Friday, December 30, 2011

The Christmas Book

Several years ago, I was given a Christmas themed scrapbooking kit.  I didn't do anything with it immediately, or even for the next few years.  Honestly, it stayed packed in Rubbermaid tubs among our Christmas decorations.  Until this year.
Perhaps it's the pregnancy hormones, or perhaps it was the recent celebration of Tye's second (!) birthday.  It may also have been the time I spent reminiscing about meaningful gifts, like the 12 Days of Christmas photo book my brothers and I made for my parents one year- which is proudly displayed on the coffee table each holiday season for us to flip through and laugh over.  Whatever brought it on, this year, that scrapbooking kit was speaking to me when I opened the green and red Rubbermaid.  
I decided to start a history of our Christmases together as a family.  Each year, we can look at our past Christmases, remember how we celebrated, and then add a few pages of new photos.  

Seriously, Tye was so stinkin' cute, I could look at these all day every day, all season long....
The thought of Tye and her sister sitting around our Christmas book- in a few years as kids excited for the return of Christmas, in many years as young adults reminiscing over years past- makes my heart incredibly happy.  

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Upcycled Christmas Cards

Last year, I saved all the holiday cards we received from friends and family and packed them away with our Christmas decorations.  This year, I cut out pictures from the cards and Tye used them to make her own Christmas cards to send to parents and grandparents.  She and I teamed up to put glue on the paper, and then she applied the pictures along with some snowflake glitter cutouts and star stickers.  She especially loved applying smaller photos of objects she recognized, like deer, candles, bows, and butterflies.
I added greetings on Tye's behalf, she added her signature to most of them, and then we mailed off the cards- each one far more cheerful, spirited, and adorable than the sum of their many parts.  
If you happened to have sent us a card this year, next year, you just may see portions of your card reborn in another post here.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Oh Christmas Tree...

During the Christmas season that we lived in Germany, Tyler and I started a collection of beautiful Christmas ornaments.  It was our Christmas married and there are few places better for buying ornaments than Germany.  Each year when I unpack our ornaments to put on the tree, I'm reminded of that first Christmas we spent together and, even more, I'm reminded to be grateful for the opportunity to celebrate this year with our families.  

This year, I knew our tree probably wouldn't withstand being trimmed by Tye or the jostling of a toddler and a 115 pound dog (especially one chasing the other at high speeds), so we decided to put only non-breakable ornaments on our tree.  We didn't buy anything new, just edited what we normally put on the tree.  The result might be my favorite family tree ever.   

Homemade cinnamon-scented ornaments made last year as Tye watched:
 A collection of straw ornaments that are so common on Scandinavian trees,
 alongside some red felt angel cutout ornaments;
pine cones, to bring a little of the outdoors in;

meaningful but non-fragile ornaments, like the wooden angels from my childhood and this Scandinavian doll from my grandparents;

 Danish hearts, just like the ones we made to hang on the tree growing up;
 and red wooden bead garland handed down to me by my parents.
The result feels like it fits us very well- very nature-inspired and steeped with tradition and family connections that go back even further than our fragile German ornaments.  Next year perhaps we'll be able to hang our collection of German nutcracker ornaments on the tree as well, but this year, Tye has made them her new favorite dolls to play with daily.  Hearing Tye talk to and about her nutcrackers every day is well worth a slightly barer tree.  

Friday, December 16, 2011

Friday Favorite- Kale Chips

I've been making veggie chips using this method for a long time, but Heather Crosby at YumUniverse put together an awesome video tutorial for kale chips.  Check it out here.  The almond flour (you can also use almond meal, available at Trader Joe's) makes the kale chips taste almost breaded and deep fried- they taste completely unhealthy, but are absolutely the opposite.  I've used the same idea to make zucchini and spinach chips in the food dehydrator with great success.  

When Tye was newer to solids, I made sure the chips she ate were really crunchy and crumbly and it was an easy way to incorporate otherwise stringy, chewy leafy greens into her diet.  Now when I pull a batch of kale chips out of the oven, Tye gasps with delight and barely waits for them to cool before stuffing them in her mouth.  They're a salty, delicious snack to feel really good about.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Tye the Talker

Remember the recent post about Tyeisms? There have been so many great ones recently, I can't even remember them all.  I need to revert back to my teaching days and keep a scrap of paper and a pen in my pocket at all times so I can jot down notes throughout the day (the problem with that plan is that few of my maternity pants have pockets).  This week, Tye starting imitating me by saying "Thank you soooo much," and "You're very welcome."  She also started quoting some of the Christmas movies we've been watching, like Rudolph when he flies for the first time after Clarice tells him he's cute.  Tye is even better than Rudolph at saying "I'm cuuute, I'm cuuuuuuuute!!!"
Over the past month, Tye's language has exploded.  She uses mostly full sentences to communicate now, stringing together five or six words easily.  When she wants an item, she can describe it to me, like the other night when she was asking for "baba."  Clueless, I asked what she wanted again, so she said very clearly, "Baba.  That baba up there on the top, with the cow," describing a water bottle.  Whoa.  Suddenly, Tye is a chatterbox.
Let me preface this by saying that I have loved every stage of mothering I've met so far, and I've cherished each one's beautiful, unique balance of giving and taking.  This new talking phase, though, is really special.  With her increased vocabulary and newfound ability to hold a real conversation, Tye has become my little buddy.  I have a great time just talking with her during meals, chatting as we walk to the playground, and discussing books as we read.  I appreciate finally understanding what she wants and even sometimes why.  The more Tye talks, the more her personality makes itself evident.
All kids develop new skills at their own pace, and I keep thinking that for us, this language explosion has come at a really convenient time.  When I think about parenting two girls later this winter, knowing that Tye will be able to communicate with me so easily is reassuring.  I'm looking forward to having someone to talk back with me as I nurse a newborn and hearing what Tye has to say about her sister.  The monologue stage of mothering is over for me... at least until the girls enter high school.  

Monday, December 12, 2011

Heart Flopping Mama Trauma

You know that feeling when your stomach turns over on itself, either because you know something bad is coming or because you've just witnessed something horrible?  I've had that way, way to often this weekend.  

We had a great day Saturday with old friends visiting, including a family with a boy a couple months older than Tye.  The two are good friends and love playing together; they spent hours engaged in actual shared play (playing with each other, not just next to each other) by themselves, little adult intervention required.  We adults sat in the living room listening to them cracking themselves up in Tye's room for most of the afternoon.  

Then Tye's friend wanted to play hide and seek, a game he thought was perfect with two bedroom doors right next to each other.  He could quickly move from one to the other and by closing the door, be in a new hiding place.  (Can you see where this is going?)  Of course, no two year old knows how to just close a door- doors are either open or slammed shut.  And Tye wanted to chase him.  So after many near misses and many many requests- even firm ones- to keep the doors open, when I heard a slam followed by a scream, my stomach did one of those flip-flops.  

I walked over to the closed door and could see Tye's finger tips sticking out through the door frame.  Flip-flop.  I opened the door and saw blood on Tye's fingers as I picked her up.  Flip-flop.  Then I saw her finger nail, completely pulled out of the nail bed, hanging by a small thread.  Flip-flop, flip-flop, straight up nausea.  I think I somewhat calmly asked Tyler to come help me as I carried Tye to the bathroom.  Tyler held her finger behind her to avoid her seeing the blood, and I did the only thing I could think of to calm her down- nursed her.  As soon as she latched on, Tye calmed down significantly and Tyler was able to wipe away the blood, apply some colloidal silver, and put a bandage on her finger.  We nursed a bit longer and cuddled for a while after that, giving Tye several doses of homeopathic pain relief.  Once Tye rejoined her friend, we spent the rest of the night trying to figure out how to keep a bandage on such a tiny finger.  

I'm pretty sure the whole event was way more traumatic for me than it was for Tye.  She did have a hard time sleeping that evening because her finger hurt (and after a dose of Children's Tylenol, because her belly hurt), but Tye is pretty excited about her Band-Aid on her finger and she'll have a cool owie to show her friends and family over the holidays.  I, on the other hand, relive that heart-flopping feeling every time I re-bandage Tye's finger.  My heart breaks thinking about the pain my little one suffered.  

All this, and yet I when I take a step back, I realize how minor this injury really is.  Tye will make a full recovery and have no lasting effects (assuming the nail regrows).  We're so fortunate to have a healthy child who has never suffered a major injury.  I'm incredibly grateful that this minor injury- so minor it didn't even require a call to the doctor- is the most traumatic event we've endured.  We are so blessed.  I'm going to pray we keep up our healthy streak, because I don't know how much more heart-flopping I would be able to handle.  

Making the decision to have a child is momentous.  It is to decide forever to have your heart go walking around outside your body.               -Elizabeth Stone 

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

ECing and Potty Learning

Tye using the toilet in August
A year ago, I really thought Tye would be out of diapers by the time she was two.  We were having great success with ECing, and Tye seemed to be enjoying the ECing process.  Little did I know, Tye was closer to full-time pottying success then than she would be at 2.  

We have had several weeks during the past year when Tye was in underwear all day, with a wet pair here or there, but eventually, Tye decided she would rather play than sit on the toilet.  And I'm afraid my mistake is that I let her follow those desires, not realizing it wouldn't be just a passing phase.  At two, Tye is in diapers, as most two year olds are.  

What ECing has given us, though, is a huge lead in potty learning.  Tye still poops exclusively on the toilet, no matter where we are when the urge hits her.  Not having to change a toddler's poopy diapers is something I greatly appreciate.  And when Tye regains interest in using the toilet, she still remembers how to go.  The only skills left to learn are identifying the urge to eliminate with enough time to make it to the toilet, and dressing and undressing herself for true bathroom independence.  

I have to admit, diapering Tye (again) and thinking about how close we were to graduating from ECing to wearing underwear can be discouraging, especially with the prospect of diapering two come January.  But then I remind myself: I haven't changed more than 3 poopy diapers since Tye was 3 months old; we have saved immeasurable resources from reducing our number of soiled diapers; and we learned to communicate with Tye and meet her basic needs at a very early age.  I'm absolutely planning to use Elimination Communication with Baby Girl #2.  Whether we have more success or less than we have had with Tye, the journey itself is worth every bit of effort.

Monday, December 5, 2011

The Weekend Recap

Thursday night, bringing home the tree:
 Friday night, trimming the tree:

 Saturday night, at Central Park Zoo:

Recovering on Sunday:

Sunday, December 4, 2011

34 Weeks!

Today marks 34 weeks in my pregnancy.  We're officially in the home stretch- just three more weeks until I'm considered full term.  As Tyler, Tye, and I relax around our home today, decorating and cooking and organizing, I'm reminded of a very, very similar day a little over two years ago.  

Also a Sunday, we woke in Bloomington.  I was 33 weeks and 6 days, and I began having contractions every 10 minutes that didn't stop with my normal protocol of laying on the couch and drinking 2 liters of water.  So we drove to Chicago to go the hospital up there, praying the whole way the contractions wouldn't become closer together.  Tyler was pulled over for speeding and ticketed. Then we spent several hours in the obstetrics ER at Rush Memorial Hospital.  Eventually the contractions stopped on their own and we went home, but I was put on bed rest.  There ended my teaching position and began my final preparations for birth.  

Really, the only things similar about that day and today are that they are Sundays and that I'm 34 weeks along.  We're not having any crazy contractions, thankfully (just my normal Braxton Hicks contractions), and Tyler had better not get any tickets.  I do remember feeling quite huge at that point, and feeling a hint of relief that I was put on bed rest.  As hard as it was to leave work and my students early, my body had been having quite a hard time keeping up with my physical requirements at work.  

This past week, I've been feeling a similar sentiment.  I've had to slow my pace walking to and from the playground or else the 3/4 mile round trip with the stroller is exhausting.  I'm taking more breaks throughout the day to sit with my feet up, and one day, I napped as long as Tye did (and it was fabulous).  Yesterday, while Tyler and Tye hung out at home, I went for a much-needed prenatal massage and relished in having my tired body relaxed and rejuvenated.  And this morning, when Tyler offered to let me sleep in for the second time this weekend, I accepted.

I read in one of my pregnancy books that the whole point of the third trimester is to make a woman so miserable that she's willing to do anything necessary, even pushing a bowling ball through her tiny cervix, to get the baby out.  I remember that sometimes as I'm walking the final uphill stretch home from the playground and suddenly realize I still have to lug my tired legs up our front stairs.  But then there are moments I know I'll cherish forever- sitting on the couch videotaping the baby's hiccups jarring my belly; Tyler touching my stomach, feeling an elbow or knee just below the surface, and exclaiming, "Whoa!  I can feel her in the there!";  taking time out to appreciate being pregnant and the miracle growing inside of me.  Just as I was at 34 weeks with Tye, I'm grateful to still be pregnant and for every day that Baby Girl 2 has a safe place within me to continue growing and developing... and hiccuping.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Extending the Attitude of Gratitude

We celebrated our Thanksgiving with a road trip to see both our families in Illinois.  Moving away from everyone and seeing family less often has been a difficult change for us, and there's no better way to spend a holiday than surrounded by the people we love and for whom we are so thankful.  Tye is growing so quickly and noticeably right now that she amazed relatives with her expressive vocabulary and thick blonde hair.
Waiting for dinner...
Throughout November, I kept running into people's daily posts of things for which they were thankful.  I appreciate the conscious effort made to focus on being thankful, especially during the month we celebrate Thanksgiving.  Any way to extend the meaning and celebration of Thanksgiving (other than just extra turkey and potatoes) is, in my opinion, a great reminder of all we have.  
Now that Thanksgiving has passed and we're already deep in the throes of Christmas (though last I checked, it's still November), I hope all those people are continuing to practice their mindful thankfulness.  I've been told it takes 30 days for an activity to become habit.  Thanksgiving was on the 24th, almost a week shy of the 30 days it would require for someone to make a habit of noting something for which she is thankful each day.  Another theory by Dr. Maxwell Maltz suggests that 21 consecutive days is a span long enough to create a habit, but they must be consecutive.  I'm hoping there is truth to that theory and that everyone who noted daily what made them thankful will continue that practice, especially through the holidays.

As I grow older, each year I'm more aware of the stark contrast between Thanksgiving's prayers of gratitude and Black Friday's push for wanting, needing more.  Don't get me wrong- I'm very happy that the economy is rebounding, and I even participated in this year's Black Friday shopping mania.  I think I just notice the attitude shift between the two days much more clearly as I gain perspective.  

Or, maybe Black Friday is becoming a bigger deal each year- apparently to some it is, like the lady who pepper sprayed other shoppers over an XBox.  This year, as Black Friday edged it's way into the day of Thanksgiving and stores opened at 10pm Thanksgiving evening, the world of shopping seemed to overtake our one day devoted to thankfulness.  
Yesterday, I was reminded it was Cyber Monday when I opened my laptop to 49 new emails announcing huge discounts.  I deleted most without opening, but one caught my attention: from Patagonia*, an email with the subject line "Do Not Buy This Jacket."  Clever marketing, I thought, and opened it, curious to see what spin on the day the company was throwing.  As I read, I was greeted with the breath of fresh air I needed.  From the email:
Today is Cyber Monday. It will likely be the biggest online shopping day ever. Cyber Monday was created by the National Retail Federation in 2005 to focus media and public attention on online shopping. But Cyber Monday, and the culture of consumption it reflects, puts the economy of natural systems that support all life firmly in the red. We're now using the resources of one-and-a-half planets on our one and only planet.Because Patagonia wants to be in business for a good long time – and leave a world inhabitable for our kids – we want to do the opposite of every other business today. We ask you to buy less and to reflect before you spend a dime on this jacket or anything else.
In a world so deeply immersed in consumerism that not even a full day is devoted to being thankful any longer, we're bombarded daily with messages that we need more.  Combating those sentiments requires a conscious effort, because emails like those above are few and far between.  The first step to wanting less is appreciating what we already have, one more reason to continue the practice of being thankful into December.  So while the holiday of Thanksgiving may have passed, I'd like to wish you a season of continued thanksgiving.  Keep giving thanks and maintain your attitude of gratitude.  Before you know it, it will become a habit that changes your life for the better.

*I love Patagonia products and as much as I wish I was receiving something from Patagonia for sharing this with you, I'm not.  Other than a few online orders, they've never heard of me.  But I did spend the weekend stretching out the stomach in my favorite Patagonia fleece....  

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Delayed Cord Clamping

When Tye was born, we delayed clamping the umbilical cord until it stopped pulsing about 8-10 minutes after her birth.  It was a precious time- unlike all the Hollywood movies that depict a rush of medical interventions and hurried instructions to the dad to quickly cut the cord, when Tye arrived, she and I sat in the warm water in the tub while Tyler and I soaked up the reality of our Baby Girl's transition.  
In this photo, Tye is still attached to me via her umbilical cord, which is still pulsing and bringing precious blood from the placenta into her body.
The benefits of delayed cord clamping are significant.  Being the type of person who believes our bodies were created to work in ways we still don't fully understand and certainly can't replicate, delaying cord clamping allows the body to function as it was designed.  Certainly women long ago didn't birth their babies themselves and immediately instinctively cut the cord.  

Even with medical interventions available now, clamping the umbilical cord early removes the protection provided by the cord.  If the baby requires a little encouragement to begin breathing on her own, as long as she is connected to the placenta via her cord, her body is still receiving oxygen-rich blood, just as it was in the womb.  By delaying cord clamping 5 minutes and allowing the placenta to finish pumping blood back into the baby's body, the result is 61% higher blood volume than in a newborn with immediate cord clamping.  At four hours after birth, a baby who received delayed cord clamping has higher hematocrit levels and a red cell volume 60% greater than those who had not.  Now, new research out of Sweden this week shows that infants provided delayed cord clamping have higher iron levels and lower incidence of iron deficiency at 4 months of age.  That cord blood is the gift that keeps on giving.

Of course, there are situations in which the mother and baby need to be separated immediately to save the life of one or both.  Simple prematurity isn't reason enough, however. In infants with very low birth weight, delayed cord clamping reduces incidence of intraventricular hemmorhage and late-onset sepsis.  Delaying cord clamping combined with kangaroo care provides better outcomes for even very premature babies.  The idea that the infant needs to be whisked away to NICU isn't always based on the best information possible; rather, when asked why delayed cord clamping isn't practiced, doctors cited "difficulty with implementation in clinical practice."  Those precious minutes that could potentially save a newborn's life and at the very least protect the newborn for months after birth are eliminated to save time.  How tragic.

Tyler did eventually cut Tye's umbilical cord once it stopped pulsing.  As soon as she was dried, Tye was laid on my chest, skin to skin, and began nursing as I delivered my placenta.  In awe of the organ that had sustained my Baby Girl for 38 weeks, I begged Tyler to take pictures.  

Our bodies were created with far more in mind than speed and convenience.  As more research is done on the implications of birth interventions, we're learning that cutting corners and changing the natural route of birth can cause more harm than good.  But it would be foolish to think that the only advantages of delayed cord clamping are those measured by science.  Our family was afforded ten minutes of beautiful bonding time uninterrupted by outside influences.  Tyler and I gazed at our Baby Girl in utter awe.  Then, at the moment Tyler clipped Tye's cord, I remember coming to a sudden realization that my baby was being fully separated from me for the first time.  I know I wouldn't have been able to savor that moment in the same way had it happened in the seconds following the birth.  Looking back, the peace in those still minutes after birth were precious time for us to bond and together admire the miracle in my arms.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Overheard: Tyeisms

"I gonna get me!" -when wrestling with Daddy

"Terry you?" -to request being carried, as in "Want me to carry you?"

"'Mere, Kiko." -translation: "Come here, Mico."

"I find ____!" -when Tye finds any object (i.e., "I find cars!" or "I find booger!"

"It too pisces." -spitting out any food; apparently "spicy" is synonymous for "yucky" 

"I so high!" -swinging, or climbing any tall objects

"Wanna watch Elmo/Cars/Snoopy/Nemo? Sure! Okay." -in conversation with herself when she wants to watch TV but knows it's not actually an option

"Go way." -telling Mico to go away

"Ba ba no no wore so high." -translation: "Up above the world so high," followed by "Like a diamond in the sky."

"No, I fine." -when declining an offer

"I do it." -all. the. time.

"I find me!" -when Tye suddenly appears, especially after hiding

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Presents and Cupcakes and Candles, Oh My!

We had a wonderful birthday celebration for Tye!  My parents came in to visit Sunday afternoon and were here until this afternoon.  Sunday after Tye went to bed, Tyler and my dad, who Tye calls Coach, decorated the living room with banners, streamers, and balloons and we prepared all Tye's presents.  Like most two year olds, Tye didn't understand what it meant that her birthday was coming, but we would make sure the next day would be special.

When Tye woke on the morning of her birthday, I got to greet her by singing Happy Birthday.  As we walked out of her bedroom, she let out a huge gasp when she saw the decorations.  We said good morning to Coach and Gram and since Daddy was still home, we started opening presents one by one, pausing in between to play with each new toy.  

Other birthday highlights included a walk through Fort Greene Park soaking up the beautiful 60 degree weather, playing The Big Piano at FAO Schwarz,  riding the subway to dinner at Eataly followed by hazelnut gelato, and blowing out the candles (again and again) on pumpkin cupcakes with cinnamon-maple whipped cream.

Tye might not remember the celebration when she grows older, but for the rest of us celebrating Tye and the anniversary of becoming parents and grandparents, it was a really special day.  Happy second birthday, Tye!

Monday, November 14, 2011

To Tye, at 2 Years Old

Dear Tye,

Happy second birthday, dear daughter!  As your second birthday has approached, you've reminded me frequently that you're entering a new phase of your life.  You are willing to fight for your independence, whether you're struggling with a challenging puzzle, a frustrating package, or limits that keep you from what you think you want.  I admire your persistence and find much joy in watching your hard work reap in rewards, from putting on your own tutu to serving yourself second helpings at dinner.  Over the weekend, you taught yourself how to ride your friend's scooter, a skill far beyond your young age and one that clearly pleased you.  Some day when someone tells you you're stubborn, be sure to remind them that stubbornness is the same trait as persistence; the attribute's name only depends on whether the other person agrees with you or not.  Whichever title it is given, wear it with pride, because it will get you far in life.

You are a little ball of fun right now, Tye.  Every evening, as we finish eating dinner together, you start asking Daddy to wrestle.  You have a powerful headlock, girl, and you know how to keep the wrestling fun with your emerging humor and nonstop giggling.  You love exploring your world, whether it's chasing squirrels at the park or stopping every 20 feet on our walks to investigate a tree or fence post or fallen leaf.  I love hearing you talk to me, to your toys, to strangers on the street, and to yourself.  When I hear you say, "Thank you, Mommy" every time I hand you a snack or "Bless you" whenever any person in earshot sneezes, your simple phrases fill me with happiness. You make me smile and warm my heart.   

Two years.  730 days.  And you have filled each one with unimaginable joy.  Birthing you was the beginning of living life to a new level of fullness, one that I hope you are blessed to experience yourself one day because words can't describe motherhood's treasures.  Two years ago, I was forever changed.  The metamorphosis of birth is amazing; I entered the birth tub a pregnant woman and emerged as a mother cradling my babe.  During that time, during that one push in which you squirmed from inside to outside body, I felt myself being flooded with love for you in a stronger wave of emotion than I had ever experienced before.  Two years later, I am still overwhelmed with that same love for you; how I live the rest of my life in such a state still amazes me.

You are going to be very celebrated today, Tye, and the anniversary of your birth deserves it. As much as you'll love the presents, the gift is you in our lives.  Thank you for sharing the best two years of my life.  I love you, I love you, I love you, I love you.


Since she was born, I've written a letter to Tye on each month's anniversary of her birth, with this being the final monthly letter.  You can see the rest here.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Two Years Ago...

It was a Friday.  I was as big as a house.  I wore a yellow sweater that barely covered my belly and asked your dad as we walked to dinner at Jerry's if I looked like a school bus.  It was a warm evening that smelled like fallen leaves.  At Jerry's, I ate hummus and my favorite sandwich (the Baba R- green apple, peanut butter, basil, grilled onions, chipotle chutney- a pregnant woman's dream sandwich),  and we laughed with friends for a long time.  

When they asked Daddy if he was going to stay out with them after the meal, I told Daddy I didn't think it was a good idea, because I thought it might be "the night."  Nothing in particular told me so- but I felt different, and I just knew.  We went home and went to bed.  I slept deeply and soundly until you woke me early the next morning to let me know you were coming, and the rest of our lives began.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Friday Favorite- Bedtime Favorites

The only constant in our bedtime routine is that it's always changing.  The main components of the routine stay the same- put on pajamas, brush teeth, apply a calming essential oil, read books, then rock, sing, and nurse to sleep.  Within that routine, though, we go through phases. 

Our newest must-read bedtime book (and really, Tye's favorite book any time of the day) is the book The Little Mouse, The Red Ripe Strawberry, and The Big Hungry Bear by Don Wood and Audrey Wood. 
I first discovered this book when I taught a classroom of two year olds in Germany.  Daily, the majority of the students requested this book, and everyone was captivated by Little Mouse.  The simple plot, in which Little Mouse picks a red, ripe strawberry and can only save it from the Big Hungry Bear by sharing it with the reader, is easy to follow for young readers.  Children seem easily engaged by the text, too, in which the reader speaks directly to Little Mouse rather than telling a story about the character.  Each reading, the child participates in an interaction with the mouse and helps to solve his problem.  Tye, who particularly likes eating the strawberry along with Little Mouse, could read this book on repeat for hours.

After our books, we turn out lights, say a prayer, sing goodnight to Mico, Baby, Mommy, Daddy, and Tye, and then sing a lullaby as we rock and nurse.  Since April, I've been singing the lullaby "Su La Li" to Tye, one that we learned in Music Together and I have now sung for hours upon hours.  Tye's newest infatuation is "Story About Sammy," a sweet children's song I learned as a teacher.  

(I have no clue who these kids are, but thanks to a search on YouTube, you can watch their adorable faces sing "Story About Sammy")

Now as we rock each night, Tye requests "Sammy song" and falls asleep listening to my version of the song, in which Sammy is a girl with a very, very long list of animals she'd like to imitate on her way to the store.  Should I dare attempt to sing any other song, Tye will open her eyes and ask for "more Sammy song."  While I can only guess why Tye loves this song so much, I have a feeling it's because of the simple, repetitive verses combined with animals and their actions.

Many nights in the past, I've brought my phone or Nook into Tye's bedroom with me so I can play games or read as she falls asleep.  Recently, though- perhaps because her second birthday is around the corner- I've been cherishing our time together as we rock and sing.  I remind myself that today is the youngest Tye will ever be again.  Tomorrow, she'll wake a day older, and I never know when our bedtime routine just might change again.  

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Sticking it to me

We moved into our home in Brooklyn one month and two days ago.  It's hard to believe it's only been 33 days here.  Even though I still feel like we're settling in and discovering our neighborhood, I feel like we've been here for months, at least.  We're down to one box in our living space (and it contains Tyler's Xbox, so it being packed isn't such a bad thing- I keep trying to convince him to bring it back to Illinois with us and leave it there...). I have more organizing to do before I'll feel like everything is in its place, but in general, I feel like we live in a home now.  

There is one aspect of our move that continues to make its presence known, however.  Because we used professional movers, every item that went into the truck received a numbered sticker that corresponded to a list of items moved.  These small, yellow stickers seemed harmless enough- they are easily removed and leave no residue or mark, like a Post-It note.
On Tye's trampoline...
On Mico's dog food container...
On Tye's bookshelves...
But they are everywhere.  
On the diaper pail...
On the arm of the rocking chair...
On the vacuum cleaner...
Thirty three days, and still, these stickers haunt me. 
Even when I leave the house.


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