Bath in the Big Blue Tub
Originally uploaded by Kristy and Eva.
this has been a strange week. through various events (playgroup on thursday, hike & picnic on friday, mama's brunch on sunday), the majority of babies in our group managed to share rotavirus with each other. eva, luckily, has a relatively mild case, but nonetheless, she's not been too cheery this week. as a consequence of all this contagiousness, we've been homebound and feeling a bit isolated. four days in the house and no contact with other moms (okay, except for about a thousand email messages back and forth) has reinforced how important this group is for me. i don't know how i would be a (mostly sane) mom without them. how do people parent without social support?

this photo is from about a month ago in north dakota. we gave eva a bath in mom's newspaper recycling tub in the middle of the living room. she seemed to like it, and lately has been really enjoying baths in our big bathtub at home. she loves to splash and kicks like crazy when she's on her back -- i knew those breech baby froggy legs would come in handy! i just have to make sure she doesn't do a face plant into the water when reaching for the rubber ducks. i can't wait to take her swimming when it warms up outside.


two monkeys

larry returns from boston tomorrow, and in honor of that here's a photo of him with the little monkey from christmastime. i was discussing today with some other moms the seeming universality of dads tossing their babies around. it's important. i guess that's what dads do. i remember the whole dad-as-human-jungle-gym thing as being quite integral to my childhood.

rather than stay up until 2 yet again, today i'm going to be smart and actually go to sleep, rather than try to fit an entire day's worth of tasks into the time after eva goes to sleep. well, i'll do that right after i finish cleaning up the kitchen. i mean it.


first snow

first snow
Originally uploaded by Kristy and Eva.
while in north dakota for the holidays, eva had her first experience with snow. she liked it just fine until we decided it would be cute if she made a little tiny snow angel. apparently she likes the snow to be a minimum of 18 inches away from her. (it's not that she was terribly upset, she just gave us one of those looks that says "seriously? you really think i'm enjoying this?") sometimes these things are more entertaining for the grown ups.

this morning eva laughed with this beautiful, lilting giggle i've never heard before. the sound of pure, unqualified joy. add that to my ever-growing list of things i love about being a mama.


cowgirl pajamas

Cowgirl Pajamas
Originally uploaded by Kristy and Eva.
here's a photo from the old days (about a month ago), back when eva was just learning to sit up. she's an old pro at that stuff now.

larry left today for boston for the week. eva gave him about a dozen of the biggest smiles i've ever seen today, i guess so he could save up for the trip. that little girl sure loves her dad.

a tooth

eva has her first tooth as of this morning! it's on the bottom right, and you can't really tell by looking at it, but i felt it right away when she chewed on my finger. it still looks like a lump just under the tissue, indistinguishable from its left-side neighbor (which i now expect to emerge any day). i know it arrived in the night, because she was chewing on my finger late into the evening and i felt nothing.

teething has been more intense in the past two weeks, but really went crazy the past four nights. each night, she'd wake up about every 20 minutes for the first 4 or so hours after she went to sleep. last night i finally remembered to try the homeopathic teething tablets, and she was asleep for good in 10 minutes. of course, that might have happened anyway (it was 1 a.m. by then), but i'll try them earlier tonight and see what happens.

my baby has a tooth! now remember, eva, don't bite the, uh, "hand" that feeds you.


simon says

Yesterday as we were lounging around a bit in the morning, Larry and Eva came up with a cute game. He would slap his chest, tap tap tap. Eva would watch very intently and blink at each sound, and then after a brief pause (during which you could practically see the wheels turning in her little brain), she would slap her knee, tap tap...tap! (So okay, the rhythm was often a bit off.) They did this over and over, and I really enjoyed it because it's the first time I can think of that she has copied our actions, other than facial expressions. As if I didn't know it already, but we clearly need to start being (even more) careful about what we do and say in her presence.


the things we fear

today eva and i were in a car accident on the highway. we're fine, but i'm still fairly shaken. i've never been in an accident like that before, and while i'm sure would have been scary under any circumstance, all i could think about was eva, and i found the experience far more unsettling than i would have expected.

we were returning home from playgroup during early rush hour on I-35, and were in the inside lane at 51st st when traffic started to slow down. i stopped with no problem, the guy behind me stopped as well, but the guy behind him was apparently not paying attention. i heard the squeal of his breaks and looked up into my rearview mirror, but before i could register seeing anything, i heard the crash and my head was thrown back as the car lurched quite dramatically forward. eva was asleep before this happened, and before my body even came to a stop, i heard her scream. i don't know if babies technically scream, but it was the sharpest, loudest sound i've ever heard her make. as that sound reached my brain, as far as i know everything else in the world just stopped. she cried for all of about three seconds and fell immediately back asleep, so apparently she was just really startled but not injured. seeing her fall back asleep made me instinctively know that she was okay, which is the only way i was able to deal with all the rest of it.

when faced with such things, i repeatedly discover that i am surprisingly level-headed in a crisis. i pulled onto the shoulder, checked on eva, turned off NPR, and called 911 and was rattling off location info and vehicle descriptions before i even thought about it. i was calm at first, but of course totally lost it before long. both the other drivers, as it turns out, had suspended licenses. the middle car driver had warrants out for his arrest, which is why as he held his headlight in his hand he persisted in telling me we didn't need to call the cops because there wasn't any damage. the rear driver, clearly at fault, refused to give me his his name and info and started to get belligerent when i went to the back of his car to get the make and model. that's approximately when i started to freak out, looking back at my own car and suddenly realizing that i had a baby in a stopped car in the middle of a six-lane highway during rush hour, and i was at least 15 feet away from her. getting out of the car at all quickly felt like the stupidest decision i'd ever made in my life, and all i wanted to do was get the hell out of there.

i met up with an officer at the nearby wendy's parking lot (thereby avoiding the "leaving the scene of an accident" rap the other guys get), and of course there's not much we can do from an insurance/legal standpoint. the car of the guy at fault was registered to his 90-year-old father (who was in the passenger seat of the vehicle), so it will be a mess to chase him down. really, since all it did (as far as i can tell) was mess up the bumper of our otherwise not-exactly-pristine automobile, i really don't care. all i care about is that eva seems totally fine, and i'm fine minus a headache and a fairly stiff neck.

isn't it strange which things we fear and don't fear? driving is probably the most dangerous thing most of us ever do with a child, but we can't think about that or we'd never leave the house. well, here i am, forced to think about it for the moment, and it's not a happy place to be. i drove the remaining 12 miles home on interior roads, because with one glance back at the highway i knew i couldn't do it. soon enough, though, i'll go back into a convenient and functional denial about the dangers of cars, and hop back onto the highway. we can allow ourselves to fear bird flu and terrorism, because we have no measure of control over those things, and we don't have to leave the house and directly face them on a daily basis. not surprisingly, it's far easier for all of us to be afraid of these distant threats instead of the things (like cars) that are actually far more likely to harm us.

what might have happened today (but didn't) is too much for me to even contemplate. i need to go kiss that sleeping girl and remind myself that she's okay.

.5 yrs?!

monday, eva had her 6 month appointment with dr. cox. everything seems on track as one would expect. she weighed in at 15 lbs 12 oz, which means that she has gained exactly 10 pounds in 6 months. that may not sound like much in absolute terms, but that's approaching tripling her birth weight, which makes me dizzy to think about too much. she's 50th %ile in weight and length -- i never thought i'd care much about such things, but 50th sounds so much nicer than the "under 10th" thing we were hearing when she was born.

on tuesday, she had her (now monthly) physical therapy appointment for her torticollis, affectionately (?) known around here as "her neck thing". her therapist was pleased with her progress, and we're all growing increasingly unconcerned about the whole issue.

today eva delighted in grabbing her foot (for maybe the third time ever) during some diaper-free naked time. oh, and she got startled and peed all over when the dog started crazy barking during the same diaper-free naked time. thanks, dog! but earlier when i was cooking, lemma licked eva's hand to comfort her when eva started crying, so i guess it evens out. okay, dog, you can stay. (poor dog... so neglected these days...)

photos: 15 hours and 5 months. look how tiny she was! i'd have a 6 month photo for comparison, but the newer photos are still on the camera. and i'm sleepy, so this is good enough.


little hands

eva tends to go to sleep around just after 8 and i go to bed the first time she wakes up to eat, around 12 or sometimes later. well, last night she woke up several times in the first few hours, but not to eat -- probably because she's doing some more intense teething. when this happens, i comfort her back to sleep by laying down facing her, and to verify that i'm still there once her eyes close, she reaches out to touch my face or my arm with one hand while she sucks the thumb of the other.

the third time she woke up, i stayed there with her. she reached out to touch my face (well, repeatedly bat at my face would be more accurate), but since i wanted to sleep as well, i put out my finger so she could grab ahold of it and know i was still there. the two of us fell asleep like that, face to face a few inches apart, with her little hand clutching mine.

then, this morning, i awoke to what has become the new routine. eva wakes up and begins to babble to herself, but my brain has taught me to mostly sleep through this. once she decides that i should wake up for real, she rolls to her side and starts touching my face (with what i am sure are intended as gentle touches, if only she had the motor control). as soon as i open my eyes, i'm greeted with a huge smile. not a bad way to wake up.

so i fell asleep and woke up to those sweet little hands. what could be better than that? i can't imagine sleeping under any other arrangement.


happy birthday, mom!

today is my mom's birthday. when i called to wish her a happy birthday, i mentioned that eva has been a bit fussy (i believe my actual description was "super squawky") all day. through eva's noises in the background, mom observed that she was likely teething. well... duh. i'd completely forgotten that that was even an option, despite the fact i had been looking out for it in weeks past. it's just amazing to me how the obvious answer can be totally elusive at times. so anyway, i stuck a teether in the fridge (and called it macaroni! sorry. i've been listening to too much "disney's favorites vol. 2").

since eva's birth, i've been thinking about how no one probably ever gets what it is their parents did for them, but it becomes far clearer once you have your own kids. i spend all day every day feeding, holding, dressing, changing, bathing, soothing, entertaining, and in all other ways caring for eva, and will continue to do so every single day for the next many years before there's even a chance she'll remember one tiny bit of it. and that's fine, it's as it should be, and it's exactly what i signed up for (okay, more or less). but it's made me realize... my parents did the same for me. and i don't remember any of it, nor do i remember at least half of my entire childhood -- and i certainly don't remember the individual meals or clean clothes or general hard work day after day, including the days they were at their wits' end and did it anyway. and i know you don't become a parent to rake in all the accolades, but still. this whole internal source of validation thing is tricky (especially for those of us who spent years jumping through elaborate hoops to get those little gold stars).

so, mom, thanks for having me. i kind of get it now. and happy (first grandma) birthday.


the view from here

this may not be the best day to be starting a blog, as i'm feeling a bit down and lonely after returning home after the holidays, but then again, that might make it the perfect day. i've been journaling for eva since the day i found out she was a little bundle of cells, but somehow i think writing for her and for family and friends together (here, rather than in her journal plus emails to you all) will help me renew my motivation for keeping up with writing. there is so much i want her to know about this time. plus, i find that for my own purposes, trying to remember and appreciate all these fleeting little moments of her young life can be anxiety producing for me. maybe knowing it's recorded somewhere will allow me to let go of that a bit. i think those feelings come from loving her so much that i want to feel like i can return to this time later and still have the view from here.

so here we go.

flying home from north dakota on sunday was a piece of cake compared to my flight with her two weeks before. she did something that surprised me, because i persist in being surprised every time she does something that makes her seem "so old", where "old" just means one click older than she is in my head. she took great delight at looking out the window as we were descending into minneapolis, the lights of the city moving and twinkling below. somehow i thought that would only become interesting once she got to the "isn't it funny how the cars look like ants" stage, but as happens almost daily, she got me to look at something anew, through her eyes. little does she know, however, that she slept through two things even her seasoned traveller mama has never seen before from an airplane -- the mall of america ferris wheel, all lit up, as visible through the glass roof of the building, and several wildfires, near what i am deciding was possibly oklahoma city. fires are surprisingly bright, at night, from the air. as it turns out, there's a lot to see from an airplane.

today for the first time ever eva spent time -- a whole 90 minutes -- with a non-parent or -grandparent care giver, so i could go to the dentist (thanks, sarah!). that marks the eighth time i've ever been away from her, and the far-more-than-eighth time i've vowed to stop counting. for those interested, the seven other fabulous excursions were, in order, picking up take-out thai food, getting three items at the grocery store, more take-out thai food, going to the symphony to hear my friend farah sing (i fed eva at intermission in a full length evening dress, which was amusing to me and perplexing to many others), test driving a new car, running to best buy to get tapes for the new video camers, and photographing the new windfarm near my hometown. note that most of this away-time took place in the car, where i only sometimes forgot that i could momentarily change the music from "there was a teddy bear named freddy bear."