Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Well, what do you know?

Our Delaney got sick for the first time ever last night. After a dinner during which she picked at her plate like she normally does, she began whimpering to be let down from her chair. "Oh, Delaney, for goodness sake!" I said, not knowing that she had real cause for distress. She went to the living room, to the TV, asking for her Dora video to be turned on. Tim said that we were taking a break from Dora, and he started walking toward her, thinking she was about to turn it on herself. Then Delaney threw up for the first time in her life. Tim was over there too, and while he was trying to help her, she threw up all over him. Then, as he took her to the bathroom, she made a little trail of vomit all the way there. Then she just stood there, nose running, but otherwise seeming fine. "Do you feel better?" we asked her. We just kept looking at her, and saying, "Are you OK?" "All better now?" We were shocked.
Before long, I had her settled down in her pulled-out Elmo couch with juice, crackers, and the previously-denied Dora video playing. Now that things were under control, Tim left for the commissary. While he was gone, Delaney had a bout of diarrhea. The first ever, I am not even kidding. She walked around for a little bit with her diaper hanging between her knees before I insisted I was going to have to change it. I laid her down on a towel because I wasn't sure what to expect. It smelled awful, and I felt something start coming up in my throat. Then I began to sing Delaney her current favorite song, the "I love you" song from Barney. She smiled and sang along. Then when I was all done changing her, she said something that almost brought a tear to my eye: "Thank you, Mama." She didn't have to thank me for that, that's my job!
Tim just made the connection that I had said in my last post, we bring the kids to the doctor where they can catch every germ around. It seems that Delaney caught a little bug, but after staying up an hour later than usual, I gave her a bath and put her to bed, and never heard a peep the whole night. In the morning she was fine, and I am very thankful!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Heaven at Hardees

As Tim and I begin mentally preparing for our next road trip with the girls, this time to Cincinnati for Christmas, I look back fondly on memories of past road trips. Today, I revisited a letter that I wrote my cousin Nancy on June 16, 1991. I was just shy of 12 years old. [Nancy included this letter in a scrapbook she made for me a few years ago.] I've seen it before many times, but it always makes me laugh:

Dear Nancy,
I sure wish we wouldn't have had to drive straight through [back from the Outer Banks in North Carolina] instead of stopping at a hotel the way you guys got to. It was a nightmare in my opinion.
We left at about 9:00 a.m. as you know, and we drove and drove and drove until we stopped at Hardees to eat. I was in heaven -- but not for long.
We got back in the car and drove and drove and drove until we finally stopped at a rest area. By then Mary Grace sounded like a foghorn [my sister who was about to turn 1 year].
Then we got back in the car and drove and drove and drove and drove until we finally got home. By then my mouth was so dry I could hardly speak. Then we all went to bed.

I love that I was "in heaven" at Hardees. I still do enjoy my fast food when we're on the road, but I don't know if I'd go so far as to call it heaven.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Annalise's 6-month checkup

We just got home from Annie's 6-month well visit. My little chunky monkey is 18 lbs 8 oz and 27 inches, 90th percentile for height and weight. I don't remember what her head circumferance is, but the doctor said that it is 70th percentile, so she is proportional. She asked me if she eats any solids, and I said yes, we just started cereal last week, and in a couple days, we'll be trying veggies, and go from there. She is still breastfed. She sleeps through the night (most of the time, anyway). The doctor also noticed she had stranger anxiety, which I've noted too, and she says that's normal, and a sign of intelligence. "You're so smart!" she told her.
She cried a little bit when she got her shots, which included seasonal flu. I was offered H1N1 for her, but I declined. I'm still second-guessing myself for that one. I've heard swine flu is on the decline right now, but there might be another wave. None of the rest of us has gotten H1N1 vaccine, but we've all gotten regular flu shots. I am very nervous about swine flu vaccine. Perhaps I'll research some more, change my mind about it, and then call the doctor begging for it.
We spent an hour-and-a-half total at the pediatrician's, and we were among sick kids in the waiting room.. ugh. Makes me wonder what the point of a well visit is, when you're taking your well kids somewhere where they're going to pick up every nasty germ around. I think I'll be shopping for a new pedi soon only because of that. By the time Annie's 9-month visit rolls around, they're going to be in a new office with lots more space, so I'll ask if they plan on having a separate sick waiting area then. It wouldn't bother me so much if I could keep both the girls on my lap or in a seat, but I've got Delaney. Delaney wants to see everybody, touch everything, and explore whatever confines she's in. A little boy around her age came in, and I heard his father tell the receptionist that they had come in a couple days before for strep throat, and now the boy has rashes all over his body. I can't tell Delaney, "Don't play with the sick boy. Don't even look at him!" I don't want to be a jerk. There should be a sign on the door, warning: "If your kids aren't sick now, they will be by the time you leave here." I'm saying a little prayer that is not the case.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Annalise at six months

Little Sissy is six months old. Hard to believe it's been half a year! It makes my day every time I go into her room and see her raising herself up as high as she can on her pudgy arms, her perfectly round face visible above the crib rail, and her huge blue eyes looking for me. When I walk in and greet her, she breaks into a big slobbery smile, and no matter how tired I am, my heart sings.
Sometimes I'll be doing whatever I'm doing around the house, and I happen to look over and catch her eye, smile and say hi. She might smile back, and sometimes the smile quickly turns to a look of pleading, accompanied by a little whimper that says, 'Please, Mama, pick me up!' What a great thing, to be loved and needed like that!

Now for her accomplishments and developments of the past month:

At 5 months and one week, she completed a back to belly roll. The next day, she found that she couldn't even stop herself from rolling to her belly. It was cute when she was up and playing, but not so much if I was trying to get her to nap or to go to bed for the night. I fretted about it for a couple days, but she sorted it out. First she started sleeping on her belly at night. Then, after some fussing, she began napping on her belly too. Within a few days, she was just as happy on her belly as on her back, and it's no longer an issue for us. I lay her down on her back, and she's scootched herself all over the place by the time I go in to get her.

At 5 months and two weeks, she began sitting up unassisted. It's amazing how quickly that initial wobble went away, and now she's so sturdy. Bathtime is much easier now.

Here she is on 10/28:

Here she is on 11/4. What a difference a few days make!

Learning to crawl is the next big thing on her to-do list. She gets up on her hands and knees, rocking back and forth and trying to figure out how to move. In the meantime, she scootches herself backward, lunges forward occasionally, and she can turn herself around pretty well. Sometimes she'll get up on just her hands and feet with her bum in the air, in a kind of "downward dog." It looks pretty funny.

I notice that she is now fearful of other people in certain situations. If I take her into a room with a lot of other people and just set her carseat down, she might look around and cry. If she loses sight of me, she might begin to cry too. I explain that she must have a fear that one day I'm going to drop her off at someone's house and just abandon her. Why she would think that I don't know, but separation anxiety is just one of those things babies and toddlers go through.

I've gotten serious about baby signing with her, and I'm trying to enlist Delaney's help with this as well. Now that she focuses on what I'm doing with my hands, I think she's ready to learn. For now, I only use "milk", "all done" and "diaper change." I haven't had much opportunity to practice "more/again" -- another popular first sign -- but hopefully that will change in the next month when we start solids.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Sunday Morning in Washington, D.C.

What a great way to spend a Sunday morning, and the first sunny day in what seemed to be ages. I had to pat myself on the back for not turning off the alarm clock at 6 just to get that extra hour of sleep I was craving. Instead, I got to work making breakfast and packing snacks and drinks, so we could reap the benefits of being early birds. We arrived at 9 and got a free three-hour parking spot in front of the Smithsonian. The museums didn't open until 10, so we thought we'd do some walking just until they opened. Once we started walking toward the Lincoln Memorial, we changed our minds and decided not to rush back after all. We only spent the last hour in the American History Museum, mostly because it was getting warm, and I hadn't brought a hat to protect Annie's bald little fuzzy head from the sun.
I couldn't have asked for it to be a better day. I enjoyed seeing the monuments, the fall foliage, and all the people at the National Mall. Later I was pleasantly surprised to find the museum not too crowded either. We ended up leaving reluctantly at around noon, because time was up for our parking spot and for the kids.
We took many more good pictures, and I posted them Facebook. Posting pictures in Blogger is a pain.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

3 Novembers ago

Today was a lazy Saturday and I took the rare opportunity to nap, with Annie asleep and Tim home. Before I could quiet my mind and drift off to sleep, I found myself remembering three Novembers ago, just like it was yesterday.

It was mid-November in Worcester, MA, overcast and chilly much it like it is now here in Quantico. I was on my lunch break, where I worked downtown at a law firm. I was dittybopping down the street, maybe off in search of food, or just needing exercise and fresh air. I wore a three-quarter length trench coat, cinched at the waist because I thought it made me look stylish and slim. It was Wednesday, normally just another day to get through. I was just in my own little world, and I didn't even notice the man, a stranger, coming toward me until he was already passing me on the sidewalk, and he said, "You have a beautiful smile." I was taken aback, and I said something like, "Uh, thanks." Now I was dazed, and a little embarrassed, having it brought to my attention that I'd been grinning like an idiot at apparently nothing as I walked down the street. In a second I knew why -- I was two days late, but I already knew, I was sure of it, and I was thrilled beyond belief.

I'd waited forever, it felt like, to find out what it was like to have a secret so huge within me, and have absolutely nothing changed on the outside, not a thing out of place. Nothing but the big silly grin.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Delaney at two years, four months

Delaney is one of the most positive people I know. We've been hearing less of her old refrain of "I need help!" and more of: "I'll do it," "I'll fix it," "I'll find it," "I'll get it," "I did it!", "I found it!" She is so determined, and puffs up with pride at her achievements, dubious as some of them may be. I watched her try to reattach a leaf to a little wildflower she'd found. It didn't work, but at least she tried!

Delaney plays with the card and stickers Grandy sent just for her.

She now has a passion for things that look and smell nice, just like her mama. Tim and I laughed at hearing her say that a Yankee Candle smelled "dee-licious" and "yummy." Another time Delaney walked in Annie's room soon after I'd laid a quilt on the floor. Delaney gasped and exclaimed, "Oh, it's pretty! I love it!" What a girl!

She lays claim to everything she sees and likes. During our nighttime ritual of holding her in front of the window to say goodnight, I pointed out the moon. I said, "Goodnight, moon!" She said, "My moon." And here's a notice to all the other kids here in Thomason Park: the playgrounds all belong to Delaney, particularly the one that's next to our mailbox. But being a benevolent ruler, Delaney shares (sometimes, anyway).

She's getting better and better at reciting things and singing. The other day, while we were playing pretend on the living room floor, Delaney stopped, put her hands together prayerfully, and recited her own broken version of the goodnight prayer: "Now I lay me.. sleep; Play-doh Lord soul.. keep, wake - light." And a strong and loud, "Amen!" Here she is singing "Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star."

Sometimes she can be a little random. Remember our butterflies that we raised from caterpillars? Well, Delaney does. And from time to time, out of nowhere, she'll say, "Caterpillars go in the chrysalis." I say, "Yes, they do. And what happens then?" "Butterflies!" Another thing she likes to mention just offhand is, "Auntie Sophie in Ohio." [I once explained to her which family members live in Ohio, and which are in Massachusetts.]

Her imagination is blossoming these days. I first noticed several weeks ago with, "The [toy] puppy wants a treat." And she'd hand an invisible treat to the puppy. Now we play all kinds of pretend games on the floor. One night when we were "swimming" on the carpet, Delaney decided we needed more water, and she grabbed a little bucket. I said, "We need 200 of those buckets of water." She said, "OK," and got to work. Then after admiring her "work," she jumped in the water and said, "Ow, my bum." But it was alright, because she had the pretend boo-boo bunny. I thought, 'That's something new, the pretend boo-boo bunny.' The real one is always in our freezer to soothe Delaney's real and imagined boo-boos.

She provides me with a lot of amusement. I put her 64-pack of crayons in a Gladware container to help her be able to get them out and put them away faster. I thought she'd be happy they were all there within easy reach, and not rolling around everywhere. So, what did she do when she sat down and I handed her the container? She dumped it. Then she started yelling at the crayons when they rolled away and fell to the floor. "Stop!" "Come back here!" I shook my head and said, "The crayons are not good listeners, are they, Delaney?"

I've banned cute pajamas and nightgowns for Delaney, because she couldn't resist the temptation to strip naked during her naps, for no other reason than she could. So now she wears Gerber "unionsuits" secured at the top with a safety pin. And no, I've never stuck her, not once. I hope this buys me a few months before she finds another way to outsmart me.

Tickling her and simultaneously snapping pictures is one sure way to get pictures of her smiling.

She eats less and less, subsisting almost entirely on Carnation Instant Breakfast, and what little snacks she eats on the run. Mysteriously, the Number 2 diapers keep increasing in volume and stink. Tim and I are scratching our heads over that one. How does the stuff in your diaper exceed the stuff you've eaten in the last 24, even 48 hours?

Far too busy to be bothered with a real meal, Delaney pauses to munch on Cheerios at a playground.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

What's for Dinner in November

For Tim's birthday last month, his mom ordered Omaha Steaks and had them sent to the house. We saved them for this month, when we're going to be doing all of our Christmas shopping. Now we don't have to worry about dinner all month long. We've got steaks, burgers, pasta, potatoes, and other items in here. Last night we had stuffed sole, and it was really tasty. It's a huge help around here. Happy birthday to all of us. Thanks again, Carolyn!

Sunday, November 1, 2009


Delaney woke up in the morning already excited about going trick-or-treating. She even practiced what to say that morning at breakfast: "Trick or treat," and "Thank you." I love any excuse for her to smile for the camera like that.

At 4, I just couldn't wait any longer to put the girls in their costumes and take some pictures. Only one turned out good. I got rid of all the pictures that show our entire front porch. Remember those flowers on either side of the stairs that looked so nice when we moved in in August? They are now dead and creepy. You could argue that's appropriate for Halloween, but yikes, they are ugly. These two little girls made the front porch look beautiful for a few minutes, though.

Our friends Matt and Meredith came over with their kids, Sophia (3) and Harlan (5 months), and we went trick-or-treating together. The babies got to ride along in the stroller. Don't they look thrilled?

It started raining as soon as we went out the door, and we were all like, 'uh-oh.' I'd told Tim earlier, I don't think I've ever seen a rainy Halloween EVER in my life. I know it must have happened at some point, but I don't remember. Fortunately it stopped after a few minutes and held off until later that night.
Tim and I had so much fun watching Delaney go up to the doors and say, "Trick or treat." Sometimes she needed a little help getting up the stairs. Then she would say, "Thank you" loud enough to hear and it was so sweet. Then she was off again.

She was having the best night of her life until her little pumpkin started to get heavy and she grew tired. Then this huge inflated skeleton head on somebody's lawn growled at her and its eyes started rolling. She ran straight to her dad and gasped, "Uppy, uppy, uppy!" She still says the same word she used at 14 months to mean, 'Pick me up.'
After we'd gone around the block and everyone had had enough, we had a delicious dinner of Chinese take-out (thanks again, Matt and Meredith!). The babies played on the floor. Annie learned to roll both ways after watching Harlan roll from one side of the room to the other. If this had been our condo in Massachusetts, we would have had to put up a baby gate. We remarked on how, even at this age, it's so obvious he's a boy.
After dinner, of course, came candy. Delaney got at least three or four "last" pieces of candy. We are such pushovers. I thought between the sugar and seeing that big skeleton earlier, she'd be having nightmares for sure. But thank goodness, she slept like a log until a little after 7 a.m.
And here it is November already!