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Saturday, July 30, 2005

Makin' Up For It

Zoe is enjoying her Cabbage Patch doll from Great Aunt Pat and Great Uncle Ron. We discovered that her shoes do indeed come off and on, as do her socks. And Lottie (that's the name she came with, so don't blame me!) has toes. Zoe likes to take off Lottie's shoes and socks to see her "piggies." Trouble is, Zoe needs my help to get the shoes and socks on and off. And she feels they need to go on and off several times in a row before moving on to something else. Lottie also has a real diaper and a little belly button and cute little butt cheeks. However, I did not point these last facts out to Zoe as I did not want to be completely undressing and dressing Lottie over and over again all day long. I'm sure she will eventually discover these things on her own anyway.

Following our especially difficult day on Thursday, Zoe made up for it on Friday. In fact, I think Friday was perhaps the most cooperative and cutest Zoe has ever been. There were no big melt downs. Meal times were without any big issue. Nap time was a cinch, with Zoe going down to her crib without any arguing or tears and going right to sleep--for 2 hours (which is longer than usual). She woke up in a good mood. Then she said something extra super cute as we did our usual post-nap activity of heading downstairs to go get the mail. I was teasing her about being "sweet as pie" and then I asked her what kind of pie she is. She pondered this minute and then proudly stated "Cutie Pie!" I laughed so hard I almost fell down the stairs.

Then she even went to bed super easy Friday night. In fact, after reading a couple stories, she didn't even want to snuggle hardly at all before going to her crib. I discovered the secret is that she loves to be "covered up." Well, when it has been 105 degrees here whether the air conditioning is on or not, it is just plain too hot to cuddle under a blanket. I told her we could snuggle without Blankie or I would tuck her in on her pillow in her crib with her Blankie. She decided she'd rather be tucked in with Blankie than snuggle without it--Mommy or not.

I tucked her in with lots of kisses and "Night night"'s and she responded to each of my "Night night"'s with her own "Night night, Mommy." Then I walked out of her room with my standard recent struggle over mixed emotions. Much as I wanted her to start going to bed easier, I miss the long snuggling. Now who's guilty of "nothing makes her happy"? I console myself by remembering that she loves the twenty minutes or so of snuggling upon awakening each morning. The best thing of all has been the past few mornings when I go in her room and she is just hanging out in her crib playing with her toes and quietly contemplating the meaning of life.As soon as she sees me walk in, she scrambles up to her knees or her feet and exclaims "It's Mommy!" as if it's the happiest moment of her life. Then she grabs her Blankie, her Taggie, and her Kitty and snuggles up with me in the rocking chair for awhile. There's no better way to start my day.

Thursday, July 28, 2005

It's a Good Thing She's Cute!

Okay, I admit it: All too often I get my butt kicked by a not-quite two year old. Today has been one of those days and it's barely halfway over. It goes something like this:

7:30 am awakening- Zoe is NOT a morning person (she gets that from her Mommy, I have to admit). Beginning the day with fifteen to twenty minutes of snuggling in the rocking chair immediately upon lifting her out of her crib sometimes helps. Today it didn't. Today we spent the "token twenty" which led into my suggestion that we have breakfast. I, for one, was starving and had not managed to consume my breakfast prior to Dear Daughter's awakening.

Zoe ignored my suggestion (plea) to get dressed and go downstairs for breakfast until a few minutes later when she quite suddenly began wailing and whining about drinking milk and eating cereal. When Zoe wants something, she wants it NOW in the very same instant that the thought occurs to her.

I managed to get Zoe dressed with only a minimal fit.

8:00 am breakfast- NOTHING quite makes Zoe happy. She wanted hot cereal. She didn't want to wait for it to be cooked. I distracted her with some milk first. She didn't like the cup it was in. I tried a new cup, then some prunes. The cup and prunes worked for two minutes. Meanwhile, I attempted to pull together a simple bowl of cereal for myself before I DIED from a growling stomach (pregnancy can be like that). Then a big fit over needing her hands wiped because she had gotten the prunes on them. Then the cereal. Zoe loves yogurt and so I figured she was low on milk and I hadn't made it to the store. Why not try some yogurt instead of milk in it? Zoe didn't like the yogurt. She wanted "regular" cereal. I dumped the contents of that bowl down the drain and tried again. Another fit because her milk cup was empty. I gave her the "regular" cereal and sat down with my now quite soggy bowl of shredded wheat. Zoe sees my bowl of cereal and decides she wants Chex instead of her hot cereal. I attempt to take the second bowl of hot cereal, but then there is another fit with whining statements of "Eat it!" I leave the bowl of unwanted cereal on her highchair tray and get busy getting the Chex. Then there's a fit that she wants them "dry" but is simultaneously gesturing towards the milk. I put on the milk and she whines that she wants them "dry." I again try to take the unwanted bowl of hot cereal only to have another fit of "Eat it!" I leave the unwanted bowl and the new bowl of Chex with the milk and add a handful of dry Chex onto her tray thinking surely one of these options will satisfy her long enough for me to eat my own soggy cereal before I pass out.

Zoe is content for a few minutes and so I get busy cleaning up the major mess that led up to finding something satisfactory for her to eat for breakfast. Thrity seconds into my cleaning effort there's is a fit about "Mommy snuggle!" This means Dear Daughter wants to be held for another twenty minutes or longer and then have me be right by her side for the rest of the morning. I had a big mess and lots of food to put away. I leave her in her chair trying to explain that she needs to wait until Mommy is finished. Unrelenting crying and whining and fit pitching ensues until I finally have the mess minimally cleaned up.

8:30 am More Snuggle Time- I hold Dear Daughter for another 20 minutes until she appears to have calmed down enough to peel herself away from full body contact with me. She appears content to play by herself, so I get up to finish cleaning up the kitchen beyond the minimally acceptable earlier attempt. Thirty seconds later another fit about "Mommy help ya!" That means I'm supposed to go sit by her side and play with her again. If I don't, we have another long drawn out dramatic on-and-on wailing fit that will escalate until the time at which I decide to pay attention to her. The rest of the morning goes this way until time to prepare lunch. So much for my plans to go the super market to get more milk for Dear Daughter. Being at home with her is tough enough right now. Who wants to try to take that out in public?

I forgot to mention that by 9:00 one of my so-tired-I-can't-keep-my-eyes-open pregnant symptoms hits me and lingers the rest of the morning. I feel miserable.

11:00 am Prepare Lunch- I allow Zoe to busy herself standing on her stool at the kitchen sink. She fills cups and bowls with water and dumps them. This keeps her relatively content and I throw an occasional reminder her way to keep the water in the sink and not on the floor. She does pretty well. Until the big bowl of water gets dumped down her front side and all over the floor. I bite my tongue to keep from reacting. "She's only two." I tell myself. "Water cleans up." I ignore the mess and try to finish lunch. Chicken Enchiladas. There will be leftovers for Dear Husband when he comes home early with Dear Daugher today, I reason. And leftovers for me when I get home late from work. I forget to leave out some plain chicken for Dear Daughter. I silently hope she will decide she is satisfied with the enchiladas.

11:30 am- Dear Daughter resists all suggestions I make that it's time for lunch.

11:40 am- Dear Daughter decides she wants lunch. NOW! Dear Daughter refuses to use her potty chair first.

11:45 am- Dear Daughter seems excited about enchiladas. I am relieved and excited to hear her say "Like this!" There are very few positive expressions in her vernacular these days.

11:50 am- Dear Daughter has a meltdown for "white chicken!" which means plain chicken NOT included in the enchiladas. I do not have any. I convince her to eat other things. Then a sudden exclamation of "Pee pee!" I hope she hasn't already done so, but as I quickly pull her out of her highchair, bib still intact, and head to the potty chair, she is wet. A little makes it in the pan. I am frustrated and wish I would have forced her to pee in her chair against her will before lunch (like that ever works, anyway). I ask her if she is done eating. She ignores me and runs away, bare buns flashing and bib flapping in the breeze. I let her go and busy myself cleaning up AGAIN. Then a sudden "Eat!" NOW, of course. She decides she is not done eating after all. I grab her firmly to wrestle her down and force some dry pants on her. My patience is all but gone. I try to reason with myself, "I'm a 33 yr-old grown adult; she's not even 2. GET A GRIP!" I put her in her highchair and convince her to eat cottage cheese. She eats half of it and then insists on holding her stuffed kitty. She is not swayed by my caution that kitty will get dirty (this usually works). She will not let me take away the plate that still contains cottage cheese. "Eat it!" she yells each time I try. Each time I give up and leave it there and she doesn't touch it. Whatever. I let it go. She appears content for several minutes, and I frantically try to clean up the new mess I've created in the kitchen. Then the sudden "Mommy snuggle!" NOW!

Noonish- I manage to get her down for her nap and pray for tolerance and patience until the point at which I can hand her off to her Daddy on my way to work this afternoon.

Yes, today I got my butt kicked by a not-yet two year old. Good thing she's cute.

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Early Birthday Partly

I'm still trying to catch up on the birthday visit from Great Uncle Ron and Great Aunt Pat. Zoe ended up with two tricycles. Once from Grandpa and Grandma H and one from G Uncle Ron and G Aunt Pat. Here she is enjoying both of them. She's still trying to figure out how to pedal them, but she thinks they're neat.

Sunday, July 24, 2005

More Bittersweet...

For the past two years my Darling Daughter has required a great deal of cuddling, snuggling, rocking and such until she falls asleep. Only then would she tolerate being put in her crib to go to sleep for the night. If she were not sound asleep, she would wake up and not simply cry for 5 or 10 minutes and then go back to sleep; she would cry for as long as we let her go and be unconsolable unless we picked her back up and cuddled her back to sleep. As much as I love to snuggle with my little girl, there are times that I've been without a minute to myself all day long, in full body contact with her the whole time as she requires holding and snuggling and being attached at the hip almost constantly. By the time her bedtime comes around (and on many nights, long before that point) I really just need a break...a little time unattached to her so I can recharge for the next day of our conjoined interaction.

Dear Daughter has been this way since birth at both bedtime, and until recently, naptime as well. I tried a little Ferber method at naptime when she was about 6 months old, and it just didn't work. Zoe would only get madder when I finally entered the room and attempted to console her without picking her up (true "Ferber-style"). To make the problem worse, she went through frequent phases of waking up every time we attempted to lay her down, whether she had been asleep or not. Then she would cry and cry and cry and cry and never stop. If we picked her up to console her, the whole thing would often simply repeat endlessly.

Nap time got easier a couple months ago. After a story and little snuggle time, she is often fine going right to her crib, and she does not cry at all. I assure her "Mommy will be back" and she repeats "Mommy be back" and we blow each other kisses as I walk out the door of her room.

Until last night, bedtime has been a different story. Zoe has required being held and cuddled until she is asleep. The great majority of the time she will then allow being put in her crib and either will not wake up, or if she does, she will not cry for very long before going back to sleep. However, the more pregnant I become, the harder it is for me to hold her for very long in the rocking chair in her room as my tail bone begins to really hurt, and it is hard to stand up out of the chair with a baby in my belly as well as a 30 pound baby in my arms. Last night I held her a good long while before deciding that I really had to put her down and get a little break before going to bed myself. She resisted going to her crib and wrapped her little arms tightly around my neck as if clinging for dear life and cried like her heart was breaking. I finally just squeezed her and kissed her and told her how much I love her and assured her "Mommy will be back!" Then I layed her on her little pillow and covered her up with her blankie (which she insists on, even if it is 105 degrees outside) and tucked in her stuffed kitty cat beside her. In between sobs came a pitiful little voice with a broken heart stating, "Mommy be back!" as if assuring herself. She said it one more time as I patted her head and said "Night night, Sweetie!" and as I turned to walk out of the room came the little voice again between sobs, "Night night, Mommy!" without even raising her head off the pillow. No complaining, no standing up and screaming in the crib, just a pitiful little voice echoing a broken little heart, resolving to accept that it was time to go night night without Mommy. I didn't hear another peep out of her. While clearly broken-hearted over the event, never before has she been this graceful about it. I shut her door behind me and choked back tears.

Two years of longing to be able to put her in her crib at a decent hour and have her go to sleep without all the drama and trauma, and when it finally happened, it took everything in me not to run back in and snatch her back up out of her crib and hold her close.

Thursday, July 21, 2005

Zoe's New Sibling

There's just something about little girls....

When we found out I was pregnant with Zoe, we just expected a boy. After all, that seems to be what the men in Brian's family produce. His brother has four boys, and going back in his family tree, there are many more boys on the men's side than girls. So, I quietly dreamed of having a girl, but accepted the likely fact that we too would birth male offspring. I was so excited when we found out Zoe was a girl. I didn't think a whole lot about the what the next one would be. Quite frankly, I couldn't fathom having another one after going through it once. And I'm not just talking about the experience of giving birth and the unfortunate event of having my abdomen sliced open...and the experience of being deadened to all movement and feeling from the waist down, which included the horrid freaky aspect of realizing no matter how hard I told my brain to make my legs move, they would not. At least not for a few hours. Until this particular experience, the worst medical procedure I had experienced was several years previous when a doctor sliced the toenal in half on my big toe and attempted to cut one side of it out of the adjoining flesh. Unfortunately that toenail grew back in as before and has been chronically ingrown ever since. It has now been more than seven years since that terrible procedure, and I have not been able to return to a doctor to request that it be fixed again. Yet here I find myself, about to repeat an even worse experience with the whole giving birth process. Granted, I hope that a repeat C-section is not going to be required. Nevertheless, in spite of having not experienced the other method of giving birth, I don't expect it will be a whole lot more enjoyable.

So why am I going through this again? The answer can be found in this post from several months ago. Every once in awhile I have to regain that perspective and climb back into that mindset. Especially during moments that my daughter, darling though she may be, is whining and pitching fits and clinging to me like velcro every minute of any particular given day. There's a bright side and a dark side to everything. Someone once said that without the darkness, one would be incapable of experiencing the bright side--or something to that effect.

As Zoe has grown and is now approaching her second birthday, she is more fun than she's ever been. When we are leaving the house to go somewhere, she must don one of her stylish hats and grab one of her own purses, and sometimes include her pink sunglasses. Then she jubilantly exclaims, "Let's go!" and off she goes down the driveway towards the car. Those moments make my heart melt, and I never want them to end. I think to myself that it can never get any better than to be the Mommy of a little girl.

We learned yesterday that God is giving us a little boy this time. I can't seem to wrap my mind around that one. Yet I remembered this morning that at about this stage in my pregnancy with Zoe, I told my doctor that I couldn't fathom the concept loving my own child as much as I love my 18 year old cat (who was a mere 16 years old at that point). A couple years later, I still love my 18 year old cat, but I laugh at myself for wondering if I could love my own child as much. The love I have for my daughter and the bond I have with her puts my love for the old cat to shame (sorry, old man!). There is just no comparison. And so I have to believe, in spite of my infatuation with my precious little girl and her hats and purses and being unable to imagine being a mommy to a little boy, that I will laugh at myself again in a year or two when I reflect on the depth of my love for him and how I wondered if I could ever love a little boy the way I love my little girl. I think being a parent is just like that--you cannot fathom the concept until you are in the midst of it.

Saturday, July 16, 2005

4th of July

Playing in my sandbox on the new deck...

It's just not fun until I lie on my tummy in the middle of it!

Friday, July 15, 2005

"Gorly Bears!"

I am happy to say the gliches I was having posting photos are resolved and I am back in business of catching up on stuff.

These photos of Zoe are from several weeks ago when Zoe got a 4th of July box from Great Uncle Ron and Great Aunt Pat. She got several red white and blue beanie bears in various sizes. When I told her their names are "Glory" she began calling them her "Gorly bears."

You can tell she just woke up from her nap before I took these photos. We did our usual routine and went out to the mailbox together after I got her up from her nap. On our way, we tripped on the box from G Uncle Ron and G Aunt Pat, which was on the doorstep. Zoe recognized the trademark "Priority" print on the box and knew who it was from. She couldn't wait to open it up and see what was inside. She spent the next half hour arranging and rearranging the "Gorly bears" and sitting the little ones in the big one's lap, saying that they were "snuggling."

Incidentally, I wanted to mention to G Uncle Ron and G Aunt Pat that Zoe really enjoyed your visit. Tuesday morning when I told her it was time to go to Grandma's, she squealed and said "Grandma's house! Ron and Pat!" I had to tell her that Ron and Pat went home. She looked a little concerned and confused. It was kinda sad.

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Catch Up!

I've spent the past hour and a half sorting photos and uploading them to my photoblog site. I had 111 photos to sort through and edit and select from. There have been more changes to my photoblog site, which translates into more problems getting photos uploaded to this site. The current problem, as you can see, is that I'm having problems with sizing. I will have to work through this "bug" (pun intended...continue reading...) before I post any more photos. Hopefully I'll get it figured out soon as I have a whole lot of photos to catch up. For now, you can view them at the photoblog site by double clicking on one of them.

These pictures are Zoe's new swing set from a couple weeks ago. Yet to come are photos from 4th of July and Great Uncle Ron and Aunt Pat's visit, including the early birthday party we had for Zoe while they were here. Incidentally, I have some cute pictures that include G Uncle Ron and G Aunt Pat, but I didn't want to post them without permission from them. Let me know whether you would rather me not post your photos or if you are okay with it, and I will include some of them if you are okay with it. You can send me a comment by linking below, or send me an email to let me know.

Zoe loves having her own slide. Unfortunately, it has typically been too hot to play outside much and enjoy it.

And when the weather isn't too hot, there are the buzzing, dive-bombing, shiny green flying beetles to contend with. Just standing in the backyard is sometimes more than my nerves can handle. What is with these awful bugs? I sincerely do not remember this awful plague many years ago before moving back to this area. In the past few years they have seemed to get worse and worse and worse.

The other night one of these God-forsaken critters followed Brian into the house. Brian saw it out of the corner of his eye and thought it was a moth, so we didn't think much else about it when we could not find it. A couple hours later I headed to bed and turned on the lamp at my bedside. Suddenly this buzzing, flying creature appeared out of nowhere. I swear these evil creatures are stalking me, even in my own bedroom! If you've never seen a pregnant 33 year old woman dancing a jig around a room, you've missed out. There I was shrieking and flailing around, coaching (no, ORDERING) my patient and tolerant husband to get the *@&#$ thing! He flailed around the room for awhile as well, trying to figure out how to catch it without losing sight of it, I was yelling crazy things the whole time, including the fact that I would not sleep in that room again until the awful creature was killed. Fortunately, it was captured in short order and Zoe was not awakened by the commotion!

When I go outside to play with Zoe, I take a flyswatter with me to swat them away. I try not to make a big deal out them in front of her (no easy task)! It is hard to swat at these awful bugs that give me the willies in a major way without it not appearing a big deal. I am sure I look to passersby like a crazy woman having some sort of psychotic schizophrenic breakthrough as I swat the air madly to keep these evil demons away.

We have set out the area trademark Japanese Beetle Bag Traps, and it has gotten much better. I swear we've bagged about 10,000 of them so far (yes, I'm exaggerating, but we've definitely had a couple bags full in less than a week). If you're not from around these parts, let me encourage you not to visit until after a good hard freeze.

Update on Zoe's Finger

The second lump on Zoe's finger has been shrinking since the second opinion we sought out. We followed up again on Monday with the orthopedist, and she indicated that given that the lump is half or less the size it originally was, she feels we should just wait and watch it. She recommended no further action unless it grows again, causes Zoe pain, or interferes with her fine motor skills. She did indicate we could follow up in another year if it does not appear to be completely gone to get another x-ray and ensure that there is no impact on the bone structure. She was not concerned about it being anything dangerous given that it is shrinking, has no discoloration, and is not painful. The original lump that has been diagnosed as a hemangioma has not appeared to change in size over the past couple months and is the smallest it has ever been for the longest period of time.

We appreciate everyone's prayers for Zoe and ask you to continue to pray with us that the lumps will both completely disappear and be entirely healed. We are thankful that we did not go through with the surgery and that at this stage it appears that surgery will not be necessary.

Friday, July 01, 2005

Cheeseburger for Breakfast

Yea! I think Zoe is finally on her way to being completely potty trained! I began to notice a trend that when she was in the bathtub or in her swimming suit (which I began to put on her without a diaper) she would ask to use the potty. However, as long as she had diapers or training pants on, she never asked. So one day when I didn't have to leave the house for anything, I decided to let her run around naked all day and see if she consistently used the potty. Yep! Not a single accident, and she was pleased as punch with herself. The following day, even though she had a diaper on, she asked to use the potty every time and not a single wet diaper. So, aside from nap time and bedtime, when I do diaper her, she is using the potty full time. I have moved her into regular big girl underpants and she's been using the potty for 5 days now without any accidents. She likes to sit on the potty and say "Make it yellow!" This is not something I taught her, and Grandma H swears she didn't either, so I guess Zoe just came up with that one on her own. She is funny like that.

Zoe has a new slide and swing for her birthday. I picked it up from someone in our neighborhood who advertised it on their front lawn. Now she has her very own slide and is pretty excited about it. I will post pictures in the near future. The night we picked it up and put it together for her, she was absolutely beside herself dying to climb on the slide whether we had it assembled or not. It was after 7:30 pm by the time she could get on it to play. The next morning she woke up and one of the first words she uttered was "Slide!" I suggested breakfast first, but she had a one track mind shrieking, "Slide! Slide!" relentlessly. So out we went...barely 8:00 in the get started on the slide. Forty five minutes later she was ready for breakfast. The thing is, when Zoe wants something, she is sure about what she wants and she wants it NOW! When I asked her what she wanted for breakfast, she insisted she wanted cheeseburger and would not consider any other options. I figured there were worse things than cheeseburger for breakfast, so Zoe got cheeseburger and applesauce for breakfast. We pretty much had an entire day like that, with Zoe getting a head start on practicing being two years old.

I tried hard to pick my battles all day or else we would be head to head over everything. I was about at the end of my rope when we went out to play on her slide again just before lunch and I started to engage in a battle with her about not spraying her new slide with the garden hose. I mainly just didn't want her getting her clothes all wet. Then I figured, oh well, a little water is less of a headache to deal with than a power struggle with an almost-two-year-old. So I let her spray it down. Then she wanted to slide down it. I had already resolved that I would have a wet child to deal with by the time we went inside, so I let her do her thing. I didn't consider that a wet slide would mean a very SLICK slide. Down she went, faster than lightening and catapulted herself a good 5 feet into the middle of the yard before landing squarely on her butt. Fortunately she was not hurt, but we were both quite surprised, and she was crying and upset. Please note I had been trying to convince for 20 minutes before this whole incident that it was time to go inside for lunch, and she would have nothing to do with. Now, dripping wet, crying over her breakneck trip down the slide, and in need of a good cleanup before we could do anything else, she decides she wants lunch. NOW!

I am hoping that this is all a short lived stage in Zoe's life, but I fearfully expect that this is just the beginning of something that will probably not run its course quickly enough.