April 2006

April 29
Unsupervised

I was going to write an entry about how I've reached that phase of parenting where I have perma-slobber just above my knee on all my pants from the baby who has surgically attached herself to my right leg.

But then, while I was giving myself a mullet (not intentional, I just couldn't take the bangs anymore and hacking them off transformed my David Cassidy-meets Nick Rhodes 'do into a late-period Carol Brady pouf-mullet) Eliza futzed around on her own and proved that her biggest role model in this house is Barney.

See, ever since we had the crib, the cats have been prying open the drawers and crawling into them, and behind them, for nefarious cat-purposes known only to them, although we suspect voodoo.

Behold Barney in action:

And now, behold Eliza in action this morning, and, looking, I might add, mighty pleased with herself:

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April 27
Reclaimed

I figured that if it took me nine months to gain the weight, it'd take nine months to lose. I wasn't quite on target, but just shy of 11 months, I can say that, finally, I am fitting into some of my (more relaxed fit) old pants and skirts again. Many of my old tops have fit for a while now, 2-bra-sizes-larger boobal area notwithstanding.

But the @ss, it doth remaineth large — I stalled out 10-12 pounds above my ideal weight for 2 months. Now, technically, if I had embraced the muffintop — and why didn't I, since all the female students on the campus where I work seem to? — I have fit, i.e. been able to button or zip, my size 8 pants for some time now. However, because I am a geezer and not with it and not understanding the allure of the muffintop (and pretty sure that my fellow geezer husband shares my non-comprehension of the fashions these kids today are wearing), I have resisted doing so.

Anyway. While I have in most matters more than reconciled, and embraced the changes in my life and seen the tradeoffs in my favor, I didn't want to be the lady in the mom pants for whom being in shape was something she used to do, like sleep, before she had kidsFrankly, there's too much riding on it. How can I protect Eliza from the couch potato culture and its devastating effects if I can't even take care of myself.

So it is with some relief that I note being within 8 pounds of my ideal weight (by which I mean a weight at which I feel and look good but that is realistic and maintainable). Not quite there yet, but after being an alarming 65 pounds up, thank god.

And yeah, 65 pounds, but do you have any idea how hard it is to stay at a decent weight when a. you develop pregnancy hypertension which causes you to balloon up with water weight b. you are eventually physically unable to perform all the exercise you used to do 6 days a week and c. your appetite nonetheless remains the same?

Anyway. I will not rant about the OB's weight thing, but Jeeez.

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April 24
Having Words

So, Jim and I aren't sure, but we think it's possible Eliza is trying to talk.

The following sounds seem to correspond to particular concepts, although they do so neither consistently nor completely clearly.

And, yes, everything is spoken in an exclamatory tone.

Ahtsa! = outside, which Jim and I both say as we are preparing to take Eliza outside. We have noticed her saying it herself as we stand in the entry hall, and pointing, you know, outside. I'm not clear if she knows that she is going outside, or if she is simply picking up on the ritual aspect of us saying "outside" before we go thence, much in the way she has started blowing raspberries during toothbrushing as a rough equivalent of my spitting into the sink.

Dih! = probably kitty (as in ki-DIH!), generally uttered when espying Barney or Moe, or their facsimile in a book. But then, sometimes, she says Kah!, so I'm not so sure it's not a coincidence.

Cheeee! = shredded cheddar cheese, although occasionally also spoken when regarding a yogurt or a macaroni. She seems to have associated this sound with food consistently, but again, I'm not 100 per cent sure that it's not coincidence.

DAH! or Dah? = That! There! or What's that? We're pretty sure on this one, since it's always accompanied by the pointy finger, but it's more of a grunt than a clear word, albeit one applied with some consistency.

Eliza knows a bunch of words she doesn't say, notably the following: throw, gentle (as in, be gentle and don't smoosh the flower/pinch the kitty), and give, as well as feet, bunny, and kitty, and will (generally) obey the three commands and point at the objects in question.

She has a favorite author: Sandra Boynton, whose books she can pick out of a line-up based on the art. I kid you not. She likes Moo Baa Lalala, and The Belly Button Book, and lately Wake Up! So the other day, I went to the bookstore to see what others they had by the same author. They had a whole shelf full, and as soon as she spotted them , in among the other kid's books, Eliza snapped to attention and went into full pointy mode—and then whimpered heartbreakingly as I took them all off the shelf because she didn't understand that I meant to buy them for her. I've since hidden them because I am giving them to her for her birthday. (Oh, bummer. I just poked around on the site and found this very cute necklace which I totally wanted to give Eliza as her first piece of jewelry since it's a kitty and it's from her favorite book, but then, HELLO! I saw the price which is maybe a bit much even for an heirloom-ish sort of giftie to give to a necklace-yanking baby.)

Aside from this author, Eliza LOVES Dr. Seuss's Hop On Pop the most, especially when she is flipping out, and frequently requests it, if pointing, wriggling, and sobbing "Ehehehehehe, ehhehehehehehe, ehehehehehehe" can be officially termed as such.

In fact, when she is tired or upset, she frequently heads for her books and wants me to read. We always read the same bunch, which I have by now memorized: one or two by Boynton, Miss Spider's ABC, Hop on Pop, The Very Hungry Caterpillar (which she always rushes to get to the butterfly at the end), and one or more of her flap books. She snuggles into my lap, sucks madly on her binky, and reads along with a very serious expression on her little face.

The worst thing about losing my voice 2 weeks ago was that I couldn't read to her. I missed it so much.

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April 23
Some Videos

Here, you will find a video in which Eliza 1. pokes Barney with a stick, annoying him and making him run away, 2. Crawls after him but quickly becomes distracted by the camera, 3. sees herself in the viewfinder, 4. gives Jim five.

In this video, Eliza attempts to throw a mousie so Barney will chase it, but Barney thinks she throws like a girl.

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April 23
Angry Pants Removal

Naptime objections continue. Usually, Eliza hits the wall and conks out of her own accord, but other times, she is so tired that she is literally running into walls and still refuses to admit that a nap might be a good idea.

If we put her in her crib then, there is generally angry standing and possibly angry binky tossing.

Today, however, she took her anti-nap revolution stance to the next level. I came into her room after 10 minutes of shouting (this is usually the only thing that works in this situation— we let her shout for a while and exhaust herself to the point that when we come back into the room and lay her back down or hold her and rock her, she bleats angrily for a second or two and then falls asleep).

And there, lo, was the tiny anti-nap revolutionary, staging her latest protest — pants removal! I have NO IDEA how she got them off, but she was definitely not wearing pants anymore. She was also missing a sock.

Mama's extremely supportive reaction to the tiny anti-nap revolutionary? Hooting and cackling, and "hey, look at this, she took her pants off!"

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April 21
Defensive Seasoning

This morning, I was annoyed to find that someone had decapitated the tulips and gerberas in the back yard and gnawed on the incipient lillies. The dianthus also looked a bit the worse for wear.

I asked for non-poisonous suggestions at the gardening store near the Y, and they said many animals seem to be repelled by chili powder.

Thus it was that 8 p.m. found me and Eliza in the backyard, dumping chili powder, cayenne pepper, and pepper flakes on everything that was coming up in the yard.

At the very least, it will be a sneezy experience for whomever this is, be it rabbit, deer, or raccoon.

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April 21
Either I'm becoming a Republican, or I've been here too long

Today was a lovely spring day, and as the students are wont to do on lovely spring days, they decided to hold a protest.

It was the usual education-should-be-more-affordable shtick, which I can get behind, but I can't help, after 6 years as an employee here, and 6 years covering protests as a reporter, and 4 years before that as a student, getting a little cynical about the consistently salubrious timing.

I think I'm turning into that anthropology professor who pissed me off when I was a senior and there was a big protest by saying, oh, it's all been done before. Which, of course, in retrospect, was true, but at the time I found it to be an insufferably self-congratulatory hippie statement. It didn't help that she taught a gender class that was all 1970s feminist slogans, all the time, and that she assigned grades based on how well you regurgitated said slogans, and that I had found this out and couldn't stop myself from subverting her, which meant that, needless to say, the relationship had curdled long before the protest comment.

Uh, but anyway. I guess the only thing separating me from her is that I'm not quite enough of a &itch to actually say it to one of the protestors.

Still, I had to roll my eyes a bit when the crowd started chanting "Si se puede," because what in the world were these white kids doing chanting a Spanish-language slogan adopted by the immigrant-rights movement? Yes, we can WHAT? Yes we can NOT afford to go here? It just doesn't make sense.

And I thought my eyes were going to roll out of my head entirely when they switched back to English to started chanting "No money, no peace." Oh. My. God. Get over yourselves. What are you going to do, trash the copier? Throw course packets at the Chancellor?

I am shocked they didn't come up with a variant of "We're here, we're queer, get used to it" next. "We're here, we're poor, get used to it"?

Eh. If you're going to protest, you should probably vet your slogans for appropriateness, is my take-away message here.

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April 20
Chicken? Pulled Chicken? Are you SURE?

Operation Golf Ball Poops continued today as Eliza attempted singlehandedly to launch a new food movement: bananatarianism.

Her efforts were abandoned dramatically this evening, when she discovered anew favorite food: Pulled, smoked, barbecue-sauce-covered chicken. I'm as shocked as you are.

This afternoon, we visited the newspaper to talk with my editor for the fashion section about the upcoming make-over piece that was running.

Then we headed to J. and O.'s for some playtime. Eliza is taller than O. in spite of the fact that O. is nearly 3 months older. However, it's still easy to tell who's the closest to toddler-hood — O. is speaking already, and though she still clutches a finger as she walks, it's more of a security-blanket thing than anything else. She clearly doesn't need it, whereas Eliza would fall on her face if she tried to go anywhere near the breakneck pace O. has adopted, let alone do so one-handed.

After the girls proceeded to make their moms uncomfortable by observing no boundaries at all and stealing each other's stuff repeatedly, Eliza and I headed to town, where, on the spur of the moment, I decided to have dinner at Smokin' Lil's.

Actually I was walking in that direction and then remembered coming upon an entry in this blog: http://chowflap.blogspot.com/ that the restaurant was closing. We used to eat there all the time when it was in Easthampton and we were childfree, and I figured if the rumor was true, I should get a last taste in. (And by the way, I stumbled on this blog totally by accident, but I am pretty sure that this is a co-worker of J.'s and someone I've met - who was linked on a blog by someone in California.)

Anyway, we settled in, and I ordered some mac and cheese for Ms. Bananarama, and a pulled chicken sandwich for myself.

When our food arrived, Missy surveyed my sandwich with such interest that I couldn't resist stuffing a piece in her mouth. Rather than the effect I anticipated (shuddering, face-making, tongue hanging out of mouth so that piece of food can roll off onto ground) she chewed appreciatively, and then looked at me for more.

In short order she had commandeered half my sandwich filling and was happily feeding herself chicken bits and macaronis. I called Jim, then documented the unlikely proceedings with this extremely unflattering photograph:

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April 19
No Style

Huarache sandals are back. If there was any doubt that the 1980s have been revived, this should put it to rest.

Oh, god, are huaraches ugly. Ugly ugly uglyuglyugly!

I need to say that again: Oh, god, are huaraches ugly. Ugly ugly uglyuglyugly!

And Gladiator sandals. Russell Crowe should wear them, and no one else.

And the skinny jeans. And the bubble skirts. Dude, I refused to wear the bubble skirt the first time around back when I was still skinny, what the HELL makes you think I'm going to wear one now? EsPECially with leggings, as people keep suggesting to me.

Because capri-length leggings are SO hot. You know how when you buy chicken at the grocery store, the top part of the leg has meat with skin over it, and then the bottom part is just bone?

That's all I can think of when I see people in tight capris and/or leggings: dead chicken parts.

And gauchos? NOT a viable alternative. Mostly because people who say "gaucho" annoy me.

I looked up pictures of actual gaucho cowboys online and they were not wearing gauchos as they've been imagined in the fashion world. From the description on the website, the authentic "gaucho" is a. worn over other pants and b. more or less just a fancy loincloth.

Behold: http://www.escapeartist.com/efam12/Vestimenta.html

I will say, though, that when I was enormously fat post partum, the yoga stretchy fabric gaucho from Target was very forgiving of my bloated whale corpse shape.

Eh. I think I am glad to be too fat for fashion this year.

Also, I am fully aware that my haircut currently occupies a no-man's-land between David Cassidy-style shag and mullet.

BUT!

Today, I was perusing the online edition of our local paper, for which I moonlight as a writer, and I saw an ad, with photo, for a beauty salon welcoming two new staff members.

One of them had the mid-80s hyper-styled perm claw-bang combo that looked like it had been hair-sprayed within an inch of its life, and the other had lank, middle-parted 1970s hair.

To each her own, but, um, you work at a BEAUTY SALON?

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April 19
Still Bananas

In case you thought I was maybe kidding about the banana thing down below that I posted this morning, here's the latest bananadventure:

I was cutting up some bananas for Eliza to eat for dinner tonight, and I wasn't going fast enough. When she couldn't reach the edible chunks, she grabbed a piece of peel and started gnawing on it.

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April 19
Bananas

The banana thing has gotten out of hand. If forced to explain it through the metaphor of song, I would say that we've gone from an enthusiastic rendition of "Up With Bananas" to "Bananas Uber Alles." We have set a limit, for Eliza, of one banana a day on account of their system-up-stopping ways, but Eliza was not consulted in this decision (much as one does not consult a heroin addict about his preferred dose of morphine) and she is not in agreement. It is now to the point where there is sad pointing and wailing at the bananas in the fruit basket when we cut her off. I think our next step, frankly, is going to be to HIDE the fruit basket.

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April 18
Hey, Check me out with the new site design

That picture up there, it was begging to become a site headline. Also, a couple months into this venture and more familiar with this blogging business, I realized that I needed to change some things around to make the site easier to use. Also, the old colors were very wintry. I've kept the archival pages of past months in the design they originated, however, in case you get nostalgic. Meanwhile, Pllllrrrrrttt! and Happy Raspberries to you!

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April 18
Gobsmacked by the Bunny

So, this weekend was Easter, and Patriot's Day, and the Boston Marathon, and the Night of the Horrible Barfing Sounds.

Clearly, I have much to remark upon, so let's just get started, shall we...

Saturday, Eliza and I headed for Boston for quality time with Grandma Texas, who was in town to run the Boston Marathon (Woohoo Grandma!) on Monday. We originally planned to come for the marathon, but standing on the course for 4+ hours with stubborn baby=NIGHTMARE, so instead, we were the advance team, there to get Grandma revved up and excited about her big race.

We brought an Easter bag with pretzels and candy, which were apparently devoured in one sitting post-race. (Ah. As someone who HATES to run, there's a reason I could get behind - you HAVE to eat that much after a race, plus from what I understand, carbs are actually considered a good thing among runners. Maybe I'll start training.)

Right, back to the story at hand.

Eliza showed off her very cool new skill that Daddy taught her: Giving Five. She is still somewhat persnickety and stingy with her Fives. Some people, like Daddy, receive 20 at a time, while others get nothing.

We hung out on the Boston Common for much of the day because it was beautiful out, and Eliza used the time to organize our purses.

Here, she is sharing some sort of valuable information about Bostonian nightlife with Grandma Texas.

At Legal Seafood, Eliza drew her first picture, when the nice waitress gave her crayons and a kid's menu. She caught on to the drawing business fairly quickly and only took a little bite out of the orange crayon.

Fever pitch excitement continued for Missy the next day, when we had Easter.

Holyoke does a thing they call the Easter Drag. All the boys and girls (and a large number of dogs) get dressed up in their Easter finery and walk up and down one of the main Streets, where there are balloons, free popcorn, vendors selling inflatable toys, antique cars, and more. It's a nice event. We chatted with the owners of an imperious little chihuahua sporting a big purple bow, met a little girl whose pretty shoes we had admired at the playground, and ran into people from Jim's work. Most of them thought Eliza was cute, and the others are dead to us.

Here is Eliza with a grammatically incorrect balloon from the new deli that is opening soon near our house. I don't know why this perplexes her so; she loves balloons, so maybe she is sad to see one besmirched with a word missing a possessive. Who knows.

And then, there was the bunny.

I wasn't sure how Eliza would feel about meeting the Easter Bunny - kids and enormously sized mythical figures are generally a poor combination to the point that you wonder why people bother.

Eliza is why they bother. She is competely blown away. She didn't say a thing (not that she can speak; I mean in her alien tongue), just pointed. And pointed. And pointed. The Easter Bunny came over to say Hello, and got the giggles. And still Eliza pointed.

Her attenion was diverted ONLY when, onto the scene came a large but evidently quite mellow German shepherd sporting a bunny ears-headband. I have never seen a dog so chill. And he and Eliza had a thing. The woman with him had him on a short leash, and I was ready to yank Eliza away at the slightest sign of untoward behavior, but it was a happy meeting, which ended with Eliza getting a big sloppy facewash from the dog. I wish I had a picture, because she looked like she was thinking, "Oh wow, the pointy bunny, he KISSED me!

Anyway, here she is pointing, and pointing.

Then we went home and Jim got sick and vomited loudly and spent the rest of the long weekend dragging himself from bed to couch to bed to couch. Yippee!

And Grandma ran the marathon (!) in 4 hours ands 18 minutes. (Wooooooooo, grandma.)

Grandma Texas is the person of the week on account of I don't know anyone else who is that tough and ambitious and dedicated and in shape.

Seriously, Ma, all kidding aside, you rock muchly; we are very impressed.

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April 18
The Newest Superhero

It's Separation Anxiety Baby!

Clings like magic, powered by farts! Special powers: High-decible shrieking, uncanny ability to develop the screaming mimis when Parent is about to use the toilet or shower! Habitat: Prefers to burrow into Parental shirtfront for comfort, preferably with dirty/wet face.

Get your action figure today — supplies limited! (Binkies sold separately.)

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April 14
Aaargh!

The diminutive organizer has struck. I can't find the blue canvas fold-u[ bag that I need for tomorrow's daytrip to Boston. I know Eliza is the last person who had it, but with her current penchant for moving stuff from place to place, who KNOWS where it has ended up? Not me, that's for sure. I have looked everywhere I think a blue foldable canvas bag could be, but clearly, I am not in touch with my 10-month-old mind, because I can't find it anywhere. Seriously. I've been looking for hours, now. It's 10-fricking-18 and I haven't had DINNER yet.

And I haven't even had a chance to write about the cool thing Jim taught her yet.

Yarrrrr! Tomorrow...

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April 12
Some Things That Are Stinky

A cat who has licked bean juice.

A baby who fell asleep wearing a poopy diaper.

Guess which one shouts louder...

What I didn't get around to yesterday was describing the human ball tube I found for Eliza. It was gorgeous out, so I took her for a walk around Northampton on Monday, and then we went to the playground at the Y. The swings were appreciated as usual, but the true excitement was the human ball tube, or the hamster tunnel that is really large, whatever helps you visualize the thing better. Anyway, I put Eliza in there, and she was so happy. She sat, poking at the dirt and pebbles in the tunnel (which she LOVES, but weirdly enough has not tried to eat - weird, since she eats everything else including sticks and mulch - why not pebbles? does she know they would hurt?) and making her "Nnnnnungungunungunungunungunung" sound.

Then, yesterday, we went to the playground near our house, where we went down the slide, only instead of me holding on the whole way, I let go and then caught her at the bottom (don't freak out, it's only 5 feet long to begin with), which she celebrated with much cackling and arm-flapping.

She has been sleeping really well the past few days — good long day-time naps and a full 10 hours at night. I think I will attribute this to all the running around we're doing with her, because from what he tells me, Jim has her on a similarly exciting schedule.

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April 11
I Have the Plague

I do. I really do. I'm pretty sure my throat is rotting away as we speak. It feels pretty horrible. At the very least I am going to lose my voice.

Eliza gave this to me, and the bonus of sharing a disease with a baby is that since they don't blow their noses, you get a vivid illustration of exactly how your insides are rotting, since the evidence is pretty much all on her face. Remember that kid in kindergarten who always had a full snot-trough and all the other kids avoided him? This week, Eliza is that baby, because needless to say, my stubborn little pink monkey is SO not okay with having her nose wiped or booger-sucked.

Yesterday morning, I took her into bed with me for a little bit because I was still adjusting to the whole awake business, and she quickly fell asleep, flipped onto her belly, and started making all sorts of horrible snotty noises. On a baby, adorable. On an adult, quickly losing its charm, especially when paired with a gravelly voice like Patty and Selma from the Simpsons.

So anyway, between the plague, our friend David visiting, and a plethora of free-lance stuff I was racing to finish, I have not been much in the blogging department this week. I will now attempt to catch you up on everything.

Everything being:

1. Plague (already covered that)

2. Ball tube

3. Standy-ness

4. 4:45 wake-up call conundrum resolved

5. Binky sharing

6. Doors

7. Pity for the cuteness-appreciation impaired

8. Flush with life

9. The reason I was a bad parent today

 

OK, in order:

2. Ball tube

The ball tube is my favorite toy. I think it might be Eliza's, too. She discovered it a while ago and now that discovery has blossomed into a passion, and it is offering me no end of amusement.

The reason for this transformation has been the discovery that not only balls fit into the ball tube. No, other things fit, too.

Like, for example, empty cans of cat treats, which unfortunately get stuck halfway down at the curve in the tube (see illustration below) but must nonetheless be inserted at every opportunity (read, as soon as Mama frees the damn thing again):

Lately, Ms. Ball Tube-O-Rama has been getting ever more ambitious with the stuffing of the tube. This afternoon, she had crammed into the tube one cat treat can, one shoeshine mitt, one digital video cassette case (how does she manage to collect these random things?), and one red ball:

The top of a poster tube, a shaker, some keys, and the occasional stuffed animal have also found themselves making the perilous journey.

Attendant to this is the fascination wit the bed frame. Because David was staying with us, we took the mattress off the bed frame, leaving it exposed. It's basically a slatted platform, which Missy promptly requisitioned as her own personal enormous shapesorter. Binkies, clothes, shoes, and more were stuffed between the slats by baby, who then leaned over, tippytoed, to look where the item had fallen.

I bought her a shapesorting toy last weekend because I had seen the writing on the wall about this, but do you think she has paid it one second of attention?

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3. Standy-ness

Probably thought process during Eliza's increasingly common stretches of standing independently:

Oooh. This sponge is really great! Look at this thing, it has so many sides, you can just turn it over and over in your hands—

Uh. Wait a minute, here. If I'm holding this sponge in both hands, WHAT am I holding on to this table with? Oh God, abort, abort, abort!

(Thud/squish of baby butt hitting floor)

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4. 4:45 wake-up call conundrum resolved

I had hoped that when we switched to Daylight Savings Time, Eliza's waking time would adjust and she'd let me sleep until 5:30 or 6. It turns out the child is acutely sensitive to light molecules. (Is that how you measure light? Decibels? Watts?) As soon as one teeny tiny little angstrom or whatever the hell it is of sunshine peeked its way over the horizon, BING! like a zombie smelling fresh brains, Eliza popped upright in her crib and began to demand entertainment.

After a couple of Saturdays of staggering downstairs at the butt-crack of dawn and plopping her down in front of the TV to be brainwashed by those vaguely penile-looking Boohbah things, I decided that we couldn't continue on like this.

I was afraid we'd have to go the Dooce route and put tinfoil on the windows, which, while effective, does have sort of an aliens-are-trying-to-frizzle-my-brains aspect to it.

So, instead of tinfoil, I settled on an even less attractive solution - Eliza's room now looks like a cave/crackhouse with sheets, blankets, and whatever else I can find to create a nice impenetrable barrier against the light.

Pretty, it ain't, and I still have to find a more permanent fix for the problem, perhaps involving actual curtains, if I can find any that block light —when did curtains become purely ornamental?

But in the meantime, I am going on almost an entire week of gettng to sleep in until 6.

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5. Binky sharing

Eliza shares! Her binky.

Lately, she has taken to pulling her binky out of her mouth, and stuffing it in mine. She thinks this is Hi.La.Ri.Ous!

Also being stuffed in mama's mouth: Freshly gnawed toothpaste tubes, slightly damp Cheerios, baby socks.

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6. Doors

Opening and closing doors: I see it as squished fingers waiting to happen, Eliza sees it as THE MOST FUN GAME EVER (NEXT TO THE BALL TUBE, OF COURSE)!

Crawlcrawlcrawl, slam! Muttering of weird baby sounds. Mama turns knob. Baby pulls door open, cackles delightedly. Slam! Mama sticks fingers under door, more cackling. Open. Mama joins baby on same side of door in attempt to prevent finger-smashing. Slam! Barney sticks paws under door, swiping with claws extended. Baby, in tragically funny misinterpretation, thinks kitty is waving hello and waves at the Claws of Doom.

Lather, rinse, repeat.

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7. Pity for the cuteness-appreciation impaired

Sometimes, when I am walking with Eliza, I encounter someone who sees us and does not smile in a manner that communicates "This is the most rapturously beautiful infant I have ever beheld, thank you for crossing my path today."

For these people, I feel pity, because obviously, they suffer from cuteness-appreciation impairment.

Perhaps I will start a charity.

Meanwhile, for any cuteness-appreciation impaired people reading this site, here are some pictures for you to work on your cuteness-appreciation skills:

 

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8. Flush with life

Today, I had to go to the printshop.

There's a woman who works there whom I've always found really striking — red hair, stylishly dressed, and though she has always been friendly, I found her a bit intimidating.

A couple of months ago, I went there for something and the moment I walked in, something felt different about her. At the time, I figured it was just that I'd brought Eliza, who was deploying all cuteness weapons.

When I went recently, though, I noticed a bump. Today, two weeks later, she has BLOSSOMED into her pregnancy, to the point where I felt safe asking her about it.

I've always been skeptical of women who say they can pick up another woman's impending motherhood, but this experience has changed my mind. If I calculate back from when she told me she was due, that first time I noticed something different about her, she would've been newly pregnant, not telling anyone yet but starting to grow into the idea that by mid-summer, she'd be someone's mom.

What a gift, to have this awareness and connection, with someone I barely know and yet with whom I share something so amazing.

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9. The reason I was a bad parent today

This book? It is beautiful, and moving, and funny, and sad, and shocking, and inevitable, and transporting. All day, I was trying to find independent activities for Eliza to do so I could grab a couple more minutes to read.

By the way: That doesn't really work...

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April 3
Dech-dech-dech-dech

The above is as near as I can come to transliterating Eliza's favorite sound of the moment. It's a d, followed by a cat-hairball sound, like someone really over-enunciating the ch in challa.

Listening to this the other day, J. pointed out that she had read that when they start making noises like they're speaking an alien language, babies are getting really close to speaking. That makes sense to me, because Eliza is definitely putting things together, word-and-object-wise. If you say "kitty," she will crane her neck looking for Moe or Barney. And often, when she sees something that intrigues her, she says "Dah!" like she's saying, "That! Did you see that?" Today, she also spent a long time saying "Nananananana," until she sounded like a reject from a 60s girl group.

The other two things she spends a lot of time on lately are pointing and waving. As I push her around in her stroller, she waves at the passersby like a tiny, wuffly-headed Miss America (only probably smarter, and without the eating disorder). And then there's the little E. T. pointy finger. Lights! Her reflection! Balloons! Kitties! Doggies! Birdies! Squirrels! Other babies! Everything! Must! Be! Pointed! At! We're pretty much in a state of falling-over-from-the-cuteness over here.

This is such an amazing time for her and for us. Because the pointing, it's not just charming, it's also giving me more and more of a fix on who she is, as I learn that balloons, they fill her with delight, and doggies, they amaze her, and oh, that there, that is the toy that she must have right now. It's incredibly poignant to see her little heart opening itself up to likes and dislikes as her personality comes to the fore.

Which leads me to this: Jo, I'm not sure this kid is actually related to you. I bought these littlebitty baby bananas at Stop and Shop the other day, and she just loves them. We have to limit her to one or two a day or her little system gets all gunked up and she makes little brown golf balls for us, but she hoovers these things. The first time I gave her one then turned away to get something else, and it was gone so quickly I looked on the floor because I was convinced she'd thrown it somewhere. The banana breath was proof of her love, though.

Her other big obsession is balloons. Tonight, we went for a walk in the mall, (A dangerous pastime, since of course I ended up buying about 4 things for her, but it was raining outside) and she flipped out in an excited way as we passed the jeweler. It took me a moment to realize that it was the balloons they'd hung up that were revving her up.

Combine that with a stop at the pet store to look at the bunnies and birdies in the window, and Eliza had a GREAT time at the mall.

Anyway. Time I headed off to sleep, but here is a totally random array of cute pictures that I am too lazy to format for the photo page:

Twirling her hair coquettishly.

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