Tuesday, July 28, 2015

New stuff

Baby T is lately very taken by the concept of "new" things.

So, she's been talking a lot about the new ducky and the new Dora and Diego toothbrush she got at the dentist.  We also got back an old Kettler trike with pushbar we had lent out and T has been told that it is for her.  Baby T can see it from her playroom out on the patio and she's very excited about it.  (By the way, I haven't tried it out myself, but the Kettler trike is about 10 years old and is apparently in fine shape.  Yay, German engineering!)

Monday, July 27, 2015

I do myself III

One more thing.

You may wonder, well Xantippe, what about the potty training?  Isn't Baby T clamoring to use the potty by herself?  Not so much.  She still occasional visits the potty, but to no effect.

I do myself II

I forgot a big one.

Up until a day or two ago, Baby T was driving me a little nuts with asking for one DVD or VHS tape, interfering with pressing buttons while I was trying to rewind or whatever, and then repeatedly changing her mind as to which video she wanted.

We've recently settled the issue by me letting Baby T operate the VHS and DVD player herself.  She still needs my help to rewind, but it's a much happier division of labor!

I do myself

Our Baby T is in the middle of a big outbreak of "I do myself."  Unfortunately, not everything she wants to do are things she's either capable of or allowed to do.  On the bright side, her struggles 1) keep her busy and 2) lessen my responsibilities (until cleanup time, of course!).  I need to bear in mind that we need way more time to get ready to go somewhere than we used to.  (Yesterday it turned out that 30 minutes wasn't quite enough time to get Baby T out of the house after a nap.)  Here are some highlights:

  • Baby T graduated herself from the feeding seat a few months ago.  The first sign of the handwriting on the wall was her insisting that the feeding seat was just for her stuffed animals.
  • Baby T has also been insisting that her stroller is primarily for her to push her stuffed animals in.  But I still manage to get her into the stroller, probably 50% of the time.
  • Baby T wants to open the minivan doors and if she finds it already open, she is indignant.  Ideally, I should wait until her hands are on the handle and then push the button to open the door.  She thinks she's opening the door as long as she's touching it.  
  • She wants to do the buckles on both the stroller and her car seat.  She manages the top buckle in the car seat pretty good, but it takes so looooong for her to do the stroller snaps.
  • Related:  If I start doing something for her that she wants to do herself, she has to go back several steps to the beginning and start the whole process again.
  • Baby T is now primarily using open cups at home.  She is very fond of the Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse toddler souvenir cups I bought the big kids when we went to Disneyland 4 years ago that the big kids never really used.  
  • She likes filling her cups up with water herself.
  • She is constantly pushing the stepladder around the kitchen to get at the sink and cupboards.
  • She likes getting her own spoons from the drawer and her own dishes from the dishwasher.  Fortunately, so far she just goes for the baby stuff.
  • She is now able to open the lids on her baby yogurt pouches.
  • She likes opening up packets of crackers.
  • She wants to pour milk and cereal.  I got a Rubbermaid cereal keeper and a quart bottle of milk and provide a little discreet help.   
We've also removed her crib from her room leaving her with the crib mattress on the floor, so she is freer than ever before in her room.  I also often find her asleep face down in the carpet or on a blanket on the carpet. 

Saturday, July 25, 2015

So adorable!

Baby T was watching an Elmo segment on soccer.  She went off, got the family soccer ball, and brought it to the living room to play with.  Awww!

Wednesday, July 22, 2015


Here's some of what's happening:

  • C had her final cake decorating class.  She did a two layer chocolate mix cake with (good) store pudding and Wilton frosting.  She took it to class filled with pudding and iced with chocolate and in class, she added red flowers and green stems and leaves.  Her leaves were really good!  We were all impressed.
  • Ideally, I'd just put C in the cake classes until she finished out all of them, but we are all EXHAUSTED by her cake decorating class.  That sounds silly until you realize that my husband made the famous Hershey's cake on Saturday for C's birthday, C had to take two layers in to class on Monday to ice in class, and on Wednesday she needed to bring in an iced and filled two layer cake.  So, the better part of a week has been consumed with hunting up ingredients, baking cakes, cooling cakes, icing cakes, washing up pans, transporting cakes, icing cakes, and disassembling and cleaning equipment afterwards and then doing it all over again in a day or two.  Hence the mix cake, store pudding and Wilton icing... 
  • But, that said, I think we can pull ourselves together to do a class at least once a year, especially if C is able to take over more of the process.
  • We had a surprisingly passionate family discussion on the subject of cupcakes versus cakes.  I'm pro-cupcake.  C and my husband (who are coincidentally the primary bakers in the family) are anti-cupcake and pro-cake.  We united in deploring the cupcake cake.  Blech!
  • Speaking of cake controversies, C may skip learning to do fondant.  No matter how adorable the fondant cakes on Cake Wrecks are, none of us like the taste.  I hear rumors that a better-tasting fondant is in the works, but I'm skeptical.  
  • Now that D has new furniture, D and I went through everything in his room, bathroom and closet.  It looks fabulous!  I'm so tired.
  • Baby T somehow got a bump during her nap this afternoon, so we removed her crib from her room tonight.  Tonight is her first night with just her crib mattress in her room.  So far, so good.  Baby T first started to try to get out of her crib about a year ago, so my husband sawed the legs off of her crib to make falls less dangerous.  That produced a much safer bed situation and bought us a year.  She's mostly stayed in her bed (even though she could get out), but for the last week or two, she's been coming and going at will.  We've been finding her curled up on her carpet or change table first thing in the morning and at the end of naps.     
  • Once the dust settles, we should get Baby T a twin mattress for the floor and some big girl bedding.  For the moment, we'll also probably get her a large laundry basket to keep her stuff handy at night.   

Sunday, July 19, 2015

More birthday weekend

Here's more of what's happening:

  • We did a huge trip on Friday that included a recon visit to a climbing wall.  It's shorter than our college wall but has more interesting and challenging surfaces.  We also had lunch at our favorite Indian lunch buffet and then did IKEA.  This was a long awaited trip to finish out D's furniture (we got him his first real bed this spring).  There was lots of thinking and figuring and mapping, but I think we got it right.  We got D a massive Hemnes dresser (now successfully assembled by my husband and D!) and a modest Micke (?) desk and a medium Kallax cube set, all in brown black.  The desk and Kallax cube set are still in boxes, but there's reason to hope that they will be less complex than the dresser, which has six drawers.  Up until now, D's room has been dominated by various cheap toddler storage items, so it's going to be a big step up for him.  
  • The climbing place is on the table as a birthday treat for D for next year.
  • Baby T has been very independent the last several days.  She wants to do everything herself, even if it's not at all feasible.  She eventually lets me help, but only after repeated failure.  
  • On the bright side, her self-dressing is improving all the time.
  • She also likes dressing several stuffed animals in pjs before bed (I get to do the snaps).
  • But it takes forever.   
  • C got a mint version of the classic Hershey chocolate cake for her birthday.  It's very fudgy.  
  • C got her birthday gifts today.  We got her several ukulele books and a couple music theory books (the chord wheel, music composition), several t-shirts coordinated to her interests (horses, Minecraft, Star Trek), a Star Wars Storm Trooper water bottle, a LEGO LOTR game (her daddy's idea) and Despicable Me and Despicable Me 2.  The big kids have been playing the LEGO LOTR game, but Baby T has been interfering.   

Happy Birthday, C!

Here's some of what's happening:

  • C is 13 today!
  • Baby T has recently started wanting to put on multiple t-shirts and wear them all at the same time.  She's got two on right now over breakfast.  It just occurred to me that there's method to her madness--after breakfast I can just peel off the top t-shirt and she'll be ready for the day.  

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Baby T getting stuff done by herself

Here's some of what's happening:

  • The big kids are in the middle of a two-week YMCA swim course.
  • Baby T loves zipping her stuffed critters into her pjs.
  • Baby T has learned to rip her way out of her pjs even with the zipper pulls removed.  We have switched to footless pjs worn backwards.  So far, so good!
  • Baby T is suddenly very independent-minded and wants to do everything by herself with no assistance.  If you start helping her, she'll go back to the beginning to do it right without help.
  • Baby T was actually pretty good at church!
  • She's 2 months 9 months old now.  Woohoo!
  • C has her 13th birthday in about a week.
  • D continues to amaze on the college climbing wall.
  • The big kids washed two BIG windows and a glass door for me yesterday (with materials, instruction, screen help and touch-ups provided by my husband).  My husband also managed to wash the rest of the downstairs windows, including our massive double height entry window.  The kids got $15 each and frozen yogurt.    

Tuesday, July 7, 2015


Here's some of what's happening:

  • D continues to cultivate his dill plant outside.  There is talk of planting peppers!
  • Baby T talks about Phineas and Ferb (a popular cartoon at our house) as "Candace," that being her favorite character.
  • C frosted a brownie with the American flag for 4th of July.  It was a nice job!  Last year was the Canadian flag for Canada Day.
  • C had her first buttercream class and came home with a dozen iced cupcakes.  We have some issues with the last two dates of her course, but I'm trying to work it out.
  • C had a ukulele lesson tonight and sounded really good playing the Beatle's Nowhere Man.

Saturday, July 4, 2015

Happy 4th of July!

Here's some of what's happening:

  • We're just back from one night at Great Wolf Lodge in Grapevine (that's near the DFW airport).  This was our second trip--we went last year for two nights for D's birthday.
  • The kids had a very good time in the water park.  D also especially enjoyed the new ropes course with zip line and C also especially enjoyed the Magiquest electronic scavenger hunt.  Of necessity, the big kids had a lot of independence this trip. 
  • I took it easy the first day because past experience is that water parks can be hard on my bad foot.  And this is a very Sad Thing, because I love water parks!  Even in water shoes, all the standing around on concrete in the kiddie pool with Baby T eventually took its toll. (I have some peroneal tendonitis that flares up if I'm not careful.) 
  • Great Wolf Lodge has very generous rules for use of facilities.  So, on a day that you are checking in, you can use the water park starting at 1 and on a day that you are checking out, you can use the water park until closing.  There is some inconvenience in dealing with luggage and wet swim suits and changes without a hotel room, but there is a large pay off--I think we actually managed just about as much fun time with one night this time as we did with two, but it helps to be very familiar with the property now.
  • I started to get some sort of tummy bug our second day, so my husband had to take Baby T after checkout and I just sat in Starbucks and suffered.  That was Thursday and today is Saturday--so there were nearly 48 hours of me not eating normal meals.  But, I think I'm almost recovered.  Not much of a 4th of July, though.   
  • We left Great Wolf Lodge around 2:30 on Thursday and Baby T napped for around an hour in the car.
  • On Friday, Baby T made a "break through" of sorts.  Up until yesterday, she'd been outfoxed by the fact that we removed the zipper pulls from her pjs, so she was unable to take off her pjs and diaper during naps.  (Toddlers invented the nude protest!)  Yesterday, she finally figured it out.  There was no poop-smearing, thank goodness, but everything in the bed needed to be cleaned or laundered.  We also threw out the Little People house.  It was a judgment call.  Technically, we could have submersed it, wrecking the electrical stuff in it, but the ick factor was pretty big.  
  • Current Baby T pj protocol is going to be backwards footless zip-up one-piece pjs.  Recent developments have rendered a lot of her old pjs with feet obsolete...The backward pjs do not fit all that well, but it did stay on last night, so yay!  I'm planning to buy some more footless pjs today if the right store is open.