Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Raina is very sweet

Raina has become quite fond of giving both hugs and kisses whenever she is parting ways with one of her family members. Daddy gets hugs and kisses every morning when he gets dropped off at work. She happily spreads the love before going to bed too, the routine consists of hugs and kisses for everyone followed by a "bye bye", a smile, and a hand wave.

26 June 2007

We went to the video store over the weekend, and Raina wanted to help choose the movie. She'd bring one over, like Bob the Builder, and then we'd say, "Nope, that's not the one we're looking for" and she'd put it back on the shelf and try something else. As you might imagine, Raina didn't get any of the movies she wanted, so, during yesterday's video venture, she got creative. I gave her The Queen to hold while we chose another movie, and I asked her to bring it up to the counter so we could check out. What made it to the counter? RV, an atrocious Robin Williams movie, which, to her, looked like lots more fun than what I had chosen. She was amply disappointed that I noticed and put it back.

The Whomptons do not have a pet and the closest thing we have is an American Sycamore named Fred. Fred is the first and last of his planted brethern to survive, so he holds a very dear place in our hearts. Actually, he almost perished the week Raina was born; our being at the hospital, severe drought, and then VERY severe storms caused him to fold over in two. We were so upset that we called the tree doctor and had him come out for consultation. The doctor said Fred would be fine, and he is. Anyway, Raina and I periodically check how Fred is doing and marvel at how he's grown. During a recent check-up, I noticed that large beetles were munching on Fred's leaves, and that they'd done some serious damage. I declared, "We need a bat!", scowled at the beetles, and then went into the house. Raina, recognizing Fred's plight, immediately brought the wiffle ball bat so we could go help Fred. It was very sweet of her to try, and it reminded me of the turkey story.

We used to play recognition games: "go bring me a ball, Raina!" and Raina would toddle around until she found a ball and returned it to you. Once, I asked for a turkey, meaning the stuffed turkey right behind her. She looked at me confused, and I repeated "turkey." She kinda shrugged, and then walked into the kitchen. A few minutes later, I found her trying to pull the fridge door open, so that she could get some deli turkey for me. I laughed for a while over that one.

Raina received a farm set yesterday. It has a barn, all the typical farm animals, trees, grass, milk jugs, harnesses, wagons, a pond, and fencing. The thing is amazing, and Raina played with it for two hours straight last night. Technically, every item is a choking hazard, but it was an easy decision -- the thing is too cool to chew on. Instead, she and Sam built a large pen for all the animals and Raina delighted in moving the cows and pigs and horses around. The best part: not once during the whole farm time did Raina ask for the "Ya-yo" song, otherwise known as "Old MacDonald has a farm." We sing it every time we're in the car, so we adults rejoiced to see Raina play with farm animals without wanting to sing about them too.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

18 June 2007

Raina played inside of a clothes basket today. Sam, in a joking manner, said, "Raina, looks like we'll need to put you in the washing machine." Raina responded by scampering out of the basket as quickly as possible, saying "NO! No washing!", and then crying a lot. To console her, we said, "You're right, Raina, clothes go in the washing machine." Raina then repeated, "No washing. Clothes go in washing machine" to herself over and over again until she felt better. Wouldn't you be scared if someone put you in a washing machine???

This was one of many "Raina is scared" moments of the past two days. She is terrified of moving cars (which is a good fear) but it does mean she stops in the middle of the road and screams and demands to be held if she sees a moving car. (This causes lots of problems when the adults are carrying groceries or library books, and there's a large vehicle approaching.)

A big thunderstorm rolled through yesterday when we were driving along, and Raina looked panicked. When asked, she said "scared, mommy." Admittedly, parts of the storm were really scary -- even for the adults.

Today, Raina was staring out the front window, waiting for daddy to come home. Suddenly, she jumped up. screamed, immediately cried, ran away from the window, and leapt into Sam's lap. What caused all of this anxiety? She saw the orange kitty outside.

All in all, she's a pretty brave kid, but there are some things that completely unnerve her.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

17 June 2007

Raina tells jokes. Two year old humor has its limits, but it's cute to see her get so excited. Here are her favorites:
- She offers you something that you clearly don't want. You respond, "No, thank you, Raina." And then she says, "YES, thank you" and giggles hysterically.
- Raina carries her cow around and meows or carries her bunnies around and oinks. She finds it hilarious.

Eric got a free meal at the Pasta House courtesy of Father's Day. Free cheesecake, woohoo!

After dinner, Eric was sitting on the floor, and Raina came over, shoved him face-down, crawled on his back, and started riding him like a horse. She sang a little song too, which none of us understood, but certainly was video-worthy. If I ever figure out how to post videos on this blog, I'll share :)

Friday, June 15, 2007

15 June 2007

Raina and mom have spent a whole week together and, I have to admit, the older Raina gets, the easier the summers become. My first summer off with Raina drove me completely insane (free time, never!), last summer was fun because Raina could actually do somewhat active things (she'd get excited about going to the grocery store, for instance), and this summer is the best yet. Raina is a miniature-sized person who likes to be out and about and can entertain herself most of the time. We drop daddy off at work, go to the playground, go to the Y, eat lunch, take a nap, eat a snack, pick daddy up from work, and then play and read books until bedtime. It's such an easy and joyous routine; so far, neither one of us has gotten bored, which is the definite sign of summer success.

Raina is taking a baby gymnastics class on Thursdays, which mostly involves her running and jumping and climbing with a bunch of other two years-olds. It's remarkably similar to going to the playground, except that gymnastics is air conditioned. Nice!

We also make trips to the library. Raina will experience her very first library story time next week, which I hope will be disaster-free. Raina mostly revels in ALL THE BOOKS when she goes to the library, which means she pulls a bunch off the shelves, sits down, flips through, and then pulls even more books off the shelves to repeat the process. She doesn't understand the concept of an "inside voice" so our library visits get cut short more often than not. We've never been evicted from the library though: she's too cute for that to happen.

We Whomptons play lots of games, and Raina often wants to be part of the fun. Unfortunately, most games require dexterity, strategy, and a recognition that pieces move for a reason. But we bought a game for her, in the hopes that she would get the concept and we could play. Candyland. It's possibly the worst game in existence. You draw a card, on which is a color. You then move your piece to the color on the board and go from there. There's absolutely NO FREE WILL or THINKING in this game, which we thought we would be the perfect match for Raina. Raina just doesn't get it though. She likes the fact that there are game pieces (shaped like little gingerbread men and colored -- very exciting) and she knows that the game pieces represent the person playing. (I know this because she brings me the red piece every day and says "mommy." Raina has claimed the yellow piece for her own permanently and calls it Raina.) She likes flipping the card over and identifying the color shown. She does not like it, however, that we have to move our pieces to where the card says. She thinks, rightfully so, that the yellow piece should only reside on yellow squares because they match. No amount of cajoling has convinced her otherwise. We tried using the small family dolls (mommy, daddy, Sammy, Raina) but Raina remembers that Sammy had the green gingerbread man and so should only go on green squares. This has been a failed venture thus far, and it's clear why this game is identified as "ages three and up."

Raina has lovies, bunches of them. She knows that she has three stuffed cats, so when getting in the car, she wants to bring all three. We have most animals covered: the typical bears (at least ten of these) and multiple dogs and cats. We also have the more exotic stuffed animals: parrot, turkey, monkey, reindeer, fish, sheep, beaver, frogs, bunnies, turtles, and, of course, the cow. Raina LOVES her cow unconditionally, she sleeps with it, hugs it, kisses it, bites it fiercely, and rejoices when she sees him again. (She doesn't let him leave the house often; I don't think she wants to share her cow with anyone. I actually am petrified that my car will be stolen with the cow inside, and the devastatingly hard thing to replace will be the cow.) Anyway, she often has at least one lovey in tow, which makes her even harder to carry around.

Here are two great pictures of Raina + lovies. The first picture's story is simple. Mom sat down, and Raina sat down too, but brought the animals from her bed that morning: two small bears, one very large yellow bear, a pink puppy, a white kitty, and a gorilla. Excellent! The second is from a road trip; the whole back seat was filled with stuffed animals!

Saturday, June 9, 2007

9 June 2007

Raina's capacity to tell stories and use her imagination is growing! When snuggling before bedtime the other night, Raina confessed "Peyton pushed me. Jaden pushed me too." I confess, upon hearing that my child was being shoved around by two daycare kids, I was mostly enraged and frustrated that I couldn't do anything about it. Instead, I told Raina that I was sorry, and that sometimes kids do mean things, but that she should not do mean things back.

When I asked her what happened next, she said, very forcefully: "Time out, Peyton! Time out, Jaden!" Then she shouted "NO PUSH ME, TIME OUT!" I get the feeling she shouted at the kids too. I needn't have worried. Raina can totally take care of herself.

On the walk home Friday, Raina shared a similar story, in which AJ and Jaden pushed her, but she was very clear again: "NO PUSH ME, TIME OUT!" I'm proud of the little miss for speaking up for herself, but I confess to being very bothered that she has to fight back verbally to protect herself. Oh, the travails of daycare!

This morning, Raina imagined that there was a turtle in the living room. She played with it, pet it, chased it, showed it off to her parents, described its colors, and fed it grass. It was absolutely wonderful to see her imagination at work.

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

7 June 2007

Raina and Krystal had matching eye owies (sp?) for quite a while. Krystal ran -- I mean, RAN, kapow! -- into a door and earned quite a lovely black eye. She sported a shiner for an Owensboro wedding, three field trips with MICDS parents, a "welcome to MICDS" ice cream social, and the Compton visit. It was lovely. Raina's eye injury resulted from falling down at the daycare playground. At least, this is what Raina claims when asked. Anyway, most of our conversations that week involved these phrases, in a variety of orders:

- Mommy has an eye owie.
- Raina has an owie (but Raina pronounces her name "rain-ee")
- Kiss it, mommy!
- All better.

Raina also had her cow (affectionately called "moo") routinely kiss her owie to make it all better. That cow has miraculous powers.



This photo is from the mostly healed phase -- roughly 1.5 weeks after the initial injuries.

6 June 2007

I read an article recently about how, at very early stages in development, a child will align with a particular gender and then her actions will reflect her belief that she is female or his belief that he's male. With Raina there is no question. She's a preening little girl. She likes to wear dresses, have her hair in pigtails, and look at herself in the mirror. A lot. Raina actually uses the word "mirror" at least once per day -- she likes to check herself out in a new outfit and she wants to watch herself brush her teeth. Actually, the phrase "new outfit" is one of the guaranteed ways to get Raina to take a bath. (Raina LOVES washing her hands, but despises taking a bath. We're not certain why.)

Now, Raina's parents are lackadaisical, care not at all about putting her in new clothes each day, and never -- I mean NEVER -- brush her hair. But we do want her to be happy, so we accommodate these slightly narcissistic behaviors, because they are cute.

Also quite adorable in the attempts are Raina's smiles. Her genuine smiles of mirth and merriment are a delight to see; her reactions to the instructions, "Raina, smile!" are mostly ridiculous and result in much adult laughter and groaning. Here is a recent example. Aargh, matie!