September 28, 2007

September 27, 2007

Mr. Forty-two Roads on Language

I feel remiss every time Anna posts a blog entry and I don't participate in it at all (yes, I feel remiss often, although usually I've helped with photography at the very least). Plus, while there may be readers out there who are following our family's en-green-ment with glee, I am venturing a guess that many more are following Lara with glee.

Therefore, I'm going to present a few new words and phrases that have amused me this week (spelled roughly phonetically):
"Pacicer" (wailed plaintively in the dark of the night, should her pacifier fall out of her crib... the word is cute, the attachment is less-so. This was really only a problem while she was sick, and she hasn't woken up since that week crying for it. However, every night that week, around 2am, we would hear... "pacicer.... paaaaaaciceeer, paaaaaaaaaaaciceerrrrrrrrr" moaned repetitively until her pacifier was retrieved)

"Onasus" (Hippo comes out easily, and is perhaps aided by the fact that Lara still has a hippo on a mobile above her changing table. "Hippo butt!" "Hippo poop!" "Kiss hippo!" are all common... Sad Rhinoceri (rhinoceruses? rhinos?) were only recently named, however... but their name is way cuter, so I suppose they're making up some ground. Speaking of animals, some other favorites of mine are "cwab" [crab], "mos-stuhs" [monsters... yes, not an animal, I know, but it fits], "whoah" [whale, said in a deep husky voice for some reason], "Uhh-fie" [butterfly], "Ey-bug" [ladybug], and 'elephant,' which Lara pronounces in an adorable way that I honestly can't figure out how to write out in any form. But it's cute.)

"Bicasil" (Anna swears she's heard bicycle said correctly. I've only heard the ever-amusing "Man bicasil!" shout as we are passed by, yes, a man on a bicycle)

However, while individual words are cute, it's the putting together of phrases and entire concepts that's just the best to see (hear, I guess). However, it does make it that much harder to say goodbye in the morning. This week Lara whipped out the following, seeing me in scrubs on my way out the door:
"Gasses off! Wook shut off... stay-ome!" [glasses off, work shirt off, stay home!]

Oh boy, that was very cute. Very very hard to say good bye to, too. For me, anyway. That hookie-request of hers was followed by a quick "bye bye!" as she scurried off to play with something, while I was trying to figure out a way to explain the concept of why Daddy has to leave for work. She didn't seem too bothered.

Apartment Progress

These may not be the most glamorous shelves in the world, but they make a world of difference in my little sewing nook (that's the top of sewing machine cover peeking out in bottom left of the photo) - and they were only $3. I had Lowes cut an old (really really really old, from Misha's elementary school days) Ikea shelf into two pieces (50 cents), covered it with 50 more cents worth of white contact paper, and finally Lara helped me pick out four 50-cent "backets" at "Ikee!"

Sewing Shelves

They took probably an hour all told, and I'm super psyched about them.

In other apartment news, the greener-living project continues. We don't even miss paper towels. They are occasionally still used for napkins if there are a bunch of people over (I have yet to whip up some cloth napkins, but it's on the to-do). The flannel rags are great for cleaning everything, as far as I'm concerned, and make for excellent dust wipes. Good-bye, Swiffer family of products!

I'm slowly switching to non-toxic detergents. After a few why-doesn't-this-actually-clean-the-dishes bottles of Trader Joe's dishwasher liquid, I finally bought Seventh Generation powder and let me tell you, people, it is awesome. Nay, SUPER awesome. And even better, it comes in a cardboard box, not a plastic bottle.

The Ecover laundry detergent has yet to wow me with either its cleaning power or its slightly too powerful eucalyptus-like smell. I'm going to try Seventh Generation next, since their dishwasher stuff rocks so hard.

September 24, 2007

Classifieds

Wanted: New Best Friend

Must be portable and looking for adventure,

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but should enjoy pausing to smell the flowers every once in a while.

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Water-resistance a plus, but not a requirement.

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Should not be too clingy - I enjoy solo posing time -

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but should be a good comfort when I get a little cranky.

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Caveat: must play well with others. Sick days need the secondary company of my da-saur.

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Are you the doggie for me? Call Lara, and I will tell you that "Ah yuv doggie!"

September 23, 2007

The Kid Rides Again

We've had quite the sick little sickie around here the past few days. Fever, runny nose, a cough that has been keeping her awake, the works. Last night after we put her to sleep Misha and I heard some kind of strange rhythmic whistling sound seemingly coming from outside. We decided it was the metal gate creaking in the wind, but a walk past Lara's door revealed it to be her very labored breathing. So sad! We went out a little bit, but at home there have been many movies in her life recently since that's pretty much the only thing that she can do without crying in the house. Yesterday in the middle of "Toy Story," we turned around to see her thus:

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She looked up for a second, said "hoss," and turned back to Woody and Buzz.

September 22, 2007

Prototype

I've been trying very hard not to start new projects while old ones lie unfinished because my attention really does tend to wander from idea to idea without follow-through... but still, when I saw this toy kitchen on Apartment Therapy - Nursery... Sadly, a spare $600 we have not, but I really thought it might be possible to recreate it in corrugated cardboard. I drew up a little plan...

toy Kitchen (sketch)

And made a pretty cute prototype, if I do say so myself. The easiest way to make this kind of model is to glue a sheet of graph paper to cardboard - that way the scale/measurements are already set up. The scale here is 1 square = 2".

Toy Kitchen (prototype)

Then I couldn't help playing with Photoshop. Here is my artist's rendition of what it might look like with a stove and sink.

Toy Kitchen (color prototype)

Even Misha, who really tends to be the voice of reason to my flights of fancy was excited about this, and actually thought it was doable (unlike the vast majority of things that I suggest!). Also, even if building it doesn't work out, this little model would be fun for a dollhouse.

September 21, 2007

Whither the crafts?

So, yes, it has dawned on me recently that this seems to have evolved from a craftsy blog into a strictly Lara-is-cute blog, and that this is fairly unintentional. In reality, I've been working on a very long project that I don't want to photograph until it's actually done, which will hopefully be soon-ish.

But, a quick craft-related post. I can't imagine I'm the only person for whom beautiful embroidery floss from the store quickly ends up looking like this:

Embroidery thread - messy

But I might be the only nut to handroll all of the floss onto handcut cardboard bobbins.

Embroidery thread - clean

It does look much nicer, though - and repurposes the clear plastic box that Misha's memo cube comes in. Now I just need some shelves for the craft area...

September 20, 2007

Fie! Buzz!

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"Fie!"

"You want to fly?"

"Fie! Buzz!"

"You want to fly like Buzz*?"

"Fie! Buzz! Pane! Buzz!"

"Ok, airplane it is!"

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Fun times with the stuffed doggie. Lara is a big fan of her attacking stuffed animals.

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Oh, and? My beautiful family bought me these beautiful flowers. Lara helped Misha pick out the "yed pitty fa-urs" at the "fama's maket" and then reminded him to "pey money." I think someone is ready for college.

*Buzz Lightyear, from "Toy Story." Seriously, people, where have you been?

September 13, 2007

Ace Burger

I love catching how Lara's little doings blend into each other. She was running around with those sunglasses on, then suddenly settled down to read without taking them off. "'Eading book! Gasses."

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Things are zipping right along on the language front. We've got accurate plurals, semi-accurate possessives, lots and lots of gerunds, and now phrases are popping up. Love it. Today's words are "gown-ups" (as opposed to "kids" - which, I have to say by the way, hearing Lara call her peers kids is pretty hilarious, as if she is a middle aged lady), and "ace burger" ("iceberg". For a while, we had just "burger" but today Lara made it a phrase.) Also fun today was "hanging" - as in, "pickies hanging" on the wall.

September 11, 2007

School Days

Big day yesterday - Lara's first day of daycare. She looks so tiny but also so independent!

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We started with a little celebratory muffin in a cafe nearby.

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And came home to some beautiful flowers (thanks so much, Nancy and Peter!) that Lara insisted were for her. "Yaya!".

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She'll be going three days a week, and yesterday was the three-hour intro. It went reasonably well - she came home trying to get us to play some game that they obviously were playing there and we couldn't at all figure out what she was trying to say. It's very strange to think that she already has a small part of her life that we don't experience with her and can't really know. Hmm... In any case, the real test will be tomorrow when she will actually know ahead of time that we are planning to leave her there.

September 2, 2007

Splashing Around

Lara has never been a very brave child. Born of good overly cautious, type-A, and - dare I say - anal-retentive stock, she is similarly endowed with a healthy sense of danger and a precocious survival instinct. Honestly, this is probably to the good. I read somewhere that problems between children and parents are rarely caused by the specific personalities each has, but more by the mismatch of these personalities. There is no mismatch here. I understand her deeply when she screeches at an approaching squirrel, or at a pigeon showing an unhealthy level of curiosity in her person. I know how she feels. I've been there. Family lore holds the story of my terror of butterflies. For about twenty years of my life I lived with a deep, uncontrollable phobia of dogs (by the way, all the people in the park insisting to the person about to sob that your dog happens to be friendly? yeah, that doesn't help.)

So when Lara suddenly, almost overnight, developed a seemingly abiding fear of water - for a while, it was so bad that she would start to whimper at drawings of people getting wet - all I could do was feel a strong and helpless empathy. What can you do when your baby screams every night when you start to undress her because she knows you're about to bathe her? The suggestions people offered were so ludicrous ("maybe some toys in the bath?") that eventually we stopped talking about it with others. Then Lara started being scared of other kids. I've mentioned it jokingly on the blog before, but in reality it seemed pretty serious - especially seeing her day after day at the playground, crying if any child came too close or sometimes even just looked in her direction. I read somewhere that this is actually a common fear for toddlers, but I haven't seen any other kids doing it. Maybe their parents don't take them out. The worst of this fear was the day we went to a playgroup and Lara clung to me like a koala bear, pulling my arms around her, hysterical if I slightly loosened them. She did this for two straight hours.

Suddenly, though, it started to get better. "I'm sure it's a phase," ended most of the advice we heard, and I can't believe they were actually right. I've already written about Lara's muscling of the other playground kids, and today I wanted to show you these grainy, crappy cell phone pictures of her getting soaked in the fountain next to the farmer's market.

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You can't really tell from the image, but she is standing in about an inch of water in permeable shoes and the entire front half of her body is sopping wet. She was splashing herself with wet leaves for about a half an hour.

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After that she cozied up to a couple sitting on the cement slabs nearby and made instant best friends out of them by telling them about the "fauten" and the "maket" where we had just been. They gave her a sourdough roll and she smiled and pointed out all the features of her face. She was either an adorable preview of their future (they were pretty clearly not married) or else the best birth control money can buy. And me? I was just doing a happy dance in my heart.

Language, language, language

I just wanted to post a few unrelated stories about Lara’s language acquisition of late. Misha and I are getting such a huge kick out of her these days.

Yesterday we were walking through a store where one of the aisles was littered with unshelved products, and Lara pointed at it and said, “mess!” I was totally astounded. How does she know that word? She is constantly surprising us with her amazing recall of words that I guess she has picked up, but that certainly haven't been used by anyone in a while. So fun. Similarly, today she determinedly picked up the TV remote, aimed it at the set (which we always keep unplugged unless watching a movie), and after pushing various buttons, yelled out “On! On!” We knew that she uses the words “on” and “off” for clothes and shoes, but it turns out that she knows it for electronics also.

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I love how engaged she is in all conversation going on around her, even when she seems totally engrossed in something else. She was sitting on the couch and reading a book while I telling my dad on the phone that Lara had fallen off the coffee table. All of a sudden in the middle of my story, she looked up, pointed to the place where she had landed and said “Fall. Head,” and rubbed her forehead where she had scraped herself.

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She is slowly building up an arsenal of verbs. Nouns came first, as only makes sense, followed by a few concrete adjectives. Now we have various object-manipulation actions: “drop it”, “hold it”, “pick it” (up)”, “give it“, and “keep it” (as in, don’t take it away from me). She always uses the it-pronoun construction, and mostly likely thinks it’s all one word. I love it.

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Mostly what I love though is that she tries to use language not just with adults but with other kids too. She is starting to get over her terror of other children (we’re all very exciting that the phase of horrendous screeching any time another kid came near her seems to be at an end. Boy was that fun on the playground.) Today, a little boy waving a big stick around came too close to her, and instead of running away or screaming, Lara pointed at him and said, “Boy. No. No.” His dad and I were laughing. A couple of days ago, at one of my MOMS Club get-togethers, she actually negotiated for a toy another girl was holding by asking, “Turn?” We’ve been working on the concept of taking turns, and she is really into it. I’m actually fairly amazed at how well we can reason with her, and how readily (for an almost-two-year old, especially!) she accepts logic.

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I know, I know - where's the picture? Hey, I'm tired.