Friday, August 22, 2008


Blog went quiet for a week, not because I was glued to the Olympics (though I was) but because we headed out of town to see my parents for 5 days. Mild trauma getting there, which I'll write about later. But overall it was good and nice to see my kid and my parents bonding. We've been back since Tuesday and Bat Girl keeps saying, "See Hammi!" (Hammi=how she says halmoni, which is Korean for grandmother.)

While we were there, we took BG to the zoo (crowded, hellish) and to the local pool, where they have a wading pool for toddlers. BG looooooved the pool, loved wading around and splashing. Then she saw some bigger kids swimming (or rather, paddling around by walking on their hands in the 12 inches of water) and all of a sudden she wanted to swim, too. I tried holding her up so she could kick and paddle, but she shoved my hands away and insisted that she wanted to "Swim by self! SWIM BY SELF!" Which entailed flinging herself facefirst into the water, choking, and screaming in fear and frustration. Again and again. And then melting down because she wanted so badly to swim but couldn't. (Plus she hadn't had a nap that day, so...tantrum not pretty.) We ended up bodily dragging her out of there as she shrieked "BACK IN POOL!" I'm thinking we need to get this kid swimming lessons.

It's interesting what she remembers from the trip. She can reel off a litany of the animals we saw at the zoo ("Monkey! Lion! Giraffe!") and in one case what the animal was doing ("Gorilla! Too big! Sittin'! Eatin! Gorilla hungry!"). The day after we went to the pool, she said "Swimmin'! In pool. Kick!" Then the next day, she added, "Swimmin'! In pool. Cryin'!" Yes, baby, you sure did cry. But she says it with a smile on her face, so I guess it's okay.


We are going out to dinner tomorrow with some couple friends of ours, who are going to surprise us with the news that they are expecting. The husband let it slip to my husband, but swore him to secrecy. My husband wisely gave me the heads-up. They planned it perfectly to coincide with her finishing grad school. She intends to have a home birth and is ridiculously healthy so probably will.

You know, I generally say to myself that I don't begrudge other people their easy conceptions, easy pregnancies, easy births. But you know what? I kind of do. It's just a twinge, not a burning bitter pit of despair like it once was. But there's still a twinge. I get it when I see enormously pregnant women out and about, shopping or jogging or out to dinner, and I got it when my husband told me about our friend. So I'm glad I had some advance notice, so I have some time to wrestle with that twinge of resentment in private--and then express genuine enthusiasm and congratulations in person tomorrow.

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Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Olympic controversies

• The whole lip-synching thing. I find it hard to get that worked up about this, even though I feel like I should. But I do think the girl who was rejected as "not cute" is super cute and would have loved to see her at the opening ceremonies. I hope both girls aren't hurt or upset by this.

The Spanish basketball team photo. Disgusting. Horrible. Here's the thing: Just because something is not deliberately meant to be racist, doesn't make it OK. Racist words and gestures, however innocently meant, carry with them the baggage of deeply ingrained racist attitudes. This is why Americans care so much about words and gestures, and sometimes get mocked by others as "PC" for it. Reminds me of an experience I had in Paris where I had to try to explain to a French guy I knew why pulling back the corners of his eyes and mimicking buckteeth to imitate someone Asian was incredibly offensive. This was in 1994. Have racial attitudes in Europe really not advanced at all in 14 years?

• Gymnast Chellsie Memmel competed on a broken ankle in the team final (shown last night). She broke it last week but "did not divulge"--to the media, anyway, since presumably her coaches and teammates knew. Scariest quote:
“I was completely fine with it because at the ’06 worlds she finished with her shoulder completely torn,” Jeanelle Memmel said of her daughter competing on a broken ankle. “That’s just what she does for the team. A little broken ankle wasn’t going to stop her. This is the Olympics. She could have done more if the team had asked her.”

• And in other news of much less importance, here's some feedback I emailed last night to NBC in extreme annoyance. If you agree, you should email too, and maybe someone will put a muzzle on Hicks:
From: Me
Re: Olympic swimming coverage
I've really enjoyed the swimming coverage so far [always lead with something positive, that's my motto], but have been bothered by the commentators' (especially Dan Hicks) consistently talking over the start of every race. It's not only distracting, it's disrespectful to the athletes and to the importance and gravity of every start. Please consider having the commentators stay silent for the two to three seconds it takes for the swimmers to take their marks and dive into the water.
[name, email, city]


Monday, August 11, 2008

So tired...

Bat Girl is going through a particularly exploratory phase right now. This weekend, said impulse resulted in multiple "hey, that big white bowl full of water in the bathroom looks like a great place to splash and play!" events in a single day (yes, we should probably get a toilet lock, and no, I don't know why we don't have one). She is also going through a particularly rambunctious phase involving the jettisoning of all food from high chair to floor and refusal to eat anything that was previously acceptable. (I know I'm not supposed to make a big deal over the pickiness, and I wouldn't care so much if she didn't FLING the rejected food to the far reaches of the apartment. I keep finding dessicated peas in odd corners.) I have just instituted a rule of "food that goes on the floor gets taken away," but do you think that will just reinforce the message that throwing is the proper way to get rid of unwanted food?

Bedtime also a big struggle lately--she lies down and is almost asleep and then freaks out for no apparent reason, screaming and flailing (I have a fat lip this morning from being head-butted in the mouth last night--drew blood) and begging to be tucked in but then shrieking like the sheet is made of molten lava, that kind of thing. I think I spoke sharply to her more times this weekend than in her entire life previous. Also, she pooped in the tub. And then put her foot in it.

On the other hand, when things weren't stressful and covered in poop water, we also had a really nice weekend. Took her to the park Saturday to push her little doll stroller around, and she heard the elevated train rattling by in the distance. "Was'at?" she asked. "That's the train," I told her. "See choo-choo train! See choo-choo train!" she said excitedly. At first I told her no, we can't see the train from here, it's too far away. Then I thought, what the hell, we've got an hour or two to kill, why not? So I popped her in the stroller and we walked a ways until we could see the tracks, and then waited for a train to pass by. BG got very excited and yelled "More choo-choo train!" so we waited until another went by. Then I decided we had to go, because there was a creepy homeless woman giving us the eye and also possibly a drug-related transaction happening between two teenagers a few yards away. But it was worth it--BG still hasn't stopped talking about the choo-choo train. (Though yesterday evening she started saying solemnly, "Choo-choo train. Too noisy. Getchoo" which is her way of saying "I'm gonna get you!", which made me wonder if she had decided the train was going to come after her? She says the same thing about the vacuum cleaner.)

She was super snuggly (not normally a big hugger and kisser, but she was yesterday) and very giggly--my husband said at one point, "I'd like to think I was that happy as a child, before I got so cynical." And who needs fancy toys? My husband popped her in an empty diaper box (we buy by the case) and dragged her around in it like a sled--she was happy for over an hour, and then got out and dragged her teddy bears and other toys.

We did have the Olympics on for a lot of the weekend. Evidently her experience in hotel pools in Seattle made an impression, because every time a swimming/water polo/diving event was on, she ran over shouting, "Swimmin!" Clearly we have to find a pool to take this kid to.

Of course, the real reason I'm so tired is that I stayed up late every night this weekend watching Olympics, even though we have DVR. Last night was so worth it, though. My husband went to bed early and I made him get up and watch the men's relay on DVR this morning--and I still jumped up and down and squealed and clapped my hands, and watched every minute of every replay. I could barely drag myself out of bed this morning, but I know I'll stay up again and again and again.

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Thursday, August 07, 2008

Call me a nerd

but I love the Olympics. I know it's not "cool," and it's probably more PC anyway to boycott watching in protest of China's human rights violations, etc. (Also scary: this article. Though is it just me, or does anyone else wonder if Tyson chicken is all that "clean" itself?)

I don't care. I mean, I do care, but I will still be watching every minute of the Olympics that my cranky toddler allows me. Not because I'm particularly patriotic--I root for whoever I feel like, not just U.S. athletes, and I'm a little embarrassed that NBC convinced the organizers to hold the most anticipated medal events at a time when they could be broadcast live during prime time in the U.S. (So all of Europe and Africa and swaths of Asia now have to stay up into the wee hours to watch these events live, just so McD0nald's can try to sell me and my neighbors more S0uthern Ch!cken S@ndwiches?)

But I just plain love it. I love seeing the swimming events and pretending that two years on my high school team make me an expert in swimming mechanics and strategy. I love rooting for the plucky underdog athlete who's his/her country's first serious medal contender in a generation. I love feeling pride in the South Korean wins, even though I've never lived there. I love the apprehensive pit I get in my stomach watching the inhuman things those gymnasts do with their bodies, waiting for someone to fall or break something. I even love the ritualistic bashing of the sick system that creates those gymnasts and their crazy tiny bodies, and I love making fun of the syrupy "portraits of courage" NBC shoves down our throats. I love Tim Daggett and Elfi Schlegel and Rowdy Gaines.

Of course, this will be my first Olympics where I can't just park on the couch for two weeks and ignore the rest of my life. Or can I? Do you think that watching platform diving and fencing and tae kwon do and shot put are educational for a 1-year-old?

ETA: See, this is the shit I live for. How can you not love that?

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Eighteen months

What? When did this happen?

Bat Girl is definitely a full-on toddler now, with the mobility and attitude to match. She is generally a pretty sunny kid, except for when she runs up against something she can't do, either because she physically can't manage it or because we won't let her. Then the tantrums start. I think the more she is physically able to accomplish, the more she realizes she can't do, and boy does that piss her off.

She's always been a pretty verbal kid, but in the last month or two her vocabulary has really exploded. Often she'll say words that we have no idea how she picked up, like how she told me the other night that cheese is her "Favit!" (favorite). BG is also speaking in longer and longer strings of words, and this, combined with her apparently finding voice for her ego, has resulted in actual sentences like:
"I wanna go out!"
"I want to pay dat!" (I want to play with that)
"I don' like dat!"
"Look at me!"
Other fun sentences lately: "It's so good!" (re: Cheerios) and "It's sooo hot!" (re: the weather). And if you correctly repeat back to her what she's trying to say ("You want to sit in the chair by yourself?" "You want to play with the car?") she will chirp, "Yes!", very pleased that you were smart enough to figure it out.

She's been doing this cute thing where everything is plural--if you point to a bird and say, "What's that?" she says "Birds!" Or she'll hold up a little dinosaur figurine and say, "Di-soahs!" But that's already starting to fade away. As are other cute mispronunciations of the recent past--if I ever say "nana" or "mato" to her, she looks at me and carefully says, "BA-nana" or "TO-mato," like, poor Mommy, she doesn't know the right words. I will be more than a little disappointed when she figures out that "belly button" is not actually called a "butty."

Speaking of "What's that?", it's her new favorite phrase. Every five minutes, "Oos-at?" She is obsessed with naming things. Sometimes she points to something she knows the name for and says, "Oos-at?" I'll say, "What do you think that is?" and she'll grin and say "Doggy!" or "Cars!" or "Daddy!" She loves to exclaim, "Lookidat!" (look at that!). And she seems to be grasping the concept of a question--she'll say to me, "See Daddy?" when she wants to go to her dad, or "Where she go?" when she's looking for the cat, all with the correct intonation.

She counts to ten, but doesn't really get number theory--it's just a string of syllables to her. If you ask her "How many ___ are there?" she will start rattling off "one, too, fee, four" but it has no relation to the actual number of objects.

She still doesn't have much hair. Apparently my husband and his sister were both nearly bald until they were two. I was born with a foofy Asian 'fro and had hair down to my shoulders by 20 months. Clearly she takes after her dad's side in this. What little hair she does have still resembles a mullet.

She is obsessed with garbage trucks ("Pick up gar-bidge!") and firetrucks.

She loves books and often we'll find her in her room, having made herself comfortable in the rocking chair with a pile of books, which she's "reading" aloud to herself, sometimes even hitting on a correct phrase or two by memory.

She's been sleeping through the night (meaning 9 pm to 6 or 7 am) more consistently, but still requires a bottle (which she still won't hold herself) to go down for her nap, something that I'm hoping her day care provider (oh yes, she's going to be starting daycare in September) can help us change. As for bedtime, she has a bottle of milk, then we read stories, then I lie down with her on our bed until she falls asleep, which can take up to 45 minutes on a bad night. Still, as exhausting and time-consuming as it is, I do love having the time to snuggle up and chat and sing to her at the end of the day. And there are other rewards. The other night, as I was lying down with her trying to get her to settle down and go to sleep (and getting a little frustrated with the process, to be honest), she suddenly sat up, leaned over me, and gave me a big wet kiss, right on the mouth. And whispered, "Goodnight."


In other news, we had BG's 18-month checkup this morning. Only one shot, hooray! Unfortunately she seems to now remember that the doctor's office--particularly the room where all the weighing and measuring and needle-poking occurs--is a place of great evil and terrible things, so she freaked out and didn't even want to be weighed, resulting in a bad and wiggly weigh-in which made it seem like she had not gained any weight in the last 3 months. I insisted that we redo (with me being weighed with and without her in arms) and it turns out she has gained more than 2 pounds, which I knew. Also that she has shot up the height curve, which I also knew. She is now 30 inches and 22.5 pounds--a little skinny thing, like her parents.

Also, apparently Bat Girl's lead level is "only" 1 ug/dl. (Blood was taken at her 15-month appt--state law mandates testing at age one and two.) I would prefer that there be no lead whatsoever in my baby's blood but our pediatrician said that in our neighborhood, it's normal to see levels of 3-6 (anything over 10 is considered "elevated")--and I just did a little googling and discovered that the national mean for kids age 1-5 is around 2. "I've never seen a kid with a lead level of zero," the ped said. "It's in the air and in the soil, so even if you don't have lead paint in your apartment, you can't avoid it." Hooray, urban pollution! Of course, I'm still going to make our landlord cover the peeling paint in the kitchen. Hooray, poorly maintained pre-WWII housing stock!