Sunday, May 29, 2011

Helloooooo Summer!

After a long and difficult winter (see this post and this post for a reminder of why this winter stunk), we finally had a rain-free HOT HOT HOT summer day!  I've been looking forward to this weekend for a while, but the great weather has made it even more wonderful.  We'll be out of town for the next two weekends, so I wanted to stay put for the long holiday and enjoy some of the family-friendly activities our fair city has to offer.

First things first - we went to the ZOO!!!!  I love our Zoo.  It's not too big, but it has all the classics - giraffes, monkeys, elephants, gorillas, flamingos, camels, rhinos, lemurs, meerkats, zebras, polar bears, seals, tigers, and (Sylvia's favorite) a wolf.  Just to name a few.  We bought a membership today so we can take her as much as we want this summer.  I bet we're there at least once a week.  It's a great place to take a picnic lunch and kill a couple of hours.

 Look at that big girl!  We stopped at the rose garden to eat lunch and she had half of a chicken and cheese sandwich, a whole graham cracker, and a bunch of carrot chips.  I can't believe how big she's getting!  And I should send a shout out and a THANK YOU to Uncle Pete for her killer New Balance sneakers.  They fit her perfectly, and she'll wear them ALL SUMMER LONG.

We stopped at the petting zoo, but I couldn't get a good shot of Sylvia petting the goats.  She wasn't very impressed.  She spends a lot of time chasing our cat around the house, so when something just sits there and lets her touch it, it's not nearly as fun!  P.S.  I kept a hat on her all day.  I don't know why it's not on her head in this picture.  Gran and Grammy would also like to know that she was well covered in sunscreen.  Safety first!

 What I love most about our Zoo is all the glorious SHADE they have everywhere.  Today was really, really hot, and we stopped a dozen times to let her out of the stroller so she could run around and drink some water.  I never had to worry about that pesky sun.  There's a splash park there, too, but we were not prepared to let her run around down there with a bunch of other kids.  We'll definitely do that another day!

We got home and tried to put her down for a nap.  No dice!  Girl was too wound up to sleep.  So we did the next best thing.  We all got our swimsuits on and headed to the new "Sprayground" at the local park!  This was an instant hit with the Nugget.  I don't have any pictures, but trust me, she loved it.  The park is right around the corner from our house (reason number 345 why I will MISS THIS PLACE when we leave).  It took her a while to figure out how the sprayground worked.  There were a TON of kids running around in the fountains, and when I set her down on the ground, she clung to my leg and begged for me to pick her back up.  I stuck her feet in a couple of times and she screamed and cried!  It was cold.  And weird and new to her.  But after about three tries, she started to giggle a little.  And by the tenth try, she was downright squealing with delight!

I held her in my arms, ran through the water, and we were both soaking wet and smiling from ear to ear.  It was really quite a thrill!  I stood there and watched all the other neighborhood kids enjoying the spraygound, and I couldn't help but feel a deep appreciation for a city that provides such wonderful summer enjoyment for it's citizens - for free!  Tons of parents and tons of kids, all smiling and happy and pleasant.  Hooray for Summer!  You're our new best friend!

P.S. again: Sylvia has FOUR new teeth coming in!  Am I supposed to keep track of these anymore?  She has eight in the front and now she's getting two molars on top and two on the bottom.  I just thought I should make a note of it.  I don't know if incoming teeth are important anymore.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Mama, I'd Like to Walk, Please!

Ever since Sylvia showed up, I keep reaching these moments where life just smacks me in the face.  They generally correspond with her big milestones and they force me to look into our future and imagine what life will be like in the coming months or years.  This morning was one of those bittersweet moments, and like the rest, I was enormously unprepared for it.

It's amazing how accustomed I've become to our morning routine, from the minute I wake up to the minute I drop her off.  Packing bottles, lugging a diaper bag, snapping car seat straps.  It's all very mundane and boring.  I drove around the back of the church where I drop her off every morning and parked the car in the same spot I've used for the last ten months.  I pulled her out of her car seat, reached for the diaper bag on the floorboard, and balanced my keys in my hand so I could lock the car and shut the door.  As I went to stand up straight, she did that squirmy, toddler-Houdini move where she twists and turns and slides down my leg until...Oh my!  She's standing on the pavement holding onto my pants leg.

I laughed and said, "What are you doing, silly goose?  You wanna walk?  Okay!"  I stuck out my finger and her little hand wrapped around it.  Then we walked together across the parking lot, her face beaming, her mouth giggling, and her whole body screaming "Look at me!  I'm a big girl!"

In that ten second trip from the car door to the daycare door, I felt so many different emotions.  I was so proud of her.  And it felt incredibly liberating to know that I don't have to hold her anymore.  But I was a teeny tiny bit sad because she was acting SO grown up!  She clearly doesn't need me to carry her.  She prefers to walk.  She chooses independence over Mama's arms.  Yipes.  I can barely wrap my mind around it!

In teaching, we call the moment where you let a kid attempt something all by themselves the "release of responsibility," and it's constantly argued that teachers have a problem doing it.  Most teachers give students too much help and cannot cut the puppet strings, even though they know deep down the students can do it.  I suppose the same goes for parenting.  I am constantly trying to help her or guide her or support her, but she always reminds me that she can do it.  All by herself.  Because she's a big girl.  And I'll just have to deal. 

We walked through the door and down the hallway.  The girls in her room were cheering her on.  "Look at you, Sylvia!  You're such a big girl!"  She waved goodbye to me and didn't cry when I left.  I sat in my car and heaved a giant sigh.  What comes next?  Before I know it, I'll be walking her straight into her kindergarten classroom.  Then I'll blink, and she'll be walking across the graduation stage.  I didn't cry about it, but I sat there for a sweet minute, thinking about my baby.  Then I put the car in gear and said out loud...

Bye, bye, little girl!

Monday, May 16, 2011

Going Home

In the fall of 1999, I moved away.  Away from my parents and away from my friends.  Away from everything familiar and known to me.  I didn’t move far, but I moved.  I spent one amazing year at college and came home for the summer.  Just that first summer.  Then, I stayed away for a very, very long time.  I spent one more year on campus, then moved to an apartment with my friends.  I traveled all over this great country and quite a few others.  When I graduated, I decided to stay put.  I loved my college town and my college friends…not to mention my college boyfriend, who eventually became my graduate college husband! 

I spent four years teaching and going to graduate school, and then we decided to move to a new city.  A bigger city.  A city that promised a new job for my husband, and also promised a brother – Jordan lives in this new city and that’s what made me say, “Let’s go!”  We’ve been here for three years now, and they’ve been the best three years of my life.  This is where we bought our first house and had our first baby.  We’ve made our own home here and we absolutely love it. 


As soon as Sylvia was born, we both knew this wasn’t the right place for us.  We love our jobs and we love our neighborhood, and we certainly love, love, LOVE Uncle Jordan, but something has been missing.  We spend almost every weekend away from here.  We’re either visiting our friends in our old college town or we’re visiting our family in my hometown.  We tossed around the idea for a while, but once Christmas came and went, we were one hundred percent sure:

It’s time to go home.

I miss my family. 

Sylvia needs her grandparents, uncles, aunts, and cousins.  It just makes sense now. 

So, with that, I’ve come to accept that my 18-year-old self might be a little disappointed.  But my 18-year-old self did not have a baby.  And my 18-year-old self ended up having all of her dreams come true.  So my 18-year-old self really has nothing to complain about and it’s time for her to SHUT IT!  We’re going home, and that’s that, young lady!

For the last few months we’ve been diligently searching for jobs and prematurely looking at houses in the area.  I’ve accepted a fourth grade position at a really sweet little school and Sylvain has a couple of prospects in the works.  Our house is going on the market this week and I’m praying that it sells quickly.  This summer will be full of changes, but I understand that they are all for the greater good.  As soon as the dust settles, it will feel really good to know that we’re home.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

She's Kind of a Big Deal

A few weeks ago, Sylvia starting taking her first sweet steps.  In the early days, it was shaky at best.  Sylvain and I felt like we had to bubble our arms around her to catch her at any given moment.  She fell a lot.  And she cried a lot.  But in the last couple of days, she's really figured this walking thing out!

I could write a book about my crazy teacher brain and the way I've been handling this walking milestone.  I'm constantly questioning myself.  Should I leave her alone?  Should I help her?  Should I model it for her?  Should I let her bust her lip open on the hardwood floor?  Should I pretend like it's no big deal, or should I shriek and clap my hands wildly with every step?  (I'm a shrieker and a clapper, by the way, in case you didn't know that already.  No wonder this girl has developed a monumental Pterodactyl Battle Cry.  She gets it from her mother.)

So tonight, while Sylvain was cooking dinner and Sylvia and I were playing/practicing, I busted out the video camera because I knew that this phase of learning would not last long.  Soon enough she'll be running around like a wild woman, shrieking and pointing and moving on to the next big phase in her life.  Here she is, in all of her walking glory!


If you listen, you'll hear me gasp around 0:16, and I feel like I have to explain myself.  I gasped for three reasons.  1) Just yesterday she figured out how to stand up by herself from a sitting or crawling position,  2) She's walking by herself on the hardwood floor, which has never happened, and 3) She's not walking toward anyone in particular, she's just WALKING.  Because she wants to walk.  At first I thought she was trying to find Daddy, but when she turns the corner, she walks right past him!  Ahhh, my sweet girl.  You are a freaking genius.  Sure, sure, all kids walk eventually.  But seriously.  Your mind amazes me!

P.S.  I don't know why YouTube randomly chooses a frame to freeze while you're waiting to push play on the video, and maybe the frame you see is different than the one I see.  But the one it chose for me is the one where she's entering the kitchen and her right foot is held up in the air, all weebly wobbly!  I wish I could figure out how to turn this into a photo.  Because I'd frame that sucker and hang it on a wall!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Mother's Day

Mother's Day weekend was kind of a blur.  On Saturday, we went to Lexington to visit friends, hold babies, and watch the Derby.  Sylvia was Crabby McCrankerpants.  She's been having some major pooping issues, the details of which I'd rather not write about because I'm tired of dealing with poop, or lack thereof.  On Sunday, we went to the Slugger Museum and she was in much better spirits.  Here's my little Mother's Day gift: 

The souvenir bats were a big hit with the Grandparents and the wee one.  She loved hers so much, she stole mine, too!  All the Moms received free admission and a pink bat after the tour that said "Happy Mother's Day" on it, which was really great!  We walked around downtown and met Uncle Jordan for dinner.  The weather was lovely and the company was pleasant.  What a wonderful day!

Yesterday, however, Sylvia woke up with a fever.  I think.  I didn't take her temperature because I couldn't find the stupid thermometer and I was running late anyway.  Since I'm a terrible mother, I decided to just drop her off at day care and pray they don't call me.  My phone rang at 9:30.  I picked her up at 10:00.  I gave her a bottle, gave her some Motrin, and put her to bed.  After her nap, we went out and bought one of those fancy thermometers that you just press against her temple.  Woah, buddy.  This thing is AWESOME.  Her temp was up and down all day, so in the middle of the night, after I knew the Motrin would have worn off, I sneaked into her room and took her temperature while she was asleep!  It was still a little high, but not nearly as bad as yesterday morning, so I'm keeping her home again today.  Luckily she's been eating, drinking, playing, and bossing me around just like nothing's wrong, so I'm sure she's not feeling too bad.

And get ready for a baby news update: Clover Lydia arrived on the 5th and Audrey Clay arrived this morning!  I'll post pics and details about all of our spring babies soon.