Monday, February 27, 2006

Difference of Opinion

Harper: Peas make great projectiles.

Mommy: Peas are for eating.

Harper: Rebound's dog food is good for me, and tasty too.

Mommy: Dog food is for dogs.

Harper: Throwing forks and plates and bowls and spoons on the kitchen floor is great fun.

Mommy: Harper needs to practice using the fork. I do not need to practice retrieving it from the floor 368 times a day.

Harper: I will eat applesauce with my fingers.

Mommy: You know how to use the spoon, so please use the spoon!!!

Harper's motto: If mommy's not in tears, I'm just not trying hard enough.

Sigh. . . Today was a l-o-n-g day.

I know that Harper is just testing her environment, but when testing turns unsafe or unhealthy, I need to put a stop to it. Harper does not agree with this assessment of events. Is it possibly the terrible twos are setting in early?

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Party Crashers

Apparently Harper was having a rip-roaring good time with Grandma while we were down in Florida. We barely got a glance from her when we came home. My mom was giving her a bath, in order to keep her awake long enough for us to see her. Harper looked up from the bath water, waved a bit, and then went back to splashing. If I could read her mind I'd assumed she was thinking something like, "Oh, those people are back. Whatever. As long as someone feeds me and keeps those sippy cups full, I'm cool." Which is really equal parts reassuring and disturbing. I know Harper's pretty young, but I don't like to think that we're interchangeable with any Joe-Shmoe who walks in the door.

The dog, on the other hand, was beside himself with joy at our homecoming. There's nothing like a 33 pound ball of fluff hurtling at you at full speed to make you feel loved.

Once Harper got out of the tub she was one wound-up kid. I choose to interpret that behavior as a sign that she really was excited about our return. She did seem to like the t-shirt we brought her from the hotel gift-shop. Naples isn't a great place to shop if you aren't a millionaire. They had sixty-dollar sundresses for toddlers in the hotel gift shop. Sixty Dollars!!! The lady who worked there said, "That's because it's a (insert name of designer brand I'd never heard of)." Harper has some really nice clothes she's received as gifts, but I'm all about buy-one-get-one Carter's outfits from Kohls. I hesitate to by items of clothing for myself that cost sixty dollars. I'm guessing she doesn't feel too badly that she's not wearing major labels just yet.

We're getting back in the swing of things. The day after we returned I had to take Harper to the doctor for her 15-month check-up. She appeared to remember something about the last time we'd been there, because she started screaming as soon as the nurse walked in the door. She screamed while her head was measured (95%), while her height was taken (50-75%), while she was weighed (25%, up from 5%, yea), and while she had her eyes, ears, and throat checked, and her temperature taken. I can't even begin to describe the sound she made while actually getting her three shots. It wasn't pretty. She whined and moaned most of the rest of the day. Which was unfortunate, since her appointment was in the late morning.

Today she seems to be feeling much better. She played with Matt's parents while I substitute taught in Kettering. Tonight we busted out the Gymboree bubbles during Harper's bath, she loved them:

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

One Sweet Behind

It looks like Harper is practicing for potty training. She's actually just enjoying one of her Christmas gifts from Auntie Shannon. It is a set of three wooden puzzles in a nifty holder that Harper has deemed the perfect bench for her little tush. We're pretty sure she'll play with the puzzles someday. . .

After shopping and packing and planning, it's nearly time to go. We leave tonight for Florida. I know we'll have a great time. I know I really need the break. But can someone please tell me how I'll possibly survive without seeing this little face for four entire days?

Monday, February 13, 2006


Harper must be part vine, or mountain goat, or aspiring CEO, because she seems to have an innate desire to climb things. First is was the stairs at my parents' condo, which she scaled successfully at first glance, never having encountered stairs before. Then she just started to climb on anything around the house. She likes to sit on our bathroom scale (not a challenging climb), on the crate I keep tutoring materials in, on the step ladder (which we now know we can't leave out), on boxes, and on the treadmill. Of course we keep the safety key out of the treadmill and out of her reach, so it will not start when she's on or near it. I let her climb on it originally because I felt badly that we didn't have anything else for her to climb on safely. It's not too high off the ground, and she is so proud of her ability to get on and off it.

Now Harper seems very intelligent in many ways. It does, however, take some things a while to occur to her. She has never seen us use the treadmill (because we don't let her around it when it's on), and it was only a couple of days ago that she apparently discovered, to her great joy, that she could actually stand on it. Again, it wasn't on, but she's quite the actress:

She also seems to be practicing her victory stance for when she finishes her first marathon. You go girl!

I talk to Harper all day long, show her things, and hope she's learning and on her way toward meeting those "milestones". As I've said before, she seems to do things in her own sweet time. Usually just as I'm starting to worry that she's taking too long to learn something, she does it. That's how it was with signing, we tried for a long time to teach her the signs for "more," "please," "thank you," and, "all done," and she finally started using them. Now she has pretty much dropped "more" (the first one she learned) in favor of "please," which works just as well. She also seemed to take forever to learn how to crawl, then to walk, and now I find myself missing those days when she'd stay in one place! I am not too big a worrier, as a mother, but it's hard not to be aware of where your kid is on the timeline of accomplishments, especially if you know other people with babies. People ask me all the time if Harper is able to this or that. And we wonder how our kids get so competitive. . .

Today Harper did two things I've been looking for her to do for a little while now. At breakfast, I was asking her where various parts of her face were. Usually she just looks at me and waits until I touch, or help her touch, her nose, eyes, mouth, hair, etc. She's been able to find my nose for some time (which I'm trying not to take as a dig on how big it is), but never seemed too confident about finding her own. Well at breakfast she correctly identified her eyes, nose, mouth, and hair! We fell apart on the ears, but she'll get it.

Later today, while we were playing in her bucket of blocks, she actually stacked three of them. She loves to knock down towers that we build, but had never shown any interest in building her own. I think the building question is one the doctor might ask the next time we visit, so I will happily be able to tell her, "Yes, Harper can stack at least two blocks." What did I do when Harper built her tower? I clapped and cheered and then knocked it down. Ha! That's pay back kid, you'll think twice before you knock down my next pyramid. Fortunately, she laughed.

Sunday, February 12, 2006

Looking Up

After a scary first afternoon, Harper seemed to improve quickly. Tylenol did its job and we made sure she drank lots of clear liquids and tried to keep her comfortable. Her temp never went back up over 100. Harper is now left with a very stuff nose, a picky appetite, and is slightly cranky, otherwise she seems fine. I, on the other hand, am recovering from the cold of death, which struck in full force Friday night. I spent most of the day yesterday in bed. A huge thank you to Matt for allowing that to happen. I sincerely doubt I spent more than five hours with my feet on the floor yesterday. I'm feeling a little better today, with the help of some cold medicine. It clears my congestion but makes me feel all floaty, which I could do without. Matt now seems like he might be coming down with this thing and we're hoping he gets over it fast because. . .

We're going on a trip!

Next week!

To Florida!

So I guess I am going to have to leave home again after all.

We've know about the trip for a little while actually. We will head to Columbus on Wednesday night, to stay with Dotto, who graciously agreed to open her home to us. Our flight leaves out of Columbus at o-dark-thirty Thursday morning, so we're getting a little head start by staying there. We'll fly into Ft. Meyers and spend the weekend in Naples, where we'll stay until Sunday. Matt won the trip through work, so it's Happy Valentine's Day to us!

The hard part, of course, is being away from Harper. Since I'd finished nursing I have been looking forward to maybe a night away with Matt. Four nights away seems a lot for the first separation. Fortunately my mom is coming to stay here. This means Harper will be on her turf, where she tends to be a more reasonable human being. It also means not having to take the dog to Camp Canine, which he loves, but it's not free. And Matt's parents are also right here, to lend a hand or provide adult company to Grandma. I'm sure she'll love staying with Harper, the two of them will have fun together. There are a couple of weekends coming up, when it may make sense for me to travel without Harper, this will be a trial run. If it's too hard to be away I might have to rethink things.

In talking to a friend last week, I realized I've never really been away from Harper for more than a few hours. I guess the longest was when we went to Green Bay to see a Packer game in October, and she stayed with my mom. We were probably gone for about seven hours, maybe not that long. As a full time mom, I really appreciate little breaks, Saturday mornings when I can run errands on my own, a night off to go to book club, sneaking off for a movie, even subbing for a day. I think these little times away help keep me sane, and I know I am a better mom because of them. But a long weekend, now that it's so close, is feeling like a really long time.

On the other hand. . . It will be a chance for Matt and I to be together, eat good food that I don't have to cook or clean up, and we won't be anywhere near a computer or work or laundry or basketball or dirty dishes or dirty diapers or dirty floors (hmmm, maybe I need to clean my house before we go?). It will be like a little retreat for us, and who doesn't need that?

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Now I Know What Guilt Really Feels Like

Harper spent today at the home of a wonderful babysitter named Vicki. I met Vicki through some parents of children I used to teach. She has been a blessing in our lives, living just down the street from us and watching Harper lovingly while I tutored this summer. Since school has been back in session, she occasionally babysits when I sub, if Matt's parents aren't available. I was subbing today and when I got home there was a message from Vicki, saying she'd tried reaching me at school and on my cell phone and that Harper had a fever. I had left school by the time she tried to call and must not have heard my cell phone in my purse when I was on my way home. To top it all off, I stopped to run an errand, prolonging the window of time in which she couldn't reach me. I called her as soon as I got the message, to let her know I was on my way, and then flew down there.

When Vicki opened her door and I saw Harper with those glassy fever-eyes, I just started to cry. I'm not sure I've ever seen anything that heartbreaking in all my life. She was hot all over and just crying these tiny little cries. Vicki helped me take her temperature the way I knew the doctor's office would ask for it, i.e. holding her down while I stuck the thermometer you know where, and she had a temp of 103.1. This is the first time Harper's had a fever unrelated to vaccinations, and those were really low, hardly worth remembering. She seemed to be in a little better spirits by the time I got her home and got her some Tylenol, hopefully it will do the trick.

I can't believe this happened when she wasn't with me. I may never leave home again.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Super Bowl Sunday

We have a nice little Super Bowl Sunday tradition in our family, that has been going strong since Matt and I were married. His parents come over for a nice, quiet "party," during which we eat chicken casserole (a family favorite I grew up with), and actually watch the game and, of course, the commercials. In the football spirit, I dressed Harper in her Brett Favre jersey for the big day. While waiting through all the pre-game nonsense, she played a rousing game of Lay on the Kitchen Floor and Try to Kick the Dog in the Face. Guess who enjoyed it more. . .

While I was preparing dinner, Harper and I had a little conversation about the big game. She looked at me, proudly patted her number 4 jersey, and gave me a look that clearly asked, "How many touchdown passes do you think my man Brett will throw during the first half? And do you think the Packers will win by more than a touchdown?"

I gently took my sweet angel on my lap, sighed, and explained that the Packers wouldn't be winning the Super Bowl this year, because they weren't playing in the Super Bowl. I felt it was only my duty to further inform her that Brett Favre may very well retire from football before next season. These are the times when it's hard to be a parent. Her look says it all:

I know little one.

I know.

Friday, February 03, 2006

Thinking Hard

After taking a week off, I feel like there were all these things I wanted to mention about Harper that I still want to get to. Yesterday we were working on something (I don't want to say what because it might ruin a surprise for that person), I was writing a note on the back of it and Harper wanted to join in. I gave her the pen, with the writing point retracted, and let her add her two cents. She looked like she was working so hard to write the perfect thing. . . I wonder if that's what I look like to her when she see's me writing? If so, I need to lighten up. She was soooo serious!

When we were finally finished, she was apparently flooded with relief, and very happy with the results of her efforts.

We had a great time while my mom was here. It is just so nice to have another adult around for conversation and back-up! It's a lot easier to get dinner made when you can tag-team the baby. It's a lot easier to do most things. The only thing I didn't do was get on the computer too often, because that just felt rude. Really, it's a shame Matt has to work. It's a lot of fun around here with two adults. Harper and I have fun on our own too, but you know, the more the merrier. Although that doesn't mean I want more kids right now! Not unless Grandma is going to move in with us, and I don't think Grandpa would go for that.

See how happy Harper is to be with her grandma? We're lucky to have such a great family. Matt's parents help us all the time, they were with Harper this morning while I volunteered in the library of the school I used to work at. I love that I have people who can stay with her and I know she will be fine. It's a really good feeling. Thanks guys!

Thursday, February 02, 2006

The Rise and Fall of a Cereal Artist

We're back! Actually, we never went anywhere. I did some school volunteering and subbing at the end of last week. Then my mom came to visit, so it has been very hard to get to the computer. Today was a quiet day around here. Nothing going on except a quick trip to Kroger, and Matt gone most of the day. Harper and I shared a little oatmeal as part of dinner. She's been showing some promise with a spoon lately, so I gave her the bowl and spoon. Of course, as soon as she had the bowl in front of her, she abandoned the spoon and dug right in. I should have expected as much!

Apparently, Harper enjoys the feeling of food between her fingers. Yuck!

Please notice that, while she wasn't eating with the spoon, she wouldn't give it back to me either.

Once Harper had her fill of oatmeal, she discovered an entirely new purpose for it. Art! She would stir the oatmeal around with her spoon and then proceeded to spread it on her tray and the counter. This is not an activity I would normally endorse, but I was interested to see what the results would be, and Harper was having a lot of fun.

The photo is a little dark, but here is Harper's first attempt at "food as art". Perhaps I can look forward to mashed potato sculpture in our future. . .

Alas, as with all good things, this fun with oatmeal could not go on indefinitely. When she started flinging the oatmeal, instead of merely spreading it, I had to put a stop to the creativity. Cleaning oatmeal out of the dog's fur is not my idea of a good time.

This is the tortured state in which Harper found herself after I cleaned up the oatmeal. She has a true artist's temperament! Her fit was completed by throwing herself face down on the kitchen floor after I took her out of the high chair. I didn't have the heart to photograph that, it was just too sad.