Tuesday, February 14, 2012


This morning Alice and I went to the Butterfly Pavilion in nearby Westminster.

As soon as we walked through the two sets of doors and into the butterfly garden, my camera fogged up from the humidity.

The light kept changing and the butterflies were moving fast.

In short, taking pictures was haaaard.


But I persevered.  And I relied heavily on the iPhoto editing features to fix things up for me.


We wandered around the butterfly garden for a while, looking at the little creatures flying all around us and stopping to admire the water features and the turtles.  It was a nice way to spend the morning. 


Matt taught Alice a great word today: "happy". She says it exactly right, pronouncing both syllables correctly.  When I hear her say it, I feel like we're getting a sneak peek into an older, more verbal Alice.  An Alice who will tell us exactly what she wants instead of just pointing urgently and whining "uuuuuuuh".  One who says "water" instead of "wawa", "noodle" instead of 'nunu" and "milk" instead of "milk-a". 


It's funny how sometimes, she seems all baby.  Like today when our three-year-old neighbor walked right up and pushed her down.  And Alice just fell on the ground and started crying.  It was one of those awful cries that starts out just as a soundless, open mouth and shimmering, tear-filled eyes for a few seconds until she can get enough air to really begin to bawl.  But other times, like when I put on her coat to go outside and she eagerly instructs me to "zip!" and then reminds me to grab my "purse! purse!", she seems like a kid.  A kid with opinions and ideas and preferences.

Last week we were at a little art workshop with some other children.  I looked over to the corner to see Alice staring intently at a little boy whom she had never met.  She tenderly stroked his cheek and then leaned in for a kiss.  Other times, she's not so outgoing.  This afternoon, when another mom offered Alice an apple, her only reaction was to furrow her brow and look down at the ground, as if looking at the lady directly was too embarrassing or scary to contemplate. (And it wasn't that she didn't want the apple; she accepted it readily from me.)

When we put Alice to bed at night, as soon as we start to move from the rocker to the crib, and even before we've finished uttering the words "good night", she starts to cry.  She seems sad that the fun of the day is over and also indignant at having no control over the situation.  Even so, on some nights, mid-cry and as upset as she is, she manages to wail out "byyyyye" to Matt or me as we're tucking her in, and sometimes even forces her mouth to pucker into a kiss, and it's clear that she's trying so hard to fight her instinct just to give in to the tears and keep crying. 

I suppose as time goes on, I'll see fewer flashes of the baby and more of the kid.  Soon, the wordless whines will give way to worded whines and then, hopefully, to just words (followed by "please", please).  As for the other stuff, whether she'll be shy or outgoing, tender or tough, stoic or dramatic, I guess we'll just have to wait and see.  

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Snowy Weekend

If either Matt or I had harbored any doubt that we had moved to a city that takes its winter seriously, it was banished forever this past weekend.  The snow began on Thursday evening, and it was still coming down when we woke up on Saturday morning.


Even though we try to get outside every day to burn off some energy and soak up a little vitamin D, I welcome a forced day in every now and again, when there's nothing else to do but sit in the bay window and watch the snow fall, finger paint, and read a novel at nap time.  

We played a lot of "Good Night. Shhhh. Sleep."/"GOOD MORNING!". [The "Good Night" part is whispered and is accompanied by eyes closing, head resting, and the occasional fake snore; the "Good Morning!" part is always yelled and is accompanied by giggles, claps, and wide-eyed expressions of alertness.]

We played a Peekaboo/Hide-and-Seek/Chase combination game where Alice peeks from behind the curtain and around the french door in our guest room and Matt teases her by tapping on that door and then running to the other door, or by throwing a balloon in through one door and then running into the room through the other door to surprise Alice (who is still peering around the first door) by yelling "BOOGADA BOOGADA!" from behind.   Much screaming and laughter ensues.


But, it's not as if we didn't get out at all this weekend.  I mean, somebody had to shovel, and we had lofty aspirations of a Saturday afternoon spent sledding. 

We fortified with a large lunch, and went right to Target where we loaded up on gloves, an inner tube (should we have expected all the proper sleds to be sold out on the Saturday after the biggest snow of the season?), and new boots for Alice.  We did buy Alice a pair of boots at the beginning of the winter, but, judging from her reaction when we would try to put them on her lately, either the the boots were filled with boiling oil or they were too small.  We took a guess and went two sizes up on the new ones, and haven't heard a complaint yet.

In preparation for a long afternoon in the snow, we stuffed snacks and tissues into our coat pockets and had a tube of Vaseline at the ready to rub into red, chubby, chapped, little cheeks.  We let Alice put some on her cheeks too.  Ba-dum Ching! We drove to Commons Park, waded through the knee-high snow drifts, hauled ourselves, the inner tube and Alice up to the top of the hill, and enjoyed three trips down, rear ends sagging through the hole in the tube and dragging the whole way down.  On the fourth trip, the tube decided it had suffered enough and popped halfway down.  It found a new home in the trash can at the bottom of the hill next to a cracked plastic serving tray.

Back at the house, we figured that we'd get the most out of our snow gear and enjoy a little more fun outside.

The snow definitely brings out the kid in some of us. I'm referring to the Hoosier one of us, in case you were wondering.

On Sunday, we experienced another perk of living out West: the Super Bowl was over and we had vacuumed the last tortilla chip off the rug by 9pm.

This weekend, Alice discovered an absolutely precious mealtime activity: blowing bubbles into her drinks.  After months of drinking through a straw, only in the past few days has she discovered the fun of blowing out instead of drinking in.  She has also added a new twist on her old favorite guilty pleasure of writing on the walls.  Now, after she scribbles on the walls with her crayons, she points accusingly at the mark and shouts "NO! NO!".  On the bright side, at least she realizes that there is something naughty going on, and it is pretty clever to try to place the blame on the wall, no?