Holiday Roundup

I started back to work yesterday after 11 days in a row off work. I think I may have had 13 consecutive days off when Lennie was born and thanks in part to an additional hospitalization on M’s part, but that was hardly a relaxing break. This holiday season wasn’t altogether relaxing, but it was very nice.

We stayed pretty busy, going on a trip to the aquarium with Zac and Ella and family and going to a couple of holiday parties. Then we unloaded Lennie onto her Aunt Abbey for a day while we did some cleaning up around the house (our bedroom closet now looks like something off a home enhancement show). Then I spent the better part of a day shopping for and buying and returning (a defective) TV and buying a replacement and getting that installed. We now watch our 10 basic cable channels on a glorious 32-inch screen rather than the postage-stamp we had been accustomed to viewing. What a waste, huh? We also got a Playstation 2, having enjoyed hours of fun playing Andy’s (sorry, Mike, I know you recommended a modded X-box, but I just didn’t see myself doing all the work to mod it and I’m not into pirating games, so I figured I should get the same system several of my family members have so we could swap games, have big ass-whipping tournaments, etc.). So M and I spent a fair amount of time over the last week beating (almost) the 007 game we bought.

The best thing about the break was all the extra time I got to spend with Lennie. I’m pretty well accustomed by now to getting her up between 8:00 and 8:30 and hanging out with her until 9:00ish, trying to get some breakfast in her while watching cartoons together. But the last week or so, I had just hours and hours more time with her, and now that I’m back at work, I miss her. Even when I wasn’t actively playing with her, it was nice to watch her toddling around getting into various things and chattering about various usually unintelligible things.

She seems to me to be on the verge of a language explosion. She’s learned possessives, for example (the concept, if not the grammar). She’ll say “Daddy juice” when she wants some of my drink. And she keeps picking up new words (I bought some Wheat Thins this week, and she’ll run over to the counter where we keep them, saying “cacker”). She’s long said “up, please” when she’s wanted to be picked up or lifted over one of our gates, but now she says it (though she’s actually trying to say “help, please”) when she wants help with something like wiping her hands (she’s very picky about having clean hands). There’s lots more that’s not coming to mind, but she’s definitely getting more and more intelligibly verbal, and it’s fun to watch.

Last night, I was sharing some of my beverage with her, and we spilled it all down the front of her shirt. She immediately got up and ran into the kitchen and pulled a towel out of one of the drawers so she could dry herself off. It was a first and was very funny. She’s getting a sense of at-homeness, I think. She knows where things are and is starting to figure out how to take care of some things on her own. Similarly, when she’s got a booger, she’ll tell us now. The other night, when she kept dipping her fingers in some mustard (which she now favors over ketchup) and asking us to wipe it off her hand, I finally just gave her a napkin and showed her how to use it, and she made a pretty good go of it. Now she tells us when she’s pooped. She’ll come up to me and say something that sounds like her version of “apple” (which if you think about it, “diaper” and “apple” are pretty close linguistically) and then lead me into her room and lie there calmly while I change her. She’s not always so calm about diaper changes that I initiate. The next step will be to start getting the little potty out when she does this to help reinforce that association.

In other brain development news, she’s slowly getting her colors, and she’s pretty good at shape sorting and stacking. We got her one toy that’s four colored pegs on a little board. For each peg, there are different numbers of shapes in the corresponding color. The first time she played with this toy, she started putting the right color shapes on the right pegs. She continues to be a very good colorer and an able musician (she can now play the harmonica, the keyboard, a little xylophone, her drum, various shakers, etc.) and seems to have a pretty good sense of rhythm. We think we may have a little artist of some sort on our hands.

That’s it for now, I guess. Have to get back to work, which is unbelievably hard now after such a nice time off. Maybe I’ll go out today and buy a few hundred lottery tickets. Or maybe a philanthropist will venture across this post and decide to fund the further development of my obviously bright child by giving me enough money to sustain my family and play a more active role in her rearing. Here’s hoping.

In weight loss news, after a couple of weeks of pretty lousy adherence to the low-fat diet and a week off from the gym, I figured I’d be up 5 or 10 pounds, but I’ve held pretty steady, weighing in at 191 today. I’ve recently modified my workout so that hopefully my body will burn fat more efficiently. This should get rid of the remaining spare (bike) tire I’ve got and some other less than firm areas that I’ve had limited luck toning to date.

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