Sunday, September 30, 2007

Picking Apples and Pumpkins

A few items from Raina's youth were retired this week: her mobile and her tissue box. The mobile, a gift from Andrew McDiarmid, featured all types of birth control methods, and was certainly a conversation starter for everyone that encountered it. Raina loved to jump up and try to reach the pointing fingers (when she was shorter) and has over the past few months just batted at it playfully when she was bored. Unfortunately, the mobile is rather fragile and it ripped apart the other day. We took pictures to recognize, forever, what a great mobile it was.
The tissue box also has great sentimental attachment, and it deeply saddened Eric and I to see it go. When Raina was teething (roughly 4-12 months old) she would become very fussy and upset and very few things made her feel better. Looking at the world map shower curtain AND at the Simba tissue box did. She would stare adoringly at Simba and all her pain would be forgotten. (For the longest time, if Raina was crying, we'd immediately take her to the bathroom. It was a strange but effective parenting technique.) To preserve the Simba tissue box, we just stopped taking tissues from it, and put two boxes of tissues in that bathroom. Inevitably, though, all its tissues would be used, and that happened this week as well. We debated keeping the box -- maybe when she's teething at age 6 she'll want it again??? -- but we realized that our ridiculousness should have limits. Instead, we took pictures of it. If Raina wants to see it again, she can check out the digital copy :)
Raina has stayed home all week with a fever, which topped out at 103.5 degrees Farenheit. She was a very pathetic looking little girl, who only desired cuddling with her cow and the Winnie the Pooh blanket. The fever finally broke Friday, and developed into a strange and all-encompassing rash. To celebrate her recovery AND the beginnings of autumn, the Whomptons headed to Eckerts. Eckerts is the nation's largest you-pick-em establishment; you can pick just about anything there, depending on the season. Today we acquired pumpkins, gourds, and excellent Fuji apples. We're all overjoyed to see the end of summer!
Samantha, Raina, and Eric on the hayride to the pumpkin patch

Raina checking out the potential pumpkins

We really liked this one -- it's a beauty! -- but we eventually ditched it.
Raina's first personal pumpkin. She sorta chose it herself.
These pumpkins are REAL! We had to put humans next to them to get the scale right. Only $30 each.
The latest Whompton family photo

Here Samantha and Raina eat all the free Fujis that they can. This may be one of the first times Raina ate an apple by herself, without an adult cutting it up for her. She tried really hard and made a huge mess. All her bites were teeny-tiny. Luckily, we gave her the teeny-tiny apples to match.

All Whomptons were worn out by the end of today: big kids playground, flag football, and Eckerts. Raina was all tuckered out.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Big Wheel Success and Other Stories

Raina adores her Big Wheel. She frequently pulls it out and travels all over the basement with it. Her legs are too short to push the pedals effectively, so she mostly shoves from the ground and moves very slowly in comparison to walking. But Raina doesn't care. She delights in moseying around, bothering the dog, trying to reverse, and then parking the Big Wheel in the "garage" (under the table). We've taken the Big Wheel outside a few times; Raina loved zooming down the hills, but detested slowly moving back up hill. She, understandably, abandoned her three wheels and took to pushing it back uphill as opposed to biking. (This whole procedure reminded me of sledding -- all that hill climbing for such a short period of downhill ecstasy.) Samantha and I were relieved to see the Big Wheel become such a hit.

Raina has warmed up considerably to Roxanne. For the longest time, Raina would travel from couch to couch, hardly ever touching the ground. She knew that, if she was on the floor, she suddenly became fair game for Roxanne interaction. And Roxanne LOVES Raina. I think she's mostly confused and entranced by this little squealing creature who continuously giggles when approached. Raina has moved past this fear and now delights in greeting Roxanne each morning and afternoon. In fact, she wishes Roxanne good night before she goes to bed! Astounding.

Flag football season begins tomorrow, and Raina's initial dog fear is a throwback from last year's football season. Here's hoping that this year leaves her unscathed.

With Raina's ever increasing vocabulary and emotional capability come rather astonishing comments from the little miss. Yesterday, Raina ran downstairs and greeted me with "Mommy, I missed you today" and a big hug. It melted my heart. Today, all her post-daycare love went to the cow. He immediately got smushed/hugged and told that she missed him today too. Also, Raina has watched a fair amount of construction over the past week, and recognizes that it's "sad. Big machines make trees fall down."

Last weekend's fascination was the nighttime sky: the moon and stars. Raina spent approximately one hour in the car continuously saying: "Look, [Mommy, Daddy, Sammy] the moon! Where did moon go? It's hiding.... I found it!" as we drove around town. It was a surprise to her each and everytime that the moon and stars came in and out of view. Sam, Raina, and I went to the Cardinals game on Monday and Raina's only interest was the sky.

According to Samantha, Raina has hair that looks professionally styled, or at least like her parents devote considerable amount of time brushing and curling each day. The real truth is that Raina gets a bath once a week, so all that pretty shine is a result of oil and grease and dirt. But she does have adorable curls, and they get tighter and cuter the more humid it gets.

Raina is a bona fide artist! She revels in coloring with crayons, or molding clay, or sketching with her DoodlePro. She has progressed far past just marking the page; she does great ovals (which she calls circles) and shapes that look a lot like squares (without the sharp edges). She readily identifies what she's trying to draw -- that's you, Mommy! -- and you can actually sort of see what she put together. And she's so proud of each accomplishment! A lot of her painting work hangs in her bedroom and every night, before bed, she points to the walls, says "my paintings!" and then lists off each one. This is a great development for Raina (and for us), and we're tremendously excited for her.

Raina uses "big girl underpants" now, a.k.a. training diapers, and she can go half to three-quarters of the day with the same diaper. Unfortunately, she poops in her diaper and then gets a little upset with herself. Today, she pooped twice in the potty and she was SO PROUD OF HERSELF it was insane. But she totally gets the fact that peeing and pooping in the potty are good things. In fact, she complimented me today: "You peed in the potty. Good girl, Mommy!" We're slowly inching towards freedom from diaper tyranny.

Over the summer, Raina emotionally re-attached herself to me rather firmly and she occasionally would protest when I'd take her to daycare. Now, the opposite has happened. Sunday afternoons see Raina trying to put on her shoes and open the garage door, saying "Go to daycare!" And when we shake our heads no, she tries "Go to grocery store?" or "Big kids playground?" or "Ride in car?" or anything to get out of this house? Please? Monday morning cannot come soon enough for the little miss :)

Saturday, September 8, 2007

Meteor Pilots

Eric's band, the Meteor Pilots, has existed for four years now, and has had intermittent success. Much of that time has been consumed by practicing in Gary's basement or replacing and training new members of the band. They played out in public two years ago: the night Raina was born and a few months following. Over the past few months, the band has congealed -- to the point that Raina knows Eric goes to band practice -- and the group has started performing in public again. We recently took Raina to an outdoor show, where she danced and rocked and ran and played and met pirates! (She was mostly confused by the pirates.) I really love this picture from that day.

Sunday, September 2, 2007

New Toys!

Raina has become quite bored with her toys; we retired boxes full a few weeks back and she was totally unfazed by it. That's when we realized new toys were in order. Raina routinely completes 24 pieces jigsaw puzzles in about 5-7 minutes, and those are the only toys she interacts with currently. So, we upgraded the puzzles. I brought home three new puzzles: a 24 pieces and two 48 pieces. She literally screamed in excitement when she saw the boxes.

We opened up the new 24 piece at 7:00 p.m. -- 30 minutes before bedtime -- with the expectation that she'd take 15 minutes or so to complete it and then we'd put it away. She raced through the new Elmo in about 4 minutes and then reached up for the next puzzle and impatiently gave the MORE!!! hand signal when I moved too slowly to open it. The 48 piece Dora puzzle took a lot more time, about 25 minutes with parental help, but she was SO OVERJOYED by it that we couldn't stop. And Raina wouldn't let us stop. She became very territorial and possessive and almost started crying when we told her that it was bedtime so she'd have to leave the puzzle only partly completed. She refused, and that's when mommy and daddy stepped into help.

That was Tuesday night. Apparently, the very next day she completed the Dora puzzle on her own. I routinely am astonished by Raina: not only by her problem solving ability, but by her determination and patience. Two year old kids do NOT sit and focus on something for 30 minutes straight unless it's a movie. Most adults don't have that sustained attention anymore either!

Right now, Raina is living it up with her family in Nashville, and mommy and Sammy are behind in St. Louis. The weather has been glorious here and we realized that it feels like football weather -- or, more accurately, it feels like good playing outside weather. (107 degrees is NOT good outside weather!) To celebrate, we put together Raina's Big Wheel. I LOVED my Big Wheel when I was younger, and I rode that thing into the ground. Raina's looks just like mine; apparently not much has changed in Big Wheel technology over the past 20 years. I have to admit, I've spent quite a while looking at it with longing and wishing that Big Wheels came in more adult sizes. Raina comes home tomorrow, and we hope that she squeals with excitement over this new toy too.