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?