Tuesday, July 05, 2005

We Have Language

Well, she's hardly mastered spoken English, but Celeste is making a few sounds that are connected with things/people that seem to have a decent rate of correlation. For the past two weeks or so, she's been pretty good with dadadadada sounds, but they seemed to lack context. Over the 4th of July weekend however, there was a clear break between dæ di/dæ dɑ (me) and dɑɑ (M---, my brother's black lab).

The dæ dɪ/dæ dɑ was spoken with more deliberation, while the dɑɑ was held a bit longer. There also was at least one that seemed to correlate with a stuffed duck she got from her great aunt and uncle. And this afternoon she pointed to a bird and said something that sounded like .

There're a lot of other babbling and random sounds, but I really think we're starting to get some context in there, too, which is really exciting and a bit scary. It's going to be hard to let her cry a little bit when she's yelling "Daddy!"

So, Where the Hell Have You Been?

It's been a while since my last entry, so here's the short-form version of things; I may go back in time to add some entries to June, but in case I don't:

My folks came into town on the 24th for a few days. My dad was put to work right away: We replaced some spongy boards on the front porch; fixed/replaced some of the trim on the porch; installed Evelin's long-wished-for door between the kitchen and the basement stairs (she got a folding door instead of the full door she wanted, but that's the best solution considering the tight layout of the space); replaced the rusty chains on the porch swing; and took care of some other small chores that needed doing. We also played with the dishwasher some to little good effect. There was a little work and a lot of consultation on the Psup3;, and, while I was back at work, he power-washed and painted the deck and replaced a leaky gasket in an outside faucet (I thought I'd have to replace the whole thing), as well as a few other things that I'm blanking on now.

With my folks here, Evelin and I took the opportunity to head out Sunday night for our first stretch of time together away from Celeste. We had a quick dinner at Lebanese Taverna Café in Silver Spring followed by a screening of Revenge of the Sith.

Monday night was the searing of the flesh. I was grilling mushrooms for dinner and, distracted by talking with my dad, I picked up the grill wok with the oven-mitted hand, but I grabbed the butter warmer I was using to heat the marinade/sauce barehanded. The food went flying and I ran in to run it under cold water; a few mushrooms hit my dad's leg. He salvaged things best he could, and I spent the evening pouting with my hand in a bowl of cold water. It really hurt and I felt pretty dumb.

Fortunately, by the next evening, the pain and swelling were down. I have some cooked parts of my palm and fingers, but some of it is already starting to flake away.

The poison ivy was in remission by the burning. I'd had three or four straight nights of oatmeal baths — and it's worth buying the pre-powdered stuff; I tried whizzing regular oatmeal in the food processor and although it looked pretty powdery, in the bath the powder swelled into grits ... it got pretty nasty trying to clean the tub afterwards — and I switched from Super Ivy-Dry to Aveeno 1% hydrocortisone. I also dosed myself overnight with Benadryl. The Super Ivy-Dry worked well, but it was burning me. The bits that still look bad (albeit sans the itch) are where I overdid various products and basically burned the skin.

What else ...

On Thursday, Evelin, Celeste and I made the drive down to Atlanta to spend the weekend with my brother, sister-in-law, the twins, their dog, and my parents.

The folks had left our place on Tuesday and spend some time with friends/relatives while making their way down to Atlanta; without timing it out we happened to be approaching the GA–SC state line at about the same time from slightly different directions, so we met up at the Georgia welcome center and caravanned the rest of the way to Atlanta.

It was a nice trip. A--- and N--- have a new house, so we got to see what was what with that, and Celeste definitely picked up a few tricks from her 21-month-old cousins. While visiting us, my mother got Celeste working on holding fingers and walking, but seeing the twins running about (and M--- walking away from her) inspired Celeste to really kick the handheld walking into gear. Her balance is no where near where it needs to be for unassisted walking, but she is determined and enjoys moving around. We've been saying for a while that it looked like she would skip crawling; it looks like that'll be the case.

While on the trip Celeste also cut her fifth tooth (one of the upper incisors) and she got her toe pecked by a hen at the Yellow River Game Ranch. Basically it's a big petting zoo with some other animals that aren't for petting (and that seemed to be in less than ideal enclosures) — a few black bears, foxes, bobcats, a puma, coyotes, bison, a porcupine, etc. Celeste really liked most of the animals, but one aggressive hen walked up to the stroller and mistook her toe for a kernel of corn or something. I saw it about to happen and pulled back the stroller, but not quite in time. The skin wasn't broken, but Celeste was frightened and started crying, so we carried her for a bit and she got back into things pretty quickly.

We also took time to run into MidCity to have a nice brunch with M--- and B---. After brunch, B--- gave us a tour of some of the New Urbanist developments going up in Atlanta; it's really cool to see some smart growth developments going up inside a city — we really need some more of that around D.C.

The entire trip left Celeste a bit out of whack — strange place, strange people, strange food, very long car rides — but she pulled through and did very well.

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