i remember, i remember!


remembering is like walking backward through your mind! (ah, sesame street. wasn't this catchphrase in a segment having to do with an elephant finding something he lost at a picnic?)

eva remembers. she remembers a lot of things, far more than i give her credit for. she somehow indicates some memory, and i sit there with my mouth open, not believing what i'm seeing. my little baby -- how did she learn such tricks?

at night, while i'm nursing her to sleep, i've started recounting to her the story of her day. the idea is that this helps her to process all she's seen and done in the day, but it also helps me to take a moment to see the day from her perspective (and on bad days, i realize how little there is to tell, how i was so busy with my own stuff that there's sadly little to tell her that *she* did that day). so, while telling her this story, nearly every night something will catch her interest, and she'll stop nursing, look up at me, and add her own details to the story. for example, yesterday i told her "then we got in the car with papa..." and she immediately said "lights! star. train." sure enough, we drove around to look at christmas lights, and she loved the stars and especially all the light-up trains (popular this year in our neighborhood). okay, so that's remembering for a few hours, not a huge feat, but still fun. some days, she'll throw in details i'd forgotten or had misjudged as not all that significant. it's such a treat to see what she's thinking about and remembering.

other times, she'll remember something i'd taught her (as in, told her once or twice) weeks or months ago. today's examples: we saw a picture of a dolphin at the doctor's office, and when i asked her what does a dolphin say, she immediately answered with a huge grin "pffft!" we swam on the other side of a chain link fence from dolphins in mexico, and we could hear them clearing out their blowholes (if that's what they're called?), pffft, pffft, over and over. tonight in the bath, she pointed out the hippo by name when i'd only ever mentioned it once before in passing. toddlers have brains like a sponge. which is why i need to stop swearing for real now.

my favorite is when she remembers some experience from a while back. today i showed her a photo from the website of the condo where we stayed in mexico. it showed the courtyard (but not the pool), and she started saying "swimming, swimming!" swimming was her favorite part of the trip, and i did take her swimming in the courtyard on the last morning. i like that -- hey, she enjoyed the trip, you know? she remembers. yesterday she was looking at the books julie made for her, and one tells the story of her trip to alaska last august. there's a page with photos from her "patio walks" with grandpa, and she saw it and immediately said "airplane!"... weird. there aren't any in the photos, but she heard hundreds of airplanes out on the patio, since they're constantly overhead in anchorage. now, maybe i'm reading too much into this, but she had the same response again later. i like the idea of this, that she remembers things from being with my family, even when it's been four months. it makes me feel better that she carries with her something from her experiences with my family, like then they're not so far away.

i keep forgetting that she has this ability now, and it continues to catch me off guard. (i do that will all her new skills, i can't keep up!) larry and i have both been saying all day that she looks really old all of the sudden. so, i can't remember (ha!) all the examples i've been noticing lately, but that was a few just from yesterday and today. it's been a big week for remembering, and for growing up.




i can't believe the new (well, improved) word i forgot to mention last time... milk! eva went from signing for milk, to saying "mao" (or more accurately, mao mao mao mao mao mao mao...). i was okay with that, because any loud public demands to nurse were largely unintelligible to onlookers, but this couldn't last forever (like i said, our new theme is to embrace transience :). so, as with all the other words gaining final consonents, "mao" has become "maok" (or really, "mao-kuh", because she really goes for broke on those "k"s!).

oh, today, she gave her own baby milk for the first time. but then i commented on it, so she said "mama, maok?" and came over to me so i could give both her and her baby milk. silly kid.

this photo is of eva in the giantest bath tub ever, at the condo in playa. larry estimated you could comfortably fit at least five people in there, but on a dare you could probably fit a dozen, easy. eva loved it, even though try as we might (between the huge tub size and the lack of water pressure) we could never get more than about three inches of water in there!




we returned a few days ago from our holiday trip to playa del carmen with larry's family. we had a great time, although it was sad that gran fell and broke her hip and as such dick wasn't able to be there (and rita came a day late). we loved the condo where we stayed, and larry and i are already having daydreams of returning for a month sometime. it was surreal for me being there, as the other time we visited i was 5 months pregnant. i kept being reminded of my thoughts then of the abstract "baby" and being simultaneously confronted with the reality now of eva's presence. eva had a great time, especially at the beach. i've seldom seen her happier in her little life than she is at the beach (not unlike her great grandma eva, who wanted to return in her next life as a beach bum). that little girl just runned and splashed would have stayed all day if we'd let her -- as it was, she ended up with more of a tan than is generally desired for a baby :). eva was a trooper, despite not feeling very well due to her four canines that are torturing her and also the trials of her newly potty-trained status, which is not easy while travelling. so, she wasn't her usual sunny self, but no matter. it was wonderful being in such a fabulous location with family. quite a trip.

as always seems to happen, upon returning home we're all three sick. and i'll not go on about this, but let's just say diarrhea and potty training are not a lot of fun together. as all moms know, it's hard to care for someone else when you're sick, the house is a mess, and my car is a lemon. so i'm not in the best frame of mind this week, but i think we're about to turn a corner. transience. that's what we'll go for here.

eva's in to lots of new fun things. she picks up anything that could masquerade as a bag or purse and says "bye bye" and marches off. she talks about and asks about her friends all the time (wuvuh/river is the current favorite, but she also plays peek-a-boo with a photo of ella.) she is stringing things together into sentences ("mama bye-bye car" or "papa night-night" or "hi dog-dog toes"). she plays with her baby dolls, pushing them in a stroller or laying them down to sleep in her rocking chair. and as of yesterday, she wants me to give them milk (not settling for through-the-shirt pretend milk, she wants the real deal -- and she's not into feeding her own babies, i guess taking on the big sister role of just sharing her own mama's milk). she continues to be very into necklaces, requesting "nonnies" from gran on the trip -- nonny nonny nonny (but then today she said "neckie" and i'm a bit sad. i'll miss "nonny" a little). she's adding consonants to the ends of more words, resulting in some head-turning language, such as truck (but she starts it with an "f") and clock (minus the "l"). she gets more jokes -- today i had her upside-down on my back saying "hey papa, do you know where eva went?" and she giggled and after a bit said "back!". she's obsessed with stars (like atop our tree) and spoons and outside -- it used to be "ahtz" but is now "aht-side", and she says it countless times a day.

i know there are more things i was intending to remember, but that's all have right now. she's definitely hitting more of that toddler behaviour (like single-mindedness and tantrums) but is also getting to be really fun, and it's exciting to see more and more of her thoughts and personality emerge.


monkey girl

a monkey sits

dogs bark, confused

finally, we have monkey photos! she loves her costume so much, i predict she'll be wearing it long after halloween. we were showing it off in college station and larry took some great photos, and she confused the heck out of those barky neighbor dogs. anyway, i enjoyed making this costume (good thing, since i could have bought one for what i spent on materials), and put lots of little details on it, like a belly button and furry toes. i made it big and took it in so she can wear it for another year or two if she wants to. of course, before long (maybe even next year), i no longer get to decide what she dresses as for halloween. :)

here we are at the end of day 8 of potty training. my opinion of how it's going depends on when you ask me. some days she has had only one accident (and those weren't really her fault, like waking up from a 2+ hr nap, or on the way home from a long grocery trip), and other days she seems to barely get any pee into the potty, sometimes insisting on getting up from the potty then promptly peeing on the floor (that's hard to deal with without getting annoyed). so, overall i think she's getting it -- she's started telling me some of the time when she needs to pee -- but it remains to be seen how this all ends up. with the inconvenient deadline of international travel in 9 days, we'll just have to play it by ear.





i'm still not quite sure how this happened, but apparently i am potty training my 16-and-a-half month old. never thought i'd be saying that...

it all began once upon a time, in a magical time called "last week" when mama came home with a potty just to see what eva would think about it. she became instantly obsessed with it, insisting on sitting on it whenever she noticed its existance.

then, over a couple days here in college station, i put her on the potty at diaper changes and she peed in it roughly half the time and subsequently stayed dry. so i spent two days doing a "mock" potty training (using the potty, but wearing diapers) which resulted in just three wet diapers in two days (not counting at night). so, despite my preconceived notions, despite my asking my mama friends (essentially) if i was possibly making this all up and/or if i could pretty please just ignore it for a few more months, it was determined by the world that eva is to be potty trained ("the world", because clearly i didn't come up with this plan).

i have to say, as i type this at the end of Day One, it's not so bad. i don't mean that in a "she'll have this down in two days" false sense of optimism, but more a "what's the big deal about peeing one's pants" way. really, so she had three accidents today (not bad, right?) and one was even in public (i know, it's not generally advised to leave the house on Day One of potty training, but we felt like going to lunch with everyone). and sure, i have to remember to take her to the potty at regular intervals -- actually, i think i'm taking her *too* often -- but all of this just isn't as stressful as i'd anticipated. now, when she starts that inevitable backslide and starts pooing on the floor five minutes after sitting on the potty, ask me how i feel then, but mostly my point is i'm proud of myself for basically going with the flow -- oh no, a seriously bad unintentional pun!

i'll try not to fill my blog with *only* potty training for the next several weeks, but one more thing for now: it seems like all of the sudden everyone i know is potty training their kids, so i'm hearing lots of people's experiences. most of them mention their kid informing them when they need to go (this predating the potty-training attempts, usually) and eventually heading off to the potty on their own. i guess because eva's 6-8 mo younger than most of these kids (again, seriously, i'm really doing this *now*?!), our experience, so far anyway, is different. she doesn't yet identify when she needs to pee (she says "no" every time i ask), and i take her to the potty and she goes along with minimal or generally no protest. i guess in some ways it's easier (she's not full out refusing to go, for example) and in some ways it's harder (has it been an hour already? oops.). anyway, we'll see where this goes...

two cute potty training sights: little tiny eva with her little tiny jeans pooled around her ankles with her shoes sticking out as she sits on the potty -- it makes her look like such a kid -- and the new addition of very cute, very small underwear. too cute.



Originally uploaded by Kristy and Eva.
for my quirky wonderful family, because they've made me who i am and for all the ways they continue to enrich my life. for my superfriends, because together we've made an amazing, lucky, close village in which to raise our kids, and they help me every day to be a better mom. for my amazing husband, because we understand each other and he loves me no matter what, and because i can't think of a better person to share my life with. for all our family here in texas, because being so near to loved ones is really a gift, and because anyone would feel lucky to have married into a family like this one. for the fact that i have enough food to eat and feed to my daughter, and we have a safe place to live, and i don't have to worry every night how we'll make it through the next day. and last, but absolutely never least, for my beautiful daughter, because she fills my days with amazement and fills my heart with a kind of love that i never could have imagined possible.

for these things and more, i'm so thankful. and i just wanted to say so.


baby's first banquet

Originally uploaded by Kristy and Eva.
two nights ago, we attended a huge birthday banquet held in honor of larry's dad's 60th birthday. this was quite an event, held at the bush presidental library's conference center, with several hundred of dick's collegues and friends having flown in for the occasion. there were countless speeches and gift presentations, and it was really nice to see in such a direct way what an impact his work has had, and how many people he's affected. he was presented with the formation of "the richard ewing award for excellence in science, technology, and economic development", a presentation that was to have been made by the incoming secretary of defense but i guess he's a bit busy working on confirmation hearings, haha. (rita pointed out that there has been a decided increase in helicoptor patrols over the area). anyway, the whole evening was amazing and quite an honor for dick.

so guess how many people were there with a toddler?

yes, just us (karen and sarah weren't feeling well). i was a little concerned in that eva had napped only 20 minutes on the drive from austin, and fell asleep again in the parking lot as we arrived. she eventually warmed up during the cocktail hour, and ran around in her cute holiday dress being pretty much as cute as possible. we sat down to dinner (at one of the head tables in front of the stage, yikes), and i anticipated needing to duck outside before the main course was served. but eva rose to the occasion, and was great. of couse, she had her moments (toys chucked aside, some "eh eh eh!"), but there was no crying or squawking or running around. larry did take her out for all of two minutes once, and we resorted to entertaining her with the cell phone and video ipod, but we did pretty darn well and made it the full four hours (i would have been bummed to have to leave early).

i even managed to nurse her (about five times, of course) without incident, up at the front of the room with speeches going on right behind my chair (yikes). of course, i opted to wear a non-nursing dress, so i used my pashmina wraped around my shoulders then around her back, so just her head was out, but nothing could be seen (discretion, but avoiding that toss-a-blanket-over-the-baby thing i'm not so cool with). i mention all this, because now i know that if i could nurse *there*, i can nurse anywhere. (of course, it didn't occur to me until after the fact what a scary thing i was doing.) and she finally did fall asleep at 9:30, just in time for me to watch rita's presentation without being distracted.

oh, eva's up. off i go -- enjoy this photo from ND (at my old school). a lucky shot of her new cute kissing habit.


fifteen minutes in the life


eva o' lantern

i love this shot of eva with her pigtails, and below is the pumpkin i carved based on that photo.

every so often, i feel like eva grows up in a big burst, as i sit there watching. yesterday morning was one of those times, and i swear she aged a month or so all while i sat on the lawn, speechless. as we arrived home, her HEB balloon flew out the car door before i could catch it. she proceeded to tell me a long story about it, animatedly combining signs and words and babbling to tell me: ball(oon), door, bye-bye, sky, all gone, ball. i'm ever amazed at her abilities to observe and react to her environment. then, as we sat outside (watching larry ferry in the groceries), she pointed out a variety of sounds. signing "i hear", she then identified a dog barking, cars driving past, an airplane overhead, and a train -- which she looked for but it never did drive past. all this while cruising up and down the sidewalk, looking at trees, flowers, the sky. she spied a metal butterfly i have in the front garden, signed for it, then said butterfly for the first time ("hur-shur-fly", three whole syllables, over and over).

the best part was that i had one of those fleeting opportunities to watch her really work something out. there's a three inch step outside our front door. when she first approached it, she stopped at the edge, and said "help. mama." and reached for my hand. she later walked back up the step, but with her hands along the brick wall of the house for stability. she quickly realized she coudn't get back down, so she looked to me, several yards away, for help. i told her she could do it, and after some unsure moments, she worked out to move nearer the wall and use that again. her little foot inched its way down slowly, and she made it. she rushed over to me for a big victory hug. she said "more" then again went up the step. this time, she fell on the way down, so the third time, she was cautious. i reminded her she could sit and go feet first, which made her feel better. but the next time she had regained her confidence and successfully went down standing. it's so fun to watch the learning process play out, where you can see all these thoughts running around behind her eyes.

so, in the course of about fifteen minutes, she grew. she told me her first big story, she showed me how much she knows about the sights and sounds in the world around her, blurted out her first long word, worked out a solution to a new problem, and lost and regained her confidence over a new skill. it felt like one of those movie scenes where the main character is sitting still and the world starts spinning, moving faster and faster while they just sit there dazed. i'm impressed with eva, but i'm also impressed with myself in that i seem to finally be getting the hang of living in the moment, at least from time to time. and off we go, once again, on our little paths which have converged for now.



eva's new tricks this week:

after being on the merry-go-round (hey do they even have those in the rest of the country anymore?), eva figured out turning in circles. oh, how fun it is, spinning and spinning around until she falls down.

today eva began to attempt jumping, watching lora. she sort of stands up and squats down and stomps her foot, and says "jump!" it's really funny. i guess both of these advances had to wait until she could walk, and now she can learn all this fun post-walking stuff.

today she said "thank you" in response to be given something by grandma, completely unprompted. i've never told her to say please or thank you or emphasized it in any way, so this came completely from modelling. pretty cool.

we're leaving north dakota in the morning. for eva's whole life so far, i've seen at least part of my family every two or three months. this coming stretch is going to be more like five months. i'm trying not to think about it too much because i can't spend the next two weeks in a funk like i did after we got home from alaska, it's too hard. but i don't know why we all have to live so far apart... when's that teleporter going to be invented again?



tuning help?
Originally uploaded by Kristy and Eva.
we're in north dakota, and it's so nice to be here with my whole family in the same place. it seems to take more work to make that happen these days, so i appreciate it even more. we had a smooth trip here, but i've never had so many offers for help as i did that day flying with eva.

some highlights... grandpa made eva a snowman, mama got to go shopping and actually *try on* more than one pair of jeans (i bought two pair), we drove through a pumpkin patch at night with 1,000 lit jack-o-lanterns, and during the vikings game eva learned to do "touchdown!" with her arms upstretched. we've just been having a nice time hanging around playing -- eva's the center of attention, and everyone seems content to sit around on the floor and play with her all day long. i can't argue with that.

this week, eva has learned to say "pumpkin", "snowman", and "apple" (we've been eating tons of apples off the tree) -- all words of the season, it seems. well, that and "pillow" which has little to do with anything. but more than talking, she's been doing funny things in association with talking in her sleep.

i'm accustomed to her smiling in her sleep (which has progressed to laughing recently), but the talking is more or less new this week. once she reached over and poked me (eyes closed, asleep) and said "mama". (she does this identifying game all day long, and i've noticed particularly when someone new comes along, as if to say "this is my mama, you can't get me."). she rolled over this morning and an extra bit of pillow sham was hanging onto her head, and in her sleep, she signed and said "hat". a few minutes later she rolled over and woke up, and signed "where is?" and said hat. i guess she was looking for the hat from her dream. a few minutes after that, when she was more awake, she lifted the blanket to look under it, looked around, then again signed "where is?" and said hat. so funny. and the other morning, she woke up and signed "where" and made her first attempt at saying "julie" (at least that's my guess). she also woke up one morning and looked at sue's organ and signed "music", though she's not seen a piano played in at least 5 months. who knew she could remember things from when she was that young?

this photo is of eva "helping" grandpa with his guitar. she sees him and starts signing "music", and he lets her strum the strings. here, i guess she's helping him adjust the tuning?


sense of self

breastfeeding challenge 2006 2006

breastfeeding challenge 2005 2005

Two weeks ago, Eva and I were again part of the breastfeeding challenge. It's an event to raise awareness of and to support breastfeeding; the idea is to get as many moms as possible assembled in a location and then feeding their little one(s) all at the same time. There are many sites around the US and Canada, and while Austin won again within the US, the Canadian sites have about quadruple the turnout. What can you expect with the outdated, puritanical, sexualized perceptions of breastfeeding we have in this country, coupled with a complete lack of social support? (My head is buzzing with fifteen more comments on that front, but I'll move along.)

So, we sat in the grass in a downtown park with fifty or so mothers and their babies and toddlers, and as they counted down from ten and we all latched on the kiddos, I couldn't help but look around and feel a bit emotional. It may seem a bit silly, but there was something powerful in that moment. There were so many moms joining together to do the thing they do every day, part of the routine of motherhood, and there were hundreds of moms in other cities gathered together doing the same thing at that moment. And yet, this very natural act of feeding our babies -- in public no less, and not even bothering to hide the fact -- would be considered inappropriate or even scandalous according to so many people.

I was reminded of how when I was in labor, I thought of all the thousands of women who were in labor at that same moment, and that knowledge gave me strength. There's something about the universality, and the timelessness, of motherhood that makes it so powerful. You're wiping your baby's nose, but thousands of other mothers are doing the same seemingly trivial task right then, all keeping their babies as healthy and happy as possible, just as their mothers did before them. You're reminding your kid that we don't hit our friends, perhaps frustrated with the seemingly fruitless repitition of this concept, but countless other moms are going through the same process, ensuring that these kids can all live in this world together, ideally without bombing each others' countries. This important work goes on everywhere, always.

So not to make too much of it, but there we sat, fifty or so moms just feeding our kids, sitting together in the grass.

On a different note, I also enjoyed the contrast from last year. Eva is huge by comparison, and I'm such a different person now than I was then, probably the biggest one-year difference I've seen in myself since my own infancy. Not the least of those changes was that I am really part of the community now -- I knew dozens of people there, compared to a handful last year. I love that sense of place, of belonging.

Eva had an interesting development today (or I should say, I discovered it today). As we looked in the mirror, I asked "where's Eva?", which I'd never thought to ask before (I generally just said "do you see the baby? that's Eva."). She pointed to her reflection, so I asked "where's Mama?", and she pointed to me (not my reflection). Again, "where's Eva?", and she thought, then pointed to herself, poking her self in the chest. Hmm, seems like something just clicked! So later, while eating lunch, Larry asked "where's Eva, Mama, Papa, Lemma?" and she pointed to each of us in turn, including herself. It's so fun to watch her figure these things out...



this week brad and lexi's dog lenny died. lenny had possibly the sweetest disposition of any dog i've ever known, and i'm so sad that he's gone. he was not much over a year old, but because he had such great owners who loved him so much, he packed more dog-fun into that short time than many dogs would experience in a long lifetime.

bye, lenny. good boy.

step away

Originally uploaded by Kristy and Eva.
today at the pumpkin patch, eva stood up and began to walk toward me. i stepped out of her path, and found that this time her destination was not me. she headed across the little field, and only after she had travelled fifty feet or so did i figure out where she was going. she was headed back to the stack of baby pumpkins (gourds, i suppose) that we had been enthusiastically examining together a half hour before. she had a destination in mind, and off she went, without either communicating her intention or requring my help.

monday night eva decided to walk. two days later, she seemed to cross that threshold of walking more than she crawled. two days after that, today, she walks nearly always, unless there is something tangible interfering with her doing so.

i don't know how long it generally takes a toddler to go from casual to serious walking-as-transportation, but this seems fast to me. not in terms of "isn't she amazing" (but bipedalism is pretty amazing no matter how you slice it), but in the sense of "wait, where are you going all of the sudden?"

and suddenly, there she goes.

every day since the day of her birth, or even since the day of conception depending on your perspective, eva has needed me less than she did the day before. slowly, she learned how to control her limb movements, how to comfort herself until i arrive, how to interact with (and endear herself to) those around her, and how to communicate her needs.

she's been able to crawl for months, yet where has she gone? crawling, i think, doesn't instill the same sense of independence and self-efficacy that walking does. maybe it's due to those indentations left in one's hands by pointy rocks, but in all her crawling she didn't seem ready to just forge off on her own. she always turned back. but now in a few short days of walking, i can see her stepping away. i don't mean to be overly dramatic (she'll still need me for years, decades, to come), nor am i particularly melancholy about her newfound independence, but the fact remains: she's on her own more today than she was on monday. she can choose her own destination. she can explore new spaces, crossing new terrain on the way. and she will face more dangers and risks in doing this.

i never know if i'll be ready for these new challenges when they arrive (and i'm not really sure, even now), but i'm so excited for her. i somewhat anxiously watched her walk across a crowded field today, avoiding oncoming preschoolers and an oblivious guy with a wheelbarrel. she reached her goal of those baby pumpkins, both without incident and without help. so you go ahead and step away, eva, and i'll be right here behind you ready to pick you up after a hard fall, until that day that you no longer need my help. and even then, i'll still be here, just in case.



rocking chair
Originally uploaded by Kristy and Eva.
it's official, folks. she's a walking girl. last night she walked all around the house on her own while larry and i did our own thing. she would arrive at her destination (like the dog, the coffee table, a toy) and just beam, so excited that she was figuring it out. then off she'd go, to walk somewhere else. it seems to have clicked.

larry said this yesterday, in one of those tender moments: "i just love her spirit, you know?" elaborating, he meant that she's generally in a cheerful mood, she's always inquisitive and loves to figure out new stuff, and that she's okay with (or excited by) things being a little bit crazy and unpredictable. i couldn't agree more. his saying that made me love them both a little bit more than before.

this is the rocking chair dad made for eva. she loves it so much (it's her very own size), and quickly learned how to get in and out of it herself. they shipped the chair to us, and she had a huge grin -- and looked a bit puzzled -- when we pulled it out of the giant box. (the giant box is now serving as a play fort in the living room.) the coat and bonnet she's wearing were made by my grandma edna. too cute. all of this makes me to want to make some special things for eva that can be handed down to her kids and grandkids.... way better than just buying her lots of "stuff".



waiting with mama
Originally uploaded by Kristy and Eva.
i get so caught up in trying to chronicle every single thing eva does, and i'm going to stop that. i don't think it's healthy for me anymore to indulge in this, because it feeds into my sense of worry/anxiety about not being able to remember everything, or about the loss of her babyhood, or whatever. she changes. every day. and it's okay if, in five or twenty years, i can't remember exactly how i felt upon each new develpment, or if i don't know the exact day her 14th tooth poked through. plus, i get so caught up in "catching up" on the developements i've not mentioned that i never end up using my very limited time to write what i actually want to write -- more about the little details or about how i feel about some aspect of mothering,
something with (occasionally) more depth. i'm forever feeling stressed and "behind" this way (which is rediculous). plus, this inventory style of writing comes off sounding like i'm knocking items
off a developmental milestone checklist, or worse, being competitive about what she's doing, which is not at all how i feel and is antithetical to the kind of mother -- or person -- i want to be. when
i say "isn't it cool that she can do this" that doesn't mean "she's the most brilliant child that ever lived and kicks the ass of other children in six time zones", but rather "isn't it amazing getting to watch babies grow and learn so much so fast". a bit of a tangent, but i wanted to make that point.

so, here i am. it's cliche, i know, but i have real trouble staying in the moment. i'm always worrying about being able to drag the past along with me (in a blog? good freakin luck, suzie) or being anxious
about how i will confront future challenges. so i'm going to try to stay focused on the very daughter i'm so lucky to have with me, today. right now.

okay, *right* now she's sleeping, but she was such a sweetheart today (along with a fair share of tantrums, but nevermind that, i can skew the data however i like.) she was happily walking back and forth between larry and i, back and forth, over and over. she seemed so happy with herself. every time she fell down, she'd look up at me with an expectant smile and sign "more" (along with saying "moah"). i loved that. at first i thought she maybe wasn't getting that she was in fact the one doing the walking, causing that fun sensation of movement -- unlike when i push her on the swing or toss her in the air and she signs "more". but then i decided that i somewhat misinterpreted her request, due to the lack of nuance in her vocabulary. she was probably trying to say something more like "more provide me with the help i need to keep walking around". we weren't doing much other than encouraging her, since she can now stand back up
on her own, but it was a really fun moment of family togetherness, and i'm glad she was as excited about it as we were. (we've been doing this every day lately, but it doesn't lose it's charm.)

this photo is from last month in alaska (the hats might give away that we were not in texas anymore, toto). every so often you come across a photo that completely transports you, that causes you to feel all the
sensations and think the thoughts that you had when it was taken, and this is such a photo. i love that sort of thing, and in this case it makes me feel less distant from my mom (who took the photo, through the truck window, while we waited for larry and dad to return from floating down the river fishing). i can feel the weight of eva on my shoulders and the coolness of her forehead when i kissed it and the warmth of her breath when she fell asleep with her head inside my jacket. it was cold and drizzling outside and we were all exhausted, but that doesn't matter at all.

(oh, p.s., i'm going to stop apologizing too, about not having posted in a while and the like.)



Originally uploaded by Kristy and Eva.
(more swimming photos from a few weeks ago, until i manage to upload more that i've taken. we're a bit technically disorganized around here lately.)

so, i feel like i used to blog every little change in eva. since i've barely posted since, i don't know, june? i feel like so many important things have not been commented upon. so here's a run-down of what i can remember as having been missed:

she's a crazy communicator. at a year, she was doing about 25 signs, and i stopped counting but i think she's added about 10 more. also, when we left for alaska, she said , pretty much only "hi" and "papa". by the time we returned, she was saying about 20 words (note that grandpa or "gah-pah" came well before "mama"), and i immediately vowed to stop counting to preserve my sanity. (i count not to have something to boast over, but rather because my compulsive tendencies require it -- ask larry about how i still can't go to a movie without counting the stars on the paramount logo as they swoop onto the screen, despite having vowed years ago to stop counting them. there are 22. there will still be 22 next time. anyway, that's plenty of info about my counting for today...) so she says a whole mess o' words, and still signs. and for some words does both, and that category is growing as she adds spoken words to her signed concepts (recently adding a sweet questioning "moah?" to the sign for more, how can i deny that kind of request?)

i'd have to say she's officially walking, although she still crawls for the vast majority of her transportation needs. i feel like this whole walking thing is such an anticlimax. she took her first step in may, and by a year could walk back and forth between larry and i fairly well. she since improved her balance so that she can *stop* walking (without, you know, using her face), and in the past few weeks learned to stand up rather than pull up. she's so proud of that, you can just see it. she'll now stand up on her own, walk toward something, pause, change direction, eventually squat down when she loses her balance. anyway, i say it's anticlimactic because... at some point in that whole progression of skills, she became a kid who walks, but somehow i feel like i missed it. that, and she's still not really a walker, because she still crawls. but yet everyone makes such a big deal, i feel like some fireworks should go off or something. plus, she's on the later end of the range for this, so honestly, i get tired of the questions and even well-meaning comments. i just say "she can walk, she just chooses not to." it's cliche, but so apt -- i read recently that walking takes balance, strength, and temperment, with the latter determining when it all happens. (the same book said they won't be talking much for another couple months because they're too busy concentrating on learning to walk. hmm.)

ooh, she's up, so this is the end for now.



swimming cousins
Originally uploaded by Kristy and Eva.
okay, i haven't posted anything in almost two months. we were in alaska, then i had a bit of trouble readjusting to life at home, then she was sick for a week. then, honestly, after all that time, i started to feel overwhelmed by all the unsaid things pushing to get out of my brain (particularly regarding all the details and all my emotions regarding our trip) that i went with my usual solution, inaction. so, here i am, and i'll just post what i'm thinking about right now rather than try to catch up all in one post.

here's a photo i took from our weekend in college station after we returned from alaska. i really like this shot, it's actually good of both girls -- the telephoto lens is a big help i think.

in my last post forever ago, i commented that eva had just cut three molars all at once. well, sticking with her papa-given nickname of Low Probability Baby, she proceeded to get 5 teeth at once (within 10 days) right as we returned from our trip -- which of course means she was teething the whole time we were there. she got her last molar, along with the outer four front teeth. this was a few weeks ago, so they're now coming in more and it looks more like she has this full mouth of teeth.

boy does she ever. she bit me last night (this was a big problem in july, but has been fine the last two months really), and i said "i can't let you bite, eva, that hurts mama" and put her on the floor. she had this hurt look on her face and started sobbing. it wasn't her now-familiar frustration sort of tantrumy thing (more on that to follow), she really seemed hurt -- the way i often was (well, and still am) when i'm being scolded because i instantly feel bad about what i did but can't fix it. we could be reading too much into this, but this time larry and i both thought that she seemed to get that, like she really did feel bad that she bit me and also didn't like that she was now removed from me onto the floor. and like she made the connection between the action and its consequence. she's getting older, she understands lots of things now. since we've been home, we've firmly moved from the remnants of babyhood firmly into the toddler arena. bittersweet, to say the least.

more to come, but i'm glad i've broken the spell of inaction. i'm off to see how the jabbering eva and her half-asleep papa doing in the other room. oh, wait, jabbering just turned to yells of "mama! mama! mama!" followed by a screech...



so many fish


Here are two photos from a few weeks ago, when we were at the aquarium in Galveston with my sisters. There are more on my flickr site.

This week Larry is in Boston, sitting through all-day meetings for a week. That doesn't sound too fun, but they try to make up for it by going out in the evenings and having fun. We've been amusing outselves by playing with our spankin' new cell phones, which can send text messages (I know, welcome to the current century) and photos and videos. So, Larry, along with various family members, has been receiving a 30 second video (or two or three) of Eva every day this week. I'm sure the novelty will wear off, but it is fun to do, and maybe that means he'll miss her a little bit less. Larry sent a photo of himself this afternoon, and I showed Eva and she smiled and waved, and then right after I set the phone down, she started saying "papa".

Eva is making a big effort to double her total number of teeth all this week. She'll have to produce an 8th tooth to hit that mark, and I hope she doesn't, but an impressive effort nontheless. She came up with three molars this week. I guess she decided to skip the four other front teeth she doesn't yet have. I could tell she's been teething for a few weeks, but I didn't expect all these molars. I'm babbling in circles, I'm so impressed. Wait, could I be speechless? .... (Nah.) I guess she's not done yet, because she has woken up 5 times in the 90 minutes she's been asleep, and that's after a dose of ibuprofen. (Why is she always teething when Larry is travelling?)

Today she stacked some wooden disks onto a peg. She hadn't done that before, but I showed her and she immediately did it with ease. So, I think yet again, it's not that she just now figured out how, but more like she's saying "oh, that's what you wanted me to do? why didn't you just say so?" I swear, sometimes I wonder what I do all day that I haven't taught her this stuff yet. Sometimes I really feel bad about this. Apparently I'm slow to catch on to the concept that now that she's not a baby, it's no longer sufficient to keep her content and fed, I have to teach her things, too. Not like I'm trying to teach her French by age 2 and playing classical music all the time to make her smarter, but shouldn't I occasionally show her how to, for example, stack a damn block? I worry that I'm just lazy, that I'd rather take a break when she's content. Then again, I'm not too worried, really, because I suspect this is just yet another thing for me to beat myself up about as a mom that doesn't really matter much in the long run. So, steady on, I guess...


danger, danger!

laughing with papa
Originally uploaded by Kristy and Eva.
on paper, we've had a week filled with danger and emergencies. in reality, we're fine.

first event, eva finally did it. due to her interest in (okay, i'll call it an obsession with) the phone, she finally managed to call 911. once i noticed her playing with the phone, i hung it up, and within 15 seconds there was a call back. i had that feeling.... and sure enough. here, we'll do this like they do on news stories and crime reenactments:

911 operator: "is this kristy and*****-ewi**?"
kristy and*****-ewi**: (knowing telemarketers never get her name right) "yes..."
911: "this is mike with austin 911. we just received a call from your residence. is everything okay, ma'am?"
kae: "oh no! i am so sorry, that was my daughter."
911: "so everything is okay?"
kae: "oh, yes, everything's fine, she was just playing with the phone. you know, i was worried this would happen someday."
911: "yes, we could hear her laughing in the background [she had been screeching, actually], so i figured that might be the case. but everything is okay? you're fine?"
kae: "yeah, we're totally fine. but again, i'm really sorry."
911: "it's okay, just keep that phone away from her in the future, please."
kae: "i definitely will. okay, bye."

i think we get one free pass. but now i really have to keep the phones up high.

number two, she scratched herself on a bit of pokey wire (which is assisting in holding up the "entertainment center"), and as a result, she had her very first non-medical-proceedure-related bloodshed. symbolic, sad to us, but she of course barely seemed to notice. it didn't even require a band-aid(tm) brand adhesive bandage.

number three in our banner week of "it could have been worse" events, we had to call poison control! (but notice that this smart mama ordered and put a poison control magnet on the fridge many months ago, so chalk one up on my column before you immediately erase it when you hear the rest of this story!) eva was pushing around her cart of blocks, and i was laying on the floor playing with her and listening to NPR. i remember feeling sleepy and thinking that the room was babyproofed, and that i'd *hear* her if she got into anything if i just closed my eyes for a minute (yeah right, the silence is how you know they're into something!). next thing i know (seven minutes later), larry is saying my name (apparently he said it four times and had to repeatedly kick my foot before i woke up, so i was soundly asleep -- nice touch, huh?), and he's holding eva surrounded by shreads of plant leaves all over the floor. so yes, she ate some of the plant (or at least pieces were fished out of her mouth), and after some internet research, we determined that "croton" (who knew?) is indeed poisonous, and incidentally, so is pretty much every other plant in my house. so i had a really helpful, consise conversation with poison control, who said i should just feed her a bit to settle her stomach and "give them a holler back" if she vomited more than three times. hurray, poison control! hopefully they're not in contact with austin 911, or i'm going to get reported to some less friendly state agency.

there you have it. i guess these things come in threes. and these are all basically non-events, but like i said, they sound much worse on paper.

i took this photo last weekend in college station, a sweet moment between a little girl and her dad. we had such a lovely time, and this photo sort of sums it up for me.


birth day


golly, cake for me?

Last weekend, we had a big first birthday party for Eva, with about 35 guests (including many of her superfriends) and a big ol' cake, of course. It was really fun, and I'm not entirely sure what Eva thought, but I was really touched that so many people came to help us celebrate. It was a really tangible sign of how many people we have in our lives that love this little girl and are here to support us when we need it -- and that doesn't even count all the people who live farther away. Anyway, it was fun if a little crazy. Example: I forgot to let Eva eat any of her cake (after I forgot that we should sing happy birthday before I started dismantling it!), so she had a slice of cake the next day. However, during this, her first opportunity to have refined sugar, she never did consent to even the tiniest speck of it entering her mouth, as you can see in this series of cake "eating" photos (don't view as a slide show if you want the captions).

I spent a lot of time the week prior to Eva's birthday thinking about what I was doing "a year ago, right now...". A year ago, I was was at the hospital in Austin with Larry and my midwife pre-registering for my scheduled c-section (it took me three tries and lots of crying before I could check the little "c-section" box on the form). A year ago, I had just spoken with the doctor in Dallas and was packing to head up there that afternoon -- we threw the car seat in the back of the car on a whim, good thing. A year ago, I was having an external version attempt and then waiting around for the epidural to wear off, while denying my early labor signs despite the look on my doctor's (and Larry's) face. A year ago, my water broke as we were pulling up to Taco Bell, and I made Larry run in and get me food while I was on the phone, informing the doctor's office that they needed to page Dr. Graham even though it was her night off, because "no, you see, I'm that breech woman up from Austin". A year ago, we were working to get labor started. A year ago, I was in transition (but didn't know it) and pacing back and forth in my labor room, clutching the "short list" of boy names yelling at Larry that we had to have a name now! A year ago, as I scooted over onto the operating table (as I was in the OR just in case), right in the middle of a contraction because there was no time to waste, I noticed that maybe I should be scared -- but then was too distracted to bother. A year ago, I was concentrating on the most important momen of my life, when Eva's body was out and I needed that one last push to really count so that her head would emerge and she could take that first breath. A year ago, I held my baby in my arms and Larry and I exchanged that kind of look that says everything in an instant. I spent that last week recounting these moments while doing the usual daily routine, changing diapers or chopping vegetables or nursing Eva, and that juxtaposition between those moments of incredible transition a year ago and the tasks of someone firmly established in motherhood today... it made these memories all the more powerful. What a difference a year makes.

I love you, Eva. Happy Birthday.



going swimming
Originally uploaded by Kristy and Eva.
eva is one year old.

i keep saying to people, i've fallen in love with her all over again. this keeps happening, i just can't get over how much i love this girl, and just when you think it's too much, there's more. and now she's one. how different my life is now than it was 367 days ago. it's almost like i thought i was a whole person but it turns out i wasn't. or that part of me was just waiting for her to arrive so we could learn all these things from each other. i don't know, it's all just been so emotional this week for me. more on that later, and about her party, but first the report.

eva's just over 19 lbs and some number of inches tall (i admit it, we were just at the doctor on wednesday but i can't remember... but does anyone really care about the inches, really?), and so is 25th %ile in weight and height. she loves to say "hi", which is pretty much her only word now, and will say hi to us, the dog, photos, and when given the opportunity, interesting people on the TV. she has an affinity for soft blankets or pillows on the floor, and will crawl over and snuggle the side of her face in them and she just looks so blissful when she does that. she'll point out her nose, belly, and feet when asked, but likes even more to point out mama's nose and mama's belly. she cannot be convinced to eat fruit (which perplexes me because how can anyone not like fruit, i would eat nothing but if i could). she does about 25 signs, and uses them pretty much constantly, as in "hey, a ball, hey over there, a bird, and a tree, um milk please, hi dog, oooh, a flower, i hear music, hey did already i tell you about the ball?" she is really into books (it helps that she has the dexterity to open them and turn pages herself now), and *loves* "mr. brown can moo, can you" by dr. seuss. she'll request it by saying "boo boo boo!" because of the line "boom boom boom mr. brown makes thunder". we all have this book memorized, the first of many i'm sure. she loves to swim and be tossed around by her papa, and has just started trying out some mini-tantrums when you take away the phone or shut the patio door without letting her out, but (so far) i just find it amusing. she can finally drink out of a sippy cup unassisted and can use a straw (which is the only way she'll eat/drink yogurt, it's slimy like fruit). she's often too distracted to nurse to sleep, so we've started back up with some occasional bouncing, which was practically all we did for the first six months of her life, and she's a bit heavier now. she's really a fan of music, and will point it out when she hears something she likes. i like that she now appreciates music other than her kid stuff, but she still gets most excited (signing, bopping up and down to the beat, squealing) when she hears the "hello song" from her music class. and lately she gets so excited in the car, looking at trees or cars, i think, that she'll laugh like crazy and throw her head back and forth, waving her hands frantically. hard to describe, but i so rarely have my video camera out while driving along. and she is so snuggly, especially when she is tired or in bed at night. i can just lay there and stare at her for what seems like forever, and my book sits unread on the nightstand...

this photo is from a month ago, we were heading off to swim at the park next door when larry spied our cuteness from upstairs and came down to take a photo. she loves her wagon.



Originally uploaded by Kristy and Eva.

Originally uploaded by Kristy and Eva.

Larry gets home from Spain tonight, I'm so excited to see him again. 11 (and a half!) days is a long time... I'm curious to see what Eva's reaction will be. Whenever I mention Papa, she seems to look around for him. I wonder if she's old enough to miss him.

So, Lora and Julie were here for about two weeks, and I wish they could have stayed even longer. It was so much fun having them here, and we did a lot of fun things, but the best part was just seeing them with Eva. The hadn't seen her since she was far less ... interactive, and it was fun watching Eva get to know them. They came up with all sorts of games together that I've never thought of, and Eva learned so much in those two weeks of having the constant attention of multiple adults (versus entertaining herself while I do some quick housework, for example). It's also nice to share what your life is like with the people you love who are far away, because it it makes them seem not so distant.

We went to Galveston for three days while they were here, and Julie kept apologizing for making it rain (it rained on her wedding, her honeymoon, and I forget what else, but she has a knack for it). We had fun even in the rain (why not get in the pool, you're wet anyway!), and there was a beautiful evening when it cleared up long enough for us to have a fantastic couple of hours at the beach. It couldn't have been more perfect: not too hot, beautiful pre-sunset glow, and virtually no one else around. Eva splashed around in the waves and could hardly contain her excitement. I learned that at the beach, crawling baby + thumb sucker = sand eater, so we kept her in the shallow water rather than on the sand to minimize that, but I'm sure a little sand ingestion never hurt anyone. Larry had to work quite a bit due to some emergencies/deadlines, but he was there for this evening, the best part of an all-around fun trip.

I can't fully explain how much I enjoy watching the important people in my life really get to know my daughter. I was so glad to have my sisters here, and now it's only 29 days until we go to Alaska to see Grandma and Grandpa! That's going to be so wonderful...

Here are two of the beach photos, but there is a whole set on my flickr page.



snuggly baby
Originally uploaded by Kristy and Eva.
i have a lot of catch-up writing to do, because lora and julie were here for a couple weeks and i haven't had the time. it was so much fun...

the past five days, however, have been another story. eva has a stomach virus, and has been more sick than she's probably ever been. lora was here for the first half day of it (and offered to stay, but there were no flights because it's a holiday weekend), and larry has been in spain for 9 days, so i've been on my own. under normal circumstances, when home alone for a week with eva, i busy myself with activities with friends, but we're on quarrantine and thus have been stuck at home (i did venture out today, but hadn't wanted to risk it before what with all the nastiness coming out of her at unpredictable times). i'll spare you the details, but i've been doing a couple loads of icky laundry every day and we're using up diapers like they're about to expire. oh, and then last night she started acutely teething (as opposed to the general kind they seem to do roughly until they're 2). her hand will shoot up to her mouth and she'll squeal, it's so sad. in fact, i think she first officially said "mama" to me for sure during one of these moments, like she was beseeching me to make it stop. how sad is that? the motrin seemed to help, and it's not as bad today.

i'm sleepy and need to rest up for another exciting day tomorrow, but i wanted to share this: exactly one year ago today, i spent the entire day curled up with larry on the futon crying, trying to come to terms with the fact that i was going to have to have a c-section. he had downloaded the whole first season of "lost", so we watched that on the computer, all 20-some episodes back-to-back over two days to keep my mind distracted. i sort of feel nauseated just remembeirng it. the next day, though, is when i heard about a certain doctor in dallas...

eva's awake, off i go.


one track mind

Originally uploaded by Kristy and Eva.
i really like the lighting in this photo. i took all of these last week, she's harder to catch in a good shot now that she can move all over.

yesterday i bought some of those suction cup balls for eva because she seemed to really like them in her physical therapy. i stuck them to the window, and she was so excited about them that even in her overtired nap-needing state, she crawled right over to them. after i identified them as "ball", she immediately signed for ball even though i haven't shown her that sign for a few weeks. i did it back to her, and she signed for ball excitedly over and over (sort of flapping your arm like you're throwing) until i finally got her down for a nap. she woke up an hour later, looked at me, signed for ball, and fell back asleep! it seemed like she had been dreaming about her new fun toy. then when she woke up for real an hour later (nice long nap, huh?), here eyes popped open like i'd flipped a switch, and she signed for ball and promptly craned her head around to look at them stuck to the window. she pointed at them, said "ooh ooh ooh!" and squirmed off my lap so she could crawl over to them. i just thought it was really fun that she was so excited about this.


eleven months

even as i write this, i feel that i must be making it up or somehow exaggerating, but apparently eva is 11 months old today. at least that's what they tell me. too crazy.

this past month has been her busiest yet, with dizzying advances in all sorts of areas. she became mobile (crawling, cruising around on furniture, and taking a few steps at a time), and you'd think that would be enough, but in addition the lights have really come on in terms of signing. to me, her ability to communicate her observations and needs with me is almost a bigger deal than her mobility -- but combine the two and she's a whole different person than i had around a month ago.

she started using 5 new signs since yesterday (although i'm sure we missed one or two of them on the first earlier attempts?) so it seems time for a sign inventory. here they are, roughly in order: light (bottom photo), dog (top photo), fan, fish, flower, tree, milk (my favorite, so practical!), all done, baby, food, drink, more (also very helpful), and music. well, and waving "bye-bye" which i guess really is a sign, too.

i could go on and on about signs (uh... i could and i am, apparently), but i'm just so excited that she can communicate. i told larry at dinner (after she signed for more pasta and then some water, then told us she heard music and saw the dog) that the signing really colors my perception of her. she can tell me what she wants and what she sees, and if she couldn't do so this readily, i might not know how much is going on in her head. what a big payoff for so little effort -- most things in parenting are not that way.

oh, also in the photo you can get a good view of the remains of her neck lump as i call it (fibromatosis colii). she had her last physical therapy appointment yesterday, she's officially caught up. well, she might walk a bit on the later side due to the crawling being late, but she's totally fine now and needs no more treatment. yea, eva!


down and up

i see you
Originally uploaded by Kristy and Eva.
about 15 minutes after that last bleary-eyed post (which contains thinly-veiled hints at the coming desperation, clear to me only in hindsight), i tried to get eva to sleep, and she was clearly having none of it. it was 11:00, i was reaching my limit, so i got up to walk down the hall for one minute. she gave out one cry of protest, then quieted (foreshadow for mamas in the know). she made a second peep, so i headed back to the room (again, i was away for no more than a minute) and as i was walking back, i heard her fall from the bed onto the floor, followed by the freaked out crying. (the mattress and box spring are on the floor, and we have rails along both sides of the bed and a chair blocking most of the foot of the bed, but she apparently crawled after me straight toward the two foot wide open space at the end of the bed.)

she seemed mostly shaken and largely unharmed, but as i sat on the floor rocking her back and forth in my lap, i think i honestly was crying more for my guilt than for her pain. i felt like the worst mom ever, because the only reason she fell was that i left her because i was not handling it and needed to walk away. i stood at the end of the hallway thinking (for the first time ever, or at least in a mighty long time), "okay, i can't let her cry it out, but i can't do *this* every night either so what are my other options?" and this is what gives me that aching mama guilt: at the very moment i was thinking about how to get away from her, she was crawling trying to get to me, and fell. i'm still not entirely sure what the message is in all this (other than to move the mattress off the boxspring). be better about asking for help? that what she needs most is a mom who takes care of herself and isn't crazy? i don't know, but i'm really hoping it's not "see what happens when you have a fleeting negative thought about your child? she nearly dies. so there, serves you right, you bad mama."

i've been having a challenging couple of weeks, but maybe that was the worst of it, because today things were looking up. i saw people, ran some errands, spent an entire hour all by myself, and now eva is actually sleeping. you may be wondering what an uber-hipster cool mom-about-town like myself does with her free hour. well, i can't spill all the exclusive details (hint: it involves washing the car because eva cries when i attempt that with her in it), but i can tell you that i listened to the first two tracks on my new CD with the volume on 14 rather than in the baby-approved volume range of between 6 and 10. that's right, 14, people! i know, it's too crazy. try to contain yourselves.



not much blogging lately (or much of anything else that i can't do with eva) because she's come up with this new plan of "napping" at bedtime, then waking up an hour later and staying up until 10, or 11. it's 10:50 right now and she's up, larry's singing to her. she's alternating between drooping her eyes, crying for 2 seconds, and signing for "dog". i feel like i've tried the obvious tricks, adjusted numbers and timing of naps, moved bedtime earlier, moved it later, held her for the first few hours after she falls asleep, putting her to sleep in bed, etc. i think the solution might be that there isn't necessarily a solution, and i just need to let her go through this phase (oh please let it be a phase!). i'm trying to go with the flow but if it goes on much longer, i may very well lose my mind, because between this and larry's needing to work more for a big deadline, i have nearly zero time for myself. well, larry's calling me, eva's crying. off i go... she's so tired, why won't she just give in and sleep? poor baby.


yea, milk!

yesterday eva had a small bonk while walking around the coffee table. when i picked her up to comfort her, she signed for milk. this is a first, since she had so far only used signs for labeling (dog, fish, fan, etc) and not for requests. she nursed for a bit and when she was done, she looked at me, grinned, and clapped. as in, "yea, milk!" well, i'm glad she approves. (we didn't previously do a lot of clapping, so either she picked it up from what little we did or from watching the other kids? in any case, it is cute, and now i can't help but clap when she does) as is the case with many of these little new skill developments, she does something once and then seemingly constantly. the rest of the day, she was signing for milk and clapping when she was done. even at 1 a.m. she nursed back to sleep, rolled over, and clapped three times. yea, indeed.



swim ride
Originally uploaded by Kristy and Eva.

underwater baby

eva's really taken to swimming, and this weekend larry helped get some underwater shots while were in college station for mother's day. she loves to splash and "swim" around with my hand under her chest. she seems to have lost the kick relfex, but she'll kick when i say "kick kick kick, eva!" (which i choose to attribute to the fact that i conditioned her by saying that all the time when she was still kicking by relfex, but who knows if that's why or not.) you can see her new trick -- she'll hold on to my swim suit while i swim around on my back. she gets water in her mouth and eyes this way, but doesn't seem to mind enough to stop doing it! also, she's doing well going under water for longer (as in a few seconds longer), and if i let go of her she will surface on her own without getting upset. i know at some age she'll develop a fear of the water and this trend will reverse (at least for a while), but we're having so much fun now it hardly matters.

this mama is on day 3 of a nauseating migraine (i know, i need to break down and take drugs on of these days but i keep thinking it will just go away) and so the rest of this will be short and perhaps expanded upon another day:

my first mother's day was lovely, my dear husband was very sweet to me all day and made me feel acknowledged and appreciated, which i think is the general goal of the day, right? eva's two top teeth, which have been bothering her for weeks, finally popped through on sunday and monday. she's signing for "dog" (tongue out, panting sound) like crazy (like every 10 minutes it seems, thanks to lemma's antics), in addition to fan, light, milk, and some early attempts at fish, flower, and tree. after some major breakthroughs on thursday, she started crawling for real on monday and seems quite pleased with herself. and a first -- three times so far while i've been writing this, eva has woken up and when i head down the hall, she's sitting up in bed! she just learned in the last few days how to sit up from lying down, and i guess she's processing that information in her sleep. she looks so disoriented, mostly asleep and sitting up... anyway, this has been a bit week for this little one.



Originally uploaded by lewing.
eva's latest thing is that she laughs, a lot. and i mean way more laughter than you would expect to come from such a small person! part of her current phase of rapidly expanding social behavior is that she laughs at anything you do to try to amuse her. this is a very endearing quality in a baby (or anyone, really). in the evenings when she is a bit tired and punchy, she'll laugh maniacally at the dog begging for about ten minutes (poor dog, reduced to "prop for baby's amusement"). we videoed some of it, and when i played it back for her, she laughed at herself laughing. we were even able to get her to laugh on the phone so my family could hear her.

the part i find most amusing, though, is that she has become a laughter detective. you know how when kids learn a new concept, they spot it everywhere? like when eva learned to sign for "light", suddenly the world was full of lights and she would point them out all the time. well, now her world is apparently full of laughter. she'll hear someone laughing, and laugh in response. sometimes i'm not even aware at first that someone laughed, often it's a little "haha" in passing tossed in at the end of a sentence, but eva hears it. "heh heh heh", she says back. i had to turn the tv off when it was on the other day, because i was disturbed to find she was laughing every ten seconds or so in response to the laugh track. i know babies absorb everything, but sometimes i forget the extent of it. in any case, this laughing is just too much fun. can she stay this age for a while, please?

because of mother's day (in a roundabout way), i've been looking at old photos this week, and have found it's making me really emotional. the photos from eva's first days, in particular -- looking back, she looks so tiny and fragile, and i just get overwhelmed. i'm not sure if it's because i'm reliving the flood of emotions from that time, or if it's because i can't believe we managed not to break her, or what it is. maybe i'm just facing the fact that time is passing, that she's growing up fast and isn't my little baby anymore (as we approach her first birthday soon enough). it's a strange feeling, not melancholy exactly, just an intensity that feels out of context in my current days.

this photo is from playing with sarah's new water table in college station a few weeks ago. i like the composition larry achieved, with the water droplets in focus and both of our faces visible but partly obscured. it tells a story.



Originally uploaded by Kristy and Eva.
i've been wanting to blog something for days, but eva's not really in to sleeping lately which seriously cuts into my free time. as of 10:00 she finally went to sleep, and now i have the much sought Free Time, and... i'm feeling blah. so i decided not to write, but then changed my mind. i mean, having an off day can be saved for posterity, too, right?

i guess i'm just struggling with the lack of autonomy motherhood affords. sometimes i feel like i have to ask permission to do even the most humble of tasks. larry, can you get her if she wakes up while i take a shower? eva, can you sit her contentedly while mama gets a drink of water? can someone keep an eye on her while i run over to the port-a-potty? most days it doesn't bug me, but once in a while it just feels like a crushing weight -- before disappearing into the backdrop once again. i'll be fine in the morning.

eva's starting to stir, so i must go, but to counter my semi-cranky mood, i'm including a fun, happy photo of eva and her grandma from last month. how sweet!



Originally uploaded by Kristy and Eva.
i don't know what's been keeping me so busy this week, but i'm just now posting about easter... it's been one of those weeks throughout which i've felt like i've managed to "get nothing done", but really that just means i've not done the things on my ever-present little mental checklist (as in, i've not sewn a stitch in probaby a month). apparently by my own estimation, anything i do that's not on the checklist doesn't count. so, i should start adding things like "prevent eva from serious harm" to the list. check! i did accomplish something after all. i think i need to cut myself some slack once in a while.

for easter, we had a brunch egg hunt with our superfriends group. (oh, had i mentioned yet that that's the name? it is. let's move along and not get distracted. :) this gathering was originally conceived as being for those of us with no family committments, but interestingly that turned out to include the vast majority of us for an assortment of reasons (distance, heathenism, etc).

eva can't yet, ... well, *move*, so for her hunting eggs was somewhat modified to picking up eggs after being toddled over to them. i think she even dropped one into her little basket, but that was possibly a fluke. she enjoyed watching all the other kids and the dogs, and even more-or-less fended off the advances of an older, more enterprising toddler who began to hunt eggs out of her basket. the whole scene was really fun, with nine (?) sets of parents alternately assisting and photographing the kids (who seemed to get the general idea of finding eggs but were easily distracted by eating the veggie booty snacks contained within).

i may be biased, but i'm quite certain this photo is one of the sweetest i've taken, maybe ever. i just love the expressions on each of their faces, and it really captured the moment as it was. the two great loves of my life, i could just melt. okay, off to bed to join that sleeping baby...

wait, one last thing: today after eva's bath, neither of us had dressed yet and i was holding her on my hip and talking to larry. while i was thus distracted, i guess eva decided she wanted a snack and she managed to inch her head down just low enough to latch on. she was happily looking around at larry (who was, like me, trying to rein in his laughter) as if to say "what? it's here, i'm hungry. what's so funny?" so i walked her over to the bathroom mirror and she saw what That Baby in the reflection was doing and found it pretty amusing and broke into a big sly grin. this girl is too funny.


together apart

Originally uploaded by Kristy and Eva.
(photo: from the marbridge garden center, the trip with the petting zoo when mom was here.)

so last night was one of those nights. eva, in yet another burst of improbability, seems have decided that her third tooth should be a molar. (sure, just skip over those pesky ten teeth that usually would vie for third in line. why not? my little breech, tongue-tied, torticollis, no-crawling, baby... i'd worry that next she'll turn into a bowl of petunias, but larry says it's not yet reached infinite improbability, so we're safe.) anyway, yesterday she couldn't deal with me being more than five feet away from her for even a second, and despite clearly being very tired she couldn't sleep at all. from seven until nearly eleven, she woke up every 2 to 10 minutes (i wish i were exaggerating), and each time woke up really crying (or screaming), not just fussing. it was so sad! i finally gave her some tylenol, which is the first time she's had any drugs, and it did seem to help. but since i couldn't leave her at all, i had to abandon all other plans (like starting my taxes -- c'mon, it's only the 10th!) and barely managed to eat some sort of dinner (not that it was heated or involved a utensil). also, my shoulder injury from a few weeks ago is back (caused from carrying her incorrectly, it seems), so i can't lift my arm above my shoulder and can't easily hold her, which is of course what she needs. the prolonged crying triggers that hormonal response that starts to make me feel incredibly nauseous and like i need to claw through my skin or yell at the dog, and i was just about to lose it when larry called (he's in atlanta for a conference). but despite the fact that i had my moments, in general i seem to be getting better at this sort of thing. six months ago, i would have been consistantly thinking "i can't do this, she's never going to stop crying, i'm a terrible mother", but this time i was more calm and resigned (in a good way), knowing i was doing all i could and most likely all i had to do was make it until morning. that change in my own reaction really marks some big progress for me as a mother, and i didn't even notice it had changed until going through a tough night once again, so i surprised myself. but on to my original point.

the next morning, i got an email from a friend who had gone through a similar night (similar in difficulty if not in the exact details) with her son. my first thought was "oh, if only we'd known! we wouldn't have had to do it alone..." there's this idea i've often discussed with other moms regarding how moms are all doing the same tasks, like giving a bath or rocking and singing a lullaby or soothing a hurting baby back to sleep, but each in her own separate realm, perhaps feeling somewhat isolated. and there's something sad about that, like i wish i could see through all the walls in my neighborhood and find the other moms and feel connected by these tasks we share from a distance. before you have a baby, people will tell you when you're in labor to think about all the thousands of women around the world who are in labor at that same time, so that you can find strength in that bond. but what about later, doesn't the same apply? so sometimes i wonder who else is awake nursing their baby at three a.m. (or whatever it is), and in this case i had someone, a friend, having a similar rough night not far away. in a way, we went through it together although apart. and somehow, even after the fact, that made it better.


mama's mom


my mom was just visiting (3/26-4/5), and it was so great having her here. we had a lot of fun hanging out with eva and kept really busy, doing some activity pretty much every day. we went to playgroup and the park (and i was glad she could meet my friends). we went to a petting zoo (eva didn't like it when the bunny hopped right up to her face), swimming at big stacy pool, and the wildflower center (not so many flowers this drought year). we did errands and shopping, and of course had to go to the new whole foods. we had a little party for larry's birthday, hung out with jenny and cassia, took eva to be in a recearch study at UT, and picked out a bike trailer (which is our chirstmas present from them about which i hadn't yet managed to make a decision). i can barely even remember all the things we did, but mostly it was just so nice having my mom around and doing all the everyday things together. sometimes it's really sad to be so far away from my family -- especially now that eva is involved. you know, back when i had the bright idea to move across the country, it didn't really occur to me then at age 17 that my choice meant my future daughter would grow up far from her grandparents and aunts. but i guess i wouldn't do it differently, it's just frustrating... and sad. wait, i was talking about the happy visit with my mom, not all this sad stuff.

i was glad mom got to see eva swimming (since she won't have that chance again for a while, given that i doubt we'll be doing much swimming in alaska this summer). eva really loves the water, and we're lucky to have hit swimming weather at just the right developmental stage so that she cares about the water but doesn't think it's scary. she mostly likes to kick kick kick (hurray for reflexes) while hanging on to my arm and will float on her back with just my hand under her head if it's not too sunny (she really seems to hate having the sun in her eyes). she's also fine with submerging with me, but i can't say if she likes it or not. the plan (as much as there ever is one) is to go swimming 2-3 (or more) times a week throughout the summer.

oh, i forgot, we also started music classes while my mom was here. the class is pretty fun even for mamas, and eva seems to love it. it's mixed ages, so she gets to watch all the "big" kids, and when i play the accompanying cd at home or in the car she gets really excited and loud. (loud in a good way.)

eva had her 9 month exam today, and all is well as expected. she weighs 18 lbs 8 oz, and is 50th %ile in all measurements. oh, and lora, it's finally happened: she now weighs the same as the dog! that's a milestone if i've ever heard of one. when eva first arrived, the dog quickly began to seem impossibly heavy, so i guess that means now eva's impossibly heavy? it's all relative, soon this will seem light in comparison.




word to your mother

Originally uploaded by lewing.
larry took this shot yesterday, after doing some product/publicity shots for me and my theoretical business. we have beautiful lighting in our bedroom, we should move the bed elsewhere and make it a studio!

today eva confirmed a suspicion i've held for a while now: she seems to have said her first word. i feel weird about saying it (and i promised myself i was going to stop going on and on about this), like it somehow shouldn't count since the first consonant wasn't right or since 10 other people weren't there to hear it. but, a third party understood what she said, and she communicated her point to me, which seems like talking to me. you know?

anyway, we were out delivering a sling to someone, and eva was sitting on the sofa as stood in front of her. i was a bit distracted demonstrating the sling, and i suddenly realized eva is saying "gog, gog, gog!" i was thinking it sounded an awful lot like when she talks about a dog (based on how she says it to/about lemma). she was leaning way over to peer around my legs staring intently, and sure enough, when i followed her gaze into the next room, there was a dog looking in the kitchen door. i looked back at her and said "yes, you found a dog!" and she got this big satisfied grin. i'm sure it's pretty exciting when someone can finally understand you. (larry's comment: is it weird that her first word is "dog"?)

incidentally, she still says "ghak" for light, but i don't count that since it doesn't sound like the actual word. she is signing more for light though, and starting to sign for milk (she signs while nursing, rather than to request it). i feel like this blog has turned into a giant brag lately, but i had to post the first official word. hopefully on to other things again soon.