Tuesday, December 24, 2013

It's almost Christmas!

Man, we are totally parents now.  For the first time, we're up late on Christmas Eve, getting everything ready for the kids for tomorrow. Crazy.  I love it.

Some things that happened tonight that I don't want to forget:

  • Sally was totally into church tonight, really engaged for the first time with the music and the people and everything going on around her. She also chattered during the words of institution exactly the same way Walter did when he was her age.
  • Walter and I smiled at each other during Silent Night.  It was really special.  I love seeing Christmas through his eyes this year. I'm loving this holiday much more than I ever have before. 
  • Both services tonight featured children of the congregation (ages 11-30 something) singing, playing marimba, dancing, showing up as "unexpected" angels, serving communion, ushering, and just generally being leaders up front and all around. It was awesome.
  • We had a fabulous dinner at church in between services: Italian wedding soup, grilled turkey breast sandwiches, all the fixins ala Sean.   
  • Sally had a huge blow out during the service, and Walter threw up in the gym when I was running around with him too soon after dinner.  Keepin' it real. After the second service, a young mom said she was initially worried when her son was doing a lot of running around during worship. "But then I figured, Walter has run this way many times before." It's true.  

For your Christmas viewing pleasure


First the new instant classic, "Christmas Bagel." Duet by Umma and Walter with embodied percussion.

Also, the slightly less catchy but still pretty fun "CHRISTMAS SONG!!!!" Solo with ukulele by Walter.

Finally, Baby Sally giggling, and Mama being amazed and pleased.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Because we need a little cuteness, right this very minute

This year, Walter is very intrigued by holidays. He watches with great interest as decorations in our neighborhood go up and down. He asks lots of questions and pays close attention to everything going on around him.

Saddest little robot since Marvin
He hated Halloween.  The only thing that saved it from being a total disaster was that we got to spend the day with best friend Henry and his family.  That part, he loved.  But really, he would have been happier if it had just been a normal day of visiting and playing at Henry's house.  Sure, he liked the candy eating aspect of it.  But the decorations and the costumes were way, way too scary. He still won't go to Walgreens because of a decoration he saw there. Our line to reassure him was, "It's just a toy."  Every time we pass Walgreens, now, Walter says, "Just a toy at the pharmacy? It all gone now?"

Christmas, on the other hand, is an entirely different story.  He was suspicious when the stuffed snowman replaced the scarecrow at daycare, and thought maybe he'd be scared of it.  But very soon he realized that this season is not a scary one, and he has embraced everything to do with Christmas--religious and secular--wholeheartedly. This has led to some really delightful moments and quotable quotes.

"Hi, Magi!"
Umma and Baba got Walter an Advent Calendar with magnetic pieces to put together into a Nativity Scene. He loves it.  The Advent Calendar one-piece-a-day aspect was a little advanced for him and quickly abandoned.  But he loves playing with the pieces and changing the scene around (he's especially fond of putting sheep up on the roof of the stable.)  My heart melted when he went to play with it recently and greeted his favorite characters with a very fond, "Oh hi, Magi!"  He knows all the key players and names them every time a creche crosses his path. He saw a picture of Curious George wearing a blue towel on his head the other day and gleefully proclaimed: "Mary!"

"Is there a LEGO in Santa's bag for me?" 
Walter's understanding of Santa is terrifyingly advanced.  One day he went to daycare with no knowledge of the jolly one; that afternoon he came home with just enough information to make him dangerous and hungry for more.  I'm being a little dramatic, but Walter's interest in Santa surprised me and Sean ... we hadn't figured out our Santa strategy, yet, and still haven't really codified it or anything. We think we'll encourage him to enjoy the Santa tradition and all the fun aspects of it without ever insisting that Santa is real.  Walter is great at imaginative play, so I think he'll understand that Santa falls into that category, too.

He hasn't directly asked for anything for Christmas, but he did ask Sean if Santa had a LEGO for him in his bag. Pretty brilliant, I'd say.  My plan was that Santa would just bring pajamas this year.  Obviously, Santa will be bringing pajamas and a very small DUPLO set.

What I was really unprepared for was this question: "Mommy, are you Santa Claus?" That one came during a time out.  I wasn't sure I'd heard him correctly at first but when I didn't respond he asked again, clear as day. My response: "Walter, you're on a timeout.  We'll talk when it's over."  He didn't ask again. The question itself doesn't worry me too much, because I have several good answers in mind. But I have no idea where the question came from.  I'm in awe of Walter's thought process.  I took a few moments of that time out to appreciate it, while simultaneously trying to figure out how I was going to survive another minute of the awful defiance and total lack of listening that led to the timeout.

"Walter get a present for Baby Sally?"
Something else I probably should have expected but that totally took me by surprise: Walter told us one afternoon that he wanted to get a present for Sally. Oh. Oh yeah.  Getting presents, we'd expected he'd be into that. Giving presents, presents that he got to choose and that really came from him ... that part we hadn't considered.  Since then, he's mentioned wanting to do it a couple of times, but he never wants to go to the store. I think I ruined it by suggesting Sean take him to Walgreens to shop. But they'll go to Fleet Farm tomorrow after daycare and brave the crowds to pick out some little things for Walter to give to us all.

"LOOK! Ribbons! Look! Our Christmas tree over there! Look, more pretty lights! They're bright a little bit! Look, a STARRRRR!"
Walter loves, loves, loves Christmas decorations. The patter of observation and appreciation is almost constant and always adorable. When he saw our tiny Christmas tree, at first he seemed unsure, maybe even disappointed.  "It's a little Christmas tree," he observed. After a minute or so of thought, he said, "I like it!" Since then, he's decided he really likes it, and he's let us know that, too.

Sean and I were talking today about how wonderful it is when Walter is really enthusiastic about things.  First thing Saturday morning Sean took Walter out on a bagel run, and handed him a fresh, still warm sesame seed bagel to eat in his car seat on the way home. "This is really, really good." Walter said. "This is so good! Did they make this for me?"  It makes me so happy every time Walter looks up at me and says, "I like it, Mama!" Last week he said it about the Cream of Wheat I microwaved for him, and I was like, yeah, I'm an awesome cook.  Rock on, Mama.

"OH! Jingle bells ..."
You will not be surprised to hear that singing composes a large part of Walter's Christmas enjoyment. He knows all the words to the chorus and first verse of Jingle Bells; two-year-old versions of the words, but they're all there and it's clear he's got most of it right.  He also does a beautiful "Away in A Manger" and "Silent Night," as well as many delightful Walter originals. The files are still cooking, but as soon as they're processed I'm going to post two new holiday favorites: "CHRISTMAS SONG!!" and "The Christmas Bagel."

I also hope to post a video of Sally giggling.  It's not the biggest baby giggle you can watch via the Internets, that's for sure.  But it's a sweet sound indeed to my ears.  Walter started giggling at just shy of three months, so I've been on the lookout for Sally giggles.  Last week I got her to give me a solitary "ha!" now and then, but on her actual four month birthday she bust out the actual guffaws.  Beautiful. We got a video of the second half of the first ever giggle fest ... mostly we managed to capture the sound of my laughter and raspberry-making-on-the-tummy which pretty much obscures Sally's little laughs, but it's a fun video if only for the look of pure parental pride and joy on my face, and the good-natured, patient little smile on hers.

So, stayed tuned. =)

Friday, December 20, 2013

It's been a rough week

Earlier this week, Sally and Walter started competing to see who could get the least amount of sleep.

Sally blinked. Or rather, slept.  Her worst night was Tuesday and it has been steadily getting better since then, though not back to the ridiculously wonderful 9-11 hours straight she was sleeping last week. She likes to kick Daddy out of bed in the morning and sleep for an hour or so in bed with Mama, taking up the majority of the queen-size bed for her little princess self.

So, Walter was like: "You lightweight! Greenhorn! Newbie! I could not-sleep you under the table. See? I've gotten so little sleep, I'm SICK. Take that! Ha ha ha haaaaacck cough vomit whimper sneeze cough cough."

Walter seems to have entered the eternal feedback loop of lousy sleeping (lousy sleep leads to sickness leads to more lousy sleep.) We're trying to get him to bed earlier (he is successfully resisting this) and taking him into the bathroom for steam treatments as needed.  But it looks like it might be a very goopy Christmas.

Sally turns four months old tomorrow; Walter 26 months the day after.  I don't know if she's really an easy baby or if being 4 months old is just that much easier than being 26 months old.  She gives us beautiful smiles and, very rarely, the hints of a funny little laugh.  While she's still finding her laughing voice, her yelling at us voice is quite developed, as is her pleasant chatting and her espresso machine imitation.  She is strong enough to ride front-facing in the baby bjorn and she's been using the exersaucer at daycare (spoiler alert: we're breaking out the exersaucer for her for Christmas.)  She's been doing pretty well at daycare. At first she wouldn't take a bottle, but now she does, though she still doesn't drink from the bottle as much or as well as Walter did at this age.  But she's growing: she's wearing 6 month clothes and I think she probably needs to move up to size two diapers.  Her face is filling out and she has a pleasant, solid heft to her that is very satisfying.  One of the highlights of my work days is going into Room 1 to nurse her at lunchtime.  

Sally seems to have gotten over her very strong aversion to hats. She likes touching our faces (as gently and lovingly as she is able with her developing muscle control.) She likes gnawing on our fingers, and we're pretty sure the first teeth are on their way in.  She likes books and toys and anything new ... most of all she likes watching and, more and more, directly interacting with Walter.  We're letting him play with her a little more, now, and she loves it.  Everything he does, she watches with great interest.

Walter "feeding" Sally. They love playing together! 
I expected that Sally would adore Walter.  Babies love older kids; they're fascinating.  What I didn't expect and what constantly takes me by surprise is how much Walter loves Sally.  It doesn't make any sense to me.  I mean, sure, she's completely wonderful and adorable and cute and cuddly, but I figured a two year old would be largely immune to that, especially since he doesn't really get to snuggle her as much as Sean and I do. And I would have thought the crying and the fussing and the taking Mama's attention would have been major strikes against her. (Walter did confide in Sean that Baby Sally's crying hurts his ears sometimes. Or, as Walt likes to put it these days, "Just a little bit.")  I guess I expect a toddler's love to be mostly conditional and entirely self-centered: love based on what others do for him.  But it's not.  Walter loves Sally just for being Sally, just for being part of the family.  I love the way he always includes her (and Hank) in his list of family members. "Walter and Mama and Dada and Baby Sally and Hankie!"

On a related note, tonight Sean offered to take Walter to the store to go Christmas shopping.  At first, Walter was excited, but then the tired sickies started to get him down.  "You and Mama and Baby Sally go to the store," he told Sean.  "Walter stay home. With Hankie."  Heh.

Walter loves to bake with me; we've made cookies twice this past week, it being Christmastime and all, and he's absolutely brilliant at it.  He can do everything: stir, mix, beat, crack eggs, measure, dump, fold, portion ... pretty much everything except put it in and take it out of the oven.  I am proud beyond words.  These days Walter also enjoys watching and reading Curious George (the same videos over and over and over ... gahhhhhhh) and building really awesome elaborate structures with blocks. He plays with my old Fisher Price doctor kit and does this great singing doctor routine: "This is gonna hurt a little bit ... You gonna feel betteerrrrrrr!" He loves to sing and play his ukulele, or any other instrument he can get ahold of.  Tonight he played the bongos using his maracas as drumsticks.

Walter kind of vacillates between being astoundingly mature for his age and genuinely fun to be with and being really typically difficult for his age and exhausting to be with.  The difficult days tend to coincide with lack of sleep. Recent studies show that consistent bedtime is the key to better behavior. In other news: duh. Breaking headline: Bite me, researchers. You get my kids to bed.

It's possible that I, too, would be better behaved with a consistent bedtime and more sleep.

Also, this happened. Least accurate depiction of the Holy Family, ever. But pretty fun, nonetheless.


Friday, December 13, 2013

Names and other news

Here's a short list of Sally's nicknames:
Princess (I know, I know. Don't judge me.  The name Sally means princess. And she is the princess of my heart. So there.)
Principessa (see above. I like to greet her every morning with "Buongiorno, principessa!")
Precious (as in, "my precious." Yup.  Also, "My precious princess.")
Bright eyes
Sally Bug
Little Girl
Sneaka (yeah, I don't know what that is. It just comes out of my mouth.)
Googie (this one is Sean's. He says it while tickling her, and she smiles and smiles.)
And, most often, Baby Sally

The nickname "Bug", along with her Halloween ladybug costume, led Walter to ask this hilarious question: "Baby Sally is ... a bug?"

Walter's current nicknames:
Walty (he made this one up for himself.)
Walter Paul

Walter has realized that his family members all have names, too.  He loves going through the list with us. "Mama's name is ..." "Annie!" Daddy's name is ..." "Sean!" etc.  My favorite is Baba's: "Baba's name is Paul," Walter says. "Like Walter Paul."

Tonight, he used the word sister for the first time. Sally was crying and Sean took her away from the dinner table to change her diaper. "My sister!" said Walter. "That's my sister!"

Sally just started laughing out loud yesterday. She's been smiley for a long time, and she makes a little sound in her throat like she's laughing like Ernie from Sesame Street. But yesterday and today I got a few real giggles.  I think the sudden loudness of her own laughing startles her.

Finally, Walter and I had a pretty hilarious exchange while we played together before dinner tonight:

Walter packed his toy bus full of various little people and drove it "to church."
Me: (pretending to be one of the people) "Here we are! What can we do at church?"
Walter: "Eat cookies!"
Me: "Hooray! What else can we do at church?"
Walter: "Eat more cookies!"
Me: "Mmmm. Those cookies were good. Now I'm full. What else can we do at church?"
Walter: "Another cookies!"
Me: "Can we sing songs?"
Walter: "Yes!"
Me: "What song should we sing?"
Walter: "Cookie song!"

Thursday, December 12, 2013

In it together.

We had a wonderful experience at a Suzuki early childhood music and movement class tonight.  Sally and Walter both jumped right in and took part in all the activities. At one point, Walter was feeling overwhelmed. He turned to Sally and rested his head gently against hers for a few seconds.  Then the two of them shared a smile and returned their attention to the class. 

Friday, December 6, 2013


Walter and I had a wonderful dateventure yesterday.  It started with picking him up from daycare. This in itself is unusual, because generally Sean does the daycare drop offs and pick ups, or I just get Sally and he gets Walter. Walter is in Room 5, the 2-3 year-old room. When combined with Room 6 (the 3-4 year old room) at the end of the day, it has a real Lord of the Flies kind of vibe.  That's probably a bit of an exaggeration.  The teacher is there and well in control of the situation, but I'm just sayin' ... it's a situation.  It's amazing how big kids' personalities get when they hit 2.

Walter is a bit of a personality himself, of course.  But he was on especially good behavior last night, or maybe he's always this polite at daycare? It was neat to see him interacting with his classmates and his teacher.  He was just finishing his snack when I came in.  He greeted me warmly, showed me his graham cracker crumbs (neatly placed on his napkin) and finished drinking his milk (regular cup, not a sippy.) He then got up from the table and cleaned and cleared his space.  After throwing away his trash he went over to the sink to wash his hands.  There was an older girl there kind of playing in the sink and he very politely said, "Excuse me, please." After she moved away he turned on the water, got soap from the dispenser, washed his hands, got a towel, dried his hands, and then threw the towel away.  He did all of this by himself, with no one telling him what to do. Impressive!

His teacher asked if I wanted her to change his diaper; definitely, yes. She took him to the bathroom (it has stalls! And kid sized toilets!) and he peed in the potty, standing up.  After washing his hands again I helped him with his coat, and just when I thought I couldn't get any more proud, he called out to his teacher, "Bye bye!  Thank you for the crackers!"

We went out into the cold, clear night (it was 5 pm.  But winter is here, and it is ridiculously dark all the time.) Walter likes to spot the moon, and I showed him Venus, nice and bright in the sky. I told him to look for it while we were driving, which meant he spent most of the 30 minute drive to Waupaca asking me where the moon was (it was behind us.) I was a little nervous about driving in the dark with all the deer and ice and whatnot, but we made it to Culver's just fine.

Walter associates Culver's very strongly with the word "date." I think he might think a date is a trip to Culver's, actually.  This started when I was pregnant and an outing to get some custard was often my answer to good mom-son time.  No custard this time, but he did get a chocolate milk, chicken tenders, and fries. I didn't get fries with my fish sandwich, so he shared his fries with me ... dipping each one in ketchup before giving it to me.  I gave him a two minute warning when it was time for us to start getting ready to go; he thought about resisting (I can pretty much see his thoughts, especially when he's thinking about doing something two-ish) but then changed his mind and asked me to set a two-minute timer on my watch instead.  He prefers that his transitions happen with beeps.

We got to the church just as the concert was starting.  It was a Christmas concert for a band that our friend E. plays drums in.  Our friend J. was handing out programs, and our friend D. had saved us the perfect seats: in the back, where Walter could stand on a chair and easily move in and out of the sanctuary.  For the first 30 minutes of the concert, though, he just snuggled in my lap, listening to the music.  I thought he might fall asleep (the concert started at 6:30, so it was a definite possibility.)

When the banjo came out, though, he sat up and took notice.  He stood on the chair to see and did some squirming around.  I took him out to to the narthex to get some water and exercise. We spent a good bit of time looking at their big nativity scene and talking about the different people in the scene (he likes calling baby Jesus "angel" ... I think he's conflating Jesus with a winged garden cherub that sits outside one of our neighbor's houses.) He watched with interest as the church's kids choir lined up and got ready to join the band for the last two numbers.  He did some great dancing, including a move that looked a lot like yoga and which, I found out during a conversation with Walter on the ride home, was, in fact, yoga (evidently one of his teachers is teaching the kids yoga ... this, my friends, is how you deal with an island full of wild two-year-olds.)

He waited very patiently until the last note was sung to pick out a cookie.  I got him some punch, too, and he was delighted to find it carbonated.  "That's soda, Mama!" We chatted with some friends, finished our cookies and soda punch, and headed back out into the cold, dark night.  No deer were harmed in the making of this dateventure, but boy oh boy did I white knuckle it all the way home.

When we got home it was quite late (9 pm) but Walter was hungry so he ate his leftover Culvers chicken and fries while I got reacquainted with Sally.  As he and Sean headed toward his room to start his bedtime ritual, I gave Walter a kiss and said, "Thank you for a great date."  "Thank you, Mama," he said. "Thank you for the chocolate milk.  Thank you for church.  Thank you for dancing.  Thank you for the cookie.  Thank you for soda!"  Just like that.  Putting aside my child's deep and abiding love of sugar and junk food, you gotta admit, that's pretty sweet.

It was an awesome dateventure.  And everything went really, really well.  But even if it hadn't, it would have been Mama/Walter time, just the two of us.  And we both need that; it's clear we do.  Tonight Walter asked me to play with him after dinner, and I can tell he's starting to see me as more available to him again.  He's seen and touched my "owie" (the gallbladder incision that's finally healed) and is satisfied that I'm OK.  And it's true.

I'm looking forward to the next dateventure, wherever it may lead.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Baba would like me to add ...

... that Sally is also industrious and focused.  When she's looking intently at what she wants she'll often reach and try very hard to get it, all with a serious look of concentration.
I. want. my. toes!
I had such a nice time with Sally last night.  She played and played with her Eric Carle sensory overload ladybug.  A couple times I tried to help her hold it and she gave me this perfect, "I've got this, Mom," look.  After playing very hard and with great effort, she demanded nursing (lot's of her little indignant "Eh!" noises until I figured out what she wanted.)  Then she fell fast asleep, almost comically fast. I enjoyed holding her for awhile. I took her up to the bassinet in our room and she woke up gently, happily.  Sean was putting Walter to bed and I saw an opportunity for a bath, which she definitely needed.  It has been a few weeks since I've been able to get in the bath with her, because of my open incision, so this was a treat for both of us.  I marveled at how strong she was: sitting straight up the whole time, with just a little gentle balancing from me. We had a very nice time.  While I was drying her off, she started to fuss (it was when I put the little hood of the towel on her head.) "It's not a hat!" I said, and did a silly dance.  She smiled and stopped fussing. I got her dry and lotioned and diapered and dressed.  We nursed and she fought sleep a bit.  She had an inexplicable crying fit, which happens sometimes.  I held her and after some serious crying she calmed down, nursed some more, and snuggled in my arms for awhile. She gave me the most wonderful little smiles.  She wanted to go to sleep, so I put her in the bassinet (still a little awake) and she went to sleep pretty quickly.  She slept through the night (about 9 hours straight) and woke up slowly, happy and calm.   More smiling and nursing this morning, and a happy baby off to daycare.  I'll go and nurse her in an hour before heading into work.  

It wasn't unusual, this evening, night and morning with Sally.  This is pretty much how it goes. But it's worth writing down, because I want to remember!  Seeing her sit up so well during our bath reminded me that she is changing so fast.  I'm savoring her babyhood as much and for as long as I can. 

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

3 month retrospective

Sally Sleeping, 1 day
Sally Sleeping, 1 month
Sally Sleeping, 2 months
Sally Sleeping, 3 months

Sweet, smiley Sally. 3 months old!

No such thing as a complete list

A couple more ...

  • Walter is obsessed with Curious George, in all forms, but particularly the TV series. We're still trying to limit his screen time, but sometimes it really does help to have him stationary while we're getting meals ready, etc. Today he and I watched a short video on the pbs.org website meant to reassure parents that watching Curious George is actually good for kids and their science/engineering learning. I'm not super convinced, but Walter has been showing more curiosity-driven, George-like initiative lately.  For example, he was playing in the kitchen and found the potato masher.  He studied it for awhile and decided he'd like to make some apple sauce.  He spotted some apples up high on the pass through to the kitchen.  He'd climbed up on the pew and was on his tiptoes reaching for the apples (still holding the masher) when Sean noticed what he was doing.  Kind of scary, but also pretty awesome. 
  • Re: Sally's personality, I'd add that she's patient and trusting.  When she wants something she looks for signs that she's going to get what she wants, and if she sees those signs, she doesn't cry.  She's also started indicating what she wants by looking in the direction of the object desired.  She'll look pointedly over my shoulder at a book until I pick it up and show it to her.  Today, while we were nursing at daycare, she saw the kids from the adjoining room come in from a walk in their super stroller.  She sighed and then turned and looked longingly at the stroller in her room.  When she's hungry and I pick her up to nurse, she "looks" so intently that it's more like a headfirst dive in a bosom-ward direction. 

Monday, December 2, 2013

Lists and Nonlists

In spite of having two children who sleep reasonably well, I am unreasonably exhausted.  But my children are also wonderful and deserve to be documented, so here we go:


  • The other night, he sang a "Daddy, I love you!" song, while flailing his arms and legs and poking Sean with a fork. This is pretty much what being two is all about.
  • He says "Sally" now instead of "Tally." 
  • Last week he started asking "Why?" He's been asking "Why not?" for quite a while.  I don't think he's entirely clear on either of those concepts, though.  Still, it feels like a milestone. 
  • The day after Thanksgiving we broke out the play dough and he played for two hours straight.  He would have played longer if we hadn't stopped him and made him go to bed.  It was amazing.
  • He loves to cook and bake with us.  He loves to dance and sing (at daycare he evidently spends a lot of time dancing and singing in front of the mirror) but he's also still quite shy (and, annoyingly, camera shy ... not a lot of good video lately.) He loves books and blocks.  He's kind of off puzzles, for the moment. His imaginative play is getting more and more creative; lately, he's been imagining all sorts of interesting scenarios involving cookies (cookies stuck on the ceiling. cookies being baked by spinning on the ceiling fan, etc.)
    Walter's amazing playdough flower
  • He's constantly singing, either real songs or songs he's making up or fabulous itsy bitsy wheels on a happy birthday bus mashups.   He likes speaking nonsense language and making funny noises.  One of our favorite games is when I say, "Baby Sally says ..." and Walter imitates one of her noises (usually "Ah!")
  • I spend a lot of time with Sally, so we're always on the lookout for ways Walter and I can have time together, just the two of us.  Walter calls this a "date-venture."
  • Walter is incredibly bonded with Sean.  When he leaves the room, Walter runs after him saying, "Daddy, where are you?" 
  • We decided to go low key on the potty training for now, because of all the transitions and upheaval in Walter's life (new sister, Mama who's been recovering from surgeries, etc.)  He's wearing pull-ups during the day and pees in the potty quite often at school and at home.  Not sure when or how we'll make the jump to big-boy undies.
  • We've all had colds, off and on, the last few weeks.  Walter's had the worst of it, with very bad coughing fits at night.  But when I took him to see Dr. L, both tubes were out of his ears and both ears looked great ... no tubes and no infections.  This could mean he's grown out of his chronic ear infections and won't need tubes put back in.  Moreover, Dr. L said "You're doing an amazing job with him.  What a sweet boy!" He is indeed. 

Sally with her Aunt Nicole, standing 
The list format doesn't work well for Sally ... she just doesn't "do" as much as Walter does. But she does everything a three month old should do, and then some. She holds her head up, sits up (with some propping, of course) and jumps and stands while we hold her (she has amazingly strong legs.)  She rolls from her belly to her back and from her back to her side. 

She doesn't spend much time at all in the bouncer, so last night I tried putting her in it to see what she'd do.  She immediately figured out that she needed to kick the monkey or the toucan to make the lights and sounds turn on.  Tonight, while Sean was holding her, he made a whistling sound through his nose and she reached up and grabbed his nose.  She also reaches for her toes, and for my watch and my wristband, and most especially and fervently, my hair.  She does a lot of grabbing and pulling of my hair. It's wonderful. I love feeling how strong and persistent she is. 

I worry that we're not actively working with her on milestone type-things the way we did with Walter. But she seems to be progressing pretty normally and well.  What we lack in age-appropriate stimulation I think we make up for in adventures (more toddler than baby appropriate, usually, but she seems to really enjoy looking around and seeing new places and people) and lots and lots of face time.  She gets held and talked to a lot.  And cuddled a tremendous amount.  Any baby that gets cuddled this much is going to be just fine. 

She gets cuddled a lot at day care, in part because she doesn't eat while she's there.  They've made some progress on getting her to like and want the bottle, but still no actual drinking yet. I've been going in midday to nurse her and/or leaving work early so we can start the evening nursing early.  It makes me crazy with worry but everything seems to be fine: she's reportedly quite happy at day care, she's growing, she fills diapers.  She even sleeps through the night.  So we're OK, but I'm hoping she starts taking a bottle soon.

A friend asked recently about Sally's personality.  Again, it's hard to say, because hers is definitely evolving on a different level than Walter's.  She's very, very sweet.  She's snuggly and overall very happy.  She gives big smiles (no giggles yet, but I think that's coming next.) She's talkative and has a huge range of incredibly expressive sounds.  She startles easily when she's awake but can sleep through just about anything (this is a very good skill for a baby in our house to have.) She's curious and doesn't mind being held by new people, though she still has a preference for me (I'm the only one who can feed her, currently, so this preference makes a lot of sense.)  I feel very deeply connected to Sally, like she's still doing handstands on my left hipbone. 

The rest of us
  • Hank is doing well.  He's mostly with us now after staying for quite awhile with my parents after Sally was born. His quality of life is much better when he's staying with them: more walks, more dog park, more on-time meals, fewer small children to fret over.  But he seems to love us, and God knows we love him.  Our house is sad and lonesome when he's not here, and Walter asks about him all the time, missing him.  He's a good dog. 
  • Sean is tired, stressed out about our finances (two kids in daycare ... it is not a good thing, friends) and still managing to be the most wonderful parent and husband the world has ever seen.  Tonight I played with Walter so he got to hold Sally for awhile, which I think helped with the stress. 
  • I am tired. I'm stressed, too, but more about having clothes to wear to work and less about finances. I'm surrounded by bins of clothes, hand-me-downs from my mom, which I could potentially wear if I ever have the time and energy to go through them.  I need to go shopping for some basic things and haven't had a chance to, yet.  And I'm not on great terms with my body.  I had a terrible gallbladder attack a month ago that sent me (and Sally, and a good friend from church) to the emergency room late at night.  That was followed by gallbladder surgery, which took place right after Sean's parents came to visit, we threw a big 2 year birthday party for Walter, and hosted a big celebration for Sally's baptism.  I found out that narcotic pain killers make me depressed (a fairly common thing, I'd imagine, for a depressant to do) and also that having an infected incision which then becomes an open wound in the middle of my chest does not help with the depression.  Today the wound is mostly healed and I am mostly feeling better. Depression is an odd thing for me, these days. I am full of happy hormones from nursing and general happiness from my interactions with my wonderful family and congregation and friends.  I laugh a lot, I genuinely enjoy myself.  But I can't shake the tired feeling, even when I get a good night's sleep.  And I feel ... frumpy.  Physical activity is probably the answer, and now that my incision is healing up, I'm thinking about ways to work on feeling better.
Key to the feeling better plan: spend as much time as possible with these goofballs