Thursday, December 25, 2008

So THIS is Christmas!

AH, so wonderful to relax in jammies all day and do next to nothing. My understanding of Christmas has evolved somewhat now, I'm no longer naive about how much time and effort are involved with creating the festive atmosphere that Santa loves to frequent. I see it in three stages:
Stage one: the Ulti-Shop, might begin months (or even up to a year for the hardy bargain shoppers) with lots of thought about what to buy, when to buy, how to secret the items away until Christmas Day.
Stage two: Sorting, Prepping, and Wrapping. For us this all had to be done in stages, short pockets of time when Toddleator is asleep or somehow distracted enough to be unaware of her surroundings.
Stage three, my favorite, the Eve: Assembling and Arranging. Whatever has arrived in a box "some assembly required" is expertly put together, all gifts are displayed just so under/around the twinkling tree. As I carefully pulled down the wrapped packages from the top of a closet, I was struck suddenly with the certainty that hundreds of thousands of other parents were quite possibly doing the exact same thing. We're all collectively involved with the ritual ceremony that keeps the spirit of Christmas, St Nicholas or Santa Claus, ALIVE.

This spirit is thriving at our house. I was only able to give a couple of toys to 'Tots' this year, I always love to shop for anonymous toy gifts. Fiona enjoyed picking out gifts "for Papa" and then tried over and over to give them to Gary, encouraging him to open them. It was easier to explain to her the "wait until Christmas" rule with gifts that she was giving to Papa, rather than trying to talk her out of unwrapping gifts that she somehow knows are hers. The Rocking Horse that I restored for her was a huge hit this morning, she immediately wanted to ride it, named it Vikki-Pony.

I do NOT recommend contracting a stomach flu within a week of Christmas. First, it can seriously throw off any semblance of schedule. Second, well, it's just NOT fun to vomit for 12 hours straight, then spend the next 48 recovering. I was completely stressed out trying to get the food shopping sorted out, the rocking horse finished, the house chores caught up (still not), gifts was insanity.

ALL that aside, the ham-that-wasn't-really-a-ham turned out fantastic. My raspberry mousse chocolate bombe is also delicious. Fiona has enough toys to keep her completely occupied for days, and Gary & I enjoyed ourselves thoroughly.

I can only hope that everyone on the planet has as much beauty, health, & happiness.

Friday, December 19, 2008


Yesterday just before noon on our way to a cookie party & book exchange, Little Girl starting vomiting. I was just hitting the exit for our destination, heard a gag, and witnessed a massive amount of regurgitated cheese crackers spewing forth, splattering, sticking....
My little truck, no longer the vomit virgin. (The only other time this happened it was a rental vehicle.)

Some days it seems she barely needs me at all, except just to know I'm there. Other days it seems she can't do anything without me. Then there are the days like yesterday. These are days when an immense amount of mommin' know-how is suddenly crammed into the space of a few hours. There's the absolute heart wrenching stress of watching my child dry heave bodily, vomit spasmodically, and there's nothing I can do about it. "Maamaa I neeedt heeallp," she wimpers, I am powerless. Other than hold her hair back, a cool hand on her forehead, rub her back, and assure her that it will pass eventually.

It just so happens that there is a Target at that particular exit. Thank you god-the-universe! Here's how it went. Find parking spot with plenty of room either side. Work to clean babe up as much as possible with wipes already in car. Not too successful. No extra clothes, lovely welcoming Target, I know I can get whatever I need in there. Half-trot with nauseous vomit covered toddler through parking lot to basket, jog into store directly to restroom, she said she needed to potty. "Do you need to vomit? or do you need to poop?" 'cause I know the inevitable end to vomiting is diarrhea or angry poop of some kind or another. Post bathroom trip, back in a basket, frantic trip directly to Toddler aisle for reserve clothing (the one day I haven't had clothes in reserve in the car). Desperate search for semi-correct size, something suitable for the chill weather, briefly consider a whole new coat, decide it's not that cold, turtle neck will do. Poor Little One starts dry heaving, spitting in the basket, grab the already destroyed sweater she was wearing, prop it under her....briefly look around in a PANIC, rake my hand over my forehead, big breath, ok, what's next? I almost burst into tears right there. A bit later I was struck with the vision I must have made to the only other woman in the area, a very pregnant woman. I wonder if that is her first baby. I think, wow, if I saw that scene (mom in a panic with vomiting child) when I was pregnant, I think I might have had some serious emotions surface.

SO, zoomed to infants grabbed cheap blankets, snatched some chlorox wipes for the car, she says she needs to potty again. Zoom to the checkout, thank the goodness for express lane. Then rush back into the bathroom for more certain cleanup and change. Post cleanup & change, decide I need a small bucket for her to vomit in as we are at least one hour from home. Went to the exact wrong end of the store. All Targets are slightly different, the same but different, on purpose probably so that you're more exposed to all those goodies they really want us to buy. At this point I'm out of breath from speed-walking carrying Fiona, the vomit-clothing filled bag, the pedialyte I grabbed, and still panicky trying to find the damned cleaning buckets. She starts to vomit again. I'm really at my wits end at this point. FINALLY, I ask for help. Caught a nearby mom's eye at the end of the aisle, "Are there Target people just around the corner???" Fiona is on hands and knees on the floor, heaving her guts out. Bless that mom and her kids, bless the two young women that helped me. One jogged across the store to get a bucket, the other took me up front, opened a register for me, and gave me a giant roll of bathroom paper towels. Bless them all. God bless Target!

In the parking lot, poor sick Little Girl continues to vomit into the bucket, although not much else was produced. I cleaned her carseat, spot cleaned much as possible the car, cheapo blanket thing in the seat and as a bib under her buckles. Towels line the bucket so absorbent, not to spill, explain very clearly that if she needs to vomit in the car to grab the bucket. She only used it one time before she fell asleep. *massive sigh* Call the doctor for information and instructions.

Talking it out with a good friend on the way home. Discuss the mother's love that endures for children. How painful and scary it is, cuts to my core, to see my daughter in pain, asking for help, and I can do nothing but love her and support her. We love them this much. We would gladly take all their pain away endure it 3 times over, but that is not reality, that is not life's true way. A mommy's love is purposeful, powerful, it has to be this way. It's a good thing, too, because the day before, Toddleator spent a solid 20 minutes flailing, screaming over and over, "NOOO!! I DON'T WANT MAMA!" I was so irritated I had to wait outside the car for a bit before I attempted driving anywhere. Kids Club must've been rip-roarin' hootenanny that day, she only wanted to go home with Miss D. Mortifying somewhat, entirely different kind of heart-wrench.

So it goes. I can't wait to see what happens next! :)
We gear up for Christmas, time of rebirth, celebration, and giving. Wishing not but sunshiny snow, holly and evergreens to everyone!

Saturday, December 13, 2008

'Tis the season for O Tannenbaum

This is our first Christmas. Well, not technically, but it seems like everything we do is new and exciting simply because a brand new brain is actively entertaining and soaking up information with us, or me, everywhere we go. She's 32 months old, or as humans say, she's 2 1/2. Last year this time she wasn't talking near as much, she wasn't singing, she didn't have an imaginary friend named Diver, she hadn't started pretending, she wasn't asking questions yet or expressing needs and wants. In short the whole idea of Christmas wasn't totally lost, but it was certainly not quite grasped.

Yesterday evening we ventured out to get a tree. The moon is bright and full, some snow lingers on the ground, crisp air just chilly enough for coat and gloves. There's a little Garden Country place not too far, very mom n' pop, just the type of place I like to go to hang out in the moist air with the plants. Coy were asleep in the water feature, full-color stone reindeer stood nearby. Fiona was excited! We talked about the sleeping fish so still at the bottom of the pool---I didn't know that coy 'sleep', or hibernate? Greeted the giant frog squatting nearby, looked at a "bug" or two, petted the deer, and inhaled deeply that beautific evergreen scent. It's all I can do not to hug the trees. Gary haggled and got a better than average price for a nice Douglas fir, soft needles, super-fragrant, 7 footer. Which enabled us to also purchase a wreath and some "Retard Needle Drop" solution. At the car, I fielded a squeal, more a scream, 'cause lately Fiona's "NOoo, I don' want Mama!" whenever Papa is around. Which makes things just a bit more interesting for my emotional being.

Back at the house the tree is certainly bigger than I think we were aiming for, possibly the fluffiest, tallest, that we've had so far. That fantastic green smell wafted through the house. I made chicken pizza (crust from scratch--yay!) while Gary fixed our little piece of nature into the stand & positioned in the approved spot. There is something magic about having a TREE indoors. We don't currently have any other plants, potted or otherwise, so this is the first green thing we've had in an abode since last Christmas. Something feral uncurls and stretches in my depths, something joyful that wants to run through the woods, climb trees, burrow into leaves, hunt and gather. Were I small enough I would live in the Christmas tree until it's time is done. I've dreamed about that since I was young. Imagining myself a Christmas tree-sprite, snuggling in boughs, creating mischief. Fiona's first action was to curl up under the tree, even before the lights went on. Of my all-time favorite activities at Christmastime, lying under the decorated tree is THE BEST. Head and shoulders under the boughs, peering intently into the depths of our yearly tree, dazzling ornaments and lights twinkling. Hopefully some eggnog or hot cocoa nearby---outfitted with a straw so I don't have to get up. Now, I get to pass my little tradition to Fiona.

We ate pizza next to the tree as O Tannenbaum (coincidentally appropriate) played on the Music Choice Channel. The Toddleator proceeded to greet the tree, feed the tree, and experiment with different appendages near & far from each multi-colored light. I know it's impossible to keep her from touching, at least we can work on "no pullin/pushing" and "gentle hands". Now, only now has the holiday really begun. Because, Now we have the singular pattern on the wall that only a lighted Christmas tree can cast. Now we have the scent, the sight, and as soon as I can find my cookie cutters, that gingerbread taste to go with the mid-winter celebrations.

I love the season! I love that I get to participate in this glorious passage of time!

Saturday, December 6, 2008


We got a decent snowfall! It started in the evening, then all night, and almost all day the following day. SNOW NICE. I got to shovel snow for the first time ever. *grin* Some people mightn't understand this 'fun' with shoveling or 'fun' uncovering the car. I can't help it though, everytime I've had to un-snow the car since we moved I end up smiling. It's just beautiful fluffy SNOW. I need to look up all the other Inuit word for it so that I don't wear out the only one that English has to describe the fabulous frozen rainlets.

Fiona had a great time out there the first day. While I shoveled the back deck, she positioned her wagon special underneath the deck so when the snow fell her wagon filled, and off she trundled with it. Eventually the novelty wore off, most especially when she took off her mittens to get a more intimate hands on experience, and her hands immediately became so cold she was done. Might be that her hands are like mine in that it's painful for them to be cold.

Last night we saw the Broomfield City & County Tree lighting ceremony, which was sweet & simple. Santa arrived in a helicopter completely distracting the crowd from the city council's singing (or lack of singing), it looked as if the fire truck would drive up behind the stage and Santa would make a grand entrance, but---I'm not sure what might've gone wrong here---he ended up just walking up behind the stage and climbing up to the mic. We were lucky enough to be directly in Santa's path on his way to the city building, and he greeted Fiona personally. She was starstruck! And immediately she said, "But wheres deh reindeer, Papa?" We decided the reindeer were on the roof waiting until Santa was done greeting the kids. (This while I'm kicking myself for missing the photo-op.) In the car on the way to Chinese food, Fiona said, she missed Santa & his reindeer and that "made her feel sad". How far we've come in a short 2 years, it's simply astounding.

Holidays underway, everyone! Our very best wishes out to each and every one of you!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Attitude of Gratitude

My gratitude list....

A is for apples, of the honey crisp sort.
B is for baking, my favorite comfort activity.
C is for coffee, lovely wonderful coffee.
D is for my daughter, teaching me more about myself everyday.
E is for evergreens, inside, outside, fragrant, & decorated.
F is for my family, who know where I came from, and support where I'm going.
G is for Gary, gregarious or grumpy.
H is for the horses next door.
I is for my imagination, kept invigorated by the Little Girl.
J is for joining another spectacular day.
K is for kindling, figuratively or literally the means to start a fire.
L is for laughter, without which my life would be morose.
M is for monkey soup, which Fiona likes to present for supper (Barrel of Monkeys anyone?)
N is for night, bright stars, brighter moon, crisp air.
O is for octopus, purely 'cause it's fun to listen to Fiona say it.
P is for pie, who doesn't love pie??
Q is for quarreling, sometimes it's the only way to learn something.
R is for running, then biking,
S is for swimming,
T is for triathlon, looking forward to another race!
U is for understanding, give a little get a little.
V is for validation, I like to know I'm not insane...doesn't everyone enjoy a little validation?
W is for water, the pervasive element that sustains all life.
X is for Nixie Knox, Axe, & Extra Fox.
Y is for 'Yes' which I hear less often than I'd like.
Z is for the zebra skin vintage bag I inherited from elders.

Not just for Thanksgiving! I discovered finding one word for every letter a super-useful tool when I'm feeling downtrodden, complacent, or plain cranky with my life.
Nothin' but love to everyone for Thanksgiving weekend!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Fish Stickers

It's that time again, time for crazed family gatherings, overeating, overspending (although the media loudly proclaims our dire situation), SNOW...where IS the snow? We almost broke a record for late snow. If it hadn't snowed by the 21st it would have been a record, but we got a dusting night before last, so no record. This time last year it was already accumulated somewhat, if I remember correctly we certainly had a snowy Halloween.

Now, re-learning how to speak, or rather how to speak effectively to a two year old takes lots of mindful practice. It cannot be done overnight that's for sure.
"You don't want the toast?" is completely lost on a toddler. Stating the negative (even as a question) will plant the suggestion that she truly does not want the toast, and I'm stuck having just told her that she doesn't want what I'm trying to get her to eat or do. Instead, "Do you want the toast?" usually followed by some tasty description of how good it looks, or simply leaving the toast (or other item) out for her, eventually she'll make her way to it. Then of course there's the complimenting of what a good job she did eating, getting dressed, sitting still, using library voice, etc. Catch more flies with honey than with vinegar---positive reinforcement works wonders.

"Don't stand up!" vs. "Stay seated!" is another communication error, I gratefully remedied early on. Little children must first understand the positive of the statement before they can connect the negative. So, telling an 18 month old "Do NOT stand up" all the child registers is "stand up". "Stay seated" is much more positive and certainly easier for a toddler to understand.
I've realized that positive communication is handy with adults as well. Speaking in the positive, being aware of my semantics, simple changes in my words, "bad" & "good", replaced with "unhealthy" & "healthy." Learning how to say what I want or what the goal is rather than focusing on what I don't want. I have found it much easier on the psyche, less energy-sapping to focus on positives, instead of constant maintenance blocking the negatives.

Telling a toddler what is not allowed is most effective to create a caterwauling child, especially if her goal is the opposite of what I had in mind. However, if I pair it with what she CAN do, then she is distracted with what I've just provided as a new challenge or option, and problem solved. I can fold the laundry, clean the surfaces, remediate messes, in peace. If I really want to distract Little Girl I'll tell her what she CAN do, without mentioning at all what I'm avoiding, a modicum of control without overt display of control.

A small rant aside---
Consider this modicum of control with a governing body. Much of the time we are so concerned with making absolutely sure that we can do something, writ by law, that we forget in defining what we can do we are also defining we cannot do. In turn this creates more and more laws, a bigger government happily telling me how & what to do with my health, money, & time---'cause apparently I'm not smart enough to figure it out myself.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Leaf Leaping

I will not talk politics. I will not talk politics. I will not talk politics. I hope everyone has done extensive homework. It's almost over! Happy election day!

WHY do we have to rake leaves? I thought that the dead leaves protected the little grass, then nourishing it in the spring when the thaw begins? I really don't understand, but I've never had a "lawn" in the suburban sense, as a kid we had a "yard" I wouldn't classify it as a "lawn", & it's still a yard today. But I raked the back yard/lawn of this house anyway, 'cause then we get to JUMP in.

Maybe, if there's a layer of leaves, it's slick & rotten & nasty after all the snow starts melting? But still doesn't that dry up? making a natural mulch? I'll have to research this.
After conferring with my local expert I learn that it's necessary to rake the leaves 'cause patchwork grass (read: laid sod, coastal, stay-green-so-the-neighborhood-looks-pretty) does NOT grow here naturally. So, to keep it alive--although dormant--'til next year, it must be raked.


Yesterday was Halloween, All Hallows Eve, Samhain...

We had breakfast, carved pumpkins, there was a Toddleator nap, and then to the Treat Street at The Children's Museum of Denver (unfortunately I forgot the camera). After chasing loot, exploring, & playing---though Fiona's favorite part was the mini-train ride---she gorged on candy as we navigated traffic bound for home. After a pit stop for burgers, I took Fiona to just a couple of houses to Trick or Treat. Finally at home, she was exhausted. The only way to tell that her battery had completely run down? Her compliant behavior. I didn't even have to ask her to remove the costume, she stripped to underpants to eat---resembling a superhero on break---with just her face painted mask and hair do, lounging about with chicken strips. Then upon "time for bed" call she toted her potty to her room (odd, but no complaints from me), stacked her 2 chosen books on her bed, promptly picked out pajamas and began the "getting cozy". I was just grateful that it was easy going, it's hard enough without the doorbell ringing every few moments with other costumed-kids. Last night was the first time Gary & I have every had trick-or-treaters at the door. Never saw hide or hair of ghouls or goblins in Hawaii. This marks our 6th Halloween together. :) So a few choice pics, and then off we go into November!

días del gato de los muertos

The unassuming cow-print cat has killed again.
About a week ago Porter-kitty caught the mouse that had been traveling from behind the fridge to under the dishwasher. It took a bit of time for him to figure out why I had moved his food dish to the kitchen. After coaxing him to sit in a chair, he drew a bead on mousy immediately as it appeared to sample some cat food. Once caught this particular mouse gave Porter a run for his money, Porter took him downstairs to toy with. But eventually, I'll now refer to it as Mouse1, escaped after being severely batted about.

Now comes the waiting. Our tireless feline stalked the kitchen for at least a day before sighting another mouse, as I now believe them to be different mice, Mouse2. While bathing Little Girl one evening last week, I heard a bang n' crash, Porter-hit-the-floor. When I was able to investigate, I saw Porter smash Mouse2 against foot of recliner chair, I do mean smash. When Mouse2 started bleeding out, a long carpet cleaning task flashed in my mind. I stopped the melee for a moment, asked Porter to move into the kitchen, where at least there is only laminate floor, picked up mouse by tail and lobbed toward the dishwasher. Porter then proceeded to do what cats do best with slightly inanimate objects, smeared it all over the floor, batted Mouse2 about, then promptly ate it up with a chew-CHOMP-CRUNCH!

Fiona watched a little, giggled at the spectacle of feline-death-play, but only at the entrance to the kitchen as I would not let her pad around the bespattered kitchen floor in her pajama-ed feet. I asked what she thought Ported was doing, she replied, "Playing!"
While doing laundry the other day, my multiple trips downstairs I noticed Bovine-Feline's excited state...then I spotted fat Mouse1 that he was hunting. A couple of hours later another trip downstairs I realized that Porter had been stalking the big chair in our bed room for most of the afternoon. Mouse1 must have claimed asylum under it. Porter was simply beside himself with kitty frustration. So, I helped. While I would never kill a mouse myself, I will provide a cat to "take care of" the mouse issue. That is after all the natural order. I lifted both the chair and the ottoman, Porter scrabbled about some, but no sign of Mouse1.
The saga continues....

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Little Girl's famous words...

At the table, she held up her hand in askance for pause, squenched her eyes and said, "Ooh, my eyes g'tangled."

After my lengthy description of what we had to do one morning by way of errands, on our way down a large hill to the first chore of the day, "Rook, mommy, de errands, dehr running."

Gary's taught her, "Give me pound, dawg," commence with fist bump.

Little calls of "Here I Are!" throughout the day.

She named her toes, "Papa toe, Mama Toe, Granpa Toe, Gramma Toe, and Baby Toe."

Lately complimentary, "I rike-ah yoo-ah head. I rike-ah yoo-ah heearh."

She tries to kiss away Gary's head ache. (Why in the world would anyone not want to have kids, with little moments like that?? Little person decides that if only she gets enough kisses on your head then you'll feel better. )

Pumpkin Hunt

Pumpkins aren't that difficult to hunt. They actually sort of mill about in fields, yes, fields upon fields of pumpkins. Herds of the orange gourd* are offered for autumnal festivities, most specifically at Rock Creek Farm. Here's the odd thing, some of them are even free of their vine tethers and still they don't make a run for it. But then gourds aren't known for their speed or their intelligence. We came across a few that had the looks of escaping, it's hard to say though as they move only a bit faster than rocks.

I am in love with Rock Creek, I don't even know if they do more than pumpkins every year, though I suspect there is much more to their farming operation than Pumpkin Season. There are mazes, photo ops, baby animals to ogle (officially not for petting, though no one reprimanded us for it---how does one explain that baby animals within Little Girl's reach aren't for touching??), varieties of mini-gourds*, pumpkin products, and pumpkin honey from bees that pollinate the fields. Super-kewl. A small tip, wear proper boots, when cleaning little boots do not clap them together as to splatter field mud all over oneself---then again, a little dirt never hurt anyone!

* pumpkins aren't actually gourds, they're fruit, but I'm allowed some artistic leeway...besides, I really enjoy the word, "gourd", try's fun to enunciate!

Balancing Babe

The thing about two-year-olds in gymnastics is, well, it's cute. They get to try out all the apparatus, balance beam, bar, somersaults, spring-board thing to big foam block, and the most infamous Foam Pit. In the last 6 weeks, every Wednesday night it's been pretty easy to put Little Girl down for bed 'cause the draw of being rested for tumbling class the following morning is a great incentive.

Now, it is prudent to understand that taking a Tenacious Two anywhere can present certain challenges. I have found that it is extremely helpful to explain thoroughly what to expect and what is expected of her, in no uncertain terms and in simple language. At first I expected that she should follow instructions, but that's just silly when I stop to consider developmentally reasonable expectations. Fiona was into following the loosely defined syllabus of the day at first, but toward the end of these sessions she mostly just stuck to the trampoline having no interest whatsoever in the obstacle course, only periodically trotting over to the beam or bar where the rest of the class was migrating.

Of course the Foam Pit is a massive tempting thing that I must herd her the other direction until our class' turn. Some structure is good, too much structure only creates conflict. I have laid out a structure as a basis of operation and then from there we are free-form. Fiona can generally expect breakfast, lunch, nap, and dinner at essentially the same time every day. Between those times we do many other things, lately I find myself explaining how one day we do things for Fiona, another day we do chores & errands for mommy, then yet another day we do something again for her. Sometimes this concept goes over smoothly, sometimes not. The egocentricity of Two never ceases to amaze.

Anyway, a dozen or so toddlers tumbling around, chasing hula-hoops, bouncing in foam blocks, thoroughly enjoying simplicity of exertion and movement is really a treat to behold. There are invariably explosions here and there, when a tot does not want to cooperate in someway or other, particularly direction, but it passes, and it's back to enjoying the multitude of distractions. Top the entire thing off with a stamp for each appendage and it's a super morning activity.

Trading Trucks

My truck needed 30k mile service. My payment plan includes a rental for two full days. Upon completion of the work I return the rental truck and pick up my Escape, this is how it goes...

Park rental Explorer truck one row from my Escape. It's windy outside. Pull out all necessary items from rental truck, ask Toddleator to help by carrying jackets. With armloads of accoutrement, dragging the car-seat I attempt to coerce Little Girl toward the other truck, asking her to stay close, PLEASE. She decides she would rather carry the car-seat with her little Bear. I re-ask her to carry the jackets to Our Car. She refuses, and takes off "NOooo!" randomly into parking lot. I drop everything immediately, catch her. Then hauling struggling Little Girl under one arm, another arm full of what papers and bags I could grab quickly, I head to Our Car and dump them all in the backseat. Return to drop-everything-spot to retrieve car-seat, little Bear, etc. Back to the Escape to install and organize. Fiona has taken over the driver seat, thoroughly enjoying "driving". While I install the car-seat, wind blowing door closed over and over on my butt, try to block with shoe, shoe falls off, door catches foot. Fiona, in front seat, opens driver's door. Grab Toddleator, haul from front seat to back seat, place her near window. Door blows shut behind me. Now I am stuffed crouching in front of car-seat, door closed and won't open because child door safety thing is engaged. Finagled-squirm-climb my way to front passenger seat exit vehicle and re-enter back seat to complete car-seat installation.
Big deep breath. Child-safety seat properly installed, now install child into seat---child that has decided she would rather sit in the "big seat"...after a short count (to 3) she concedes.

We finally did leave the Ford Dealer's parking lot and all the way home I listened to the Toddler's lament of, "Noooo, I don' want Our Car. I want rental caaaar."

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Squirrel v. Dinosaur

I glanced outside our kitchen window and see this outer-Denver squirrel working over a small item out on the deck railing. Not a nut, it was taking too long for Squirrely to munch....

Look closer, look even's bright appears's a tiny lime green squishy dinosaur, the club tail species with armored head/neck/back. Squirrel-NUTtykins is doing his chewiest chewing to detached said tail from dinosaur.

And then later, I suppose Chewy needed a breather.... (and some Toddleator finger painting at the end---not with the squirrel)

I've forgotten to relay (without the proper segue it's useless), also, that I saw a squirrel last winter drag an abandoned dessicated hamburger up a was after the first snow, Fiona & I were on our way to Music Together class. Tres Bizarre.
A few minutes later I checked the squirrel-chewing-dinosaur status, both squirrel and dino had vanished. A day or so later, Fiona comes toddling up, "foundt dinosaawer mommie!" Of course I immediately washed it as best I could until such time as lime-green dinosaur could be spirited away without conflict.

Speaking of dinosaurs, we hit the Nature & Science museum a couple of weekends ago, and the Gem & Mineral Show. Fiona had a ball checking out the great displays at the museum and just as much fun gathering up crystals, looking for fossils, and panning for gold at the Mineral Show.

It's happening again!

The leaves, the LEAVES!! This time last year we were bundled up already. The acclimation has occured, I'm still in slippahs and jeans with a tee, at 40 degrees.

This past weekend we visited Georgetown took the little narrow gauge train up a few thousand feet to see fall colors. Alpine smells, mossy rocks, big rocky-rock-rocks ROCK, crisp & clear blue, some freezy rain to boot! Big swaths of gold through the evergreens. All the leaves haven't quite turned yet, just a bit around the edges here and there. But up at 9000' elevation things are definitely underway toward winter.
Slowly rebuilding the 'puter, slowly really settling into the area, the house, etc. still lots to do though.

If you ever need to entertain a toddler, it's easy to get caught up in the ideas that kids need all sorts of in put all the time. They don't, nor do they need all sort of automated toys, bells n' whistles out the wazoo. Simple is better, in all things in fact, most especially toys. Paint + moving box = playhouse, furthermore = happy entertained toddler exercising fine motor skills, creativity, conversation, and of course the sillyface. Take that Made-in-china toy-mafia!

How to Catch a Fairy

Love and wonder. Fun things to do almost every day. Sugar and spice, most everything nice....especially peanut butter on toast, or honey toast, or simple chocolate milk...
but definitely anything sweet.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Gone babies, all gone

SO...that's that. it's FUBAR, the hard drive that is. Now I begin the process of rebuilding what I had, HAD, in my computer before the hard drive f*ckin' had an apparent freakout and meltdown. HP replaced the drive, fine, but I wasn't as current with my backups as I should have been. Now, also, begins the mourning process for all the little movies that are lost, all the photos that I wanted to print and frame, fckfckfck FAHCK! Not to mention the occasional future "fachk!"s when I realize that there's something done-digi-disappeared on me for months and months to come. Oh, good-ie.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Little Girl

We had our first Balancing Babies class Thursday last. When the coach asked Fiona her name, she said, "uh, mm, I Little Girl". Does she know her name, most likely, yes. She answers to it, she also answers to Fee-Boo, Fiona-boodle, and Gary's nickname for her, Little Girl. Gary laughed and laughed when I related this little story with him. Fiona had a blast at gymnastics class, she caught on pretty quickly, at the end of class she did not want to leave and made a point to do everything just one last time. She also placed herself in the 4-5 yr old class, just trotted over and sat down with them as if she'd been there all along--they were practicing somersaults with a "stick & finish". There was a bit of flailing when we left, after refusing to don her shoes, I had to resort to carrying her like a sack-o-potatoes so she wouldn't catch me in the face with a random arm or foot. Ah, the joys of TWO.

Today on the way back from the "turtle playground" she chose to trot alongside the jogger disintegrating dandelions, hanging from low branches on young landscape trees...the toes of her new sneakers yellow with pollen, bees barreling away from her toddleated feet. Proof that I must be doing a good job mommin', how else to explain the apparently well-adjusted, confident, gregarious Little Girl?

We got our first little taste of fall weather the last couple of days. That comforting feeling of summer slowed and fall edging in, The Turning. It's a taste in the air, something I can feel more than describe. At once exciting and cozy, reminder that time moves forward regardless of every thing. The maples out back of the new house have already begun to change. This time last year it was warmer, we think, Gary's betting on a bruiser of a winter coming. I am trying not to jump the gun with holiday treatments, clothing shopping, decorations, baking. It is just now early September, it's difficult to remember as I look forward to Halloween and the holidays so much.

We've settled in here as much as we can, until there are bookshelves and storage spaces to place things. I realized that everywhere we have lived so far had built in bookshelves or drawers, or both. So, many unessentials are still in buckets, waiting.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

MOVING as an Olympic Event?

Our move is done. I think in the future, entertainment value will be assigned to everyday endurance events, like moving with a Toddleator in tow. There might be an entirely separate olympics for moms, classified by number and ages of children, challenge level based on amount of time for planning. Each mom given a task of certain level to complete, judged by the timely-ness and smoothness of transition, and condition of children upon completion. Howzat for challenging?
I have also fantasized about TriathMOM races, for moms with preschoolers, racing with the kids, moving them through transition. Must arrange for childcare for the swim, then plopped in a trailer for bike, and transferred to jogger for the run, all while trying to ensure that child is safe and happy...wouldn't THAT be fun and interesting???

The entire move was real smooth, actually. Fiona handled it very well I think, in part due to my talking about it waaay ahead of time, and not letting things pile up in the last days. I succeeded in taking it all a bit at a time, having somewhat of a schedule of packing. We were on paper plates and frozen foods in the last days, cooking out of only one pan. NO complaints about the movers either, if you're thinking of moving to/from CO, or northern Denver area, MOVING CONNECTION is super. Cost-effective, the guys were respectful, professional, and careful. Gary & I were both impressed. It was such a different experience from the last movers from CA to CO.
More to come sooner or later, I simply must get some exercise this morning before it's too hot!

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Seems only yesterday...

Yes, I cliched, 'cause it does seem like she was just in diapers non-stop. The Toddleator is almost potty learned---almost. It seems that she's experimenting with control today, and while playing with the water in the sink as I cleaned up the dinner dishes, she lost some "control". Accidents will happen, though. It doesn't pay to be squeamish in this profession. Usually when she's so into what she's doing, completely distracted, that she forgets to go to the potty. So long as I am calm about the whole process, she will be, too. I have to remember that though she shows a lot of potential for learning the potty very quickly---on the easy days---she is only 2. Which means her attention span lasts only minutes if I'm lucky, she's ultra-tenacious, and might appear stone deaf the way she's capable of ignoring me. Lately she's started yelling, "NO! GO!" (as in, GO away from where you are) "STOP!", and today she screamed at me in frustration. Most of the time my response is to ask, "Are you mad at mommy for...(disallowing somesuch)? Show me how mad you are! Stomp your feet, flail goodness, you ARE mad. Well, mommy can't let you do that because..." If she's screaming, usually she acts like she might let me pick her up, but then flails and hits/kicks at me when I do try. Today it seemed she just wanted me to watch her antics..."ok, if you need some time to calm down, or scream or cry, please do it in your room, Little One." When she's calm again, I talk about how she must have been feeling, or theorize why she was so upset, and then reaffirm my unconditional love for her. I am not perfect, I have been known to lose my sh*t. Then when I'm calm, I lovingly reassure her, explain why I got so upset and that it was bad behavior for mommy, and apologize. (But I retain the tenet; "Don't be sorry, just be different." I'm better everyday.) It is utterly amazing, usually Fiona will give me a kiss, or a hug by way of making up. I really think that we don't give these new tiny humans enough credit in their understanding of the world.
In the last couple of weeks she's been prone to wake up real early (4-5am) some mornings and trot, yes, TROT, around the apartment. I blame Porter-kitty for going into her room immediately upon hearing her stir, she sees him and figures, "HEY, catty is awake, I can be too!" I stumble to her room, mumble something about her going back to her bed. She might start screeching and crying...and I'll tell you what, that is absolutely the worst noise to hear first thing in the morning before pee, before coffee, before even that first deep breath. I had to explain to her that if the sun isn't up, it's not time to get up, it's still sleeping time. That may back fire on me later---I've really got to get her a clock, we'll continue working on her numbers. We'll work on not venturing out until the little hand hits the 7 at the earliest.

In other news, we are moving 2 weeks from now, to a suburb of Denver. A house, quiet, in situ laundry, mature neighborhood. I'm tempted to explore making a business of packing & moving for other people...I've had enough practice, I bet there are people out there that may appreciate someone else's expertise to move their personal goods from house to house...I wonder if that's lucrative?

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

2 year old---in FULL effect

Have you ever seen anyone eat meatloaf from a cup? It's not graceful. As I write, Toddleator is "drinking" her meatloaf and peas from one of her favorite purple cups. Given the time and leeway she'll eat a considerable amount, the appetite waxes and wanes though. Some days are nonstop eating, while others it's difficult to see how she still has energy to do anything with what she hasn't eaten.
Today I heard "NO" a LOT. Feels a lot like I'm caught in a thick haze, and little angry stubborn gnomes are popping out at me at random, shrieking, flailing, shouting pejorative "NO"s. Ah the absolute adventure that is The Toddleator. TWO in full effect I assure you. Last Friday was a classic tantrum, in wide open public, she and I were on display. At a water park, after paying what seemed an unfair amount for a toddler and a mom (who we know will get no fun from this), my little mermaid 'swam' for almost an hour. When she started the fall-down-every-time-mama-asks-a-question routine I decided it was time TO GO. This is really the first time that she's been completely out of hand in public, it was embarassing, it was humbling, it was enormously frustrating...I can't believe I made it out alive, with her.
So it goes.
It's hot here at the moment, and I'm no longer worth a damn when it's hot outside. I've had to switch my running/biking to the earlier mornings as much as possible, 'cause it seems that I overheat pretty easily now. If it's going to the 9's, I won't exert myself out-of-doors after 10 am, I learned that today. Now with a brutally vague migraine-esque headache, puffy head, and Toddleator who has decided to "shush" me she she doesn't like what I've suggested as the next thing (i.e. done with dinner? get down from chair), folks I am toast. IF and only IF it cools off sufficiently, I might make brownies...but it's almost 7 and looks like ye olde mercury is still waaaay up there. Thank goodness there is little humidity here!

p.s. now she's progressed to bloating her face around the aforementioned cup until pressure released...silly :)
p.p.s HOORAY for Papa! He once again rescued the beloved blankie from the wasteland of lost toys in Wash Park.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Underpants Dance

It's a happy dance, the underpants dance, it truly is. With the idea that the Toddleator wasn't really making a solid connection with keeping a diaper dry, she picked out some 'big girl' underpants at Target yesterday. Curious George won the day, or as we are referring to them "monkey underpants". Today she successfully kept her new grown-up cotton undies dry all day---with exception of a poopie accident while sleeping. How one could poop during sleep without being disturbed, well, I don't understand it. So, in addition to a home-made chart of flowers, one for each day, to "house" all of her triumphant sparkly bug stickers (rewards for successful pee-pee or poo-poo, wiping, disposal, & hand washing), I have a system in place for the toilet learning. As a bonus for going a whole day keeping underpants dry, she got some "pony" cotton undies, too (as in My Little Pony). It interests me that almost all things "firsts" for kids seems to have a logo, some selling cartoon. Fiona really doesn't recognize much of these 'cause she doesn't watch that much TV. She enjoys her Dora back-pack, not because it's Dora but simply because it is her back-pack. Curious George is one of the rare movies that I wholly accept, without reservation, for her to watch. Others include Cars, Surf's Up, and Nemo although I would have preferred to wait another year for the addition to Shrek. She still likes Baby Einstein stuff, haven't tried Little Einsteins yet, Blues Clues and Teletubbies are favorites though. AND VeggieTales are great, I hope to simply purchase them all as a package one day.

Speaking of things she enjoys, WHO gifted the XYLOPHONE for her birthday??? There was NO NOTE! I like to send thank you notes to people, but was at a loss when considering the xylophone. Toddleator loves when we play music class, that xylophone is fantastic.
Anyway, here we are, pluggin' along, waiting for the next big thing!

Monday, June 16, 2008

'appy PahPah Daeey!

A shaft of sunlight bisects the dinner table. Mid-sentence from me, The Toddleator goes slightly un-focused wide-eyed and "ppffffff" as if blowing out a candle. She's spotted the dust in the sunlight again---not that our place is dusty, mind you, it's just those particles that are highlighted by the laserbeam afternoon sunlight. Yesterday she was exceptionally cute, it was probably due to the mass of barrettes coiled into her coif by the ever-adored Papa. After a big breakfast we visited "the fiiiishesss" at The Aquarium Downtown again, but this time Papa came and Toddleator was able to show him around the place...and mama got to go potty alone, what a treat! After a nice lunch we napped and then visited Bonnie Brae Ice Cream for cones and a 'nana split. If you're ever in Denver, Bonnie Brae is a must visit, in ye olde ice cream shop tradition, it's awesome.

Later on, after a potty trip herself, Little One snacked on a black crayon and colored herself blue. Ah the joys of creative toddlerhood---she was coloring while potty-ing, I guess she got a bit off track.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Dia del la Mierda del Gato

Or if you prefer..."Jour de la merde de chat" sounds more sexy-pretentious, no? Maybe "Giorno della merda del gatto"? Oh, "Tag der Katze-Scheiße" 'cause everything sounds mean in German. Or how about "День дерьма кота" just for sh*ts n' giggles?

First let us review the CAT. His name is Porter, we adopted him on Oahu, he started thinnish, now chubby, but always been spotted like cow---except when he's been dyed blue. After some initial trepidation Gary has completely given over to this cat, it is an understatement to say that the man would be crushed should something happen to the Pookus MacDookus. Which is odd, considering The Man is technically allergic to cats, and is an admitted prior cat-hater. ANYWAY, we have a special super-kewl-neato-fer-sure Litter Maid auto-box with kitty cabana (ask me sometime about Gary trying to assemble that thing). Now this may be one of the only times I will adhere to what the advertising on the box says, regarding using only litter maid litter. We've tried others and it literally doesn't work as well, smell, dust, clumping, etc. The litter maid litter truly is better with this particular sh*t box. It is expensive though, and so happens that a lot of it is wasted in the machine's raking process, I've devised a method to 'save' it somewhat. Part of my afternoon was spent sifting cat sh*t. The rest of my afternoon was spent shifting Porter turd from my clothes, here's why;

Fiona likes to close Porter-kitty's closet door (where the litter box is located), sometimes poor PK gets stuck IN the closet as she has closed it when he's cabana-ed doing his bizness. Before we left for the race in Utah, The Toddleator had closed the door and we neglected to make sure it was open before departure. When we returned home that Sunday evening Porter was beside himself with kitty glee, I opened the closet immediately and briefly searched for cat smell throughout the house. I caught a whiff in my closet but it dissipated and I chalked it to paranoid nasal hallucination. This morning however, my vain attempt to find things that still fit in my closet led me deeper into the first shelf than I had been in a while what with the tri-clothing getting most of the attention, articles that no longer fit simply being ignored and buried...I grabbed a shirt, then the cat pee smell wafted and out flew several dessicated cat turds. I looked closer, and still closer. The realization hit me, and all I could do was chuckle some, began singing "the cat shit in my closet" song. At that point I didn't have the time to clean it all up---besides it was going to be a closet overhaul and I needed more than the insane, frantic fuming attempt would have produced at that point. So, after Little One's nap time I took my time with the disinfectant and deodorizers sorting out the clothes, cleaning everything, more laundry to do (still may not be redeemable clothing though). I glimpsed the large piece of bark Fiona had adopted during a walk, and the idea that "holee goodness, it's everywhere!" flitted through my mind....then I recognized the mulch chunk for what it was. The damage was contained on the one shelf, luckily. Cat piss in one's closet is a super-closet-cleaning motivator! I can be grateful that this didn't happen on Kauai where everything could have been so much worse.

In other news, the phrase of the day is "Mommmy, mommy, heolp itt", in use when asking for help with an item OR when attempting to help me with a task. Yesterday's phrases were, "mommy gotch-yoo" and "babee gotch-ooo". The Toddleator asked me for a diaper this morning, I asked her if she wanted to sit on the potty, "Jeasss" was the answer...and voila, poop in the potty! She was proud, I think.

That's my day today, lots of poop, sh*t, doo-doo, doodle, feces, scat...
Mommy or not, Here I Am.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Pinwheels, birthdays, and the TRI

Today we went outside for about an hour before naptime, I took one of the leftover pinwheels from The Toddleator's birthday party stuck it in the ground into the wind to facilitate that joyful spinning sparkle that IS the pinwheel. I find them mesmerizing, a pinwheel identifies my sunny childhood, blow on them....runnnn into the wind with them. Colorful glittery wheels of light and fun. Really symbolic of innocence, springtime, and childhood---at least for me. Miss Fiona proceeds to pretend Little Bear on a trike-ride, we play with her "puhple bahl", a much coveted and sought after large rubbery ball of the Target variety. Then it's time for hotdogs, nap, and playoff basketball, to which Gary is glued a majority of the time lately.

My birthday was a really nice day, I enjoyed it thoroughly. After breakfast we shopped some, then I got to take an impromtu shopping trip with a friend, happy birthday to me! I am a size 6! Never have I been a 6---thank you triathlon training! When I got home, Gary had successfully executed the assembly of a cup-cake with chocolate icing (there goes the 6), roses and music. We hung out and watched new movies.

Fiona's birthday morning was just as great. After assembling the required birthday items, namely birthday cup-CAKE, balloons, sodas, hot dogs, drinks, etc. partying commenced in the way the small people party....meaning sort of play n' scatter, group to get favors, scatter again, group to eat, and then 2 hours have passed and at least one kid threw up, someone is having an overtired meltdown somewhere and we all trickle away home. The weather was fantastic, Colorado really showing off the early spring. After the frenetic weather that is normal for April and May I think we got pretty lucky!

We enjoyed that weekend immensely. Then just one week until my race, I was in taper, and going a little batty what with all the extra time and energy. We left on Friday morning super early, drove to Utah, my race was Saturday, then we drove back and took it easy.
The race was pretty brutal, even by the standards of some veteran athletes I spoke to. The wind was gusting up to 35 mph, there were swells and white-caps in the reservoir where we swam. I FINISHED though, that's about all I could ask for. I did better than about 200 people that DNS (did not start). I'm only just now to the point where I figure, "yeah, I could do that again." No telling when I'll put another race on the calendar though, now that my volumes are decent, I'll enjoy a 5 mile run, a 20 mile cycle, or some pool training with my swim buddy. It's a way of life, and I like it!
This is my RaceReport on, and these are the race photos (*annoyed* what there ARE of them), and my times from the source.
See some other photos and the littlest cheerleader below....

Friday, May 2, 2008

First Fear, the Toddleated Bed, and Grandpa

THE VACUUM *dum-dum DAHHH* The Toddleator is terrified of the vacuum cleaner. I've named it Clean Machine, talked about how great it is that Mr Clean Machine helps us keep the house clean, showed her how it picks up trash in her room, whistled, sung, and joked while vacuuming---all to no avail. As soon as the V-word is mentioned, Fiona pops up from what ever she's doing, bolts to her room and snuggles down into her quilt on her bed...there to stay until "all done" is sounded. When I have to stop to empty the belly of the beast, I hear a plaintive "Mommy? All done?" from her bed room, then I explain that I'm not quite done yet, give her a time frame, and continue. She's been very brave about saying 'HI' to Clean Machine, has even ventured to push the button to turn it on, but otherwise she is absolutely stayed in her bed the whole time that I (or The Man) vacuum.

Incidentally, her bed is now toddler-fied. Meaning I have made the switch to the toddler-bed version of the crib. Eventually it should convert all the way to a twin bed, that's only if we can download instructions and purchase bedrails online, as the, uh, less that satisfactory movers damaged screws and lost things. ANYWAY, I digress. Little One was more than curious about what I was doing to her bed, and offered her assistance such as it is. When the mini-reconstruction was complete, I saw the realization dawn on her face, and she joyfully climbed into her bed all by herself. She promptly invited a few buddies to have a pretend meal in bed with her. A couple of days ago I checked her at nap time and saw that Farmer MacDonald's tractor loaded with the animals must have needed a nap also, as they had found their way into bed. I made the ultimate decision to convert 'cause one day as I watched her, Toddleator looped one leg over the rail, with the other toe still on the mattress, as I proffered my hand, she reached out and easily flipped out of the crib. That was too easy, I thought. So, she graduates to toddler-bed...I'd rather she fall six inches than four feet. She's only fallen out of bed once so far, still asleep, half way on the floor, I put her back kissed her g'nite, and went back to sleep. So far, so good I think.

Grandpa came to visit middle of April, we had a great visit! Miss Toddleator really took to her Grandpa, she enjoyed walking in the park with Pop, checking out the trees and showing off her daredevil swing skills.

Sheesh I can't believe how busy April was for me! One week from tomorrow, we're in Utah, and I am racing Olympic distance Tri! Day after tomorrow, Toddleator is officially 2, with cake and balloons at the park, yay! Tomorrow I am 31, proud of it! I think I actually have a gray hair or two---though G might argue this observation. I'm excited, it's like a badge of honor I think :) Just as I was relieved to pass up the twenties, I think it's super to be in my early thirties, besides I like the threes. If anyone ever says they hate their birthday, just remind them, it's better than the alternative!

Friday, April 4, 2008

The Birthdays Are Coming! The Birthdays Are Coming!!

YAY. Every year since I was little I always started getting excited about my birthday right about now. I think of it like my own personal New Year. There'll be even more anticipation and fun-fun-fun know that I've a partner in my birthday game, namely the Toddleator. Her birthday is the day after mine, oh, goody-goody-goody! I made Fiona a birthday wish list, things that I've seen her find Really Useful in playtime at others' houses or the Kids Club. She would also love more musical instruments and silky scarves a la Music Together class. The pretend play is just beginning, I've seen her 'cook' and feed her stuffed friends, 'talk' on the phone, and have entire conversations with a crowd of carefully placed critters. A baby doll is in order at some point in the future, along with all the accessories...but then I'm not sure that a doll will ever take the place of Little Bear in Fiona's snugglin' arms. As it is she seems to enjoy puzzles and games. I always have wish lists (read: shopping lists) for her on the two toy sites I like best, Oompa Toys & Moolka, shopping isn't the problem for me, it's staying within the "we-wanna-buy-a-house" budget that's an issue. The Internet is great for window shopping, super-easy to gather information and toy reviews before actually purchasing anything. To be sure, I research play-worthiness, quality, and price exhaustively before deciding on anything to add to my shopping lists, let alone actually invite into my home for my child to adopt.

Now, I have to decide whether or not to have a party for her. In 20 years we'll make a weekend of the event, but for now an hour or 2 with cake & balloons will suffice. For MY birthday, I get to race in the St. George Tri, which isn't actually on my birthday, but the weekend after. I'm not sure it's a gift in the classic sense of the word, I can think of at least three friends of mine that would argue the usage of gift in this context. Training is coming along nicely, it's all working out ok. Lately I'm just grateful I have a car to get me where I need to go in a timely manner, and I'm grateful for the simple ability to train the way I have & eventually participate in a race at all!

Monday, March 24, 2008

Eggsactly, Eggstaticly, Eggsuberantly & Fit to be Dyed

Eggs-treme concentration, that's what it takes to put tiny Paas stickers on newly dyed eggs. The eggs died? No they've DYED. It was a quiet Easter, it snowed, no egg hunting took place in the yard. And as cute as it might be to watch kids wrestle for eggs, I just don't think the mass egg hunts are all that fun---plus, Fiona doesn't appear to be all that agressive or competitive, yet. After coloring the eggs with Gary, she decided she wanted to try to carry them in her stuffed-chick-Easter-basket, but it's a bit heavy for her with 6 or so eggs, and the basket quickly took a tumble and the eggs cracked up, a la Humpty Dumpty. So that was the extent of, and end of, Easter eggs for this year. I made some kick ass deviled eggs, of course, those hardly lasted the afternoon.

Sugar is like crack for kids. For holidays I haven't really given Fiona much true candy, it's been Gerber's fruit snacks...and fruit is almost the last thing on the ingredients list. After her big-eyed eggs-itement discovering fruit snacks inside an egg, Fiona made short work of the 2 packages, add the fruit strips to that, and some juice, she was zooming around the place like a, well, like a kid on a sugar high. To my credit I was able to get some eggs in her after the sugar gorge, it doesn't help that Gary likes to share his Jelly Bellys with her though. So most of the day was spent watching what sugar really does to a toddler. It's actually not so bad until the crash. She started searching for more sugar right before her melt down. We knew what she was looking for and put the rest of the sweet stuff out of reach and mostly out of sight. When the Toddleator did actually crash, it was a thrashing, whining, screaming, fit. Immediately she was put in the crib and within 10 minutes she was asleep. Later we had a nice dinner, watched most of "Finding Nemo", which Gary and I theorize was as intense for Fiona as "I Am Legend" was for he & I. (Incidentally, both "I Am Legend" and "No Country for Old Men" are fantastic movies)

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Baby No More

If I thought Fiona was fully into Toddlerhood before, I've realized it's only the beginning. This Fiona is a jumping, galloping, climbing, talking, talking, talking, opinionated bundle of energy. Her first recognizable sentence, "Bah eet-tchoo." I only recognized because it was in context of her actions. While eating lunch, she mimes feeding Little Bear, my deductive reasoning leads me to translate to "Bear eats, too." I'm impressed, and only wish that I could understand more of her talking. During the day there are periods of silence but unless she's up to something untoward, those silences generally last only a moment. This morning I saw her with our camera, explained to her that it isn't a toy, that if she didn't volunteer it to me then I would take it from her, she thought about it, "NO, Mii-e"---a phrase I have heard a lot lately. Of course I ended up taking it from her, instead of the much preferred voluntary relinquishing. I'm not sure where this, "Mii-e" (read: mine) came from, it's not as if Gary & I wander about hording objects and exclaiming, "MINE!". I can only guess the Toddleator adopted it from observing another child, possibly older. GREAT. Now, whenever she has something she wants to keep, well, one can guess her oft-used response.
Fiona is not a baby any more, she's too active to want to snuggle, and too tenacious and opinionated to be coerced without inexhaustible patience. I feel a little sad that her babyhood is over already, still excited about what will happen next though. Part of me wants to see what combination of genes we might create a second time, on the other hand, I'm not sure I want to start the entire process all over again.

Friday, March 7, 2008

Explosive giggles

Last night Gary & I were intrigued by a repetitive loud giggle from Fiona's room last night. I just figured she was on her way to sleep, Gary came trotting in with the baby monitor (the TV kine). We watched The Toddleator make Little Bear fart, and then laugh and laugh. "PPPbbbbbpppbtt!" *giggles* Over and over again. We can thank Gary for the gastric sound track, he's done oh-so-fine-a-job teaching baby girl about loud fart noises mostly involving her favorite bear. I just can't wait until she does this in public or while at a playgroup, I'm SO excited, just rippling with anticipation, I can practically taste the awkwardness. *sigh*
Boys are kinda gross, I guess it was bound to happen eventually.

Monday, March 3, 2008

Things to do in...Staples When You're Bored

In an office supply store with a toddler is no place to be for too long. First we toured the aisles, perusing folders, paper, and the like. There were the office chairs that were fun for a while, the 'round and 'round was amusing, although The Toddleator was not permitted to take a chair on a "ride" she was permitted to sit in them one by one. A few times she tried the over-the-shoulder-is-mommy-gonna-chase-me? I didn't bite though, just smiled benignly and followed her as quickly as possible without running. We had snacks, we colored with borrowed pens, we sat and played with her barrettes...put them ALL in her hair and she pulled them all out only to rearrange them all back in her hair. After a full hour (probably little more) time was UP. It took that long to get the copies done for the newsletter, I'll know better next time to bring a Publisher file instead of a pdf. Props to everyone who was working that day though, and everyone who was waiting at the copy center for work to be done! AND a great big GOOD JOB being patient, to Fiona, from her Mama.

Early last week we visited a library where a Toddleator-sized book bag is available. Fiona Mama'ed me to death that day. She must have said it a thousand times, I'm proud of myself for responding every time as serenely as possible. We picked a few books to borrow, I showed her how they all fit in her super-neato-cute book bag, and she's off. For the remainder of the morning, on the way to the car from the library, from the car to the house, she would NOT allow me to help her carry the bag. Every time I asked her if she needed help, I got a "No". I encouraged her, it was a pretty heavy little bag with 6 small children's books in it. At one point (library to car) I was able to lighten the load for her somewhat and she cruised enjoying her big-girl-ness. I thought maybe she'd be over it by the time we got to our place, and I'd just carry the book bag for her--nope. She half-dragged---ok, well, mostly dragged it all the way from the car to the hallway stairs, where she finally looked up at me and sighed. I repeated my offer of help, and received a "Yeah". Even then, though, Little One would not let me touch the bag for more a second at a time. Just long enough for me to plop it on the next step up, one step at a time, to the landing at our front door. What a tenacious little person! That's expected, I suppose, considering her lineage.

We had simply gorgeous weather for a few days straight, and then it snowed a LOT. Looked blizzard-y to me, but then I've never really seen a blizzard---I'm told it most certainly was not a blizzard. And I'm told that the nice days, snow day, nice days, snow day, will continue until May or thereabouts. We've booked our hotel for Utah in May, and I am training in earnest for my race. It's been a rough couple of weeks getting started, but I think I've finally got the schedule under control. Keep on, keepin' on.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Lock Out

Locks are great. Too many locks can be a nuisance. While in California, we both got into the habit of not using keys at all, since we had a garage, it was too easy to enter through there with use of garage door openers.
Since we moved in, October-ish, I locked myself out of this apartment 3 times by December. Once, Gary was on his way home luckily. Another time, Fiona was napping, and luckily one rear window and screen were both open. The last time, I only left my keys in the back door, locked both Fiona & I out of the outer door, a neighbor was arriving home so she let us in. To be clear, I have 5 keys for this place. Back door stairwell, and apartment rear door, front stairwell and apartment front door, the last one for the carriage house/garage. Then a little one to grow on for the mail box.
Today, UPS buzzed, I went out the front to sign for delivery, the front door blew shut. Fiona was in her room listening to Music Together cd and looking at books. I'm not even sure she knew what happened 'cause that is exactly what she was doing when I got back inside. The whole thing lasted about 10 minutes or less. Joe-the-UPS-guy, god bless him, let me use his phone---my memory for the new phone numbers is sketchy at best. Technology is so easy now, all I need is the voice dial on my phone, never an actual phone number. I had even called and visited our landlady this morning and couldn't conjure her number, she wasn't listed either. So, Joe-the-super-UPS-guy sticks around to make sure I get back inside, he let me use his keys to rip the back screen, unlatch the hooks, and climb inside. Thank goodness I had the windows open this morning!
And as I said, Fiona was completely oblivious to the ordeal, I washed my hands from my ape-like antics and joined her in her room. (I'm lucky we're only on the first-n'-a-half floor.)

On an entirely separate note, there has been poop in the the little Christmas potty. Also, like the pee-pee incident, I believe a fluke. Immediately after a nap, I asked Fiona if she wanted to sit on the pot, she assented, and a little while later, voila! Poo in the pot! Gary & I applauded, she seemed non-plussed, I think the connection is beginning though. I've read that kids can't make the connection that they are making the poo & pee until they've seen it happen. So, I dunno, it's progress. Given the right timing and my rapt attention to her bodily processes (like most moms, I suppose) I'm trying to make a point of "catching" her before she poops, and getting her on the potty. But, again, it's a process, and I understand.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008


Yes, she went pee-pee in her potty. I'm almost sure at this point that it was a fluke. The night of Superbowl, before pajamas, after diaper removal, Toddleator ran to the bathroom saying, "Pee-pee! Pee-pee". I didn't think too much of this 'cause she's enjoyed sitting on the potty, "pretending" since Santa brought it at Christmas. When she came back to put on her jammies, I noticed her bum was damp, on the way to the bathroom I checked for puddles, there were none---there was pee in the little potty though! WOW, Gary & I were both amazed. In the 48 hours since then though the process has not repeated itself. So, no biggie, it's a process, it takes time to learn to potty.

On another note, NEVER let an alert toddler know that you are also "awake" at 3am. Fiona had been lively, talking & playing, for almost a half hour; I had to potty, she heard me and started in with the "Mommy? Mommy...mommy...mommy?" When I did go to her and groggily explained in a whisper that it was still nighttime, time for sleeping...she had a full-on squealin'-mad tantrum in her crib. I think she awoke thinking it was dawn, the snow was so very bright outside. After attempting to console her, a quick diaper change in the crib, and then talking to her about how sad she must be (it certainly sounded that way), explaining a few times that it was indeed still night...I gave up and figured she'd cry it out, which she did. Eventually quieting at about 4:30 I think. Needless to say the following day was a bit rough for us both.

Thursday, January 31, 2008

Windshields & Toddler feedings

It snowed a bunch last night, kept me from going out for Moms night out with MOMS Club. Very disappointing. Today, I learned all about the de-icer stuff I'm supposed to have in my windshield wiper fluid. It snows, the snowplows roam about dropping de-icing stuff, most road snow melts, making muddy slush thrown up in car-wakes just like when it rains. Driving on the highway with a really dirty windshield, into the sun, the vehicles ahead only resemble shadows...I got off the highway. At every stop I hopped out, grabbed some snow and wiped the drivers' side of the windshield. When I found a gas station, a really pleasant humor-driven exchange between me and the classical gran'pa behind the counter took the edge off my ignorance. Alas, whatever remained of my original wiper fluid was frozen in the bowels of my car, clogging the intake for the wiper sprayers. Would that I had a $100k car that had the pipes wired with the defroster, I know they exist. By the way, can you guess what a snurd is?

Toddler feedings can be intense. This of course depends upon your level of involvement. If one has reasonable expectations then all will be well, damage is minimized. Otherwise, a giant mess, a toddler that hasn't eaten, and a terrible headache.
We recently revamped our strategy switching from separate all-inclusive high chair to table-side high chair (just like those in the restaurant) with a splat mat. The Peg-Perego we had been working with was just fine for the house on Maui, and the house in California...but it was just too cumbersome for this place. Splat mats are fantastic, everyone should have one, I might even slip one under Gary's chair. When something spills it's easier to clean up if it has fallen on a plasti-coated canvas mat, instead of our less-than-a-year-old-rug. Now, I just need to work on my spill reaction---meaning my reaction to the Toddleator's self-feeding antics. (Her latest is taking sips of milk only to spit them into her water cup.) I just haven't gotten comfortable with the notion that whatever she spills won't be too hard to clean up, 'cause it's on the splat mat! My reaction is still geared to "o-sh*t-there-she-goes-again-another-big-mess-I-have-to-clean" or the ever simpler "g'dammit!!" Which really isn't the best impression to give someone trying to learn how to feed themselves. I worry that I might instill some ridiculous fear in her of spilling things, or worse yet, teach her to think less of herself and worry too much about me. Along those same lines I try to react reasonably to other normal toddler antics, like tantrums, semi-messy explorations, and dangerous explorations. The fact is, I've done well enough so far that when she's exploring something she shouldn't be, and I react too harshly, the little girl just goes to pieces. Now that may be a phase, but I'm hoping that some of it sticks around. I think all children innately want to please their parents, looking for acceptance from the first humans they know and love. "Mother, is the word for God on the lips and hearts of all children."

I hope that we're able to show Fiona consistency with love and acceptance, and discipline (the teaching, guiding kind, not the spanking kind if we can help it). How would you feel if someone hit you just because you were having a bad day and needed to show it? (Now this refers to very young children who aren't developmentally capable of intentional misbehavior) *sigh*

An aside, if mother is the word for god, is it any wonder masses of people agree with vengeful god ideas when they were taught at such a young age to fear their personal gods, their parents?