Monday, December 27, 2010

16 Months

I'm writing this letter a few days shy of your 16 month mark because this is a hectic month and we will be out of town on the 30th. I only make note of the few days because it seems like so much is changing lately; your Dad didn't see you for 3 days recently and remarked that you weren't even the same kid he'd said goodbye to. Perhaps 3 days from now you'll be speaking in full sentences! I honestly wouldn't be very surprised. Well, maybe a little surprised.
The most important milestone worth mentioning this month was Christmas, which was so different from last year.
Last year you weren't even able to sit up on your own and this year you tore through both of your grandparents' houses, dragging all your presents with you whenever possible. You loved pointing out the Christmas tree, lights, and the ball ornaments we dangle from our chandelier. At least 5 times a day you would run into the living room and point at the "tee!", then run back into the dining room to look at the ornaments - "ball!!", then back to the tree to point at the "liiiight!" One by one you would remove the non-breakable ornaments that we hung low on the tree and hand them to me, patting your chest proudly and saying "hep" (meaning you were being a big help) when I took them.
Your words get ever more impressive these days and everyone comments on your chattiness. We spent 5 nights in Bellingham visiting both of your Grandmas and Grandpas for Christmas. During our trip you learned to say most everyone's names - You've got "gumma" and "gup" for Grandma and Grandpa, "wenny" for great aunt Wendy and uncle Javi's name is always pronounced perfectly and in conjunction with "ball! kick!" because he gave you a soccer ball and spent hours kicking it around Grandma and Grandpa C's house with you. You didn't get to see your uncle Scott and aunt Emily for very long, so these names will probably come later this week when we get together to exchange gifts with them. Aunt "kati" made the list of your words on the tail end of our trip and you enjoyed going around the table and pointing at each of us during Christmas dinner, trying to correctly identify everyone. Hilariously, Grandma and Grandpa's dog Toby is STILL a topic of discussion at home. We've been home for a few days and you still ask me about Toby regularly. When we were staying at Toby's house, you would wake up from your nap every day by calling for "Tobo!", eventually getting the pronunciation correct by the end of our stay.

I'd list all your other words, but I had to stop keeping a list. You essentially say EVERYTHING now; I'm hard pressed to think of a word that you can't or haven't said yet. I suppose that's not really true. It isn't as if you're reading the dictionary, but when it comes to everyday words, you've become quite the parrot. I'm just waiting for the day you wake up and shout a full sentence from your crib, totally shocking your Dad and me.

We haven't been playing your game of "wawa" as much this month, I think much of your energy has shifted to playing with your stuffed animals and baby dolls - baby stella, sweet pea, and Minnie Mouse. Your Dad and I gave you a baby doll and a tiny stroller for her at Christmas. I often find you flinging baby out of the stroller and climbing in yourself, then you throw a fit when you find yourself stuck and can't get out. Perhaps your favorite gift this year was the tiny broom and dust pan set. You love to sweep and say to yourself, "swep..... ceaning.... brooma"

Many of your other interests have a definite lean in the tomboy direction - fire trucks are a passionate topic for you, buses and motorcycles are very exciting, and you seemed more interested in the rubber snakes your older boy cousins were playing with at the Culver Cousins Christmas party than the dollhouse nearby. Soccer is also very popular right now.

Your love for bath time has doubled this month with the discovery of "shwimming". To "shwim" is to roll onto your back and float while your Dad holds you up on the surface of the water. You also like to shwim by laying in the bath on your belly and dipping your face into the water to take a "sip!" (cringe). You were in the tub the other day and I was sitting nearby when I accidentally let a fart slip. You looked at me in a concerned manner and said, "Poop?" I said, "No, just a toot" and now every time you toot, you look at me very seriously and say, "Tut".

You had a nasty cold this month that started a week before Christmas and lasted forever, in fact your nose is still dripping a bit. You never sleep well when sick, even a runny nose will send you into a fury when the middle of the night comes and you can't breath easily. The first 3 nights or so are always the worst. I caught your bug this time so we were both drippy (but in good spirits) for Christmas. We've recently recovered in the sleep department, which is such a relief. Your Grandpa C was also sick over Christmas and every time one of us would cough, you'd look at everyone and say "cough" in a very adult tone - just in case none of us was familiar with what a cough was.

You are still rather defiant and I still feel like I'm spending a lot of time asking you to get down, sit down, be careful, or be gentle.
We were in the bathroom last week while I was brushing my teeth and while I turned away for approximately 5 seconds, you managed to empty the garbage can of all your snotty tissues. When I saw the mess, I asked you to please pick up the toilet paper and put it in the garbage. I laughed so hard when you went over to the roll of toilet paper (which was resting on top of the toilet where you can't unravel it), picked it up and stuffed the entire thing into the garbage can, all the while looking at me for approval.

The one area in which you (thankfully) are cautious is with regard to anything hot. You like to point out all the hot items in a room multiple times so that I (and everyone else) can be aware of them. At the annual progressive dinner last week, you would point to each candle and tell everyone, "HOT" as if simultaneously warning and chiding everyone. Same with fireplaces and tree lights.

Your temperament is the same as always - highly energetic and adventurous, extremely social and never shy, always proud, and affectionate in tiny bursts. You've started to really grasp the concept of playing with others this month.
You and Mae during a playdate. You with Reid at the annual stocking exchange party.

We've had quite a few family get togethers this month that included older children and you've had the best time chasing them, being chased, squealing when caught, falling to the floor together very dramatically and giggling, racing up the stairs together, petting dogs, playing with fridge magnets together, being lifted by the older kids, and just generally being a kid. Because you really are a kid these days and not so much the baby I used to have. Here's to another month of adventures.


Monday, December 20, 2010

Happy Merry

Edie sat for her photo with Santa last week. Having our Santa photo taken was a big tradition growing up, and despite moaning about it as a teenager, I plan to subject my child to the same torture. Edie was lured in by Santa's jingle bells and sat happily for a minute or two before getting a wee nervous. No tears were shed though, so I'd consider it a big success. How sweet does she look with her rosy cheeks?

PS - I wore this same dress while posing for my Santa photo when I was just 4 or 5 months older than Edie is now.

PPS - we didn't get it together in time for a real holiday card, but please know that we are sending happy holiday thoughts to you and yours in the coming weeks. We are busy busy - Edie and I leave tomorrow after a birthday brunch with Heidi to head north for holiday gatherings and family time -- our annual progressive dinner, Jeff's arrival, dueling slide shows with Jeff and my fams, 2(!) Christmas dinners, and 2(!!) Christmas mornings... capping it all off with a child-free New Years in Vancouver while we celebrate Jeff's birthday.

When we return, I hope to post a video of Edie admiring her Santa photo and shouting about "Sat!" meaning Santa and "Llllap!" and finally, proudly saying her own name - "E-D". SO CUTE.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Sick Rick

Edie hasn't really slept the last two nights. It's been really confusing and exhausting because we've grown used to full nights of sleep. Finally, the sleeplessness explained itself this morning when Edie woke up with a snot faucet instead of a nose. Then she face planted on her chair and got a bloody lip. Which is extra gross when mixed with snot. What's extra, extra gross is when I gave her an ice cube to suck on for her lip and she dropped it on the rug, then picked it back up and put it in her mouth with cat fur on it.

She keeps pointing at her nose and saying "nooooooo?" when it drips too much. The silver lining? This is her first cold where she can blow her own nose! I hold the tissue and say "blow!" and SHE DOES. This may not seem like a big deal, but those of you with children know - it totally is.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Chatty Cathy

This is both an example of Edie's chattiness as well as my desperate need to repeat her every word so as to ensure that no one is left wondering what my kid just said. This video isn't particularly special, it was just a candid moment of Edie chowing down on TJ's mac and cheese and talking with her mouth full. Most of the words she says in this video are harder to understand than normal as a result of the noodles she's stuffing in her face. My favorite moments:

1. The general fact that while eating she is obviously thinking to herself about her favorite thing right now - her singing lamb.

2. I love the moment when she gets the idea to clap. It's like she's just had the smartest idea EVER.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010


One is just her standard game of wawa, the other is one where she drops a rock and says "nut".


Edie has started taking leaps and bounds in the talking department. She's become obsessed with her stuffed toy lamb and says "lamb" in the cutest voice ever. Her lamb has a music box that plays the tune of mockingbird (which happens to be the song I sing her on the rare occasion I need to comfort her in the night) and we refer to it as her lamb singing. The other night we were listening to Christmas music and when it ended she said, "Mo shinging!" (more singing). This is only the second time she's put two words together, but it was pretty adorable.

I do fear however that we have entered the phase where only I can understand my child. You know what I'm talking about. When a kid comes up to you and excitedly tells you an entire story of which you understand approximately 2 words? Edie certainly isn't telling whole stories, but she does have A LOT to say these days. Just to list a few (I've lost track), she's saying:

bop (indicating she bopped her head)
reindeer ("reinee")

She's fascinated with fire trucks and sirens right now and has taken to calling them "firema" (sounds remarkably like farmer) and asking for "more firema" when she hears a siren in the distance. At random moments she decides she wants fire trucks (you can imagine her excitement when we blew a tire this weekend and the tow truck came with flashing lights - she totally thought it was a fire truck).

One of the other cute new words she has is "hep" meaning, "help". She likes to give people things and then pat her chest and say "hep". It seems important that she get credit for her helpful behavior which cracks me up.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Light Bulb Moment

Lately the only time I feel like I have thoughts worth typing is late at night. Sometimes I lay (lie?) in bed after I've turned my bedside light off and compose entire blog posts in my head. Articulate and thoughtful posts. Then I think about getting out of bed to type them out and convince myself that these thoughts are so interesting, of course I'll still remember them tomorrow. But I never, ever do.

The other night I had the most profound Oprah-type "light bulb moment" about living life in the moment. It sounds terrible now that I'm trying to put this down, but maybe by the time I finish this paragraph I'll have found my way. Or maybe the next paragraph.

Jeff and I have been watching West Wing episodes on DVD for the last few months and when I commented on how much I love Danny Concannon, Jeff reminded me that the actor playing Danny used to be on the show Thirty Something. Thinking about that show blew my mind a little because all my memories of that show are in one way or another, tied to the fact that I thought the characters on that show were SO OLD. I remember babysitting once and flipping past that channel and thinking, "This show is so boring! It's all about people my parents' age!"

And now here we are and Jeff is turning 35 in three weeks. I'll turn 32 shortly thereafter. And I don't feel old enough to be on that show. Sometimes it's shocking to realize how quickly the last 10 years have gone. How much of my life has changed in that time. Something about the first year of parenthood requires you to just keep your head down and focus on survival, getting sleep when you can and trying not to bicker with your spouse about who's doing (or not doing) what for the baby. But since Edie's first birthday (or thereabouts) I'm looking up and around more.

I was laughing to myself the other day when I thought back to how important, how pivotal I thought it was that I make all of Edie's food from scratch. I can't believe that I thought what she ate at 6 months old would actually have any bearing on what kind of eater she'd be at 4 or 5 years old! I had this idea that because she ate mango at 6 months, she would be one of those children sitting at the table in a restaurant, happily eating her fish tacos with mango slaw. With the wisdom of 15 months now under my belt, I'm realizing that most of the things I was doing at that age had no bearing on her behavior the very next week, let alone at 15 months of age, and 4? Right. This realization made me value the present so much more. I've stopped stressing out when Edie drops every single green bean I hand her on the floor during dinner. I mean, what the hell am I supposed to do? I wouldn't be surprised if next week she ONLY ate green beans - I mean this girl is anything but predictable. And isn't that true of all children?

Anyways, this isn't just about Edie's eating habits. I'm talking about a bigger picture thing - my light bulb moment! It's hard to articulate, but essentially I realized that this IS my life. It's no longer - in fact it likely never was - about what I want to do or be when I grow up. I AM grown up and what I do every day is what I am doing with my life. And I realize this is perhaps easier to say when you have a child and you can wrap your identity up in a nice package called Mother, but it's not just about that.

I think I've just spent a lot of time in the past worrying about what's next. And even now it seems like I get asked at least once a week when (not if) I'm planning on having my second baby. And the amount of late night thinking this FAQ brought on was epic. But then I had my light bulb moment. And I'm trying harder to live in the present, focus less on what I think the picture of my life should be and how to make it so, and more about what the picture looks like right now. And appreciate it. Because dude, it feels like I could wake up tomorrow and be turning 40.

With Edie this means focusing more on teaching her to be a polite and curious person. And if she eats mango slaw one day, that can be a bonus. For now I'm just celebrating that she put two words together tonight - and laughing at the fact that those two words were "Cookie Please". And for myself, I'm just trying to enjoy my life as it is. Because if I spend all my time trying to decide what's next, then the only thing that's next may be more thinking about what's next.

yours sincerely,
Zenmaster Culver

Thursday, December 9, 2010


Edie just said "funny" with perfect pronunciation! It was .... FUNNY. Grandpa B will be happy to hear that Jeff pointed at the weird amoeba creature from Nepal that he bought Edie and said, "That thing is funny!" and Edie looked at him and just said, "Fuuneeee" Now she keeps repeating it for the laugh it gets out of us.

Saturday, December 4, 2010


Edie has developed a passion for taking out the garbage.

It's weird.

At first I thought she was trying to say Grandma, but (sorry Mom) I realized recently that she's saying "garbage" when she says "gaba".

This is awesome because Jeff's hatred for taking out the garbage is epic. All of a sudden he has someone other than me begging him to take it out. Like someone he listens to. She likes him to take a bag and be carried by him out to the curb to watch him throw it away. Our garbage cans have never been so regularly emptied. Is it wrong that I'm enthused by my daughter's likely future as a garbage man?