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. 

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

52 Weeks

 52 Weeks:

Well, well, here we are at 52 weeks and Alice's birthday is on Friday! It would be an understatement to say that it has been an amazing year, but boy has it ever been. I am so glad that I managed to keep up with this project and am happy to report that although some of the posts went up a few days late due to vacations or conflict, all the photos were taken on her weekly birthday without exception. Fun fact about the Wednesdays of 2012: I would guesstimate that 70-80% of them were near complete rainouts. I never would have noticed if I were not cursing the lighting, but it is very interesting that there was a particular day of the week where the weather was crappier than others (and I would have thought it was Monday- 'A case of the Mondays' Har, har). I now have the very great task of laying all these posts out into what will become her baby book and then binding it, which I am cynically assuming will not be complete until next September... at least.
This week Alice has really been looking at things. She has always been (sometimes alarmingly) observant for her age, but recently her focus has been quite keen and standardized down to two specifications only. She will look at something and classify it as object of structure or otherwise (food, cat, etc) and then consider whether or not she can climb it. Everything else is just details. Her climbing is out-of-control-fearless-child too, so I am really on my toes-as if I weren't all consumed with things Alice. It is not that she is sloppy, but she is just everywhere-and fast. She is up the bed, down the bed, over to the couch, up it and into the windowsill. If she heads into the kitchen I have 8 seconds to haul after her and spot her before she is up the cat stairs and into that windowsill to daydream out the window at the birds. And this with her only crawling! I'm really in for it when she starts walking, but sitting is no better. She has figured out how to latch her feet into her highchair, hoist herself up and twist her hips out of the harness (product testing...?) so she is out and onto the table top. Perhaps it is from sheer determination rather than lack of highchair safety standards, because she can do anything she puts her mind to. And I am not saying that in an, "Aww, isn't my child special!" kind of way. I am saying that in regards to the way she moved a 35 lb table and 10 lb chair earlier today because they were in her way when she was trying to crawl to the cat stairs. I watched, eyebrows aloft, while she shoved, grunted, yelled and succeeded with moving those two units, not only apart but 4 feet across the kitchen. She's not a big baby, but she is certainly compact, which can be deceptive I guess. World: consider this your warning from the person who knows Alice best; don't underestimate this beautiful blue-eyed girl. She's already completely on top of the situation, of her own accord. 

Also this week:
As Alice gets taller, she begin to find things in my shelves. This is her finding my old school calculator and it is her favorite new toy. We had lunch and she told me she would split the bill and calculate what I owed. 

 And this is her coming to the mathematical conclusion that I owe her 80085. (You may have to be a middle school boy to get this joke, but if you type it in to a calculator it looks like BOOBS only in numbers rather than letters.) 

Another chapter in, "What's This, and Can I Stand On It....?" 


What's this, 15 seconds of stillness? Yep. My lunch break. 

This is kind of a big thing around here. I unwisely taught Alice to roar like a lion. We play this game where I ask her what a certain animal says and she will make the noise, which is really cute and a great game to play when you are trying to occupy your kid as you walk around the city, only Alice has really gotten into lion roars. And she does them all the time. Unprompted. So now I am finding myself explaining to random strangers exactly what is going on when they coo over her and Alice roars in response. But, greatness should be celebrated, however bizarre and sometimes awkward. She recognizes lions in all forms: photographic, illustrated, puppeted, Leggo-iezed, etc. Quite the feat. 

Tim and I very seriously address the arrangement of our space regularly. He the dreamer and I the logic, eventually coming up with a wonderful solution together (why did we not think of this before?!) and this past weekend was the great rearrange of 2012. Only it ended up being the slow rearrange, probably concluding in 2013 because holy crap moving things together takes a long time when you have a curious one getting into odd spots. But between Alice and the cats, I can't tell you who was more excited by the moving energy! Wheeeeeeeeee!

Oh, and this. Alice isn't easily startled. She also likes the blender. Go figure. 

 You may have been asking yourself what Pablo has been up to during this year. He has been spilling in and out of the cat door.....

.... and laying on rocks. 

Sunday, September 2, 2012

51 Weeks

51 Weeks:

Oh the words! Alice is in full on gibberish mode and it is hilarious. Perhaps she is experimenting more with tone and people's reactions rather than actually thinking she is saying things to me, who knows. All I know is that she can express most emotions now-extremely clearly. I was pushing her in the stroller the other day and she was just chatting away to herself quietly until I hit a big bump in the sidewalk. Her voice got really loud and direct and I am pretty sure she was saying, "Hey! Driver! Watch the road for godssake!" I also catch her whispering to her toys while she is playing with them, which is adorable, but second to her #1 cute talking time: in her sleep. She will smile, laugh, cackle, yell and whimper all while apparently completely unconscious. To be fair, Alice is an extremely active sleeper. She rolls all around, turns sideways and shuffles her feet around then gets on her belly and pops her butt up in the air and tucks her arms underneath her. I used to sleep like that, so I completely understand, but I have to wonder just what the hell she is dreaming about with all this motion going on? And the full range on emotions she expresses! I used to think that babies must dream about abstract things like colors or sounds, but judging from Alice's nighttime activities she may just be dreaming about starring in full-on Blockbuster action sequences. Complete with comedic relief, character growth, and romantic entanglement. I can't wait until she knows more words than Mama, Bopba (Papa), kitty, bird, ball, and a handful of others so she can tell me all about it when she wakes up!

Alice has recently found some body parts. Her nose, for example is a favorite, as well as her belly. I can say, "bellybellybellybellybellybelly" as quickly as I can and she will drop whatever she is doing and point at her tummy with her thumbs. This video is particularly funny as she sucks it in as if she were auditioning for Baywatch or something. 

I shouldn't be endorsing piano stepping, though Alice has been really into it ever since she witnessed Pablo using it as a leg up onto a bookshelf. We are just so proud of how well she gets down off of things! The bed, the steps, the piano, anything she gets up on she can get down from!