rivka: (boundin')
Three years ago, my life changed forever. Happy birthday to my darling boy!

the year in pictures )colin_bike
rivka: (Baltimore)
Look, here are some pictures of our new house!

(The same ones that were on Facebook, if you already saw those.) Read more... )
rivka: (Alex at five)
Six years ago today, my amazing daughter was born. As I cradled her tiny body that night, I remember how impossible it seemed, that such a perfect separate creature could have come from inside my body.

Yeah. I still find it kind of hard to believe.

a year of Alex, in pictures )
IMAG0588
rivka: (Default)
One I stop posting, it starts to feel like I shouldn't post until I have something really momentous to say. "You've barely posted in months, you didn't write about X, Y, and Z, but you're going to make a post about trivial topic q? Really?"

That's a large part of why I never restarted Respectful of Otters. I couldn't let myself just post sporadic small things - I couldn't restart unless I was going to make significant posts on a regular basis. With the first one super-awesome-earthshattering, of course, to make restarting justifiable.

So the hell with that. If I go ahead and post a few random trivial things, maybe the spell will be broken and I'll be able to start writing again.

Random trivial thing of the day:

You can easily tell by looking at Colin how many days it's been since we've done laundry.

First day of clean laundry: green and grey striped hoodie.

IMAG0524 IMAG0509

First few nights of clean laundry: moose hoodie PJs. Yes, he sleeps with the hood up.

moose_pjs2

Second day of clean laundry: orange hoodie with raccoons on it.

hoodie_boy

Third day of clean laundry: grey hoodie whose hood doesn't stay up very well, but it is partially redeemed by having a picture of a bulldozer on it.

If Colin is wearing an item of clothing that doesn't have a hood, it's been at least three days since we did laundry. Simple as that.
rivka: (Default)
The happiest of happy birthdays to Colin Randolph Nutt! Today he is officially a big boy (just ask him): two years old.

It's been a challenging year in some ways, but the sheer wonderfulness of this excellent little guy can't be beat.

a year of Colin )
hoodie_boy
rivka: (alex & colin)
We had the kids' pictures taken for Christmas. They turned out really well.

get ready for the magnificence to blind you... )
rivka: (Colin 1.5)
Colin, clinging to Michael: Want Mommy carry boy.
Michael: hands Colin off to me.
Colin, clinging to me, head on my shoulder:
Want Daddy.
Me: Do you want Mommy or Daddy?
Colin: Want BUNNY.

Once he had Bunny in his arms he was perfectly content. Mommy, Daddy, whatever.

IMAG0355

(He starts out in a crib, but at some point in the early morning hours he winds up in our bed. So does Bunny.)
rivka: (Default)
"When you read this you're tagged!If you feel like it: Take a picture of you in your current state, no changing your clothes or quickly putting on makeup. NO PHOTOSHOP. Show your F-List the real you!"

Picture 3

Christ, do I ever need a haircut.
rivka: (colin in whoville)
Conversations with my son:
Colin: Daddy, Daddy!
Me: Where is Daddy?
Colin: Coffee.

Also, I made the mistake of showing Colin that it's possible to Google for pictures of airplanes. Now, every time I sit at my computer, he comes running up to point at the screen. "Airplane! Airplane!"

It is simply impossible to deny him when he gives me his Face of Joyful Anticipation.

Especially because, if he's not entirely sure that I've understood, he'll clarify using one of his most adorable word abbreviations: "Picsh? Picsh?"

"Pictures?" I say. "Yes!" I haul him onto my lap and search Google Images for airplanes. He vibrates with joy. "Airplane!" Point. "Airplane!" Point. "Airplane!" Attempt to climb right off my lap and into the monitor. "Airplane!"

On that note, have some picsh of the Many Moods of Colin.

IMAG0129

princess_in_training

IMAG0141

IMAG0132

(Yes, those are salmon eggs he's eating. The minute the tray of sushi arrives he starts pointing: "Pease? Pease?" Both of the kids will fight me for them.)

(Why so many highchair pictures? Only time he sits still.)
rivka: (boundin')
This year at SUUSI, instead of taking a bunch of different short workshops and nature trips as I've always done before, I focused all my programming time on one workshop which met every day. For two hours every morning, regardless of what else was going on - and a lot else was going on - I immersed myself in bookbinding.

It was a wonderful experience.

We made three books in five days. The first day, we built very simple sewn pamphlets using materials our instructor had pre-cut for us. It was an easy project, but still exciting to make a real book. The second book took most of us two full days and was considerably more complex, and the third book was even more technically involved. I never would have imagined, on Monday, what I would have learned to make by Friday.

Our instructor teaches university-level business classes. Bookbinding, paper marbling, and papermaking are just her hobbies. Every morning she set up a complete workshop in a dorm study room, fully outfitted with tools, reference books, and examples of handmade books. Every afternoon she dismantled it, even removing the tables, so that a meditation class could meet in the same room in the afternoon. She was dedicated. She was also incredibly good at breaking down complex tasks into small, easily understandable steps; without that skill, I don't think her undeniable artistic talent would have taken us very far.

Here are pictures of my three books. I'll put most of the pictures and all the detailed description under cuts, because otherwise this post would be enormous.

Simple sewn pamphlet.
pamphlet_1

more about the first book )

Game board book.
game_board_book_1

more about the second book )

Coptic bound book.
coptic_bound_book_1

more about the third book )

I am clearly very much a beginner, and yet I am so proud and satisfied of these books I made. Our instructor did such a great job of choosing projects and leading us through them. I liked that we learned precise techniques, but also had a lot of flexibility and creative opportunities with the design. I doubt I'll do more bookbinding - I don't have time for my current hobbies, let alone a new one - but it was an immensely satisfying way of spending ten hours at SUUSI.
rivka: (colin in whoville)
1. Colin puts Alex's ponytail holders on his wrists or, sometimes, his ankles. Then he walks around displaying them to people and saying, "Pretty! Pretty!" If you tell him that yes, he is pretty, he will beam like it's his birthday.

2. He tucks humanoid toys under his chin and says "Awwwww..." in a baby-cuddling voice. The tinier and more incongruous the toy, the more adorable this is; it is pretty cute when he does it with his baby doll, and damn near fatal when it is a three-inch firefighter in full regalia.

3. He stands up on a chair, makes eye contact with the closest adult, shakes his hand in an admonitory fashion, and says sternly, "Get! Down!" Then, softly and sweetly: "Tank oo!" No actual sitting-down occurs in the course of this ritual, but he always thanks himself anyway.

4. He opens up one of the kitchen cabinets and removes its contents of paper towels. Then he uses the cabinet as a seat. It is exactly the right size.

IMAG0111
rivka: (colin in whoville)
I am sooo overdue for a developmental update on Colin. I guess that's what happens when your ceiling falls in, you start homeschooling, and you have a sermon to write.

Anyway: Colin is sixteen and a half months old.

IMAG0082

When I last updated, he had about a half-dozen words. Now he has more words than we can count, and new ones pop up all the time. He says giraffe and shower and outside and thank you and Rebecca and all clean and grapes and glasses. He says Ashes, ashes, a down when we play Ring Around the Rosy. He knows a couple dozen signs, although he only regularly uses a few: more (which he also uses for again), all done, bath, cracker, socks. He isn't putting two words together yet (things like "all done" don't count because they're set phrases), but he can certainly make himself understood.

He is probably the first toddler in human history to learn yes before no. I guess if any toddler did it, it would be Colin, Mr. Agreeable McEasygoing. We ask him a lot of questions, and when we get something right he beams at us and says "yesss."

Conversation with my son:
Colin: (climbs onto my desk chair and stands up, then shakes his finger in an admonitory fashion.) Down! A Down!
Me: Sit down, Colin.
Colin: (beams at me, sits down).
Me:
Are you the goofiest boy in the world?
Colin: Yes!

He tries to throw tantrums. They are pretty sorry. He casts himself on the ground and sort of reclines on one elbow so that he can still see you and tell whether you are reacting to him, and wails unconvincingly. He can't really hide his sunny nature for long.

He does know when he's being shabbily treated, though. For example: someone reading to Alex. Clearly being read to is for Colin, and Colin only. He's been known to slam her books shut, say "All done!", and substitute a book of his own. If he brings me a book of his and I don't stop reading to her immediately, he brings another book and another, as if he's sure that I will give up on Alex if he only tempts me with the right selection.

Colin loves: Books, again and again, especially if they have babies or animals in them. Balls of every description. Keys, not to shake the way a baby does but to insert hopefully in locks. Dogs and ducks, in real life and in pictures. Michael, with the fire of a thousand suns. After Michael leaves for work in the morning, Colin stands by the door calling and calling for him. When Michael returns, Colin catapults into his arms and snuggles in deep. Michael is everything right now.

He likes to look around the family circle, pointing and naming each of us in turn. I remember Alex going through the same stage. "Daddy! Mama! Alex! Colin! Daddy! Mama! Alex! Colin!" When we're out in public and a stranger comes within our orbit, Colin makes eye contact with them, points to me, and says firmly: "Mama." Don't get any ideas - I'm with her.

He eats well for a toddler, with a particular preference for meat and fruit. He likes to use a fork and spoon. Nursing (Colin calls it see, I think because I say nursie) is still going strong. I do see why people find toddler nursing annoying; Colin is big on gymnastics, and this morning while I was lying in bed, staying actively latched on the whole time, he first stood in a tripod pose and then started climbing up my body until he was sort of standing on my side and leaning way over to nurse. On the other hand, there are compensations. When he was an infant, although he loved to nurse, at the same time it did seem like nursing was just sort of there to him - something he took for granted. Now when I pick him up and turn him sideways he gets a sweet and excited smile of anticipation. So that is rewarding.

Colin is adventurous in a way that Alex was not. He's the type to pull out a dining room chair, climb up on the table, and brandish a knife that was left on a cutting board. At one point he found our spare housekey, pulled a chair over to the front door, and did his damnedest to insert the key into the lock and open the door.

IMAG0086

For all that he terrifies me, he is such a fun and sweet little boy. If he only slept through the night, I'd be ready for a half-dozen more just like this one.
rivka: (colin in whoville)
I don't want to work on my grant. Good thing you guys need a developmental update, huh?

IMAG0016

Every other month is too infrequent for updates at this age. Because the last time I wrote Colin was just taking his first independent steps, the steps that mark the boundary between baby and toddler. Now he is a sturdy and reliable walker, and crawling has almost entirely disappeared - it's for stairs only.

Spring arrived at just the right time for Colin. He loves to play outside and go for walks. He loves watching birds and dogs on the sidewalk or in the park. We have smooth white river stones at the border between our fence and the sidewalk; they are Colin's favorite toys in the whole world. He likes to hold one in each hand and walk up and down the block. He goes back and forth carrying rocks to the neighbors' front steps, making little cairns. He clicks them together. But mostly he just holds and carries them. Everywhere. He cries when I refuse to let him bring them in the house.

He's talking a little bit. He clearly says Mama, Dada, Alex (which sounds like "A'ek" in his dialect), dog, cracker ("cakuh"), and that ("dah!", meaning give me that/look at that). There are other words I think I've heard him say (duck, shoes) but I can't be fully certain yet. He sometimes uses the signs for "more" and "all done," which are the only signs we've introduced, and he also uses other communicative gestures: nodding, shaking his head, pointing. Nodding in response to a question is still unreliable, but when he's trying to ask for something he wants he uses nod/headshake signals well to let us know whether we've guessed right.

He clearly understands a lot. He can follow simple directions, like "go get a book" and "give Mama kisses" and "let's go find Alex." He recognizes the correspondence between a picture of a wagon in a book and his own wagon, between pictures of dogs and the word "dog" and real dogs. He understands the word "no." (Whether he complies or not depends on his mood.)

He loves to manipulate objects and work mechanisms, and he is fiendishly good at it. He is ingenious and dextrous. He will sit for five minutes at a time taking the cap on and off a highlighter. He has figured out how to take the childproof cap off a pill bottle. He loves opening and closing doors, turning things on and off (the TV, Alex's CD player), balancing precariously on the rocking chair in the living room to practice working the doorknob, plugging in unplugged appliances, turning the knobs on the stove, removing outlet covers, unrolling all the toilet paper from the roll, and indiscriminately pushing buttons. In short: he is an utter menace, and he terrifies me. We've made it five years without an ER trip for Alex, but I don't think we're going to be able to say the same about Colin.

He's still very snuggly and loving. He likes to cuddle and hug and nuzzle and be held. He still likes to bring me soft toys so that we can cuddle them together. Sometimes when Alex is nearby he will stroke her affectionately. They are really getting to be good buddies; now that Colin is older and walking, Alex has a little more use for him, and they play together for short bursts. He has always found her hilarious, and she's starting to return the favor. Unfortunately, one of the things Alex finds most entertaining is to egg Colin on to do things he shouldn't.

His sleep sucks so unbelievably that I don't even want to write about it.

But mostly Colin is awesome. I really love one-year-olds. Especially mine.

IMAG0004
rivka: (Alex the queen)
Happy birthday to Alexandra Calvert Wald. Today you are five.

the now-traditional birthday photo montage post )
daisy_girl_scout

Five seems like such a significant birthday. It's a real kid age. There's nothing of the baby left at five.
rivka: (Alex the queen)
I have my flaws, but sometimes I think I get the mom thing right.

castle_cake

Alex is having a Fairy Tale Princess birthday party this afternoon.

Five or six friends will be coming over dressed in their finest princess gear. Michael and I are also dressing up in costume as the King and Queen.

I got plastic wine glasses at the party store, which the children will decorate with stick-on jewels (I decided to go for "easy" rather than "permanent") to make themselves royal goblets. We're also planning to play three games: The Cinderella Relay, in which one shoe from each kid is piled in the center of the floor and in relay teams the kids run to the middle, find their shoe, put it on, and race back to their team; Musical Sleeping Beauty, which is just like musical chairs except that instead of chairs there are beds made from baby blankets, and when the music stops the kids need to find a spot to fall asleep for a hundred years; and The Queen Says, which is a royal version of Simon Says.

Alex has been watching out the front window for her friends since right after breakfast.
rivka: (colin in whoville)
colin__in_flannel

Colin walked partway across the study this evening - a remarkably steady six- or eight-foot journey. He must have known that I had a developmental update in the works.

This has been a long time coming. He's been so steady on his feet: standing independently, reaching down to pick something off the floor from a standing position, even dancing while standing. A few times he's taken a few little side-steps, edging himself along crabwise. Then, suddenly, this (relatively) long, assured walk. He's walking.

He's been preoccupied with the large-motor stuff in general. The latest obsession is climbing onto the furniture. We have a couple of child-size straight chairs, and Colin likes nothing better than to climb on, crow at his achievement, climb off, and then climb on again. He can almost get up on the low futon in the study and the low rocking chair in the living room. He cries with frustration when he can't. If we give him a boost, or he finds a toy to stand on, he gives us his biggest grin and his crowing laugh. He absolutely loves to climb into the little wagon we gave him for Christmas. I thought he'd like to push it, and he does, but he likes to get in and out of it even more.

Colin also loves to open and close doors. Cabinets and drawers, too, but doors are his favorite. Most of the doors in our house don't latch properly, and he patiently works his fingers into the cracks until he can swing them open. Then he's very proud. And he should be; he's ingenious and persistent, and it pays off. He can easily open things like Rubbermaid storage containers with snap-down handles.

He's developed a real love of books. His first love was Moo, Baa, La La La, and in honor of that, I guess, he consistently says "lalala" when he wants to be read to - no matter which book he's brandishing. He likes the same book read over and over and over. Sometimes he is so excited about rereading that he can't wait for us to finish the first read, and he snatches the book, closes it, and hands it back over for us to begin again. When he settles in to be read to he grins and clasps his hands in front of him. It's unbearably cute.

He's very focused on the pictures in books. Alex, as an infant, was much more focused on the words. When Colin is being read to, you can watch his eyes intently scanning the pictures.

He loves dolls. Baby dolls get hugged and cuddled and touched and brought to an adult for cuddling. But he also loves Alex's tiny Polly Pocket dolls. I've seen him hold one of them in one hand and a dress in the other and sort of bash them together; it's clear that he knows that you're supposed to dress them. He also likes to play with toy vehicles, balls, nesting cups, and stacking rings. And anything of Alex's, really.

He has three clear and recognizable words: Dada, Mama, and A-leh (Alex). I also think of lalala as a word because it definitely means something consistent. He is also good with communicative gestures: he points and gazes intently when he wants something, shakes his head "no" when you get something wrong, tugs on the bottom of my shirt when he wants to nurse.

He nurses enthusiastically, but these days he's also very much about regular meals of table food. He has strong opinions about getting to try everything that we eat; he'll point and make urgent noises until we hand over bits of pork roast or whatever else we initially thought was unsuitable for babies. He's started to demand to have his bowl or plate set on his tray so he can help himself. He hasn't eaten baby food for a while now. Interestingly, he's also resistant to taking bottles of breastmilk from our nanny. I am psyched about that, because if we can transition him to taking cow's milk from a cup when I'm at work I can STOP PUMPING. He already drinks water well from a sippy cup.

For all these mature eating habits, he's still marching steadily along at the 10th percentile for weight, 50th for height. He's a little string bean. Today was his one-year-old well baby visit, and he weighed 18 pounds, 10 ounces.

He's been sick for a week or two, so that's probably partly why he's less unfailingly happy than he was before. But he's also become less laid back. He has a definite will, and he cries when he's thwarted. He is still super affectionate and snuggly, though.

mr_sweetness

He still thinks Alex absolutely hung the moon.

alex&colin_bath2

Birthday!

Feb. 9th, 2010 07:30 am
rivka: (colin in whoville)
A year ago today, Colin Randolph Nutt came into the world and our lives changed forever.

Happy birthday to my sweet son. I am looking forward to your toddlerhood.

a year of Colin )
omg_toddler
rivka: (christmas penguins)
24 inches of snow in the garden, drifting in places to more than 36. Even the semi-protected walkway between our house and next door has 20 inches of snow in it.

It's still falling.

garden

more pics )
rivka: (bigger colin)
Just because I need some joy in my life today:

wow_mom
rivka: (Christmas hat me)
We got home from Memphis last night. I'm in the office - the only day I'm coming in this week - and I must admit I'm kind of enjoying the peace and quiet.

I finally snapped at Michael's stepmother. As we were packing up to go she kept very persistently trying to get me to take Michael's bronzed baby shoes. I smiled and said nice things the first several times. "Oh, we'll definitely want them eventually, but I don't want to take them away from Bill." "Yes, but I really think Bill likes to have a reminder of Michael's babyhood around." She kept insisting: "Oh, don't worry about that. We've got plenty of reminders of Michael around." (Like the picture she hung back behind a cabinet, I guess.)

So finally I just looked at her without smiling and said flatly: "Betty, if you want them out of the house, then yes, we will take them."

So of course she backpedalled. And had the nerve to try this one out: "You just insulted me, saying that I want them out of the house." Uh huh.

Michael's father came in to talk with us about it. He said that he wouldn't take any amount of money for those baby shoes, but that we could have them if we wanted them. Although he would worry about them getting broken in transit. Anyway, he just wanted to make sure that we understood that they weren't trying to get rid of them. I felt bad because I really try not to put him in the middle, but.

Our flights home were beautifully uneventful. There didn't seem to be any increase in security at the main screening lines, and when I got pulled for secondary screening (I always do, because my artificial hip sets of the metal detector) the TSA who screened me seemed perfectly relaxed and easygoing. They had a TSA at the gate pulling some people aside for random pat-downs, but it was the most ludicrous security theater imaginable: he only stopped men, didn't stop anyone who had a ton of stuff to carry (presumably so he wouldn't inconvenience them too much), and only patted them down above the waist. He would've found someone carrying a gun in a shoulder holster, but that's about it.

Our kids are beautiful travelers. When I see other people dealing with screaming tantrums on a plane, I feel very lucky.

I did learn an important lesson about Colin and traveling, though. (Did I know this when Alex was his age and then I forgot it? Maybe so.) Yesterday I gave him solid food for breakfast at my in-laws' house, and then I nursed him throughout the day as we traveled home. He got frantically unhappy in the car on the way home from the airport; I nursed him again and he cheered up, so I decided to give him some solids even though it was already 8pm. And that boy ate: a full slice of deli cheese, three handfuls of Cheerios, a jar of baby food (chicken-apple compote, one of the higher-calorie options), and at least a quarter-cup of mango bits. He was starving. I think of solids as being kind of optional to his diet, replaceable by nursing, but it's now obvious to me that at this point they really aren't.

I have a big important meeting in an hour and a half, and I am nervous. To give you an idea of how important a meeting it is, I am wearing a blazer to work - something I do about twice a year. Some of you will be coming along in the form of a silver otter pin which you chipped in to give me at alt.polycon 12, so, thanks. It's nice to feel like my friends will be with me.

Now that I have a webcam on my work computer, I can show you what I look like when I'm trying to appear professional! Here I am:

me@work

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rivka: (Default)
rivka

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