Thursday, January 31, 2008

Turning point

I've never asked for your advice before, but I'm getting desperate after having a few rough nights this week. I'm not sleeping through the night anymore—in fact, I'm getting up several times. Usually I'm more than happy to play in the wee hours, but at least once a night in my crib, I'm turning over onto my stomach or sitting completely up (every once in a while, I sit up and then get onto my stomach, which means I'm facing the opposite direction from where I started!). Because I can't get myself back into my original sleeping position, I get really upset and start crying for Mom and Dad to rescue me. I also make sure to toss my pacifier over the side of my crib onto the floor, which always seems like a good idea at the time...but then it's gone and I can't suck on it anymore, which leads to more tears. Do any of my baby/toddler peers, or their parents, have any advice for how Mom, Dad and I can deal with these tumultuous late-night events? If so, please write and help a baby out!

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

I'm on top of the world!

Well, I'm on top of Dad's shoulders, at least. I love the view from up there! Mom used to get scared when Dad would lift me up there, but she eventually came around when she saw how excited I always get. Later on, Grandma too had the same worried reaction, until my delighted squeals set her at ease.

My favorite thing to do on Dad's shoulders is stand in front of a mirror and watch myself bounce up and down, and sway from side to side. Wheeeeeee!

Monday, January 28, 2008

Stuffed animal magnetism

Whenever Babcia brings over her camera and starts taking photos, you can be fairly certain that the results are going to be supercute (case in point: last month's Eliza Doolittle photo , which ranks as one of my greatest all-time pictures). Last week was no exception. Remember that scene in E.T. where E.T. hides among Gertie's stuffed animals to evade detection from Gertie's mom? Well take a look at this:

Yes, Babcia had the clever idea to put me in with the stuffed animals to see what would happen. Strangely enough, I felt right at home.

While I loved being in there, I don't think that Cartman was too happy about the intrusion.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Testing one, two, three

Guess who's eight months old today? Me, of course! Instead of getting me a gift, Mom and Dad opted to mark the occasion by subjecting me to a quiz (in two languages, no less!).

Hey, to quote that song by Meatloaf (mmm...I can't wait to try that food!), two out of three ain't bad.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Ask Julia: 1/24/08

It's time to go through another round of Ask Julia questions. My two most loyal readers wrote in; everyone else, as usual, remained silent. Well, two can play at that game!

Not too much fun, was it? So to those of you who haven't written me in months (or ever!): send me questions, or get used to looking at blank space.

Here's the latest from my Aunt Rebecca:

I know you're wearing a bigger size in clothes now, but once you start crawling more and then walking, your smaller clothes might fit again as you begin to stretch out. Or perhaps you want to compete with Suri Cruise and her wardrobe?
I'd love the chance to drool on some really expensive threads, but no luck so far. Mom and I pointed out to Dad that the baby boutique in town was having a half-off sale; he said that half off of $200 is still a whopping $100. So it looks like the only way I'll find myself in Burberry and other fancy baby labels will be if some kind soul takes pity on a beautiful little girl and sends her some $200 outfits that she'll probably only be able to wear for a month or two until she outgrows them.

Do you think Babcia and Dido pick you up too much, thereby eliminating the need for you to crawl and/or walk?
No way. In fact, I wish they'd pick me up more. They always want to me to do all the hard work myself, trying to crawl and whatnot. I have better luck with Mom and Dad, who try to compensate for not seeing me all day by scooping me up and showering me with kisses. But I've definitely been pulling my weight in the last couple weeks with trying to crawl. I've been on my tummy more in the past two weeks than in the first 7 1/2 months combined!

Did anyone tell you that Grandma loves when you throw your toys all around for her to pick up? She says it gives her great exercise.
Oh, believe me, I figured out that trick long ago. Babcia has gotten wise, though; she usually leaves the toys on the floor. Mom and Dad still pick them up and hand them back to me so I can toss them right back down.

Do you have any more trips planned to The Big Apple?
Probably not until it gets a little warmer. And Dad says I can't call it the Big Apple because New Yorkers don't say that. But I don't live in New York, so I don't understand what he's talking about.

What do you think of the off-season moves the Yankees have made? How competitive are they going to be this year? What about Johan Santana? Would the Yankees be better off with him or without him?
Wow, I've completely forgotten about the Yankees. We'll have to see what this season is like. Could be great, or really ugly if all the young pitchers can't handle the pressure. But I have faith in Job-A, Job-A, Job-A! As for Santana, I know that Dad isn't sold on that trade, so I think it's for the best that the Yankees seem to be backing away from that deal.

Have you been watching American Idol? If so, what do you think about the contestants who can't sing but insist on going on national tv to prove to the world they can't sing?
I haven't seen it; as usual my parents don't let me watch TV. They don't watch the show either. But after seeing my brilliance on the piano, I'm sure you agree that it sounds like a show I should be on.

Any hopes of those "toofers" coming in soon?
Ugh. You've touched on a sore subject, in more ways than one. We've all given up that my teeth will show up anytime soon, which probably means that the next time we check, my full set will be in. But for now, I'm still toothless. I thought Aunt Jessica could work her dentist magic over the weekend when I saw her, but no luck.

Aunt Paula chimed in with a few queries as well:

Are you still sleeping through the night?
For the most part, yes, although I've been getting up once or twice in the hour or two after I first go down. The real problem lately is been my wakeup time, which has been between 5:30 and 5:45 for the past two weeks. I did manage to "sleep in" until 6:15 this morning, which has Mom and Dad hopeful that I've broken the cycle and will return to my usual 6:15/6:30 routine, but I haven't decided yet what to do.

It looks like your hair is growing very fast. You look so pretty. Do you think you will be wearing ring bows in your hair once it gets a little longer?
Mom says she doesn't know yet. Barrettes, definitely, but the jury's still out on anything else.

Do you have snow? Have you been sled riding lately?
Aside from a fast-disappearing snowfall last week, there's hasn't been any snow to speak of all year. But Dido did get me out there for a quick sled ride before the snow melted, which I loved. Now that I'm more animated about things, I'm looking forward to whooping it up whenever the next snowfall arrives.

How many more weeks of music lessons do you have? Maybe you can show them how well you play the piano.
I've got eight weeks to go. Unfortunately they don't have a piano there (there's a violin and other instruments, but no piano), so the other kids and parents will sadly be deprived of my musical genius.

My drinking problem

Try as they might, Mom and Dad can't get me to grab my bottle during formula feedings. My take on it is, they do a great job holding on to it for me, so why mess with perfection? But my sippy cup is a completely different story. For the past week or so, they've been giving me a sippy cup to begin my gradual transition from a bottle (why is that, exactly?). I immediately got the hang of it, grabbing the handles and lifting it to my lips. The only problem is that I'm still learning to tilt the cup up so I can get at the liquid inside (that "water" stuff tastes weird!), so much of the time I'm just teething on the spout.

Messing around with Mom

Dad is my go-to parent for horseplay, but I don't want to give you the impression that Mom never gets silly with me, because that couldn't be further from the truth. Here we are, having fun.

And, as often happens when we play around, I found myself a nice clump of Mom's hair and wouldn't let go.

Hey, it's her own fault; back in my younger days (you know, three months ago!), she used to actively encourage me to grab her hair. Be careful what you wish for, Mom!

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

I say whip it, whip it good!

Indiana Jones has his whip; I have my pacifier. To all those who would dare mess with me: you have been warned! (And yes, I do grasp the irony of using something called a "pacifier" as a weapon.)

Julia the Ripper

Dad had another late, late night at work yesterday, which means that I didn't see him all night and he didn't put me to bed. After thinking of ways to get him home from work, I've finally figured it out: if I tear up his magazine, that means he can't work on it anymore, right?

It seemed like a great idea, but after I did it, Dad told me that tearing up an already-printed issue wouldn't have any affect on his work schedule. Still, it felt pretty good to do it anyway! I guess that means I have to go back to the drawing board...

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Baby grand

Over the weekend at Grandma and Grandpa's, Grandpa had the excellent idea of letting me bang on the piano. I always try to bang on Dad's computer keys, usually without much luck, so I was so excited to finally have the chance to let loose. Here's the result of that burst of creativity: the world premiere of a composition that I created on the spot. Sure, it's not Beethoven, but it's better than half the stuff you hear on the radio!

Blast from the past

I spent the holiday weekend in style, being pampered by Grandma and Grandpa at their house. While Mom and Dad popped in and out all weekend (they said they were out shopping for me, so I couldn't be too mad at them), I hung out with my grandparents, who had a "new" collection of toys for me to play with. Many of them belonged to my Dad, Uncle Ryan and Aunt Jessica way back when they were kids. Check out this "activity center" from Dad's crib: no batteries or lights or anything! Of course, I'm sure in 30 years we'll look back and say that my stuff is from the Stone Age because it didn't have any holograms or high-definition screens.

It was fun, but everyone had to be extra vigilant because those toys don't have the same safety guidelines as the ones I have now. For example, the xylophone set I played with has a wooden mallet, not a plastic one (dad still remembers getting splinters from it) so no one was happy to see me repeatedly try to shove that thing in my mouth.

Grandma and Grandpa said I was much more animated and active than when they last saw me at Christmas. They also got to see my crawling moves; I'm sure next time I'm there I'll be speeding around the house.

Aunt Jessica also visited for a bit, and she got to feed me and see just how much food I can finish off these days. Then she saw me in rare form as I was giddily shrieking and giggling with her for a good 10 minutes.

Yesterday I was sad to go home. I don't understand why we don't see Grandma and Grandpa more often, as they are just a 10-minute car ride away. But Dad says that's not true—the ride is much longer but I always fall asleep after 10 minutes. I think he's lying.

Okay, I stand corrected. Still, it was a great way to spend the weekend. And then I got to catch up with Babcia and Dido when I got back, so it's the best of both worlds!

When they weren't out shopping, Mom and Dad were busy over the weekend taking lots of pictures and videos of me, so be sure to check back here frequently this week to see them.

Friday, January 18, 2008

You can't stop the beat

I can't wait for tomorrow, and not just because we're going to visit Grandma and Grandpa. Before that, Mom, Dad and I will be going to the second week of our Music Together class. We had such a great time last Saturday! It's a mixed-age class, and I was the youngest by far, but I was simply captivated by watching everyone, and dancing and tapping along to the music with Mom and Dad. In fact, I was having such a great time that I forgot I had skipped my morning nap and by all rights should have been whining and sobbing myself silly. Instead, I was full of energy and had a blast. I don't think Mom and Dad realized how much I'd enjoy myself, and how much fun they'd have as well. Plus they gave us egg-shaped maracas and scarves to play with (but then they made us give them back—what's up with that?).

To top it off, Mom bought me a few baby musical instruments from the toy store in town. I must say, I play—and eat—a mean drum!

As I mentioned, I'll be spending the long weekend visiting Grandma and Grandpa, so I'll won't be checking in until I'm back home. Hope you all have a great weekend!

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Food glorious food

First, an addendum to yesterday's Ask Julia post. Grandma wrote in after reading my lament about my hair color (light brown, not blond) with some good news: Aunt Jessica's hair was also light brown until she was 2, when it finally turned blond. See Mom, there's still hope!

It's been nearly three months since I first had Dad upload my videos onto YouTube for everyone's enjoyment. The very first video showed my introduction to sweet potatoes, and my confused and somewhat disgusted reaction. Here it is, to refresh your memory:

Well, that soon changed, as I grew to love not only sweet potatoes, but pretty much all of the other new fruits and veggies that Mom, Dad, Babcia and Dido have been feeding me. So we thought it would be fun to take a new video of feeding time (in this case, winter squash & pears are on the menu) so you can see how far I've come:

Who knows, maybe in another three months I'll have moved on to steak dinners!

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Ask Julia: 1/16/08

Another week has passed since I last complained about my empty mailbox, and the response continues to be...underwhelming, to say the least. But on the bright side, I did receive questions from Grandma and Grandpa, for the first time in months. So that's enough to placate me for at least a few more days. But if you're a regular reader and you haven't written me a question in awhile, you'd better step up!

Here are Grandma's questions:

We've noticed that your hair is really growing now. In some pictures/videos it looks blonder; some light brown; and in some, Grandpa thinks reddish. Can you clear up the confusion? (Whatever though, I'm sure it will be very blonde in the summer when you're outside most of the time.)
To Mom's dismay, my hair is light brown. She keeps telling me that I'm supposed to have blonde hair like my Aunt Jessica did when she was little, and I don't know how to break it to her that I have no control over my DNA.

We've had nice, mild weather so far this season. Do you take daily strolls with Babcia and Dido? As a matter of fact, can you describe your daily schedule on a typical weekday?
A typical day depends on the weather; when it's nicer, we do take walks, often multiple times a day. When it's cold and/or rainy, then I'm stuck indoors. But my typical day with Babcia and Dido usually starts off with Babcia putting me down for my first nap. Then we schedule many of these activities in between my feeding schedule: walks around town, story time at the library, long naps with Babcia, a trip to the mall or the supermarket and quality playtime with Dido.

Not to be outdone, Grandpa chimed in yesterday with a few questions of his own about my upcoming visit this weekend:

Do you think you'll be happy with toys that you have to work harder for your entertainment? Grandma took the toys your dad, uncle & aunt used to play with out of storage and washed them for your upcoming visit. None of them run on batteries, so no noises, or blinking lights. You would have to make all the sounds and movements yourself, but please come to see us anyway!
Have you already forgotten how much fun I had with that plastic cream cheese container the last time I came to visit? Sure, I love toys with lights and sounds, but as long as I can bang them together and put them in my mouth, I'll be all set.

Grandpa had dreams about you two nights in a row. In one, we lifted you out of your crib and you started taking several steps, then we caught you before you fell. This happened three times. In the other, you were climbing up the steps of a sliding board and then having a thrill going down. Afterwards, with your eight teeth you were eating all kinds of finger foods, except at the end you somehow put your grandma's contact lenses in your mouth! Is Grandpa seeing into your future? Love, Gramps
Yes, I'm sure I'll be walking (and falling) before long. And I also bet I'll love going on slides, because I get so thrilled when Dad lifts me up, hangs me upside down, etc. As for eating Grandma's contact lenses, I wouldn't put it past me, though I do gravitate towards munching on larger objects (her glasses, perhaps). So it's not a stretch to say that at least part of those dreams will come true.

But I do have to ask: uh, "Gramps"? That's definitely not seeing into my future. I can't imagine ever calling you that, at least not until you're well into your seventies and don't have any of your teeth left.

Thanks for the questions, Grandma and Grandpa. As for the rest of you, you cannot hide—I know who my readers are and I will start naming names of people I haven't heard from in a long while. So send me questions!

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Movement in three parts

I'd been predicting for some time that I would probably skip crawling all together, but I've started warming up to the idea after all. Now that the Christmas tree is gone, I have the open space to start experimenting with my movement techniques. So there's a little leaning, a little reaching, a little scootching, a little pivoting and on occasion, even a little crawling (okay, it's usually backwards, but give a girl credit for trying!).

Here's a look at my latest strides in mobility. Egged on by Mom and Dad, I've been trying to stretch my least, when I don't get sidetracked.

Okay, take two. This time around, I had a little unexpected surprise in store, as Mom and Dad caught an achievement of mine on video for the very first time.

Third time's the charm, right? Let's see what I've learned (and yes, that includes the backwards crawling I mentioned earlier).

So I still have some kinks to work out (for example, what should I be doing with that extra leg that keeps getting in the way?), but just wait, before long I'll be motoring around the house on all fours!

Monday, January 14, 2008

I've grown on you

How have I gotten bigger over the last couple weeks? Let me count the ways:

1) I outgrew my infant carrier, so right after Christmas, Dad had to get my next carseat installed. It's so nice and plush! Plus I enjoy having the extra room, since it's good all the way up to 40 pounds. But my poor Mom and Dad can no longer use the carrier to transport me out of the car when I fall asleep during trips. Now they either have to hang out in the car until I wake up, or try to get me out of the carseat without waking me up (good luck!).

2) Shortly after the new year, I got big enough to realize that I could get out of the inflatable tub that Mom and Dad put me in while they shower. I'd been getting bolder and bolder, throwing my toys out of the tub and then leaning over and reaching for them. Not the best idea in an inflatable tub, which eventually tipped over when I was in mid-reach (Dad saved me in the nick of time). Dad knew it was time for Plan C, so he and Mom bought a slightly smaller playard that fits into the bathroom. In fact, my tub fits perfectly in there, so I still get to sit in that. But thanks to the playard walls, I can't reach or toss my toys out anymore, which is a drag.

3) My parents finally had to lower my crib mattress a bit. After I spent few days tossing my pacifier out of the crib like it was a grenade, they realized I had grown too big for the highest setting. Now it won't be nearly as easy for me to plot my escape!

4) I can hardly believe it myself, but I somehow have graduated to size 18 month outfits, even though I'm less than half that old! I still am in a few 12 month clothes but for the most part, it's 18 months or bust. Literally.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

The parents who stole Christmas

Gone, gone, it's all gone! The pretty ornaments, the twinkling lights, the stockings, the tree...Mom and Dad took it all away. I watched in disbelief this weekend as they packed up all the Christmas decorations and carted them out to the garage. Apparently this was more work than usual because they had to separate the ornaments into two groups: the breakables (which I won't see for a couple years, until I no longer have the urge to pull down and throw pretty objects I see) and the unbreakables, which is all they'll be putting on the tree for next year at least. Dad said I actually got a week longer of Christmas than most people; we waited an extra week to put everything away because Ukrainian Christmas takes place on Jan. 7. Still, it seemed way too soon.

When they were finally all done, I sat exactly where the tree had stood for the past month and a half. I couldn't believe that everything was gone.

I was sad for a few moments, until I realized that the room could be all mine again, especially because my pack and play and swing would not be returning to their old places. So within five minutes, I had redecorated the that's more like it!

So long Christmas, I can't wait to celebrate you again at year's end!

Friday, January 11, 2008


As I mentioned yesterday, my recent blogging absence was noted by a total of one person: Aunt Paula, who was worried and wrote in with some questions earlier this week.

Do you think that we should start a campaign to get more questions in your mailbox? If you need help with that I will be more than happy to help out.
Believe me, I've tried asking nicely, begging, being cute...and look where it's got me. Nowhere! As Mom and Dad well know, when I don't get my way I start whining and worse. So fasten your seat belts, it's going to be a bumpy ride.

Do you have any fun plans for the weekend? Maybe you will get to go sledding again soon.
I start Music Together class with Mom and Dad tomorrow morning! I'll be conducting symphonies in no time. And it's been in the high 50s and 60s here this week, so I sadly don't see myself sledding anytime soon.

Do you feel any teeth coming through? I am sure you will get a bunch at one time. Once that happens, do you think that you will start biting? I sure hope not.
It's the same old story: lots of teething, but no teeth to show for it. Whenever they finally break through, I'm not sure if I'll bite or not. I'll have to mull my options, and make the choice that satisfies both my short-term goals (i.e. 2 seconds from now) and my long-term ones (10 seconds from now).

Against my better judgment, I'm going to overlook the lack of love I've been feeling from my readers and share a new pair of videos. As I continue learning how to speak, I test new sounds and syllables each week, often repeating them over and over. But this week's new sound was "da" and I was reciting it over and over again when Dad was around. So you can see where he might get the wrong idea about what I'm actually talking about...

And here's some more of my dadaesque behavior.

If you want more cute videos and photos, you're really going to have to start winning back my affections. The best way, as always, is to send me questions. Because that picket line is starting to look better and better!

Thursday, January 10, 2008

We be illin'

I know you've all been worried about my unexplained blogging hiatus this past several days (actually, only one of you was worried, but that's a rant for another, not-so-distant day). Rest assured, I'm fine, and thanks to a lot of naps (like the one you see above—thanks to Babcia, I haven't been this snug since Dad swaddled me during my first three months!), after two weeks most of my congestion has cleared up. In that time, I passed the sickness like a hot potato along to Mom, who juggled it for several days before tossing it to Dad and leaving him to deal with it this week.

There is much to update you on, and new videos of my latest accomplishments, but I'll get to that over the weekend. Tonight I just wanted to say a quick hello and share this photo with Mom and Dad. I posed with them even though they left me behind Sunday night to go to some big New York Film Critics Circle Awards shindig in the city to hobknob with the stars. But I got to hang out with some pretty cool people too: Babcia and Dido, whom I helped celebrate his birthday that day (Mnohaya lita, Dido!).

Back with more tomorrow.

Saturday, January 5, 2008

You say you want a resolution

Greetings, all. I'm still feeling a bit under the weather, which has made for a rough week. Every time we think I'm getting better, my nose turns into a spigot again. But even while I've been a bit off my game, I've had time to think about my resolutions for 2008.

Initially, my resolution was to learn to play a musical instrument...

Done. Mom and Dad got me a bongo, and I've hit that a few times, so I think that counts. Just to be sure, I'll be going to music class with them starting next Saturday. I think I'll be an accomplished pianist at the end of the sessions, but I'm not 100 percent positive about that.

So anyway, I went back to the drawing board and came up with this list of new year's resolutions:

1) Learn to walk

2) Learn to talk

3) Learn to stalk (as in, follow Mom and Dad around incessantly. But I'll have to master resolution #1 first.)

4) Hide the nasal aspirator, so Mom and Dad can't use it on me anymore.

5) Get the ball rolling on teething. Enough is enough already!

6) Put something new in my mouth every day.

7) Finally get my hands on Dad's Blackberry.

8) Continue to have one stranger each day tell Mom, Dad, Babcia or Dido how adorable/cute/beautiful/well-behaved/happy I am.

9) No more shots!

and finally...

10) Keep Mom and Dad on their toes all year long.

Speaking of resolutions, apparently none of you made a resolution to send me questions, because my mailbox has been empty this whole year, aside from one letter from my most loyal reader, Aunt Paula:

I am really enjoying watching you bounce around in your toys. How do you have so much energy?

As always, I'm fully committed in everything I do: playing, sleeping, eating, filling my diaper...

I think you are waving just great. Have you tried it out in public yet?

I sure have. Just today, at lunch with Mom, Dad and some of their friends, I was waving. Sometimes at them, sometimes at the TV screens, sometimes at nothing in particular. But it's still fun to do.

Thursday, January 3, 2008

New year, new tricks

What better way to ring in the new year than to show off my latest moves? I've got two new tricks up my sleeve. First is the head-tilt that you see above. That started about a week ago when I saw Dad with his head to one side and thought it was hilarious! I kept cracking up everytime he did it, until I finally started doing it myself. I usually accompany it with a big grin; it's my way of saying, hey, why don't you do this too?

My other trick is even better. For the past few weeks, Babcia and Mom (among other people) have been trying to get me to wave, especially when someone is waving at me. It finally took a few days ago. I do my own version of waving: my arm is outstretched with my palm facing toward me, so in essence I'm waving at myself. I also do it at random times...hey, I'm still working out all the kinks!

Dad actually managed to catch me doing both tricks back-to-back, so this video is kind of a double feature.

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

These videos are so last year

Happy 2008, everyone! As the clock struck midnight, I was sound asleep. Then again, so were Mom and Dad, who got home from dinner in the city with their friends and didn't even have the energy to stay up another 30 minutes to watch the ball drop. Hee hee! Just the fruits of another successful day on the job by yours truly.

As I prepare to start the New Year with a clean slate, I wanted to share a couple videos from the tail-end of the holiday season. First up, a reminder that while I've ditched several playthings over the past couple months (bouncy seats, swings, etc.), I'm still loving my Exersaucer...kind of.

Remember how I was sick all day last Thursday after my flu shot? Well I had a couple bursts of super-hyper activity while in my Jumperoo. I was so frenzied that I literally knocked my socks off. And by the way, those yelps are joyful sounds, not sad ones (the sad ones came about an hour later).

And here's more Jumperoo nuttiness from that day.

We'll end with a video my Dad took over the weekend, a few minutes after I rolled over from my stomach onto my back for Mom (I did this randomly one time a couple months ago, but nothing since). Dad was hopeful that he could coax a repeat performance out of me, but I simply reverted back to my flailing ways. Still, I managed to pull off a pivoting trick that no one saw coming.