Monday, October 22, 2012

She sleeps.

So much has happened over the past few weeks and I haven't been able to post about it for one reason or another (here's looking at you Time Warner Cable). To begin with Alice was sick. Twice in two weeks. First was a cold, complete with gobs of unbelievable goo needing to be sucked from her head via Nose Frida every 4 hours or so. Then she got this crazy Hand, Foot, and Mouth thing everyone but me has heard of, but Alice had the strain that makes blisters just in your throat, which complimented her 103 degree fever nicely. When we were at the doctor's office it took 3 adults to pin her down for a fleeting moment so the doc could look in her throat and confirm the suspicion. 3 adults! Sick or well, she is certainly not lacking in strength or agility. So for two weeks, there we were, back in the newborn days where I was waking up every hour or two to do something the poor girl was demanding and nursing her like, 15x a day. Which was just as exhausting as it was a year ago. But the kicker is that once Alice got well she wanted to still nurse 15x a day! And be held for 24 hours straight. And sleep in the bed with me. Anyway, this is a long, roundabout way of explaining how we got to a point finally where I let Alice cry it out, or as much as it will ever be in our family. I'll set the scene: Our two weeks of sickness is over and Alice is well again, yet clearly enjoying being attended to as if she were the Queen of Sheba. It is 4:30 am and two of the three members of my family are in our bed awake for the 6th time since 10 pm, the other (lucky) one is on the sofa sleeping peacefully. I am a hollow shell of a woman, yet my baby, having sucked me dry is flourishing beautifully, with roses in her cheeks, and has enough energy to declare 4:30 am 'wake-up time'. A voice in my head, the Voice of Reason I'll call it, says very clearly, "You know what? I am DONE with this." Actually my Voice of Reason said something altogether louder and full of expletives, but the message was the same. So I picked up my sweet little babe, kissed her gently on the forehead and plunked her in her crib with a few of her favorite stuffed animals. And she was pissed. She probably gets this from me, but when Alice has a cow it is so much of a cow that it can more be described as a herd of cows. And a herd of cows she had for 15 minutes while I laid back down and enjoyed not being fed upon. Then I got up and rocked her until she was calm and prepared to do it all over again, only she cried for 2 minutes and then laid down in her crib and went the hell to sleep. So, anyway, this is what we do now and with the exception of a few hiccups, it is pretty fuss-free and Alice only wakes once a night (usually around 4:30am) to nurse and then sleeps until 7am (previously unheard of) and the whole family is back in the beds where they sleep best. I am not going to say that we should have done this earlier, I am simply going to say that it was a call I made out of necessity to better balance things, but one that was also called at the right time for both Alice and myself. She was ready to be responsible for putting herself to sleep, and back to sleep and I was ready to hear her cry for that long, which I had never been before. And we are all happier for it!

Alice and her pile of books. 


This dress up thing has been taken to a higher level. She put the necklaces on by herself, then brought me the shoes and sat in my lap waiting to be shoed.


Sitting on the sofa and laughing, like a big kid. 


Alice's friend Ingrid had a birthday party and Alice had the best time. Seriously, it was like the greatest day of her life. 


A stick!


Ice!


Friends! Alice does this thing where if she tries to hand you something and you don't take it she will grab your hand and place it in there for you. 


Toy on the head!


Papa on the blanket!


Papa on the green!


Toys as bracelets!


An audience! She had each and every party attendee wrapped around her finger. It was so bizarre suddenly having this incredibly social and happy child who wasn't afraid to show it to people other than Tim and I. She has blossomed in the past few weeks. 


Swing induced smile-caught!


This is a water park area of one of our nearby playgrounds. 


Alice is wearing hand warmers I made her. 


...and climbing a giant turtle. 

This is on our back porch and Alice is wearing the first gift Tim got me when we were dating. It is a hat/knit collar that my friend Jessie Williams made (though they are all one of a kind, more available instore at Edge of Urge in Wilmington, NC). 

Waiting on some take out for a park picnic. Now that Alice is walking, 'waiting' is complicated. 

Alice has a nook. In between our couch and the wall, where we keep the folded up blankets. She plays peek a boo and runs in and out of it all day long. I have to clean all the toys and such out of it every night because she squirrels her treasures back there during the day.


Wheee!!!!!!


This kid, sheesh.


So delighted.


swingshake from lauren jones on Vimeo.
She makes things more thrilling every chance she gets.

Sunday, September 30, 2012

How we brush Alice's teeth.

As much as I try to be on top of things for Alice's care and well-being sometimes things slip through the cracks. Luckily for us, some of those slightly neglected areas develop quite naturally and with no planning or foresight whatsoever. For example, Alice has teeth now. Three full ones and bits of four others, all of which should be brushed seeing as though she is eating food and they are, you know, teeth. For whatever reason it didn't really occur to me to brush them until I read an article about how dentists are having to preform root canals on 4 year olds and then BANG! I thought, "Well crap. Why didn't I realize that I should be brushing Alice's teeth?" It's not like Alice had a mouthful of never-before-brushed teeth or anything, at the time she just had one peaking through, but when I began researching toothbrushes for babies it turns out that all along I should have been brushing her gums with my finger or a washcloth to get her used to the process. Now, to me, this sounds like a horrifying idea. Alice never accepted anything to suck on but my pinkie and until very recently Alice's mouth and my pinkie were fused together by some sort of comfort-lock bonding system, so the idea of the rest of my fingers logging in mouth time is just too much. Even now when she rarely wants my pinkie, it is still withered and cracked from months of abuse and overuse, shaking at the very idea of being called back in for active duty of any kind. Here is what saved us: I put Alice in the sink sometimes. She loves to watch me get ready in the mornings and gets frustrated being on the floor, so I pick her up and sit her in the sink while I stand behind her and put my make up on. She watches me in the mirror and plays with some make up brushes and other things on the bathroom counter including, but not limited to my tooth brush. We have been doing this sink-sitting routine long enough for Alice to develop quite a fascination with my tooth brush, which is electric and makes a fantastic buzzing sound in addition to spinning wildly left and right in one brush and then up and down in another brush. Alice has been watching me brush my own teeth with it (not from her sink seat) and I tell her what I am doing all the time (think, 'Alice this is a toothbrush, I use it to clean my teeth-like this: ahhHHHHHHHH *brush* See?'). And then one day Alice grabbed my tooth brush off the counter and put it in her mouth. And then I turned it on. And she laughed because it tickled (this kid is soooo my daughter). Pretty soon she was brushing her own teeth for the entirety of my getting ready routine, so I decided to get her her own electric toothbrush, which came with stickers to put on, one of which was a lion-perfect. The best part of Alice getting into dental hygiene is that she makes the 'ahhhHHHH' sound each and every time she handles her tooth brush. It is so funny to be putting on eyeliner and look down at those big blue eyes begging me to switch on her brush and then hear this 'ahhhHHH' as she brushes her ever expanding collection of teeth. The only problem with the whole process is getting her to stop. If I switch off her brush she pulls it out of her mouth and looks at it for a second before scrunching up her face and whimpering in complete sadness. Buy stock in batteries, people. I think we'll be going through a lot around here... 



Post bath Alice and her new best friend, joined at the mouth. 


 Alice has also begun getting into dress-up. This is Tim's 'hair-styling' hat (don't ask). Just like Adam on Northern Exposure. 

Here is an apron my mom made me. Alice pulled it down from it's spot one day and handed it to me. So it put it on her and she walked around, clearly delighted for nearly an hour. Now if she sees it she takes it down, brings it over and waits patiently while I style it on her. 


 She also enjoys whisks. 


Oh my god, so grown up, right? She starts walking and suddenly I have a kid on my hands. 


 You may be wondering about the bow. I took it off the back of her winter coat (see the video below) and strung it on some fabric, not thinking she would wear it. But she did. Serves me right. Pablo did the same thing one time with a pink bow tie.


More dress up. She laughed herself silly over this hood when she looked in the mirror. These beads are her very favorite though.  My grandmother gave them to me when Alice was born, so they are special to both of us now, apparently. My grandparents were traveling and camping through the Redwood Forrest when I had her and they bought me the necklace (made from redwood) to commemorate the moment. I made the mistake of wearing them one day (count 15 days ago) and I can't get them back from her. I have had to take them off her sleeping body even because she wont let me take them off her while she is awake. They are the first thing she looks for every morning when she wakes up and thinks they look lovely with her Pajamas. 


Thursday, September 20, 2012

She walks! She climbs!



 This is Alice when Tim leaves for work in the mornings. He will come kiss her goodbye and she grabs onto his legs and tries to climb up his pants and into his arms, he will pick her up and hug her goodbye. Then as he heads out she follows him to the gate and they play peekaboo while he descends. Recently she has begun trying to climb the baby gate. Is it 'take your daughter to work day' soon?


 Alice and I in Central Park. I have a 20 lb baby strapped to the front of me, a 25lb bag of her crap on one shoulder and our Maclaren quest stroller on the other shoulder, easily 30 lbs. It appears this is the only way to take a baby out in the city via subway (with all of its stairs) alone. I think I deserve a massage. 


 ...but instead I got this when I stopped at our own park to take a break on the way back home.


 That is our park hawk. I haven't named him yet, but he seems relatively friendly (I am not testing this theory).

 We saved all the bread crusts from the million tea sandwiches I made for Alice's party and fed them to the pigeons, which I assume Alice thought was the best part of the entire affair. 


 Her new thing is climbing under her stroller.


Sometimes this is how we pick things up from the post office. Alice received an oversized heigh measuring ruler from my friend Tiff for her birthday and I missed the delivery so I had to go pick it up not knowing that it was 6 ft long. I am just glad that Tiff didn't spring for the 8 ft-future-basketball-star model. 



Her expression is priceless. 


Her new swing behavior. 


Everything is a noisemaker.


And proof. 

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

And then she was one...

Alice's birthday was on Friday and after we gave her her present (a stuffed lion) and Tim went to work I made her a birthday pancake cake for her to tear up and eat all by herself. 


She was rather dignified, I must say. 

She carries him all around, pulls him over her head and then crawls all over his back. FAO, the lion. 


But then came her party!



Tim made the invitations, obviously. And I made the food. 

These are miniature glazed lemon tea cakes. They were the size of a silver dollar and probably my favorite. The recipe had yogurt in it and was absolutely delicious!


I also made shortbread cookies, as Alice loves them, and I glazed some edible flower petals on the tops.


This is the beginning of Alice's actual birthday cake. I decided to make her a berry tart, so here is the crust about to go into the oven with parchment paper (difficult to find, apparently) and weighted down with beans because I do not have pie weights. 


For the beverages I made blueberry mint lemonade. Since we were hosting the event in our favorite park I froze some mint and then blueberries and then sliced lemons in the ice cubes to keep things cool. 


The making of the bunting was complicated. It is a good thing I have several years of cat-related diversions under my belt, as I had to employ the same concepts in order to keep Alice away from what I was actually working with. The only difference: Alice catches on more quickly than the cats. 


And here we are setting up in our park! You may have to click on the image to see it larger, but those are a million tea sandwiches you see on the table. Seriously, a million. I was so busy slamming those bad boys together that I couldn't even take a photo of the process. There were cucumber and dill on sourdough, pimento cheese on whole wheat, avocado eggsalad on 10 grain, and coconut chicken curry on raisin pumpernickel. 


Here is Alice's friend Ingrid. Alice is holding the jar of party favors, which were these magic mushrooms (very Alice in Wonderland) that were made out of wood and you could look though the bottom of the stem at the kaleidoscope mounted in the cap. Very cool. 


Sweet little so and so, one year old!

We also got a kick croquet set! Tim had made up different signs for things on the table saying, "DRINK ME", and "EAT ME" and for the croquet set it said, "KICK ME". Guess where he is aiming.... at a helpful Mike Dickey. 


This photo is amazing. Alice was crying because I had to intervene when she found my keys and was slinging them around. Then we lit her birthday sparkler on her tart and sang Happy Birthday, but you can still see a tear on her cheek glinting in the sun. It's her party... 


But she perked up. 


Sweet birthday girl. 



Alice and Faye. 


Sweet moment. 


Towards the end of the party our kick croquet set got taken over by some kids also hanging out in the park. We were happy to pass on the fun!


Also, some videos. 

The kitty book I am reading used to be mine. I remember picking it out at the bookstore in 1986. Alice adore it and carries it around with her during the day. 

This one is for my dad whose moo can call cows to a fence. 

Our days are mostly like this, only from 6am to 7pm. 

Alice totally gets mirrors. 

Alice is walking now! She began out of the blue the day after her birthday and is so very pleased with herself. I have a video of some of her first steps, but it is not a very good one. While I try to capture some better moments, enjoy this video of Alice's hindquarters trotting along while she uses her walker.