Thursday, December 23, 2010

A Fantasia On Mommy's Keys, Unnaccompanied

Margaret is clearly very interested in music, but I think we should hold off on lessons until she can talk (and not put her instrument in her mouth).

It doesn't make her look exactly bright, does it?

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Getting Into Trouble

As part of her scheme of gaining more and more mobility every day, as well as getting taller, so that she can, while standing, reach the top of the table, Margaret has also gained the ability to get into trouble.

I first noticed that we had a problem when she began to crawl speedily towards the open dining room door, and then if she didn't hear me coming after her, would stop, turn around, grin wickedly, and wait to be chased.  She has learned how to be bad.

She has also learned how to get what she wants.  Yesterday morning, she lifted her fence up and got the vacuum cleaner cord to play with.

And then last night at her grandparents' house, she took a turn at climbing the stairs.

And then got down again, without falling too much.

2011 is clearly going to be an interesting year.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

She's a Lumberjack, and She's Okay

I like dressing Margaret in plaid.  I admit that yesterday, she wore two different plaids, but they weren't ever showing at the same time, so I feel that it was acceptable.

It was, as I'm sure you all recall, Saturday yesterday, and relatively frequently of a Saturday midday, we feel that we would like to go roaming about.  We often go to the zoo or the Botanical Garden, because there are things to look at while roaming.  Yesterday was one of those days.

Margaret seemed to enjoy herself.

At least, she didn't complain too much, not even when her hat migrated southward.

And then afterward, we went to an Irish pub, and Margaret got her growl on.

Actually, she did a lot of growling.  But it was that sort of pub, so no one noticed.  She keeps this up, she could get upgraded to hooliganing in no time.

You see, this is the lumberjackyness that makes the title of the post all right.  And, like the lumberjack in the song, Margaret did indeed put on some women's clothing (the hairbow) and hang around in a bar.  Good times.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Tree Shopping

We went and got our tree on Saturday, and it is set up in a corner of the living room, separated from Margaret by a fairly sturdy fence.  We just feel that she would be far too interested in it, and that it's bad enough trying to keep the cat off the tree without adding the  baby.

She does, however, think that the tree is pretty awesome, because it's got lights on it, and is shiny.

She thought it was pretty cool when we went to get the tree as well.  I have a picture that I took while I was holding her, so it's not that good.

But you can at least tell that she is there with some trees.

Dancing Baby!

I'm not sure if it came through, but the baby is dancing to Conjunction Junction.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

I'm Dreaming Of A White Christmas

Well, I'm not really, because the weather is supposed to get warm between here and Christmas, and so it will probably be a wet and slushy Christmas.

Also, I have become the sort of person who checks the weather report.  I'm not happy about this development.  Not happy at all.

Anyway, it snowed here today, and we thought that we'd let Margaret have a taste of winter fun.

First we bundled her up.

If I were to enumerate her clothing, it would take a while.  But she had 2 onesies and a sweater and a coat on the top, and a pair of leggings and a pair of fleece pants and snow pants on the bottom, and a pair of fleece socks and a pair of boots, as well as the bottoms of her too-long snow pants on her feet.  Oh, and her head had a hat, and then the hood of the sweater, and then the hood of the coat.  The hands, however, had nothing but mittens.  I feel like a bad mother.

She was ready to go out and growl at the snow.

Of course, she growls at most things.  Including her daddy, though not at this point.

We took her out and strapped her into the sled -- the infant boggan, as it is apparently called.  You can't, at Target, buy an ordinary, decent hideously colored plastic toboggan anymore.  Everything is . . . well, kids these days and so forth.  But it did mean that she could be strapped into a sled built specifically for her baby needs, which was sort of nice.  Though she was initially Very Suspicious Of Things.

But then she cheered up.

And we started sledding.

And made our first turn.

It was at this point that pictures stopped being taken.  Leo wimped out, and decided he was cold.  Which is funny, because Margaret was having lots of fun in the sled, and so I went faster and faster and slipped and fell and rolled and got snow all up my back.  I, unlike Margaret, was not wearing 17 layers of clothes, and so I was wet through and in the bitter wind.  But I dragged her about the yard a few more times before I came in.  Because I am not a sissy.


The variety of expressions that flit across the face of my little person never cease to amaze me.  I'm sticking to my story that all the disapproving ones just come out when I'm taking pictures, and that most of the time, she just stares at me in complete adoration.

Still, it's a good glare.

She does occasionally make some nice faces.

And then the one that looks like she's sizing me up, and may soon be trying to sell me a car that gets great gas mileage and is perfect for someone like me.  She promises.  Would she lie?

And sometimes she's just showing off her ridiculous eyelashes.

And there are blondy bits on the end, so if she were to wear mascara, they'd be EVEN LONGER.

Luckily, I have no desire to figure on the kiddie beauty pageant circuit.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Feng Shui

Sometimes Margaret has real and serious opinions about other people's interior decorating choices, and when they won't listen to her suggestions, has to take matters into her own hands.

This entertainment center, for example?  Clearly needs to be further to the right.

Little help, guys?

I Think A Box Of Chocolates Would Come in Handy

Margaret's attention span for being read to has been expanding and expanding and expanding.  I've been trying to bore her into a docile mood every evening by reading to her right before bed, and it seems to be working.  We've gotten through The Just So Stories (though I skipped How The Whale Got His Throat and The Butterfly That Stamped, the former because I don't like it that much -- or didn't when I was 6 -- and the latter because I don't want to explain to Margaret what concubines are at such a young age).  We've moved on to The Wind in the Willows, which is a marvelous book to read to children in a low, soothing voice.  

During the day, we've been reading* A.A. Milne poems.  Of course, one of my favorites for this time of year (or any other for that matter because it's a smashingly good poem) is "King John's Christmas."

Margaret liked it so much she went looking for it herself.

I had to explain that you don't get poems out of books by shaking them.  
 So she amended her search methods to ones more generally accepted.

And found the poem.

I am including it as well, because it wouldn't be Christmas without it.

King John's Christmas

King John was not a good man — 
He had his little ways. 
And sometimes no one spoke to him 
For days and days and days. 
And men who came across him, 
When walking in the town, 
Gave him a supercilious stare, 
Or passed with noses in the air — 
And bad King John stood dumbly there, 
Blushing beneath his crown. 

King John was not a good man, 
And no good friends had he. 
He stayed in every afternoon ... 
But no one came to tea. 
And, round about December, 
The cards upon his shelf 
Which wished him lots of Christmas cheer, 
And fortune in the coming year, 
Were never from his near and dear, 
But only from himself. 

King John was not a good man, 
Yet had his hopes and fears. 
They’d given him no present now 
For years and years and years. 
But every year at Christmas, 
While minstrels stood about, 
Collecting tribute from the young 
For all the songs they might have sung, 
He stole away upstairs and hung 
A hopeful stocking out.

King John was not a good man,
He lived his life aloof;
Alone he thought a message out
While climbing up the roof.
He wrote it down and propped it
Against the chimney stack:
And signed it not “Johannes R.”
But very humbly, “JACK.”

“I want some crackers,
And I want some candy;
I think a box of chocolates
Would come in handy;
I don’t mind oranges,
I do like nuts!
And I SHOULD like a pocket-knife
That really cuts.
And, oh! Father Christmas, if you love me at all,
Bring me a big, red India-rubber ball!” 

King John was not a good man —
He wrote this message out,
And gat him to his room again,
Descending by the spout.
And all that night he lay there,
A prey to hopes and fears.
“I think that’s him a-coming now,
(Anxiety bedewed his brow.)
“He’ll bring one present, anyhow —
The first I’ve had for years. 

“Forget about the crackers,
And forget about the candy;
I’m sure a box of chocolates
Would never come in handy;
I don’t like oranges,
I don’t want nuts,
And I HAVE got a pocket-knife
That almost cuts.
But, oh! Father Christmas, if you love me at all,
Bring me a big, red
India-rubber ball!”

King John was not a good man —
Next morning when the sun
Rose up to tell a waiting world
That Christmas had begun,
And people seized their stockings,
And opened them with glee,
And crackers, toys and games appeared,
And lips with sticky sweets were smeared,
King John said grimly: “As I feared,
Nothing again for me!” 

“I did want crackers,
And I did want candy;
I know a box of chocolates
Would come in handy;
I do love oranges,
I did want nuts.
I haven’t got a pocket-knife —
Not one that cuts.
And, oh! if Father Christmas had loved me at all,
He would have brought a big, red India-rubber ball!” 

King John stood by the window,
And frowned to see below
The happy bands of boys and girls
All playing in the snow.
A while he stood there watching,
And envying them all...
When through the window big and red
There hurtled by his royal head,
And bounced and fell upon the bed,
An India-rubber ball! 

 *Sometimes I let her have the book and keep "reading" the poem anyway.  Thanks, Mom.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Christmas Cheer

On Tuesday, we went and got Christmas pictures taken of Margaret (mostly to do Christmas cards, but also because it was a good occasion to get pictures taken.  I mean, why not do it when the picture places are overrun with hordes of screaming children and harassed parents?).

Anyway, it went well. Mostly.  I'm not sure that Margaret cared for it particularly, but it did at least afford another opportunity for the "stick the baby in a bucket" sorts of pictures.

 Of course, she tried to escape.

And when restrained, gave a bit of a look.

There was a bit of a problem, because she is a very tall baby.  Since she can stand up, they were very keen to get pictures of her doing so, but all the props that they gave her to stand up on were sadly a bit short.

She found it far more comfortable to just kneel down.

Or go after the person with the Very Large Camera.

The photography people seemed to feel that it was a good idea to do pictures with some sort of Santa arm in it, so we did some of those.  They had plastic milk and cookies affixed to a plate, which Margaret was quite interested in.

And then got more interested, which destroyed the illusion of the milk entirely.

 We also got some pictures taken in ornery clothes,*

I think she's being a little too meta with this expression.

This one's pretty good, though.

*See Richmal Crompton's Just William

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Lights Are So Exciting

One of the things about standing up is that Margaret can see so much more than  she used to.  She was being very cute with pulling herself up on the coffee table, so I flipped on the light behind her to take a picture.

She stopped being cute with the standing up, and instead looked at the light with wide-eyed wonder (and not a little trepidation).


Which was also pretty cute.

Defensive Friendship

Every so often, another baby comes over to play with Margaret.

They are getting much more interactive, and what I find particularly interesting is that their excitement about toys is somehow rigged about 30 seconds apart – if one likes something, the other will be gung-ho about it very shortly, and said toy/book/bit of food/rubbish/pacifier will be The Thing To Have for a short time, before being discarded for the next in thing.

Thursday, one baby had a pacifier.


They surveyed each other.


And then Margaret took action.


The blur in her hand is the pacifier.  She doesn’t like pacifiers anymore, having recognized that they promise but don’t perform.  But that doesn’t mean that she suffers others to have pacifiers without interference.  That would be silly.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Margaret Amongst The Chair Legs

We’ve expanded Margaret’s pen.

She enjoyed* her week of freedom at my parents’ house, where she could attack the furniture and pull herself up.  Her previous pen was somewhat devoid of proper up-pulling furniture – it has dining room tables instead of couches and coffee tables – and she was getting to where she needed*** a bit more space to really hit her groove on the crawling thing.

So we have swung her fence.  It now cuts off half the living room, but leaves her free to explore the other half.

The half with the fireplace, and the corner where we plug our laptops in.

So we built barricades out of chairs and bits of fencing and baskets of books.  It seems to be working, but she enjoys crawling around underneath things.





It’s good to know that the end of all her labors was to sit in front of the fire with a good book.  It shows remarkable good taste.


And then I lured her out into the open with a crackly blanket square.

*Got into lots of trouble**

**Trouble = electrical cords

***We use this word with Margaret in a very loose sense.

Not Subverting Gender Stereotypes

Sure, kid, take Daddy’s wallet.  You’re not setting the cause of feminism back.  Don’t worry about it.


Attack Of The Gnawing Menace

Margaret has teeth.  Several teeth.  Well, two and a half teeth, and another clearly ready to break through.

She also has a firm belief that everything she sees is food until she is proven wrong.

And an unwavering love of electronics.

And a newly developed speedy crawl.*

This leads to series of photos like this one:







And then I had to put the phone away, because she was trying to eat it.

*Also, when she crawls long distances** she emits a terrifying war whoop. It’s awesome.

**More than 4 feet.