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.