Thursday, April 23, 2009

Babies make the world a better place

I realize that my daughter is charming. That her smile can melt ice, and her laugh can part clouds. I realize that she is beyond cute, but I also realize that I am her mother and genetically predisposed to believe these things about my baby girl. I take no offense if others don't see her the way I do. In fact, I expect that I probably think much more highly of her than the average Joe on the street, which is why it never ceases to amaze me when total strangers stop in their tracks to oogle over my child. Her eyes are beautiful, what a charming smile, such a happy kid...

Alice and I were walking yesterday trying to absorb the brief rays of sun that poked their heads through the cloud cover when I heard two very loud, angry male voices dead ahead. We do not live in the nicest neighborhood. Its not bad, but there was a murder just two blocks away from our front door a few months ago. I couldn't see where these voices were coming from so we cautiously pushed forward.

Turning the corner right in front of us, the voices emerged. Two young men (youth! ack!) about 17 years old with their clothes hanging from them like vines in a jungle. They were shouting at each other in a way that clearly communicated, "I want to f*** you up!" but their body language conveyed their obvious friendship.

I kept my eyes focused dead ahead. Show no fear. Don't make eye contact. My heart was pounding, and I kept thinking of little Alice out in front of me in the stroller - exposed. The young men stared at us as we passed and just when I was about to breath a sigh of relief, one of them shouted back, "hey!"

Oh god, I'm gonna die! Show no fear...


"You got a cute baby!" What? I mean I know that she is cute, but I was not expecting this.

"Thank you..."

"She's almost as cute as me."

I couldn't help it. I started laughing. They were laughing. Alice was laughing.

OK, so I was stereotyping these boys, but I may never have realized the error of my ways if Alice hadn't been there to show me how silly I was to be afraid. She indiscriminately smiles at everyone and almost every single person smiles back. It makes me realize (as corny as this sounds) that this world really is a good place.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Seattle Sun!

Seattle is finally emerging from its winter shell and transforming into the reason why I live here. Birds are singing, flowers are blooming, sun is shining. I wouldn't be surprised if a harp were playing off in the distance and Disney characters started singing. It is that beautiful.

Because I can't stand to be cooped up when it is this nice, I've been dragging my family all over Seattle to absorb our vitamin D in different locations. Alice thinks that animals - all animals - are hilarious, so pretty much any park offers a would of laughter. Ha ha ha. Look at those funny ducks. Ha ha - that dog is so silly. Hee he he - this beetle is crawling up my arm...maybe I'll eat it.

I've given up trying to keep dirt, wood chips, bugs, and old shoes out of her mouth. Besides I read somewhere that exposing children to the bacteria found in these various objects as babies only makes them stronger as adults. If this is true then Alice will practically be a superhero by the time she is 12.

To celebrate this wonderful season, I've dyed my hair red (see below). I'm not sure I like it, but the amount of effort I've invested in my personal appearence over the past year has been so minimal that, I figure, this is a step in the right direction.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

The issues of "more"

Alice is thrilled with her new-found communication. She is an expert at creating the sign for "more" and "all done" but I'm beginning to have my doubts that she actually understands what these signs mean.

When she is eating, she uses these signs as one might expect. She can ask for more food and tell me when she is all done. In fact, these signs have been so effective at communicating what she desires that she has begun to use them all the time.

For example, yesterday she was trying to reach a book that was on top of the table. After a few minutes of grunting, she looked at me and made the sign for "more." Not exactly the correct usage, but I understood what she wanted and gave her the book. Later, I was cooking dinner while she followed me around on the floor trying to snag my leg so I would pick her up. After a few failed attempts, she shrieked and made the sign for "more" once again.

My brilliant little daughter has decided that the sign for "more" means simply "give me what I want. Now." "More" toys in the bath. "More" pick-me-up. "More" grabbing the cat.

One down side of this trick is that I am completely powerless to stop her when she looks at me with those beautiful blue eyes and politely asks for more. I am wrapped around her finger.
The other down side is that she has decided that all other signs are useless. If "more" will get her what she wants, why bother learning things like "milk", "tired", and "book." I faithfully make the sign for "milk" every time I nurse her, and she responds with "more." Clever kid.

Update: I am feeding Alice lunch and she demonstrated her latest difficulty with the "more" sign. Lunch consisted of peas and TJ's O's. The peas were scattered all over her tray and I was feeding her the O's faithfully as she requested them with the more sign. After a while she started to turn her head away from me as I tried to feed her the O's. A clear sign that she does not want anymore. As soon as I took the spoon away, she made the "more" sign. I tried to give her more with the same result. She looked at me frustrated making the more sign. I pointed to the peas on her tray and offered the O's once again. Then she stated shrieking and making the more sign. "What do you want more of?" Her little hands kept beting together for more. Then inspiration struck. She stuck her hands in the air and smiled while making the sign for all done. All these different signs can be confusing.

Monday, April 13, 2009

rainy seattle

Do you want to know WHY it is raining? Because last week I bought two beautiful, healthy tomato plants. Do you know what tomato plants need to stay beautiful and healthy? SUN. Not rain. SUN. Sigh. I named them - Sue and Bob. I'm feeling maternal and I will be devastated if they die. I am seriously contemplating purchasing a tanning bed so that they can get the UV lights they need.

The rain in Seattle means that Alice and I have had to get both creative and tough regarding our daily activities. We went to the Zoo Saturday, and I managed to keep her mostly dry while I emerged drenched to the bone. Mostly, we've been taking lots of baths (which is a good thing because Alice's new favorite food is blueberries and I'm beginning to wonder if the blue stains will ever come off of her fingers and face - not to mention her clothes). We bathe every evening and, recently, she has been showering with me again in the morning. There is nothing quite like taking a nice hot shower when it is cold and wet outside.

Caution: the following pictures may contain baby nudity!

Cutest tush EVER!

Bath time is a busy time.

The girl loves her bubbles - I couldn't be more proud!

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Every moment is precious

I am trying to hold myself back from running upstairs and just holding Alice in my arms. Every moment that I have with that child is means more to me than anything else in this entire world. She has brought so much to my life, the thought of losing her is terrifying. Its worse than terrifying...if anything happened to her, I wouldn't make it. She is my life.

I'm sitting here crying as I write this post because somewhere in California a mother and a father just lost their little girl. I didn't know these people aside from reading about their lives here and here, but I watched their little girl grow up in their pictures, and I related to their struggles as a new parent. The loss of their child is so devastating. It reminds me that every single second that I have with Alice is precious.

Monday, April 6, 2009

I am officially nuts

Today is one of those days that remind me why I love Seattle. The sun was shining - the sky was perfectly blue - and the temperature was at the perfect balance of not too hot yet warm enough that you don't even need a sweater. Perfect. I would be derelict in my mothering duties if I allowed a day like this to go by without exposing little Alice to some vitamin D, so we walked to the mall (following the path that has the maximum number of dogs along the way so that they could bark at her and she could point and laugh - ah my daughter has a sense of humor!)

Once inside the mall, I bought a diet coke to reward myself for walking all the way to the mall and I got Alice a cup of water. We passed annoying teen sales lady manning her kiosk. I make it a rule never to make eye contact with these people as they take any sort of glance in their direction as an invitation to suck you into an hour long presentation pointing out how dry your skin is or how wrinkly your clothes are and how much better your life would be with their remarkably inexpensive product - which they are always willing to discount if you hem and haw enough.

"Excuse me, miss?" I hadn't even looked in her direction, and there she was using the word "miss" in hopes that I would be flattered enough to stop and listen to her sales pitch.

"yes?" I responded automatically - her clever tactics worked.

"What do you do with your hair?" she asked reaching out to me. My hair? You mean this rats nest on top of my head that I paid someone $5 to cut because she promised she would go fast and Alice only has so much patience. This same hair that I then dyed bright red in hopes that it would draw the eye away from the awful hack job or at least make people think that I obviously have some fashion statement to make that they are just too uncultured to understand.

"Not a lot," I replied as I continued walking. This must not have been an answer that she was expecting because in the time it took her to try to find a way to weave my words into something that resembled interest in her product, I was halfway across the mall.

Alice and I sat down to enjoy our drink. Me drinking my soda while Alice poured her water down her chest, blew bubbles, and splashed her fingers in it. I periodically asked her if she wanted more while making the sign for more by putting my fingers together and she inevitably responded with her monkey grunts (an affirmative). At one point, I got distracted watching the pre-teens wearing more make-up than most porn stars and when I glanced at Alice, I noticed that she was putting her hands together clearly fursturated that I was delayed in giving her the "more" water that she was requesting. I was so excited that I nearly jumped up and down claping (completely forgetting to actually give the poor girl more water). The painted girls glanced away from me as if acting that embarrassing in public were contagious while the old man at the next table quietly chuckeled.

I remember a time when I acted like a sane person in public. Where I didn't go out with baby goop spread all over my clothes and I never raised my voice above an accecptable "indoor voice." I remember a time when I had time to get a decent hair cut and taking a break did not consist of a tug-of-war over a full glass of water. When I think about that time I realize just how boring my life was before Alice came along.

Thank you so much, little girl, for making my life infinately more interesting.