Wednesday, November 30, 2005


[author's note: hope this comes out coherant, I've had a nasty headcold for a week. It doesn't help matters that Melissa's been really stuffy and waking up half a dozen times a night.]

Matthew the Rocker
Jonathan recently purchased a game called"Guitar Hero" in which the player strums a plastic guitar and places fingers on the fret keys to make notes corresponding to notes scrolling down the screen. Matthew loves to 'play' with his daddy. Several days ago, while Dad was at work, he got out the guitar and sang "Nair Nair Nairuuum" while posing on his knees, the guitar finger board vertical. Jonathan thinks it would be a 'great idea' to give this kid a drumset when he gets older. . . . Personally, I think that might be the little boy in Jonathan coming out. A drumset? Hmmmm. . . Maybe if we have a sound proof room then.

Melissa Games
Melissa loves paying the bee game. I circle my finger over her head and make a buzzing sound getting louder as I get closer and then tickle her. She laughs and squirms and reaches for my hand as soon as she hears the sound now. Sometimes she'll preempt the tickle by eating the bee. Another game Melissa enjoys is a version of peekaboo. I've had to come up with ways to keep her attention while changing her diaper, otherwise she'll roll over and crawl away even before I get the soiled diaper off. To entertain her I'll place a flat cloth diaper on her head and ask, "Where's Melissa?" She giggles and will swipe at the diaper until she gets it completely off flashing me a baby grin of delight as I say "There she is!" She thinks its even more funny if I pick up the diaper before she does and announce in mock surprise "Oh there's my baby!" This buys me some precious seconds to change her. I'm just glad I don't have to use pins with the diapers- I'm sure I'd have stabbed myself numerous times by now.

Half-Pint Food Critics
Matthew is typically a very good eater and not afraid to try new foods, even vegetables. I was surprised when he dug in his heals over yams on Thanksgiving. I insisted that he have 2 bites. After much face twisting and gagging and threats of "no pumkin treat" he choked them down. These were good yams too! I whipped them up and added a little butter and brown sugar. They were naturally sweet, so I didn't add much. The next day when we had leftovers and I insisted once again that he have a bite. I figured he didn't have to like them (hey, there's certainly foods I don't like) but needed to keep trying them. Just a taste. "Wah hew eat yams, grow big and tall. Reach pumpkin treat." Yes Matthew, if you eat enough yams you will grow big and someday you will reach the pumpkin treat. Reaching the Halloween candy is his current goal in life.

After Matthew's reaction, I shouldn't have been suprised that Melissa would act in kind. I gave her a taste of yams and her whole body spasmed. The look on her face was one of surprise and disgust. This is Not what I expected mom! She also rejects bananas and anything else I've tried to give her. I can't take it personally though, this is the child that will gnaw on shoes and newspaper given half a chance. Come to think of it, perhaps I should surreptitously leave mashed banana on baby spoons on the floor. Maybe it will be more apealing if she forages for it. It's a thought. Matthew didn't eat any solids until 8 months despite my cajoling so this might be what is normal for my kids. At any rate diapers get stinkier once solids are started so I'm not going to push matters too hard just yet.


Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Matthew inherited his father's vision

No, not the myopia. So far his eyesight is just fine.

But he did inherit Guy Vision.

What is Guy Vision, you ask? Allow me to explain...

Matthew was cleaning his room today, which means Mommy (or, rarely, Daddy) does most of the work. One of the last toys left was a turtle. "Matthew, please pick up the turtle." "Where?" he asked. "Over there," said Mommy, pointing. "Where?" "Over there!" "I can' see [it]!" he said, frustrated.

Mommy took his hand and pointed him to the turtle. "Oh!" and he picked up the turtle.

That is Guy Vision.

As I was writing this, Rachel asked if I'd noticed the newly-cleaned state of Matthew's room. I thought for a bit. "No," I answered, honestly.

That is also Guy Vision.

Saturday, November 26, 2005

A peanut's goal in life

Occasionally after finishing his meal, Matthew will be proud of his accomplishment. "[Food] help Wawa det [get] big, strong!" Yes. Good boy.

So for lunch I thought maybe this would provide additional incentive to stop chattering long enough to eat. "Peanut butter sandwich helps Matthew get big and strong!"

"Peanu' bu' san'wich help Wawa det big, strong, reach pumpkin treat?"

Rachel and I laughed. The pumpkin treat is his plastic jack o' lantern full of trick-or-treating candy, kept safely on top of the fridge.

"Yes, son. But that will be many peanut butter sandwiches in the future."

Friday, November 25, 2005

Big boy bed!

So a little over a week ago Rachel finished Matthew's new room (formerly the guest room) and moved him in. He was very excited. Monday he got a twin bed, his "big boy bed." He was even more excited.

Tonight the inevitable happened: Rachel and I heard a thump about 10:00. Rachel went to investigate.

"He was lying on the floor, on top of some hard toys, still asleep."

Apparently Rachel's brother Brian used to fall out of bed and keep right on sleeping, too. Guess it runs in the family.

Melissa's on the move

Melissa has really picked up on the crawling thing. Something clicked on Thursday (the 17) and she's now very fast and coordinated. Of course this was the day I was frantically finishing the painting in the guest bedroom in preparation for my parents arrival. (I had a cousin getting married). I was used to the slow stop and start scouting, with plenty of time to retrive the forbidden before she could grasp it. Now I have to take baby-proofing to the next level. She can cross a room in a matter of seconds.

So it's been a week now of expert crawling, and she's not content. Now she's attempting vertical crawling or climbing. Melissa can now pull herself up to her feet. I predict that it will not be long before she's walking. She's got that same overwhelming desire to be on the move and into things that her older brother had, and he walked at 9 1/2 months. Like him, her sense of self-preservation is nonexistant at the moment, so she'll probably receive many clunks on the head and shins as she learns to coordinate her body better. I'm just glad Jonathan put up that baby gate at the top of the stairs on Saturday.

In other news, we had my parents in town last weekend for my cousin's wedding. My parents attended the wedding which we heard was nice. With Melissa still nursing frequently we opted to just attend the reception that evening. It was at a hall at This is the Place Monument- the same place he proposed to her. Kind of a romantic touch. The reception hall was beautifully decorated and the bride (my cousin) gorgeous, of course. Matthew has been looking forward to Ma' moe and Pawpa coming for weeks. He got to bake cookies with "my Ma' moe" and go to the dinosaur museum (unfortunately he was tired due to lack of a nap and not on his best behavior for the museum). Their visit was short, Dad left Saturday night and Mom Tuesday morning, but Matthew seemed to enjoy what time he had with them. When Grandma left for the airplane, she gave Matthew "Where the Wild Things Are" as a goodbye present. It's currently his favorite book. He even took it with him in the grocery store to read in the cart while I shopped for our Thanksgiving dinner. Some of the other shoppers noted the title and asked him if he liked his book. "Uh huh. Mae' moe give book Wha' hew."


Monday, November 21, 2005

What's that noise?

It was one of those rare occasions where Matthew was amusing himself. Rachel and I were still eating. I think I was having my 7th muffin, or thereabouts, on Saturday morning, while Melissa tried to eat my newspaper. "What's he saying?" Rachel asked. I listened more closely.

"Who's my baby dirl [girl]? Uh huh uh huh uh huh..."

He was singing one of my nonsense Melissa songs. I guess I should be flattered; it's apparently right up there with Happy Birthday and the Witch Song from preschool (which Daddy doesn't know).

My nonsense songs are mostly baby-oriented -- I had nonsense songs for Matthew when he was that age, but they kind of died out. But he felt left out now so I had to make up some more about Matthew the good boy who helps his Dad and is three years old (so much bigger than a baby).

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Getting Big!

Friday Jonathan and I took M&M for their 6 month and 3 year checkups. Jonathan also had a physical and meet the doc appointment. Apparently health wasn't the only topic discussed- Jonathan found out our doctor is an avid gamer and they talked about games they both played.

Matthew is now just over 29 lbs and just shy of 3 feet. That puts him in the 40th percentile for height and weight. Not bad for a kid who was in the 3rd percentile for both for a while. That was when he insisted on eating only black beans, yogurt, bananas, and cheerios (he was nursing still, thank goodness or he might have been even smaller). His former doc even sent us for a blood draw and to an endocrinologist just to make sure nothing was wrong - there wasn't, he was just small. Now he proudly announces, "Wha hew Big!" He even corrects his Daddy if Jonathan calls him his 'little man.' "No Dada, Wha hew Big. Baby little."

Melissa weighed in at 15 lbs 10 oz and (if I remember correctly) is 26 inches long. That places her at the 60th percentile for both. She's getting bigger! In a way it's a little sad. I miss the newborn stage. Six-month-olds are such social creatures though, that it has its own pleasures. Since she's my second, I know how fast babyhood goes and it makes me want to hold on to each stage just a little longer. With Matthew I couldn't wait for each developmental milestone. With Melissa, I can wait and just enjoy....


Little pitchers have big ears

(Or is that "little pictures?" Either way it doesn't make much sense, if you ask me.)

Sunday morning it's getting cold--inside. It's not supposed to get cold inside. Cold is for outside. I go to the thermostat; it's 64 with a minimum of 62. I've programmed it to stay at 68 from 7 AM to 11 PM five or six times and it keeps screwing it up.

I manually override it instead of trying to argue with the programming again. I'm a bit peeved. I find Rachel in our bedroom getting ready for church.

"Dear, our thermostat is smoking crack again."

Matthew is listening.

"'Ermsa' smote twack, Dada?"

Crap. I have visions of him telling his 3 yr old friends that his Dad smokes crack.

"I mis-spoke, Matthew. The thermostat is confused."

Matthew's new room

Yesterday I finally finished the New Room. I tend to underestimate the work involved in projects and overestimate my time, and this was no exception. I must admit, though, that Jonathan did warn me. I painted our guest room a robin's egg blue (I took M to the store and he selected the color) and put in wainscotting and a chair rail which where painted white. Matthew's old room will be the new guest room once I get it painted as well. It was difficult playing the part of Bob Villa and Mama. No sooner did I get the circular saw set up or the paint can opened than some small person ugently needed me. Hence it took me a month to complete. Added to that Matthew wanted to "help." Paint and three-year-olds are a messy proposition. But it is Done. I am rather proud of the way it turned out. (I'll see if I can get Jonathan to link some pictures). More importantly Matthew is thrilled. "WOW! My new room! Tanks Mama! Mama Best!" Ahhh. For you anytime.


[Jonathan: here they are --]

Sunday, November 06, 2005

Great inventions

I've long been a fan of the mostly-forgotten inventor of the air conditioner. Some guy who started Carrier, I think. How many places would be unlivable, or at least impossible to work in, without A/C? Just in the USA there's a lot of them, including most of the east cost where it gets unbelieveably humid in the summer. (This is perhaps the biggest reason behind my resolve to never live there again.)

So the A/C guy gets my "probably the most important underappreciated invention of the 20th century" award.

But the vacuum cleaner guy is closing in. Almost every night Melissa falls asleep to the soothing roar of our Hoover. Without that, she just keeps fussing, increasingly cranky and increasingly unlikely to rest long enough to forget why she's angry and sleep.

My theory is, she thinks something like this: "Wow, that thing is way louder than I am. I guess my work yelling at Mom is superfluous. Now I can sleep."

Bonus extra subject

This isn't a separate post because (a) it's short and (b) Rachel already gets on my case about how many defecation-related posts I've made. So I'd like to stress for the record that this one was her idea.

Matthew postponed his BM today until just before bedtime in a cunning ploy to stay up longer. (I think we're losing the bedtime war. Tonight he was up til almost 9.) "Are you all done?" I called out. "No! Almos' done!"

After he was through, he gave the "all done" call and I wiped his butt. "I make five poops!" he announced. Uh... okay. Well done. Let's flush and wash your hands. "Dada, count poops!" he insisted, motioning towards the turd-infested bowl.

I don't think I'm an excessively sqeamish man, but absent a better motivation for compliance than potentially starting a tradition that could prove rather embarassing among polite company, I declined. Then I flushed it myself to prevent further discussion.

[Rachel's note: I was joking. I didn't seriously intend for Jonathan to write about that.]

Friday, November 04, 2005

The apple orchard

Matthew was so disappointed when we left the orchard earlier this week, that I promised him that we would come back. So today I bundled up M&M and we met my friend Jessica and her crew there. It's a really kid-friendly orchard. They have large groups of 1st graders tour the farm. Jessica's two daughters and Matthew were the only little kids at there at the time, but an orchard worker offered to take them on a hayride. Needless to say, the kids were thrilled. They really went out of their way to make sure our kids had a good time. On top of the hayride, Matthew polished off a gala apple, learned about making apple-cider and sampled some, got a coloring booklet on Johnny Appleseed (in which he colored all the apples blue, but that's another story), charmed the lady out of not one but two lollipops, and of course picked apples. Little boy heaven. Really wished I remembered the camera! Now I need to make applesauce and pie out of all the apples we brought back. Mmmm.


Making Faces

One of Melissa's favorite ways to play is making faces in the mirror at me. She's quite good at copying some silly expressions. (Tongue out and in, raised eyebrows, surprised expressions etc) She gets her whole body into it. When I make a face that particularly delights her, she throws all her limbs into motion and chuckles with baby pleasure. Looking at her today, I think she got my eye shape if not color. They crinkle into two cresents when she laughs. This is another difference I've noticed between Matthew and Melissa. Melissa is much more interested in faces (both watching and making) than Matthew was.


What a stubborn son I have!

Jonathan is right, I haven't been pulling anywhere near my share in posts. I'm trying to make up for it now.

Right now Matthew is in his room. In an effort to enforce the wearing of clothing, I instituted a new rule "Thou shalt wear at least underwear while in the presence of the rest of the family or remain in thy room." Since it is getting colder, pants and shirts are strongly encouraged as well. He's been testing this new rule for the past hour. Rather than yelling at him to get dressed (this uses too much of my energy and isn't very effective) , I've just shooed him back to his room. I've decided I've been expending too much energy lately on things I can't control and it's been wearing me out. (I can't make him eat, sleep, or get dressed- so I'm not going to try anymore.) I don't like being a grumpy frazzled mom. From now on my goal is to conserve my energy and instead use up his. He's got plenty to spare!

There he is now- dressed! He's cheerful, I'm cheerful this is good.


Wednesday, November 02, 2005

The semi-reluctant cloth diaperer

Melissa seems to have inherited the same sensitive skin that Matthew had. I tried all kinds of different brands of disposable diapers and barrier creams to alleviate the chronic rash, but to no avail with him. Finally I tried cloth diapers and it cleared right up and I didn't need to use zinc oxide again. Seems to be the same for Melissa, so that's what I've been using the past 2 months. I decided though, that since I am saving so much money on diapers, I could use some cute diaper covers. I've been using the utilitarian prowraps and bummis pants, but they're not cute. So I spurged a little on different types of covers and prints to try out. I now have little froggy and bee prints in soft fleece covers. I've decided that my kids' sensitive skin has a silver lining- no disposable diapers are as soft or sweet looking as cloth diapers. Now that I'm back in the swing of things it's really not much more work either. The flat prefolds make good toys too. Melissa likes to chew on them and Matthew turns them into capes, hats, and plays peekaboo with them.

[Jonathan's note: also, Rachel's husband put her last set of diaper covers in the dryer, ruining them. I knew this was bad for them but I was half asleep at the time and forgot.]

-Rachel's comment: Well some of the covers aren't supposed to go in the dryer, but they still seem to work. No harm done.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Only a matter of time now

Melissa crawled last night, just a bit. I got some of it on video. I'll see if I can post it on Google. Pretty cute stuff -- she was grinning and so pleased with herself that sometimes she'd forget to hold herself up and just fall forward. "I'm such a big girl now!"

Wrapped Presents

I left Matthew and Melissa together for two minutes today while I took a much needed potty break. Matthew took it upon himself to entertain his baby sister in my absence. Suspicious I called him to me. "What are you doing Matthew?" "Give presents baby sister, see!" He had gotten some tissue paper and wrapped her toys in it. "Baby like presents!" I laughed and said ok, just don't give baby sister the paper. When I emerged from the bathroom, Melissa had a pile of toys on her and was surrounded by a circle of tissue paper. Matthew's a good big brother.


Matthew Tiger

For about two weeks now Matthew's been calling himself "Wha hew Ellis." While driving in the car after receiving a tiger costume from Grandma, he announced, "Wha hew Tiger." "Aren't you Matthew Ellis? "No. Wha hew Tiger. No Wha hew Ellis." Ok. He was so excited to be a tiger for Halloween. He roared at Melissa to their mutal amusement. Baby and little boy giggles ensued. Very cute.