Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Another Milestone

Nothing like the excitement of a new milestone to revive you after a
long day. I observed a recovery test at a satellite ops center today.
Part of that test had to be done after hours, so I ended up heading
home around 6. I met up with Shaun at his parents' house and we had

Afterwards we were sitting in the living room and Kayla took a few
(maybe 3) steps away from the couch. She was less wobbly than normal,
so Shaun enticed her to try again. Before we knew it, she was making
her way back and forth with no extra enticing. Each fall made her more
determined to get up and keep moving. She is taking as many as 8 or 10
steps at a time now. I can't believe she's walking... Only 2 weeks
until she's officially a toddler.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

The Wonderful and the WTF of Children's Television

Yes, I let my <1 year old watch TV.  Before she was mobile, it entertained her so that I could lay her on our bed, build a pillow fort around her and go take a shower.  Sometimes on a Sunday morning I just need to make coffee and inhale a muffin without her hanging on my pajama pants.  This is most easily accomplished by putting her down in front of 50” of color and movement and sing-songs.    Hey – you do what you gotta do. 

Now that my horrendous parenting methods are fully on display, let’s discuss.

As someone who watched cartoons and kid’s shows well into her teens, I figured I knew what I was in for.  I knew Blues Clues inside and out thanks to the neighbors I used to babysit for.  I was vaguely familiar with Bob the Builder and a few random others because of our nephews and friends’ children.  Because of youth group, I was even pretty well versed in the antics of the Veggie Tales (“Oh Where is my Hairbrush?” anyone??  Anyone??).  It seems that more than a few years will really put you out of the loop though.  Did you know they replaced Steve on Blues Clues?  Yeah, I didn’t either until a few months ago.  Joe is great and all, but it’s just not the same.  Don’t get me started on the “Gotta Go” song he does about using the bathroom.  It’s disturbing.  Joe isn’t even his real name; the only thing that would have been cornier would have been to name him Steve II.  But I digress…

So as I’m watching Nick Jr. with Kayla these days, I find myself smiling a lot at these shows.  I also find myself scratching my head quite a bit.  I’ve been kicking these thoughts around and wanted to see if any of my parent friends feel the same way as I do. 

The Show:  Yo Gabba Gabba

The Premise:  DJ Lance and friends interact between the real world and Gabba Land.  Through song and dance, they teach all kinds of lessons about the world around them and interacting with others. 

The Wonderful: The guest stars on this show are awesome.  The episode with Jack Black was particularly entertaining.  The songs are catchy and I’ve noticed Kayla bouncing along when they sing and dance. 

The WTF: I’ve been known to describe this show as “what I imagine a bad acid trip would be like.”  It’s frantically paced and a little bit disjointed.  The whole “Super Martian Robot Girl” segment is particularly weird and out of place.  There’s something unnatural about DJ Lance but I can’t put my finger on it. 

The Show: Ni Hao Kai-Lan

The Premise:  Kai-Lan and her friends Hoho the monkey, Rintoo the tiger and Tolee the Koala have fun adventures together.  Every show has a theme and at some point a conflict arises.  Kai Lan and her friends work together to solve the problem and everyone is happy. 

The wonderful: Kayla absolutely lights up when she hears the theme music for this show.  The focus on Chinese culture in this show is great.  They teach kids words in Chinese (although sometimes Kai-Lan and her grandfather Ye Ye pronounce things a little differently, which I find confusing) and celebrate things like Chinese New Year. 

The WTF: Besides the koala with an identity crisis (he really wants to be a panda, but I guess the show’s writers thought that would be too cliché) it seems that they don’t always get the moral of the story quite right.  In one episode, Rintoo upsets Tolee by wrecking his house and when Tolee gets mad, they talk him into forgiving Rintoo so he won’t feel bad.  I think Rintoo needed to learn to be less rambunctious and he should have felt bad.  Tolee should have forgiven him because he was ready to accept his apology, not because he didn’t want him to feel bad.  Then again, maybe I’m just cynical. 

The Show:  Max and Ruby

The Premise: Max and Ruby are brother and sister rabbits.  They are often at odds, although Max’s perceived silliness often gets them to the desired end anyway. 

The Wonderful: Max’s one liners.  Seriously – he usually only gets to say 1 word per episode.  Over and over. 

The WTF:  Ruby is a bossy little thing, and very self-righteous.  Grandma bunny occasionally makes appearances on the show, but where are their parents?  Ruby babysits a baby bunny for his mom.  She has a “Bunny Scout” leader.  The world isn’t entirely devoid of authority figures, or even parents.  Theirs are the only ones missing.  It makes no sense to me. 

The Show:  The Wonder Pets

The Premise:  A group of three classroom pets travels the world saving other baby animals during after school time. 

The Wonderful:  The use of classical music in this show is particularly good.  The portrayal of different cultures or places is decent, if not a bit stereotype heavy. The emphasis on not giving up and working together towards a common goal is nice. 

The WTF:  I give the creators of this one imagination points, but the whole idea of a guinea pig, a duck and a turtle flying all over the globe in a bowl is a little ridiculous.  The Wonder Pets celebrate every success with celery – do all of those animals really eat celery?  I’m going to have to test that one out. 

I’m sure I will have future installments of “The Wonderful and the WTF” to come.  I didn’t even begin to delve into the world of Bruce A. Moose yet.  I could probably dedicate a post a day to him for like a month.  Sesame Street is also notably different from the show I knew and loved as a child and that merits some discussion.  Then again I mentally started ticking some of these things off 9 months or so ago, so it could be awhile until I can crank out another one. 

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Things to add...

Added below...

Baby "Bucket List"

One of the other bloggers I follow once posted what she called her “Baby Bucket List” – a list of the things she wanted to do with her son as he grew up.  I thought it was a wonderful idea and started working to come up with a list of my own.  There are so many things I’d love for us to do as a family as Kayla grows.  I could only think of a dozen to start our list, but I’m sure this list will be added to as time goes on and I think of more things. 

  1. Have family pictures taken
  2. Go to the beach
  3. Go to Disney World
  4. Go sledding
  5. Go to the aquarium
  6. Go to the zoo
  7. Go to Washington DC for the Cherry Blossom Festival
  8. Bake cookies together
  9. Play at Long’s Park
  10. Watch fireworks
  11. See a baseball game
  12. Adopt a pet
  13. Visit the Hands on House
  14. Visit the Please Touch Museum
  15. Go for a horseback ride
  16. Go on a Fall hayride
  17. Teach Kayla to cross stitch  

Monday, June 14, 2010

Catching up

I have been neglecting both of my blogs something fierce.  I finally got the photo blog caught up so I thought I had better post here as well.  Kayla has been more active than ever, and only taking one nap a day right now so free time is nonexistent in my world. 

This weekend was another flurry of activity.  Friday night my sister in law got married.  What a lovely evening - a nice ceremony and a beautiful backyard reception with family and friends.  Congratulations to Jaime and Dena and best of luck with that new larger family!  Kayla got to spend the evening with her Pepere and Grammy Sue, which was a success by all accounts. 

Saturday we had our friends over to our house for food and World Cup action.  We finally got some good use out of our smoker, which was great.  Kayla enjoyed the company and attention for sure.  I enjoyed having everyone here so I wasn't home alone this weekend. 

Sunday was also a lot of fun.  A bit messy and frustrating, but fun.  We went to King of Prussia with my mom and sister for lunch at the Cheesecake Factory and a day of shopping for Kayla's birthday.  What a blast!  Kayla was an angel all day long, smiling and talking from her stroller as we went along.  All was well until we were a few minutes from leaving.  We were making our way to Starbucks prior to leaving and my mom was carrying Kayla when out of nowhere... *BARF*  Kayla upchucked goldfish crackers all over my mom.  Three times.  We managed to get to a bathroom and get everyone as cleaned up as we could; by this point Kayla was her usual self again, smiling and laughing and playing patty cake with herself in the mirror.  She napped peacefully most of the way home.  I brought her in and fed her dinner.  All was well while I bathed her, we played for a bit and then I nursed her and laid her down for bed.  After I put her in her crib she sat up, smiled at me and then proceeded to throw up all over her crib.  Just like at the mall, she whined and fussed until I got her out of her icky clothes and then went back to being her happy self, splashing and playing in the tub.  I'm still not sure what caused the tummy problems but she seems OK now.  I felt so bad for her though.  At least she is OK now.

Today I went and ordered the cake for Kayla's party.  It's hard to believe there are less than 3 weeks until the party, and a little more than 3 weeks until her birthday.  Time is going so fast.  I wish I could slow it down.  Keep things just as they are for just a little longer...

Monday, June 7, 2010

Happy 11 Months!!

Dearest Kayla,

This is the last time I will sit down to write a letter to you that doesn’t include the word “year” in the subject.  Wow.  My little baby really is almost a toddler.  It’s almost unimaginable to me, yet here we are. 

You’re still growing by leaps and bounds physically and mentally.  You can stand up from a sitting position without assistance.  Your nap aversion is becoming more and more apparent.  You love walking behind anything you can push around, but still no real solo steps.  You have “mama” and “dada” down pretty well now, and you love to vocalize (as long as I can keep your nuk out of your mouth!).  You love books.  Your eyes light up when your puppy pal Violet says your name or when any of the grandparents come to visit.  You nearly jump out of my arms when you see your friends at daycare, but fuss a little bit when I go to leave. 

Sitting up in the stroller while we walk is still like a new world of fun.  Some Sundays we walk to Greco’s for ice cream with Nana.  That’s our favorite walk, but you also enjoy evening walks with Daddy and I, and even going to the mall – so much to see!  You are always so good when we go out, always smiling and talking to people.  We get lots of compliments on how well behaved you are.  Normally I credit luck for having such a laid back baby, although I know it’s in part due to a carefully crafted schedule.  A schedule that we’re abandoning bit by bit as you refuse naps and push bedtime later and later.  It still seems to be working OK. Not great, but we're getting by.  I still regularly curse my inability to nap.

No matter what though, these last 11 months have been such a joy.  I am enjoying these last days of babyhood, knowing that before I can blink your big day will be here.  Thank you for this time little one, and for being mine.  Thank you for showing me how much joy there can be in life.  I love you little angel girl. 

Love Always -