Thursday, May 31, 2007

Two Years Old

My creation

And just like that, my little baby is two years old.

It doesn't seem possible, thinking back on the tiny, soft little creature of rosy skin and dark silky hair and otherworldly eyes, that Pearl and that newborn could be the same person. She has grown and changed so much in the span of two too-short years.

I've been thinking a lot lately of all that she has learned just since her last birthday. All the words that have made the journey from ear to mind to lips, the sentences she has learned to construct, the connections she has made. Letters and phonics and numbers and shapes. Singing, and altering lyrics expressively. Using a spoon. Putting on her shoes. Discovering the delight that is chocolate, and the scent of roses. A smile now full of teeth, and hair that hangs past her shoulders, curling at the ends. Walking well, then climbing and running and somersaults, and all the funny little walks she has done along the way - sideways, backwards on her heels, her tiptoes, bowlegged, a monster walk... Learning to tell daffodil from daisy and dandelion. Coming to love all those grandparents and aunts and uncles.

Innumerable instances of change. Endless evidence of growth. A thousand memories precious like jewels. I wish they would stay as bright and clear forever as they are now - already, too much of her babyhood seems so far away.


However, some parts of babyhood are still very present in this twenty-fourth month. She still nurses a lot, day and night. Despite a recent long run of success with using the potty, and the purchasing of underwear (which, I must note, she got irritated at me about when she very first wore them because I chose to put the flower pair on her rather than the ones with the heart on them) we've taken a few step backwards and she's still in diapers... when she's not in underwear or just plain naked. That's how it goes, I guess.

Pearl got her own bed for the first time since the last time she slept in the seldom-used mini cosleeper this month, a little twin sized platform bed placed between the wall and our bed. My birthday was the day it arrived and Pearl was quite excited about her own bed! We set it up that day and that was the first night she slept in it, and she seemed oh so far away from me. Some nights she's done fine sleeping over there, but some nights not. With all the different variables that can effect her behavior both asleep and awake, it's really hard to tell how big an impact sleeping more than six inches away from me is having on her. I've pulled her into our bed when she wakes sometimes, and I've tried sleeping with her in her bed too. The sleeping arrangement varies a lot and I'm not sure anyone's quality of rest has improved but the extra room is certainly nice.

Napping has been a trial this month. She stopped falling asleep easily by laying down in bed to nurse a few months ago, and resisted rocking and singing as well. Pearl very much still needs a nap during the day, otherwise she will fall asleep at dinnertime, and I definitely need her to take a nap! So I resorted to driving her around, which isn't something I want to do with gas at $3.25 a gallon or higher, but it works like a charm. A fifteen minute round trips makes her conk right out and she rarely stirs while being transferred from car seat to bed. I've got a few perfect routes picked out. Now that I am getting her to nap this way, though, I'm worried she's utterly dependent on it and I'll be driving her around until she stops napping someday...

Another new thing this month: Pearl has become what I call a screecher creature, meaning that whenever she is tired or angry or frustrated or bored she tends to shriek like a banshee, sometimes just yelling but sometimes with tears as well. It's pretty hard on the ears.

She says lots of cute things all the time and I wish I could recall more of them. A few I have jotted down to remember are how she pronounces bicycle - "cybikle" and how one day when she had the hiccups, after each one she would say, "I find the hiccups!" That was too cute. She also tends to use the things we say to and ask her to express herself - "Are you okay?" she says when she falls down, and "What's buggin' you?" when she's uncomfortable or annoyed. "What's the matter?" when she's crying, et cetera.

She had a lot of fun at the birthday party we held here for her and her same-aged cousin. I was kind of volunteered to play hostess this year, which was okay with me but still not what I would have preferred. It was a huge amount of stress and I'm still recovering from it. But Pearl enjoyed herself immensely, playing with the other tots and spending the evening with so many people who love her. She liked opening the presents and she got some good ones, and she liked us singing the birthday song and doing the cupcakes-and-candles thing.

On her birthday itself we kept it pretty quiet - went to the park and played, gave her the big present we got her (an adjustable easel), and had one of her favorite suppers (breakfast for dinner - she loves grits). And then we did cupcakes and candles and singing happy birthday again, and she had (somewhat unwillingly, I might add) her first taste of ice cream. I found some goat's milk ice cream* at my local natural foods store and thought it would be nice to splurge on it for my dairy-sensitive sweetie pie's birthday. Once I got it in her mouth, she enjoyed it a lot.

And so, Pearl is now two years old!

*For those who are curious, it did possess the creaminess that soy and rice ice creams lack, but it also had that goat flavor - tasted like sweet, chocolately goat cheese. Not entirely unpleasant, but a bit disconcerting.

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Monday, May 28, 2007

Happy Birthday, Pearl!

Two years ago my little fairy baby was born. More later, for now just this:

The Birthday Girl

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Tuesday, May 22, 2007

This & That

I always have lots of things I want to write about, and no time to write as much as I want to so I end up writing nothing at all. It's either write here or do Other Things, and Other Things always tend to win.

But Pearl is taking a long nap and I've gotten quite a bit done this afternoon, and the wind feels good coming in through the window, bearing the sounds of rustling leaves and the sonorous wind chimes my parents got me for Christmas... so I'm letting myself sit here and do a bit of catching up.

I got braces on my teeth the day after my birthday! I was excited and wanted to write about that but then I was in so much excruciating pain, along with being constantly ravenous since I couldn't eat much, that I didn't even want to think about them. I underestimated how painful they would be and didn't really stock up soft foods or anything because I didn't think it would be such a big deal! But, ouch. It was. They pretty much don't bother me at all now, though I still haven't quite gotten the hang of chewing well yet. But my teeth are already moving and grooving... I will probably have them for over two years but it will be nice to have teeth that aren't all crazy looking and hard to chew with and clean.

Pearl turns two years old next week. I'm struggling with accepting that... accepting the fact that that much time has passed since she was just a wee tiny helpless thing fresh from my womb. She certainly acts like she's two, though. I don't know if I'd go so far as to say it's been "terrible" but it's been close! Just typical stuff I suppose, lots of defiance and fear and ignoring and refusing to nap and waking up at crazy hours in the morning... it all adds up and wears me down and I lose patience more than I'd like to and get grouchy with her or my husband and pretty much feel exhausted all the time. She is still of course quite often cute and funny and sweet, so there's that.

We're having a birthday party here for her and her same-aged cousin this weekend and I've been working on plans for that, trying to get the house into some semblance of neat and clean before it is swarmed by all sorts of family members and friends. I'm working on a birthday dress for Pearl with some lovely pink and blue fabrics that is being very contrary and eating up a lot of my time, but I enjoy having a project to work on, enjoy the whole process of finding fabric that inspires a design, working out the details and then the cutting out and putting together, then the copious amount of stitch-ripping and re-positioning... it's fun. Since my sewing machine got a permanent home in the spare room I've been a sewing fiend! I love it.

The baby monitor is telling me that nap time has come to an end so that's it for now!


Monday, May 14, 2007

Happy Birthday to Me!

My birthday was last week! I am now twenty-three years old. My husband and daughter and I celebrated the day grandly. I did lots of things I love with the ones I love, so it was a very good day. I started out by making waffles with coconut flakes and coconut milk, and a sauce of strawberries, kiwi, and banana. That is a breakfast I've been wanting to create for a long while and though it didn't turn out quite as deliciously as I imagined, it was still pretty good and fun to make.

For lunch I made a Moroccan Chickpea Salad, wrapped it in tortillas (the pitas were moldy, oops) and packed them up and we three went on a hike near a local lake I'd finally found after hearing it mentioned here and there for a while. It has rained a lot here lately and everything has finally greened up after the blackberry frost we had. The creeks and streams were quite full and difficult to cross (the trails themselves were literally streams in some places and soggy everywhere else), but we managed all of them up until the last one, which would've required getting my shoes wet. I declined that and we went back along a different trail than we'd taken in and we saw lots of turtles, ducks, and a Great Blue Heron along the lake's shore.

Where the Streams Flow into the Lake

Pearl decided to conk out just as we wrapped up our hike:

An Impromptu Nap

Later in the afternoon I baked a Flourless Chocolate Cake and we made a trip to a meat market... where I bought some shrimp. On the way home Pearl conked out again so while she slept I cooked dinner, Brown Rice with Peas and Caramelized Garlic ringed by Pesto Shrimp:

Brown Rice with Sweet Peas and Caramelized Garlic ringed by Pesto Shimp

The pesto sauce was a gift from my husband... it's some fancy schmancy imported stuff I used to buy a jar of weekly to slather on toast, but my natural foods store stopped carrying it so I've been doing without, rather than pay an arm and a leg to have it shipped to me. I tried making my own and I tried many other brands... but none are so delicious. At any rate, this was my first time cooking shrimp. It was fun to see it pink and curl up... I first sauteed it with the butter and oil I'd cooked the garlic in, then tossed it with a few spoonfuls of pesto. It turned out so, so good. My husband says it's the best thing he's ever eaten and it was really quite delicious.

After an evening stroll in the park I made a raspberry sauce to go over the cake, which was also really really good... so good that when we'd eaten that one all up I made another one!

Flourless Chocolate Cake with Raspberry Sauce

It was a perfect way to end the day!

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Thursday, May 03, 2007

I've Gone Shirr Crazy!


Using this tutorial as a starting point, I made Pearl this shirred dress out of some fabric I've had for at least five years. I am very much a pack rat. I have not been steadily sewing for five years or anything, just hanging on to some fabric I bought. Good thing I did, because it turned out to be a pretty cute dress. Pardon the wrinkles, I was doing good to get her dressed and into the yard and the camera and all that, no way was I gonna stop to iron:

Mama-Made Dress

That dress was so fun to make that I went straight on to another shirring project, a top made from a fat quarter I got as a door prize at a local quilt show recently. It was just barely big enough for the purpose!

Mama-Made Shirt

Since this shirring business is so enjoyable to me, but I don't want Pearl's wardrobe to consist entirely of shirred clothing, next up is something for me. Either a dress or a top, haven't decided which yet.

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