Wednesday, February 28, 2007

What's that?

Guess what David discovered this evening!

No, not oil in the backyard. No, not the cure to the common cold. No, not a solution for peace in the Middle East. Even more exciting than any of those.

Still guessing?

William's first tooth, peeping over his gumline!

The tooth is erupting on the lower left side of his gums. It's just a tiny little ridge for now, but I bet we'll be seeing more of it very shortly. I was so excited that I called my mom to tell her.

David was feeding him dinner, and he said to me, "I think he might be getting a tooth. He's really been gnawing on things a lot." And he reached in and felt among the Cheerios and Ritz crackers for William's gums. And he said, "Get the flashlight!" And sure enough, once William let us actually get a good look inside his mouth, there it was. A little pearly white tooth.

Wow. My baby is getting teeth and moving around on the floor and eating Cheerios and other table food. He's starting to say words. He's turning into a little boy, oh my God! I can't believe it.

Monday, February 26, 2007

An afternoon at the park

This is the Propaganda Weather time of year in Twentynine Palms. What, you thought it was 120 degrees and miserable all the time? Au contraire. The winters can be beautiful. Granted, it also can snow (!) here and be terribly windy, but we do get some really glorious weather here occasionally, too. It's designed to fool unsuspecting people into thinking, "Hey, it can't be really that bad in the summer here."

Today was one of those days. It got up to about 70 degrees, with a light breeze. I took William to Luckie Park, the local playground, and we strolled around for awhile. We watched the high school girls' softball team take infield practice, and we played on a blanket in the grass, too. We were originally going to go this morning, but we didn't make it. But man, this afternoon was perfect.

Here's a photo essay of the afternoon:

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Point to Daddy's nose

When you've got a curious baby, everthing starts to become a teaching moment.

David's been taking advantage of William's newfound fondness for pointing. He's teaching William to point to his nose when David says "nose." Here's a photo of William pointing to Daddy's nose:

Of course, we applauded and cheered wildly. "Good job, William, good job!" And since William's automatic response to the phrase "good job" is to clap, he delightedly applauded himself:

After William did this several times in a row, David proudly announced, "That's a fifteen month skill, you know."

(These are the moments when you know what David does for a living.)

I said, "You don't think it might just be coincidence?"

David replied, "The point is that he points to my nose after I say 'nose.' That's what I've taught him."

Of course, now we're trying to do too much. "Can you say 'duck,' William?" David just asked his son, who's joyfully smacking his hands in the water in his little plastic bathtub. "Duck! Duck!" William just splashed, splashed, splashed some more, sending small shock waves of water over the side of the tub onto his daddy and the floor.

I just walked into the bathroom a few seconds ago. David was singing the clean-up song and trying to put away the bath toys. William kept reaching for his rubbery ducky, so David asked him again if he could say 'duck.' William promptly said, "DA!" Which is pretty much how he responds to most questions these days, but hey, he could have meant 'duck,' right? It didn't sound like his version of 'cat,' which is pretty recognizable by now, so hey, we can pretend that he meant 'duck.'

I think it's going to be fun to watch William continue to learn. I still get a kick out of it when he waves or claps, and he's been doing that for ages. And I am always asking him where the kitty cat is, just so I can hear him cheerfully say, "CAT!" or "TAT!"--because it sort of sounds like a combination of the two, even though he clearly uses the word to signify Corky or Smokey, so we know that it means 'cat.' I can't wait for him to learn more words and motions.

Now. If we can just teach him to say "Mama."

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Sit up

I heard William start moving around and fussing this morning around 6:30. I thought about waiting it out, see if he might fall back asleep for a little longer. He didn't start crying, per se, but by the noises, I could tell that he was awake.

When I walked ino his room, William was sitting up in his crib! That's the first time he's ever done that. He was just sitting there, clutching a teddy bear by one leg with one hand and holding one of his soft books in the other. I guess he was reading the book to his teddy.

He's staring to pull up on things, too. He doesn't seem to be quite coordinated enough to get all the way to a standing position, but he's working on it. He halfway pulled up on the side of the tub tonight when I was running his bathwater. I think it's just a matter of him getting enough practice in getting all the movements to work together. That, and enough strength to haul up all 22 pounds (roughly) of him!

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Coupla recent photos

Quick photo of William riding on his daddy's shoulders. This was Big Fun, resulting in big laughs.

And this is William's new play yard.

It is NOT, as I have lectured David time and again, a cage. It is a play yard. Cage = no. Play yard = yes. It is a safe place where he can play, and where we can keep a bunch of his toys. See how he has a bunch of cool stuff to play with? Books, toys, his piano, etc.

In this photo, William has backed himself up into a corner of the play yard. He's good at that. He's on the cusp of crawling, but he's still mostly doing the backwards/roll/squirm thing. But he's close, really close, to the real thing.

My friend Jennifer said she used to have this same type of yard for her family's dogs, and I can totally see how that would be useful, too. (And no, I don't feel guilty at all that I can use the same product for my child.) We're hoping William will learn to pull up on the sides, since they're stable, as opposed to a piece of furniture. Mostly we use it for times when we can't be right at William's side. That way, he can't roll over to the stereo and television set and yank out all the cords. And yes, we learned that the hard way. What is it with babies and cords? How do babies know to migrate to the exact spots we wish they'd ignore?

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Can you clap?

I'm always amused when we ask William to clap and he does! Sometimes I ask him to clap when he's riding in his car seat. Since I'm facing forward, I can't see him, but I can always hear the pat-pat-pat of his chubby little hands. Hee hee hee. It's so cute.

Here's the little prince in a recent photo, showing off his excellent clapping skills:

The family restroom

Know what annoys me? When I find people using facilities that they're not supposed to be using. Able-bodied folk (without the appropriate parking tag) parking in handicapped parking spaces. Perfectly healthy young people sitting in the disabled seats on the bus or subway. Those have always bugged me. And here's the latest: people who monopolize the family restroom--without having a family in tow!

Many department stores and malls have family restrooms now. Typically, they are one-seater rooms with locking doors and changing tables, located immediately adjacent to the regular men's and women's restrooms. They are usually labeled "family restrooms" or something to that effect. They are a godsend for parents with small children because everyone can go in there together, use the facilities, etc, without bugging anyone else. I like them because I have plenty of room to park the stroller and unpack the diaper bag for a messy diaper change, particularly when I have to also rinse out an outfit that's gotten, er, rather disgusting.

It doesn't bother me when I see a disabled person using the family restroom because I understand that s/he may need a little extra space and time (and privacy). But oh boy, it burns me up when I have to wait outside the family restroom with a cranky stinky baby...only to encounter a healthy single person who is by himself exiting the restroom after a very long time. Oh yes, and it's always a man.

Take my experience yesterday. David and I took William to have his ten-month portrait taken at Sears. David made me a deal: he'd stay down at the studio and order and pay for the pictures if I'd take William up to the first floor restroom and change his diaper and clothes.

No problem. Now. The ladies' restroom at Sears has three or four stalls, but it's pretty narrow, and the changing table is very hard to navigate around if you've got a stroller. So I typically use the family restroom next door. But it's locked. Okay, I think, it's probably a person in a wheelchair who wants to use the larger room, or maybe a fellow parent with a toddler or two. I wait. I wait and wait and wait.

And the door finally opens. Nope, not a disabled person or a harried mom or a sheepish dad. Not even a seasick-looking pregnant woman, queasily wiping away the remains of a lunch that wouldn't stay down. Not even a kid who probably should know better but might not. No, it's an able-bodied, husky, well-to-do man in his mid-sixties, I'd estimate. An able-bodied man in his mid-sixties without a wheelchair, a cane, a walker, a family or any other accoutrements. Oh yes, and said man left the *&$!&#!* toilet seat up and had not flushed the toilet. The toilet which he had used. And given that the sink basin was dry, I'd hazard a guess that he didn't bother to wash his hands either ( another pet peeve, but I will leave that for another day ).

I made a point of calling loudly as I steered the stroller into the room that the man who had just left not only didn't have a family yet monopolized the family restroom but had not flushed the nasty toilet. An employee walked by and heard me, looked appalled and radioed for someone on her little walkie-talkie. Probably just to come clean up the bathroom. But wouldn't it be great to sic a security detail onto this guy, teach him not to take advantage of services that are not for him! Services and facilities who are designed for people for whom it is difficult or very inconvenient to use the others!

Argh! It makes me want to shake a dirty diaper in those people's general direction!

On a good note, William looked very cute for his pictures, and we managed to get one that almost exactly matches a portrait of his daddy at the exact same age. I think it'd be fun to frame the two of them and put them next to each other.

But geez. I'm still annoyed with that guy. I'm probably more annoyed, given that that's at least the fifth time in the last couple of months that I've encountered almost the exact same situation at Sears, Macy's or someplace similar. Sometimes it's a young, good-looking guy in his 20s. Sometimes it's a self-important businessman in his 40s. I glare at them all and hope that they can smell William's diaper.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Happy Valentine's Day

Happy Valentine's Day, everyone!

William and David got me some roses for Valentine's Day:

And William and David both got cards. Here they are, opening William's valentine from his Mama Dee:

We had a pretty quiet Valentine's Day this year, which is pretty typical for us, William or not. David and I are not really into the whole full-scale production as endorsed by Hallmark/Victoria's Secret/various assorted candy companies. In fact, I couldn't even tell you what we did last Valentine's Day.

William's class at the Y had a Valentine's Day party yesterday, so we had already more or less celebrated by attending that. William got a big sack of valentines from his classmates, and he won a set of bath toys as a party door prize. So, today, we didn't do anything exciting. It was too windy to go to the park, so that idea got nixed. William still has a cough left over from having the croup, but he's basically okay other than that. He was pretending to be Barry Bonds over the weekend (that is, he was taking steroids...for his croup, of course), but his cough is much more of a typical winter cough now, not a scary barking cough. That's a relief.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

The AARP wants you! Or, me, apparently.

When I was pregnant with William, I was amused to think about the fact that some medical-type folks might have considered me of "advanced maternal age," given that I was--gasp!--over 30. I mean, the horror that a woman might wait to have a baby until she's gotten married, gotten a couple of degrees and had a chance to work and gain useful professional experience.

But anyway. I was one of the first people in my circle of friends from college to have a baby, so I didn't think I was exactly knocking on the nursing home door yet. Sure, I have since encountered lots of young mothers up here in the Stumps who are a decade (or more!) my junior, but again, it didn't bother me that much.

Well, as it turns out, I guess I was of a much more advanced maternal age than even the medical community thought I was! Because today a letter and membership card from the AARP arrived in my mailbox today.

Did you get that? The AARP. The organization formerly known as the American Association for Retired Persons. A letter. From the AARP. Addressed to yours truly. And a membership card with a unique membership code number.

"Dear Ms. Jennifer Larson," the letter begins with a chirp. "Our records show that you haven't yet registered for the benefits of AARP membership, even though you are fully eligible." (Italics mine.)

Wow! They're really cruising hard for new members, aren't they? I mean, last I checked, retirement wasn't really on the horizon for most 32-year-olds, but what do I know? Maybe they figure that since I am no longer working at the newspaper, I'm retired! And hey, maybe I am! I'm retired and changing diapers and picking up Cheerios off the floor and singing "The Wheels on the Bus" and reading "The Runaway Bunny." Whee, this is the life! Where's my mai tai, my golf cart and my early bird dinner schedule?

Of course, when I eventually go back to a newspaper (or other place of employment), that will make them look silly. Sort of how the New York Yankees looked sort of silly after they gave Roger Clemens a huge sendoff (and a big obnoxious Hummer) in 2003, only to see him come out of retirement to pitch for the Houston Astros for the next three years.

Another paragraph in the letter states, "As a member, you'll have the resources and information you need to get the most out of life over 50." So what good will that do me now? I won't be 50 for another 18 years. Do I just get a bunch of resources that I have to sit on until I turn the big 5-0? What good is that? It's like buying a fancy new car and showing it to your preschooler and saying, "Hey, kid, one day this will all be yours!"

The AARP. Holy geez. And I thought I had a moment of crisis last spring when I got a free subscription offer from Ladies' Home Journal. I'm still not ready to throw in the proverbial towel and buy a minivan yet. I think the AARP can cool off and wait a few more years for me. Let me get William off to college first.

Monday, February 12, 2007

William's new ride

After most of a week without Internet access, we're back. The phone guy came out to the house today and after lurking around in the back yard, he managed to fix whatever it was that was broken. What a beautiful sound a dial tone is. Thank God. And just in time, too, for you to check out what William's been up to.

Check out William's new ride!

I was feeling sort of guilty--okay, very guilty--that we never gave him one of his Christmas presents. I guess I can tell y'all what it is, since he can't read this. We got him a red Radio Flyer fire engine riding toy. And we sincerely intended to give it to him for Christmas. But somehow Christmas came and went, then New Year's came and went, and well, the fire engine is still boxed up in its original packaging. We finally decided that we'll just hang onto it until William's first birthday in April. So I picked up this little Playskool riding toy at Target last week.

He can't really make it go yet, but he sure is cute, posing on it, isn't he?
And he does like it when I push him around on it. I just have to be careful because if he sees one of the kitties streak by, he tends to lunge after it.

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Our Internet is down...

How on earth did we all manage before the Internet?

Well, I'll tell you. You have to watch CNN to get news, and then you have to listen through too many hours of Anna Nicole Smith coverage to get to what you really want. David and I found this out the hard way this week: our phone and Internet service have been out since Tuesday night. We are NOT PLEASED.

Anyway, that's why we've had a Three Peas news blackout for the past five days. Please be patient. And if you have extra patience, please send it to me because I'm about ready to throttle the phone company.

William says hi, by the way. He's a rolling maniac these days. If I put him down in one spot on the floor, he squirms, wiggles, half crawls and rolls to get to another one. Amazingly enough, he can do that really quickly, too. It may not sound like an efficient mode of transportation, but I guess he makes the best of his situation!

Later, gator. I'm posting this from the majestic quarters of the 29 Palms public library, and William is singing LOUDLY, and I really can't continue to subject the other patrons to his impromptu concert. Oops, there go his socks. It's like performance art. Man, I hope they get the phone and Internet service back up again soon.

Monday, February 05, 2007

And on his farm he had a goat, E-I-E-I-O

So William and I were singing "Old McDonald Had a Farm" this evening, over a delectable dinner of turkey and rice, sweet peas and sweet potatoes. Okay, technically, I was the only one singing, and at our house, we actually sing "Old McWilliam Had a Farm." But that's not the point. The point is I realized that I never did figure out what noise a goat makes.

Here's what we know:

The cow goes moooooo. So that's a mooo mooo here and a mooo mooo there. Check.
The ducks go quack. A quack quack here and a quack quack here. Next.
The sheep go baaaaa. Etc. etc.
The chickens go bwak bwak.
The horses go neeeeeeiiiigggggh. (Or naaaaaaay. Whichever spelling you prefer. It all sounds the same.)
The pigs go oink. (Side note: If you snort for the piggy noises, William will think you are the funniest person alive. We're talking laughing AND clapping. It's definitely worth risking your dignity for, trust me.)
The dogs go woof woof. Yes, there are dogs on Old McWilliam's farm.
The cats go meow. Yep, cats, too. Can't have dogs without cats.
The rooster, who exists only when I'm feeling really energetic, goes cock-a-doodle-doo!

So I'm thinking that Old McWilliam needs goats to have a truly well-rounded farm. But what noise does a goat make? It can't go baaaa. That's what the sheep does/do. Right? So far, this question has stumped everyone I've asked. But you have to have goats. What kind of a farm has all those birds and no goats?

So, I ask you, O Friends, Family and Fans of William...what noise does a goat make? And is Old McWilliam's farm missing any other crucial farm animals---and if so, what are they, and what noise do they make?

Saturday, February 03, 2007

Books, books and more books

Now that William is sleeping better again, life is returning to normal. Ah, bliss. I feel so much better. I'm back to being able to enjoy my son again. Isn't it amazing what just a decent night's sleep can do for you? I feel like myself again. I feel like I can at least attempt to be a decent mom again. When I'm not getting enough sleep, I just feel like I can't do anything right.

William seems to be in a better mood, too, now that he's getting more sleep. Sometimes, I'm amazed by him. I'm amazed by how big and alert and active he is now. William will actually clap if you ask him to clap or wave if you ask him to wave. Sometime he'll clap if you ask him to wave, but that's okay. And he loves to babble on, and on, with a 'dadada' and a 'nininini.' This morning, I was nursing him in the big bed in his room, and I guess he just decided he'd had enough and was happy. So he started clapping. He's just snuggled up next to my side, grinning and clapping. Awwwww. It's just so funny.

He gets especially chatty when it's time to sit in the high chair. Give him some of his sweet potato puffs or carrot wagon wheels, and it's just a continual happy 'ni, ni, ni, ni, ni!' That is, when he's not stuffing his face with his new finger foods or dropping them off the side of his high chair and leaning over to see where they went.

And he's so interested in books now, which of course warms the very bottom of my book-lovin' heart. David and I struck a deal with him. If Mommy or Daddy buys a book at Borders or Barnes & Noble, then William gets a book, too. Of course, even if Mommy or Daddy doesn't buy a book, usually William gets a new book anyway. I was getting a little bored by the books we had, so I went out and got some new ones to fill out the rotation. I figure, it can't hurt to have a bunch of books around. I'm betting that books have a longer shelf life than a lot of toys.

William is at the age where he loves those touchy-feely-type books; you know, like "That's Not My Train" and "Pat the Bunny." He likes to scratch at the surfaces, like the daddy's scratchy cheek in PTB or the rusty funnel of the train in TNMT. I've been trying to make sure we read some of those books every day because he's so enthusiastic about them. In fact, he loves Pat the Bunny so much that he managed to pull all the pages out of the book and chew on them the other night. Why just read a book, when you can read a book and then eat it, too? It's a book AND an appetizer!

I won't tell him this but personally I'm getting a tad weary of "Pat the Bunny," mostly because it's so silly. Have you looked at it recently? I think I wrote a few months ago about how David commented that he didn't remember it being "so short on plot." I feel like it's sort of this weird look at how families work. Paul and Judy playing together? Where's the sibling rivalry? Why is Paul calmly playing Peekaboo with Judy? Why isn't he yelling at her to get away from his stuff, and why isn't she sneaking into his room to bug him and then get him into trouble for yelling at her again? And the book that Judy reads about her bunny? It's kind of creepy. The bunny is this weird formless blob with barely drawn features that somehow manages to eat "his good supper" from a spoon, as if he's a person. I suspect that I am taking this book way, way too seriously. But William loves it. He loves patting the bunny and playing peekaboo with Paul and Judy, and who am I to deny my young son these simple pleasures in life?

I once read somewhere that it's good for children to see their parents reading books and newspapers. Luckily for us, we didn't have to make any lifestyle changes to do that. The other morning, I brought my own book into William's room, and we sat on the big bed, reading our books together. I was reading a nonfiction book about West Point called "Absolutely American," a book recommended to me by my friend Alethea. And William had "That's Not My Dinosaur," "There's a Monster at the End of This Book," and "Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?" Of course, he immediately grabbed for my book when he saw me with it, even though I tried to tell him that there weren't any pictures. But if Mommy has it, William wants it. That's becoming a recurring theme these days. Books, cups, food, you name it. I suspect it will continue, too.

Coming soon: a blog entry on William's attempts at crawling. He's doing the backward scooting thing, and he's managing to cover some ground. Stay tuned....

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Can you stand another post on sleep?

After hitting rock bottom on Tuesday night with a two hour marathon scream session, we finally had a good night again last night. William slept on through 'til 7:15 this morning without waking in the wee hours to screech like a banshee.


(I have no idea if the good sleeping was related to the dose of Tylenol that David gave to him just before bed. However, I would like to point out that we gave him Tylenol two nights ago, and he still managed to cry for two hours.)

I tell you, this sleeping/non-sleeping/sleeping/non-sleeping business is enough to make you crazy. There is a raft of books about helping your child sleep, and I've read about a third of them (Weissbluth, Hogg, Ferber). And my friends have read the other two-thirds. And it seems like none of us can find The Solution. We all seem to have sleep issues with our babies. It seems like we'll just have to be happy with making the progress that we can make. Trial and error. Two steps forward, one step back. The old college try. Insert your favorite cliche here. Blah blah blah.

I guess I am just going to be thankful that William usually does sleep through the night. And I hope that last night was the beginning of another good stretch of sleeping. David and I are too old to pull all-nighters on a regular basis. Do you know how long ago we were in college, after all? Heck, I rarely even pulled all-nighters back then. I learned in a biology class that your brain needs sleep time to rehearse the information that you have been studying, and I used that as an excuse to sleep at least a few hours before every test.

If you logged eight hours of consecutive sleep last night, count your blessings. 'S all I'm sayin'.