Saturday, November 24, 2012

A whole year old

Hey baby girl!  You turned a year old this week.   I think you're technically a toddler now, but when I ruffle your peach fuzzy hair and kiss those full cheeks, you are and forever will be my little baby.

I’m starting to see flashes of the little toddler you’re becoming: serious but charming, a girl who knows what she wants (and often how to get it, uh oh), friendly and curious and getting into everything, and a kiddo who loves dissecting how things work.  You can be very deliberate and intense fiddling with your toys: your father thinks you’re a little engineer in the making and he couldn’t be more proud.

Nothing has changed between you and your dad: you're two peas in a pod and he is, without a doubt, the fun parent and you guys are always getting into mischief together.  He’ll say things like, “Mommy can be such a drag, don’t you think Annie?!” and you both will look at me and you’re grinning your wide-mouthed two-teeth little smile and I say, “You can’t say things like that!  She’s going to understand you sooner than later!”  And then your dad laughs and then you squeal and then I sigh and the whole charade begins again.  It’s you two against the world and you are a Daddy's girl through and through.   It's such a privilege to see the two people I love most in cahoots together.  

You’ve been our health champion but man oh man, it’s been a trying couple of weeks.  Two weeks ago I got a call that your temp was nearing 104 and I took you to the doc: you had your first ear infection!  You've never been a big cuddler - you always must be seeing, doing - but that day you just snuggled up against me, your hot head and crimson cheeks on my chest.  A week later you were covered in hives.  And this week, lord almighty, you might just have ringworm (pending the lab results).  Forever our trooper, you took it in stride.  You are often so very even-keeled!  When you had your ear infection, you were a bit more fussy but also quieter, more serious.  Your dad and I think you'll be an introvert like your two parents: I can't imagine you hamming it up and putting on a shtick for the crowds.  Perhaps this is just your ol' parents projecting and we can't wait for all the surprises as you grow and blossom.

You’re getting pickier when it comes to food.  Oatmeal is out and cantaloupe is in. Today.  You still have a healthy appetite and have been given me these fuming little looks when I’m chomping on something delectable and you have a very mushy entrĂ©e.  You’re just not buying it anymore and damnit, you want salad and whole fruits too!  You recently discovered graham crackers and you went bonkers.  It was love at first bite and you snarl and fake cry when I cut you off.

I’m making you sound like my little tormentor!  But the truth is, we love your willful side and it cracks us up.  We just hope you use your powers for good.  Take physical therapy: you can be very obstinate when it comes to your exercises and crawling: you know exactly what we want you to do (and you can do it), but you often out-and-out refuse.  We're supposed to dissuade scooting and encourage crawling to develop those weaker arms, and when I spot a tell-tale scoot, I shuffle over to put you in the crawling stance, but by that time you're already in a sitting position looking at me innocently.  "What, me scoot?" you seem to say.  "I was just playing with this here block, jeez."  I sit back on the couch you and you commence scooting again, sometimes even looking over your shoulder to see my reaction!  Some babies might just oblige  but we can do this back-and-forth exercise, well, forever.  Lately, your father and I just don't have the energy and we let you do your half-gorilla, half-crab scoot all over the place.  You, dear, will not be deterred.  And lordy if it just doesn't make my heart soar to see you beamin' and scootin' your little heart away.

And, on a very positive note, your torticollis (your weak neck muscles that made your head favor one side) is almost gone and you have much better alignment.  I am so grateful.  I pictured you, walking around as an adult, with your head tilted to the one side, cursing Matt and me for not getting this corrected when you were a kid!  And the whole image would spiral downwards: you would often be homeless and warming yourself by a burning trashcan ranting about your upbringing.  I'm not sure how a slight tilt to your head equates to homelessness  but I guess this is just what mothers do.

Your father and I haven't been encouraging "mama" and "dada" too much, but "dog" (strangely enough).  So I guess Penny wins.  You say "daw" when you see Penny and often a muffled "hi" after we say hello, so I'm not sure if we count these as your first words.  Does the dog need the G sound for it to count?  Sometimes you mimic our sounds if I say mama, but I know you don't equate it with me, so Matt says that doesn't count, either.  (I think he's just bitter.)

Your now cruise along furniture and often scoot over to us and pull yourself up on our pant legs.  It's very sweet and you just love standing tall.  It's also annoying when you cruise around the ottoman knocking things off, or shuffle over to where our laptops are sitting and begin pounding on the keys.  You are out-and-out obsessed with our laptops!  I got you a baby laptop for your birthday and I honestly think you find this childish gimmick of a toy insulting.  "I have a lot of work to do and don't throw that juvenile toy in front of me, I need Daddy's Mac Book NOW!"  One time you erased lots of your father's work (jibberjab to me, code to him) and I found it hilarious.  So that's a win.

And last week we celebrated your birthday: the party was a success but your dad and I decided next year it's a pizza or Chinese take-out type of gig.  Sorry, kid: your parents were exhausted and we got everything on the table just in the nick of time!  It was a fall spread: pumpkin soup, lots of bread from the bakery, braised brussel sprouts with bacon, a pecan and pear salad, a pomegranate champagne punch, hot cider, and lots of other nibbles.  It was wonderful to spend the day with the people who love you most - and who knew intimately of our struggles to get you here.  You are one lucky little girl to have so much love surround you.

Which brings us to today.  I'm writing this post - uninterrupted - because you spent the night with your Granny Nanny and Poppy Hoppy.  Your dad and I went hog wild with our free night.  First, your father called around to get quotes on a new hot water heater as ours is leaking.  (Like I said, it was wild.)  Then we saw Lincoln (I know, you're in a tizzy, like, "How could they do all of this stuff without me?!").  Then we picked-up some Chinese takeout and went home and I watched Nightline.  Seriously.

Your dad and I are excited to pick you up in a couple hours.  Even when you're not here, you're on our lips and in our thoughts.  When I had you I won the lottery.  It was a windfall that just keeps on giving and giving.    Eternal dividends.

Happy birthday, my darling girl.  My serious scientist.  My charming child.  Your father and I love you so very much.

And now, onto the photos of the bash!

The gang, from L to R:
Cliff and Lorene (Annie's paternal great-grandmother), Danita (my dear friend who is the "Ebony Aunt" to Annie's "Alabaster Niece"), Annie's paternal grandparents in the foreground - Poppy Hoppy and Granny Nanny, Annie's maternal grandparents in the background - Mimi and Grandpa, Me, Matt and the birthday girl, my sister Kristen and her boyfriend Chris in the background, then Matt's brother Joe and his girlfriend Kristen in the foreground, Matt's aunt Cindy, then his sister Priscilla and her boyfriend Royce, and Matt's cousin Laura.  Whew!  A lovely group.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Happy birthday, Annie girl.

Today was Annie's first birthday and it was lovely.  Matt and I worked from home and attended a little "Thanksgiving Feast" at day care.  Her teacher asked, "So at what time was she born?" and I looked at my watch and screeched, "In five minutes!"  We spent the hour talking to her teacher and another mom and feeding the babies mashed sweet potatoes and green been casserole, and then Matt and I took her to physical therapy.  We came home and ate the last of her birthday cookies (buttery little pumpkins with her name adorned on them made by a very talented former co-worker) - all of us on the floor (dog included) scrambling for the last bite.

I'll write more - and include photos from her first birthday party - very soon, but for now I just want to say thank you to that little girl for making this the sweetest year of my life.  (Even without those fabulous birthday cookies.)

Annie, on her birthday, in her birthday suit.
She humored me and wore the hat for all my annoying photos.
Here she is with George (he's got a thing for her), enjoying their Thanksgiving meals.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Random thoughts on a Sunday morning

1)  The other week Matt and I did some shopping at Whole Foods.  You know us foolios don’t shop at da Whole Paycheck, but it was all very surreal and Stars Hollow-esque (Gilmore Girls allusion there) because everyone there was skinny and beautiful and there were musicians playing outside the store and it was so quaint and so dang pretty and THEY DO YOGA ON THE ROOF!  Walking past all the Lexuses and Volvos I thought, “This is it. The liberal elite.  We finally made it!”  Then we got into our Corolla (still package-taped up!) and I thought, “Nevermind.”
2)  Matt found groats at Whole Paycheck and is in love with them (or, the idea of them).  They are like oatmeal, but on steroids.  Or something.  Athletes eat them and the groats (too close to “groin” for my liking) fuel them for hours.  So Matt brought them into work, planning on making them, but they’re like steel-cut oats where you gotta cook ‘em for a long while, and you know that boy only has a microwave.  Fail.
3)  I’ve been reminded lately that it’s up to us to make our own happiness, and I’m trying to be very deliberate in this, particularly regarding work.  (It’s always work, isn’t it?)  My wallpaper now says “My To-Do List: Count my blessings.  Practice kindness.  Let go of what I can’t control.  Listen to my heart.  Be productive yet calm.  Just breathe.”  I stole it off someone’s Facebook profile, and I know it’s hokey, but it really is quite good in its own way.  I read it every time my work computer boots up.
4)  Annie is almost a year old.  Every time I look at her, or Matt, I realize this right here is where I’m meant to be.  What a beautiful year.
5)  Driving late the other night I plowed into a fox.  At least I think it was a fox.  My worst fear was that it was someone’s dog.  It was really upsetting at the time and came out of nowhere, and there was on-coming traffic, so I couldn’t swerve.  It happened so quickly there was no avoiding it.  Matt and I were stunned and saddened, but what can you do?  Which brings us to topic number six.
      6)  I really want a Subaru.  My front bumper – due to the poor fox – is now severed in
          several areas and there’s only so much packaging tape can do…
7)  And duct tape is just really trashy.  I mean…I’m a lady.
8)  Back to the Subaru (Outback or Forester).  I love the cars aesthetically and I think it’ll be the perfect family car.  Oh, oh, and the advertising.  The advertising gets me every time.  Oh, I just cry and cry.  Who doesn't adore all the dog ads?  (There's so many more on YouTube  too.)  But the ad that most recently gets me is this one (I cry to Matt and say, "We just have to get a Subaru   It reminds me of us and it's so beautiful and fdklaj;dkf " (that's when I start crying, all snotty and perusing the Subaru website):

9)  When I hit the fox, we were coming home from a Halloween party at Matt’s parents’ place.  Matt and I were trees and Annie was an owl.
10) Which brings me back to why I love Matt.  He made that owl costume.  Like, boy borrowed a sewing machine and made it.  Here’s photographic evidence:
The artist hard at work.

11)   But – on the other hand – he’s now obsessed with sewing and tailoring.  He lost some weight in the last year and, I cannot make this up, took in his sweaters.  He watched a YouTube tutorial and did it.  This morning he said to me, “Those jeans of yours are a little stretched out; do you want me to take them in for you?”  He got a raised eyebrow.
12)  I prefer to shrink my jeans in the washer and dryer, thank you very much.
13)  It’s the weekend.  Happy Sunday all!  I leave you with a terrific Sunday morning song to dance/clean/make breakfast to: