Friday, April 27, 2012

Slowly Chipping Away at My Sanity

 While eating dinner this evening at a new restaurant we've been wanting to try:

"Who's dat?"

"That's just the wall, Alice."

"Who's dat?"

"That's a decorative ornament on top of the booth."

"Who's dat?"

"That's a stack of booster seats."

"Who's dat?"

"Still the wall."

"Who's dat"

"Spicy sauce."

"Who's dat?"

"A lobster sculpture on the wall."

"Who's dat"


"Who's dat?"

"The wall. . . remember?"

While eating lunch earlier this afternoon at home:

[The wind is howling and the trees out front are rustling and creaking.]

"Who's dat?"

"It's just the wind, Alice. It's loud today."

"No, a owl!"

"No, I think it's just the wind, sweetie."

[Our windows rattle and the house groans.]

"Who's dat?"

"The wind"

"No. Goat."

"No, I don't think there's a goat. It's just the wind."


"Maybe. . ."

[Our patio umbrella sways back and forth.]

"Who's dat?"

"It's the wind, Alice. The wind."

[Her eyes widen with excitement and she smiles like she just figured out something big.]


"No, it's the. . . Yeah, it's probably a hippo."

P.S. Anyone have any idea how you put a kid in time-out when she's already immobilized by a car seat? Alice seemed unfazed by our declaration of a time-out due to her misbehavior on our way home from the restaurant tonight.  We figured that was one battle we weren't going to win since there's not much you can take away from a kid who's buckled into a five-point harness, staring at the back seat of the car, and listening to music that she has already objected to. About ten minutes later, while we were all chatting about something else, she casually inquired, "time-out over?"  I think we need a new strategy for when we're on the go. . .

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Cousin Dylan!

We are thrilled to welcome Alice's cousin, Dylan Enzo Wiethe, into the world.

He was born on Saturday, April 21 at 7:43pm weighing a perfect 7 pounds and 12.5 ounces.

Isn't he magnificent? I absolutely can't wait to get my hands on him in a few weeks.

[Thanks to Vola and Jason for the photos.]

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Speaking Her Mind

Alice has left the realm of baby babble and now surprises us every day with all that she has to say. 

After her bath, she charges into her room, antsy to play a round of her Curious George matching game.  "Come on, Matt!" she commands. 

"Who is dat?" she asks, while pointing to different pictures of animals in her books. Over and over and over.

While she has mastered a lot of great words and phrases, Matt and I have joked that her intonation often makes her sound like a computer program.  Lots of odd pauses and misplaced emphasis.


Losing and finding things is thrilling business over here. First we go through a few rounds of "Where is? I no knoooooow." A tentative explanation is offered: "back here" (pointing to somewhere in the house). Then, the object in question is searched for, and when found, enthusiastic exclamations of "I find IT!" "I find IT!" are followed up with hand clapping and smiles. We "lose" a lot of things around here. 

If I pour myself a glass of juice or get out a snack, you can bet that within a few seconds she'll be standing at my feet, looking up and pleading, "I too? I too?"

The other day I put her down for a nap and was on the computer right outside her door, listening to her playing and chatting herself to sleep.  She kept shouting, "My turn! My turn!" as if practicing for her post-nap playtime with the neighbors. 

Anytime that Matt or I try to help her do something like put on her shoes without letting her try it on her own first, you can bet that our efforts will be pushed away with an adamant "I dood it. I dood it." After a few minutes of struggling with the task, we're usually called back with a distressed "Help, Dad?" or "Help, Mom?"

She has finally started to say the phrase "thank you," and now that she's started, she fits it in whenever she can.  Anytime I comply with her request for a snack or drink, my efforts are acknowledged with a hearty "sank you, Mom." If I ask her to pass me something, she'll hand over the object with a solemn "sank you." When I'm finally finished changing her diaper, no matter how wildly she screamed and writhed while I was doing the job, she hops off the changing table with a quick "sank you" as she runs off, finally free to continue what she was doing.

Often when Matt and I go to get Alice in the morning or after a nap, we ask her if she had a good sleep and whether she had any dreams. I didn't think she knew what dreams were yet, but was hoping that one day she'd regale us with stories of what went on in her head while she slept.

This morning, as I was changing her out of her pajamas, we had the following conversation: 
"Did you have a good sleep, Alice?"
"Yeah. Dream."
"You had a dream? What was it about?"
"You were playing soccer? Wow!" Did you kick the ball?"
"Did you score a goal?"
"Was anyone cheering for you? Did they say, 'Go Alice! Yaay Alice'?"
"Sank you."

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Out of her Shell

Alice has been working her way through a shy streak that seems slowly to be coming to an end.  On more than one occasion, she has spent the first hour and a half of a birthday party clinging like a monkey around my neck or Matt's, with her head down on our shoulder and, for added security, her eyes clamped shut.

I can't tell you how many times I have shrugged and apologized after a nice old lady on an elevator or in line for coffee tried to elicit a smile from Alice and received a scowl in return.  It's been funny for me, and somehow surprising every time, to see that type of behavior from her, when she so engaging and communicative at home.

Alice absolutely adores our young neighbors, and eagerly shouts out their names any time I ask a question (Me: "What should we do today, Alice?" Alice: "Anna!"; Me: "Alice, do you know who comes to visit on the night before Easter?" Alice: "Livvy!"; Me: "Do you know who is coming to visit us all the way from California?" Alice: "Flynny!").  She sees them nearly every day and even so, for a while, her interactions with them mostly consisted of careful observation and following behind. 

Lately though, Alice has been taking more of an initiative in her interactions with her little buddies.  For example, while standing next to one of the other children, she'll suddenly scream "race!"and then plow across the lawn, clearly expecting the other child to follow, while the intended competitor takes a few seconds, and then bounds after Alice.  And while before she would furrow her brow and turn away when one of her friend's parents asked her a question or looked in her general direction, now she makes eye contact and occasionally even unleashes on them a torrent of very earnest toddler babble, complete with animated gesticulation.

On Easter, we returned to the home of some friends where previously, during a birthday party, Alice pulled the old try-as-hard-as-she-can-to-melt-into-my-shoulder trick. This time, she chattered with the other kids, willingly rode the slide and swings from the start, and even returned a few smiles from the adults.  The father of the hostess (and grandfather to the three-year-old birthday boy of a few weeks earlier) commented on Alice's newfound openness.  "She's like a whole different child", he remarked. I thought about it and realized that he was right.  Often it takes an outsider to notice the slow changes.  That's part of the reason that I keep up this blog: looking over the posts from the past 20 months, I barely recognize that little baby from 2010, and the stories that go with the photos seem like ancient history, even though nothing seemed so different from one day to the next.  I guess, one day, this post will be no exception.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Easter, the Bunny

Alice woke up yesterday at a very civilized 9:00 to discover that the Easter Bunny (with lots of help from Great Grandma and Grandpa Denny and Grammy and Grampy) had paid her a visit.

She was mesmerized by the little bunny that squeaks when you push his nose and scurries around when you push his back. 

We had been talking up the Easter Bunny for a few days, so when Alice saw the toy bunny, her face lit up and she exclaimed "Easter!".  So, Alice has been scampering around the house following the little battery-operated bunny calling out, "Easter! Easter!".

Easter Mass found Matt and me taking turns at the back of the church with a very energetic Alice.  Matt reports that during one of his turns, while they were standing near the bathroom, a middle aged lady in her Easter's finest exited the restroom.  Alice pointed right at her and loudly announced "Poo Poo!".  According to Matt, she was kind enough to pretend she didn't hear, but he felt the need to mumble something to Alice about using bathroom words in public.

We were lucky enough to be invited to Easter lunch with some friends, so Alice got to participate in her first Easter egg hunt. She caught on right away, and with a few hints from us (i..e. standing right next to the egg, pointing to it and asking, "What this? Right here.  Is this an egg?!"), she picked up her fair share of candy-filled eggs.

All the excitement made for a looong, late nap for Alice, followed by two hot dogs and some snuggling with Easter, the bunny.


Thursday, April 5, 2012

This and That

The other day, Alice and I went to Home Depot to pick up some shelving supplies. It was getting close to lunchtime as I was loading her back into the car to head home. I was just about to click her into the car seat when I heard her voice, quiet but clear as day: "Hot. Dog?"

I was surprised because the only time she had ever had a hot dog before that was a few months earlier when, after another marathon Home Depot session, we gave into our rumbling stomachs and split a hot dog from the cart in the parking lot. Yup, our Home Depot has a hot dog cart in the parking lot. And we ate food from it. Perched on a wall overlooking a sea of cars.

Anyways, I guess the hot dog made an impression to be remembered and specifically requested so many weeks later. And since she asked so nicely, I had to oblige. This time I bought two dogs. One for Alice and one for me. We both finished, and I was getting ready to head out when she turned her little face towards me, looked at me with those blue eyes and asked, "More? Hot. Dog?"

The dude (and he was definitely a dude) working the cart was impressed when I said that my one-and-a-half-year-old had requested round two, but he was blown away to see her dispense entirely with the bun and devour a good 3/4 of the second dog before deciding that she was done.

I guess she just had a craving.

I'm not sure how, but Alice has mixed up her understanding of the word "smile". Whenever we ask her to give us a big smile, she eagerly and dramatically blinks her eyes I Dream of Jeannie style (as below). We're hoping she never figures out her mistake, because the blinks crack us up every time.

We've also taught her how to say "I love you." It comes out more like "I LUB dee!" and it's delightful.  I guess we've been saying it a lot, because now, when I say something open-ended like "Hey, Alice, guess what?" or "You know what, Alice?", she responds with an enthusiastic "I LUB dee!". 

Alice got a few different alphabet letters and numbers gifts for Christmas, and she is entranced.  Now, when we take walks she strongly suggests that we pull the stroller over at each sign so I can point to each letter or number and tell her what it is. I like the enthusiasm, but it sure does make it difficult to get anywhere in a hurry.

Until the snow earlier this week, the weather had been gorgeous and we'd been spending a lot of time outdoors. Banging on drums and stuff.


Indoors, Alice has found a purpose for those niches on our staircase landing that we just didn't know what to do with. They're the perfect size for a little girl to sneak into. So much livelier decor than a potted plant or vase.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Visit from Nonna

Last week, my mom came in from DC for a visit. Unfortunately, a few days before her arrival, Alice threw herself down onto the corner of a footstool in a fit of rage and gave herself a black eye. Can't accuse us of trying too hard to impress visitors when we show up to the airport with a shiner on our toddler!

While my mom was here, we tried to be productive. We really did!


We were all set to spend a morning at the Botanic Gardens. We even pulled into the parking lot and pulled the stroller halfway out of the car.  But, then we noticed that Alice was conked out in the back so we just drove around town pointing out houses we liked and chatting while she slept. You should know that we definitely considered going back once Alice woke up, but by then it was lunchtime, you see, so we thought we'd better get lunch instead. For the child, of course. 

We spent an inordinate amount of time at Target and then at looking at sippy cups and patio furniture.  At Target, we rested in some patio chairs too, since we were tired from all the sippy cup selecting.

You should also know that we did have a whirlwind day of sophistication. In the morning, we hit the art museum and were deeply moved by the selection of items in the gift shop and the quality of coffee that the hungover barista produced for Mom. I think there was one room of art that spoke to us too. I think?


Then, that afternoon, we went out for a ladies' tea party.  Alice only spilled one cup of tea and stopped at sugar cube number ten while we were waiting for the snacks to arrive. 


It was exhausting! Why, we were so busy that we didn't even notice that Alice's black eye was all but cleared up by the time we dropped my mom off at the airport.