Saturday, March 31, 2012

Songs to Set Your Soul To: Week Three

This song instantly makes me feel like a fourteen-year-old girl again, and every time I hear it, I still rock out. What teenage girl didn't want to be Gwen in 1995? The abs alone....

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Madeline's Wake-Up Song

One morning, when Madeline was still basically a loaf of bread, I sung a silly little ditty off the top of my head without thinking about it as I roused her from her crib.    

The little song has stuck, and whenever I have to wake Madeline up, I find myself singing it to her.

I can't place where I've heard the tune before.  It's the kind of song that sounds like it should belong in a grandfather clock, or in a Jane Austen movie, or sung around a piano at Christmas...maybe my mother sang it to me, but I'm just not sure where I got it from.    

The words are very, very simple:  

Good morning, sweet Madeline
Good morning, my baby!
Good morning, sweet Madeline
Good Morrrrr-ning.  

When Madeline hears this song, a smile creeps across her sleepy face, she stretches, and stumbles to her feet to be picked up.  Once in my arms, she usually snuggles her face into my shoulder because she's still half asleep, and I rub her back and rock her awake.  It's clear that Madeline likes being awoken this way.  

This week, Madeline's begun softly chanting, "Morning!" in a high-pitched, sing-song voice from time to time.    

At first I thought it must be related to a song she does at school, but then Eric said he thought it was the song I sing to her.  I'm choosing to agree with him.  

She's up in bed now tossing and turning, and hopefully, falling asleep.  I just heard her softly singing "Mornnning" to herself and it really does sound like her wake-up song.  

I hope she lets me sing it to her till she's at least fifteen.    

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Diary of a Bad Parent: Teaching My One-Year-Old Daughter to Swear

Yesterday afternoon I was unloading groceries when I realized that I had accidentally bought decaf coffee instead of regular.

"Dammit!"  I exclaimed, "I got the wrong coffee!  Look how little the 'decaf' is!!!"

I turned to Eric to show him the injustice of the very tiny lettering on the very large box.  The look of shock and amusement on his face that instantly let me know he was thinking about something other than coffee.  

"Did you hear what she just said??" he asked pointedly as he cradled Madeline in his arms.

His tone made my stomach sink slightly.  "No....What?"

"She just said dammit."  He looked at me with his best school-teacher glare of disapproval and grinned.

"She did no..."I began to protest when I heard it too...

The world's cutest and tiniest "Dammit!" coming from my baby girl's sweet mouth.

Eric began to laugh.  I groaned.  Madeline remained blissfully unaware of her, and her Mumma's, crime as she busied herself with playing with the buttons on Eric's collar.

At dinner later that night, I began to rant about something that had happened at work.  There was no swearing involved this time, but when Madeline heard my exasperated tone of voice, there it was again:

"Dammit!" she cooed between bites of corn.

Eric began laughing, Madeline smiled a wicked smile of delight and said it again....thrice.  "Dammit. Dammit. Dammit!" She announced proudly.

I told Eric to stop egging her on with his laughter and made a promise aloud to not swear in front of the baby anymore.

A baby-sized "Dammit!" continued to echo around the house yesterday evening as she played with her toys.  I groaned inwardly every time I thought of the reaction she'd get at daycare the next day if this continued.

Luckily, she seems to have forgotten the word for now, and I didn't get any accusatory looks when I picked her up from school today.

I'm also thankful that she didn't pick up on anything worse.  If she had to repeat one of my less savory expressions, "Dammit!" is probably the least of my offenses.

Guess Mumma's going to have to start censoring herself more.  Ooops.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

On Naming Ellis Jane: Toddle Along Tuesday

Names are important to me.  With a name like Summer, I tend to dwell on names more than the average bear...I know how a name can earn you both positive and negative attention.  As a result, I skip straight over names that are too common.  At the same time, names like Moonbeam and Daffodil aren't appealing either.  A person named Summer can't name her child Daffodil.  That's just ridiculous.  

Luckily, choosing a name for our stillborn daughter, Ellis, was a very easy process.  

After batting around names for several hours one evening, Eric decided to turn to his wall of CDs for inspiration.  He went through the albums one by one, reading off the names on the spines.  We laughed at most, I crinkled my nose at some, and there were a few I deemed worthy enough to give a half-hearted maybe.  Baby Miles Davis?  Baby Hootie and The Blowfish?  Baby Ludwig?  Seriously?

Eventually, he called out, "Don Ellis."   Don was definitely out, and at first, I crinkled my nose at the idea of Ellis.  I was thinking of it as a boy's name, which instantly brought to mind a child with suspenders up to his armpits and a red cowlick.  But Ellis as a girl's name?  That brought to mind a girl who read poetry, could beat up the boys at recess, and could play guitar all while wearing pink nail polish.

At the time, I had no idea who Don Ellis was, but it made Eric happy to have a name with a connection to a musician he admired.  And when I typed the name into Google, I found out that Emily Bronte's pen name had been Ellis Bell, so it had a literary connection as well.  Bingo.

A few weeks later, when we found out we were indeed having a baby girl, we decided on the name Ellis almost immediately.

Her middle name, Jane, is one syllable, which I respect in a middle name, and was intended as a girly balance to the gender neutral Ellis.  Plus, I just really love the way the two names sound together.

The fact we came upon Ellis Jane so easily and early was a small blessing because when she was born still at 24 weeks, I took some comfort in the fact that she at least had a name.  Like I said, names are important.

Madeline Lee's name took longer to settle upon, mainly because I got bogged down in looking at every single baby name under the stars.  I also think I resisted the name for so long because although I love it, it  seems that every other baby born these days is named Madeline.  Of course, most of those babies pronounce it Madel-LYN, which is wrong, and drives me bonkers.

Still, Madeline fits her perfectly.  She's just such a little Madeline.  Maddie.  Maddie Bear.  She's a sweet, loving, gentle soul with a flair for the dramatic and a short fuse.

You can read more about Madeline's naming process here, here, and here.  Oh, and here.  And here...Ok, that's all.  I think...

Madeline in the oven, giving her Mumma Bear the finger....whatevs.  

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Return of the Bunny

In my brain, I sometimes still think September was two weeks ago even though it was totally six months ago.  This has fooled me into thinking Madeline hasn't changed much since her birthday,  which is ridiculous because she couldn't even walk in September and now she climbs half way up the stairs before I can get to her.  (Stop giving your Mumma heart palpitations, Maddie Bear!)

When I scrolled through the photos on my computer the other day, I was shocked to see how much she's grown in the past six months.  How did I not even notice that my baby doesn't really look like a baby anymore?

Madeline at 12 months:

Madeline at 18 months:

 (Don't mind the crying baby.  She was having a rough afternoon.)

Enormous, right?  For the complete effect, see all of her bunny pictures.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Mumma's Girl

You know how sometimes at the grocery store there's that one obnoxious, crying child that can be heard from the produce aisles all the way across to the dairy?  Well today, that was Madeline.  And that red-faced, embarrassed mother sheepishly pushing the cart?  Well, that was me.

Eric and I each get turns being Madeline's favorite person.  We sometimes joke that she's like a baby duck because it usually depends on who she sees first in the morning.  If Eric gets her from her crib, Dada's the best thing since sliced bread.  If it's Mumma, Dada gets ignored for most of the day.

But this week?  This entire week, Madeline has had a serious case of the Mummas.  Every time I turn around,  she's there begging to be picked up.  She wants to be with me everywhere and always.

Luckily, I love a good cuddle with my girl, and we've enjoyed many happy moments rocking on the porch together this week.  Unfortunately, I do not like the crying, spitting hissy fit that ensues if I'm unavailable at that very moment.

For example, I'm busy making dinner? Temper tantrum.  I'm busy eating my dinner?  Temper tantrum.  I'm using the potty?  Temper tantrum.  Poor Dada tries to bring her upstairs for bed instead of Mumma?  Temper tantrum.  I eventually brought her in bed with us at 4 am because the persistent cry of, "Mumma!" over the baby monitor was getting old.

Poor girl just can't get herself enough Mumma time this week!

Which brings us to the supermarket this afternoon.  Madeline sat quite happily in the cart as she usually does before she decided she needed Mumma to pick her up and rock her N.O.W.

"Sorry, baby, Mumma can't hold you now,"  I said and I wiggled my fingers on the cart handles to try to distract her.

"BWAHHAHAHHAHAHAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHA!"  Fat tears rolled down her cheeks, her face turned red, I could see the tonsils in the back of her throat, and her pudgy little arms reached out for me in desperation.

Maddie Bear sure knows how to tug at my heartstrings.  I took her out, carried her on my hip for an aisle until she calmed down, and tried putting her back in the carriage.

"BWAHHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHHA!"  More epic baby tears.  This time, I didn't take her out.

"Oh no, Madeline, we're not playing this game,"  I told her as we continued down the aisles.

So she screamed up one aisle and down the next.  She screamed until she no longer knew what she was crying about.  No amount of back-rubbing, hugging, or distracting with bananas was going to stop her from crying.

Several elderly ladies smiled at me with understanding in their eyes.  One lady told me, "That baby needs to take a nap!"  Most people pretended there wasn't a wailing toddler parading down the cereal aisle.

I grabbed my things and got out of there as quickly as possible.  I swear I could hear the entire supermarket take a giant sigh of relief as we stepped out into the parking lot.  

When I picked Madeline up to put her in her car seat, she buried her head in my shoulder and stopped crying.  When I put her in her car seat, the hysterics continued...all the way home.

At home, we spent another lovely afternoon together enjoying the warm weather...until Madeline finished eating her dinner and decided she needed to be on Mumma's lap immediately in spite of the fact that Mumma was still taking the first bites of her dinner.  At least there was no audience for that melt down.

Poor Maddie Bear....

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

What We've Been Up To

I haven't been visiting the old bloggy-wog much recently because it's just too damn beautiful outside for me to bother much with the computer.

It's been in the upper seventies this week.  In Massachusetts.  In March.  What the what?!?  It's a holy miracle brought on by the drunk people leprechauns I saw parading around Boston on Sunday morning.  (In other news:  Please God, don't ever let Madeline dress like a slutty leprechaun on St. Patrick's Day....pretty please?)

I know this glorious weather will probably be followed by an April blizzard, so we've been taking advantage of the great outdoors as much as possible by...

Eating afternoon Popsicles on the porch:

 Eating watermelon:
(Of course, Madeline was sent home early from school the next day for excessive pooping.  You win this time, watermelon!)
 Taking long ambling walks to nowhere:
And of course, lots and lots of time playing in the yard, sitting on the porch, and neighborhood gazing.

Today was so warm, in fact, that I had to run out to get Madeline some rompers.  Who doesn't love a baby in a romper?  Am I right??  

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

18 Months

Dear Madeline,

Today you are an official one-and-a-half-year-old child, and you are such an amazing little human being that I can't believe I made you from scratch.  How come my sugar cookies never turn out half as good?

The age you are now is my favorite so far.  You're so fun.  You're so smart.  You're so sweet.

After a few bumpy weeks, you have finally learned to love your new room at daycare.  You learn so much there!  We had to look up the Bumble Bee song online a few weeks ago because you kept cupping your hands together and shouting "Bee! Bee!"  Apparently the Bumble Bee song is a favorite during circle time.  You also frequently request The Itsty Bitsy Spider.  Every time you lift your hands over your head to signal that the sun is coming out, my heart doubles in size.  It's so amazingly cute.

You've also learned to sing.  We often hear you La-la-la-ing from the backseat of the car.  As I type this, I can hear you singing to yourself in your crib as you try to fall asleep.  Dancing has also become a more frequent event.  I caught you head banging to Yo Gabba Gabba a few times when you thought I wasn't looking.  No lie.

The words that come out of your mouth are constantly a surprise.  You repeat everything we say.  You call a lot of things by the sound they make instead of their proper names.  For example, lions and tigers are "Roar!" cats are "Meow," cars are "Vroom," Santa is "Ho, ho, ho," playgrounds are "Weeee!" and hearts are "Baboom, Baboom, Baboom."  My favorite is still the way you pronounce bubbles as "Bubblessssshhh."

You've begun to assert your desires more forcefully recently.  Today you threw a pretty good tantrum out on the porch steps when I told you we were getting in the car to go grocery shopping.  You wanted to stay and play longer.  You've been known to cross your arms in stubborn defiance and shout, "No!"  You declare everything as "Mine!"  Your bottom lip forms a very cute and heartbreaking pout when you don't get your way.

On the other hand, your sweetness has also increased.  You give real hugs and kisses now.  The way you say hug is the same way you say hat, but we can tell what you mean because you wrap your arms around our necks while you say it.  Hugs are a frequent occurrence.  You give them out like candy.

And while terrible-two vocabulary has made our way into the house, so has "Peeese" and "Too-doo!" (Thank you!)

This afternoon you watched me carry a grocery bag from the porch to the kitchen.  I turned around to get the next bag only to see you dragging a bag in behind me.  "Help!  Help!" you cried not because you wanted help, but because you were trying to help me.  You do the same thing when you see me sweeping the floors.  You ask to help and "Turn! turn!" when you want a turn sweeping.  We'll have to get you a baby-sized broom. We've had a couple of close calls between the broom handle and glass objects.

In other news, we bought you a potty about a month ago.  You haven't quite figured out what you're supposed to put in it, but you like to sit on it.  You ask for it frequently and you're fascinated by a potty book we bought you.  We know you're still very young, and there's no pressure, but since you seemed to develop a toilet fascination on your own, we thought we might as well encourage you.  (Maybe it's in the genes....)

I've found myself counting the days till summer vacation already.  I can't wait for two whole months of playing with you, my amazing little peanut.


Tuesday, March 13, 2012

The Five-Second (Or More) Rule...

When I happened across this article on The Boston Globe's website today, I half chuckled- half cringed.

I chuckled because my first thought was, "Snort.  Only five seconds!?  Seriously, people, try twenty minutes."  Then I cringed because my second thought was, "Dear God, I'm a horrible mother."

The "five-second rule" is the belief that it's safe to eat anything that's fallen on the floor as long as it's picked up within five seconds.   The article's main point is that most parents practice this rule in spite of the fact that even minimal contact between food and the floor can pass harmful bacteria.  

In our house, eating food off the floor is a very common occurrence.  (For the baby, not for Eric and I...)  It's not that she just happens to find this food on the floor either.  It's almost as if she purposely throws it there with the intent of saving it for later.  

It's mostly a Cheerios problem.  Every morning,  Madeline goes through the same process of dumping her bowl of dry cereal on the living room rug.  Then she happily picks up an O here and there throughout her morning routine as if she's found a yummy surprise amongst her toys.  This happens so frequently, and it makes her so happy, that we've pretty much given up preventing her from eating cereal off the floor.

Pretty gross.  Still, we keep the rug relatively clean.  We don't have any pets, and it's not a high traffic shoe area.  Plus, the cereal is dry so it's not like it gets big globs of dust or burlap-sac hair stuck to it.  If she dumped sliced peaches onto the rug, I probably wouldn't let her eat them.  I'd at least inspect them first.  I also draw the line at eating food off the kitchen floor after dinner as she often tries to do.  That's just plain wrong.  The kitchen floor is not as clean, and pasta is sticky.  See, I'm not a totally delinquent parent.

Here's the worry:  I often hear stories about how first time parents are really careful about cleaning anything their baby drops on the floor, but by the time they get to their second or third child, they let the kid eat dirt.

Since I don't really care that much now with my first,  I figure we'll probably just feed our second child out of a dog bowl.  If we ever have a third child, we'll probably just throw scraps of raw meat on the kitchen floor for the poor waif to lick up.

Sigh.  Really though, I should probably try harder to prevent floor eating.  I don't want Madeline to be that weird kid who digs a half-eaten cupcake out of the trash bin during recess, do I?

Monday, March 12, 2012

Life is Beachy

Holy gorgeousness outside!  Spring is Spring-ing, bird are chirping, Maddie Bears are a-growing.

We had a really nice family weekend.  The beautiful weather just instantly puts everyone in a better mood, doesn't it?

(Although I must say this daylight savings bologna is messing with Madeline's psyche.  Set your internal clock, Madeline!)   

Saturday was spent on an ultimate curtain hunt, which was a success.  Then I got a random urge to build Madeline a tee pee.  (More on this when it's actually finished....soon...I hope...)

Sunday we decided to drive up to the beach and let Madeline run around like a maniac.  She yelled, "Watah! Watah!"  all the way down to the ocean.  Then she ran, and ran, and ran some more.

 Mix the beach time in with some playground playing and chocolate-chip-cookie eating, and Madeline's day was pretty fantastic.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Songs to Set Your Soul To: Week Two

I was so busy enjoying the beautiful weather and building Madeline a teepee (more on this later) that I forgot to post my song of the week.

I'd like to point out that I'm not posting these in any particular order. I just made a list off the top of my head.

Do you have a song that makes your toes tap and your heart thump?

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Pom-Poms are Fun, Mumma

Madeline wasn't a fan of a bowl full of cloud dough, but she was a huge fan of a bowl full of pom-poms.

 Apparently, when it comes to neon pom-poms, messes are not a problem for Madeline.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

The Ginger Gene

Until Madeline was born, I was the lone redhead in my family.  I don't belong to the milk man, so obviously there has to be red hair in the gene pool in various places, (my father's mother for example) but I'm the only one I've ever seen.  

The fact that Madeline inherited my ginger gene makes me feel like there's an extra bond between us.  It's like sitting next to a stranger in the cafeteria only to find that you're not the only weirdo in the world who eats peanut butter and mustard sandwiches.  Kindred spirits!

 It makes me happy and proud when strangers comment on the fact that she takes after her mother.

Yet, sadly for little Madeline, inheriting her Mumma's head of hair comes with some challenges.

First off, although my daughter is one-and-a-half years old, she still doesn't have much hair.  What she does have is a beautiful shade of red, but it's scraggly long in some places while still sparse in others.

It used to look like this:

Then for a long time it looked like this:
Pretty much every time we went out someone would call her a boy...even when she was dressed head to toe in pink.

Now, it's finally long enough to tease some itty-bitty ponytails out of it:
(Even with the ponytails, people still call her a boy because they are morons.)
 When we take the ponytails out, her hair stays like this until we wash it:
 I love it!

Although Madeline's hair has finally started filling in, I'm not holding my breath for a full head of hair any time soon.  When I was a baby, my hair looked like this:

Except, I'm not a baby in this picture.  I'm three.

Madeline probably has at least two more years of a her boyish locks until we need to worry about ribbons and bows.

Then somewhere around age eleven or twelve, her baby-thin hair will morph into the giant red triangle that I'm still trying to tame today.
A boy at recess once told me I looked like Bozo the Clown.  Which, I did...Ouch.  When I was in my mid twenties, another boy once told me I have hair like a burlap sac.  Which I do...ouch.

Crazy hair?  We gots it!

P.S. Eric has a pretty mean cowlick in his crazy hair, so Madeline's got that going for her as well.

Linking up with Toddle Along Tuesday this week at Growing Up Geeky.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Cloud Dough is Messy, Mumma

Madeline has been stuck inside with the sicks since last Wednesday, which makes for one serious case of cabin fever.  (P.S. We're pretty sure she has sixth disease since her temperature vanished as quickly as it came and left a lovely rash all over her body in its wake.  At least she's finally on the mend.)  On Friday afternoon, I was feeling sad for my bored baby who couldn't even enjoy playing out in the snow, so my brain started searching for a fun inside project for us to do.

Luckily, I came across the blog Tinkerlab last week, which is an amazing resource of fun projects to do with your kids.

So while Madeline napped, I whipped up a batch of cloud dough.  It's very easy to make.  You mix flour and baby oil together.  (I used two cups flour and 1/4 cup baby oil.)  The mixture has an interesting texture that I can best sum up as a blend of cotton balls, flour, and sand.  It really does look like a bowl full of clouds.  Plus, it smells really good and left my hands moisturized.  Bonus!

 I was really excited to wake Madeline up from her nap and let her dig around in a bowl of clouds for the afternoon.

Madeline, however, was not as enthusiastic.  She dumped the bowl on the floor right off the bat, poked at it a few times, looked at me like I was crazy sauce, and declared, "Mess!  Mess!" while shaking her head.

She humoured me for a few minutes, but she did not enjoy getting her hands dirty.  This is proof that although Madeline has inherited many of my qualities, she's got a healthy dose of Eric in her as well.  Mumma couldn't give a hootenanny about messes.  In fact, I really enjoy making a good mess.   Dada on the other hand?  Dada does not like messes, and apparently, neither does Madeline.

I was a little bummed that Madeline did not want to get creative with me, but oh well, there's no arguing with Maddie Bears.

I have not quite given up on cloud dough yet in spite of Madeline's reluctance.  It's just too fun.  I scooped what I could salvage into a freezer bag and I'll reintroduce it to Madeline in a few months.  Maybe she's just still too young.

 What kid could resist playing with a bowl full of clouds?!?

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Songs to Set Your Soul To: Week One

I've always been able to tell if I'm going to make a significant connection to a person the first time we meet.  This has been true in both romance and friendships.  If we don't hit it off the moment we meet, we're more than likely never going to hit it off.  I've had both friends and boyfriends where this wasn't the case, of course, but none of which can be counted as being amongst the most significant relationships of my life.  There needs to be that electricity in the air.

It's the same thing with music.  There's been very few bands or musicians that have slowly grown on me.  And there are very few bands that I could say I truly love.  But, there have been songs from all genres and time periods that seem to reach down into my soul and speak to me the very first time I hear them.  Some of the songs are silly, some are sad, some are good and some are pretty cheesy.  Yet, for whatever reason, these are the songs that I find myself coming back to time and time again.  These are the songs that instantly put me in a better mood when I hear them and I blast on my car radio when there's no one else there to complain.  

The plan is to share one every Saturday for your listening pleasure.  At the very least you can have the smug satisfaction of having better taste in music than me.  If you want to play along, please comment below.

I'm starting with tonight's selection because it was just on the radio on my way home, and it got me thinking about this subject in the first place.  David Bowie is playing along on the video I chose because who doesn't need a little more Bowie in their lives, am I right?

Do you have a song that gets your heart thumpin' and your toes tappin? Want to play along? Link up below.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Snow Day

Madeline spiked a fever out of nowhere yesterday evening.  Usually there's a runny nose or bags around the eyes to let me know that the plague is a-coming.  But last night she went from her normal, happy Maddie Bear self to Mumma, I can't move in less than twenty minutes.

Sometimes when you most need a snow day, the Snow Gods hear your prayers and deliver a bounty of freezing precipitation.

This morning when I woke up to an even sicker Madeline and the news telling me I didn't have to go to work today, I did a happy dance in my heart.  I didn't really get up and do a happy dance because I was trapped in my cozy bed with a sick baby sprawled across me.  But, trust me, my heart was doing the Jitterbug.

Except for the freak blizzard that ruined Halloween, we've had a pretty mild winter in the beautiful Commonwealth of Massachusetts this year.  In fact, its' been so unusually warm recently that February vacation felt more like April vacation.  I was pretty sure we'd get through the school year without another snow day.

I'm so glad I was wrong because Madeline really needed a day to do nothing but sleep on Mumma while Mumma slept on the couch.  And that's all we did.

I didn't even get out of my pajamas today.  Yup, I'm pretty disgusting.

Madeline is still sick, so one of us (I vote Eric) will probably have to take a day off work tomorrow to stay home with her, but at least it's only one day of work missed instead of two.

Thank you almighty Snow Gods in your infinite wisdom.