Saturday, July 26, 2008

Cara Figlia - Just When We Hit a Groove

Cara figlia,

When Daddy was so busy, you and I got into a pretty good groove. Even though I was all worn out, I think we were doing pretty well. I was with you in the mornings before work, and then I would leave work early to come home. We would play in the afternoons, take walks, then I would cook dinner, feed you dinner and then do the bedtime routine many nights. It was a lot of quality Mama-Pumpkin time.

Granted, I was getting behind with my work, what with leaving early every day. And I didn't have any time for myself, which wears me thin. But now that Daddy is done with his project and we are getting back into the old schedule, I am missing you!

I miss the groove we were in, I miss the pattern we had, I miss spending so much time with you. Especially the time that I don't normally spend with you in the late afternoons before dinner.

Apparently, it's going to take some time to find our old rhythm again. And for me to get used to working full days away from you! But we'll find it again. I know we both missed having Daddy around, so we will be happy going back to the old routine.

Ti amo sempre,

Friday, July 25, 2008

This Is the Way We Wash Our Hands

Some people don't wash their hands after using the bathroom. We've all seen it happen, and there have even been studies about it. You're in a public restroom and a person leave the stall (or I suppose walks away from a urinal in the men's room) and walks right out the door, not even pausing at the sinks. We all know that there are people out there who do this.

I have no idea why someone would do this! It's not hygienic and it's incredibly gross. Bathrooms are dirty, and bacteria are spread when people don't wash their hands. Spread from urine and feces! Really, what is wrong with those people who don't wash their hands? Didn't their parents teach them this essential bit of hygiene?!?!?!

The other day, I learned (by anecdotal stories, not as an eye witness, thank goodness) that there are people who don't wash their hands and then go to parties and take food (like chips) out of serving bowls WITH THEIR DIRTY HANDS!!!

I don't know why I never considered this before. I guess I try to live in my little bubble world where people don't really do that. (Who would do this?!?!) But apparently, I have coworkers who have seen it happen. I'm happy to say that the known offenders are people I have not worked with nor been to the same parties with, but who knows what others people are out there with their dirty hands sticking them into food that I want.

Just gross.

So parents? Please, please, please teach your children the importance of good hand washing after using the bathroom and before eating. Want a tip for making sure you and the kiddos are washing them long enough? Sing Happy Birthday twice as you lather and rinse! It's never too early to start. My little one loves to wash her hands, and she'll insist "hans. hans. hans." until I hold her up to reach the water and soap. And she's only 16 months old! Start early and be consistent. Model this behavior as well!

And don't bring the book with you into the store bathroom. It will get flagged. Now, if only we could flag the people who don't wash their hands after using the bathroom...

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Feats of Strength

I warned you all that I was going to be telling cute Pumpkin stories, and here are more. This time, let's talk about my daughter's incredible physical abilities. I've mentioned that she has been hitting those physical milestones pretty early, and in fact her gross motor skills have been rated as Exceeding Expectations (by a very objective Mama)!

The Pumpkin has always particularly loved climbing. Lately, she is climbing EVERYTHING. For a while, she's been climbing up on our new couch. It's just the right level for her to swing her leg up on and get a hold in with her foot or knee. She's now also able to climb into adult-sized chairs, including the upholstered glider in her bedroom. She works with the rocking motion and gets her foot or knee up and there she goes. She gets in, turns around, sits down, rocks with the chair already in motion from her climb in and says "wheeeee!" It's terribly cute.

About a week ago, she started climbing into one of the wooden kitchen chairs. The kind that look like this, but in a different color. Londo and I just watched her in amazement, as she squirmed her way up into the chair, turned around and then grabbed the table and pulled herself in to the table. In. Cred. A. Ble.

Over the weekend, she was toddling around as I sat in one of the kitchen chairs and flipped through a magazine on the table. I got up to cook or something, and she pulled herself into the chair I was in, turned around and started flipping through the magazines. Don't worry, I took pictures and even a little video. This kind of imitation I want on film!

Yesterday, she climbed up on the glider's ottoman, which also glides. Later she climbed up on another ottoman, which was even smaller than the glider's ottoman. She balances on her knees, and the slides them out so she's sitting.

Londo and I have had a few minor heart attackes, as this climber works her way up everything around. I won't stiffle her climbing, because I was a climber too* and that's a perfectly valid way to be. But we know she needs to learn limitations and where dangers are. We've been teaching her that she is not allowed to stand on the couch or chairs (because she inevitably starts bouncing and flinging herself around, and if she's standing, she is more likely to fall off and having a bigger fall). Instead, we tell her that the couch and chairs are for sitting, so that is why she immediately turns around and sits when she climbs in things.

We've also started teaching her where the edge is. I think this was brilliant on my part. When she gets too close to the edge of something, I ask her where the edge is and she stops, looks and pats the edge. Next step we are working on is to move away from the edge. Unfortunately, she is currently fascinated with the edge. Actually, this is probably a good stage to go through. I let her stare off the edge, but only when she's lying down so she's more stable. She's reaching for things on the floor or just pointing down. She's slipped a couple times, and when she's not far from the bottom, I will guide her slide down. This is so she understand that she will fall if she goes of the edge, but I guide her so she doesn't hit hard or get hurt. Let's hope she figures it all out before she does get hurt.

The other limitation she's discovered on her own is that she can't always get down by herself. Long ago, we taught her to go feet first when she wants to get down from somewhere, and she's really good about this. When she looks down and feels like she can't make in on her own, she looks up at me, reaches out a hand and calls out "hans" for me to give her my hand(s). She will wait for me to come over and give her my hand and help her off. She's tried to get off the wooden kitchen chairs herself two or three times, but each time the wooden seat edge must have dug into her thighs, because she screams out when she lands and grabs her legs like she's in pain. I comfort her and tell her next time to ask for my hands.

And she does, cause she's a supergenius as well as a super-strong baby.

*Not only did I climb every tree I could get my hands on and all jungle gyms in the area, I used to literally climb the walls. We had this hallway that was the perfect width for me to put one hand and foot on one wall and the other hand and foot on the other wall and then climb up the walls until I reached the ceiling, where I would hang out for a while. My mom was impressed and just told me not to do it near the stairs. I'm striving to be as supportive as my mom, who never showed the heart attacks I'm sure she was having.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

You Can't Like Everyone, Right?

I try to be understanding of others and know that every person, every situation is different and that I don't know everything so I should try not to judge. I do try. And I like most people. I really do. Even when they make different decisions than I do or think in different ways or believe different things. I would hate to be around people who only thought exactly the way I do. How boring would that be?


But, there is this woman who I've had to interact with more and more over the last few months (it's not any of you, I can promise that!).

I usually like people when I meet them. Occasionally, I have some initial misgivings but once I get to know the person I usually like them fine. There are very few people in this world that I don't like at all.

This woman... Almost every time she opens her mouth, I like her less. Almost every time I learn something about her, I like her less. From her attitude to her parenting decisions. You know, it's not even her parenting decisions, but its her reasoning behind those decisions. I just want to ask her "How can you really think that?" all. the. time.

I doubt she likes me much, either. In fact, part of why I don't like her is she has this air of junior high school drama that she thinks she's so cool and is judging everyone around her. That perhaps is what drives me crazy the most. I feel like she was judging me from the minute I met her. I really, really, REALLY try not to judge other people. I think that when I do (like now, apparently), I judge based on good criteria and on behavoir gathering over a period of time.

I have to continue to interact with this woman. So I'm trying to just deal. When I am as grumpy as I am now, I do my best to not be around her--or at least not talk to her least my opinion manifest itself in some way. Because even if I'm silently judging, I will not act that way. It doesn't matter if I like her or not. I still want to be courteous around her.

There. I just had to get that off my chest.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Question of the Week - Scary Moments

Yesterday, I was walking down some stairs outside my church, when my shoe slipped a bit and I lost my balance with about 8 steps to go. I started stumbling down the cement stairs. With the Pumpkin settle against one hip, one arm holding her to me, which became a death grip to keep her against me.

I struggled to stay upright, and luckily succeeded--but just barely. Thanksfully, I had my other hand on the rail and used it to pull myself upright. I almost regained my balance twice, but gravity kept pulling me down. I didn't get my balance back until my knee landed on the cement at the bottom of the stairs.

One shin and both knees got scrapped up, pretty bad in some places. My arm was yanked pretty hard behind me, and that hand has a burn in the palm from the railing. My foot and the muscles in both legs are extremely sore, even more so today than yesterday. My arm that had been holding my baby is also sore because of the death-grip hold I had on her.

The Pumpkin? Not a scratch on her. Not even a hair ruffled. She was a bit upset when she realized I was so upset. One of the girls who works in the church nursery happened to be there and took the Pumpkin while I tried to calm down and regain the ability to speak. Once I was able to be coherent, I assured everyone I was fine and took the Pumpkin back and acted like it was no big deal.

But it was a big deal. Not just because it hurst to fall down cement stairs. Because I was holding my precious baby girl while it happened.

In the first instant I started to fall, I had this split-second vision of me tumbling and my little girl falling, with her head going straight for the cement ground so far away. That was probably the scariest vision I have ever had, because it was so close to happening and would likely have had a tragic ending! Even now, I'm so choked up when I think about it.

I do belief, though, that the vision was part of what spurred my herculean efforts to stay upright. It impressed upon me what HAD to be done, not what would simply be optimal. I fought so hard to stay upright, and through sheer force of will and (I really believe) a little help from God (I was outside of church, after all), I was able to land at the bottom without the baby ever touching any hard surface.

I shouldn't have. Really, the fall was in such a way that I should not have stayed upright and landed relatively okay at the bottom. I will take the scraps and bruises and the feeling of having gotten beaten up. I will also take the feeling of protecting my baby at the cost of my own body, the feeling that I was able to protect her against something tragic. I might not be able to protect her for the rest of her life (though I will try), but at least this one time I was able to. And I proved to myself that I am able to.

That is a good feeling, even if I had to go through such a scary moment to get that feeling. I'm all about the silver lining. ;-)

Which brings us to the question of the week:

What a scary moment have you had that you were able to come out of with a good realization about yourself or others?

I'm trying to keep this positive, as I'm not in to scare tactics and living in fear. So tell me something that ends positively! I know you all have stories!

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Cara Mama - Come and Play

Cara Mama,

I don't mind that you haven't been writing to me. I'd rather you play and hold me and be with me ALL DAY LONG! In fact, where are you right now? Come on and play!

Ti amo,