Saturday, October 17, 2009

Blog? What blog?

Since it's been three months since I last managed to post something, I thought I'd hand over the story telling to Adriana. I've been trying to transcribe some of her stories as she tells them to me (when she'll let me get away with it), and this is one of my favorites of the ones I've gotten so far.

Once upon a time Adriana and Douglas and Sam and Elena and Matilda and Jacob all ride on their bikes to Eagle Park. And they go on ladders and slides. And then they dig in sand. And Adriana has red shovel and Matilda has yellow shovel and Sam has blue shovel and Elena has purple shovel and Jacob has black shovel and Douglas has pink shovel. And they dig big hole and make big tunnel. And then climb down tunnel. And at bottom tunnel there cave. And in cave there little monkey. Little like hummingbird. Little blue monkey. So little. And monkey want us paint cave. So we paint pictures on walls. Butterflies and balloons and elephants. And we paint those things on walls. And then little monkey give us mangoes. And we eat mangoes and then we climb out tunnel and find all the moms. And moms give us pizza and bath and then we go to bed. The end.

Friday, July 17, 2009

All fall down

Last night at 9:30, when all the other two-year-olds we know had probably been in bed for sometime, Adriana was still running around naked after her bath. All day long she'd been practicing a little stunt from her gymnastics class, and I was trying to get her to demonstrate for Brian. She never really did, but we learned two important things about her philosophy of falling:
  1. Brian warned her, "You'll fall on your head." She explained to him, "No fall on head, daddy. Fall on bottom. Fall on head hurt."
  2. Somehow she ended up standing on his hand, playing a game they were making up on the spot. She would jump off, and he would lift his hand just as she did, getting her a little further into the air than she would on her own. She would fall (onto her bottom!) and giggle and do it again. At last she did it and landed on her feet. We applauded her, and she said, "Ana no fall. Ana do one more time and fall." And this time she made sure to fall. It's more fun that way, you know.

I'm sure our downstairs neighbors just love us.

Sunday, July 05, 2009

Not so sly

Upon hearing Brian turn on the bath, Adriana shrieked, "No take bath! I hide." She had been sitting with me on my (unmade) bed, and she pulled the sheet over her face and laid down, leaving her hair and hands sticking out. When Brian came in and saw what she was doing, he asked loudly, "Where's Adriana?"

She popped out from her hiding place. "Here I am! Peek-a-boo!"

Saturday, June 27, 2009


From the backseat of the car:

"Baby no walk. Baby no talk. I help give baby bath. Dry baby off. Comb baby hair. Baby wear PJs. Baby have mom-milk. Ana gentle with baby. Give baby kiss. Want baby NOW."

It's going to be a long six or seven months, but at least Adriana seems excited about getting a sibling.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Dat word

One afternoon, Adriana and I sat in front of the fan, reading stories and trying to stay cool. When we finished one book, I was feeling silly, so I scooped her up into a big squeeze and gave her a noisy kiss on the cheek. "Smoochies!" I said to her.

She pulled away and looked at me. "Mom! Day dat word 'gain."

"What word? Smoochies?" I gave her another kiss, and she giggled.

"I wike dat word." And she pushed her face against mine. "Moo-mies!"

Saturday, June 13, 2009

First memories

When Adriana first brought me the picture of her friend Sam and asked for a story, I was surprised by how much she remembered about last Christmas. I told her about all the children visiting Santa, and she obviously remembered not wanting to be left alone on his lap. And then she told me that Santa brought her a stroller for her baby doll, and that after Christmas, daddy threw the tree off the balcony (better than tracking needles all through the apartment when dragging it out the front door). I was surprised that she remembered so much, but it's obvious that certain things make strong impressions. Brian and I talk sometimes about what will be Adriana's first memory, and it's tempting to think that these fun memories she has of Christmas will be the ones that stick.

Recently we had a borrowed alphabet book that had a picture of an x-ray for the letter X. We read the book over and over, but after a few days, she stopped me from turning to the next page. She studied the picture and said, "Ana get x-ray."

"You did have an x-ray. Do you remember that?" It had been a couple of months since that had happened, and she hadn't mentioned it since, so I was surprised to hear her say something about it.

"Ana sit on table," she reminded me. And then her voice turned worried as she turned to face me, reaching out to grab my arm. "Mom stay with Ana."

I told her that she had been a big girl, and yes, I had stayed right with her the whole time. And I reminded her, just as I had at the time, that Curious George had had an x-ray too. She nodded and let me go on with the book, but as long as we had that book, we had the same conversation whenever we reached that page, and sometimes she would bring me the book just so we could look at that one letter together.

Then we returned the book, and we didn't talk about the x-ray anymore until this past week, when she wanted to read Curious George Goes to the Hospital. We reached the part of the story in which George is getting the x-ray. The man with the yellow hat was given a yellow lead apron to wear, and at that point Adriana said, "Mom wear blue one." She was right. I was given a blue one when she had her x-ray. I was amazed that she remembered that little detail, but it had clearly been an important event, even though she was so good and calm and seemed totally unfazed by it as the time. We went through the conversation about the fact that I didn't leave her several times, and I did my best to reassure her, as she seemed so worried. Later that day when she wanted to read the story again, though, she didn't comment at all on the x-ray. I hoped that she'd gotten the worry out of her system, but on Thursday when an unexplained limp she'd had over the weekend returned, I began to worry. Everything looked fine, but her limp was so noticeable and she was complaining that her leg hurt, so I was leaning toward taking her to the doctor to have her take a look. But I worried that even though I was certain it wasn't broken, the doctor would want to do an x-ray to make sure, and it would be more traumatic this time because this time she would be healthy enough to panic.

Luckily the doctor quickly realized that the pain and stiffness were in Adriana's hip and diagnosed her with toxic synovitis--some inflammation in the hip probably caused by a virus. No x-ray was necessary, and we were sent on our way with instructions to give her some Motrin if it seemed to be bothering her.

But then I ran into another one of Adriana's memories, but this one didn't surprise me at all. On Sunday I had given her some Motrin to help with the pain, and when she didn't want to take it, I promised her that she could watch Elmo on YouTube afterwards. When we got home from the doctor's office, I told Adriana she could have some Motrin for her leg, and she agreed. But as I came towards her with the medicine, she took a step back, and said "Elmo" in a very firm voice, making sure I knew exactly what would come next.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

29 months

It's like we have an honest-to-goodness little person around here. I mean, Adriana's only three feet tall and can't quite break 27 pounds, but the way she interacts with us, with the world, seems every day less babyish, less, toddlerish, almost more like a real kid.

Her vocabulary continues to grow, and her pronunciation is improving to the point that people other than her parents can understand her. She is shy at first with most people, but eventually she warms up and it's hard to stop her from talking. S sounds and K sounds still come out as Ds, Ls are replaced with Ws or Ys, and R is pretty much non-existent. She still often tries to use only one syllable for some words--"baby" is just "bee"--but she is attempting longer words. I am charmed by her pronunciation most of the time: "chey-ees" for cherries, "eh-deent" for elephant, and "wah-mey-on" for watermelon. I've been trying to get her to say her whole name, and she'll repeat it after me, syllable by syllable, but then when I ask her to say her whole name she grins and says "Ana Roof!" She does continue to sign a bit, but usually only for emphasis or when she thinks we don't understand what she is saying (I wasn't home one evening and when whining for Mom over and over didn't work, she tried signing it, to make sure Brian really understood what she was asking for). I do occasionally ask her to sign when I don't understand what she is saying, and even if it's not a sign we've used before, she'll attempt it. Sometimes that's useful, as when I didn't understand that she was saying "telephone" and she held a hand up to her ear. But sometimes she just wiggles both hands around in front of her and grins at me.

She is also starting to sing. She's always liked to listen to music and be sung to, but she has never attempting to sing along, either with me or with a recording. But about a month ago she started requesting particular songs more often, and while she still doesn't sing along with me, she does sometimes just begin singing on her own. Usually she just picks one or two lines of the song and belts them out at full volume with little attention to tune (she does have good rhythm, though). She also fills in lines to songs, so that whenever we sing her current favorite, "Little Red Wagon," she likes to pick who fixes the wagon and with what tool. Or food. That wagon gets fixed with a lot of french fries and ice cream, although maybe that's because her knowledge of tools is limited. After hammer, wrench, and duct tape have been used, it's clearly time to try something more creative. Along with the singing comes dancing, which she's always done a certain amount of, but now she makes up little dances to go up with little songs that she makes up. "Happy food dance! Happy food dance!" she sings, as she stands on her step stool to eat a meal (which she prefers to sitting in a chair, and I don't think it's worth a fight), bopping from side to side. Or she stands in the kitchen, bouncing up and down, making her sign for noodles with both hands and singing "Noo-oo, noo-oo, noo-oo," as I make ravioli for lunch. After using the potty at her friend Jacob's house the other day, he taught her the potty dance, and soon both of them were scampering their feet and punching the air with their fists, chanting "Adriana go potty!" over and over and over.

Her sleep and eating have improved immensely lately, much to Brian's and my relief. I think the eating in in part a growth spurt, and in part the fact that I have pushed her a little bit towards weaning, and that the sleep has improved as a result. I was tired of being asked to nurse for a few minutes every hour, especially in the afternoons, so one day when she asked, I told her that she could nurse this once, but after that, no more until bedtime. She accepted this deal, and when she asked a little later for some more and I reminded her of our bargain, she nodded and didn't ask again. Suddenly our pattern was nursing when she woke up in the morning, once more between that time and nap, and then again at nap. The same pattern followed in the afternoons, with wake-up and bedtime nursings, and one in between. And then she dropped the mid-morning nursing on her own within a week. The mid-afternoon one is still there a few times a week. I realized that while our mornings are pretty busy, with gymnastics and school and whatnot, in the afternoons I am busy tidying the house a bit and fixing dinner, and Adriana was often asking to nurse in order to get my attention. Once I started including her more in what I was doing, instead of trying to get her to play by herself, she stopped asking nearly as much. I do think she was getting a fair share of her calories from milk, because the weaning coincided with a much greater food intake--she eats three full meals every day now, plus snacks. And as a result, she wakes only once most nights now, usually sleeping from nine to four, and then going back to sleep until seven or eight. At first this seemed to limit her napping, but now she is back to regularly sleeping for at least any hour in the early afternoon, which is a relief. We can get her to bed earlier if she doesn't nap, but I'd rather have the break during the day while Brian's at work.

One of Adriana's favorite activities now is cooking. Now she helps cook dinner most nights, pulling her step stool into the kitchen to observe what I'm doing. I measure out rice and water, and she pours them into the rice cooker and then pushes the button to turn it on. As I cut up vegetables, I push the stems and peels aside, and she moves them into the trash for me. She picks the leaves of the herbs off of their stems so that I can mince them. She takes a turn mixing ingredients or whisking eggs, and I guide her hand as she grates cheese. She seems to feel proud when she helps, and when she isn't eating at dinner, just reminding her that it's something she helped prepare makes her more willing to eat a bit more. She loves to have treats--french fries, cake, and ice cream are favorites--but for the most part she is a very healthy eater. She eats lots of vegetables--chard, eggplant, asparagus, zucchini, and bell peppers are gobbled up, but I think she would live on blueberries and cherries if I would let her. She already has broader tastes than I have, though; she has lost her willingness to eat spicy foods, but she does go for mushrooms, olives, and goat cheese--three foods that I have never been able to develop a taste for.

Adriana's imagination has just exploded in the past few weeks. She plays games of pretending, informing me that I am a baby, and she gives me a bath, puts me in pajamas, and tucks me into bed. Or, when she catches me reading on the couch, she wraps a throw around my waist, tells me I am a bird and she is a mom bird, and flies off to get me some bugs to eat. She began bring us a pictures of one of the little girls from play group and asking us to "Read Sam," so we would tell her stories about her adventures with Samantha. First I started with true stories: the picture was taken the day some of us took the kids to the Stanford Shopping Center to see Santa, so I told Adriana about all the children waiting to see Santa, playing ring-around-the-rosy together, and eating lunch at the Peninsula Creamery. Soon, though, the picture was a jumping off point for any number of adventures, with Adriana providing most of the details. "Once upon a time, there were two little girls, named--" I say, and she shouts "Ana and Sam!" and so it begins. "One day, Sam and Adriana decided to," I continue and pause, waiting. And Adriana picks whether the two girls go to the park or the beach, and continues to fill in details from there. They often climb trees and ride their bikes, and french fries and cupcakes make frequent appearances in the stories. In one of my favorites, the first one where Adriana totally took over the story and filled in all the details, she and Sam rode their bikes to the park where they climbed a tree. They climbed and climbed, and when they got hungry they ate apples in the tree. Finally they climbed so high they had reached the moon. My friend Mark was there, living in a sand castle, and he gave the girls french fries and ketchup, and then made a vanilla milkshake for them to take home to their moms. They flew home in a blue rocket. Sometimes I do try to take control of the story. Adriana began one recently in which she and several of her friends were digging a hole at the park and it was so deep they fell in when they tried to make it bigger. I took over, sending the children on an adventure through the tunnels until they reached a gigantic tropical cavern. I described birds and flowers and waterfalls, and a gigantic, ferocious looking beast that was playing a sweet melody on a flute, and just when I had another one of these beasts enter, Adriana decided she'd had enough. "The children turned when they heard a noise, and they saw another one of the beasts coming toward them," I said, and she interjected. "With plate of cupcakes!" Which wasn't exactly where I was going with the story, no, but who am I to argue?

Friday, May 15, 2009

Little Baby's Santa Cruz Adventure

The thing about doulas is they are right and you should do what they tell you to do. Even when you had your baby almost two and a half years ago. When I wrote about Adriana's favorite doll last month, our doula, Pam, commented on the post, telling me to have a spare or two. But did I listen to her? Of course not.

On Saturday we went to Santa Cruz for the day. We ate at Walnut Avenue Cafe, walked around downtown, rode the carousel, played on the beach, and stuffed ourselves with sweets. It wasn't until we were getting in the car at the end of the day that I noticed that Little Baby was no longer with us. We hadn't taken the doll to the Boardwalk or the beach, so I assumed that it been left in the restaurant that morning, and since the restaurant was closed, I figured I had no choice but to head home and call in the morning to see if they had it. I worried about it all the way home, rolling my eyes at Brian when he asked, "Am I a jerk because I don't think this is such a big deal?"

After a bath and a story, I laid down with Adriana to nurse her to sleep and she asked, suddenly, "Little Baby?" (Well, more like "Yih bee?")

"Little Baby decided to stay in Santa Cruz and play a little more. She wanted more pancakes, and to ride on the merry-go-round some more. She'll be home in a couple of days," I lied, without even thinking about it. I watched Adriana's face crumple and she reached toward me for a hug. "Little Baby," she wailed in my arms. It was funny to realize that for the most part she cries because she is angry, frustrated, or hurt. When she cried out of sadness it was a very different thing. I assured her over and over again that Little Baby was having a grand time in Santa Cruz, and finally Adriana settled down to nurse.

It was when we were lying there in bed that I realized that I had seen the baby after brunch: we had walked down to the end of Pacific Avenue to show Adriana how to whisper at the Parabola. She had set Little Baby down on the bench there while we were playing. Since we'd gone from there to the car to head to the Boardwalk, that was where the doll had to be.

Last known sighting of Little Baby.

As soon as Adriana was asleep, I was on the phone to the Jamba Juice right there by the bench. A young man told me that no one had brought the doll into the store, and then he humored me by going out to check, but the doll was no longer there. I gave Lulu Carpenter's a quick call too, but no one had brought the doll inside there, either.

What was I to do? C'mon, I clearly had only one choice: I went online and ordered an identical doll and checked the box for two-day shipping.

For the next couple of days, Adriana would ask for Little Baby, and we would tell her stories about what her doll was doing: eating more mouse-shaped pancakes at Walnut Avenue; riding the carousel at the Boardwalk, eating ice cream and candy at Marini's, and building (and stomping on) sand castles at the beach. "She'll be home in a few days," we promised. Soon Adriana was telling us about what Little Baby was doing.

When we got home from our playdate on Wednesday afternoon, there was a small box in front of the door. Adriana ignored it and went inside to play. I slyly opened it in the kitchen, put the doll back out on the doormat, and then knocked loudly on the door. Adriana came with me to see who it was, and when I opened the door she cried, "Little Baby!" She grabbed the doll, and carried her into the house with glee. She sat on the floor to study the doll, which is when I noticed that this doll's eyes were blue instead of brown. Adriana didn't seem to care though; she was just pleased that the baby had found a new hat while she was on her adventures, since her old one had been lost months ago.

We went out to dinner that night, and Little Baby came along with us, although I was nervous the whole time that she'd get lost again. But Adriana was so glad to have her lovey back, that I couldn't say no, especially when she kept saying, "My Little Baby come back!" She was so happy , and I was so pleased that I had pulled it off, that she thought this was really her favorite doll, back after a little adventure in Santa Cruz.

After she'd had her bath and we'd read a couple of books that night, we settled into her bed.

"Want my new little baby," she told me, searching for her doll among the blankets. Maybe I'm not as sly as I thought.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Spring break

Looks like somebody wasn't ready to get up after all.

Good thing it's spring break and I could let her sleep in.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

27 months

I remember reading somewhere that the period from 18 to 22 months was a challenging age. That was reassuring to me at the time: I wasn't the only one struggling with how to parent my child at that age, and there was a light at the end of the tunnel. And it really was true. Around the time Adriana reached 22 months, things did seem remarkably easier. I feel that in the past few weeks we've reached another challenging age, and I am starting to wonder if these things go in four-month cycles. There are more days lately when I feel my patience wearing thin. I wonder if it's just me--am I not eating right, not getting enough sleep--or if it's something about Adriana. It's probably a little of both, although I think there's more of the latter. She's testing limits right now, and getting frustrated with them. She pours a cup of water on me--because she wants to see what will happen, because it might be funny, because she can--and then throws a tantrum when I refuse to give her the cup back. She puts on her shoes when I ask her to do so, and then kicks them off as we are about to head out the door, smiling her most charming smile as I grit my teeth because we needed to leave five minutes ago. They are nearly all just little things, but over the course of a day they start to add up and by Friday afternoons I am usually watching the clock, counting down until Brian gets home. 

It's a good thing she's cute and clever to make up for her shenanigans. She gives me a tight-lipped smile, sticking out her chin, when she knows she's been mischievous. She bounces and moves from side to side very solemnly when we ask her to dance. She throws kisses to people when she says goodbye. She knows nearly all of her letters (X is usually confused for a K), and shouts them out when she sees them. She surprised me by spelling out "Petsmart," reading the letters on the big sign out from the of store, although she did call attention to the 'A' several times as she went along--it is her letter after all. She recognizes numbers and will point to the one you ask her to, but she doesn't label them the way she does letters, instead just pointing them out as "number" when she sees them. 

She talks constantly. It's not exactly that I wish she would stop talking, although the thought has crossed my mind when I've heard, "Mom, now!" a few too many times in one afternoon. Even though she likes to have what she says repeated back to her, she is usually content to babble to herself, and that's what she does as she rides on the back of my bike or in the car, and when she is drawing or playing with blocks on her own. She labels everything--"blue car, white car, purple truck," she says as we walk through a parking lot--but she is also really beginning to speak in sentences now, more than just the three- or four-word commands she's become an expert on. "I put my new shoes on my feet," she told me a couple of weeks ago, and when I looked she had indeed put her new sneakers on. Each word is it's own exclamation, so instead of a natural sounding sentence, there's a very staccato feeling, but she is very excited to be telling me everything, so it is fun.

I've been particularly interested lately in watching her friendships develop. At this age they are mostly too young for anything beyond parallel play and fighting over toys, but she does take an interest in what the other children in playgroup are doing. And they do interact beyond the little squabbles: she runs to greet her friend Samantha with a hug when she spots her at the park, and when her friend Douglas comes over to play they go straight for her bed, where the alternate between jumping and snuggling down to pretend they are sleeping. 

She seems so grown up these days. Part of it is that she's just getting big. Her pants all seem a little too short, and she outgrew her shoes rather suddenly a few weeks ago. She fell asleep in the car on the way home one day recently, and as I carried her snoring up the stairs, I realized that even with her head resting on my shoulder her feet were dangling all the way to my knees. But it's also her personality. She remembers more things, and talks to me about the things we've done. She gets herself out of bed after her nap a lot of the time, instead of crying for me. There are times I miss having her as a baby, but this imaginative, funny little girl is a pretty good replacement.

Monday, April 06, 2009


Adriana has two baby dolls. One is about ten-inches long, and has a plastic (but phthalate free!) head and limbs and a soft body. The other is completely soft, with a stitched on face. When I bought that doll at Christmastime, I thought it would be a nice toy for Adriana to snuggle with, since it was so soft. But the first baby is by far the favorite. She does like the second baby--its shirt and diaper are easily removed, so it is good for really playing mommy. But Adriana is nearly as content to mime a diaper and outfit change with the doll she calls Little Baby. I think soft face that so enamored me is actually what turns Adriana off. She has definitely shown a preference for dolls that look more like real babies; at the little school we go to, she shuns the Cabbage Patch Kids and dolls that look like older children in favor of the dolls with baby faces. Plus, its smaller size makes it perfect for cradling in her arms to pretend to nurse, or to have tied to her with the scarf that she likes to pretend is her own little Moby wrap. And so it has become Adriana's constant companion.

I did try to encourage a "lovey" at one point, maybe about a year ago, offering Adriana a stuffed monkey that a friend had given me in college. Adriana does adore the monkey, and he has been a favorite at times. But she has never been attached to him the way she is attached to Little Baby. The doll comes to the grocery store and the farmers' market, to the doctor's office and to friends' houses. It has played hide-and-seek in Dolores Park and listened to stories at the Red Rock story hour. When we get into bed at night or naptime, Adriana makes sure she has Little Baby, and she holds the doll to her chest for milk as she rolls towards me to nurse. In the night when she wakes up, she sits up and finds Little Baby again before settling back down to sleep. It's sweet to peek in at her and see her sound asleep with her doll clutched tightly in her arms. 

I do live in a bit of fear of losing Little Baby. When we're out and about with the doll, I constantly check to make sure Adriana still has it in her arms or that it is peeking out of the pocket on the diaper bag. It has become a family joke to place the blame for missing items on the cat, and Adriana accepts this for a lot of things, but I think if Little Baby were to disappear, there would be trouble.

Sunday, April 05, 2009

Diaper bag packing FAIL

As we were leaving the farmers' market, Adriana announced that she had a dirty diaper. I knew I had exactly one baby wipe in the diaper bag and that I would have to be efficient, but when we got back to the car it seemed her announcement had been premature. Still, she was a bit wet, so I put a fresh diaper on her and we went on our way to the park. But as we were leaving there, she made her announcement again, and this time it was clear that she meant it. There weren't any families we knew at the park, but I headed over to one group of moms and explained my situation, and they laughed and one gave me a few wipes. And then we headed over to the restaurant for lunch so I could use the changing table there. And so I was standing there in the restroom with Adriana on the table when I discovered that the diaper I'd put on her at the car had been the last one in the diaper bag. Hedging my bets, I put Adriana's pants back on her and headed back out to the table outside where Brian and his parents were waiting for us. I explained what had happened and we all laughed, and Brian headed up to Longs to buy a pack of diapers. 

Everything was fine until Adriana announced, "Pee." 

"Should I take you to the potty inside?" I asked her.

But then the expression on her face changed. "Pee," she said with more urgency. And then my father-in-law pointed out the growing puddle beneath Adriana's chair.

Honestly, I think these were the kind of mistakes I was supposed to make when she was a few weeks old. Shouldn't I know to check what I have in my bag before leaving the house by now?

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Guess what she hears me say a lot

Whenever we read The Runaway Bunny, Adriana points out the mom and the baby on each page. She'll make other comments about some of the pictures, too, but those vary from day to day. Except for the picture that shows the mother bunny as a mountain climber, climbing to her little bunny who has become a rock high above her; when we reach that page, Adriana tells me the same thing every time:

"Baby," she points. "Mom. Baby! Get down!"

I guess she knows what happens when babies climb up too high. And I suppose I should be glad I only have to pluck her off of the kitchen table and the back of the couch, and occasionally climb up a tall play structure at the park when my baby is making me nervous. 

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

There are certain things I look forward to when it comes to Adriana growing up. For instance, I'm excited about her new interest in toilet training, and it will be nice when I don't have to have an eagle eye on her as she climbs things at the park. But it will be a sad, sad day when she figures out that simply because she runs to a tree and turns her back to me, she is not actually hidden. 

Monday, March 16, 2009

Portrait of the artist

Adriana loves to draw. The MagnaDoodle I bought last fall for a long car trip was a fantastic investment, and crayons and paper can occupy her for a long time--she often sits in the kitchen and draws while I fix dinner in the evenings, and when we flew to Florida last month, she spent more time drawing on the flights (and in restaurants and in her great-grandfather's house) than pretty much anything else.

She'll bring one of us her MagnaDoodle, or hand us a crayon when we're sitting with her while she draws, and ask for a picture of a flower, a monkey, or herself. Brian and I are not exactly artists, but our skills are enough to impress a two-year-old. But I found it frustrating to constantly get these requests. Even if we were sitting together, and I wasn't using the crayons to occupy her so I could get something else done, I wanted her to be the one drawing. Who cares if she can't draw a cat? She can scribble, right? So I draw her the giraffe she asks for and tell her to put on the stripes, or make the main part of the requested 'A' and she can put the line through the middle. But then she is back, asking me to draw a picture of her in her flower shirt holding her baby doll, or a monkey holding a balloon in a tree. 

Now I think all that watching was good for her. On Saturday night, Brian's parents babysat while he and I went out to dinner. When we got home and were sitting around talking, Adriana got out her MagnaDoodle and began to draw. er scribbles have changed a great deal over the past few months. Instead of covering a piece of paper in one color, she changes color often (making sure to tell me with each change what color she is using). She went from short little marks to longer scribbles to very specific little "designs"--she makes rows and one-inch high scribbles, for instance. But now we were seeing another change. She carefully used the "pen" to make a potato shape and drew a lot of lines coming out from it. Then she erased it and as she started again, I asked her what she was drawing. "Ana," she said. And there was the potato shape again. She drew two squiggly lines out from the side. "Arms," she told us and then "Wegs," when I asked her about the two squiggly lines that came from the bottom. The two lop-sided circles inside the top of the potato were eyes, of course. And then she made a similar, smaller drawing right beside her--her baby, she told us. 

It's such a funny little milestone, and yet it was the one I've gotten most excited about in a while. Putting on her own socks and shoes is quite nice, but this, to me, showed more than just an improvement in her coordination. It somehow made her seem more grown up, in spite of her footed pajamas. 

Sunday, March 15, 2009

26 months

I have always thought of Adriana as independent. She seemed to want to support her own head from a very early age, and she refused almost all solid foods until she could feed herself. Watching her and comparing her to other kids at the park, I felt that, even though she wanted me right with her most of the time, she didn't reach for me for help as often as some of the others reached for their caregivers. But I think her need for independence has become even bigger lately. Her lack of true independence means she compensates by exerting her authority when and where she can. "Ana do," I hear many times a day, whenever I attempt to help her with something she wants to do herself, which is pretty much everything. She picks out her own clothes each day (and heaven forbid her cupcake dress is in the wash when she wants to wear it--which is several times a week--or I offer her white tights instead of pink) and does her best to put them on herself. If I try to pick out what color hair bows she wears or try to put her shoes and socks on for her, it's a crisis. She tells me what she wants for breakfast and lunch, although, strangely, given her unwillingness to let me feed her as an infant, she mostly wants me to feed her now.

Sometimes her independence makes me nervous. She wants to climb up on a step stool to reach things, rather than having me get them for her. And at the park she terrifies me as she tries to imitate children several years older than she is. As she tried to stand up on the rails of a seesaw at the park, I put my hands out near her, spotting her, ready to catch her if she fell. Every time I got nervous and actually put my hands on her, she said, "No, Mom," in such an exasperated tone that I felt that I was gaining insight into our relationship ten years into the future. But at the same time, I'm excited to see this independent personality emerging.

She's also a bit of a bossy personality. She continues to talk more and more, and has definitely mastered the imperative: "Mom read book," and "Mom sit down," and other such orders are frequently heard around our house. "A three word sentence," my friend's husband commented one day at the park as Adriana directed me to push her in a swing. "Yes," I said, "but I'd rather it were four, with a 'please' at the end." He suggested that I should just be glad that she wasn't already tagging "now" onto her little sentence. The next day she ordered me to read her "monkey book" and I told her I needed to finish what I was doing, and she grabbed my leg and said, "Mom, please read monkey book, NOW." Okay, fine, it was, "Mom, pwee wee monk book, NOW." But I understood exactly what she meant. And I did as I was told. She knows so many words now, and she will try to say most things you ask her to say, provided that she is in the right mood and that the word is no more than two syllables. Even on the two-syllable words, the second half is mostly slurred, but she is making the attempt. If you ask her to say anything longer she smiles and tells you, "No."

A couple of weeks ago, her speech therapist ran though some sort of language inventory with us. At this point I am not really concerned about her speech at all, but it was good to hear that, according to this particular index, she has the language skills of a 22-month-old. I don't feel that I'm rewriting things to say that I wasn't incredibly concerned from the time we began the evaluation process last summer--I wished she would talk and figured getting her evaluated couldn't hurt and it might help. I honestly don't know how much the therapy has helped--I have a feeling this would have happened naturally, when she was ready--but the therapy is fun for her, and I am just glad she is talking. Even if it is to boss me around.

Monday, March 09, 2009

Sick and wired

On Saturday, Adriana had a runny nose. There were a few sneezing fits and her eyes were watery, so I assumed it was hay fever, since there seem to be so many blooming plants all of a sudden. Sunday I decided it was a cold. And Monday, as we struggled awake in the face of Daylight Saving Time, I decided again that it was just spring allergies. But, whether it was a cold or allergies, I didn't think a trip to the doctor was entirely necessary. Still, not sure if the rattle I was hearing in her breath was coming from her chest or her throat, I called the doctor's office and they told me to bring her in. I sent Brian a quick note to let him know the plan. He didn't think the doctor's trip was really necessary. I was ambivalent--whenever I call the advice nurse hoping for reassurance, they end up telling me to bring Adriana in. I picked up the phone to cancel the appointment, but called Brian's mom instead. She suggested I just go to the appointment for the reassurance, even if things were fine. Figuring that maybe we could at least get an antihistimine if the doctor thought it was allergies, I decided she was right.

And so I was surprised when the doctor, instead of telling me it was just a cold and to give Adriana plenty of fluids or agreeing that it did seem like hay fever, looked at Adriana sitting there with her dress off and expressed concern over her breathing before she'd even listened to her chest. But I think it was good that I was surprised. That surprise meant that instead of worrying or panicking I just accepted what the doctor said, as she pressed her stethoscope to my baby's back and then ordered some Albuterol treatments and a chest X-ray. 

Adriana was amazingly good throughout it all. In fact, her good behavior was part of what had me and my mother-in-law concerned: while Adriana is good about sitting for stories, she is not ordinarily a kid who just wants to sit in the rocking chair and snuggle for an hour. She is not the kind of kid who lies quietly on the floor when she is set down--she either demands to be picked up or goes off to do something else--but on Monday I would find her exactly where I had left her. The frighteningly good behavior continued at the doctor's office. She sat quietly on my lap for the exam, and then patiently let me hold the nebulizer mask over her face while she received Albuterol to open up her lungs. She looked passively at the little teddy bear gadget on her finger that monitored her blood oxygen saturation (which, how on earth do those things work? I swear they must be magic) and stroked my arm with her free hand. She is normally a bit shy in unfamiliar places with unfamiliar faces, but this seemed particularly unusual. She did seem more energetic after the treatment, which brought her oxygen saturation up from 95 to 97 percent, and actually walked down to get her x-ray instead of insisting that I carry her. She sit perfectly still on the table for her x-rays, as I reminded her about the X-rays Curious George got. And back upstairs, she sat quietly for another Albuterol treatment, which brought her oxygen up to 98, while we waited for the doctor to come back with the X-ray results. 

We ended up with a diagnosis of bronchiolitis in Adriana's left lung (which is often caused by RSV and can be a serious issue in babies, but is less frightening in toddlers), and we were sent off with a nebulizer to continue Albuterol treatments for the next couple of days. Realizing that I hadn't eaten in hours and that I couldn't get the nebulizer and Adriana both home on my bike, I called Brian to meet us downtown for dinner and a lift home. Adriana had a fit of energy then (Albuterol can make kids hyper), and it was good to see her back to her normal self as she did a few laps in front of the doctor's office--up the stairs then down the ramp--and then insisted on walking the block and a half to the restaurant  for dinner. But at dinner she grew quiet again and ate only a bite or two of her pasta, and by the time we got home we discovered she had a fever. And because we were at home she fought us as we tried to give her the Albuterol, but eventually with snuggles from me and a Curious George story from Brian (and the promise of a "special sticker" afterward--one of the Curious George ones I've been hoarding for when we get to the bribing stage of potty training) she settled down and then went to bed without much fight.

After that I was totally drained, and yet I felt as though I imagined the Albuterol was making Adriana feel--tense and wired. The whole day was catching up to me, from the early wake-up, the shorter-than-usual break I got when Adriana took only a brief nap, and of course the craziness of what had happened at the doctor's office. None of it ended up being a big deal. Yes, she was having a bit of trouble breathing, but it wasn't a crisis by any means. Still, I had been hesitant to take her in at all, and had expected to be sent home with a pat on the head and a roll of the eyes at my first-time-mom anxiety, and had ended up holding my baby's hand for her first X-rays. I sat in the arm chair, stunned. I sent a message to a friend describing how I felt after my day. He suggested that I needed to go sledding, and as silly as that sounded (especially since I am in the bay area, not on the frozen tundra of the upper midwest) it really was exactly what I needed: the exertion of tromping uphill in the snow, the exhilaration of flying back down on a sled--just the simple physicalness of it--to help with the tension I was feeling.

Instead I went into Adriana's room and listened to her breathing, which was no longer as shallow as it had been, and then climbed into my own bed...and then went back to listen to her breathe a couple of more times before I finally managed to fall asleep.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Recipe: Sweet potato coconut soup

While Brian likes to point out that "no one cares what I had for lunch," I feel compelled to post recipes from time to time. You care what I had for dinner, right?

This is based on a recipe from Fresh Food Fast by Peter Berley. For a while I was doing it with tofu instead of beans (about eight ounces, just cubed and tossed in with the liquid), but then Brian and I realized we don't really like tofu. We usually have it served over rice, and if you serve it over brown rice, that healthiness combined with the beans and the different colored vegetables should probably let you justify any number of chocolate chip cookies for the rest of the week. I mean, orange veggies, leafy greens, whole grains, legumes? SO HEALTHY. 

Also, this soup was one of the first real foods that Adriana ate. She tried a bit of rice cereal at seven months old, and then turned up her nose at most solids (especially purees). But just after her first birthday she chowed down on this. Apparently I just wasn't offering her interesting enough flavors.

Sweet Potato Coconut Soup with Black Beans and Chard 

2 tablespoons olive oil
2 medium onions, chopped
2 small or 1 large sweet potato peeled and diced (one-inch)
1 tablespoon ginger, minced
4 cloves garlic, crushed
1 jalapeno, minced
2 teaspoons ground coriander
1 (15-ounce) can black beans
1 (15-ounce) can coconut milk
2 cups water
1 teaspoon salt
1 small bunch chard, center ribs discarded, sliced thin
juice of one small lime
handful of cilantro, chopped

  1. Heat oil in large pot over medium-high heat. Saute onions 3-4 minutes, until softened.
  2. Add sweet potatoes, ginger, pepper, garlic, and coriander. Saute 2 minutes, stirring constantly.
  3. Add beans, water, coconut milk, and salt. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer, covered, for 15 minutes.
  4. Stir in chard and simmer, uncovered, for 10 minutes.
  5. Stir in lime juice and cilantro and serve.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Baby's first joke (I think)

Adriana came and found me while I was folding laundry.

DAD-WHERE? She asked, something she wants to know pretty much every day.

"Where do you think he is?" I asked. Usually she replies WORK, but this time she just repeated her question. "He's at work," I told her.

DAD-WHERE? Adriana repeated.

"Work," I said. We went back and forth a few more times, and finally I said, "I don't know, where is Dad?"

MOON, she signed. 

"Dad's on the moon?" I asked. She nodded, and then giggled so hard she had to sit down. For the rest of the morning as played with her baby or read books, she would stop every now and then, sign DAD-MOON, and collapse in a fit of giggles. Pretty soon I was laughing too, and I didn't even get the joke. 

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Head and shoulders, scabs and toes

I don't think of Adriana as a particularly clumsy child. In fact, I think she's quite well coordinated for her age. But she is an active little girl and takes her fair share of tumbles. As a result, her knees are frequently a bit banged up--one of them always seems to have a scab. 

Still, I thought she knew what her knees were. She points to any body part you ask her to, her knees among them. She follows along when I sing "Head and Shoulders, Knees and Toes." But the other day she pointed to a scrape on her ankle and told me "knee." I guess she was less clear on what exactly her knees were than I thought. 

Monday, February 16, 2009

25 months

Last week we flew to Florida for a few days, to visit Adriana's great-grandfather, and the trip certainly demonstrated the highlights and challenges of this age.  Adriana cooperated well at the airport, provided that we gave her plenty of warning for things. I told her as we got in the car to head up to SFO that when we got to the airport I was going to put her in the carrier until we'd gone through security, so instead of fighting me as she often does when it comes to carriers and strollers these days, she happily let me swing her around onto my back. We warned her that her monkey and shoes would have to go through the X-ray separately, and so she didn't object when Weed was tucked into Brian's bag and I placed her shoes in the plastic bin with mine. She does well with quiet play these days, even independent play, so the flights to and from Florida were uneventful. She drew with crayons, played with her doll and her monkey, looked at pictures of dogs and cats in the Sky Mall catalog, and then had some milk and slept for at least an hour. Flight attendants and other passengers stopped to tell me what a good girl she was. Once we were in Florida, she did surprisingly well with being in an apartment that was not exactly child-friendly. She had her crayons and her legos, and there was a piano to play on. For the most part she didn't show too much interest in the fragile knick-knacks that were down at her level (a couple of ceramic cats were an exception to that). 

But we also witnessed a couple of full-scale tantrums that surprised us. She was out of her normal routines and not getting quite as much freedom to run as she is accustomed to, and it was frustrating for her. We thought we knew what tantrums were a year ago, but now she's really gotten the hang of them: every now and then when she is upset or overtired or overstimulated, we witness the wrath of the two-year-old, as she hurls her body to the floor, kicks, screams, and throws things. I've found it's best to let her  blow off steam for a minute or two without interfering (although we do have to make sure there's nothing in her way that she might accidentally hurt herself on), and then she is willing to be soothed, usually by nursing, but sometimes with some other distraction. And so we faced this twice in Florida, both times in our hotel room when she was feeling cooped up and frustrated. But for the most part we were able to head off the worst of her tantrums. Several meals were eaten at shifts, so that Adriana could get outside to play. Of course, in some ways that aggravated the problems more, because it meant that she wasn't eating well. Adriana has always been a bit of a quirky eater, and eating when there are distractions is nearly impossible for her--and restaurants are full of distractions. We took food back to our room after breakfast, picked up snacks at the supermarket, and sometimes just nursed a bit more often than we normally do at home. It was good to see her eat a good meal the night we got home, gobbling up a bowl full of vegetable barley soup, rather than the diet of French bread, string cheese, grapes, and Cheerios she'd been subsisting on while we traveled. She has been such a good eater lately--eating a real breakfast in the morning, two light lunches most days (one before her nap, one after), and a decent dinner--and it was hard to watch her intake of "real food" decline throughout our trip. 

Adriana's language explosion continues. I kept a careful list of the words she said and how she pronounced them, up until she reached 100 words. Then I couldn't keep up with her and going to the computer every time there was something new, and I stopped. She combines words now into little sentences. "Mom read book," she commands me many times a day, bringing me a story to read. "Ana get ball," she exclaimed over and over at the Children's Discovery Museum earlier this month. And her spoken language lets her demonstrate the other things she is learning. She can identify colors and likes to label things--blue cars, purple balls, brown shoes. She sorts things constantly: I leave her alone to play while I shower and come back to discover that she has stacked all the red legos in one tower, the green in another, the blue in a third and is working on the yellow ones.  She sometimes builds with her alphabet blocks, but she nearly as often just divides them up by letter, as she is recognizing and naming some letters. She surprised us the first time, pointing to a capital letter A and telling us, "A, Ana," since I always say her name when we are looking at alphabet books. She also now identifies B for baby, M for mom, D for dad, and S for Sam. She tries to fit other letters and numbers into these categories: V gets matched with A; W, N, and 3 are all M to Adriana; 5 might as well be S; and O is a D, according to her. Going through the airports on our trip, she spotted the double A of the American Airlines logo and shouted, "Two! A! Ana!" with great glee. She describes her games and gives me instructions as I play with her, in a mix of spoken and signed language. During a tea party, she signs cookie and places an imaginary one on my saucer beside my cup. As I pick it up to take a bite, she tells me, "No, dip," and demonstrates dipping her cookie into her tea before tasting it (and I have no idea where she learned that). She signs panda and then says "eat pie," as she serves her toy panda a pie made of legos. She uses her made-up sign for "where?" as she speaks the word of what she's looking for. 

I am thrilled right now with the joy that Adriana takes in things. We've had a great deal of fun this past month taking her to places we thought she'd like: the Monterey Bay Aquarium, the Oakland Zoo, and Butterfly World and a park with a carousel in Florida. At the aquarium she ran eagerly from tank to tank, signing fish, demanding to be picked up for a better view, and then demanding to get down so she could run to the next tank on her own. She watched with great excitement as river otters played and wrestled in the water (although she backed way nervously as their game took them close to the glass where she was standing). She gazed in awe at sharks circling before her in a room that looked into a great tank. At the zoo, she leaned away from us when she was in our arms, trying to find some way to get closer to the monkeys and lions and elephants. She talked about that trip for days afterward, telling us about the monkey that was jumping in the trees, the monkey that was sleeping, and the elephant that pooped. At Butterfly World, it was hard to get her past the initial walkway into the garden as she pointed to flowers and butterflies, exclaiming over the colors. While the carousel in Florida wasn't the first she's been on, it was the first time she seemed old enough to really enjoy the experience, and after two rides she still was begging for more: "Mo' neigh! Mo' neigh! Mo' neigh, pwee!" Everything is amazing to her and it's so much fun to get to witness her joy. 

Friday, February 13, 2009

In honor of the tenth anniversary of our first date, today I will poke fun (gently, of course) at my husband

I'm not sure if this is the lamest reason or the most awesome Brian has ever given me for requesting a ride home from work:

"If I pedal home in this rain, my hair will run."

Thursday, February 12, 2009

I am *so* glad she is talking

At SFO last week, I took Adriana into the restroom with me.

"Mom pee," she observed. And when I didn't respond she repeated herself. "Mom pee! MOM PEE!"

Finally I gave in. Just as she likes us to say aloud the words she signs, she likes to have her words repeated back to her. "That's right. Mom's going to the bathroom."

"Mom pee! Yeah!" She exclaimed one more time. And then as I zipped up my jeans, she waved to the flushing toilet. "Mom! Pee! Bye-bye!"

The people waiting in line smiled at us as we emerged from the stall. 

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Two year stats

Last week was Adriana's two-year check up with her pediatrician. She weighed 26.5 pounds, which surprised me, partly because she has been clingy lately, so I've been carrying her a lot and she seems heavy, and partly because, according to the doctor's charts, that puts Adriana in the 47th percentile for weight. She's been dropping in the percentiles, which is totally normal, but still, she was in the 99th percentile when she was born, so hearing that she was below the 50th seemed sort of weird. She cooperated nicely when the nurse measured her height, standing up straight to show that she is 34.5 inches tall--which puts her in the 66th percentile, and is a good two and a half inches taller than her mother was at her age. It pleases me that she'll get to be taller than I am some day. Not that there's anything wrong with being 5'2"; I just want her to have an easier time buying pants that fit. 

I punched her numbers into this website. The percentiles are slightly off; every doctor and website seems to be using a slightly different chart, but you can see how she has averaged out over the past two years. 

It was an otherwise boring doctor's visit. We didn't do any immunizations. I wasn't going to mention anything about nursing to the doctor after a bad run-in with a nutritionist earlier this month, but Adriana of course began asking for milk and sticking her hands down my shirt the moment the doctor walked into the room. But the pediatrician was very encouraging, just as our last one (who retired this fall) was, and said we could just chat while Adriana nursed so that she would be comfortable during the exam. Now we don't have to go back until next January, assuming Adriana stays in good health. Fingers crossed!

Monday, January 19, 2009

I've been here before

Seven years ago, Brian and I went with friends to the benefit concert that John McCutcheon does every year for Santa Cruz's Resource Center for Nonviolence. Actually, he does two concerts, an evening one and a daytime one, and for one reason or another we ended up at the Saturday morning concert with our friends Brian and Chantal, and I think we were all surprised to find ourselves in the middle if a family concert. We had fun and enjoyed the music, but we were seriously out of place there, all of us in our early twenties, just married, and childless.

This year, though, as I sat beside Chantal and listened to the music, while Brian and Brian chased our little girls around the church (perhaps they are a little young yet), I realized that now we definitely fit in a little better.

We were lucky, too, that Saturday was such a beautiful day. We sat in the sun outside the church afterwards, snacking and visiting and letting the little ones play. It didn't feel like January, and it didn't feel as though much time had passed since the last concert, except I think I am even happier now than I was then.

Finally, our friends left to take their baby home for her nap, and Brian and I realized that it was too gorgeous a day to live Santa Cruz just yet. Hesitantly, feeling a little silly, I suggested to Brian that it had been nearly exactly ten years since our first date, it might be fitting to go to the same restaurant for lunch--especially because it was near the beach and probably had patio seating. He grinned and immediately called Palapas to get directions. (Actually, he called and asked if they were open, if they had outdoor seating, and how to get there. I laughed, wondering if they wondered how they even existed since we obviously knew so little about them.)

We had a lovely lunch. Adriana was a good behavior, the table had a view of the water, and the food was yummy. Afterwards, we skirted the resort and walked down to the beach, Adriana chasing and stomping on her shadow as we went, to the great amusement of some of the people eating outdoors at the resort restaurant. There are days when I realize I need to put the camera down, and not live life from behind it, but I do regret that I had left the camera in the car when we went to the beach. It wasn't the first time Adriana had been to the beach, but it was the first time since she'd gotten over her anxiety about sand. We all took off our shoes and rolled up our pants (we really hadn't planned for this). I wish I had a photograph of her tentative steps on the sand, and then of Adriana and Brian making their way down toward the water, side by side, shadows stretched out long behind them; a picture of Adriana and me snuggling and singing "Puff, the Magic Dragon," as we looked out at the water and one of Adriana burying Brian's feet in the sand. I wish I could have recorded the beautiful plants on the faces of the cliffs, and the reflection of the late afternoon sun on the bay. And there are impossible pictures: one of Brian and me scrambling to get Adriana, ourselves, and all our things out of the way as we realized we'd sat down a little too close to the water, and one of her holding on to both our hands as we made our way back up the beach to go home. But the camera was in the car, and instead of focusing on taking photos, I was focused on Adriana and Brian, and in a way I need the photos a little less because of that.

At the end of Saturday's concert, Mr. McCutcheon spoke about the next day's "We Are One" concert, saying that he'd called Pete Seeger to tease him about singing on the Mall to support a President for once, and to ask what he would be singing. And then everyone there in the church sang the song, "This Land is Your Land," but all day long it was Pete Seeger's song "Circles" that was running through my head:

All my life's a circle, sunrise and sundown
Moon rolls through the nighttime till daybreak comes around
All my life's a circle, still I wonder why
Seasons spinning 'round again, years keep rolling by

Seems like I've been here before, can't remember when
I got this funny feeling we'll all be together again
No straight lines make up my life; all my roads have bends
No clear cut beginnings, so far no dead ends

I've met you a thousand times, I guess you've done the same
Then we lose each other; it's like a children's game
But now I find you here again, the thought comes to my mind
Our love is like a circle; let's go 'round one more time

Smart kid

I was in the bedroom yesterday, folding clothes, when I heard Adriana demanding that Brian read to her. He sat down in a glider, and she began insisting that they sit in the arm chair to read. They argued back and forth for a minute, and then I heard him say, "Adriana, who's the boss here?"

And I couldn't stop laughing when I heard her respond, "Mom!"

Friday, January 16, 2009

Break in

Up until I was pregnant with Adriana, I'd had the same nightmare for years: someone would knock on the door, and when I opened it and realized that had been a bad idea, it was too late; the bad guys would push their way into the house. The dream changed over time, with different people as the bad guys--the strange, bearded homeless man with a dog on a chain who had come to the door in Santa Cruz that day to offer to repaint my house number on the curb; the weird manager at the Safeway in Alexandria who would follow me around the store; people that I seemed to have invented in my imagination--and different locations, although usually it took place in whatever house I was currently living in. Even in my dreams I would remember that this was a recurring dream. Someone would knock on the door and I would be hesitant to answer, because it seemed just like my dream. "Don't be silly," I would chide myself. "That's just a dream." And then I would open the door and the events would be set into motion once again. The dream never got further than the initial break in; as I would push against the door to try to keep the bad guys out, or wonder how they were now at the window, or run away trying to find a phone, I would wake in a panic.

My dreams changed when I got pregnant, though. I was still an active dreamer and remembered a lot of detail from my dreams, which is apparently normal during pregnancy. I still had nightmares sometimes, but usually they were about the baby. The home invasion dreams were gone.

Until this past week.

On Saturday night, someone broke in to the club house/fitness center at our apartment complex and stole both of the televisions. We had noticed the big, flat screen TV in the main room on when we'd walked by on our way back from dinner that night, but Sunday morning when Brian's mom was walking by, she noticed it was no longer there. Brian went down to check and found that a window had been removed. Brian called the security folks, and on Monday I talked briefly with the police who came by to check things out. In the end, it's not really a big deal, right? The "bad guys" broke into a place that they knew had no people in it. Property was taken, no one was hurt, and most of the people in the complex probably don't even realize it happened. I didn't even realize it was bothering me, even when I double checked that the front door was locked before going to bed, despite having already heard Brian do the same thing, or when I closed the windows, even though we live upstairs, before going out on a nice day, even though I left them open all summer. It wasn't until the small hours of Monday morning when I startled awake from that same dream, the one that I hadn't had in three years, that I realized how much it had upset me. I'm telling myself that I'm not being unreasonable, that someone broke into a window that I can see from my own bedroom window, that I am not doing anything particularly unusual by simply making sure my apartment is locked up when I leave. But I hate that this dream is back and that I am worried about this kind of thing.

Monday, January 12, 2009

24 months

My sister asked me at Adriana's birthday if now that Adriana was two I would stop referring to her age in months? I said that yes, I probably would, but then I started thinking about how I sit down and write a blog entry every month on the 11th (or soon after!). I suppose she's not changing as much every month as she used to, but I love having this record of what she was doing when.

Even if she's not changing as quickly these days as she used to, the past month has brought startling change as Adriana's spoke language develops. For some time I've kept a list of Adriana's signs, so I always know how many she has (nearly 100, now), so I decided to create a list of her spoken words--not the words she just echoes at the end of our sentences, but the actual words she uses to describe objects and actions. At eighteen months, that list would have had only three words on it. Two months later, she was up to five or six. Now she has almost 50. The majority are words that she also has signs for, but for the most part she doesn't sign as she speaks. I wonder, though, if I were a better signer, if she would; one is "supposed" to sign as the word is spoken when signing with kids, but I am lazy and once Adriana has acquired a sign, I stop using it. That means her signs never really improve, but I still understand her, so I don't worry about it too much. It's a good thing that I naturally continue to use words as she acquires them, because her pronunciation isn't great yet (not that it should be): "k" and "s" sounds at the beginning of words are "d" or "t." Although that comes in handy when we utter certain words that we would rather she didn't parrot back to us. ("Um, I'm afraid I taught the baby her first swear word," Brian confessed to me a couple of weeks ago. And then I heard Adriana in the next room, shouting, "Dap! Dap!" "Kick" is also a bit of a problem it turns out.) There are times when, after hearing "no" for the 5,478th time in an hour, I start to wondering why it was I wanted her to talk so much. But it's still wonderful to hear her voice, and I think it's adorable to hear her versions of "please" and "all done."

Adriana has been fascinated with babies for some time, but now she is watching the big kids at the park carefully. She still notices every baby and loves to go investigate (and stare when one is nursing), but now she is watching how the four- and five-year-olds clamber up the play structures, jump off of swings, and chase each other around. She climbs ladders with relative ease at the park these days, and her fear of slides after a fall this spring is long gone--she goes around and around on even the biggest slides at the park. Sometimes she does want me to go along with her, but after one or two tries in my lap or by my side, she pushes me away to do it by herself. Having mastered jumping with both feet off the ground a few months ago, she has now moved to jumping off of things. She spent an hour on Christmas Eve (after a short, late nap in the car, which was enough to keep her up until almost midnight), jumping off of the armchair into Brian's arms, yelling "dup" for "jump" each time.

It's fun watching her play with all her new Christmas and birthday toys. Santa Claus brought her a new doll with a stroller and a diaper bag, and she loves pushing that stroller around and diapering her baby, but she is also quite enamored of her Duplos and bristle blocks. She will play quietly building towers by herself for close to an hour.

She is my little helper, although sometimes she's more of a "helper." One day last week I was folding laundry, and every time I folded a piece of her clothing, she took it from me and ran off to her room to put it away. I thought that was excellent, until I walked into her room and found all the clothes unfolded and in a heap in front of her dresser. But she does do a nice job sorting socks, dividing them into three piles and exclaiming, "Mommm," "Da," or "Ana" for each one.

She picks her own outfit most days. Sometimes I pick out two different outfits and let her choose one of them, but other days I just let her open the drawers and choose. There are days when she ends up at the park in blue and orange striped pants and a pink polka dot top, but because I pick outfits she often finds things that she knows she's worn together before. And she is enamored of tights for some reason, so she wears a lot of dresses these days. That may be a problem this summer when it's too warm for tights and the slides are too hot for bare legs, but for now it's cute. She is determined to put her shoes on by herself, so she prefers to wear mary janes rather than sneakers, because they are easy to do by herself.

Sleep is sometimes an issue for us still, but I suppose that will just go on for some time. We've experimented with night weaning (starting it out of desperation one night when she was nursing for 30 minutes out of every 90), and while it seemed to go well at first, it now seems like more trouble than it's worth, so we're backing off a bit, and just being grateful that she does sleep better than she used to and that she still takes a nice nap most days. She did skip her nap altogether for the first time the day before her birthday, and while it didn't go badly, I would miss my quiet time after lunch if it disappeared altogether, even if it would make weekends easier.

I know these are supposed to be the "terrible twos," but I think I am enjoying this stage more than I was a year ago. I love seeing how independent Adriana is becoming and playing games with her. I mean, I do miss the baby days sometimes, the way I could just pop her in a sling and tote her around wherever I was going without having to think about food and nap schedules and whatnot, but getting to know her as a person is one of the best things I've ever had the privilege of doing.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Two years

I woke up early this morning, just as the first grey daylight was starting to seep around the blinds. I was in Adriana's bed, having gone in to her in the night. We were both on our sides, facing each other, and I stayed very still, listening to her breathe, admiring the curve of her cheek, her tiny mouth, the arms clutching her hat to her chest. I thought of where I was two years ago. At this exact time, I was probably laboring in a hospital bed, scared and tired, just a few hours before her birth. And then I added three hours for the time difference of her being more in Virginia, and realized that it was exactly two years since she'd been born. At this exact time, I was watching her be cleaned up and examined by the pediatricians in the operating room, listening to her cry and crying myself. This morning, at the risk of waking her, I took her in my arms and pressed my lips to her forehead, remembering that first day in the hospital when we were finally in our room in the maternity ward together, holding her skin-to-skin with me under my nightgown, and I marveled then and now that she was my baby.