Tuesday, December 18, 2012

This and That

A few months ago, after a morning filled with errands, Alice and I had a spare few minutes and I decided that it would be the perfect time for us to stop by Walgreens so she could get the flu shot.  We signed in at the Take Care Clinic, waited about 45 minutes, got the shot, bought a lollypop and called it a day.  Alice appeared unfazed, except for a few seconds after the shot, and we went about the rest of the day as usual.  

Now, mind you, this was months ago, and we hadn't spoken of it since.  For some reason though, over the past week or so, she has been wanting to talk about the flu shot, reviewing the particulars of the episode in excruciating detail and in chronological order. 

Every time we pass by Walgreens, I brace myself.  

"Mom, let's talk about the flu shot."

"Er, okay, what do you want to say about it?"

"No, you tell me." 

"Well, we walked into the drugstore and typed our names into the computer.  We had a while to wait, so we found some Disney Princess Band Aid boxes to play with. When it was our turn, the nurse called us into the room in the back. She asked you your name . . . " 

And so on. 

I can vary it a little every time, but she never lets me forget the grand finale, which I leave out every so often just for chuckles: 

"You forgot about the lollypop! Remember, then I got a lollypop?" 

"You did? Are you sure? I don't remember that."

"Yes, I did. A strawberry lollypop." 

"Hmm. Okay. If you say so."

When Alice was first born, she received a toddler-sized tutu and matching headband from a good family friend.  At the time, I couldn't imagine when she would be big enough to fit into it or appreciate it, but lo and behold, that tutu has become a staple in Alice's evening wear around here. Most nights, after dinner, when she is already half naked (usually bare-bottomed after her nap-time diaper has been discarded), she puts on the tutu and does a spectacular/manic dance routine to whatever music Matt has going.  The best part, though, is that while she's waggling her arms, rolling her head, and leaping across the floor, she intermittently yells "BALLERINA on the MOON!" I think it's cool that she doesn't just imagine herself to be a plain old ballerina, but rather a more daring astronaut-ballerina blend.

Do they make astronauts wear underpants?

Now that winter has arrived (in fits and starts), we've been parking in the garage to avoid having to scrape the ice and snow off our car in the mornings. We have a lot of stuff stored in there, and I'm used to parking on the street, so one day, after returning from an outing, I pulled in a little too far and just barely bumped into our deck umbrella that we have leaning against the wall.  It was no big deal, and I forgot about it after about five minutes.  Somebody else did not. The next time we were pulling into the garage, Matt was with us, and as he expertly stopped the car in just the right spot, Alice yelled from the back seat "Daaad, don't hit the umbrella like Mom did!" 


I guess I have to get used to having two eyes watching what I'm doing all day and a big mouth ready and willing to report on my mistakes.  I won't be making that particular mistake again anyways, since every time we pull into the garage now, Alice helpfully pipes up from the back, "Don't have an accident with the umbrella again, Mom! Remember, you hit the umbrella?"

Naptime has become something of a struggle for us lately. I think Alice can sense that I'm more desperate than ever to have some rest time in the afternoons and takes advantage of my less than energetic pre-nap story-song-wind-down routine.   More often than not these days, once I leave her room and go downstairs, the fun begins for her.  Usually, her delay tactics involve multiple very messy diapers in quick succession, which she knows I'll attend to (waiting until nap time to produce these is a cunning feat of physical control that I actually think is kind of impressive).  The other day, she let herself out of her room, found the iPad in my bedside table drawer, and helped herself to an hour an a half of Netflix programming while I was downstairs patting myself on the back that I had gotten her to nap that day.  Today, I could hear her shuffling around upstairs for a while, so when I went upstairs to put her back in her room I found the disaster photographed below.

I'm almost certain she was wearing clothing and a diaper when I left her. 

And that was just the beginning of the mess. Drawers were pulled out in Matt's and my bedroom, papers were strewn everywhere, bath toys were thrown all over the place, and clothes for the new baby were pulled out of their baskets and flung into far corners of the nursery. An hour-long battle of the wills over cleaning it all up ensued.  There was no nap today, but luckily, it's six fifteen and Matt is already reading her bedtime stories. 

Finally, I'll end this post with some advice I gleaned from a serendipitous morning Alice and I spent a few weeks ago:

You know those days when you're 35 weeks pregnant, you have a two-year-old to entertain keep out of mischief, it's too chilly for the park, and you already went to the Children's Museum that week (and the week before)?

Me too.

1. Pick an errand, any errand.  Set the bar low. This is not the time for Costco or Home Depot.  Once in the car, put your phone on airplane mode and hand it over to the tyrant in the back seat.

2. Stop at a Starbucks drive-through. Get yourself a coffee and throw a snack in the back. Something chewy that takes a long time to eat and uses up a lot of space in a toddler's mouth.

3. Run your errand. Pat yourself on the back for being productive.

4. Drive aimlessly in any direction in order to minimize the time you will have to kill at home before lunch and attempted nap time. Turn on Kosi 101.1, the Christmas carol station, and hum along while your two-year-old repeatedly yells "Is this Christmas?" from the back. Resist the urge to say yes.

5. This is the most important part: if at any point while you're driving, you happen to see a sign that reads "Big Time! Trampoline Fun Center," PULL OVER! Go inside!  Don't be turned off if the place is entirely empty except for a few teenage employees with wispy mustaches and one actual customer: another two-year-old accompanied by his disturbingly energetic father.  Befriend the dad with the awkward amount of enthusiasm for doing bear crawls and round-offs on trampolines and let him entertain your child.  On your way out, accept the free "blue-flavored" Flav-o-Ice that one pubescent employee hands to your daughter after you had just told a different pubescent employee that you didn't want one.  Let your kid happily suck on it and drip it all over the car on your way home.  Once home, hastily feed your child lunch and deposit her in the bed for a long, late nap, to end about 10 minutes before your husband/wife/life partner/paid staff gets home to take over.

Let me know how it goes!

Friday, December 7, 2012

Daddy's Girl

This girl can't get enough of her dad these days.

She talks about him all day long.

She saved half her cupcake from a birthday party the other day to share with him after work.

Every time she makes an art project, she holds it up proudly and says that it's for Daddy.


She is the perfect audience for his goofy antics, and I think he is grateful to have another person around who appreciates his silliness. We have a family schtick, usually carried out at the dinner table, that goes something like this:
Matt says something outlandish to Alice like, "Here is some delicious brussels sprout ice cream" [as he hands her a bowl of vanilla ice cream].
Alice looks at me, I look at her, and we both slowly shake our heads, roll our eyes, and adopt looks on our faces that say "Can you believe this guy?"

Then we all laugh. 

Alice had been asking a lot of questions about Matt's work, so one Saturday, when he had to swing by the office to pick up his laptop charger, he brought Alice along to check it out.

According to Matt, she walked in, took a look around, and exclaimed, "It's ama-a-a-zing!"

Later that week, I spent a whole car trip across town with Alice playing Name all the Things in Dad's Office. In case you ever want to play, it goes like this:

Me: Were there any computers?
Alice: Yes.
Me: Were there any windows?
Alice: Um, yes.
Me; Were there any pencils?
Alice: No.

And so on and so on.

She likes to pretend that we're part of the television show Dora the Explorer, and assigns us each a character from the show to play.

It inevitably starts with, "I'll be Dora [the adventurous and bilingual heroine]!"

And continues, "Daddy, you be Boots [a spunky little monkey, Dora's best friend]."

And ends, "Mommy, you can be Backpack [pretty much what you're imagining: a backpack Dora carries her stuff in]."

Not the most glamorous role, but better than Swiper the Fox who steals everything, I guess.  

Like I said, Alice loves her Daddy.

And I think the feeling is mutual.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012


After a few weeks during which Matt was putting in a lot of late nights and early mornings at work, the Thanksgiving holiday was a very welcome few days of relaxation and togetherness for us.

We had some special visitors from California staying with us, and Alice utilized our time together to bestow Baby D. with as many kisses, caresses and I love yous as possible.

What's that you ask?

Why yes, indeed, that is a bona fide pair of underwear gracing Alice's little tushie. We started potty training a few weeks ago and are still going strong, with lots of successes and fewer and fewer accidents.

Sure, we have some kinks to work out, like the fact that any visit to a public restroom requires the complete removal of shoes, pants, and underwear, "so that it's not so slippery." [Huh?] Or the fact that it's still too soon to call her bluff when she asks to go to the bathroom multiple times in a row just because she's bored (twice in ten minutes in church and three times in 20 minutes when we were out to dinner last Saturday night). Or the fact that two minutes after I snapped the below photo, Matt and I had to perform the you-hold-the-kid-under-the-armpits-while-I-take-off-the-pants-and-remove-the-offending-material-and-clean-everything-up-and-then-get-new-pants-on-her maneuver.  Nonetheless, she really is doing great, and, most importantly, seems really proud of her progress.

Anyways, back to Thanksgiving. 

We spent the morning cooking, playing outside, and watching football, and spent the afternoon feasting, playing inside, and watching football. A fairly standard Thanksgiving made special by having family in town to celebrate with.

On Friday, we showed Baby D. one of Alice's favorite spots in Denver, the Children's Museum, so that he could show off his new-found crawling skills to all the Denver babies. 

We visited a new brewery in our neighborhood, where the kids behaved long enough for us to enjoy a few beers and a pretzel together.

And, just before the Wiethes hopped the plane back to L.A., we hit the park for some swinging and slide time.

And now, my friends, with our turkey soup nearly all eaten up, let the Christmas preparations begin! We got out our box of Christmas supplies from the garage and have carefully and lovingly scattered them all over the floor and under the furniture, festively tripping over them when we try to walk around the house. 

Last year's Christmas jammies still fit, and the hat and socks from Alice's first Christmas have been resurrected as baby doll clothes. 

We also got out our box of newborn clothes, which Alice has discovered are also a perfect fit for Baby. 

I've never been very good at getting ready for Christmas much earlier than, say, a week ahead, but something about knowing that we'll be here in town and having a two-year-old to get excited with has made me want to start the fun as early as possible this year.

Here we go!

Thursday, November 8, 2012

October of Fun

This October went by in a flash, thanks to the jam-packed adventures that I had, perhaps a little too ambitiously, planned for every weekend of the month. 

First up were two back-to-back weekends away for me: a girls' weekend to Austin, TX and my cousin's wedding in Augusta, GA.  I'm told that Matt and Alice had a great time here on their own, hitting their favorite date spots for breakfast, assembling the crib for the nursery, and visiting an indoor playground that we hadn't visited in a while. He gave me just enough information to make sure I knew they were having fun, and kept me in the dark about all those tedious details related to taking care of a two-year-old that I was so happy to escape for a few days.  What a guy!

After two weekends of solo parenting, it was finally time for Matt to relax a little (and for me to keep my October of Fun rolling).  Karen and Greg arrived on the Thursday before my birthday and got right to work baking me a cake, making the house festive for a little birthday celebration, and, most importantly, entertaining Alice. 

Then, on Friday afternoon, Matt and I hightailed it out of town for a weekend getaway in Aspen.  It was splendid.

Self-timer outtake.

Finally, for the last weekend in October, it was time for us to hit the road as a family. We loaded up the iPad with all the Super WHY! it could hold and headed to the airport for a quick trip to Manhattan Beach to celebrate cousin Dylan's baptism.  Matt and I have the honor of being this precious little guy's godparents.


Alice was thrilled to celebrate Dylan's special day, although she remained confused about the fact that we were eating cake in his honor, and yet it wasn't his birthday.  She finished wrestling with the issue just in time to eat a large slice.

My mom made it away from the East Coast right before Hurricane Sandy hit, and ended up extending her stay in California a bit due to flight cancellations.  Poor thing: she had to miss the chaos of the hurricane and suffer through a few extra days of snuggle time with Baby D in sunny California.

We got back to Denver just in time for Alice to realize her dream of dressing as a carrot for Halloween.  By the time we were ready to head off to do some candy grubbing, the no-nap-that-day-attitude had already settled in and I wasn't able to get any good photos of the little root vegetable. We hit about 5 houses on our block and then we did about 5 rounds of "trick or treating" at our own front door before calling it a night. The boots (two sizes too small and on the wrong feet) were a non-negotiable last-minute addition that Alice added to the ensemble.

Now that November has rolled around, our travel plans are on hold until Baby Girl #2 makes her debut.  Here's to hoping November and December are festive and relaxing for everyone!

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Fall Fun

With summer travels and the scorching heat coming to an end, we've been busy doing all sorts of outdoor activities and enjoying the routine and renewed energy that seem to just naturally emerge when fall rolls around.

Thanks to the membership that we received from Karen and Greg, we've been going to the zoo almost weekly, and it never disappoints.  Sometimes, if we time it right, we make it to the elephant area just in time to catch the daily demonstration they do with the 8-year-old elephant, Bodhi. 

It certainly keeps Alice entertained, and she, in turn, has been keeping us entertained like never before. I wish that I had the initiative to write down every clever or funny thing that she says, because she really does surprise us every day with glimpses of what is going on in that little head of hers.

Lately, and especially at family meals, Alice has gotten very interested in the art of conversation.  Matt and I will be in the middle of a discussion of his or my day, when she breaks in with, "How was your day, Daddy? You build something?", "You keeping me company?", or "Let's have some chit chat."  She understands (kind of) that she's not supposed to interrupt while people are speaking, and she thinks that an acceptable alternative is persistently screaming, "'Scuse me!" to whomever it is she wants to interrupt. Usually, the important thing that she just couldn't wait to say is something like, "You all done talking?" or "Uuuuuuuuuum."

The three of us paid a visit to the World Famous (!) Tiny Town and Railroad in Morrison, CO a few weeks ago at the glowing recommendation of some other parents.  It was, as promised, a tiny town with a tiny railroad running through.  As much as Matt and I kept wandering around the pint-sized, ramshackle replicas of schools, churches, and shops, scratching our heads and wondering, "But. . . why?", Alice was kind of entertained by the whole place, at least for the morning.


She was pretty annoyed that the door to the school was locked, and tried diligently, but to no avail, to open it up with Matt's house keys.

With all the talk of Alice's new baby sister (due the first of January, for those of you that aren't yet in the loop) and our visits and video chats with Baby Dylan, Alice has become as interested in pretending that she is a baby as she is in insisting that she is a big girl. Often, after she has impatiently waited for Matt and me to finish eating dinner with multiple inquiries of, "You all done?" (usually when half our food is still on our plate), she then insists, in a soft, babyish voice, "I am a tiny baby" and crawls into my lap or Matt's to finish her milk or snuggle. That lasts about ten seconds until her toddler jitters get the best of her and she can't help but squirm around and start to smack us in the face, try to grab off Matt's glasses or my jewelry, and jump down to insist on a game of chase. 

[Family portrait of the three of us on the tiny train that went through the equally tiny town]

Still, other times, she is so proud of doing things all on her own, like climbing into the car seat or stroller by herself, pretending to use the potty (alas, it's all still pretend for now), or staying in her newish twin bed all night.  She beams when she exclaims, "I'm a big girl!"

We met some friends last weekend at a corn maze put on by the Denver Botanic Gardens.  [Incidentally, we are now also card-carrying members of the Botanic Gardens thanks to Aunt Patty. Do the Jacobs know how to give gifts that keep on giving or what?] While we were waiting for our friends to arrive, we agreed to let Alice try the bouncy pillow, even though it seemed like most of the kids on it were bigger than she. It took a few minutes, but in no time she was running across that thing and getting bounced around with all the other kids. There were many tears when our friends showed up and we told her that we had to move on to another activity.

Even though she definitely has her defiant, rough, and out-of-control moments (and hours), she is also becoming a very tender, sympathetic little creature.  She searches the front yard every day for dandelions to gift to Matt after work. She insists on kissing all our boo-boos and checking, "You all better?" when she sees a bump or bruise (real or imagined) on either of us.  When I tell her I feel tired and want to rest on the couch, she gets me a blanket, clumsily covers me up and asks, "You cozy?" before telling me to close my eyes. Then she usually jumps on me or asks me to play with her, but I appreciate the gesture nonetheless. She has started giving us compliments and praise out of the blue like, "You so bootiful!" or "Thanks cooking dinner!" or "Good job, Daddy! You finish your whole dinner!" It's nice to have a cheerleader at home even if it's for doing things like putting on my shoes or going to the bathroom by myself.

We are definitely enjoying the daily doses of silliness that come with this age as well. At bedtime now, she insists that we do "silly" versions of her old favorite songs, replacing the lyrics with the names of her friends or words related to things that happened that day. Our songs are usually peppered with Alice commanding, "Now you laugh." Lots of canned laughter around here at bedtime.  She loves making up her own words now, and repeats the same invented ones over and over. Stop by for dinner and you'll hear us chatting about pumby-pumbies and referring to Alice by her self-given nickname of Goony D (no idea).   

We're loving these early fall days with our little big girl.