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The Cup

IMG_7675A few posts ago, I mentioned the sparkly coffee mug that Maya gets so excited about.  So, this morning I thought I’d better take a picture at a typical moment. It’s a little dim, but you can see the sparkle of the mug and the reverence in Maya’s face.

Other things that she gets unreasonably excited about:  lights, the plants that live in the sun room at the front of our house, the Rubber Ducky Song video with Ernie from Sesame Street.

She and I have been going to a signing class for babies every Saturday this month.  Yesterday was our last meeting, and I think she actually has figured out that she can sign some words!  Predictably, her first sign was “light” (which was not even part of the class, but I looked it up to use at home since that’s such a key word for her).  She also seems to know “more,” “eat,” and maybe “milk.”

But formal communication systems aside, she’s still quite the clown.  Rather than sign “more” at mealtime, why not just open your mouth as wide as possible and lean forward like a baby bird?  And verbally she’s working more on animal sounds than actual words.  Last night she woke up at 4 am and went through the litany: “ott ott,” then “ssss” (snake sound), and then “click click” (like horse hoofs).  At least I didn’t hear a plaintive “nana” (“banana”– generalized to “food”, or “I’m hungry”).

So, for more amusement, here she is in action, worshiping The Cup.

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My Baby Smells like Sardines!

…or, why we don’t need another dog (yet)

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Summer of 2006, I think

Joda, our endearing old dog, died a year ago tomorrow.  At the time, I was 6 months pregnant, and so we’ve jokingly speculated about whether the baby has inherited a bit of her.  “See, just like Joda!” one of us will say when, for example, Maya grabs a piece of paper and shreds it up gleefully with her mouth.

Most of our comparisons are silly.  Just like Joda, Maya:
-is always excited to see me when I get home from work
-needs help getting around– for now
-takes naps multiple times a day
-likes to swim and bathe, but is not so sure about showers

Other similarities are just odd.  For example, a few weeks ago, we cooked up some chicken breast for Maya.  It was nice, organically raised chicken breast and it was cooked without any seasonings– perfectly unoffensive in every way.  Yet, she rejected it.  This is a kid who happily ate smoked salmon, lamb, and meatballs (both Italian and Norwegian) over the holidays.  She’s eaten everything we’ve ever offered her (except for Bo’s homemade okra pickles, which is another story), so it was puzzling that she didn’t like the chicken.

even beets are okay!

even beets are okay!

But we want to make sure that she is getting enough protein, chicken or no chicken.  My solution is eggs and peanut butter.  Bo’s solution? sardines. We usually have sardines around because Bo likes them.  He used to share them with Joda from time to time.  And now, it turns out, he can share them with Maya.  She loves sardines.

In case you are concerned, they are a Norwegian brand of sardine,  from nice cold water and have been treated well and are quite clean.  They are packed in olive oil, but I guess a little extra oil in her diet won’t hurt (just as we used to say about Joda…).

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long-suffering Joda, 2000

Now I’m looking forward to the day when Maya can run and fetch things for us (though Joda was never actually very good at that), when we can go for long rambles amongst the trees in the mountains, and when we can just sit enjoying the outdoors quietly, looking around with our ears open and our sniffers activated.

"Why do *I* have to wear this now?"

First word

imageMaya and her cousins by the Christmas tree

Maya said her first word over the holidays!  Or at least it was the first time we noticed that she was saying a word and not just going on and on in her own peculiar language, which we don’t understand.  I felt a little worried: what if she’d been trying to say words for a few days or even a week, and we hadn’t noticed?  Maybe we were so caught up on her first time crawling (a feat she has not yet accomplished) to pay attention to the fact that she was trying to communicate!

At any rate, the official First Word as it now stands makes for a memorable story.  We traveled back to the East Coast, and the minute we stepped into my parents’ house, Maya looked at the Christmas tree and said “ott”.  It was clearly meant to be a word, with the “t” sound very sharp and distinct.  “Light?” I said.  “Ott!” she said, still looking at the tree. 

My parents enjoyed this, because a) what grandparent doesn’t love to be in on their grandchild’s first anything?; and b) my first word was “ite”, which meant “light.”

I’ve been pondering this over, wondering how “light” became rendered as “ott.”  Bo and I haven’t been emphasizing the “t” sound when we say the word “light” to her.  And why would she use the short “o” vowel sound instead of a long “i”?

imageDoesn’t getting ready for the holidays just knock you out?

I think I’ve finally figured it out.  We have a coffee mug with a Laurel Burch design that Bo often uses, and Maya is captivated by the colorful pattern and shiny gold leaf.  When he carries her around in the mornings, mug in one hand and baby on the other arm, she reaches for the mug.  “Hot!” he says in warning.  She seems to have gathered what this means and now pulls her hand away just short of anything we tell her is “hot.” 

Of course, “ott” sounds much more like “hot” than like “light.”  But maybe the colored lights on the Christmas tree reminded Maya of the sparkly colors on her favorite coffee mug, and so she put the two concepts together and said the word she’s accustomed to hearing when she reaches for the mug.

Now I’m trying to figure out if any of the other sounds she makes are words yet.  I tried her on “da da” today (“where’s da da?”), since she makes that sound all the time.  But no response to that yet.  I did notice, however, that when Bo put up some new twinkly lights and I asked her “where’s the light?”, she pointed– with her index finger!

Trip to Minnesota

IMG_7381Maya and I traveled to Minneapolis a few weeks ago to spend a few days with family there.  My grandmother is 98 years old and by now she probably had given up on meeting a great-grandchild produced by me.

IMG_7377So, they now have met.  Maya was a trooper during the travel process, and my grandma was a trooper while having her face and other body parts grabbed.

Grandma was impressed by how happy Maya is.  She asked several times whether Maya ever cries.  The next photo documents Maya crying while on my grandma’s lap.  My grandma, who doesn’t hear well, is just about to ask “What’s that sound?”

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Gone but not Forever

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I’m pretty sure it was summer the last time I posted.  Now it’s fall, or possibly winter!  Today was definitely fall, as evidenced by the photo above.  Tomorrow there is supposed to be snow (I don’t think I will take a picture like the above in that setting… unless she is really, really driving us crazy!  ha ha).

In general, Maya is not driving us crazy at all.  She’s very fun.  As you can see, she has two teeth, and while there were periods of pain for us all, it was really quite easy teething.  We suspect she’s got the two upper incisors starting to make their way out right now.

A few weeks ago, I woke up in the middle of the night and couldn’t get back to sleep.  It had nothing to do with Maya, so it was quite a rude irony, since I sometimes am sleep deprived because of her.  However, I discovered that I could get a lot done in the middle of the night when no one else was up.  What a wonderful plan!  I thought.  Sleep deprivation, here I come!  The key would be coffee.  Coffee in the morning, coffee in the afternoon.  I suddenly became a regular at the overpriced coffee stand at the library.   The result is… I sleep every night from the moment I lie down until the moment I am rudely awoken by my alarm clock or someone else in my family.  Oh well.  The coffee tastes good and is something to look forward to in the afternoons.

Besides, what work is more important than this one?

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New Toy

We caved and bought a Nook tablet last weekend.  I won’t list all the reasons we “need” something like this, because I’m of the opinion that most of us don’t ever much, if any, of the technology that seems to surround us.  But it will be nice to have something small to use while traveling or feeding the baby.

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Oh, did I mention the baby?  Amazing how those gratuitous baby photos just seem to pop up out of nowhere.  I wanted to test the photo adding tools of the app I’m using to write this post, and so far it’s even easier than on the fullsize computer.  See?

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I can even add a caption easily

That’s a banana next to Maya’s cheek.  We thought she might be interested in solid food– and she is. Very.  Now that it’s two days later, though we’re not sure her intestines liked it. I’m right now holding a sleepy baby who wore herself out struggling valiantly to poop. Oh well, it’ll make its way out eventually.

Meanwhile, I’ll keep playing with my new toy.  Bo caught me doing the crossword on it last night, and gave a look of disgust. Need?  No, I’m pretty sure we don’t need this.  But it’s fun anyway.

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IMG_7004His calm demeanor conveyed none of the drama as he said, “I didn’t want to worry you when I came back to bed last night, but the cops were up the hill shining flashlights into our backyard, looking for a car thief.”

What?!?

As far as we can figure…  Someone got pulled over by the local police in the middle of the night (three guys, it turns out) for a traffic violation and it was discovered that the car was stolen.  The car thieves tried to escape, the police gave chase, and they all ended up at the dead-end street up the hill from us.  The thieves ditched the car, ran down the hill, vaulted over the fence into our backyard, and kept going.  In trying to get out of our yard, one of them body-slammed the wooden gate on the side of the house.  This is what woke up Bo.

After ascertaining that no one was trying to break into our house (which is what it sounded like), he started wondering why the bright flashlights kept sweeping across the backyard from up the hill, and why the dog next door was barking like crazy not in the direction of the lights, but, as it turned out, in the direction our car thieves had run.

After awhile, he decided to investigate, which meant walking toward the cops with the flashlights.  Except that he didn’t know what the lights were or who was holding them.  The fact that he didn’t get shot or arrested by antsy officers is Lucky Thing #1.

Once he heard the gist of what was going on, he wanted to get back to the house, but of course the cops wouldn’t let him backtrack through the area they were watching, so he had to go all the way around the block and up our street, which was crawling with the rest of the local police force.  The cops up the hill radioed ahead so that their fellow officers wouldn’t, you know, shoot him or arrest him.

IMG_7008When he arrived home, there were police officers in our backyard, with the K-9 unit, searching for signs of the perps.  We don’t know if they found anything, but they left without taking the brand new Chicago Bulls cap, or a pair of shiny ear buds.  Or the bloody latex glove (is this starting to sound like an Agatha Christie novel yet? or a crime scene involving a former Buffalo Bill?).

IMG_6946Further investigation (by us, not the cops) revealed that the fence-hoppers had indeed landed in our garden, which seemed likely given the placement of things.  About 30 unripe tomatoes fell off our roma plant, which was knocked over but not killed.  The rest of the plants were likely saved by the cucumber trellis, which would have been visible even in the dark.  Lucky Thing #2.  And #3:  nobody was impaled on the fence stakes or rebar serving as tomato cages.

Our neighbor across the street said one of the perps was arrested in front of his house shortly after sunrise.  And more than a week afterward, we found out that our neighborhood Tea Partier who’s always reporting people for various delusional crimes had, true to her nature, called the police to complain that the single mom renting the house kitty-corner to us “must be doing something wrong because so many police cars are parked outside her house.”

IMG_6996cropMe and Maya?  We slept through it.  Through everything– the gate crashing, the dog barking, the police and K-9 investigators right outside the bedroom window.  So either that is Lucky Thing #4, or it’s the fact that Bo woke up and made sure we were all safe.