Friday, November 30, 2012

Random Bits and Pieces: November

Well, it is official. Clare has the decorating bug:

We decorated my parents’ tree the day after Thanksgiving. After a while, we got sick of it and played a game. Not Clare. She found that box of ornaments and kept right at it. She is certainly a chip off the old block. As you may know, I myself love holiday decorating, much to Ben’s dismay. (Every year, he threatens to throw away my decorations. What a Grinch!) It should be said though, that Clare also hung clothes hangers on our tree at home, so maybe she just likes to hang things up? I don't know. I am not here to judge anyone’s hobbies.


Clare had a great time on Thanksgiving. She was the center of attention AND there was delicious food to eat.  She inhaled about half a jar of black olives (which were one my favorite foods when I was a kid, too). Also, she loved the stuffing. I can’t blame the girl, that stuff is great. I was just happy to see her eating after being so sick the week before. Oh, and pie. We "shared" a piece of pumpkin pie, but Clare ate most of it, including the whipped cream. When she demanded more by shouting "Pie!" over and over again in her squeaking little voice, I couldn't resist. It is the holidays, after all.


Of course, her ear infection did not fully go away. We were back at the doctor on Tuesday for another round of antibiotics. The doctor said this is the last thing they can give her, so I think tubes are in her near future. We DID try the chiropractor, though. There was no cracking (thank God), just gentle massage. Clare loved it. The chiropractor said that Clare was pretty well aligned, though, so I am not sure it will do anything to help her ears.


Is anyone else feeling a little overwhelmed that it is (almost) December already? I always have big plans for cookies and homemade gifts and it never seems to happen. I don't think I am even going to pretend I am going to do that this year. Take a little pressure off. Luckily, Clare still doesn't understand Christmas so I don't have to do much for her. I did try to explain Santa Claus to her the other day and she looked at me like I was a crazy person. I am headed to Chicago tonight with my mom for an overnight stay - we are going to a German Christmas market and the Art Institute with my sister-in-law. Time for the holiday craziness to begin!

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Sick House

We are finally coming out the other side of the season’s first nasty cold. Poor Clare was out of daycare all of last week, and poor Mom and Dad had to juggle schedules, miss work, and then suffer through the cold ourselves. At least we can take Sudafed. Clare had ANOTHER double ear infection, so we have an appointment with an Ear, Nose and Throat doctor to discuss the possibility of tubes. I am also going to make an appointment with a chiropractor, because some of my more traditional western medicine-averse friends have suggested it as a possibility for helping with ear infections. Also, my Dad’s chiropractor said it can work to help drain the ear, depending on the child. Has anyone else tried it?

Then today, while dropping Clare off at daycare, one of her teachers informed me that Clare is a “bad sharer.” Really, what I am supposed to do with this information? She asked me what we do at home, and I said, well, you know, Clare doesn’t have to share at home so it isn’t really an issue. Also, she is 17-months-old. Are any 17-month-olds good sharers? She also mentioned her tantrums, which, yes, she does have those at home. And when she does, she does not get what she wants. Once she realizes her fit is ineffective, she usually stops. Also: are tantrums by a 17-month-old really all that unusual, either? She is just testing her boundaries. Please, someone inform me if I am way off base here. Or if you have any suggestions to help her learn to share, I am all ears. (Or eyes, as the case may be.)

Today is my last day at work for the week, so I am very happy about that. I plan to eat and drink my way through the rest of the week, especially on Thursday. Blood Mary’s and wine, here I come! (Oh, and turkey and stuffing and corn casserole and rolls and pumpkin pie and apple pie and, and, and….)

Have a very happy Thanksgiving, to all of you stateside.  To those of you not in the U.S., have a great week!

Glamour girl. (Her new favorite word: tutu.)

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Unbreakable Bonds

When we were kids, my sister Katie was well known for her tantrums. Her clothes, in particular, bothered her. She would tug at her shirt and whine, "This. Shirt. Is. Stupid!" So it seemed only appropriate that we print the saying on a T-shirt to celebrate the momentous occasion of her 30th birthday, which is today.

Here, you can see that my brother Robby and I both managed to spill beer down the front of our shirts.
We all got together in Minneapolis this weekend to celebrate. It was great to have everyone together. It doesn't happen nearly often enough. We even played a drinking game, at which I utterly failed and was forced to chug two beers. Seriously. The game's one basic rule was that you couldn't name people whose last names begin with "H" (we were naming celebrities). Two of my answers? Katharine Hepburn and Whitney Houston. Brilliant!

I've always been grateful for the close relationship I have with both of my siblings (although I suspect my brother has at times wished he had a brother rather than two older sisters). We didn't always all get along, but we've had more fun than fights over the years. When Katie and I were little, we found a perfectly flat, round piece of wood, and decided it would be our "Best Friend's Wood", on which we promised to be best friends forever and love each other forever.  It is pretty cute. We still have it somewhere. (Probably in my parents' garage, which contains several tubs of my childhood memorabilia.) And we've held true, even though we haven't lived in the same city since I moved away after graduating from high school. Katie is my best friend - we can talk about anything and everything, and do several times a week. We are each others' sounding boards for all of our worries, rational and not.  So, to my sister and best friend - I hope you have a very happy birthday. Thanks for always being there!

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

17 Months

Relief! Relief. I am so happy this battleground state went blue. The President won. Wisconsin elected our first woman (and the first openly gay person) to the Senate. Also: go Maine, Maryland and Minnesota! I am still running on adrenaline from last night, so I don't even care (much) that Clare woke up at 5:45 this morning. I was up until 11:30 watching returns. But no matter! It is a good day. It is also the 7th, which means it is time for my monthly Clare update!  Let's get to it.

Clare’s vocabulary has absolutely exploded over the last few weeks. (I, of course, had been worrying that she wasn’t talking enough, even though she communicates just fine. So yes, once again, I was worrying about nothing. I know. You are shocked.) Here is the list of words that she now uses correctly. I’ll get to the one she doesn’t use correctly in a minute.

Baba (Grandpa. I count this.)
Sandy (Her beloved daycare teacher.)
Pea (Yes, she differentiates between the two.)

So, lately, she has been running around the house screaming “Die! Die!” (or maybe it is “Dye! Dye!”?) at the top of her lungs. It is unnerving. I don’t know what she thinks she is saying, because I know she has no concept of death or the use of hair dye.  I wish she would stop, though.

When she first learned the word “eye” and where it is located, she went around her daycare poking all of the other kids in the eye, while announcing “eye!”

She has learned how to prolong story hour at bedtime. If she says she’s still thirsty, and asks for milk (using the sign for more – she still signs quite a bit), then she’ll get another story! Brilliant! It took her not-so-brilliant mom a few days to realize she was being manipulated.

For the past few months, Clare has been testing her boundaries. I always said (before becoming a mother) that I wasn’t going to give in to tantrums or other loud displays. It is so hard not to, though. Sometimes I just let her eat Rice Krispies for dinner, because it is easier than fighting with her about it.  This is something I need to practice. I don’t want her to learn that yelling and screaming about something will mean she’ll get her way. I just need to stick to my guns, even if it is exhausting.

Brushing teeth has been another frustrating endeavor. She just won’t let me do it. Does anyone have a secret to getting your toddler to let you brush their teeth?  I do usually let her try it by herself for a few minutes, because she wants to do EVERYTHING on her own. Which is great! Except when it’s not. 

Loud noises still scare her. She becomes hysterical at the sight of the vacuum.  My mom, Clare and I went out to dinner recently. My mom and I were laughing (quite loudly, I admit), at something. Clare stared at us, and then put her head down on the table and started sobbing. I don’t know if it was the loud laughter that scared her, or this glimpse into her future.

Overall, though, she is just so much fun. She really just sees everything (which is why I am very careful about the TV now).  The other day we were at Hobby Lobby, and we walked by a Nativity scene, complete with cows, sheep, etc. “Moo,” said Clare. Yes, Clare. Moo indeed.

And now, a photo essay demonstrating why the photo at the beginning of this post is somewhat less than fabulous:

Reaction to my suggestion that she sit next to T-Rex.

After several lackluster photos and an attempt to obtain the camera, it was time to explore her closet.

Shoe time!

I thought the shoe would  be a good distraction, but every time I asked her to smile she gave this impish smile, looking deliberately away from the camera. Stinker.