Sunday, December 26, 2010

After the letter...

... comes pictures!

 Her Christmas-Day tutu, picked out by my awesome goddaughter

Playing with the magnet set on the fridge, from Neil's family. She loves it! 

Giggling with dido with the teddy-in-the-box that dada picked out for Christmas 

The pic of Maddy and my goddaughter. I wasn't sure I shoudl include Taylor, so here is a close-up of awesome 4-toothed Maddy! I love that crazy little smile so much!  

And on a lighter note... Maddy eating the table corner-bumpers as she watches commercials. Ah, my sweet Maddy-girl! 

Month eleven letter

Dear Maddy,

Here is the obligatory opening paragraph at how fast time is passing. Well? It's only sped up! I am in shock how time is slipping away from me. Between work and you and house cleaning and everything... But we're doing everything we can to enjoy every second with you.

You are now 11 months old. And now wearing 18-24 month clothes. I just had to retire so many of your old clothes... I am a little in shock at this last growth spurt. You were my baby one day and now you are such a big girl. You are walking along furniture so well and standing by yourself, both by letting go of the furniture and also in the centre of the room. But really only when you are distracted by other things, mostly what is in your hands. I think that will be the major motivation for you to walk - you'll want to hold on to something and move along. Now you just crawl with one hand on the ground and the other hand holding something, so your elbow is on the ground. Awkward, yes, and you abandon what is in your hands. Soon abandoning whatever it is you have will not be an option. And then you will, in your great stubbornness, walk.

Your personality is coming through more and more. You are such a strong willed little girl but only when it is something you truly want. The rest of the time, the most of the time, you are such a go-with-the-flow Madds. You are so quick to smile and laugh! Peek-a-boo, ba-donk-a-donk, nibbles on your belly and arms... FITS of laughter. And already you are a scientist. You experiment with the different noises that things make, moving things... It's glorious to watch you interact with your world and try to figure it all out. You are also very motivated by music. You will listen and songs, your favorites are commercials and Dr Who theme song. Oh! And the Brady Bunch theme song. You always stop to watch that one. And the commercial with the laughing babies. Well, most commercials, really. Just like mama used to love.

You are starting to talk. You will mimic us and try to say words. We have figured out cheese - said chssss. You always say "Dgia". All the time. We have no clue what that one means. We have tried to figure it out but nothing is coming to us. See ya? GI Joe? Maybe one day it'll click for us. And today you said 2 words. When you do something positive we cheer and clap and say good girl! Today we were at the mall and you were having some water through a straw. The first sip was a shock and you weren't expecting it, some water was spilled. The second one you knew what to expect and when you took a small sip, I said good girl and took the glass away. Well, you clapped your hands, like I do when we're cheering you on, and said "goo guur". Good girl. Just like mama says... Like mama says... Like mama...

Today I stared at you for what felt like forever. You were standing and playing and walking along the tables covered in your teeth marks. And it shook me to the core, again... the enormity and importance of what we did, that we created life, brought (more) tears to my eyes. No matter what you do, what you become, what you achieve - we will love you always. We changed the world to bring you here and the world that we inhabit is better because of it. It is perfect with you here.

I love you, my Nunu. Happy 11 months.


Saturday, December 18, 2010

What a crazy day!

Today was a crazy day! It was the first day we purposely skipped a nap for Maddy. She's been doing 2 naps a day for the last few months. But the last few days she hasn't been able to settle for her afternoon nap. So? We skipped her morning nap and are testing to see how it goes. It went... ok! She was showing some sleepy signs around her normal nap time but we played through it and kept the morning busy by going to brunch at IHOP.

And as an aside, wow it was GOOD. Possibly my new favorite brekkie place good. I'll see how they are once they are open (it was their training weekend) but yum! Grain and nut pancakes with blueberries and bananas... heavenly and kinda sorta healthy!

And then home for a nap. Well, the nap started in the carseat and stretched into the crib. About an hour and a half... which really wasn't quite long enough. But as Madds' nap started a friend of mine came over for a visit and we got the chance to catch up and then she got the chance to see Madds once she woke.

Another aside, I miss my mommy-friends... those women helped me through being a new mom and I am not sure I would be (as) sane without them. And I miss them so much. But life now doesn't make visiting easy... Maybe one day!

Then, this afternoon, we took Madds to her first birthday party of a buddy. One of the boys from Mom's Group. It was wonderful to see the ladies and see how BIG the kiddos are now. I find it funny that while Maddy was one of the youngest in the group, she's one of (or the) biggest. Ah, dada's genes are kicking in... I also can't believe another one of Maddy's "friends" is one already... I keep saying that she's only 10 months - it sounds so far from a whole year old. But it's just around the corner. So around the corner we've started thinking about her 1st birthday party...

We came home for dinner time and it was going well until Madds got her fingers caught between a mirror and a hard place (the wall) and WAIL and a meltdown. Soon after we started the bedtime ritual and she fell asleep immediately.

I think the one nap worked. Is it time for my baby girl to lose a nap? One a day, just like a big girl. Like someone with friends that are a year old. Like someone who is so close to being one herself.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

What do I tell her?

Neil and I make a good team - we fill in each others weaknesses pretty well. It's one of the things that make us a good couple.

I get stressed out and want to get everything done NOW. He calms me and reminds me to relax and enjoy life. But I can motivate him to get things done, when he wants to procrastinate.

I tend to hold on to friends even when the friendship turns unhealthy. Neil reminds me it's ok to let go. But I remind him sometimes a friendship is worth fighting for.

Neil can find it easier to remember the sad or negative parts. I find it easier to remember the happy parts. We balance each other, so the memory isn't skewed one way or another.

He can't remember where the car is once we get to a place. Or can't navigate his way to the place. I am pretty good at remembering both.

Despite my good short term memory, my long term memory is horrible. I have a different way of remembering things. Some of the bigger events, I remember a picture of it. Like taking one or two images from a movie that reminds you of the whole film. But most of the time I remember the emotion of an event. And when the emotion fades, so does the memory.

With Maddy here, with us, I try to remember my childhood. I try to remember believing in the tooth fairy or Santa or the Easter bunny. I try to remember my first days of school, my childhood homes, my favorite friends, and all the things you do as a child. And there are pictures of some of these events. I remember driving hom from my aunt and uncle's place Christmas eve and looking into the car beside me and seeing Santa, in the car. I remember him putting his hands under his cheek, mimicking going to sleep, and I remember the fear that Santa was getting close and we had to rush home NOW. But the more I try to clear up the memory and hold on to it, the farther away it gets. It's like looking up at the stars in the sky. If you look straight at them, so just can't see the seven stars of the Seven Sisters. But if you look, casually, out of the corner of your eye? There they are! But try to look at the head on again and some fade away... Neil is the exact opposite. He can tell me stories of every moment of a childhood event so clearly that I can see it all happening, like I was there.
What will Maddy be like? Will she be like Neil, and remember it all? Or like me, and hold on to the emotion and then let it drift away...
What will I say when her 3 year old self wants to know what my favorite Christmas gift was? Or her 5 year old self wants to know when I stopped believing in Santa. Or what I thought about my first trip to Disneyland... What do I tell her, when I can't remember?

Sunday, December 12, 2010

I can't stop!

Everyday Maddy is doing something new and acting older than I thought she would by this age.

She's started reaching up in the air when she wants to be held. Even in response to being asked. To see my girl reach up and want to be held, it melts my heart.

She has a favorite book! Barnyard Dance. She LOVES it. She'll request it over and over and try to turn the pages and clap in joy. Yesterday when I was reading it she keep trying to mimic when I'd "baaaaaa".

She is starting to mimic. It's not a perfect replication of the noises we make but she's trying. And now? We must be careful what we say around her. So so so careful. First word cheese, second one fuck? Oh no she won't!

This morning was an early one. This afternoon's nap was not good. Madds fell asleep quickly tonight but mama is too tired to move off the couch. Well, dishes to wash, laundry to fold and then bedtime. Sweet, glorious bedtime. Good night!

Saturday, December 11, 2010

And because it's apparently posting Saturday...

Maddy and Santa, December 2010

First word!

Today Neil and I decided that Maddy really has said her first word. She says mama and dada and baba. Sometimes to us, but sometimes just for fun. But there is one word she says and only says when the object comes around her.


Yes, our girl's first word is cheese.

She says it more like "chsssss" but she only says it when we pull out the little blocks of cheese.



Photo update

With work and Christmas and everything we haven't been taking as many pics of Maddy. And the pics we do take have her in her pjs or sweats and a mismatched tee... but there have been a FEW taken.

Here's Maddy and the end table. The end table that she uses as chew toy. Those little dremmel-like teeth are wreaking damage on the finish of our (cheap) tables. 

A picture dada took of Maddy yesterday. Her hair is getting so long! It's now in the mullet phase, but we're not going to get it cut now. Madds doesn't like sitting still, I can't imagine convincing her to sit for a haircut! 

When I got pregnant we were so worried about this floor grate, and how a child would take to it. Well, she LOVES it. She sits on it, plays on it. Licks it. So, nothing to worry about!

If you look REALLY closely, you can see all 4 teeth (and the gap between the top 2). And you can see the excess drool on her shirt, from the teething. 

And here is the result of hurricane Maddy. Drawers open and empty. Shelves cleared. And then the magical part is Maddy leaves the room and when she returns it's all put away! Ready to be destroyed once again. 

Today we are heading to meet Good Ole Santa Claus and getting a few errands done. And maybe, just maybe, we'll be able to put the tree up today! And likely tomorrow we'll be taking it down because someone's little fingers are all over it but we're hoping the baby gate will save the tree. Hoping... 

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

My first one as a mom

I have been alive one or two years now. Well, 36 years. Ouch. I am 36 years old... How did that happen ALREADY? Back to the point, Birch. Stop your senile thought-wandering.

I have had many birthdays now. I have memories of parties and gifts and people who helped me celebrate aging. But this year is possibly the most special (other than the one where you turn legal to drink, but for very different reasons). This year is my first birthday as a mom with my baby in my arms.

On Monday my parents celebrated my birthday. My dad came over after work and we had cupcakes with candles I got to blow out and I got two cards. One was from my parents, generically extoling my daughterly virtues. The other was a sparkles covered, cartooned birthday card that said "Birthday love to my mommy" from Maddy. My eyes filled with tears at this card. Part of it was hormones (again, this cycle thing keeps HAPPENING every month and messing my hormones like mad) but most of it is just another realization I am a mom, a mom to an amazing little girl that I love more than anything. It also sent me down the future paths filled with handmade cards and macaroni artwork and playdough vases and dada and Maddy going to pick out gifts for mama, consisting of the #1 mom mugs and silly patterned socks... And those future birthdays are going to be so wonderful! For the first time since that uncertain time when aging begins to hurt, I am looking forward to my future birthdays, to getting older. To getting to celebrate it all with my Maddy. And Neil and my parents and friends and family. With everyone but this year and for the rest of my days, with Maddy too.

Other than this new notch in the bedpost of aging, life is continuing to be good. I am valiantly fighting illness and exhaustion and almost winning. Well, I am getting no more ill or exhausted and that in itself is a victory. And life is getting more organized. More normal. I think it'll all work out and I'll really be able to do it.

Last night, before heading out to take advantage of 15% Tuesday at Save-On, Neil and I gave Maddy her bath. My little girl stood by the side of the tub in her naked glory. And I couldn't resist... I HAD to! I gently reached Maddy's adorable little tushy and said "ba-donk-a-donk" as I grabbed. And this? This was funny to Maddy. Each pinch of her tush, with the accompanying "ba-donk-a-donk" had her more and more in stitches. And these little moments filled with my family and laughter and love are what make life wonderful. Make me happier than I ever thought possible.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

It's like having a new dog...

Well, not EXACTLY like having a new dog. Maddy isn't house trained yet... but she IS learning new tricks! We've taught her three "tricks". Well, we taught her 2, she taught us one.

We taught her to clap. CLAP! She holds her left hand still and her palm outward and brings her right hand towards it to make sound. And we clap and cheer when she does it and she loves it! We also taught her to make a sound out of her mouth and then hit her mouth, to change the tone. We do it, and she'll mimic us. And then we cheer again! Cheering is a good motivation for her. YAY! (<-- like that) Tonight I was making the motion and Maddy opened her mouth and meant to hit her mouth... but hit herself squarely in the eye. Oops... next one was on the mouth.

She taught us to conduct! When Maddy is happy she sings and waves her arms above her head. We started mimicking her, and now we'll all do it on command. We'll say "Maddy! Let's conduct!" and we all conduct together. On Maddy? Adorable. On a mama with flappy and droopy arms? I nearly take flight. But if you concentrate on the kid, it's perfect.

Yesterday we took Maddy to the Festival of the Trees. It was a wonderful time! We sandwiched the festival between afternoon nap and dinner out, so we weren't there long. But it was glorious. Madds looked around at everything and LOVED the bubbles.

 She even got to wear dido's Santa hat! (Dido was volunteering there).

And next year it will make some sense and be even MORE fun!

Today we bundled up the humans and the canines and took Walter and Sherman to their yearly Santa pics at Petsmart. Walter was staring off into the distance but Sherm was captured in his hammy glory! No digital pic, I'll try scan it later, but we survived and Madds was awesome and the dogs pretty amazing too. The rest of the day was spent at home as I was in denial about, then eventually accepted that I am getting sick. Much liquids and garlic later I am hoping to be on the mend.

What a wonderful (but full) weekend and a crazier week to come. Wish us luck!

Friday, December 3, 2010

So how awesome is Maddy?

Ok. I need to chronicle how awesome Maddy is... Presenting the (not) comprehensive list of Maddy awesomeness!

1) Her giggle. It's adorable and natural and she is (almost) always quick to giggle! Peek-a-boo? HILARIOUS! Tonight I was whispering "ah-choo" in her ear and she was waiting in anticipation as I moved closer... then GIGGLE! But really, I am so happy that she is such a happy girl.

2) Her voice. Madds has the sweetest little babbling voice. Yesterday she was trying to say "ba ba" but instead she's say ba ba... bah. Then she'd frown and try once more, and once more say it three times. I just sat there, on the ground, staring at her and enjoying every frown of concentration and noise.

3) Her rolls. Her ROLLS! They are scrumptious... I could just nibble that kid for hours. And then when I hit a few rolls around her belly or armpits? See #1! Tonight Neil was pouring her bath and Madds and I were sitting on the bath mat. Madds was in her diaper only and I was awed by her adorableness. So disproportionate (compared to adults) and so perfect. So perfectly perfect. 

4) Her inquisitive nature. New things are awesome, everything was put here for her to explore. And move. And taste. And touch. And lift then drop. Including the toy shelves and everything in her room and baba's tea and the pen container... and as she seems to be growing a few more centimeters DAILY we're on constant alert. But to watch her experiment with the sounds something makes, and how it's different from what this other object makes... it's glorious.

5) Her annoying is even cute. The only person who can grind their teeth and make it fun. Madds is learning where her upper and lower teeth are and the noise is kind of nails on a chalkboard, as adorable as that can be.

6) Well, an hour after her bedtime and she's still "singing" in her crib. Time to go in and try to convince her a well rested Maddy is even MORE awesome than a tired Maddy. But a tired Maddy? Yup, still awesome.