Saturday, May 20, 2006
Our day in the sun
We spent a long time outside today. It was beautiful and clear, but still in the 50's. It gripes me that it was so pretty and I was inspired to buy outdoor toys for Emma to enjoy. Then it got cold. Lovely. My strategy the last few days has been to only set up the sand table side and not the water table side.

Emma isn't quite the independent player she used to be. I have to come along for everything now. She will come and get me and grab a finger and pull until I get up and come along. I think this is regressing. Or maybe she just loves my company so much ;)

In the picture here she's wearing her new water shoes. I put them on her hoping that they would be less likely to drag on the slide than her other shoes.

She's dragging a flower pot left over from last year. We put gravel in the bottom of them so it's actually a pretty weighty.

Look what we have...
...enough hair to blow in the breeze, woo hoo!

Emma's words
M. and I compiled a list of today of words she actually uses on a regular basis. We've heard many words repeated back to us that we've never heard again. We didn't include those on this list. So here is what we could think of today:

banana (nana)
slide (shide)
swing (wing)
kitty cat
heiss (German for hot)
SpongeBob (BobBob)
Dahling! You look mahvelous!
This is one of Emma's preferred activities these days. She asks for her "box" and then she puts on and takes off her bracelets.

A little help please?
What are those things laying on the floor in front of the jewelry box? How are they used? They came in the box and no one knows exactly what they're for.

You know what I don't miss?
The mommy wars. When I first came to pregnancy boards and the parenting boards I was very naive. I had vague ideas about how to raise a kid, but I was there to learn and observe. What I quickly learned was that there are widely varying parenting styles and methods and that adherents to different methods could be very vehement in their advocating for the "one true choice."

Hot topics on pregnancy boards include breastfeeding, circumcision, co-sleeping, babywearing, discipline and any number of topics which might seem benign on the surface but turn out to be incendiary for some reason or other. I got a quick education in alternative child-rearing methods. The thing that I always resented though, was that most often a method wasn't just presented for my consideration, with the pros and cons presented for my benefit. The alternative methods were presented in such a way that if I didn't follow them I was ignorant, unloving, unconsiderate of my child's welfare or even, *gasp* an abuser.

Many lovely people would condemn me for having formula fed Emma exclusively from five weeks on, despite the fact that I simply couldn't make breastfeeding work for us and I knew when I went back to work at eight weeks I wouldn't be able to breastfeed. They'd say I didn't try hard enough.

I would be condemned for not sleeping with Emma. I can't tell you the thousands of ways I was told she'll be screwed up because of that. The simple fact for me is that I cannot sleep with someone touching me. Maybe if they snuck up on me after I was sleeping it could work. But I would never fall asleep otherwise. Emma was not a cuddly baby from the start, she was very independent and didn't like to be held close for long periods of time. I thought I was respecting her as an individual. As a working parent I had to do what worked for our family, which was having Emma sleep in her crib and me sleep at all.

I think co-sleeping and breastfeeding and babywearing are all wonderful things if they work for you and your baby. But if you don't do those things I still think you're a good parent.

I guess I got really tired of the implication that if my child wasn't raised a certain specific way that she'd be deficient. She'd be emotionally stunted, aggressive, insecure, or otherwise unfit to mingle with the general public.

If you asked me my parenting style I would characterize it as laid back. I like to let Emma explore and learn her world as much as she can and still be safe. I'm sure I parent much like my parents did, and like the parents I've known growing up. From some of my contemporaries I've learned some ways NOT to parent. But honestly, even when I disagree with something I see another parent do, I still don't think they're abusive or neglectful. Um...unless they really are abusive or neglectful, you know, as defined by Child Protective Services.

I don't miss the mommy wars because I don't miss being second-guessed at every step by people who don't know me, my situation, or my family. The mommy board I frequent now is on a pretty even keel and everyone is generally respectful of everyone else's parenting choices. I don't doubt that if there was ever a hint of real abuse that people wouldn't be all over it. But our group is a self-selected group of mothers who are online and part of this small community because they DO love their children and they do need a place to go for support, information and to just plain brag.

I've given up most of the parenting books too. They were something for when I was pregnant and needed to occupy my mind with dreams and schemes. Now that I'm an actual mom and living it, I don't seem to have any time for books on parenting theory. Every once in a while I feel like I should consult a book to see if Emma's meeting her milestones according to age, but even then I feel like you need to respect the individual child and let them develop at their own pace. The books always make me anxious.

On BIO we came to a point where the motto was "don't label me!" and I feel like that's a fair request. I would advise any new mother to follow her instincts and the good examples around her and make her parenting choices based on what she knows in her heart is right for her and her baby.
Friday, May 19, 2006
A puzzle of her own
I can be kind of slow sometimes, it finally occurred to me that she might like one of her own. This one is really nice because it shows you a picture of what goes in each spot, kind of a cheater puzzle. But at this point I figure she needs the help.

Thursday, May 18, 2006
Happy Belated Birthday, Aunt K!
I'm an idiot. I'm sorry. I was planning on calling you on your birthday Wednesday, you know, the 17th. Noni informed me that day that your birthday had been the day before, the 16th. When did you change it? ;)

Emma likes sand...
and water. I think she likes her table. She had a great time with it, giggling when she turned up the bucket to dump out sand. She played for a while. She had sand on the ground, on her clothes, on her lips, in her eyebrows and in the water. She did get some to chew on but I don't think she was impressed. She finally gave it up herself when she got cold. Curse this crappy weather!

Blue Balloon
She really does love balloons. Mommy loves entertainment that comes so cheap!

Wednesday, May 17, 2006
Emma and Mommy day
We went to town. We even persuaded Noni to take the afternoon to play with us. Emma and I headed straight for Target this morning. I bought her off with a bag of popcorn and she was an angel the whole time we were there. I bought a new bathroom. Or more precisely I bought a shower curtain, rug, towels and hand towels. The bathroom is the cheapest room in the house to redecorate and I can afford that.

I found a new chocolate product I was required to buy so I had to run to Noni's house next to drop it off so it wouldn't melt in the car. Hershey's Nut Lovers Miniatures.

Later, after naps, we went to Walmart. I found the only other thing I had in mind to get Emma for the yard this summer. It's the Little Tikes Endlesss Adventures Sand & Water Table. You can drain the water side and flip it over as the lid to the sand side. I thought that was pretty cool. M. is assembling it right now. We learned our lesson about letting Emma see unassembled toys. Patience is not something she came equipped with apparently. Anyway, here's the product pic...

Puzzle Time!
Emma takes them apart and Noni puts them back together. She said with this new wooden puzzle Emma would actually match up the pieces with the place where they belong, but she's not quite dextrous enough to seat them in their places.

More shoe lovin'
I'm telling you, this girl is obsessed with shoes. Here she actually found a grown up pair she could put on and walk around in. Noni hiked her pants really high on her so she could see her feet when she was trying to put them in the shoes.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006
Man soap operas
There's a booming business in these shows. They purport to be about something else; like restoring motorcycles, cars or semis. Or building or renovating houses, or other "manly" pursuits. But what they end up being about is the drama queens that are doing the work. Hissy fits galore, angst...they've got it all.

M. is hooked on Discovery Channel's "Deadliest Catch." I watch some of them with him. Basically those psychos are making giant piles of cash at the deadliest occupation known to man. The conditions are brutal, but of course the Narrator has to hype every detail. It is addictive, basically because they build the suspense. Anyway, I guess I just wanted to let you men know I'm on to you. Those are SOAP OPERAS you're watching!
Tempermental breakdown
Wow. The last few days have been something. Her willfulness is bumping up against my willfulness. Ouch. The issue has been her coat. The last two days we stopped by the store on the way home. She goes in, takes off her coat, and then wants to go outside through the front door. That's when we have our first fight. Once you're outside she happily walks down the street. Then she never wants to come back, so that ends in tears with her being carried back. We go back in the store, she takes off her coat. But now we have to drive home. "Fine, you can ride home without your coat, but if you want to get on the slide you'll have to put it back on." So we get home and then I put it back on, fighting her for her own good. (She has a rattle in her chest the last few days so I'm serious about this)

Today she stands in front of her slide with her coat on forever, just looking around. Finally she calls "Mommy!" I'm standing just inside the open door, unloading the dishwasher and watching her. Once she has my attention she looks at me and takes off her coat. I tell her to put her coat back on or she's coming in. Complete meltdown. So I pick her up and carry her in. She cries, and cries, and cries. Finally I think, I've got your number girlie. I grab a pullover jacket she can't remove and put it on her as she curses me mightily. Then I send her back outside again. Hah!

Later, we face off on the issue of her throwing things off her highchair, either to the dogs or to the floor. Daddy and I are both tired of this. She usually does it so fast you can't stop her. But she'll look right at you and do it. So tonight, I grabbed her hand several times when she went to throw her goldfish crackers. NO. And then we had THE STARE-OFF. I got down to her level, right in front of her face and said firmly, "No" and just stared at her. And she stared right back, until the lip started to quiver...and the eyes started to water...and then she started to cry. I think I was supposed to feel bad about that, but honestly, I felt like I'd finally won one.
M & M's
When we pulled them out she said something neither of us had ever heard her say before, "yummy, yummy!" Oh, really? Wow, OK.

This is her M & M face:

And this is how you feed the M & M face:

Words I will never be able to spell...
Gray. That's a hard one, isn't it? I can never remember if it's gray or grey. I blame my neighbors growing up. The Greys.
Unlovely day
I had a funeral to attend today. It was an 89 year-old lady who used to be a teacher in town. M had her for fourth and fifth grade. He was actually a pallbearer. The funeral was a departure from what I'm used to. It was all preaching and barely a mention of the deceased. That was her request, she didn't want to be talked about at her funeral. Interesting. I came prepared with tissues because I ALWAYS cry at funerals. Not this time. I left completely dry-eyed.

Now, the graveside service was another matter. I got misty looking at the family members who were dealing with the finality of the matter. The graveside service is always the end of the road. Then you part ways with the deceased and head for the church, where the women of the church have prepared a meal to feed an army. I went back to work.

It was cold, hardly got out of the 40's. I wore black and gray all day. Blech.
Monday, May 15, 2006
Taking Dad for a stroll
She knows her way up and down this side of the street pretty well. And all the good places to stop and look for trouble.

She found a nice perch. She watched many cars and trucks pass by.

Sunday, May 14, 2006
Happy Mother's Day
Today was a mixed bag. That's being completely honest and totally vague.

For Mother's Day I got lunch at the restaurant, a Batman Begins DVD (which I asked for) and my "Happy-Mother's-Day-to-me" office tote is now courtesy of M. It was all on his Costco bill for the store and he wouldn't let me reimburse him. He was glad I had picked out something I liked and wanted to give it to me. Hey, that works for me.

The beauty of having a small child is that they are happy to open your presents for you without even being asked...

He done good...
in the Mother's Day card department. Within me there is this battle that rages between cheapness and indulgence. When it comes to off-the-rack greeting cards the cheapness in me gets a good workout. I usually buy nicer cards in bulk. So when shopping for a card for my mother there was was I liked, and then what I was willing to pay for. I mean, give me a break! $4.74 for a card? But I really liked it. So I looked for nice/cheaper ones and kept coming back to the one I really liked. Then I'd think, well if anyone is worth it, it's Noni. But then the other voice would pop up "$5.00 for one card!?!" Yeah, yeah, "she's worth it" won out. I think the greeting card industry counts on that hook. After all...when you care enough to give the very best...blah, blah, blah.

BUT THEN, darned if my husband give me a card almost exactly like it. It's definitely the same line. I mentioned how much I liked it and my dilemma when choosing mom's. He said, "I didn't even look at what it cost, I bought what I liked." Sigh.

Some cousin fun
We met my MIL, BIL and SIL for lunch today at the local restaurant. Afterward we stopped by the house for a visit. Here Emma is playing with her cousin. They had a little mousie that belongs to the cat. When you pull it's string it vibrates. That thing was giving Emma giggling fits.