Monday, March 31, 2008

Potty Training

Do you think this is a sign of a child who is ready to be potty trained? Apparently the potty is an excellent place for a book (I will sometimes agree with this) and a snack (not so sure about that one.)

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Drinking Milk From a Straw

Clio learned this new trick when we had lunch yesterday at Macy's.

I've never seen the kid drink so much milk in one sitting!

Bouncy Horse

At her last well visit, when going through the major milestones for 18-month olds, our Dr. seemed surprised that Clio is not all that adept at climbing. When she heard that Clio crawls up stairs and basically refuses to go down them at all (at one point I swear it was reaching phobia proportions), she said "Hm. Well, I guess it will come in time."

Then, at a recent outing to PowerPlay and a subsequent playdate at Statia's, I realized that Clio can't seem to figure out how to climb on to physical toys, like rocking horses or play vehicles. She wanted very badly to ride Zoe's truck, but wound up just sitting sidesaddle and not going much of anywhere.

"Does she have any toys like this?" Statia asked me. And the truth is, she doesn't. We seem to have a lot of art and music stuff, a LOT of animals and babies, and a number of small-motor skills games, like puzzles and stacking cups. We don't have anything you climb on or ride on partly because our house just isn't that big, and partly because most of that stuff is pretty ugly.

So about a week ago, Clio and I went off to Target to get a wooden bike I had seen there many times, part of the line of toys Parents Magazine has developed:
But just like every other time I have ever gone to our small and non-suburban Target on a mission for a specific product, they did not have the bike. Loath to leave empty handed, I contemplated the ride-on toy section for quite a while, trying to decide which plastic toy was least offensive. The Barbie versions were out (baby number 2 could be a boy) and they were sold out of the Dora and Diego options, which would have been the obvious choice considering Clio's obsession with all things "Dorla", so we narrowed it down to a Mickey Plane and a Finding Nemo dune buggy. I finally left it up to Clio, who chose the plane:

Now, in his own way, Dave is more of an aesthete than I am, and knowing his penchant for wooden, European-made, quirky toys, I left Mickey in the car until he came home to confer.

Long story even longer, Dave had spent the better part of his afternoon doing research, and had determined that the
Skuut was just the thing for Clio:

We called every Brooklyn location and found that this is a popular item, sold out all over town. Except at LuLu's. The next day we went off to this local kids hair salon and toy store, and learned pretty quickly that the Skuut is just a little big (and a lot advanced) for Clio. Thus began the looooong debate over radio flier tricycles versus a lovely wooden rocking horse (the former has too large of a turning radius (according to Dave), and the latter is also a bit too big for now)

Eventually we went with the Rody, an inflatable bouncy horse that grows with your kids- you simply inflate it more or less to fit their size.

(As an aside, can you see why Dave and I rarely get anything done? Research, more research, and crippling indecisiveness.) Anyway, we got the thing home, and Clio wanted to sit on it immediately, even before we got it out of the box.

And then still and some more once it was uncrated.

Once it was actually inflated, she took it for a spin - and a number of spills.
Eventually, she really got the hang of it. She has figured out that stability helps, and drags the thing over to a chair, table (or her dad) in order to support herself getting on the thing.

And she has learned to swing her leg over the top- which is exactly what I was after in the first place.
In fact, she might be a little too comfortable with this toy already:

By the way, the Mickey plane is still in the car. Who knows, maybe Clio will build a fleet of vehicles to get around the living room in style.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Going on and Egg Hunt

We were thrilled to have the company of Abe, Amelia, and their parents for Easter brunch. (Okay, so when we planned the brunch it was really intended as a farewell to the Kwongs, who leave us for San Francisco tomorrow, and we didn't realize it was Easter.) Still, it made our day to have a family play date, and we did "set up" an Easter egg hunt for them.

Because eggs for toddlers basically need to be hidden in plain sight, we couldn't prepare in advance. Dave wanted to take the kids out of the room while we hid the eggs, but it turned out to be easy enough to "hide" them right under their noses. They actually did get into it, and eventually found them all- with a little help from their parents, aka the cheering section.

We also didn't have much to put IN the eggs, because none of these kids really eat candy, and my ideas (grapes, raisins, etc.) would have just made a mess. The kids didn't much care- they just wanted to show them off to each other - but Dave got a little creative with one special egg for Clio, nonetheless.

Easter Spoils

This kid is spoiled.

Not by us, mind you- it's by all of YOU out there in the world, sending her cards and gifts and toys and all kinds of STUFF. In fact, Clio was so wonderfully celebrated this Easter that I need to devote an entire post to the receiving and opening of packages.

They started to roll in around Wednesday, at which point we clued in to the fact that a holiday was coming. Dave didn't want to open
anything until Easter itself, so we had to sort of parcel it all out during the day, to avoid overload. We started with the cards, and let me tell you, those were exciting enough to keep her occupied all morning.

Especially when we opened Great Bonnie and Great Granddad's SINGING card, which starts in on "Here comes Peter Cottontail" every time you open it (video coming soon, I promise). Clio thought that was about the coolest thing ever. Can you tell?

On to the packages.

Together with the singing card, Bonnie and Granddad sent this very cool bunny backpack, which Clio put on and took off and put on and took off, and paraded around and around the kitchen island.

(She did not, however, think it was so great to carry plastic eggs around inside the backpack- the concept of the thing as anything other than a wearable toy is lost on her at this point.)

Uncle Brian and Aunt Maud are the greatest offenders when it comes to lavishly spoiling Clio. Towards the end of the day, we dug in to the entire Easter basket they sent along. (As it turns out, we did not provide any kind of easter basket this year, so without this special one, Clio would have had to go without. In fact, we didn't manage to provide much except a meager plastic-egg-hunt with about a dozen eggs (the dollar store was out by the time we went to get them. On Saturday. Go figure))

Clio is a BIG fan of this special bubble blower

(she even managed to blow a few herself. Good thing the soap is non-toxic, as she did eat a bunch of it in the process).

She is perhaps and even bigger fan of this rainbow bunny (it does fall into her A-number-1 category of Babies and Animals, after all),
and has taken great delight in identifying the various colored parts ("purple arm!" etc.)

But perhaps the best part of all is this bunny-head-shaped sidewalk chalk, which she and Daddy put right to use while the Mommy made her way off to an afternoon yoga class.

Despite NO parental effort, Clio had quite a fantastic Easter.

So, thanks Easter Bunn(ies)

(Bok, Bok!)

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Leopards and leopardsand leopards, oh my!

Start with a leopard jumper (and notice the pink fur and silver tinsel cuffs on the onesie)
Add a leopard coat,

And don't forget the pet leopard!

Clio has decided this is the coat of the moment because it looks just like her "cat."

With this much animal print, I'm sure Nonny is very proud!

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Happy Birthday Grandma!

Here's Barb as a new baby:

As a new mom:
And as a new grandma:

Similar to the way that Dave is trying to teach Clio something in most of their photos, and my mom is usually trying to make Clio laugh, I love that most pictures of Barb and Clio show Barb looking at Clio, as if the photo itself is not as important as whatever Clio is doing at that very moment. She's doting that way. It's just like the look she's giving Dave in the picture above. Sometimes I wonder if it's because she sees Clio fairly infrequently, so she's savoring every move that her only grandchild makes; but I think it's probably just her way.

Occasionally we do catch her looking at the camera, with good results.

When last I wrote about Barb here, she had been diagnosed with cancer; some of you have asked for updates, and I'm so glad to report that the surgery was a success, the recovery is going very well, and while the verdict is still out on next steps, all is looking good for a complete recovery. So this is a very special birthday, as we truly feel the celebration of Barb's life.

Happy Birthday, Grandma!

Tuesday, March 18, 2008


Does this look like a child with two infections?
No, I don't think so either.

Clio came down with yet another cold over the weekend (will winter ever end?) and this morning, on top of being fussier and clingier than usual, she said, quite directly, "ear hurts." This was very helpful, as the mild ear-tugging could have been associated with teething and I likely would have sent her off to day care, business as usual. Apparently it's also quite impressive- the Dr. told be later that this kind of direct communication of discomfort usually doesn't happen until kids are 3 or 4. (It's funny- I often hear variations on the theme that you get the kid you can handle; I always say I could never make my home in a country where English is not the native language because the nuance of communication is just too important to me. I guess a precociously -communicative child is just right for me.)

Anyway, off we went to the Dr., who confirmed that yes, Clio definitely has one infected ear and one questionable ear. While we were there, I casually had her look at a little blister on Clio's leg, which seemed to sprout an accompanying rash overnight. Guess what? It's a skin infection. In my surprise, I forgot to ask what causes such a thing; I suspect diaper chafing and possibly the new brand of wipes.

The good news is, Clio was perfectly cheerful all afternoon, and seemed to enjoy her day on the town, from the toys in the pediatrician's waiting room to the shelves and shelves of all kinds of things at Rite Aid.
The drugstore is, of course, where we found these Dora sunglasses. Followers of the blog will know that Clio was a big fan of one-year-old David's sunglasses when we visited the Jersey Shore a few weeks ago; lately she has tried to wear Mommy's glasses, but they're just too big. She also tries to take Daddy's glasses of his face, and since those are for actual vision, it's simply a no-no.

We may or may not have mentioned how much Clio LOVES Dora the Explorer, from the doll that my brother Rory gave her for Christmas (just like Lucia's) to the show itself, which she often requests and we generally deny (perhaps the two episodes I let her watch this morning before the Dr.'s had something to do with her excellent mood.) It was quite a delight to find these pink, sparkly, DORA sunglasses, expertly placed in the diaper aisle by some shrewd marketing peeps over at Nickelodeon. She spent much of the afternoon putting them on and off two of her babies and Paris's cat (who continues to be a BIG favorite.)
When Daddy came home, Clio not only showed him her new glasses, but insisted he take some additional photos of her sporting the new accessory. Which he did.

I had a hard time narrowing down the 20-some photos to just a handful.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Lucia's Pajamas

In the last batch of hand-me-downs from Cousin Lucia, we got a pair of pink flannel pajamas covered in ballerinas, with a matching robe. Clio has become very interested in choosing her clothes, and all of a sudden the distinction between blue and green sleepers or a cat or reindeer pattern is just not enough; so it's perfect timing to have two-piece pajamas to offer another choice in style.

Or maybe she loves them simply because they once belonged to Lucia. Every time we put them on, she says "Lucia's 'jamas?" And when we confirm that yes, these were once Lucia's pajamas, she then says "Clio's 'jamas."

She's definitely grasping the concept of "ownership": all weekend long, whenever we encountered strangers who said hello to us, Clio would grab the leg of the nearest parents and say "My Mommy. My Daddy." At home, she likes to indentify Mommy's Chair and Daddy's chair. And she likes to identify everything she wants to have as "Clio's." She's already figured out that old saying that possession is 9/10th of the law.

Monday, March 10, 2008

New Stuff, New Skills

Clio is a little obsessed with citrus fruits, and lately the special focus is on grapefruits, primarily because of the very cool thing that happens when you squeeze them: you get juice. She likes to do this herself, although frankly, she's not quite strong enough to get much of a result, so she ends up asking me to "help oo" (the catch all for "help me" which obviously comes from my overbearing penchant to ask "should I help you?") Luckily for me, she has not yet asked to drink the juice itself. She has, however, discovered that if you squeeze other fruits, like blueberries, they do not produce juice in such a nice, streamlined way.

Other favorites around the house these days include "colors" aka drawing, and "ABCs" aka playing with the magnetic alphabet on the fridge. My favorite local toy store, Romp, is consolidating to just a website, and at the resultant sale in the brick-and-mortar store I scored a beautiful easel and lovely painted wooden magnets, both at a discount. The easel was still really a splurge, but it's worth it every time she uses it- which is often. (It's a total bonus that we don't have to set her up in her high chair at the table every time she wants "colors.") We don't actually have the right size pad of paper yet, but both her white board and these giant flip-pads (left over from Dave's old job) do the trick for now.

One funny thing about the easel is our relationship to its height. Because it's made for people Clio's size, I often end up sitting on the ground when she asks me to draw with her. then, being a toddler and therefore a mimic, Clio will sit down with me, so she can no longer reach the paper. With the oversized Staples pad, she can't reach the top; being obsessed with this stool (see A Chair of One's Own, TV Monster, and various other posts), she has ingeniously incorporated it into her artistic practice. Now when she tells me to draw a diamond "up there." she can climb up and color it in (by which I mean scribble all over the shape and the surrounding several inches).

When it comes to the magnets, Clio has a thing for the As, Bs, Os, and Ws. She'll pick out a W and say. "Hi, W!" She'll pair all the Os together and count them. And earlier today, when we were leaving a playdate at Statia and Zoe's house, where the front door is populated by a magnetic alphabet, Clio waved to it, saying "bye bye ABCs."

Technological Difficulties, please stand by

Three new posts are written and in the bag- if only I could upload the multi-media components. Loads of new photos and, yes, a fun video coming your way. If only Blogger would stop telling me the Server Error was "temporary" and to try again in 30 seconds. (There have been a lot of 30-second intervals since the trouble began last night!)

Oh, and once I AM able to lock and load, the posts will likely show up AFTER this one (meaning lower on the page) because they are saved as drafts.

Oh, the woes of a non-tech-savvy blogger. Just wanted to share my frustration.

Sunday, March 9, 2008

The Greatest Place on Earth

No, not Disney World.

This is the Greatest Place on Earth for the Mommy. (Clio thought it was pretty okay, too.) For shelter mag-obsessing, living room-redecorating, paint-swatch toting women like me, it's Nirvana in the Bronx:

the ABC Carpet and Home Outlet.

Many a fine item has come from this haven of high-end, well-priced bargain finds, including the couch (plus accent pillows) and rug that you often see in the background of photos on this blog (since we rarely seem to leave the house.) We painted the living room yesterday, and as I continue to obsess with the transformation of that space into something comfy yet chic, I suggested a little "research trip" to Room and Board to get fabric samples for all the sofas I love. Dave went me one better with the ABC suggestion. "Really?" I asked in disbelief. "Really? Oh can we?"

For those of you who have never been dragged along on one of my excursions up there (but have heard tell of this fantasy land), I tried to snap a few photos that convey a sense of the scale of the place. This also doubles as a Where's Clio feature to the blog. Her iridescent gold parka blends remarkably well.

We actually spent a large portion of our time in the cafe having a snack, but we did manage to go through the entire inventory of sofas (all inexplicably incredibly deep and/or reclined, as if striving to be one of those Moroccan lounging beds) before Clio was ready to go. And then we got an extra half hour or more out of her by riding on the escalator (her first) and hanging out on the Carpets floor.

Here she is examining a Madeline Weinrib Atelier cotton Amagansett that I love (great prices, too).

Ultimately we decided the pale color might blend a bit too well with our pinkish wood floors. As for Clio, she preferred the options with a little more texture.

(We love this wool felt pile, too, but it's way out of our price range.)

It all reminded me a little of Seaman's carpets, a complete playland of shag and pile if there ever was one, that my mom used to take us to when we were kids. Come to think of it, I have no idea what she would have been shopping for, and wonder if she took us there explicitly as a distraction technique. Unlike ABC, Seaman's did not have policies against kids climbing on the rolls of carpet (of course, it was lower-end wall to wall, not the Tibetan wools and luxurious pelts of ABC, but still), and I remember countless blissful hours spent playing in carpet "forts," hiding in carpet "caves," and climbing on carpet jungle gyms.

It's nice to think Clio can have similar experiences to my own childhood; truthfully though, I'd love if we could BOTH make a trip to Seaman's, and play.