Saturday, December 8, 2012

Thirty and thankful

I turned 30 two weeks ago, and while I - mostly - believe that age is just a number, I really feel like something has changed inside me. I say "mostly" because there are things that I am "too old" for. Like sleeping on the floor, eating bad food, and navel piercings. (You're welcome, World.)

That being said, I am NOT too old to eat cake for breakfast. I will never be too old for that.

My birthday and Thanksgiving have always been close together, and occasionally overlap. This year, I tweeted something I was thankful for (almost) every day. Even if I didn't get the chance to tweet, I still thought about it every day, which I think is a great approach to life: being thankful for all the good things.

It sounds trite, but I realized that I have so much to be thankful for.

Om nom, indeed.
I am thankful for my DangerMouse. I am thankful for all of the joy she has brought to our family. I am thankful that she is growing up to be funny, generous, clever, *and* beautiful.

A changing table with a view

I am thankful that she is happy, healthy, and a joy to be around.

Seven teeth and a killer smile
I am thankful for the smiles, the giggles, and - of course - the belly laughs. Oh, the belly laughs.
Niki, prepped for his SECOND CCL surgery.
 I am thankful for my dogs, who always take good care of us, and have quickly absorbed Genevieve into the pack. I am thankful that - though Niki tore his *other* CCL on Thanksgiving (and the meniscus, too) - he is recovering nicely from the surgery. I am thankful that in a few weeks' time, he will be back to his usual shenanigans. (And, according to Elphie, not a minute too soon.)

Caught sharing the teething bling
I am thankful for Andrew. I am thankful that he is my partner, through and through, and that on those long nights we can tag each other into the parenting ring. I am thankful that he is a loving and enthusiastic father. Also, he's pretty handy for reaching stuff that's on the high shelves.

I am thankful for a large kitchen table, and the ability to frequently share meals with our friends around it.

I am thankful that the LSATs are over, that KidBrother Sam will be around more, and he'll be able to stop agonizing over that blasted test when he *is* here. (No photo. Thanks a lot, LSATs.)

Thick as theives
I am thankful for my dad, who has found a whole new kind of love in Genevieve. I am thankful that he reminds me to finish my dinner while he attends to Genevieve for a few minutes. I am thankful that, when she is fussy and I am tired, he takes her for walks in the fresh air.

Ain't nothin' like a nap with Grandpa
I am thankful for his moderated approach to giving me parenting advice, and reminding me that I need to take care of *his* baby so that I can take care of mine.

Deep in thought.
I am thankful for my mom. I am thankful for her wisdom, her patience, and her unflagging support. I am confident that I am a good mom because *she* is a good mom; always a pair of extra hands, a sympathetic ear, and she is pure comic GOLD as far as Genevieve is concerned.

A mouse and her auntie

I am thankful for friends who understand that my absence is not from lack of interest, but because Genevieve comes first, and that means occasionally declining when it comes to social activities. I am thankful that the invitations haven't stopped, and that when I need to stay close to home, the party comes to me. A sedate, naptime appropriate party, but a party nonetheless.

I am thankful that my friends have forgiven my flightiness, flakiness, and general forgetfulness. I am especially thankful for their guidance and love; they remind me that while I am Genevieve's Mom, I also am Jasmin. Same person, different uniform, you know?

I've decided. Thirty is going to be a great year. Now get off of my lawn.

Friday, November 30, 2012

Shark, meet SharkBean

Two weeks ago, Andrew and I were invited to his cousin's wedding reception in Monterey. We decided to make a day of it, and invited my parents along to join us during the day, and then while we attended the reception that evening, they could have a nice dinner.

It was a beautiful drive, and Monterey was perfectly overcast. Just the way I like it.

Genevieve and Grandpa Knitmore on the Wharf

We arrived around lunchtime, walked down Fisherman's Wharf, and picked a wonderful restaurant - Domenico's. They were friendly and welcoming, the food was SUPERB, and the view couldn't be beat.

Taking in the scenery

Can you see them?

Sea lions, sunning.
Sea lions! They weren't having a particularly noisy day, but Genevieve LOVED watching them. In all of the times I have been to Monterey and had a Meal With a ViewTM, none of the views have come CLOSE to this one.

(Well, maybe the mating sea gulls on the other side of the window at Bubba Gumps about ten years ago, but that was awesome in an our-server-was-horrified kind of way.)

You can't see it, but we're wearing matching sweaters
Genevieve was amazing. After a long drive, she sat on our laps until the food came, and then she sat *so politely* in the high chair. We all had really excellent food, and she had delicious, perfectly prepared veggies that were SO good that she did her happy bounce with every bite. If I hadn't been busy being present in the moment, I would have filmed it to share. (Next time.)

After lunch, we made a quick stop at Happy Girl Kitchen Co to pick up some necessities for the house. And by "necessities" I mean summer apricot jam and blood orange preserves, along with a few other things that sounded delicious.

Generally speaking, I hate jam and preserves because I find them cloyingly sweet. Not so with the Happy Girl preserves. Their stuff tastes like summer, and I get uncharacteristically greedy with it.

Finally, we headed to the Monterey Bay Aquarium (or the Cetacean Institute, for the Star Trek fans in the audience), where we moseyed through until closing time.

Some of us didn't last that long
We packed up and went to change for the evening's festivities. The wedding reception was in the aquarium, between the jellyfish exhibit and the seahorse exhibit. There is something inherently cooler about being there after hours. Or maybe that's just my inner nerd speaking. (HA. INNER nerd. As if I'm not layer after layer of nerd.)

Dinner was the pièce de résistance; tables were set up in the open sea exhibit and we dined by soft candlelight and the light of the tank as we watched sharks, rays, and turtles (among other creatures) swimming around and doing their thing.

Personalized jellyfish for the bride and groom, courtesy of Andrew

The best part? Getting to show Genevieve all the different kinds of sharks.

All things being equal, I think she preferred the meditative properties of watching the anchovies. I think it's probably a developmental thing; like visual white noise.

White, fishy noise.

Sunday, November 11, 2012


Growing up, I always wanted a dog. There were a lot of reasons why we didn't have one, but I knew that once I got my own place to live after college, I would be getting myself a dog. (It was in my five-year plan. Seriously.)

We adopted Niki about a month after Andrew and I got married, and we have loved him like crazy ever since. When he needed a dog (for companionship), we adopted Elphie. They have been our companions for the last eight years, and they have brought our family immeasurable joy.
Niki prefers to sleep propped on a soft surface. Here: my belly.
On Sunday, we noticed Niki was limping. We have had the *nastiest* foxtails in our yard this year, so Andrew and I both gave Niki a thorough examination (and a paw-di-cure) to see if we couldn't solve the issue.

"If he's still limping tomorrow, I'm taking him to the vet," I told Andrew. "I'm sure it's a pulled muscle or something."

Monday morning rolled around, so I made the appointment, texted Andrew the details, and on we went.

As we went in to the appointment, I talked our vet through all of the troubleshooting we had done in order to eliminate some of the causes of the limping. We got Niki to lay down on the good side, and Dr. L did a quick check to see if it was Niki's Cranial Cruciate Ligament (CCL).

It was.

We talked through our options, and with some guidance from Dr. L, got Niki scheduled for the CCL surgery. We did his pre-op stuff on Wednesday, Andrew dropped him off Thursday for the surgery, and we were supposed to pick Niki up Friday morning.

I held my breath all morning until I got my favorite phone call- the one where they call and tell you that your beloved pet is awake and recovering beautifully. And then came Thursday night. The first night where we were all home, except for Niki.

It was eerily quiet. Elphie was twitchy. I kept looking around the house for Niki, only to remember that - nope - he was at the vet recovering.

"He'll be home tomorrow," Andrew kept saying. It didn't make me feel better.

Friday morning, we got a call from the vet telling us that Niki was fine, but that he was refusing to eat. Dr. L chalked it up to anxiety, and suggested we come and get Niki ASAP. So we did.

Three pages of instructions and a bag full of medication later, we were on our way home.
Family snuggles: Priceless
It's been interesting taking care of a recovering dog. I keep thinking to myself, "This would have been easier before we had Genevieve," but the fact of the matter is that regardless of the timing, it's always hard.

We're taking turns keeping Niki comfortable and still, and my parents have been a huge help when it comes to juggling the baby and Niki's recovery. Fortunately, we are all well-loved, so nobody is left wanting.

(Elphie is running around scamming extra treats and snuggles while Niki snoozes, in care you were worried.)

I am so thankful that Niki is on the mend. Andrew and I joked earlier that once we got a routine in place, everything seems to change. That's life, huh?

It keeps us on our toes.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Wee vote

Yesterday, we went and voted as a family unit. Andrew beat us to the polls (pesky day job), so KidBrother Sam joined us. The plan was to go and vote, then go get coffee.

Don't let the sticker fool you. She didn't really vote.
And that's exactly what we did.

After I was done voting, Genevieve and I went outside to enjoy the beautiful fall weather. There were two little guys tooling around on their bikes, while their (baby-wearing) mom supervised. Once their dad was done voting, they took a family photo because it was the mom's first time voting as a newly-minted US citizen.

It warmed my heart, because the little guys were SO EXCITED for their mom. (Possibly, also the "I voted" stickers. Our polling place is pretty generous with the stickers.) I remember my parents' citizenship ceremony clearly, and how excited we were as a family. It was sweet to quietly observe another family making a similar memory.

On our way to coffee after voting, KidBrother Sam talked about how there should be consequences to *not* voting. On one hand, he said, he doesn't want the uninformed voting. On the other, (and I paraphrase) not voting because of X arbitrary reason should be discouraged.

(I love listening to him work through these things, and pointing out the small issues. Together, we will solve the world's problems.)

I thought about how this is Genevieve's first election, and it reminded me of *my* first time voting, about ten years ago.

Our polling place used to be at the elementary school that we attended; a healthy, five-minute walk from home. After work, I parked at home and hoofed on over to have my political voice heard.

A mock-election was being held for the elementary school kids, in the cafeteria. I walked up to the "real" polling station, and took a deep breath, trying to figure out where to start. ("Chaotic" seems insufficient in describing an elementary school cafeteria.)

"Excuse me, do you know where we put our ballots?" a little guy asked me, maybe six or seven years old, "It's my first time voting."

"Actually, no," I answered, "It's my first time voting, too. Let's go ask."

We both got our questions answered, and a few minutes later, I cast my first votes. I can't wait to continue our tradition of civic responsibility, followed by our morning coffee and political discussion as Genevieve gets older.

She already has a lot of opinions; at the very least, the discussions promise to be interesting.

Monday, October 29, 2012


DangerMouse loves my mom's cooking. Clearly, she already has excellent taste and a refined palate. We've been feeding her "table food" (versus baby food from jars, or separate food specially prepared for her), and witnessing her culinary development is nothing short of delightful.

My amazing, independent daughter LOVES to feed herself. She has manages to wear as much as she eats (from what I can tell), but it's important to let her grow and learn to do things for herself. None of us are instant experts, and watching her learn reminds me of how incredible all the things we take for granted are. (Parenting bonus: if she's feeding herself, guess who also gets to enjoy a hot meal?)

Okay, so her palate isn't *entirely* refined yet.
We have been responsible; no sugary foods, and we've introduced foods slowly. Even so, sometimes things happen.

Last Monday, Mom, Genevieve, and I were having lunch together. We had leftovers, and Mom had gently convinced me to let Genevieve feed herself for the first time. Genevieve reveled in the meal; a tomato and eggplant stew, and it looked fetching smeared across her face.

Mom noticed something red on Genevieve's face; so we got out a washcloth and started to clean Genevieve up.

"Is that a hive?" Mom asked.

"It can't be," I said, "She's had everything in this dish before."

A few minutes passed, and there were more hives on her face, and on her chin(s). While Mom held on to Genevieve, I packed the diaper bag quickly, and got on the phone with the advice nurse.

The advice nurse asked the usual questions, and Genevieve was cheerful and not having any sort of breathing issues (or hives or a rash anywhere else on her body). After consulting with the doctor, she told me to give Genevieve some children's Benadryl and bring her directly to the emergency room, just in case.

We didn't have any children's Benadryl in the house. Mom dashed out to the drugstore and was home in a flash, we medicated Genevieve and got in the car promptly. I called Andrew to let him know to meet us there, and with Mom in the backseat (making sure that Genevieve didn't stop breathing), we got to the emergency room in excellent time.

At that point, the hives were completely gone. Genevieve was positively *giddy* from the Benadryl, and had her charm dialed up to eleven. We were in and out of the emergency room in under two hours, with some guidelines as to what to look for and when to worry. (For the record, I am a professional worrier these days.)

Genevieve took a supervised, and yet, disturbingly long nap (courtesy of the Benadryl, of course), and all was well in the world.
O.G. and Lil G
After speaking with a friend (who is also a childcare professional), and Dr. FTW, it turns out that the acid in tomatoes can cause hives on delicate baby facial skin. We were instructed to clean her up promptly after meals, and Dr. FTW praised our prompt action and quick recognition of what could have been a serious allergic reaction.

I'm usually pretty good in stressful situations, and while I was a little shaky and terrified of the worst case, I held it together until the car ride home. If I have learned anything from my mother, it's that you hold it together during a crisis. Once the crisis is over, you can scream, cry, throw up, whatever you need to do. But when you're in the thick of it you Hold. It. Together.

"I'm ready to go and cry now," I told Andrew, "This parenting thing is harder than I ever thought it would be."

It's true. As a parent, you selfishly hope that emergency rooms are for strangers' children, that you can bubble wrap your kids, and keep them in a safe embrace foreverandever. But children have a pesky way of growing up and seeking their own experiences and answers, no matter how much you want to keep them safe.

It's a hard road, full of lots of small steps. Or in our case, small bites.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

This little piggy

Genevieve's hair has gotten long. I'm far from an expert at doing hair, and hers is the opposite of mine; fine to my thick, straight to my curly, and slick to my ... velcro?
Amazing how a hairstyle can change your whole look
I'll admit, I'm also not a whiz at styling hair. When Suzy the Stylist gave me this fabulous hairdo, she had to hard-sell me on taking the TWO MINUTES to blow out my bangs. I'm a wash-product-wear kind of girl, but it was totally worth the extra effort.

Best. Haircut. Ever.

That being said, Genevieve's hair had gotten really long, and I didn't want her to end up with any lasting effects from her emo/Bieber bangs.

Emo baby

Parenting, and all parenting-adjacent activities, always seem very different in my imagination. In my imagination, food that goes into a child's mouth *stays* in her mouth, kids STAY STILL while you change their diapers, and little girls coo adoringly while you pigtail their hair.
She is wily and hard to catch.
Not. So. Much.

I've written about our DangerMouse catch and release program. This is more like catching a greased piglet. And trying to do her hair while she resists. Vociferously.


So, sometimes her pigtails end up a little... off kilter. It's a look.

But I think this little piggy can pull it off.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012


We had another first; Genevieve's first "sick". It's kept me pretty busy, attending to her normal needs and the "mommymommymommy" stuff when she doesn't feel well. You know, the extra snuggles and things like that. (I'll take snuggles whenever she wants to give them.)

At first, we thought it was normal teething shenanigans, since she is now the proud owner of SIX(!) teeth. We called the advice nurse, and she advised, with the proviso that if the symptoms didn't improve in a week, to call back and schedule time with a doctor.

This KID, with the EYELASHES. Seriously.
DangerMouse was cheerful, not presenting a fever, and was only presenting *one* slightly troubling symptom. The weekend passed, and the ... symptom did not. (Consider yourself spared of the details.)

Five symptomatic days passed with no improvement. On day six, we saw the pediatrician. I was prepared to hear that all-too familiar chorus of, "You're a first time parent; of course you worry about every little thing. It's good that you brought her in." I heard that, along with something completely unexpected.

... Stomach flu.

Have you ever had that feeling where you're simultaneously thinking "Ah HA! I KNEW IT!" and "OHMYGOD! Something is really wrong!"? It takes the wind right out of the sails of the S.S. Smug.

Then it hit: that moment where you feel guilty for not taking your baby into the doctor sooner. Andrew and I talked through it, and we were doing all the right things, and we took her in sooner than recommended, but still. That pesky Mommy Guilt rears its ugly head.

The cure? My mom's homemade yogurt. (The pediatrician didn't get *that* specific, but he said "Yogurt with active cultures". And we all know that my mother makes some seriously cultured yogurt.) Yogurt has been Mom's panacea as long as I can remember, as well as a delicious part of our regular diets.

There was the matter of getting the yogurt *into* Genevieve. The spoon was too slow, the yogurt was too runny to finger-feed it to her effectively. I decided to use the encephalized brain that came with the opposable thumbs, and this monkey elected to use a tool specialized for just such an occasion.

Yogurt also makes for a great facial.
After a few attempts, we had a lot of success using a double handled plastic cup (which is great), which has resulted in increased yogurt consumption and decreased yogurt facials. I am torn on how I feel about this, since wearing yogurt is a family tradition.

Three days of Mom's yogurt fixed her right up. Snuggles from *my* mom helped make me feel better. There are days when I just need to know I'm doing okay; and the days where I'm not sure, hugs, hair-stroking, and a "there, there" seem to realign my universe.

The yogurt didn't hurt, either.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Me and my shadow

I love it when Genevieve and I match. I think it's partly because she looks so much like Andrew and my mom, it's nice to have our outfits say, "Hey, we're together!" (It also cuts down on people asking if she is mine.)

It's one thing to spend all of our time together; it's entirely another thing to do it in style.

Matching sweaters!
Wearing our matching Mondo Cable Cardigans at the wool auction
We may have bought an outfit for Genevieve *because* I have a dress just like it. (Also, my mom has a serious Thing for polka dots.)

Polka dots are the new black, you know.
Genevieve is getting older, and Andrew and I were talking about Stitches, and the possibility of my taking classes this year. She'll be more than a year old by then, and Andrew is nothing if not supportive.

"We need to practice having you away from her," he pointed out, logically. "Now that she's not exclusively breastfeeding, we can do that."

To that end, on Saturday, once she had been nursed and put down for her afternoon nap, Mom and I made plans to go to our knitting group. I took the extra ten minutes to put on makeup, high heels, and my good pearls. I carried a tiny, cute purse. Despite the superficial things that normally make me feel fab-U-lous, I felt sick to my stomach.

I can honestly say that leaving Genevieve at home with her incredibly capable, loving, and involved father was one of the most painful things I have done (to date) as her mother.

I stood on the stoop next to mom, holding my keys. I considered skipping going to knitting altogether and just sitting on the stoop- just in case she needed me. Instead, I pulled myself together, took a giant step for Momkind, and went to knitting at Laura's.

I took a lot of deep breaths, talked through my anxiety and guilt (oh, the guilt!) with Mom. I watched my cell phone like a hawk the whole time, so that I could be in the car and home in 10 minutes if I was needed.

I didn't cry, even if I did tear up a few times because OHMIGOD, I'm a terrible mother for leaving my baby to go have fun with my friends. (See?! THE GUILT.)

My phone didn't ring, chirp, or buzz the whole two-and-a-half hours I was there. When I got home, everyone was as cheerful as could be, and Genevieve was SO happy to see me. The feeling was mutual as I swept her up in my arms and gave her the kiss attack of her life.

Sharing the teething bling
They did *just* fine without me. It turns out, it was only tough for me. This "growing up" thing is hard to do. Especially when it's your baby doing it.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Queen, again

"Another one bites the dust" comes on Pandora
Me:Hey! This song is by Queen!
Andrew: You mean that one-hit-wonder band? laughs
Me: This is NOT how sweaters get finished!

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Beauty sleep

We're up to four official teeth, and while they are *completely* adorable, teething remains a miserable process for my sweet, cheerful kid. We can see more teeth cutting through, both on the top and the bottom, which means that the only thing Genevieve *can't* cut is a break from teething.
Talkative, smiley, pensive, and of course, Le Tigre.
 We're back to only napping if she's being held, or snuggled closely. Of course, it's taken me three days of unsuccessfully trying to set her down in the crib, only for her to wake up and REFUSE to nap, no matter what I do.

Without her sleep, DangerMouse loses some of her sparkle and is not usually her charming self. (This she gets from me.)

I am not one to keep trying something that doesn't work over and over and over and OVER again, so we are back to a do-whatever-needs-doing nap policy with her. We play hard, and we nap hard.

Instagram 09/01
Play hard, nap hard
When I'm holding her, yes, I'm a little frustrated that we did a whole week of crib naps, and now we're right back where we were before. On the flip side, I look at her while she sleeps in my arms, all rosy cheeks and long eyelashes, and I remember that these days are few and dwindling.

As it is, the more active and mobile she is, the less she wants to be held and snuggled. She wants to crawl, climb, chew, touch, and give commentary. She wants to be independent, but - thankfully, for my ego - she wants to know that I'm still there.

In truth, I love the snuggles, because when she wakes up, she's all smiles and charm.

Kiss attack!

...and there's nothing better than that.

Friday, September 7, 2012

For Irene

A few weeks ago, one of my friends from high school lost his mother. We attended her service, and we mourned- not for her, necessarily, but for her two kids. Yes, they're adults, but their mother will miss major milestones in their lives. Buying a home, baking the perfect soufflé, promotions at work, getting married, having children, and so many more life events.

She won't be there. She's just... gone.

Justin, her son and my friend, gave a touching, funny, and appropriate eulogy. There were pictures of his mother throughout her life, well before the advent of digital cameras, and her vigor and vitality shone in them. He did remarkably well under devastating circumstances. His mother would have been proud- but would have expected no less of him.

The rest of the day, Mom and I talked through our grief. I wept and wept at the idea of leaving my baby behind, because let's face it, no matter how old you are, you always want to be there for your kids. Forever and ever my baby you'll be, and whatnot.

I've been thinking about Genevieve; sure, if something were to happen to me, she could listen to the podcast and hear my voice. She could read my blog (when she's old enough to read) and see what was important to me, how I relate to my family.

But there aren't very many pictures of me on here, mostly because I'm behind the camera. There are literally *thousands* of pictures of Genevieve on my computer, but very few of us together. I'm not wearing makeup with any sort of frequency anymore and I feel I look like the cryptkeeper.

It bothers me that I'm not bouncing around in my fitted, pre-pregnancy wardrobe and spike heels. Even if it's not practical to wear the heels, I want to *choose* sneakers over pumps. I want Genevieve to look back and see her mom fabulous, put-together, and getting things done. Vain, vain, vain.

Here's the thing: I'd rather dress to comfortably play on the floor with her than to try to impress who? The neighbors? I'd rather do a million other things *with* Genevieve than *for* anybody else.

I want her to look back on the pictures and see who I am; her mom who loves her like crazy.

I love you, so I made you a sweater.
From now on, I'm going to be in the pictures. Just the way I am.

Thursday, September 6, 2012


I love snuggling with Genevieve, but she's a kid who gets warm when she naps. I don't need to brag about my bumper crop of tomatoes for you to know it's been a hot summer.

"I'm a monster!" I told Mom. "I want her to nap in her crib during the day."

After assuring me that I am *not* a monster, Mom pointed out that if I want Genevieve to nap in her crib, I need to put her in the crib to nap. Sounds simple enough, right?

Sleep collage
A mouse at rest... will wake up sooner than expected.

I had a lot of trouble getting her from sleeping in my arms to staying asleep during the arms-to-crib transfer. This was further complicated by the necessity of lowering her crib ALL the way down, since Genevieve is (a) pulling herself to standing and (b) extra tall.

If you will recall, I am not extra tall, which was part of the problem.

I took my problem to Facebook and Twitter, clarifying that I needed help but wasn't looking for cry-it-out solutions.

My friends, readers, and podcast listeners; you all came to my aid, and for that, I am grateful. What is working for us (about 80% of the time) is nursing to sleep, then CAREFULLY moving her to the crib, shushing the whole time. If she starts to fuss as she goes in, I shush and put my hand on her belly, applying just enough pressure for her to know I'm there.

Once I'm sure she's soundly (and comfortably) asleep, I tiptoe out, close the door, and do a victory dance in the hallway.

Sure, the victory dance startles the dogs, but when Genevieve naps in the crib it's better than winning the lottery.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Foggy with a chance of exhausted

The other night, I dreamt that we had another baby. Not that I was actively *having* it, but that - boom! - we had a second baby.**

I woke up, looked around, saw Genevieve, but not the other baby. I panicked.

"Andrew," I whispered, so as not to wake Genevieve, "Andrew!"

"What? Is she wet?" he asked, only partly awake.

"Where is the baby?" I asked, insistently. When he looked at Genevieve, I hissed, panicking, "The OTHER baby."

Andrew looked around, worried, then got up and started pulling the sheets off of the bed, looking for the missing baby as if it had slithered to the bottom of the bed like an errant sock.

After the bed was thoroughly checked, Andrew looked at me.

"Wait," I said, "I think we have just the one baby. We just have one baby, right?"

Andrew paused for a moment. "Yeah."

"Ok." I sighed, relieved, and we went back to bed.

Sleeping mouse
Just the one baby.
The best part of this? Genevieve stayed asleep through the WHOLE thing.

**KidBrother Sam pointed out that this would be quite a feat, considering that Genevieve just turned eight months old on Monday.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

A Literat Mouse

I love to read. I've loved to read as long as I can remember. When I was pregnant, before we bought clothes or furniture for Genevieve, we bought her books.

At the baby shower, she was given a whole pile of board books. I used to think that board books were clumsy and stupid. Now that Genevieve is in full sensory exploration mode all the time, and wants to be involved with the whole process, I think they are completely brilliant.
Boynton collage
Reading is FUNdamental!
We have been reading from Sandra Boynton's Greatest Hits (1 and 2, because that's how we roll), and they're a lot of fun. I especially enjoy Genevieve reading them back to me, since she has figured out that we talk at books. (There has been some very enthusiastic babbling.)

I hope she'll love to read, because she comes from a long line of readers.

This reminds me of a dozen years ago, when I was doing a two-week long babysitting stint. The younger daughter, Sarah, was in kindergarten and had been sent home with a sight-word reading assignment. I had done sight-word work before, and I was really looking forward to reading with her.

After a few rough starts, Sarah got frustrated, dramatically flung herself across the couch, and declared, "I'll NEVER learn to read!"

A better person may have done... well, something other than laugh hysterically.

Once I managed to regain some of my composure, I pointed out that it would be IMPOSSIBLE for her NOT to learn to read. After all, both her parents and sisters LOVED to read. Appealing to her six-year-old logic worked, and I'm pleased to say that Sarah is now a high school senior.

A high school senior who loves to read.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Of Mouse and Mess

I continually underestimate how messy children can be. I'm 99.9% okay with the mess, generally speaking, but what I find utterly shocking is how *thoroughly* messy Genevieve can get.

[Genevieve: Good for you. If you're going to do anything, it's good to be thorough.]

DangerMouse has FOUR - count 'em, FOUR - teeth coming in. She's cheerful and pleasant as she can be, but teething is a heartless beast. I picked up teething biscuits for her in hopes that they would (a) be fun to chew on and (b) offer some variety as far as chew-things are concerned.

(As a matter of form, they are teething "biscuits" instead of "cookies" or "chewies" because the "c" words bring the dogs running. While neither Niki nor Elphie care for these, they are extremely disappointed when they hear either word and they don't get one.)

In any case, I popped Genevieve into her Bumbo**, put down a mat under her (preparing for some mess), and handed her a biscuit.

This is what followed:
Teething biscuits: functional and a fashion statement.
Biscuit in her hair. All over her face. Coating her clothes. The Bumbo. Smeared onto the mat under her. EVERYWHERE.

"I just don't understand how she could get SO messy!" I kept repeating to Mom, as I tried to figure out how to deal with a messy baby.

Mom, ever the supportive and loving parent, laughed herself silly.

[In case you were curious, the solution was to take a damp washcloth to her face, and let her run around in a diaper and cover until bathtime. It was a warm day. Also, she smelled DELICIOUS.]

Strange as it may sound, I never thought I would be so utterly charmed to be cleaning crumbs out of anyone's bellybutton.

**There's a recall for the Bumbo, which you can read about here. We watch DangerMouse like hawks, so it hasn't been an issue for us. Your usage and mileage may vary.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Tilting at windmills

Since Genevieve is mobile now (and she plays on the floor) I got questions about dogs, floors, and cleanliness. My life, and living room, are an open book browser page.

Niki and Elphie are double coated Chow Chow mixes. When they're blowing their coats, they shed a LOT of fur. We brush them with the Mars King comb, a rake, and more recently (recommended by our vet) the FURminator. We also trim their tuchuses to keep things tidy.

[No, I don't spin their fur. Not intentionally, anyway.]

We (Andrew) put in carpet tiles. Our living room floor looks like this:

As you've seen from the photos, we have blond dogs. This rug shows Every. Single. Strand. of dog hair. I don't care. I love everything else about it; especially that it gives Genevieve somewhere soft to crawl. (We "crawl tested" the samples for softness. Seriously.)

I sweep the hardwood throughout the house at least twice a week, but Genevieve is on her hands and knees in this room, so I vacuum the rug every day. Sometimes twice, if the dogs are especially shed-dy. This is the windmill I tilt at. (This is my lance- I mean, vacuum.)

"Did you vacuum? Good. Now read to me, please."
Some people might think to limit the dogs' access to the living room. Not me. It's important that Genevieve gets integrated into the family as smoothly as possible, and the dogs are a big part of our family.

For the littlest part of our family? I'm sure this isn't the only windmill I'll be tilting at for her.