Friday, July 28, 2006

Beat the Heat

On these hot and humid summer days, don't you miss a time when clothes were pretty much optional?

Onion Brief

Just in case you've been following Harper's onion experiment, the flower that we speculated about here has appeared.

Hard to believe it started as a random smelly thing on our kitchen counter.

Pretty soon the scent of onions will take over the neighborhood.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

The Long Days of Summer

Between the heat and the rain, Harper and I haven't spent too much time in the great outdoors lately. Today we went through many, many, many indoor activities. It was one of those days that every time I looked at my watch, we seemed to be further from bedtime or naptime or Matt being home. . .

In the morning we drove around in the rain and looked at a couple of kennels to see where Rebound is going to spend the weekend. It was like visiting doggie jail, but Harper liked seeing the canines. After that we didn't have many exciting plans.

We played with homemade play dough.

We had a tea party (Thanks for the tea set Aunt Ellen!) in which Harper poured me tea, mixed in sugar, and added milk, about twenty times in a row. It was an elite guest list, just Harper, me, the camel and a wheeled elephant.

Harper repeatedly asked the elephant if her drink was too hot, "Esunt? Dink? Hot?" and then blew on it for her. Harper is a very thoughtful hostess.

Did you know all the fashionable pachyderms are wearing blue and yellow these days?

We read books and books and more books (which were actually the same three books over and over again). We cuddled on the couch with Rebound.

We played the "go to sleep and wake up!" game. Harper is good at fake snoring sounds, but doesn't yet close her eyes when she pretends to sleep.

We even cleaned all the baby toys out of the toy chest. After sorting all the toys we loaded the baby ones into a huge plastic tub to be stored in the basement until they are needed or ready to be donated. Each time I handed Harper a toy to put in the tub she said, "Sank oo Mommy." (Sank oo = thank you.)

After all that I looked at the clock and about twenty minutes had gone by. . . not really, but some days seem to move so s-l-o-w-l-y. Anyone read any good toddler activity books lately? We need some new ideas!

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

The Funniest 90 Seconds of My Life

Matt's friend had us all set up, so we did get to have Harper participate in last night's toddler race at the Dayton Dragons game. One of the employees stopped us just as we came in and asked how old Harper was. She was looking for children to be in the toddler race. We told her she was 20 months old and the lady started to say that she was probably too old. Then we told her we thought Harper was already signed up to participate. The trouble was that they want the race to last about 90 seconds and it's supposed to be funny. So if one kid runs straight to his/her parent and wins, there's less humor to be had. I really wanted Harper to participate, so we promised we'd do what we could to make sure she didn't just take off. (Sin of omission, I did NOT tell her we'd spent half an hour saying, "On your mark. Get set. Go!" and having Harper race between us.) As it turned out, we needn't have worried. . .

Harper was the first racer to arrive and she picked the yellow t-shirt to race in, which we also got to keep. It has a large "D" with a dragon tail on the back. The front says something like, "I was in the toddler race at a Dayton Dragons baseball game." Pretty cute. They put her shirt and a helmet on her and took her picture. That photo appeared on the scoreboard when they announced the participants. They didn't want us to meet to get ready for the race until the middle of the fifth inning, so we had a long wait.

We enjoyed the first few innings of the game in our seats with Nana and Dzaitku. Fortunately, Harper was pretty well entertained by the action on the field, the music, and her snack cup full of pretzels. I was glad she didn't need to get up and walk around because I was very anxious about rogue peanut shells. One gentleman at the end of our row did open a bag of peanuts, but Ann politely asked him just to keep the shells in his space. I'm sure he thought we were crazy, but I'm wasn't taking any chances.

It was nearly 90 degrees here at game time, which I know is cooler than many places in the country, but we still tried to keep Harper hydrated. Her cheeks were flushed and her nose was sweaty all night.

It finally came time for us to meet for the toddler race. I left our camera with Mike and Ann to take photos, even though they'd be pretty far away. Once all the racing toddlers had been assembled, we got to go down into the under regions of the ball park. We walked down several long hallways and stopped just outside the one leading to the Dragons' dugout. Harper was the oldest of all the racers, there was also an 18-month-old (blue shirt) and a 13-month-old who could hardly stay on his feet (red shirt). We waited until there were two outs in the bottom of the fifth, then we got to go stand just outside the dugout where, horror of horrors, there were peanut shells everywhere! I had a moment of panic and then just tried to breathe deeply and held her very tightly!

After the third out they started to announce the toddlers and we were hustled out into foul territory on the third base line. It was very strange to see Harper's picture on the huge screen. I went to the starting line with Harper while Matt waited at the finish. There was a little bugle music and they were off! Sort of. Remember, Harper was wearing yellow and was in the lane closest to the dugout.

The start was less than thrilling. There was a ton of noise, but none of the toddlers went very far. If I had initially told Harper to run to her daddy, she probably would have taken off, but we were so worried about her being too fast, I didn't really encourage her. Harper took about three steps, then turned to look at me and sat down.

Then she laid on her back. Then she started kicking her feet. I was laughing so hard I was crying. I couldn't breathe well enough to tell her to turn around and get moving. Which was fine, as she wouldn't have heard me anyway.

Then Harper turned her head to the side and noticed the ballplayers staring at her from the dugout. She went into a sort of trace, apparently mesmerized by all those athletes! Eventually the little boy in red started playing with her sandal, which broke her trance. She finally heard me yell, "Go to Daddy!" So she rolled over and started to crawl. Crawl! Harper only crawled on her hands and knees for about three seconds of her life, and now she was crawling in a race. I don't pretend to understand.

For a few seconds it looked like she might actually make it to the finish line first, but about two feet short she laid back down and the little girl in blue was persuaded to cross the line. Oh well.

After all that excitement, we decided to head home. It was already about an hour and a half past Harper's bedtime, which may have had something to do with the fact that she fell into a trance when she should have been racing.

The Dragons won the game 2-1 in the 14th inning, when we were all alseep!

Tuesday, July 25, 2006


It appears that Blogger is experiencing some technical difficulties and will not let me upload photos. So no cute pictures of Harper today, try again soon! I have some fun items to post about, but I really don't want to tell the stories without visual aids.

We are headed to a Dayton Dragons baseball game tonight. It will be the first one we've taken Harper to since the discovery of the peanut allergy. We will all be on the lookout for peanuts and their shells. It makes me a little nervous. We are lucky not to have any seats directly behind ours, so at least we don't have to worry about people behind us throwing shells down into our row.

The Dayton Dragons are a really family-friendly organization. There is some sort of entertainment, not only between innings, but also in the middle of each inning. A friend and former colleague of Matt's works for the Dragons. She has arranged it up so that Harper will be part of the entertainment tonight. They do a toddler race. There is a mat rolled out onto the field that looks like a piece from a running track. Three toddlers don helmets and race from one end of the mat (and one parent) to the other. It should be fun! We'll see how Harper feels about the whole thing. She'll either love it and be a totally ham, or cling to one of us and refuse to participate. I promise to let you know how it goes.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

This Isn't a Salon

What are we going to do with Harper's hair? This is a question that troubles me. Not that I'm overly concerned with how she looks. I'm not the kind of mom that always wants her child to look just so, but I also don't want her to look like we haven't bathed her in a month!

Harper's hair is just long enough to get all messy and stick out in unfortunate directions. It is not, however, long enough for pigtails. Though this didn't stop me from trying. Last weekend I all but wrestled her to the ground trying to twist little elastics into her hair. The results were not that pleasant.

Close up, the pigtails were the tiniest bit adorable, but the overall effect left something to be desired.

Mostly to entertain myself, I also tried to put an elastic in Rebound's hair. He was a much better customer than Harper.

Maybe next week I'll try painting everyone's nails.

Saturday, July 15, 2006

Still Growing

Do you remember the onion?

After a little while it did get kind of slimy on the bottom, start to grow things besides roots and shoots, and generally started to stink. Still, it seemed a shame to just throw our very first science experiment away, so we planted it in an abandoned pot outside the kitchen door. Do people plant onions in pots? Probably not, but it seems to be working just fine for now. I'm not really sure what our goal is, which is where our science experiment falls apart. If we're really scientists, we're supposed to have a goal in mind, right? I repeatedly asked Harper to formulate a hypothesis, but she refused.

The former first grade teacher in me really, really wants to get out a ruler and graph how tall the onion plant is growing. Sadly, if I did that, Harper and Rebound wouldn't appreciate it, and Matt would just end up with concrete evidence of how strange I am.

Harper loves to water her onion, so it is serving it's purpose, despite its uncharted growth. I will ask her, "Harper, do you want to water your onion?"

She jumps up and says, "'Mon* Mommy!" Then runs to the cabinet where we keep the watering can and tells me, "Wa-wer, wa-wer, wa-wer!" We tried watering the plant with a cup of water, but Harper mostly ended up watering her feet. She has achieved greater accuracy with the watering can.

After she waters the onion, she likes to dig in the wet soil. Then we go back inside and I spend the next fifteen minutes digging the dirt out from under her nails. This is not her favorite part of the proceedings.

Do you see how ridiculously big that is getting? It has a little bud-type thing on the top, which looks as though it may produce a flower. Are there onion flowers? I guess we'll find out.

* 'Mon is a new addition to Harper's vocabulary. It is her contraction for "come on," and, accompanied by a little waving arm, is one more tool in the arsenal of weapons she uses to rule her universe. It's so cute to hear her say, "'Mon Mommy, 'mon Daddy," that we almost always follow her. Unfortunately, Rebound, who never pays much attention when we say, "Come!" has not been one to jump up and follow when Harper says, "'Mon, Doggie." Harper, who knows she is above Rebound in the pecking order, is undaunted by his lack of obedience. She just walks over and pushes on his rear until he moves.

Monday, July 10, 2006

Super Dad

I'm thinking of renaming this blog. Okay, not really, but something like, "Funny little weirdo: cracking you up since November, 2004," seems more appropriate lately.

This has been a really busy time with school, as two of my summer classes wrap up this week. That means two finals, two huge projects, lots of reading and not much sleep. Fortunately, Matt came home at a perfect time. He didn't have to work last Thursday or Friday, which meant he went on Harper duty all day and left me to go to the library and work on the computer. He even watched Harper while I had a little free time Friday and went to watch a movie at Mary Ellen's. When I got home Friday, a delicious dinner was ready!

Matt also took the majority of toddler time on Saturday and Sunday. During all this Daddy-daughter bonding time, Matt and Harper discovered a new game. Actually, I think it would be more accurate to say that Matt supervised Harper's discovery of a new game.
The game goes like this:

1) Find rocks in the yard.

2) Place rocks in cement block patio wall.

3) Dig in some dirt.

4) Consider rock placement carefully.

5) Strategically, or just for kicks, move rocks to new places.

This game can be played pretty much alone, no one but Harper would likely be allowed to move any of the rocks, not until she can tell you where she wants them anyway. A responsible adult must be present to prevent dropping-of-rocks-on-feet or throwing-of-rocks-at-dog. Supervising from the safety of a patio chair suited Matt just fine.

Whose kid thinks this is fun? Apparently, ours does! Should I be worried? Nah! As long as we provide safe yard debris, Harper is very good at entertaining herself.

In other cute news: when we were at Mike and Ann's Saturday, celebrating Dziatku's (Mike's) birthday, Harper followed me into the bathroom. This is a reality of life with a toddler. While waiting for me to finish up she sat down on the floor next to an air-conditioning vent. The vent was blowing cold air onto her right side, she covered her ear with her hand and said, "Win-nee!" (Windy!) That's one way to put it.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Together Again!

Matt's basketball team lost their game this morning, which was unfortunate for them, but good for us because it meant that Matt got home tonight!!!!! In celebration, and because waiting in the house was driving me batty, and because it was beautiful out, I decided this would be a good day to introduce Harper to sidewalk chalk.

My mom and dad had given her some for Easter, but we hadn't had a chance to use it yet. It did not take Harper long to catch on to the concept. We had three ice cream cone-shaped pieces of sidewalk chalk. Once I'd demonstrated how it worked, Harper felt compelled to have all three pieces of chalk in hand at all times.

My little obsessive-compulsive child even took them with her when she periodically ran to the front walk to check on the ants. An activity she apparently enjoyed while my mom visited. She ran to the walk and said, "Muga. Oh. Bugs!" Then she stepped on one! I don't know if my mom taught her that. When she's a little older I will of course teach her the more acceptable attitude toward the tiniest of God's creatures, which is as follows:

We only kill the ones that come into our house.

Even the most dedicated chalk artist has to stop occasionally to admire her work, and, ahem, possibly fill her diaper.

Welcome home, Daddy!

Extending the Nation's Birthday

On this blog, we're wishing America a happy birthday one day late. I just didn't have it in me to stay up any later last night. And maybe this belated wish will help our country feel a little less let down after the celebration that lasted for four days. I don't have any fireworks, but I'm still thinking of you America!

We had a lovely dinner at Nana and Dziatku's last night. It gave Harper and I some much needed time away from home, new/different toys to play with, and a meal that I didn't have to cook which is always the best kind!

Since Harper only had access to a fake phone, she couldn't actually call each of you to wish you a happy 4th, but trust me, she tried!

Monday, July 03, 2006

100th Post!!!

Happy 100th post! When I started this blog I had no idea whether I'd stick with it, and now here we are. It's kind of exciting. I hope that, someday, Harper is able to look back and read these thoughts. And I hope, when she reads them, that she doesn't take my walker away and leave me stranded in the middle of a highway.


Verbally, I think Harper is right on track. She repeats words, she is starting to make attempts at phrases and sentences, she uses words to ask for things. . . I believe this is pretty normal stuff for a child her age. Harper does not share these words lightly. Often, when we are trying to get her to demonstrate her vocabulary, she absolutely refuses to cooperate. Those conversations go something like this:

Me: Harper, do you want to count with Mommy?
Harper: No.

Me: Harper, should we say the ABCs?
Harper: No.

Me: Harper, how old are you?
Harper: no response

And so on and so forth.

Then, out of the blue, she will do something that totally amazes and terrifies me because it makes me realize she is paying attention all the time! The periods of not talking are not related to periods of not thinking.

Here are two examples from today:

First, when I got home from school, Ann was telling me that she read a Blue's Clues book to Harper. I asked if it was the one in her room, or the new one we got from the library. When Harper heard me mention the library and Blue's Clues in the same sentence, she ran right into the living room and picked up the Blue's Clues book out of the basket we put the new library books in on Saturday. I peeked around the corner and she was sitting in the middle of the rug, "reading" it to herself. Until she ran to get that book, I didn't even realize she was paying attention to our conversation!

The second, and more remarkable, moment of clarity came in the Meijer parking lot. We had run a quick errand after Harper ate dinner. As we were putting our bags in the car, Harper noticed a big, red SUV parked next to us. She pointed to it and said, "Muga, car?" Of course my mom is in Wisconsin and it wasn't her car, but it was a red SUV, which is what she drives! I gave Harper a quizzical look, wondering if I'd heard her correctly and she repeated, "Muga, big car!"

So it now appears that, in addition to paying attention to everything, Harper has developed the memory of an elephant. This worries me a little. What kinds of things will she tell about us once she really starts talking?!

Sunday, July 02, 2006

Early Celebration

There was a gathering at Aunt Patty and Uncle Lou's in Cincinnati today. We celebrated July 4th a little early this year, as not all of us can take four or five day weekends.

Once we finally coaxed her into the pool, Harper had a fine time floating with Elizabeth. She mostly enjoyed climbing in and out of the pool at the stairs. Harper let us all know that she preferred to be in control of when she was in the water and when she wasn't. Please note her fine mohawk hair (which is not a mullet!).

Harper also enjoyed just prancing around the backyard in her swimming get-up. We had to relocate her indoors eventually, due to a sensitive scalp and unwillingness to keep her hat on.

Fortunately there was plenty of fun to be had inside. Harper took Great Nana's walker for several spins through the hall.

Thankfully, Aunt Patty and Uncle Lou provided comfortable furniture for lounging on.

After dinner, Harper got some exercise on the basketball court in the backyard. She had a great time chasing the ball around and tossing it toward various relatives playing cornhole. Thoughtfully, she "counted" to three before she threw it at anyone. It's her way of giving a "heads up!"

Our wonderful day was tarnished only by Harper taking a spill on the basketball court. She tripped over her own feet and skinned her knee. She didn't cry when she did it, or when I washed it off. I guess Daddy is turning her into a tough girl after all. It bothered her most when she had to look at it in the car for 45 minutes on the ride home.

We missed Daddy today, but we're so glad to have Nana and Dziatku back in town!

Deep Breathing Required

So, how do single parents do it? I really can't imagine. Matt's been gone a whopping three days and it was melt-down city around here. I think part of it is knowing that he won't be home again for at least another four days. I am apparently not cut out for flying solo.

Today started off calmly enough. We went over to Auntie M's house and took a walk with her and Atticus. Harper had a snack. Then we went to the library, where Harper got to choose new books and color a picture, even though it wasn't a storytime day. Really, what more can a girl want?

Then there was a nap.

After the nap, we started by taking the books out of the bag from the library. This is when some crucial element of Harper's happiness seemed to slip away. I'm not sure where we went wrong, but from about 3:30 until she finally fell asleep at 8:30, Harper screamed as much as not.

At one point, I put her in her crib because she wanted her paci. Frankly, we both needed the time out. This is what frustration looks like:

My guess is that the look on my face wasn't too different. Oh boy.

So we are definitely missing Daddy tonight. I'm also starting to get a little nervous about finishing all my school work for next week. It is entirely possible that my elevated anxiety level is rubbing off on Harper. Hopefully we'll both be a little more calm tomorrow.

The good news is that Nana and Dziatku are back in town! They returned from D.C. today. And it's Dziatku's birthday, which we'll celebrate fully when Matt returns. Tomorrow we get to see Nana and Dziatku. Trust me, we are all looking forward to that.

Saturday, July 01, 2006