Thursday, August 30, 2007

Chelsa: Innocent Victim Or International Woman Of Mystery And Malice?

When I left the living room this morning, it looked more or less like this. Not immaculate, but certainly clean enough to make one feel that order had triumphed over chaos. I changed Maggie's diaper, put a fresh onesie on her, and returned to the living room, where I beheld this shocking transformation:

One of two things must have happened. Either a)The United States government, having long suspected me of spying for the Canadian Secret Police under the alias Cheleka, took advantage of my brief absence, rushed in, and ransacked the living room in search of any documents containing the code words "pop" or "zed", or b)...

...we have a toddler infestation in our apartment. I shall investigate both possibilities and keep you posted.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

I Call This Composition, "Lotus Blossom In White Onesie"

(With optional flower teether.)

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Kissability Liability

This is what Maggie gets for being fuzzy-headed, soft-skinned, sweet-smelling, and oh, so delightsome. A lot of people don't understand the burdens under which she operates, but she isn't getting any less snuggly, so she may have to put up with this kind of thing for a long, long while. Sorry, Maggie.

I sent this picture to my friend Sarah, who remarked (among other, more flattering comments) that this particular photograph emphasizes Maggie's humorous hair-loss pattern in a way that called Sarah's attention to it for the first time. I would have been offended, but I am forced to confess that Maggie's patchiness has not escaped my amused attention, either. Maggie's hair is funny. She has male-pattern baldness in the front and around the back, leaving one dark tuft in the middle of her head that often stands straight up, and a fringe around the back of her neck that makes her look like she is a monk. Somehow, though, she mysteriously manages to pull this off in such a way that her loveable-ness is only increased by it.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Wide Open Spaces

Max likes to keep things exciting and fresh by trying out new perspectives every so often.

He also tries to keep the horizon in view at all times, even if the brilliance of his future path necessitates shielding the eyes.

Onward, all ye brave toddlers! Be bold of heart and soldier on, letting neither parent nor grandparent slow your steps as you cross the soccer field of life and prepare to conquer the curly slide! Curly slide, ho!

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Yes, We Are Enjoying Our Weekend Off Together, Thanks For Asking

It has been both wonderful and surreal to have an entire weekend of Ian. Just in case it was all some sort of mirage, we made the most of our two days. We went to the Farmer's Market, we got haircuts together (we didn't give each other the haircuts -- we are giddy with sweet leisure hours, but not that giddy), we visited with friends and family and parks and pools, and we enjoyed every minute. A couple of people have asked me if I am worried that I will get tired of Ian now that he's around more. The answer is no, I am not afraid of that. Even discounting the fact that I like Ian a great deal, self-preservation alone would allow me to put up with someone a whole lot more tiresome than Ian if it meant that I had some childcare backup in the evenings and could pee privately every now and then.

Friday, August 24, 2007


Upon moving into this apartment, Ian and I gave great thought to the style and layout of our new surroundings. Our goal, aside from comfort and whatever aesthetic sensibilities we could muster together, was to construct an environment where Max could explore freely and safely. We did not want to spend all of our time enforcing a long list of rules about what not to touch, where not to go, and how not to behave. Since we have sustained no major injuries or nervous breakdowns in the year that we have lived here, we celebrate the triumphant achievement of our goal. Sort of.

The problem is, Max keeps growing. Older. Taller. Stronger. And worst of all, smarter. It has become painfully apparent that we cannot simply baby-proof our home once and then rest on our laurels forever after. We cover the outlets, Max becomes dexterous enough to uncover them. We put dangerous things up high, Max gets tall enough to reach them. We buy climb-friendly furniture, Max uses it as a stepping-stone to reach and scale less climb-friendly structures. All our meticulous planning seems to have bought us nothing more than a dangerously false sense of security.

One of Max's favorite new ways to demonstrate our laughable naivety to us is by messing with the sideboard. We bought the sideboard to store our stereo equipment, and we were thrilled with the fact that its drawers were too difficult for Max to open, its top too high to allow him access to the record player, and its sides too streamlined to allow Max to climb it. In the last few months, however, its integrity has been breached on all fronts. Max figured out how to open the drawers, necessitating a jury-rigged locking technique that hermetically seals the sideboard against any practical use by even the most dexterous adult, but that still only keeps Max out 50% of the time. He has gotten tall enough to easily reach the record player, a problem we have yet to solve. And, as seen here (you've been wondering when the pictures and the narrative were going to come together, I know, and I appreciate your patience), he has found a way to scale the unscalable sideboard. He will wait until I have just settled in to nurse Maggie, and cannot get up easily. Then, he will climb onto the --? (whatever its called, some amplifier or something, that has to be on the floor right next to the speakers or the whole musical experience becomes unlistenable, according to Ian), look over at me to make sure he has my attention, and say, "No, no! No, no Max! No, no Mama!" in delighted anticipation of the interaction he is about to have with me. I will usually try asking him to get down first, because I know it won't work and I evidently enjoy fruitlessness. When I have satisfied myself that nope, just asking isn't going to do the trick this time, either, I will stand up and head over to enforce the rules in a more direct way. Inevitably, this dislodges the urgently nursing Maggie, who adds her forceful objections to the chaos. Of course, as soon as Max sees me actually up and headed his way --

-- he flees the scene, and thereafter behaves as if he has never even heard of such a thing as sideboard climbing. Until I sit down to nurse Maggie again. It kind of bugs.

Most unfair of all, if Ian or I are even the tiniest sliver of a bit stern with him, Max busts out this 'Do You Still Love Me Even A Little Wee Bit?' look, and we wind up feeling terrible. I have tried sitting him down and telling him that we give him few restrictions, and that the rules that we do have are in place to ensure his safety and help shape him into a secure and well-rounded person. Midway through my speech, he climbed onto the kitchen table and commenced a Coyote Ugly style bar dance routine until he was apprehended.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Three Month Photo Shoot

Maggie happy.

Maggie sad.

Maggie sarcastic.

Maggie skeptical.

Maggie cynical.

Maggie flirtatious.

Maggie chatty.

Maggie's brother feels enough attention has been paid to her for the time being.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

More Gratuitous Maggie Sleeping

Ian's new job starts earlier in the morning than his old one did, which means that everyone has to get up and moving a little earlier. Some of us, however (not naming any names, but they are pictured here), seem to think that the new schedule is for suckers. Max spent most of Sunday night in bed with us for some sinister reason, which meant that I spent the night wedged between children and woke up to discover that I had turned into one giant crick in the neck. I hope and believe that Ian's excited adrenalin about starting a new job balanced out whatever injuries he sustained, but it was not exactly the good night's sleep that you hope for before embarking on a new enterprise. Max, Ian and I got up around six-thirty. Maggie let out a contented, milky sigh, stretched herself out as far as she could go in every direction, and slept in until 9:15. I have never been so deeply envious of anyone in all my life.

I realize that I posted pictures of Maggie sleeping just a couple of days ago, and that I have already discussed her slothfulness in as much depth as the topic requires. I find, however, that I personally cannot get enough sleeping Maggie pictures, and I am banking on the idea that everyone shares my enthusiasm.

Well, maybe not everyone.

Monday, August 20, 2007

9 to 5

When we decided to become parents, Ian and I both agreed that we wanted one of us to stay home during our children's first few years of life. In order to do this, we were aware that there would be sacrifices. The hardest of these was the fact that in order to keep our household afloat, Ian needed to work very long hours, rarely had weekends off, and missed out on much of the fun stuff that came along with the family that he was working so hard to sustain. The fact that he did this without ever complaining about it is a testament to his character and his devotion to Max, Maggie, and myself. I will be forever grateful that he was willing to do this in order to give me unrestricted time with my children during their infancy, and I am even more grateful to report that he does not have to do it anymore. Today is Ian's first day at his new job, which allows him to be home every day by 6 and to have every weekend off. The prospect of 20+ extra hours a week together is so wonderful that I don't think any of us have quite absorbed it yet, although I have already composed a chore list for Ian, in case he gets bored. (I am kidding. Kind of.) I just wanted to tell everyone how proud I am of Ian, and to wish him a very happy first day.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Maggie Van Winkle

On most mornings, Maggie is the last one awake by at least 45 minutes. Note her advanced communication skills -- she already knows to cover her ears to indicate an unwillingness to interact with the waking world. She has evidently decided that 'sloth' is her deadly sin of choice.

Saturday, August 18, 2007


For the second time this week, Max has awoken from his naply slumber, staggered out to greet the world, decided that his awakening was perhaps premature, and gone back to sleep in weird positions and locations for extended periods of time. Maybe Ian is drugging him, and not telling me? If that's the case, though, Ian, then why on earth aren't you administering whatever tranquilizer dart it is at night, instead?

As a small side note, you may be wondering what the blue thing wedged into the couch near Max's hindquarters is. I wondered myself, while reviewing these photos. Is Max now laying small blue eggs, as a side effect of the sedative that Ian claims not to know anything about?

No, no. Meticulous research on my part reveals that the item is, in fact, Sally from the Pixar movie Cars. Max loves Cars. As a family, we have seen the opening race scene of Cars 1,293,463 times. It now works on both Ian and myself in such a way that we can use it instead of giving ourselves sleep medication, should we ever again be permitted to even think about sleep.

As a second side note, are Max's feet bigger than the entire galaxy, or what? I know, I know, right now Granny is out there rolling her eyes and saying, "First the head, and now the feet! Why can't she just leave my perfectly proportioned grandson alone, for goodness' sake?" Even you have to admit it, though, Granny. They're like hobbit feet. Only not so hairy.

Friday, August 17, 2007

Binge Drinking

Maggie has been on a big nursing kick recently. Actually, since birth, but even more so for the last week or two. A Maggie separated from her constant milk source (me!) is a Maggie bereft. Since Maggie has inherited my round cheeks (along with the rest of my face, according to most people), she can be tragically, pathetically fooled into rooting by the feel of her own kissable cheek pressing against surfaces. Here we witness this phenomenon, as Maggie tries with clench-fisted desperation to find the nip that must, simply must be there somewhere, since she can see and feel something round and fleshy off to the left. (Is it wrong that I find this funny? Maybe Granny is right -- my mockery of Max's giant head and Maggie's roundy cheeks points to deep and merciless reservoirs of cruelty. Oh, well. I gotta be me.)

While I was taking a quick break from my dairy duties to go to the bathroom (the nerve of me! I don't know what got into me), I put Maggie in her car seat, where she yelled and rooted herself into a fitful, neglected slumber. I paid dearly for my frivolous bathroom gallivanting when she awoke ten minutes later, with the raging appetite of a thousand titans. Ow.

P.S. I just noticed that in these pictures, Maggie is wearing the same outfit as in yesterday's post. She does have and wear other clothes occasionally. I'm just saying.

P.S.2. These pictures were taken earlier this week. In the time between then and now, Maggie's strength has increased to the point where she can leap out of the car seat if she is not buckled in, ending for all time the practice of setting her in there for my convenience when I need both hands free for a second. She now has to go on a blanket on the floor, which makes me nervous because I am afraid that Max will step on her. Even this is a temporary solution, though, because I am fairly certain that she will be up and walking, if not running, by early next week. She is an amazon.

P.S.3. Sarah, observe that I included NO graphic breastfeeding photos to illustrate my point here, although I have the perfect one in my archives, and then never say that I never did you any favors.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Feats Of Strength

Huh. I seem to have crossed one leg over the other. I wonder if I could flip the rest of myself over, too? What would that be like?

I guess there's only one way to find out. Ready -- and --


Wow! The top half is not nearly as easy as the bottom half. Feel the burn, Maggie, feel the burn. Don't give up now. Something's shifting ...

What the --?! All that effort, and I seem to have accomplished nothing more than a self-imposed tummy time! If only I could plan ahead, even a little.

Oh, well. Nothing to do now but look triumphant and try to play it off like I did it on purpose. Maybe I'll look over that crawling manual that Max gave me. I'm pretty sure it said something about this position in the forward motion diagram.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

In Which Max Expresses Displeasure Over Being Weighed And Measured

Max had his two-year check-up this morning, and despite the fact that no shots or painful procedures were required or administered, every single member of The Sutter Davis Pediatric team would be wise to watch their backs from now on. Max did not start out the day despising his doctor. In fact, ever the social butterfly, he said a hale and hearty "HI!" to everyone he saw upon arriving, whether they felt like chatting or not. His good will continued in the waiting room, down the hall, into the office, and right up until the nurse took out the measuring tape. She showed him the tape, and he laughed. She let him touch the tape, and he was enraptured. She attempted to measure the circumference of his head with the tape, and he was instantly and irrevocably the enemy for life of both the nurse and her accursed measuring tape. He was similarly passionate about being weighed, having his ears and eyes looked at, or having his heart listened to. Trying to lay him on the table in order to figure out how tall he was was an ordeal that required the restraining power of the nurse, Ian, and myself to accomplish. As best as we could figure, what with the active resistance, Max is doing great. He is (all measurements are subject to error, since they were taken under duress) about 3 1/2 feet tall, thirty-three pounds, and in the 99.6 percentile for head size. (Granny always thinks that I cruelly mock Max's giant head, but I am just reporting the facts. We saw a graph and everything. Max's head size placed him well above the 'normal' curve and into deep and uncharted noggin territory.) The doctor was also impressed by Max's speed, strength, and vocabulary, and was gracious enough not to point out that Max was using all of these things to avoid/abuse/berate him. To sum up the morning, Max is healthy, happy, humongous (both height and weight are 97th percentile), and opinionated. Also, he is a genius. (The doctor didn't quite say 'genius', but I can read between the lines. He just doesn't want Max to know that he's a genius, or he will become conceited and his head will grow even larger.)

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Lucky Number Eight

Ian ...

and Chelsa ...

sitting in a tree ...


First comes love ...

then comes marriage ...

and then comes a baby ...

(or two)

in a baby carriage!

Ian, I have known you for over half of my life now, and there has never been a day in which you failed to surprise and delight me in some way. You have somehow managed to be a place of absolute safety and yet a source of endless adventure for me for the last eight years. All of the very best things about my life stem from the fact that you are in it. Happy Anniversary.