The Daughter Chronicles

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Birthday party mayhem!

On Saturday Norah had a birthday party. It went as well as you would expect a one-year-old's birthday party to go. And yet we still had fun!

Luckily (?), it wasn't as populated as we thought it might be. We sent out invitations a while ago, and very few people responded to say they were coming or not. Kind of disappointing. Occasionally I am slow in responding to invitations, but I always do, because I don't want the hosts getting too much food and such. We had a good amount of food left over, but not a ton. It worked out okay, because there were kids at the party and not a lot of people, so Norah didn't get freaked out, which she might have if it had been better attended.

A woman Krys works with showed up with her two kids. One is two months older than Mia, and the other is 13 months. This kid looks like he's two-and-a-half. He's very tall and weighs 28 pounds. Plus, he's walking. I told Norah she better get going with the walking so she can start earning her keep around here!

A woman I used to work with showed up with her husband and son, who is 2. He also walked early - at about 10 months - so I had another chat with Norah (who, I'm pretty sure, failed to understand me). Jessica is very cool, and it was good to see her, because it had been a while. She works in special education, so it's always good to talk to her about what's going on in the field, because I have some interest in it, after all.

Mia enjoyed herself, as she usually does when lots of people are about. She is quite the ham. Norah also enjoyed herself, a bit less than Mia, I think, because she is still uncertain about people. She did like ripping the wrapping off her presents, but I wasn't sure why Krys and our guests even bought her any toys - her favorite toys are Mia's brush, Mia's AFO, the coasters, and the remote control. Who needs real toys when you have those?

We were surprised that she didn't like her cake that much. Krys bought a very good cake from a small family bakery near our house, but Norah wasn't that interested. Mia used to eat cake, but ever since she entered into her weird "I like nothing" phase (which has lasted longer than my patience, to be honest), she won't even try it. That's fine, I guess - cake isn't the healthiest of food. We were a bit stunned that Norah didn't like it, though. Again, I don't mind, but it was bizarre. We got her a separate cake to destroy, and she liked sinking her hand into it, but didn't like eating it. Oh well.

Norah also did not like the other children all that much. We want to put her in day care for a few days a week to get used to other children, because she is a bit freaked out by them. The 13-month-old was a bit of a bully, and he kept taking things away from her. One thing you don't do is take things away from Norah! She didn't do anything, just got all pouty and screamed. I don't blame her - that was her toy! - but she has to get used to other kids, we think, so we're still mulling over the day care option. It's kind of spendy, so we may just skip it.

All in all, it was a fun day. The kids enjoyed themselves, they slept well because they were worn out, and although a lot of people missed it, we enjoyed hanging out with the people who did show up. I think birthday parties for one-year-olds are rather dumb, but nothing traumatic happened to ruin everything, so let's call it a success. Next up: Mia's fourth birthday in August!

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Twelve months of Norah!

Happy Birthday to Norah! Twelve months ago today Krys pushed her out (she really wanted to get out!) and we had our second daughter. After the trials with our first one and the problems with another pregnancy (a post for another day), we were overjoyed to welcome Norah into the world. It has been quite the year, let me tell you. Norah is really like our first child, because after the seven-month mark, we really didn't know what to expect. We're having a great deal of fun watching her grow and start to figure things out, but as I've mentioned before, it always comes with a bit of sadness that Mia can't join in. But today is about celebrating Norah's birthday! Yay, Norah!

I should probably write more about both our daughters, but raising them does take up a lot of time, so this blog often gets left behind while I rant about life in general and comics in specifics at my two other blogs. But I do try to keep everyone updated about their progress! To those of you that have kids, I hope this blog is comforting because you know you're not alone (which is why I enjoy reading other blogs by parents), and for those of you who don't have kids, I hope you have been warned away from them by this blog!

In case you're wondering about all the Norah-related writing I have done in the past year, here are some highlights: this is the post about her birth, which might be the best one I've done on this blog; some early pictures of Norah; a day in the life of a five-week-old; her first smiles, which have gotten cuter and cuter (see below); some of her achievements after almost three months of life; the time she got way sick (which turned out to be my fault, although we didn't realize it at the time); more fun pictures; her diabolical plot to drive Daddy insane (she's doing well at that, by the way); more excellent pictures; the time she fell off the changing table (another thing that was my fault); her phantom toy (we still haven't figured it out); yet more cool photographs; the power struggle; her attempts to break out of the crib; her joy of crawling; hanging out in her crawl tube (which she has already outgrown); her initial attempts at standing; and her movements around the house. Phew!

I also like to take pictures of both Mia and Norah in the same chair every month on the day they were born. I have been doing this with Mia since she was born, but I think I'm going to scale it back to every six months. When you're less than a year, however, the changes are fun to watch. Mia's first twelve months are on the wall in our family room, and we have to figure out where to put Norah's. I put them below, and you may notice there are only ten of them. I don't know where the October and November 2005 pictures are. I could have sworn I took them, but I can't find them. Consarnit! Anyway, I like to watch the growth from a kid who could barely sit up to the grinning eager-to-crawl kid in the latest picture, which I took earlier today.

Finally, some random pictures I never posted for some inexplicable reason. Here's Norah with Mommy:

And here's all three of my girls. Along with this picture, these are two of my favorites.

So Norah has a year in the books. It's been groovy. I hope you enjoy reading about her (and Mia, of course) as much as I like writing about them.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006


Big day tomorrow. Can any of my vast readership guess what it is?

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Subtly shifting roles

This post is less about Mia and Norah and more about Krys and I. Krys is a sneaky one, I'll tell you that much! Just like all chicks, I guess ...

Back in the glory days before the Demon Children came, Krys scooped out the litter boxes of the cats. It just sort of happened that way. I would do it occasionally, but generally, she was in charge of it. Then she got pregnant. As any knowledgeable person will tell you, the fumes from kitty poop are not good for pregnant women, and I happily leaped into the breach and became Kitty Waste Removal Man. And lo, it was good.

But then she bore Mia. And guess who kept the job of Kitty Waste Removal Man? If you notice that the title did not change back to Kitty Waste Removal Woman, you might get a clue. Okay, fine. She got pregnant again, then again, and we don't want kitty poop messing things up. So now I hold the title for life, apparently. You'll notice she never anointed me Kitty Waste Removal Man for life, it just happened. Subtle. Just like a woman!

Now, it has happened again! After her surgery she was forbidden to pick the children up. So I began lugging Mia into the bathroom in our largely futile attempt to get her to pee and then toting her into the bedroom to get her changed for bed, with the intermittent carrying back into the bathroom to get her bathed. This had all been done by my lovely bride, but because medical necessity necessitated it, I was more than happy to do so. Now, her stitches are out, her doctor has cleared her to do all her normal activities, and when she's done reading to Mia in the evening, guess who gets to carry her into the bathroom in our largely futile attempt to get her to pee? If you didn't say her long-suffering husband, you're not paying attention! Isn't that just like a woman?

I don't mind at all. Mia is getting quite heavy (close to 32 pounds) and I don't really want Krys carrying her all that much, even if she's able to. Her back isn't in the greatest shape, after all, and I don't want it to get worse. However, I find these role-shifts amusing, because God forbid she admit A) that she's too weak to lug Mia around a lot; and B) that she really hates scooping the litter boxes. Mustn't admit weakness! It reminds of the funny line from that Vince Vaughan-Jennifer Aniston movie, when she wants him to want to do the dishes, and he says, "Why would anyone want to do the dishes?" Amen, brother. Krys won't - or can't - admit that housework and having to carry Mia around because she can't walk sucks. I freely admit it, but I do it anyway.

That's why men are better than women. Just so you know!

(Oh, I'm kidding. Calm down.)

Saturday, June 10, 2006

Norah digs the big "O"

Oh, please, people, keep your minds out of the gutter. All will be revealed!

So this has become my day with Demon Child #2. She has, as I mentioned, begun standing, and since then she has begun cruising quite well around the furniture. Once I put Mia to bed in the afternoon for her nap, Norah and I begin the fun!

She sits in the living room and plays with some toys. Usually she chews on some for a while (she now has five teeth and is getting her eye teeth), but loses interest pretty quickly. Then she crawls into the dining room and around the corner into the kitchen. Krys bought a toy that is magnetic and sticks to the refrigerator, so she plays with that a bit. I call her name, which makes her giggle and crawl away, in the hopes that Daddy will come after her. She crawls through the kitchen and into the family room, where we have more toys. She is fascinated with Mia's gait trainer and often pulls herself up on that or the back door. We have a large cat stand next to the back door, and she is fascinated by that as well. When I join her I sit in the chair at the desk and watch. Occasionally she'll come over, pull herself up by the arm, and either look up at me and giggle or look at me and cry (if she's tired). Occasionally she'll go through her crawl tube. Then it's off down the hall!

I follow her down the hall and into the back areas of the house. Sometimes she'll go into our bedroom, where we have some plastic keys and a cookie jar with cookies in it. She chews on the cookies, wanders into the bathroom, and sits around. Or she'll crawl into her bedroom, which she really likes, apparently. There she does any number of fun stuff. First, she grabs a hold of her crib, pulls herself up, and reaches for her blanket. She loves her blanket. She will pull at it and occasionally she'll pull it onto the floor, but usually she can't quite get it through the bars. Then she'll focus in on another favorite toy - the Discovery Ball!

For those of you who are unaware of the myriad number of toys that are available to children and are therefore clueless about the Discovery Ball, allow me to explain. It is a globe mounted on two props, with the alphabet on it along the "equator." When spun, the ball plays music. It also plays music for each individual letter, and Norah has learned that when she presses the "O" "Old McDonald" will play. For some reason she loves this tune. She will spin it sometimes, but if the "O" does not come back, she will spin it until the finds it, then press it and bop gleefully. It's quite interesting to watch. She'll sit there for a while, completely entertained.

She is also very keen to walk, and whines a lot when she can't figure it out. She zips around the coffee table in the living room, picking stuff off the table, examining it briefly, and then throwing it on the floor. When there's nothing left she'll look at me, indignant, and whine. I tell her that she might not want to throw stuff on the floor, but as yet she doesn't understand me.

A nice thing about all this cruising (well, besides the obvious, that it's what she's supposed to do) is that we are teaching her the word "no." I have probably mentioned this before, but it's difficult teaching Mia "no" because she doesn't really do very much, so it's hard to find things she's doing wrong. We want to teach the kids the word (I have mentioned before on my other blog that many of the high school kids I teach don't appear to have ever heard it before) so that they aren't, you know, evil, and Norah is giving us ample opportunity. If she gets toward something that is off-limits, we say her name and then "no." She knows exactly what it means, which is cool. Most of the time she'll stop, look at us, cry for a second, but then move on. I've not had to intervene very much, which is very neat. We hope that despite her whining, she will learn quickly what is verboten and what is not. I know she is going to vex me often over the next 17 years, but I hope that it's not because of my inadequacies.

Soon she will be walking on her own. It's fun right now, and I'm sure it's just going to get more so!

Sunday, June 04, 2006

Das Boot

I mentioned a while back about Mia's AFO, and have now decided to show it to you. How privileged are my loyal readers?!?!?!?

The AFO is pretty handy. It locks her foot into a 90-degree angle to her leg, which prevents her from pointing her toe. As this is something she does quite often to help her walk, the AFO means she has to learn to use whole new muscles when she is walking - the correct muscles, this time. It also helps lock her knee into position, so when she wants to bend her knee, she has to use her quadriceps muscle like we normal folk instead of whatever the heck muscle she was using. This vexes her, as you can imagine.

She's been dealing with it, though. She wears for anywhere from 4 to 6 hours a day, and we're slowly increasing the time she has it on. She's slowly figuring out how to move her left leg when it's on, and although it has to be hot (it's plastic and she wears it with socks), she is getting less and less annoyed when I put it on and while she's wearing it. It's much harder for her to play on the floor, because it is pretty heavy and it's hard for her to roll and crawl with it, but that's another thing she'll have to learn to deal with. We're hoping that if she wears this for a year or two she'll be able to walk better because she'll be using the correct muscles for a change. Wouldn't that be nice?

Just another thing you never really consider - which muscles you use to walk. Norah is starting to cruise sideways along the furniture, and I bet she's not thinking about which muscles to use! Soon she will be zipping around, and we're still hoping this inspires Mia. We'll see.

(By the way - I'm aware that the title of the post translates as "The Boat." I just thought it was too fun to pass up as a title.)