Friday, November 30, 2007

Eating Machine

While in Illinois, Clio ate like never before. Most surprising? Meat at every meal (her normal sources of protein are tofu, yogurt, and cheese). Maybe it's that good Peterson beef I mentioned (it is, after all, an "organic" generation). Or perhaps it had something to do with this awesome "Tiny Tot" high chair.

Great-Gandpa Peterson got this out of the attic and cleaned it up for our visit. The ingenious chair dates back to the 1940s, and Grandpa, Great-Aunt Lavon, and Great-Uncle Ray all sat in it when they were babies. Clio did seem to relish sitting in this special throne (or maybe it was the attention of 4 adults at most mealtimes that really spurred the appetite!)

Outfit of the Week

Thursday, November 29, 2007

A Day out in the Quad Cities

During our trip, Clio and the rest of us took an excursion to the
Quad Cities- same idea as the Twin Cities or Four Corners, except that for some reason Quad actually means "five" here- and actually hit both of the Iowa-side towns. First, we headed to the Putnam Museum in Davenport to check out Leonardo: Man - Inventor - Genius, where we all felt mighty inadequate in the face of Da Vinci's inventions, which basically laid the groundwork for all of mechanics, aeronautics, and battle tactics, if you take the show at face value.

We all enjoyed working the gears and levers, but Dave's parents were pretty disillusioned by his insistence that the models were replicas. We paid money for this? (By the way, I realize that the first picture doesn't add to the story, but don't I look kind of good?)

Afterwards, we headed to Bettendorf, Iowa to meet up with Barb's brother (Dave's Uncle) Don and his family at the Ramada, where they were preparing for a wedding later that afternoon.

Since we won't see them at Christmas this year, we took the opportunity to say a hello.
For Clio, Christmas came early, as Don, Chevyoune, and Michaela gave her this Daisy Duck stuffed animal.

Clio did a little performing, naming off colors and numbers and doing all of the animal sounds, and despite two of Chevyoune's brothers and their wives (and the rest of us) she wasn't shy at all.
Michaela told us about her favorite Bears (dressed for the afternoon in full sports regalia), sang a song or two, and Clio mugged for her (first) cousin (once removed).

(Finally! I've been trying to catch this on camera.)

Nice to see you guys- looking forward to next Christmas at MaMa and PaPa's!

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Clio's Country Thanksgiving

After nearly a week at Grandma and Grandpa's in Morrison, Illinois, I have a whole backlog of pictures and stories to post; this could take a while, so look for installments over the next few days.

Look how delighted Clio is to be outdoors!

By way of introduction, let's talk about how this Thanksgiving was a different experience for us City-dwellers than the average year: Fist of all, when you look out the window in Morrison, it's a different experience than the view from Brooklyn. While we have an abundance of noise, telephone wires, highway traffic, and fast food smell (white castle, dunkin donuts, KFC, and- most notably- candy cigarettes), in Morrison you see this:

And you feel an actual sense of abundance. This sense grows when you sit down to a meal involving "Peterson Beef" (the cows on their land aren't just for show, although Clio sure did get a kick out of seeing them in real life- she shrieked, pointed, kicked her feet, mooed, and shrieked some more). Or when your morning eggs and your Thanksgiving Turkey come from Grandpa's house, right next door (next door being not a walkable distance in this case.) In fact, the turkey was one of a small group raised on the Peterson farm, two of which were named after Clio's second cousins Ashley and Shelby (seen here with Clio on the big day).

When Ashley, who is 8, came over, she asked Dave's dad if we would be "eating Ashley for dinner." It's unclear what the verdict was, but either way, this is a true country thanksgiving to me!

Other things that put the "country" in this holiday for me? "Salads" made with cheese and/or bacon bits and dressed with mayo or sour cream (oddly satisfying and delicious, if not exactly "light"), vegetable casseroles made from fresh-frozen produce from the yard, gorgeous fall leaves,

wall-to-wall carpeting that is excellent for rolling around on,

and sending Clio outside to chase cats at the barn. One of my favorite activities since I first visited Dave's childhood home back when we were dating, I'm thrilled to see my daughter take up the torch with gusto.

Her method primarily consisted of crouching down near a cat (there are, I believe, 29 outdoor/basically wild cats to choose from), saying "Hi!" in a pretty high-pitched voice, and waving.

Grandma did try to help- she even "tamed" one of the smaller ones in preparation for our visit-

but ultimately, cats are smart enough to avoid toddlers.

Clio didn't seem to mind that she couldn't get close to them- in fact, she took a few good dives into the pine needles trying.

She may make her country roots proud, yet!

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Story Hour

Okay, let's be honest: every hour that we're home is story hour in Clio's mind. It's interesting to watch her go through phases in books, and to see the relative simplicity or sophistication of board books. For example, after a long fascination with books about babies, Clio got much more interested in "Word" and "counting" books, but we recently re-discovered Baby's Day

(it was stashed in the bottom of a diaper bag we hadn't used in a while); as the title would suggest, this book goes through a baby's day (rise and shine, off you go, what do you want to do today? Followed by play, messy meals, bathtime, book time, and night night), and while it once seemed full of complicated concepts, it's suddenly almost silly in its simplicity. The fun thing is, we think she really remembers this book, and delights in reading it again now. My favorite part? When we get to "would you like a bed time story?" she quickly says "no." Because, of course, a betime story means bedtime.

The latest literary phase is fun for Clio, a little annoying for mom: she's way into what I'll call the performative books. You know, the books that require the reader to sing or chant, to use silly voices, and to make athletic gestures. This is fine once. But Clio thinks these books are so much fun, she would like them read to her over and over again. The most annoying part? She often likes me to read them just as background, while she peruses another book. The best of the bunch right now are Spider on the Floor and We're Going on a Bear Hunt.

She picks one after the other constantly. Yesterday, she went over to the shelf, pulled down Bear Hunt (she knows the spine),

told me to sit down, and then said "Bear! Bear! Bear! Bear!" until I at down and read (or rather, performed) Bear Hunt (while she flipped through The Shape of Things). She waits until the very end to participate, after I've gone through tall grass, squishy mud, a snowstorm, a dark forest,etc; when the family on the Hunt finally goes into a cave, identifies one wet nose, two big furry ears, two goggly eyes... and goes on to identify that "It's a..."

Clio pipes in, and says "Bear!"

Isn't that fun?

Monday, November 19, 2007

What a Big Girl

In response to the bubbles video, Amelia's Mom, Christine, commented that Clio seems so much bigger now, and even my mom said "she's really talking!" It's funny, all of a sudden Clio definitely seems like a little girl. Melissa's been talking about this on Eva's blog, too; it really does seem shocking that they change so quickly- just a few months ago Clio was barely walking and talking, and now she walks around "parenting" her baby dolls.

Now, walking like a pro, she seems very in command of her surroundings, and eager to communicate. This morning, Clio walked over to the sideboard in the dining room and reached up to get a Clementine out of the fruit bowl. She couldn't QUITE reach, so I asked her if she'd like an orange (Clementine is an awfully big word, although she has tackled some other three-syllable picks like butterfly, crocodile, dinosaur, and strawberry); she nodded, then walked over to the dining room table, pulled out one of the adult chairs, and said "I sit down here."

And so she did.

Other great phrases these days?

"I see you."
"I have two babies" (although, as a disclaimer about her numbers knowledge, when I took one away to demonstrate "one," she repeated that she had two babies. She does go around saying "two, three, four, five," but as far as we can tell, they're just words to her)

"I sit down, too." (lots of Clio's favorite activities revolve around sitting- "sit down read books", "sit down blocks", "boots off", so this action figures into most of her sentences so far)

And, of course, "I want this/ that/ or more...." (fill in the blank, it's usually cereal or 'meal, aka oatmeal)

She's got some other tactics up her sleeve, too. If you ask her something that she doesn't know the answer to, she'll say "huh?" like she didn't hear you the first time. And if you ask her a word that she knows but can't remember, she'll stall and go "mmmmmmm....." just like I have noticed I tend to do.

We look forward to hearing everything she has to say as her vocabulary develops!

Saturday, November 17, 2007

On the mend

All's quiet in the blogosphere- so glad I'm not the only one skimping on the posts these days. It's hard to say if it's because I've been sick forever and therefore lazy (or exhausted) and in bed after dinner, or because Clio has been sick forever and therefore is not doing much worth recording. But today we both feel nominally better, and Clio's been up to all kinds of mugging. She (mostly) mastered drinking from a glass on her own, she stopped calling all of the colors "yayou" and resumed using their actual names (now including "brown" and "black"), she learned to make faces by pulling the edges of her mouth out wide (photo hopefully coming soon), and she chased a lot of bubbles. The video's a little long, but it has some great moments.

And yes, our house is a total mess. I'm sick, remember?

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Outfit of the Week

What better way to accessorize pink toile pajamas than with navy leather slippers and Mommy's purse?

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Yayou, or, Coloring

Clio really, really, really likes coloring. Not with crayons- that's kid stuff. Clio likes to color with MARKERS. Also, she calls coloring Yayou ("Yellow"), since yayou has become her catch-all word for "colors." As an aside, we went for her 15-month well visit yesterday (only she's 16 months and actually sick, but hey, it's been a rough month), and the people in the waiting room were very impressed that she could identify colors. This illusion was bolstered by the fact that they happened to ask her yellow first. If they had asked her blue, she still would have said "yayou" and the whole thing would have fallen apart. Once you convince her that you want a different answer than yayou, she can actually say blue, green, pink, red, black, and- my personal favorite- purple, but it takes some real prodding.

Anyway. Dave took this series of Portraits of the Artist as a Very Young Girl. Enjoy.

Since I mentioned the Dr. I might as well mention that Clio's vital stats are looking good:
33 inches (75th percentile)
22 lbs 1 oz (25th percentile)

At her one year appointment, Dave apparently expressed concern about this relatively low weight, saying that he always sees much "healthier" looking babies all over the place. Dr. Oppenheim, who we love, reassured him that many babies are overfed, and Clio "is what we call an active child." Plus, look at her Dad. Let's just hope she maintains a metabolism like his!

Friday, November 9, 2007

Dadoo, Lucia!

Along with Clio's Halloween package from the Duggans, there was a special drawing from Lucia of a beautiful flower. On the back, it had the very useful instructions "please post on Clio's door." We were delighted to know exactly how the artist intended her work to be exhibited, and we were happy to oblige.

This is probably the first time many of you have seen Clio's little (tiny) room. See those stuffed animals on the top shelf? Clio's favorite thing to do first thing in the morning and last thing before bed is to point up there and say "I want that."

Here's how the rest of the game goes:

"You want this one?"

"No. I want that!" (points to another one)

"This one?"

"No. That!" (points)


Finally, she'll relent and nod her head when we've made the rounds a few times, and I'll reach up and grab the lucky toy. When I hand it over to Clio, she shakes her head and laughs. How much fun is that?

Dave does not tolerate this game. He may be smarter than me after all.

Anyway. "Dadoo" (Clio's way of saying "Thank You"), Lucia!

Wednesday, November 7, 2007


For her second Halloween, Clio got to attend TWO events: a "Monster Mash" at the playground, featuring her music teacher Kevin as a pirate and her friend Abe's dad, Ben, as a monk, and a Perch babies party on the big day itself.

As we walked into the park for the musical festivities the Sunday before Halloween, we realized we were about the only bad parents who had NOT brought a child in a costume (although some vague acquaintances asked if she was, in fact, dressed up).

Clio didn't mind. She just hung back and sort of checked out the action from the edges,

and ultimately decided that the swings were a better choice.

Then, on the big day itself, The Mommy and The Daddy got into the spirit.

As Tooth Fairy and Easter Bunny, our intention was to go as childhood mythology. Sadly, the Tooth Fairy had to stay home, so Easter Bunny was on his own, escorting Chucky to the party.

That's right, Chucky.

Unfortunately, we didn't really pull it off. I made red felt buttons for her overalls, but ran out of time to attach them. We couldn't find red or orange hairspray, so we tried aqua-net and food coloring to no great effect. And the facial scars were a bit haphazard- although one of the parents thought they were real, so I guess I can pat myself on the back for stage makeup!

At the party, I hear Chucky mostly played on her own in the kitchen,

but Dave did manage to corral her for this group shot. Almost.

But in a way, I think Clio's favorite part about Halloween was not the events, but the STUFF she got. (Does this bode well for The Spirit of Christmas?).

At the playground event, she managed to get herself some chocolate chip cookies (not something she's ever experienced at home.)

At baby Halloween, Peter and Melissa sent all the kids home with these awesome spider buckets filled with favors; Clio thinks carrying it around like a purse is about the best thing ever- she likes to keep her socks in there once she gets them off.

And finally, Clio was the lucky recipient of a Halloween package from her cousins Finn and Lucia.
Now, I wish I had video of Clio opening this, but I was on my own and lucky to get photos at all.
She loved each item more than the next: when we pulled plastic spider rings out of the pumpkin bag, she reverently whispered "spido";
when I blew into the end of the skeleton straws to make a whistling noise, she repeatedly tilted her head way to the side and said "Hi" to me; and when we opened the Big Green Monster book, she liked it so much she drooled on every page. If you look really close, you can see it.

Next year, we'll get the costume together.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

New York city Marathon

The Marathon happens to go right by our house. Okay, not literally look out the window and see the runners, more like step out onto the stoop, look down the block, and THERE are the runners; but close enough that we stroll on down and cheer them on every year. Actually, I can't remember if we did this last year, and if Clio joined us (where else would she have been). So this was either her first or SECOND experience of the marathon. How's that for super momentous?

Clio had just come from swim class (more on that later) and has a nasty cold, so she was good for about 2 minutes. Back at home, she promptly fell asleep- without lunch!

It's hard to capture the density of the pack from this close up- if you look really closely, you can kind of see the huge crowd of runners swarming away down 4th avenue.

The Hess station on the corner was a popular pit stop.

Needless to say, the bushes smelled delightful in the morning!

Friday, November 2, 2007

Seeing Double

I remember when I was pregnant with Clio being very judicious about the clothes we bought- first of all, they needed to be gender-neutral, and if you enter any baby department and witness the explosion of pink to the left and the explosion of blue to the right, you know what a challenge this is. But more critically, everyone had told be that the sizing is off in baby clothes, and that the kid would be wearing sizes at least 6 months ahead of his or her actual age. Once you figured in the additional issue of season, it seemed like such complicated math, and I mostly bought white onesies with yellow and green animals on them.

I think we've finally figured out which brands fit how (Old Navy runs long and lean, Circo runs big and Carters runs HUGE, and absorba and Amy Coe are just plan squat and square) and we're able to mostly pick things that work.
But I've noticed a funny thing about H+M: Somehow, the clothes just seem to last and last, well beyond the boundaries of size. Take, for example, this flowered shirt, size 2-4 month, and Clio sporting it at 5 months and 15 months!

I also love how she looks the same but different.

By the way, a shout-out to my aunt Missy for the beautiful portraits of our 5-month old Clio! (We're lucky enough to now have that camera, so we can try to replicate the loveliness of her shots! Dave sometimes comes close, but I always miss by a mile. I know where my talents do- and don't - lie.)

P.S. I'm sure you're waiting for the Halloween post. I missed the party because of this ongoing illness, so Dave might moonlight on a post. In the meantime, link to perch babies in the list to the right and you'll see about a dozen babies in adorable costumes- and just one adult. That's right, that's Dave as the Easter Bunny (or, as his boss suggested, more like a Playboy bunny!) I was supposed to be the Tooth Fairy. Oh well, just another year that my favorite holiday is a personal disaster. More on that next year.