Monday, April 30, 2007

Lauren 13 month update

In the time since her 12 month update, I've noticed a big leap in everyone's perception. She's now treated as a little girl, not "baby". At Trader Joe's, they give her a red balloon, not just that, but they ask her first if she would like one, and she says "yes" and her eyes light up. "Yes" is one of her words. About 2 weeks ago, she seemingly woke up one day and started agreeing and disagreeing with everything . At first, disagreeing, ("No, no, no!") and then agreeing ("Oh yeah!" or "Yessssss"). You could ask her "Do you want more food?" and get the response "No", followed by an open mouth. When you fed her anyway, she'd say "Oh yeah" and mutter "this is good" or "tastes good". That was last week. Now she seems to be better about yes/no usage.

This month, she started spending 3 hours a week with R., her babysitter. That is going really well! R. comes over and watches her and immediately, Lauren puts her arms out for a hug. Lauren gave R. a tour of some things around the house, starting with the complete sentence "This is Jake" and showed her the "ball", "baby", etc. She likes to sit and read stories to herself and she will point out the color yellow, the baby, and sometimes animals that remind her of Jake or Bert. I was reading her a touch and feel book, when she went across the room and got a plain board book and handed it to me and said "touch". I started to make a game, "touch the color green" and she shook her head and said "no, no, no, touch. Just touch!" so I petted the pages of the book and said "Oooh, smooth!" and she was happy.

Developmentally, she's now able to remember where something is if you hide it, so putting something out of her sight is not enough, she will triumphantly retrieve it later. She likes to play with her shoes and tries to chew on the laces. Most of her teeth have come in so she's not teething any more and FINALLY she stopped chewing her books (you can tell which ones came into the house this month, because they are the only ones that don't look like a puppy's gotten to them!) The fang-looking teeth are halfway in, so I think she's up to 12 or 14 teeth or something. It gets harder for me to get her to keep still so I can catch a glimpse in there.

She's still got a case of the sillies and likes to be tickled, but now she also tickles us. Daddy is her favorite attack target. She likes to pull his hair and sit down really hard on his side, laughing maniacally. ("Ow, Lauren! That was Daddy's kidney!") But she can be sweet and she loves to share things with us. If she has a particularly sweet strawberry, she'll take a bite, throw her head back and laugh and smile, and then offer us a bite. If we take the bite, she's so delighted that she sometimes claps, dropping the food. When I feed her, i have to remember to wait until she finishes each "course" because whatever new food i bring out, she's always so excited about it that she makes a sweeping gesture with her hand to knock the old food out of the way. Of course, it goes all over the floor and this delights Jake.

And she is WALKING much more now! And preferring to be on 2 feet (see previous post) and delighted with the reaction she's getting from people who only last week saw her crawling or on my hip.

Trip to Ralph's





I no longer have to push my own shopping cart. Lauren is WALKING and INSISTING on being on 2 feet now. I spent the time answering questions-"What's that?" "A can of soup!" "What's THAT?" "Soup is a food you'll eat when you're older", etc.
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"the future as seen from the past"

someone on a postcard mailing list i'm on sent this link with cards from 1900 illustrating what germans at that time thought the year 2000 would look like. i find it fascinating, and would love to own these postcards. not that i need more postcards. :)

Saturday, April 28, 2007

music tests

This site had some interesting music tests. Yay, I'm not tone deaf! But I'm no Maestro, either. I got 75%. And I scored only slightly above average on the rhythm and tone tests. This despite 12 years of musical education. Yeah, we'll tell ourselves it's because I'm doing it in the middle of the night on my laptop with the volume turned way down so as not to wake Lauren, not because I'm devoid in any way of musical talent. Heh. How did you do? Are you surprised with your results?

Jakey Quakey

This picture is a classic from a few years ago. Well last night the big giant smile appeared on his face again. Patty brought her puppy, Gizmo, over to play. They chased each other around the living room and had a grand old time. Today we had one tired Jakey, who was so exhausted that he even forgot to bark at a misdirected delivery guy who knocked on our door, scaring the babysitter but not phasing him in the least.

Friday, April 27, 2007

I Think I Like Strawberries. Yes, I do!




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This Playground place is ALRIGHT!

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fashion crisis

Last weekend, Lauren literally had a fashion crisis. In the morning, I dressed her for the first time in her white sailor dress, size 24 months, by designer "Baby Carey". I noticed that the short sleeves were a little hard to tug on. By evening, when I tried to take it off of her, her arms must have gotten plumper. I had to call for backup, and Ryan and I both tried everything we could to remove the dress from the by-then-screaming Lauren. We even got out scissors, and Ryan eventually had to forcibly rip it off. It was irreparably damaged, so I threw it out, but first I saved the buttons. As Heather would say, I can't help it, I'm so Yankee!

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

book report

I've been reading up a storm lately. In cars during long trips, at night before I go to sleep, while trying to get Lauren to take her nap, while giving Lauren a bath. is just great for getting me these books for free whenever I get a new obsession. Lately, I've been very interested in amusing parenting tales, books about the inner life of dogs, Stanford White's murder, and other Edith Wharton-era true stories. Also some popular economics books. I can recommend all of these:


The Tipping PointOne piece of info from both books that I did not want to believe, is that parents have very little effect on their child's development. How someone turns out is based much more on their DNA and their peer group than on the involvement of the mother and father. This is according to a social scientist who I could look up and cite but I don't have the books in front of me right now and I'm lazy to google it.

Had a Good Time: Stories from Postcards
I am halfway through this book and so thoroughly enjoying it! I collect old postcards (mostly 1900-1920 era) and this author wrote a collection of stories around messages he found on the backs of old postcards.
North of Naples, South of Rome
Learned a lot of new things about Italian culture, including that they sometimes develop apartments (condos, whatever) in old building by going sideways, in other words, if your neighbor in the same building wanted to sell you his living room, you could knock down a wall and annex it into your apartment. So you can never tell from the outside how big someone's home is going to be until you're inside.
Mothers Who ThinkA collection of essays from very honest authors/mothers describing aspects of parenting, from the lighthearted to the deeply introspective. In one essay, a mother admits to loving her second child more than the first, and thinks that it is only natural, since the youngest is always more vulnerable and needs her more.
The Three Martini PlaydateHilarious dry humor full of things you wish you could say out loud to some people about their kids.
Waiting for Birdie Catherine Newman's stories from her blog about raising a son in Western Massachusetts and being pregnant with a daughter, and essays she wrote for I had not heard of her until I read this book, then I went back and read all of her old blog entries.
Running with Scissors This one's been on the best-seller list for awhile. I love books that are so outrageous they feel like fiction, where if you were the editor, you'd tell the author to cut some parts that were too unreal.
A Girl Named Zippy This memoir was absolutely realistic and hilarious. Not to spoil it for you, but I'll tell you that nothing bad happens to the narrator in the book, no great tragedy or abuse. Nothing sensational. Just a nice story about a girl's childhood in small-town Indiana.
Dogs Never Lie about LoveHad to keep stopping the book to go pet Jake!

Monday, April 23, 2007

living doll

This makes me so indescribably happy. I saw these Band-Aids at the store, and I bought them for Lauren. Every time I look at the box with this smiling Strawberry Shortcake, it hits me that she is really here. A living, breathing little person (ready to bump and scrape herself and get boo-boos!) See, since I was a little girl, young enough to have Strawberry Shortcake dolls of my own, I've wanted to be a mama. I had dozens of dolls that I mothered, and named, and carried around with me, and tucked in every night. Then there were all of the children I babysat for and cared for. I've always known, my whole life, that someday I would have my own baby and be someone's mother.

When I read friends' blogs where they say they have never wanted to have children, that is such a foreign concept to me. I can't imagine how they feel, because for me, wishing to someday have a baby was so natural for me, it's like wanting to go to bed at night when I'm tired, wanting to eat when I'm hungry. I have always wanted to someday have a child. It was not a decision, just an eventuality. And everything about raising my baby is so much easier because I want her and welcome her into my life. I welcome the lack of sleep, the pulling on my hair, the ruining of my possesions, the loss of free time, the poop I have to wipe up. It's all been worth it and the much more to come will be worth it to, to me.

So, comments please. Have you always/never wanted children? Or did you change your mind. And why?

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Jake ate chocolate...

but luckily, it was white chocolate. It was one half pound of Ghiardelli white chocolate, which I left out on the counter. I was worried about the little guy, until I searched and according to this page, white chocolate does not have high levels of toxin to dogs, so he'd have to eat hundreds of pounds of it to get poisoned. Only two squares of baking chocolate would have poisoned him, though. Good thing it was white!

and p.s., Lauren has now had chocolate, too. A few days ago, she grabbed a dark-chocolate M & M cookie I was munching on, and helped herself to some bites. She liked it!

Sunday, April 15, 2007

memo to the crazy homeless guy by venice & bagley

To the crazy homeless guy from last week at the corner of venice & bagley:

Hello, you don't know me or my dog or my babysitter or baby but when we were all walking by you, you decided to throw a crust of bread at us, ostensibly for my dog but I did not know that was your intent. You then shouted obscenities at me when i drew his leash tighter so that he would not eat it. If I heard correctly, it was "what, you think i would poison your dog, crazy white b1tch?". You then proceeded to follow us for 2 blocks, shouting racial slurs and theats at us.

Anyway, thanks so much, for giving me that kick of adrenaline and rush of protective motherly hormones as I found myself walking briskly while trying to ignore you. And thanks for making a liar out me as I had just finished giving the new babysitter a tour of our neighborhood and telling her how safe I felt.

If it makes a difference to you, I wouldn't have let me dog eat a scrap of bread or of any other kind of food on the street from anyone, even if I knew them. He's on a very expensive but very effective prescription dog food regimen from the vet. And by calling me a crazy b1tch right from the start, that really made me want to change my mind and turn around to let my dog eat your discarded food.

and as for being white, i don't know if you were adopted into a family of color, but you seemed from the looks of your pale skin to be caucasian yourself. and i think, if you took any african american and their dog and put them in my situation, they would have reacted the same way. in other words, no one's dog wants your crust of gnawed on bread.

but maybe it's just me.

let there be light

i have not posted for a long time. a lot's been going on and probably the most interesting thing is that last week we had a windstorm with 55 mph winds that knocked out power for a few days. it was kind of cool at first, breaking out the candles and feeling like it was the 1980s, talking only on the corded phone. but then the melting food in the fridge started to worry me and i couldn't get some work projects done that i'd promised to do. i was also trapped in my garage because we of course have a power controlled gate, so i couldn't get my car out. i was the only car stuck in the garage, everyone else was stuck out so it created a parking problem on the street. ryan had to park a few blocks away and walk.

culver city still had power so it was not entirely dark in our neighborhood. lights from there shined our way and my bedroom window was still lit up. we are in a weird part of town where we have a culver city phone # and yet live in LA and get la services, but some of my neighbors who are in LA evidently have whichever power company culver city has, because there have been times when the guys around the corner have no power, and neither does culver city, but we are fine. anyway, they were unaffected but we went from thursday afternoon until friday at dinnertime without power.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

ophelia from hamlet

if you were to come to my house right now, the kitchen looks like the scene in hamlet when ophelia goes nuts. my mom took me to a play of this when i was very young and i remember being really scared by the character throwing plates and smashing things and screaming. the scene stuck with me. now i think that would be been a fun performance to do, for the actor! anyway, back to the present, and my kitchen-there is a broken smashed bottle of shiraz on the floor and spilled wine all over, and shards of glass everywhere. i was trying to find something to drink, not alcohol, just some soda or juice anyplace in the house, and was holding lauren while exploring the cabinets, when she reached out with her spidey arms and somehow swatted at a bottle of wine which was on top of the fridge (note to people who live with me: do not put wine there, put it in the wine rack where it belongs). the wine smashed and got all over the place. the shards of glass cut my foot and it bled.

and then i noticed, just before the crash smash, that some birthday wine i'd been given in march is missing. i'm bummed because kara always gives me nice wine, usually from local winery near her dad's house in oregon, and i didn't get to try the last bottle. the bottle that smashed is Two Buck Chuck.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

I am so proud of my new doll!

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Lauren 1 year vital stats

Today Lauren went to her 1 year checkup and got 4 shots. She weighs 25 pounds, 13 ounces, and is 30.5 inches tall. Her head circumference is 47.5. She's at the top of the charts, just above 95th percentile, but at least now she's finally on the charts instead of up above. Her doctor said her growth will probably slow down quite a bit for the next 6 months. So all of these size 18 month and 24 month clothes should last us awhile and we won't need those 2Ts until next year!

Sunday, April 01, 2007

Lauren's birth story (long)

A trip down memory lane. This is from a long email I wrote last year with Lauren's birth story:

Here is the story of our April Fools Day Baby:

My due date was 3/26 and I'd been getting so many "did you have the baby yet?" emails and phone calls that I decided to start a blog andkeep updating it with news. On Friday night, 3/31, I posted at 11:13 that I was still feeling the same (not in labor)and going to bed. Just after midnight I woke up with a contraction. I wasn't sure if it was what I thought or not, so I took a bath. At the birthing class,they told us that if the contractions still happened while in thebath, they were real. And they did. I woke up my husband, and they were every 4-5 minutes apart. He couldn't find any kind of watch with a second hand (ggrrr, I was irritated at him for not having this ready!) so he had to count how long they lasted and we weren't really sure if his"one one thousands" were accurate.

We called labor and delivery and they said to come on in. We got our stuff together, he walked the dog one last time and put him in his kennel, then I posted that we were off to the hospital, and left in the pouring rain and drove there. It was a challenge trying to fit the birth ball in the backseat of my little car. I didn't want to bring the stupid thing, but Ryan was insistent from how it helped the women in the birthing class videos. (We ended up not using it-it was a big waste of time and space!)

We got to the UCLA ER and strangely, the person at the intake counter was NOT around. No one was there. We had to find a cleaning person scrubbing a toilet to go and find the employee, who was probably on break nearby. Anyway, after what was probably a 5 minute delay but felt much longer, we got checked in. I was of course very irritable b/c when the intake person DID come back, she asked me questions like"why are you here?" and things that were pretty obvious to me! And Labor & Delivery was expecting me upstairs anyway, but b/c it was so late at night we had to go through ER first.

Anyway, I got wheeled up and taken to a room where they checked my vitals, had me change into a gown, get in bed, and measured how dilated I was. I was at 4 cm so they said I could get the epidural whenever I wanted it. At first I was going to hold out longer and see if I could handle a natural birth or at least more of it than the hour and half I'd had, but then I sortof heard my friend's husband's voice in my head reminding me "if you're going to bother to get it, get it RIGHT AWAY". (This friend was in labor for 36 hours with a 10 pound child and only got the epidural for the last few hours! Apparantly she was also yelling at the husband and understandably cranky!) . And I'm glad I did!

I had to wait a little while to get wheeled to another room where the anesthesiologist was to come. The nurse tried to put in an IV and draw some blood but could not find a vein. Two nurses tried twice on each hand & arm before finally giving up and deciding to let the anesthesiologist do it. (My hands today are so bruised I look like a boxer!) She found one and did the epidural, which did NOT hurt at all going in, and they also hooked me up to a monitor that took my blood pressure every 15 minutes. I felt no pain getting the epi and INSTANT relief when it was in, except for the catheter that they put in. That I could feel slightly and it was a little bit uncomfortable. One of the nurse-midwives checked me and I was told to try to get some rest. After that, I was able to sleep for 15 minutes at a time until the blood pressure monitor went off and woke me up each time. Imagine a loud machine that grabs your arm and pulls it straight in the air and squeezes it hard, making beep sounds as it does. No one could sleep through that!

Then at 7:00 when the shift change came, they checked me and although I was having very regular, close contractions, I was not as dilated as they wanted, so they gave me pitocin. I was worried about this because I'd read that pitocin causes very painful contractions, but the epidural did its job and I continued to not feel a thing. After a few hours, they broke the bag of water and then moved me in to the delivery room where my nurse-midwife, a regular nurse, and a medical resident were. They were debating whether to call in a NICU trauma team or not because they thought there was a little bit of meconium in the amniotic fluid. However, the entire time, my blood pressure and the baby's were fine so they decided it was only "trace" and was probably okay. (After she was born, they did not see any at all, but neonatal specialists had to check her out anyway just in case).

At this point, I had an almost uncontrollable urge to pee, but couldn't because of the catheter (which I guess was doing its job). I had to rock side to side, it was the only thing that helped. Then I felt like pushing, but they checked and my cervix was only 9 centimeters dilated and 80% effaced. They had me breathe out really hard through the contractions so I wouldn't push. Finally I was begging them, "please, please check me again" and it was 10 cm and I was allowed to push. Pushing was SUCH a relief. It wasn't bad, I pushed for about 2 hours. At the end, it burned a lot when the baby's head was coming out. They lowered a mirror so I could see, but they forgot to adjust it, so all I could see for awhile were my legs! I kept trying to tell them and they finally noticed in time to adjust it so I could see the head right before she was born. I kept forgetting how to do the breathing they wanted me to do and I was blowing out when I should have been holding my breath, at first, but I finally got the hang of it.

At a certain push, her head came out and then I thought that would be the last push, but they stopped me so they could make sure no cord was around her neck. Then I had one more big push while they rotated her shoulders out. Then she was born! They put her on my chest right away and I delivered the placenta within a few minutes. She didn't cry at first so she only got a 7 for her initial APGAR score. They told me I was very lucky because I did not need an episiotomy nor any stitches. She latched on and started nursing right away, then they took her over to get weighed, etc. and my parents came in to see her.

The nurse brought me a tray of food and I scarfed down the spaghetti. That was about the hungriest I've ever been. Then she nursed again and we went to the recovery room.

1 year Lauren observations, not a bit late!

A sleeping toddler lies next to me as I type this. An infant no more. She's really becoming her own person, ever developing her personality. Ryan and I were remembering the story of her birth and it's funny, now that I know her, I can look back on it not just as "the baby" being born, but as specifically Lauren, with her Lauren-personality. For example, he told me that at one point during the labor-I did not ever know this before-the doctors were worried because her heart rate slowed down. Now I can picture her trying to find her way out of the birth canal and getting tired, taking a big deep breath and resting, the way she sometimes pauses now, puts her head down and shuts her eyes for a few seconds to rest when she's crawling across the room before bedtime.

She had been sick in March off and on with ear infections and bronchitis, but this past week she's been fully recovered (knock on wood!) and now she has an appetite! She eats 2-3 jars of baby food a day. This from the little girl who used to eat 2-3 bites a day! She loves to eat strawberries and bread. I make her teething biscuits, which we call "cookies". At her party today, she was offered tres leche cake and tried a bit, but gave me a sort of horrified look like, "what is this shit?!"and went back to gnawing on a crust of bread.

She will read books by herself now, especially touch and feel books, which she touches everything on the page. She has some "glittery fun books" and she likes them a lot, too. If I ask her to point to things such as "hat", "puppy", etc., she will do it, and she will laugh with glee like "I'm so smart!". Today in her bath, I asked her to "get rubber ducky" and she was on a mission. He was on the other side of the bathtub and she had to swat away lots of toys to get to him, and sort of swim/crawl to get there, but she did!

At night I give her choices of which pajamas to wear and lately she's been choosing a Snow White nightgown handed down from Karen. It's a little bit long on her, she doesn't trip or anything but put it this way, she won't outgrow it for awhile. I'm not sure if this portends a future love of Disney princesses (as Karen has) or long dresses or just the color sky blue but it's interesting to me that she always picks this to wear to bed.

She loves to talk! And she has long conversations sprinkled with real words, which go something like this "Say! Tee Tah toda SHLEE! And the epi conaVEE!" and make no sense but she will look quizzically and raise her voice like a question and wait for you to say something. She does say certain new words that I can understand, like "up" to be picked up, and she will copy me when I talk to Jake. She loves to order him around-"get off" when he jumps on the bed, and "sit, jakey!" just to see if he will. She loves to say "oh yeah!" when she likes something, and she claps her hands in appreciation more now, not just when everyone else is doing it.

I sing "Sing" to her ("Sing, sing a song, sing out loud, sing out strong. La la la la la la la la la la la la la la la la la", etc.) and she did the coolest thing. In the "la" part, I stopped right before the last one and she sang the next one and even got the right note! But she hasn't yet repeated the trick, just like she sometimes says one word absolutely perfectly and then doesn't mention it again. She does do the "la la la la" thing but she hasn't finished my song again.

She's taken a few steps by herself but mostly still prefers to "cruise" or crawl to get places. She can now climb up and down the stairs by herself, and we make a game of it. I pretend to chase her and almost catch her. She laughs excitedly and gets more and more giddy the closer to the top and sometimes she collapses with giggles and can't go on. I can only hope that she understands the concept of "do not do this unless Mommy is right here to catch you if you start to fall".

Alex and Suzy gave her a doll for her birthday and I'm really curious to see if she becomes attached to it. Right now she likes "Little Man", who is one of the Little People toys, a tugboat captain. Little Man takes baths with her and travels in her suitcase and is also kidnapped by her, taken to other parts of the house. She will scream and cry if Little Man wants to stay in the bathtub without her, but then if she has a bath without him, she forgets he exists. Other than Little Man, most of her toys are interchangeable right now, but I know that soon the day is coming when she will want one certain toy all the time. I'm wondering what that first beloved toy will be!

Happy birthday Lauren!

What an exciting day! Lauren turned 1 and had herself a little party! Above, "during" and "after" photos. We had a real photographer take better pix than this (see the back of her head above). And nice bra strap, huh?! I could photoshop it out but wasn't it the style a few years ago to show it? So maybe visible undergarments are coming back in and I'm ahead of the trend.
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