Big Milestones: Lesser Known Milestones:

Baby latches on Baby latches on my jaw 

Helen's first word Helen's first swear word

Buying Helen a kid's potty Buying Helen a plastic mattress cover

Alice's eyes follow a toy Alice's eyes follow Mom's wineglass

Alice crawls to a cat's tail Cats stay away from Alice

Baby sleeps through the night Mommy sleeps through the night


One Million Questions

Helen starts the day with a long list of questions to ask.  Some of them are important, pertinent to maintaining a conversation, provide information on that day's agenda, or educate her on a topic of interest.

The other 99.9% are completely useless chatter - the proverbial talking just to hear herself talk.

I could be stirring something in a pot on the stove, and Helen will ask me, "Mommy, what are you doing?"  Or I could be watching a football game on TV, and she will ask me, "Mommy, are you watching football?"  Brian comes into the kitchen after putting on his coat and getting ready to leave for work, and Helen will ask him, "Daddy, where did you get that coat?"

I realize asking questions is the only way a 3-year old will learn anything.  God knows I'm doing a horrible job of teaching her.  But the questions.  Good lord.  There are times that I pick her up from daycare where my day has been busy and I'm exhausted, and I know before I even head home, I need to go to the grocery store and figure out what to have for dinner.  So the last thing I need is a long list of questions to answer.   But I have spent the entire commute screwing up my courage to the sticking point and then the whole way home forcing myself to answer as many questions as I can.  No matter how many I answer, or how hard I work on being patient and helpful and friendly - there are times when I reach my limit.  "Enough with the questions!" I tell Helen.  That's usually when she will respond with, "Mommy?"  Oh, yes - one more question.  Just what I wanted.

Conversation with Helen is fine.  I enjoy talking to her, and hearing her describe her day, and telling me about her friends.  It's when she decides to chatter, just to hear herself talk, and especially when I'm trying to get other things done, that the nerves start to fray.  I tell her to shush when I'm feeding the baby, because her talking will distract the nursing process.  I usually have to tell her twelve times to shush.  Her favorite response to "Shhh!" is "But Mommy ..."  

Sigh - 

Whoever talked about Terrible Twos must have offed the kids before they reached three, because THREE IS WAY WORSE.

So, about a month ago one of Helen's teachers left to care for a family member, and I finally met the new one about a week ago.  When I introduced myself, she said, "Oh, I love Helen.  She's very ... inquisitive."  Yes, Dear Reader, the teacher PAUSED and made up a nice long word to describe my child.  I couldn't help but laugh.  She had no idea that both my mom and my sister are teachers, and I'm more than familiar with this kind of doublespeak.   

Anyway, I told the new teacher that if Helen got a little overwhelming with the questions, the code word to make it all stop is, "Helen, enough questions."  She said, "No, she's fine.  Very sweet little girl."  And I said "Thank you," but what I was thinking was "LIAR!"  Must have caught her right after a bunch of Helen's questions, don't you think?

Which reminds me - a tidbit to share with you from one of my favorite bloggers, Mimi Smartypants, who talks about her daughter, Nora. Somehow, this feels like a preview of my future:

Third quarter report cards for kindergarten are out---mostly a collection of letters, W for "well-developed skill," P for "partially developed," and I forget what else, maybe C for crappy? Something like that. In the narrative portion of the card the teacher wrote, "Nora had an excellent academic quarter. She has a lot of knowledge to share." Oh yes, teacher-lady, I feel you. Nora has a lot of knowledge to share, and share, and share.

I Made It Myself

For the curious, I'm still nursing Alice.  There are some bumps in the road as she is currently figuring out how incoming teeth work into the equation (correct answer: FOR THE LOVE OF GOD, DON'T GROW TEETH, KID).  And whatever you do, Dear Reader, don't google "milk blister."  You just don't want to be me right now.  Let's leave it at that.

Today was the 6-month appointment at the doctor's office, where I shared with the pediatrician that I am making Alice's baby food myself, and wanted to make sure Alice was ready for solid food.  She looked at me, and I could tell she was trying not to make a snap judgment, and then asked me how I made baby food.  I told her one of my best friends gave me some great tips after making food for her son, and I looked at some recipes online, and spent some time last weekend preparing a bunch of food ahead of time.  For the money, you get ten times as much food as the jars, and it stores in the freezer where I can thaw it when I'm ready to go.  When I shared with her how I did it, the doctor was amazed, and told me that she wasn't nearly as good a mother as I am.

Well.  Good mother = putting baked veggies in a blender?  Nah.  I'm just super cheap.

Anyway, it was very easy.  For anyone reading who wants to try it, I'm still the cockeyed optimist because I haven't tried to puree peas or green beans yet.  Sweet potatoes and butternut squash and apples were definitely a breeze, though.  I split the squash in half (length-wise) and baked it face-down in about an inch of water and baked it for an hour.  I then scraped out all of the squash and put it in a blender (with the leftover water) and pureed it until it was smooth.  Then I scooped out the puree into ice cube trays, covered it with plastic wrap, and put it in the freezer, and later put all of the frozen cubes into freezer bags.  One butternut squash made about a tray and a half of cubes.  I did the same thing with 2 baked sweet potatoes, and a 3-lb bag of red delicious apples from the crockpot (surprisingly, they all had the same yield).  

Dear Reader, no, it did not take a long time.  The longest part was waiting for the baking to be done.  I used all fresh food, and it was really easy - a good project for about 30 minutes of work on a Saturday morning.  I've made enough food to last quite a while.  And folks, if I can do it, it must be easy.

So tonight, with the blessing from the pediatrician, I fed Alice her homemade sweet potatoes for the first time and she gobbled them up, AND BEGGED FOR MORE.  Very satisfying feeling, to know she enjoys something I made that much.

Now, I am holding my breath for that first solid food diaper.



Just a quick note with some pictures - I've started putting Alice in the exosaucer and the highchair.  Almost instantly, the memories flooded in.  She really seems to enjoy herself.

Next up, crawling.  No, really.  She's already on her hands and knees, rocking back & forth.  She's been rolling over since just after New Year's, and I've been desperately thinking of ways to stop the inevitable from happening.  That whole moment where you put a baby on the floor, can leave the room to grab a drink from the fridge and come back to your baby in the same spot - all that is over now.  The daycare teachers tell me she spends her day rolling around the room, under the cribs, etc.  And she scoots around her crib, too.  Very mobile little baby so far.  This bodes well for the toddler years, don't you think?