Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Random Bits and Pieces: July

July was a busy month for our little family. This week, for example, we are busy watching the Olympics. I love the Olympics, and watch them obsessively. I watch everything, not just the marquee sports like gymnastics and swimming. (Although I love those, too.) Yesterday I watched table tennis. It was insane! You should watch it sometime.

Anyway, we’ve done other things besides sit in front of the TV. I had a root canal last Friday! That was fun. I injured a tooth in my fall last month, and it died. Sad day.

We’ve also taken a few little trips, including one Ben’s uncle’s cabin north of Hinckley, Minnesota. Clare helped assemble the tent.

We didn't sleep in this tent, though. We got lucky and got a room inside. Clare got to meet some of her second cousins, including 2-year-old Maclin, who Clare just adored. Maclin wouldn’t give Clare the time of day, though. She just saw her as another annoying baby to take the attention away from her, much like her new little brother, Brody. Get used to it, Clare. Sometimes the cool older girls just aren’t going to like you.

The best part of this trip was taking the pontoon out to the middle of the lake, anchoring it, and  floating in the water with two cans of PBR. (That’s Pabst Blue Ribbon for the uninitiated.) Don’t worry, Clare was in the boat with her grandmother.

Clare samples her first sweet corn.


Last week, Clare and I met my friend Meghann and her children at the pool. It was great! The pool is the only place to be on these hot days. It reminded me of when I was kid, swimming and then having a picnic lunch wrapped in our towels, still wearing our wet swimming suits. Except now I am the mom. It actually made me really excited to experience all of those childhood memories again through Clare’s eyes. (I am not looking forward to experiencing Middle School again. I will be very sympathetic during that time, and will then go pour myself a large glass of wine because I can.)

Later, we went to the library. Clare loved running around and playing in the igloo made of milk cartons. At one point, she was running down an aisle of books and another little boy (who was older and bigger than Clare) was coming from the other direction. They were headed right for each other, and I kept waiting for one of them to veer off course so they wouldn’t collide. Instead, Clare stuck out both arms and shoved the boy to the ground. She later stiff-armed me out of the way when I tried to pick her up. I think she is ready to play Special Teams in the NFL.


A few days ago, Clare’s daycare teacher was very complimentary of her helpful attitude with the other babies in her class, saying she is going to be a great big sister someday. That night, I was sitting on the floor, with one of Clare’s dolls in my lap while she played nearby. Clare took one look at that doll, stomped over, grabbed it out of my lap, and flung it across the room. The she settled into my lap herself.

Ben: “Yeah, she is going to be a great big sister.”



Clare usually does okay in the car, but showed her persistence on a recent trip to my grandma’s house in Oostburg. She screamed for an entire hour straight. Nothing was wrong with her. She was offered water, milk, and toys. She just did not want to be in her car seat. As soon as we stopped, she turned off the tears and was smiling and running around like nothing had ever happened.

At least she was pleasant around her great-grandmother.
I decided not to take any chances on our trip to Minneapolis this past weekend.

Zoned out with Cookie Monster.
Before I had kids, I always said I would never let my kids watch TV in the car. That, like so many other things, has gone out the window when faced with the reality of a screaming child. It also helped that I was in the backseat with her. I think she just gets bored when she is back there by herself. We drove up Saturday and back Sunday, and Clare did pretty well. She had a great time at her Uncle Andrew’s graduation party and friend Alice’s birthday party. Mom had a good time seeing friends and family, and Clare got to see all four of her grandparents. I think her mind was pretty much blown by all the attention she received in one weekend. Maybe that’s why she sobbed hysterically when I dropped her off at daycare this morning. She knew it was back to business as usual. Sorry kid. None of us like Mondays.

Clare with her BFF Alice and Alice's Mom.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Kung Fu Echo

Clare had her Echo last week. When we arrived at the exam, the technician cheerfully told me that Clare had to lay still and couldn’t cry. Oh, and it will take an hour. And she has to lay still. And not cry. FOR AN HOUR. I was like, hello, have you met a 1-year-old? Being still is like number one on their list of things not to do. Oh, and crying is at least number 3 or 4 on their list of things to do.

Our savior? Kung Fu Panda. Not the first one. It was one I have never seen before, but involved some kind of baby bird that was lost and had to be cared for by the other animals and some alligators came and were threatening, or something. I don’t really know what was going on, to be honest, but Clare was ENTHRALLED. She stayed still and watched the heck out of that movie.  When she’d start to get a little antsy, we plied her with milk and snacks and car keys. She was such a champ. She did have to sit in my lap for a little while, which led to me being covered in gel, but that’s okay. Whatever it took to keep her still, I was going to do.  Afterward, we treated ourselves to apple cobbler in the hospital cafeteria. It was actually pretty good, and Clare ate the heck out of that cobbler.

We heard back from the doctor earlier this week - Clare does in fact have a small hole in her heart. We will be meeting with a pediatric cardiologist sometime in the next few weeks, but Clare's pediatrician assured me that this is nothing to worry about. Even if it doesn't close on its own, Clare will be just fine. We will just repeat the Echo in a few years and she can't go Scuba Diving. (Darn it, I thought we'd take her for her second birthday!) And as you know, I am really good at not worrying about things so I am sure I won't think about it at all. HA HA. Right. Sigh.
On a completely unrelated note, Clare received her birthday present from Grandma Jo and Grandpa Ralph (it was backordered). She thinks it is pretty awesome. Heck, if I had a chair with polka dots and my name on it I would think it was cool, too.

This morning, I was sitting with Clare in our rocking chair, and the cat climbed onto Clare’s chair. Clare immediately started shaking her head no (number 2 on her list of things to do), climbed off my lap, and stood in front of the chair shaking her head. I asked her, “You don’t want the cat on your chair?” “Na nan a,” she said. So the cat was ejected, Clare jumped onto the chair, and all was again right with the world. Isn't it great how easy it is to solve problems for children? I wish someone could do that for me. I don't want to leave this on a down note, so hey, happy Friday!!

Monday, July 16, 2012

....and we're done!

I have nursed Clare for the last time. Not to be overly dramatic or anything.

It was hard emotionally. Not so much because I’ll miss nursing itself, but because my baby is not a baby anymore. She is a full-on toddler, complete with mad toddling skills.

I’ll also miss the closeness that comes with nursing. I have been forcing Clare to sit on my lap while she drinks her morning bottle. (Yes, bottle. I know, I know, she needs to be weaned off those too. I’ll get to it eventually.) She is usually fine with it, because she is like her Mom and takes about a half hour to fully wake up in the morning.

It has been a few weeks since that final feeding, and I think everything is back to normal body-wise for me. I’ve been really lucky with this whole process of nursing. We struggled a bit that first weekend, but after that it has been smooth sailing – with just a few hiccups here and there. I really didn’t get painfully engorged after weaning, either. Just slightly full for a few days, and a few minutes on the pump solved that problem.  I also took allergy medication regularly for a few days. I don’t know if it was that or just time, but I soon dropped two bra sizes.

Also, Clare hasn’t seemed to care at all about giving up nursing. Everyone said it, and it proved to be true: it was harder for me than it was for her. There have been a few times when she’s been sitting on my lap and takes it upon herself to look down my shirt and make the sign for milk, but I think that is more of an observation than a true desire.  She has taken a renewed interest in her pacifier, however. I let her have it when she is upset or tired. I don’t know. Is that bad? I see kids much older than her with pacifiers in their mouths, so I am not going to worry about it too much right now.

I don’t miss pumping. I don’t miss nursing bras. And I don’t miss having to regulate my alcohol intake. Hello, old friend.

I really don't drink that much, but it is nice to be able to have a glass of wine while cooking dinner if I feel like it.  

I do miss my little baby, and sometimes I still get a glimpse of her when she falls asleep while I am rocking with her. My toddler is so much fun, though, that I think I’ll be okay.

And she is just fine.

Ready for Hollywood.

Monday, July 9, 2012

13 Months (and a few days)

 I think I'll keep doing these posts for another year - she is still changing so much. The biggest change this month: WALKING. She took her first steps on June 17, and has been walking a bit more each day since then. She looks like a wobbly zombie, and it is adorable.

She is teething again - which brings her total tooth count up to 11, I think. I have been so bad about recording when exactly each tooth has come in. She was extra crabby with this tooth. I can't blame her, but I hope she has a little break before the next one starts coming in. She is learning to use her teeth, though - she'll take bites off of pieces of bread or bananas. I am starting to give her bigger pieces of food because she wants her food to look just like Mom and Dad's. None of this cut up into small pieces business thank you very much.

We took swimming lessons at the local pool earlier this month. Clare LOVED it. On the first day, she barreled towards the water and went charging right in. (With me holding onto her, of course.) She was by far the youngest in the class, and also the least scared of the water (probably because she was the youngest and didn't know any better). She loved bobbing around and playing in the pool, especially after she made "friends" with one of the other young girls. I wish I would have talked more to that girl's mom - she seemed nice and I could have made a friend. Hopefully we'll see them at the pool this summer.

We took her on her first trip to the zoo this month, too. She seemed interested, but it was a very hot day, so we were all a bit wilted. She enjoyed seeing the snakes (gross) and the birds. She did not like the goat at the petting zoo, however. He made her cry. Rude goat.

Clare talks up a storm, but it is all in her own language. She obviously thinks she is talking, and you can tell by her tone that she is being very bossy. My mom called her the tyrant the other day. I think that is an apt description.

Some pictures of the tyrant in action, via outtakes from our recent photo shoot. As you can see, she was not being particularly cooperative. She was having fun, though.

Talk to the hand, you ridiculous dinosaur. I am outtie.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Fourth of July

I've always loved the Fourth of July: when I was a kid, it meant root beer floats, crepe paper streamers on our bikes, sparklers, and fireworks. We were in the midst of summer, still with plenty of time to enjoy ourselves until we had to go back to school. As an adult, it means a day off of work, cookouts, beer, and yeah, I still love fireworks. 

Our little town goes all out for the Fourth. They set up a huge beer tent in the park, have live music every day, all sorts of food, a parade, a run, a classic car show - everything you want in a small town festival. Oh, and a tractor-pull! Who doesn't love a good tractor-pull?

We went to the parade, despite the stifling heat and humidity. Some friends of ours live on Main Street and always host a breakfast party. Hundreds of people line the streets, kids with bags to fill with candy. Clare even got her first bite of parade candy.  She enjoyed seeing all of the tractors and fire trucks. She DID NOT like it when a member of the local VFW discharged his rifle 10 feet from where we were sitting. Frankly, I didn't like that too much, either. The rest of the parade was fun, though.

We took Clare to the beer tent last weekend. Ben and I enjoyed the cold tap beer. Clare enjoyed dancing to the live band.

We plan to go the fireworks tonight. That may be proven to be a poor decision, but hopefully Clare will either enjoy them or sleep through them. No sparklers this year, though! We wouldn't want to start a fire. I hope it cools off soon. Now, it's after noon so I think it is time for a beer. Cheers!