24 April 2009

7 Quick Takes...Catch-Up Picture Edition

It's been a busy few weeks, what with Katrina having her 2-week term break, a trip to Cologne, and the subsequent total breakdown of Annika's sleep patterns. But last night the baby slept nearly 12 hours, so my brain fog is somewhat thinner today.

We've had extraordinarily good spring weather, with a long stretch of sunny, warm days. Easter was a lovely day, and we got a few pictures of the girls in their pretty dresses. Unfortunately, we took them in the late-ish afternoon, and Annika was just DONE with being at all charming.

Being two months premature, Annika is a bit behind on her motor skills, so her doctor recommended some physical therapy sessions. (Dubbed "baby gymnastik" in German, which sounds more fun and less medical.) It has become clear that my mellow little baby is just as strong-willed as her big sister. Annika likes sitting up. Annika LOVES sitting up. Annika will cry if you lay her down on her back to play (she is tolerating it a little better now, though). So we had been letting her sit up to the exclusion of any other position, which is not so good for learning those little skills like rolling over and crawling. Just making her lay down and putting a few toys just out of reach has made her much more mobile.

Annika previously HATED to be on her tummy. She is now tolerating it a little better, for longer periods of time. But the therapist has been having a bit of trouble with our little cutie. See, the therapist tries to demonstrate "exercises" that we can do at home, at the moment consisting of ways to roll Annika from her back to her tummy so that she can get the technique for doing it herself. Little problem: Annika resists being rolled over with all of her might. First exercise: grasp the baby's upper thigh and take one leg over the other, thus turning the whole body over. Not so fast--Annika digs the other leg into the ground, effectively turning the move into a breakdance circle (turning around on one side). Second exercise: pull one arm over the other and roll the whole body from back to front. Not so fast--now both legs and the unheld arm dig into the floor, again negating the effect. She gets to her side but no further. Now, if the therapist makes any move toward Annika, the sweetheart flings both arms out straight. Eventually, the therapist figured out that you have to hold one leg straight while grasping the other thigh to roll her...preferably while Annika holds a toy in her hand so she can't use her arms to stop the motion.

The therapist says she has never seen a baby this age who is so strong and determined. That's my girl!

Ha, ha! Just try to get me on my tummy!

Annika's top two teeth are now coming in, but at different paces. At the moment, I'm tempted to call her Ol' Snaggletooth.

What did you just call me?!

We had lovely weather in Cologne and walked all over the city. Accompanied by the whining of our 6-yr-old. "I'm Tiiiired, I'm hot, my feet hurt, I'm HUNGRY!" Katrina did enjoy seeing the huge old cathedral (built in the middle ages and practically the only thing left standing after WWII), visiting the chocolate museum, and smelling every possible perfume in Cologne's famous 4711 cologne shop (where they've been selling "Koelnisch Wasser," Cologne's most famous...cologne, for hundreds of years). But when asked her favorite part of the trip, her answer was "Dunkin Donuts!" There were two Dunkin Donuts shops in the pedestrian zone, within walking distances of the hotel. So she and hubby walked there every morning while I fed the baby in our room and ate gluten-free muffins.

I can't blame her too much. I was inordinately excited to see a Starbucks and drank a mocha latte nearly every day.

Koeln Dom

Katrina actually likes to visit the old churches. She focuses on two things: finding all of the dead people and lighting a candle. Most old cathedrals in Europe have gravestones or entire stone sepulchres around the periphery of the sanctuary or in some sort of crypt underground. The Koeln Dom had both.

I prefer to focus on the loveliness of my daughter praying "for all the people who don't have enough food" than on her demanding I read each and every memorial gravestone and asking me if the body has turned to dirt yet.

I've been reading Anne of Green Gables to Katrina before bed. The language is a bit over her head, but she still wants me to read it. Probably because Anne Shirley is almost as dramatic as Katrina is. I forgot this about Anne. But if anyone knows about being so excited that nothing else seems important, or suddenly plunging into the "depths of despair" ["what's despair, Mama?"] it would be our Katrina. I, on the other hand, am identifying more with stern Marilla, which is kind of disconcerting. And I seem to be saying "well, now" a lot, which is how Matthew Cuthbert starts every sentence.

Well, now, the baby has awoken from the longest nap she's had all week. So I'll mention just one more thing: DVR is a dangerous thing. I set it to record "Jon and Kate plus 8," which I've seen only once before. It taped about 20 episodes before I got around to watching. In the past 5 days, I've winnowed that down to about 7. I am a reality television addict. And am REALLY glad I only have singletons. And think that Katrina and Mady are very much alike. In one episode, Mady stomped into the house after school [ON HER BIRTHDAY], kicked a balloon viciously, and went to her room..for no discernible reason. Ah, yes, the school-to-home transition. I know it well.

For more quick takes, check out Conversion Diary

01 April 2009

Yes, My 39th Birthday Is Next Week. Why Do You Ask?

I had an interview and I was running late. The dress I had planned on wearing did not fit right. Since I was at my mom and dad's house, my clothing options were limited. Mom tried to find me something appropriate to wear from her closet and from whatever clothing my sister had left behind. But no matter what I tried on--green satin party dress, sleeveless yellow dress, brown slacks of Wendy's with colorful stripes on them--nothing fit me.

I realized that I needed to call Christine W.--a client who had given me work in the past and who was now starting a new editing business--and tell her I would be late. I looked for her number but couldn't find it. I couldn't believe Mom had not written down Christine's number! Finally, I found a scrap of paper with some sort of musical notes on it. "Oh," Mom said, "that's her number. I wrote it down in code." What? I couldn't figure out why she'd do that, or what the code was. Mom finally decoded it for me, and I started to call the number.

It was a white phone with clear buttons, the kind you would have seen in the 70s sitting on a side table. I started punching in the numbers, but got one wrong. I tried again, and again, each time not quite able to get it right. Mom tried to help me, but I could not see the right numbers. Meanwhile, it was growing later and later, and in the pit of my stomach I knew there was no way I would make the interview.

Still, I kept punching at the numbers, getting them wrong each time. I looked down at the slip of paper and read the name of Christine's new editing business: Tempus Fugit Editing.