happy slow morning

sock hand, originally uploaded by Kristy and Eva.

eva's been running around the house for the past 10-15 minutes saying "dot com! dot com... dot com dot com, dot com!" she heard an expedia commerical, the one where they sing "expedia... Dot COMMMMM!" and i guess it struck a chord with her.

dot com. dot com. lemma, dot com! hey mama? hey mama? mama, dot com! eva dot com. i wanna side milk!

there, that's a transcript of what she was saying as i was typing. :) she's only about 8 or 9 years too late for the dot com boom, though. oh well.

her saying "hey" (as seen above) is the new thing. that and "uh-huh"... hmm, it's almost like she's learning to talk from me, she sounds just like me! nothing like having a child to hold up a mirror to all your quirks and flaws. (she also says "lemma no lick!" in a very exasperated voice... wonder where she picked that up?)

"dot com. dot com. dot com." here we go again. larry just pointed out that by laughing at it the first time (i can't help it, it was funny!) that i've basically guaranteed that she'll keep saying it all day. true.

this photo (from a morning not unlike this one) is of eva's new fun game of bringing me socks and insisting that i put them on her hands ("sock a hand, mama! sock a hand!"). not sure how she ended up with four different colors, but some days are like that.

like that, or she's quoting tv commercials (busted! we have the tv on in her presence...) we're generally so busy, though, running all over town to playgroups or to friends' houses or running errands, that i like these slow, goofy mornings where everyone is in their pajamas until naptime. i'm enjoying this while it lasts... life is busy enough with a toddler, but it will only get more and more busy from here on out (for a couple decades at a minimum, anyway...)

"ah wahn cheese!" she says.

okay, off i go. lunch, nap. then maybe we'll consider getting dressed. or, maybe not.



Toddlers 4 Obama

today larry, eva, and i went to see barack obama speak downtown. they'd originally planned to hold this in an auditorium on campus, but based on the ticket requests, the moved it outdoors. this rally was huge -- estimates range from 15,000 to nearly 22,000. here's a news story and video and photo of the crowd.

we parked at brad's and walked in from there with eva enjoying a return to the sling. the whole event was during what would have been her nap, and despite that, she was so great. she loved all the people -- especially the cheering, tossing in her own "yea!" cheers -- and even seemed pleased by the rain. she spent a lot of time up on her papa's shoulders, and when she was most tired, i ducked down below the crowd to sit and nurse her. it was really fun being there, and i think i might be coming out of my mama-cave to rejoin the political process after all. we stuck around at the end and larry got some pretty good shots with the new telephoto lens. (he says barack obama should learn not to blink while he's waving, though. ha.)

The view from here

baby's first political event? not quite. eva's already joined me twice in the past month or so to go talk to state legislators, first about midwifery and then regarding two upcoming pieces of breastfeeding legislation. she was surprisingly cooperative, but it was still a bit challenging holding my train of thought while she wiggled around and jabbered away. i'd love to take her back once she's old enough to understand the political process (and old enough to sit still?), to help instill in her the idea that her participation in fact counts. oh, then if you count when she was a very new fetus, she was (technically) along for the ride when i was doing election work in 2004 -- making phone calls for travis county dems and to swing state volunteers for the kerry campaign, pounding in signs at 5 a.m. at various polling places, standing at manacha & lamar during morning rush hour with a "vote today/kerry-edwards" sign, collecting voter turnout tallies from five precincts every two hours all day. this was all just a few days into my pregnancy, but still, blastocyst eva was helping me out (which would have been news to me, of course).

it remains to be seen if obama's popularity wanes quickly or withstands the trials of the early campaign, but it's been a long time since i've seen people so excited about a candidate. nearly 22,000 in a (blue dot in a) red state over 18 months out, that's a sign that something's happening. i read today that this is the first presidental election since 1928 where neither party will be running a sitting president or vice president (what? no cheney for america '08 committees forming? no?), so it's a wide open race and should be interesting. okay, okay, not wide open as in "hey little johnny thousandaire, you could grow up to be president someday!", but wide open between about four candidates. (i count obama/clinton/mccain/guiliani at the moment -- i omit mitt (romney) because he's bugs me and edwards because i just don't see it happening, even though he was my top pick from the field of 12 dems at this point last cycle.) the early leads can be misleading, though, so we'll see. hmm, hmm, could be interesting. yes, i do think this could just pull me out of my two year spell of political apathy (self preservation for mothering, i think it was).

one last note... eva's been saying "obama" for at least a month already, because i've been reading his book while putting her to bed at night. she was saying "man" (regarding his cover photo), so i told her "that's obama". she often interrupted my reading, insisting "i look obama?" and even used the nice block letters on the cover to start pointing out the letters "A" and "O". so, she was primed for her cute trick today, walking away from the rally saying to herself, "obaaama. obaaama. obaaama..." (this is a particularly good story to preserve for posterity for eva if he does happen to become the next president.)



susie taco?

lounging, originally uploaded by Kristy and Eva.

several weeks ago now, eva kept saying something that my brain interpreted as "taco" (really, more like "tahkoo"). it took me a while to recognize first, that she was saying this often, and next, that she said it when handing me something. after that bit of detective work, i figured it out: thank you!

oh, duh. it's not like i've been saying that to her daily for most of her life or anything! and, of course, i say it most often when she hands me something, as in "eva can you give mama that pointy-death object you've found there? thank you!"

around the same time i deciphered what sounded like "susie" (or, eventually, "scusie"). first, some background: months ago, eva used to squeal "ehhhh!" at the dog when she wanted the dog to move out of her way. i encouraged her, "if you'd like the dog to move, say 'move lemma'", it not having ocurred to me at the time that she would generalize this beyond the dog. soon, it was "move, mama!" and she was telling her friends to "move!" on the playgroud as well. *sigh* good one, mama. so, starting more recently, i've been attempting to modify my grand advice to "excuse me, lemma" (it's always the do g she needs to move, i guess). thus came "scusie, lemma" -- but also "scusie, chair".... oh no, that overgeneralization got us again!

today we had two little language milestones. first, she finally *finally* said her name! for months, it has been clear that she could say it, and looks all sly when you ask, but has refused to cooperate in our trick pony attempts. well, on thursday jenny eeked an "eee..." out of her, just the one syllable. then this afternoon, while looking at a photo slide show on larry's laptop, she said as the photos flipped by, "mama!.... flower.... papa!.... eva." she said it just like that, but with a lot of distinction between the syllables, eee. vah.

i've often wondered how she would say her name (like when she was two months old and i wondered what her voice would sound like). her little friends said it so many different ways, i can't even remember them all -- efah, weva, aiya, evvie, ebah. maybe eva was just waiting until she could say it the way she wanted to say it? that's more or less what she did with walking. (where's the impulsiveness, dammit! i don't know what to do with this looking-before-leaping business, so foreign to me... that comes from larry, i guess.)

our other little milestone of sorts was today at ella's party. she had been drinking water out of a paper cup, but i was helping her (she does it on her own with a straw, but without one she tends to drench herself pretty quickly). later, she wanted more water, and i poured some and started to help her. she backed away, looked straight at me, and said "*i* do!". oh, okay then. i asked if she wanted to drink water herself, and she grinned and nodded so happily. she carefully took a sip, and looked back up at me with this look of accomplishment on her face. she proceeded to walk all around the party clutching her cup, stopping every now and then to take a drink. (later: "mama, coat a wet. drink water, coat wet." true, true.)

i'm loving it, she cracks me up.



bunny nigh-night, originally uploaded by Kristy and Eva.

this morning i had this deeply disorienting sensation... i believe it's known as "rested"? i'm being silly, but it really was a strange feeling.

i fell asleep putting eva to bed at 8:30 onward, and didn't manage to wake back up like i usually do (and stay up until 2). i think she asked for milk once and potty around 5 (then asked for milk a lot for two hours), but didn't nurse until the sun came through the windows at 7:15. that's over 10 hours without nursing! that's the longest ever...

i put her back to sleep twice already this evening (once from a sort of sleep-walking state), and both times, i pulled the blanket up, handed her her bunny, and didn't even need to lay down and she was out. i was even able to leave the room before she was fully asleep. this is a big change, she used to be so sensitive to my sneaking away, and would start awake at the slightest rustle (i became a master at launching myself over the bedrail without a sound).

this is all well and good, but as of today she seems to be beginning teething for her two year molars (i noticed yesterday they were swollen, and she was kind of psychotic all day despite a solid nap). when we get to the bad teething, i may wish i hadn't nightweaned, but we'll figure that out when we get there. for now, i'm enjoying the improved sleep.



crochet, originally uploaded by Kristy and Eva.

(could she be any cuter? a spontaneous pose with the baby blanket i made, and larry was quick enough to catch it.)

well, here we are, it seems to be the time for night weaning. i thought we might be a month or so away (i even said that in my last post i think?), but i should know by now that eva has her own agenda and it is rarely in line with what i expect it will be.

before i go any further, it bears mentioning that i'm sure there are those of you who are either flabbergasted (or bemused, perhaps) that i'm still nursing my 19 month old round the clock. then, of course, there may be those of you at the other end of the spectrum, perhaps in the attachment parenting community (of which i consider myself a part), who think that in general 19 months is really a bit young for night weaning. i have held no predetermined agenda about night weaning (or weaning in general, or the duration of co-sleeping, or anything else). my plan has always been to follow eva's lead, adjusting as necessary for my own sanity. that seems to be serving us well so far.

in the past couple months, i have started to sense the time for night weaning was nearing. i wouldn't mind having 6 hours of sleep in a row (something i haven't had for coming up on two years), but there was always something: we had about four or five trips in the last few months of 2006, plus she was cutting four canines at once, then a variety of viruses, and for most of january larry was working 100+ hrs/wk. so, i waited.

it had worked at various points when she was a baby to just go pat her back or snuggle her, and she would go back to sleep without nursing. for a great many months now, however (since her brain "woke up"), that method was met with vocal frustration and crying -- i was speaking of eva, but that applied to a tired mama on occasion, too, i'll admit. earlier this week, almost on a lark i tried not nursing eva back to sleep when she woke up early in the evening (i generally trot upstairs several times to soothe her before going to bed myself). basically, she protested as expected, but rather than nursing her after i had reached my threshold (about 15 seconds? or maybe a minute? it's not like i'm timing it, obviously), i held out just a tiny bit longer. i hate doing that. i hate not comforting her when i know she wants comfort, but to my surprise after an additional few seconds, she rolled over, seeming resigned to the state of things for the moment, and almost immediately fell asleep.


first thought: that can't really have worked. she's going to wake up as soon as i move a muscle. (she didn't.) second thought: why didn't i try this before?! (but, i really think it wouldn't have worked even a month ago, not in this way.)

so, i started by cutting back nursing to every two hours (yes, it's true, that really was scaling back -- not dramatically, but a little). then the next night, i stretched it to 3 hours, then 4 (you know, more or less), and now we're at about 5 hours. that ends up as she nurses to sleep, then nurses at 1 or 2 a.m., then again in the "morning" (some point after 6). i guess i'll slowly push that one night nursing later and later until it's eliminated.

i still can't believe it's working. from reading about this and discussing with friends who also are nursing their toddlers, it seemed like most people take a slightly different approach. a common one is to discuss it with the child, explaining that starting tonight, after we nurse to sleep, we won't nurse again until the sun comes up (an indicator that the kid can understand, rather than a time on the clock). this results in a varying amount of protesting, depending on the kid (by personality or level of readiness, i suppose), and generally after just a couple of nights, it all settles down.

this was basically my plan, but i was waiting until after larry was no longer swamped with work so he could help as needed. i was concerned, however, that by morning after that first night, eva would end up distressed due to a physical need to nurse out of hunger. she eats so little food, so she nurses all night, so she's not hungry in the day and thus doesn't eat much food. this chicken-and-egg debate would have resolved after that first night, of course, but i didn't want to feel like i was "starving" her (feeling pretty sure she would reject solid food while distressed and overtired, given she rejects it even in her best moods). so, after the first night during which i limited nursing, she ate more food, and she's continued to increase her food consumption (a bit, it's not overly dramatic -- she's not suddenly finishing off an entire sandwich or anything!).

stumbling on to this more gradual approach has worked well for us; i think it's a good match for her needs. and, it's good for mama: i slept five straight hours last night! pretty exciting all around. i'll keep you posted, but i presume that before long (maybe a few days, or a week?) i can count my baby as officially night weaned. yet another step down her own path, away from needing me so much... but unlike many of these milestones, the wistful sense of regret over time gone by is significantly diminished on this one. (ahh, sleep. it changes one's perspective.)

update: last night, she nursed to sleep at 9:30, nursed again at 3:30, and then when the sun came up at 7. she only woke up once before and once after that middle-of-the-night nursing session, and the first time she didn't protest at all, just rolled over and went back to sleep when she saw me, without even asking for milk. she's definitely understanding and accepting this change.