Sunday, December 20, 2009

New Week, New Accomplishments

Babies learn and accomplish things so quickly! Lola stands independently for multiple seconds and now is trying her first steps. Stand, step, PLOP, stand, step, PLOP. She's getting better and I'm amazed that my baby girl may be walking soon. She also waves bye-bye and raises her hand up for a high-five. Most impressive, though, is that if she's headed into trouble, we can say "NO, LOLA!" and she stops, turns her head to look at us, and then goes and does something else! Who needs to baby proof when you have a baby who obeys commands? Easy baby = easy parenting duty. We really lucked out.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Lola is a Bully, Peace on Earth, and other stories.

Lola is one of the older babies in her room, which means that she's more active and agile than they are. Apparently she uses that to her advantage and frequently crawls over to other babies and takes their toys. I can only imagine that the other babies don't like it, but Lola doesn't seem to care. Earlier this week, the daycare workers brought out a new toy specially for Lola: a crawling tunnel. Lola's response was terror and she refused to go anywhere near it. One of the other babies, Anderson, used that to his advantage. Anderson stationed himself next to the tunnel and whenever Lola made motions toward his toys, Anderson shook the tunnel. Lola backed away fearfully and then went to torment someone else. I like the thought of Lola getting her comeuppance.

The Whompton household gets up early on weekdays. When it's dark out (like it is all winter) the girls don't know when it's morning, so they rely on the sounds. People moving around = time to start the day. On the weekends, though, the adults don't get out of bed until 6 a.m., and we get to listen to the girls entertain themselves in their bedrooms. Raina sings songs to herself, counts in Spanish, and tells stories; Lola babbles, giggles, kicks her bed, and occasionally plays with the crib toys. Eric and I listen to them and marvel at how cute they both are.

Tis the Holiday Season, and so has begun another round of preventing an obsession-with-presents movement in our children. Last year had some hiccups -- most notably, Raina was told by another kid that she must have been bad, because Santa didn't come to her house -- and we're hoping for better success this year. Raina knows that we don't celebrate Christmas, and that's what she says when people ask her. (Luckily 4 year-olds don't ask "Why not?" That will probably come next year.) And she doesn't watch kiddie TV and so she's not exposed to the insane marketing geared toward kids her age. In essence, she doesn't realize that there's a whole commercialized world out there, and we are thrilled about that.

We're not total scrooges, though. The Great Pumpkin comes and leaves Raina a gift in exchange for all her Halloween candy. Last year Raina asked for a pink comforter; this year she asked for play jewelry. I like the thought of ONE GIFT, as opposed to DOZENS. She's already decided what she wants for next year: a flute.

In Raina's class, the students have been studying "Peace on Earth." They painted pictures of the Earth, made their own little people to put on the Earth, and made wishes for peace. Raina said that peace is "my family playing outside" and her wish for the world was for "everyone to see a shooting star." (I think she wants everyone to have a wish.) Luckily, there's a meteor shower THIS WEEK -- everyone, go out, see a shooting star, make a wish, and help Raina bring peace on Earth.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Playing games in the Whompton household

Lola has become much more independent now that she can crawl around and find something she is interested in playing with. So suddenly the Whomptons have had time to play board games again! The only trick is that Raina of course also wants to play, but the good news is that she can play multiple games reasonably well. Gulo Gulo and Incan Gold are old news, but now we also play newly acquired Carcassone and Snorta! She can even stumble her way through a Shadows over Camelot game (assuming there is no traitor). But when Raina is distracted, the adults are playing Dominion.

Raina and Lola play together!

The greatest moment of our parenthood has occurred. Raina and Lola played together for about 45 minutes straight recently, both happily giggling the whole time. What were they doing? Not entirely sure, some kind of chasing/toy moving game. Who cares! It was a very productive 45 minutes for the adults.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Lola's New Achievements

Lola now holds her own bottle, selects toys from the toy bin, turns book pages somewhat successfully, and inches along with the walking-push toy. She recognizes names and certain words, and she's showing more interest in self-feeding (but we've still got a long way to go with that one). She claps her hands and she says "ba, ba, ba" when she wants a bottle. Best of all, Lola independently entertains herself and only occasionally needs a parent to make her happy. She's a great baby.

A Few of Lola's Favorite Things ...

Lola has developed quite a personality, complete with a comprehensive list of things she loves.

1) The bathtub. Lola hears the bathtub faucet start and she immediately starts a furiously fast crawl to the bathroom (hoping to get there before someone shuts the door on her). She's learned to push the door open if it hasn't been completely shut. Once inside, she pulls up to standing at the bathtub and tries to lift her leg up so she can get into the bathtub herself. She is ridiculously overjoyed when she's placed into the tub -- she even smiles when water is splashed directly into her eyes! -- and she hysterically cries when she's removed from the tub. She also happily supervises Raina's bath each night. Above all, the bathtub is Lola's favorite thing.

2) The dishwasher. When Lola hears the dishwasher open, she excitedly crawls to the kitchen and grabs at the silverware and pulls the bottom rack back and forth and pats the door. Now she has advanced to pulling out the dishes from the bottom rack (which is cute but disastrous) so an adult thwarts her by sticking out a leg to block or by removing all the dirty dishes when she's around. Loading and unloading the dishwasher are now time-consuming affairs.

3) The trash bag. The trash bag wraps around the top of the trashcan and Lola loves standing up and pulling on the plastic bag straps. We try to prevent this by blocking the trashcan with other items but she's a smart kid and usually figures out how to get to the trashcan despite our efforts. And if the trashcan is not sufficiently filled, then she pulls the trashcan over and smacks herself in the head. She doesn't like that too much, but she loves everything up to that point.

4) Raina. Lola happily squeals each time she and Raina are together in the car, Lola follows Raina around the house (and we adults are treated to Raina saying, "NO, LOLA!" all the time), and she tries to help Raina as Raina tries to help mommy make dinner each night. Lola desperately wants to play in Raina's room, but Raina won't let her. Lola is smitten by Raina and she becomes insanely happy when Raina chooses to play with her. Little sister has a big sister infatuation.

5) Roxanne. Lola crawls after Roxanne, tries to play with the dog's toys, climbs on the dog bed, and tracks the dog whenever they are in the same room. She used to lick the dog if they got too close, but now she's progressed to trying to chew on the dog's bone. Their relationship is cute and disgusting all at once.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Five Little Pumpkins

Raina and the other JKers performed "Five Little Pumpkins" -- admittedly, they weren't together in rhythm or key, but they were together in spirit!

Fall Fun

We frolicked with pumpkins, carving, raking, and Halloween trick-or-treating.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Random House Fun

Taking a bath never sounds like fun to Raina but Lola is a big fan. In fact, we have to close the bathroom door all the time; otherwise, Lola crawls into the bathroom, stands up at the bathtub, and throws things into the tub. And laughs hysterically. Like I said, big fun.
(And you can imagine a picture of Raina and Lola in the bathtub ... but it's not appropriate to share with the wider internet community!)

Sisters are great!
Daddy and Raina alternate between cuddling and tickling, on a rather continuous basis.

Lola: getting dressed and getting ready to pounce with her many teeth.

Lola's Food Faces

Lola loves to eat, but she makes ridiculous faces each time food hits her mouth. More accurately, she makes awful faces when cold food hits her mouth. See below.

Comptons Descend

Mama Jo and Papa Bill visited us for a whirlwind child-immersion experience. We took them to the STL zoo for the very first time and Raina showed off all her favorite animals: penguins, giraffes, tigers, and otters. (They agreed, the STL zoo is much better than the Nashville zoo!)
They also volunteered to watch the kiddoes while Eric and Krystal saw a play. Grandparent multi-tasking in action!

JK Pet Parade

An annual JK tradition is the Pet Parade. Each JKer brings in a stuffed animal, discusses habitat, and then makes the animal his / her own habitat. Raina, of course, brought in a cow and then made it a barn. (I don't know why big hats are involved but they are a central theme as well.)

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Highlights of September and early October

Sleepy baby ... She frequently will fall asleep and smoosh her face into whatever she can, usually a beloved adult.
Lola, Raina, and Daddy roughhouse and pillow fight each night. Here they are trampling Eric.

Yes, Raina is holding an ear of corn with just her mouth. She was really excited that she could do it.
And Lola's response to spaghetti squash:
Lola looks like a court jester here. Yes, we regularly dress her in conflicting solids, stripes, polka dots, and random winter hats.
Raina dons the tiger mask and turns into a very graceful and lithe tiger. Her body movements as a cat are quite impressive.
We uncovered more battery-operated toys from Raina's younger days. Lola was happy to have new toys, but was even happier that Raina would play with them and her. It was a loud afternoon!

Monday, October 12, 2009

Lola: Month Seven

Lola has changed dramatically in the past month: she crawls and semi-chases people she wants, pulls herself up to standing when next to a couch or chair, eats copious amounts of adult food, babbles "ma-ma-ma-ma-ma" when she wants something, actively enjoys the daily pillow fighting ritual, plays little games with other people (she'll roll balls to individuals, or tickle their toes), continuously tries to access and play with the older people's toys (Raina's cow, all of the board games), licks the dog at any opportunity, and laughs hysterically when someone else laughs at her. She now has eight teeth and weighs in at the 58th percentile, woohoo! Eliminating breast milk from her diet immediately caused her weight to skyrocket, and she's very plump and jolly, just like a baby should be.

Some things stay the same: Lola constantly bites people. It's her favorite activity and has caused a continuous refrain of "OW! Lola, NO BITES!" in the house. What's especially frustrating is the crawling coupled with the biting, because she'll stalk her victim and pounce on an ankle or leg. On the sweeter side, Lola is still completely and utterly smitten with her sister and just lights up with joy when Raina chooses to play with her.

Raina has a reputation ...

Another JK parent stopped me today to say that he and his son were discussing Raina, with the son's specific comment that "Raina is really smart!" I laughed out loud (I mean, who really says that about a 4 year old?!) but the son had offered up as evidence: "Raina knows how to read!"

Well, okay, that's only partially true. Raina has a few books that she has memorized and she LOVES to read those to other people. On a daily basis. Or every hour. Or whenever she can convince someone to sit long enough and listen to her. My guess is that she has tormented her classmates with numerous renditions of Chicka Chicka Boom Boom! and she, therefore, has given the mistaken impression that she's a full-fledged reader. She's nowhere close, but I am impressed that she fooled her classmates. I wonder when she'll learn that she can fool her teachers and parents and sibling too ...

Monday, September 14, 2009

Crying at School

Some kids dread switching to a new class or school and cry when they are dropped off for the first time. Raina has never done that (for which we're quite grateful) and she's always been happy to try her new teachers and classes. Fortunately / Unfortunately for us, she loves school so much that she cries each day when it's time to go (even though she stays a full hour later than school lets out each day). She always begs to stay just a little longer, and then gets upset when I say no.

I wonder how long her extreme affection towards school will last.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Daily Snapshot

Each Whompton child receives a daily report -- essentially a summary of food consumed, hours slept, and injuries withstood. Raina's MICDS report is much more interesting: it has a picture of her in action and a caption to describe something she did that day. For instance, Raina has
- gone on a circle hunt
- made pancakes
- pretended she was going to college
- looked at her classmates and teachers' hands and talked about how many different shades of brown they are.

The daily pictures are fantastic -- the circle hunt and classmates' hands pictures are especially joyous -- and they provide a wonderful insight into Raina's life at school.

Our Little Gamer

Raina took a pad of paper and some markers last night and happily occupied herself for an hour. She returned to show me a series of portraits she had drawn: two semi-matching sketches each of her family members, including herself. In all, she drew 10 pictures and then she declared it time to play "Memory." Yes, Raina made her very own Whompton Memory Game. It's tremendously cute and we stored it with the other memory games for posterity and frequent play.

Familial Sacrifice

What is sacrificed when adding a child to the family? Free time? Sleep? Showering within three hours of exercising? We figured we'd exchange these things for a little bundle of joy, but it was expected and therefore okay. However, it was all the unintended things we sacrificed that we miss the most.

When I was pregnant with Lola, cheese and ice cream made me exceedingly nauseous -- in fact, it was how we determined I was pregnant in the first place. Now, it's easy for one person to avoid ice cream and everyone else still enjoy it, so that was only a hardship for me. Eliminating cheese from the diet was much harder. Eric, Samantha, and Raina could eat blocks of cheese, but I refused to cook them anything I couldn't eat myself, so an entire repertiore of food was lost for 9 months. No lasagna or pizza or casseroles: essentially, we crossed out Italian, Mexican, and Southern foods for the pregnancy's duration. We all rejoiced when Lola was born and I could eat cheese again. We had missed it tremendously.

I exclusively breastfed Lola for a long time and we determined that she had an extreme aversion to garlic. If I ate the tiniest amount of garlic, she'd cry and have horrible gas pains and an irritated bottom. It took us quite a while to pinpoint garlic as the culprit, so she suffered for a while. Now, unfortunately, the adults are suffering because I cannot make anything with garlic. And ALL good recipes start with "saute some garlic in olive oil." We anxiously await the day that I officially stop nursing Lola and we re-introduce garlic to our lives.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Raina started school!

Raina counted down the days until she started her new school, MICDS. She was nervous about meeting her new teacher and making new friends, and her shyness was evident at New Student Orientation. Raina seemed incredibly grateful to see her summer buddy, and she liked meeting the other girls.

But we were all hesitant on Raina's first day. Raina prepared her first day outfit, certain to fit the dress code, and unhappily agreed to attend school 1.5 hours early because both Samantha and I had teacher meetings.

She received her "Yay for the First Day of School!" gift and headed off for a great day.

Raina reported "Mrs. Moulton is nice -- she's not mean at all!" and "They had chocolate milk! And cheetos for snack!" The food won Raina over, of course, and she has settled into a happy routine ever since. In fact, she is always upset when I pick her up from school (a full hour later than when school ends) because she wants to stay and play with her friends. And she routinely wants to do phonix and letter work, to learn more Spanish vocabulary, to do circle hunts, and tell stories about her day. Wonderful!

Raina coloring and doodling.

I say "Cheese!" and this is what we get.

Playing at the piano and singing her own songs.

And doodling on her hands and arms. Luckily, this activity lasted only one afternoon.

Lola's exploits

Lola, with her four teeth, has discovered the wide world of food: adult people food, the food that no one lets her have. She desperately wanted the bag of chips (everyone else got them, right?) and kept grabbing and removing it from her parents' hands. However, she's been significantly unimpressed when we give her healthy adult food, like applesauce, butternut squash, and last night's mashed potatoes. She literally cried when we put some in her mouth. I wonder how she would have reacted to a french fry instead.
Lola is now a semi-master of sitting, and she is quite happy to be plunked down with an array of toys. We frequently leave her just like that when we get ready in the morning, and she plays for the 1.5 hours it takes.
Check out the cute kimono outfit. She's almost too big for it now, so we have her wear it semi-constantly until its official retirement.
Lola spends a lot of her time chewing on things as well. She prefers a human body part (shoulder, arm, leg, belly, neck, hand) but will settle for toys.
I think she looks possessed in this picture.
Lola's favorite thing to do is bathe. She has learned the word "bath" and she immediately starts kicking frantically and excitedly when she hears it. And she's almost uncontrollable when she hears the tub faucet starts. She splashes continuously in the tub, and four towels are needed to protect the floor from her onslaught.
We keep trying the jumper when Raina takes a bath, but Lola much prefers watching the bath instead. (Like I said, she loves the bathtub.) So we may start her in the jumper, but she always ends up standing next to the tub and laughing hysterically at Raina.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Lola photos and the City Museum

Cute pictures of the kid ...

And photos of Raina and her MICDS JK buddy, as they traverse the City Museum ...