Saturday, July 10, 2010

Even her poop sings!

Caroline spent several hours with Sam, Matt, Ethan and Fiona tonight. Included among their adventures was a trip to a pizza place. While at the pizza place, Sam kept hearing a very high pitched, quiet "happy birthday" being intoned. Matt couldn't hear it. But a little while later Fiona started singing it so she knew she wasn't the only one hearing it. But, alas, they couldn't determine the source.

Yet awhile later Caroline stood up in her high chair and pulled at her diaper as if to indicated "Ahem, I need you to do something about this now!" So Sam picked her up and took her to the bathroom. While the bathroom she continued to hear "happy birthday" and when she opened C's diaper, she definitely heard it. Well, now she was curious. She really didn't want to go digging through poo, but... she did. And right in the middle of the poop, completely encased, was a metal birthday candle holder we have that plays "happy birthday." It was Caroline's poop singing all along. Funniest thing? Yesterday was Aunt Khaki's birthday... Caroline loves her so much she wanted to offer a very special birthday song!

On the drive home Fiona started singing in her sweet 20 month old voice "Happy birthday to you..." and Sam started laughing so hard tears were streaming down her face.

How or when she swallowed this thing we have no idea. It was floating around the past few days and neither of us noticed it disappear. She has ceased to put things in her mouth quite as much so we don't watch as carefully. She must have just sucked this thing down. That it made it all the way through her digestive system, and fairly quickly at that... astonishing. And she didn't even evidence any discomfort while filling her diaper. She doesn't usually tell Sam to change her when she's pooped though... so maybe she was a bit uncomfortable! We were inclined at first to think she shoved it in her diaper, but Sam changed her once before they left and it wasn't in there then. And it was completely encased. And when we changed her later her rectum was quite irritated. So... looks like she did swallow it.

And the most amazing thing? It still works.

Thursday, July 8, 2010


Caroline's word of the weekend on our family reunion trip was "OUTSIDE!" Shortly before we left for Florida her multi-functional "SIDE" (for outside or inside, though usually for outside!) became "OUTSIDE!" And I use all caps intentionally because she says it with great passion and signs it too! She said it hundreds of time in Florida, even though the mercury was bubbling towards 100! The funniest two times were these... waking up from a nap one afternoon, as soon as she had enough consciousness to say anything she said groggily, yet emphatically "outside! outside!" rubbing her eyes and wasting not a moment. The last night the family was gathered outside in the patio area of the cabanas. Caroline was sleeping in a crib in our room upstairs in one of the cabanas. Kev and I took turns going to check on her. Once when I checked she woke up slightly with the creaking of the door. She fussed a bit then sleepily said "outisde... slurp, wimper... outsi..." Too cute.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

A LONG update for 19 months (and it is not even everything!)

We have a water baby. Shortly before going to Florida, Caroline and I joined Sam, Ethan, Fiona, and Sam's mom at the pool at Sam's mom's apartment complex. Caroline was eager to get into the Wawie (her word for water) right away. At one point after we had been there for awhile she slipped and went under for a few seconds. She looked shocked when I pulled her to the surface, and asked to get out shortly thereafter. We thought this might have spooked her, but... minutes later, "Wawie! Wawie!" and back in we went.

While in Florida for the every five year Fontaine family reunion, Caroline enjoyed multiple dips in the pool daily, and, as the pictures below attest, her first experiences of the ocean. Kev said she wanted to go further and further out. She could not be near the ocean without wanting to go in it! I, personally, do not like ocean swimming- perhaps the result of never going to the ocean before the age of 20. I'm not a fan of the beach in general; I find sand to be one of the most annoying substances on earth. But... the pure joy Caroline found at the beach indicated to me that I have to get over it and we need to get her to the ocean on a semi-regular basis in her young life. I sort of wish we had made it to the beach while in Oregon last month, but it is probably best that her first experience of ocean water was bathwater temperature!

While in Florida we started thinking about joining the Y. We came home and on July 2nd we stopped by to inquire about what the fees would be and what benefits attach to membership. There is a Y within a 15 minute walk from our house. This Y has an indoor and an outdoor pool, a playground (Hooray! A decent playground within walking distance at last!) an incredible wellness center with workout equipment and free cable on most machines, LOTS of free classes, and free child care while parents are working out up to 2 hours at a time, up to 10 hours a week. Our limited, graduate student income turned out to be a major benefit as they waived our joining fee on the basis of our tax return and our monthly fee is almost half the usual! We joined on the spot. And Kev has taken Caroline swimming twice already and he and I have worked out together two days in a row while she has thoroughly enjoyed the child care! The caregiver last night gave her a "golden" review. She was the first kid there last night, but several others joined her, two of whom had, in the words of the caregiver, "terrible cases of separation anxiety," crying for 10 minutes a piece each. She was sure that Caroline would join them, misery loves company after all, but no... she was fine! She does scream pretty fiercely when we first leave her, but usually stops within a minute.

Pa and Eepa were great help in Florida, often tending to her at night so that Kev and I could visit with other family. One night I spent a long time trying to get her to sleep (the night after that late nap! shooey!) and she fought sleep with everything she had. She is impressive. She was SO tired, but had just enough extra steam from that nap that she had a lot of play in her. Eventually I called Kev to give him an update. We were supposed to be playing cards with cousin Suzy and family and I was holding them up, or rather... Caroline was. Pa and Eepa said they'd come up and tend to her. Of course, as soon as they came up she turned from happy, playful fighting sleep, to screaming bloody murder fighting sleep. It was agonizing to leave. I knew she'd be totally fine in their care, but I hated to subject them to this. I worried the whole time we were playing cards that she was still screaming. It turns out she screamed for a minute or two and then stopped. And shortly thereafter she was showing sleepy signs so they put her in the crib with her stuffed duck, and said good night. She cried for a very short bit and then went straight out. Praise Jesus! And thanks to Pa and Eepa for fabulous care!

We've tried putting her in her crib since coming home, and letting her cry, in a few different circumstances, but... if she knows that we're within earshot... she will cry, and cry, and cry, and cry... working herself up into a full blown rage. I've watched the clock... its not worth it to me to let her go. We'll keep trying on occasion, but... for now I'm happy to nurse and rock, or Kev is happy to rock and sing, she won't want to be rocked forever. Our pediatrician said early on that she regretted the rocking part of the bedtime ritual with her first daughter, and so refused to rock her second daughter at all. It is simply too time consuming. Well, maybe. But she's already so big its sometimes awkward to rock. And soon... this era will be over. And while I won't miss disrupted sleep and sometimes long bedtimes... I will miss the tender closeness.

We lost some ground on the sleeping front when she started cutting her canines and got her first (and only) ear infection a few months back, and then with the travel... but we seem to be getting into good rhythms again. Phew.

Everyone commented at the family reunion on how outgoing and social both she and her cousin (don't ask me to be precise about what sort of cousin, I get so befuddled and have to look it up every time- child of a first cousin!) Nola Grace were. When we went to visit GG (kev's grandma) she was so delighted. She said "I've been saying to everyone around here 'you have got to meet my babies!' I'm so glad you came." And lots of people we met in the halls (C needed to do some walking!) were very glad we came too.

She traveled well once again. The time in the Nashville airport was a bit harrowing as she wanted to push rather than ride in the umbrella stroller we purchased for the trip. Between her exhaustion at the time and the carpeting she could only make the stroller go in circles. This simply was not going to get us to our gate. We tried to gently assist, letting her do the bulk of the pushing, but aiding with steering and this would result in full on meltdowns. She wanted to do it herself! Fiona, her best friend who is six weeks older, now insistently says "SELF!" when she wants to do something herself. In time... in time...

A fun and impressive memory from the day I spent with Caroline and Fiona a few weeks ago. Caroline was having a rough teething day (or something) that day and was quite screamy all throughout it, in fits and starts. So she nursed a fair bit. Fiona would come over every time Caroline was nursing, and get really close. She'd smile and raise her eyebrows and say "I neus?" To which I would gently reply "Caroline is nursing, Fiona. You need to wait for your mommy and then you can nurse." I would gladly nurse her, and have Sam's blessing to do so if need be, but she wasn't in distress so it didn't seem necessary. By the end of the day Fiona was nuzzling into me and quite insistently trying to get me to nurse her, but again I gently explained, "Caroline is nursing with her mommy. Your mommy will be here soon and she will be happy to nurse you." She sort of shrugged. I didn't think she was understanding me, but figured it was worth a try.

Well, the next day Caroline spent the day with Sam, Ethan, and Fiona at their house. When I arrived to drop C off, Fiona pointed to me and said excitedly "MOMMY!" And Sam corrected her, "That's Caroline's mommy, Miss Sarah, but I'm your mommy." But she pointed again at me and said "MOMMY!" "Yes, she's a mommy, she's Caroline's mommy." Then one of us said "There are two mommies here, one, two." She said "two mommies!" She repeated this several times. I sat down a moment later to nurse Caroline before leaving and Fiona came in close and said "I neus? No, cahline neus. I neus mommy." And then she turned to Sam and started nursing. Holy cow! She was processing what I had been trying to teach her the day before from the minute I got there. And she got it! She is scary smart. She is also regularly and appropriately asking "Why?" at 19 months old?! Sam is beside herself. This is a typical phase that kids go through by the age of 3, but this is super early. Caroline picks up new words every time she hangs with Fiona! She's a good influence! I'm so glad they're friends!

Speaking of language development... she has so many words and signs now, I can't keep up. We should start writing them down daily. The most recent addition to the vocabulary (that surprised us) is "necK" said crystal clearly. And she often cranes her neck or points to it when saying it. Kev does go through the body parts with her during bath time, but he never says "neck," for some reason he always says "under the chin!" So initially we were puzzled about where this came from. Our best guess is that it came from her Eric Carle book "Head to Toe"- "I am a Giraffe and I bend my neck, can you do it?"

She is working on two word sentences from time to time. "I down," in particular, when she wants to get out of her eating chair. We're trying to encourage three word sentences "I down please." Up until today she'd only occasionally sign please (her version of it which looks more like the sign for "sorry!") when encouraged to do so, but today she signed and said it. And this morning she was on my lap waiting to nurse and was clear that we were moving in that direction and got very excited. She signed please with great fervor and then buried her head in my chest!

(For any who are uncomfortable with sharing about toddler nursing, I'm sorry, but C is an avid nurser, it is a big part of our life together... and thus there are stories to tell...)

She is learning her colors and frequently says and signs them. The other morning she kept asking for "More black" signing and saying both words. Neither of us have any clue to what she was referring? The chocolate cake I made the night before? The chocolate chips used in the making of that cake? Raisins? Perhaps we'll never know.

She knows the difference between signing and saying, if asked to sign something she often will. If asked to say something she'll do that. And she's correcting signs she used to do incorrectly. For example, for the longest time her sign for "bird" was backwards, but now it is facing the right direction. Friends, language development is thoroughly exciting... or maybe I'm just a geek...

One of my predictions at the family reunion was that in five years Caroline will still be astonishing... she is so, so astonishing... this will surely remain the case.

Monday, July 5, 2010

19 months!

For now a bunch of pics... text later... maybe tomorrow?!

Here she is today all 19 months of her!

C with Lola and wearing Aunt Khaki's beads! Two treats of Oregon, Maya's great big dog who shares the house with Katherine, Maya, Ryan, and Lindsay- very patient with Caroline who LOVED her- AND Aunt Khaki's fun jewelry that she shared so freely. C wore these and another string of beads on our trip to the zoo and got lots of attention for it!

With Mamie sniffing cinnamon... she spent LOTS of quality time with spices and loved ones in Oregon!

With grandpa, whom she dubbed papa, and uncle john (a friend of papa's from seminary who spent the week with us in Portland), and mommy.

A few pics taken of C at our church's juneteenth celebration. A HOT day, but C doesn't mind. She LOVES being outside no matter the temperature, especially when there are doggies around.

C at the beach in Florida! She LOVED the ocean though none of these pics quite captures that. She frequently ended up going in fully clothed, but here, at least, she had on her suit!

And here's one after taking a dip clothed.

Every five years at the Fontaine family reunion the Pirate of Pisgah makes an appearance and sends the kids on a treasure hunt. Here are a few pics of C from the time around the pirate's appearance. Unfortunately, I don't have one of C and the pirate. Nola Grace, born exactly a week after C is in one of the pics with her.

A late nap during happy hour...

Relaxing at the cabana in Florida

And C loves the pool too! So much so that we came home from Florida and joined the Y. She's already been swimming at the Y twice since we got back, once just this morning.

With cousins...

With Pa and Eepa and cousin Elliott...

The Doughty Clan in full...

And with Eepa... doing one of her favorite things these days... kissing. Aww... so sweet.

It was so wonderful to be with everyone, thanks to GG and Pa and Eepa for making that possible. I don't have quick and easy access to a pic of C with GG from this trip though Eepa got a good one, I think, of both Nola and Caroline with GG. So, maybe I'll get it up later. C learned to say GG on the trip and that was great. And we had a nice visit with her in her room at the medical center where she lives now.

Enjoying pizza shortly after arriving home. Whitney, these shots are for you!

Two more favorite things... story time with daddy- she is LOVING this book lately, "Hush little baby don't say a word," a hand-me-down from my childhood... and loving her baby dolls...