Thursday, June 28, 2007

In Other News...

This week, I got my social security card through... finally. Now I can do what every other law-abiding resident of the USA does and pay taxes! Just what I always wanted. But it also lets me other things like get a drivers license, and apply for all the credit cards I want. Plus, now I can fill out any form and instead of leaving the SSN box blank and having to deal with the inevitable odd looks and dumb questions (confused face and "what, you don't have one?"), I can put in numbers and leave in peace. Marvelous.

Also this week I was able to watch my first rugby game of the year. I miss such simple pleasures as watching the All Blacks beat another team. It makes me happy. It also makes me happy that my husband and my baby enjoy it too. If there is any brainwashing that I will do as a parent it is to make my kids All Black fans, and that starts, I guess, with dressing them up in rugby apparel when they are too young to object. So anyway, here is a photo of our baby in all black gear, growing at the kind of rate that would make any aspiring Polynesian prop proud!

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Beach Bum

Yesterday we went to the beach as a family in the afternoon. It was fun, but it was kind of a last resort. Baby hadn't slept all day: we hoped it would tire her out. We also wanted to build her a sand castle to sit in/wreak havoc upon. We have made a new discovery, which is that in addition to hating her sun-hat, she also hates sunscreen. However, sadly for her, her sun-hat and sunscreen are both a necessary evil to go to the beach, which she loves. Such is life.

Anyway, she decided that there was far too much going on at the beach for her to be sitting in her push-chair and loudly protested until we picked her up so she could get a better view... and play with sand. Evan had the genius idea of making a sand-throne to go with her sand-castle. which also had the dual effect of allowing us to complete construction of her 'palace' as quickly as possible.

She certainly had fun grabbing at the sand. Sadly, though there was nothing we could do to stop her from putting it in her mouth, but she didn't seem to mind. At least she is broadening her culinary palate by experimenting with new texture and flavor combinations. If getting her own castle eventually fails, maybe she will be a taste-tester for royalty when (if!) she grows up.

We also made another new discovery. Don't take a baby to the beach wearing a cute dress. It gets dirty.

Once the castle was as complete as we cared to make it (... baby lost her patience and the tide was coming in...) we stripped her down and let her play 'Godzilla in New York'... an instant hit. She has this new noise that she makes, akin to Benjamin's squeals, except her are grunts. Our little piggy. And yes this site will be used for future blackmail. She has different levels though... some express anger, some express tiredness. Then there is the sing-a-long grunt, and the I'm-talking-to-you grunt (she likes to use this one to tell you when she wants to be picked up... i.e. she rolls on her front and grunts at you... very ladylike), and then there is the happy grunt, which was the one she used while destroying Evan and my hard work (but mostly Evan's).

After that, Daddy took her in the ocean to play and wash off. She came back happy, cold, and tired. Perfect! It meant that I could wrap her up in a towel and blanket and cuddle her to sleep. She was out cold by the time we got to the car. And then she slept from 8pm - 6am. (Note the tiny dots in the ocean... it's Evan and Baby.)

I think we shall do the beach run more often.

Monday, June 18, 2007

The Week of Firsts

So this week had lots of 'firsts' in it: Evan's first Father's Day, the first time Baby played in paint, the first time Baby rolled over and fell off something, Baby's first time to Sea World, and Baby's first solids. I guess thats is kind of cheating because at this stage of her life, Alena hasn't really done very much, so everything is a first for her. But, nevertheless, Sunday was her first time eating real food... well, rice cereal. Once she figured out that it tasted good she was all about it, and ate the everything we dished out to her. I love our baby!

The Sea World Weekend

At the end of April we decided it would be a good idea to get season passes to Sea World. We figured it would be fun and, since we live so close, we would get lots of use out of them. Well, this weekend, after making several very weak commitments to go, we made a concerted effort to actually pack up and haul ourselves all the way down the I-8 to Sea World to finally get some use out of those tickets.

Apart from the fact that everyone and their dog was there being a hot Saturday afternoon, it was actually a lot of fun. The beautiful thing about having season passes is that you don't have to do everything in one day, risk suffering from overkill, and then hate life at the end. We went first to the Dolphin show, which would have been excellent entertainment in an of itself, but which was made even better when a woman from Tuscon, AZ fell into the tank (clothes, shoes, and all) trying to take a picture of her son who was petting one of the dolphins. The tank is 55F and she had no wet-suit so she came up gasping for breath and splashing around - very funny, but it didn't stop there. One of the star dolphin swam out to where she was, and she started patting him on the head. The audience let out a sigh of relief thinking the dolphin was going to rescue her and take her back to dry land, but the trainers all started yelling at her to stop. "Don't pet him! No, no! Stop!" And sure enough the dolphin promptly put it's nose to her shoes and pushed her across the entire length of the tank thinking she was a trainer in disguise and a part of the show. Then he did it again back the other way and looped around so she went sailing into that ledge with 6 inches of water. High entertainment value. I think Sea World should recruit the woman and make her a part of their shows... I would go to watch that again, for sure! I just wish we had captured the whole thing on video.

Baby seemed to quite enjoy the dolphins. We were sitting on the top row (determined not to get wet in any way!) and so I'm not sure how much she could really see, but if nothing else she really enjoyed the atmosphere. She got pretty excited, especially when the crowd was cheering, and she was looking intently at the tank - mainly, I think, because it was bright blue and big.

From there we went across to see the penguins and sharks and tropical fish. It was kind of sad to see actually... the penguins definitely looked like they had given up on life and were, therefore, quite boring. Baby slept right through everything with her sunhat pulled over her eyes, Mr. Monkey's leg tightly in one hand, and her thumb in her mouth. Maybe we should take her to go see the dolphins more often - all the excitement tuckered her right out!

Anyway, after the highly disappointing performances by the penguins we decided our last stop would be the Forbidden Reef with the Bat Rays. Since baby was asleep in her push-chair I didn't have to worry about dropping her in the water, so I got to pet the rays. It was a really cool experience - cool meaning cold too... the water was 55F. They felt slimy and rubbery, or to quote the little boy who was petting the dolphin (whose Mom fell in), "It feels like a hot-dog". We also got a quick little science lesson and learned that Ray don't have any bones in their bodies, and they are essentially boneless sharks. I thought that was pretty neat - I petted a shark! Then, right at the end, just as my arm was going completely numb from cold, this big papa ray swam over and put itself right in front of me and went to sleep while I stroked its head and back. If it could purr I think it would have!

So all in all, we did just about enough that we had lots of fun, but we left enough out that we still want to go back to do the rest. That's the best way to do it, I think!

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Nothing is Safe Now...

A few weeks back Lena rolled herself over from back to front... on accident. Now she does it on purpose. All the time. She has also taken to using her feet to turn herself around in circles when she is on her back.

Check this out. This is what happens when I put her in her cot on her back... length-ways

And yes, our baby is a giant. She now measures in at 26.5 inches. Great-grandpa T asked me the other day if she was 8 months old. "No, just 3 months grandpa." "Holy smokes! She's a long girl!"

Anyway, last night we knew we were in for it. We put her down in her play gym (which, by the way, is the best $50 we ever invested in anything... thank you craisglist and generous middle-aged people who refuse to have anymore kids) and she promptly rolled over for tummy-time, which she hates. But she spied a toy on the floor just out of her reach and proceeded to spend the next 5 minutes getting increasingly frustrated that she couldn't get it. Then she discovered she could get her knees up underneath herself. We think its only a matter of weeks now until she starts really mobilizing herself, unless she decides that she is lazy and that it is easier to be picked up and carried around. I am hoping for the latter. Otherwise I am going to have to start child-proofing our home (and the cat's litterbox, and while I'm at it, getting the cat to stop molting) a lot sooner than I thought I would. Wish us luck, and pray for lazy babies!

Water Baby

We decided the other day that we were going to put baby in the bath. I assure you we wash her frequently, but usually it is in the shower - something to do with our water heater being the size of a cereal box. But nevertheless we decided the time had come and she might have fun in bath.

We were right.

We knew she loved being in the hot-tub. Turns out that bathtime is even more fun. She particularly enjoyed learning how to 'swim', and even when her face went in the water it didn't seem to curb her enthusiasm for splashing around and kicking her legs like a frog.

(Note the waves she is creating... she was having fun...)

I guess that's what you get when a swimmer and a surfer get married...

Friday, June 1, 2007

Sicky Family

Well this last week has been interesting. We drove up to Utah last weekend and it was the first time that Lena had been in the car for so long. We decided to stop in Mesquite overnight, and it was just as well because about 15 minutes out from Las Vegas she decided she had been in her car seat far too long and was very vocal about it. Then, on the trip back, she got lonely. She cried for about 15 minutes before we could pull over so I could get in the backseat. After that she was much happier, and we had a lovely conversation for about 30 minutes until she fell asleep. But, those two incidents aside, she did really well and we couldn't have asked for a better baby to travel with.

It is really amazing to see how much of an individual she is. I have to remind myself sometimes that she is only a 3-month-old baby because it feels sometimes as though she has been around forever. That was one of the things that I was least expecting when she was born; how complete a person she was. Her personality was so developed that it was undeniable that she had not just begun her life 9 months previously. She was tiny, and completely helpless, but there was no doubt that her immature little body was (and is) housing a fully mature spirit.

Anyway, our trip to Utah was good. We caught up with friends and family while we were there, which was really great for us since the temporary situation here in SD has put our social lives on hold (plus we’re newly marrieds, so overall not a socially productive combination). It was especially great to see Guin, Clark, and Baby B, and to watch the cousins interact. Both babies were fascinated with each other, and since they are both at the grabbing stage (Ben obviously with slightly more control than our little girl) I guess it was only to be expected that they would hold hands eventually.

Somehow, Evan got food poisoning on the way back, so the drive was miserable for him. His tummy has been angry all week. Then yesterday I got really sick too (can you catch food poisoning?) and I have gone off rice for a while. Then, just when I thought it couldn't get any worse, Baby got sick and threw up projectile vomit style. Fortunately, though, I think she felt better after that and was a little smiley angel for the rest of the day, whilst Mummy and Daddy got better. So, today I am thankful for having good health, a husband who has a flexible work schedule, and a healthy, co-operative baby.