Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Tinkle Tinkle Little Star

Wow -time sure has flown by since my last blog. I don't know where it all went. Ava is two now and is her own person through and through. She has no problem making all the decisions big and small (unlike her indecisive mom) from choosing her outfit, to picking out her spoon, plate, breakfast, shoes, and blanket to tug along to her school. Sometime, soon after she turned 1 - she continued to be more clever, naughty, and quick. By 19 months she started showing interest in the "potty" and even went on her own a few times and she is slowing becoming potty trained though it goes in spits and spurts. A few months ago she began speaking in two to three word sentences and just this week she sang her first song "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star." She enjoys yelling the words and I'm afraid she sounds like me when I try to sing... (sorry Flecktens) no voice talent here... well not yet so far. Though I must say it is way too adorable to watch and hear her sing. Eric and I do everything we can not to laugh while she is singing as she takes the moment very seriously while she belts out "Tinkle Tinkle Little Sta - How I are! Up above - high - like a di in Sky!"

Friday, July 18, 2008

Going Back to Brooklyn

Well here we are in Knoxville, Tenessee visiting with family during a work trip. Last week a co-worker of mine from our Manhattan office called me up and asked if I could assist with a project and a client meeting that was out of town. My co-worker relayed that the out of town trip was to place not so exciting and when he told me it was Knoxville - I responded back - "I'd love to go- count me in!" Well the catch was that I needed to first go to Manhattan to meet with the internal team to discuss logistics and agenda of our out of town meeting the day before the Knoxville trip. I was more than thrilled to visit Knoxville because I have family to visit with there that I haven't seen in a long time. Since Eric is still in Iraq, traveling with a 11-month old is very tricky - especially since she is fully mobile and not wanting to be carried not even for a second.

I realized a second too late that I committed to taking a trip that I wasn't sure I could manage. I would have to drag Ava early morning to Manhattan, find a sitter just for the day and then fly out to Knoxville all in one day with a wildly independent baby, our numerous bags and sanity. Before I knew it - it was the day before we had to leave for our trip (July 15th) and after I put Ava to bed at 8:30 p.m. I still needed to finish up some project work which should take about an hour. Four hours later - I finished up my work and now I needed to pack for our trip, wash sheets for our housesitter, and clean the house. All of the sudden it was 3:30 a.m. when I realized that we needed to leave in 2 hours. Morning came and I managed to get Ava up well before her wake-up time, change her, feed her and rush us off to the airport. We managed to get on to our flight on-time and a quick 45 minutes later we landed in JFK. Carservice was on time and we were off to Brookyn where my co-worker lived and offered to share her sitter (she has a 2 year old) - I was grateful for the generosity and so we made it to Brooklyn, dropped Ava with sitter - she was too bewildered by her new surroundings that she didn't notice me sneak out. I left to head to our Manhattan office and after a few hours returned back to Brookyn.

Ava and I left Brooklyn to head to Laguardia airport and went over to skycapto check in - when I realized I had nothing to check-in. I had left our giant bag behind in Brooklyn! Ugh! What to do now...? We couldn't miss our flight so luckily because of other lessons learned I overpacked our carry-on and we had enough food, diapers and change-of clothes. Fortunately, my co-worker agreed to wait for my bag (we had to get a car service to pick up my bag and courier it over to my office) and bring it on to a later flight.

So by the time I boarded the Knoxville flight - I was exhausted mentally and physically. Ava wanted to run up and down the aisle and because I had no energy to stop her - she had a blast greeting all the passengers. Her gregarious nature made up for the lack of airline customer service from the flight attendants...she was all smiles and each passenger got a dose of "peek-a-boo." 3 hours later we made it to Knoxville. Seeing family after a long summer as a single parent -made my trip worthwhile.. they welcomed us with big hugs and the left-behind suitcase, high stress travel - was long forgotten. Nothing beats family!

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Family Outing

Before Ava came into our lives, Eric and I spent many outdoors with our dogs - hiking, camping, swimming- they were essentially our kids at the time. Now that our world revolves around Ava, our dogs are lucky we remember to feed them twice a day. Once the weekend rolls around I get a double dose of guilt from not spending enough time with the dogs and not spending enough time cleaning the house. I decided to bring the dogs and Ava to Green Lakes State Park - entertain everyone at the same time-one of our favorite places to visit in Syracuse. Luckily we have an SUV (hybrid of course) with enough room to fit two dogs a baby, stroller, cooler, and other miscellaneous stuff. The dogs were thrilled to finally go for a car ride - and Ava was equally happy to have company in the back seat. Of course when we arrived to the Park, she was covered in doggy drool. We were meeting friends at the Park for a BBQ picnic and a hike to the lake afterwards.

Watching two wiley dogs and holding a baby was a bit much, especially since Tazu kept running circles around everyone while he was tied to a tree which caused many kids to fall like flies after he clotheslined them with his retractable leash - I decided to let Ava roam around in the grass. She loved her new found freedom and was excited to crawl on the grassy surface. She was intrigued by the texture of the grass and enjoyed exploring the new landscape. After our picnic we decided to head down to the Lake and let the kids swim as we had 5 kids under the age of four in our group that needed to be worn down. I decided to tie one dog to my waist and hold the other dog and push the umbrella stroller with Ava in. This plan worked out well until we came to a steep hill with trail steps leading to the Lake. What a bummer! After attempting to go down a few steps with stroller and dogs - I decided to let one dog and hold on the other while carrying the stroller with Ava in it down the hill - each step I took I couldn't see where I was going except down. At the time it seemed like a good idea until I made it half way down and realized what a bad decision this actually was - I could easily lose balance and tumble down the hill with two dogs. I finally made it and to my big surprise Ava was a sleep. How she slept through the awkward movements and me screaming at my dogs to slow down.

She is proving to quite the trooper lately and hope she will continue to surprise us!

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Ham Central

Every since Eric left for Iraq, Ava and I have succumbed to a semi-typical weekend routine. On Saturdays we start the morning off with breakfast together and then we take a long walk with the over-anxious and by this time, hyper dogs that are more than ready to stretch their legs. By 8:30 we scratch are heads wondering if we should head to the Y (short for YMCA) or Wegmans (local grocery market) or tool around the house. Since the Y opens the kiddie pool at 10 a.m. we take off a bit early so I can get a workout in (the Y has daycare) before we hit the pool. Ava loves swimming but hates going to daycare at the Y. As soon as we step into the "PrimeTime" kid area she takes one quick look around and gets into panic mode. I do my best to drop her off with her back turned to me and I quickly try to sneak out of there but since they have those odd shaped plastic kid-proof devices on the door knob I can't quite escape without Ava noticing. WAHHHHH!!!! I hear- uh-oh - sigh. I pause only to hear the volunteer daycare person say "go on--- she'll be fine." Without looking back I rush out of there and get in my quick workout.

Anxiously, I return back to pick up Ava and she is being held by the volunteer... well now I feel bad. I ask "how did she do?" and they give me a weak smile and say "she did great." Onto the kiddie pool. The first time Eric and I brought Ava to the pool we had no idea that babies had to wear diapers in the pool and that there is a special kind of diaper..which I suppose makes sense but no one ever tells you these things beforehand. Getting myself and Ava dressed in our swim suits is of course a challenge. Putting her in a waterproof diaper and then squeezing her into her tiny swimsuit, with built in underwear (what's that about) takes quite a bit of time. Once she's done I balance her on the changing table while I jump out of my clothes and throw on a bathing suit in all of 2 seconds. I suppose I could place her on the dark carpeted floor but the dank wet mildew-ish smell in the air makes me think otherwise (I doubt they clean the floors since they are always wet). Now we are finally ready- I pack up all our stuff and pick her up only to realize that she just did #2. Ugh! Should I just go in the water? The diaper is supposed to be waterproof after all -right? After a second I come to my senses - sigh loudly - and dig through my backpack searching for another swim diaper but of course there is none to be found. Since she already did #2 I decided to let her wing it..and wow did it make a difference in her demeanor...she usually loves being in the pool but this time she was all smiles and laughs - splashing away- did not want to get out of the pool. How free she must have felt without a mushy wet diaper clinging to her. What attention she drew to herself. Many kids and parents came up to remark how happy she was. Little kids offered their pool toys for her to play with and she soaked up every bit of the attention.

Afterwards, we showered, changed and headed to the local grocery giant - Wegmans. This by far is Ava's favorite trip. Being able to sit in the front of the shopping cart (as opposed to being stuck in her carseat) and watch all the people bustle and clamour around her is such a treat. Many people today stopped to wave, reach out for her hand, and/or stop to talk with her. Each time she beaming with her big baby smile - showing tongue and three tiny teeth. She received several "high fives's" and tasted many free samples. Each time I gave her a bite of food she would shout "Moe" meaning "more" but she can't quite pronounce the "r." I think she would shout "more" because she knew passersby would hear her...and yes - they did and would stop to comment on how smart she was. Because of all the extra attention she was getting our 20 minute stop lasted almost an hour. She has become quite the social butterfly...and a big ham...I wonder where she got that from?

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Back to Chicago

Warning - this blog should not be read before meal time.

One of Ava's daycare teachers is 8 months pregnant and is expecting a baby girl. I thought this was a fantastic opportunity to hand off some of Ava's baby clothes. I know, I know, we might have a girl one day again; however, since we are lucky to have many friends and family that had little girls - we inherited loads and loads of baby clothes. I thought I could return the favor. As I sorted through Ava's baby clothes that she has grown out of - I noticed the many stained clothes. Hmnn...I don't recall Ava having this many accidents...yup, now I remember, she had blowouts almost twice a day for the first few months. After segregating a pile- stained versus non-stained, I came across an odd colored bib that had been deliberately stretched. Why did this bib have brown stains? She wasn't eating solids back then...then it struck me. A flashback of sitting in a plane (on a flight from Chicago back to Syracuse) with a half-naked baby in a Baby Bjorn with no diaper. Yes, this was the trip from hell that is worth bringing back to light in hopes that no one will make the many mistakes I did that weekend.

I had a sales training seminar in Chicago and Eric was unable to join me so I decided to venture this trip alone and I was able to line up a babysitter that sat for our close friends that lived in Chicago. We had brought Ava with us to Chicago a few months before for another one of my work conferences and she did well with the travel; however, I significantly underestimated the one major missing factor of this second trip... the help of another adult. The coldest weekend happened to be this weekend - even colder than Syracuse - 15-20 degrees below zero.

Everywhere I went with Ava after landing in O'Hare, people stopped to stare at me and shake their head in disbelief. I had Ava strapped in front of me in a Baby Bjorn (well bundled) and I dragged behind us the largest bag we owned which weighed over 50 lbs (I got the fine for being over), a diaper bag, a purse and a computer bag. And no I didn't have a cart either. I had to drag a few bags, stop and go back and drag a few more - in the sub-zero weather- in order to get to the car rental bus stop. Fortunately, I looked pathetic enough to have good Samaritans offer up help - if I had a million dollars I would have handed it all right over to them. A woman directing local traffic stopped to help me get on the Hertz bus. The Hertz rental car center had a long line of people waiting outside and by this time I wanted to breakdown and cry but since there were icicles already formed around my eyes and nose no tears could escape. Ava remarkably didn't say a peep - she just buried her face into my chest and fell asleep. Somehow with the sympathy of more kind strangers we were allowed to wait inside until our place in line finally made it's way to the front. Somehow we made it to the hotel late that evening without losing limbs to frost bite.

The next day was the first day of my sales training and of course my sitter was 30 minutes late. Not good considering our regional CEO was making the opening remarks and he made an example out of me for being late to the last conference in Chicago (that is another blog- Eric forgot all the breast-milk so I had to pump during the breaks). At least this time he was more forgiving because he heard through the grapevine I was traveling solo with infant. Fortunately the training flew by and very soon it was time to head back home.

In good spirits - assuming nothing could possibly be worse than the trip out, I foolishly packed our bags too quickly and headed out the airport. Bags checked in and off we went to our gate. It wasn't until I was in the airport restroom changing Ava before our flight, did I realize that I had only 1 diaper in the changing bag. This was after I already threw her wet diaper in the trash and with 5 minutes to spare before plane take-off. WTF!!! @#$%!!! What have I done and what do I do now? It was 5 p.m. and Ava had not gone #2 yet (and she usually has 2 blowouts by this time). With stress from the thought of being left behind and stuck here overnight I put the fresh diaper on Ava and quickly boarded our fully packed plane. The flight was direct and a little over 2 hours...I prayed for a miracle - that we would get through this. Well of course, not more than 10 minutes into the flight, while ascending, I hear a rumbling noise followed by an explosion of gaseous, wet sounds. I felt immediate warmth on my lap and on my stomach and down my legs...I was afraid to look down and after a few seconds didn't have to because the stench was quite overwhelming. Time to go the restroom! I bolted out my seat and slammed the door shut. YUCK- GROSS! - the stuff was all over the place...and Ava squirming around didn't help matters either as her movement distributed the stuff against the walls and the sink and floor of the ever so small restroom which in matter of seconds became even smaller and claustrophobic. Two more hours to go, I thought maybe I can hang out here in the bathroom until we land? That thought was interrupted by the flight attendant banging on the door to tell me that I needed to get back in my seat.

After a quick survey of materials in the bathroom, my only option was to create a makeshift diaper out of her bib and stuff a ton of toilet paper and paper towels (as much as the bib could hold). For redundancy, I put Ava back in the Baby Bjorn and place some paper towels under her bib within the Baby Bjorn. At this point I didn't care if anything leaked out and...boy did it (poop #2 happened a half an hour later). So we sat in our seat stinking up a storm - we were quite a spectacle. I tried to pretend I didn't see the disgusted looks all around me and the many people that reached up to turn on their air above their seat or wave their hand in front of their nose to diffuse the odor. After enduring the longest agonizing two hours of my life we made it back to Syracuse. When I got to baggage claim the crowd parted away for us like the Red Sea...one advantage to being filthy with a baby in tow. We made it out of there and I was never happier to be home. Note to self, no more plane travel without extra diapers!

As morbid it sounds, I couldn't toss out the stained bib- one day it will be a great but odd-ball conversation piece that I could embarrass Ava with when she becomes an unruly teenager one day.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Furry Baby Walker

The last few weeks, Ava has graduated from crawling to standing to stepping (not quite walking- but almost there). During this transformation she has been quick to find props to support her while she attempts to stand or walk - props such as a chair, bar stool, wall, couch. Many of her props she loves to push around the house with her baby brute force (no kidding - her Dr. says she is unusually strong) until recently, she discovered something much more exciting to hold on to...our poor unsuspecting dogs, Tazu (Akita) and Lindy (Lab). Because Tazu is still a puppy himself he does not tolerate the fur grabbing- chubby fist torture that Ava guarantees as she crawls towards him while he is trying to sleep. Since he takes a long time to lie down, she can almost but not quite reach him. Her almost toothless radiating smile (she sports two teeth on the bottom) and squealing usually tips him off that she is on her way. Fortunally Lindy allows Ava to approach her AND grab hold of her anywhere (eyes, ears, tail) and use her to stand and at times walk. Ava is beside herself when she is with Lindy - giggling with high pitched squeals- and lots of slopping petting and plenty of bouncing next her favorite live stuffed animal. We think Lindy is tolerating this uncomfortable phase because she has an ulterior motive...a future tennis ball thrower...her very own. Ava's height and readily available schedule is perfect for Lindy's (and all true labs) first love and obsession.

Watching Ava go from one step to 9 is quite an amazing phenomenon. I wonder how her pudgy, shapeless feet and little plump legs can even balance her long enough to take a step forward. The best part is watching her take the quick steps with her arms up and her tiny body swaying from side to side...I wonder where they learn this technique? Perhaps daycare - the toddlers must pass on lessons learned to the infants. A selfish part of me does not want her to walk yet as I am throughly enjoying holding her and having her attached to my left hip. I can barely keep up with her crawling - she is too quick and small enough to hide from my line of sight...I can't imagine what kind of shannanigans she will get herself into when she is walking everywhere. Every since she started crawling, I think she thinks her name is NoAva! I never thought I would have to tell a 7 month old baby "No" and repeatedly "No- No- No." Now that she's 10 months old - "No" seems to make her smile more than deter her from doing what she's not supposed to be doing.

So Lindy has a few more months to go before she reaps the benefits of having a buddy that won't ignore the slobbery, chewed up tennis ball that will constantly fall at her feet. I guess we won't need to buy a baby walker after all- (Eric thinks the kitchen bar stool works just as well).