Wednesday, April 28, 2010


How did she learn that? I get this question ALOT about you. At 5 weeks you turned over from belly to back and by 7 weeks you did back to belly. You always had a mastery of head contol since birth. You sat up by yourself by 3.5 months. At 4.5 mo you began crawling around. At 5 months you pulled yourself up to stand. By 10 months you were walking well. Not learning to walk, WALKING. That is who you are. I don't do anything but watch in amazement. I only know you. I only know how you grow and develop. It seemed fast to me and the doctor agreed. But I have no clue how you learn these things so quickly.

Now the words are coming so fast. You point to the door and say "outside."
Outside. What 13 month old says OUTSIDE?
Bubbles? Shoes? Banana????
Where DID you learn these words? I am so tickled about the things you pick up on. Yesterday you plopped yourself down and started playing with daddy's shoes. You kept saying "shoes" over and over.
You have been saying at least one new word a day.
"Juice" was one the other day.
How your little brain must be absorbing life.
And we can't forget about "cookie" or "uh oh" a favorite when you throw your toys out of the bathtub.
AND you always use these words correctly. You point at the bubbles when saying it since you want to play with bubbles. You say shoes when it is time to go somewhere or when you want to go somewhere like outside!
I say I never got to have an infant. You were hardly ever helpless. Just look at these photos from last spring... you were 8-10 weeks old?!?!

Next week, I am going to Florida for a conference. You are staying in Maryland. My heart aches at the thought of being away from each other for 5 whole days!!! But I know you will survive. You always have. You are so strong and so independent you don't need me every minute of every day... you never did.

You have always been your own person, on your own schedule. I can't push you to do anything. I try, but things happen only on your terms.

I find it funny when people ask "Where did she learn that?!?!"
I always have to answer, "I have no idea. She just is."

Sunday, April 25, 2010

13 Months Old

Today you are 13 months old.

You have begun to dream and wake at night. You cry out for a few seconds and then fall back asleep. I wonder what you dream about. Apparently you are just able to start dreaming, it occurs for the first time between 12-14 months.

You talk more and more. Tonight, we think you said "thank you," it was clear as a bell. You say "hi" and "up" and "dog" and "mom" and "dad" and other noises that don't make sense to us. You have some noise for "cat" that leaves off the t. You point at an object and babble gibberish for about 30 seconds. I always try to respond something like "I see that flower! Isn't is pretty?" or "Show me what you want." You have become quite the communicator both verbally and with gestures.

Best of all? You have started to play by yourself for long periods of time. During this imaginative play, you talk to yourself and fiddle with a variety of your toys. This free time for me has been wonderful! I have been able to do the dishes and other chores while you're awake. Sometimes I garden, sometimes I just sit and sip tea and watch you play.

You still have a fascination with outside and ask to go all the time by pointing at the back door. You become annoyed when someone goes outside and doesn't bring you along. Today it was misting, cold and foggy. Still you insisted on going outside to play before mass. You mostly play with the bubbles and want to swing on the hammock. But you love exploring the backyard and all the nature items that seem to be very tasty. You love the park and will play there all day if I let you.

At 13 months, your love of people has not lessened. You went to the church nursery for the first time today and you didn't have an issue being left with people you've never met before. You walk in the room, we talk to the teacher for a while, you engage in play with a little boy engrossed in the pile of cars. You have this uncanny ability to fit in wherever you go. Strangers become friends so easily for you.

A new fascination has arisen with my wallet and purse. You love to carry around my purse. Or you will squat and take everything out of my purse and inspect each piece very carefully. I find my cards and phone and keys strewn all over the house. It wasn't very fun today when it took daddy and I a 1/2 hr to find all the contents of my wallet!!!

We went and played with baby chicks last night at the local tractor supply store. You loved watching them. You were so enthralled with these animals you had never experienced before. You observed for a long time until it was time to say goodbye.

You brush your teeth by yourself now. I have to wrangle the toothbrush away from you most days when its time to stop. You love brushing your teeth. I don't love the amount of drool that ends up on the front of your shirt.

13 months of you...

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

We've Become One of THOSE Families

I am exhausted. You had drained me of all energy. Every. Last. Ounce. I don't even want to write to you now... but you should know.

You should know about the screaming fits. The never ending screaming fits. You want cookies for breakfast (see previous post), I say no... you start screaming. You want me to pick you up, I say no, you can walk... screaming fit. I read you 5 books, you want another one, I say no time for bed... you got it screaming fit. You cling to me. Hold on to me, want to be carried everywhere. I was assuming your "no" screaming fits and clinging were happening to everyone who watches you... daddy, Ms. Patti, grandma, Reidun.
Nope. You reserve your screaming clinging fits just for me.
Thank you.

I am annoyed at you. Your constant whining, your screaming, your demands. You are only 12 months! We are not suppose to start this stage for another year!!!!
It's not all bad. Really. I try and cherish you in this moment. I admit, it's hard. Very hard. But one day you will not cling to my leg with all your might. One day you will not scream in pain when I walk out of the room.
You have been a classic drama queen... getting so upset over nothing. But it's something big to you. You will break down in a screaming fit over the word "no" and you turn bright red and tears come down your cheeks. To stay sane, I do tend to laugh at you. It's so ridiculous! I hope this is not scarring you. But I tend to think it's better you see me laughing then screaming back you!!!! sighhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh.

So we have become one of those families. One of those families who leashes their out of control toddler. Oh how judgmental I was pre-you.
Who could ever put a leash on their child, like a dog! Unthinkable.
The universe is so funny that way.
In my previous life, I would also complain about people's kids screaming uncontrollably too... and well, you know how the universe repaid me for that!
So we bought a backpack leash. It's pretty fancy, it has a white board attached for you to draw. It's called "Petite Picasso" cute, huh?
Good thing we got this for you... I kept you from falling in the pond yesterday. Really, this is not for everyday use. Only those special occasions like theme parks or the zoo. But we had to try it out the other day.

Oh how my world has change since you. How my perceptions about parenting have had to become actions. Actions that I never thought I would be doing (wiping up your snot with my sleeve... tracking the color & consistency of your poos... the tomato sauce stains that will never come out of my pants). Parenthood is nothing like I imagined. But you are worth it all. All the stains, all the poos, all the screams, all the whining, all the snot!!! I'll tell you a secret, I will allow you take every last ounce of energy from me everyday if it means you will stay healthy and happy. Although I pray this stage will pass quickly :)

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Animal Crackers

Lately, you've had a fascination with animal crackers. We bought a barrel from BJs, a big box store in town, for your birthday party. The last few weeks you constantly search out that barrel and point to it until someone gives you a "cookie" to eat. You went through the entire barrel in two weeks, with some help from the adults. We had to buy a new barrel today. Your appetite for animal crackers in insatiable. I have to cut you off most days by hiding the barrel in an undisclosed location. Here you are in all your animal cracker glory in the shopping cart:

Today for the first time we used the fire truck shopping cart at our local grocery store. You "drove" all the around the store and loved the horn. How much fun it was... well for mommy it was hard to steer but you had a great time!

Later in the car, Reidun had you rolling with laughter from tickling your knees! Who knew your knees were so sensitive to tickles?!?!?

Overall, it was a quiet day. Mass and breakfast with Becca. Lunch and shopping with Ms. Salli and Sister Karen. Then an afternoon of grocery shopping. Now you are asleep and tomorrow we will start again. Another day gone... I hope we made the best of it!

Friday, April 16, 2010

Rainbow Dress

Today you wore a rainbow dress you received as birthday gift. We went to the library play group where Ms. Brenda exclaimed: "That girl needs a tent!" You would not stop playing under the easel where the felt rhymes are done. You would peek out of either side, under it sometimes. Waving your hands at whoever would pay you any attention. Your dad and I set up your tent and tunnel from Christmas. You played all evening in the living room while the thunder storm rolled through. You laughed and laughed. You took books and your piano inside the tunnel. I would grab your feet through the material. You would break down in a fit of giggles.

We spent the afternoon outside. We played with bubbles, swung on the hammock, fed the fish in the pond, played in the dirt. You love to "throw" the ball for the dogs but it never goes far and the dogs don't know whether or not you actually threw it. They stand there befuddled wondering what's wrong with your throwing ability. You laugh. We all laugh.

Lately, you have been communicating rather well. You use jesters and hand signals to tell us what you want. The cutest is when you want out of your highchair or you need to be picked up you lift both hands in the air and wait. You are able to follow simple directions like, "give this bowl to daddy" and you toddle away to hand him the bowl. I tell you to "go get your juice" and you toddle off and find your juice.

Today you went with Daddy and Reidun to the garden store to get mulch. When you arrived home, I waved to you from the back deck and called your name. You looked up at me from the back fence and smiled your toothy grin and waved back at me. It was like a scene out a movie. I went running down the stairs, you toddled as fast as your little legs would allow. We met in front of the pond. I knelt down and held out my arms. You came toward me with your arms outstretched, smile on your face. You embraced me with all the muster a one year old could manage. I held you tight in the hug and was filled with such content I could have exploded. The moment was pure. I want to always remember your tiny hands clutching onto me as if we had been a part for months, not minutes.
Thank you for such love. I feel unworthy but I savor every morsel of it nevertheless.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Mornings With You

One day you will not want me around. I will be "uncool"... probably the word cool will be old fashioned. Maybe it already is.

I work with middle school students. I get it. One day you will either walk 20 feet in front of me or 20 feet behind me but never with me. You will want to go to the mall with friends, hang out with 'just friends' and God forbid I want to tag along. I know this day is coming. I promise not to take offense. It's only natural. You grow up and learn to be by yourself, without me. On the upside, one day you will return to me... as a friend and a daughter. The knowledge of this will keep me sane.

But I am getting ahead of myself. You are only 1. Right now, you want me to hold you. You look pathetically at me with your hands outstretched. You've learned this gets me every time. I pick you up and cuddle. This morning, you didn't want to be put down. You snuggled your head into my chest and hung on tight. Now, when you are walking you instinctively stick your hand up in the air waiting for my hand to grab yours. One day you will not grab for my hand. One day you will not want to cuddle with me.

I am happy for today. I like to relish the time in the morning right when you awake. You want to snuggle just a minute more before it's time to dress and face the world. We tend to linger in the mornings. I watch you sleep, I feed you breakfast, we watch Blues Clues, we pick out an outfit and get dressed. Sometimes we even walk together to the car (very slowly since someone takes small steps). I'm lucky I don't have to rush into work and can spend extra time with you. Too many mornings will be rushed. Too many breakfasts will be eaten in the car. Too many snuggles will be cut short. This morning I took the time to move at your pace. I wish every morning could be this way. I suppose we have the hectic mornings to remind us to savor the ones we can. Oh how I savor our mornings Nora.

One day, too soon, I will be yelling up the stairs for you to hurry up because we're late. You will sulk as I drive you to school, not wanting to be seen with me, then shy away when I go to kiss you goodbye. I will smile to myself, remembering how our mornings used to be.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Picking You Up in the Sunshine

Today I dropped you off at daycare. It was 90 degrees. I knew this afternoon you would get to play outside after your nap. When I picked you up everyone would be outside playing in the sunshine. I looked forward to this moment all day long. As I drove in an hour in traffic listening to NPR. As I gave a school tour to 5th graders who will be attending middle school next year. As I fixed computers, meet with teachers, wrote emails, made calls. All I wanted to do was pick you up and see your smiling face in the sun. I had to leave work by 3:30pm in order to pick you up on time. 3:05pm came then a phone call, then a visit, then a delivery, then a meeting with the principal. Soon it was 3:35pm. I thought, I can still make it! I have to leave NOW!

Then there he was sitting in the principals office. A 7th grade student I do not know that well. He has a "reputation" among the staff. He needed help on a project. No one could stay after to help him. Our principal would but it was her son's 7th birthday and she had to get home for the celebration dinner. I had to get home to pick you up, outside in the sunshine. He needed someone. Someone to sit with him and help him on his project. It's also well known among the staff that this 7th grade student does not have the best home life. You have a great home life. Someone to love you, fix you dinner, play with you in the sun & blow bubbles in the bathtub. This boy does not.

So I called Reidun to ask her to pick you up in the sunshine. As Reidun went to get you, I sat in a hot computer lab next to a student I barely know. I watched, I helped, I encouraged, I taught... I missed you. I missed you in the sunshine. I missed you walking in the grass barefoot, I missed playing ball in the backyard. But I don't regret my decision. I pray I will be blessed with lots of sunshine pick ups outside this summer. I hope that my efforts today will help another child feel appreciated and smart. I have to make decisions as your mommy. I cannot be there for every moment, every pick up, every field trip or project. But I know that someone will be there. Someone in our large village will take over when I can't.

I wish I could do it all.

I did get to visit the Inner Harbor and National Aquarium with you yesterday in Baltimore. All the experience, culture and fun... and you loved the moving sidewalks the best. You would become thrilled whenever it was time to get on one. It would end and you would immediately turn around to jump on again, resulting in tripping some unexpected tourist, who I would then have to apologize too. Although you became crabby toward the end of the day and passed out the moment we got into the car, I enjoyed being with you. Today I could not be with you since I was at work. Tomorrow I want to start again and hopefully if all goes according to plan, I will be able to pick you up in the sunshine. I count on the chance for tomorrow far too much.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Nora goes to Washington

Marta and Troy are in town from Seattle this week. What do we do with out of town visitors the first week in April??? Take them to see the cherry blossoms in Washington DC.

Down we went for the day. It was a good day; clear, sunny, a little bit of wind, in the mid 70s. Although during mid day it did get quite warm. You took a nap as Troy pushed your stroller from the Air and Space museum to the War World II memorial. We walked from Capitol South all the way to the Lincoln Memorial and then around the Tidal Basin to see the flowers. It was quite the adventure.
I grew up in a Washington DC suburb. I have ridden the metro a thousand times. I have walked the mall, ridden the carousel, seen the Air and Space exhibits over and over. Cherry blossoms are no big deal. Happens every year. A few times I marched in the Cherry Blossom Festival parade as a balloon carrier. I forget sometimes how special Washington DC is. It's still the same old set up as from when I was a child. But there was something special going into DC to see the cherry blossoms with you.

It could've been my own ignorance. Since you turned one, I thought all your 'firsts' are over. Mommy can be silly sometimes. Today, you went to the Air and Space museum for the first time, sat under cherry blossoms at the Tidal Basin for the first time, rode the carousel on the mall for the first time. Although we went to the National Gallery of Art and walked the mall and rode the metro all before, today was a day of firsts for you. I became very excited when I thought of all the experiences that have not happened yet. First time in a swimming pool without me holding you, first time at a amusement park, first time eating cotton candy, first time on an airplane! So many experiences have not happened to you yet. I will cherish them all.

Tomorrow we have plans to go to the Baltimore Aquarium. I have high hopes for this adventure after today's experience. Oh! And you have never gone to the Bmore aquarium before, another first! Hooray! I think almost everyday lately you have been doing something you never did before. You have new words, new games to play, new places to explore. I think I understand the old adage, "children keep you young" because you not only keep me constantly on my toes, you help me see the same old places and events with a renewed sense of beauty and wonder. Thank you Nora for showing me how blind I have been.