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.