Saturday, September 26, 2009

A trip to the zoo for my little monkey. . .

Last Sunday we took Nick to Brookfield Zoo. It's the third time he's been, and he does seem to like it. Especially the Children's Play Zoo, which is designed for the little ones and is extremely interactive.

In this picture you can see Nick pretending to be a bird and hanging out in a nest with an egg. Thankfully, he didn't mind the costume, and he rather seemed to like hanging out in the nests. There's a turtle over in the enclosure to the right, and he watched that little guy poke his head in and out of his shell.
I don't remember there being baby exhibits at the zoo when I was a kid. I think this is pretty awesome, and I know Nick liked it. Next year he'll most likely love to see the animals, but for this year he really like the parts where he could crawl around and explore. It's the age he is at.




Nick got to fingerpaint in the art area. Not sure what it had to do with animals, but he got a kick out of the messy paint. Greg is an artist, so perhaps a little of that is rubbing off on Nick. He seemed to like squishing the paint around in his fingers, anyway. It was worth the mess. :)

I'll show the rest of my zoo pictures in this post. I think they speak for themselves.



I have to say that last weekend was absolutely exhausting. I had a great time with my friend and her kids, but it was kind of like not having a weekend at all. We were running around from Saturday morning until Sunday evening with no break.
This weekend has been more low-key, thank goodness. I had two of my friends from work come over and we worked on our presentation for parent night. I am incredibly lucky to work with some great gals, and even though we spent all day brainstorming and writing a powerpoint, it didn't feel like work.
Nick crawled around and enjoyed the company during much of the time, and my friends took turns holding him and playing with him while we worked.
We did manage to eat a bunch of yummy, naughty food and finish up a pot of coffee and then a bottle of wine while we worked. (I didn't even know they made blueberry wine. They do, and I shall be hunting for some to buy now.) Plus, I know I'll go to work Monday feeling like I accomplished a lot.

I guess some people would be bothered by the work that I have to do at home. Sometimes I feel that way, but honestly I usually feel pretty lucky to do what I do. During the school day I generally enjoy my job, hectic though it may be. The work I do at home is usually stimulating and interesting, and it allows me to use my strengths. Plus, I feel good knowing that I'm making a difference for my kids.
This year I'm working on response journals with my 2nd graders. That means they write me a letter each day, and then I respond back to them with a letter of my own. I have to make sure my letter is written at their independent reading level, and that I monitor the student writing so that they're working on one goal at a time.
For example, one student is working on putting spaces between words, so I might point out where she did it correctly and talk about using a "finger space" between words. But the most interesting part of response journals is the relationships they build with the students. I've done them before, and they really give you insight into a child's world. I get to learn about their families, their hopes, their dreams, and their wants (usually video game related, unfortunately). They also ask about me, and it's nice when a kid is generally interested in how my son is doing, or where I went to eat over the weekend. We compare rides that we like at amusement parks, and stories that we love. Response journals are a lot of work, but I think they're working for my students, and I enjoy them. Even if I have six letters to write every night.

Friday, September 25, 2009

A Museum for Babies?

Last Saturday, as part of our fun but exhausting trip to the city, we took Nick to the Chicago Children's Museum. I have to say it was amazing. I had been there once before, when I was teaching third grade about four years ago. But when you're supervising 27 kids and trying to ensure that none of them get lost or fight, it's hard to pay much attention to detail. This time I only had to watch one baby, and that was much easier.

I didn't even know that they had exhibits geared towards babies. The newest exhibit is for fort building. I used to do this as a kid, using sheets and overturned chairs. The whole exhibit has furniture with hooks and sheets to hang up. The kids can crawl around underneath and find a cozy spot. Nick enjoyed crawling around under the sheets and playing peek-a-boo.


This particular exhibit was exclusively for non-walkers. For Nick, it was baby heaven. He was so excited, and this area was very well designed. It had textured carpeting in one section, a baby obstacle course, and lots of things to touch and fondle. Nick loved the squishy blocks. I need to find him some of those; he was fascinated with them.

Just to make the area even more interesting, there were lighted panels and ballet barres placed at a perfect baby height. The squishy gym mats on parts of the floor were at different heights, so Nicholas could practice climbing up without bonking his head. Don't get me wrong, he does this kind of climbing at home, he just hits his head on the hardwood instead of the soft cushy gym mats.


I think this area confused Nick a little bit. The object was to dig dinosaur bones out of the little plastic thingies that were meant to look like dirt. Nick,

I think this area confused Nick a little bit. The object was to dig dinosaur bones up from the "dirt," which was just little rubber pellets. Kids could use gloves, cool vests with pockets, and brushes for excavating the dino bones. Nick liked banging the brush, and he kept trying to eat the little rubber things. He liked it, though.





The baby pond was probably Nick's favorite. Between this little tube of joy that he got to shake, and the squishy walls that he used to stand up, Nick was completely enthralled. He crawled all around exploring.




Here is Nick sitting on the wavy gym mat squishy stuff and staring at that baby in the mirror. Everytime I'm holding Nick and I bring him by a mirror, he gets all excited. He seems to "get" that he is the baby in the mirror, and he always grins at himself. So here he is, checking himself out in the mirror. All guys get that same look when they check themselves out. He'll be doing the same thing in about fifteen years, as he goops on the hair gel and spritzes the teen cologne.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Cruising

video

Yes, my baby is cruising. He started this yesterday, and I got it on video. Nick seemed rather surprised that he was moving. This week has been crazy busy, but Nick had enough time to cause trouble. :)

Monday, September 21, 2009

A Baby on a Train, and a Bus, and a Boat

It was another exciting, exhausting weekend. Navy Pier was our destination of choice this Saturday. A friend of mine brought her two kids to visit us, and they wanted to take the train into the city. (Actually, this particular friend was my college roommate nearly twelve years ago. Wow, it doesn't seem like that long. I suddenly feel old. . .)

We decided on Navy Pier, because there is plenty to do in one area that is suitable for kids. Believe me, travelling with a nine-year-old, an almost-three-year-old, and a ten-month-old is challenging, to say the least. In order to get there, we drove two cars to Aurora, then took the Metra train to Union Station, and finally took the bus to Navy Pier.


The weather couldn't have been better; It was in the 70s and sunny all day. The kids wanted to take a boat trip, so we decided on a trip designed for kids on a Tall Sailing Ship. The program included games and songs for the kids. It lasted an hour and the ship truly sailed the old-fashioned way. Once we got past the pier, the engines were turned off and the sails raised. Very cool.

There was also information about what it was like to be a sailor on the Great Lakes in the 1800s. The kids even got to help with the rigging and the sails, which was very cool. I liked this ship better than other boat tours I've been on in the last few years; it was more interactive and the boat was beautiful.

Nick really seemed to like being on the ship; he didn't get seasick at all. I believe he wanted to crawl around, however, which wasn't possible. He'll enjoy trips like this a lot more when he's a little older.

After our tour on the sailing ship, we went to the Chicago Children's Museum, which was awesome and the highlight of Nick's day. I'll talk about that another day.

Probably the only rough part of the day happened in the evening. We missed the 8:40 BNSF train back to Aurora, and had to sit and wait for the 10:40 train.

Yes, that's 10:40 p.m. Nearly two hours in a train station. With three children. Nothing was open. Well after their bedtimes. Plus, there was an announcement set to loop again and again through the waiting area where we were sitting. It said simply, "Track 6. . . Track 8. . . Track 6. . . Track 8," over and over again until it was time to get back on the train. It was like one of those reality show challenges: "How much stress can you handle while under sleep deprivation?" Finally, we got on our train. Then a little over an hour back to the train station and a 45 minute drive home.

I believe we got back to the house around 1:30 a.m. I also had to be up at 6:30 Sunday morning for tutoring. But I would still say that all of the trouble was worth it. The ship was really a unique experience, and visiting Chicago always feels good. However, I ate way too much naughty food, so I'm trying to do better this week. In fact, I think I'm going to go and do a Pilates DVD workout right now. . .

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Wisconsin Weekend

I don't suppose I ever finished blogging about our weekend in Gleason, Wisconsin. It's kind of a tradition that we go up there the weekend after Labor Day for Greg's Grandma Marie's Birthday. This was her 95th, so it was extra special.


Nick seemed thrilled to see her, as well as his grandma and grandpa. He also had fun trying to destroy everything in her house: Magazines, antique doorstops, picture frames, books. Nick had his sights on all of them. He especially liked harrassing his great-grandma's cats. They learned quickly to stay away from the baby.

Here is Nick with his great-grandma. We went out to a nice restaurant, and I dined on scallops, while Greg had shrimp and steak. Nick's favorite seemed to be my french onion soup. He kept opening his mouth for more. He also loved the croutons, which he chewed on for awhile and then threw on the floor. They brought Nick's Great-Grandma some carrot cake and we all sang happy birthday.




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The part of the weekend where we weren't in the car was lovely. The weather was absolutely amazing. Usually when we go up to this part of Wisconsin, it is freezing and drizzly. This year it was sunny and in the 70s. I wish we would've had more chance to go walking. The air smells so fresh up there. Greg had us walk outside and turn all the lights off so that we could see the stars. That far from civilization, you can see a ton of stars, and it was awesome looking up at them.


Here is Nick with his Grandpa Jay, who isn't very comfortable with babies. I've been trying since Nicholas was born to get a picture where the two of them don't look uncomfortable. This one isn't too bad. The trees behind them are beautiful, as well.




I had to include this picture, because I think it is hilarious. We stopped in Madison at a restaurant specializing in South American food, and Nick was thrilled when I brought out his duckie toy.


I've been very busy this week; next week I start teaching, so it's been a mad rush to get lesson plans ready and find classroom resources. I just spent the last hour searching for a free download of a Brahms piano/violin sonata. My students will be reading a story where one of the main characters has to play such a sonata, and I wanted them to hear what it was like. I finally found a link to one, and I just hope it'll work on my school computer.


We have very sensitive filters there, and sometimes perfectly legitimate stuff won't work. For example, I kept trying to access this site with pictures of baby armadillos (for another story). I got the big "STOP" and the notice "provocative attire." I jumped and clicked out of the internet, and a funny picture appeared in my head of what kind of provocative attire armadillos might be wearing. Perhaps they had low cut blouses or daisy dukes?


Now, I looked up this site later, when I got home, and the only pictures on this site are of armadillos. Mind you, they're not wearing any clothes, but then again, armadillos aren't supposed to wear clothing. The site is a children's informational site about animals. Sigh.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Relaxing Places, a Baby with a Squash, and a Walk on the Farm

I really do believe that you can tell a lot from one, badly balanced, poorly shot photo. This is my screened-in porch, and one of my all time favorite places. It is one of Molly's favorite places, too. She loves the view of the bird feeders, which I finally refilled. It's free kitty TV for her to sit out there and watch the feeders, which are now covered with finches and all manner of little birdies. Unfortunately, as soon as I try to photograph them, they fly away.

I just bought myself the cup you see on the table. It was half off at Starbucks on the clearance rack. I've wanted that cup for months now, but refused to pay the exhorbitant regular price. Now it sits happily on my patio table, filled with cafe con leche, with 4 splendas, whipped cream and sprinkles on top. (Hey, a gal's gotta enjoy life.) This is one of my favorite spaces, because I can enjoy the view of the pond and the birds and listen to the sound of the outdoors. I'm pretty decent at making myself relax, and this is my favorite place to do it; I put my feet up, sip my coffee, and just breathe.

The book is Steven Pinker's "The Stuff of Thought," which is a complicated but fascinating treastise on linguistics and the evolution of language. So far I'm loving it, but I'm reading it in small parts, perhaps a chapter a day or so. Now that I'm back to work, my reading has slowed a bit.
Entertaining Nick has become an interesting challenge lately. He quickly becomes bored in the baby cage, so I've been trying to find new things that he can play with. Today it was a pot, a spoon, and a yellow squash from my garden. Not sure why he liked the squash so much, but hey, whatever works.

His latest trick has been to squirt his bottle all over the place. Today he squished it all over the rug and the comforter I have under the baby cage. Then he soaked his onesie. Thus the reason he is nearly naked.

This last place is a very peaceful, quiet wooded setting. It was taken on Saturday, up by Greg's Grandma's farm in Gleason, Wisconsin. The ruins in the back are of the Estonian Church, and Greg told me he thought it was haunted when he was a child. It sure looks spooky.

The property in Gleason is beautiful, and the weather was just lovely. Usually it's pretty cold when we go in September. I wish we would have had more time to enjoy it; we arrived after 2:30 on Saturday and had to leave around 10 a.m. Sunday.


You can see the farmhouse behind the trees. It is small and very quaint, especially compared to the property, which is expansive and wooded. The air smells fresh and clean, and it really is lovely, except for the mosquitoes. They are why we ended up only having a short walk. After one trip up the driveway and back, a few of them started swarming Greg. One was flying around Nick, so he rushed the stroller back towards the house and safety. (Greg is afraid of West Nile Virus. Not that I like mosquitoes much myself.)

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Happy Gardening Surprises and Too Much Time in the Car


Nick is getting better about eating finger foods. His Grandma bought him this nice bib with a pocket to catch all of the food that he drops. That has made feeding him less messy, although I'm sure waitresses curse us after we leave. It sure wastes less food, because we can just dump the pocket back onto the table when he's done, and there are his seconds. I believe here he was eating mushrooms, carrots, dumplings, hamburger, and french fries. His favorites were the mushrooms and fries.
This is how poor Nick spent most of his weekend; I believe it was something like 16 hours in the car from Friday through to tonight. We were in Gleason, Wisconsin, for Greg's Grandma's 95th Birthday. I'll talk more about my trip later this week. All I can say now is that it feels wonderful to be out of the car! Nick thinks so too. When we got home, he played happily (and gratefully) in the baby cage. I'm afraid he's going to flip out tomorrow when we put him back in the car seat.




I was surprised this week at what my garden actually managed to produce. Despite all of the Japanese beetles and the lack of attention I gave my garden, I still reaped at least a few rewards. I've got baby yellow squashies!

I think they're very cute, and I want to slice them up with olive oil and garlic later this week. I have to make sure I catch them before they get too big. It sure took long enough for them to start producing.

I was also impressed with the size of this monster zucchini. I needed something to use for scale, and, well, my foot was already there.
I am hoping that I can spend more time next year gardening. I want to double the size of my raised bed garden, and keep better track of the weeds.
I killed about twenty Japanese Beetles today; I hate those little suckers. They decimated my raspberry bush. I guess I'll have to add another task to my evening rituals: killing bugs.


Thursday, September 10, 2009

Laughing Over Spilled Milk

Nick is becoming a very high maintenance baby. All this week, I came home to work to find that he would not stay in the baby cage without screaming and dissolving in pitiful tears. He seems fine in there when Greg is getting ready in the morning; I'm not sure what the aversion is for him.

It seems like Nicholas just wants to explore. So I've been rather creative. Today I had to plant a raspberry bush that my mom gave me. It took me a few minutes to figure out a strategy for getting this done while still supervising Nick, especially since he refuses to play in the baby cage. I brought a blanket, a toy, and an old magazine (for him to rip up and destroy) outside and placed it near where I needed to work.

The only issue is that Nick now crawls. He did not stay on the blanket for long, and he kept coming over to the area with dirt, sod clumps, garden implements, and plants with pokey things on them. Do you have any idea how hard it is to dig a 16" hole through sod while keeping track of how much grass a baby is ingesting? I now know. Nick ripped some leaves off of one of my zucchini plants, and was pinched a bit by the stem. Then he tried to eat a Japanese beetle. I didn't feel bad for the beetle, but I wasn't sure that it would be a healthy dinner choice for Nick, so I grabbed it and smooshed it instead.



He did love being outside, though, and the grass was an interesting feature for him. He isn't used to crawling on it yet. Nick kept touching it and pulling on it and trying to eat it. He almost looked confused. As I filled the bird feeders, Nicholas used one of my bird feeder poles to try to stand up. One good thing about grass is that it is soft when you land on your bottom.



I will finish with a video of Nick drinking his formula out of a cup with no lid. Yes, we were crazy.


video
Nick loves to drink out of cups, but he doesn't like the sippy part. He'd rather drink out of a regular cup. He can do it, too, to some extent. Until he can't. That's when the mess starts.









Monday, September 7, 2009

Funnel Cakes, Sign Language, and Grandparents Galore

On Sunday, Greg and I took Nick to Septemberfest in Schaumburg. My grandmother lives bordering the park district grounds, and I've gone every year that I can remember. They have a craft show, a carnival, and music. All I bought was a barrette, but it was nice looking around at all of the crafters and artists.

Nick loved crawling around my grandma's super-plush carpeting. Our house has mostly hardwood floors, and Nick absolutely loved the cushiness under his little knees.


Nick got to try his first funnel cake at the fair. No, we didn't give him a whole one. Actually, my mom, my sister, Nick, Greg, my grandma, and I all split one funnel cake. (The thing still enough sugar in it to last a week!)

He seemed to like it. You can see him using the sign for "milk" with his right hand. Nick has only picked up this one sign so far, and he's actually generalized it to mean "I want." He makes that sign when he wants milk, food, or more sugary fried goodness. To make the sign for milk, you just open and close your hand as if you were milking a cow. After munching on a funnel cake, I can see why he wanted a drink of milk!

Nick's grandpa got to play with him while we were all visiting. It's a good thing there were so many adults around, because Nick was bound and determined to crawl into something and cause himself bodily harm.

Nick is in only his diaper because he makes a huge mess when he eats. My grandma doesn't have a high chair, so we put him down on a blanket and stripped him. Finger food is developmentally appropriate, but horribly messy. Nude babies are easier to clean.


My mom has been making these cool hats, and we put one on Nick's head, just to see what he would do. Well, he takes hats off, and then plays with them. My sister, by the way, is responsible for most of today's photographs. She can make a picture look good, whereas I make photos look as if a 5-year-old took them.
It was an incredibly busy weekend, and there wasn't a minute to take a breath. I think I need a vacation day just to recover from this weekend!
Nick sure enjoyed himself, though, especially all of the new foods he got to eat. Here he is with his grandpa, after a bite of a chocolate eclair. Do you think maybe he liked it?
I swear, though, my kid eats very healthy. Special treats only happen on the weekends, and we try not to let him have more than a bite or two. Today he ate vegetable risotto, tuna with peas, green beans and brown rice, and sliced peaches.
Notice him again using the sign for "milk." It's pretty neat how he picked that up. Our babysitter uses that sign, but her two-year-old twins use it all the time, and that's where we think he learned it. We are trying now to teach him more sign.
We've also noticed that Nick signs with his right hand, and uses his left hand to eat and grasp toys. We're not sure yet if that means he'll be left handed, or if he's just ambidextrous now.
Below I'm posting a video of Nick chattering away and eating some finger foods. At the end of the video, he decides he wants his milk. You can see him making the sign for milk furiously. He does it faster and faster until he gets his drink. Molly, the cat you see in the video, has started hanging around Nick's high chair. She's realized that food sometimes spontaneously falls from it, so she watches him eat and lies in wait. No wonder she isn't losing weight on her kitty diet food. :)
video

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Exploring His Maternal Heritage Through a Culinary Adventure


My dad's side of the family is Polish, and I think that Nick definitely takes after his Polish relatives. Yesterday, Greg and I took Nick to my Uncle John's Birthday Party. It was a surprise party and it turned out to be really fun. This party was at The Lone Tree Manor, in Niles, and it was definitely a Polish kind of place.


The picture below shows my aunts and uncles, all seven of them. Here they are, from left to right: Uncle Steve, Uncle Joe, Aunt Theresa, Uncle John, Aunt Mary, my dad, and Uncle Al.






My father is the youngest of seven, and it is very seldom that they all get together. But for my Uncle John's 70th birthday, relatives from as far as Arizona, Florida, and Wisconsin came to celebrate. We hadn't seen most of them since my grandfather's funeral in 2006, and none of them had ever met Nicholas.




Upon arrival, we were immediately greeted by a few of my uncles, who declared definitively, "That baby is definitely a Polack!" (Meant in the kindest, most complimentary way, of course.) Nick was very excited to see everybody, and he got to meet all of his many great uncles, great aunts, and cousins. We sang "Happy Birthday" and "Sto Lat" (Roughly, "May you live 100 years" in Polish) to my Uncle, and chatted with everyone until the banquet hall actually told everyone they were closing and it was time to leave.


I like this picture, because my dad and Nick are looking at each other with the same expression. We spent a good portion of the evening looking at old pictures, and we found one from the fifties with my dad as a baby. He looked remarkably like Nick.


But perhaps the funniest part of the evening was the food. Polish food is very distinctive, and I feel incredibly nostalgic whenever I eat it. My paternal grandmother passed away when I was in my mid-twenties, and I still miss her. It is kind of sad that Nick never got to meet his great-grandparents on my dad's side. As a child, there were a few big family gatherings every year in Schiller Park. My grandmother would always cook for an army, and I can remember how much fun it was to go to her house and play cards and admire the '60s era decor and the Jesus paintings. I actually flashed back to my childhood, and for a second, I was 8 years old, sticking to the plastic covers on my grandparent's couch and smelling overcooked beef, boiled potatoes, and cheap beer. I could feel the shag carpeting under my toes, hear the loud voices of my chatting relatives, and see the smoke hanging in the air from all of the cigarettes. These are vivid, comforting memories to me, and many times yesterday I felt like I was in a time warp.


This restaurant reminded me so much of those times. The tables were covered in plastic, just like my grandparents' furniture. Fake flowers, slightly dusty, decorated the tables, and bright chandeliers sparkled from above. The all-you-can eat buffet was a classic example of Polish cuisine, at least as I know it. Polish food is hearty, never spicy, and very well-cooked. For example, when the Polish cook vegetables, they boil them until they nearly fall apart. Then they drain them and add butter. Polish sausage is probably my favorite Polish food, because my grandpa used to be a butcher and would always have the best sausage when we'd go to his house.


Pierogies are another Polish staple, and they're often filled with saurkraut or even potatoes. A pierogie is the ultimate carbohydrate bomb: Dough with potato inside and butter dripping off of the outside. I suppose it was my duty as a mother to introduce my son to the wonders of Polish cuisine. I have to say that Nick loved the sausage and the saurkraut pierogies, and he sucked down the well-boiled vegetables like they were going out of style. It was the meat jello that was the funniest, however. I could not bring myself to try such an item, but my cousin Maria said that it tasted vaguely like chicken soup, only gelatinous and very wiggly. I forget who at the table said, "Hey, I bet Nick would like that. He eats anything." And so it began. . .

video

As someone who has taken quite a few child development courses, I know that children go through stages of emotional development. The first one, and the one that Nick is in right now, is called "Trust vs. Mistrust." This is a time in a child's development where he learns whether or not to trust the adults in his life. Nick trusts me completely, or at least he did until the whole meat jello incident.

Even though Nick really didn't seem to dislike this disgusting jiggly concoction, I still felt a little bit guilty. Kind of like the time in grade school when a bunch of us girls dumped disgusting things together into a kind of potato/chocolate milk/ketchup/applesausce mountain, and dared one of the cuter boys to eat it. He did it, and he didn't die or anything, but I still felt a little guilty.

I guess I shouldn't be surprised, but Nick was incredibly well-behaved throughout this long family event. He did let out a really loud "muppet growl" when my cousin Ted was saying grace, but I guess that's just what babies do. Nicholas was up way past his bedtime, too. We didn't get home until 11:30, and Nick usually goes to sleep at 8 p.m. sharp.

I like this picture of Nick with his daddy, because you can see Nick doing what he does when he's tired. He sucks really hard on his binky and pulls on his ears. Nicholas actually slept an hour later than normal this morning, after his adventurous evening.

Friday, September 4, 2009

TGIF

Another long week is finished, and I have a 3 day weekend to look forward to. . . TGIF indeed. This week (Sunday-Friday) I have worked out twice at the YMCA and done two pilates bodyband workouts. Each time I went to the Y I did 35 minutes on the elliptical trainer while keeping my heart rate somewhere between 125 and 135. Not too bad, but man am I tired.


Here is Nick doing his workout with the piano. He bangs until he's tired, and then he tries to use it to stand up. Then he cries when it falls over and he crashes into the keys. Nick doesn't have to worry about his weight, though. He looks cute when his belly sticks out. Me, not so much.


I also ate pretty healthy and slept well. Then came Friday. At my work, Fridays are "treat day." People who work in schools already know that they are evil places for those trying to lose weight. Each place has their own tradition, none of which is healthy. My school has Friday breakfasts. There are all sorts of selections, such as "sausage cheesy dip," "homemade chocolate cake with fudgy frosting," "brie with apples and craisins," "potato cheesy casserole," "tiny cupcakes with tons of frosting," "giant bagels with cream cheese," "yummy pesto with pine nuts, "amazingly large, soft cookies," "tortilla chips with salsa," and "giant bowl of fresh popcorn." With as many good cooks as my school has, it's surprising we're a school and not a restaurant. Fridays are my downfall. Today it was the brie and the popcorn. Yes, for breakfast. It was good. I had some level of moderation, but I still probably had more calories during the day than I have all week.



I am still going to try to do that pilates tape tonight, no matter how tired I am. I used to figure "What the heck, I already ruined the day." Then I would proceed to sit on my rear end and read, without any thought to exercise.

Today, though, I am going to try to work off that brie and chocolate cake by doing pilates until I can barely drag myself up the stairs. That is committment. :)

Nick is playing with his stuffed giraffe here, and grinning happily at the camera. He's just thrilled whenever I let him explore outside of the baby cage. This feeling of crawling freedom is heady and exciting for him. I think he probably feels the same way I did when I got my first driver's license.


He's also understanding more the way his toys work. Take his gumball machine, for an example. He finally figured out how to make the balls come out, and he loves pushing the lever again and again. Good for him. To be easily amused is a wonderful thing.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Exhaustion and Baby Cleanliness


Sometimes babies need baths. Especially since finger foods are messy. Yes, that is a half of a blueberry stuck to my son's forehead. I believe the orange stuff around his mouth is a mixture of carrots and banana.

Diaper changes can make baths even more necessary. You see, the "pincher grip" that is a developmental milestone for infants, is also a pain in the rear end. For once a baby can use the pincher grip to lift cheerios, he can also use it to lift a dirty diaper, whilst he is being changed. Thus, having the pincher grip, said baby boy can easily fling his dirty diaper up against the wall, coating both himself and his exhausted mother with its contents.

The easiest way to deal with such a foul mess is a bath. Of course, the bedraggled (and excrement covered) mother must first use baby wipes to clean off the worst of the mess from the baby's hands, feet, and tummy. Then she must change her shirt (which will never be the same again).

Next, the baby must be carried, naked of course, down to the kitchen so that a bath can be readied. This particular baby thinks that naked time is the best time, and he loves every second of his unclothed time.

The final step in this process is, of course, the bath, which sanitizes the baby until he again uses his pincher grip for evil deeds.

Here Nick is playing with his favorite rubber duckie. He got it from his Aunt Sarah, and he loves to wave it around and chew on it while sitting in the tub.

Singing in the tub is another of Nick's favorite hobbies. He bounces up and down and hums to the beat of his own drummer. Nick's favorite thing is when I spray him with the kitchen sprayer. It must tickle, because he giggles uproariously.

The video below shows Nick chewing his duckie and singing happily. It does not show how he threw a fit when I tried to take him out of the tub. It also does not show how he waited until he was covered in baby lotion to try to squirm away from me (while trying to avoid getting his pajamas put on).

I've been extremely tired since school started. I'm thinking it is my thyroid, and hoping this exhaustion will abate once the doctors have figured out the right level of medication. I have been going to sleep as early as 8 p.m., and sleeping through until 6 a.m. Yesterday I did a pilates DVD, and I was nearly asleep on my feet by the time I made it through. Today I went to the YMCA, and I could've easily gone to bed before 7 p.m. However, I had a baby to take care of and some poop to clean up.

I also make it a point to play with Nick for about an hour each day. Often, Nick will play happily by himself and I can just talk to him while I do whatever I have to, popping my head in and showing him different toys. It isn't that I'm not with him all afternoon and evening, but for one hour, I just focus on him, talking to him and playing with him in the baby cage. Then, after dinner and bathtime, I read two or three board books to him before bed. I think it's a good routine.
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