Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Pee Pee in the Potty

Dear Sophie,

For a couple of weeks now, we had randomly placed you on your "throne" hoping that you would relieve yourself by chance.  Your potty is literally shaped like a princess' throne, and it even plays celebratory music when the bowl gets wet.  From the first time we ever put you on the potty, you seemed to know exactly what to do, even pretending to "push" something out.  After several tries, though, you had not yet made your potty sing.  We didn't make a big deal out of it though.  We gave you M&M's just for sitting on the potty and praised you for trying.

Today, for the first time at 22 months and 10 days old, you successfully peed in the potty.  Right before being put to bed, I noticed that you had nearly finished your second sippy cup of water that I had just given you.  I thought, she's got to have a full bladder....I wonder if she would go potty now.  I brought you into the bathroom with me and placed you on the seat.  "Go pee pee," I instructed you, just like every other time before.  You "pushed" and suddenly your throne erupted in happy tunes!  You stood up, and both of us peered into the bowl.  Seeing true success, I clapped and cheered, told you good job, and gave you a high five.  Daddy joined us in the celebration too.

What a proud moment!

You are growing up so fast.

Love you, Little Buddy!


Sunday, October 28, 2012

For the Birds!

Dear Sophie,

You had a couple a funny moments recently that I wanted to remember.

We were standing outside on an unusually warm, 80 degree evening in October.  You love walking through the crunchy leaves and picking up the little red berries that have been falling off the prairie fire crab apple tree in the backyard.  Because I wanted you to understand that you shouldn't eat the berries, we sat down on the back steps and I explained that the berries were food for the birds.  It just so happened that a large flock of birds was flying noisily over head at that moment.  Fully comprehending the food lesson and then dramatically gasping at nature's impeccable timing, you held up a fistful of berries up to the sky and shouted, "Heeh, beehds!  Eat, beehds!" (translated, "Here, Birds!  Eat, Birds!).  How I love that you make a seemingly uninteresting moment such an exciting one!

This next story embarrasses me, but your cuteness overrides my shame.  You were sitting quietly, coloring and playing with stickers.  I was sitting across from you, watching you color and occasionally helping to remove a sticker from its backing.  Digestion of a taco salad made itself evident when I let slip a hard-to-ignore "toot."  In great sincerity, you looked up at me with raised brows and asked, "Poop, mommy?"  I suppose I'm fair game to be asked that question, since we ask you the same question seemingly every day.  Soon, I'll be teaching you that a "toot" may be a signal that it's time to go to the potty.

I love you, Funny Face!


Saturday, October 20, 2012

Miss Bossy?

Dear Sophie,

We went to McDonalds for dinner tonight.  You don't really care about the food, but you like to watch the kids playing on the gymnasium and the slides.  You don't yet participate in the playing yourself because I suspect that you may be intimidated by all the other kids - they are much bigger than you.   As we were eating our dinner and people watching, two little girls (about nine years old) came over to our table.  Fully engrossed in play time, they hopped up on the chair and then stepped up onto our table so that they could reach up and jump onto one of the bars of the gymnasium. In a bossy little voice, you said to those girls, "Off table! Get down!"  You repeated it a second time when the little girls did it again.  Eventually, an adult from their party came over and told the girls not to get on the table.

I wonder where you learned to be so bossy? *wink wink*  This was the first time I've seen you be bossy to anyone else besides Lucy, Blue, and Junior.

Love you,

Sunday, October 14, 2012


Dear Sophie,

Thank goodness for FaceTime - this nifty Applie iPhone application that allows me to "video call" you.  I can see your cute little face even though I am far away in Washington D.C. at a conference.  And you can see my face too.  "Hi, Mommy!" is such a nice greeting.  You can hear me and interact with me on FaceTime.  You even mimicked me sticking my tongue out.  And when I asked for a "high five," you did it - unfortunately, your high five disconnected our call, but we got right back online together with a touch of a button.

What a darling little girl you are!

I'm so glad this is only a 3 day trip.  I miss your face!  I miss Daddy too, but his face is not nearly as sweet as yours. Wink wink!


Sunday, October 7, 2012

First K-State Game


Daddy and I took you to the K-State vs. KU game in Manhattan yesterday.  It was your first college football game.  KU lost to K-State with a horrendous score of 56 to 16!

Oh sh*t!

Dear Sophie,

Who would have ever guessed that you would learn your first naughty word from Mommy?  I've been lecturing your dad for two years that he should start modifying his language in preparation for little ears.  As it turns out, it was I who needed the lecturing.

Here's how it happened.  Daddy was out of town.  It was just you and me, which means that Mommy was probably on the "worn out" side.  I placed you on the changing table so that I could give you a fresh diaper.  You were being your usual squirmy self - anything left on the dresser is vulnerable to being kicked or knocked off.  This isn't usually a problem, because most of the time, what's on your dresser is plush or plastic (like your animals or your comb).  This time, though, it was a sizeable bottle of lotion.

With a wave of your arm, the lotion container went crashing to the flower ending with a big splat!  Lotion was everywhere!  "Oh shit," I said.  "It's broken."  Not dwelling on the mishap (yours or mine), I finished changing your diaper, and then proceeded with the cleanup.  We went on with the day.

Later that day, it was time for another diaper change.  I took you back to your room and placed you on the dresser.  You noticed the broken lotion bottle still on the dresser, and then turned to me and said with all innocence, "Shit.  Boken."  I asked you, uncertain I heard you correctly, "What did you say?"  You repeated, "Shit. Boken."

And if that wasn't confirmation enough for me, two days later, when I was changing your clothes, you said it again after accidentally dropping your shoes on to the floor:  "Oh shit."

I can hardly believe that it was me who taught you a bad word.  Of course you don't know that it's a bad word, but everyone else will know, when your repeat it in public, that someone taught you a bad word.  Everyone will suspect your Daddy, but he will be free of blame and point his finger squarely at me.

Love you!
Your Imperfect but Loving Mommy

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

No bite!

Dear Sophie,

We are still trying to figure out how to move you on past this biting stage.  Yesterday, one of the other children in your class pushed you and, in retaliation, you bit him or her on the arm.  This morning, your teacher Ms. Robin told me how you reacted when you were put in a time out after yesterday's incident.  You were crying, and you pointed with a crooked index finger to some nearby blocks and repeated, "No biting, Block!  No biting!"  Ms. Robin said she struggled not to laugh.

I relayed this story to Daddy.  He laughed too and said he was glad that you seemed to be "getting it."  I, however, felt broken-hearted to hear it.  You and I have had some talks about biting on the way home from school, and I wondered if I had been too stern with you.  After all, you're a one year-old.  Still just a baby.

Instead of the stern talks on the way home after you've had an "incident", I'm going to praise you with lots of hugs, kisses, and positive words every day that you don't have an "incident."

I sure hope that works!

I'll always love you,

Tuesday, September 18, 2012


Dear Sophie,

Today, you walked into the room where I was working, stretched out your arms, and said, "Hug?"

I love you!


Sunday, September 16, 2012

Come on, Mom!

Dear Sophie,

Yesterday, I ran in the 4-mile Kansas City Zoo Run, a charity run benefiting the zoo's Sumatran tiger.  You'll know someday that I love animals, especially our dog Lucy and cats Blue and Junior, and one of my favorite channels to watch on TV is the Animal Planet.  I hope someday you, too, will share my love for animals.  So, I registered for the race.

Needless to say, with only a few 3-mile jog/walks in the few weeks leading up to the race, I was ill-prepared.  I started the race with three co-workers from the Federal Reserve.  Two quickly separated from the group about one mile into the run.  The other stayed with me for another mile and half or so.  She kept me encouraged with positive words along the way, but at approximately two and a half miles, I suggested she could go on without me.  I just couldn't keep up with her! So, I found myself running without a companion.

It just so happens that right about then I had caught up with two young girls.  I soon learned that they were running with their mom.  The oldest girl, perhaps about fifteen or sixteen, yelled back at her mom every few yards or so, "Come on, Mom!  Keep running!  You can do it!"  She repeated this numerous times.  The effect on me was inspiring.

I thought about you and how you sometimes grab my shirt or my hand and pull me in the direction of something you want to do.  You say, "Mon, Mommy," which translates to, "Come on, Mommy!"

I loved seeing the relationship between the teenage daughter and her mom during the Zoo run.  This was something they did together.  I imagine that you and I will do many things together, and I hope someday that when you're a teenager we maintain that togetherness.

Love you, Sweetie!


Sunday, August 26, 2012

The "BB"

Dear Sophie,

Today, I realized you'd learned a new word.  Unlike other words that we had made a conscious effort to enunciate for you and encourage you to repeat, "BB" (easily recognized as "TV" with your emphatic pointing at the big flat screen) must have been absorbed from our daily conversations.  That causes me two concerns:  (1) You are listening to us adults even when I don't think you're listening, and (2) "TV" must be a frequent word on our lips.

This morning, I lifted you out of your crib, and as I often do in order to impress the English language upon you, I explained to you what we were doing.  "I'm going to change your diaper, and then we're going to get breakfast."  You pointed somewhere in the direction towards the front of the house, and said, "bibi?"  Misunderstanding, I asked if you wanted your "binky" and despite your obvious frustration with me, I put a binky in your mouth.  You impatiently squirmed while I struggled to change your diaper.  We proceeded with breakfast, and then to the living room to relax.

I turned on a DVD, the Blue Planet.  You love watching the fish and the birds.  This morning you easily identified "bear" which was gorging itself on salmon.  You were pleased for the moment.  Later in the day, though, when Daddy had left the the news on the TV and had gone down to the basement to try to make some progress on a toy box he is building for you, you retrieved the remote control and thrust it into my hands.  "Bibi!" you demanded and pointed at the news show.  It was then that I realized you were saying "TV."  "Yes," I nodded my approval, "that's right.  TV."  You shook the remote in my hands, and it finally donned on me that you didn't want to watch the news.  We flipped to channel 29, Nick Junior, and you settled in for an episode of "Go Diego Go."

This evening, at dinner, we discovered just how addicted to the "bibi" you had become.  The television was on in the background, and we were all at the dining room table.  Although you had a fork, you dug into the pasta and tomato meat sauce with your little fingers, picking out the parmesan cheese - how you love cheese!  You aren't much of an eater, as it is, but Daddy noticed that you were distracted by the TV.  You kept turning around to look at it, while your food was getting colder and colder.  Daddy tried to refocus your attention on your dinner plate, but when it became obvious that the "Family Guy" (which Daddy himself is hooked on) was more important to you, he turned the TV off.

Two things happened in this moment that amazed me:  (1) Your daddy actually turned off a rerun of the Family Guy, and (2) you were instantly in temper tantrum mode, crying and yelling "BB!"  And that was it.  You weren't going to have another bite.  Not one bite more.  Not even a piece of parmesan cheese!

The crying and yelling persisted.  We put you in a time out, and though you bore your punishment for the single minute of your typical timeout, you weren't reformed, and we had to put you in a second time out.  The second time out was no more corrective than the first.  It was Daddy who stayed strong and did not turn on the TV despite your kicking and screaming.  I was ready to cave in because it was Sunday night and I wanted to eat dinner in peace.

No such peace was made without a great effort.  Seeing that your Daddy was determined not to give you your way, I scarfed the rest of my dinner (I'm always last to finish our meals) - Daddy was going to need my full support.  "Don't turn on the TV yet," he ordered.  Though it's much easier to drop you in front of the TV while we clear the table and tidy the kitchen, we didn't do that this time.  We distracted you from your fit of rage by engaging your assistance in the dinner clean up effort.  I gave you plates to carry from the dinner table to the kitchen, and I supervised your every step as you dutifully bore them, one by one, to Daddy who was doing the dishes.  You took the soiled napkins I gave you, and put them in the trash receptacle.  Daddy instructed you to close the dishwasher after we had fully loaded it.  By the time we were done, your tears were dried up, and you were wiggling with pride at having helped Mommy and Daddy.

The work all done, Daddy scooped you up, grabbed the bag of snap pea snacks that you love (because he knew you'd still be hungry), and plopped down onto his recliner with you on his lap.  The Family Guy resumed.  I looked over at you and your daddy.  He caught me observing the two the of you, and asked "What?"  "Nothing," I answered unconvincingly.  Nothing but a daughter like her daddy.

It gives me relief to think that a few days ago I had heard you clearly say the word "book."  You learned "book" before "BB," and that has to count for something, right?

Love you!

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Busy Weekend!

Dear Sophie,
Daddy and Lucy went on a weekend trip, so it was just a girls weekend - you and me.  Friday night, we went to the Ethnic Enrichment Festival to eat some Filipino food at the Filino Association booth.  You ate barbecue, adobo chicken, pancit, lumpia, turon, halo halo, and cantaloupe drink.  You also watched the Sinag Tala perform several traditional dances.  You seemed most interested in the Tinikling and Silat dances. 

On Saturday, we spent lunch and early afternoon at the zoo because today was KC Fed Day at the zoo.  We only had time to visit Africa before it became obvious that you needed a nap.  I asked you if you liked the elephants, and your serious answer was "noooooo."  Would you like the elephants to visit you?  Again, "Noooooo."  I think the elephant's sheer size intimidated you.  You were happy to watch from afar.

Tonight, we'll go back to the Ethnic Enrichment Festival and see what other good foods we can eat, but until then, you are crashed out in your crib - fast asleep!

Thank you, little sweetie, for a wonderful girls weekend.

Love you,

Monday, August 6, 2012

Toes and Potatoes

Dear Sophie,

We had potatoes for dinner tonight, and when daddy and I told you to eat your potatoes, you happily repeated, "Toes!"  That's exactly the same thing you say when I point to your little piggies and ask what they are:  "Toes!"  I sure hope you know the difference.

You're learning more and more words every day!  And although you can't say them, we see that you understand us.  You brought a book to me, and I was too busy at the moment to read to you.  So I advised you to take your book to your chair and read it yourself.  True to the instructions, we found you sitting in your little recliner, with the book open on your lap, and when daddy walked by, you shouted up to him, "Read!"

Daddy says, "We have a funny little girl."

Love you to pieces,

Friday, July 13, 2012

Don't Bite Your Friends

Dear Sophie,

One of your favorite tv shows is Yo Gabba Gabba, and on that show, there's a song with the repeated lyric, "Don't Bite Your Friends."  I've heard stories about biters and their victims, but today it wasn't just a story from someone else.  My dear little, Sophie, you bit one of your friends at school today.  This was a first.  Ms. Robin called me at work to report the incident.  She didn't tell me the name of your victim, but she said she thinks that the other child "invaded your space."  When I picked you up from day care at the end of the day, the program director, Ms. Melissa Smytson, told me that you were just frustrated.

Whatever the reason, I hope we can nip that in the bud.  I hope you'll grow up to become kind and patient.  Unfortunately, with your Daddy's genes, patience might not be in your nature.

I love you, Baby Girl.  Don't bite your friends.


Funny Little Girl

Dear Sophie,

These are just a few little funny stories I wanted to remember to tell you someday.


Your day care teacher, Ms. Robin, relayed this one to me.  She said one day it became hilariously obvious that you were somewhat constipated.  You went over to the bookcase, leaned against it and braced yourself, grunted and pushed as hard as you could.  After a few minutes struggling to produce the desired result, you picked up one of your legs, stretched it back behind you, shook it, and then grunted ferociously again.  Ms. Robin demonstrated for me how you did the leg shake technique, which apparently worked for you.  As Ms. Robin told me the story, both of us laughed so hard we had tears in our eyes.
Bear Wave

It's a wonderful and yet scary thing when I realize you've been observing me all along and calculating how to imitate me.  One morning, after I had dressed you and sat you up on your dresser so that I could put shoes on you, I gave you one of your favorite stuffed animals, Pop (from Hop on Pop).  You held up one of Pop's arms, waved it at me, and said, "Hiiiiiiii!"  As if you knew just how cute you were, you beamed proudly with a big smile, knowing that you had caused Mommy to laugh, and then you joined in with your own laughing while repeating the bear wave.  This was one of many moments that I was astonished at you.  You may have simply been mimicking something I had done to entertain you, but it sure seemed that you understood you were personifying Pop.

Secret Hiding Places

Daddy and I have learned where to look when something goes missing.  One afternoon, I heard my cellphone ringing, and by the muffled sound, I knew it wasn't where I'd left it.  I followed the ring until it grew louder and located my cell phone in the trunk of your "princess car" - a riding toy with storage space.  We have also learned to check the trash cans before emptying them.  We have found clothes, toys, shoes, and all kinds of other inappropriately abandoned items in those bins.

I'm sure there will be plenty more funny stories to tell.  You make me laugh and smile every day.

I love you, my little clown!


Monday, July 2, 2012

The Cliche: Time Flies (When Everthing is a "First")

Dear Sophie,

Someday, you'll learn the cliche "time flies."  This cliche is often said when we grownups talk about our children.  Someday, you'll also learn that mommy dislikes the use of cliches (because they're overused and misused).  In this case, the cliche "time flies" is especially irksome because it is so heartbreakingly true.  It has been over a year since I last posted something in this blog.  Time flies and so much has happened.

Let's talk about all the "firsts" that have happened.

You first crawled on September 13, 2011, when you were 7 months old, and you first walked on January 12, 2012, when you 11 months old.

Your first word was "woof" at about 8 months old, and your second word following soon after was "Boo," as in "Blue" (the name of one of our cats) - only you couldn't say the "L."  Your third word sometime around your birthday was "baaa," which is what you dutifully remind us a sheep says whenever you see one.  Somewhere in that first year you also learned ball and "boon" (for balloon), both of which you go crazy about whenever you spot them (and you always spot them).  Of course, you also said dada and mama in your first year, but I was never certain when those changed from baby talk to real words.

The first time you got a full four hours of sleep at night was when you were two months old, and mommy and daddy were extremely grateful.  At three months old, you slept five hours straight.

When you were three months old, you could blow raspberries.  We have a darling video of you copying me.

Your first concert was on June 3, 2011, when you were almost four months old.  Mommy and Daddy took you to see Cake and the Mumford and Sons.  We almost didn't get you in - we learned that sometimes even babies need a ticket into a concert.  Someone was kind enough to give us an extra ticket so you could come in with us.  By the way, don't worry - we bought ear muffs to protect your little ear drums.  And you wore them.....most of the time.

You were five months old when you went on your first road trip (to the Reardon Family's Father's Day picnic in York, Nebraska).  You did very well - thanks to VeggieTales videos on the iPhone.

You were five months old when you went on your first flight!  You flew to San Diego on a non-stop flight from Kansas City so that you could celebrate with Grandma on her birthday.  You did very well - thanks to the nearby passengers who flirted back with you when you flirted with them.  The only time you cried was when I turned you around and you couldn't interact with the people behind us.

You also went on your first boat ride when you were five months old.  We went on a breakfast cruise aboard the San Diego Spirit, which took us on a three hour ride around the San Diego bay.  We noticed on that boat ride how much you liked listening and singing along with the on-board entertainment - a singer playing a guitar.

You went to your first Kansas City Royals game when you were six months old.  We have the "New Royals Fan" certificate and a little video as evidence.  Sadly, the Royals lost the game.

You were almost seven months old when you saw Gaelic Storm (one of Mommy and Daddy's favorite bands) for the first time.  This was also your first "meet and greet" - we stood in line after their concert at the Irish Festival at Crown Center.  We wanted Patrick, Twigger, and Peter to meet you.  You were a hit!

When you were nine months old, Daddy entered you into Happy Chick Photography's childrens model search contest, in which the winner would be determined by the number of "likes" on the photo.  You blew away all the other contestants with 112 "likes."  The closest competitor had 74 "likes."

Your first trip to the zoo was in October at nine months old, and we learned on that trip that you just might be allergic to something.  Your poor little eyes grew red and teary.  Cousin Lane, who was along with the visit, still managed to get you to smile and laugh, so we think you had a very nice time.

You tasted your first lumpia, that wonderful, traditional Filipino spring roll, in December at 10 months old, while visiting Mommy's cousin, Cheryl Pomainville Lemon, her two daughters Corrine and Kelela, your Great Auntie Judy and Great Uncle Kevin.  This trip was, by the way, your second time flying.  You flew to Las Vegas, where Cheryl lived at the time.

I can't remember when exactly you got your first tooth, but I think it was at about 5 or 6 months.  I have note, though, that you got your sixth tooth at about 10 months.  Those were rough nights whenever you had a tooth coming in.  Many times, Mommy and Daddy let you sleep with us so that we could cuddle the pain away.

The first time I realized just how stubborn or determined you could be was just before Christmas.  Daddy had bought a tambourine for you to have as a Christmas present.  He wrapped it up very nicely and put it under the tree.  One day, you decided to give that present a shake and discovered that it made sound.  Daddy and I didn't want to ruin the surprise by having you open it before Christmas Day, so we relocated it to spot on to of a "mountain" of other presents.  We left you momentarily with the Christmas tree, and when we returned, we found you climbing on top of the presents trying to reach that present.  We have a picture of that too!

I have more funny stories to tell, so I'll save those for the next post.

Love, love, love you!


Monday, April 2, 2012

Rental Property - Thinking About the Future

Dear Sophie,

Last week, your daddy and I made an offer on a house on the Kansas side of the State Line near the Prairie Village Shopping Center, and last night, we received a call from the Realtor that our offer was accepted.  The sellers are hoping to sign the paperwork on Monday.  Assuming a good appraisal, financing process and inspection, we'll be owners and managers of a rental property.  Someday, this investment may be used to help pay for your college tuition.  Of course, Daddy and I are really hoping you'll earn some scholarships too!

As of today, I have a little over three weeks left of my maternity leave with you, and then Daddy's "paternity" leave takes over.  He will stay home with you for two weeks.  After that, you will be going to day care at the YMCA.  I've been dreading this day ever since you were born.  I have come to learn exactly what mothers meant when they said it's hard to go back to work and send your little one off to day care.  I figured I'd be ready to go back to work....and in some ways I am....but mostly, I'm going to miss the time with you.

I love mornings with you the best.  You always wake up in a good mood, and even though I may be tired from sleep interruptions during the night, I'm happy to wake up with you.  Sometimes we have our bath together.  Sometimes, we just lay in bed talking to each other.  Sometimes, we play, read a book or listen to music in your room, where the sun shines in with the brightest natural light. 

You're not always in a good mood during the day though.  One day last week, I ran out of ways to entertain you and keep you from fussing.  As a last resort, I put you in front of the TV to watch an episode of Veggie Tales.  Apparently, you "like to talk to tomatoes."  You intently watched a full 30 minutes and you even laughed several times.  I caught one of your chuckles on video.

Love you!