Wednesday, May 30, 2007

30 May 2007

Memorial Day weekend was a hoot. When we picked Raina up on Friday, she did not want to leave daycare. So we used the carrot "Raina, you're going to have visitors this weekend!" Raina loves new people -- her parents get quite dull after a while! -- and she lickety-split grabbed up her items and ran to the door. Now, Raina doesn't see her grandparents or Auntie Emily all that often, except in pictures and videos. So when we said "Mama Jo and Papa Bill are coming" we didn't expect anything remarkable. What happened next was extraordinary. Raina started repeating "Papa coming" over and over to herself. In the car home. All Friday evening. At the YMCA on Saturday AM. This kid was definitely excited. And, of course, she loved seeing her grandparents and auntie, and was very upset when they left on Sunday and Monday.

Raina has a family of African American dolls: a mom, dad, grandma, grandpa, daughter, and son. She frequently brings Krystal the mommy doll, Eric the daddy doll, Sammy the daughter doll, and she keeps the son doll to herself. (She calls it Raina, for obvious reasons. She has to fit into the family somehow!) But she's always just called the grandparent dolls grandma and grandpa, nothing really specific. After the Comptons left, Raina pulled out the grandparent dolls, hugged and kissed each one, and said "bye, bye, Papa, and Jo." She carried and cuddled the dolls for multiple minutes, and I think they really helped her adjust to the fact that her grandparents were gone again.

Also since it was Memorial Day, Raina saw lots of US flags. Spontaneously, yesterday, Raina started pointing out all the flags she saw, and she was REALLY excited about seeing new flags and watching them wave. When we got home, we gave Raina five little flags and she's carried them with her for two days straight. She wouldn't even go to bed without them. Anyway, our trip yesterday took us the Delmar Loop, which, unfortunately for Raina, did not have many flags. And Raina wanted more flags, more flags now! Raina has a tendency to drop consonants in her words, so she spent a lot of time shouting, out in public, "More fags, Mommy, more fags!" After about five minutes of this public display, I was very happy to finally get to the restaurant :)

Raina is very verbal now, and she has progressed to singing a little bit. She wants music on constantly -- our personal favorite is the They Might Be Giants' ABC's album -- and she cutely but poorly tries to say the words in rhythm. Her current accomplishments include a few lines from "Go for G," doing some of the hand motions on "the Wheels on the Bus," providing appropriate animal names and sounds in "Oh, my Raina has a farm," and singing the ABC song. She frequently does this one, but she often mixes up the order of the letters and she repeats the ending over and over again. She gets stuck on the QRS ... section and we hear it continously in the morning when she wakes up.

We went to Laura Blume's farewell party, and there were a few bluegrassy musicians who had set up shop. They were awesome! and Raina was dumbfounded that anyone's fingers could make sounds like that. It may be time to get her a mini-guitar, because she was entranced by the experience and even tried tapping her fingers and feet to the rhythm.

Raina stunned Sammy and I at Laura's party. Raina, who is terrified of all animals, decided that she wanted to meet a doggy. The dog walked past her at the park, but she didn't get there in time. So, Raina decided to chase the dog. The little miss bolted, and ran and ran and ran after the woman and her dog, but, of course, Raina was never going to catch them. (Raina running is no match for a speed walking woman!) Sammy sped past and begged the woman to stop, and Raina got very close to the dog and almost petted it. She never retreated in fear and very calmly said "bye, bye, doggy!" at the end. This is definite progress!

Monday, May 28, 2007

28 May 2007

Discipline is hard. Since turning two, Raina has become -- almost overnight -- into a big girl AND a terrible two. She definitely wants things her own way and she gets rather frustrated if her parents disagree with her. And since her parents want her to take a bath, put her toys away, eat at tables, and sit (not stand) in chairs, there are many chances for everyone to experience a Raina tantrum. It progresses like this: Raina starts with a simple "no," then moves on to a more forceful "no" and a throwing of something to the ground in protest, her parents say "okay, Raina, you lost your chance," and then Raina emotionally dissolves and cries and cries and cries. She's inconsolable for about 5-10 minutes. After that time, she returns to the sweet and lovable little miss we've always known.

Let me emphasize the fact this whole process is not enjoyable for anyone, and I, for one, don't understand why it keeps continuing. I think Raina has learned bad habits from the other daycare kids. Unfortunately for Raina, she gets into a tough emotional spot. She is very irritated with her parents and so wants nothing to do with them, but then also gets herself worked up emotionally, in a way that only a comforting parent can help. So she spends a lot of time crying at our legs, we pick her up and try to console her, she fights to get down, we put her down, and then she cries at our legs some more.

I repeat. Kids can be angelic and lovely and all the wonderful things that kids are supposed to be. And then they also can be punks. Here's hoping that Raina returns 100% back to an affectionate and laid-back kid.



Tuesday, May 15, 2007

15 May 2007

Raina really digs hide and seek. Frequently she will look at you, bolt from the room and down the hallway, and then giggle when you call out, "Raina, are you hiding?" The concept of being found is just novel to her and she has yet to tire of it. She hides in the same three places all the time: under tables, behind chairs, or on a bed. In all cases, Raina gives herself away by giggling maniacally, peeking out to see if people are coming, and sometimes forgoing suspense all together to rush up and hug her stalker. We take turns -- she's great at this -- and it's clear that mommy with her 29 years of experience is a much better hide-and-seeker than Raina. She just forgets that there are other places in the house to go; it's like her brain gets the adrenaline rush -- oh, yay, she's chasing me! -- and all other strategic thought is blocked. We never get tired of this game: she loves to run around and I love that she is laughing the whole time. Hide and seek always ends in tickles!

I love books, and I love that my daughter loves books. So, at the annual MICDS Book Fair, I spend an inordinate amount of time reading all the kid picture books and choosing just the right books for our home library. Last year, I bought books all three days of the fair. This year, I limited myself to one day of shopping, but I went back that day four times to buy more books. Anyway, Raina has discovered two new favorite books from the pile: Llama, Llama, Red Pajama and Bad Kitty. One is a fun rhyming book with plenty of words that Raina can say, and the other is an amusing alphabet book with plenty of disgusting sounds that Raina can say too. It's amazing that Raina has progressed to reading parts of her own books aloud, but, as she says, "I'm a big girl" and big girls read their own books. Nothing is better though than Raina bringing a book to a loving adult, offering it, counting to ten (the toll for a parent to pick her up), and nestling in for a long, cozy reading session. We read the Olivia books for 30 minutes on Sunday, and it was a wonderful Mother's Day present.

Raina is so lingual, and she adds new words to her speaking vocabulary everyday. The main word of the past month is "myself," as in, "stop helping me, I'll do it myself!" She has a fierce independent streak. On Saturday, she also started saying "Eric" (to Eric's absolute dismay) and her parents finally realized what the word that sounded like Imo's and Elmos mushed together was. Emails. Raina learned the word email, which is a horrifying testament to the computers in our lives. She also likes to say (and eat) broccoli; maybe this wholesome word will make up for the other.

Young kids learn so much; they take everything at face value and with the assumption that the way we do things is, of course, the normal way. We have a huge world map in the bathroom, and Raina accurately picks out India, Indonesia, Australia, and Madagascar while sitting on the potty. (The Southern Hemisphere is easier for her to reach!) She can do this, and say her ABC's, and identify her numbers and letters, but she cannot do patty-cake to save her life. It's fascinating and frightening to think that since Eric and I value certain things more than others, Raina automatically learns those things. Her learning is all experiential and, as a middle school teacher, I am far removed from this type of learning on a consistent basis. Raina is the perfect example to show most learning is of the accidental kind.

Tuesday, May 8, 2007

8 May 2007

Raina experienced her very first Cardinals game last night. Raina clued into something exciting really quickly: she grabbed her sandals, hat, and diaper bag before Krystal or Sammy were ready to go. We sported her up in her Cardinals jersey, slathered sunscreen over all exposed body parts, packed up lots of snacks, and headed out. All eager, Raina chanted "Cardinals!" over and over again from the back seat, and then over and over again as we tried to park, and over and over again as we walked to the stadium. Of course, Cardinal Nation is a sea of red, so she had plenty of chances to say "cardinal!" and "red!" as we approached. She was definitely fascinated by all the sights, sounds, people. She loved playing with her seat: it collapsed on her a number of times, so she eventually just pushed it up and down as a game. The organ played all sorts of songs; she learned to shout "charge!" and raise her hand in a power salute, she did all the "if you're happy and you know it" motions, and she high-fived people all over the place. But, mostly, Raina just ate cheerios and delighted in staying up late in a different place with lots of people.

Thursday, May 3, 2007

3 May 2007

Raina's online picture site has not been updated since the winter holidays. We finally chose some and posted them. You'll see plenty of Raina cheesing it up. Check out the newest album at
http://pg.photos.yahoo.com/ph/compton9890/album?.dir=/c228re2&.src=ph&.tok=ph5XRsGBSJFuX5Zm

Eric and I both have laptops, and we have a desktop computer as well. Each time we approach a computer, Raina's response is "kitty video!" Raina is addicted to youtube kitty blooper videos. She laughs hysterically at them, and they are much more entertaining than Baby Einstein videos, or the like. But it does make small things, like checking email or uploading pictures, a very time consuming affair. Check out Raina's favorite video here, which is all over youtube and is clearly from America's Funniest Home Videos. Scroll down some to watch.

http://www.catfacts.org/domestic-cat-varieties.htm

Raina turns two tomorrow. To celebrate, Eric and I are meeting with a lawyer to write a will, and we're bringing snacks to Raina's daycare. No cupcakes or cookies or birthday cake for our girl. Instead, she and all the other kids are eating bananas! Tomorrow is Raina's last day in the "toddler room" of her daycare; starting Monday, she'll officially be in the "twos." Our little girl is growing up.

Tuesday, May 1, 2007

1 May 2007

It's been a very long time since we updated the journal. Raina is a big girl now.

In the interest of fostering potty use, we purchased Raina a baby potty. Raina initially liked playing with it and using the bowl as a hat and as a place to store stuff. Eventually she became interested in sitting on it while a parent was using the real potty. Occasionally she'd pull down her pants and sit on the potty, but her diaper would stay on. Then, one day, Raina made it perfectly clear that she wanted to sit on the potty for real. She brought the potty into the living room, pulled down her pants, said "diaper!", and after Krystal took off the diaper, Raina sat down on the potty and peed. Raina's comment: "hot!" and then "yay!" lots of smiles and clapping. Of course, Krystal and Sammy were dumb-founded and we immediately ran to deal with the bucket of urine sitting in the living room. The funniest part was that she immediately said "more!" and, when mommy didn't respond with okay, she said "more" and gave the MORE! hand sign to be clearer. Unfortunately, making more pee is not an easy thing to do, so we have to promise more practicing time later. Since then, Raina has successfully used the potty a number of times, and has tried but unsuccessfully used the potty as well. She just likes sitting on the potty, and she gets somewhat upset with herself if she cannot pee in the required amount of time. In fact, she'll try -- you visibly see body parts moving as she tries to figure out what triggers peeing -- and then she'll look sad and say "hard." Yes, Raina, peeing is hard.

As a completely unrelated reward, we got a play kitchen for Raina. She likes to play eat the food. In fact, she likes to pretend and play with most everything. All of her stuffed animals make the appropriate sounds and hop or waddle or whatever. Then they all get fierce hugs and kisses from Raina. She's all about distributing the love.

Each Sunday morning, we go to the playground and play. Raina knows the difference between the local playground (just the "playground") and the "big kids" playground, which is at Faust Park. She gets really excited when she hears the words "big kids" and "playground" used in the same sentence. She's tremendously well practiced, doesn't require spotting on the climb up the stairs, and successfully goes down all slides on her own. (This is a HUGE change from last year, when we had to convince her to go down the two-foot slide by posting adults on both ends.) A few weeks back, Sammy and Eric took Raina to the local playground. Raina climbed up the stairs to her favorite slide, and then hesitated. She hesitated a lot. At the same time, Eric was wiping off all the rain water on the bottom of the slide. Sam and Eric both noticed that Raina wasn't going down the slide; in fact, she had started to come back down the stairs in retreat. Puzzled, they encouraged her to go down the slide. She looked to them questioningly, and then did what she was told. Unfortunately, Raina was smarter than Daddy and Sammy, and she saw the HUGE puddle of water she had to sit in to start sliding. But Daddy told her to slide, and so she did. (She's a good kid.) She came down very slowly and with lots of friction. Sammy and Daddy were worried that she was standing up in the slide. (In hindsight, she probably was.) Raina got soaked, and was perfectly happy to call an end to that day's playground trip.

For Easter we put together a half-assed easter egg hunt outside. Unfortunately it was 40 degrees outside and windy, so we had to bundle Raina up. We scattered the "happy eggs" about the yard and let Raina go fetch them. She was very excited to find the eggs, in fact when the hunt was over, she wanted to come inside and hunt again. So we did multiple indoor hunts that day too. All the while Raina would repeat the words "happy eggs" over and over again. One of the hunts was broadcasted live on the inaugural Compton-Whompton web chat.

Krystal's sister moved in with us in March, and Raina very quickly took to her. By just a few days in Raina treated her like another member of the family, whom she expected to read books to her, give her hugs and said goodbye to when it was time to go to bed. And whenever we went anywhere she would ask "Sammy coming?" Oh the power of being able to allocate an entire person's attention to Raina while the other two adults make dinner, clean, shop, or even nap cannot be overstated.

We have never put together a very good routine for napping on the weekends. Often a car-ride is necessary to get her to go to sleep, sometimes she will even request the car ride. But the transfer from the car to the couch inside is a delicate matter that Dad has a much better at than Mom. The key is to make sure that you lie down with Raina for a few minutes so that she goes back into a deep sleep, then you can shluff her off and go do other things. Or you can just simply enjoy the company of a sleeping child.

Raina has always been a bit timid around the former stray cat that hangs out near our house. But now she is downright afraid of it. She will demand the opportunity to cling to a parent and will stare intently at the cat until it leaves, often forcefully saying "No, Meow!!" One weekend daddy was able to get her to go to sleep simply by comforting her after a cat encounter.

6 January 2007

Raina truly is a puzzle master. Now she can do any inset puzzle without difficulty and has moved on to nine piece jigsaw puzzles. She received one for xmas and she LOVES it. It provides endless entertainment, and is a quick "show off how cool our kid is" stunt to any visitor. She also works on the the 3+ shape sorter, with surprising results. I know that it's 3+ because the nieces and nephew struggled a bit with it.

Raina has particularly wonderful at xmas. We were excited to show off her brilliance, and she performed stunningly. She was sweet and affectionate and verbal and cuddly and effusive about her gifts -- saying WOW and thank you and A BOOK! And then she just wanted more: she'd rip open one and immediately move to the next. At Nashville, she actually got bored with all the gift opening, so we had to do it in two rounds. Raina dressed up as xmas tree for the day; there are great pictures!

She has become quite a talkative gal. She went to the doctor right before the trip and Laz asked "does she string two words together to make sentences?" She does; his response was "well, she probably speaks about 50 words." I was astonished. But the list grows every day. Here are some of the latest: touchdown, elmo, phone. She went to the Westport School holiday party, she told a kid: "NO, you go down more!" which was a very clear expression of what she wanted.

She is a smart, smart kid, or at least we think so. She amazes us with what she knows, what she remembers, and what she absorbed without one of us specifically teaching her. The PAT lady came and evaluated Raina. She could do everything except use a normal cup without spilling. Vicky remarked that Raina is very focused, that she concentrates on a task and problem solves until she gets it done,w ithout getting frustrated. Raina is a joy to be around and it's nice to have other people recognize it. Raina's 1st report card was totally "all As!"

Raina has retired herself from the high chair. She doesn't want to eat there anymore; she wants to be a big girl and big girls eat at tables. We spent the last two weeks without her being in a high chair, so we shouldn't have been surprised when she protested to our forcing her back into one.

We set out one saturday afternoon to build the ultimate pillow blanket fort downstairs in the common room. Eric was very excited and nomiinated himself chief architect. AFter multiple hours of construction, the creation was complete using the majority of the chairs, cusions, blankets, and sheets in the house. Raina enjoyed crawling through it although she had some difficulty understanding the concept that it was necessary to crawl. Her head caused multiple disruption to construction. But eventually she caught on.
"terrible toddler" phase - Raina was apparently somewhat spoiled and disrupted by her christmas trips. We aren't sure if she was spoiled by the attention, or the constant new sights, or from getting new toys constantly, but she has been a handlful since she came back. She refuses to go to bed and clings to her parents instead. She is more bossy and demanding about getting attention and exactly what she wants. And she is much more emotionally fragile. We really aren't sure what happened to our little angel that we got to show off to everyone. Don't get me wrong, she is still great, just not as great. It doesn't help that she's sick again. yuck.

When visiting Mini and Manoj and Revathi, Raina was fine as long as we did not pick up the baby. She was happy to look at the baby and talk to the baby, but if a parent made any motion to pick up the baby, then Raina emotionally dissolved. It was startling to see our strong little miss fall apart. She also quickly learned that "bags near the door" means that her parents were leaving soon, and she did NOT want to be left behind. Those 20 minutes of loading at each location were also emotionally taxing for her. In Cincy, she hit both her parents, which was mostly a first. As soon as she was in the car, though, she was a happy little girl again.

Raina can point to the appropriate Comptons 2 weeks after the nashville trip. wow!

Raina finally outgrew her dora the explorer shoes so we treked out to supermarket of shoes to buy her new ones. After a brief detour at the dollar store where we bought lots of socks, and after almost being suckered in by some "Weeboks", that appeared to be questionably constructed, we settled on some sesame street shoes that Raina refused to remove for the rest of the day (including during her nap). She'll stop periodically and say ELMO! and pull up her shoes to show all the elmos that are there.

So we were 3 ish hours in on our whirlwind christmas tour when it is time for our first meal on the road. Eric proposed going to applebees where the Whomp could spend their recently gotten applebee's gift cirtificate. But Krystal had a "better" idea. We should go to McDonald's. Eric was a tad shocked at first but the idea was that it would give Raina a chance to play in their indoor playland (it was rainy so outdoors was out of the question). Eric then realized the genius that was McDonald's. This is how they rope you in. So despite the fact that neither Mom or Dad wanted to eat McDonald's food, that is where we went for lunch for the sake of the child. So we reluctantly parked at McDonald's and checked out their playground. To our surprise, the ballpits of the past had been replaced by an 8 foot high climbing apparatus and slides. While I think Krystal and Eric would have had fun if they could have ignored the half inch layer of grime that was everywhere, it was entirely too big for Raina. So we packed up to leave, at which point Raina freaked out. We cursed McDonald's for their crappiness and their genius again, and reluctantly scavenged the menu for something that resembled food. Krystal attempted to order a grilled chicken sandwich, Eric got a big mac, and Raina got a happy meal. Wee haw. So the meal sucked. We choked it down. And then swore that we would never go to McDonald's again. (Eric violated this treaty 10 minutes later by purchasing a McFlurry). Raina did get to play for a while climbing up and down on a step, she did like watching all of the big kids swarming past her, and she did get a toy that she rarely plays with. So our crappy visit was almost over, all that was left was to change Raina. Fortunately they had a bathroom with a changing station right next to the kids room. Unfortunately, right after we had opened up her poopy diaper, the lights went out. The light switch was right next to Raina's head where any curious little youngster being changed could easily and happily reach. We laughed and cursed Mcdonald's again, and after changing a diaper by strobe light we left - never to return to McDonald's ever ever again. (We stopped by mcdonalds 4 days later to get a milk shake. oh well.)

23 November 2006

Wow, we suck. Raina has just been astounding over the last few months and we've neglected to catalogue her adventures. Here goes.

Mommy and daddy play flag football on Sundays, and, since we're lazy cheapskates AND because Raina is such a great baby, we don't get a babysitter. Instead, we layer her up appropriately and take her along. Raina really enjoys hanging out with all the different people in the big expanse of land. The other MICDS compatriots are astounded by how quiet and attentive and laid-back she is. All the time. She's great. But the last day we were there was the one time that Raina cried. The situation was like this: Raina was eating her lunch in her stroller, while her parents played the game. Mommy looks over, sees a terrified Raina, and runs over. Apparently, an unleashed dog came over and took Raina's food: definitely out of her hand, possibly out of her mouth. Oh, man, was Raina ever upset and scared and emotionally scarred. She wouldn't let go of mommy and continuously said "no, no, no" when asked if she wanted to see the doggy again. Raina traditionally has been fascinated by pictures of cats but terrified of real cats; however, small dogs have been fine in person. Raina no longer will have anything to do with dogs in person, unless it is looking at them through a safe window. Instead she wants to watch and follow squirrels around. Admittedly, they are quite fascinating creatures and they do much more than cats and dogs. And they're not likely to steal Raina's turkey anytime soon.

Raina has grown a lot. Her body is all in proportion now: an even 75% in height, weight, and head circumference. We were slightly embarassed taking her into the doctor -- she had gained a LOT of weight -- but everything turned out fine. Raina's just growing into the big girl that she's supposed to be.

What's cool about Raina's growth is that she's capable of so much more physically. We went to the City Museum and Raina had a blast crawling around in the caves and playing in the ball pit. And when we go to the Dierbergs playground, she runs around like a crazed lunatic: climbing stairs, sliding, swinging, and peeking out of holes. She really loves it. And when we play outside, she wants to be an active part (mostly by claiming "mine" to whatever toy / implement the parents are using). She wants to rake leaves, and sweep the floor, and towel up wet messes, and run with balls. She also climbs up and down the stairs, without spotting, and can open up the majority of the doors in the house, including the fridge.

Raina is an avid communicator. As always, we're astounded by the vast quantities of information Raina understands in any given day. We can give her a command -- put your shoes next to the door, Raina -- and she totally does it. She responds to questions -- would you like to brush your teeth? are you hungry? -- and she seems to be a much happier kid because we can understand each other. On the whole, what she wants most from us is more milk or more books. We're happy to oblige with either.

Raina has obtained some pretty cool books over the last few weeks. There are "learning words" books -- in english and spanish -- with lots of images that Raina identifies. She's very talented in spotting all 12 spiders, or whatever the item is. It's also increased her speaking vocabulary. She's added milk, car, tissue, whoa, down, doggy, ball, and apple into daily usage. What's even more amazing is that Raina can transfer a rough sketch of an item, like mommy's ragtag drawing of a cat, and will immediately say "meow." But she doesn't meow with a bunny or a bear or a dog. She gets confused by pictures of pumpkins -- she calls those apples -- but, granted, mommy's pumpkins don't look like much of anything.

Raina gets excited about going to daycare each morning and she will willingly say "bye" before going to bed each night. Her only real complaint is Monday nights. The first day back at daycare, mommy stays late at work for nerd club, and then mommy wants to go to the ymca to work out. Raina emotionally dissolves most Mondays, but it's better when we say "raina, want to go to the y?" When she knows where she's going, she's much happier.

The grocery store is one of her favorite places. There's plenty to look at, they have car carts, which is always fascinating, and raina gets free samples of all sorts of things throughout the store. It's great.

Raina also is a puzzle master. She can do the same puzzle again and again; she thoroughly delights in getting the pieces in their rightful homes. Now that she's more expert, she will purposefully put the piece in an incorrect spot, look at a parent and say "no," we agree, and then she puts the piece in correctly. We're watching Raina develop compare and contrast skills.

The xmas tree is up and raina delights in batting at the ornaments, swatting at the lower tree branches, and just staring at the tree. We were skeptical of how raina would respond to it; it is a sure-fire winner. There have been occasions where raina was upset, and our solution was to show her the tree again. Immediate transformation in the little miss. Same happened yesterday regarding baby einstein. Raina is home sick with pinkeye and a cold and an ear infection and was feeling pretty miserable -- especially with mommy continously dabbing at her eyes or nose with tissues. So mommy popped in the video and raina was enraptured. She was visibly astounded by each 2-3 minutes segment and would turn around and smile at me periodically. She wouldn't even lean back; she wanted to be upright to see every little thing. So we watched an animated movie today, and she was excited about watching part of that too. And lego star wars. Raina likes animation. She does not like drama. We regularly watch the news and Scrubs and Raina pays those shows no attention whatsoever. It's interesting.

We continously marvel at what a wonderful person Raina is, and how lucky we are to have her in our lives. It's Thanksgiving, and we are so thankful for her and the family we've created.

22 September 2006

Raina has adjusted to daycare and it's been a smooth situation for quite a while. Raina knows that when she gets up, after a while it will be "brush teeth and put on shoes" time. At which point, she promptly goes to the garage door and waits to be let out. Raina likes to bat at the car and other peoples' cars and she finds it funny that there are so many cars to hit in a parking lot. MO Bapt is continuously astonished by how much food Raina can eat. Earlier in her time there, each party was wondering if the other one was actually feeding Raina. Of course, we all were: Raina just wanted three adult sized helpings of each item. I get the impression that this is not standard toddler fare. Raina also has grown attached to the rockers and rocking horse at MO Bapt and the Y and loves spending time at either location, provided that she can rock, rock, rock.

Raina grows more and more expressive with her language and body. When she gets sleepy, she waves bye bye to her parents, and recently has begun saying bye as well. She says "hi mama" and "hi dada" when we walk through the door and when she leaves she says goodbye to the person remaining at home. She is suddenly using all of her baby signs again -- even ones that I tried teaching her but never caught on before. She's close to vocalizing "more" -- it sounds like maaar or something like that -- and she uses the "uh oh" phrase at appropriate points in books. It's astounding.

We can ask for a hug or a kiss and she gives it. We ask her to help unload the groceries and she does it. We ask for her to put her toothbrush away and she does that too. We say downstairs? and she responds with "down" and trying to open the basement door. When I asked her to bring me a turkey, meaning the beanie baby turkey, she tried to open the fridge. This is a baby who understands a lot.

25 August 2006

Raina started a new daycare -- the Missouri Baptist version. They called us up and offered Raina a spot for this year, and we deliberated back and forth whether it was a good idea to have Raina switch. We'd really come to be fond of the Westport School, and especially of Melissa who took care of her each day. But, in the end, convenience and slight financial incentive and just a cleaner and more spacious environment won out. We switched to MO Bapt, and Raina really hasn't liked it much. Or, more accurately, Raina doesn't like being separated from mommy much, and having to be separated for 9 hours a day, everyday, is just a little too much for her right now. She cries and cries when she's dropped off, and she shakes her head and says "no no no no no" when we try to get her out of the car seat to go inside. It's painful.

Thursday was the first day that her transition was somewhat smooth; unfortunately, Raina had to be sent home because of loose BMs. And man has she had a lot of those!!! Thankfully she hasn't switched to the vomiting stage, but she's been rather uncomfortable with her diarrhea and consequent diaper rash. Her nether regions are really inflamed and any voiding of her system causes her a lot of pain. Walgreens butt goo has been the answer to this problem; hopefully, the redness will go away soon, along with her stomach problems and fever. Poor kid.

Tuesday nights are free nights at the Magic House, and the Whomptons have gone regularly for the past month or so. Raina has a great time playing in the 1-6 years old room, and in the toddler room too. The first time, she was mostly overwhelmed -- a lot of people and a lot of irregular stimulation -- but this last time, she was an old pro. The best part is that mom and dad have a great time too. Who knew that a children's museum could appeal to so many different ages?!?! Raina especially likes playing on the little jungle gym, and to put balls in the path of lots of levers and sounds. She's always fascinated by anything car related, and she's recently discovered SAND. She has a blast each and every time. There's one more free Tuesday this summer; maybe next summer will be free too and we can see how she responds when she's older.

Raina says a few phrases of note. Nana for banana and herego for "here you go" and tankuuu for "thank you". She also says no and mama and dada and meows for kitties. Since beginning daycare again, she has re-started the constant baby babble. It's tremendously endearing to hear her say this long sentence of baby talk and then have her look at you, waiting for a response.

Raina LOVES books and always will stop her activities if you offer to read to her. She can climb up into many chairs: the green arm chair, the washu chair, and the dining room chairs, and she'll try to bring books with her. Our little Raina is quite the book worm. It makes me all warm and fuzzy inside.

Raina has learned that affection is a two-way street. She will come up and give spontaneous hugs and kisses (KISSES!!!) to show her love for her parents. She does the same for her loveys, and they will get squashed and their faces chewed on as signs of her emotion as well. Raina also plays the "hugging game" which goes like this: run over and hug mommy, turn and run to hug daddy, turn and hug mommy, etc., etc., etc. It's wonderful to be hugged by Raina. She puts some real arm strength into it, and occasionally does the "pat the back" thing as well. I guess she's learned all of those things from us; I'm glad she's learning to be a good hugger.

Raina got a kickball recently, which was a great addition to the house. She runs around and kicks it, on occasion, but mostly plays a version of keep away with her parents. Raina thinks it's hilarious to just catch the ball or just miss it or to play tug of war for it. She becomes a high pitched shrieking baby, just like when she was younger. It's great.

23 July 2006

Eric and Krystal's anniversary is fast approaching and they celebrated by biking the Katy trail. Okay, only a very small part of the trail, but enough for us to get an idea of what it's like, and what biking is like, and how nice it is to be outside and moving when it's 80 degrees and breezy. The breeze was not so nice when pulling Raina in her little cart, but that's why Eric has such powerful legs.

Raina has been very regular in her BMs as of late: she has one when at the YMCA daycare, and then maybe one other in the day. Raina skipped that on Thursday and on Friday and on Saturday. She was very constipated. And she wasn't eating much as a result -- we were very worried by the fact that she'd eat breakfast and then literally would eat nothing else in her day. She refused foods that she normally eats with abandon. It was alarming. On Saturday evening, Raina had her very explosive BM: something solid was surrounded by LOTS of diarrhea. She seemed much happier after this occurrence, but still didn't eat much dinner. Sunday morning, Raina woke up crying because her eyes were glued shut. No amount of consoling really worked. Mommy resorted to rocking her back and forth on the squeaky couch and singing to her, just like she was three months old again. She also was ravenous, and we figured that the incessant crying was due to the eye situation and extreme hunger pains. That was probably all true, but other stomach pains were involved. After eating a sizable breakfast, Raina wanted to cuddle on mommy's lap on the couch. We read a number of books, and then Raina got off the couch and pointed to her belly. Almost immediately thereafter, she started to puke. Repeatedly. On the living room floor, on herself, on her loveys, and she was PANICKED!!! She desperately wanted to cuddle with mommy (who was trying to catch her puke with her hands) or with daddy (who was trying to clean up the floor). Oh the look in Raina's eye -- she so wanted comforting and no one would give it to her. So mommy snatched her up, deposited her in the kitchen sink (which was good, more vomit to come!), stripped, and then cuddled with the little miss. It's very disconcerting to vomit, even when you're consciously aware that is what's occurring, and I should imagine it's even worse when you don't understand why your body is doing such horrible, horrible things to you.

But Raina has been better since: she actually ate her snack and dinner, which are both good signs of Raina recovery.

Raina knows the baby signs for more, hat, flower, all done, drink, and bye-bye, and she uses them rather consistently. I have the feeling that Raina would use signs for about anything, provided we just taught her the word. She also points to bellies and noses, which are new words in her "I understand!" vocabulary.

Raina had her first "baby gymnastics" class, which was mostly a paid playland. I'm mostly disappointed in our first trip, although the little miss had a lot of fun and really enjoyed playing with hula hoops for the first time.
Raina has become quite the water baby. She loves taking a bath -- she definitely understands the word -- and we have added it to the afternoon routine. (STL is too hot to do anything outside as of late.) She loves to splash and fill and dump containers and play with the squirt toys and whatever else she can think up. And she likes practicing saying the word duck. She has the "du" part, but doesn't do anything past that yet. She also enjoys turning her water cup upside down and watching the water drip. I blame myself for this one: I showed Raina that you can pour water from the cup into a plant at the Y. She enjoys ending our trips in that way.
Raina likes routines. She likes leaving the Y nursery and going to the towel, she likes eating her snack and jabbering at the people, she likes putting the towel in its rightful place at the end of the trip. She likes putting her high chair back in the kitchen and putting her shoes next to the door. She even tries to put her toothbrush and cups on the counter (even though she cannot quite reach them yet). She gets upset if someone else works the mailbox, and she always wants to push the stroller back into its correct position.

This is one great baby.

7 July 2006

Eric and Krystal took their very first trip away from the baby (we went to San Francisco/Palo Alto) and had a wonderful time. We could not anticipate what being away from Raina would be like -- or how she would react -- but it was surprisingly glorious. For us and her, we think. She seemed tremendously excited to have other people in the house, and we were happy that they seemed to know what they were doing. It was also interesting to be with other babies/toddlers and note that ours would do the EXACT SAME THINGS and make the same sounds. Kinda creepy.
Raina contracted pinkeye again, this time from Stephanie. She also contracted roseola (fever and rash), while dad had hand foot and mouth disease, and mom got a cold and poison ivy. It has not been a healthy month for the Whomptons.

Raina enjoys spending time home with mom as of late. Our routine includes taking a stroller trip in the morning, going to the Y, taking a nap, taking a trip somewhere in the afternoon, and then generally ignoring the baby until bedtime. She's so much better at communicating what she wants: just fetching her shoes is an amazing amount of communication! And she does this spastic panting excited thing when we find what we're looking for, or we parents finally grab whatever it is that she's been pointing at for the last five minutes. With the real hope of communication, we're trying baby signs. Raina did the sign for "more" canteloupe, and she occasionally sniffs at flowers, but that's it so far. We're done about three days worth of signing; I have no idea how long this experiment is supposed to take before ample rewards start coming out of our baby's hands and brain.

Raina goes to bed, pretty much on her own. We do the routine of finding her loveys, and then we place in crib and walk away. Amazing. She also likes to help clean and will actively pick up certain things if given tremendous amounts of guidance. She'll even try to sweep, and she certainly makes a mess of using the broom. Additionally, she pushes her high chair back into proper position in the room.

Raina actively and forcefully uses the "uh-oh" vocabulary word. She likes to drop things on purpose just so she can say it. Sometimes she says it and then realizes she hasn't yet dropped the item. Time delay.

11 June 2006

So Raina has lovies now. It was highly recommend by Dr. Lazaroff that she should get one. We didn't know what he was talking about but a while back Raina would fuss before she would go to bed until we gave her something to hug. So we chose the cute white kitten, which Raina took to pretty quickly, but she choose another one on her own. That grotesquely ugly purple bear with the satanic eyes. So now we give her both, she hugs one with each arm and lies on top of them to go to sleep. For a while this worked swimmingly, but as it has gotten warmer, Raina has seemed to thrash about in the bed even more than she used to, particularly when she is "trying to get comfortable" to go to sleep. We find her in all sorts of strange positions once she finally choses one and nods off.

Raina doesn't sleep quite as much at night anymore, she usually stays up past 7:00 and as late as 8:00 or 8:30, and then promptly gets up at 5:15. If she is in bed when she doesn't want to be she will stand up at the edge of her bed and scream. If you come into the room while she is doing this, she will hop up and down and reach her arms toward you. She has woken up in the middle of the night multiple times lately, but Mom and Dad have gotten better at handling the situation. We tell her from the hall to lie down and go back to sleep, which she usually does. Mom even successfully gave the command from the bed last night.

Big yellow bear battle. Raina has an odd reaction to the Big Yellow Bear. She has this implicit need to attack it by charging towards it with her arms spread and mouth open and drooling. She then tackles the bear and chomps on its nose. She likes it even more when the bear fights back by picking her up and throwing her onto the couch.

Raina talks sort of. Raina says things like uh-oh and mama and dada. We still don't think she knows what she is saying but she is getting more expressive. She will point to something and say "Dah" when she wants something. This is particularly common when mom or dad are eating food, and she'll add the expressive "mmm". She will also pitch a fit when she isn't getting what she wants. woo hoo .

Raina reads books. Raina has taken a liking to books. She will look at books independently on the floor as well as bring a book to a loving parent, hand the parent the book, and then attempt to shimmy her butt into their lap, without any regard for whether the lap is prepared. Mom was lying on the ground when she received a book offering from Raina. Then Raina attempted to sit back on Mom's belly only to find there was no back rest. The quick reactions of Mom prevented a head bonking.

Raina likes trips. Raina gets rather giddy whenever we take her out of the house. Whether that place is the grocery store or particularly day care, she starts jerking around in excitement.

Separation anxiety. Raina has rather suddenly gotten very possessive about those that take care of her. While she was never excited about Mom leaving the house, she now freaks out anytime she leaves the room. And she had a tough time getting reaquianted with the YMCA nursery - lots of crying. Originally we had planned to take her out of day care all summer while mom is at home, but given Raina's change in mood we have decided to let her keep going once a week so that she doesn't have quite the shock in the fall.

Time out for Raina. Speaking of day care, Raina has been jealous of the new baby at day care. She takes up way too much of Melissa's time (Raina's favorite day care worker) Raina showed her displeasure by shoving her hands into the baby's face while looking at Melissa. This earned Raina her first time out. Melissa was quite crushed to have to force Raina into time out and listen to a brand of crying she had never heard before.
Raina has been adept at climbing stairs for quite a while, and is disappointed when the opportunity is not available (baby levee). Recently she has been interested in the going down the stairs. Although this requires the assistance of a parent.

Raina likes to shove things around preferably large things like bar stools, baskets, boxes, whatever she can move

Party Party. Reuters had their family picnic last weekend. The free food was so so, but they had a sprinkler fountain for kids to play in, and although we didn't come prepared, we let Raina join in the fun. Her diaper visibly expanded as soon as it touched the water. Raina was mostly interested in sitting down in the water and splashing. The following day we went to the Matt Gossage fairwell carnival. The food was much better here and Raina got to see some crazy birds, snakes, and a monkey. She called them duck. She also helped us defeat Debbie Higgins and her son at foosball. We also let her wander about a bit. She really liked the bean bag toss clown. We fed her hot dog and cheese balls made from shredded cheese. She refused to be put down for the first hour or so, but she was perfectly content to be handed off to strangers (including the ice cream worker), in fact she requested it by reaching out to them. Very strange.

Raina hugs now. She will hold on to you and cuddle with you at certain times, and at others she will cling to you in fear.

Raina pointed to the TV the other day and said "Dah". So in attempt to satisfy her request, Dad put in the baby einstein video which Raina sat entranced by for a half an hour. Now commeth the dark time of TV babysitting our child.

Whenever a parent goes to use the bathroom, Raina gets very excited and hurries to the bathroom door. She will then proceed to open the door and smile lovingly at whoever is inside. We tried to discourage this at first, but it is hopeless, so now we embrace it and encourage her to go interupt the other parent's bathroom experience.

9 May 2006

Raina LOVES the outdoors! She takes daily trips out at daycare -- and if she's picked up too early she has a fit because she missed outdoor time. In addition, if someone opens the front or back doors, Raina rushes over with the hope of going out too. She's just like a puppy. And if she doesn't spend enough time outside, then she might throw a fit. (An older baby means she's more likely to realize she's not getting what she wants AND that complaining about it might get her what she wants. Smart baby.)

Raina had her first birthday. It was sad that mommy was at a track meet all night and so didn't get to eat Raina's birthday dinner (cheese and bananas) but they enjoyed the day nonetheless. Grandparents White came up and we went to the Botantical Gardens. Raina looked at lots of things, played in the toddler area of the children's garden, and napped. A lot. Raina needs to nap, otherwise she becomes a REALLY grumpy miss and goes to sleep at 6 p.m. We also went to Creve Couer Lake park -- Raina napped again. She's been awfully sleepy as of late.

Raina is a TODDLER! She has even passed the "toddle" stage of toddler -- she's a rather accomplished walker and it's her preferred method of movement. She can walk laps around the upstairs and actively seeks a hiding parent. She is so excited that she can get from one place to the next, and is becoming more and more independent. She really prefers to do things on her own, and she gets frustrated if adults man-handle her too much. I can take off my own onesie, Raina says. (She really can't, but she likes to help.)

Raina received a hefty college fund check and a tremendously large yellow bear (and other toys) for her first birthday. Mommy and daddy haven't yet chosen a first birthday gift. Maybe Raina won't notice.

Raina made weight at the last doctor's appointment. She jumped from 3% to 34% in weight and 7% to 57% in height. Her head circumference is a whopping 70%!!! What's most miraculous is that Raina grew a TON the last few months. That coincided with Raina eating a TON each day -- the little miss was a little vacuum cleaner at the high chair AND she would come grubbing for food after she finished her own meal. Her eating volume has declined as of late, which might mean that her growing days are slowing. Stay tuned.

Raina goes to sleep on her own now. She rubs her eyes and yawns and tries to give clear signals to her parents that "I am a very tired little girl who would like to be in bed now." If the parents don't notice, one little incident will make Raina dissolve and no amount of consoling really makes her better. Putting her in the crib does. She's been going to sleep around 6-6:30 the last few nights which is a VERY early time for Raina. Maybe she's always wanted to go to sleep at that time and we've been forcing her past it. Who knows? But now Raina has found a way to tell us "bed, NOW!" and we're doing a better job of listening.

To continue with the independent strain:
Raina can hold her own bottle and drink from her own sippy cup. We didn't teach her how to do it, but she's very accomplished at it.

Raina will not take naps on her parents anymore. There was just one weekend, maybe three weeks back, when she refused -- REFUSED!!!! -- to lay face down on her parents' bellies. She would scream and roll and kick and generally communicate unhappiness. Disgusted, her parents plopped her on the floor, to which Raina replied "FINALLY!" and went immediately to sleep. On blankets. On newspapers. On whatever was around, as long as it was not her parents.

In addition, Raina had a fit in the bathtub the other day. We were doing everything and she wanted to help. We gave her the hair brush so she could tame her crazy curls and she really, really tried. It was cute, but again it was sad to see our little baby want to be a big girl. So bittersweet.

26 March 2006

Over the last week, Raina has been visited by BOTH sets of grandparents, and she was a lovely, well-behaved baby with both. Thank goodness.

Eric and I brainstormed what we could do with Raina today. We decided to take her to a baby friendly park. We didn't really know how to find one, so we just chose Stacy Park and went. We lucked out -- toddler friendly, woohoo! Raina, however, is not a toddler, and she's mostly scared of the outdoors because she hasn't spent much time there and there's SO MUCH to SEE and SMELL and HEAR!!! It's overwhelming. Anyway, we tried various things to see if Raina would like them: the merry go round, the slides, the baby swings, a group swing. Nothing really worked until we went to an area with widgets that we moved based on turning a knob. She liked that because she could turn the knob AND be held by a parent. We were about to leave but didn't really want to because it was nice out and we had driven all the way there only to spend 10 minutes. So we hung around and Raina watched other kids play. I think it just took some getting used to. After that, we tried the slides again. With a little bit of encouragement, we found an excited baby. She finally smiled and then squealed and overall expressed enthusiasm for the slide and the anticipation of sliding. Raina had fun, and we had fun doing something non-routine. We look forward to having a slightly older baby who can do all these things immediately. And we look forward to being a part of the Sunday cadre of parents and kids who regularly go to the park. Oh, to have friends!

21 March 2006

Raina's biggest accomplishment over the last month is her gross increase in food consumption. She is insatiable! She eats every two hours and these are considerable meals -- nothing piddily for miss raina. She can eat, in one sitting: a whole banana, half slice of turkey, slice of cheese, and cheerios. She also has decided that jar food is lame, especially when table food is around. She LOVES cheese, eats turkey, and tolerates pineapple. Most important to Raina is that she 1) gets to use her EIGHT TEETH! and 2) is eating when someone else is eating. If you have food, then she must have food too. And she is very vocal and persistent in her message. She has associated the high chair with food, so she frequently will crawl over to the high chair and shake it vigorously until food miraculously appears on the tray. When sitting in the chair, she rocks back and forth until more food appears. In addition, Raina will only eat when BOTH of her hands are full of food, even though she really only eats out of her right hand. And when she's finished eating, she starts to throw food on the floor. If you try to remove her from her high chair, she will suddenly claim all the food on the tray "high interest" and will grab as much of it as she can. We call it "one for the road" even though we're not certain she actually eats the food.

Raina's brain is expanding by leaps and bounds. She is very interested in learning, and so we teach her something random each day. Raina knows how to climb stairs, to clap her hands, to give high fives, to stick out her tongue and say AAHH!, to blow raspberries, and to say ah, ah, ah and pat her mouth (like an Indian), and open and close doors. In addition, she's sorting objects into containers, stacking blocks, combining cups, playing the keyboard, and -- the most impressive -- playing hide and seek. Raina is quite quick in her crawling endeavors, and she LOVES chasing and being chased by her parents. Each day, Raina plays hide and seek with her mommy. In the beginning, mommy would hide in pretty obvious places (behind pillows, while Raina was watching, etc.). Now she has progressed to watching mommy crawl down the hall and hide, and then Raina comes in pursuit. Raina diligently checks each room down the hallway, although she will get distracted by something interesting, like a basket full of socks. But, boy, does she love it when her discovers mommy! Even better is when mommy has hidden so well that it's a surprise when Raina discovers her. That always generates a bunch of laughter from Raina.

Raina's favorite room is the bathroom. She is infatuated with the bear towel, the shapes on the wall, and the texture of the wall, in addition to the hard floors and the thump, thump sound when hitting the toilet seat. She also can look at the world map over the tub. If Raina is ever in a foul mood, taking her to the bathroom is a sure fire way to make her happier. In the downstairs bathroom, a lot of this is the same except that this one was the tissue box with SIMBA!!! Raina lovingly stares at Simba and sorta simpers and smiles at him. We tried watching Lion King with Raina, but it was too fast paced. She liked it when we froze the frame so she could see Simba on the large screen.

Raina contracted the stomach flu, which resulted enormous amounts of diarrhea and Raina puking twice. She vomited all over her mommy when taking a nap -- those mental and emotional scars will never heal! -- and puked all over her high chair (which was much easier to clean!). Due to the stomach flu, Raina spent five consecutive days with her parents. She was overwhelmingly ecstatic to be returned to daycare. Parents are dull after a while.

12 February 2006

Mommy and daddy spent their first real night away from the baby. We hired John and girlfriend to come and supervise the house while we attended a holiday party. It was surprisingly liberating to be free of the baby and just hang out with other adults for a while. And we felt safe, knowing that we had fed Raina and put her to sleep before we left.

Unfortunately, poor Raina was slightly sick at the time, so she was guaranteed to sleep the whole night through. It wasn't until Monday, when she had fever that was too high to send her to daycare, that we realized something might be the problem. We split the day and took Raina to the doctor at 11:30. She was then sent to get her chest x-rayed and was diagnosed with mild pneumonia. She went on meds for the week. The meds didn't immediately help. She still registered fevers of 103 degrees and all she wanted to do was sleep and drink milk. She did plenty of both. This also coincided with the time that breast milk supply was running low, so we had decided to switch to formula soon. We tried it out this week and she was not adversely affected at all. Milk is milk, Raina says.

In addition, Raina has progressed with her sippy cup usage. If you put the cup in front of her, she will grab it and force it toward her mouth. She's pretty consistent in getting the piece into her mouth, but not consistent about tilting her head back to drink anything. She also is experimenting with solid foods. She gets a wagon wheel a day, and she immediately delivers that to her 6 chompers. She also enjoys eating pieces of mommy's fruit; when Raina sees Krystal eating food, she crawls over to beg like a dog. She often gets rewarded with banana pieces or orange segments.
Her least favorite food so far is garlic hummus. Yuck.

12 January 2006

Happy New Year! Raina is an expert crawler and she happily travels from one place to the next in the house. She is teething again, so her travails around the house also include periodic stops to discover new items, shake them, throw them on the floor, and then deem them worthy of stuffing in her mouth. She especially loves the small circles that match her foam books and Titans cards.

Raina got sick again (who said that babies average only 6 colds a year?!?!) and to make matters worse she also contracted pinkeye. Her eyes oozed goopiness and her parents have had to administer medicine in a thoroughly frightening way. Raina loved the ear infection meds because it was just like food for her. The eye meds are vastly different because it's a goo that has to be applied directly on the eye. We have to hold her down in a prison-like fashion, pry open both eyes, and then swipe her eyes. Oh, does she ever hate it!

Raina has developed object permanence, we think. She likes to play peekaboo with inanimate objects -- it gives her a real thrill -- and a few times she's knocked away the hiding mechanism to find the toy herself. She also enjoys moving the full length mirror around to create new views of the room. This, coupled with playing peekaboo in the mirror, makes that $2 investment a worthy one indeed.

Speaking of worthwhile investments, Raina loves these toys:
- coins in a Walgreens container - a baby food jar lid - paper towel rolls - Titans cards - coasters - cups - Pringles cans - newspapers

Daycare workers frequently remark upon what a beautiful baby Raina is. We, of course, think she's a darling baby, but it's reassuring to hear other people agree. It means we haven't gone baby crazy in the head.

Unfortunately for the daycare, Raina and Gavin are the only babies remaining. They have six more spots to fill. While that's bad financially for them, it means Raina certainly gets lots of one-on-one time each day. Not bad for $962 a month.

28 December 2005

Raina has the power of FORWARD MOVEMENT!!! Well, forward movement on very rare occasions. She has managed to string together four to five knee shuffles in addition to her expert hand stepping motions. But, as daddy likes to say, she is a drama queen who prefers to lay out to get the item, like Jim Edmonds in almost all situations.

Raina celebrated her 1st xmas, which means that her parents utilized the "traveling sleepy baby" method. The only hitch was that the Poplar Bridge was closed at 3 a.m. and her parents got lost in Saint Louis slums. MLK bridge, where are you? We narrowly escaped eternal plight by evacuating up an I-70 exit ramp and wheeling around into 60 mph traffic. Go Krystal! Sadly, we figured this was the safer of the two options. Go Saint Louis!
Raina had a cute xmas reindeer outfit and received a darling hippo stocking. She also got gifts of all sorts, ranging from foamy books to a puzzle clock to a mini-computer to college money. Most of all, she got to spend time with her family, which she enjoyed a lot. Raina refused to go to sleep at night because she knew there were people downstairs willing to play with her. So she screamed and screamed and screamed until we relented. We were weak willed and Granddaddy was perfectly willing to claim Raina at any time.

Raina was mostly traumatized by her experiences in Owensboro -- stimulation was overwhelming and the three kids continuously shoved items in her face, shook them, talked loudly, and then ripped the items away. They did not give Raina a chance to process anything. Raina was good, she tolerated this for about 3 minutes of full on assault, but then descended into confused wailing and tormented looks at her parents for saving. Speaking of saving, Raina has learned to lift up her hands to signal 1) pick me up, 2) cuddle with me, and 3) service me with food or poopy cleaning. Unfortunately, for some reason, Raina has decided that all diaper changes are a bad move and she immediately begins screaming like a mad baby when we lay her on the floor. We have found that singing to her sometimes stops the screams, but usually it's the diaper cream that's the overall winner. She starts screaming again when mommy and daddy actually need to use the diaper cream and we claim it from her.

While in Nashville, during a diaper change, Raina started to talk. (no screaming at all -- what a relief!) She softly babbled consonant sounds to herself, including saying da-da for the first time, and she somewhat contorts her lower lip. Throughout the weekend it became quite the standard and Raina was declared "cutest baby" in the Compton house that weekend. She has replaced scooting around with talking as her favorite thing to do.

Unfortunately, Eric did not hear Raina's first da-da moment, as he was upstairs recuperating from a yucky pukey illness. Then mommy was recuperating. This illness brought the Whomptons to a grinding halt for two days, during which Raina saw her parents barely at all: mom during feedings and dad never. Eric spent xmas morning lying on the couch underneath six blankets, watching as Krystal opened three persons' worth of gifts. Krystal and Eric ate xmas dinner a day late. Woohoo, and merry christmas!

post-note: Donna the day-care worker claims that "all the toddler teachers came down with the stomach flu on xmas eve or day." It's a match -- the culprit is daycare.

Raina stands up by herself and needs very little outside balancing. She will hold herself up against a parent or a couch and happily prattle on.

21 December 2005

Raina had the worst few days of her life last week. Not only was she sick with an illness that caused wheezing and sneezing and coughs we didn't recognize, but also her top two teeth were cutting through her gums AND she had an ear infection. Mommy got crazy worried by the cough and took Raina to the doctor -- she was promptly rewarded with antibiotics. The medicine smells just like the medicine Krystal used to take when she was a kid, and it's very disconcerting. It's like how the YMCA switched their bathroom cleaner to be the same type that Krystal's school used after someone puked. All sorts of parallels. Anyway, Raina is on meds -- amoxicillin and lots of Tylenol -- and they helped her through the weekend. Raina required LOTS of cuddling and sympathy, as she wailed in agony at most moments, and whimpered painfully during all the others.

The top teeth broke through on Monday morning, and they have made significant progress in just three days. And with the cold essentially gone and the ear infection being killed, Raina is almost back to her old self again. Which is very good, because we miss our happy baby.

Raina is soon to experience her very first xmas. Daycare asked if we celebrate xmas. I'm not certain that "celebrate" is the right word -- we travel to exchange and receive gifts. Raina is sure to receive many a gift. We're hoping that they are of the "non-plastic, non-battery operated" kind but you can never predict these things. Josh wanted to give her a snow suit, for when Raina runs around in the snow (in about a year or so). She has already received a few toys that are targeted to the 3+ years crowd. But honestly, she needs something because she is bored with her current toys. She'd much prefer to interact with 1) a baby food jar lid, 2) socks of any kind, 3) feet inside of socks of any kind, 4) her medicine make-shift rattle, and 5) her parents. One of her new favorite things is the hippo ride. Raina sits on the blue hippo and her parents shove her around the house. It cheered up a pretty unhappy baby over the painful weekend.
Raina scoots and boogies all over the place at this point. When sitting, she throws her hands forward and travels a little. Then she goes back to a sitting position, which tends to shove her backwards into a new spot. Then she does it all over again. The joy is in the movement, not the destination. We eliminated the boppy from her repertoire, as it just gets in the way of her moving around.


Raina was introduced to snow a few weeks back. Apparently, she put her hand in the bowl, took out some snow, sniffed it, and then stuffed it into her mouth. She also was introduced to a pot. She bangs on it heartedly, when she realizes that she can. That's our girl.

28 November 2005

Raina took her first long-distance car trip this weekend. Her parents were quite intelligent, maximizing the trip for maximum Raina sleepage. Leaving at 2:30 in the morning and returning at 11:00 at night, the plan went flawlessly -- except for a slight detour and wrong turn near Bowling Green. The families were excited to see Raina and she got lots of attention and very little "playing on her own" time. In celebration of Thanksgiving, Raina ate sweet potatoes and rice cereal. We learned all too late that we could have fed her turkey and turkey broth.

Raina has the strength to stand up from a sitting position, but not the balance. She has the forearm / hand strength to hang from daddy's thumbs for an extremely short period of time. Both of these achievements make Raina very proud of herself. Raina easily goes from the sitting position to the upright belly position, but she has no capability to reverse the direction. She also can scoot backwards and spin around while on her belly -- this mostly frustrates her and results in a fair amount of whining sounds.

Raina poops ALL THE TIME and she OVERFLOWS her diaper without regard for, well, anything. We're not certain if she's sick, gastrointestionally ill, or just changing her pattern due to feedings. While none are huge, they still all leak out her diaper. We are trying a new diaper as a result.

Raina is sick again. She has sneezed very impressive volumes of snot out her nose -- sometimes hanging all the way down to her chin and shirt.

She eats 5-6 Tbsp of cereal and a whole jar of baby food twice a day. She's chunking up. She is, finally, refusing food and will look pitifully on as Eric tries to stuff even more rice cereal down her throat. But she rarely, if ever, refuses the tasty food like peas, carrots, or peaches.

She is learning cause and effect. She knows that hitting the button will sometimes reward her with sounds and flashy lights. She also likes to drop things, watch them fall, and then bend over to pick them up. She then repeats the action continuously until distracted. She likes books again, because she's dextrous enough to turn the pages on her own. It's a delight for her to change the view of her surroundings.

She's also crazy droolly. She has her two bottom teeth and the upper ones are there, but just have yet to cut through. They've caused her a few nights of pain, and we went and purchased baby teething stuff to stop her pain. We think the Tylenol knocked her out before the "teething tablets" had a chance.

30 October 2005

Raina has her first tooth. Or rather the sproutlings of her first tooth. We think she is experiencing discomfort and she aggressively chomps down on things. Raina has discovered the fun in shaking her head back and forth. It's like seeing a possessed stevie wonder. She only does it when she is excited or possibly trying to maintain her balance. Raina toots a lot when she is on her belly. She lifts her head and a fart comes forth. This is a repeatable ability. How she restocks her gas supplies is unknown, for she appears to have limitless amounts. Raina sat in a high chair for the first time a couple of days ago, as well as going to her first halloween party (at day care). She was dressed as a baby because her parents are big clueless slackers.

The bee is her official favorite toy, it is excellent for chewing and grabbing, her two favorite activities. Raina got a lot of hand me down toys, including a decent phone shaped rattle that she enjoys shaking. She also recently acquired 4 cat jingly ball toys. She likes to hold them and jingle them. Disturbingly enough Raina's head shaking episodes did not occur until she first started playing with the cat toys, which makes us wonder, what does catnip do to babies?

October 25th 2005

Raina puked for the first time. And the second time, and the third, fourth and fifth times. We plan to keep her home tomorrow from day care. This is really the first time she has acted sick. She was so sleepy that she fell asleep before the second breast and mommy was unable to wake her. Even changing her diaper did not wake her.

13 October 2005

RAINA SITS UP ALL BY HERSELF!!!!! On Sunday, we sat Raina up in the boppy during football, and we were impressed by the fact that she was sitting up on occasion. She practiced a lot at daycare on Monday, and then was ready to show off to the Parents as Teachers evaluator Monday afternoon. Ever since then, she has been increasing the amount of time that she can sit unsupported. She uses the other hand / arm as a balance method like a trapeze artist. She has rather pristine posture and she seems very proud of herself. And we are quite proud of her as well -- supposedly babies are not expected to sit up unsupported until 8 months or so. Raina has other babies beat by 3 months! We wonder if that means she'll walk before she crawls because she likes to be upright so much.

She also discovered her feet in the recent weeks and really enjoys holding on to them and occasionally sucking on her fingers while she holds on to her feet. She also is prone to pull off her socks. Raina explores a lot -- she likes to grab at hair and noses and lips and glasses. She picks items up with both hands now; she uses both hands in concert, which is very exciting. She transfers items from hand to hand as well and doesn't club items as much. She seems much more intentional with her hand motions.

On Sunday, Raina also tried "real food" (i.e., baby cereal) for the first time. We worried that she wouldn't like it all, but our worries were totally unjustified. She was VERY eager to eat anything that we put in front of her and seemed upset that feeding was over. Rather than wait patiently for us to put the spoon in her mouth, Raina juts her head forward and pounces on the spoon. As a result, not all of the food actually makes it to the desired destination; she has a pronounced cereal moustache at the end of each feeding.

Raina has a hand-me-down Cardinals outfit that she's wearing in honor of the National League championship series. Go Cards! It's not tremendously flattering to her figure though. Raina's hands seem bigger than in the last few weeks -- maybe she's growing again. When we see her everyday, it's very difficult to gauge her individual growth.

3 October 2005

This weekend, we celebrated Ottertoberfest at the Zoo. This was a mostly disappointing venture, as we thought that "free refreshments" might mean more than snocones and popcorn. We parked about 1/2 mile away from the zoo, and meandered throughout a huge portion of the zoo. (Neither mommy nor daddy is good with maps.) We finally asked for assistance to direct us to the WashU event tent. The Guest Services attendant proclaimed the directions provided were grossly inadequate pieces of shit, and gave us new directions through the River's Edge. We were stuck behind many SLOW people staring at elephants and rhinos. We made it to the Washu tent eventually, but we were supremely disheartened to learn that we just got free stickers and access to the children's zoo. We went to the kiddie zoo, and Raina was fascinated by the hedgehog. It paced back and forth, back and forth, in its cage. This made it very easy for Raina to see, and made it very clear to mommy that the poor thing was just depressed by its captivity. All in all, it was interesting to note that Raina doesn't realize that animals at the zoo are any more interesting than anything else in this world AND that every person with a stroller descends upon the zoo on a pleasant Saturday afternoon.

GASSY BABY!!! Raina began the "gassy phase" of her development last weekend. We thought it a little odd, but not anything notable. The condition exacerbated throughout the week, with the daycare workers politely noting "Raina was quite stinky today." Over this past weekend, Raina concentrated many efforts in passing flatulence -- very loud and prolific gases. They culminated in four bowel movements in two days: one so full that it ran down both legs and started to pool at the base of the playstation 2. YOWSA! Daddy thought this was just another gas episode, so he was quite appalled to see that Raina was slipping and sliding in her own poo. Remarkably, Raina's "Princess of Power" outfit was spared, while her newly designated Rams outfit was doused with vitamins. (See the poop video for visuals of this period.)

The Raina songbook has a few new additions: "Raina is a great baby" (in a groovy down beat) and "Let's check the diaper." As always, Raina loves when people sing to her, so she is greatly pleased to be serenaded by her own tunes.
Raina has filled out lately. We swear that she's growing more horizontally. She has spread to fill out the bottom of the boppy -- quite a remarkable achievement. It's also become a little colder, and so Raina has switched from wearing onesies to wearing sleepers with footies. Also, just a blanket was not enough to keep the little miss warm at night. We couldn't find her little sleep sack, so she slept in a winter coat for a few nights, all snuggled up and warm. We finally found the sleep sack, and she's been in that ever since.

She exceeds expectations each and every day in terms of dexterity and motion and control in the playstation 2. She actively grabs items, and pulls them to her mouth, and punches and knocks them around. She can firmly manipulate almost every item on the play bar, excluding the car that makes sounds. Raina still has not figured out how to push the button to cause glorious sounds to emerge. Mommy and daddy will celebrate and rue the day she does, though, as she is certain to do it constantly.

Coupled with Raina's dexterity at the playstation 2 is her general emerging strength and ability to grasp and hold just about anything. She received a teether bee when she was a baby and it's always been too heavy for her. Now it's one of her favorite toys and she can pass it from hand to hand when she mouths it. Also, she actively explores faces with her hands -- frequently grabbing noses and chins and glasses whenever given an opportunity. It's even more crucial for Mommy to wear her hair pulled back, because Raina is fascinated by how it interacts in space. On occasion, as a reward, Daddy will just take off his glasses and allow Raina to paw at him to her heart's content. She just loves it. But, then again, she always brightens up when she sees her daddy. He is, by far, her favorite playmate.
Sundays are "baby daddy daughter day" in which daddy watches football all day and Raina plays on the floor and interacts with daddy. A lot of this time is spent making Raina giggle, as she is very happy to express her joy in this manner.

Raina has a pronounced case of diaper rash on her bottom -- it's a bona fide bumpy rash. While her cradle cap is slowly receding into her hair line, and her ezcema is clearing up, diaper rash has hit back with a full attack. Also, Raina has suffered through a number of illnesses as of late. The most recent caused her to have coughing fits -- the first of her life. It was tremendously heart-wrenching to have Raina wake up in the middle of the night to have a coughing fit. Thankfully, the majority of this illness has passed.

Mommy gave up stroller-ing the baby over the summer because it became clear that Raina was immensely bored sitting in her car seat for an hour. She's big enough now that we sit her face forward in the stroller (head protected by a HUGE hat), but we have to run in the sunny sections so that she doesn't get sun-burned. At these times, her hat falls down over her face and she cannot see a thing. We're not convinced that this method is any better than the other, but it has to be a slight improvement.

17 September 2005

Raina is "consolidating" her bowel movements, which means that instead of emptying her bowels 5 times a day, she cleans out her system once every two-three days. And those events are MASSIVE! Today's far surpassed the capability of any diaper: exploding on all sides, going up her back, and down her legs. She was extraordinarily happy after this occurrence.

Raina is making friends with other babies. Gavin, another kid at daycare, is frequently accosted by Raina's forward advances. Raina will roll over, grab Gavin's hand, and squeal at him -- the workers don't know if Gavin knows how to respond to this exuberance. Raina is trying to woo an older man.

Raina's spastically happy at times: frantically kicking and flailing arms and SQUEALING at the highest pitch possible. Krystal will try to squeal back at Raina in the same manner that Raina communicated to her, but Krystal can barely keep up. She lost that capability for such high sounds a long time ago.

Raina LOVES mornings, and she easily goes down to bed at night. We put her down in a dark room, and she immediately assumes "the position": arms bent behind the head, eyes closed, ready to sleep. She woke up randomly this morning around 1am or so, and entertained herself quite successfully. She rolled around, stared at the pictures, played with her feet, sucked AGGRESSIVELY on her thumb, and squealed in general happiness. Not once did she cry. She really doesn't cry when put down at night either. This has happened within the last week or so -- Raina just knows that she's supposed to sleep and so she doesn't complain about it. This may correspond to its getting dark earlier -- I guess we'll see if she regresses at daylight savings time's end.

Raina is always happy to see her parents again, whether in the mornings, or when playing peekaboo, or when being picked up at daycare. On Friday, Raina was unhappy and crying, but when she saw Eric she immediately brightened up and smiled and did her excited breathing pattern. (She pants like a dog. But a cute dog.)

Raina not only squeals, but is making bona fide vowel and sometimes consonant sounds. She has "AAAAH!" down without any sort of problem, and she also likes to make "rrr" sounds. We're trying to supply appropriate words like apple and rutabaga, but she hasn't pieced it together that much.

Raina loves her exersaucer much more than ever before. She's so much more independent in her play -- even more than last week. We've had a little bit of a setback though. She has to wear outfits with footies, and she cannot keep the traction that she needs to stand. She flops over a lot.

In the past, cleaning Raina was a chore that no one wanted to do, because she would immediately start screaming unconsolably and would continue until Krystal put a breast in her mouth much later. Baths were not fun. Around 3.5 months, things changed. Raina wouldn't freak out immediately, but she would tire of the situation quickly. By the end of that time frame, she would have reasonable success and then her parents would do something stupid to ruin the moment. Krystal dropped the shampoo bottle on Raina, and Eric doused her with cold water (separate occasions, thankfully). Anyway, now at 4.5 months, Raina is perfectly content to be bathed. I'm not convinced that she enjoys the experience, but she certainly likes the rubber ducky that comes along for the ride.

She does enjoy the lotion massage that she gets after the bath, and mommy/daddy like it too because Raina is TICKLISH!!!!! She squirms and giggles when you get her upper leg, armpits, and under her chin. She also is amused by daddy blowing on her belly and mommy munching on her cheek.

We are amazed each and every day by what a great baby she is. And she really does get better everyday, and we're not certain how that could be possible, but it's true. Raina is a wonderful baby, and we are tremendously blessed and lucky to have the lives we lead.

5 September 2005

Raina has progressed in showing her excitement: she initially started by smiling a little, and then smiling a lot, and then making excited squeals, and now she giggles and laughs. We would get occasional giggles from Raina by tossing her up and down, and swinging her side to side, and by Eric doing his crazy dance, but it was never guaranteed. But yesterday when we were at Forest Park, we sat Raina down by Laura Blume ... and then it was astounding. Raina LAUGHED -- not little giggles but a complete series of full-body laughs. It continued for about 15-20 seconds. The other teachers were "ahh, that's so cute!" and we were dumbfounded because she had never done that before. Possibly related was the fact that Raina had a VERY FULL diaper and this was her first bowel movement of the day. Eric went to change her and then suddenly she was swarmed by insects. Hundreds of gnats descended on Raina's bottom and diaper, eager to consume her poo. Later that day, Eric Wilson and Raina played a game of roller-ball, and she continued her series of enthusiastic laughter. It was absolutely delightful.

While at Forest Park, Scott Chelist serenaded Raina with songs, and he was composing a song at that time. Of course, Eric and Krystal compose songs for Raina all the time. We started with "Don't cry for me, Mrs. Raina" and progressed to "Raina is a baby" (like Dude looks like a lady). We also make up ridiculous verses to Cocacabana.
Her name is Raina. She's kinda poopy. You can count on her to do her duties (dooties).
We do a little routine to "row, row, row your boat." Raina's favorite part (in both of our versions) is the "merrily" section.

Raina eagerly does physical activity -- she loves to stand for long periods and she looks so proud of herself when she does it. She'll collapse when she's had enough and, if you feel her heart at that time, you'll see that her pulse is racing. She can really work herself up.

Raina is a tremendously mild-mannered and sweet-dispositioned baby. She rarely cries, and so you know that when she does cry, it means something serious for her. The daycare people at the YMCA and the Westport School are astonished by her demeanor, and by how independently she can play and entertain herself. When Krystal took Raina to the math party, Raina didn't fuss once and was proclaimed "exquisite!" by Lisa Huxley. Raina also met her first dog at that party, who proceeded to lick her feet multiple times. She wasn't certain what to make of that experience, but it certainly was interesting.

It's a wondrous experience to greet Raina in the morning. She will wake up so excited to see the world -- just grinning ear to ear. It's a completely heart-warming event each and every morning.

She's also advanced enough to play in her ExerSaucer, a.k.a. the playstation 2. Since she's infatuated with songs and electronic sounds, she enjoys the little car the most, but the other parts are also interesting to her. I think her favorite is the aspect of being able to rotate around and change her point of view anytime she wants. She actively grabs at things and wrenches them into her mouth at all opportunities.

20 July 2005

Raina has had quite an interesting day thus far. She started out by calmly waiting in her crib for mommy and daddy to come retreive her. She sucked on her arm and sleeve in the meantime, and concentrated on producing quite a large amount of poo. Later, at the YMCA, she peed all over Debi (one of the workers) and -- according to Debi -- was exceedingly happy afterwards and went immediately to sleep. Raina has been impressing us lately with her strength -- both neck and leg strength. She can support her own weight for quite a long time (either happy or angry) and she held her head up for a good 5 minutes this afternoon. The most impressive feat, though, was that Raina managed to roll herself over. She started on her belly and she planked herself upwards to look at the design on the floor. She wiggled her bottom closer (lost her balance, I think) and then plopped over bottom first and then followed by her head. She seemed quite shocked to have such am immediate change in scenery. I tried to get her to repeat the action but she hasn't done it as yet. She was more interested in staring at the playland's floor design.

Eric returned to the land of crazy Raina nighttime experiences. Last night, around midnight, he woke me up, exclaiming "look at that!" He was pointing at the ceiling, but I didn't see anything out of the ordinary. I asked him what I was supposed to see and he responded, "Raina. She's a GHOST!"
And then we went right back to sleep.

18 July 2005

Raina spits up a lot, and she doesn’t like it. We go through burp clothes like crazy and have to change her onesie 2-3 times a day. We have recently realized the utility of bibs and now Raina wears one at almost all times, and now we go through 2-3 bibs a day in addition to countless burp cloths. (post-note upon further reflection, operation perma-bib while theortically sound, was impractical due to the common problem of lazy parenting)

Raina used to love her carseat. Everytime she got in it we were taking a trip, and she likes to move. But recently she has come to associate it with being left alone at the YMCA and being stuck where she can’t really play. So she does not like it when you put her in her carseat.

Raina does play now. Her play station as we call it has multiple dangling items that Raina has learned to either grab and hold onto or swat and bat. She also grabs and tugs. Kicking the play land support arches has lost its allure, as she has discovered using her hands to play. Hitting with her hands has more success for movement and sound.

Raina’s newfound hand dexterity also includes putting it in her mouth which she excitedly does. Once upon a time she enjoyed putting her hand in her mouth, but it would only happen by accident. "Oh wow this is nice" "Wait where did it go" Now she clumsily opens her mouth in excited anticipation and wanders and flails her hand in the general direction of her mouth until she succeeds, which then results in multiple minutes of loud drooly hand sucking.

Speaking of drool. Raina drools. A Lot. In fact it appears that she prefers to keep a store of drool just on the outside of her lips, which is fine unless she turns to her side or leans over resulting in drool drippage and transfer. She blows raspberries in all conscious moments. Wiping up the drool is a mostly futile endevour, for she always makes more.
Raina likes to be naked, but wouldn’t you? It is after all summer in St. Louis and our house is 81 degrees. But back to the nakedness, she really likes it, she gets excited and happy when you start to strip her onesie off.

We were initially concerned about Raina’s lack of concentrated pooping. This turns out to be unfounded. She has overflowed her diaper at all potential points of failure, resulting in soiled onesies, sheets, mattress pads, pillows and parental clothing. Most of these pooping incidents are prefaced by loud gurgling flatulent noises. These can easily be heard from . . . Well anywhere in the house, and have been known to wake her sleepy parents at night. But often Raina is able to take the sleep disruption in stride and ignore her dirty deeds for numerous hours.

Raina has had some gassy issues. She doesn’t like it, and nor do we. It can be stinky and painful for her. Often she ends up releaving herself unintentionly coordinated with a sneeze or cough or cry.

Raina’s neck strength is quite impressive at this point, and we find ourselves rarely concerning ourselves with supporting her head. In a similar vein, her legs are also quite strong. She rarely is interested in standing when she is happy, those times are best spent looking at things such as funny parental faces or mirrors or in her play land. But when unhappy, her first instinct is to tense up all her muscles. Eric likes to use this opportunity to get her to practice standing. She does not appear to like this very much but, until she calms down she is quite incapable of avoiding it. She can maintain her weight (but not balance) for almost a minute these days.

Raina gets quite fussy after feedings sometimes. Burping does not seem to come as easily as it used to.
She has become a fan of being held up so that she can look around. Although she cannot balance herself very well she likes sitting either in laps or on the floor.

Raina will on occasion have pseudo conversations with you. You say something she grunts back. We hope to have her talking in no time.

All in all Raina has been fantastic whenever we go out to eat at restaurants. She will just sit there quietly and stare off into the background or go to sleep. I believe our record at this point is like 8-0, which is quite impressive. Dinner at home often does not go as smoothly.