Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Memorial day shenanegans

Memorial day sneaked up on us this year, though I suppose all the holidays so far have done that. Of course, I'm not sure we would have come up with better, or even different plans had we thought about it more, and our semi-planned party was quite enjoyable. Derrick, Sylvia, and I went to Stacy's for a BBQ with Aya, Thimo, where we had tasty kebabs, baked beans, and an overabundance of other food. Lots of fun, lots of good company. We even had a quick visit with Clayton, who skyped Stacy toward the beginning of the gathering.

Sylvia wandered all over Stacy and Clayton's apartment, and was mostly happy (except for naptime!). I ate way too much food (all too delicious to waste). Sylvia loves to throw herself back when twirled in a circle--something she demonstrated for Aya and Stacy who were quite impressed (or perhaps a little concerned). Derrick seemed to enjoy talking to Thimo, which was nice. He so rarely gets to be with anyone but me and Sylvia and it was nice to see him hang out with a friend.

One funny thing about the evening--none of us thought to bring beer. Derrick and I don't drink, and neither Aya nor Stacy drinks, so none of us got beer, leaving Thimo, the only drinker, dry for the evening. I don't think any of the rest of us even considered buying alcohol for the event. I suppose for Thimo, being German, beer is a pretty natural accompaniment to a meal, especially a BBQ. Not so much for the rest of us.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Story time

Sylvia likes the cat box

One day, Sylvia's mom arrived home just in time to see Sylvia following the cat into the litter box. The sitter, dear woman that she is, was so horrified that she insisted on washing Sylvia's hands and checking her mouth to make sure she hadn't eaten any of the nasty stuff. After an hour of cleaning and reassurances the sitter left, finally convinced Sylvia would suffer no lasting damage from her encounter with the cat box.

Sylvia likes that her dad is back home

After a 10-day absence (an eternity so long Sylvia had almost forgotten her dad a week earlier) Sylvia's dad arrived late at night, long after Sylvia had fallen asleep in her car seat. The next morning she awoke to find her dad back in his bed, right where he belonged, and she grinned and stared, and grinned some more.

Sylvia likes mud

Sylvia's dad missed his garden while he was away, and so Sylvia and her dad and her mom went to their garden the night after Sylvia's dad returned. Sylvia ate rocks and dirt (just like normal) and then discovered something new: mud. A hose left running created a beautiful mud puddle, which Sylvia splashed her hands in. Being not so coordinated about crawling, Sylvia fell, face first, into her lovely mud puddle and came up covered from nose to forehead with squishy, dark mud. Happy girl that she is, she laughed to find herself covered in mud and soon spread the stuff all over the rest of her face and body.

Unfun parents that Sylvia's mom and dad are, they stripped her down to her birthday suit and squirted her off before dressing her again in a new diaper and new outfit that they then insisted she keep free of mud. A young Chinese woman (who had admired Sylvia's muddy countenance and clothing) told Sylvia's mom that American babies must be very strong because Chinese babies would get sick from playing in the mud and being sprayed with cold, cold water in the evening.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Waking up on the wrong side of the bed

Sometimes when Sylvia wakes up too early, she just cries and cries. There isn't much to do in those cases except try to get her to go back to sleep, which frequently involves leaving in her crib to cry herself to sleep. This evening, after a walk to my advisor's house to see the duck nesting in their garden (which was very cool, and which I would totally have missed had they not shown it to me) Sylvia fell asleep and then apparently woke up too early. I, of course, had taken the opportunity to make dinner (an asparagus omelette with feta cheese--oh so tasty) and call my sister. Sylvia woke up just as I was about to start eating and proceeded to cry so loudly I couldn't hear anything on the phone.

I soon abandoned my (hot, tasty) dinner and my conversation to nurse Sylvia. This was apparently the right move since she calmed down quickly. Soon she took her hand and started stroking the ends of my hair with her palm and smiling, happy at that moment to be held by me.

There are some moments of motherhood that really do make my heart melt.

Saturday, May 16, 2009


Because my cousin's son is deaf, and because I've heard from a number of people that teaching young children to sign just makes things easier, I've been trying to sign with Sylvia. I'm not terribly consistent, and Derrick doesn't sign with her, so I haven't had much hope that it would work. Tonight, however, after Sylvia finished her graham crackers, she brought her hands together a couple of times in a way distinctly reminiscent of the sign for "more." I'm not entirely sure she meant to sign "more," but I reinforced the sign (by giving her another cracker).

I told Derrick about it (since he's in Utah) and his response was, "Oh, is that what she's been doing when she brings her hands together." Such a punk. I think Sylvia's going to be teaching him now, though, since she's apparently learning.

Rough and fluid

Here are other pictures I've taken this week:

Pictures for the "fluid" challenge, which I was unfortunately unable to enter :P

Long week, no pictures

Derrick has been out of town since last Saturday, which has made this quite the hectic week. I've managed to get everything done that needed to be done, though only barely, and only because of much help from other people (for which I am very grateful!). But I have some cool graphs showing relative abundance of carbonate and clays in my core, courtesy of Brenda, and in about a week I should have my first subset of brine shrimp cyst data for the GSL. I'm beginning to believe I might actually be able to get everything done I need for the Isocompound conference and eventually to graduate. Scary.

Having someone else take care of Sylvia has definitely brought up some insecurities in me. I'm not all that nervous a parent, and it was relatively easy for me to leave Sylvia in order to go get work done (though I'd bet the proximity of a big deadline helped with that--I'm nervous enough about this conference that my worries about Sylvia were definitely muted in comparison). It amazes me how much better taken care of Sylvia was by someone else than by me. I certainly don't neglect my daughter, but I don't change her clothes very often, or worry about it if she has a few food stains on her shirt. I don't worry much if Sylvia's clothes match or if they clash horribly as long as they cover her and keep her comfortable. The babysitter, on the other hand, always had Sylvia clean and beautiful for me when I came home. I know the dynamic probably reflects the babysitter wanting to not look like she's neglecting Sylvia at all, but it did make me wonder, am I the only parent out there who doesn't change my child's clothing the moment it has a food spot on it? Should I be changing Sylvia's attire daily (it does sort of sound bad when I say it like that, doesn't it)? Should I be bathing her daily, too? Again, I generally wait until she seems to need a bath for olfactory reasons, which may be daily, but frequently isn't. Sigh. Of all the insecurities to bring up, I find it a little funny my care with Sylvia's attire is the one day care has accentuated.

I'd like to update the photography end of things today, too; I've taken pictures this week, both of Sylvia and for Mission 24, but something happened with Derrick's computer and I can't download anything. Grr. So, I'll have to wait until Monday to download stuff unless I figure out a way to download at school or something. Very disappointing--the challenge on Wednesday was fluid and I took some pretty cool pictures of flowers with water droplets on them and couldn't post them.

Just as a final update, Sylvia is about 18 lb and 27 (or so) inches long right now.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Bouncy baby

So, when I got in the shower this morning, Sylvia was sound asleep on my bed. When I got out of my shower she was sitting on the floor, happy as could be to see me. I will refrain from commenting on the steps between the two states.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Mother's day

Sylvia's standing up and even cruising a bit, which is more than a little scary!

Derrick left for Utah yesterday (isn't it awesome my husband leaves for my first Mother's day?) Sylvia and I are having a pretty good time together so far, though. Getting ready for church, and especially printing the program, was a little more exciting than usual, but really not that bad. I just have to leave myself more time to get things done.

One of the talks today I really enjoyed. Bro. Tree talked about his many mothers (since his mother divorced his father and he was raised as much by his grandmother and aunts) and how much admiration he had for them. The only thing he said about them that bothered me is he said they never took handouts from anyone. They did accept food from the Bishop's storehouse, but only if the giving was couched in terms other than welfare.

I can understand that pride, sort of, but I worry about the elevation of it to a virtue. I think it's a virtue to work hard, but there are times (like during the Great Depression and right now) when no amount of hard work will prevent many people from falling into bad circumstances. Self-reliance is a grand ideal, but there are times when it's very simply impossible, and not because a person is lazy, but just because a situation makes it impossible. I wish I heard more stories over the pulpit about people who graciously accepted the help offered by those around them and then turned around and gave back when their circumstances improved.

The other story I liked was one about Hyrum Smith's wife (and Joseph F. Smith's mother). While she was crossing the plains her ox fell sick and the brethren deemed sick animals undeserving of priesthood blessings. So, she blessed them (he said prayed over them, but at the time women were allowed to give blessings so I'm guessing she actually blessed them) and they were healed. Reminded me of the wife of the branch president when I was at PSU, who hurt her hand and was told by her husband that such an injury didn't warrant a priesthood blessing. Perhaps we women should have gotten together and prayed over the wounded hand.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

9 months

Sylvia has officially been outside as long as she was inside me. Fittingly, today's challenge at Mission24 was "balance," so I took a picture of Sylvia standing with Derrick's help. The other pictures here are others I thought were cute but didn't think quite pictured balance.

The last image could best be described as "lack of baby-work-life balance," or "destruct-o comes to town." Sylvia's newest favorite game (besides standing up in her crib at nap and bedtimes in order to scream longer) is pulling everything out of whatever container is currently holding something and spreading the contents across the floor. This includes tupperware in cupboards, socks and underwear in drawers, toys in whatever receptacle they are currently housed, and, as pictured above, the entire contents of her diaper bag. Good things she's so darn cute.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Sicky Cinco de Mayo

So, Sylvia's actually quite a bit better today than she was either Sunday or Monday, but she's still a bit on the clingy, whiny side, and very definitely on the snotty side. There have been times over the last three days when veritable rivers of snot ran down from my little girl's little nostrils. She gets very upset when I wipe the slime from her face--but it really does need to go.

Sunday she woke up with a fever and congestion, which made the decision to skip stake conference (wahoo! even more people to potentially infect than a normal Sunday) easy. By the end of the day I'd had it with her crankiness and refusal to sleep, and went to the store for children's Tylenol. Although her fever went down, I'm unsure it really helped her since she was still rather unhappy.

Yesterday was great for me--I proctored an exam at 8 am, so had to leave by 7:30, and I worked until about 7:30 at night in lab. While I was gone, Derrick dealt with Sylvia's whinyness, which, according to him, only got worse over the day, especially after she knocked her head against the window sill and gave herself quite a nasty purple bump.

Which was a topic of conversation today with a nice older gentleman at Bennett's (the local nursery). He told Sylvia (who I'm sure got so much out of the story) that he'd walked into a shelf to give himself a similar bruise recently. I know kids frequently have bumps and bruises, particularly when they're first learning to move around. Nevertheless, it's always just a little embarrassing when other people notice and comment. I'm glad the man made it into a very natural, normal occurrence--with all the (admittedly minor) traumas Sylvia's experienced lately, it's nice to have someone point out those sorts of things are normal.