Saturday, May 30, 2009

Magnolia at 1.25 years

She says "Mama!" with the accent and gusto of a boisterous Italian and always whispers "Papa" like a secret.

When she wants Frosted Flakes instead of Cheerios she points and nods not her head but her entire torso. Cute and commanding at the same time, her eyes get very serious, her neck stiff, and she jerks her hair forward 3 or 4 times.

She knows what she wants and she knows what she likes. And she only likes "No" if it's her that's shaking her head.

Her snuggles could've cured the Grinch without a word from Cindy Loo-Who. But ask the dogs and they might tell you she's the grinch, the way she terrorizes them with her toys, laughing at scrabbling claws on laminate hardwood.

At 15 months Magnolia is active, curious, opinionated, mostly obedient, nimble, adventurous, attentive, at times talkative, often quiet but always social, and very very sweet. She is learning and growing like crazy; sometimes it's hard to keep up.

We are often amazed by the connections she makes. Recently we were confused when Maggie wouldn't stop pointing at the lady bug on her new shirt and doing the night-night sign. She had just taken a good nap and there didn't appear to be anything on the shirt to indicate that the ladybug was sleeping. We finally realized that she was making the connection between this little piece of embroidery and her plastic lady bug night light that we hadn't used for months.

We could go on, and we will, but for the sake of our readers who don't want to read about our daughter all day we'll just share a few lists:

Words Maggie signs and says at the same time, besides Mama and Papa:

  • Bye-bye and Hi
  • Nigh-Nigh
  • Wahr (Water)

New Signs (without vocalization):

  • Carrot
  • Bath (she initiates now, not just copies)
  • Change (initiates)
  • Airplane
  • Shower
  • Book
  • Help
  • Please
  • Thank you
  • Get Dressed
  • Hat
  • And Papa's favorite 'sign': any time she sees hockey, whether on TV or printed material, she shakes her fist in support.

  • BABY!
  • Nana (which can mean Grandma or Banana, and also sounds like Mona and Nigh-Nigh)
  • Nunu (this means Bunny)
  • Manoya (Magnolia)
  • Bubba (means Otis. We sometimes call him Buddy)
  • Kck! (Ick = anything on the floor that shouldn't be there or to indicate a poopy diaper)
  • Brr (Bird)
  • Baba (Bottle)
  • Fwuh-wa (Flower)
  • Uh-oh!
  • Whoa!
  • Hmmm.
  • 'side'side'side (often accompanied by hyperventilation, this means "Let's go outside!!!!")
  • dordordordordor (hyperventilation again: "Oh my gosh, yes! Why wouldn't we go to the store?!)
Animal Noises or Actions:

  • Cat: Mew
  • Cow: Bbbboou
  • Dog: FFff (Woof), Panting, Buh (Bark), Rrururu and many other variations.
  • Fish: cheeks sucked in and wiggles her lips
  • Monkey: Points to her shoulder
  • Elephant: One hand on her head
  • Octopus: both hands on her head
  • Bee: Bzzzzz
  • Most birds: GogGogGog (squawk)
  • Duck: GogGog (quack)
  • Rooster: Gock-a-doo
  • Little birds: makes a fish face (but she's not confused. She's trying to whistle through her teeth like Papa)
She loves to:
  • point at things in books or body parts in response to your question "Magnolia, where is the ____ ?"
  • find her (or your) belly button.
  • take things out and put things in, especially all her clothes from her dresser drawer.
  • blow kisses when you leave.
  • get dressed. She's becoming particular about what she wears, othen wanting her hat, shoes or coat even over her jammies.

Favorite Books: Anything with flaps, plus Miles the Crocodile, and a Grover animal book.

Pretending: Sleeping or putting her animals night-night

Wednesday, May 27, 2009


Our friends Matt and Amber posted a funny little anecdote about their son, Justin, and Magnolia that some of you might enjoy.  Check it out.

Signs of Summer

"What's for dinner?" has become "What are we going to BBQ?"
Frogsong at night, birdsong by day
Splashing in the kiddy pool
The smell of sunscreen
Scraped knees

Friday, May 22, 2009

Honey, I Can't Shrink My Kids!

Having added water-walking to my work out regimen, having followed a diabetic diet for over a month now, and having lost five pounds I was hoping that, at my routine check-up yesterday, I would get some good news, that all my hard work was paying off, that I would have a healthy but SMALL baby, that my chances of delivering naturally were good. 

Fat chance.

The doctor took one look at me and said "You are growing a big baby in there. I'm pretty good at figuring out someone's gestation just by looking at them across the parking lot. But if I didn't know better I would say you were full-term." 

I am not full-term for another 3+weeks.

She said I am measuring as if I were carrying twins or as if I were month further along.  

Supposedly, I am doing all the right things to keep this baby small, but I'm just genetically destined to have big babies. Her guess is that my baby is already 7 pounds, but our next ultrasound isn't for another month. She ended our appointment by adding that it looks like this baby is trying to outdo her sister. Magnolia was 9 lb, 12 oz. 

I am trying not to be too disappointed. We are both healthy. Giving up sugar is getting easier and keeping my weight down means I will have less to lose after she is born. But I see my chances for a natural birth slipping away. 

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Stop to Smell the Basil

Since my nesting tendencies are in full swing--their influence has even spread outside the nest--and since Magnolia LOVES going outside, I've been teaching her about gardening.  While I pick weeds she points at each one and says Ick!  She's a very proficient ick detector...maybe a little too proficient.  She ended up 'helping' me by plucking flowers.

Another new development from our times outside is that she LOVES to smell things. You wouldn't guess by the face she is making in the picture below, but she repeatedly asked to smell the freshly growing mint.

Her nose and chin are a little yellower these days too.

But her favorite is Basil. 

It is too cold for it to be outside yet, so every time we go up stairs, she points at the basil in the entryway and sniffs. There are three starters, and all three must be smelled.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

10 Questions to Ask Your Mother

In her recent article for Real Simple magazine, entitled "10 questions to ask your mother," Judith Newman writes:
" adults, so many of us don't ask enough about our mothers. (Maybe we're  scared. More likely we just don't get around to it.) Yet there's no better way to become closer to a person, even if you've known her your entire life...Try them out this Mother's Day. You may even learn something about yourself."
So I did it.  For me, it was nice to ask questions that were not my own.  That way there was no expectation or baggage attached to them. It was purely to get to know her better. 

Her answers were very thoughtful and honest but I'm only going to share a few brief excerpts because some of the answers may not be suitable for public blog consumption.  

I've included the complete list of questions below so you can ask your moms too.  If you do, be sure to come back here and share your experience or a quote or two in the comments.  I'll get us started.

1) What's one thing you would have done differently as a mom?

2) Why did you choose to be with my father?

3) In what ways, do you think I'm like you? And not like you?

4) Which one of us kids did you like the best?

5) Is there anything you have always wanted to tell me but you never have?

6) Do you think it's easier or harder to be a mother now than when you were raising our family?

7) Is there anything you regret not having asked your parents?

8) What's the best thing I can do for you right now?

9) Is there anything that you wish had been different between us -- or that you would still like to change?

10) When did you realize you were no longer a child?

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Public Weight Problem

I start class by sitting on my stool in front, with as serious a face as I can muster, and tell them we need to talk. 

They get very quiet.   

I explain that another teacher told me that her students confided that my students were talking about me behind my back. 

Some shrink down in their seats, others trade knowing looks with their friends. 

Yesterday, a fellow math teacher, who is also pregnant, asked me if I had told my class yet if I was pregnant. I hadn't. 

For whatever reason I haven't found a good time to bring it up this time around, and I haven't thought it especially pertinent since they won't be getting a sub (because I'm due in the summer).

My colleague's students told her that my students were freaking out; they don't know what to do, because obviously I am pregnant, but they're scared to ask.

So I decide to have some fun...

I tell them that I had heard they were talking about how I was getting fat and they were worried about me. 

More squirming in their seats.

I tell them that I wish they had come to me. Trying to keep my composure--my face begins to redden--I share that I am gaining weight and seeing a doctor about it. 


(I can't torture them any longer) 

“Yes, I am pregnant!”

Huge collective sigh of relief. 

Apparently, they had been discussing it after every class period, analyzing my clothing to determine if it was maternity or not. These guys are much more polite than my previous classes!

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Our New Pets


At a workshop on Saturday, hosted by The Lettered Streets Covenant Church, I finally learned how to compost.  Not only will this cut down on our waste but our wormy friends (which are pretty amazing: check out Wikipedia) will turn all our organic kitchen waste (except dairy and meat) into nutrient rich fertilizer for our garden.

Wanna start your own worm bins? The following links were given at the workshop:

Pascha 09

Bleary-eyed, Shannon creeps into Magnolia's room, gently lifts her out of her crib and buckles her in her car seat, hoping she'll stay asleep, or at least sleepy. It's 4:30 am and we're on our way to our church's sunrise Paschal liturgy.

No such luck; Magnolia thinks the middle of the night is hilarious and giggles the entire half hour drive. At least she's not crying, but all parents know that manic giggling like this is usually a harbinger of crankier times to come.

Pascha (another word for Easter) is the most anticipated holiday at our church, even more so than Christmas.

The service is a huge celebration with tons of symbolism. Magnolia is very attentive. That is, until our priest shouts "Christ is Risen!!" and the whole congregration yells back "Indeed he is risen!" throwing confetti to add to the merriment. This happens several times throughout the service, and every time Magnolia starts shaking and clings to Mama or Papa for dear life. Maggie is pretty easy-going and not scared by much so we were pretty surprised. However, we did savor the snuggles.

After the service, we all enjoy a big breakfast, which breaks a 40 day (vegan-like) fast for those without health concerns, like pregnancy. Magnolia thoroughly enjoyed the strawberries.

After breakfast everybody heads home for a nap--Luckily, Magnolia gave us a 3 hour one, and avoided the anticipated crankiness!--before heading back to church for the annual church picnic. Even though the next picture makes it look like we're total loners, it is a huge party, with lots of food, games, even horseback riding.