Indian Summer, Growth Spurt, and Cheating Bathers

October 23rd, 2009

I just want to say I’ve been having the most wonderful week with this kid this week. Beautiful weather has allowed us to go to the beach, spend hours and hours at the Duck Park, walk around, and today, go to Irvine and do some swimming. We were trying out a new swimmie—a little leotard with a built-in inner-tube. Initially, Vibb fell into a log-roll from which she could not right herself, and I had to race to rescue her. Face in, face out, face in, face out of the water. She came up a little shell-shocked but in no way deterred. (Megan and I were cracking up.) She got used to it fairly quickly and then had what she has been dreaming of since Hawaii: Freedom in the pool. She was able to be up to three feet away from me, and she really amazed me. By the end of the time we spent there, she was motoring around on her own power with a sort of turtle-ish wiggle to reach the wall, the steps, me. She also proved she could get in the pool on her own, and not just at the steps; she backed her way in from the side and landed squat on the little tube-suit. The only bummer part of the day was when she repeatedly exited the pool and raced to the deep-end, where she was again and again pissed at being thwarted from backing in to 8-foot-deep water like she wanted to.

Several other moments this week have surprised me. A recent growth spurt seems to have pushed her over some kind of edge into bigger-girl territory. Since Hawaii, she’s been refusing to sit in high-chairs, and this has been mostly disastrous. An unrestrained toddler = “Don’t break the restaurant. DOH!” But this week, she ate several meals in restaurants where she sat nicely in her seat at the booth and was good and made hardly any mess. Given, today’s lunch was not one of those times, but there have indeed been several of them. This week she also showed her stuff at the playground. She climbed to the top perch of the slide, grabbed the little bar and swung a few times before swinging onto the slide and sailing down. Sliding I’ve seen before, but not the swinging. She also whined and begged for me to put her on a big-kid swing, until I thought, ‘Fine, let’s put you on there, and when you fall off, you’ll stop asking.’ But I was the one in for a lesson: she SCHOOLED me! Add to that tonight’s use of her rocking-horse as a step-stool. Yes, she reportedly climbed onto Mr. Pony’s back to reach the living room TV. Dangerous, yes, but also AGILE! And RESOURCEFUL!

I said “reportedly” about that last anecdote, because I had gone upstairs, wanting to take a bath by myself. I take a bath with Vibble a few nights a week, and she loves having a playpal. But tonight I just wanted a solo soak, so Steve kept her downstairs with him. At some point, though, she slipped his guard and went looking for me. Imagine the look on her face when she threw open the bathroom door, and there I was, in the bathtub, WITHOUT HER. It was a look of utter betrayedness. She stood stunned a moment and then began removing her diaper to join me.

Curiously Strong

October 20th, 2009

Sunday night we had a laid-back visit from Sarah-Novelist and Russ. After dinner out, we hung at No. 6 for a bit, and Violet, aka Petty-Thief, soon began disassembling Sarah’s purse. Sarah’s a good sport, so she let Vibble play with everything she pulled out, including a tin of Altoids. Soon enough the tin was open. What’s that you say? Take it away from her? Do you want to keep that arm? Because the Wolfling will bite it right off. And besides, have you ever been within ten feet of an Altoid? STRONG. I think we were all looking forward to the reaction when she got a lick of that crazy concentrated super-mint. You go through a lot with a toddler, and you deserve your fun, you know?

No one was expecting her to be able to tolerate the mints (I certainly can’t—SO STRONG), let alone munch away on three at a time. Grown men can’t do that! By her second fistful of Altoids, we started to snap out of our stunned amazement. But the night was not over …

We bid Sarah and Russ goodbye, and then tried to put Vibble to sleep—for several hours. There’s not much sugar in Altoids, unless you eat like ten and weigh 23 pounds. Finally she did go to sleep, but she woke up later with a stomach ache (from an unrelated cause, we think). So it’s 3 a.m. or something, and she’s whining and crying in our bed, and I hear this weird slurping sound, so I turned on a light, and here this kid is in my bed sucking on an Altoid. Where did she get it? I can only assume she had hidden it in her PJs somewhere, saving it for that middle-of-the-night Crazy Mint craving.

Shlllrrrrp Shlllrrrp.

The Chlorine Update

October 15th, 2009

We started the fall session of Gym n’ Swim today, and it’s been a while since I mentioned that little activity of ours, so I thought I would update you. You may (or may not) recall that I began taking Violet to Gym n’ Swim when she was a wee tiny thing barely able to crawl. She HATED the pool. Wah WAH WAAHHHH!!! So naturally I kept taking her, because I wanted to get her to some level of comfort with the water.

Then something changed. She went to the BEACH! With her COUSINS! Cousins who SWIM! And since then she has been on a mission: To Joyfully Drown Herself. Thus we NOW go to Gym n’ Swim to actually learn how to swim. And today she was in Heaven. The glee, people. The glee, and the constant attempt to wiggle from my grip and be FREE! In the WATER! Where she has no BUSINESS being FREE! Because she cannot SWIM! I finally had to resort to balling up the back of her swim-shirt in my hand and holding tightly to it, so she was basically harnessed in restraint by her clothing. Otherwise, she would just forcefully remove my hands from her person and writhe nonstop. My arms were giving out, it was an incredible workout trying to keep her alive in that pool.

Here is what I have to report:
- She is very, VERY “comfortable” in the water now.
- She’s not in love with being dunked under, but she doesn’t complain about it.
- She can kick, but she would rather just WIGGLE.
- She can smile bigger than the actual size of her face, you’ll have to take my word for it.

I also had a chance to see her around the other kids her age who have been attending G n’ S with her from the start. I hadn’t seen them since the summer. I can report that, relative to these other kids, Violet (a) has an insane amount of upper-body/arm strength, and (b) is not talking any less than they are. That’s right, none of these kids was saying anything more elaborate than I’ve heard her saying lately, and I’m not going to worry any more about that business for now. We’re doing everything we should be doing to encourage her to talk, including restricting pacifiers to sleep-time, and she’s reluctantly choking up a new word every few days. Hand to God, last night: “Umbrella.” Steve heard it, too.


Recommending …

October 13th, 2009

I just watched Season 2 of “This American Life.” I’m so happy there are visual episodes of this great series now. I loved Season 1, and Season 2, while a bit on the sad side more often, is just the best short feature storytelling out there. Available on iTunes. The episode titled “John Smith” is especially interesting … “Underdogs” I found especially tough to watch. “Two Wars” I found enlightening. Do yourself this favor, and get it and watch. You won’t be sorry.

Went to the Park Today

October 13th, 2009

Nothing big, just a few new photos.

We Decided …

October 11th, 2009

… to count “hi” and “high” as two separate words. The newest word is “go.”

Violet’s fortune cookie fortune tonight said, “Your winsome smile will be your saving grace.” Almost accurate. I propose the following edit: “Your winsome smile will save you.” We are in a tough stage right now. There is a lot of screaming, and by a lot I mean like 80 percent of the day is tantrums. There is poop in her diaper. TANTRUM! Someone is trying to remove the poop from her diaper. TANTRUM! Someone won’t let her play in the diaper disposal bin. WORLD WAR III!

Many cool moments shine through, too. She is getting smarter, more creative, and imaginative. Relative to other toddlers I’ve known, she is somewhat high-speed, touchy (as in, moody, AND as in, she touches people everywhere we go, as if confirming they are in fact real), and into books, be they right-side-up or upside-down. She is also WAY into TV, and I have to keep the remote on me, because she goes over and turns it on a lot when it’s not TV time. No, Vibble, it is not always TV time.

T A N T R U M ! ! !

Season 1 of Fringe

October 10th, 2009

Finally finished watching Season 1 of Fringe. If you haven’t watched it yet, I have a little drinking game you can play: Chug every time …
- someone’s brain melts or explodes
- someone is put into a drug-induced coma
- Cortexiphan is mentioned
- Peter asks Olivia, “Are you OK?”
- The Pattern is mentioned
- The characters spell out to each other what ZFT means
- Olivia says, “Tell Walter to prepare the tank,” and removes her clothing
- the characters have a conversation meant to explain why Peter is on the show
You will be sufficiently drunk (or, if chugging a non-alcoholic beverage, caffeinated) in no time. I did love the season, it really hooked me. It was like the X-Files was in its great first seasons, before it just turned nightmare-inducing with little payoff. Not that Fringe doesn’t have its nightmare-inducing qualities—those sensitive to this can do what I did and mute everything that comes before the opening theme song and credits.