Sunday, September 30, 2007

Family feud

It’s October, and you know what that means. No, not Halloween (although I can’t wait for that!)….I’m talking about the baseball playoffs! With lots of help from yours truly once I came along, the onetime-flatlining Yankees pulled themselves together to become the hottest team over the last few months and earn a wildcard berth. This playoff season could make for some ruffled feathers among lots of my friends and family: several of them (including Dido) are rooting for the Boston Red Sox, while many others (including Grandma and Aunt Paula) are cheering on the Cleveland Indians—the Yanks’ first round opponent—while still other fans of the blog are pulling (less fervently) for the Philadelphia Phillies.

I’m looking forward to watching the playoffs, and I’ll try not to rub it in too much when the Yanks beat the Tribe (the two teams played each other six times during the regular season; the Yankees won all six games). And A-Rod: for once, don’t choke this postseason!

Speaking of choking, you would have thought I was a Mets fan the way I’ve been crying the past several days.

If I’m not in my stroller or carseat, I’ve been refusing to go to sleep during the day, no matter how tired I am. Instead, I end up throwing a rapidly-escalating tantrum that isn’t fun for anyone. I’ve definitely got to work on succumbing to naptime.

Otherwise, I’ve been enjoying the weekend with Mom and Dad, especially now that my nasal congestion has passed. For the first weekend in ages, we didn’t have to visit anyone or have anyone visit us. As much as I like seeing friends and family, it was so nice to have Mom and Dad all to myself this weekend.

Now that I’m feeling better, I started solid foods again this weekend (just a little rice mixed with formula). By Sunday, I was already starting to get used to it, and actually ingesting at least a tiny bit of what Dad and Mom put in my mouth. Plus, I finally got to sit in my highchair for the first time. I’m glad Mom and Dad finally got the hint, as I’d been staring longingly at the thing for a whole week.

Beyond that, I’ve already gotten better at munching on my toes (Dad had to help me a bit last week, but now I’ve figured it out myself). And I just love all the time I’ve been spending with Babcia and Dido. They say they haven’t laughed this much in ages; hey, I’m happy to oblige!

Since there were no Ask Julia questions (and what’s up with that? Send ‘em along!), I guess I’ll be signing off. Go Yanks!

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Fantastic four

How did four months pass by so quickly? I’ve been growing by leaps and bounds; it’s hard to fathom that four months ago today I was a teeny-tiny newborn with two clueless parents who were seemingly incapable of feeding me.

And look at me now! This has been another week marked by gigantic accomplishments on my part.

First off, I had my first taste of real food on Saturday And a taste was about all it was, because once Mom and Dad stuck those spoonfuls of rice (mixed with formula) in my mouth, I spat it right back out onto my bib.

Still, it was a first step on the road to my eating solid foods and bidding farewell to my bottle (though I can’t imagine ever doing that!).

Unfortunately, the solid foods had to be tabled for a bit, because I got a little under the weather for the first time last Friday. Ever since then, I’ve been a bit stuffed. Strangely, it hasn’t gotten better or worse since then (no fever, thankfully!), so it looks like we’ll just have to ride this thing out until it goes away. Every so often, Mom, Dad, Babcia or Dido tries to stick this horrible thing up my nose to help unclog me and suck out whatever is getting me all stuffed. That device is pure evil!

Even though I have to wait a little longer to start eating, I did find something new to munch on in the interim: my feet. It’s been a long time coming, but after a couple weeks of locating my feet and grasping them, I finally got the idea to try and stick them in my mouth. Not too bad at all! They aren’t quite as good as my fingers and fists, but they’ll do in a pinch. People always talk about how putting your foot in your mouth is a bad thing, but so far it’s been heaven!

I also have been thoroughly enjoying the new plaything that Dad put together: my Exersaucer (the one pictured here is actually the one that will be kept at Babcia and Dido’s; the one Dad assembled for me is even bigger!). It’s a little like sitting in the command center of the Starship Enterprise, with just as many flashing lights and sounds. Every direction I turn (and I can go in a complete 360 degree circle), there’s something new to play with. And I know that everyone else appreciates having my attention occupied for a bit so they can get other things done.

I should also mention that it’s been almost a week that I’ve been spending all day with my two nannies—Babcia and Dido—and I couldn’t be happier. They always take me on walks and play with me. I know that Mom and Dad find it excruciating to be away from me all day long, but honestly, I’m loving my nannies!

This past weekend, we went back out to the country to visit a work friend of Dad’s. It was supposed to be sunny all day; instead, it was rainy so we were stuck indoors. It’s too bad, because I had my heart set on dipping my feet in the lake behind the nice lady’s house. Maybe next time.

It hasn’t been all smiles, though. My meltdowns are becoming more frequent. Usually they happen because I’m tired and need a nap (sometimes I’m too stubborn to succumb), or I suddenly decide to veer wildly off my every-three-hour feeding schedule and demand a bottle an hour early. I figure that Mom and Dad have had a pretty easy ride these past couple months, with my sleeping through the night and being pretty much the happiest baby alive. It was time to throw them a few curveballs.

I’ll end with an Ask Julia question from 18-month-old Audrey, who has written before (she’s the daughter of Mom’s friend Kirsten):

So Julia, did you play it cool and ignore your mom when she came home from work the first few times since her maternity leave ended, or, did you make her feel special and give her a big smile and some happy noises? I know I prefer to do the former over the latter. I figure, even though I don’t mind that she’s at work and I like spending time with my Grandma, my mom doesn’t have to know this. Let her feel unnecessarily guilty and try to make up for it by giving me goodies she never even let my brother have until he was at least 3 years old! I have it figured out. Stick with me.

Wow, and I thought that I was manipulative! So far, I’ve been greeting my Mom with my customary huge smiles, unless I’m preoccupied with a bottle (which always takes precedence). As I said, I’m having so much fun with Babcia and Dido that I don’t resent Mom and Dad for leaving me with them all day. So I’m genuinely happy to see them when they come home. Still, that’s some good advice ... I’ll keep that in mind down the line.

I should go enjoy the rest of my birthday, but my mailbox is always open and eagerly awaiting your questions. Talk to you soon!

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Working Mom

There’s so much to talk about today, but unfortunately we have to begin on a sad note. My Mom’s beloved cockatiel, Dante, passed away on Friday. Mom has known him for 22 years (he was found in a cemetery, so no one knows how old he really was), and even though he stayed with Babcia and Dido once Mom left for college, she always felt like he was still hers. So she’s very sad (as were Babcia and Dido), which means that I’m sad too.

I didn’t get to spend much time with him, but Mom did make sure we hung out from time to time. Mom, Babcia and Dido buried him in our backyard, so I’ll make sure to visit him when I can.

I’m also sad to say that this was Mom’s first day back at work after four months of maternity leave. We had such a wonderful summer together! I know that it was tough for her to leave me at home, but I’m looking forward to spending my days with Babcia and Dido.

For today only, Dad took off to help ease the transition, and I most certainly did not enjoy the schedule he had planned for me! We went to the doctor’s for my checkup (I continue growing by leaps and bounds; now I weigh 17 lbs. 14 oz. and measure 27 inches!). As if things weren’t bad enough because it was my feeding time and there was no bottle in sight, the nurse gave me three shots! I had a meltdown in the office, but really, it serves Dad right!

At least Mom’s last days of maternity leave were packed with terrific activities. We went to visit Grandma and Grandpa, and I had a blast with them. They showed me off to their friends and walked me around the neighborhood. Then on Tuesday, Mom, Dad and I went to the Turtleback Zoo. It was my first trip to a zoo. I saw penguins, an otter, turtles, billy goats, toucans and peacocks. Okay, I didn’t really see most of those things, as I was fast asleep for most of the visit. But I did stay awake long enough to go on a fun train ride with Dad.

In my last posting, I completely forgot to update you on all the neat stuff I learned to do over the past couple of weeks. I can now grab things (mostly to put them in my mouth), like my bottle. Over the weekend, I actually switched my new rattle from one hand to the other…twice! I really wasn’t aware I was doing it, but it still counts as a milestone! Additionally, I’m more prone to crying now that I’m teething, and I’m started making a new sound to entertain Mom and Dad. It’s a cross between a squeal and a growl. The best thing about it is that it’s all-purpose — I can use it when I’m excited and angry —so Mom and Dad are never quite sure what mood I’m in. I’m unleashing this thing all the time, and it’s working out splendidly. I also switched from slow-flow to fast-flow nipples, after I started to get really frustrated at how long my feedings were taking. Now we’re done in 15 minutes flat! Just yesterday, Dad took the carseat adapter off of my stroller, so now I’m facing forward in the stroller and using the thing the way it was intended.

I never like being in that carrier, so this is fine by me! Finally, I’ve outgrown Dad’s super-snug swaddles and now I sleep in a sleep sack to keep me warm at night.

During my blog absence, I received some great Ask Julia questions. These first ones are from my Aunt Rebecca, who always comes up with the best questions for me:

First of all, what kind of bedtime/daytime stories do your parents read to you? Which is your favorite? Why?
Mom and Babcia have been reading what I like to call "feeding time" (instead of bedtime) stories. After I eat, I like to relax a bit and listen to them. I love the Curious George books and my Princess book (which has fuzzy pages that I can chew for dessert).

If your dad has been reading his magazine to you, you are probably aware of the fact that Britney Spears has come under attack for her poor parenting skills. What advice would you give to Britney about what it really is that her sons want and need from her?
They just want her not to wake them up in the middle of the night when she comes in from partying.

When will your dad get a chance to go to the Cannes Film Festival, and when he does, will you go, and most importantly, what kind of outfit would you like to wear? Do you have a favorite designer?
Of course I will go. After realizing how long he’s away at these things, I already have plans to lay a major guilt trip on him the next time around. Where is Cannes anyway? I would definitely wear an outfit by Baby Naartjie, though perhaps if I’m going to Cannes I can convince them to give me something custom-made instead of off-the-rack.

Besides baseball and the New York Yankees, what is your next favorite sport and sports team?
I was going to say football and the New York Jets, since that is my Dad’s team, but after their 0-2 start I might have to switch to the New England Patriots. But that would make Dad very sad, so it might be safer to root for the UConn basketball teams alongside Dido.

Are you interested in boys yet?
If by boys you mean Daddy, Uncle Ryan, Dido and Grandpa, then yes, I'm very interested in them! Especially when they have a bottle for me.

And these two questions were sent in by Aunt Paula:

On your Blame Canada blog, there was the cutest picture of you in the pink outfit with the hat. You looked adorable. Are you getting used to wearing hats?
Good eyes, Aunt Paula! I am starting to like hats, slowly but surely. My first instinct is no longer to scream bloody murder when Mom or Dad put a hat on me. Partly because when the weather is chilly, I need a hat to keep me warm. But mostly, I realize how adorable I look in hats and I’ve already learned that when it comes to fashion, sometimes you have to sacrifice comfort for style.

Before you know it you will start crawling. What do you have planned once that happens?
Don’t be so sure that I’ll be a crawler! I know a few people that skipped crawling entirely and went right to walking. I might do the same thing. I already love standing (with a little help from Mom and Dad of course); it’s my favorite position. It’s so much fun, in fact, that I might not even bother with crawling at all. We’ll have to see. But regardless of whether I crawl or walk, my plans are to zero in on the one thing in the house that Mom and Dad haven’t babyproofed and cause as much trouble as possible.

This has been a looooong posting, so I should wrap things up. I’ll let you know how my first days go with my new nannies: Babcia and Dido. In the meantime, my mailbox is now empty, so be sure to send some Ask Julia questions my way.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Shore leave

Wow, so much time has passed, and so much has happened, since I last wrote! As I had mentioned, my blog hiatus was due to the fact that Dad had to leave for six whole days to go to the Toronto International Film Festival for work. He was very busy, seeing 24 movies in six days (and he said some of those movies were so long that he would have had to feed me twice during them). I was very busy as well, and I enlisted Mom to email Dad each day to keep him updated. Here are excerpts from those emails so you can get an idea of what I’ve been up to:

Sept. 6
Mommy, Babcia, Dido and I headed up to Soyuzivka (Mommy says you call it the “roach motel” because the last time she stayed there she saw roaches). It was a VERY long car trip but I decided to make it easier on everybody and slept the whole way (1.75 hours!). Once we got there however, I demanded food immediately. We walked around the resort a little bit, but there really was no one there, except lots of trees.

I guess everyone was hungry since we stopped at the Mountain Brahaus German restaurant nearby. Mommy said that you would have enjoyed the sausage platter on the menu - it included bratwurst, bockwurst and knackwurst! Mommy decided to have the salmon burger and didn't like it much (why did she order salmon in a German restaurant?). I went poo in the restaurant just to keep things interesting.

Sept. 7
Mommy and I practiced rolling over and back again a lot. I always laugh when we play that game - it's fun! I wish I could do it on my own.

Sept. 8
We went back to the store with the orange and pink letters. The woman at the counter gave mom 2 chocolate munchkins and said they were for me. Mommy took them and ate them herself - why didn't she give them to me?

Later, Mommy was carrying my friend Isabella. I guess it was Isabella's christening - Mommy said Isabella was very well behaved. I got to see lots of new people - everyone said how cute I was. Several people confused me with Isabella and tried to give me envelopes. I declined. I watched all of these kids play outside - they were running around, riding bikes. When will I get to do all of that?

Sept. 9
Did you know that my Halloween butterfly costume came in? It's so pretty. I don't quite get Halloween, but I think it means I get to eat chocolate. How exciting! Speaking of butterflies, Mommy keeps putting me in the papasan seat during showers. Today, she placed the butterflies in front of me. I easily grabbed them and ripped them off (you know, they are only attached by velcro). I then put them in my mouth (of course). Mommy was laughing in the shower.

Sept. 10
Mommy and Babcia dressed me in my Halloween costume - I didn't like it much, but that was because it was in the 80s and that costume is hot! I tried to tell them not to put me in it, but they wouldn't listen.

I may get up again in the middle of the night to see if Mommy is doing anything. I'll keep you posted.

Sept. 11
Did I tell you what I learned yesterday? The cabinets in the kitchen open up and there is lots of stuff inside! It is so neat. I spent a good half hour looking at everything - I don't even know the names of everything - I have so much to learn!

Mommy introduced me to the band The Killers today and had me dancing on a tabletop. She told me that I should never, ever dance on tabletops outside of our house. Why in the world would I ever do that?

So that was my busy week. Even though I had lots to do, I was so thrilled when my Dad came home on Wednesday. He was worried that I wouldn’t remember him, but it was like we didn’t miss a beat, because I was grinning from ear to ear when he came back.

Once we were all back together again, Mom and Dad took me on my first trip down the shore. We visited Long Branch (where Mom and Dad first met, at a wedding where they were both in the wedding party) and Spring Lake.

I really liked both places, but I wish that Mom and Dad weren’t so worried about shielding me from the sun. I’m too young for sunscreen, and I have my Dad’s complexion, so they have to make sure I don’t burn! So even though I was kept under wraps, I still had a ball. I hope we go back again next year!

While the shore itself was fun, our hotel room (the first time I was ever in one) was more of a mixed bag. I cried when we first got in there, and while I eventually adjusted to the room, I was very relieved when we finally returned home.

My favorite part of the hotel by far was the pool. I borrowed some swim diapers from my friend Isabella and Dad took me for my first dip in the pool. It was great, just like getting a bath (which I like a lot more these days). I was mesmerized by the reflections off the water.

That’s it for now. Hopefully this long post made up for my absence over the past week. I have a lot more to write — happily, there are a ton of Ask Julia questions to answer — but I have to rest up for a big weekend. I’m going to be visiting Grandma and Grandpa tomorrow night, which is always a treat. I promise to post again soon, so have a good weekend and we’ll chat again before long.

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Blame Canada

Just wanted to pop in with a quick posting to let everyone know that things will be pretty quiet around here for the next week. My Dad, who acts as my official blog typist, is leaving in a few hours to cover the Toronto Film Festival for work, and he’ll be gone for six whole days! He’s sad to go, and Mom and I are even sadder to see him leave. I know he’s worried that he’ll be missing out on a few big milestones for me that seem to be right around the corner. Most notably, I’m getting really close to rolling over from my back onto my tummy. Right now I can get there halfway on my own, then my pesky arm gets in the way. Mom has been helping me over the hump, but I know that I’ll get the hang of it myself any day now.

Mom and Dad have been enjoying listening to my latest utterances, which frequently sound like playful (though loud) growling. Maybe if I keep it up, they’ll let me audition for The Lion King on Broadway!

Mom and I seriously considered going up to Toronto to spend a few days with Dad, but we’ve decided to wait until we can all travel, and relax, together. Instead, we’ve got so many exciting activities planned, including (hopefully) my first-ever trip to the zoo. With any luck, Dad will be back before I know it. I just hope I remember him! (Kidding, Dad!)

Hope you all have a good week, and send lots of questions so I can make a big splash when I return late next week.

Saturday, September 1, 2007

Labor Day...wasn’t that on May 25?

So long, summer! I can’t believe it’s already September. This big holiday weekend, which marks the end of summer, has certainly been much quieter than the one that kicked off summer (that would be Memorial Day weekend, when I was born).

As Dad had warned me, I barely saw him this week. But Mom kept me so busy that honestly, I hardly even noticed.

Every day, she took me for walks, or shopping (she keeps taking me to the toy store in town, and every time I squeal at a toy, she buys it for me. Remind me to start doing that on big-ticket items. It’s never too early to get my first car!). I attract attention everywhere I go, as passersby and store workers alike keep fawning over me.

On Tuesday, we visited Mom’s very nice friend Todao, who lives up in Scarsdale. She has the biggest house I’ve ever seen! It’s a good thing I’m not crawling or walking yet, because it might have taken Mom months to find me in there.

Mom and I felt bad about going to the Montclair Art Museum without him the other week, so all three of us went back today to check out the comic book exhibit. I had slept through it the last time around, but I was up to see a bit of it this time around. I liked seeing the huge replicas of Superman and Spider-Man, though otherwise I was more interested in the overhead lights.

These days, you’ll often see me gnawing at my fingers and arms.

Those of you who were concerned about my thumb sucking can rest easy, as I’ve become an equal opportunity sucker: multiple fingers, my whole fist, sometimes fingers from both hands at once. Mom and Dad wonder if I’m starting to teeth, which would also explain the nightly meltdowns that I’ve started having. Also, while I’m still pretty much sleeping through the night, I’m getting up early in the morning and crying for a pacifier before I go back down. Mom thinks I might do it because I get chilly at night (I’m so big now that I usually am able to wiggle out of Dad’s swaddles before the morning).

Here’s an Ask Julia question from Mom’s cousin Arita, who lives in Boston:

When will you go to your first Red Sox/Yankees game?
I’m surprised you asked this, as I figured you’d be too glum this week, seeing as the Yanks swept the Sox! (Sorry, I don’t mean to gloat, but we’ll take what we can get since we’re still 5 games back from you.)

I asked Dad about this, and he says that he won’t be taking me to one of those games for a long while because he’d be too worried about me. Apparently the Yanks-Red Sox games are almost as crazy as the Yanks-Mets matchups, which always brings out the looniest people. In fact, Dad isn’t even sure when he’ll be taking me to any Yankees game (tomorrow, he’s actually going to his first game since I was born). More likely, we’ll all go to a minor league game here in town, maybe next summer.

As always, don’t forget to send me questions, and enjoy the rest of the holiday weekend.