Tuesday, February 26, 2008


Dear Claire,
You and I were sick all weekend. You had a fever. We both had a cold. We coughed in unison. Your nose needed constant wiping. Friday night, while I lay coughing in bed, Dada rocked you. I could hear you, feverish, getting a drink of water and pointing out the cars in the driveway, "a bus, a bug, a trutch..." Even with a fever, knew them all. As he rocked you in the next room, I started coughing and each time, you'd say, "bless you, mama." Which made me so proud and hopeful for you, even in my pregnant, sick state.
This week, we're recuperating. We're staying close to home. We're making lots of smoothies. We're wiping runny noses and coughing in unison. I still don't have the heart to tell you that bless you is for sneezes. When I cough, you always say, "bless you, mama." And I say it back.

Friday, February 22, 2008

12 weeks and some.

If this were a few years ago, I could tell you exactly what the baby was doing developmentally, I could compare the baby to a corresponding piece of fruit (thank you, Baby Center), and I might even include a little note to the wee fetus. This is not a few years ago. Then, I was working part-time, I was going to school in the evenings and most importantly, I didn't have this wild woman to chase around.

There are barely any photos of me during the months I was pregnant with Claire. I assured myself that I would document the girth the next time around. This sounded good in theory. Already, I feel like a ridiculous manatee, and taking photos isn't really on my mind. I do have the above one of the three of us.
I prefer pictures of twirling toddlers. I mean look at her, so cute. Even without pants. Love those two. Nothing makes my heart melt like a big, strong man dancing to Ella Fitzgerald in the kitchen.

Friday, February 15, 2008

apples. trees.

There is a story about Nate kicking a coffee cup as a small child. His dad had told him not to touch the cup, and little Nathan looked him in the eye and kicked the thing as hard as he could. People in the family love to share that story with me, especially during pregnancy. Whatever. I would think. This child is half-me. I am a serious rule follower. I would never have kicked a coffee cup. I went to a Quaker college. Besides, this baby is a girl, she won't have all of that testosterone to deal with, we'll be fine.

My sweet little girl threw my digital camera across the kitchen this morning, with all of the power her 27 pound body could muster. This is the camera we bought two weeks ago to replace my broken one. I had no idea that I could be so furious with such a tiny person. Throwing the camera was deliberate. The worst part about this is that there's very little reasoning with someone so small. I asked her if she knew why mommy was upset. After several seconds, she said, "No no buttons." There are "buttons" in the house that she knows she is not to touch: things like electrical outlets, TV remotes. When she could see that I was really upset, she started to cry great shaking sobs. At that moment, she happened to be wearing just a diaper. It's really hard to stay mad at someone who's wearing just a diaper. I scooped her into my arms and rocked her and held her. I smelled her neck and I reminded us both that I love her. I tried one more time to explain things. It's not all trips to the park and storytimes. Sometimes it's a lot like loving a small, destructive caveman.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

i wish you could hear her little voice.

Dada: When we get home you can have a baba.
Claire: And yammies?
D: Yes, and jammies.
C: And bath?
D: Yes and a bath.
C: With bubbles and doap?
D: Yes.
C: And nekid?

May your Valentine's Day be as sweet as her little voice when she requests doap and nudity.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

portrait of the theologian as a small, pyrex-breaking child who loves cookies.

Sweet moments during the past several days: sharing a popsicle, hearing her say, "I love you, Dada" as he pulled out of the driveway and having actual, tiny conversations with Claire. These conversations mostly involve where she would like to go (bye-bye), how she would get there (in Dada's trutch), who she would visit (Greesh! Baby! and Owie!), and what she would like to do (get cookies).

Not so sweet moments of the past several days: dropping a new toilet paper roll into her bubble bath, experimenting with my pyrex measuring cup (yes, they break on impact) and adding commentary to my bible.

Thursday, February 07, 2008

el segundo.

When I was pregnant with Claire, I drank ridiculous quantities of lemonade. This baby is being fortified by root beer and all things meaty. This time, I also have a wee, small helper to assist with cravings. This week: guacamole. She loves to grab a chip and say, "dipit!" and then dip away. Genius, that child.

Every night before bed, I ask Nate if he thinks the baby is a boy or a girl. Every night he says the same thing, "I just don't know." Then I try and make him guess. With Claire, I always knew that she was a girl. I think the shock of a surprise baby coupled with having to deal with boy parts would have been too much for me. This time around, I have no idea. My gut feeling changes every day. Any guesses? I'll let you know in just 2 short months.

Monday, February 04, 2008

20: i am their giant.

Dear Claire,
The day you turned 20 months was Christmas Eve. It was also the day we found out you are going to be a big sister. I have been saving this letter until now. It seems crazy to think that there’s going to be another baby around. You’re still a baby. Only, you’re not- every day you are changing from baby to girl. Your wee, round belly is rapidly shrinking and I know that it won’t be long until it’s gone.

I think most of the time, you're going to love being a big sister. You have been helping me all along. You are the kind of kid who says thank you when I change your diaper. You love babies and point them out wherever we go. I’m looking forward to seeing you with our baby in the fall (or end of summer if this baby doesn't decide to take up permanent residence in my belly like you did).

Years ago, I went to school in Hawaii and Costa Rica. At the close of our time there, the school director warned us that completing this amazing experience would “spoil us for the ordinary.” At the time, I thought that meant that I’d be having lots of traveling adventures, and life wouldn’t be ordinary. Boy, did I travel. But those things seem ordinary compared to the joy of watching you become you.

Last night, you were sitting in my lap and we were singing songs. You looked up and me with those huge eyes and said, “Pa-dee?” Dada and I looked at each other and tried to figure out what you needed. Then I asked you, “You want to do patty cake?” Your eyes lit up and you started clapping. The Giant understood! It was a great moment. You were thrilled. We all were thrilled.

When I found out I was pregnant with you, I was incredibly nervous. This time, I feel peaceful (tired, but peaceful). The only reason I can feel this way is because of you. You showed me how to be a mama. You showed me that this what I want to do. You have spoiled me for the ordinary.

I love you, big girl.

Sunday, February 03, 2008

flying too close to the sun.

Remember how I was all braggy about outwitting a 21 month old? That was awesome. This morning, not so awesome. At 6:15 in the morning. 6:15 AM folks, on a Sunday. My 7:00 on-the-dot girl woke up at 6:15 ready to start her day. I thought I might be able to use some motherly trickery to get her to go back to sleep, but she would have none of it. I changed her diaper, gave her a sippy cup and laid her back in the crib. She calmly looked up at me said, "No."

With that settled, we started the usual routine: O's, books and If you're happy and you know it clap your hands, 45 minutes early. Any guesses at who wasn't clapping her hands this morning?

I cut her off after a 2 hour nap this afternoon and I'm hoping for the best.

Saturday, February 02, 2008

outwit. outsmart. outlast.

Over the last several weeks, Claire's nap has gone from 2-2 1/2 hours to an hour and fifteen minutes. I've read all of the sleep books, and I'm not convinced that this short of a nap is good for either of us. Yesterday, I decided that we needed to increase her nap by at least an hour. I swapped her usual short pre-nap story time for the full nighttime routine. I snuggled her into her jammies, read a her a bunch of books in the big bed and even gave her a warm sippy cup full of milk. The girl didn't know what hit her: she slept nearly 3 hours and still slept her usual 12 hours at night. Hallelujah.
So yeah, I outsmarted a 21 month old.