Tuesday, January 20, 2009

The best-laid plans...

8PM yesterday found me standing in a wrecked kitchen, peering into a pressure cooker that was still inexplicably filled with uncooked beans.  My back ached from vacuuming for hours (yes, hours!) and shoveling the driveway and the sidewalk.  Being a corner lot, we have A LOT of sidewalk.  My daughter still had nothing to wear out to play in the snow, despite a last-minute trip to Target to procure such items, and my husband DID have lactose-free milk, although the carton looked like a pack of wolves had tried to rip into it.  Despite my best efforts, yesterday kicked my ass.

I decided to do detail-cleaning of the floors yesterday, so I set about to scrubbing, vacuuming, mopping, and all of that fun stuff.  Shortly before noon, our friend Eddie called to see if it was ok for him to come over and finish the cabinet installation.  I said yes, since he's leaving on another mission on Wednesday and I would REALLY like to have it finished.  I TOTALLY appreciate him doing this in exchange for the van, it was just unfortunate that I had chosen that day to clean the floors, because a spotless floor + cabinet installation = a filthy floor.  Oh well.

By then it was snowing in earnest, and I realized that Emily didn't even own any sneakers, let alone snow boots.  It hasn't snowed appreciably around here for the past 4 years or so, so it seems like a waste to buy snow gear for a child who probably won't get to use it this year and who will DEFINITELY have outgrown it by next year.  The problem then is that when it DOES snow and you want to take your daughter out in the first snow she's old enough to enjoy playing in, you have nothing to dress her in.  So during Emily's nap, I shoveled the driveway and focused on cleaning the basement, and when she woke up we headed to Target.  They did not have a SINGLE toddler-sized boot, nor did they have any snow pants.  I did find one pair of slippers in a toddler 7/8, and although Emily wears a 6 I got them anyway since they were less than $2 and I hate how cold her feet get.  She won't wear them anyway, but maybe by the time they fit she will have made friends with them.  I also did not find any canned beans for the soup, and as I mentioned, the milk I got for Will turned out to have been severely tampered with.  By the time I realized though, I had walked all the way across the store to the checkout and waited through a surprisingly long line with a toddler who was close to losing it.  It hadn't actually been opened per se, so I just bought it anyway.

Since Target had no beans, I had to use dried beans, and since I had no soaked dried beans, I had to use the pressure cooker.  For some reason the beans didn't cook on the first try, and on the second try I didn't get the lid shut so the pressure never built up, and at that point I gave up and we had frozen grilled chicken strips I had made, peas and some frozen papusas we dug out of the back of the freezer.  So despite all my work yesterday, I still felt like an utter failure as I finally got a defrosted dinner on the sawdust-covered table at 8:15.

To avoid that mess, I decided to just get out of the house today.  Emily and I ended up happening upon a 12-24month storytime at the library, so we grabbed a ticket and walked in.  It was really nice, with all sorts of songs, signing, props, and activities, a good number of kids, and nice moms.  Pretty similar to the Sing and Sign class we took last semester at the Lucy School, except free!  And close to our house.  I think we'll make that a regular activity around here.

Emily also starts back into Little Gym this Friday.  I'm excited about that, since we really enjoyed it last spring, and Emily is older now so she'll be able to do even more fun physical stuff.  Emily's big thing nowadays is throwing things, so we're trying to teach her that you only throw balls, you don't throw toys.  We've gotten her a couple balls and we try to substitute those for hard toys when she's in a throwing mood, although balls can do damage too.  They don't hurt people though, so that's a start.  She also enjoys showing things to her stuffed animal friends, especially Elmo, Kitty and Bitty Bear.  She'll carry them around and hold them up to one thing after another, showing them her favorite things around the house.  She has named her first stuffed animal...a little pink bunny finger puppet she calls "Hoppy".  She spends a great deal of time making him hop along furniture, into her breakfast, basically on anything she can reach while chanting "Ho-PPY! Ho-PPY!"  Whenever I set up her tea set, she immediately runs over and just smashes everything all over the place until most of it is under the couch, in the cushions, behind the TV, anywhere it's hard to find.  Will says she has the most violent tea parties ever, at least since the Boston Tea Party.

She has also started talking like crazy since we got back from San Diego.  I still think she's a little bit behind for her age, but she's definitely making improvements and she's significantly more willing to attempt to say words.  Her favorite word is "Fish", and she shouts it joyously whenever the urge strikes her.  Most excitingly, she is starting to remember to say "more" (which she over-enunciates into a 5-second long word and also signs at the same time in case we don't get the picture) and "please" instead of just shrieking when she wants something.  THAT is big.

The other day, as Mingus rushed by Emily and sent her stumbling, I said "Uh-oh, Mingus almost  knocked you over!".  Emily looked at me, and started knocking on the door, the wall, the floor.  There was another instance, earlier in the day when I said a word and Emily showed that she understood the word but not the particular meaning.  It just goes to show how amazing a toddler's mind is...how much they have to learn and with what enthusiasm they set about learning it.  

She remains unhealthily obsessed with TV, although the only things she gets to watch are Baby Einstein and Sesame Street.  I try to tell myself it's not too terrible for her, since she dances around like crazy while she's watching it and after all, it's not a DVD, it's a digital board book for goodness sake!  But I know it's still TV, and I shouldn't let her watch it 3X a day.

And while I'm listing Emily's accomplishments, I would be remiss if I didn't mention that Emily is a little tap dancing prodigy.  She already knows shuffles, taps, and flaps.  I can't wait to get this girl into a pair of tap shoes.  Don't tell her father.

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