Sunday, January 27, 2008

Pain and Anguish

The Whomptons had major issues this weekend.

First, Eric forgot to move Raina into a diaper overnight, so she wet her underwear inside of a fleece sleepysack. Fleece is non-absorbent, so Raina soaked in her urine for a LONG time. She has a serious case of diaper rash now and it hurts her bum so much that she asks for butt goo by name.

Second, Raina acquired a new pair of shoes (Spiderman shoes, woohoo!) this weekend and she tripped and fell a lot while breaking them in at the Soulard Mardi Gras Pet Parade. Her knees and hands got all scraped up.

Third, at Target today Raina fell out of the "bus" (actually a cart) and landed on the hard, hard floor. She was, understandably, startled that she could fall out of the cart and, additionally, quite upset because it hurt! This is probably why we're supposed to strap our child in.

Fourth, in loading up the car and getting buckled in, Raina was unable to protect her Trader Joe's balloon. Instead, she had to watch, trapped, as it escaped the car and then floated away from her into the sky.

Fifth, at the end of a long day, Raina went to sleep on her cot. Fifteen minutes after we put her down, we heard her walking upstairs. Turns out, she accidently rolled off of her cot while sleeping and woke up because she slammed into the floor. She required a fair amount of comforting to recover (again, surprise and pain coupled together).

Sixth, while walking Roxanne Saturday morning, Samantha and Krystal noticed a xmas tree on the walkway. Sam noticed it, mentally registered it, and then promptly tripped over it. She flailed out and twisted her body to catch Roxanne's leash (she missed it and instead slapped her hand hard on the concrete) and then slammed her knee, hip, and shoulder into the ground. Roxanne gleefully scampered around as both women shouted her name, and then gleefully dodged the adults as they tried to get her out of oncoming traffic.

Seventh, to add insult to injury, Roxanne lifted her head up (on command!) from a seated position and whacked Sam in the forehead with great power. Sam sported a lovely bruise and bump and scrape on her forehead and was relegated to frozen veggies for a series of 20 minutes on, 20 minutes off. The physical pain was coupled with the mental pain of knowing she had caused the action to happen :)

Eighth, Eric lost a heartbreaker between the Chargers and Titans, oddly reminiscent of the 2008 Titans-Chargers playoff game. With the one major difference: Eric's Titans were highly competitive and took the Chargers to overtime! Nonetheless, this was the greatest NFL video football game of his life.

Ninth, ironically, the perpetually accident prone Krystal survived the weekend incident free. Is something wrong with the universe? Well, maybe not ... there are still 2.5 hours to go ....

Raina the Hostess

Over MLK weekend, we had a few guests over to visit: Dave Molfese and John Kindschuh on Saturday, and Eric Rowe's family on Sunday. Just like I do with the adults in the house, I remind Raina that we're having visitors so she's not completely surprised when they arrive in her house. All day Saturday she said "Mommy's friends are coming" and then she was a perfectly demure and respectful miss while they were here. (The only thing is that she routinely showed a little too much of her backside -- her pants kept sliding down because she doesn't have the additional diaper girth to keep them up.) She played by herself during appetizers, happily hung out at the dinner table while the adults talked and talked and talked, and then easily and smoothly went to sleep. When the adults didn't leave the dining room quickly enough, Raina called out "Be quiet! I'm trying to sleep!" and then promptly did.

The next day Raina got up and asked "Where John? Where Dave? Where your friends, Mommy?" She understood that they went home but she was a little disappointed by it. Then she was very happy to hear we were having people over again and this time there would be a little boy, Ethan, just her age.

We told her that Ethan was two, and that they could play together. Raina's response: "I'll show him my toys and books. My cow too." Her parents quickly overreacted, envisioning the worst case scenario of Ethan liking the cow and Raina freaking out about it. We quickly downplayed the need for the cow to emerge, telling Raina that she could choose some toys to put away so that Ethan couldn't play with them. But no worries. Ethan and the rest of the Rowes arrived and after a little bit of "warming up" time, everything was glorious again. Raina ate lots of food at the table, which always puts her in a good mood, and commented that "the baby's crying -- she needs her mommy." After Raina ate all the food she wanted, she quickly jumped to the task of showing Ethan more toys: trains and the farm/barn and puzzles and books. She even brought the cow out proudly, but Ethan really wasn't impressed. They had a good time together but then it was naptime for everyone so we called it to a close.

According to Eric Rowe, that was the quickest Ethan had warmed up to anyone, and after he got up from his nap that day, he said "I play with Raina ALL DAY!" So it's time to set up another play date for adults and kids :) I am rather proud of how Raina conducts herself with guests; her easy-going and kind nature just shines through. She's a great kid.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Raina grows up, and it's bittersweet.

Raina has some crazy new accomplishments:

1. She has been able to identify her letters for quite a while now. This past week, she proved that she associates specific letters with specific people. She can identify her daycare buddies' artwork because of their names written on the paper. In addition, she was playing with her magnetic letters today and picked up the J and said "J is for Jadon. J is for Ms. Jenn." Ms. Jenn thinks Raina is a genius. We dispute that claim, but we do agree that she's wicked bright.

2. Needless to say, we immediately went to the library and got new books. This time we got the "easy readers" set, which has very simple and repeated words per page. Raina has been entranced by Scat, Cats! and is eager to help recite it and pick out the word cat on each page.

3. Combining the Whompton map theme and the Raina puzzle fascination, Raina received a USA map puzzle over the holidays. She delights putting the pieces in their appropriate spots, which is all standard for her. The new pleasure is that each piece represents a place with a name. She's learning her states. She readily identifies Missouri (on the puzzle map AND on the big maps in the house), knows that Emily lives in New York, that Papa Bill grew up in West Virginia, that the cousins live in Kentucky, that the Comptons live in Tennessee, and that North and South Dakota exist (she has a friend named Dakota).

4. We ran errands a lot today. Each time we'd park, Raina would say "Still in Missouri!" It sounds a lot like "sorry" when Raina says it, so this one took some time to figure out. We never expected to hear that phrase from her!

5. Raina decided to nap on her cot today, which she did with resounding success. So, tonight, she also proclaimed that she wanted to sleep on the cot -- not the baby crib. She even used the words "baby crib" even though we call it a bed. Well, Mom and Dad tried to negotiate with her, but she totally won. She's upstairs sleeping on her cot. I guess it's time to get our big girl a big girl bed.

We revel in her accomplishments every day, but some of them are bittersweet.

School thoughts

Raina will turn three in May, which puts her right on the cusp of so many things. Developmentally, it puts her past the other kids in her two years-old daycare room and makes her greatly desire being in the three years-old room. She hangs out in there in the early mornings and late afternoons; if we show up at 4:30 p.m. or later, then she never wants to leave daycare because she finally went back to the threes. It's just rapture in there for Raina.

Knowing that our kid is a capable, clever thing, we pondered the next step in regard to her schooling. Technically Westport School Child Care has the word "school" in its title, but I don't know how much that should fool us. And now she's of the age that applications to pre-school make sense. We are surrounded by religiously affiliated pre-schools (like I would send my kid to a Southern Baptist school!!!) and ONE secular school. We checked out the Parkway pre-school and were not overly impressed, so it's another year of daycare for Raina.

The next step, though, is applying to a really expensive school, MICDS, starting at age 4. Let's cross our fingers that she gets in!

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Bridge and Potty Training

Weather was glorious in St. Louis, right in the middle of January, and, to celebrate, we decided to go eagle watching. Now, the bald eagles descend on the St. Louis area because of the river confluence, the easy access to tree shelter and fish, and because it's warmer than Minnesota. In 60 degree temps, it was unlikely we'd see any eagles, but it was worth a try. We went to Chain of Rocks bridge, which is a mile-long walking / biking bridge across the Mississippi river. The scenery was gorgeous and we all were pleasantly comfortable at either end of the bridge. As soon as we hit the middle, though, it was COLD and WINDY and it was so loud that you couldn't hear the person next to you. Raina really enjoyed claiming the bridge as her own ("this is my bridge!" "we're walking on my bridge!") and liked looking at all the birds and water, but did not appreciate the wind. We didn't see any eagles, but we did see lots of other water birds!


Besides demanding possession of cultural landmarks, Raina's other major action of the last few weeks has been potty training related. Krystal finally sat down and read a potty training book, which offered no new suggestions except to read potty-based children's books with our daughter. So we checked out three from the library and they soon became her "favorite" books. (Raina has recently learned the word "favorite" and she uses it liberally in casual conversation.) We read about the Princess and the Potty, the Prince and the Potty, and how Ducky didn't want diapers anymore. Pretty soon, it became apparent that the potty books were registering with Raina. We checked out a few more from the library, which occupied the next week of our lives. Then we brought out the big guns: multiple pairs of real underwear for Raina. She oohed and aahed over them -- so soft! And we preached the mantra "we want to keep the underwear clean and dry!" She hasn't had an accident yet, and we're on day 14 of underwear. Suddenly, overnight, Raina decided to poop in the potty because she wanted to keep her underwear clean. Excellent! The entire family is overjoyed and couldn't be prouder of her. Now she only wears diapers at night, or on her head when she's feeling adventurous :)

Saturday, January 5, 2008

If Raina Isn’t Plotting World Domination, It’s Not For Lack of Skills Acquisition

Hey, so, Krystal, thanks for inviting me to guest-post on the Raina blog. I want to do a Top Ten-ish round-up of New Years weekend highlights. It’s going to be more than ten, I’m just warning you. There were a lot of highlights, and I remembered another one on the subway a couple of days ago but didn’t jot it down and now I can’t think of it. It just goes to show that a weekend with the Whomptons is potentially a fathomless experience. I highly recommend it.

Anyhoo, virtually all of the highlights are about Raina and her accomplishments, which we Nashville Comptons experience as kind of a warp-speed journey through early child development. One Christmas, Raina is flopping over on the Helga, then a year later, she’s leading parades around the Kensington Park with Papa Bill’s old pull-toy trains, and so on.

So, tracking Raina’s progress toward her inevitable World Domination, here are some achievements I observed last weekend in St. Louis.

1. “Jinga Behs”
Tacky 'Jingles Bells' clip art
Jinga Behs
Jinga Behs
Jinga ah d’waay.
O’ma fun i-i t’rye
Onna ah-ah-ah leigh -- Hey!

2. She counted up her fingers (“Ten!”) and her toes (“Ten!”).

3. She made a gingerbread man out of Playdoh with Stephanie and Mama Jo, and then dressed it in all the Playdoh clothes it would need to stay warm if it went outside in the cold.

4. She really really liked the Whiffle Balls she unwrapped from Stephanie. As Eric noted, she liked them religiously, or ecstatically.

5. But she bonded with the whistling bird Aunt Ginny sent. The audio quality on that squeeze toy is amazing!

6. Raina definitely likes to sort and match, as reported previously on this blog. I regifted to her a small green stuffed frog from my Santa stocking, and she matched it right up with the small green plastic frogs from her bath toys to make one big frog family that rode trains together. It was pretty funny when she squeezed one of the little bath frogs, and water came out of its butt.

7. She also matched the purple “2008” glasses I brought from Times Square to the purple New Years King crown she made at daycare.

8. Speaking of the purple King crown,Disconcerted purple-crowned Eric the first time I saw it was when I went into daycare on Monday with Eric to pick Raina up. She was wearing the crown as she came out of the classroom, and when she saw me at the end of the hall she shouted, “Em-my!” Then she pushed past her daddy like he was just so much chopped liver and ran straight to me for a big hug. It was awesome!

9. Another reason I know Raina loves me is that she didn’t gleefully accuse me of being a traitor to the Round Table at Camelot, like a certain chopped liver brother I know.

10. Speaking of chivalry and valor, Raina bravely stood up to the Papa Bill Blanket Monster that chomps blankets and ruthlessly tickles feet. She defeated it soundly.

11. She has proven to my satisfaction that baby sign doesn’t interfere with language acquisition. In three days I didn’t see a single sign. When she wanted “More,” she asked for it verbally.

12. And we had several interesting conversations. One was when she looked at my watch and the hands on the face, the big hand and the little hand. Then she put her hands together and said that they were the same. That is, people’s hands match, but clocks have big and little hands.

13. One morning, I put the kettle on for tea. When the water boiled, I poured it over a tea bag in a mug. Raina watched me do this, and then helpfully warned me that the water in the mug was hot. “How do you know it’s hot?” I asked her. She was sitting several feet away, so she couldn’t feel the heat from the mug or the kettle. But she thought a moment, and then said, “’cz the steam’s coming up.” From the other room, Krystal came running into the kitchen, saying, “Wha-? She’s got a great memory! I told her about steam two weeks ago!”

14. I called Raina a monkey at least once during the weekend. Her emphatic reply: “I’m not a monkey, I’m Raina!”

15. Finally, my favorite vocabulary word I taught to Raina this weekend was “rambunctious.” As in, When Raina kicks and jumps on her big beach ball all over the basement, she can say, “I’m rambunctious.”

Krystal, Eric, Sam, Raina, and Roxane, thanks for hosting a great New Years weekend! And thanks for letting me share some of my memories with Owensboro, MICDS, and any other readers.

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Winter Holidays

Raina celebrated December with lots of family: two rounds of Comptons and one round of Whites. We traveled to Owensboro for a whirlwind adventure. We arrived at noon and had lunch with Debra Lanham, then proceeded to the hotel, then on to Grandma and Papaw's house, then back to the hotel, then to Krystal and Samantha's favorite childhood park, then back to the grandparents', then on to Josh and Amber's house, then finally to the hotel to sleep. Day 2 involved seeing Grandma Lillie again at the farm, another trip to Grandma and Papaw's house, on to Grandpa Don and Lucy's house, then finally to lunch and escape. While at lunch, we were seated next to Krystal and Sam's aunt Sharon, and Raina was able to meet her family as well. Those were a busy 24 hours in Owensboro.
Here is Christmas dinner at Josh and Amber's house. Raina was overjoyed to meet her cousins again.
They had really cool and somewhat frightening toys. This is a miniature-sized pony that you can ride, pet, and feed. Raina was both entranced and confused by it. Gabrielle is showing us how it's done.
Raina's bravery emerges and she feeds the pony. The pony actually moves its head and mouth in response. Creepy. I bet it takes a TON of batteries.
Raina thoroughly delighted in the pony. Adults remained cautious.
Samantha was mobbed by her nieces and nephews. Raina, Gabrielle, Hannah, and Noah posed with Sam for the shot. Nephew Memphis chose to clutch at his mom instead.
Gatherings at Owensboro are overly stimulating. The first two years of Raina's life involved being completed stunned and then progression to blind panic each time we were in Owensboro. This trip was much better for her. The stimulation stayed the same, but now she could participate in the craziness. It was Memphis' time for panic.
During winter at the Whompton abode, all sane people keep their toes covered under multiple pairs of socks and blankets. Not Raina, though. Here she's proudly showing off her Compton feet. Nice wide platform and uniform toe length. She's destined to be a dancer or a runner with those feet.
The Comptons came to Saint Louis to do a late-Christmas and early-New Year celebration. A rousing time was had by all. We opened many gifts, played a Compton/Whompton/Monaco trivia game, had a Dirty Santa gift exchange, performed Charades, ate lots of food, and engrossed ourselves with hours of board games. The blanket monster emerged on occasion too, much to Raina's delight.
Emily and Jerry rang in 2008 with the Whompton clan, and Emily brought props! Raina adored her new "sunglasses."
Eric was mostly disconcerted by his :)