Thursday, October 30, 2008

Clever Climber

Nothing is safe in this house.

Caleb has begun climbing on anything and everything. He climbs up on the couch using the Little Tikes bulldozer his Uncle Steve and Aunt Kim gave him for his birthday. He tries to climb up on my desk by opening the drawers to the small filing cabinet next to it and climbing up on that. And as you can see here, he likes to use the V Tech Alphabet Train my mom and dad gave him to access the Sky box. This morning I had actually gone to the kitchen for a moment and purposely moved all large toys to the middle of the living room so he couldn't climb on anything. But as you can see I came back to this. He's far too clever.

Here's a shot from the other day when Caleb took a nap with his daddy and the doggies on the futon in my office. I'm telling you, there's no greater nap than a futon nap.
And finally, here's some little piggies on their way to the market. I can't seem to keep socks or shoes on him, as you'll remember from our little Harrod's adventure.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

And In Unrelated News...

Here's a collection of random things I need to get off my chest.

1.) I hate the Sugarbabe's new song "Girls." In case you don't listen to BBC Radio 1 all day, the Sugarbabes are a British girl band that churn out mediocre pop and dance songs from time to time. Nothing terribly repulsive, but nothing really great either (except for that one song, "About You Now ". THAT is a great pop song!)

Their latest single is a cover/rip off of Ernie K Doe's "Here Come the Girls," which I have referenced before in my blog as a fantastic song used in Boots ads. I love the original. And by "love it," I mean that I love the little snippet of it I hear on various Boots ads. However, this version of the song is complete crap! The idea to cover a very popular song used in an English ad is clever, how it was done is not. It's just bad pop music. It had the potential to be a really fun, pseudo-empowering female anthem, and it ended up just being a bad dance song that doesn't even emphasize the horns that really make the original a great song. On top of that, the video is so freaking boring! Girls dancing in a club. That's it. Please! I'll go out if I want to see that. The fact that I'm blogging about this is both sad and lame, I know.

2. In that same vein of thinking, I find it amazing how popular girl and boy bands still are in the UK! From Girls Aloud to Sugarbabes to Take That to Boyzone, single-gendered pop groups are still pretty big here! And did you hear that Boyzone is back?! Yeah! Of course, I never knew they existed, let alone had left the scene. But still, exciting, right? I guess. :) I have to admit, their new single "Love You Anyway" is really stinking catchy. Although I wish I could figure out of McFly counts as a boy band or just a regular pop rock band. I think they play their own instruments, which might qualify them as something slightly more substantial than a boy band. Man, I think about this too much.

3.) One of the only kids shows on TV I can actually stand to sit and watch with Caleb is My Friends Tigger and Pooh, a new version of Whinnie the Pooh with all the same characters, with one notable exception. There's no Christoper Robin! In Christopher Robin's place is a little girl named Darby. Now I don't have a problem with this Darby character at all. She's a cute enough cartoon kid - not too precocious or too syrupy sweet. But why the heck replace Christopher Robin at all?! He is one of my favorite characters from childhood. He embodies childhood innocence and creativity and belief. I don't get that they kept everyone from Rabbit to Eyore to Piglet, but 86'd Christopher Robin! It's just odd.

4.) I'm so totally stoked to have found the Colbert Report and Conan O'Brien on my English satellite TV! And I'm really glad we have a DVR so I don't have to stay up late to watch either. Now I can enjoy them with my Golden Grahams in the morning! Hooray!

5.) So the other day, I was searching for something mindless to watch while enjoying a mid-afternoon snack, and I came across an episode of Blossom. Seriously. BLOSSOM. It was huh-freakin-larious. What made it ten times more pricelss was the guest appearance of David Schwimmer as Six's boyfriend. Oh, man. I wish I could share it with you right now. You'd squeal with laughter.

6.) And just for fun, here's a pic of Caleb shakin' what his mama gave him!

Monday, October 20, 2008

Reinventing Bed Time

I don't know who this child is. Certainly he's not the baby who went down for bed time in his own crib without a fight since he was two months old. Certainly he's not the infant who has slept through the night for months with only occasional midnight wake ups during teething bouts.

No, this is not my baby.
This is my toddler.

In the last month or so, Caleb has completely abandoned the idea of being my little champion sleeper, and now exhibits a preference for ignoring his bed time, fighting fatigue, and waking in the middle of the night for a 3 am play session.

3 am Kelly misses 11 month old Caleb.

Surely this is a phase, right? Just something he'll pass through on the way to becoming a big boy. A big boy that goes to bed on time and sleeps through the night again. Just a phase. Right?!

Or perhaps it's a growth spurt. Maybe he's about to shoot up three inches (his father would be so proud!) Or a development spurt. Perhaps all this fussiness and change is a precursor to walking. That's not unheard of, right? A weird bout of unexplained fussiness just before a big developmental change? I've heard that happens in some babies!

I guess it could be the introduction of separation anxiety, which I've ready can strike at about this age. Perhaps he's realized that bed time means he won't see Mommy and Daddy for a long time. Maybe occasional wakings during the night are much scarier now that he's aware that he's by himself in his room.

Or maybe it's teething. That's it. We'll use the generic catch-all excuse for infantile crabbiness. "He's teething." Sure he is. Just try and prove me wrong! Certainly we can chalk many things up to teething as he'll have teeth coming in for many more months to come.

The fact of the matter is, I don't know why Caleb's suddenly decided to boycott bed time. My husband came down at about 4 am the other morning when Caleb had already been awake for a good two hours and was screaming and fighting sleep. "What's wrong?" Tommy innocently asked. To which my exhausted self screamed, "I DON'T KNOW!" If I knew, he wouldn't be crying any more! If I knew, I'd fix it! My poor husband was trying to help, but my sleep deprived brain couldn't handle the interrogation in the face of a sleepless child.

Whatever the cause, it seems clear that the easy days of simple bed time routines are least for the time being. Gone are the days of 8:30 baths, 8:45 bottles, and 9:00 bed times without a fight. Now we try everything from baths to story time to snack time to rocking and singing. But usually we just have to wait until he's played himself exhausted and just falls asleep on the floor.

But our fingers are crossed that this is all just a phase. I guess only time will tell...

Friday, October 10, 2008

Reminders for the Future

I read an older blog the other day and was reminded that Caleb didn't like peaches at first. It was the first baby food he turned his head from. I was pretty persistent, though, and now he eats little Dole cups of peaches on a regular basis.

I had forgotten, though, until I read that blog that Caleb didn't like peaches right away. And I thought, "Thanks, blog! You sure are handy for helping me remember a few of the millions of details that slip away!"

So in that vein of thought, here are a few of my favorite things that Caleb is up to these days.

1. Finger-pushing. As an avid crawler, Caleb spends a lot of time with his hands on the floor. So he finds a lot of things to push. Anything from toys to dog dishes to pieces of trash. But he pushes them all with just his index finger. Whatever it is, he'll slowly push that booger along for ages just with his little pointy finger. So cute!

2. The Gorilla Lunge. If Caleb is sitting up on the floor and decides he's ready to crawl, he indicates so by launching himself into the crawling position. This involves quickly bringing his hands up above his head and thrusting them out in front of him so his body weight follows and then landing on his hands. It's hard to describe and even harder to catch on video, but it's so funny. He really looks like a little Gorilla.

3. Waving. I know, I know. All kids do this. But Caleb's so selective about when he'll wave. He'll go days without waiving and then have a fit of waving. On the way out of his 1 year baby vaccination appointment during which he was stuck with a needle four times and spent the whole time howling, he left with tears in his eyes and waving at everyone we met in the hallway. Or perhaps he was trying to get their attention to say, "See what this lady does to me?! Save me!"

4. Dropping. This is not my favorite thing, because Caleb drops everything, especially food, and especially if the dogs are around. He loves to feed the dogs. But it cracks me up to see him perched at the baby gate at the top of the stairs dropping his blocks, one by one, down the stairs. This won't be so funny when I trip on one and crack my head open. But it's fun to watch.

5. Opera hand. This is something he's been doing for months. I think it was a precursor to pointing. He raises one hand up in the air very theatrically for an unexplained reason. It's so dramatic and priceless! Lately it means he's looking at a light or a ceiling fan. Initially I have no idea what it meant.

6. Dancing. Ohhhh, I've been waiting for this day ever since I felt him kick while listening to Beyonce. I knew my son had a little boogie in him. Just recently he started responding to music just by bouncing up and down or, if he's on his hands and knees, pushing back and forth. It's subtle, but it's oh so cool.

7. Clapping. This is nothing new, but it kills me when he claps along with a TV audience. It reminds me of when the dogs bark at dogs on TV. Caleb particularly loves the English version of Deal or No Deal. (I like it, too, to be honest! It's so different than the American version. Very no-frills. And the presenter is so endearing!)

8. "Didi." Didi is what Caleb says for "doggy." Anytime Zeus and Zoey come in the room, Caleb gives a very emphatic, "Didi!" While my parents were in town we were wandering around a town called Ely and a lady passed by with a black lab. Caleb promptly pointed out "Didi!" which, of course, indicates he's a little genius! :) Since then "Didi" has also come to mean "ducky" and "birdy." I love that he's recognizing things and trying to label them!

9. Trying to walk. Caleb isn't all that interested in walking, although he made five very unsteady but purposeful steps tonight. Go Caleb! Usually, though, when we release his hands to encourage him to walk, he tries to do so not by moving his feet, but by leaning forward, hoping his feet will catch up with his head. They don't, so we have to be there to catch him, which he thinks is great fun.

He's such a fun little booger, and it seems like he gets more and more fun as time goes by. I can't wait to see what this year holds for him!

Thursday, October 09, 2008

A Grand Reunion

We had a tragic loss in our family on Saturday.

We lost a brand new Nike tennis-shoe that my in-laws had sent Caleb for his birthday. He hadn't even owned the shoes a full 24 hours when one of them went AWOL in London.

My mother and I spotted a lonely sock just before we were getting ready to get on the tube to go back home. Mom promptly went back up the stairs to search back to Starbucks and in the general vicinity for the lost footwear. She returned empty handed.

With tears in my eyes, I back tracked the same territory and a little further, around the outside of Harrods. Harrods is a gigantic, upscale department store in downtown London. I've been asked if it's comparable to Macy's. Having never been to a Macy's, I can't say. The only comparison I can make is to a posh Midwestern department store. So for my Omaha friends, imagine Von Maur. But probably about five times bigger. And five times posher. Selling diamonds the size of my eyeballs. And children's jackets that cost about $500.

Anyway, a lengthy search outside the store did not turn up the lost shoe. I would have gone back in Harrods, but that would have taken hours. Even with a store map, mom and I had gotten lost numerous times while we were in there. So I returned to the Knightsbridge tube station broken hearted.

This wasn't just a shoe. It was a very generous gift from my mother- and father-in-law. Now I wouldn't necessarily call Ed and Linda "name brand people." There are things that are important in life, and for Ed and Linda name brands just aren't as important as loving people and making great sweet tea. But they knew their son. Tommy had infected his younger brother and sister with an affinity for name brands. Tommy was the first name brand snob in his family, and it was contagious. Ed and Linda's gift was also a gesture. It was their way of infecting our son early to make sure we'd have to go through years of "But I HAVE to have it"s to make up for the damage Tommy did to his brother and sister.

And now that gift was gone. Or so I thought.

I contacted Harrods the next day on the off chance that someone had found it. Lo and behold, the lost Nike was in possession of the Lost Property department! After a little finagling, they agreed to mail the shoe back to us.

Today we received not only the lost shoe, but a lovely hand-written note from Suresh who had mailed the shoe and an adorable miniature teddy bear for Caleb. It was a grand reunion between the shoes! I'm so happy to have that shoe back, I can't begin to tell you.

Welcome back, shoe!

Friday, October 03, 2008

This Time Last Year...

This time last year, I had just been admited to the base hospital to be induced into labor. I was so nervous and scared and so very, very glad that my mom was with me since my husband was still in Iraq.

Tonight, we'll celebrate Caleb's first birthday a day early with some friends and my mom and dad, who flew in from the states last week. I expected to be sentimental and emotional today, but I supposed I'm too busy making sure I remember to bring everything for his party.

My baby's not a baby anymore. He's a near-walking, babbling, laughing, playing little guy with no time for naps and no patience for eating.
Happy Birthday, baby boy.