Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Kelley & Phil's bun!

We got to go over to Kelley & Phil's last weekend; as you can tell, Fern's got another playmate on the way! Unfortunately, we didn't get any good shots of Phil this visit; there are some of him in the "related photos" though!




Tuesday, January 30, 2007

First steps!

Well, it's finally happened: we've got official, repeatable steps! Just before her birthday, too. Go, girl!


Press the play button, or if that doesn't work, try this link.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Changing the radio station

I know a lot of teenagers, so I'm used to being told that my musical tastes are antediluvian. "You listen to this? How boooooring!" I have to say, though, that I didn't expect to get that attitude from Fern for 11 or 12 years.

No such luck. As you can see in my "caught in the act" picture, if Fern doesn't like what's on, she turns the big tuning dial until something more interesting comes up!



Tuesday, January 23, 2007

"I'd like out. Now."

We get asked a lot about whether Fern's got any words yet, and although the answer is unchanged (just a few, lots of mimicry), it has to be said that she's really good at communicating nonverbally. Any guesses as to what this expression is saying?
  1. This is fun! Let's play more crib-slat-peekaboo!
  2. I am sooo sleepy. Can't you tell that I'm sleepy?
  3. Any chance of another Cheerio or two?
  4. I'd like out. Now.

If you guessed d, then you're right! She does indeed get her message across.

Friday, January 19, 2007

Eyes on the prize

Today we started on that most venerated of toddler staples: the Cheerio. For the first time since I was maybe 9, I opened the box to find... a prize! Our current cereals are generally prize-free, unless you count the occasional free ticket to Das Glutenfest, the annual German celebration of seitan.

The Cheerios prize is an odd music box that plays a nondescript ditty (maybe it's a salsa?) performed by penguins that have been frozen in an ice floe. Penguin pops, I guess. It's safe for "ages 3+plus" [sic] but interesting probably only to ages 2-minus. Fern, for example, seems perfectly content to use it as a percussion instrument and squish avocado into it. 

Cheerios, it turns out, are made with the much-maligned (and occasionally defended) high fructose corn syrup, presumably to shave a few cents off the price, so we're thinking about looking for an alternative. Something sweetened only with fruit juice and full of fiber and nutrients. A cereal we can feel good about serving our child and eating ourselves. A wholesome product that makes us feel that all is right with the world just because it produces such benevolent things. The perfect cereal.

But I bet it won't come with a prize inside.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

New Years wrapup!

What a hiatus! I suppose I can no longer use the excuse of the holiday excitement any longer. I suppose I could come up with different excuses (I got a new version of Photoshop, I needed to fly to St-Tropez for the week, the cat ate my network), or I could just post! So, here goes.

I've posted some of the photos from Jack & Anne's days here over New Years' Day. Unfortunately  The complete set of holiday photos, including several taken by grandmas Anne and Linda and grandpapa Gary, is at this link.

New Year's girl

Jack and Fern

Cute smile

Fern in a box

Babushka girl

Fern gets a drum



Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Slide into success

The grin of success! Fern figured out how to get herself off the end of the slide safely without help and immediately climbed back up to do it again. Her confidence has matured a little faster than her agility, so it's a relief when the latter catches up.

Sunday, January 07, 2007

Stealing the lens cap

Sorry about the long break -- we had visitors and Internet problems, and I can only deal with one thing at a time! I'm still getting the New Year's pictures, but I couldn't resist this one when I saw it. You have to look for it, but you'll notice that Fern's trying to steal the dangling lens cap from right off my camera!

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Eleven months and counting!

Dear Fern,

You're in the home stretch of your first year! We're just now getting back into our pre-holiday routine, so it's a little hard to tease out actual developmental steps from reactions to all the Christmas travel and turmoil. Still, it's clear that many of the challenging aspects of your babyhood are fading, and quickly being replaced by premonitions of even more challenging toddlerhood.

Knocking on wood while I type, you are sleeping more solidly and getting to sleep faster than before, with fewer evening wakings. I think it's because we're being strict about your sleep routine. It might help that you're eating like a champion, and I suppose you must be feeling more comfortable in your bed, too, so that it's not uncommon for you to go to sleep at 8 p.m. and not wake up at all until about 4 a.m. (Yes, four in the morning, so if you're rereading this as an adult, I hope you appreciate that!)

You had a little cold this month, your second so far. It lasted a little longer than the first, but like last month's, it didn't seem to slow you down one bit. You still love to sneeze, and have taken to jumping on me when I sneeze, too, as if to capture the sneeze for yourself. It's a little startling.

Your smile gets bigger every day, and so does your capacity for mischief. You get into things really quickly, and if you're upset you can cry pretty loudly, but not for very long. I get the feeling that it's time for us to really watch our behavior. It seems that the way we respond to your joy and your tears is already having a major impact on your personality. Now's the time when we could really spoil you, so we're always careful to be loving but not smothering, to let you experiment but not fall too hard. It's probably our biggest challenge at the moment. 

You're still very verbal, but like I've said before, it's hard to say if you've said your first word (depending on how we define the word "word"). We're sure you've said "dada" and "mama," although sometimes you use them interchangeably with both of us, and possibly with the cat as well. You know how to ask for water, too, but it's less a word than a whine of a certain pitch. (Be assured, though, that it's not abstract; your mom and I instantly know that you need water when we hear that certain squeak.)

One unmistakable word you've learned is "milk," but it's not in English: it's the American Sign Language that we're using with you. You've been signing it for about two weeks now, albeit only for your mom, not for milk from a bottle. Daddy forgets to sign it with you.

Speaking with acknowledged bias, you are a really striking kid. We went to the park yesterday after a holiday hiatus, and you immediately attracted an entourage of faces both familiar and new. Several kids, all older and one who was probably at least three, followed you wherever you went. The three-year old wanted to have a conversation with you (oops!) and one cute two-year old girl kept bringing you toys and dropping them off. (You looked a little bewildered by that, to be honest.)

You aren't really verbal with other children yet, but nor are you aloof. I've noticed that you make solid and sustained eye contact more than the other babies seem to. All the babies like to grab each other, but in you I see a desire to make a connection: you'll try to touch a hand or a face, for example, rather than pulling at hair to see what it feels like. You grab sometimes, too, but it's less common than a stroke or a pat.

Still no walking or standing on your own, although occasionally, if you don't notice that you're standing, you'll stay up for a few seconds before plopping back on your butt. You pull up to stand with no apparent effort at all, though, and you'll walk with our support for many yards, so we're expecting that it'll be any day now that you toddle away on your own. (Probably when we're at the top of some unguarded stairs, or perhaps on a volcano observation platform. You have an uncanny ability to find danger where we hadn't noticed it.)

The holiday season has been fun and a little challenging, and you've been just fantastic through it all. Your personality is huge and ever-expanding, and as we chase after you on your learning adventures we're every day more excited, amazed, and sometimes bewildered by your burgeoning personhood.

Well done. Keep it up! 


Mommy & Daddy 



Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Goin' to the zoo

Part of the fun of the holidays is having some time off together to do fun things like going to the zoo as a family. Uncle Greg (pictured, with meerkat) and Grandma Linda took us to the newly notorious San Francisco Zoo on the last day of their Christmas visit (and no, we didn't go to the lion house).

(The title, by the way, is a reference to the Tom Paxton kids' album, one of our faves.)

Monday, January 01, 2007

The twelve days of Christmas

Opening presents with Grandma Linda
Uncle Greg puts on socks

As promised, here are some of the photos from Uncle Greg & Grandma Linda's Christmas visit earlier in the week. I'd bet that Fern has the impression that Christmas lasts pretty much forever... she's been surrounded by carols, cards, and gifts for quite a while now. (We were especially hard put to find a spot for the partridge and that darn pear tree.)

Not that she minds, of course. As you can see, she's still pretty fond of paper, although some of the advanced wrapping baffles her; here she is with Grandma Linda helping to unravel one!

Also pictured is Uncle Greg learning some baby lessons. Putting on socks is actually quite an advanced skill... note how he expertly distracts her with a rattle so she doesn't notice that her sock is being replaced.