Thursday, March 31, 2011

More Reading

In our living room, we have a horrible chair.  It is squat, and covered in something that might be leather, but is probably not.  It has followed us around since the earliest days of our furniture acquisition, and it persists.

It’s not actually uncomfortable; lying sideways across it is a beautiful experience, and if one is short, one can still sprawl sit happily in it without a footrest.

But it’s ugly.

We brought it down when we first began to pen Margaret in the dining room.  It was low enough that she didn’t feel that we were abandoning her, and enough of a chair that we didn’t feel like we were spending hours on the floor.

It then became an integral part of the anchoring system that held the fence across the living room.

Now that we’ve expanded Margaret’s pen to include all of the living room and dining room except for the computer, it has no purpose.

But today, Margaret found it. She can just, if she concentrates really hard and if her mother has put something she really wants in the back of it, clamber up onto it.  And once there, why not relax?*


Of course, Goodnight Moon doesn’t last very long.


But you can climb down onto the floor, and read it again.  It’s a very different story on the floor, you know.  Completely changes the interpretation.


*The book is upside down, but she’s more interested, right now, in the look.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Nice, Clean Dirt

When we got home this evening, Margaret discovered that in our absence, some nice person had left some lovely dirt in our yard.


Margaret approved.


She proceeded to sit down, pick up dirt with her left hand, and pass it to her right for safekeeping.  Of course, it dribbled out again, and so she just kept going.


She offered some of the excess to me.


Then to Leo.


Then she worked out that she could just clutch it to the chest of her white sweater, and she could hold more of it.


A good time was had by all, and she only tried to eat the dirt once.  She was – wonder of wonders – stopped by Leo and I saying no.  I think that the putting things in her mouth is at this point partially just absent-mindedness, and when she pays attention, she’s a bit more discriminating.

Margaret Casts Her Bread Upon The Waters, Feeds Loaves To Fishes, And Otherwise Behaves Vaguely Biblically

Not, however, in any sense that you could really pin down.  In fact, most if this biblical behavior seems to exist entirely in the way that her mother writes about it, which seems needlessly confusing.

In short, all this verbal posturing is meant to introduce a picture documenting a trip to the Botanical Garden on which Margaret fed ducks and fish.  We’ve been working on throwing this week, and she really put it to good use.



And she only tried to put a ducky food pellet in her mouth once.  Although in the video to follow, you can see her thinking about it in the momentary pause between picking up the pellet and moving to throw it.

Sometimes A Girl Likes To Read

Margaret’s not actually that big on people reading to her; we’re too slow, for one thing, and we’re wedded to this ridiculous notion of progression and order and not having our thumbs slammed in the books.

But she very much likes going off and reading by herself, at her own speed, without the pesky intervention of adults.*


This morning’s book of choice was Dr. Seuss’s Fox in Socks, which is not, despite its main characters Fox and Knox, about the Reformation.


I would also like to draw attention to her truly marvelous hair plume.  She had a bath last night (following the tomato sauce incident) and it’s really doing well this morning.

Anyway, she finished,


scoped out the rest of the room,


and went to play the piano.


*Also, according to some study I’m too lazy to look up so I can link to it, playing with books at her age is just as good as actually reading them.  I don’t believe it, really, and would prefer that she wanted to listen to books, but we’re doing all right now reading books I have memorized, so it doesn’t matter where she goes with them.

Baby Schroeder

I’m not sure how many of you are Peanuts devotees, but yesterday Margaret was doing a reasonable impression of Schroeder.

For those of you who can’t remember, here is Schroeder:


Anyway, Margaret, by various devious means known only to ebay, has acquired a small piano.  Not a grand piano, as pictured above, but a 2-octave upright, just her size.  She adores it.


When it came yesterday, she spent at least 25 minutes playing with it, and then went back to it for the 40 minutes before dinner.  I feel that this is a pretty impressive attention span for a 1-year-old.

She also firmly removed my hands from it when I tried to play, which tells us that she’s figured out ownership, at least as far as things can be hers and not mine.

Also, I think she’s already posing for soulful pictures with her piano.


Another Tomato Sauce Post

I don’t, by the way, always post when Margaret eats something with tomato sauce in it.  There have been numerous occasions where she has eaten tomato-based Indian foods, pizza, even pasta, where I have resisted the urge to post her sauce-covered mug.

But last night was particularly cute (and I’m not just saying that because I’m her mother; it really was adorable).

She started off eating her rotini.


And then, while I was busy snapping pictures like a besotted devoted parent, she finished the trayful, and made the all gone sign I realize I’ve been teaching her.


(And yes, for those of you with too much time on your hands, these pictures are out of sequence, because she’s making very funny faces in the first, less-sauced series of pictures, and I have some respect for her eventual dignity.  Not much, as I’m posting pictures of her eating pasta naked, but some.  The sequence of events, however, is as narrated).

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Run, Run, As Fast As You Can*

[This is a post I should have written a week ago.  You can tell by the sunshine and the shorts that it isn’t entirely current, because we’ve decided, apparently, to have snow again.  Humph.]

Being unfettered by carseat or stroller or somebody holding her hand and suggesting that she not run out into the street is one of the joys of Margaret’s life.


So when Ron and I took her out to a soccer field, she was in heaven.


Still, she likes to make certain that all her attendants are still around before she takes off again.  Margaret’s not a baby who likes shirking when it comes to attending to her.


Things, thankfully, were entirely in order, and she could resume her recreational running away.

This gave way, of course, to sitting on the ground and contemplating things, before becoming more running.


*This is not to suggest in any way that Margaret’s Uncle Ron** is treating her as any sort of gingery confection.  He is pursuing her for her own safety, not with any untoward intentions of a snacking variety.

**We’ve been through this already.  It’s not my fault that my family is really boring when it comes to naming people, all right?  Don’t even get me started on the accidental rhyming.


Margaret is figuring out clothes.  She’s already gotten that socks go SOMEWHERE.  Almost every day, we play a game where she brings me her socks, I hold them open, she shoves her hands in them, giggles hysterically, pulls them off and hands them back to me.

In the mornings, she picks up clothes and hands them to me to put them on.  Sometimes even in the right order.

And yesterday, when she wanted to go outside, she brought my shoes over to me and put them on my feet.  Not on the right feet, mind you, but on feet, which seems like enough at this age.

This weekend, Caty came over to celebrate her end-of-Spring-Break snowstorm, and Margaret was entranced by her boots.


She seems ready to go with her enormous feet.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Morning Entertainment

After a brief and confusing hiatus this weekend (seriously, it snowed.  A lot.) Spring has more or less returned.

Margaret celebrated by insisting that we play outside when we got back from taking Leo to work.  This was somewhat complicated by the fact that I had not gotten her dressed before we took him to work, and so when she insisted, she was still wearing her sleeper, which has feet substantial enough to hinder the assumption of shoes, but not so substantial as to protect the feet from the great outdoors.

So I wrestled her inside, got her dressed, and took her back out.

She was pleased.


In the yard, there are several things that she loves doing.  She loves wandering around (usually as fast as she can towards the slight downhill slope that ends in concrete, because she likes seeing her mother scamper).  She loves digging her hands into all the new and different textures one can find outside.  And she loves the swing, with a deep and abiding passion.

So it was no surprise when she headed for said swing.




Nor was it any surprise when she stopped just short of the swing to dig her little fingers into the gravel that still manages to peek through the grass.


She politely offered me some to eat, but I wasn’t feeling particularly hungry this morning, so I declined, and then cruelly took it away from her before she could eat it herself.  This was not appreciated as much as you might think, so I put her in the swing to turn her thoughts.

This met with qualified approval.


Which soon turned to outright happiness.


Saturday, March 26, 2011

The View From Where I’m Sitting


Puck is getting more and more friendly with Margaret, and Margaret is getting better at not irritating Puck.

Yesterday afternoon, I think that Puck decided that we looked awfully cozy on the couch as she drifted off for her nap, and so joined us.

I felt a bit like I was being used as furniture.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Then Why Did They Call Them Gumballs, Eh, Mommy?

Margaret and I spend yesterday morning in the great outdoors.*

It was bright and sunny and beautiful and warm and pleasant.  And tomorrow we’re meant to have snow.  Never a dull moment.

Margaret developed a game** which involved picking up the effluvia of the American Sweetgum (Liquidambar styraciflua, for those of you playing at home),


bringing them to me,


and smashing them into my face.

[Not Pictured, as I dropped the camera trying to protect my eyes.]

Sometimes in order to make it look more like a game, she stood like she was going to wind up and throw it at me.


She went into her motion.


And then, because she just spent a week with her baseball-mad cousins, and I’m pretty sure there’s something in the water in Port Angeles, finished up in ready position, in case I fired one back at her.


And then occasionally, she just handed them to me nicely, for my collection.****


And sometimes, thinking that they were in fact real gumballs (which she isn’t allowed to eat either), she prepared to stuff it into her mouth.


*Well, the backyard.

**I’m using the word loosely.  I think that the Geneva Convention would have something to say about it, but since the days of swaddling, Margaret and I have had a tacit*** agreement that we are not going to mention the Geneva Convention between us. 

***Well it would have to be, wouldn’t it?

****I think she thought they were a treat for me.  And of course they were.

Margaret, Pint-Sized Punk Rocker


I did the hair, she did the singing.

Also, later in the same bath, she demonstrated that she understands how to wipe her own face.


Washing the soap out of her hair seemed to make her dainty.  If drinking soapy bathwater from a washcloth can rally be designated dainty.  I’m sure there’s some sense in which it is.  I mean, it’s certainly daintier than drinking soapy bathwater without a washcloth . . .


It doesn’t get much more gleeful than this.


That is happy, not sad.  I’m realizing that people could think that she was winding up for a scream, but that’s not the case.  She was shrieking joyfully at the coming of spring.  And swinging.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

What A Difference A Year Makes

I rather enjoy the first visit to Mr. Wizard’s every year.  It does, of course, remind me that the horrible heat is bearing down on us, and that soon the evenings will be the only possible time for decent people* to go outside.

But it also means baseball and ice cream and the nice parts of summer.  And not wearing wool socks.  All these things are good.

Last year, we went on the 8th of April, so it’s not been quite a year.

Mr. Wizard

And we went tonight.


I think she’s happier with ice cream than the pacifier.

*By which I mean people that don’t go outside in the heat of the day.

Distraction As A Hairstyling Strategy

Margaret has been refusing to have a bow or any such thing in her hair ever since her arms got long enough to reach up to where they were, and claw them out.

On Sunday night, however, her uncle Brent decided that she needed a pony tail, stole a rubber band from one of the nearby heads (Char’s, actually.  Thanks, Char!) and put one in.

It stayed.



But the secret, as I discovered this morning, is to put it in while she is being distracted by something else, like a buzzing cloud of cousins.

Or else she just respected Brent’s authority.

Ferries Are Fun

Part of leaving Seattle on a plane that leaves at 10:00 in the morning is getting oneself (and one’s baby, and in this case one’s parents as well) to the airport on time.

If one wants to get to the airport by 8:30, one has to consider all of one’s options to avoid nasty traffic snarl-ups.  So we decided to bypass Tacoma traffic by taking the ferry into downtown Seattle, and making our way to the airport from there.  Besides, we like to get as many types of transportation as possible into Margaret’s day.  It’s educational.

At first, she seemed a little nervous.


But she soon decided that the ferry was a nice place.


And a good place to run.


It isn’t.