Sunday, April 25, 2010

A Bit of This & A Bit of That

So much is happening lately and I'm having a hard time keeping up. I seem to remember last spring being the same way. Over the past few weeks work has been demanding. Sometimes I get home after she has gone to sleep. It's so disappointing when this happens. But I love my career, and yes, even my crazy, crazy job!! It drives me nuts sometimes but in that way that your dysfunctional family makes you a little bit crazy but you still love them.

Meanwhile, here's a little taste of what's going on in our world:

The biggest news is that Ada started crawling!! Like, real, honest-to-God crawling. One day she was in position and then a few days later she was scooting along, then came the frog-phase, and now she is engaged in an organized crawl.  It makes me laugh about these baby books that leave a blank to be filled in with the date that a certain thing or behavior emerged. Maybe it's just our experience, but everything has been such a process that it seems impossible to pin it down to a single day.

Ada has two new teeth. We've been waiting for these little buggars to make an appearance. They've been threatening for weeks now! She is so much happier now that these teeth are finally through.  She is making so much sound now: "dadadada" and "eeee" and "ooooohh". Sometimes it sounds like she says actual words like "hey" and I could have sworn the other night I heard her say "I love you Daddy" after he made her do this:

Oh God, my heart might burst with joy and love for this person, my daughter! Every single day I am so thankful for her. You might think that this would wear off but it never does. In fact, every day the feeling of being so lucky just grows. She only has one Mom and I get to be hers! Man, I hit the jackpot!

We sprung for a backpack this weekend. Yup. We've been a baby-carrying family for a while now and while we may not do it with as much fervor as a family who strongly believes in attachment parenting it's OK because we found a balance that works for us. Tim has been taking Ada for hikes on Sunday while I'm working. They've been using the Ergo, which is great, but not so comfortable for long hikes. Besides, she wants to see around her now and the Ergo is not so great for that.  Tim took her to Alpine Lake today. One thing I LOVE about my man is that he has the guts to do stuff like this. I'm too cautious so I think this provides a nice balance for Ada. Check it out, a practice pic in the living room and then next to Alpine lake. My little hiker. My little nature-lover. My sweet little baby girl.

When we came home from swimming and getting the new kid pack we were greeted by protesters. We live 4 doors down from the mayor. SF being what it is, there is always someone bitching aloud about something. Count on it. This time it was the new sit-lie law, which is the only reason I've returned to the upper Haight. So funny- after we pulled up in our piece-of-crap 1999 Pontiac Grand Am (that was hit by a fake cable car while parallel parked on our street and still bears the scar) I was called an elitist by one of the protesters. Uh, this dude was clearly not paying a damn bit of attention. For a law abiding citizen like me, this is exciting as there were like 6 police cruisers along our little block keeping the peace. Here's a picture from my front porch:

Dad and Rob came for a visit on Saturday afternoon. We went for more swinging in the park. Tim was on call so no going out for us. Managing the car and carseat situation is too daunting. So instead we got takeout from Nopalito. So delicious. I made another practice cake for Ada's birthday. There is a good reason to practice. Even with Rob's help (the woman can bake!) I managed to mess up a couple of key details. I'll post a picture when Ada's birthday comes and I've perfected the cake...

Fun times!! Life is so good...

Friday, April 16, 2010

Little Reader

I mentioned a few posts back that I had a new obsession. Well, I do, it's true.

As you may know, Tim and I are a couple of nerds. While most people might bring their little girl home in a carefully chosen outfit with pink flowers and frills we opted for the 'nerdling' onesie we  found while Christmas shopping.

 I laugh when I see this picture now - how we didn't have a clue what we were doing. Look at that naked head! And it's directly on the carpet! And the bare newborn twiggly legs!

She had her first library card before she was 10 weeks old.

Early on as a tiny infant I read to her from Barbara Walters autobiography (she is a woman worth emulating, in my humble opinion) and Moira read her the Wall Street Journal. Can you see where this is headed?

We have provided her with board books from very early on and she has had an age appropriate response to them (picks them up, bangs them together, chews on them, flips through the pages.

A couple of months ago Ada found my picture books from my childhood on the bookshelf on her own. She pulled book after book off the shelf and put them in her mouth and opened the hard backs and gazed in wonder at the illustrations on the pages. I watched her and imagined her as a toddler. I fantasized about her bringing books to us to read while snuggling  in bed, much like we do now. 

In a moment it occurred to me to begin a library for her. It wasn't easy to know where to start. I took Kiddie Lit as a senior in college and dropped it. I couldn't connect with spending weeks in deep analysis of Where the Wild Things Are! I polled a few key sources for the stories she simply shouldn't escape childhood without reading. I cashed in some gift certificates that I had been holding on to. I like to do that - wait for the perfect item, then use my gift certificate for it and follow it up with a message to the giftee about how much I'm enjoying the thing I got. Yesterday, while we were down in the Haight running some errands, we popped in to the Goodwill. There were surprisingly some great finds - the book section there is well-stocked. We walked out with 5 great like-new books for under 8 clams.

Her collection swelled quickly and now we are just in a pattern where we will add to it more slowly. I have a newly discovered love for children's literature. The books on the shelf now are all great and in my little fantasy she will want to keep these books forever. I even got her some bookplates from Silly Goose.

When she is old enough for it I plan on mounting a couple of THESE so that she can access her books more easily. I also found a site called The Story Home where you can get Podcasts of stories being read aloud. I'm not trying to pressure her but I am trying to capitalize on this most impressionable period in her life - a love of learning and reading will always serve well. Sparking her imagination with stories is fertilizer to her young mind.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Those Women in the Park

You know, the ones sitting on a bench on an urban children's playground? Their sunglasses on, hands on their strollers effortlessly moving them back and forth to soothe a fussing baby, carelessly laughing as they chat with friends on a sunny mid-week afternoon? I always wondered to myself about these women. Who are they? How can they afford to not work? What do they do all day?

Well, now I can answer these questions for myself because yesterday I became one of these women. And we do both work. Courtnay is still on maternity leave and I had a day off after my typical 48-hour work week. What do we do all day? Well, on this day we decided to seize the day and squeeze every bit of life out of it that we could! And it was a beautiful day...

Cole is 4 weeks old and adorable. It's funny to look at him and know not very long ago Ada was that small! And not very long from now Cole will be as big as Ada is now! Being around a newborn just makes me lose my mind - it take all of my self control to not grab and smother with love. This is a new phenomenon given that I haven't traditionally been a big lover of children. These days it's as if a light switch was flipped on so that when I see other babies I see Ada in all of them. It makes me just love them.

Oh newborn!! With the gripping little hands, curly twig legs, dark eyes, smiles while sleeping, the tender cries and gummy mouth.

Yes, I'll take another, please!! 

I love hanging out with Courtnay - she's funny, smart, and has that sarcastic sense of humor that I so love in a friend. Irony is not lost on this girl! After she and Cole had gone yesterday I reflected on how different it is getting to know someone over the background noise of infants. Barely a conversation gets finished, truly, and the worst part: I feel like you can never be 100% focused on the words the other person is telling you. And I really want to hear! Rather, you are listening as well as you can AND plucking a wrapper out of a mouth, or retrieving a pail and shovel, or moving a hot double latte farther away from curious little grabbing hands...

Ada slept through most of the park incident but woke up in time to enjoy a brief spin on the swings. She loves the swing. I love my girl. We both love the BOB. I mean L-O-V-E!

This kid cracks me up!! I love her cheeks, her wispy hair, her little bow-shaped lips....but when she sleeps she has a tendency to purse them out and squish her face down so that she looks like a mini Winston Churchill. Mind if I zoom in for a laugh?

God, she gets me every time!!

In other news, I embarked on a little project where I turned these:

into these:

using this tutorial and all for about 1/5 the cost of these. Sweet! Now my little lovebug can wear all her adorable spring dresses AND not freeze her chunky little thighs in the mild San Francisco weather.

A closing thought: we're phasing out the exersaucer. It's really only good for using to prop herself up now and most of the time serves as a toy storage device in the front room. It's currently heaped with toys, a quilt, the bottle she didn't finish, 2 books, and 3 burp cloths. Sheesh.

Time. It goes so fast.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

The inner-critic. Pick pick, pick...

Last night, it hit me hard:       I am a role model.


And… Holy Shit.

Ada is watching every single thing I do. And her scrutiny is only going to get more intense. I lay in the bed for almost an hour thinking about the implications of this. Because that is what I do – I over analyze everything. Back-and-forth. Perseverate. Restlessly fret. Pick, pick, pick…It’s just my way, never to change, I suppose. “Do I want her to experience me doing this?” I wondered in the dark. I am afraid to show her, this among other terrible behaviors, lest she thinks that imitating them is good.

Then it started. The floodgates opened and the litany of in-my-own-head criticism over personal flaws came pouring out unexpected, uninvited, and unwelcome. Ooh, and that voice in my head is meeeeean. It echos every negative comment I’ve ever heard and it comes up with brand new ones. My Mom always told me, “You are your own worst critic.” As far as I can tell, she was right.

Maybe we don’t all do this – have this biting internal dialogue late at night, but I think most of us have let our inner-critic fly out of control at least once. No? Then, just as that voice was really catching some wind, I realized that somehow I have to teach Ada all about self-love and confidence. Can I be myself while still minding my own behavior? Is it hopeless?

I drifted off to sleep ratcheting these thoughts around. Somewhere in the night I did what I always somehow manage to do: I rallied. By the light of the morning and the coffee steaming up from my cup I had re-established my precarious, slippery grip on the life-raft of optimism. But after that brief visit from my own “dark traveler” my awareness remains. I just have to figure out what to do with it and I haven’t put my finger on it yet. Becoming the woman I hope my daughter will want to grow up to be like has to be an organic process. I just hope it all unfolds in time for her to benefit. I suppose that awareness of your hearts desire is the first step in creating it.
Feel free to comment, please. I'd love to know what you think about this.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Happy Easter!!

The day started off pretty typically - Ada wakes at 6:30 am no matter what. Coffee for us, bottle for her. Then the Easter Bunny's bounty... I didn't get a picture because the the basket was torn into too quickly. She got a copy of  The Velveteen Rabbit (remind me to tell you about my latest obsession), a plush velveteen bunny, two little cups to practice drinking like a big girl, a bell rattle, two little picture books, a pinwheel, and some chocolate that Daddy ate.

I have not one, not two, but three pairs of bunny ears. Ada can hardly stand to have much of anything on her head for very long so that didn't last. Beta, on the other hand was game to give it a try. She's such a good cat even if she is a pest. She looked more like an Easter Buggy than an Easter Bunny. Whatever. She gets points for being a good sport.

We got Ada all dressed up and then we missed church. I think Jesus will understand even though he never had an infant as far as I know. Instead we went to Barnes & Noble. By that time it was starting to get drizzly and dreary. It started  sinking in that we weren't going for a  walk and a picnic in Golden Gate Park like I planned.Too bad as I was excited to watch the big kids scramble around looking for Easter Eggs. We bought a book about homesteading (yeah!) and came home for more snuggle and playtime with our wee little easter egg girl.

 Ada is practicing her Billy Idol sneer. Actually, she seems to have my flash-avoidance affliction. She just might be doomed to a lifetime of avoiding pictures because her eyes will be closed in

In the spirit of once more embracing a rainy day for the gifts it has to offer we settled in. After all, it's all about just being together. Last Friday was also a crummy day weather-wise so we napped and baked oatmeal cookies. Today? The chicken noodle soup (in honor of my germ-gifting visiting husband) is simmering, the whole wheat bread is rising on the stove, the flannel sheets are in the dryer, my new book is on the couch begging to be cracked open, my sweetheart is on the couch too, and my precious little baby is on the floor with her Easter rattle. I'm going to go make the most of it...

Saturday, April 3, 2010

First Swimming Lesson...

was this morning. What a great success!! Ada spent the entire time looking around in wonder or smiling and laughing. Tim and I both have an affinity for the water and Ada loves her baths so I don't know why I would expect anything else but even still I can hardly believe how well it went!

What does one do with a nine month old in the water? We did some things to just get the babies moving through the water on their bellies and on their backs and then also swishing from side to side. We sang some silly songs too. Ada's favorite, If You're Happy and You Know It, was among them so she was pretty darn happy with that. My sweet little fishy!

Of course, some pictures:

Friday, April 2, 2010

Swinging in the Park

Buena Vista Park, March 23, 2010

A huge success! My little smiley girl. I love her so!

Picture-free Bathtime

While we're still picture-less, I figure that this is a good time to mention what Ada and I did tonight.

We took a bath together! We've done this out of necessity before when traveling but this was different for a couple of reasons:  she's older and totally into the bath, it was our own bathtub with all of our own toys, and I've been missing her so much over the past couple of weeks that I didn't want to be away from her. Let me tell you, this was a lot of fun!! We're totally doing this more often. We stayed in there until our fingers were prunes and the water was getting chilly. She giggled when I poured water from one cup to another (it's the simplest things...) and kept looking back at me like "thanks for being here too, Mom"

Good Heavens! I love my girl!!

My Dad came in to the city today to deliver Ada's Easter basket and drop off some mail. We ended up going to Nopalito for lunch. Let me tell you, if you are ever in San Francisco and need an amazing meal just go here. It's mexican food like I have never seen or tasted. I got take-out menus because that's about our speed most of the time these days but no matter, I'm sure it will be just as delicious in a take-out container as it was in person. I'll miss the service though, which is excellent. A snapshot from my Dad's phone:

Off to pick up Tim from the airport. A weekend with Daddy!! I actually took a vacation day so that I can spend Easter with my family. I can't wait!!

Have a great weekend and Happy Easter everyone!