Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Penelope's TV Chair

Pip is currently dozing fitfully on my shoulder like a little parot who loves Cheerios. She really loved Grandma and Grandpa's birthday gift that came this morning--a chair for watching Sesame Street (she thinks).

Bubby's Helicopter

Mean Daddy

Penelope FINALLY went down for a nap. She's too big for the swing now, so we've got her sleeping in the top of her bassinet. Please let this work! I'm just getting exhausted. She screams and cries until she throws up if I put her down. As long as I'm holding her, however, she's sweet as can be, pleasant, charming, companionable. (The trouble is, I can't hold her and change her diaper or hold her and go to the bathroom or hold her and really do anything else.)

Earlier, I was telling Derrick (who is getting ready to go to the dentist) that I can't take much more of this. I was really exasperated. Abruptly, Penelope (on my lap, of course) turned and started to yell at Daddy. She was making ugly noises and mean faces. I was so confused. I asked her, "Why are you mad at Daddy?"

Then I realized that she thought I was mad at Daddy. That made it hard to stay frustrated with her. Such loyalty! (Of course, it wasn't very nice to Daddy!)

Nellie and Nanny

The Horse Who Came Up to Penelope

I took the picture after she was already back in the car, but we were standing next to the fence and he came right up to us from several feet away.


Penelope is being a total hoodoodle.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

A Little Bit of Christmas


The Hoodoodle in Disguise as a Cherub

You would never guess from her innocent expression that this child is a total hoodoodle.

The hoodoodle

Penelope is always much more of a hoodoodle on overcast days--unfortunately, so am I. She's been so clingy for the past couple of days. She got so upset the night before last because she wanted me to hold her, but Daddy was holding her while I was playing the new Super Mario Brothers on the Wii. I'd held her all day long (literally), but that ten minutes when I didn't hold her (though I was sitting three feet from her) made her so hysterically upset that she made herself throw up.

By the time I got her, she was puking everywhere--all over me, a floor blankey, and Horton. You can't wash the elephant because of his voice box, so I had to scrub him off with dish soap (because plain water didn't take away the puke smell). Then I had to ring out his soapy behind and hang him up to dry. He's still there.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Penelope's Horse

Five minutes--literally, sadly--away from Nanny and Papa's house, we had to pull over and change Hooey Long (as I like to call her). We'd given her some very crumby bread (long story) and a sticky Nellie cookie, so Daddy was trying to clean the car seat out after changing her. Even though it was cool, I took Penelope and walked several feet away from the car because we were parked right next to a pasture where two horses were grazing. (I just had to ask Derrick if horses graze. He says they do. I wasn't sure because they could have been just sniffing downward.)

Anyway, they were behind a chain link fence and several feet back away from the fence. I walked Penelope over to the fence and stood next to it, telling her in a sweet voice about the horsies on the other side. I guess I sounded really nice because one of the horses came right up to the fence--I mean, I wasn't trying to coax it or anything. It just started cantoring over to us. He was quite a long way off, so I was really pleased and surprised that he came right up to us that way.

I wished I had something to give him, but then again, what would I have given him? "Here horse, have some popcorn!" I mean, what do you give a strange horse? But it was still a really nice moment. I also took his picture. I'll upload it later.

We had so much fun this weekend, but I'm exhausted! We didn't get home until 1:00 a.m. The car ride home was fun, though. To entertain Grayson, I told a compact version of the Trojan War and several returns, Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, Macbeth, Romeo and Juliet, and The Merchant of Venice. (I mean, I told several short stories. I didn't turn all of that into one story.)

There's so much I want to write about--Grayson's helicopter is so awesome!--but right now I have to get HooHoo!

New Year's Plans

We need to figure out what to do for New Year's Eve next weekend. As exciting as Grayson's plan sounds--bob for apples in a big, boiling pot of hot fudge--I think we'll pass on that and try something else. (And that something else won't be his back up plan--bob for apples in a pot of cold fudge.) What will we do? And will it involve fudge?

Meanwhile, we've had lots of fun. Christmas morning, Penelope opened her presents from Santa Claus and Mommy and Daddy. Then we went over to Grandma and Grandpa's to have Christmas with them, Merry, and Kitty. Later that evening, Grayson joined us. Then the next day, we drove down to Willis to visit Nanny and Papa Harley, and we also got to meet Derrick's Uncle Bobby and Aunt Brenda and cousins Lexie and Sam.

Details to follow...

Aunt Merry and the Toodle

Friday, December 25, 2009

Mrs. Santa's Toodle Butt

I interrupted our reading of The Sea of Monsters tonight to tell Penelope the Christmas story--which didn't seem to interest her much, despite the fact that I added a monkey. Then Daddy and I spontaneously burst into Christmas carols and sang various yuletide songs for like two hours, including my new favorite "I Saw Mrs. Santa's Toodle Butt," to the tune of "I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus," and inspired by Penelope's attempts to climb out of the chair. (Perhaps she didn't appreciate our singing!)

By the end, Penelope really got into the spirit and was bouncing and jumping and clapping her hands. She particularly liked the Celtic and Latin Christmas music Daddy started to play on his laptop--weird because I suddenly remembered playing that toward the end of our rooming in night at the hospital when we took Penelope home. It was Easter, and I was trying to find something religious.

At one point, I told Penelope, "Tomorrow, do you know what will happen? Santa Claus will come!" She reacted to this news by widening her eyes, grabbing my shirt, and pulling herself closer to me. "No, he's not coming now," I said. "He's coming tonight while we're asleep." Penelope seemed suspicious. She knows who Santa Claus is because she's seen him in her Rudolph book and while playing with Grandma's toys. When I showed her her outfit in the bathroom mirror and joked, "I didn't know you were Santa Claus," she seemed very pleased and appeared to recognize herself. But I must tell you she is not jazzed about the idea of Santa Claus coming here. She was happy to hear she would be going to Grandma's house and seeing Bubby, but the Santa Claus part left her decidedly on guard.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

The Cutie

Santa Claus looks so cute. She had her bath right before we changed her into her suit. Now all her puffy blond hair is sticking up while Daddy gives her some milk and we watch Alex Trebek. We let her open one present on Christmas Eve, which turned out to be the electronic ABC slate she was so mesmerized with when we went to Toys R Us last month. It's supposed to be for ages three and up, but it was Penelope's favorite thing in the whole store, so we got it for her, and she enjoyed it--until she face planted into it. Then she got very mad.

Mommy and Toodle Claus

In that last picture, I'm telling Santa Claus, "I Love You," the way they show it on Sesame Street to get her to smile. When I took Penelope into the bathroom to show her, "Look! You're Santa Claus," she was quite delighted.

Toodle Claus

A New Stage

Penelope has been so squinky for the past few days, but we think we've figured it out. She doesn't want to go in the saucer because she wants to play on the floor. Her crawling has improved by leaps and bounds, and she's starting to try to climb herself up the couch.

Right now Olivia's song about children is on. Derrick points out, "Her favorite child in this montage is the little girl eating the watermellon."

"Yeah, the one who looks like Merry," I said.

"I think she looks a lot like you," Derrick said. "And I think Penelope thinks that is you and that's why she smiles."

Interesting because that kid is a dead ringer for Merry when she was about eight years old. I think that Penelope thinks the little girl in the God book is Olivia, and that's why she likes her so much. Olivia is definitely her favorite on Sesame Street which is so weird because I've always liked Maria best and obliviously assumed everyone else did, too.

There's this awesome part in one episode where Maria surprises David with a typewriter for his birthday, back when they were dating. It's so cute. I love it because you can see Maria likes David so much, but you can also see that Luis is already falling in love with Maria. When I pointed this out to Derrick, I think he noticed that I spend a lot of my time watching Sesame Street.

Dear Zoo

Penelope has discovered Dear Zoo. She found it over on the floor by the fireplace while I was changing her diaper last night, and she sat spellbound while I read it (because she didn't like it in August and doesn't remember reading it before).

This morning she made me read it four times in a row. The second time through, she decided that she wanted to lift the flaps and reveal the animals herself. She got really mad when the giraffe's flap opened sideways, not from the bottom up like the elephant. She was really furious until I helped her do it. She got it eventually but seemed to hold a grudge against the giraffe on subsequent readings.

I think if that story were about us we would keep the monkey. Penelope doesn't think he's too naughty. She thinks he's wonderful! She laughs every time we get to him, that funny Monkey and his nana.

Christmas Eve Morning

Kermit of the Funny Feet

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Playing With Grandma Last Week


The toodle is finally asleep, and Daddy and I are reading The Sea of Monsters. She's been kind of a squink today, sweet though, just always wanting to be held, teething I think. Meanwhile, I went to the doctor only to have my self-diagnosis of allergic conjunctivitis confirmed. In fact, it would seem that what I am allergic to is my house since at the doctor's office, my eyes were perfectly clear, and then when I got home, they started to hurt and itch again immediately. I think (to my dismay) that it is probably the tree.

Everything was fine until in the kitchen I slipped on water and against my will did the splits, hyperextending my left leg, even though I didn't want it to do that. Well, I mean, I extended it a normal amount if you're a cheerleader or yoga instructor, but I hadn't prepped by stretching first, so that may hurt quite a bit in the morning.

Penelope's so cute. This morning when we were reading Rudolph, and we got to the page where Mrs. Claus is making a Christmas cake, Penelope cooed, "Cake-uh," rather quietly before I started reading the words on the page. So she's been paying attention. You can tell she really likes the "cake-uh" page because she smiles at it. The page is really pretty.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Pictures From Cupcake Saturday

Penelope's Fetish

Penelope and I are enjoying a delicious sandwich for dinner. Mommy has ham and cheese on a roll, and Penelope has cheddar, microwaved deli turkey (to kill bacteria), and pieces of bread. She's gobbling that right up. She's being a snook about eating her squash, though. I'm going to have to buy squash and bake it and give her big pieces she can pick up. She's having a bit of a finger food fetish!


Something is wrong with Mommy's chest. It doesn't have a BUHBONN. Penelope pointed this out to me. She poked me in the chest repeatedly and asked suspiciously, "BUHBONN?" She was very disappointed in me for not having a buhbonn on my shirt.

Meanwhile, I'm writing a book for Penelope, for when she gets older. I wrote almost all of the first chapter today. I'm getting pretty excited about it.

The Dumbest Parents in the World

Derrick's like, "She's probably so exasperated with us. Where's your nose, Penelope? She's probably like, 'Y'all are dumb! Why do I have the dumbest parents in the world? How many times do I have to find these things for you? Can't you remember?'"

The Comedian!

Now Derrick's jumping her on his chest, and she spontaneously screamed out, "Foot!" Everybody's a comedian!


Derrick is touching Penelope's cheek with Kermit's foot and saying, "FOOT!"

She is laughing hysterically, sticking out her tongue and spitting and dying of giggles. Apparently, "Foot!" is the funniest word ever. She is absolutely dying of hilarity. All he's doing is saying, "Foot!"

Now I'm saying it, too! Every time we say it, she goes crazy cracking up laughing. Maybe she'll grow up and be a podatrist.

The BUHBONN on Daddy's shirt

Penelope's playing with the buttons on Daddy's shirt. He said, "That's a button." She said, "BUHBONN?"

Monday, December 21, 2009

My Eyes!

I seem to have allergic conjunctivitis. It is so weird and is driving me crazy. Friday night, about midnight, out of nowhere, my right eye turned horribly reddish pink. I thought it might go away. The next morning, it clearly had not gone away. Every morning when I wake up, it looks like a horrible, infected eye.

Here is the thing. When I take Claritin (which my sister gave me) and use Visine, it goes away completely, thought it is still a little itchy at the corners. I don't know if Penelope had some little virus that somehow didn't manifest in her eyes, or if I got cat dander or pine sap or something in my eye and was allergic to it.

I wish it would go away. I haven't made a doctor's appointment because it doesn't seem infected, so I'm just trying to keep my hands ultra clean and not touch the eye. It seems that if it were an infection, it wouldn't come and go. But it is still so frustrating.

I hope it is an allergy because Penelope rubs her eyes every time she's sleepy and always tries to steal my glasses, even though I try to dissuade her by giving her my phone (about the only way to distract her). If she gets it, we'll never get rid of it.

I'm very exasperated about this. It really is uncanny how the allergy medicine makes it almost completely go away, though. But why would I have allergies in only one eye? Or maybe Penelope had a little virus that can cause pink eye if it gets in your eyes? It's very annoying because since I know nothing, I have to keep washing towels and pillow cases in hot water constantly. But how can it spread through towels? This makes me very nervous because I thought soap and hot water killed germs. Is this just a lie? Why would drying your hands make it spread in that case? This makes me very nervous about germs.

Sunday, December 20, 2009


Grayson's telling all of us our ranks. We're the last Avatars, but we don't know there are others. We're also vampires and vampire hunters, and we seem to be in the army as well. Last night I was the Captain of the Privates (always a fun job) and Daddy was the Emerald. After a long time, I figured out that he meant Admiral. Apparently, after you're promoted ten times, you become a Tenmeril, so Derrick's working his way toward that.

The three of us went to see Avatar yesterday while Toodlesquink played with Grandma, Grandpa, and Aunt Merry. Aunt Merry was the hero because she found Sesame Street on her iPhone. They watched "Put Down the Duckie," and apparently Penelope recognized Madeline Kahn and reacted with glee. I think she knows her name, too, because when I said it earlier, she turned eagerly to the TV, as if looking for Grover. When Sesame Street did not come on, she got really squinky and never fully recovered.

Friday afternoon in the car, I remembered how Grayson used to say, "ABCD...POOP!" When he was three, he'd do that all the time. After hearing the story, he started saying that to Penelope. Needless to say, this material killed since she loves the alphabet, knows the word "poop," and adores Bubby. She's been trying to say Bubby, making various Buh noises at him with her most charming smile.

After the movie last night, we all had hot dogs and cup cakes with Grandma and Grandpa and Merry. Penelope discovered that she also likes provalone cheese, and ate it with much gusto and loud enthusiastic comments.

We're about to start reading The Lightning Thief during the game. We've got to catch Grayson up. He's only in Chapter2, and we're in Chapter 5, so I'll try to read extra fast.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Just Teething

Penelope woke up about 9:30 today, drank four ounces of milk, and then fell sound asleep again on my lap until 11:30. But around that time she seemed perfectly happy. Daddy came home about 12:30, and she actually agreed to go in her saucer for about fifteen minutes while I made us some grilled cheeses for lunch--until she pooped, and then Daddy had to get her.

We already had the 2:15 appointment, so we took her in. She was so excited when Daddy put her in the car seat. We knew she thought she was going to Grandma's--where she usually goes. "Don't start getting expectations, Penelope," Daddy warned.

She was very suspicious when we wound up at the doctor's office--and furious when Dr. Nichols swabbed her throat. (She did it just as a precaution because of Grayson's strep, though Penelope wasn't exposed when he was contagious.) When she looked in her mouth, she confirmed the top right front tooth we thought we'd seen poking through. I'd tried to look in her mouth earlier using the flashlight, but I couldn't get her to open up. I tried to show her how and that it wouldn't hurt by saying, "Aaaaaaaa," and shining the light in my own mouth. That only freaked her out and made her more sure than ever that she wanted that light nowhere near her mouth.

Anyway, long story short, she was totally fine--just teething. Dr. Nichols said she may have had a little virus that had cleared up also, compounding the yucky feeling. She also said we can give her 1.2 when we dose her with Tylenol. (We've been giving her .6.) Oh yeah, she weighed 20 pounds.

After the doctor, we went to Grandma's (at last, thought Penelope) to wait for Bubby. We've spent most of tonight eating spaghetti and watching Grayson play Ratchet and Clank, which he brought over from his house.

I'll write more later. Hooey is hooing at me. Apparently, she's had enough of Daddy.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Cheese is GOODUH!

Penelope has been so clingy today that I haven't gotten a chance to blog. I didn't even get a chance to eat or drink anything until 1:30 in the afternoon. Frankly, I was lucky I got to go to the bathroom. She woke up at 6:45, but I coaxed her to go back to sleep until 9:00. (I would have let her get up at 8:00, but I fell asleep again, and so did she.)

After the hysteria of the changing table, we had our milk and read some stories, and she seemed perfectly cheerful, if a little subdued. We saw a tooth in her mouth last night (the front tooth on the upper right), so I gave her some Tylenol at 9:30 as a precautionary measure. Then after reading some stories, I put her in the saucer for a minute. (I'd avoided going to the bathroom because I didn't want to wake her permanently, and I'd been holding it for like three hours.)

I was only in the bathroom for like half a second before she burst into tears, so I came right back and held her on my lap. She was instantly cheerful. (I should say that Penelope is very manipulative, but these were not contrived tears. You could see she was in genuine agony, shocked with horror that I would leave her when I could feel how bad she felt--as she thinks I can.)

Daddy called the nurse to ask for advice. She said that Penelope's behavior sounded like separation anxiety (though we're not really separated when I'm touching her on the changing table). But she said just to be safe and rule out the physical, we could bring her in to see Dr. Nichols tomorrow afternoon.

Then I got her a bowl of Cheerios--which she promptly turned over in her enthusiasm. I managed to salvage most of them, although some fell down into the recliner (where we were sitting together since she insisted on being attached to me). I then held the bowl out of reach. Unfortunately, in her enthusiasm for H (on TV), Penelope accidentally kicked the bowl over without realizing it. Cheerios flew everywhere! She turned to me in confused astonishment, like, "Mommy, why did you throw my Cheerios on the floor?"

Other than her insistance on being held, she seemed fine if a bit less chipper than yesterday. She freaked out totally every time I had to change her. She never likes to lie still, but her tears were so genuine, and she started to sound hoarse.

A little after 11:00, Grandma showed up to take us to her house for lunch with Grandpa. To my extreme relief, Penelope was delighted to see Grandma and let her hold her and carry her around. Then she fell asleep in the car. Grandma stopped by the post office (but just to drop something in the box outside), so we were in the car a while (especially since she was wrong about how to get to the post office from my house). As soon as we got to Grandma and Grandpa's house, Penelope woke up.

She was in a fine mood, however, and after I gave her some milk, she cheerfully agreed to sit in her high chair while we had lunch. Grandma made pulled pork tacos with this delicious pork roast. They were so good. Penelope had a tiny bit of pork, a little tortilla, tons of Cheerios, some pieces of apple, and cheddar cheese.

She eats cheese in lots of her baby food, so I figured a little grated cheese was okay. I now know that Penelope LOVES cheese. She kept cramming it into her mouth and making really enthusiastic yummy noises. "Is that good? Good?" Grandma kept asking. Finally, Penelope yelled, "GOODUH!" seeming very excited about it.

Afterwards, she continued to be pretty happy (though not quite as energetic as usual) for most of the afternoon. She spent a long time playing train with Grandma, and she and I played the piano a bit, too. After a while, she fell asleep, and then woke up after Daddy had arrived to take us home.

Grandma had pretty much convinced me Penelope was fine. Grandpa said teething causes lots of issues. (And really, all day she's had no symptoms--no fever, no rash, clear eyes, no runny nose--except after crying a lot--no loss of appetite, regular bowel movements, no more coughing or sneezing than usual.) Grandma thought her behavior on the changing pad was more of a stubborn temper tantrum at not getting her way immediately, probably because she was uncomfortable from teething and had discovered that she doesn't HAVE to lie down. She suggested changing her on the floor instead of the table--a good thing since tonight Penelope crawled off the changing pad. She was over eating fallen Cheerios out of the bottom of the saucer--with her onesie undone--before I could catch up to her.

Anyway, then we got home, and Penelope had this huge meltdown and seemed in such agony and couldn't get comfortable even though I was holding her and seemed really hoarse and kept thrashing, and I really felt worried. She was hyper clingy for like three hours and still not completely comfortable. Now she's fine again, though. (It's almost 1:00 now, though. I wrote the title of this post while I was hurriedly eating dinner, but I had to take her back immediately.)

We still think it's probably teething. She's very drooly. The second most likely thing is teething plus an ear infection--which would explain why she doesn't want to lie flat on the changing pad but would not explain why she has the same reaction to being up and down in the saucer. I hope she doesn't need antibiotics for anything because she hates those so much. We'll see...

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Enjoying the Nellie Cookie

My Big Girl

It looks so funny when Derrick sets Penelope in the chair to get her to stop crying and stands there with his hands on his hips staring at her. She's so tiny in that big chair. I sat her in there this morning so I could turn on the sound machine. At first she was suspicious, but then when she saw I was pleased with her, she got happy.