Monday, August 20, 2007

Playground Pictures

Here are some wonderful "big kids" playground pictures of the little miss.

Singing, Dancing, Reading, and Roxanne

Raina sings and dances many times a day. She spontaneously breaks out into the Alphabet song or "Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star" or "The Wheels on the Bus." She sings all the words (or what she thinks are the words) but cannot carry a tune. It's tremendously endearing and somewhat painful when she sings. She frequently requests the "D song" -- an excellent They Might Be Giants song -- so we listen to TMBG on a daily basis. She also sings along with these songs, but she doesn't know the words as well, so she averages a word per line (usually the last word).

Of course, where there is music there is Raina dancing like a little dervish. She spins around in circles, head bangs, jumps, and flings her arms around. She has progressed past the casual rocking on her feet; now dancing is a full body action.

Yesterday, a teacher friend commented "At one, they walk; at two, they talk." It's true. All Raina does now is talk. She has a comment or commentary about every subject or experience possible. It's strange to have a real conversation with Raina. She has no concept of time, so many of her comments are technically inaccurate, but they all are based in her personal experience.

Raina is familiar enough with certain books that she "reads" parts aloud. She recites parts of Bad Kitty and she did a spectacular rendition of Hop on Pop tonight. I knew that, eventually, she'd get to this point, but I had no idea that she'd be here so soon.

We have a dog in our lives now. Roxanne, a 1.5 years old Great Dane, has joined the Whompton family. Raina historically has been terrified of dogs, and we were quite fearful of how she'd respond to an 108 pounds non-human creature. The answer: swimmingly. Raina loves watching Roxanne play and walk and sleep and all the other mundane things dogs do. Raina continuously says "Roxanne funny" and laughs hysterically when Roxanne does anything active. She doesn't trust the dog completely -- Raina limits herself to the couch when Roxanne is out -- but she does want to spend all her time in the same room with the dog. The relationship is far more harmonious than we anticipated, and we are tremendously grateful.

Thursday, August 2, 2007

During and Post-Vacation

Raina easily managed the DC trip; according to Samantha, Raina only needed consoling once. That is an excellent track record, and we couldn't be happier. Turns out, her parents may have had more separation anxiety and sadness, but we all survived just fine.

After finishing the DC trip, the Whomptons loaded up the car and headed to Nashville. Raina knew we were taking a trip, and she was excited to do very big person things like choosing which shirts to wear for the week and which toys to take in the car. I had to convince her to take more toys; she settled on three things, which, honestly, may have been all she used during the trip.

The journey to Nashville was uneventful. Raina consumed a lot of food, took a nap, and then consumed more food. She was exceedingly overjoyed to be with Papa Bill, Mama Jo, Emily, and Stephanie again, and she chattered and played with trains and looked at books and was generally endearing. The lake house fascinated her too. Not only was there a glorious view of scenery but there were a number of boats (very cool!), rocking chairs, a hammock, plenty of food, and lots of adoring adults. We went on a boat, which excited Raina initially, but really served to terrify her for a few hours. Once we stopped the boat all was well. We swam in the lake and circled around the boat and followed a duck and shouted at Jerry and basked in nature. The next day involved swimming in a not-so-lovely part of the lake, building and destroying sand structures, and climbing all over a playground. After that, Raina mostly stayed indoors (poison ivy was rampant!) and enjoyed her forays out to the screened-in porch or the deck. Most of all, Raina reveled in the experience because her family was with her.

Come Sunday, it was time to depart and all the Comptons packed up and loaded cars. We decided it would be better for Raina to ride with Papa Bill and Mama Jo on the way back to Nashville, a short one hour drive. We knew she'd be a little upset about the split, so we prepped her in advance. It didn't work. She clutched to her parents, repeatedly said, "Mommy and Daddy go in black car. Raina go black car too!", and then cried when we told her that we weren't traveling together. She wailed but didn't resist when we buckled her into her carseat, and that was the most heart-breaking part of all. Luckily, she was asleep within minutes -- naptime coordinating with emotional exhaustion -- and then was ecstatic to see her parents arrive in Nashville as well. The next day we left for St. Louis and Raina made it very clear that she was coming in the black car this time, no exceptions! This trip was the first time Raina ever said "I wanna go home."