Monday, April 30, 2012

Sweet sweet sixteen months

Dear Maya,

You are 16 months old today! In honor of that, here are 16 things you've been up to this week:

1. Shrieking with excitement. Sometimes you scream with delight when we chase you around, but most often it is directed at one of the cats who then runs away promptly. Those poor little creatures...
2. Throwing things, not in a bad way (yet). You started with the squeeze ball at the doctor's office when mommy had blood drawn, and since then you've been practicing with balls, etc. we have at home.
3. Climbing things. You like to turn over any box or container you can find and climb up on it. You've figured out that this can help you see more and reach more and use it to your advantage.

standing on the basket your toy food came in so you could watch a DVD
Intent on the Japanese lesson about eating and drinking in said DVD
Perking up noticeably when the topic switches to bananas!
4. Falling. This is related to the climbing, but also to your running, spinning and overconfidence in your sense of balance. You have a bruise on your cheek and a bump on your head from the last 2 days alone! 
5. Loving Auntie Rhi! Lately you are just so attached to her. You get excited in the morning to go downstairs to see her and always cling to her legs until she picks you up. And you love to share her drink. How sweet!
6. Putting pillows on your lap. Whenever you climb up on the couch to sit next to one of us you have to have a pillow to put on your lap. Even if you have toys or a drink, the pillow must be readied first.

"You want me to sit???" 
"Mmm...I don't think so."
"Oh, all right. I needed a break anyway..."

7. Laying down. Although you are extremely active, occasionally you join one of us in laying on the carpet in the living room. We set a pillow for your head and you always miss it, but you're back up soon anyways... 
8. Helping. You have helped put away your toys and messes for a long time, but lately you seem to want to help with other chores, too. When mommy is making the bed, you race to hand me the pillows even. Cute!
9. Cooking! Well, not really, but tonight while mommy was making scattered sushi and miso soup, you put vegetable scraps in a measuring cup and mixed them with a spoon. For over a half an hour!

Asking for a book  from the top shelf

Putting spilled Cheerios back in your bowl
Pondering your bird toy
10. Remembering a lot. You suddenly remember where you left things. When mommy went to give you a cucumber stick tonight, you went to get a dish you'd eaten out of earlier for me to put it in. Wow!
11. Hearing and responding. This morning there was a dog barking in the distance, not terribly noticeable. You looked up and said "Da!" to mommy several times until I confirmed it was a dog. Good job!
12. Understanding more words. Tonight when Uncle Matt hid a toy by putting it on his head, mommy told you to look at his head and you did! I guess all that "Head, shoulders, knees and toes" is paying off!

"Shall I put my shoe on?"
"I think I can, I think I can..."
"I can't! Grr..."
13. Loving shoes. You get very excited and sit right down when mommy pulls out shoes to put on you. Today we got a package of used baby clothes and you played with the winter boots like toys!
14. Playing with sticks. When we went to a huge sculpture garden yesterday you were much more interested in sticks than art. You used them to push against the ground from your stroller like oars! So funny!

Posing with some sculptures in the distance

Playing with sticks, ignoring large animal-like sculpture behind you
Admiring the mesmerizing motion of this piece with daddy
15. "Oh no"-ing. This morning you finally replaced your sad-sounding "Oh wow" with the proper phrase "Oh no" when something doesn't go your way. Your little voice + mispronunciation "nyo" = too cute!

...and, last but not least...

16. Singing your ABCs! Well, sort of. You took your beautiful rendition of "Twinkle, twinkle" from last week and added a run of what sounds like "H I J K lalalala" in there in the right place! Holy cow!

Well, goodnight my little 16-month old!
We love you!

Monday, April 23, 2012

The showering cherry blossoms

Dear Maya,

It's been two weeks since the last post because last week was a hard one.

Mommy's Aunt Patty passed away unexpectedly, making me very sad. One of the things that hurt mommy the most last week was the fact that your great aunt didn't get to meet you before she died. Thankfully she was a regular reader of this blog so she got to know you that way if not in person.

In this last two weeks you have been growing in leaps and bounds again. You seem much more interested in doing what the adults in your life do, be it climbing up to sit on the couch, playing games on Auntie Rhi's iPod, or standing on tiptoe on a step stool trying to help mommy make dinner.

You've also been very good about getting up and sitting in your own special chair for breakfast, lunch and snacks (we still put you in your high chair for dinner, though). You know that when the Cheerios or other snack foods come out, it's time to run over and climb on up.

You've also been even more vocal than ever. Your sense of pitch and memory of long melodies is so amazing--you now can sing about five songs recognizably with "Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star" being your current favorite. Also, a few days ago you started saying "Oh!" with the funniest little face. 

Your verbal communication is improving, too. Whether daddy gives you instructions in Japanese or mommy in English, you respond accordingly. You regularly point at something you are curious about and say something that sounds quite like "What's that?" with the proper rising intonation. And the pièce de résistance? This afternoon while playing 'catch' with Uncle Matt you said "Ball!" and then brought your bouncy red ball to mommy and said it again with perfect pronunciation! Mommy was so so proud!

Grandpa came up from NC a couple days before Aunt Patty's funeral. On Friday we went to visit your Great Great Aunt Gert in the nursing home. She has all but lost her eyesight but still perked up when mommy held you near her face. We also went to pay our respects at your Great Grandparents Jack and Jane Jameson's grave site. You helped mommy pick up sticks and fallen leaves to make the plot look nice. Finally we went to visit a friend of Grandpa's (hi, Karen!) for a bit before heading home for the night.

borrowing Auntie Rhi's pearls to accessorize your dress

Then, on Saturday we went to Staten Island for the funeral. It was an emotional day for mommy, Uncle Matt, Grandpa and the rest of our family. You were blissfully unaware as you ran around the funeral home as fast as your little legs could take you, a welcome distraction for mourners to look at and fawn over. You were quiet and curious for a few seconds when mommy took you to kneel by Aunt Patty's coffin, though. It was sad but mommy was glad she could finally introduce you in person. 

Afterwards in the parking lot the wind scattered cherry blossom petals all around us. In Japan, the 'storm' of cherry blossoms (sakura-fubuki) is considered symbolic of the fleeting beauty and fragility of life. To see you playing in piles of the fallen petals made it feel like Aunt Patty was there watching and loving you. 

Rest in peace, Aunt Patty. You will be missed.

Aunt Patty, smiling joyfully as always

Monday, April 9, 2012

Baskets full of joy

Dear Maya,

It's been a busy week since we got back from North Carolina, but a special one.

Daddy's been working a lot, mommy's been working here and there, and we've been taking care of a couple dogs (you call them "da" for "dog" consistently!) while mommy's old boss is out of town. Somehow we managed to get ready for the special events of the weekend in and around our busy schedules.

In our entryway, mommy hung some wooden eggs from branches up high and carrots from branches down lower, but you only ever notice your sweet bunny. Mommy thought maybe you could try your hand at decorating eggs this year, but there just wasn't time so we colored them Thursday night after you went to bed.

 (From the top left: Daddy's Matisse-ish eggs, Auntie Rhi's batik-ish eggs, 
Uncle Matt's eggs including one with an attached miniature monster face, 
and mommy's colorful eggs on the bottom)

On Easter morning you got a couple of sweet gifts from the Easter Bunny, Uncle Matt, and Aunties Rhi and Kelsie, then we all got in the car to go see your great-grandparents. You were in a good mood the whole way there thanks to your new noise-making toys and some Japanese rice crackers for a snack.

After getting more adorable toys there, we went downstairs where the Easter Bunny had hidden lots of plastic eggs filled with Cheerios for you to find. You got so good at finding them that Daddy had to chase around after you with the basket because you would open each one and spill the cereal everywhere if he didn't.

In the end so much of the cereal had spent time on the floor that great-grandma wasn't about to let you eat it. We took it outside and poured it on the porch for her chubby squirrel friends to enjoy and managed to snap a few photos with you in your pretty dress while we were out there.

After visiting for a few hours we said goodbye to great-grandma and great-grandpa (and their kitty, Bella) and headed home. You were a bit cranky for the first ten minutes on the road but then fell into a nice nap for the rest of the hour-long drive. Mommy and daddy wished they could've napped, too.

When we got home we had more festivities to prepare for. Not only was Sunday Easter, but it was also daddy's birthday! Auntie Kelsie and her boyfriend Shawn came over to celebrate with us and enjoy daddy's homemade pizza (he insisted on cooking for his own party!) and mommy's sushi-shaped carrot cake.

Cream cheese frosted & decorated with coconut, orange jello and  blue-green fruit rolls. 
You are always very happy to celebrate anyone's birthday as long as it involves cake!
Well, mommy needs to get to bed soon, but first I want to list a few of your new favorite things this week:

A game you play with Uncle Matt involving a big bunch of balloons, static electricity and endless spinning!
This solar dancing flower of Auntie Rhi's
Building and toppling towers with your new blocks, and
making sure to separate all the pieces when you put them away.

And, though unfortunately we haven't gotten any videos up yet, but you are becoming quite the dancing queen! You repeatedly hit the button on one of your musical toys (usually your big elephant) and take turns spinning, bopping, marching in place, waving your arms, or just simply swaying to the beat. So so cute!

OK, good night, little one. Love you!

P.S. Forgot to add that we had your 15-month check-up last week. You now weigh 23 pounds and 12 ounces, so you've gone up a few ticks further into the 60 percentile range. Everything is normal and great!