up high,
    Never mind baby, mother is by ;
    Crow and caper, caper and crow,
    There little baby, there you go ;
    Up to the ceiling, down to the ground,
    Backwards and forwards, round and round ;
    Dance little baby, and mother shall sing,
    With the merry coral, ding, ding, ding.
        ~ Ann Taylor, The Baby's Dance

Sunday, May 4, 2008

. . . a study in green or 'the expression of sentiment and imagination through the medium of crayon'

Both babydaddy and mama believe that art, in all of its forms and the creation of such is an important part of life, and we do our best to bring the creative into our growing baby's life as much as we can. We're by no means the 'arty type', but we were beyond pleased when baby-sweetheart began to show her appreciation for things beautiful in her early months. Each day, she is more attentive to the colors, sounds and textures around her, and recently, she's begun to demonstrate her very own emerging creative talents.

Baby-artistic has two sets of crayons - one which is specially shaped for tiny hands and use on paper, and a second which is specially designed for use in water. Ironically, the second set, which are shaped like a rubberized version of the regular, original crayons that baby-parents grew up with, seem to be easier for her to manage. A portrait of the artist as a young toddler follows, and you can see the art of the day by clicking here.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

. . . her first steps

It happened today . . . with smiles, laughter and much revelry. Baby-sweetest chose today for her first steps. The grand event happened after the closing credits of Bunnytown, today's episode featuring Pinky Pinkerton reporting on the age old race between the chicken and the egg, as well as the amazingly catchy (in the sticks-in-your-head-all-day-kinda-way) theme song, The Bunnytown Hop (hop, hop, hop, hippity hop).

That adorable girl was hopping on mama's lap when she suddenly decided to hop right into a standing position. She repeated this motion for a bit, and then proudly, certainly, determinedly stood up and walked 3 big, brave steps all on her own.

Babyparents are so proud. We tried to get her achievement on video, but all the excitement has Baby-sweetheart thinking this is some kind of game, so instead of continuing to walk, she throws herself down to the floor, laughing each time, between babydaddy and mama.

Until we can get her on film, here's a picture of her in her yellow animal dress. Of course, you know we think she's beyond adorable.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

. . . A little Respect*

1. Baby-sweetest has long, long hair. It's very straight on top, and very curly in the back, and looks cuter than cute in it's naturally disheveled state. This is key because it's also unruly and we the parents are not able to force it into any particular style. However, we have found a temporary solution.

2. The tiny tot has friends at school! Babymama is exceptionally happy about this, and especially about how she smiles at them when she arrives at school and waves to them when she leaves. She and 'A' have been good friends since their last classroom, and are back to chasing each other around the room. She still loves her 'boyfriends' 'L' and 'G', but was recently bitten by another playmate. She's a-o-kay, and thankfully has not picked up that bad habit herself.

3. Knock-on-virtual-wood, baby-so-sleepy has been on a schedule again for a week. This is a huge accomplishment for the entire family, since it's taken us months to recover from the last time her schedule was disrupted.

4. Food is good, and this baby definitely has an already well-developed palette, which both babydaddy and mama are working to train. She loves peas and cantaloupe, (two of the world's wonder-foods) and also eats cucumber, tomatoes, corn, lettuce and a large variety of other fruits and veggies. Like her daddy, that thirsty babe loves water and milk. Like her mama, she loves sweet tea (decaff of course).

5. Le bebe is tall, a full thirty and one half inches tall. This puts her somewhere around the 80th percentile, nearly ready for the haute runways of Paris.

6. Baby-athletic is not quite walking yet. However, she is a super-speedy knee-walker, and her tiny baby pants have the dirty worn spots to prove it. Although she refuses to walk on her own, she does regularly use her accomplished standing powers to boost her over our improvised baby-gate and into the kitchen, where those aforementioned 30.5 inches put her at the perfect height to examine the cabinet knobs. (Note to selves: must invest in handy cabinet locks as well as a proper safety gate.)

7. The super-spring-time-baby has her first pair of flip-flops - something every girl needs at least fifteen pair of. (Yes, babydaddy, let me explain again. See, you need the black ones with the cushion-y heels, the regular flat black ones, the neutral colored ones, the dressy ones, the beach-only ones, the pink ones for being super girly, a pair to keep in both cars - just in case, the sporty-ones, etc. . . .)

8. In addition to her first flip-flops, baby-beachy also has a new swimsuit. Polka-dots make it sweet, but the ruffles make it extra-adorable.

9. Baby-sweetheart has mastered the art of blowing kisses. Her missiles are delivered with a sweet smile and a loud 'mmmmpwaah', and never fail to send both of us doting parents into that happy, melty-heart place.

10. She is very helpful, and likes to give us things over and over again. Each morning, when she tosses her cheerios on the floor, she helps us pick up each and every 'O', one at a time, of course. She will help us pick up things like our shoes, slippers, and the remote, but not necessarily her toys.

11. She also likes to share, and is very good at sharing her food with everyone around her, including her beloved 'Dar'. One cheerio for you, oh, have another . . . ok, now one for me, well, no, it's only a little wet - you can still have it. Babymama distinctly remembers being grossed out watching other parents swallow the food offerings from their little ones . . . but she now realizes that the wounded look on the face of baby-adorable when someone refuses her gift is much worse than a little soggy food in the mouth for a second. Babymama does, however, draw the line at sharing peas.

12. The stickiness that once lingered in her teeny little hands has transferred itself to her teeny little feet. Somehow, those little toes are always sticky . . . we don't have any ideas why.

13. More evidence that baby-graceful is bound for ballerina stardom - she dances! Truthfully, at this point it's a bit more in the line of bouncing than twirling, but those bounces are helping her get ready for her first grand jeté.

14. That grown-up-baby is beginning the journey away from bottles and into sippy-cup land. These are arriving in a few days time, and soon, babymama and daddy will no longer be washing bottles every single night. Baby-adorable also drinks well from straws, although she occasionally decides not to swallow and instead, allows the drippy beverage to run slowly out of her mouth and down her chin. It's somewhat reminiscent of her milky-face days of yore.

15. Our tiny baby is now 36, 806,400,000 milliseconds old. That seems like a lot, but it's also only 613,440 minutes or 10, 224 hours, or a mere 426 days. Not very many at all when you think of it, but on the other hand, it's so very, very many seconds of adorable-ness.

16. One of baby-techie's earliest toys was an old computer mouse (optical, not ball), and she has since moved up to the laptop. She enjoys 'typing', scrolling and watching videos of herself. She even claps at the appropriate parts of these videos, applauding herself for good behavior, standing 'so0-tall' and taking a 'big-bite'.

17. While she'd mastered 'beep-beep' very quickly on her little red riding car, she was slightly directionally challenged and could only move backwards. Recently, however, that smart baby figured out how to drive forwards, and she's using this skill and her own wheels to get around 'town' much more quickly.

*A select few of you will be familiar with the title of this post. Babymama gives a shout out to y'all, and does apologize for borrowing part of the secret slang of the Minneapolis crew. But, it must be said that even before we were married, some of that Minnesota-cool rubbed off on her
. . . and, respect or not, babymama beat that super-hip daddy every game of crib during the first 6 months of our courting.*

Thursday, March 27, 2008

. . . Easter and her first PEZ

Baby-adorable did not see the Easter Bunny this year, except briefly in passing as we made our way from our favorite store to Dillards one Saturday afternoon. She paid the vest-wearing impostor no mind as we strolled by, and was instead, completely focused on the tiny-voiced conversation she was having with everyone and no one in particular during her stoller ride through the mall. And since baby-can't-be-fooled-by-fake-fur was uninterested this year, Babymama is thinking that we should continue to avoid the long lines and general scariness of the whole mall-bunny tradition.

However, baby-adorable would not be deprived of all the holiday traditions, and on Easter day, after demanding to be removed from her Reformed perch so she could chat with the pigeons, (this action itself potentially saving Babydaddy from a swift and sharp retaliation), that pastel-dressed Easter baby did have a chance to experience the joy of the Easter basket.

Baby-sweetest had a grand time pulling everything, including the edible grass (green apple flavored, y'all) out of her little yellow pail. Along with her first chocolate bunny, she found a series of sparkly eggs, a Reeses-filled carrot,some jelly beans, bath-tub crayons and her very first PEZ dispenser - a cute little lamb. Baby-healthy doesn't really like sugar, so she donated her candy to Babymama & daddy who're happy to oblige by taking it off her hands.

Although there was no ham (the main Easter meal this year did include bacon), baby-sweetheart made the day a perfect one - with lots of smiles. Check out this one, and her growing line-up of pearly whites.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

. . . a systematic means of
communicating by the use of sounds

Do what?

Yep, that's right, baby-smartest is starting to talk. A little bit. And mostly, it's very difficult to understand, but still. She's talking! Babymama & daddy, of course are ever so pleased and more than proud.

For months we've had some sneaking feelings that somehow, as parents, we weren't doing quite enough to feed the brain of a growing baby-adorable. Sure, we read to her (thanks much to A and T for helping us discover one of our favorite authors), and we expose her to lots of music (most recently we've purchased this), and we try to only buy learning toys and we go over her Spanish/English flash cards, but, still. Shouldn't we be doing more to teach her? So she doesn't fall behind? And what about that super-smart 18-month-old reading baby? How are we gonna rock that in less than 6 months?

Babymama's been keeping an eye out, watching the other babies, (some of whom are already walking) in baby-sweetest's class, listening as they shout out garbled phrases as their parents pick them up. Prompting, cajoling, trying desperately to get a little language out of our cute girl. Ok, yes. She said ma-ma and da-da a long time ago. But who's to say that she really knew what those words meant? Babymama's been looking for something in context. And finally . . . it happened!

It started one morning in the recent past. As reference, each of baby-adorable's days begins with the same ritual:

  • Babymama begins falling off the bed and wakes just in time to catch herself, thanks to the soft, but insistent sounds of baby-hungry, who is lying perpendicular in between mama and daddy (this is a story for another day).

  • Then, the least disoriented parent makes his/her way to the kitchen to heat up a bottle - a feat which suddenly takes much longer than it did previously, largely due to our recent transition to whole milk.

  • Said parent returns to the bed with warm bottle, where baby-adorable wrests it from her parent's hands and plugs it quickly into her mouth. Both parents snuggle back into bed and doze to the happy sounds of the baby with her bottle.

  • A very few minutes later, baby-sweetest is full, and she pushes her bottle out of her mouth and away from her. If there's any milk left, Babymama tries to give it back. If baby is hungry, she takes it, smiles and finishes the rest. If baby is full, she pushes the bottle away, and Babymama says 'All done! Thank you' and takes the bottle.

  • Then, Babydaddy picks up baby-sweetheart and gives her a big hug while saying, 'Hi Averie!' He takes her over to the changer and says, 'Hi, Mama!'. Usually, Averie turns her head toward mama and waves, and mama waves back and says 'Hi Averie!'.

  • After a diaper change, the family heads out for coffee and Clifford.

That's how it goes . . . how it's been . . . nearly every morning for months. Except for the other morning, when baby-smartest surprised us with a very clear and audible 'Hi Da-da' as she patted her Daddy on the back. What?!? We both heard it, realized it had really happened, burst into laughter . . . and were promptly joined by the cutest little laughter from our baby girl.

Since then, 'Hi' is a regular expression, along with others including 'maooow' (meow), 'Dar' (darlin' the cat), 'wrah?' (always accompanied by a questioning look, so we're guessing this is some interrogatory expression) and the latest, just yesterday morning as she took her last bite of breakfast banana, 'Ahh done' (all done). Outstanding, says Babymama.

Talking is tough work, though, and all that smartness can really wear a girl out. Here's what our talking baby looks like after a long day of babbling . . .

Sunday, March 2, 2008

. . . her first birthday

The days, 365 of them, and all the milestones in between the first and last of that number, came and went faster than baby-adorable's parents imagined. Maybe it was our still-sleep deprived brains that couldn't process the speedy countdown of days, maybe some of those weeks were magically gobbled up by the black hole that exists inside the diaper genie . . . babymama does not really know how it happened, but the truth is that time really did move faster (just like other parents promised it would) in the minutes, hours, days, weeks and months of the last year. And suddenly, our baby-sweetheart is one.

Of course, one comes with many accomplishments. Baby-smartest is learning more and more everyday, (how to quickly empty a kleenex box, how to circumvent babydaddy's improvised baby gates, how to remove handfuls of fur of the back of the 'meow').

An athlete as well as a scholar, she crawls faster than any adult can navigate the labryinth of her toys, and pulls up on anything that appears stationary. She loves to walk when babymama and daddy are holding her hands, and will randomly throw caution to the wind and let go - though it must be said that both her forward motion and vertical stance end at that moment.

Like all other special events in life, 'One' deserves a celebration, and baby-grown-up had 2 of her very own: One small one with babymama & daddy and her very own birthday cake, and a second, larger one with more children, balloons, and an even larger (and, babymama will say it, better) cake.

Baby-social partied hard and as guests were leaving, she promptly fell asleep.