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Thursday, August 25, 2005

Great Aunt Pat and Great Uncle Ron

G. Aunt Pat and G. Uncle Ron sent a photo of G. Uncle Ron reading a book to Zoe, and I hung it on the bulletin board in the kitchen that Zoe can see from her high chair. There are probably a dozen or more photos of Zoe on the bulletin board, but she picked the new one out right away without anyone mentioning a thing about it. She pointed at it and said, "That's Zoe and Uncle Ron!" Now she has to point at it every morning and say, "Uncle Ron!" I need to hang this photo up so Zoe can point at Aunt Pat too.

I've gotten in the habit of telling her who has given her which toys when she is playing (and also who's given her which clothes when she gets dressed) so she realizes that even though all her family are not close enough to see her often, they all think of her. She pretty much remembers everything, so now when she is playing with a particular toy she will say on her own something like, "Ron and Pat give you that" or "Grandma and Grandpa M give you that."

Sunday, August 21, 2005

Can't Believe I'm Doing This

I chronicled the "belly shots" when I was pregnant with Zoe but never posted them in a public domain. I struggled with making any of them public this time, but decided family and friends might enjoy seeing how Zachary is growing. I try to separate that concept from how much I am growing (not an easy thing to do). Also, in spite of gaining a whopping 48 pounds with Zoe, I managed to complete the pregnancy without a single stretch mark. If I had stretch marks, I don't think I'd have the nerve to post photos like this.

Incidentally, this one is a couple weeks old. I've been trying to log the progress with a photo every couple of weeks, so I'm due for another one on Tuesday. At this stage, I had already gained 20 pounds. I haven't been on a scale since. I said in the beginning I would not gain 48 pounds again. It took me a year and a half to get the wieght all off last time. However, I'm more focused on doing what's best for the baby, and that means eating if I need to. And quite frankly, that early part of this pregnancy was much like last one. While I never experienced "morning sickness" or throwing up, I simply could not tolerate eating much of anything except breads and cheese and orange juice.

I saw a Discovery Health Channel special on pregnancy the other day and got a scientific reason as to why women who are pregnant often can only tolerate eating carbs. It had to do with chemicals and hormones and stuff. I can't remember the explanation well enough to re-state it. The main thing was that I felt justified when I heard it. Another fascinating fact from that special that I CAN quote verbatim is that during a woman's 40 week pregnancy, she manufactures more hormones than a woman who lives to be 150 years old and NEVER experiences a pregnancy. So when I get in one of those "Don't-Mess-With-Me" moods, it's best just to put up with me. After all, at over 20 weeks into this pregnancy, I'm carrying over 75 years worth of hormones!

My Little Charmer

I do believe that Dear Daughter has gotten much easier to manage these days. Less whining, less meltdowns, less insistency on being held non-stop, less needy of 100% full time parental attention for every waking moment. I've been afraid to think this...let alone say it aloud until now, but there's been several consecutive weeks now that have been easier, so I'm daring to believe it.

I've worked with Dear Daughter for more than a couple months now to help her communicate without whining. I wanted her to learn from the start that there are appropriate ways to ask for things and to talk to Mommy and Daddy. She is plently advanced in her cognitive and verbal skills to understand how to make requests appropriately. It's taken a lot of diligence and patience, but I do believe I am seeing breakthroughs. Now when Dear Daughter whines for something I can say, "Ask nicely, please" and she will restate her request with a clear change in voice that does not include whining. When she gets frustrated and starts one of her two-year-old "fits" (which includes crying, whining, and a deep throat kind of sound akin to growling), I calmly say, "Mommy doesn't like those fits. Calm down and tell Mommy what you need." She can usually regain composure pretty quickly and state what she needs without whining and carrying on. Then she will say, "Mommy doesn't like those fits!"

Even better are the moments we've had when, without any parental prompting whatsoever, a sweet request followed by a "Please" occurs. This happened the other day when Dear Daughter was standing on her step stool at the counter watching me fill a cup with milk for her. She watched me in absolute silence rather than her previous tendency to whine, "Milk! Milk!" nonstop until it's ready. Then, as I was placing the lid on it, she reached her chubby little hand out, smiled sweetly, and said nothing more than, "Please?" Another example was last night when we were playing in her sandbox (well, she was playing in it and I was sitting on a patio chair supervising and controlling the garden hose as she has been into mixing sand and water these days). Dear Daughter grabbed one of the cups she has been using in the sandbox and held it out to me and requested, "Water, please?"

Even better still are the exquisitely charming phrases she has begun to say on her own. A few days ago it was, "Mommy's pretty!" That one has come up again a time or two since, and I have to admit, it melts my heart. But the one that topped all and melted me into a sappy puddle of dizzy love for Dear Daughter occurred just a couple days ago. Keep in mind the context that for many weeks and months it was typical that when I was busy cleaning up the kitchen following a meal, Dear Daughter would fuss and whine and carry on to get my full non-stop attention and wanted me to hold her constantly. A brief break to hold her a few minutes, or simply a few minutes of my undivided attention did not work. Suggesting some toys to play with at my feet did not work. Offering to let her watch a tv show did not work. Even letting her stand on her stool at the sink to watch or "help" did not work. The only thing that calmed her down was for me to abandon everything I was doing, leave the mess as it was--including all the cold items that had not been put back in the refrigerator, and hold her for as long as she deemed necessary. But the other day was a change that was, as I already described, exquisitely charming. She was occupying herself quite well as I stood at the kitchen sink, and then came up and wrapped her little arms and body tightly around one of my legs, patted me on the rear and sweetly announced, "I love Mommy!" And that was the first time I WANTED to abandon everything I was doing, including leaving all the cold items sitting out of the refrigerator, to gather her up into my arms and hold her close forever.

Monday, August 15, 2005

"Two Years Old!"

When asked how old she is, Zoe has to put up two little fingers and say the complete sentence, "Two years old."

She got to have cake and ice cream and blow out the candle twice. Once for her early birthday party with G Uncle Ron and G Aunt Pat, and once for her actual birthday. She actually had to blow out the candle more times than I can count; that was her favorite part. When she saw her candle for the first time, she exclaimed, "Number two!" For quite some time she has been able to correctly identify all the letters of the alphabet and all the numbers through 9. I think she's about ready to start kindergarten. Maybe she'll know her multiplication tables and have mastered long division by that time.

Oh, and I haven't mentioned yet that she is also speaking foreign languages (????). There's a phrase from one of her Baby Einstein DVDs (the language lab one) that teaches sounds and words from other languages. She says a particular phrase and follows by adding, "That's from the 'goofy show'." I called it a "goofy show" once because I thought it was...well...rather goofy. It has ever since been referred to and requested by Zoe as "the Goofy Show."

Zoe also says, "Hola, Mommy!" which I assume she learned from watching Moose A. Moose on the Noggin Network.

By the time she's 5, she will be smarter than I am. Maybe she will tutor me through my doctorate degree should I have the opportunity to pursue it one day.


Zoe loves playing with her "microwave." I made it for her out of a small box covered with aluminum foil. She likes to put the food in and then say, "Wrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr....Ding!" for the sound effects of the microwave. Talk about an imagination. I don't know where she gets that (Ha!).

Thursday, August 11, 2005

"What am I Gonna Do for You?"

This is one of Zoe's new sayings. Not sure where she got it, but she came home from Grandma and Grandpa H's saying it, so I could make a guess. However, I do think she's got a new twist on the phrase, as I am sure it was originally said to her as "What am I gonna do WITH you?"

Zoe repeats EVERYTHING these days. You may think it didn't stick with her because she doesn't come up with it again until quite a bit later, sometimes days later. But apparently these little gems get recorded into her brain and sometimes lie there dormant for awhile. Then, when you least expect it, out it comes. For example, typically by the time I get lunch pulled together and get us both settled down to eat the kitchen looks like a war zone. There's never time to stay up on putting things away and wiping things off while I'm busy trying to make sure Zoe isn't pouring bowls of water on the floor or pulling things off the counter. By the time Zoe's done eating, I'm barely managing to get started as I've been busy the whole time grabbing this or that for her or wiping up her spills. As I've mentioned before, she has NO PATIENCE. So when she is done and wants down out of her high chair, she wants down NOW. Trying to force her to stay seated until I'm done eating is just not worth the battle. At minimum, I insist she stay seated and tolerate my wiping her down to remove from her hands, nose, chin, hair, ears, etc. what's left of whatever food that should have gone into her mouth. One day I commented about the kitchen in general, "Mommy's got a BIG mess to clean up now!" Several days later when I was wiping down the food splattered toddler before getting her down from her highchair, she stated, "Mommy's got a BIIIIIG mess to clean up!"

Then there are the phrases she puts together that I have no idea where they came from. I didn't think barely two years olds spoke in full, complete, and grammtically correct sentences. Zoe continues to prove me wrong. Last night before putting her to bed, she announces, "Zoe's thirsty!" I figured she probably was, as she had been outside splashing and rolling around in the swimming pool fully clothed for a good long while (that's a story for another day), riding her "bicycle" around the driveway, and drawing portraits on all the concrete surfaces (and some that weren't concrete) with her sidewalk chalk before coming inside to take a bath and get ready for bed. So I took her in to her new rubber duckie themed bathroom where we keep a small Zoe-sized cup for such times as this, and kept filling it up for her. She swigged down each one, gasping for air in-between requests for "More!" I began wondering if she was just stalling the inevitable event of going to bed and was formulating my plan of attack on how to cut her off from the water-guzzling and avoid a big meltdown. She interrupted my thought process when she sweetly handed me the cup and said, "I've had enough!" I was thoroughly charmed, and squeezed her tight and covered her with kisses before I said, "What am I gonna do for you?" and tucked her in for the night.

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Tea Party with Elmo

Poor Elmo! He's been held hostage at Zoe's new table and chair set and made to sample all of Zoe's new and imaginative food creations for the past several days.

Zoe had wonderful birthday celebration AGAIN last Saturday. The toy food and grocery collection she got from Mommy and Daddy has probably been the biggest hit. We got them to go with the toy shopping cart that Grandpa and Grandma M got her, and she has been having a great time pushing it around the house and going "shopping." It was late when her party ended, and she went to bed thoroughly wiped out. As soon as she woke up Sunday morning, she couldn't wait to play with all her new toys. She didn't want anything to do with sitting in her highchair for breakfast, but we had limited time to get her (and us) pulled together to get to church on time. I suggested she sit at her new table and have breakfast with Elmo. While she thought this sounded like a great idea, her bowl of Cheerios and banana held her interest for about 3 minutes before she was off running around the house collecting different items from her plastic food collection and bringing them back to the table for Elmo to sample. Then she would run off to "drive" her new cozy coupe car. Eating breakfast was the least of her interests.

Finally we just decided to settle for cramming a bite into her mouth at whatever opportune time we could find.