Monday, August 23, 2010


Ten things I am loving right now...

1) Juniper's orange Mary Jane's (thank you Nancy!):

2) August:
(Okay, so yeah, I could probably take this exact photo in January when it's 40 below, but still.)

3) This book (scary statistics, but exciting to know what we can change RIGHT NOW):
(And on that note, all teflon pans are heading to the thrift store tomorrow; a small first step, but the first of many changes to come.)

4) Pudgy knees digging in, moving forward; my little salamander on the move:

5) My man and his bedtime reading:

6) This workout class:

(The photo was taken during a transition to the ground, so you can't really tell, but this class is hard.  I'm always sore the next day.)  

7) The Farmer's Market; particularly this summer since my own garden was munched by chizzlers:

8)But the chizzlers didn't get these.  I've said it before, I adore these lil' hot peppers.

9) My giggling, wrestling, ten-month-old tent monkey:

AND, last but definitely not least....

10) These words from my Uncle:

An observation from experience:  Juniper is watching you every waking moment and learns from everything you do in her presence, everything.  Wherever you think she is in her mental development, she's 6-12 months ahead of that.  That little mind is learning at hurricane speed, and you don't always notice it.  Raising a child is a precious adventure; I'm glad you're enjoying it so thoroughly.

Thanks, Uncle D.  

Saturday, August 14, 2010

I will eat you up

Juniper's been teething so hard she drools like a Chinese fighting dog.  At night, she wakes and cries out and ends up slipping into our bed earlier and earlier each night.  Last night, it was 1:30am.  I brought her into bed with the full intention of placing her back into her crib after she returned to slumber, but instead she curled into the hollow place in my belly and we slept.

Just tonight (yeah, it's after midnight), she cried a pathetic, scared, why-am-I-alone-in-a-cage-in-a-dark-room-with-sore-gums cry and I picked her up and rocked her in my arms and swayed until my back ached and my biceps were on fire and I could feel her body finally relax and go limp.  And I had it again, that overwhelming desire to just gobble her up.

Since Juniper was born, both my husband and I are occasionally overcome with a desire to eat our baby.  We love her that much.  We wish we could just open our mouths and put her in there, whole and unharmed, and keep her there.  Maybe it's a feeling of wholeness and protection, of wanting to place her safe and sound back where she came from.  I will eat you up, I love you so.  Isn't that a line from, "Where the Wild Things Are"?  We get it.  
Yeah, we totally get it.

::  An update.  Shall I be brief?  (Yeah, right.)  In the last 10 days: Juniper made her first sign (sign language), adopted her first nasty habit from her mother, said her first word (possibly debatable), began crawling forward (not just backward) combined with putting everything (that isn't edible) in her mouth at lightening speed, had 3 of 4 front teeth come in (that fourth is proving to be the bugger), and is pooping more than once a week (proof that not all of her finger foods are ending up on the floor for Osa).

: Since she was six months old, we've been teaching Juniper a handful of signs.  "Dog" (it's a finger-snapping motion) is the sign I use most.  Because how many times a day do we see Osa and I say, Look!  There's Osa!  Osa's a dog.  DOOOOG. (And I make the sign).  So one day we were playing on the front porch and Osa was over sniffing the neighbor's bar-b-que and as she waddled her way home, Juniper looked at her and laughed (Juniper always laughs at Osa) and made the finger-snapping sign for dog.  I was floored.    
Then, er, the next day I was all, Wow.  Juniper's making the sign for "dog" A LOT!  But then I noticed that, yes, sometimes she was signing "dog", but sometimes she the hangnails off her thumbs.  And that, my friend, is this mama's nasty, nasty habit.  I do it absentmindedly ALL THE TIME.  It drives my husband bonkers.  And in my naivete, I thought Juniper would pick up me signing "dog" ten times a day, but not my thumb-picking a hundred times a day?

That was my first realization that Juniper is my mirror and I better start behaving like the reflection I want to see.  (Until I can quit for good, I pick my thumbs under the dinner table.)

::  Last week was also our last day of swimming lessons.
My man came again to watch and when Juniper noticed him sitting on the bench she looked directly at him, smiled and wiggled, and said, "Da-da-da."

Okay, so she's been da-da-da-ing indiscriminately for a long time.  But in swim lessons, she never, EVER babbles.  Not ever.  But this time she saw him and said da-da-da just once and I said, Yeah, that's Da-da.  And that was it, she went back to swimming.  I don't know, but I counted it as a First Word.  It's in her baby book, in ink.

Just like the "first kick" while pregnant, all these baby "firsts" are clear as mud.  May be a kick, may be gas.  May be a sign, may be a hangnail.  May be a word, may be a babble.  May be a crawl, but does backwards count?    

:: So this week I have had to place things out of J bug's reach.  And she still has caught me by surprise by doing things like crawling over to her potty and splash, splash, splashing! in the pee.  Doh!

:: We've been hiking lately and Juniper has developed a taste for rocks--and we have developed a knack for swiping the rocks away before we hear the grinding sound...learned by trail and error, of course.  

^If you're wondering why Juniper always wears the same thing when we go hiking, it's because we always dress her in the same thing when we go hiking: a shield from our intense sun, skeeters and horseflies!  

:: Osa is finally able to discover the true joy in having a J bug in the house.  We had hoped she would live to see the day.
^You can't see it, but she's cleaning corn off Juniper's chair.^

::  On our way to meeting a good friend in Yellowstone...

...we hiked in the Park, our first rainy afternoon hike...

...and during a break in the storm, quickly changed diapers, ate snacks and took pictures all the while keeping gravel out of Juniper's mouth....

:: August is the month for cramming, and we're planning a backpack trip (catering to Osa's limits), a quasi-fishing trip, some last-minute sun-soaking and then....  Sigh.  Nights are already cooler.  Afternoon thunderstorms have made a come-back.  Horseflies and skeeters are finally beginning to fade.  I love, love, love the change of seasons, but I will take any last bits of August I can get.  And yes, the bug is now 10 months old!


Tuesday, August 3, 2010

swimming for home

Shhhhh.  Juniper is napping in her crib for the first time since she was, oh, 4 weeks old.  Holy heaven.

And Osa is outside barking at a drowned mouse in her kiddie pool.  I think it just happened, the mouse suicide.  I'm not looking forward to plucking the bloated body from her pool.  Secretly, I wish she would just eat it.  She won't.

Mice aren't the only creatures drowning around here.  No, in the last couple of weeks these here parts have seen two tragic human drownings, a handful of bear maulings, and lightening strikes resulting in one dead and 16 injured.

All that news is complicating what is now becoming my obsession at finding a house.  I am borderline OCD about finding a house these days.  I run the options in my head several times a day and ask myself the,  In town or out of town? question at least every hour.

And then there is the 6th sense one develops after becoming a parent.  The worry sense.  It's borderline absurd.  Okay, it IS absurd.  Worry.  It lurks in the back of your mind like a yellow-toothed predator waiting to pounce.    

How about the house by the river?  But Juniper might drown.
How about the house bordering Forest?  But Juniper might get plucked out of the backyard by a grizzly.  
How about the house out of town?  But Juniper won't have any friends.  
How about the house in town?  But what if the neighbors are meth-heads?  
How about the house on the ridge?  But Juniper might get struck by lightening.  

Yeah, I know.  I told you.  Normally, I don't listen.  We are who we are.  And my man and I happen to be people who love rough rivers and big bears and mountains where lightening walks.  Maybe we should ask ourselves, What kind of house would we want if we didn't have a june bug?  What has changed now that we do have a june bug?  And of that, What really matters?

So here I am, swimming through a sea of MLS listings, trying to pin down our future home.  It will happen.  But I could use a little more patience and a little less worry.

:: Juniper, on the other hand, is swimming her way into the last week of lessons.  My man was able to go with us last week and took some photos.  So fun.  What did we ever do without a kid?

The instructor is really quite impressive.

Now that she's figured out how, J bug loves to sit pool's edge and Kick, kick, kick!  (The little girl next to her is 2 and a pro--she often shows Juniper the swimming ropes.)

Every class the little fish line up on a step and splash, splash, splash! and kick, kick, kick! and the older fish dip their faces in the water.  But what always cracks me up is how Juniper is way more interested in watching the other girls.  Often, she reaches out to touch their faces.  It is so damned cute.