Sunday, August 26, 2007

Three months and a baby

I wasn’t born yesterday; it just seems that way! Yet somehow, three whole months have now passed since I came along. As of yesterday, I’m now three months old (yet I’ve already started wearing size 6-9 months clothes). My parents still can’t get over how much I’ve changed since they first looked at me…of course, they ain’t seen nothing yet! To celebrate, Dad is putting together a new slideshow of my highlights from the past month. It’s not quite ready yet, so look for that the next time I post.

It was another busy, fun week for me. When I haven’t been going on big outings (see below), I’m doing lots of new things with Mom and Dad. Dad and I have been dancing together a lot this week to some of my favorite songs (including “That Thing You Do,” from the movie of the same name, and “Express Yourself”). Dad sings them to me, and I’m often so excited that I sing along (in my own way, of course). Mom has been working with me on using my hands. She’s helping me learn how to grab objects (like the things hanging off my rockers, or even better, her hair), and I’m getting better at it every day.

I’m happy to say that we have three Ask Julia questions this week. The first one is from Aunt Paula:

I understand that you went to New York City again to visit your mother's and father's offices. What did you think of them? I bet that all the people were happy to see you. Do you think that you will be getting a passport soon?

Yes, Mom did take me in to the city (with a little help from Babcia and Grandma), and I was pleasantly surprised to go into a tall, bright building and find Dad there waiting for me. He introduced me to a few of his coworkers, all of whom I charmed (of course!). Then Mom took me to the place where she says she works (though I’m not quite sure when she does that), and you would have though I was Suri Cruise the way everyone crowded around me and eagerly passed me from person to person. I enjoyed the attention, though it was a little much at times.

As for that passport, I don’t think any plans are in the works yet, but who knows what 2008 might bring?

Our next question comes from Dido, who read about my trip last weekend to the country.

Now that you enjoyed the country, will your ask your parents to take you to the top of the ridge behind your house? There are so many trees there that you will enjoy (and you don't have to travel by some windy roads to get there). Let me know how you like it.

Sounds like fun! I asked Mom and Dad to take me there but they said the weather has been too lousy (it’s always either raining or boiling) for me to go for a walk anywhere, much less a trip up to the ridge. So Dido, it might fall on you and Babcia to take me there! I’m sure I’ll love it. Just make sure you protect me from the bugs, because I’m still too young to wear insect repellent.

Our final question comes from my friend Isabella:

I had a lot of fun at your Baptism. You made it look so easy! My brother had told me that I had to participate throughout the whole ceremony, like he did. (In case you didn't hear me during your Baptism, I was practicing in the back pew.) But since you're my best friend, I'll trust you on I have to cry the whole time, or can I just nap and have everyone else do whatever they do?
Very good question, Isabella. I know that your Baptism is in two weeks, so it’s nice to see that you’re planning ahead. There are several schools of thought on this: some say sleep though the whole thing, some say scream your head off and others suggest sleeping until you come in contact with the holy water and then start screaming. Personally, I think you should go with your gut, and whatever reaction feels right to you. This is one of the only times that you can cry in public and people will think it’s cute, so that’s an attractive option. But remember, if you’re an angel through the whole ceremony, you’ll make your parents very happy, and you can use that as leverage down the line to make them buy you something (like a red convertible). One other thing: my Mom—your godmother—will be holding you during the ceremony, so please go easy on her!

That’s it for now. I’m going to enjoy the rest of the day with Dad, because apparently he’s going to have an incredibly busy week at work (almost everyone else is on vacation!). One final thing: if you haven’t noticed, it’s been a lot harder lately finding the time to get on and blog. There’s just so much fun stuff to do all day, and before I know it, it’s already time to go to bed (and yes, to my parents’ delight, I’m continuing to sleep through the night)! So I think going forward, I’ll probably be blogging on more of a weekly basis. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t still send me questions; in fact, I’m counting on them!

Hope you have a good week!

Monday, August 20, 2007

Into the woods

What a fun weekend I had! Mom and Dad took me on my first trip to the country. We visited my friend Isabella, along with her brother Alec and their parents Vera and Andrey, at their family home in Narrowsburg, N.Y. (right over the Pa. border). As great as the visit was, getting there and back was another story. I was not happy with spending time on all those narrow windy roads, as I much prefer when we’re driving on long stretches of highway. I made sure to wait until the car was on a 12-mile windy stretch of road with no place to pull off before I started wailing for my bottle.

Once we got there, however, I was all smiles. For someone who loves looking at trees like I do, I was in heaven! There was so much to take in (indoors too: the house had plenty of ceiling fans). Dad said there were two deer grazing right outside my window. Mom and Dad were nice enough to bring many comforts from home — my Pack n Play, my rocker, etc. — so I felt right at home. I was so content that I even let my parents eat together during all their meals (I was either sleeping or playing in my rocker), which I know they really appreciated. Unfortunately it was too cold to go out on the raft, but we still got to do a bunch of great stuff. We took a couple trips down to the lake, and went into town for a little shopping.

I spent lots of quality time with my pal Isabella. It’s hard to believe from the photos, but she’s three months older than I am. (Yes, I’m bigger than she is, but I don’t have a complex about it … yet.) When we were traveling around town in our matching Baby Bjorns, everyone kept asking if we were twins. We were also cooing at the same time to one another, which our parents thought was very cute. Little did they know that we were actually plotting our big escape, although we have to table those plans until at least one of us learns how to crawl.

Now that I’m officially supporting my neck fulltime, I spent much of the weekend getting comfortable with the new items I’m now allowed to use. First and foremost, I finally can spend time in my Bumbo, which keeps me seated upright (although it’s a bit harder for larger babies like myself). Then I got used to facing forward in the Baby Bjorn, which I haven’t liked doing for more than a few minutes at a time until now. But I warmed up to it and have been staying in there for as much as an hour now. Finally, my parents experimented with having me face forward in my baby stroller (instead of snapping my baby carrier onto it, which causes me to face backward and watch them as they push). I did okay with that, but I think I’ll stay in my baby carrier for a couple more weeks.

Mom took me for another first today: my first trip inside a toy store. She showed me a few Sesame Street characters to see who I responded to. And the winner is…not Elmo (much to my parents’ delight), but Grover! I just could not stop cooing at him. That should make Dad very happy, as he always says that Grover was unfairly elbowed out of the spotlight when Elmo came on the scene. Hopefully Mom got the hint and will get me a Grover of my very own before long.

As I promised last week, my Dad put together a slideshow of our favorite photos from my Baptism, from both the ceremony and the reception. I even agreed to let him include a few photos of people other than myself! Hope you like the photos.

If you want to take a closer look at any of the Baptism photos, you can find them here. I’ll be back later this week to go through my Ask Julia mailbag…provided of course that you actually send me a question. See you then!

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Come on in, the holy water’s fine!

I know, it’s been almost a week since I last wrote, and I can’t even blame computer troubles this time. Truth be told, my Dad has been too busy to help me out with my blog (you didn’t really think I typed this thing up myself, did you? Silly reader: I’m too young to type. I simply dictate to Dad, and then he types it up). Apparently he’s doing three different jobs at work this month, so I don’t get to see him much during the week. And because he’s only getting paid for one of those jobs, he spent his little free time at home writing a freelance assignment so, as he put it, he can pay for all my diapers.

So we’ve got a lot of catching up to do. First and foremost, I had my Baptism on Sunday. All the prep work and coddling from my parents paid off, because I was an absolute angel. I made Mom and Dad really proud. I slept through almost the whole ceremony, and didn’t make a peep when Fr. Jack poured the holy water on my head (though I did wake up at the end when everyone started applauding me. I appreciate the sentiment, but c’mon, some people are trying to sleep around here!).

Then we all went over to Palazzo Restaurant for a delicious reception. It was so wonderful to meet all those family members, including Aunt Paula (who was nice enough to stay over Sunday night with Grandpa and Grandma, so we could spend even more time together), and my cousins Abby and Sophia. I tried to spend time with everyone in between my bottles and naps, but I apologize if you felt slighted.

I was a bit overwhelmed with all the attention (even though I was laughing and smiling during the reception and before the ceremony).

I’m so excited to have Uncle Ryan and Aunt Ileana for my godparents. We’re going to have so much fun doing...well, doing whatever it is that we’ll be doing together. You can see a few Baptism photos here, but my Dad will be putting together a slideshow of the best photos, so look for that next week.

I got so many nice gifts from everyone; I was incredibly touched. Though I’m a little worried about my Dad, who kept looking at the checks I received and talking about all the stuff he wanted to buy with it. Mom said he was joking and assured me that of course it will all go to my college fund (whatever that is). Even so, I have my eye on you, Dad! So if you come home with a Blu-Ray player or a new camcorder, you’d better have a paper trail to prove where that money came from!

The day before the Baptism, I was also in church, spending my first mass outside of the cry room and in a regular pew with Mom and Dad. I wasn’t quite as good as I had been the past couple weeks, but Dad figured out that walking me over to look at the stained glass distracted me everytime I got fussy.

My baptism was big news, but something even bigger happened yesterday. I went to Dr. Buchalter for my monthly checkup, and before they gave me another vaccine (pretty sneaky, using a tiny needle so I wouldn’t feel a thing!), I got my latest measurements. I grew an inch, so now I’m up to 25 1/2 inches, but my new weight was a doozy: I jumped from 13.5 pounds all the way up to 16! Yowzer! Dr. Buchalter said there was no cause for alarm, and I’ll slow down eventually. I sure hope so, because at this pace I’ll need a crane to take me to my one-year checkup!

I’ve spent the week doing fun stuff with Mom (and after reverting back to form during the weekend and getting up a couple times each night, this week I resumed sleeping through the night again. I rock.). We went out to brunch with Babcia and Dido today, which was fun. Mom also gave me a Corolle doll, a gift from her friend Kirsten, who unfortunately couldn’t make the Baptism. It’s pretty much the best doll ever, and I’m completely captivated by her (she smells nice too, kind of like vanilla).

Grandpa was nice enough to write in for the second consecutive week, so here’s his newest Ask Julia question:

You have so many beautiful bibs. Wouldn't they make lovely (& functional) fashion accessories?
Are you trying to tell me something after seeing all the drooling I was doing last weekend? You’re probably right – it’s about time for me to start wearing bibs to catch all my drool, which pretty much dribbles out nonstop these days. It’s getting to the point where Mom, tired of mopping me up with the spitcloth, is cutting out the middle man and just having me gnaw right on the spitcloth.

I should wrap this up, because I have to help Mom and Dad get ready for our big trip this weekend. They’re taking me out to the country for the first time, as we’ll be spending the weekend with the Kuzyk family (including Isabella, my best friend).

It should be lots of fun, though my Dad is already dreading having to take down (and put up and take down and put up) the Pack N Play, which he said gave him the most trouble of all the baby stuff he had to assemble. Mom says that I’m supposed to watch Isabella for pointers on enjoying the Baby Bjorn and Bumbo; meanwhile, I’m supposed to teach Isabella to sleep through the night. Sounds like a work weekend to me; I just want to have fun!

I hope you do the same. Talk to you again next week, But before you go, why not send me a question?

Friday, August 10, 2007

Thanks for the memory

Back before I graced the world with my presence, if you had told Mom and Dad that their daughter-to-be was going to wreck havoc with their laptop, they would have guessed the damage would have been inflicted by my spitting up, drooling, gnawing or peeing on it. But I proved them wrong. Inside of attacking the laptop from the outside, I’ve been causing problems from the inside. Yes, my blog and ever-increasing number of baby pictures has necessitated yet another upgrade to their laptop. Dad already got a new hard drive last month; now he had to get a bigger memory chip to handle all the applications we need to have running at once.

So once again, and hopefully for good, we’re back in business.

The memory card died just as I was uploading my last posting; as a result, the posting that made it to the site was missing some photos and just wasn’t as finished as I would have liked. I fixed it, so please take another look at it. I don’t want you to have missed anything!

I’m happy to say that I received two Ask Julia questions this week, so let’s get to them. The first is from Alec, the 2 ½ year old son of Mom and Dad’s friends Vera and Andrey. His sister Isabella, who was born three months before I came along, is already my best friend. At least, that’s what Mom and Isabella’s mom keep telling me.

Hi! Isabella and I went upstate this weekend and the lake was so warm. Swimming is so much fun! It was warm enough for Isabella to swim too. We can't wait for you to come and play with us. Mommy said that you're going to come with us next time.
Do you like boats? Mommy and Daddy got this boat with a sunshade that Isabella cruises around in. (It used to be mine, but I'm way too big now.) You've gotta try it!

It does sound great, but if I’m anything like my Mom, I won’t like boats at all! So, we’ll have to see. Still, I’m happy to try for myself, and Mom and Dad said that as long as you have a lifevest for me, I can check it out for myself. I’m looking forward to swimming, or at the very least, peeing in whatever body of water you put me in.

Here’s another water question, this one from Grandpa:

How do you like water poured over your head (also known as your christening)?

Good question, and certainly one that my parents are also anxiously wondering about. (I’m not familiar with the word christening; I assume you’re referring to my Baptism, which is happening on Sunday.) I’ll be honest, Grandpa, most of the time I don’t like having water poured on me, which happens when my parents bathe me. But in the last couple weeks, I haven’t minded it as much. That’s probably because Mom and Dad have their bath routine down pat: Mom does most of the scrubbing and washing while Dad keeps me calm—he makes sure my pacifier stays in, holds my hands, gives me encouragement—and lifts me so Mom can get those hard-to-reach areas (before and after the bath, Mom does the prep work and cleanup while Dad gets me undressed/dressed, toweled off and ready for bed). And they’ve certainly been trying to prepare me for Sunday. But we’ll just have to see how I feel on the big day. Maybe I’ll be quiet, maybe I’ll scream my head off…you’ll just have to show up and see how I react!

In other news, I did something rather shocking on Monday night: I slept for 8 ½ hours straight! Yes, from 10:30 pm to 7 am Tuesday morning, I was fast asleep. I thought my parents would be overjoyed that I gave them such a treat, but I actually think they were a little stunned, and concerned that everything was okay (relax, Mom and Dad, I’m fine). Then I did it again...and again...and again! That’s right: four nights in a row I’ve gone down for more than 7 hours at a time. I hope they’re enjoying the peace and quiet, because it’s not going to last forever!

I’ve been extra adorable this past week, giggling and smiling fairly frequently. After a couple of weeks of disrupting our schedule with new sleep patterns, I’m back to being alert and playing with Dad for a good half-hour or so before he goes to work each morning. We chat about all sorts of things: what I’m going to do that day, what I want to wear. Pretty much the same things I do with Mom all day, though my Mom always talks about what she’s going to buy me (she says not to tell Dad about that!). I just wish they’d learn to babble a little better: I can barely understand what they’re saying!

The mercury has been pushing the mid-90s recently, which means I’ve been cooped up inside a lot. Since it’s too hot to go for our usual walks, Mom has been devising other ways for us to get some exercise but keep cool. So Babcia, Mom and I went to the Montclair Art Museum today. As usual, I slept through our big trip, but maybe I can get Mom and Dad to take me again sometime soon.

I’ll check in after the Baptism and let you know how that went. Apparently I’m going to meet even more family members this weekend, which should be fun, because I’ve become an expert at keeping audiences captive.

Friday, August 3, 2007

Ask Julia: 8/3/07

Yes, there is an Ask Julia column this week. But that’s not why I’m in a particularly good mood today: after a long vacation in Ukraine, Babcia and Dido have finally come home! I missed them so much, and I was very excited to see them yesterday. Don’t get me wrong, I had a wonderful time with Mom these past two weeks, and we fell into quite a nice routine, but it’s always a treat having Babcia and Dido take care of me for a bit.

We have a pair of Ask Julia questions this week, so let’s get to them. The first one is from my Aunt Jessica—I’ve been hoping she would write me!— who is about to start her final year of dental school and in fact just finished up her applications for orthodontic school. Apparently she’s none too happy with one of my latest discoveries:

I see that you started sucking your thumb. Are you aware that if you continue this habit for the next few years, you’re pretty much guaranteeing yourself many years of wearing braces and other undesirable orthodontic contraptions? Are Mom and Dad doing anything to prevent this?
Jeez, nice way to be a buzzkill, Aunt Jess! When you put it that way, yeah, what I’m doing sounds pretty awful! But look at it from my perspective: I like to suck on things, and I’ve just discovered my thumbs, so of course I’m going to suck on it! I do appreciate the concern, though I wonder if some of that concern is for your own financial well-being, since as my orthodontist I expect that you be supplying said “undesirable orthodontic contraptions” to me free of charge. But you’ll be happy to know that my parents share your concern. Whenever they see me sucking, or about to suck, my thumb, they try to shove a pacifier in there instead.

They’re always saying something about how you can take away a pacifier but you can’t take away a thumb, but their voices are usually drowned out by the loud sounds of my sucking, so I never know for sure what they are talking about.

Another Ask Julia question was sent in by my pink papasan seat, which has been feeling neglected lately:

I’ve missed you, Julia. For a few weeks there, we were spending so much quality time together. I know that we had a really strong connection. But I hardly see you anymore—sometimes you sit in me for a few seconds, start crying, and then quickly go away. You never call, you never write and I’ve caught you a few times in the company of another rocker, a blue bouncer with lots of lights and things to play with. I’m almost afraid to ask, but where do things stand with our relationship?
Wow, well...this is a bit awkward. Yes, I’ve been spending time lately with a new bouncer that Mom got for me.

You’re right, the two of us had a lot of fun together once upon a time, but we’ve grown apart these past few weeks. Face it, I’m a growing girl with a short attention span and I’m just not ready to be tied down to any one seat or rocker right now. That’s not to say we won’t have some fun again in the future, but right now, I just really need to see other seats and rockers. It’s not you, it’s me...but I hope we can still be friends.

And I think that’s it for the week, and another edition of Ask Julia. I’m looking forward to another fun-filled weekend with both Mom and Dad, where I plan on melting their hearts with my irresistible smiles as I toy with their emotions to get whatever my pretty little heart desires. Before you start your weekend, why not send a question to Ask Julia? Don’t keep me waiting!