Monday, September 24, 2007

sounds like butterball!

lots of little new stories to recount for the record of sparrow's little diary.

thomas went out of town for the weekend and we were desolated without him! he took the car and we felt a bit odd stuck in the house saturday morning, so i decided to take sparrow on "adventures" and ride the bus into IV. i would have liked to go even further (peets comes to mind), but it is always a push to get out the door in time and then be back for the nap... besides, we were just learning how to ride the bus and where to catch it and when--we nearly missed our first opportunity, and they only come once every hour! i wanted to go to the co-op for some tidbits, and so we alighted at ucsb and i had brought the little stroller to make a nice morning of it. i had to stop and get a coffee at a place swarming with flies, where the staff took no pains to be in a hurry to serve you, and the coffee tasted burnt, but not too bad once you added some steamed soy. i was tired enough, that is, that i was content with whatever was available. still a little luxury. anyways, we stopped at a playground on our way back to the stop, and i gave sparrow dried fruits that we had purchased. then i realized the bus was coming in a few minutes, and we ran and ran, but missed it by about one minute! so we found a little spot a ways away to play for the next hour. i read a paper while sparrow splashed in puddles. it got a little crazy when she started licking the puddle water off her hands like she does at home in the sink. finally the next bus arrived. i had us all set: sparrow in the stroller, all the groceries underneath, the diaper bag over my shoulder, and the money in my hand. i pushed up to roll the stroller onto the bus, when the big white bus driver said loudly "UH-UH-NO-NO-NO-nonono, you have to clap that thing together." i gave him a pissed/exasperated face despite my well-knowing that i should just be cheerful and compliant, and cried, "i have a bunch of bags in here--how am i supposed to carry it all!" (and keep sparrow under control and with me the whole time) i wanted to say--what if you have someone in a wheelchair come in here--do you make THEM clap their wheels together? the other busdriver hadn't been so cruel! oh but then again--he was mexican. the mean busdriver obviously had never had a child. (whereas mexican men are well-known to give birth all the time.) anyways it was great getting home and later i borrowed ander's car to go to trader joe's, and then aya came over to keep us company and make delicious thai food. in fact, i quite neglected aya in the kitchen for the good part of an hour, because sparrow and i went out searching for lime leaves for the soup, since she said the asian market had been out of them. i could have sworn there was a lime tree nearby... i ended up rushing around the darkening neighborhood for close to 40 minutes with everything yielding nothing but lemons and oranges. when i got back to the house with many exasperated apologies, i found a lime in our fruit basket, leaves still attached, that thomas had picked the other day.

sparrow stayed up late and played with alan and melissa for quite some time and kept saying "aya!" what a fun one to say. aya and i stayed up til... 3? i don't even know, because i told her i didn't want to know the time, when we finally retired, but now... now i want to know the time.

the next morning sparrow ran to the office door and knocked and said "dada!" when we woke up. sigh! she missed him! we filled up our day again with walks and playgrounds and songs. what an emptiness it is without the husband around to laugh with and make dinner for though! sparrow barely took a nap which made me so sad following my late late night that i had to make a second cup of coffee in the afternoon. getting tired and grumpy by dinnertime, i had just sat down to eat, sparrow next to me, and taken a big huge bite. suddenly i tuned in to sparrow, who was saying, "bay! bay! bay!" i am thinking--what is she---oh my gosh, she is saying "pray!" i forgot to pray outloud for my dinner! so i chewed and chewed, telling her, ok, we will pray, hang on, and finally swallowed my bite and we folded our hands and prayed. when i was done, i said the usual, "in jesus' name..." and waited for her to finish, but she did not say amen. oh well, i said it myself and was about to resume eating, when she started up again: "bay! bay! bay!" what!? she really wanted to pray some more! she was holding her hands out to me to grasp them! so i grasped them and we prayed some more, and following this prayer, the same thing happened again! by that time i told her we'd pray some more before bedtime and continued eating in astonishment that i had been spiritually put to shame by a one-year-old.

this morning, thomas was back, and i asked sparrow, "guess who came back to see you?" she says, "sisi? ander?" "nooo, daddy!" i say. first thing she does is look around in the bed to see if he is there. not there! already in the office! then she says wistfully, "daddy--rough" and rubs her cheek. he's been showing her his rough cheeks lately, compared to her smooth ones.

i have also noticed that she can sing 'the wheels on the bus' quite well, after only 2 times of hearing it from me! she sings "ound and ound" with almost the right tune, and tries to cram all the verses into one: "waa!--shh--down!"

the other day she said "vegetables" for the 1st time-- she eats them every night, and she was pretty excited about it, and repeated it when i told her they were almost ready. it sounded just like "butterball!" i was so delighted.

i have been calling nursing "nu-nus" forever, i think reece's son christian started it, and it stuck with me. so whenever i try to get her to focus on or get ready for nursing, i say, "nu-nu time!" she has been saying it, too, but it used to sound like "nu-nu mime." now she can say it perfectly, and the other day i was trying to get her to come with me to the stroller and home, from the playground. she was chasing a flock of crows around a field and kept pursuing them at full running speed. i hollered, "come on, sparrow," and she began running around even faster, with all her might, yelling, "NU-NU TIME!"

i've been teaching her recently, "what's daddy's name? tom-tom!" this morning, i asked her, and she said, "papum!" what a great nickname it will make!

i unfortunately taught her to lick. she now randomly tries to lick my face and it gets really funny--licking wars with a baby. what have i done? she never ceases to be amused by it!

Thursday, September 13, 2007

a little girl in pigtails

yes, the day has arrived: she is wearing her hair up in pigtails. i had noticed that her hair was getting to be quite a mullet, but she is still a haircut virgin so i didn't want to flippantly cut off the back. besides, cutting off the back won't make the sides longer, will it. then she will have short hair all around. at least she has a little long hair! and i finally figured out how to make the mullet look great: put the back in pigtails! oooooooooh it is to die for. tiny short little pigtails that stick pretty much straight out of the back of her head. i have to get her to hold still for the installation process, though, which can be a challenge. but she's been pretty good so far. i just tell her, "you are going to look so cute! almost done! ok, go look at bookie in the mirror! cute!" and she says "cute!" and runs to see the effect in the mirror. i have to work on emphasizing other qualities besides cuteness, though. i hate it when kids are cute and they know it. it ruins their cuteness altogether. what was that passage in the bible about your cuteness not coming from the wearing of braids or pigtails... her inner cuteness must shine forth!

i am extremely interested in her artistic development lately. i read a great book from goleta library called "young at art," and in it i learned an immense amount of surprising information about how to assist the young artist in the best way to develop their artistic expression. for example, i didn't know that it is harmful to their a.d. (artistic development) if you draw on their paper, draw cute pictures for them, or try to show them "how" to draw. i didn't know that it is detrimental to try to relate their drawings to real objects, like: that looks like a whale! or even to say "what is it?" apparently, if it's just a scribble then it's just a scribble and parents should leave it at that. it is not even recommended to say "i like that," or "that's pretty," because this puts subjective values onto the child's personal artistic expression. it is better to simply describe the physical quality of the work they are doing, such as "that is a long, crooked line." or, "i see you made some thin straight lines!" HOW important all these little things are i'm not exactly sure, but i want to stick to them as much as possible, just in case she is meant to be a great artist. evidently kids need to be allowed to free-scribble in big sheets of paper for about 3 years or so before they begin to even make shapes, and then it varies as to when they come upon the idea to draw a human. these milestones should NOT be pushed. apparently the child's mind stays a lot more free and creative if caregivers allow the progression to happen naturally. eventually the toddler will draw what is known as a "mandela" shape, which involves either a circle with lines sticking out of it, or a ladder-type structure. it is the child's first attempt at organization of lines, basically. from this the natural step to the human depiction. this is exactly why toddler pictures of people don't have separate heads and torsos. their human figures are derived from the mandela shape, and they simply add eyes and mouth, and the lines sticking out become of course, limbs.

at any rate, all that to say that i went overboard on this month's budget because i couldn't resist buying sparrow a big newsprint pad at michaels and the cheap one-dollar markers as well. these are skinny little affairs which are not as easily "washable" as expected, and look not that great on big pieces of newsprint. however, sparrow certainly loves them. i try to limit her colors per art session, but she knows there is a whole pack of all the colors and insists on having the rest also. i let her because i think it is better that she is having a good art experience that interests her (even if it's just playing with markers) than doing all the projects and book-suggestions word for word. i have an "art blanket" that i put down every time i let her draw, as a sort of a drop cloth to protect the floor. i have been teling her since the beginning that the crayons and markers have to stay "on the blanket!" when she forgets and walks off the blanket holding a marker, i always say " this has to stay on the blanket!" and toss the marker back onto the cloth. haha, well--she caught on to that one really quick. now whenever i tell her, "this has to stay on the blanket!" she thinks it is her duty to throw the marker away from her, instead of just putting it back on the blanket. she thinks the object is to throw the crayon, not where the crayon lands. pretty funny. the blanket is also spattered with some paint that i have let her use before. a few weeks ago she was wandering on the cloth, pointing out all the paint drips and saying, "art!" but like an english person: "aahht!" she sounds a bit british when she asks for water, too, and it is soooooooo sweet!

she has started saying her first short phrases: "bye bye daddy," and "alan--sleeping!" as well as "all gone fishies!" when she is done with her gold fish. i notice, too, that she retains information for quite some time as she remembers something that occurred previously. there is a huge wolf spider, for example, that sits in the passageway downstairs at our apt. complex quite often. we have pointed it out to her a few times when it has been there. today, as we were walking through the passageway, she said, "spider!" another spider illustration, from tonight: i was changing her diaper when i noticed a sort of menacing-looking spider come out from a cranny somewhere, beelining straight for her head. i picked her up and tried to be calm as i said, "we've gotta take care of that spider, sparrow, come up here and mama will get it." i looked around me and found one of her changing pads lying nearby. "ok, now we just have to aim, and--squish it! then squeeze!" and the thing crunched under the changing pad. having no immediate way to dispose of it, i laid the changing pad next to the rocking chair, smushed spider-side up. "ok, all gone spider! good job." a few mins. later as i was trying to read her a book, she was still squirming in the rocking chair, trying to see the spider and sayin "by-dou! by-dou!" so i pointed out where it was on the floor, and said, "all gone, spider! bye bye! spider is sleeping!" a full 20 mins. later, while she was already on her bed, thomas came in, and the 1st thing sparrow did was try to tell him the spider story. she eagerly told him, "by-dou! all gone!" over a few times, til o told him she was trying to tell him a story, and filled in the gaps for her. i was also quite impressed yesterday because she proved to remember certain people associated with certain other people. we were going over to the lomelino's to return something. i told her, "we're going to go see samuel!" and then kept asking her at random intervals who we were going to so see. she accurately would say, "myu-myu!" (samuel) but then i asked her when we were almost there, and she said, "hope!" wow! so surprised! she remembered without me mentioning it, that hope lives there too! amazing.

she has started walking around on her tippy toes the past 2 days. who taught her that? anyways, it's pretty fun to see her do that. as if she's a real, normal person or something!

tonight i thought she was brilliant because she turned her book upside down to properly see the picture of the boy doing a flip into the water. the boy is pictured upside down in mid-air. she deliberately turned her book all the way around, stared at the boy for awhile in this position, and flipped it back right-side up again to continue to read.

Monday, September 10, 2007

sparrow and doris' DAY OF FUN!

one of my main birthday wishes was: to go camping. i hadn't been in FOREVER! since before i was married, i think. there is only so long i can go without the grand outdoor pleasures of roasting marshmallows on a fire and sleeping on rocky ground and getting all my stuff to smell like smoke. besides that, summer is my favorite season, and camping is an active celebration of summer, in my book. gotta get it before it merges into the cold and crisp and pumpkinny-ness of fall! my birthday was on labor day weekend and therefore i thought it would not be wise to attempt a camping outing at the time. however, the weekend after that, tara and camille made it happen. i kept telling her the two days before we left: "we are going to go outside--all weekend long! you're gonna love it!" since she continually desires to go outside. this would be perfect. i even splurged and bought some wine and marshmallows for the occasion. not that she got any of those.

bright and early saturday morning, tara picked up sparrow and me at our house, and we headed north to the great beauty of big sur. it was quite the decision, i daresay, to take sparrow up the infernally curvy highway 1 again, after hating that drive so much in july, but if that's where we were camping, it had to be done.

we stopped in SLO to get some wood, which we were calling wooo'd (rhymes with food) and getting sparrow to start saying it too. she even helped us to load the firewood into the suv.

when we got to the much-talked-up andrew molera state campgrounds, tara and i were immensely pleased to find that there were spots open. (it is her favorite campsite in big sur.) then the ranger said, "you know there's no fires allowed here, right?" what. "no fires!" i exclaimed, "we have a professional chef coming in!" hahaha. well it's true. camille was bringing fish and sausage and eggs and multiple other heat-needy items. we spent the next hour or more trying to get things re-situated: finding a private campground with fire allowance, attempting to get a hold of camille somehow without service on our cell phones, driving back and forth, eating burritos, figuring out how/when to change sparrow's poopy diaper. baby was extremely restless in the car at this point. when we stopped at the general store to get burritos, she was so excited that i couldn't keep her from bee-lining straight for the creek. tara went to get us a campsite while sparrow and i waited for camille, and i took sparrow's clothes off and let her play in the water. the stream had rustic-looking comfy wicker chairs in little groups sitting right in the water. the effect was completely magical; i felt like i had walked into another world, a mark-twainish fantasyland where people sat in chairs in the middle of streams under dappled sunlight, reading newspapers. the water was (obviously) very shallow and clear and gorgeous, with clean-looking pebbles and rocks. little goosepimpled, barefoot sparrow found a bigger rock to sit her little diapered bottom onto, then, shivering, would reach into the water and grab handfuls of rocks and pebbles and gleefully say, "one, too...WEE," on "wee" throwing the rock with a splash and being completely delighted every time. this is the beautiful state in which tara found us when she returned to collect us again. we were a bit worried about camille, but by some fluke she received a text message that tara had sent, and arrived at the new campsite right as we did! and not only had she brought fish and sausage, but she also brought kimberly lumm. a double bonus, since kimberly can spout "you've got mail" quotes with the best of us. this was going to be fun.

the rest of the afternoon was spent setting things up, eating (of course), and hanging out by the creek. the new campsite, you see, was right on the river, and would have been quite beautiful if it weren't for the fact that the camping spaces were the size of parking spots and there were tents, cabins, and cars everywhere! didn't feel that much like nature(and i had to keep a sharp eye on sparrow at all times). in fact, there was a huge cabin looming over our campsite; we were right in the "front yard," as if we were the serfs in some lord's kingdom. we had also spent $50 for this campsite instead of the $10 charge at andrew molera. but we knew it would be well worth it when we smelled what camille was cooking. camille and i agree that camping is all about the food. well, ok, it's about nature too, tara, and getting away from the demands of everyday life, but back to the food. first we had tasty sandwiches in the afternoon, plus chips and home made salsa. then we decided to take a little nap to sleep it off so we would be hungry for dinner. hahaha.

then camille made tasty green salad, artichokes with aioli sauce, eggplant with a garlic wine sauce and fish. all over a campfire with lighting help from tara's car head lights. soooooooo good! then of course we got to roast marshmallows. sparrow had taken a nap in the tent, but that night she would not go to sleep alone in there. even when i was sure she was fast asleep, and lay her down, she would sense it and wake up and so she stayed up as late as we did. then we snuggled up in the tent together, with tara, and were super cozy and toasty in the morning.

breakfast consisted of several kinds of sausage, high-quality bacon, toast with butter and jam, fruit, scrambled eggs, sauteed vegetables, and my favorite: coffee. a bit tricky to make it in nature, but still possible. and my half and half had kept, even though i hadn't had it in a cooler for the whole ride up. whew!

we packed up the tents and everything and headed back to andrew molera state park when we were done eating. there was beach access there, and kim and camille were going to stay there for an extra night despite no fire, as tara and i drove home later. we hiked over to the beach and found out that you actually have to wade through a fairly deep pool in order to even reach the beach. for some reason i was super uptight about getting my underwear all wet. not wanting a cold wet bottom, i suppose. watched camille and tara go through the cold water up to their boobs. they even took sparrow across for me, who cried and clung to camille and nearly struggled her down in the middle of the deep part! kim and i walked up the cliff to see if there was another way. but there wasn't. i would rather have gone in naked than get my underwear wet at that point. but there were other people around, so it looked like that was going to be a very rude an awkward thing to do. anyways, we were about to brave it, when i saw another man wade in, and come out on the other side without even getting his shorts wet! HEY! there must be a shallower route! kim and i found it, and i am happy to report that my underwear came through unscathed.

why was i still wearing my underwear and not a bathing suit to the beach, you ask? it's fairly complicated, but truly for me the beach is about lying around in the sun. i just wasn't expecting to get wet.

and that's what we did: lay around in the sun. eating chips and carrots and playing scrabble, just sitting on a blanket for about six hours. it was perfect for sparrow. normally she attempts to run right into the waves when we are at the beach, so i have to keep a close eye on her and don't get to just loll about. this beach, however, had a big strip of rocks in front of the water, so she couldn't really get to it by herself. hurrah! there were shallower pools that she could play in, and did, but i was soooo pleased that she basically just toodled around for the whole day and entertained herself with sand, sticks, and seaweed. the girls and i got pretty seared in the long sun-exposure, but it was the most relaxing time! my body is now in the process of shedding the sunburned layer in big disturbing pieces. i don't like to look at me at the moment. WHY did i neglect my berries/spirulina-chlorella regimen? grrr. sparrow, i am pleased to tell you, did not get sunburned. i had clothes and/or hat on her part-time but she also went naked, and honestly, this was all day. i only ever take her out to the beach for an hour, max 2. it was incredible. she obviously has a much better skin-shielding diet than i, what with her kale/broccoli-eating ways.

in the late afternoon we trudged warm and happy back to the car and got ready to go. tara and i had to get another burrito for the road of course. we thought sparrow would be out cold in no time, since she hadn't had a nap. but she ended up screaming her head off for the first part of the trip, upset that she was in a car seat instead of a bed, evidently, and wanting to be home. i drank my green tea, unnerved that she might have gotten sunstroke or similar. she finally settled down when i put my hand back toward her. she grabbed my whole forearm like a teddy bear and fell asleep clutching it. and was perfectly fine after all. babies just need extra love when traveling away from home.

and that, my friends, is the story of sparrow's first camping experience.

From sept. 07