Dreams and Poop - not Dreams of Poop

 Raising a little one is honestly the absolute pinnacle of a meaningful and fulfilling life-long job. I guess the reality is that the Y won't be "a little one" forever. Okay, if I'm going to be really honest (eeks!) the Y won't be "a little one" for much longer. Her second birthday is around the corner (less than a month away), and my husband and I often spend evenings looking back at the Y's photos from her birth. No matter how many times we look at the photos, we are thoroughly amazed at how much she's grown - physically and cognitively. She's her own person, with her own ideas and agenda. Yes, she's not even two, and she has her own agenda. She knows what she wants to get done and how to get it done. Aaah, the wonders of the growing and developing brain. Her growth is amazing, and we feel blessed to witness and be a part of it.

This morning, when the Y called out from her crib, "See mama!" that was Papa's cue to snatch her up from the crib. When he walked into the room, the Y did her usual happy dance around her crib. Marching around the perimeter of her crib mattress while her neenee cloth (sleeping cloth) rested on her shoulder, trailing behind her like a flag. (The reason I know this is because the Y has a video monitor in her room). En route from the Y's bedroom to our bedroom, I heard a lot of chattering between the Y and her Papa. (There's no video monitor in the hallway, so I had no idea what was being discussed. All I knew is that they were engrossed in a full on conversation.) Upon entering the room, after the Y bounced over to me for a hug and cuddle, her Papa let me know what they discussed. When he picked her up from the crib, as the traveled down the hallway, she said, "I want to see Mama in the kitchen. She's making mamosas." When my husband asked why she thought mama would be in the kitchen so early in the morning, the Y responded, "In my dream. Mama making mamosas downstairs." My husband responded, "You mean she's making samosas in the kitchen?" "Yes Papa. Making mamosas." So thus the little Y revealed her first dream. Dreams. I didn't even know that she knew what a dream was - I mean it's a relatively abstract concept. Yet she used the term "dream" in a very appropriate context. As my husband says, "I can see the wheels in her head turning." Thank God for the wheels turning...

From the cognitive, to the physical. When I say physical, I mean physiological. I'm talking about poop. Since the Y was about 15 months old, she started telling us when she was peeing and pooping. "I do poperly (properly) poo poo." So her pediatrician, Dr. Hall (who she calls Dr. Hallway), suggested that we start putting her on the toilet before her nightly bath. Like clockwork, before each bath, the Y does pee pee on her Elmo toilet (her toilet seat has Elmo, Dorthy, Ernie, Rubber Ducky, Cookie Monster, and cookies - which is sort of gross. Cookies on a toilet seat. Yuck.). This evening when she was seated on her toilet seat, I heard a few farts escape and echo in the toilet bowl. I asked her if she had to poo, and she said, "Mama it's just gas. Just gas." After chatting for a bit, I inquired about her status, and she didn't reply. Instead the Y had a look of intense concentration on her face, and before any more words could be exchanged, it happened. "Plop. Plot. Plop." Three plops in a row. With a huge smile across my face, it was like the Y could read my mind. She said, "I did a good job. I did it Mama!" She was so proud of her accomplishment, and I was in awe. No, she's not potty trained (not even close), but she did her first poop in the toilet. Three little turds. What a huge accomplishment for the little Y. I gave her a huge hug while she sat on the toiled, and showered her with words of encouragement. Before I could get even more carried away, the Y pointed to the toilet paper and stated, "That. Mama use that to clean me!"

The Y. What else can I say about our little Y? We love her more than words can ever describe. We love you Y. Always know and remember that. Always.


Swimmy and the Big Bad Tuna

I love reading. I'll read almost anything - fiction, biographies, current events. Anything. My parents have always been readers - my dad and his newspaper, and my mom, amazingly enough, even with four kids would manage to have a book tucked away in the kitchen or in the side of the minivan door. Over the summer my mom would load us all up in the car to spend an afternoon checking books out in the small library in our town (which now, by the way, is an amazing state of the art library with resources, DVD's, CD's, magazines and books galore). There was a period of time when reading became so frenzied for my sister and me that we would even bring our books with us to breakfast, devouring the pages of our Archie comics, Ramona Quimby books, and Judy Blume titles while consuming large bowls of cereal. I remember one morning my dad insisting that we clear the table of our books and instead talk to each other. My sister and I are best friends, so engaging in conversation was absolutely no problem (even to this day, our husbands wonder why we need to talk to each other multiple times a day). But we were so obsessed that we took to reading the inane puzzles and facts on the cereal boxes.

When my nieces and nephews were born, I re-entered the world of children's books. And I fell in love. I would spend hours at Borders and Barnes and Noble searching the children's section for old titles only to stumble upon new treasures. I think that it was my love for children's books that eventually drew me into the field of teaching. Now that I'm a mother, my love for reading is something I truly hope to pass down to my daughter.

The very first book I read to her was Pride and Prejudice. I found that breast feeding wasn't only a full time job, but it was tedious and mind-numbing. So, I thought I'd read one of my all time favorites to pass the time, and I decided to read it out loud to her. She seemed to enjoy hearing my voice, and I relished reading Jane Austin's classic out loud - bring her words and characters to life for my daughter (even though she was only a few days old!). We continue to read - a lot. And like an indulgent mother and a bibliophile, little Y's book collection keeps growing. I try to save buying new books for an occasion - father's day, mother's day, birthdays, etc. But sometimes I just can't help it.

I keep a spread sheet of books that I come across (either in the library, books store, or through recommendations) plus my own childhood classics that I think little Y would enjoy. The database is roughly divided by picture books and chapter books. I predict that it'll soon be subdivided by age. Little Y has already gone through a whole slew of favorites - Dr. Seuss's ABC's, Silly Sally, The Sleeping House, The Foot Book, The Very Hungry Caterpillar, Papa Please Get the Moon for Me, Madeline, Hush Little Baby, Imogen's Antlers, and A Color of His Own. Usually when little Y gets a new book, she shows very little interest in it. I preview the book with her, but then she'll often neglect it in favor of the books she that she's read dozens and dozens of times. Without fail, she eventually and independently shows interest in her new book.

Little Y is now 23 months old, and her current obsession is Swimmy by Leo Lionni. The reason I love Swimmy is because it's a very subtle story that teaches the importance of creativity, perseverance, and it touches on the subject of loss. The illustrations are phenomenal - conveying the feelings of a vast ocean full of beautiful and mysterious creatures. Today she read the book eight or nine times with her Papa. When it was time to leave for a birthday party this afternoon, she said, "Mama, wait five minutes. I want to read Swimmy." And she shimmied herself on to the couch, with the book in her hands, and opened it up.  I reminded her that we had to leave for her friend's birthday party, and when she asked if she could bring the book in the car, I promised her we would read it upon our return home. She reluctantly agreed, and our drive to the party took longer than usual because of summer traffic. During the car ride we never discussed Swimmy, and little Y fell asleep about fifteen minutes into the ride. When we arrived at the party, my husband and I announced our arrival, and the Y woke up. Still half asleep, with her eyes fluttering open, she looked over at my husband as he was taking her out of her car seat and said, "Tuna not eat Swimmy. Swimmy escape." My husband couldn't decipher what she was saying, so I responded to her by reassuring her, "Yes sweetie. Swimmy escaped." She responded with a smile and an affirmative nod, repeating, "Swimmy escape." When we got home, after washing up for bed, changing into her pj's, the Y retrieved Swimmy from her bookshelf and asked Papa to read it again for her. She smiled as Papa retold the story of a clever fish who persevered in the vast ocean.

Later that evening, after the Y went to bed, my husband and I discussed what seems to be Y's intense interest in Swimmy and the big, bad tuna. My husband expressed his concern that she may be afraid of the tuna, and I think he's probably right. I think the Y's is preoccupied with the fact that the tuna almost ate Swimmy that's why she has to constantly reassure herself that Swimmy escaped. I also think that her desire to re-read the book is a way for her to embrace Swimmy's determined perseverance; a trait that I truly hopes she develops and embraces.


Is that the Inside of a Dirty Diaper?

Who would have thought that I'd have a post on my food related blog about dirty diapers. Well, actually the post isn't about dirty diapers, it's about a chocolate pavlova with chocolate mousse (the Daring Bakers June challenge). But if you look at the photo of my finished challenge you can understand where the title for my post came from (let's be honest, my failure to actually pipe the mousse out onto the  meringue base resulted in the mousse looking like a pile of you-know-what).

I knew that someone in my family would comment about the dessert's visual appeal. It turns out that in all my infiinte wisdom, I was right. It  was my oldest brother in-law (who's been married to my sister for sixteen years - which is more than half my life, so I consider him to be my oldest brother - note there's no "in-law" prefix attached) who said what I think was on pretty much everyone's mind. I didn't actually hear him make the comment about the pavlova looking like the inside of a baby's diaper. All I heard was my husband bust out into a giddy laugh. When I looked over, my husband pointed to my brother in-law, and managed to mutter, "Did you hear what he said?" Although I didn't hear his comment, I instinctively knew that it had something to do with chocolate mousse and poop. So, I casually responded, "I didn't hear him, but I agree. It looks like a pile of poo."


A few years ago I would have been embarrassed or even hurt if someone said that about something I made, but I've learned that if there's any hope to enjoying life, you can never take yourself too seriously. So here's to the chocolate pavlova with a pile-of-poop-chocolate mousse on top. Thankfully it tasted a million times better than it looked!