Monday, March 31, 2008

Cuddling and clutching

I enjoyed an incredibly relaxing vacation in Phoenix, Arizona, last week, and I left the other Whomptons at home. Sam and Eric were quite generous in running the house, dog, and Raina while I was away. From all accounts, Raina was mostly undone by my absence. She never articulated "I miss Mommy" but did ask where I was a number of times. Also, she refused to go to sleep any night -- sometimes being up 2+ hours after her bedtime -- and one evening she continuously cuddled with Eric in the cuddle chair for at least 20 minutes. She doesn't last 1 minute with me anymore. Something was seriously wrong.

At some point, Eric told Raina that, on Saturday, two important things would happen: 1. they'd build a crazy involved fort and 2. I would come home from Arizona. Raina knows where Arizona is, and she would frequently point to the map and say "mommy in A-zona."

They picked me up from the airport, but Raina was sleeping in the car. She didn't see me until we were unloading the car, where I miraculously appeared in the garage. (She still thinks I just magically showed up in the garage.) For the remainder of the day, she cuddled in my lap, held my hand, leaned her head against me, grabbed my leg for an impromptu hug, repeated "you came back!" and "you were in the garage", and ran around with an insane zeal. She was an incredibly happy kid.

That night, she easily went to bed, she slept in the next morning, and then took a 3.5 hours nap the next day. And we had to forcibly remove her from bed Monday morning. I think she's trying to catch up from her lack of sleep last week.

On Sunday, Eric and I discussed taking more trips: Cincinnati, Indianapolis, and an adult trip to an as-yet-to-be-determined location. Each time, Raina volunteered "I come too!" and, if that wasn't well received, she plaintively said "you stay here, Mommy."

It may be a while before she recovers and trusts that I'm here in St. Louis for the long haul.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

A tough week for getting to bed

Its been a tough week for Raina. Krystal has been out of town which certainly has had some impact on her stability. But on Wednesday night this week, something else was wrong. She kept talking about the "undor". Saying it was outside. I couldn't for the life of me figure out what she was talking about. She would occasionally say, "front door" but this was not the same thing as "undor". She also talked about it coming in the front door and through the window. Clearly she was scared of something getting in the house, but I couldn't reassure her very well until I figured out what it was. Finally I translated it "Thunder", she was scare of the thunder which apparently encompassed the concept of lightning as well (which can come in the window in a way). She refused to leave the cuddle chair as she continued to talk about the thunder coming into her room. Telling her simply that it was nothing to worry about didn't seem to help much. So I asked her if she remembered how occasionally Daddy would be hiding and that she didn't know where. Then suddenly I would jump out and scare her. And for a moment she would be surprised (not scared), but then she would realize "oh thats just daddy" "daddy's silly". So I told her to do the same thing with the thunder and the lightning. If any happens its ok to be surprised, but then you just say "that's just thunder" "silly thunder". And then I told her that she needed to make sure the cow wasn't scared and tell the cow that it was just thunder. This seemed to appease her sufficiently for her to go to sleep.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Reports from Nashville

Hey blogland--Stephanie here, reporting the latest news from N-ville on the combined White-Compton-Whompton visit to Nashville. My dad, aka Papa Bill, invited the White grandparents to town last weekend for some serious Raina oggling time. Though Saturday started off thunderstorm-y and rainy, everyone made it to town safely by Saturday afternoon. We ate a scrumptious lunch of sandwiches and fruits and veggies followed by more time to sit around and watch Raina do cute things. She's such a great kid and she knows exactly how to entertain. When we told Raina it was time for lunch, she instantly gravitated towards the toy cookset (a mini grill with a spatula--that Raina is modeling below--and a plate, a fork, a cup, and a skillet) to cook her lunch which she graciously shared with me. Delicious!

After some real ham and cheese sandwiches, the adults got in their heads that they would like to go bowling, but all the nearest bowling centers were packed with birthday parties and too-busy-too-answer-questions-ness. So, we went for the next best thing--a little Wii bowling.

For those of you who haven't yet had the chance to try out Nintendo's latest gift to the gaming world, you hold the Wii-mote in your hand and then do whatever motion it is that you are trying to do in the virtual Wii world. I have included a video of Eric doing some crazy curveball bowling below (and his subsequent cower).

Well, in the end, Sammy was victorious in the Wii-Bowl-erama as she defeated me in a head-to-head contest where I was heckled and cracked under pressure and Sammy was simply clutch. Way to go Sammy!!

After we were all Wii-ed out, we ate a scrumptious dinner of Santa Fe Chicken. If Eric and Krystal have told you lately that Raina eats the same amount as an adult, I can testify that they are not lying. Raina is indeed a Compton and enjoys eating. Hooray for high metabolisms and growing!!!! We also took the opportunity to celebrate Eric's birthday with cake, a new titans t-shirt, earmuffs, and a new board game called Dicecapades. With 133 dice and other various game pieces, this is not exactly the ideal game to be in a household with a toddler, but therein lies the fun.

Sunday morning, Raina awoke early--like 3:30 a.m.--ready and rearing to go for the day. Eric sat up with her for awhile until Papa Bill discovered she was awake and quickly took advantage of the Raina playtime. By 7:30 a.m., I think the two of them had dragged out every toy in the house and built a Fisher Price haven. This was also about the time that Raina got so revved up she was doing laps around the house, loudly. I'm not gonna lie, hearing Raina's giggles and "AHHHHHHHhhHHH" is way better than the screech of my alarm clock. By 8:00, Raina was sitting in my lap and we read three books, including an all-time favorite "The Monster At The End of The Book." This kid has an appetite for reading and will pretty much take every opportunity to sit in a warm lap and be read to. She also liked snuggling in her chair with a blanket like all the adults were doing.

Later on, Raina found all the small chairs and seats around the house and organized a train for the stuffed animals. Raina was steering the train and was nice enough to let me be the caboose.

To make a long story short, it's pretty amazing to see Raina grow. I remember growing up how often my relatives would say, "She is getting so big" or "She is growing up so fast!" and I remember thinking "Whatever...doesn't feel fast to me..." But now that I am on the flip side, I totally get it. When you don't see a kid for 4-6 months, it's almost like she is a whole new awesome little person with new skills and interests and a blossoming personality that is developing each and every day. She speaks in sentences and desperately tries to (and generally succeeds in) communicate her ideas and needs. She is even starting to feel pride in her latest accomplishments--like when she told me very proudly that she had "pooped in the potty!!" that particular morning. She gives lots of hugs and obviously has been loved all along the way. She's a joy. She brings smiles to everybody's faces and I can't wait to see what our next visit will be like. Until then, thanks to all for a successful and fun weekend!!

Beach dreams

In mid-February, Krystal and Raina took their biweekly trip to the library and just happened to read a book about going to a beach. Immediately, Raina seized on the idea of going to a beach herself, and she repeated for two days straight: "I wanna go beach." Luckily, the Whomptons had recently decided to go to the annual beach trip, and so we shared this information with Raina. Unluckily, Raina has no sense of time, and so she believes we're going to the beach everyday, and then gets rather disappointed when we tell her "nope, not today." Recently, Krystal told her, "when you're three, we'll go to the beach." Raina knows she's two, so we thought this would clear everything up. We'd start stalling again in May, when she actually turns three, is what her parents thought. But no. Raina starts each day with "I'm three now? Want to go to beach."

It's going to be a long time until July.

Sweet and considerate little miss

Raina demonstrated a real thoughtfulness for others today.

She had her "spring holiday party" today -- really an Easter Egg Hunt followed by lots of sugary snacks. She chose the item we would bring in, pineapple, and she proudly announced "I brought pineapple to share with my friends" when we arrived at daycare. Later, at the party, each child played with balloons, and there were just the right number of balloons for each person to have one. Raina noticed, multiple times, that 1) there was a balloon on the floor, which meant that its owner didn't have it and 2) occasionally, certain individuals had more than their fair share of balloons, which meant that some kids were left out. Raina repeatedly re-distributed balloons so that everybody had one, which we witnessed happening at least four times. No one else at the party did this, and it melted our hearts to see Raina being so considerate.

When we got home, Raina told Eric to lie down. He refused, she persisted and became a little upset, and then we finally asked her why she wanted him to lie down so much. She answered, "I want to rub your back and make you feel better." Of course, we immediately seized that opportunity and Raina rubbed Eric's back and gave hugs and said I love you. It was incredibly precious to see. She rubbed Krystal's back next and then kindly asked for someone to teach the cow how to rub backs, so she could have a back rub too.
This child continues to amaze us.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Weather changes

In Saint Louis, the weather is predictably unpredictable. Two weekends ago, we celebrated the sunny 70 degree temperature with much playing outside: taking walks, running in the backyard, riding the big wheel, and chalking the front walk. Raina initially drew snowmen (a big white blob) and then decided to make a blue elephant blocking the snowmen (now a big blue blob).

She also completely covered herself in chalk, as these pictures indicate. Blue marked her forehead, both hands, all down the front of her shirt, and the knees/thighs of her pants. She was shocked when we made her remove her clothes and take a bath.

Multiple days later, she refers to the snowmen behind the elephant.

Two days later, a blizzard hit Saint Louis, dumping over a foot of snow in our area. The entire city shut down. We had to shovel the driveway to get the car out of the garage and then, 10 minutes later, shovel the driveway to get the car back in the garage. There was a lot of snow. Raina found it frightening and fascinating all at the same time, which was a rather universal pairing for the Whomptons. We shoveled and played and threw snowballs and stomped around and then declared ourselves sick of the cold and ready for hot chocolate. Raina was hesitant to have some cocoa, but then relented when she saw that everyone else was drinking it. Here's Raina after consuming her first mini-mug of cocoa. Check out the moustache!

Saturday, March 1, 2008

Raina sleeps ....

... or, more accurately, Raina does not sleep. She is refusing to sleep at naptime, claiming it's too loud. "A dog is barking, Mommy." or "I hear people talking." or whatever excuse comes to her mind for not sleeping. It's quite frustrating because having Raina-free time is glorious each day and I'm quite fearful that it's disappearing. Anyway.

In a recent attempt at napping, or, more accurately, when Raina's parents thought she was napping, Raina went exploring. She got out pens and wrote on papers, she read books, played with toys, and climbed in and out of her crib. Multiple times. Raina has never really shown interest in climbing on the crib -- especially since she was sleeping on the cot -- but that incident told us to dismantle the crib immediately. So, we asked Raina "do you want a big girl bed?" A resounding yes was the answer, and off we went to the mattress store.

We prepped Raina all the way there: she'd get a twin sized bed, just like Sammy's, and, although it wouldn't be purple or pink (what she clearly wanted) we could buy her a purple or pink blanket for her new big girl bed. When we arrived at the bed store, Raina was amazed at all the beds and the sales person was unenthused when we said we wanted the smallest, cheapest bed possible. We were directed to the cheapest twin. Raina removed her shoes, climbed on up, bounced around, and tried it out. Her assessment: "I like it. It's too big." And suddenly she was a little frightened that she'd have to sleep in a bed so big as that one.

Through the conversation with Raina it became clear that she wanted to sleep on her crib mattress, but just to put it on the floor. And, hey, that certainly was easy for her parents! No delivery required!

Here's Raina's new big girl room. It has a cot AND a bed, and she can choose on which one she sleeps (or doesn't sleep) for each nap and night.


If we pick Raina up after 4:30, it's always a struggle to get her out of daycare because the kids start playing in the three-years-old room. And that means play-doh! Earlier this week, in trying to rip Raina away from the play-doh, I promised her we'd make pizza at home. Lickety-split, we were out of there.

We make two pizzas, always. Raina is responsible for sprinkling the flour on the surface, rolling out the dough, and then putting the sauce, spices, and toppings on one of the pizzas. She really loves it.

Yay, it's March!

Samantha has been an official Whompton for exactly one year now. Having her here has been indescribable -- having close family so close has been a wonderful addition to our lives. Raina doesn't even process that she's an auntie; Sam is Sammy, a person who helps guide and parent and read, as well as play, play, play!

Raina often is wearing one of two things: her blue hoodie or her red Lizzie McGwire sweatshirt. But when Eric is wearing his Titans hoodie, then she wants to wear hers too so they can be "Hoodie Buddies!" They are quite adorable together.
They play a lot with play-doh now. Eric frequently makes a play-doh monster, which has a functioning digestive and excretory system: it eats and poops! Raina, in her potty-training phase, is fascinated each time the play-doh monster emerges.