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.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Catch and release

Someone started crawling last week. I mean REALLY crawling. And then, about two seconds after she started crawling she started pulling herself up on stuff. The couch, tray tables. She's even tried pulling herself up on my pilates ball, which she has decided (by the way) is also the ULTIMATE toy.

We have hardwood floors throughout the house. And dogs. To that end, we bought some FLOR carpet tiles for our living room, where we spend most of our time. This is Genevieve's play area.

The plan, which is busy paving roads that lead to predictable places, is to do a deep-clean on the floors, do some serious de-cluttering, and repair some of the rough spots before we let our fearless DangerMouse explore. You know, once she's a little more stable, and I'm not all "OHMIGOD! DON'T PUT THAT IN YOUR MOUTH!"

I've been working on teaching her the "lava" game- you know, the one where you have to stay in one place because past the boundaries the floor is LAVA!

(In case you're curious, no, it isn't working. I think you need to have a passing familiarity with what lava is before you know to avoid the lava by staying on the rug. She does seem to think my squealing "You're in the lava!" is pretty funny, though.)

So, for now, we're playing a sort of catch and release game that goes like this:

Genevieve: Crawl to the edge of the rug
Jasmin: Pick up Genevieve. Put her in the middle of the rug.
Genevieve: Pretend to find a toy. Drop toy and dash to the edge of the rug.
Jasmin: Pick up Genevieve. Put her in the middle of the rug.
Repeat until Genevieve gets hungry, tired, or needs to freshen up.
Faster than the speed of the iPhone shutter
One one hand, I'm SO proud of how she's moving. On the other hand, I think to myself, "Remember when she would just snuggle?" (The latter is usually after we've been playing for a good long time.)

I'm pretty sure catch-and-release is how I'm going to lose the baby weight. Or at least, how I'm going to justify all that homemade ice cream I'm eating.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Pride cometh

... before the frog.

Allow me to explain.

Last year, to mark our ten year anniversary, I told Andrew that I would spin and knit him a sweater. I know that - had I *not* had some unforeseeable complications - I totally would have finished the sweater in 2011.



I made some excellent progress on my Ravelympics Ravellenics project- which was the Ribbed Baby Jacket by Debbie Bliss out of Malabrigo Rios. I finished the knitting with a week to spare in the Ravellenic games.

Occasionally I'll have a bout of finishitis, where I'm inspired to dig in my UFO bins and FINISH EVERYTHING.

"I'm going to finish knitting your sweater during the Ravelympics!" I told Andrew.

"Ravellenics," Andrew corrected, "And I'll believe it when I see it."

I pulled the sweater out. The sleeves were half-knit. (Both of them. I was knitting the sleeves two-at-a-time.)

"I can totally do this!" I told Andrew, who responded with a few less-than-encouraging skeptical remarks, including one about his sweater being in the "sweater [witness] protection program"**.

"You'll see. I'm going to get this done before the end of the Ravelympics," I said, with the confidence of a woman who Could. Not. Lose.


"Sweater. Mark my words, husband."

I knit a few more inches on the sleeves before I realized that something wasn't right. I looked at the sweater diagram, and at their largest point, the sleeves should have been 18 1/2". This was closer to 15".

There was nothing wrong with the math on the sweater. I measured my gauge, and then remembered that when I swatched for the sweater, I needed to go up a size or two on my needles from the body of the sweater.

Which I neglected to do when I started the sleeves. Because I was so excited about powering through the sleeves. HUBRIS!

Ribbit Ribbit
Before and after, the background is the body of the sweater
Andrew ripped out the sleeves, apologizing the whole time.

Maybe it won't get done during the Ravellenic Games, but since it's going to be in the low to mid '90s, I'm sure in the next few weeks will be *plenty* soon enough.

** How exactly would one get into the Sweater Witness Protection Program? Is this a sweater that has seen too much? If it's identity was made public, would it go to sleep with the frogs?

Friday, August 3, 2012

Not so much

Mom posted something on Ravelry that resounded deeply with me. I know, from both the comments and the emails I get, that there are a lot of moms - new and veteran - that read this blog.

Genevieve is 7 months old now, and she's different every single day. I am so grateful to be able to spend every day with her, watching her learn and change. 
[Photo collage done in Photoshop, using this tutorial. Inspired by Kelle Hampton.]
Mom wrote, "Dishes had to wait while I sat and read to my children, and some of the relatives thought they needed to comment on that. My children have changed a lot over the years. The dishes, not so much."