All Out of Space

Whew. There has been so much going on, so much to share, but I just have not has a spare minute. My daughter is now into everything with such enthusiasm I can’t leave her alone for a single minute or she will disassemble the entire house. Just because she can. I can seriously spend an entire day following her around closing cabinets, putting things back into drawers, and sticking magnets back on the refrigerator. On the rare occasion when she takes a nap long enough that I can shower and eat a meal sitting down, I grab the computer to start writing but quickly have to stop because the story I want to tell has some fabulous pictures that accompany it and unfortunately I am not currently able to put up any new pictures. No, not because my site is broken or my photo gallery is having issues, but because I have simply taken too many pictures.

In the three years I have had my Nikon D70 I have taken well over 18,000 pictures. Yes, you read that correctly. EIGHTEEN THOUSAND. And now my poor computer simply refuses to accept another image. I have a memory card in my camera full of images of our trip to Bend, playing in the pool, Ana’s first Thanksgiving (which we hosted!), getting Ana’s ears pierced (she only cried for a second…then we gave her a lollipop), and my first attempt to put tiny pigtails in her hair (so adorable!) but I have to wait until Simeon does some creative organizing to make room or our computer will quite literally explode into a million pieces.

So we are all here. Alive and well. Keeping busy with planning Miss Ana’s first birthday celebration while simultaneously trying to teach her not to go down the stairs face first. Why she understands that she needs to slide down from our bed on her stomach but not on the stairs is beyond me…

A Letter: Eleven Months

Dear Ana,
Today you turn eleven months old, which is so close to a year that I can’t even wrap my brain around it. When you turn a year old you will become a toddler and no longer be a baby. So this is officially the last month we get to use the excuse that you don’t know any better because you are “just a baby” so make sure you use this last month well my friend!

While the big news last month was the fact that you are mobile, this is the month you got really good at it! You can make your way around the house like a pro. You crawl only as a means to get to something you can pull yourself up with and then you walk around the entire house. You have even figured out how to climb all the way up the stairs! Tables, chairs, walls, even the animals, are all just tools to help you in your quest to continually be in motion. But while you have gotten better at getting around, you sure haven’t gotten much faster. You are very deliberate with your mobility and don’t take a single step without thinking it through. I think it is because you hate falling or slipping more than anything! So much in fact, that you very gently lower yourself to the ground to transition from standing to crawling. It is so cute and just about the most prissy, girly thing I have ever seen you do.

In the last couple days you have increased your confidence in yourself and started standing. That is, letting go of my hand (or the nearest piece of furniture) and standing all by yourself. The first couple times you did it were entirely on accident: you would be standing up and holding on to something then pick up a toy and without realizing it, you would let go of the furniture entirely and stand all on your own. Then as soon as you realized you were doing it, you would panic and grab on for support. But now you have started doing it deliberately and even get excited and squeal with happiness, knowing what an accomplishment this is.

Even though you have started standing, you are still using your hands to steady yourself as you walk around the house the majority of the time. So you needed to figure out how to bring your toys, or whatever you happen to be playing with at the time, with you. Ever the little problem solver, you started using your mouth to carry your things. Let me tell ya, you are one creative little girl… that or you have been paying a little too much attention to the dogs.

Watching you eat has become quite the entertaining event at our house. There are some days you will only eat food you can feed yourself, which makes for some rather mess meal times. As the meal progresses, and you get more tired, you start rubbing your eyes and ears, and more often than not your hands stray into your hair. Once there, you run your fingers through your hair and depending on what you have eaten, create some pretty interesting hair styles. But seeing how proud you are when you finish all your peas, carrots, cheese cubes, and pasta makes the clean-up totally worth it.

As your developments increase and your abilities broaden, you are becoming quite the analytical little girl. You are always concentrating and studying the world around you. Just like your Auntie Jeni and your Daddy, when you are really focusing on something your “thinking tongue” comes out. Your father and I are always looking at you and wondering what is going on in that head of yours, but before we know it you will be talking and I am sure you will be more than willing to tell us every little thing!

My favorite quirky think you are doing this month has to do with when I put you down in your crib. For awhile there as soon as I would lay you in bed, you would stick your feet straight up in the air, drop your legs over to one side and curl up to go to sleep. While you still do this, you have added a little more to the trick: now you curl up, then tuck your legs under you and end up in the crawling position. Most of the time you squirm around enough that you end up sleeping on your stomach, but sometimes you are so tired you just fall asleep, with your butt up in the air, as if you are about to crawl away. All I know is you are lucky you are young, because if I were to sleep like that I would be so sore the next day I wouldn’t be able to move at all!

Oh Ana, I just love you and all your little quirks so much. You amaze me in so many ways. I want you to know that while this is technically the last month that you are a baby, just know that you will always be my baby.

All my love,

Baby’s First Bully

Lately I have thinking a lot about getting back into shape (I never really had any baby weight to lose since I actually lost weight when I was pregnant, but I am still no where near where I would like to be) and I know the first step is going back to the gym. Simeon and I have a membership to 24 Hour Fitness that we used pretty regularly. That is, before we had Ana. Sim has actually been working out lately, but I haven’t gone since I was pregnant. I called around to the clubs in my area and found out about the day care they offer. It was reasonably priced, and super convenient, so I checked out the class schedules and decided to commit. This morning I got up, decided I would start with a Pilates class, and today Ana and I would go to the gym.

Knowing there would be paperwork to fill out, I arrived a little early, paid for my book of child care passes, and brought Ana into the Kids’ Club. I completed all the paperwork, said good-bye to Ana, and set her down to play. She quickly crawled off to check out all the new toys without giving me a second glance, so I felt comfortable sneaking off to my Pilates class.

When I came back to get Ana after my class (which, in case you were wondering, kicked my ass in the best possible way) the first thing I noticed was one of the ladies was holding Ana. Then I saw that her face looked a little red. Assuming she just fell and bumped her head or skidded on the carpet, I signed her out. The lady handed Ana over to me and I honestly gasped out loud. I quickly turned Ana around to face me and noticed her face was red and puffy, completely covered in scratches, and there were even a couple cuts that were actually bleeding. I asked what happened and the lady had the audacity to ask me if Ana had a rash when she got there. I turned Ana towards her and said this was not a rash. She was obviously scratched to the point that blood was drawn. I asked what happened and all the employees got quiet and kinda looked at each other. One of the other moms was picking up her child and said she was sure they couldn’t assume responsibility, but she was sure it was her daughter’s fault. I told her I didn’t think she should leave her daughter in day care knowing she was likely to attack the other children. She yelled back at me, “I don’t know how many children you have, but this is just something they do!” and then proceeded to slam the door on her way out.

I turned back to the workers and told them this was absolutely unacceptable and demanded they refund my money for the Kids’ Club because there was no way I was going to pay for my child to be neglected. One of the ladies told me she would take me to the manager so we could deal with the situation. He apologized, promptly refunded my money, and said he would have a talk with the other employees. While we were still talking, another mother came in with her son in her arms and pointed out his face which was covered with marks similar to Ana. Seeing that both children were clearly attacked by the same person, he said they would make a note on the other girl’s chart and not allow her back into the day care center. I thanked him for trying to handle the situation, gathered up Ana and headed to our car. As soon as I got into the parking lot I completely lost it and started crying. I felt so guilty for dropping off Ana, for leaving her in sub-standard care, and for the marks all over her face. Of course the first time I ever leave Ana without close friends or family something awful has to happen. I am seriously going to have a hard time leaving her any time soon!

Now don’t get me wrong, I understand things happen. I know how children, especially babies, don’t always understand that their actions have consequences. I know babies get hurt all the time and turn out just fine. What I cannot understand is how something like this can happen. There were three employees working the day care and only four children. The workers clearly were not watching the kids. Ana could have been scratched before they were able to separate her from the other girl, sure. But the number of scratches in multiple places means it didn’t happen in the blink of an eye. And certainly the fact that TWO children were cut and scratched obviously means there was a lapse in supervision.

But the employees are not the only ones to blame. The mother of the “bully girl” knew her daughter was the culprit, which means it has most likely happened before. I don’t understand how she could, in good conscience, leave her child knowing she has a tendency to lash out on other children. At the very least she should have mentioned something to the workers so they could have kept a closer eye on her.

I took some pictures a couple hours after the fact. Keep in mind that I washed off the dried blood and the majority of the redness and swelling had already gone down. What you still see on Ana’s face are the deep cuts and scratches. And even those don’t look nearly as bad in the photos as they do in person. My poor baby!

Happy Halloween-Part II

We dressed Ana up in her cow costume for playgroup first thing in the morning. I wasn’t sure how she was going to react to everyone in costumes, so we thought we would expose her to other babies first.

Beckham was Micky Mouse and Katie was a ladybug. Aside from the hat on her head, Ana didn’t seem to notice the costumes at all…on her or other people!

In the evening we went “Trick or Treating” at some of my families homes. Ana got to see her cousins dressed up before they headed out for some real trick or treating!

All in all her first Halloween was a success., making us one big happy family! All the pictures are here.