Friday, January 27, 2012

The Menace

It's sometimes funny how nicknames come about, or how they stick. Clare Bear is fairly obvious. So is Danny Boy, but his more recent nickname - and one that makes him mad - is Captain Random, given his proclivity for making sports-related comments regardless of what we're discussing. Laura is often known as Baby Girl, in fact often enough that Danny once accused Tim of not knowing her name. I confess I stumble over her name sometimes, but since I distinctly remember my mom calling me the cat's name more than once, I think that's par for the mommy course.

Once Laura got mobile, she assumed a new name: The Menace. I'm pretty sure this arose when Tim and I first speculated as to what she would be like when she began to crawl and come near the kids' toys. "Oooooh, she's going to be a menace." Not surprisingly, Danny picked up on this rather quickly. Also not surprisingly, she has lived up to this prediction. She regularly wreaks havoc in the playroom, but does not limit herself to those quarters.

The fireplace guard? Please.

The baby gate at the bottom of the stairs? Amateur hour (and I bet the fact that this led to her toppling down a few stairs will not deter her).

That darling quilt that hung above her crib? History (now replaced by these very cute wall decals).

Those lovingly framed book covers mounted above the changing table? A few flicks of her foot made short work of those (which never ONCE came down during Clare's babyhood). I replaced them with more decals. Which I'm sure she'll figure out how to remove before her second birthday.

As I mentioned, Danny is the most prolific user of this nickname, so much so that it inspired him while making her birthday card. He was very intent, and very quiet, while working on his card, so we all cracked up when we beheld this:

(Translation: "In the meadow we can build a menace")

On the reverse side, though, he wrote this, which sums up how we all feel about our sweet little rascal:

Friday, January 20, 2012

The Life and Loves of Danny

While unpacking Danny's backpack yesterday, I found the pictured writing assignment. It highlighted for me how passionate he gets about his interests. First there was golf. Then, cowboys, knights, and Playmobil. Then Star Wars. As we learned early on with Danny, when he gets into something, he goes deep. Now, since the fall football season began, he has turned his attention completely to sports. He has even gone so far as to say, "Sports are cooler than Star Wars," and chooses to watch You Tube videos of sports rather than new episodes of The Clone Wars. Let me specify: Notre Dame sports. The Irish may have had yet another disappointing season, but that has not deterred Danny from being an avid fan!

What is perhaps most fascinating about his passionate pursuits is how little can trigger them. While he was all football, all the time (literally - it was brutal trying to get him to discuss anything else at the dinner table, or in the car - our carpool suggested that he is already ready for a career on ESPN) just a week ago, he has now decided that hockey is his calling in life. The only thing I can point to is that trailer for the Notre Dame hockey arena dedication that I found via Facebook and decided to show him while I showered. Seriously, after a three-minute trailer he has been nonstop hockey. He made signs that he taped to the walls downstairs, replicating the arena, brought a hockey stick upstairs, and now regularly runs around with it and his 'puck,' which is fortunately a small nerf ball.

He did don his football jersey again yesterday afternoon, after a round of hockey, so I guess he's not ready to let that interest fall away entirely. Either way, Tim has decided he needs to steer him towards hoops. 'Tis the season, after all, not to mention it's a heck of a lot cheaper than hockey and less dangerous than football. Mostly, though, I think Tim is relieved to have a break from the incessant light saber fights. I fear, though, that if he is successful in winning Danny's interest in basketball, Clare and I will be outnumbered when it comes to dinnertime conversation.

Monday, January 16, 2012

One-Year Portraits

Before I discovered the world of quality, candid photography, I made several visits to the chain portrait studios, starting when Clare was three months old. In fact, when she was three months old I got some really darling shots - enough to motivate me to keep trying. With Danny I wasn't quite as diligent, although when I did go I still got some cute ones. With Laura, the three-month portrait was such a flop that I didn't try again until her one-year. I mean, you have to have the one-year portrait, right? If for no other reason than to provide material for another comparative blog post.

Clare's one-year portrait mostly serves to remind me that I waited far too long for her first haircut. She also cried a lot at this sitting, which she had never done before.

Danny's was adorable. Still hangs on our wall to this day, and I love the second one, too.

Laura's is fair to mediocre. She didn't cry, but wouldn't smile and at times went on a bit of a rant to the photographer. But, they chronicle her personality at this point!

Sunday, January 15, 2012

The Third Time's The Challenge

When my niece, Nicole, turned one, I sent her a book. I remember clearly my sister's thank-you note saying how cute the book was, and that she was sure Nicki would love it if she would sit still long enough to listen. Later, when I had Clare and then Danny, both of whom always loved to sit and be read to, I sort of scoffed at this memory of Nicki. Sara obviously just didn't try enough with her. Well, as has nearly always happened to me when I have made the mistake of judging other parents and found myself superior, I have been humbled.

As with Clare and Danny, we started reading to Laura very early on in her infancy. Perhaps we didn't do it quite as frequently, but I have visual proof of us doing so. It seems, however, that her patience for reading was the result of her physical inability to move. Because ever since she's been able to move independently, she has had no interest in sitting for stories. Instead, as soon as we sit on the couch with a book (and I try this almost daily), she dive bombs for the cushions in the corner, with a semi-maniacal giggle. This is obviously a game to her. I persevere with the story, and occasionally she will glance over her shoulder at the book before turning back to the lamp, or the cat, or the coaster. Sigh. Invariably Tim and I shake our heads and lament that it's a good thing she's cute.

Fortunately she tolerates a story at bedtime, and usually at naptime, too, so I don't completely despair that she is doomed to illiteracy. (And by the way, Nicki loves to read now.) I think it is pretty clear, however, that any comfort we felt in our parenting prowess will continue to be provoked by this one. Little does she know how much both Tim and I dislike to lose.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Culinary Contests

Food really is glorious to we Seymours, but as many of you know it's been a rocky, finicky path to mealtime that continues to have a few bumps along the way. I am finally reveling in the freedom of preparing what I want to eat and not taking into (too much) account what Clare and Danny will think of it. Very liberating indeed. And I choose to believe that I am armed with lessons learned as we go down this road with Laura. I am quickly realizing, though, that it's not really going to be any less challenging.

We have enjoyed about four months of an easy feeding routine with her, once we got past the nursing/bottle refusal crisis. She did so well with her jars of food mixed with formula or yogurt. But she's a growing girl, and it's time to really amp up the table food offerings. The girl loves her cheese (comes by that honestly), and pasta and bread and crackers. What small child - or any human - doesn't? Offer her a piece of real fruit, though, or vegetable, and she pokes it, inspects it, and more often than not throws it on the floor. Forcefully. With a look on her face that more or less says, "Bring it." Laura is no shrinking violet. She may not have any identifiable words yet, but she'll read you a riot act nonetheless - just ask Tim, or the photographer at Sears Portrait Studio.

I've been doing this long enough to know that I simply need to keep offering things, that it can take 30-50 times before a child will choose to accept a food. But...UGH. It's so much easier to give her that cheese stick I know she loves, that she receives with applause and a darling smile.

I still cite potty training as the most distasteful part of parenting to date (haven't dealt with puberty yet), but feeding is not far behind it. Then again, I recall agonizing over whether or not Laura would ever learn to sleep in her crib, or through the night, and of course now take these things for granted. This one may take longer, but we'll get there. I might have to break down and buy that mop my mom was nagging me about, though.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Laura's #1!

Insert any and all expressions of disbelief, but Laura's first birthday has passed us by nevertheless. You can chalk it up to third child syndrome if you like, but we opted to celebrate her big day in a pretty spontaneous manner. As she gets older (and more aware), we'll use the occasion as a nice diversion from the post-holiday blues. But this time around, when I knew full well that she would be clueless, we just decided to make it one of the things we did while gathered with the family for the holidays. Particularly since she's so iffy when it comes to large gatherings of people, I didn't want to plan a major event and be frustrated when she didn't perform to expectations.

So with that disclaimer aside, we had a great, 45-minute celebration! We used the supplies-gathering trip to the Dollar Store and grocery as entertainment for the birthday girl in the morning, and then used her afternoon nap and lengthy walk with Daddy to bake the cake and decorate the house. The siblings and cousins did a stellar job with a birthday banner and elephant poster (it was going to be a rousing game of "Pin the Tail on the Elephant," but that just never transpired) - both of which now hang proudly in the playroom.

I will admit she disappointed me a bit with her reaction to the cake, which was lackadaisical at best. Then again, she had 10 of us staring at her, so I'll cut her some slack. She did really enjoy the balloons, though, and didn't mind one bit that she was tangled up in them as she crawled around the house and explored the pantry. You'll notice that she even humored us by wearing the silly hat headband for a portion of the proceedings.

Of course, we spent her actual birthday on the airplane, flying home from CA. Let's just say it's a good thing it was her birthday, or we might have tossed her. She has now secured herself her own seat from now on. But she has also secured a soft spot with every one of us!