Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Almost 2. How Did That Happen?

Dear Hazel,
This weekend, you turned 23 months old.  And celebrated the huge accomplishment by coming down with croup.  That was fun.  Almost as fun as molars.

I felt so bad for you, baby girl.  Just listening to you struggling to breathe was awful.  But a couple of shots of steroids later and you returned to a somewhat happy Bird.  You still spiked a temp every now and then... and let's be honest here, kicked Mommy and Daddy's butts in the process... but overall, you were still our sweet little girl that just wanted to be happy and were willing to fight for it.

The last couple of months have been amazing for you.  You've had your fair share of teething pains and you're also starting to skip naps or severely limiting your nap to just 1 hour.  Gone are the beautiful days of 3 hour naps, I'm afraid.  I miss those days already.  Because with taking just the 1 hour nap?  Someone throws A LOT more tantrums, these days.

You've also started to play more independently, which is so much fun to watch.  You especially love playing in your playhouse in the backyard.  I've got to get you some more props because I think you're losing the novelty of bringing me the fake corn or bread when I ask for it.  And, Grandma and Grandpa have some explaining to do because after they babysat you and your sissy for a weekend while Daddy and I had some much needed adult time, I came home to discover that when you played in the house and handed me a cup, instead of saying "wa-wa", you were instead saying "pop".  I guess we can be grateful that you're not saying Dr. Pepper. Yet.

Speaking of your playhouse, I've had your Daddy spray it repeatedly for spiders.  Because - and you'll soon learn this - Mommy will put up with a lot of things.  You can hand Mommy a booger and she'll thank you for it, before wiping it on the grass.  You can hand Mommy dog poop and she'll thank you for it and then remind you that rocks are not soft.  You can hand her "poot" (poop) from when you stick your hands down your diaper, and she'll hold the vomit in and wash your hands before reminding you that "poot" stays in the diaper.  But what you should never - MUST NEVER - do, is hand Mommy a spider. While calling it a bug.
Listen, sweetie... there are bugs... and there are SPIDERS. And spiders?  Not. Bugs.  An aphid?  Yes... an aphid is a bug.  And Mommy doesn't mind you playing with an aphid... or a roly-poly bug or a dragonfly or a grasshopper.  Those are cool things and Mommy's totally down with watching you interact with your world and nature.  But spiders?  SPIDERS ARE NOT NATURE.  Spiders are evil.  Spiders can kill people, sweetie.  Aphids?  No.  Aphids don't kill people.  Grasshoppers?  Grasshoppers kill crops... but that's okay because we live in Utah and the grasshoppers know that if they get out of hand the seagulls will be all: "Oh, no, you diin't!"  So the grasshoppers keep a low profile around here. (Non-Utahn's will never understand the genius that is those last two sentences.  But you'll get it.  Eventually) Dragonfly's?  Dragonfly's don't kill people.  They eat mosquito's.  And they make Mommy happy cuz they're purty.  Spiders?  Even on the off chance that the spider you're handing me doesn't kill people, he has a distant cousin in Australia, Iraq or next door (lookin' at you black widow and brown recluse) that can. And will.  And even if he doesn't kill, he can maim (lookin' at you hobo spider). Therefore, the only responsible thing to do when you see a spider is to hyperventilate and scream until your Daddy comes running with a shoe.  Have I clarified this enough for you?  Bugs, good. Spiders... can go straight to hell.  That's where they came from.  Send them home, sweetie.  Do NOT hand one to me in a teacup.  Ever. Again.


You are talking so much these days.  And you pick up on EVERYTHING.  And I do mean, EVERYTHING.  In fact, Mommy currently "owns" a lot of words that we don't exactly want you repeating in public.  That's okay, though... cuz Daddy owns a few things of his own... like how you shove Costco samples into your mouth whole, rather than taking bites.  Yep.  Daddy owns THAT one.  You can also, apparently, spell.  Because you used to jump up immediately and head for the door when a walk was suggested.  So we started spelling walk.  It took about two days before you picked up on that and as soon as we spelled  W-A-L-K, you'd run to the door, and yell:  WALK!!! 

You also like to play on your computer.  And pull it out whenever Mommy or Daddy are on our computer.  There's just something about OMG BUTTONS!!! that you can't get enough of.  And heaven help us if you see Mommy put something in her pocket and you go to do the same and discover - horror of horrors - that you don't have a pocket in those pants.  THE HUMANITY!  THE ABSOLUTE INDIGNITY OF NOT HAVING POCKETS WHEN YOU NEED A FREAKIN' POCKET!

And while you're getting really good at verbalizing what you want, you still confound us with some of your words that we simply cannot figure out.  But when we do figure out what you mean, we feel like we've just passed some sort of Toddler Test.  For instance, you have been saying EC, a lot.  And it started shortly after Aunt KC babysat you and we just assumed that that was how you said Aunt KC.


EC apparently stands for two things: 

1) Under the Sea... as in The Little Mermaid song... as in watching the video of Under the Sea on the computer. Over and over and over and over and over....

2) TV.  And now we know how Aunt KC keeps you entertained in our absence.  You say EC all the time.  And unfortunately, when either Mommy or Daddy is single-parenting it, we've had to sit you in your chair, and turn on the EC to Little Einsteins or Sesame Street so that we can feed Millie and put her to bed.  So... we're reinforcing the EC.  And it sucks.  But sometimes... well, sometimes that EC has saved our lives.  Seriously... I'm not sure what people did before EC.  I'm not sure how they kept their toddler out of the nursery, or kept them from setting the house on fire... but the EC has magical properties in that it can keep a toddler in a trance so that you can feed the baby and get dinner ready without having to navigate around Curious Hazel. 

Ah, Curious Hazel.  Curious Hazel loves to help.  Curious Hazel loves to throw away her diaper or her sissy's diaper.  And Curious Hazel likes to put stuff in the sink.  Things that may or may not belong in the sink.  Mommy has recently lost a wine glass to a bottle that you threw in the sink when I wasn't looking.  The good news is... there are more glasses where that one came from.  And you were just trying to help.  I cannot and will not ever get mad at that.  And I will remember this when you're a teenager and I can't get you to pick up a thing.

I've had to keep an eye on you lately because you think that you can pick up your sissy and I've had to jump up quickly and remind you that sissy need to stay on the ground.  You like to say "sissy" a lot.  And you have started saying Millie... but it comes out Miwwee.  And it's so stinkin' cute that I've started saying Miwwee. 

You've started to 'negotiate' bedtime.  Which I'm not a fan of.  We have decided that when it's time to wind down for the night, you get to pick one book for Daddy to read to you, and one book for Mommy to read to you.  And that's it.  Then we brush our teeth, give you a kiss and put you to bed.  We've had a few maintenance sessions of letting you cry for a bit... but this is non-negotiable, as far as I'm concerned.  7:30 is the latest you'll go to bed (barring a late night with friends occasionally) until you're much, much older.  Say, 21?

Speaking of books... my goodness, do you like to read!!  And not only that, but you are really understanding what's going on in the pictures.  And that, to me, is amazing.  The other night, we were reading Dr. Seuss' Foot Book.  And when we got to the part of "Well feet, Sick feet", you looked at the little character in the book, saw that his feet were "sick" and bandaged up, got a perplexed look on your face and said: "Ohhh." and leaned in to give the feet a kiss to make it better.  We read that book 15 times that night and every single time we came to the sick feet, you became very concerned.  As if you could feel the pain of the sick feet.  I've started showing you pictures of happy babies and crying babies... and you get very concerned when you see the picture of the crying baby and always give it a kiss. 

It's so stinkin' adorable I want to cry.

Currently you love having your hair done.  In a ponytail on top, pwease.  Which is good because you're hair is OUT of control and Mommy doesn't really know what to do with it other than to put it in a ponytail on top of your head, and smile politely when people giggle and say: "Awwww... she's so cute!  Did she do her hair by herself?"  Look... I happen to think you look great as Pebbles Flintstone. In fact... that's given me a great idea for Halloween.

You definitely know what you want and you're pumped that you can now verbalize it and Mommy jumps whenever you say:  Nana, wa-wa, melk, walk, park, pocket, rocks, acorn, tots, bib or piwwow.  In fact, I do believe that you wait until I get comfortable or am doing something else to ask me for something.  Even if you don't really want or need it.  You just like having the power to get me to do something.  The good news is that with this power comes great responsibility.  And since I know you now understand what I'm saying, there's a little more logic in my parenting.  Rather than just taking something from your hand because I know that negotiation is futile, I can reason with you (somewhat) and often get you to relinquish your grip on the rock or the dolly that's not yours.  When you hit... and yes, you hit... Mommy or Daddy can talk to you about why we don't hit.  And it usually ends with you saying sorry (sowwy) and giving us a hug and a kiss. 

That part of parenting rocks. 


Thursday, September 22, 2011

7 Months??

Dear Milliseconds,
Can you tell that Mommy and Daddy discovered auto correct on their new phones this weekend?  And Millie quickly became Millieseconds... and we were to busy trying to figure out how the actual phone worked to bother with fixing the auto correct.

Today, you turned 7 months old.  Amazing.  You have had QUITE the month.  First off, you finally got some teeth!!!  Two of them popped through on September 1st.  Just in time for Labor Day.  And just in time for Mommy and Daddy to take a trip to Chicago and leave you and your sis in the care of Aunt KC and Grandma and Grandpa.  Also, at about the same time as those teeth popping through, you went on a MASSIVE growth spurt.  The kind where you stopped sleeping 14 hours a night and woke up to feed in the middle of the night and then again at 6 a.m.  This, of course, is after I had assured Aunt KC that you were a piece of cake and wouldn't give her any trouble.  But you were all:  "Cake?  Where's the cake?  I heard there was cake!"

So, that was fun for about two weeks before you went back to your regularly scheduled awesomeness.  I think that you knew we were at the end of our rope... and has possibly heard Daddy and I arguing about the need for you to "cry it out".  I have been a staunch opponent of the "cry it out" with you.  Why?  Because you NEVER cry.  You NEVER ask for ANYTHING.  So, when you do cry, something is wrong.  You're not just crying to mess with us... like your sis does did does. Anyway, the night we were going to let you cry it out, well... you just magically slept through the night.  Daddy and I woke up at 6 a.m. (because at this point, we had been trained) and looked at each other in confusion.  "Did you feed her during the night?  NO??? IS SHE STILL ALIVE?  Or has she starved to death in her sleep???"

The next night, I had a date with my friend and left you and Hazel in Daddy's capable hands.  And apparently, things went right to hell were rough for a bit around (what we lovingly refer to as the Witching half-Hour)  6-6:30.  Hazel was screaming for food and you were starving because you had last eaten at 5 and you expect to be fed right before bed and... IT'S TIME TO EAT AND WHEN IT'S TIME TO EAT, THERE BETTER BE SOME FOOD IN MY GENERAL VICINITY MOUTH RIGHT. NOW.

So, Daddy put you in bed and ran to fix your bottle... all the while both you and your sis were screaming your heads off.  And then as suddenly as it started, it stopped.  You passed out after less than a minute of crying.  Further bolstering Daddy's claim that Mommy is too much of a softy with you.

Which means that YOU helped prove Daddy right.  You have a lot of explaining to do.  Once you can talk.

In other groundbreaking developments, guess who is finally sitting up on her own??  It's been tough with you, Millie.  You always seemed to list to the left.  And then after your listing... you just fell headfirst. And then proceeded to wiggle around and army-man it (head down, mind you) to the other side of the room.  But on September 10, I put you down really quickly so that I could run to the back of the house and put my face on... and when I came back out 10 minutes or so later, you were still sitting up in the same spot.  Looking very pleased with yourself.

And just like that, we are one step closer to being totally screwed.  Because I really feel like you're going to be legitimately crawling in the next month or so.  And after that?  Well, you're already a big, BIG fan of standing up.  I don't believe you'll be contained much longer.

And you cannot WAIT for that day.  Because, let me tell you... you are so ready to get in on the action.  You watch your older sister so closely and so intently that I just know that eventually, the morning routines are going to include the two of you ganging up on me and running wild.

You are still the happiest baby in school.  Even when you're a little sick.  I'll come to pick you up after work and I'll hear one or two babies losing their minds and I'm always a little worried that it's you.  Because no mom wants to think about her baby being upset or unhappy at day care.  But whenever I walk in, you're just laying there, playing with your toes or gnawing on a toy, just enjoying the world.  And lately when I walk in, you look at me and you smile so big that I'm actually afraid your face is going to break.

Lately, you've become a bit of a snuggler and want to be sitting on my lap or just be held all the time.  In fact, when I put you down and sit behind you, you immediately turn and crawl on to me.  It's amazing to me because you've never really cared to be held at all.  You've also become a big fan of my hair to help anchor you to place.  And hey, if that hair is also available for you to drool on, who are you to complain.

You are not a really big fan of loud things (except your sister) or dogs.  Especially dogs.  Aunt KC brought Gus over once and you almost started hyperventilating.  (I really need to get that on film... if only I wouldn't feel like a bad mother for doing it on purpose to you.)  It's so strange to me because your older sister immediately loved noisy things and dogs and kittys.  But you... you're not having it.  Dogs and kittys may as well be aliens sent to suck out your brains.  And loud noises.  Where do I begin?  We have a little toy with a monkey on top of it that makes noise when it rolls and your sister loves to pick it up and slam it on the ground (you know, to break in the new flooring) and to you this is the equivalent of an actual monkey... in a cat suit... riding a dog... and stealing your binkie.

You started eating solids a couple of weeks ago.  It took a while for you to come around to the cereal, but when you finally got used to it, you murdered it every time we fed you.  We have recently introduced other "solids" like pureed peaches and sweet potatoes.  Each of which result in full-body shivers and a stubborn refusal to eat another bite.  Of anything.  Look at you... 6 months old and you've already been labeled as our "picky eater".  Who knew that Chilly Millie would have such high standards for food?

You've also slowed down your eating since your growth spurt.  And some days, it's hard for me to get you to eat more than a tablespoon of cereal and 4 oz of milk at a sitting.  Which, is probably normal for most babies.  Who aren't giants.  But for 7-month-olds who are already easily fitting into 12-18 month old clothes?  THEY EAT. 

I can't wait to see what this next month brings you.  I already suspect that the next few weeks will see you no longer in the infant carrier... you're getting REALLY heavy to carry in that thing and I've started to just take you out of it and carry you in to day care.  It's sad to me because... well, it just means that pretty soon, I'm not going to have a baby anymore.  And you'll want to walk into school like your sister.  And then... well then what am I good for?  Besides wiping your butt?


Saturday, September 17, 2011

Home Opener

Dear Hazel,
Tonight, you went to your first football game of the year.  And, oh boy... were you in heaven!  Since it was Game Day, Daddy dressed you in your Wildcat Girl shirt when you woke up this morning.  By noon, it was de-waitforit-stroyed.  And, Mommy decided that you certainly couldn't go to the tailgate looking like you were the loser in a food fight with the Hamburgler.  So, we got you dressed in your second outfit of the day and headed out.

Big mistake for Mommy to go with the white shirt.  With all of that food, it didn't take long for you to leave your mark... all over the front of your shirt.  Strawberries?  Applesauce? BBQ sauce? Brownies?  Check, check, check and check.  Using the carrots as a transportation device to eat Ranch?  Check.  Double-dipping?  Check.  Touching all of the watermelon before finally choosing a piece?  Check.  Grabbing multiple brownies and then crying when Mommy told you you could only have one?  Check and check.  Taking a bribe in the form of a cookie?  Check.  Chewing the chicken and then spitting it out in Mommy's hand because you had sucked all the bbq sauce off of it?  Check. 

In the good news department, none of my colleagues appeared to judge me for allowing you to eat a chip off of the asphalt.  In fact, there was applause all around when you managed to pick up said chip underneath the table and not to hit your head when you stood back up.  That's my girl... spatially aware.

I had to take your sissy home before the game started, so you and Daddy had a date to the game.  Apparently, you're a big football fan.  Whenever the crowd started to cheer, you'd start to clap and yell: "Running!  Running!  Running!".  You also scored yourself a big foam paw.  Which you looked at in wonder while saying:  "Rawr!  Rawr! Rawr!"

When you got home tonight, you were eager to show me the paw.  And you were an absolute angel. You let me change your diaper and put you to bed without so much as a wimper.

So... I guess the secret for your bedtime routines is junk food and football games?  Sure.  That'll be easy to replicate every night. 


On Why I Would Suck As A Stay-At-Home Mom

Today, Benny tried to distract Hazel from a meltdown (Millie was eating her favorite book... again) by asking her to count the "owies" on his hands.  Owies, of course, being blisters from pullups at Crossfit.  Seriously... Benny has princess hands that tear like a fine muslin fabric.  He can just walk by the pullup bar and get a blister on his hand.  It's totally sexy.

So, while I was changing Millie, Hazel started counting the owies.  "Two, tree, foe, figh, sis, seben, eight..."

Here's the thing.  We knew that she could count to three... albeit, skipping "one".  But she's got the two and three down.  What neither of us realized is that our little 22-month-old could count to eight (still skipping the one, but yea... you get the point). 

Benny and I looked at each other and simultaneously said:  DID YOU TEACH HER THAT?

No.  That would be the teachers at school.  Sadly, I'm the mom who doesn't think that her kid is ever old enough to learn anything.  So, whenever Hazel throws out a new word, I'm blown away.  Especially when it's a word that we haven't been practicing.  The other day, she looked at a picture of a hen and said "chikin".  This was right before she showed me an aphid on her arm while saying "bug".  Which was seconds before she handed me a toy tea cup, staring at it intently and saying "bug"... which turned out to be a freakin' SPIDER. 

In a related note, I have managed to teach Hazel to scream like a little girl.

So, I've got that going for me.