Monthly Archives: December 2008

Ruthie’s growing vocabulary

To further my mission to blog more I’ve decided to take some days to describe my kids one by one. For posterity’s sake. They’re each so different and they’re each at such neat ages, I think it will be fun for me to have a record of this time to look back on. I’ll start with Ruth.

Ruth. Ruth cracks me up. Cracks us all up. She is fiery. Feisty. With a hair-trigger temper. Much screaming. Head thrown back–sometimes into door-frames, walls, floors, Mommy’s jaw–SCREAM!!! We don’t do much in the way of baby signing, but we did teach her the sign for “more” because from the time she began eating solids, as soon as her tray/plate was empty she would start screeaming at the top of her lungs. Loudly. And repeatedly. So we figured we’d give her the tool she needed to get her needs across. So, more. She can sign more.

The rest of her vocabulary is quite limited. She can say Mama and Mommy, Dada and Daddy. The most surprising linguistic feat, to me anyway, is that she’s been saying Isaac for months. Maybe 4? So since she’s around 16 months. Isaac. Clear as a bell. The -z- sound, everything. But she can’t say Hannah. For Hannah she says “Eee.” Come to think of it, “Eee” is a very popular moniker applied liberally to a great variety of things: her cousins’ names, Jamie and Kristin (yes, both); Pretty? (as in, while grabbing at pants or shirt, “Isn’t my shirt pretty?”; water (not to be confused with cow milk, which is called Eeek); banana; blankie; and the signal that she has just pooped in her diaper . . . just to name a few. She calls all babies “uN.” She calls my sister LaLa with great gusto, though her poor husband falls into the generic “Eee” category.

Come to think of it, she really is a generalist. She can say lots of animal noises: pig (gohk gohk), sheep (bah!), dog (oof, oof, ad infinitum), cow (boooo), horse (boooo), reindeer (boooo), giraffe (boooo) and pretty much all birds talk like chickens (bahk), including the majestic American Bald Eagle who says “Bahk!” Oh. And I just learned tonight that broccoli is also bahk. Go figure.

As amusing as all these things are, this week Ruth has acquired a new sign for communicating. Actually, I think she acquired it last Sunday while I was watching the Philadelphia Eagles (sadly) lose to the Redskins. As you can well imagine, figuring out exactly what Ruth wants is quite a challenge, given her limited vocabulary. There’s a whole lot of “Eee!” followed by a whole lot of guesses. “D’you want water? D’you want a banana? D’you want some yogurt?  Did you poop?” Before last Sunday, a correct guess would be met with great enthusiasm: she’d get excited and bounce up and down and her hands would perform a near perfect ASL sign for “Yes.” This week, it changed. Now when you guess correctly her little hands shoot straight up in the air, elbows by her ears, face filled with glee as if to say, “Touchdown!!!” I don’t know how I don’t fall over laughing every time. My brother-in-law received his first “Touchdown!!” affirmation yesterday. He reported it with a big silly grin on his face. “It’s the first time I ever got the touchdown yes. It’s remarkably gratifying. It makes you feel so good, like ‘YES!'” And it does. You really do feel like you’ve just scored a touchdown.

Next week, I’m getting her pom poms. Green and white ones. Just in time for the Wildcard game.

We all love our Ruthie Ruth.  I tried to get a pic of her “Touchdown!!” but she won’t let me take her picture these days because all she wants to do is look at the digital camera screen.  So I go to take the pic and she starts running toward me to look at the other side of the camera.  All I’m getting these days are good shots of her nose hairs.  Hopefully this phase will end quickly.  In the meantime, here’s one of her with her hair in a ponytail, admiring her pretty self.

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Welcome Back . . . Coffee

Ok, so I’m back on the blogging train. I figured what better way to hit the rails than with a story about coffee.

If you’re following my progress, you’ll know that after 17 years of husband’s urgings I finally started drinking coffee. I started with a more chocolate than coffee concoction and slowly weaned myself off the chocolate, replacing it with sugar–and really, the high cocao percentage chocolate was probably a healthier choice anyway–with the hopes of cutting the sugar down to out of the coffee altogether. Some day. Sooome day, I might make it to bona fide coffee as defined by my curmudgeonly friend: “Coffee is dark Colombian roast. Or Hawaiian Kona. Strong. Dark. No sugar. NONE. No cream, milk, half & half. Coffee is… COFFEE.” That is my goal. Not just to be a coffee purist, but to stop drinking my calories every morning, to have an indulgent yet fairly benign treat.

Recently I had a breakthrough. I had my first cup of coffee without sugar. It had half & half, but no sugar. I was so proud. Progress, right?

Well. Yes and no. Sure, the coffee wasn’t sweetened. But the coffee was accompanied by a Krispy Kreme glazed donut. Umm . . . nope. No progress here. But boyyy, was it yummy.

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Productivity

I have totally disappeared off the face of the earth lately. Well. Off my blog anyway. The reason? My beautiful, purple, lap-dwelling companion is inoperable. I’m not sure what happened and I have made very little attempt to fix it yet, but I’m hopeful it will be up and running some time soon. As a result, I’m back to life as I lived it before my very own laptop came into my life last April. I can only use a computer when my husband is home and not working. That has really hampered my creative rambling time. I’ve definitely lost momentum here, but I’d like to gain some back. When I look back I find I had that nice stretch where I had a post every day and some pics to go along with them. Then my pics stopped. I think I lost my camera battery charger for a while. Good grief! Pitiful excuses. Anyway . . . I would like to go back to that. It was fun. And it was a good discipline for me to sit down every day and make something. I guess that’s why this blog is good for me. For me it’s productivity. It’ s making something. Something lasting and tangible.

Lasting and tangible productivity . . . not really a whole lot of that around here in SAHM-land. I mean there is lasting productivity: I’m working my tail off with my kids, trying to guide them into productive, Godly adulthood. And their adulthood, Lord willing, will outlast my own, so that sure is lasting. But it ain’t tangible. It’s nowhere near tangible. At this point I’m in the can’t-see-the-forest-for-the-trees stage, attacking each little moment with my eyes set toward the future but no ability to see just how the way this moment is handled will affect the future. Just shots in the dark, hoping and praying for the best. Mist and clouds and doubts and confusion abound. Nothing tangible here.

But there are tangible components to the life of this stay-at-home mom. There’s food to be cooked, kitchen and living room and bedrooms and so on and on to be cleaned, laundry to be done, laundry to be done, did I mention laundry to be done? So productive, tangible stuff does get done. I can smell and see and taste the food. First there’s a mess, then there’s not. I can see that. The laundry . . . well I’ve said far more than enough about laundry. Tangible productivity. But it ain’t lasting. Approximately 8 seconds after lunch is cleaned up it’s time to pull out afternoon snacks. The living room might be straight before everyone goes to bed, but Isaac wakes up before everyone else and by the time we reach the living room . . . well . . . a six-year-old boy has been productive all over it for an hour. The laundry never. ends. As soon as the last load for the day gets put away, everyone has to get undressed and put that day’s dirty clothes in their hamper. Nothing lasting here.

So that brings me to my little ramblings. Productivity. Lasting, tangible productivity. My fingers flying effortlessly across the keyboard at the speed of thought laying down words, sentences, paragraphs for as long as I choose to save them, putting ideas into heads which, for better or for worse, once they’ve arrived, remain. Filed away in the original hard drive. Even if it’s quickly forgotten, it’s stored somewhere. Lasting. Some may question the tangibility of words and thoughts. But it’s me. I really don’t need much more than that. That is my world, my tangible. Everything else, everything outside my thoughts, is a stretch.

My husband likes to make things with his hands . . . out of wood, leather, various animal parts . . . not kidding. Animal parts. Bones. Hides. Horns. Not brains yet, but I think they’re on his to-do list. I don’t make much with my hands. Well, unless you count this typing thing. Because my hands are definitely involved. I make things with my brain. I don’t have to touch it, see it, taste it for it to be tangible. I just have to think it, know it, feel it. Tangible. Something I can wrap my brain around with certainty. Tangible. . . Flake? Perhaps.

So, onward and upward . . . Back to productivity. Here’s my written pledge to try to do this blogging thing more. Not cuz I think I have something worthwhile to say, just because when I take the time to think it and write it down I come to the end of my day knowing I’ve at least done one thing today.

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