Amy’s two year checkup

We went to the doctor today for Amy’s two year checkup.

She weighs 27.8 pounds and stands about 33 1/2 inches tall.

She’s not quite where average is for some milestones — she’s very advanced verbally, and a little slow physically — they would like her to be able to stack 5-6 blocks (I’m pretty sure she COULD, but she doesn’t — and she does still get easily frustrated with physical tasks) and to climb stairs one step at a time instead of putting both feet on one step before moving to the next.

She was interested and cooperative with her exam, although she was reluctant when she was first called away from the waiting room.

No shots — we’re still hoping she gets chicken pox and won’t need the vaccine.

However, we did have to walk around the corner (all inside — nice to have the doctor’s office attached to the hospital building) to have blood drawn for a recommended test — for anemia and something else I forget.

We had to wait a long time (to be expected, I suppose, for walk-ins) but she played happily.

And she handled the blood drawing very well — she was interested in what was going on, and just had a little cry-whine as the needle went in, and a little more crying when it came out.

They gave her a sparkly bandaid and some stickers.

I wonder if the doctor thinks we push her verbally — I don’t think we do. She is just very interested in books and talking, and playing with her magnetic alphabet toy, and she likes counting. I am aware that at times she is shy or reluctant when we invite her to recite for other people, and I want to cut back on that — I don’t want her to feel that she has to perform to win our approval.

He did say that our approach to physical frustration sounds good — that we try to not immediately rescue her when she gets frustrated with a physical task, but try to leave her time and space to work with it by herself. We also try to keep frustration to a reasonable level, though.


Amy’s second birthday, part i

My parents arrived Thursday night, as we were finishing dinner. They’re going home tomorrow morning, before Amy gets up. Tonight, Amy asked my mom to “carry you off to bed,” which is my usual job. There were cuddles and hugs and readings and picture takings and playings and just plain excited pointing and naming and asking “Grandma! Grandpa! Grandparents!”

Mark’s folks came up yesterday morning and left after helping with the dinner dishes. Having all four grandparents together was very exciting for Amy. More cuddles and hugs and pointing and asking and everything.

On Friday we thought about going to Shipshewana but it was too dreary for such a long drive. Instead, we spent the morning running errands — we got Amy some sneakers and more underwear and some undershirts, us a toaster, a non-slip mat for the guest tub, more prescription food for the kitty, and so on. There was lunch, nap, daddy home, dinner out at Christo’s (get the ribs, but use your antacid); another day.

Saturday Mark went grocery shopping in the morning. Soon after his folks arrived, we gathered for the opening of presents. Amy knew we were celebrating her birthday, and knew what presents were. She still needed help opening some. Some of the time she was so excited about the next present she couldn’t finish opening the current one. Other times she got involved in the one she opened and had to be enticed to go on to the next. She got some lovely things from everyone — some of which she may appreciate more when she’s a little older (like the doll clothes I made), and others which were huge hits from the start — the kitchen, the baby doll, the doctor kit.

After presents there was a nice bit of time for playing with everything before a lunch of leftover veggie beef soup. Mmm… soup. Then the birthday song, serving her piece of cake with the blowing out of her two candles one at a time (she kept aiming at the cake instead of the flame). There was ice cream, too (she ate it with her fingers — and dipped the cake in). It was texas sheet cake again — this year with chopped pecans. Not as good as last year (I think because buttermilk works better than sour milk), but still very good. Then nap… roast chicken with mashed potatoes for dinner (Amy asked for more broccoli — twice!)… another day.

Today Mark was scheduled to run sound at church, so he went. The rest of us stayed home. I made sourdough pancakes — much lighter and fluffier than previous batches, but still a little more sour than I’d like. I think the baking soda wasn’t properly dissolved and distributed, because the first pancakes didn’t seem as sour as the last ones. The rest of the day was relaxed (for us) and fun (for Amy), with football (although they should have shown the Steelers!), knitting (my mom suggested a center seam to narrow that dress I made Amy ages ago that’s so tent-like — and the kind of weaving you use to sew up side seams worked wonderfully to make an invisible center seam — I’ll just use some fine thread to stitch down the excess inside, and I’m currently doing a single crochet edging for the neck and armholes), and reading.

There are a ton of pictures, of course. I’ll post some once I’m done sorting.

Annoyance / on the other hand

1. The toaster oven is no more.

The toast function hasn’t worked in a really long time, but when our next toaster oven quit, we returned to this one and just toasted by baking at 450 for a while. But now, alas, the heating elements no longer heat.

The counter, on the other hand, looks vastly spacious. Mmmmmm…

I think we should still at least get a toaster — seems so wasteful to use the real oven to make a few slices of toast, but peanut butter on soft bread is virtually inedible… and sometimes you just want toast.

2. WordPress requires too much updating.

There’s always a new version, with new protections and securities and features. But upgrading is rather a pain and time-consuming. And then half your plugins stop working and their creators don’t want to update them.

On the other hand, the new Event Calendar plugin I installed on my dulcimer site is wonderful, much better than the now defunct RS Event I used to use.

Especially once I realized that you don’t upload the unzipped folder, but the folder INSIDE the unzipped folder. Cake after that.

3. How does a girl who only wears diapers at nap, nighttime, and occasional outings / refusals to use the potty, continue getting diaper rashes?

Has my offspring inherited my ridiculously sensitive skin? The previous rash, apparently some kind of impetigo, was just starting to look better, but has revived, and along with it there is now a nasty bright red tiny spotted rash on the nether cheeks.

On the other hand, it’s time to schedule her two-year well visit anyhow, so I can get the doctor to look at it (again) then.


1. Remembering Ithaca.

I harbor a lot of bitterness. Sometimes I think it’s gone or asleep, but then something reminds me, and there it is again. Most recently, I was looking at some things online about our former town, and it reminded me of reasons I was glad to leave there.

There are things I miss: our church, my Celtic trio, a few friends, full recycling programs and a dump you can take things to, a healthy freecycle group, interesting food, concern for the local and the environmentally responsible, the farmers market…

But there are certainly things that still leave a sour taste in my mouth. The other church, although that bitterness is pretty low key now. The music scene that I felt mainly excluded by and yet also didn’t really want to conform to. The super annoying assumption that everyone wants to hate and make fun of Republicans and conservatism. Some other things, too.

2. Positive thinking

Doug has posted a list of possible core beliefs — the kinds of underlying beliefs we have about ourselves and our place in the world and our current situations. He talks about how once we know what our core beliefs are, we can challenge them and work to correct them into more positive ones.

I’m not against this idea. In fact, through therapy and DBT group and other things, I’ve learned a lot about identifying and challenging faulty beliefs about myself and my world. I’ve particularly benefited from those Prompting Event worksheets, some of which I’ve posted here.

On the other hand, just because a belief is negative and painful doesn’t mean it’s false. One of the good things Freud contributed is the distinction between the Pleasure Principle (avoid pain at all costs, including the loss of reality) and the Reality Principle (stay engaged with reality, even when it is painful).

So when I realize that I hold a negative belief about myself or my world, I can’t just automatically rewrite it in the positive and affirm the new version. I must be persuaded that the negative version is actually incorrect, and the positive one actually correct, before I can sincerely try to correct my thinking.

I think about things like how people talk about how everyone’s life is worth living, and how everyone is valuable and lovable, but yet people also talk about idiots and jerks and the awkward and ugly and unlovely — could you really look that person you despise in the eye and tell them you think they are a wonderful person and shouldn’t kill themselves, and that if they would just be themselves they would find friendship and true love and a worthy vocation?

What if I really AM that person?

3. We (usually Mark) pray for Amy when we put her down for bed. Lately, she’s been adding her own bit at the end, completely unsolicited. Mark usually thanks God for a few things, and then Amy will say something like “thank you for the bowed psaltery” or “thank you for the medicine.” It’s the sweetest and most lovely thing in the universe, even if she has no idea yet who she is thanking. And it’s a little reassuring, since sometimes I wonder if we are doing enough to introduce God to her.

4. I made some towel bibs for a friend today. I made a play curtain to hang in Amy’s doorway. I’ve made Boppy slipcovers and ring slings (both from patterns found elsewhere, and therefore probably only for personal use). I’ve made baby shoes (my adapted version of a pattern elsewhere — not sure if it’s sufficiently different to be salable). And dolls and doll clothes. I think about Etsy, and wonder if I could / should try making some things to sell there. Then I browse over there and everything is so wonderfully made and out of all organic materials and priced lower than I could price it, and I think it wouldn’t work for me. Any opinions?

5. I voted Libertarian. I liked Obama for his greater alleged concern for the environment and his energy policy. I don’t like the Libertarian or McCain’s energy / environmental policy. I feared Obama for his health care ideas — McCain, too — I worry about any kind of national plan trying to cut costs by limiting availability of services — especially for mental health concerns. I also disapprove of Obama’s record on abortion. I’m not at all interested in legalizing marijuana, but I can almost see a case for it (as well as other things) being more properly a state’s issue and not a national one. I like the Libertarian ideas of smaller government and protection of civil liberties.

It certainly felt odd to vote a third party. It was maddening to not find all of the things I care about lined up neatly in one candidate’s platform. But I felt better going with Barr than I would have felt with either Obama or McCain.

Now it’s done, Obama’s it, and it will certainly be interesting to see what happens next.


Amy and I headed out to our polling place, a local church, around 10 am.

Amy was all excited about going to vote — she wanted her blanket and acorn to pretend to vote, too.

The parking lot was overflowing — I joined the ranks of those parked on the grass. The line was out the door, too, but not too far. It was beautifully sunny and warm, and Amy spent most of our outdoor time alternating between being held and playing in the leaves. A nun and her friend in front of us enjoyed watching her and chatting with us.

About an hour after our arrival we got to vote.

There were two voting machines. They had six “pages” on the screen and buttons to push to enter selections.

We got our stickers and then went on our way to run an errand.


Amy’s favorite story lately is Schtoompah, who is so untidy he blows a bunch of random stuff out of his tuba at the band concert. Blaaaaz is the sound effect.

Here’s a bunch of random stuff.

1. We made sourdough pizza crust and it was good.

2. I am annoyed with how frequently Amy insists “No!” and “Should we read?” and “Can mama hold you?” and “And mama too?” and bumps into / trips over me / her toys and only half cares about time outs and is too little to be reasoned with much. I really don’t want to get into spanking. Perhaps removal (of the item or of the child) is still the best approach when a warning and a time out are not effective. Sometimes, when we the parents need a time out (sometimes), or when her tantrum seems like she could hurt herself or something else (rarely), we put her in the crib for two minutes. Sometimes she hates that, but sometimes she chatters away like it’s the brier patch.

3. No magic banner has come floating down to inform me exactly how to spend my time so as to balance what I want and need and what Amy wants and needs and what’s good for us both, not to mention anyone else. It is hard to be discerning and not just led around either by impulse, fear, or guilt, or endlessly alternating minutes of each.

4. We actually heard quite a bit about grace and God’s sufficiency today at church, which was refreshing. Our pastor was discussing the tension in Scripture between, on the one hand, the absolute sufficiency of Jesus to save us completely, now and forever, and, on the other, our need to stick close, to persevere, to strive, to walk in a manner worthy of our calling.

5. Amy was so excited about her bed and dresser when they arrived. Now, she will play on the bed, but doesn’t want to sleep in it. That’s fine — our original intention was just to have one in her room to get her accustomed to it — but the lightning changing of her interest and adjusting of our expectations was a little much.

6. Someone suggested a cloth-covered box to put the doll clothes in, so I started sewing a cover for a nice shoebox. I didn’t plan it very efficiently and am having to sew it to the cardboard along some edges to make it lie neatly, which is a pain without a thimble. I hate to go out shopping just to buy a thimble. And I sort of wish I had thought to just glue felt on it or something.