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Sunday, April 30, 2006

ph34r t3h cute ones 

Celeste is taking her mid-morning rest break. I walked out of Quinn's room and looked in on her, cutely reading a book in her crib ... and smacked my head straight into the wall. As I lay on the ground laughing/holding my aching head, Celeste blew me a kiss and said "Boo, boo." The kiss was to make me feel better; the "boo, boo" was because she wanted me to read her the book. ph34r t3h cute ones indeed.

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Saturday, April 29, 2006

This and That 

As my paternity leave is coming to an end (I'm back to work on Monday, although I will wear a white T-shirt to show support for El Gran Paro Americano even if I am at work), I am finding a real mix of feelings.

Although the leave was due to the arrival of Quinn, I ended up spending much of my time with Celeste. Evelin said that over the past few weeks, Celeste has become a real daddy's girl — yesterday morning, I stayed in bed with Quinn when Celeste awoke; when Evelin went to get her from her crib, Celeste looked at her and said "No. Daddy." I think she still needs/wants a lot of time with Evelin, but she definitely has been clinging to me more and is more upset when I hold Quinn than when Evelin does.

It has been fun having all the extra time with Celeste (and Evelin and Quinn), but I'm also looking forward to getting back to work. If I were doing the stay-at-home-dad thing fulltime, I'm sure I'd have a better routine/feel for things, but these past two weeks have been pretty tiring — in part because of sleep disturbances from Quinn and Celeste's occasional middle-of-the-night wakings, but also due to Celeste having only one speed ... Warp-6*. That Evelin can handle the stay-at-home routine (and work part-time) amazes me; my part-time SAHD gig, while great, has hardly prepared me for fulltime ...

A few stray things I missed blogging over the past week:

On Friday, the four of us went to the National Capital Trolley Museum. I've been wanting to take Celeste there for a month or three now, but its hours didn't synch up with her nap and/or my afternoons with her and we never made it a priority for a weekend trip. It turns out Fridays are the day the museum is open to area school kids, so we got to ride the trolley with a group of first or second graders. Celeste really enjoyed the little loop; Quinn slept through it. About halfway through the trip, the conductor stopped the car to go through and punch everyone's ticket and as soon as we stopped Celeste signed/said MORE/"more!"

[ASIDE: More is one of Celeste's favorite words at the moment. Sing a silly song: "More!" Tell a story about a little girl named Celeste: "More!" Have Dee Dee the Bear help color or pick up blocks: "More!" And when she really wants to emphasize it, Celeste signs MORE while saying it. The funniest, however, was when Evelin's mother was tickling her and Celeste said "No" while laughing and signing MORE ...]

Also on Friday, Quinn had her two-week checkup: She's up to 8 pounds, 10 ounces and 21 inches long ... nearly a pound over her birth weight. Clearly she is feeding well ... Oh, and her umbilical stump fell out Thursday night, so I can stop obsessing about that.

Today, Celeste and I tried to go to Petco for a doggy adoption day. Not that we would get a dog right now — given the missing fence segments and a two-week-old baby, I doubt we'd pass the prescreening — but I figured it'd be a chance for Celeste to meet some friendly dogs. Sadly, the Internets let me down: Despite what the website said, the doggy adoptions weren't until next weekend. Still, Celeste enjoyed seeing the mice, birds, and fish. Especially the fish: She started at the tiger barbs (Barbus tetrazona) for a while before looking up at me, signing FISH, and saying "num-num." I didn't figure it out until later, but she was equating them with Pepperidge Farms Goldfish.

* Roughly 392 × c

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Wednesday, April 26, 2006

A Confession and Literal Nature 

First the confession: The umbilical stump freaks me out. On Celeste, the clip left it really squished and pointy, but it was pointing straight up. For Quinn, it's curved back and scratches her stomach some. Quinn's also seems to get tugged more often, with a bit of occasional bleeding; nothing serious, just bits of blood around the bottom.

I'm also a little scared that the stump will turn into a freakish outie. I hope that doesn't make me some kind of bellybutton bigot ...

The literal nature thing relates to Celeste. We have these Easter eggs I picked up in Munich years ago — they're pretty, but nothing special, although I'm still surprised I got them back to the States in one piece — and Evelin hung them from the chandelier in the diningroom/playroom. Celeste was very interested in them and every time I lifted her in or out of her highchair, she would gesture toward them.

I decided to let her get a close up look, but told her she couldn't touch them with her hands — only with her eyes. Now, whenever she's looking at them, Celeste moves her head in as close as she can and gives the eggs a little headbutt.

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Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Antenatal Eating 

I'm not talking about breastfeeding (although Quinn is doing quite well at it and is definitely growing); I'm just talking about the adults and Celeste.

Last time I was on paternity leave, I got the chance to do some good cooking, but this time because so much time/energy is devoted to watching/distracting Celeste, I haven't been able to cook as much. While my folks were here, I did make two of Pille's recipes — her upsidedown onion pie and her blueberry tart — and last night I made a mushroom–asparagus risotto.

The onion pie came out very nice, and worked very well as a dinner considering that I don't eat meat and my father only eats a scant handful of vegetables. The blueberry tart was tasty, although my mother and I were trying to do six things at once and trying to convert measurements from metric on the fly led to one or two "Did we forget the [fill in the blank]?" moments. I think it might have been a soupçon better if we'd been paying more attention ...

Tonight, a neighbor brought by not only a lasagna, but a full meal: bread, salad, lasagna, and cookies. Yummmmmm.

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Monday, April 24, 2006

Adjusting and a Tantrum 

Half-way through my paternity leave, things are looking relatively stable. We had the grand'rents here one after the other during the first week (my folks arrived about a half hour after we got home with Quinn; Evelin's came the day after my folks left), which was nice, but overwhelming at times. The good thing about all the hubbub, I think, is that as things calm down, Celeste will be able to accept Quinn's presence a little more easily.

Of course, if tonight is any indication, we're not 100% out of the woods yet. Since Quinn's been home, Celeste has taken progressively shorter baths. At first she lasted a few minutes; now we're down to just a sponge bath at best. We have a brief breakthrough with a new bath book (What Floats?), but that lasted only a through a reading and a half. Tonight we tried bribing incentivizing her with some bathtub Crayons, but she wouldn't fall for it.

She did push things to a new level tonight however. Instead of just resisting the bath, she fought the entire bedtime ritual. First, she's decided she hates footie pyjamas, but we managed to talk her into a pair (last night the temps dipped into the 50°F range, and her bare feet got cold, which, we think, was partially behind the midnight wakeup). Then she wanted to drag out the sitting and talking with daddy before getting into the crib. Normally that's not a problem, except she was being exceptionally squirmy, which is usually a cue to move to the crib, but tonight it was part of her escape plan.

Just as I was about to move her to her bed, she suggested a bath. I asked her six or seven times if she was serious about a bath, including as we took off her pyjamas. She constantly said yes, and signed BATH. She even did the diaper-clad run from her room to the bathroom shouting "Bath!" the way she used to do nightly. (Until a week ago, this girl loved her bath.) But, as the reality of a bath sunk in, she started "no, no, no, no"-ing.

And then, once the bath was aborted, she started putting up a fight over the footie pyjamas. I got the top on her (the pyjamas are a two-piece), but the feet brought about too many tears and I put a different pair on her. She then started clawing at the top and tried to get it off. In the end, she won that battle too, but only because she was wearing a long-sleeved onesie, and because I was worried she'd end up with the pyjama top tangled around her neck at some point during the night.

When I dropped her in her crib, the worst of the tears, screaming, and snot-bubbling started ... and continued for a good 15 to 30 minutes (most of it we were hearing though Quinn's monitor — having both baby-monitor transmitters on leads to bad RFI problems). Around 8:00 p.m., when Evelin peeked in on her, Celeste was curled up in a corner gripping the bars. She opened her eyes a little bit and let out a soft "Mumma" but didn't otherwise awake.

Except for the bath and pyjama issues (and occasional getting dressed indecision), Celeste is doing pretty well. She seems appropriately interested in Quinn, and is concerned with she is crying/having a diaper change. She does have the occasional outburst related to someone holding Quinn, especially me, but she does respond well to the idea of being a big sister and helping teach Quinn how to do things.

Quinn is doing very well. I think I can see her cheeks growing hourly. She is very different from how Celeste was at one week (or even at five weeks, adjusting for Celeste being preterm).

For one thing, she sleeps more consistently — and I will be kicking myself if I jinx that by blogging it — including for three- to five-hour stretches overnight. The tradeoff, for Evelin at least, is clusterfeeding, including every hour for three to four hours at a time. She also has some long stretches of wakefulness throughout the day punctuated with a 15-minute snooze here and there.

Also, Celeste never really needed to be burped much. Quinn, on the other hand, can belch with the best of them. Unfortunately, she doesn't seem to be able to do it as part of a feeding. She needs a few minutes of sleep and then wakes up very uncomfortable until she's burped.

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Saturday, April 22, 2006

PDA Police 

Celeste is a bit of a prohibitionist; she really seems to enjoy telling people "No!" Sometimes it's as simple as which book she wants to read; other times it's more involved. For some reason, she continually objects to people holding hands or otherwise touching each other: In one of her books, Elmo and Zoe are jumping rope and holding hands and she always points and says "No no." Similarly, in Tea for Ten, seeing Lottie in Little Hedgehog's lap sets her off.

Therefore, it was no real surprise that during a trip to the grocery store, she objected quite loudly to the teenage couple by the deli counter when the boy slid his arm around the girl. They both jumped when she pointed and yelled "NO!"

In Other News ...

Yesterday we took Quinn to the pediatricians for a follow-up appointment. Not only is her bilirubin level down to 8.0; her weight is up to 8 pounds, 0 ounces. Less than a week and she's already over her birth weight.

Celeste and Quinn

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How Quinn Got Her Name 

For some reason it was a lot harder deciding on Quinn's name than Celeste's. A large part of it was we had less time to think about such things, but for some reason thinking of another girl's name just seemed harder.

We bounced around a few choices — I was really keen on Mellicent for a while — but gradually came to agree on Amelia Quinn. The big sticking point for Evelin was syllabic balance, which was why I posted that quiz back in January. (Only 10 votes were cast, and it didn't really help solve things.)

Evelin made a brief argument in favor of Quinlan, but I wasn't sure. Amelia Quinn and Quinn Ross both sound fine to my ears, but the 3–1–1 syllable pattern of Amelia Quinn Ross caused problems for Evelin. In the end, I warmed to Quinlan (although there were questions as to whether the spelling should be Quinlan or Quinlin) and we made the final decision during the drive to the birthing center.

As far as family roots go, Quinn's name isn't as well attested as Celeste's was, but there are at least two Amelia's in my paternal grandmother's line (both circa the late 1700s). The closest to Quinn or Quinlan that I know of is a Jacquine (from the early 1600s and also in my paternal grandmother's line). I am certain there are other Amelias in the family tree, I just can't locate them at the moment ...

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Friday, April 21, 2006

How We Met Quinn 

This time, it wasn't Salvadoran food. Friday evening, Evelin and I were both beat and with the timing of Celeste's bath/bedtime, we were finding ourselves unwilling to really cook anything for dinner. After going back and forth over the idea of leftovers or a bowl of cereal, I ran out to California Tortilla for some salads. (Evelin is fond of the Southwestern Chicken Salad.)

On the way there, I called my grandmother to leave her a message. She had mailed the as-of-then-unnamed baby a nice blankie, and it arrived on the due date. However, we were still only a one-child family, so I wanted to let her know that we'd gotten the present although not the child. It turns out my grandmother was on to something ...

Around 9:30 p.m., I was sitting on the couch, watching television and transferring the last few CDs to slimline cases, and Evelin was across the room doing some work on the computer, when she paused and said "that feels different" and promptly called the midwives. While waiting for the callback, she said it didn't really feel like labor, just different.

Since Evelin is GΒS+, the midwife said to come in just in case it was labor. The hope was that we were still in early days and there would be time to give her the two doses of antibiotics with a space of four hours between the doses. We called our neighbor G--- and started gathering what we needed to take with us. As soon as G--- arrived to stay with Celeste, we headed out.

Around 10:30 p.m., we arrived at the birthing center a few minutes ahead of H---, the midwife on duty that night. Before even examining Evelin, H--- started the antibiotic drip.

At 10:50 p.m., I tried to post from my phone to my blog (as well as to e-mail/text some friends and family): "We're at the Maternity Center ... Looks like this might be it ..." Eleven minutes later, I sent a follow up post to the blog: "8 cm! The midwife says the baby isn't waiting for a second dose of the GΒS+ antibiotics ..." I'm not sure if the text/e-mails worked, but they certainly didn't post to the blog for some reason ...

As the evening progressed, Evelin felt the contractions getting stronger but for the most part bearable until around midnight. As soon as we crossed over to the 15th, things started moving more quickly. Around 1:00 a.m., she started getting the urge to push. Things were going pretty well, except that Evelin ended up having a blood vessel in her nose burst during the pushing, gushing an unexpected bit of blood across her face.

About 10 minutes into the pushing phase of labor, the midwife broke Evelin's water, and about 10 minutes after that Quinn's head was out. There was an unexpected complication in that she was a little twisted, which required the midwife to turn her shoulders, but by 1:20 a.m. Quinn was all the way here, squealing and squeaking.

Quinn may have missed her due date by 80 minutes, but she now enjoys a birthday that — barring some radical tax reforms — will be very difficult for anyone to forget. Also, for 2006, she was born on Holy Saturday/Easter Even; and, one of Evelin's friends pointed out that, for 5766, she was born on the first day of Chol ha'Moed Pesach (חול המועד פסח).

Interestingly, even though Easter has fallen on 15 April twice since 1990 (in 1990 and in 2001), according to these sites at least, Quinn won't have her birthday coincide with Easter until she's 57 (2063) and then again when she's 68 (2074) ... unless she converts to Orthodox Christianity by the time she's six (2012).

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Thursday, April 20, 2006

Weed 

Since it's April 20th, I guess a 420 allusion is in order, but this has nothing to do with anything illicit.

First: Celeste seems to be growing like a week. Some of it has to do with comparing her with Quinn — after holding one, the other feels like a feather or a stone — but Evelin and I are sure she's had a growth spurt since her sister was born. She seems taller and heavier, but not as bellyful. And the size 4 diapers are fitting better than the size 3 ones again.

Second: My mother showed Celeste how to blow a dandelion clock on Monday (down the street from our house, so Evelin was glad they weren't contributing to our ogräs problem). Tuesday evening, after dinner, Celeste and I were outside, she picked a dandelion (Taraxacum officinale), but instead of blowing she brought the achene up to her mouth and licked it/started to bite it. She had a few of the pappi stuck to her tongue and I had to help her scrape them away. Later that evening, when she was fighting the idea of going to bed, she started complaining about the flower in her mouth ...

Third: Wednesday, while my folks took Celeste to the park and Evelin was occupied with Quinn, I did our first full mow of the season. After two years of little attention due to pregnancy and infancy (and with the prospect of at least one more year of neglect), the weeds have won. There are parts of the yard I can't get away with calling ogräs; they're weeds and pretty much nothing else.

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Wednesday, April 19, 2006

The Aliens Visited Quinn 

At the doctor's appointment on Tuesday, Evelin noticed a few small marks at the top of Quinn's head that she hadn't recalled seeing before. She mentioned it to the doctor and he moved in to take a look: "Oh, that's where they put the probe," he said very matter of factly.

Our pediatrician is a bit of a joker. He tends to be very funny, so I immediately thought he was talking about the aliens and said "I thought they usually probed people behind the ear."

Now it was the doctor's turn to look at me like I was crazy ... until I said, "You know, the aliens."

Turns out he wasn't making a joke. Apparently hospitals often attach a small probe to the top of a newborn's skull to monitor vital signs, etc., but since Quinn spent no time in hospital, that didn't happen to her. Probably she managed to scratch herself with one of her wickedly sharp nails ...

Quinn: Day 5

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Makin' It Through the Night 

Last night wasn't too bad. Celeste slept through after a tantrum-filled bedtime, and Quinn was up to feed thrice, but otherwise slept pretty well. Evelin had Quinn in the crook of her arm for the first part of the night (9:30 p.m. to 12:30 a.m.), but the rest of the evening she stayed in the co-sleeper except when she was feeding.

One place Celeste's anxiety seems to be manifesting itself is in her bath. She's acting the same up until her bum hits the water — getting undressed in her room, putting her clothes in the hamper, running to the bathtub shouting "baaaaath" — but she only spends about 15 seconds in the water before she starts to cry and want out. Hopefully, we'll figure something out (I'm thinking bath crayons or a bus bath toy of somesort) to reinterest her in a full bath before she starts to smell too bad.

Quinn is getting the full exposure to the community. After her doctor's appointment on Monday, we met Celeste (my folks are in town and were watching her) at the library for the end of storytime. Several people came up to Evelin and said we saw Celeste but not you so we were wondering if the baby had arrived ... Last night, the six of us went to Franklin's for a bite to eat. Celeste did really well eating and behaving; Quinn slept thorough everything. During the day, we've had several neighbors and some relatives stop by to visit, too.

Other stuff:

I wouldn't say Quinn has day–night confusion at the moment, but she definitely is most awake/active later in the evening (say 9:00–11:00 p.m.).

Also, her bilirubin levels went down to 14.4, which the doctor liked the look of, but he wants us to come in Friday, which is a week ahead of when her next scheduled appointment would be, for another check. She's eating really well — both breastmilk and a little supplemental formula after most feedings — which should help flush out her system and keep her out of hospital.

Celeste is talking up a storm picking up new spoken words on a daily basis, as well as the occasional new sign. There are very few words that she uses a spoken/signed combination (she uses more combination sign/onomatapaeics, like CAR and "ruuumm"). She's also saying more colors: black, blue, and her favorite color, purple. For some reason, "purple" is one of those words she has to whisper, along with bubble, and Papa (my father's grandparent name, although Celeste, perhaps due to early Red Sox adoration, says "Papi" instead of "Papa").

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Monday, April 17, 2006

Carter and Quinn 


Carter and Quinn4.15.06
Originally uploaded by T Carter.

Here's a quick photo from Quinn's first day ... She's doing well, although her pediatrician called and her bilirubin count is 14.7. We have to go in for another heel stick tomorrow and hopefully Quinn won't have the sort of scary first week that Celeste did ...


53 Hours Later 

... and about 40 hours after Quinn came home and I can't say we're settling in to a routine or anything, but we're trying. It's amazing how much I find that I've forgotten about a wee bairn — how small, how flopsy, how immobile, how needy, ... — still she's a cutie and is doing well. We have her first visit to the pediatrician's in about two hours, so we'll see what the official medial opinion is.

Celeste is doing really well with her little sister. We do have to watch her closely; there have been some nice kisses for the baby and a few not-as-gentle-as-they-should-be pats. She's also charged over with a book once or twice — either wanting to share it with Quinn or wanting me or Evelin to read it to her — coming close to hitting the baby. (I've been clocked by a book-wielding Celeste on several occasions, so I know to be on guard ...)

The really funny reaction to the new baby is that she's started drinking milk. Celeste has never been too interested/fond of cow's milk and has only had a few sips here and there. My mom has long been worried about this (worried might be too strong of a word, concerned? interested?) even though Celeste gets milk in her oatmeal and she eats a ton of yoghurt and cheese, so she asked if Celeste could just try a glass Saturday night. And, what do you know, she drank a lot of it. The funny bit was she kept saying "baby" and signing MILK, and then would take a big sip of it. We'd reminding Celeste for a few weeks now about babies drinking milk from mumma — hoping to head off at least a little jealousy — and now it seems Celeste is drinking milk to reinforce that she too is a baby. She's been doing a similar thing with crawling, saying that babies crawl and then that Celeste crawls. (Of course, she'd been walking for four or five months before she figured out how to crawl, but that's beside the point ...)

Quinn likes to spend most of her time being held, and most of the time, it doesn't matter who is holding her. But she doesn't like laying in the co-sleeper or bassinet for too long. We managed to have dinner while she slept in the next room last night, but overnight she seems to end up in bed next to or on top of one of us for much longer stretches than she sleeps in the co-sleeper.

She is sleeping a lot, with some good trying to lift her head and look around in those bursts of wakefulness. She also seems to be eating well; it'll be interesting to see where her weight is this morning and if she's lost much since the birth.

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Saturday, April 15, 2006

We're Home! 

What a whirlwind. First off, thanks to everyone for the congratulations, מזל־טובֿ, and other well wishes. I'll post more details later, but for now, we're home with Quinn (as per family tradition, Amelia Quinlan gets to go by a form of her middle name until she decides otherwise ... no matter what TSA may think about such things) and Celeste seems interested without being too upset about the new addition. It helps that my folks got here soon after we got home but before Celeste woke up from her nap, so there's lots of confusion and goings on to keep her occupied.

Oh, and for some reason, despite my testing things, the moblogging only worked with the picture; the updates during labor — yes, I tried to live blog the early stages of labor with Evelin's permission/encouragement — for some reason didn't post. Also, several people who were supposed to get the photo via e-mail at the same time it posted to the blog didn't; I think I mistyped the addresses (sorry!).

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A Picture Share! 

Amelia Quinlan Ross 7#14.8oz 1:20 am 15 April 2006


Friday, April 14, 2006

Maybe? 

Evelin's feeling a little cramping/pain, so we're off to the midwifes' as soon as G--- gets here to stay with Celeste ...

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Thursday, April 13, 2006

D−1 Day 

For the past month or so, Evelin and I have been hurry-hurry-wait for the baby to arrive, and, well, we're still waiting. Since tomorrow is Good Friday, Evelin's 40th week appointment was bumped up to today, and since it seemed likely to be longer than the last few visits, I stayed home with Celeste while Evelin visited with the midwife.

It turns out she's (stealing from Evelin's post over on SheKnows) 5 or 6 centimeters dilated, −1 station, "plenty effaced and thin." The midwife was quite surprised that Evelin isn't feeling anything beyond Braxton Hicks at this point, and was a little worried about the distance between our house and the birthing center — about 25 minutes if it's 5:00 a.m. on a Sunday, closer to 45 minutes during a light morning rush hour, and an hour or two if a truck spills a load of lumber on the Beltway or something.

The plan now is a nonstress test at 41 weeks, a biophysical a few days after that, followed by a 42nd week appointment and induction on 1 May ... if things hold out that long.

Are we ready? Do we have a choice? Things in the house are a mess, but I think that's going to be case no matter what. The co-sleeper can be set up quickly in our room as soon as it's needed; the rest of the nursery has to wait until our next guests get here to help me move furniture out of the guest room (thus turning it into the nursery) and into the basement (thus turning it into the guest room). I have done a lot to declutter the basement, so it's about 95% ready to become more active living space. (Vacuuming is something it really needs ... that and mowing the lawn will be my main Saturday chores, assuming there's no birthin' going on.)

The moblogging features I've been testing seem to be working, so I should be able to snap a campic soon after the baby arrives and to post it here, as well as e-mail it to friends and family. If there's time, I might also post a short note that we're on the way or at the birthing center, but I don't think Evelin will let me text and drive at the same time so it may depend upon how active the labor is at any given moment.*

Otherwise, I guess we're as ready as we'll be. Celeste is still pretty uncertain about the whole thing. Sometimes I ask her if she'll teach the baby how to crawl or how to sniff flowers or something, and she'll seem pretty energetic about the idea; other times, she's quite dismissive.

*Actually, according to Dr. Spock online, she's already in active labor — Generally, when the cervix has dilated 4 to 5 centimeters, a woman is considered to be in active labor. That, and because Evelin's GΒS+, the midwives want us to call (and to get to the birthing center) as soon as any pattern to contractions is noticed.

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Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Just testing another moblogging feature...
-Carter


Monday, April 10, 2006

While We're Waiting ... 

... here are some recent pics of Celeste
Reshelving
Happy Girl
Cute as Can Be

Saturday, April 08, 2006

The Magic of Food 

Most likely, since Evelin was already having regular contractions as we were heading out the door, I can't properly attribute Celeste's early entry into the world to the comida salvadoreña. Still we'll see if tonight's dinner at Samantha's does anything to help kick-start the birthin' process.

We went out with E---, S---, and their little boy H--- (the same H--- whose nanny is ხ---); E--- is also pregnant, and due about two weeks after Evelin is.

I think going out with others made it a bit worse of a restaurant experience for Celeste, not least because H--- really likes Evelin and wanted to sit on her lap or otherwise have some attention. Also, because we got there first and because there were more people and more conversation, it was a longer time in the restaurant than Celeste usually gets.

Still, she was really well behaved — although both Celeste and H--- got really wiggly at one point — and she tried a few new things: plantains and tres leches. She liked the plantains, but really liked the sour cream it was served with. She and H--- both sucked up the tres leches, and I don't blame them — it was the best one I've ever had there.

Actually, for the most part, the food tonight wasn't quite up to the usual standards. My spinach enchiladas were quite good, but Evelin’s Catalan-style shrimp was disappointing (in part because the tomatoes that made up so much of the dish weren't the best). E--- and S--- said they liked their dishes, so I can only assume they were good. I think part of it was that the restaurant was really busy; we were there at 5:30 p.m. and it was already packed. I'm guessing the kitchen was slammed, and they may have been running out of some things early in the night — my enchiladas came with morros y cristianos instead of the usual frijoles refritos and Spanish rice. Still, even on an off night, Samantha's is very good.

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Thursday, April 06, 2006

Proud of My Girl 

Celeste is down with the joke on ხ---. On Tuesday at playgroup, with a little prompting from Evelin, Celeste went over to ხ--- and said "არა" with good enough pronunciation for ხ--- to do a double take and then to ask Evelin who'd taught her that.

And then this morning at playgroup, without prompting, Celeste said "არა" to ხ--- again.

Oh, and still no baby. Evelin has her 39-week appointment tomorrow morning. If nothing's happening, we may well go out for Salvadoran food on Saturday. That did the trick last time.

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Wednesday, April 05, 2006

March Baby? May Baby? 

I got caught up working at home last night and didn't get around to posting anything, but we're still a family of 3.94̅ ...

On Friday night, while we were sitting around, Evelin said in a slightly stunned voice: "I really thought we'd have a March baby." Last night, she said, with a slight edge to her voice, "Maybe [gendered pronoun]'ll be a May baby ..."

And, while we have most of the day ahead of us to have a kid with a birthday of 04-05-06, we did miss the 1:02 a.m. chance for an 01:02:03 04-05-06 child.

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Monday, April 03, 2006

Tall Tales of Tomato Sauce 

Celeste loves books to the point where we can't have a post-bath, pre-bed book with her because it riles her up and makes it difficult for her to get to sleep. For the past two nights, she's been demanding books during her pre-bed quiet time, but I was able to ameliorate her concerns by offering her a story.

Upon occasion, I can manage a decent story, but I'm not a natural storyteller. So I let Celeste help direct the story, something she seems to enjoy. This evening a little girl, Celeste, and her friend, Tim, went to eat noodles and then to the park where they ran after a dog and got big dog kisses.

Last night, the story was much more interesting.

Celeste and her friend, Celeste, went picking apples. While Celeste (the friend) was up in a tree looking at a bird, Tim the bear came up and wanted to eat some apples. Celeste and Celeste (the friend) and Tim made an apple pie, but the Dee Dee bear and a dog came over and said they wanted tomato pie. Things started to get a bit tense, but then Celeste suggested they have tomato sauce with the apple pie and everyone thought it was grand.

A bit of the backstory: Tim is the bear from Celeste: A Day in the Park; Dee Dee is the stuffed bear Celeste sleeps with; tomato sauce is Celeste's new favorite food. If it has tomatoes or tomato sauce, she'll eat it, which makes it easy to get her to enjoy things like φασολάκια, as well as the ever popular noodles.

The other funny thing is that she realized that tomato sounds like potato, so the sign POTATO has now shifted to become TOMATO, which is okay because she was never as crazy about potatoes as she is about tomatoes.

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A Picture Share! 

Celeste, supermodel, at the College Park Airport Museum ...

(Just testing Blogger Mobile ... it seems to work.)

Sunday, April 02, 2006

Blossoming Interests 

First off, Evelin is still pregnant; the baby seems to like life in utero and is in no rush to see the cherry blossoms.

We, however, decided to head out earlyish this morning to see how things looked at the Tidal Basin. On the way out the door, I thought to check the National Cherry Blossom Festival website only to discover that the Cherry Blossom 10 Mile had started about five minutes before we were heading out the door. We decided to test our luck and head down there anyway ... which meant changing destinations as every road into West Potomac Park was blocked and there didn't seem to be any parking within an acceptable walking distance, considering Evelin's condition.

After seeing the blooms by car, we headed over the river toward Gravelly Point. Since Celeste likes planes (and trains and buses, oh does she love buses ...) I've long figured a trip to Gravelly Point would be good one for her. The park is basically at the end of the runway for National Airport (DCA), so you can stand there and watch the jets land and takeoff right over your head.

When we got out of the T.R.U.C.K., Celeste seemed interested. She watched the first few planes fly overhead, tracking them as they banked above the Potomac to avoid the no-fly zones over various Federal buildings. But after about the fifth or sixth plane, she started getting anxious. She buried her head into my shoulder and started crying "No No No No."

Part of it, I think, is that we'd kept talking about going to "the park" but Gravelly Point doesn't have any swings, slides, or anything else that counts as a park for Celeste. But I also think it was the type of plane that bugged her. The first few were, I think, DC-9s or MD-80s. The one that put her off planes — and even when we finally got home, she was not wanting to talk about planes with the sort of zeal she usually does — was an Airbus 320, I think, a bigger plane that must have had a more threatening roar/grumble to its engines.

After leaving Gravelly Point, we headed home to Celeste's everyday park, where she really enjoyed swinging while Evelin blew bubbles at her.

Hopefully, she will regain some of her enthusiasm for planes soon enough, because I do like taking little trips to the College Park Airport Museum with her ...

Thinking of Celeste and planes, last night she made good use of a homonym (intentionally or not). Celeste had made it clear she wanted some yoghurt, so Evelin asked if she wanted it with blueberries or if she wanted it plain. Celeste signed back PLANE.

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Saturday, April 01, 2006

A Joke 

I have a joke I'm trying to get Celeste to play on someone, but she's not completely coöperating. Celeste's friend H---'s nanny, Kh--- is from Georgia — as in the Caucasus, not Atlanta. Kh--- (untransliterated, ხ---) always asks Celeste to say "No" because she thinks the cool detachment Celeste infuses into the word is funny. Pretty much the only word Celeste will say to ხ---) is "no."

So, I explained to Celeste how ხ--- grew up speaking a different language than she does now and that in that language "no" is said "არა" and that it would make for a funny joke that the next time ხ--- asked her to say "no" if instead she said "არა." Celeste agreed that it would be funny, but she's only managed to say something close to არა once or twice (although one of those times was almost perfect with a little roll to the r sound), and every time I ask her what she's going to say next time ხ--- asks her to say "no," Celeste says "no."

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