Sunday, July 25, 2010

9 in, 9 out: an update

Juniper has now been alive and breathing in this here wonderful world longer than she was alive (and not yet breathing) in my belly.  9 months in, 9 months out.  All that worldly experience and she is truly becoming her own little person.

On her nine month birthday, J bug fed herself for the first time.  To recap J bug's short history with foods other than breastmilk, she has been--ahem--rather finicky.  (This is where I can hear my parents laughing giddily and yelling, Payback!)  In Appalachia she ate like a champ, polishing off small containers of sweet potato puree as though she'd been doing it all along.  Then, as soon as we returned home--nada.  We tried avocado, sweet peas, peaches and even her favorites--carrot and apple--but to no avail.  She learned to clamp her mouth shut, purse her lips and turn her head away from the spoon.

I try not to get *too* frustrated because, after all, breastmilk is best for at least the first year and everybody says kids will eat when they're ready to eat.  Then, at nine months, she did this:

Oh.  That's what Opera would call an "Aha Moment."  She wants to feed herself.  I knew that would happen eventually, I just didn't think it would be right after she finally started taking purees from a spoon.  So we hung up the spoon, and have graduated to steaming and dicing sweet potatoes, carrots, slicing blueberries, chopping avocado (then--because it is too slick for her to grasp--breading it in crushed rice puffs), and still we often get this face:

And in the end, in a nutshell, this is what we've learned: Osa loves cooked sweet potato, is so-so about carrot and wants nothing to do with blueberries.  (But Juniper will toss them all on the floor in equal measure.)

:: Weights & Measures:  We've always known J bug is a healthy, chunky, babe; but at her 9 month appointment we learned something new: she's tall.  At 29 1/2" she was in the 95th percentile for height and 75th for weight (20 lbs, 3 oz).  Sucking on the chi-chi is serving her well.

:: I am in love with my standing, pre-crawling little monkey.  She is so squirmy and fun and with her newfound mobility (within a four foot radius), she'll make a bee-line for the one thing we don't want her to suck on.   

Something I adore that J bug's been doing for months is what we call "the hook and look."  It's such a wonderful feeling when your baby starts holding on to you, your shirt, your hair, whatever.  It's one of those small things that is totally cool.  That little arm hooked around your arm, that little hand clutching your shirt.    

:: My man brought me home this bouquet of wildflowers: lupine, mariposa lily, sticky geranium, paintbrush, columbine, scarlet gilia...our familiars... celebrate seven years of love and life together.

:: Ah, summer.

The dog days of summer.

^That's me, dog-tired and sweating my ass off after hiking up the local ski "hill" in the dead of afternoon.  I swear, that trail is steeper now than it was a few years ago. ^

If it's hot where you are, enjoy it.  Bottle it.  Open your windows and let it in.  Then, come January, remember it.  

Saturday, July 17, 2010

mid-summer ramblings

This is where we live.  That bottom number is a little difficult to read, so let me clarify: 6,601 chizzlers.  That's "ground-squirrel" to some of you.  To us, they are like rats.  And while we were on vacation here and here, they moved into our garden, got married and had babies.  Lots and lots and lots of babies.

Radishes: gone.  Beets: half gone.  Lettuce and peas: chewed down to the nub.  Survivors: onion, garlic and potatoes.  I think the only reason potatoes survived is because we don't actually have the tubers yet.
I have to admit, the garlic looks pretty darned good for being spring-planted (my first time planting garlic 7 months late).  Had we known it would be one of the few crops chizzlers would avoid, we would have planted more.  C'est la vie.  I suppose.  I do miss having a produce isle in my backyard.  Between not having food in our backyard and living in close proximity to a wealthy resort-town, our grocery bill has taken a steep climb upwards.  But just this year.  Next year, we'll be backyard farming once again.  In the meantime my man has been, ahem, "taking care of" the chizzlers.

::   ::   ::

On the drive back to Wyoming (we flew back east from Montana), we stopped at the hot springs again.  Note the PINK swim diaper.  It was my first true cave into social expectations with J bug.  The first day of swimming lessons, the instructor kept calling her a him, I presume, because she was wearing a BLUE swim diaper (not even trunks).  All the other girl-babies in class wear an actual swimming suit over their swim diaper (which to me looks like a major pain-in-the-ass to put on--regardless, I almost caved into that too), but we don't and yet everyone has now managed to figure out that she's a girl.  In 9 months, I have learned a few things about the whole "is it a boy or a girl" thing.  And that is, at this age nobody really gives a shit, they just want to know which pronoun to use.  I've had J bug dressed in blue, boyish hand-me-downs and people still seem to know she's a girl.  And I've had her wear a PINK DRESS and people will still ask, "boy or girl"?  Bless them.      

:: Anyway, I wanted my man to see our little fish in action.

:: So the great thing about living near a wealthy resort-town is the awesome fireworks over the 4th.  I heard that DC's show lasted 17 minutes.  I didn't time it, but I do believe this one was significantly longer.  Maybe we should invite the Obama's next year.  
Juniper slept through all the bangs, pops, sizzles and cheers.  But before that, she and her "tree cousin" chewed on a plastic water bottle together while we waited for dark.  What are cousins for?

::  Oh, Osa.  In the last three weeks, I have taken three "last photos" of Osa.  This most recent was the worst.  After putting Juniper to bed, I noticed blood on the kitchen floor.  Then, a little while later, her water dish was filled with blood.  Solid red.  Fuck, I thought.  She won't live through the weekend.  I dug out the phonebook, looked up the 24-hour animal hospital, picked up the phone and thought, What am I doing?  And I had the internal debate with myself over when to say when.
All of us want our pets to go on their own.  None of us want the responsibility of THAT decision.  My husband and I always thought she'd have a seizure (she's epileptic) that would stop her heart (she has congestive heart failure).  But it's becoming more and more clear to us that we won't have it so easy.  And so I hung up the phone and I thought, This is it.  I have to let her go.  And I cried and I hugged her bony old body and I whispered in her ear what a good, good dog she has been, how she has been the BEST dog, and how sorry I am that she has not been as spoiled these last nine months, and how happy I am that she lived to meet our daughter, and I thanked her for all the good times, all the backpacking trips, for our wonderful ten years of life together.  And then, I gave Osa her last bone to chew on.
My man was working late that night and I was already in bed.  I told him what had happened.  The next morning, he rose before me, made breakfast, then came back to bed with the news: "Well, honey.  Osa's not dying."  And this is what he found:
Um, yeah.  I had left the recycling on the back porch.  Osa is alive and well and her mouth might be a little cut up, but she is still going to great lengths for any measure, any speck of food.  She continues to live up to her Spanish name, Bear.

::  In glancing back through this blog as well as my iphoto album, I have noticed a pattern I am beginning to fear.  The Missing Mother.  It's sort of like a Deadbeat Dad, except only on paper (so, obviously, not nearly as bad).  I don't exclude pictures of myself because I'm trying to "hide the baby fat" or anything like that (in fact, I am happy to report that my weight is a tad below pre-pregnancy, although I attribute that achievement 100% to Juniper's vigorous breastfeeding regimen), I just don't have any photos of myself.  I'm kind of a camera hog, and when I do pass the camera to my man, I'm kind of bossy about it.  I'm trying to change.
(That's Osa cooling off her heart--one of her favorite activities these days, in addition to punching holes in salmon cans.)  

:: Last weekend, Juniper and I drove back to Montana for the last year of the National Folk Festival.  It travels to different cities every 3 years, but Butte, MT was the first time in 40 years it has been west of the Mississippi.  (Next 3 years is Tennessee, I believe.)  
We met up with Aunt D, cousin Owen and some good friends we left behind when we moved back to Wyoming.  
We camped and danced and talked about babies and avoided the Bluegrass (which we can see anytime) and gravitated towards the Moroccan, Arabic and South Indian music, the African-American tap dancing, the Salsa, and the Delta Blues.

And then, Juniper and I drove home.    
It's a 5-plus hour drive, and I had almost forgotten that Juniper becomes a gremlin in the car after 7:30 p.m.  Or rather, I was hoping she had out-grown that stage.  But she hasn't, and after I exhausted "Humpty Dumpty" and "Little Miss Muffet" and "Jack and Jill" and all the other sing-song nursery rhymes on the CD my mom bought me after reading this post, I once again resorted to 99 Bottles of Beer on the Wall.  Sad, I know, but it's mindless and I can keep it going for a while.   

Friday, July 9, 2010

golden cloves: into the green

golden cloves: kernels of goodness in lots of photos and little words from the last week or so
Oh, Appalachia.  

Appalachia: there couldn't be a more beautiful place to have in-laws--they are dappled throughout the mountains and valleys.   

Appalachia: a bit quirky, yes, but we love it.  

Appalachia: my first time in the summer.  First time seeing, catching, fireflies.  Lightening bugs.  Pixies.  Tinker Bell.  You name it.  They seem unreal; little fairytale bugs.  

Appalachia: fishing for bluegill at dusk without a jacket or sweater.  Heaven.  
Appalachia: Juniper's first time meeting many relatives in general, and great-grandparents in particular.

Appalachia: Juniper's (and my) first ride on a coal-powered steam locomotive.

J bug slept on Uncle M's chest for most of the ride, smooshing her sunglasses into his chest.

Riding that train with more cousins and relatives.
(Note the sunglass impression.)

Appalachia: warm summer evenings.  I probably have not stopped talking about the warm summer evenings to anyone who will listen.

 (Juniper showing off to g-pa how well she turns pages.)

Appalachia: already dreaming of the next visit, of country cooking, of family, of green, and of warm air licking our skin.