Friday, January 28, 2005

It's multiple unrelated topics Friday! Yay!

We have been giving Claire Helen Cheerios to play with in the morning during breakfast, which I'm sure makes us bad parents, but our ped said we could, and it gives us the following three vignettes of cuteness:

1) My favorite- when she sees Betty, she will take a Cheerio in her little fist, and hold it over the edge of the high chair, hoping to drop it onto the floor. This does not always work, as she often has sticky fingers, and Betty is not always paying attention, but when the stars align properly, she can get Betty to scrabble over to pick up the Cheerio, which delights the baby.

2) When she cannot see Betty, she will carefully pick up one Cheerio at a time and try to drop it into her stacking cups, opening her hand very slowly over the cup before peering inside carefully to witness the fruit of her labors. Again with marginal success, because of the sticky fingers problem, but she works at it very earnestly. She reminds me of a Doozer, from Fraggle Rock, with her serious Cheerio efforts.

3) She wants to eat the Cheerios. She only has a medium level pincer grasp, so most of the time the Cheerios end up on her palm. She tries to bring her hand up to her mouth, watching the Cheerio for as long as she can, but as it gets close, she balls up her fist and jams that in to her mouth, Cheerio safely hidden inside. She can't figure out why she doesn't get the Cheerio. HILARIOUS.

She has recently gone through a spurt of movement development. She started inching around ages and ages ago, and learned to roll back to front I don't know when, but in the last week she has really taken off, movement wise. She roll-inches very quickly now, if not with exact directional certainty, and yesterday morning I caught her up on all fours rocking around (Why do the evil camera elves take my camera and move it to the wrong floor of the house just when I need it?? I swear it was right in the living room, where I caught her up rocking, and I turned to look for it, and poof! It was gone. And now you know she won't do it again for weeks, just like the rolling back to front thing, so everyone will think I'm being one of Those Moms, because babies are punks like that.)

Finally, we had Claire Helen's check up for her mouth bump today. It has not changed at all since her last appointment (THANK GOD). Dr. E wants to remove it probably when she's around a year because it will interfere with her dental development. Also I am getting paranoid it will impact her speech, since she can say "baba," and "mama" but not "nana" or "dada" which both involve touching your tongue to the roof of your mouth, right where her bump is. However, he wants to put her under for about 2 minutes to do this. He has reassured me at each appointment that this is incredibly safe, that trying to do it while she's awake might not work, and if it does, could pretty severely traumatize her, but unconscious babies? The thought raises my blood pressure. And for a benign cyst? Just feels like overkill. But I guess not if the cyst is getting in the way of things. I think he's probably right, and I do trust him very much, but I think we need to fret a while before we decide to follow his plan. Sigh. I wish it could be on her elbow.

Songs Claire Helen will dance to:
Norah Jones, "Don't Know Why"
Suzanne Vega, "In Liverpool"
Amiee Mann, "Moth to a Flame"
Beatles, "Helter Skelter"
Belle and Sebastin, "Stars of Track and Field"
Indigo Girls, "Least Complicated"

Artists Claire Helen has no time for, despite repeated exposure, and even helpful dance examples by parents (generally mom)
Ani DiFranco
Pavement (more proof the child was brought to us by aliens)
Built to Spill
non vocal jazz
Neil Young

Kind of a Lilith Fair baby, yes?

Claire Helen eyes her best baby friend, Claire Jane. Look out, Muffy and Buffy! Posted by Hello

The inaugural baby backpack run! She looks like she likes it, yes? That is an illusion. We only hiked a couple miles in before she got sick of it. I carried her on my hip the whole way out. Posted by Hello

Look! Betty can sit still! Only for a second, though. Posted by Hello

We stopped for lunch, and sat on a green moss carpet, eating trail mix and strawberries. Claire Helen loved playing in the forest. Posted by Hello

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Gorgeous, isn't it? I love living in Seattle. Posted by Hello

Monday, January 17, 2005


I know that this is Claire Helen's blog, but I am self absorbed and want to talk about my birthday. I promise I will put pictures of her at the end.

I have had the greatest birthday. Thursday went so well- I had a girl's night, and returned to Ms. Claire Helen not only NOT SCREAMING, but ASLEEP!!! In her crib!!! With reports of ZERO crying!!!- anyway Thursday went so well that we decided to take our friends up on an extremely generous offer to babysit Saturday(awww! Baby's first babysitter!), so we could go out for my birthday.

It is a good thing we had fun last night, because we are not going to be allowed to leave the house ever again.

Kate and Jesse came over 45 minutes early, and we very nervous parents sat stiffly on the couch, saying things like "When she cries EEEEnnnn, not AAAooooOO, but EEEEnnnn it means she's hungry. But I'm sure it won't be that hard. I mean, I'm sure it will be fine. I'm sure we're being silly. But she likes it when you tickle her tummy with your NOSE." and generally feeling like goofs because it's not rocket science, and Claire Helen loves them, until it was time to take off for the restaurant.

It was freezing, and I almost slipped on 3 steps getting out of our house, in my new Cool Shoes, and my new Cool Pants. It was fun to get dressed up like the young urbanites we never were. We got to the restaurant a little early, ordered wine and appetizers, and had a great great time. Really smooth. I was worried that we would have to try really hard, and be very earnest about Being On A Date, and Not Just Talking About the Baby- who is, after all, the center of our lives- but it was really easy. We talked and laughed (even over the wine I spilled on Mat- poor Mat! And poor me! It was only 2 sips in. Thank goodness our wonderful waitress Maureen brought us 2 free glasses) over grown up things-political philosophy and homophobia and a possible trip to Alaska, with a laid back rhythm. The food was perfect, the wine went quite well, and the place was thick with atmosphere. We lingered over our food for hours.

We had so much fun that we decided to call home, to check on things, and see if we should order dessert.

No, no we apparently should not order dessert. Our friends were gracious enough to not actually ask us to come home, but I heard the screeching of the baby, and the panicked "heh heh. She's been, um, doing this for, um, you know, a while, I guess. Um." I am surprised I did not hear the screeching all the way in the restaurant earlier.

She had apparently been doing this since about 20 minutes(it's like a baby atomic clock or something, the predictability with which she does this) after I left. With 15 minutes of passing out in the middle, but only to recharge for further screeching. I tried to coo through the phone (Mat got a good laugh out of me, on the phone, in the middle of this fancy, hip restaurant, loudly singing "BAAAAAAAAABBBEEEEEEEEEEEYYYY! CLAAAAAAAAAAIIIIIIIIIRRREEEE! IT'S YOUR MOOOOOOMMMMMMMY!" which did absolutely nothing. So we called over Maureen, of infinite wine kindness, who clucked that we couldn't go without dessert, and packed up a piece of gratis coconut cream pie to go for my birthday cake.

We dashed home to the following scene: Katie and Jesse in the living room with the baby, Mozart sonata blaring so loud we were warned the neighbors might have heard, Jesse frantically plunking at notes on the piano as the baby, obviously still angry about the situation, looks on, occasionally not screaming. I picked her up and plopped her on my lap, and she was fine. Anytime she couldn't see me she re-hissified. Mat tried to change her diaper, but had to bring her out to the living room buck naked, because getting a fresh diaper on was just too much to bear.

It's nice to feel loved, I guess. And I do feel loved.

Today has been just as grand. We went to my favorite coffee shop and picked up donuts and coffee to take to my favorite dog park. Betty zoomed everywhere, and we strolled behind sipping our coffee with the baby, occasionally pausing to let her inspect this dog or that. On the way home we stopped off at my favorite art museum, so I could show Mat a cool exhibit they have there, and a book store I always mean to go to, which our ex-chef friend says has the best cake in the entire city. He drives 35 minutes for it every Sunday. I saw a poster for a literary contest I might enter, and we picked up an elephant story for Claire Helen written by some locals. When we got home we had a dance party to the White Album, with Claire Helen bopping in time on the couch. Her head leads, and she balls her hands in little fists and puts them in front of her body, like she's holding onto bicycle handlebars. She napped on me this afternoon, while I surfed the internet, and right now Mat is taking care of her while making dinner, after which we are going to have birthday cake from the bookstore, and watch Napoleon Dynamite.

I am excited. I have a good life.

Sunday, January 16, 2005

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See?? See? Fun Fun Fun! Everybody loves babysitting!

This is what Claire Helen has to say about that:

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Naive parents embarking on a night out. FYI, not a crop top. Poorly placed arm.

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Everybody loves the dog park!!

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"Zoom!" says Betty.

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Claire Helen says, "See? I am so sweet. I would never scream for hours on end. No not me!"

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Friday, January 07, 2005

Biz-tastic Baby

Claire Helen turned 6 months old yesterday. She has many Things to Do and Places To Go. She's getting pretty good at scooting around, still not really with her arms, though she is willing to use them to aid in getting to things by pulling. But only if it's a really important thing, like a cat. Whenever she sees one of the cats, she hops up and down on her butt, flaps her arms, and hyperventilates. We keep telling her to play it cool, but really it's probably a good early warning system for the cats. She loves to be in the water. She knows how to push off the side of the tub or pool to get to something. She loves to splash.

She loves elephants. Babar, Elmer, the pull toy of Mat's from 30 years ago, whatever. So long as it has a trunk, she loves it. She hates applesauce(homemade! Super organic!) with a passion only matched by her love of pearsauce. She likes to bang on the piano three times- "BANG! BANG! BANG!" and then look up at me, smiling. Her very worst insult, generally hurled with furrowed brow at a toy which will not get out of her hand, is "Gi!" She tries valiantly to play peekaboo with me, but it does not always work, and she is very curious as to why. When we meet someone new she looks at me to see if we like them before submitting them to a Very Thorough Inspection. If they pass, they get a smile. If they fail, they get the Icy Baby Look of Indifference.

She has a little baby friend, also named Claire, and in playgroup while playing with their respective toys, they will occasionally pause to give each other pats on the shoulder.

She is very sweet, and we love her very much.

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