Saturday, April 30, 2011

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Liesl's 6-month checkup

I took Liesl to the doctor today for her 6-month checkup. She weighs 15 lbs, 1 oz, and is 26 inches tall. She's 50th percentile for both. She's doing everything she should be doing, and Dr. Jane gave me the greenlight to go ahead with all sorts of food.

coda: Liesl got the usual vaccines, and I gave her tylenol before bedtime. She slept from 6:45 pm until 4:45 am, nursed briefly, then slept again until 6:45. Amazing! Her first time sleeping through the night! Apparently it took some shots to make it happen... (Like a good, neurotic mama, I woke up at 3:30 and couldn't go back to sleep until I'd heard her murmur and snuffle a little.)

Easter weekend

For Easter this year we went down to Fenwick Beach, Delaware, to a pair of houses partly owned by Steve's parents. They are beautiful places, on the bay, with four bedrooms each. They are upside down, with the kitchen and living rooms on the third floor to maximize the views. We stayed in one house with Mary and Joe, and their dog Holly, while Grandma and Grandpa stayed in the other with Trish and Jeff and baby Hana. Sebastian was thrilled to be able to go back and forth between the houses, visiting people and playing. (It was quite the workout to have to do six flights of stairs every time you wanted to visit the other kitchen or living room.) Sebastian and Holly fetched balls on the lawn together and ran around inside chasing each other until both collapsed. Seb also got to ride his little tricycle around the houses and the driveways, and he loved it.

We took Sebastian mini-golfing and go-kart racing for the first time, which was terrifically fun.

We had one gorgeous day, and Steve and I got to walk on the beach together (Seb chose to stay home with aunt Mary and Holly). I got a little tan, and Steve got a little sunburned. (oops.)

Baby cousins Hana and Liesl had fun checking each other out and stealing each other's toys. Liesl warmed up to her family pretty quickly, and by the second day I could leave her with someone for a little bit without triggering crying.

We dyed eggs on Saturday night. Sebastian got to participate in two Easter egg hunts - one in our house, with the real eggs hidden by Steve (locations carefully recorded).

The other was organized by the Delaware Fords (Anne's brother and family) and was immense - lots of small children and an amazing potluck lunch. The children all took a hay ride while the grownups ran around tossing eggs everywhere, and then there was a mad rush. It was pretty fun.

Our trip down was pretty miserable - traffic on the Jersey Turnpike, both children waking up too early from naps, stops to feed Liesl, stops to feed Sebastian dinner, etc - it took nearly 8 hours in total. So we decided to take the ferry back, from Lewes to Cape May. It was a great decision - the ferry wasn't crowded, Seb could walk around and see everything, I could nurse Liesl, and Steve even managed to do some work onboard, because there was internet access. The Garden State parkway wasn't trafficky, so we flew up through Jersey and both children slept and slept. We even saw some dolphins swimming by the ferry boat. I think the ferry was Seb's favorite part of the whole trip - he keeps talking about it.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Easter egg hunt at the Krapfs

The Easter bunny visited the home of our friends the Krapfs a little bit early, and so they hosted a big Easter egg hunt. It was great to see all of Sebastian's friends - Nathan and Alex, Liam and Zoe, Presley, Lydia and Sadie, Isaiah, Paul, Penelope, and Frank - and their parents. The weather cooperated and it was a grand party. More pictures from the morning here.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

anecdotes and word games

On the car ride home today, from Sebastian: "Probably we'd die if we went in a space ship all the way to the stars." Me: "Why would we die?" Seb: "Cause it's too far."

I sneeze, covering my mouth with my hand. Sebastian: "Mommy, that's not right. You have to go like this (demonstrating), using your elbow." Me: "Oh, you're right. Sorry, Sebastian." Seb: "Do it right next time."

Sebastian in his play kitchen, preparing to feed Liesl a dinner: "You have to eat all your dinner, and all your vegetables, before you can have dessert. If you don't finish all your dinner, you get no treats."

At dinner last week. Sebastian: "Boys have penises and bums. Girls just have v'ginas." Me: "Girls have bums too."

Passing by the cluster of three churches on the corner. Sebastian: "What's a church?" Me: "A place where people who believe in the same things, like the same god, meet every week." Seb: "What do they do there?" Me: "They talk, they listen to a minister or priest, who is like a teacher, and they sing songs." Seb: "That doesn't sound very interesting."


We've also been playing some new games. He's very much into spelling and letters at the moment, and will frequently ask us "What's the first letter or number in the word 'x'? What comes next?" (He always includes the category of numbers, and has seemingly never noticed that words don't contain numbers. We haven't corrected him.) With help, he can sound out some words, but the English language is tricksy. The fact that C makes different sounds, overlapping with other letters; the silent E's littering the ends of words; the challenges of CH, TH, SH... It's a minefield. But I love that he's interested in spelling and in reading, and that he's trying to figure it out.

Just yesterday he looked at the letters FROG, sounded out the letters, and correctly identified the word. We were very proud. He knows how to spell some words, like Stop, Bus, and Car, but that's through memorization and not reading.

We've also been playing a variant of Twenty Questions - one of us hides a card with a picture on it, and the others have to guess what the picture is. (The cards come from our Boggle Jr. game, so are of common objects and animals.) It lets us introduce the concept of categories, and how to narrow down a search - so we start with asking if the thing is an animal, or an object, or a person. Then we can ask if it's a vehicle, or a toy, if it's man-made or natural, etc. He's still struggling to grasp the idea, but he's definitely improving.

Lastly, and most sweetly, Steve and Sebastian play the "I love you" game. We have a book - Guess How Much I Love You - in which a bunny and his daddy take turns saying how far, how high, how big they love each other. My boys make it a game that they play - "I love you as high as our house." "I love you as high as the Empire State Building." "I love you as high as the moon." "I love you as high as the stars." "Wow. Hmm. I love you as far as the river." "I love you as far as New York City." "I love you as far as Vermont.". Etc etc. It's very sweet.

Friday, April 15, 2011

park play

Liesl's new sunbonnet.

the swings! such joy!

running up and down the hill, chasing balls

Pushing Liesl and our toys up the hill towards home.
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Tuesday, April 12, 2011

PepsiCo sculpture garden

On Saturday we went to the sculpture gardens on the grounds of PepsiCo's headquarters, in Purchase. It's about 20 minutes from here. The gardens are open to the public and free, and have not only dozens of sculptures by famous artists (Giacometti, Calder, Oldenburg, Henry Moore, Rodin), but also beautiful trees and flowers from all around the world. We saw a pink tree - a Japanese maple - that was wonderful. It was a beautiful, warm day, and we had a great time running around and seeing all of the art. It's an amazing collection.

Monday, April 11, 2011

testing, testing

Sebastian has been really testing us lately - testing the boundaries of behavior, testing how far he can push us, testing to see if we mean what we say. It's been exhausting and frustrating. Nothing out of the ordinary, I'm sure, but hard to deal with, especially as it's such a contrast with his usual sweet, compliant self. There's been a lot of no. And running away from us and hiding. And refusing to sit at the dinner table. And doing things he knows he isn't allowed to do. His verbal way of expressing this recalcitrant self is to say "bang". It's like a preschooler version of damn, no, I hate you, and f*** you, all wrapped up in one neat little package. So we'll ask him to do something, and he'll say "bang". And then he'll keep repeating it as he realizes he's getting under our skin, at increasing volume, until we tell him to stop it. And then he says "bang you!" Awesome.

Fortunately, the best solution seems to be outdoor exercise and play. He's nearly always happy and cheery when we're outside, and so we've been dragging him out at every opportunity and inventing new ways to encourage him to run. And his crankiness isn't nonstop, every day, which is nice - we still hang out with our sweet boy some of the time.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

some updates, and random cute pics of our girl

Liesl appears to have cut her first tooth! There's a sharp little thing coming out of her top gum, and she has been a bit fussy, especially at night. (Oh, joy.) After our first success with rice cereal, she has steadfastly rejected all of my attempts at feeding her more food. She won't eat the rice cereal, and she refused to eat pears as well. This is new territory for us: Sebastian ate absolutely everything, in huge quantities, from the very beginning. We went back to the spring 2008 videos and watched in amazement as Seb devoured a huge bowl of pureed carrots. I don't know if she's just not ready, if she's cranky because of the tooth, or if she is just going to be a troublesome eater. At any rate, I'm going to back off for a week, and then try again.

Friday, April 8, 2011

spring! (thank goodness)

The warm weather has finally arrived, and we have been glorying in it. We've been outside as much as possible, going for walks along the trail and around Halsey Pond, going to the fields and playgrounds, and trailing Sebastian on his bike. Liesl has tickled her toes in the grass and started to investigate trees and flowers. It's so great to be out.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

rice cereal!

We gave Liesl her first taste of solid food today - rice cereal with mama's milk. She was at first confused by the necessary mouth action and seemingly disgusted by the taste, and I couldn't figure out whether or not she was actually swallowing any of the cereal. But then she got the hang of it and became extremely enthusiastic, grabbing at our hands and the spoon to encourage more food, more quickly. She ate the whole bowl. We took turns feeding her, even Sebastian getting in on the action.

She's been gazing longingly at our food and drink for a few weeks now, so we suspected she was ready to try solids. I wasn't ready, though. Steve laughs at me, but I wasn't ready to give up the knowledge that all of that baby cuteness was directly through me - in utero, and through breastfeeding. But since she won't take a bottle, it seems like a good idea to introduce some other form of non-me nourishment. And so, off we go. She's growing so fast.

rice cereal! from B. Avery on Vimeo.