Sunday, April 19, 2015

Fare Thee Well, Princess Carol

     Carol played a very large role in my childhood memories. Grandma and Grandpa Beckett looked after me while my mom worked, and, after grandpa passed, Carol lived with us until grandma passed, so I spent just about every day with her until I was 9. I remember swinging on swings with her, playing in grandma and grandpa’s backyard after the rain… Trying to convince her to eat my mud pies decorated with snails…

     From a very young age I knew she was different. I admit I spent many hours peeking through her bedroom door just watching her.  She would sing and dance, draw, and play with her wigs… her creepy, freaky wigs, combing their hair, putting them in rollers, then taking out the rollers and styling their hair, repeating the process a couple of days later. She fascinated me, and as I reflect, I realize that although she was different she embodied everything that we are.  
     What she lacked in cognition she made up for in spunk. She was quirky, creative, loving, she loved to laugh, and, like all Beckett women, she was a stubborn old bitty who had to have things her way.

     She loved cats so much I sometimes worried she’d hug them to death. One year, our three cats all had kittens at the same time. We had 18 kittens and I’m sure Carol thought she was in heaven.

     She loved music. I remember sitting in her room and playing her record player, listening to her 45 of Disco Duck over and over and over again… and she was quite proud of her velvet Elvis picture.

     She loved to create. She would make squiggle drawings where she would draw a big circle and fill it with figure eights and tons of other lines, then color each segment a different color. I remember watching her tearing pages from a book, then circling groups of letters all throughout the page, connecting different words together with her circles, blacking out some letters here and there. When I asked her what she was doing, she told me she was “making words”. I argued with her, of course, telling her that they were already words, and I tried to convince her to let me teach her how to read. But she liked her way better.

     She loved anything sparkly or pink. She loved painting her nails. She loved sparkly jewelry. She loved her tiara. She beamed when she wore it. It made her feel beautiful, just like we all want to be.

     It’s hard losing her, which may seem weird to some people. Carol and I were not close as relatives go, but Carol always held a large place in my heart. She was the relative that you loved when you were a kid because she was kind of a kid, too. But then you grew up. And she didn’t, really, and you eventually outgrew her. But I didn’t. I didn’t want to. She reminded me of the happiest parts of my childhood. Losing her is like losing the last little thread that connected me to that part of my life, to my grandparents, to a time when I felt the most loved. It is hard to let go of that.

     I am not religious, and I honestly don’t believe in misty heavens and pearly gates. I would like to believe in something magical beyond this life. That this is not just an end. That somehow she finds peace, and the ability to be as silly and as sparkly and as beautiful as she can be. So I will imagine her now in a pink feather boa and a tiara, just the way she should be. 

     You rock on with your spunk and pink feathers, Auntie Carol. Say hello to Grandma and Grandpa for me. 

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Dorian at 16 mos - a long overdue update

He's just not a baby anymore. Mostly. He's such a little boy.

He's walking. Running. Talking. Signing.

He says:

  • No. - but thankfully not always in context. So it's still kinda cute. He shakes his head "no" also, but I'm not sure he knows what that indicates yet. When he means it, his tone is very curt. Recently, he's starting pointing to things he knows he's not supposed to touch and says a long drawn out "nooo" as he's touching them with his pointer finger.
  • Up. - This one is pretty new, but he's getting the hang of it. It's used when he wants to be picked up or to have help climbing onto something. We're practicing "down" but that one hasn't sunk in yet.
  • Nose (but sounds like "no").
  • Eye (but sounds like "ah"). He loves to say this as he pokes you in the eye.
  • Dog (but sounds like "dah"). Everything is a dog. The cat. A cow. Goats at the petting zoo.  Every animal is a dog, but at least that means he's making associations.
  • Meow (but sounds like "ow"). It's pretty funny when he follows Weezul around the living room yelling "ow" every time the cat yowls to be let outside and away from the baby.
  • Dada. Kind of. He's said it a couple of times, but he's not using it regularly. He makes the "da" sound a lot, but not in context. 
  • Ball (but sounds like "bah"). This was actually his first *real* word. Dog may have actually been first but we didn't catch it.
That's all I can think of. He understands so much more. He's also signing "milk", "more" and "eat" (or for us, it's "bite"). 

He's running. He loves to be chased, but plays the "I'm gonna get you" game backwards. When I say it, he runs towards me instead of away from me, which is actually very helpful when I'm trying to get him to do something. Recently, he's started hiding behind the curtains to play "Where is Dorian?" as well as using his hands to play peek-a-boo. Occasionally he gets too excited and smacks himself in the face when covering his eyes. 

He likes to walk the dog. For a couple of months now, he grabs hold of the ring on the dog's harness and walks her around the living room. He's started to help me hold the leash when we go for walks. There is a house around the corner that has a couple of large dogs behind a chain link fence at the end of their driveway (in the back yard). They bark every time we walk by, and Dojo stops to yell at them. As we walk down the sidewalk, he stops and turns back to yell at them some more. That seems to be his MO when things scare him - he yells at them. He took on the train on the Mr Toad's Wild Ride at Disneyland. Just yelled at it. 

On one walk, he found a potato-sized rock on the sidewalk and carried it home. It lived on the front porch for a while, then on one of the stairs, then on the bumper of the car, now back on the stairs. 

He loves Sesame Street. He dances when the song comes on. It started with a DVD my mom bought for him called "Let's Make Music". It is a Sesame Street DVD from 2001 that features members of STOMP. It has snippets of music from old episodes and is all about making music without instruments - singing, drumming, stomping, etc. There is a song where Bert sings about his oatmeal box and how it is a great drum. "Chicka-boom Chicka-boom!" It gets stuck in my head for days. Dojo loves that DVD and it evolved into full episode Sesame Street love.  And anything with music. Hubbs has been playing short videos of military drum lines and Dojo is mesmerized by them. 

He's climbing. On everything. Can't seem to find a toddler-friendly playground close by, though. 

Oh, and pandas! He's carrying around his (my) pands stuffed animals and pointing out their eyes and noses, and mouths and feet.. We took him to the zoo a couple of weeks ago and he lost his $h!t when he saw the panda. He started squealing and pointing and saying "Da!", which is what he says when he sees something he knows but cannot say, or when he's asking what something is. 

He's discovered the song "head, shoulders, knees and toes" on his singing puppy doll, and will play it over and over and over and over. He learned where his head is, so he throws his hands up and holds his head then touches his toes.   He can point out his head, eyes, ears, nose, mouth, belly button, feet and toes. 

He's a busy little guy and I just can't keep up with him some days. 

Monday, April 21, 2014

39 weeks ~ 9 months!

4/18/14: The Dojo is 9 months old today! Here's what's shakin':

*Crawling. He's still belly crawling, but he's fast. And sneaky. It took him only two days to figure out how to get through the baby gates if they are not latched properly. In fact, the other day he was playing near the gate between the living room and dining room. He pulled a book off of the bottom of the bookshelf (that I had to fill in because I caught him laying entirely in the empty bottom shelf playing with a soft block), and when I opened the gate to pick it up, he crawled between my legs and into the kitchen before I realized what was going on. Speedy, he is. I think he planned it, and executed it perfectly.

        *He is, however, beginning to get up onto his hands and knees, then his hands and feet. He's pulling himself up on very low things, usually me, when I sit on the floor with him. I'm not ready for what's coming. A lady at Target yesterday told me that her youngest son started walking at 9 months. Nnnooooooooo.

*Food. This kid is eating everything in sight. His favorite food is anything he can put into his mouth by himself. Last night he tore up some broccoli and couscous. Purees frustrate him, so I am looking for interesting ways to use up the last of the baby food I have. (Any ideas for winter squash puree? Muffins?)

*Biting. Yes. Four very sharp teeth. More on the way.

*Sleeping? Sometimes. Just enough to fool me. Earlier this week he slept ALL the way through the night (until about 4 am) two nights in a row. The first night - a fluke? The second night - could this really be it? The third night - he woke up every two hours. Sigh. We're working on a graduated extinction method (sort of) so he'll learn to go to sleep at night on his own instead of being in my lap. It's been a little painful, but each night there is less crying, so I suppose that is the goal.

*Babbling. He doesn't stop, unless there's a camera out, in which case he sits and stares blank faced and stoic. He's talking a lot, though, and doing the Cthulhu and the "indian" noises with Daddy. He's full blown laughing now, and I think the hysterical fits of giggles are right around the corner. Just need to find something he thinks is funny and see what happens.  Also, I think I'm starting to understand his language. When he's distressed or wants to be moved/picked up/held, he makes a drawn out, higher pitched "mmmmmm" sound. If you ask him a question and the answer is "yes", he makes a short "hmmph" sound, sort of like a mini laugh. We are trying to learn the words "up", "hungry", "Ohs" (for Cheerios), and "no". To my dismay, "no" is a funny word, and the more serious I try to make my face and voice when I say it, the more he laughs. Figures.

*This week he's started pressing his open mouth onto my face. Dojo kisses? I'm not sure, but I'll take it.

In other news:

*Yes, we had to butcher our tree :( It's pretty much just trunk back there now, with a growing fluff of green on one side. The tree guy said it will grow back in time, and said it looked as though someone had done the same thing further up a long time ago. It is nice, however, to not have a billion tiny leaves to contend with. Going to be a hot summer with no shade on the back end of the house, though.

*A hummingbird has set up shop on our back porch. Her name is Millie, and she's building her nest on the string of lights we have hanging from the ceiling. She's right outside our kitchen window so I've been able to watch her. I've always wondered how birds weave their nests without hands, and now I know:  I didn't see from the very beggingin, only from about the size of a dime. She brings material from other places, drops them into her nest, pokes her beak through like a sewing needle, then hovers above it while she uses her feet to move stuff around. We're on day three of nest building and it's looking like a proper nest now. So awesome. I'll try to get good pictures, but I won't be able to get high enough to see inside without disturbing her.

Saturday, March 1, 2014

32 weeks, holy crap!

This kid has changed so much from week to week. I'm sore with myself for not keeping up with this space, and failing to record new things as they happen. It's going to be rapid fire from here on out.

First, the gripe stuff:

Sleep. What? Who? Look! A shiny!

I have no brain power anymore. Can't plan, can't add. Going to the grocery store and trying to plan dinners for a week is suddenly the most challenging thing my entire life. I'm pushing the limits of sleep deprivation for sure.

Had a meltdown on Tuesday because I hadn't slept in four nights. Dojo is getting both a bottom tooth (his second) and a top tooth at the same time. Last weekend he was up every hour or two, and wasn't napping on top of it. If he did, it was a30 minute cat nap. Every time I tried to lay down, he would wake up just as I started to doze, or the dog would bark, or the cat would meow. I chased Weezul halfway down the hallway beating him with a pillow because he just wouldn't shut up.   I couldn't catch a break.

Finally, as if he knew I had lost it, he slept four hours at a stretch on Tuesday night, and a little better each night since. Napping is still all over the map, but that is getting better, too. He just fights sleep so hard. He wrestles and squeals and kicks. Some if the time I can lay him in his crib and he'll talk himself to sleep, but not always. It's a start.

He started scooting a couple of weeks ago. Like a caterpillar, he starts on his belly, crawls up onto his feet with his bum in the air, then puts his face down and slides on his forehead. It's pretty funny to watch. He only does it when there is something he really wants to get to (more often than not, it's my phone).

He's babbling a lot now. Mostly when he cries. I think it's hilarious. Currently, beeping his nose and tickling are funny. Oh! He's beginning to laugh! Right now it's only when you shake a toy in his face while he's lying on his back, like a kitten batting at a toy. But it is adorable. Will try to capture on video.

Oh, the baby in the mirror is pretty awesome too. And his jump chair. And breakfast. And bananas. And that noxious talking dog mom got him for Christmas. He smiles whenever he sees it.

We are having weekly play dates with Dove and Brody and Soren. He thinks other babies are awesome, and Dove tries to eat him.

In other news:

I got my diploma in the mail (woot) and we're planning for graduation.

The storm that whipped through here (and is still hanging around by the looks of it) broke our tree. Fortunately, it fell towards the neighbors and not onto Dojo's room. Hopefully we can salvage the tree and not have to cut it all down.

I think that sums it up for the moment. Can't believe this kid is 7 1/2 months old already. Life is a blur when you don't sleep.

Friday, December 20, 2013

21 weeks

12/13/13: I am DONE with school! Done, Done, Done! Yaaaaay!!

12/14/13: We took a family trip to Knott's Berry Farm. It was much needed since Hubbs just finished both an online math class and his 2M school at work, and I finished with my classes all this week.  It was a fun trip, spent the day wandering the shops, taking pictures, drinking mint chocolate beer, meeting Santa, etc. We saw the Christmas Snoopy on Ice show, which Dojo watched intently. We stayed the night, had breakfast on Sunday morning, then stopped at San Juan Capistrano on the way home. That was some great photo taking...

12/18/13: Dojo is 5 months today! Such a big boy. He is sleeping wonky again, perhaps his teeth or a growth spurt. He is getting much longer, and changing so drastically from week to week.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

19 weeks

11/28/13: Dojo's first Thanksgiving! He ate rice cereal for the first time, and wasn't sure what to think. He sucked the spoon. Ate some more. Then more. Then cried. Then ate more. Then cried. He was confused. We ultimately put it in his bottle, and we'll try again with the spoon in a week our so.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

What's happening: 17 weeks

11/18/13  4 months old today! Dojo learned to spit and pthbbbb his lips. It's all he did at our WIC appointment. He's a whopping 10 lbs 7 Oz. 

I HateThisPhone.

18 weeks

11/21/2013: I'm really pushing the limits of sleep deprivation at this point. More so than after he was born. He's been getting up around 2-3 am, which is fine, except I have not been able to go back to sleep aftewards. So when he wakes at 5, and 6, and 7, I'm stuck without a nap. Last night, i tried to nap at 530, but his Crappy Hour began and hubbs really had a hard time with it. Poor guy - best he knows to do is change Dojo's diaper, so I think I overheard 3 diaper changes in about 45 minutes. I got up and took the baby to bed with me. Dojo immediately went to sleep, but I just laid there. I got up at 830 when hubbs came to bed and stood in a hot shower. Then I was even more awake. Make some tea, did the dishes, and some homework. Finally went to bed at 11, but D woke up at 1130, and every hour after that. It was a rough night. Teething most likely. His fussenstein moments are getting more frequent. Still, compared to other babies he's pretty mild. It's raining today, too bad i have to go to school.

11/22/13  had coffee with the girls today, it was like having a daycare in my living room.  Dojo was so good, squealing and squawking. I got some full laughs this evening, on video too. Will add them to the website soon.

It was a good weekend. D is sleeping better almost instantly. Sleeps from about 7 pm to 2 am, then again until 6 am  .. More or less. I woke up Saturday morning so energized I swear Hubbs gave me regular coffee. I took Dojo to a couple of farmers markets to give Hubbs time alone for homework. Baby was so good, I think he really enjoyed being outdoors. The lady who owns the sandwich ship adores him. She is usually pretty stone faced, but as son as she sees him she smiles and comes to talk to him.

This kid's smile its more effective than a thousand Care Bear Stares at warming a cold heart.

11/26/13: Dojo got his second shots. He weighed in at 10lbs 10 oz,  23.25 inches. The doctor says he's only in the 2ND percentile, but its ok. He's healthy and happy. He's tracking well, rolling from back to side (though not all the way over yet) and we are practicing sitting up. He does ok for a second but his head makes him slowly lean until he falls over.

11/27/13: I keep having dreams about Dojo talking. He's his normal many body, but speaks clear English. The first dream a couple weeks ago was about me talking to his reincarnated spirit of Billy the Kid. Last night, the dream was of me trying to pot him back to sleep after he cried out, then said "My real mother left me a long time ago." And when I tried to comfort him I realized he war possessed and I started yelling asst whatever it was to get out of my son.

Clearly, I cannot handle getting more sleep. My brain is freaking out.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

What's happening: 15 weeks

Our first Halloween and Dia de los muertos. He didn't mind his hat or beard at all. We had two groups of trick-or-treaters, that's all.
We had a bbq for day of the dead. He loved seeing people and was mesmerized by the fire. Such a good baby.
The crows arrived today (11/4). It's all I can hear outside. Dojo doesn't seem to notice, he's sleeping right through them.
He may be showing signs of sleep problems, but I'm not sure. He wimpers and cries in his sleep, and is starting to kick and flail around while he's in bed with me. I asked uncle Google, who brought up night terrors, but none of the articles mentioned this in infants. They said it usually starts at 18 mos or toddler years. Other boards said that lack of sleep during the day leads to lack of sleep at night, which could be the case. He only cat naps during the day for 20 minutes at a time. So, we're going to try to nap every hour to see if that helps.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Weekdays happening: 14 weeks

Someone is discovering his feet. Pays them no mind while he's laying down, its when he's sitting up. He reaches down and grabs at his pant legs.
He's grabbing things with intention now. Still flails his arms around and hits toys accidentally, but he is beginning to grab.