Thursday, December 30, 2010

2010 in Review

Yeah, yeah, all sorts of big things happened in the outside world; some were good and some bad.   However, this was a very introspective year for us.  The most important events of 2010 in no particular order:

1. The late stages of pregnancy

2. Hawaii

3. Childbirth!

4. The best baby that ever there was!

5. Caring for the sick baby

6. Learning to breastfeed

7. Our second wedding anniversary

8. Travel to South Africa

9. All those glorious firsts

10. Our first Christmas as a little family

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Words of the Year '10

Now we come down to the last few days of the year, and I always enjoy reading the little round ups of '10. It just takes you back to all the news stories, articles, and events that filled the TV, radio, and print, and populated your head with their vocabulary. One of the first to come out was the Top Ten Words of the Year as determined by The Global Language Monitor. Some are immediately familiar, while others require a bit of coaching to remember. Spillcam and Shellacking both bring out mental winces for me.

10. Simplexity

9. Shellacking

8. 3-D

7. Snowmageddon

6. Deficit

5. Guido

4. Refudiate

3. the Narrative

2. Vuvuzela

1. Spillcam

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Baby's First Christmas

Yes, yes, I know Delphinium is too young to remember her first Christmas, but we certainly will. For weeks she's enjoyed the tree with all its splendor, and actual Christmas was even better. First there was the astonishing early morning appearance of many of her favorite family members. Finding your cousins on your doorstep before breakfast is a surprising and wonderful thing. Then came the stockings. Did you know that there are toys in stockings?! Before she could fully comprehend (and nibble) her stocking presents (a blue mesh ball and a small penguin with huge eyes were the best) it was time to move on to unwrapping.

Many other parents warned us that the wrapping and boxes are far better than the actual gifts, and this was absolutely the case. Delphinium wanted to eat all the paper and crepe, and I kept having to wrestle ribbons and other decorations out of her chubby fists. Still, when she did actually get down to a present she was quite interested. The biggest challenge for her was the pace. Her cousins are capable of unwrapping and appreciating each gift in about thirty seconds flat. She wanted to take her time. Then, about half way through, all just got to be too much. She started to rub her eyes, and I knew she needed a break. We went upstairs for a little nap, and left the family to finish with the presents.

I was quite impressed with the restraint we managed to maintain when it came to buying her presents. Among her gifts were a bug jar full of soft rattle bugs, a pull along frog, an orange rattle creature, a skwish toy, and a fuzzy gray and white dog. She also got many new books and clothes as well. Even now, days later, she still hasn't finished investigating the new goodies. We will also have to come up with names for her new favorites.

On the whole though, I think her favorite part about it all was the attention. I think she would be quite happy to have Daddy quit work and just stay home to play with her. She would also love to see cousins, uncles, and Grandma on her doorstep any morning of the week. Whatever will I do to console her when holiday time is over? Oh I know, we'll read a dozen new stories, and play with all kinds of new toys. Next year should be even better.


Friday, December 24, 2010

Baby's Christmas List

Okay, so I don't really know for sure what Delphinium wants to see under the tree on Christmas morning, but I think I can make a fairly educated guess based on the things I know she loves.  Just to name a few:

10. Kitties!

9.  Bananas

8.  Giraffes (stuffed animals, printed on things, rubber toy version, you name it)

7.  Grandma

6.  Her cousins

5.  Books (but only certain ones)

4.  Mirrors

3.  Rattles

2.  Mommy and Daddy

1.  Boobies!    

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Holiday Firsts

I will not soon forget Delphinium's first visit with Santa. It was supposed to be a regular week day, but circumstances made M available in the early afternoon, so we decided to play hooky. It seemed like the perfect opportunity to do something Christmas-y without all the holiday crowds of a Saturday or Sunday. Acting on an email tip (go M for figuring this whole plan out) we headed down to The Bravern building where were supposed to find The Man in Red.

Delphinium was looking very smart in her little red dress with red and white spotted tights (with ruffled bottom!) and we had high hopes for a fabulous photo. When those elevator doors opened, we were not disappointed. There he was, Santa, and he had a real beard! Not only that but his eyes how the twinkled, his dimples so merry, and... but I digress. He was quite a convincing Santa. And he did not smell of gin (or anything else he shouldn't).

With that auspicious beginning how could we go wrong? We sat Delphinium, as cute as a button, down on his lap, and... she burst into tears. Unlike her picture with Frosty the Snowman, where she just stared at him, Santa was scary. It started as a trembling of the lip, and went on into full-blown terror. I scooped her up, we went with the very first photo (the least unhappy one), and that was it for us.

Away from the frightening stranger, the baby returned to her cheerful self, and we strolled off to the main mall. Happy in the knowledge that we did not have to wait in line for the more central Santa. While I'm sorry Delphinium was discomfited, it was an experience with lots of warm fuzzies for me. I imagine our visits with Santa will only get more significant as time goes by, but this very first one was special to me.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Holiday Finery

Goodness gracious whoever would have thought that a Christmas tree could be so sublime.  Delphinium is in love with the thing, and she doesn't even know what usually appears UNDER the tree! The first time she saw the naked tree just brought into the house, she chuckled at it.  Then it got dressed! She just thinks the lights and the decorations and the color and sparkle are something entirely cool.  I catch her just gazing up at it while she's playing on her blanket in the living room.

The first few days it was up, she was sick and teething at the same time, and more than once we "broke" a sad mood by visiting (and sometimes petting) the tree.  There are even a couple of ornaments that are baby-friendly and can be taken off and loved for a few minutes.  Christmas suddenly has a whole new value for jaded old me. 

Monday, December 20, 2010


The baby skill of the week is really two related talents.  First came the two arm wave as if our girl were conducting her own (crazy) symphony.  Sometimes it takes a form that more closely resembles a rabid fan at a sporting event.  Another great feature about waving both hands in the air is that you can then bring those hands crashing down onto your tray.  Pounding the table is now one of her favorite after dinner activities, and I'm afraid that Mom and Dad do nothing but encourage the behavior (picture all three of us slapping our placemats). 

The other half of this skill is also waving, but a much more subtle kind.  Delphinium is now able to hold up one hand and open and close the fingers in a "hello/goodbye" gesture.  At first she would only do it to herself when seeing her reflection.  It was SO cute to see her sitting in her walker in front of the sliding door waving away at the baby in the glass.  Now she's moving up to waving at real live people.  It's still quite hit or miss, but one day soon she may decide to wave at you. 

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Baby's First Concert

I absolutely cannot believe that it's been nearly a year since M. and I attended a symphony concert, but life with Baby just flies by.  That's why I was so excited when M. found tickets for all of us to a family-friendly holiday concert.  Dressed in our holiday best (Delphinium has the cutest little red corduroy dress with smocking and tiny white flowers) we made our way into Seattle and Benaroya Hall.

The concert was held in the small upper hall (can't remember the name!) and it was jam-packed with kids.  I think Delphinium would have been just fine with going to the hall, sitting down, and watching all those big kids for half an hour.  However, the music began soon after we arrived.  Our girl stood on Daddy's lap and watched the stage with open mouth for the first half of the show.  Then, in true baby fashion, she fell soundly asleep and did not see the rest of the performance.  A great time was had by all.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Bad Parenting Part 1 of ?

Delphinium and I are sitting in the doctor's office waiting for her flu shot booster.  My baby is cheerful as ever.  Many other parents and kids are also waiting, and some have struck up conversations to pass the time.  A lady and her son decide to chat with us, and this is how it goes:

Lady:  Oh what a cute baby!

Me:  Thank you!

Lady: I love her hat!

Me: Thank you!

Lady:  She has the prettiest blue eyes!

Me:  Thank you!

Lady:  How old is she?

Me:  Thank you, er, nearly eight months.

Lady:  Is she sick?

Me:  No, we just need a flu booster.

Lady:  Has she been crying?

Me:  No, not recently.

Lady:  What's that on her eye then?

Me (turning the baby the face me, and then noticing that I did an incomplete cleaning job after her last meal):  Oh that would be the pears she smeared on herself for lunch.

Lady: Oh.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Baby Cradles on International Flights

Bassinets or cots are available on many international flights, and they can be a wonderful help. You simply reserve the baby bed when you book your tickets, and make certain that you've paid all appropriate fees (the cot is free, but the baby probably isn't). The baby cradle we were given on KLM (I think it was a Boeing plane) was a wonderful little basket that zipped closed over our child's middle. She slept quite happily there for more than seven hours.

Unfortunately, the Delta (I think it was an Airbus) baby bed was not very comfortable for her because the zipper went all the way to the top meaning we would have been closing it right over her face! I did not think that was healthy or safe, and you could not zip it part way, so we did not use the cot. However, the cots are worth booking if only because they guarantee you the bulkhead, and that is definitely worth having if you are travelling with a little person or not.

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Delta Airlines Sucks

The short story: Delta Airlines Sucks

We booked several legs of our Seattle to South Africa trip on Delta and several other parts on their partner, KLM. Without fail, the KLM experience was very pleasant and everything we could have wished. Also without fail the treatment we received from Delta was nothing short of shocking. Delta employees were rude, ineffective, and either unable or unwilling to do the simple things required to do their jobs in a reasonable fashion.

From the ticketing agents (who took nearly two hours to print out our tickets AND double charged us for the infant fee) to the flight attendants (who were grumpy, rude, failed to bring an infant seatbelt, and one who actually fell asleep during take-off!) to the gate agents (who sent M running across the airport to fix THEIR mistake) to the finance department (who refuse to refund the double charge) we were not impressed.

As if that were not enough, all three adults (but not the baby) got serious food poisoning from eating the airline meals on our last flight. We didn't eat anything else, so we know it was their food. Delta is in serious need of a figurative smacking. I will be doing my best to avoid buying tickets from them in the future.

Monday, December 06, 2010

To Gift or Not to Gift

Our extended family is currently going through a crisis.  Okay that might be over-stating things just a tiny bit, but at least we're engaging in a debate.  The issue?  Christmas.  Not the holiday as a whole, I think everyone is pretty much in favor of that, but the question of gift-giving.  The brothers and I (and M too actually) all grew up with the idea that Christmas was, well, a time of plenty.  In other words, there was always and excess of special treats, an excess of decorations, and an excess of presents.  We (I hope I can speak for them) enjoyed things to the hilt.  Christmases were absolutely magic.

As a grown up I have always wanted to recreate such feelings.  Now that I have a child I would very much like for her to have a holiday as wonderful as mine.  However, not everyone in our family feels this way.  Some point out that the crass commercialism of it all is neither healthy nor charming, and that if we want to truly appreciate each other on Christmas we would do it without so many (any?) gifts.  I can absolutely understand the point, but I still can't pry myself away from the desire to shower people with goodies.  I still love the pile of beautiful presents underneath the tree, and that is a pale shadow of how much I loved the scene when I was a kid.

Couldn't we all agree to bump up or charitable giving, buy nothing in January, or do some volunteering to contribute to the greater good?  That way we could still have our Christmas and eat it too.  I know the one thing does not cancel out the other, and I also know that I'm starting to sound whiney and shrill, but this is an issue that causes me a certain amount of angst.  If you celebrate, where does your family fall on the festive vs. frugal spectrum?     

Sunday, December 05, 2010

Happy Birthday Mom '10

Happy birthday to my most favorite mom.  I really REALLY appreciate your work, and so do a lot of other people.  Love from all of us. 

Thursday, December 02, 2010

Baby's First Cold

Our poor little girl started to get sick the day before Thanksgiving, but I didn't realize it in time and dragged her out to visit family.  Every day since I keep thinking "okay now she must be getting better" but so far this crud just hangs around.  We are now on day nine, and she is still snuffly and sad.  Nursing is not easy due to the congestion, and every morning her eyes are goopy.  Then there's the sleeping.  Actually what I mean to say is that there isn't much in the way of sleeping.  When her nose gets completely blocked she wakes up crying.  This happens about every one to two hours.  She tries to smile and play normally, sweet little thing, but she spends a lot of time leaning back on the pillows to rest.  I know she really isn't that sick, but it is hard to watch anyway.