September 25, 2008

Procrastinate, and do it NOW.

Posted in Baby Talk, Crazy Homeschoolers tagged , , , , , , , , , at 2:06 pm by junecleaverwouldbeshocked

I have the worst problem with updating my blog. Ideas come to me constantly – I’ll be in the car, or the shower, or folding laundry, or nursing the baby, and think “oh, I need to blog about (insert topic here) before I forget all about it!” And then I forget all about it. I sit down in front of the computer and get engrossed in something else (usually either JustMommies, or some massive time-waster on Facebook) and don’t even think about blogging. And then, when I actually DO think of blogging while in close proximity to a computer…well, I’m just so stinking far behind that I don’t even know where to begin. As is the case today.

Since my last post, my baby girl turned nine months old. That was two weeks ago, so I guess she’s actually nine and a half months old. Three quarters of a year. Where the heck has the last nine months gone? I want them back. Whoever stole them from me – bring. them. back. I know that’s not likely to happen, so I’m doing my best to move ahead, and am actually planning for her first birthday already. I have a box of cupcake-themed decorations in the closet already, and the ridiculously expensive cake pan from Williams-Sonoma that will make a big 3D cupcake-shaped cake. I HAD to have it, and I’m justifying it by pledging to make this cake for her every year, until she’s old enough to be utterly mortified by it – and then probably for a few more years after that.

She started properly crawling this past Sunday. She’s been mobile for a while now, but she finally got the hang of the whole hands-and-knees thing that is what most people consider crawling. And of course, she figures this out while in the church nursery – with someone else. The ONE Sunday morning that my dear sweet darling husband volunteers to sit with her in the nursery so I can stay in our Sunday School class – well, of course that would be when she decides to show off, wouldn’t it? Thank goodness for nifty phones with video capability – I did at least get to see it later. And now I’m seeing it non-stop, from the time she rolls out of bed in the morning until the time she passes out at night. It didn’t take her long to put two and two together – crawling equals freedom, to get into anything, anywhere.

Well, you have an older daughter – weren’t you prepared for this?, you ask (or I assume you do, at least.) No, no I was not prepared for this. You see, the Princess had a full-blown case of Jabba the Hut Syndrome when she was this age. She was just such a massive chunk that she was quite content to mostly stay in one place and play with what she could reach. She would scoot around a little (it was easier for her; we had hardwood floors then) and was probably capable of more than she bothered with. But she never did really crawl, she didn’t cruise until just before her first birthday, and didn’t bother with those first steps until fifteen months. I had just resigned myself to hauling her piggyback-style off to college when she let go of the couch and took off one morning, and hasn’t slowed down since. So no, I really wasn’t expecting Boogie to be so fast at nine months, although I should have figured that a) a second baby would be faster because she wants to keep up with her sister, and b) I’m older and more tired now, so Murphy’s freaking Law says that she would be a fast learner as well.

And the Princess? Well, DH was concerned that she’d be smarter than him before long, and I think that day is nearly here. Heck, she’s going to pass me soon, and I don’t know what I’m going to do then. Maybe I’ll just turn lesson planning over to her and let her teach me what she wants to learn. Yes, she is truly a tiny smartypants – and thank goodness for it, as I likely wouldn’t have the patience to homeschool her if she weren’t. Not that anyone else would necessarily be interested, but I don’t want to forget – so here’s a quick rundown of our typical school day…

– We start with our Bible lesson over breakfast. This includes a devotion, saying the Lord’s Prayer (which she does nearly flawlessly now), and our memory verses. She knows four verses now – we do one each week. We use the A Beka Bible curriculum, which I both love and hate. I like having everything spelled out for me – teach this, then this, then this – to be sure that I don’t leave anything out. But at the same time, this kid has known the stories of Adam and Eve, Noah, Moses, et al since she was a tiny, tiny girl and they’re a little boring for her now. I’m having to pull out more details to keep her interested.

– After the Bible lesson, we read an entry from the book 365 Manners Kids Should Know. Not neccessarily that day’s entry – I do skip around a bit to cover the ones that are applicable now. After all, the chances of her needing to know proper ettiquette at a bar mitzvah are currently pretty slim.

– Next up is geography. I printed out a map of the U.S. and she colors in one state each day, reviewing the ones she’s done before. As of this morning, she can identify New York, Pennsylvania, Delaware, New Jersey, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Florida, Alabama (she’s finally stopped calling it “Obama”), Mississippi, Louisiana, Texas, New Mexico, Colorado, Utah, Arizona, California, Oregon, Washington, Alaska and Hawaii.

– After breakfast comes math. She can add by ones now, and is learning basic addiction facts (2+2, 3+3, 4+4, etc.) Today we’ll start skip counting by twos, which should be interesting.

– After lunch, we do our daily phonics/reading lesson. Not sure what I’m going to do after next week, as she only has three lessons left in her phonics curriculum! I checked out several level and one and two readers from the library yesterday to serve as her reading practice until I figure out which curriculum to go with next. If I can keep the books hidden, I can make her read them to me…if not, she tends to remember the story and tries to cheat. I hope the books I picked aren’t too easy – last week she sat down with a Mercer Mayer book and read it cover to cover with no help. I’m so proud of her (she got my bookworm gene!) but I little flabbergasted too. Am I supposed to buy first grade readers for my four-year-old?!

– The rest of the day varies. We do Social Studies on Tuesdays since that’s gymnastics day and we don’t have much time. The A Beka K5 Social Studies book is basically a giant coloring book, so we’re rolling through that. Some days we do science – using the God’s World reader combined with experiments from The Backyard Scientist or things I find online (or just feeding and watching the sea monkeys). Other days we do history, using Story of the World. Just got the activity book that goes along with it yesterday, and boy are there plenty of things to tie in there. The next chapter – ancient Egypt – ought to be interesting.

I know, that sounds like an awful lot for such a little one, but it really doesn’t take all that long. We might spend two hours on an average day “doing school” – whereas if I sent her to preschool, she’d be gone for at least three.

*****

On to other, more random things now…such as HOW in the world I’ve found time to write an entry this long on a Thursday morning? Well, that’s one upside to Boogie’s crawling – she’s much happier playing in the floor for longer periods now. I can get online for a little bit while she explores. I just have to keep prying her little fingers off of the laptop’s AC cord.

I just took her out on the front porch for a few minutes – it’s so windy this morning, and she seemed to enjoy that. I love watching her when she’s watching something interesting – her blue eyes get so big, and her little lips part while she’s staring. It’s an awesome opportunity to nuzzle into those chubby cheeks and smell her sweet baby smell. I hope that doesn’t go away anytime soon.

And, as if on cue, she crawls over to me, climbs my leg and screams. Of course.

Sleep is still an issue here – or rather, the lack of it, during the day. She just doesn’t nap. It’s not that she doesn’t need them – she’s falling down tired by 5:00, but I can’t let her nap that late. We would all be happier people if she’d nap during the day…but I’ve kind of gotten used to being grouchy, and at the very least know that I’ll survive this. Surely to goodness this will get easier before long.

Our annual visit to the pumpkin patch is just a few weeks away now – hard to believe! I’m so, so thankful that fall is here and it’s getting cooler. I hate summer – hate it, with a pink and purple polka dotted passion. I just want to refrigerate the whole house in the summertime and never, ever leave it. Fall, now – I love being outside during the fall. Boogie, unfortunately, does not. Well, she does like the outdoors – as long as she’s being held. She doesn’t care for the swing and screams if grass touches her, so there’s not a lot to do for her just yet. Anyway. Hopefully she’ll tolerate the grass for 15 seconds at the pumpkin patch, long enough for me to get the picture that I absolutely must have. She’s going to be a white tiger for Halloween, and has the most adorable costume ever – the one that I loved but talked myself out of when Princess was a baby. Princess, on the other hand, refuses to be a princess this year, because those costumes are easy to find. No, she insists on being EVE, from the movie Wall-E. EVE, who Disney/Pixar neglected to make a costume of this year. EVE, who is a shiny white robot with no legs – she hovers. EVE of the impossibly shaped body. Thank goodness I never learned to sew, so the task of negotiating this particular costume falls into my mom’s capable hands… We’ll see what happens with that.

There’s more – there’s always more – but I think that’s plenty for now. I’m caught up enough, I think, that maybe I won’t dread writing more tomorrow…

August 5, 2008

Since I’m a slacker…

Posted in Baby Talk tagged , , , , , , , at 5:55 am by junecleaverwouldbeshocked

I started this blog because I had become so horrible at updating my old one. Apparently, old habits are hard to break. So before I forget entirely what’s happening right now, a quick rundown of what Boogie is up to at not-quite-eight-months-old.

  • Considering crawling. Thinking very hard about it, but not quite decided yet. She’s very good at getting onto her hands and knee, while sticking her other knee out to one side like a chubby little kickstand and getting utterly stuck for several seconds, before finally plopping down onto her belly and assuming the scooting position. She’s very good at scooting backward, and around in circles, and sometimes sideways. She’s definitely mobile, just not in any traditional or easily describable way.
  • Clapping is fun. Even more fun is clapping your hands, for you. And then gnawing on them.
  • She gnaws on them because she has two pearly whites now, on the bottom. They’re the cutest teeth in the world, incidentally.
  • She subscribes to the “eat to live, don’t live to eat” theory. Real food comes along but once a day, at dinnertime, and usually consists of either peas, sweet potatoes, green beans, apples, pears or oatmeal. Sweet potatoes and apples are by far the favorites. She is still breastfed on demand, and demands loudly and often. Broken up Cheerios are a recent discovery, although the verdict is still out.
  • The three things that relieve teething pain every time: her sippy cup, full of ice water (apparently makes the spout cold, as she chews on it); “icy cold teethers” that her sister loves to fetch for her from the fridge; and an ice cube in that funky mesh feeder thing that her sister would never touch as an infant.
  • She knows the sign for “milk” and ain’t afraid to use it.
  • Loves to talk. Started out with “dadadada” non-stop, but has since ditched him in favor of “mamamama”. However, the vast majority of her babbling sounds exactly like “BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH”, and I have no clue how she makes the “l” sound.
  • She instigates games of peek-a-boo by hiding her face in your arm/leg/shoulder/whatever is available, and leaving it there until you say “wheeeeere’s Boogie?” Then she pops her head up and grins. It’s only the most adorable thing I’ve ever seen, and she’s an absolute genius for figuring it out all by herself.
  • We are still happy co-sleepers. It’s been nearly a month now since she stopped nursing to sleep, and I am still amazed every. single. time. she goes to bed without a boob in her mouth. I nursed her sister to sleep every night, every naptime, until she was eighteen months old. For Boogie to be able to go to sleep without my assistance feels like a little miracle. She goes to bed around 8 now, sleeps until I come to bed (usually at a ridiculous time), nurses and goes back to sleep until 8-ish, or whenever her sister sees fit to wake us up.
  • My only complaint is that separation anxiety hit hard and early. Woe be unto me if I attempt to sit the child down and move more then three inches away. On rare occasions, she’ll play happily in the floor while I wash a dish or check my email, but usually my moving away from her is rewarded by banshee-like screams of displeasure, which are quieted only by picking her up again. Needless to say, it is difficult to accomplish much of anything while lugging around a twenty pound cling-on.

Having two children is much more difficult than I imagined that it would be – and that’s a complete understatement. There are days when none of us get dressed, simply because she won’t allow me to put her down for long enough without her screaming – and while sometimes it’s just necessary, I don’t like to let her cry unless there’s just no way around it. There are days when I don’t get to do anything one-on-one with Princess, and I feel horrible about that. There are days when I don’t do anything to the house, and I feel horrible about that. In fact, it seems as though I always feel horrible about something. Mommy guilt is an unforgiving master.

However, there is one thing that helps alleviate some of that guilt. I was utterly convinced, before Boogie was born, that I could never, never love another child the way I loved my first. And as much as I wanted another girl, I almost thought that a boy would be easier to love, since that love would be, somehow, different. But, I’m happy to report that I was wrong, wrong, wrong. I love her more than I thought possible, and without sacrificing one iota of my love and devotion to my first daughter. Weird how that works for us mommies. And very, very cool.

July 24, 2008

Rock-a-bye, Baby

Posted in Baby Talk tagged , , , , , at 3:57 am by junecleaverwouldbeshocked

There are so few perfect moments in this life – and rarely do we have the time to stop and fully appreciate one when we’re in the middle of it.

There’s the marriage proposal – it’s magical, except for your heart pounding in your ears and the screaming refrain in your head of “ohmigod, ohmigod, ohmigod!!”

There’s your wedding day, which (as any married woman knows) is planned to death but ends up being a complete blur in the end.

There’s the birth of your child, during which hormones do funny things to your mind even if drugs do not.

But there’s one completely perfect moment that happens to me every single day, and I am eternally grateful that I have realized it now, before it’s too late. It’s that few minutes every night when I rock my baby to sleep.

After she’s in her pajamas, I turn out the bedroom lights (leaving on the bathroom light, so I can see) and sit down in the rocking chair to nurse her…during which we talk about her day (nothing too in-depth, just a recap) and I sing her bedtime songs – Rock-A-Bye and Baby Mine. Thankfully, she hasn’t yet learned that her mommy couldn’t carry a tune if it had handles. Then, once she’s had her fill, she sits up and I scoot her up onto my shoulder.

We rock, I pat, she snuggles in. She rubs her smooth, soft cheek against mine, and I rest my chin on her little shoulder. I revel in the sweet baby smell of her skin, her hair, her clothes. I remember when it was her sister that I rocked in that same chair – four and a half years ago, that feels like just yesterday. And I know that soon – too soon – my baby will be just as big, just as smart and just as independent. And that I’ll have no one left to rock to sleep.

So I enjoy it immensely, while I can. Whatever else needs to be done before bed can wait – the dishes aren’t going anywhere, the Tivo is recording any “can’t miss” TV, and truth be told, there’s nothing that I’d rather see than cuddle my baby anyway. Nothing that I want to do that I won’t have plenty of time for later, when she doesn’t need me as much. Nothing that could possibly rival this precious, fleeting moment with my sweet baby girl.

I have been blessed with the privilege of cuddling this child every night, and I intend to take full advantage of it – for as long as she’ll allow it.