Archive for February, 2006

Her daddy calls her Squirrel.

Recently, Sophia has made a new friend – nicknamed Squirrel- who lives down the street from us. Not too long ago her dad came over to introduce himself and his daughter, having heard that we, too, have a baby in the same age-group. They’ve been over about 3 or 4 times in the last couple of weeks, and each time the two girls seem to get more and more comfortable with each other. Even enough to share their food and to give kisses.
Squirrel is absolutely in love with her daddy and goes everywhere he goes. He runs heavy equipment in our neighborhood for snow removal, so she rides with him up in his grader. It’s easy to tell which grader is his by the baby-doll or colorful children’s book that can be seen through the glass paneled door.
Being so attached to her dad, Squirrel was pretty hesitant to leave his side to go and play with Sophia. Sophia tried many times to invite Squirrel into her room by calling out to her, then crawling toward her room, then stopping to call out to her once again. It took some time but Squirrel has finally warmed up to Sophia, and the two of them confidently roam the house together, playing with all kinds of toys along the way.

Even babies need friends, and we’re glad Sophia has one in Squirrel.

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No picture today – kind of deliberate, but only because I didn’t want to ruin the moment. Isaac had a men’s Bible study group to go to last night, which meant it was just Sophia and I for about an hour before we both hit the sack. I gave her a bath, taking her auntie Annie’s advice to dump water over her head, instead of gingerly covering her eyes to protect them from the water. Sounds harsh, but it’s a really great point and makes the whole bathing process (especially the rinsing part) so much smoother and easier. She’s gotten pretty used to it by now, but I kind of overdid it by dumping three cups, one after the other, over her head and consequently, down her face. It scared her so bad that she actually yelled at me when she finally caught her breath.

After her jammies were on and we were back in her room, I reached for the book I read aloud to her nightly – Im Schlaraffenland der Tiere. She loves it. The pictures are great, plus it’s about a bunch of animals who get to eat and sleep all day long and never grow old – right up her alley. When we were done and I said the last words: “…besuchen wir die Kurzerhand, die Tiere im Schlaraffenland.”, she picked up another book, “Goodnight Alaska”, and started reading to me. She was so serious, and she went page by page pointing out the animals to me, like I do with her in “Schlaraffenland”. There she sat, with her tight brown curls still wet from her bath, looking up every once in a while to make sure I was still listening. How could I not? I could hear her voice, my own daughter’s voice, and was almost convinced that there is some “Baby Language” out there that we adults will never be able to understand. If I didn’t know German, I would think it were German, or English, if I didn’t know English. Maybe it was Dutch? 🙂

Being read to by a 11 month – 3 week old baby. It was such a perfect moment – so perfect, that I just sat there and enjoyed it.

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I took Sophia to a Union Meeting with me last night. Even though she was fairly quiet throughout the time we were there (one hour of two, total), she managed to babble just enough to keep the attention on her. And every time I shhhhed her, she’d hold her pointer finger flat up against my lips, as if we were playing a game. I couldn’t have imagined going without her and spending a whole 36+ hour period without getting to kiss her or hold her. Besides, all of the other Operators there loved seeing her, too, and I’ve heard from many of them today how cute and funny they think she is. Some of them had never even seen her before. They kept calling her, “The Future Operator”. You never know. Maybe some day she’ll end up running the snow removal equipment she so intensely watches from our living room window. My little Grader Operator…

It’s hard for me to fathom, but she really does have the potential to do and be anything she sets her heart to. I’m sure all parents wonder if their children will one day be successful, or famous, or rich. I always wonder how our relationship will be. I wonder if some day, through all of our trials, we’ll learn to love each other just the way we are. No ifs, ands, or buts. Like Jesus loves us, I guess. I hope so.

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Too Much Fun

I guess I was having such a good time with Sophia, I forgot to take a chance to recap all that was happening. Bottom line is, we were having fun. Those two weeks off always give me plenty of time to hang out with my little girl.
She loves to eat. Anything and everything I put in front of her. It’s so cute to see her pick up something new, put it in her mouth, and then go, “hmmmm”. Like, “hmmm, that’s strange, this is yummy, too”. And then she gives a sign for more. Sometimes, I have to “cut her off” from whatever she’s eating, in fear that she will, literally, turn in to that very food. (She ate 5 peach halves yesterday before she was cut off.)
Still on the topic of food, she loves to feed herself. And although it’s a great learning experience for her, letting her eat messy stuff with a spoon (i.e. yogurt, applesauce) must be stragetically planned in the day – right before a bath! But it’s neat to see her perfecting her skills daily.

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Happy Valentine’s Day

Just in time for Valentine’s, Sophia has learned how to give kisses. From her mom and dad, to pictures of friends and family, she’s a kisser, through and through. Yesterday, as she and I had our hands on our warm dryer while it was on, she was so inclined to give it, too, a smooch.
The picture is one of Sophia in her Valentine’s dress, given to us by a good friend from our church. She wishes she could give you all a kiss, but this picture will have to be good enough until she sees you.

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Learning Curve

Often, after studying an object for a lengthy period of time, Sophia will turn to me and let out a great big yell, showing her two shiny white teeth, and smiling. It always makes me so curious – What discovery has she just made? There’s so much going on inside of her mind, I wish I could know which connections she’s making and when. We’ve been teaching her to sign, thanks to a book her Auntie Tara gave us before she was born. This morning, a little groggy yet from sleep, I slipped her into her highchair and reached for her box of Wagon Wheels. I shook the box to offer her some, and she shook her head no. So I picked up her Fruit Puffs. She shook her head again. Thinking she may not be ready for breakfast yet, I pulled down a box of Kix and started pouring my own breakfast. I looked up at her while doing so, and she signed “please”. “You want some of these?” – She signed please again. I gave her some, along with some banana she was also signing please for. When her food was all gone, she signed “more”. Amazing. My daughter is able to choose what and how much she eats for breakfast. I guess it really doesn’t matter if I know the exact moment when that certain synapse is formed, as long as I’m here to see the results. By the way, did I mention I’m home all day every day for two weeks and loving every minute of it?

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In My Arms

I stayed home from work on Saturday. Sophia was sick, I was getting sick, and we both needed some time together. In my field of work, it is foolish to miss out on an “overtime day” for any reason. Saturday being one of those days, I was made to feel as if I were “throwing money out the window”, so to speak. Clearly my co-workers don’t understand that there are many great things in life that they’ll never be able to buy – like nutrients and antibodies in breast milk that help to heal a sick baby, or the comfort you can give a sick baby by rocking her to sleep. What a precious gift – the chance to be the one who makes a child feel better.
At the end of the day Saturday, she had more color in her cheeks, she was “talking” more – she even started to dance a little. And it was worth every penny.

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I have so many daydreams of my little girl. Having to be away from her 13+ hours a day when I’m on shift fuels this “habit”, but it’s definitely not the catalyst. No, that spark happened the day I found out she was inside of me. The day I found out a tiny baby was growing bigger every second inside of me – her life dependent on mine. It’s interesting how knowing our actions directly affect another’s life will cause us to think more before we act. I wanted so bad for her to be healthy – I wanted God to bless me with that. So I did my part to eat right, go for walks in the crisp outside air, and to talk to her every day. I had my boss move me to an upstairs office – out of the equipment shop – so that she wouldn’t be around the sudden thud of an air tool, or the many fumes that are created in such an environment. When it came to my health and my health alone, I didn’t notice so many details as I did when she was in me.

That’s one of the first effects motherhood had on me. First in an infinite list.

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