Filed under: — Aprille @ 9:55 am

We’ve been working on various phrases with Miles, and he’s getting a lot better at combining words.  His favorite joke recently is to call everybody “uncle.”  He had “Uncle Ty,” “Uncle Mi(chael),” “Uncle Mark,” and “Uncle Joe” down pat, but a few days ago he started cracking himself up by saying things like “Uncle Mommy,” “Uncle Daddy,” and “Uncle Mubby.”

I’ve been trying to get him to say “I love you,” which he will kind of do, but only in a mimicry way.  That is, if I say “Can you say ‘I love you’?” he’ll spit something out that contains mostly the right sounds, but it’s not something he’s really doing on his own yet.


Last night we were going through our usual bedtime routine, and the time came that we had finished brushing Miles’ teeth, finished brushing his stuffed animals Bear and Bob’s teeth, and gone in to cuddle with Daddy.  I deposited him onto Denny’s lap and leaned in to say night-night and give him a kiss.

Miles looked up at me, and, unprompted, said “Alyoo.”

Aw, alyoo too, Scoop.


The country life

Filed under: — Aprille @ 9:20 am

It was a gorgeous weekend, just fantastic, especially for November.  We started an adventure on Friday night, with a trip to Ames to spend the night with Mubby and Skittergramps on the way out to Nanna and Papa’s farm in southwest Iowa.  We explained to Miles ahead of time that we were going to see Mubby, Skittergramps, Nanna, Papa, and Uncle Michael, which he thought was cool, but he automatically added Uncle Tyler to that list and didn’t seem to believe me when I said we weren’t going to see him.

Uncle Tyler or not (though he did have a great weekend over in Lincoln; something good happened in the world of sports, I hear), we had fun.  Miles was a little scared of the farm animals, but he liked the animal toys Nanna bought him, and he had a great time playing catch and peek-a-boo with Papa.

Also, I got to indulge in one of my favorite hobbies related to going a-visitin’:  reading the periodicals of others.  It’s always interesting to take a look at magazines I don’t subscribe to.  At my parents’ house I read Consumer Reports, The Sun, Utne Reader, and Oprah (diverse group, no?).  At the farm I read Country Living, which as far as I can gather is mostly about decorating, but it also has an interesting feature a la Antiques Roadshow where people show things they acquired one way or another and the expert tells them whether the thing is worth $4 or $5000.  I bet more often they’re actually closer to the $4 end, but they don’t feature those very prominently.

Flipping through those Country Living magazines made me remember a really good recipe I got out of an earlier issue during another visit, which I was happy to find on their website.   I’m going to blog it in a new post so I can have an electronic record of it.

We also got H1N1 inoculations.  I have a major injection phobia (not blood draws, just stab-n-squirts), so when Cheryl (aka Nanna) suggested that their neighbor, who is a public health nurse, might have some extra doses, I got that familiar pukey and light-headed feeling.  I knew it was important to do; there have been a lot of people sick at work, some of whom keep showing up, realizing they’re still sick, then going home.  I’m not in the super high risk group, but Miles is, and I don’t want to bring anything home to him.

We went over to the neighbors’ house to visit and get stabbed.  They would have come to Nanna and Papa’s, but we decided we didn’t want Miles to associate their house with pain, so we went there instead.  She set up a station in the kitchen and got her equipment all set up.  I asked for a chair to sit in, due to my passy-outy tendencies in those situations, so she got me one.  Sitting down helped, though would it have killed her to find a chair with arms?  I kind of felt like I was going to fall out the side.

Actually, though, she did a great job.  The injection itself barely hurt at all, and once my blood pressure got back up to a normal level, I was fine.  Her husband did say I looked a little peaked when I got back to the living room.

Miles did okay too.  He howled as he got the shot, but he recovered quickly and was ready to get back to the Legos.  He needs another dose in a month, which might be kind of hard to find around here.  Apparently it’s easier to find the shots in the more rural counties, because the counties with larger cities (and notably the huge hospital here in Iowa City) are using up all their doses on health care workers.  We might have to go back next month for another round of down-home country kitchen immunization.  It’s the same place they make sauerkraut.


Monthly Miles Memo #22

Filed under: — Aprille @ 10:29 am

Dear Miles,

This is coming a day early, because tomorrow we’re going to Nanna and Papa’s farm, which has cows and kitties and a dog the size of a pony, but the Internet access isn’t so great.

We’re coming into your last two months as a one-year-old.  You love to say two, whether as a reference to your upcoming birthday or as a clarification on how many crackers you’d like.  It comes out more like doo, but we know what you mean (most of the time).

Your language skills have grown so much this month.  You love to try out new words and make observations about your world.  Sometimes when we’re outside playing, you look up at the sky and say “Blue!” like you’re the first person who ever noticed it.  I love watching you get so excited about things.

Another thing we’ve learned about you this month is that you very much do not like your observations to go unacknowledged.  If we’re trying to get you calmed down for bed and you notice your an orange crayon somewhere and start yelling “Oh!”, my first inclination is to ignore your outburst and focus on Go, Dog, Go or whatever story we’re reading.  But if I try that, you’ll keep hollering about your crayon for a very long time.  It’s not that you necessarily want to play with the crayon; you just really want me to notice that you noticed it.  If I say, “Yes, that’s an orange crayon,” we can get right back to the book.

I also appreciate your desire for accuracy.  The other day, you were looking at one of your blocks that has letters on all six sides.  The letters are consecutive, and I could see an X and a Y on the surfaces facing me.  “Beeee,” you said.

Assuming it was actually a V you were looking at, I took the opportunity to model the fricative for you.  “Yes, that’s a vvvvvvveeeee,” I said.

You looked at me like I was nuts.   “Beeee,” you said again.

“Yes, vvvvvvveeeeee.”


Then you turned the block and I saw that on that block, Z had been reached and the alphabet started over.  It was, in fact, a B.  Sorry for not believing you, honey, but thanks for not falling for it.  You know when things aren’t right and you won’t stand for it, whether it’s a letter or a cabinet door that’s ajar.

First-born syndrome, maybe?

Life without siblings and without time with other kids in a daycare setting has created (or maybe reinforced an existing tendency toward) timidness in you.  When we go to the library and play with the wooden train set, other kids grab trains out of your hands, and you just stare at them.  You don’t usually get upset.  You just seem bewildered that anyone would act in an impolite manner.

The same thing happened yesterday when we went to the mall and you played on the kids’ play structure.  Lots of kids, mostly bigger than you, were running all around and bumping into you, mostly accidentally except for one rude jerk who needs some anger management.  Right now, you are a tender little fellow, which I find a lot more charming than an aggressive nature.  But your dad thinks you need to learn to assert yourself, and he’s probably right.  I’m not sure how we’re going to do that, but we’ll sort it out.

What you lack in aggression you make up for with curiosity and a love of learning.  You know almost all your letters now, most of them in the traditional way and some of them in funny ways.  For example, when you see a k, you say gay and make a kissing noise.  I don’t think you’re making any comment on gay kissing, specifically.  You just need to practice your unvoiced consonants.

You love to point out letters you see places.  On our mall trip yesterday, we had to pause by a jewelry store so you could show me the “D—Dada!” in the word diamonds.  I never thought of the Coral Ridge Mall as teeming with educational opportunities, but it turns out there are a whole lot of signs to read.  You didn’t believe me that the concentric circles at Target weren’t an O, though.

You had your first Halloween with anything resembling awareness this year.  I though you’d get a kick out of all the doorbell-ringing, but what you liked best was just being outside at night.  We went to an event at our neighborhood shopping mall a couple of nights before Halloween, which was fun enough but kind of confusing, and then we went to some neighbors’ houses on real trick-or-treat night.  We tried to bring you back inside, but you wouldn’t have it.  You just wanted to wander around the yard, kicking leaves and looking at our jack-o-lantern.  Once we finally shoehorned you indoors, though, you had fun answering the door with me.  You also liked sorting all the brightly-colored candy, though this year your consumption levels were pretty low.

Another exciting thing that happened this month was a trip to Lincoln, Nebraska to visit Uncle Tyler.  His sports team didn’t do so hot in their game that weekend, which would ordinarily have sent him into a spiral of grumpiness, but you made him smile.  He made you fly in the air, played catch with you, and shared his toys.

(Photo by Gary Clarke)

Mubby and Skittergramps taught you to flex your arms and make a muscle-man grunt after saying Tyler, a gesture that now represents the letter T to you.  Now, when you see a T, a lot of the time you skip saying Tyler altogether and just do your muscle grunt.

It happens organically, the development of a family code.  Every day when we talk about the things we see and the people we know, tiny bits fall together to form a language that only we understand.  It’s like when you see a cow and say Papa (because Papa raises cattle) or when you see a raccoon and say Guh (don’t ask).  When you’re thirsty, you ask for ghee mi, which is not Indian food at all, but rather Miles-milk in the green cup.  It requires a lot of explanation for people who don’t hang out with us, but that’s okay.  A family code is one of the things that holds us close together in this fast-spinning world.  It can also introduce some great words into a person’s vocabulary.  Thanks to Uncle Tyler, I still sleep on a dudju every night.

Yes, you do throw a tantrum now and then, but mostly you are sweet and hilarious.  Despite some incoming molars, you’re doing better with your sleeping overall, though this morning I woke up with your feet in my face and your head pointing down toward the foot of the bed.  You and your Beanie-nanny have great times together, and you never fret anymore when your dad and I leave.  This morning, your block tower was already four-high by the time we got out the door.

But just when I think you’re such a big boy, you cuddle up on my lap and smash your cheek against mine.  Sometimes you transmit applesauce that way, but I don’t care.  As you played on the mall play structure yesterday, every couple of minutes you’d look around to spot me on the benches.  I kept moving so I could keep an eye on you, and as you scanned the adults sitting there, I could see you mouthing  “Mama?”  When you’d spot me, you’d give me a huge smile and get back to your playing.

It’s okay, Little Scoop. Go have your adventures.  I’ve got your back.




Photos from Lincoln

Filed under: — Aprille @ 7:43 pm

Last weekend we took a very fun trip to Lincoln, Nebraska, to see my brother and for some of the group to attend some kind of sporting event.  The time with Tyler was fun.  The public has mixed opinions on the sporting event.

Miles took the opportunity to model his Halloween costume, which is Max from Where the Wild Things Are.  My dad took some nice pictures of that as well as some other goofing around, including two smallish adults in one giant jacket.


The way we sleep

Filed under: — Aprille @ 10:30 am

Miles had a really plugged-up nose last night and was having trouble sleeping.  At one point he woke up and wasn’t responding well to comforting, so I found his blankie and tucked it up with him.

That was okay for a minute, until he started yelling “Bah!  Bah!”  I realized this meant he wanted Bob the stuffed caterpillar, so I stumbled around the house and found Bob.  That was also okay for a minute, until he decided he would also really like to sleep with his framed photo of Uncle Tyler.

I drew the line there.  No pointy metal in bed.

Denny tells me he slept in late today, which is good because he barely napped at all yesterday and had the rough patches in the night last night.  When he woke up, Bob was near his face.

“Bah?” he said.

Good old Bob.


Monthly Miles Memo #21

Filed under: — Aprille @ 9:19 am

Dear Miles,

When I was little, your Mubby (who is my mommy—can you believe that?) used to quiz me on all sorts of things:  letters, numbers, colors, and when I got a little bigger, songs and poems.  I have gotten the impression over the years that your Skittergramps (my dad—another mind-blow for you, I’m sure) thought she was pushing me too hard or otherwise over-stressing those skills, but she always insisted, “She loved it.”

“Yeah, right,” I thought.  “What kid would love to be drilled on academic-type subjects when he or she’s still in diapers?”

Then I met you.

It didn’t start out as drilling, specifically.  You have a magnet board with letter and animal magnets, and you started grabbing the D and saying “Dada.”  I agreed with you:  yes, D is for Dada.  Then I sort of casually showed you the M and told you it was for Mama and Miles.  You picked that up so fast that I thought “What the heck?” and started asking you about other letters.  Now, probably a week or two after we started playing that game, you know about ten letters.  You know them in multiple contexts, too.  We were walking home from Hy-Vee the other day, and you looked up and said “Bee!”

Now, that’s a tricky one, because the word bee can mean lots of things in your world.  Foremost, it’s your nanny, Bean.  But it also means green bean, bee the insect, and pea.  I thought maybe a bee was buzzing around overhead, since we were near some flowering bushes, so I asked you if you saw a bee.  You looked up again, pointing excitedly with your finger, and insisted “BEE!”

Sure enough, we were standing directly under the big red B of the Bakery sign on the side of the building.

You find letters everywhere, including on my computer keyboard, which makes it difficult to type anything when you’re nearby, because you move my hands off the keys and start naming letters.  Sometimes you say the actual letter name, and sometimes you associate it with a word that begins with that sound.  Yesterday you got a kick out of playing with your basketball and reading the initials printed on it:  Nanna Bee Ay.

You’re not even two yet, Miles.  How am I going to keep up?

This makes me think of this horrible midwife we saw when I was early in my pregnancy with you.  I was interested in taking Omega-3 fatty acid supplements because of evidence that they raise a kid’s IQ, but I had read some conflicting information about what sources of Omega-3s were good choices.  I asked the horrible midwife specifically about whether flaxseed oil was okay to take during pregnancy, and rather than answer my question, she pooh-poohed the idea of taking the supplements at all.

Well, forget you, rude midwife.  I ended up taking an Omega-3 supplement specifically for pregnant women, and it seems to have worked out pretty well.  I should also note that we successfully avoided that midwife for the rest of the pregnancy and birth, choosing instead to work with her informed and compassionate colleagues.  I so clearly remember my relief 21 months ago when I asked which midwife was on call, and it was one of the non-evil ones.

But back to you, Little Scoop.  It’s not just letters you’ve learned lately.  You’re learning new words and sounds and gestures and ways of organizing your world.  Yesterday you were in your crib after nap, and you crawled around pointing out all the elephants on your sheets, making an elephant noise and trunk gesture with each one.  Then you repeated it with the lion, then the giraffe (which was hard, since your giraffe gesture involves throwing your head back to extend your neck, and a crawling position is not very amenable to that), then the monkey.

On Monday, which was a Daddy/Miles morning, your dad called me at work to tell me some exciting news:  you made a three-word sentence, sort of.  He was feeding you blueberries at breakfast, and you said “More please blue.”  That’s only the second time we’ve heard you combine words.  The first time was when you pointed at the toilet and said “Mama bye-bye.”  I don’t think you meant you wanted to flush me.  I think you were referring to how, when you’re around and I use the bathroom, we wave bye-bye to the contents.  A little ridiculous, yes, but I’m trying to prime you for eventual potty training.

More is probably your favorite word right now, up there with no.  You’ve given up using your modified ASL sign for more, which had been your most frequent communication tool, and switched entirely over to spoken English.  Actually it sounds more like “Mo-ey,” but we know what you mean, and I know you’ll refine your language as you continue to develop.

We did all kinds of fun stuff this month, one of the highlights of which were a trip to the apple orchard, where you wanted to pick every single apple you saw in the trees and on the ground.  We also had a super-fun time at the Blank Park Zoo, where you saw zebras, giraffes, a tiger, lots of fish, otters, and other cool animals.  Our main purpose for going was the Justin Roberts and the Not Ready for Naptime Players concert.  It was pretty loud, louder than I expected for a kids’ concert, but you were entranced.  You stood on one of your many grandparents’ laps—all four of them joined us for the occasion—and watched, so serious, taking in the music.  You weren’t distracted by the people getting up, sitting down, dancing, and yelling.  You just watched and listened, and when a song ended, you clapped and said “Mo-ey!”

We’ve got more wackiness coming up in the next few weeks, including a trip to Nanna and Papa’s farm and a visit to Uncle Tyler’s new house in Lincoln, Nebraska.  Long drives are easier now than they used to be, since you’re happier to look at books or your collections of family photos.  That’s not to say you don’t melt down sometimes, and those occasions can make road trips pretty awful.  But they’re happening less lately.  We’ll see how that trend changes as you approach the oft-maligned two-year mark.

In the meantime, in the words of Modern English via Justin Roberts, I’ll stop the world and melt down with you.




Miles in the Music

Filed under: — Aprille @ 10:48 am

Here’s some footage from our time at the Justin Roberts concert.

Flickr Video


Filed under: — Aprille @ 10:37 am

Man, it’s been a long time since I’ve posted.  I think between the Twitter and the Facebook and the everything else, blogging has fallen by the wayside.

I did, however, think of something I wanted to write about.

Yesterday was Denny and my anniverary (Denny’s and my?  Denny and I’s?  None sounds right).  On Wednesday night we went out for a lovely romantic dinner complete with champagne and the Mubby/Skittergramps babysitting service.  It was lots of fun.  Champagne makes me giggly.  The food was fantastic, as it always is at the Lincoln Café, and we even spent some time at the wine bar while we waited for our table, enjoying a couple of glasses and some spiced almonds.  When we got home, Miles was already asleep.

Last night, though, we were back to our normal routine.  Denny ran late at work, so Miles and I went downtown to meet him.  We had an informal dinner, then stopped by the library.  After that, Miles scrambled around on the playground right outside the library, and he made a little visit to the fountain as well.  We shared some gelato and enjoyed the beautiful evening.

And you know what?  I don’t know which of my two anniverary nights I liked more.

It also didn’t hurt that Denny had flowers sent to the house yesterday.  Miles tried to eat them, but his Beaniesitter thwarted him.

Having Denny and Miles in my life lets me enjoy so many different things in so many different ways.


Monthly Miles Memo #18

Filed under: — Aprille @ 11:32 am

Dear Miles,

Goodness me, you’re 1.5.  One point five.  A year and a half.  Half-way to three, which means potty-training and preschool.  Ay yi yi.

You’ve learned so much in the last month.  You haven’t quite hit your vocabulary explosion yet (though I think that’s coming up), but you’re definitely getting new words and communication tools.  I especially like how you’re not limited by English-language phonemes to get your points across.  For example—and this is just my closest approximation using the letters on this American keyboard— you call a banana a “ba-ladl-ladl.”  The second two syllables are mostly tongue-flapping.

You have also recently taken to imitating the sing-song intonation of “all done” without actually producing the words.  You just do a rise and fall “ah-ah” while making something close to the ASL sign for “all done.”

And let’s not get started on the head-shaking.  Sometimes it actually means no, and other times I think you just enjoy sloshing your brain around, but there has been a lot of that going on in our house lately.

You continue to surprise me with your eating habits.  Sometimes you can’t get enough of one thing (this week it’s Corn Chex), and then you abandon it in favor of something else.  One type of food you consistently enjoy is Asian food.  You liked bites of my rice and sauce from the Indian booth at Jazz Fest last weekend.  You also love Mongolian beef with lots of onions and Thai duck noodle soup.  We’re going to see your great-Auntie Lily next week, and I’m sure she’ll be so pleased.

Lately you love to get wet.  Maybe it’s the hot weather, but we’ll often find you dragging your bath sponge into the tub, as if requesting a bath, and you had so much fun at the family party at the Albia pool.  You laughed and splashed and let your Aunt Shannon zoom you all around.  We’re looking forward to getting you into the pool here soon.  In a less hygienic manifestation of these desires, you also like to get your hands into whatever beverage you have in front of you and then rub the contents on your head.  This isn’t such a problem with water, but chocolate milk can be a little outrageous.

You are on the move something fierce these days.  You can go up and down the basement stairs with no help, which eases our minds a lot, since we don’t worry so much about you tumbling to your doom anymore.  And let me tell you, it’s nice not to have to be paranoid about shutting the door behind me immediately after heading down the steps, because do you have any idea how difficult that is with a giant laundry basket in one’s arms?  You also crawl in and out of bed on your own, which includes standing up, jumping, and plopping down with glee.  You run and jump and do dances that feature stomping and kicking.  Jazz Fest offered lots of opportunities to dance—you really love music, and you clap when every song ends (that is, when you’re not distracted by doggies and people and lemonade).

You probably won’t remember MIchael Jackson dying, much like I don’t remember Elvis Presley dying during my babyhood, but I bet the general public uproar is similar.  It serves as a reminder that it’s tempting to exploit talent, and bad parenting and too much money and fame too young can really destroy a person.  You might not be as good a dancer or pop star as Michael Jackson, but I want you to know that whatever your talents end up being, they are your own.  They don’t belong to me or your dad or the rest of the world.

Sharing your strengths is a wonderful thing to do, and I hope you find something to do with your life that benefits others as well as yourself.  But you don’t have to look or act a certain way or fulfill anybody’s idea about what you ought to be doing except your own.  I can already see an independent streak in you, and maybe that’s just an early glimpse of a contrary two-year-old, but I admire it and hope to help you cultivate it.  Maybe, though,  could we find more interesting ways to be independent than shaking your head NONONONO when I offer you milk, only to stop and take a giant swig?

We have a big transition coming up.  Jessa and her family are moving away, which means you’ll lose your special caregiving friend.  We have a new person lined up, a really fun and sweet and silly Bean, and we’re excited about that, but we’ll miss Jessa.  She was there as you went from a timid little one-year-old who cried when your dad and I left to the kid you are now.  This morning, you barely even noticed as we said goodbye, because you were having so much fun playing with a stack of hangers in Jonah’s room.

It’s almost time for me to go pick you up, now.  It’s the best part of my day, when you drop the blocks or book and coming running to me, your arms outstretched, and give me a big hug.

Happy half-birthday, Little Scoop.  You’re the greatest.


Monthly Miles Memo #17

Filed under: — Aprille @ 7:03 pm

Dear Miles,

This month has been full of first for you.  You made your first international trip (super fun), you learned to climb things really well (fun for you, scary for us), and you had your first significant illness (fun for no one except the makers of infants’ Tylenol and ibuprofen).

First, the obligatory sleep report:  you’re doing much better.  You’ve been taking good naps in your crib, and one time this month you slept in your crib for six straight hours.  Last night was good—you stayed in your crib for quite a while, and then when you joined us, you slept pretty peacefully.  In fact, I don’t even remember the last time you woke up hysterically crying, which used to happen a lot.

This is good news, my dear.

On vacation, we had a king-sized bed, and that was great for our co-sleeping gang.  When we got home, our mere queen-sized bed felt small, but we’re getting used to it again.  I always said I didn’t like king-sized beds because they’re lonely, even when someone else is there.  I clearly had never slept with a sprawly toddler.  I think, rather than upgrade beds, we’ll work on getting you to sleep in your crib more, but we’re really just figuring it out as we go.

Isn’t it always like that?  Several sets of friends have had babies lately (or will soon), most of them for the first time, and it’s interesting to remember what life was like when we were in their position.  You can read as much as you want and make all kinds of decision about how you’ll handle things, and then when it comes down to it, you just wing it.

Speaking of wings (weak segue, sorry), you did pretty well on our recent plane rides.  You got a little whiny, but you had no heavy-duty freak-outs.  At one point before takeoff, you were playing at your dad’s feet, and your pants fell around your ankles.  That greatly amused the people sitting across the aisle.

You’re a tad on the skinny side, and sometimes your clothes droop.  You’d been at the fiftieth percentile for both height and weight ever since you caught up from your early-and-smallish beginning, but at this last doctor’s appointment, you had dropped to 25th percentile in weight.  The doctor wasn’t too concerned; she said this is the age when kids settle into the body types they’ll have their whole lives.  It’s obvious that you’re getting long and lean.  It makes me feel less guilty about the fact that they only way I can get you to drink milk is to offer you a 50/50 plain-and-chocolate blend.

You’re definitely less easy to manipulate than you used to be.  You are asserting strong preferences and dislikes, and you are an expert in both the ASL sign for more and a vehement head shake of disgust.  For the record, here are your current turn-ons and turn-offs:

You like:

  • Raisins
  • Juice/water blend administered from a medicine dropper (this was my brilliant idea after you kept demanding more Tylenol and ibuprofen drops)
  • Going down the slide at the playground
  • Being outside in general—a quick way to turn a bad mood around for you is a trip outdoors
  • Climbing into chairs, onto the hearth, onto the CPU your dad has in front of the bookshelf…pretty much anything scalable.
  • Your care provider, Jessa.  We’re sad/happy to report that Jessa’s husband has gotten a job in another town, so we need to look for another caregiver for you.  It will be hard to beat Jessa and her little boy, Jonah.  You snuggle into her shoulder when we leave in the morning, and it makes me feel so relieved that you have someone to care for you whom you love so much.  Let’s hope the next person is as good.
  • Turning on my clock radio and dancing to the music
  • Vivaldi’s The Four Seasons
  • High-end digital cameras

You dislike:

  • Having your hair washed.  This is a new thing.  You were always great about leaning back for a hair rinse, but lately, you’ve decided it is absolutely unacceptable.  It’s a shame, because it puts a real damper on bath time.
  • Accidentally turning on the printer.  It scares the bejeezus out of you.
  • Locked or closed doors, especially when you can see the outdoors  on the other side.
  • Having your efforts thwarted.

The “likes” list is a lot longer than the “dislikes,” isn’t it?  You’ve really been a fun kid lately, except for this last week when you were sick, but that wasn’t your fault.  We think you had roseola, which is a common and minor childhood illness with some scary symptoms (3-5 days of high fever—103.9F in your case—followed by a full-body rash).  Luckily, you’re pretty much back to your old self now, eating raisins by the fistful and scrambling around outside with your dad this very minute.

You discovered your love of raisins while we were in the Bahamas.  It was a wonderful trip, with mostly great weather, a comfortable condo, and easy access to all we needed:  the pool and the beach were right out our doorstep, and it was just a short drive to a grocery store, restaurants, shops, and activities.  You ate and enjoyed cracked conch, a Bahamian specialty I ordered and shared with you.  You also ate a lot of cereal, which is our go-to food whenever we can’t think of what else to give you.  We’d never gotten a raisiny cereal before, but the options were a little limited at the grocery store, and all for the better.  You became a raisin maniac.

You didn’t like the beach or ocean a whole lot at first.  The water was a little rough for you, and you didn’t like the feeling of sand on your bare feet.  By the end of the trip you’d gotten used to it, though, and you even ate some sand.  You had lots of fun in the pool, and you mostly did a good job keeping your sun hat on.  You charmed many, many restaurant waitstaff with your blown kisses and gimme-fives.

It was a good first international trip—close to home, easy to manage, and relaxing.  I can’t wait for our next adventure together.

I can see you out the window right now, your little arm stretched up to hold your dad’s hand.  Your yummy-yummy-chub thighs, while still undeniably yummy, are getting less chubby.  You take after your father in that.  Your big blue eyes are as beautiful as always, but they’re lighting up a little boy face now instead of a baby face.

Oh, you just blew me a kiss.

Thank you, sweetheart.  You’re my number one boy forever.




Monthly Miles Memo #16

Filed under: — Aprille @ 9:04 am

Dear Miles,

Last night your dad and I were doing a little math, and we realized that with your 16 months on the outside and my 8 months of pregnancy, you’ve been in our lives one way or another for two entire years.  It’s funny how fast it’s gone in some ways and how slowly it’s gone in others.  It feels like my life before you was just some kind of dream—recognizable, but surreal.  And well-rested.

Because it seems like I always post an update on your sleep habits, here’s this month’s:  overall, you’re doing pretty well.  You have a molar coming in that’s been causing trouble, but you’ve done a good job lately staying in your crib for longer.  You do inevitably end up in our bed, which is mostly fine.  I don’t sleep all that well when you’re in your crib anyway, because I keep going to check on you.  The only problem is you like to make funny shapes between your dad and me, like the cross-bar of an H or the diagonal of an N.  The N has been more popular lately, which means my head often ends up halfway on the bedside table, and your dad risks kicks to the sibling-makers.

I guess it’s your way of ensuring your place of honor in the family.  Never you fear—you won’t have a sibling any time soon.  Two in diapers at the same time is a scary thought, and I need to bank up some more sleep first.

You are getting much more independent, though.  Last night we went out for a walk on the multi-purpose trail behind our house, and you walked a good part of the distance yourself.  It was, as your dad noted, a Family Circus-esque kind of route, with lots of doubling back and stops to look at plants and dirt piles and wildlife and airplanes in the sky, but it gave me a glimpse into the future when you’ll be walking by yourself all the time.

You can climb up into chairs by yourself and reasonably reliably get down.  Actually, you want to climb up just about anything that can be climbed, including the play equipment at the park and various household items.  You can eat with a spoon, as long as you don’t have to be too tidy about it.  You can drink from a cup by holding it with both hands, and as it turns out, the key to getting milk into you is to make it of the chocolate variety.

It makes me shudder a little to think that we’re giving you chocolate milk every day, but at your last checkup, you had dropped a standard deviation in weight and skipped up a little in height, which puts you at 25th percentile for weight and a little over 50th for height.  The doctor wasn’t too concerned, as long as your weight doesn’t go down another level, but it’s something we’re keeping an eye on.  Regardless, the advantages of chocolate milk seem to beat the disadvantages right now, since we’re not too concerned about you being overweight.

(Don’t tell your dad this, but with his genes in you, I think you may be fated to skinniness.  This is not so bad as long as you remember to wear belts.)

You play so many fun games nowadays.  You love to play with your magnets and stacking rings and Legos, and you seem to have really figured out how mirrors work.  No longer is that baby in the mirror a perplexing stranger; now, when we plunk a silly hat on your head, you run squealing to the mirror to check out how you look.

As usual, you charmed a variety of friends and family, including your regular fan clubs of Mubby/Skittergramps and Grandma Cheryl/Grandpa Denny.  You also spent some time with Grammy and Pop-Pop and our friend Danny.

You had your first significant fever this month, which was scary in these days of Swine Flu hysteria.  [Note for posterity:  in the spring of 2009, a Swine Flu outbreak in Mexico and the U.S. had everyone freaked out.]  It turned out to be nothing serious, maybe related to teething and maybe not, but you were a miserable little guy for 24 hours or so.  You didn’t even want to play outside, which is really unusual for you.  Ordinarily we have to watch you carefully, because you might put a fist through the screen door in an attempt to get outdoors.

A week from today, you’ll get to see a whole new landscape.  It will be your second time seeing the ocean, but your first time in a climate where it’s hospitable for swimming.  We’ll talk more about that in next month’s update after we’ve returned, but in the meantime, I’m pretty excited for you to use your passport for the first time.  Let’s hope you do as well on the airplanes this time as you did last.

I think my favorite of your developments of this month is the sharp upswing in your cuddliness.  You’ve started giving snuggles and hugs in the strangest and most delightful ways.  For example, you love to approach someone who is sitting on a toilet (yes, we have an open-bathroom-door kind of household these days) and put your cold hands on his/her thigh to elicit a shriek.  Then, as if in apology, you lean down and snuggle the thigh with your cheek.  You also like to cuddle people’s feet.

Now that I write this down, it kind of sounds like you’ve got some weird preferences emerging.  Hm.  Ah well, there are worse things.  I’m glad to report that you also snuggle shoulders and tummies.  Your kisses are just the kind I’d normally hate—spitty and lingering and suctiony—but coming from you, they are perfect.

I love you, Scoop.



One flu over the Mexican nest

Filed under: — Aprille @ 9:20 am

That is not a very good title. So it goes.

I’m a little perplexed by this whole swine flu thing (H1N1 or whatever). As far as I can tell, it seems like not really too big a deal. This is in no way to downplay the deaths in Mexico or the one death in the U.S. of the toddler who came from Mexico for treatment—I hear a vaccine is in the works, and I hope it is successful and adequately administered to those at risk. But disease exists in many forms, and for the most part, this hasn’t been worse than the regular old flu.

Excerpted from the L.A. Times:

As the World Health Organization raised its infectious disease alert level Wednesday and health officials confirmed the first death linked to swine flu inside U.S. borders, scientists studying the virus are coming to the consensus that this hybrid strain of influenza — at least in its current form — isn’t shaping up to be as fatal as the strains that caused some previous pandemics.

In fact, the current outbreak of the H1N1 virus, which emerged in San Diego and southern Mexico late last month, may not even do as much damage as the run-of-the-mill flu outbreaks that occur each winter without much fanfare.

So why the freakout?  I have my suspicions that there’s some racism involved.  I’m not sure people would be talking about closing the border with Canada if this were focused in the north.  There’s also the unfortunate association with pigs, which just contributes to the “Dirty Mexicans are going to kill us with their dirty disease!” mentality.

Maybe I’m just thinking wishfully and downplaying the facts because I don’t want anything to disrupt our vacation to the Bahamas next month, but it does seem like people are reaching a level of panic that is more based in emotion and prejudice than evidence.  Also, I think we’re a lot more likely to encounter people who have recently been to Mexico in Iowa than in the Bahamas.

I’m a long-time fan of handwashing (and Miles is shaping up to be as well; he particularly loves rubbing his hands together with soap or lotion on them), and I think some basic precautions can go a long way, like President Obama mentioned in his speech last night.

Speaking of Miles, he did something funny last night.  I was getting some asparagus ready for dinner, and he kept whining and tugging at me, trying to get my attention.  I wasn’t quite sure what he wanted.  I offered him cereal and cheese, two of his favorite snacks, but he wasn’t satisfied.  He likes asparagus, but it didn’t occur to me that it would warrant begging until he went over to the garbage can, got out one of the asparagus ends I’d cut off in the preparation process, and came over and showed it to me.

It was like he was saying, “For the love of God, mother, what does it take to get a message through to you?”  Then I gave him some cooked asparagus and he was happy.  He ate a lot of it at dinner, too, and had the asparagus-pee diaper to prove it.

He impressed me with his communication skills.  He’s using some basic ASL (including “all done” when I went to get him after his nap the other day) and picking up more words.  I’m excited to hear what he has on his mind.



Filed under: — Aprille @ 8:05 am

I have my annual performance evaluation at work tomorrow.

Normally I would be nervous about that.  I was always one of those kids who put a lot of pressure on herself to achieve, to, along the lines of Dooce, be valedictorian of everything.  One of my greatest disappointments in life is that not every activity I do gives out congratulatory plaques.

Anyway, I have a new boss this time around, so I’m not sure what her evaluation style will be.  In these tough times, it’s pretty important for higher-ups to perceive me as valuable.  We haven’t had any layoffs yet, but it’s not totally out of the question, and since I’m only part time it might be easy to trim me off.

However, I’m really not nervous about it at all.  It was supposed to be today, but then it got rescheduled for tomorrow due to a conflict, and I didn’t even feel any particular relief when I noticed I’m off the hook today.

Miles has his first real fever.  He woke up this morning a little out of it, and Jessa, his care provider, called me around 10:30 to tell me he was hot and not doing so well.  I scrambled home, took his temperature (102.2F), and got him a last-minute doctor’s appointment (verdict:  ears and lungs are clear; keep him on Tylenol and ibuprofen and bring him back if the fever doesn’t get better).

He spent the rest of the afternoon sleeping fitfully in my arms, the poor little guy.  Last night was a little rough, though really not worse than recent nights.  We thought he was getting a molar, which may still be the case, but maybe this illness was brewing up in him too over the last several.  Last night, although he woke frequently, he was pretty happy to go back to sleep snuggled up on Denny’s or my chest.

I haven’t taken his temperature yet, but he feels significantly cooler this morning.

I just don’t really care about my performance evaluation, because my Little Scoop isn’t right.  I can’t focus on anything else.  As I was telling Denny yesterday, I am a total baby when I’m sick, but I would one hundred times rather be the one with the fever right now.  The clichés come true, I guess.  I don’t know how parents of seriously ill children get through the days.


Monthly Miles Memo #15

Filed under: — Aprille @ 10:11 am

Dear Miles,

Happy 15 months, Little Scoop!

This month has really been a brain explosion for you, which is not as gory as it sounds.  You are doing all kinds of new things:  following 2-part commands (e.g., “Go find Daddy and give him the book”), identifying body parts, expressing excitement over your favorite foods, and recognizing so many words and ideas.  Yesterday I was barefoot, and when I asked you to find Mommy’s toes, you grabbed them immediately.  Then you went and found a pair of my socks and set them on top of my feet.  You were right—it’s still too cold out to be barefoot.

You prefer to be barefoot (or, as we call it, having nude feet) at night, and you hate covers, so I always worry that you’ll be cold.  But your dad and I usually find you snuggled up to one of us come morning, so I guess you find your heat source when you need it.

You’ve been generous lately with hugs and kisses.  Last night your dad showed me a fun trick you do:  if he crouches across the room from you and asks you to give him a hug, you smile slyly while you decide whether you should do it or not, then run to him with your arms outstretched, a huge smile on your face, and dive in for a hug.

Your kisses are wet.  For some reason, this is not gross to me.

A highlight of this month has been all the time you spent with your extended family.  We went to Ames around spring break time, and you had a wonderful time there with Mubby and Skittergramps.  You also got to see Great Aunt Suzy and Great Uncle Joe, and you had a really fun time with them.  Uncle Tyler also showed up for some fun, and you guys became the greatest of buddies.

He pushed you around in a laundry basket, read you stories, and carried you around as if you weighed nothing at all.  When we got back, I had a picture framed of Uncle Tyler holding you on his lap, and you are crazy about that thing.  You’d carry it around all day if we’d let you, but we’re worried you’ll drop it and break the glass.

You really like all the different pictures we have of our friends and relatives.  The pictures of cousins Anna, Maxwell, and Meredith are squished and bent from your manglings, and we have many more on the fridge that you look at whenever you can.

Another fun event was a visit from Grandma Cheryl and Grandpa Denny.  Daddy and Grandpa did a lot of yard work, and you had so much fun being outside with them.  Grandma Cheryl put you in a leaf bag, which you enjoyed, and you also got a kick out of rolling around on the ground.  You warmed up to them really quickly this time, maybe because we’d been looking at their picture and talking about them.  We’re going to visit next weekend too, so I bet you’ll be ready to party as soon as we get out of the car.

It’s so much fun watching you learn.  It seems like every day you’re doing something new, taking so much in and processing it.  You’re growing so fast, physically and intellectually, and I am excited to see each new discovery you make.

Next month at this time we’ll be gearing up for your first international trip.  You are an adventure guy, and it’s so much fun to see the world with you.

Thanks for the ride, my sweet boy.





Filed under: — Aprille @ 8:31 am

One of those cute things I wanted to write down before I forget it:

Miles has a pop-up book version of Old MacDonald Had a Farm, and he’s been really into it lately.  He’ll bring it over to Denny or me and wave it in our faces until we read it to him.  He likes to sing along, except he can’t quite get “E-i-e-i-o” out of his mouth, so he just says “O-o-o-o-o,” not one long syllable like his wolf howl, but separate, discernible little words.

In other news, we’re going to have a change in our childcare situation.  Due to some personal/logistical issues, Jessa and Jonah are going to come to our house to play instead of Miles going over there.  As you may know if you are a regular reader here, it’s also likely that their family will be moving away this summer, so we’re also on the hunt for another childcare situation (ideally in-home; if you have any good leads, please comment!).

I was telling Denny about the proposed change to our house, and he said, “You should tell her she can come over here if she promises not to move away.”

“So you want me to tell her that she can care for our child in a way that is actually more convenient for us and also works for her, and she should also promise not to move away, which also benefits us?” I asked.

“Then you can say, ‘Don’t hate the player, hate the game.'”


Baby Hat

Filed under: — Aprille @ 5:05 pm

Apropos of not much, here is a game Miles enjoys (~30 seconds).


International Baby

Filed under: — Aprille @ 8:48 am

Filling out a passport application form for a baby is hilarious.

Height:  um…short?  I’ve never seen his height described in feet before, only inches.  I guess he’s about 2’6″ or something.  I’ll have to get out the measuring tape, because he’s probably grown since his last check-up.

Hair color:  mostly bald with evidence of brown?

Occupation:  clapping, howling like a wolf, knocking over boxes?  Or are those more like hobbies?


Not so restful

Filed under: — Aprille @ 8:56 am

Oh man.  After that fantastic Friday night, Saturday was merely decent, and last night was downright crappy.  Miles is stuffy-headed, which makes for poor sleep for everybody.  I had him in the recliner for a while early this morning, because he seemed to sleep better with his head elevated, but it wasn’t so restful for me.

In better news, it was great to have a weekend at home, finally.  One side effect of having been away so much over the last couple of months is that Miles has gotten really Mommy-centric.  This is slightly annoying when I’m ready to take a break and hand him to Denny and he (Miles) whines and stretches his arms out to me, but it’s also pretty heartwarming, considering how he’d been preferring Denny for a while there.

He still says Dada a lot more consistently than Mama, but that’s okay.  Maybe he’s saying dog or something anyway.



Filed under: — Aprille @ 9:41 am


The trend only has one data point.  Last night was back to the typical pattern (though better than earlier in the week, since I think his teething has settled down for the time being).



Filed under: — Aprille @ 3:26 pm

A fantastic thing happened last night.

Miles slept from 8:30-10:30, then a brief wakeup, then straight through until 5:30 a.m.

After that he woke again briefly, then slept till 9.

This is a record, people.  I was basically ready to get up at 5:30 because I felt so good after 7 sweet, sweet consecutive hours of sleep.  I honestly don’t remember the last time I slept 7 hours in a row.

Denny and I are wondering if he’s sick, though he seems fine otherwise.  He’s cheerful, eating well, and not sneezing or feverish or anything.  We really hope this is the start of a trend.

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