Friday, April 27, 2007

This Month's Amazing Baby Tricks
e-baby turned 7 months old this past week, and it's time to summarize latest accomplishments.

1. Stranger anxiety. Starting about a month ago, she gets shy with new people, and starting 2 weeks ago, she cries when I leave her at day care. Starting a week ago, she cries when someone she doesn't recognize picks her up. The bad part of that is that her beloved Granny got yelled at. The good part is that if anyone tries to kidnap her, I'll hear about it.

2. Baby food savvy. According to her teachers, e-baby is particularly adept at drinking from a cup and eating from a spoon, effectively swallowing and getting most of it into her mouth. Evidence that she really is mine, but calling SNG's paternity into question.

3. Recognizing 3 basic signs. She recognizes, and responds appropriately to, 3 ASL words: "milk" (for nursing), "eat" (for spoon-feeding) and "all-gone" (for, well, no more food).

4. Rolly-motion: She's not crawling yet, but she rolls and rolls and rolls, and can make it across a room (or a large bed) in no time flat. For awhile, she'd do this at night and get stuck in a corner of her bed and cry. Now, she gets to the corner and just rolls somewhere else.

5. Leg-Zerberts: Sitting on the floor next to e-baby, especially in shorts, means she will climb onto your leg and PPPPPPHHHHHTTTTHHHPPPHHHBBBHHH on your knee. Right on the spot where it tickles. This is even sloppier than it sounds.

6. Ballet-dancing: e-baby likes to stand. If you hold her up, she'll jump up and down. If you help her on the jumps, she does a little twinkle-toes-mid-air thing. It's the cutest thing ever.

7. Making jokes: This is definitely the one I am most impressed by. You know how babies around 7 mo old start enjoying watching people play Peek-A-Boo? Well, e-baby likes for us to watch HER do it. It started with us showing her peek-a-boo a couple of times, but now she will grab a blanket, towel, whatever and pull it over her head, while we say "where's e-baby?" and she waits, then she pulls it down real fast and laughs her head off. Then she pulls it up over her head again, etc. She can play this game for hours. I've never heard of a 7-month old taking control of the peek-a-boo game, but maybe I just don't know my peek-a-boo rules. Still, I think it's evidence that she's a genius.

That's what our prodigy progeny is up to this past month. And here's a picture:

Which brings us to #8, Mugging: she knows to smile when a camera is put in front of her face.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

News flash: 365 hours of sleep > $60,000

I added a Google newsreel to the blog (right-hand side, below everything else). If you click on a word, it gives you news about that word. Here's one I think is timely, for me and for a few of the lovely women in my life:

"The University of Michigan recently conducted a study that looked at 900 women.... Psychologists in that report say once you stop expecting motherhood to feel warm and fuzzy all the time, life as a mother gets easier. They also found that getting one extra hour of sleep each night had a bigger effect on happiness than earning an additional $60,000 in annual income."

And there it is. If you've never had serious long-term sleep deprivation, this news may come as a surprise. That's OK, you can mull it over while the rest of us have a little nap.

Now, the part about it getting easier when you stop expecting warm-fuzzies? That's a complete load of c**p. It gets easier when the baby sleeps at night, laughs at your jokes, and can play by herself for a few minutes at a time. Which, I suppose, coincides with the time that you "stop expecting motherhood to feel warm and fuzzy all the time."

And THERE it is.

Full story here.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

We had a good time enjoying the weather this past weekend. Saturday morning, we hiked over to the state park to participate in the Walk/Run/Festival for Umstead, walked the walk, listened to bad folk music, and hiked home.

Sunday, SNG did some yardwork while I (sigh!!) swept and mopped all the floors. "Hey!" you say, "You're not supposed to be doing that! You have a bi-weekly housecleaning service!" Correction: I HAD a semi-weekly housecleaning service until the couple who runs the business went splitsville, and the husband who got custody of the business fled for Florida and apparently isn't coming back. BTW, they still have my housekey. So yeah, I was cleaning. In ALL my spare time.

Our respective tasks finished, SNG came in and announced that he was going to wash the cars. I don't know why he does this. The cars run fine regardless of how dirty they get. And when you wash a car, it just gets dirty again a few months later. Announcement made, SNG marched out to the garage, only to return, looking sad and forlorn because he was all out of car-washing soap.

SNG: I got no car-washing soap!!
ME: So?
SNG: How am I gonna wash the cars?
ME: Use Palmolive.
SNG: I can't use Palmolive!!
ME: Why not? That's what my dad always used.
SNG: Car paint isn't the same now as it used to be. You can't use Palmolive. You have to use car soap. I've got to go to the store and buy some.
SNG: But it's so nice outside, I want to wash the cars!
ME: It's so nice outside, there are so many other things we could be doing!
ME: Fine, whatever. Go wash the cars. I'll watch the Mythbusters marathon.
(SNG leaves. Returns 30 seconds later)
SNG: I have an idea that will make both of us happy.

10 minutes later, we were in helmets, e-baby was strapped into her trailer, and we were riding our bikes over to the Lowe's Home Improvement store 7 miles down the road. SNG ran in, took about an hour and a half, during which time I made friends with the guy who's head of the local randonneurs club (he's an old guy, dad- and he rides a Seven) and the french-speaking fellow who rounds up the shopping carts. Upon his return, SNG had... string for the edge trimmer.

SNG: They were out of car-washing soap.
ME: The cars will have to wait until next weekend.

I still say why bother? They'll just get dirty again.

But the bike ride was nice.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Hey Spring, You're Welcome to Spend Some More Time Here!
While my cousin hates spring (Who can blame her? eew-- spiders! Delicious haiku, BTW- Funny), I love spring for at least one reason: jogging to work every day. I'm finally losing the baby weight! And not a minute too soon, since I'll be wearing a bridesmaid's dress in 2 weeks that's sized for a version of me without baby weight.

There are other reasons I love spring, aided by my contract with Terminix,who come every 3 months whether I need it or not, and whenever I want them in-between. Because the NEXT season is the one I dread most.

Spiders as big as raquet balls.
Webs as sticky as snotweed.
Poison ivy.
Biting flies.
Ticks. So bad they deserve mentioning twice.

All of that would be bad enough, but summer is also when we see the first of the copperhead snakes warming themselves on the evening asphalt.

All of this and no mention of the oppressive heat? Well, yeah, it gets hot, but I've lived in oppressive heat in 3 different states and I know that what we have here is "miserable" heat. It's not nearly bad enough to qualify as "oppressive." In fact, New Orleans just passes by "oppressive" and goes straight to "suffocating."

But I'll gladly take 5 months of fall, 5 months of spring, and 2 months of winter. Summer can just keep to itself, thank you.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Oh yes it's ladies' night, oh what a night.
Yesterday at 6:30am, Fuzzy picked up SNG and they, along with another groovy groomsman, headed north to DC to meet with the rest of the guys for a bachelor party weekend. They had greasy food for breakfast, played paintball all day, ate a steak dinner at some suitably masculine chop-house, enjoyed locally-brewed beer, and then wrapped up the evening at a Jazz club. At least, that's what they told me and Peace and Other Grovy Groomsman's wife. For all we know, they drove to Tijuana to watch a show involving livestock. But I doubt that.

With only us girls here, We woke up Saturday at 7 ("We," as in the Royal We: e-baby woke up and I went to get her majesty). I cleaned up around the house a bit-- my housecleaning service has run away to Florida and won't be back-- and went to the tailor shop at 9:30 to get my dress altered. At 11, my friend Zen and her baby Season came over for a 2-hour hike, both of us with babies in backpacks. With the extra 18-20 pounds, it really counted as a 3-hour hike. Or one of those military drill things, complete with obstacles: we forded a raging river, crossed over and under downed trees, bushwhacked through weeds and vines, and dodged oncoming bikes. I love that we can walk out the back gate of my yard and hike for miles and miles without ever walking on a street with cars.
After the hike, Dianaverse, Zen/Season, e-baby and I went shopping for strappy, open-toed platinum shoes (1-1/2" pointed heel, ankle strap, thank you), some hair products, and some baby stuff. e-baby got 2 new hats and a pull-along-rolly-toy-thing. Dianaverse found shoes, pants, and some rabbits. Season got a bunch of summery hats.

While we were in the toy store, Neil Diamond's Cracklin' Rose came on the radio. You remember that song, right? I was singing it real quiet-like and dancing with e-baby, just a little bit. Trying VERY hard not to be obvious, because y'all know I'm kind of embarassed about the whole Neil Diamond thing. Zen turns to me, eyes wide open, and says "You like Neil?!" and busts into the chorus with me. There we are, singing and dancing to Cracklin' Rose with our babies, right out in public for all the world to see. It was LIBERATING! I told her that SNG gets to upset when I listen to Neil Diamond, and she laughed and said her husband does, too.

It was also liberating to know that someone else besides my mom busts out singing and dancing right in the middle of a store. A kindred spirit!

Mom, come to town. You, Zen and I have to start up an all-girl Neil Diamond cover band. Season and e-baby will play tambourines.

SNG comes home this afternoon sometime and hopefully I'll get a different song in my head by then.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Just a couple of random thoughts.

I've posted the first round of Easter pictures on Flickr. I'll add more pictures when the CD of mom & dad's gets here.

This weekend, it's a girls going wild weekend. SNG is heading up to DC for Fuzzy's bachelor party, so e-baby and I will catch up on our shopping. I hope Dianaverse will want to go shopping, too, because e-baby's opinions about clothes and shoes and handbags are all the same: "Mmmm, delicious." **chomp**

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Yesterday we returned from the annual Rhodes Family Camping, Biking, Eating, and Polishing Firearms Easter Reunion. This year there was less biking and weaponry overall, but we made up for it with more eating and slogging through the mud.

Final combined SNG-Alphagal score:

Chicken fried steak: 1

Stuffed, bacon-wrapped fire-grilled jalapenos: 7

And the peppers take the win!

Friday we went hiking at Enchanted Rock and the timing was perfect because by Friday night it was cold, cold, cold. There was freezing rain, wind, and more thick black mud than I ever again care to experience. While most of my family were, sadly, suffering in tents or campers/SUVs, SNG, e-baby and I were in a heated mini-cabin. E-baby is used to sleeping alone, so whenever we'd move or SNG would snore, e-baby woke up and cried. So we had warmth, but they had peace and quiet. During the day, e-baby was so unhappy and cold until one of my cousins found her a big, pink marshmallowy snowsuit at a resale shop. They have no idea how much that made the whole weekend better. Incidentally, our mini-cabin was nice enough to motivate my dad to reserve all of them for next year's campout. If anyone starts to reminisce about The Good Old Days of true camping, we'll just pull out pictures of the ice on the trees and the mud on our clothes.

E-baby's first Easter was fun. The Easter Bunny brought her a plush basket, a stuffed rabbit, and a decorated avocado. She doesn't yet eat eggs, but she eats the baby guac, and E.B. apparently knew this. He also brought her a speckled rubber ducky for her bath and some FABULOUS matching mommy-baby Corazon! socks. What a lucky babygirl.

Monday, April 2, 2007

It seems that I have been tagged. So, here goes.

Six weird things about me:

1. Starting back in high school sometime, every word-based thought in my head gets translated into French, and sometimes, Spanish. SNG already knew this because sometimes my internal dialogue leaks out. And, I don't always know all the words in French (I usually don't know all the words in Spanish, very frustrating), so in my head it'll end up something like:
"Je vois que j'ai ete tagged. Alors, voila. Six choses etranges de moi." (that was the beginning of this blog entry)

2. I talk to myself when no one is around. And I answer myself, sometimes role-playing the people I am "rehearsing" some future conversation with. I rehearse all sorts of future conversations.

3. I prefer free food over anything in my kitchen, and this includes hors d'oeuvres at parties, samples at the grocery store, and berries growing on a vine along a hiking path. Find me a branch of ripe japanese plums hanging over a fence and I'll have lunch right there on the spot.

4. It makes me nuts to see published documents and signs that have been "professionally" produced with poor grammar, punctuation, or spelling. I recently rattled off a letter to a baby food company for their ambiguous punctuation. I mean, really. With all of the out-of-work English majors out there, can't companies afford to have someone proofread things before showing their written material out in public?

5. I never made it the whole way through Dances With Wolves. I tried. I just didn't like the movie.

6. I can eyeball a level/centered object nearly perfectly. So can SNG. After the housecleaners have been to our house and dusted pictures on the walls, we go around re-straightening them. Sometimes we do this at other people's houses as well.

So there you go, those are 6 weird things about me. My dearest friends and family could probably enumerate many, many more.

I'll tag Lizard, Jim, and Twinkie2. Tag! Your turn.