Monday, August 28, 2006

Life Lesson #1 - Turn to the Other Cheek

At the playground today, a boy who is at least a year older than Margot pushed her over when she tried to ascend the steps to the baby slide. (Oh, did I mention that she can walk the steps to the slide and go down by herself? I'm so proud.)

She tumbled down and then looked back at him, her pride wounded and her clothes dirty. His mom walked toward the kids, still on her cell phone. The moment slowed, and I watched Margot carefully from ten feet away. She straightened herself up, brushed her clothes off, and looked straight at the boy. I wondered: would she push him back? Would she cry? Would she run to me?

None of the above.

She finished dusting her clothes, still eyeing the boy. She then grabbed the handrail, and walked up the stairs.

The boy later hugged her, unprompted. And so begins playground antics - you know, a boy pushing the girl he likes because he doesn't know how to tell her.

Wait, does this mean Margot has a boyfriend?

Dance Party

I tried to take some portraits of Margot today since she wore this beautiful dress, but I couldn't get her to sit still. Instead, here are some photos of her private dance party.

She got a little rowdy at the end:

Friday, August 25, 2006

The Littlest Buddha

On Monday, Margot, Grandma D., and I enjoyed ice cream in the late afternoon down in St. Michaels. Note: this was the first time that Margot actually had her own ice cream and wasn't just mooching off mine.

On the wall behind us was a Mayan relief, kind of like this one.

"Buddha!" Margot exclaimed. "Buddha! Buddha!"

Margot only knows about 35 words. The fact that one of these words is Buddha astounds me. Of course, this could be because our house is draped with artifacts from Southeast Asian adventures, including a huge Buddha relief over the couch. But I like to think it's because Min spent a number of her formative weeks in utero in Thailand; she'll always have that with her.

Here is Margot, almost exactly one year ago, modeling traditional Thai clothes.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

All-Day Happy Hour

The five o'clock call for cookies has expanded to morning, noon, and night.

"Coooo - kie," Min croons, from the moment she wakes up to the moment she goes to sleep. "Cooooo - kie. Coooo - kie."

Sounds cute, right? It is. But if I typed the number of times in one day that she says these two syllables it would bump all of the other posts into the archives section. It rivals the number of times she says "Mama, mama, mama, mama" in one day.

Apparently she hasn't gotten the new message that "Cookies are a sometime food."

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Coolin' at the Playground Ya Know

(Editor's note: If you can identify the band who made the above album *without* GOOGLE-ING it, you win a prize).

There's a lovely playground close to our new home, and just steps from the foot of the Art Museum. We try to visit several times a week; for the most part, it's full of toddlers and pre-schoolers and moms and dads and nannies. There was one time that Brodie and Margot and Portia and I visited and were greeted by some teenage thugs smoking dope on the swings, but that seems to have been an isolated incident.

Anyway, there weren't any thugs to be seen last week when we went.

And we're off! Brodie thinks this is a much cooler way to transport the Min (I'm still a stroller gal).

Margot's favorite playground activity is the slide.

More! More!

That day, she and Brodie finished with twenty pull-ups each.

Rocket Min

I love these glasses. And I love that Margot wears them willingly. If you truly know me, you *might* know of my secret adoration of Elton John, which explains my affinity for these glasses.

One of my very favorite celebrity encounters was back in 1999 when I ate dinner at a table next to Elton John in the Buckhead area of Atlanta. But that doesn't top when Brodie and I actually dined at the same table as Owen Wilson in Rome, or when REM and Sting stayed at the same hotel as us in Rio (you haven't lived until you've lounged at the same pool as Sting).

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

If You Can't Be with the One You Love, Love the One You're With

Margot accepted the loss of Piggy but appears to be moving on.

Clearly this is the healthiest option and I'm glad she's taking to a new lovey-object.

Guess who it is?

Alternate Piggy.

He has a new name though. Instead of Baba (which Margot interchangeably pronounced Ba-bah and Ba-bay), he is called Ba-bee. Which makes me wonder: was Original Piggy really named Bab - A, and Alternate Piggy is now Bab-B?

Saturday, August 12, 2006

The Simple Life

This morning Brodie, Margot, and I visited Reading Terminal Market in downtown Philly, which, I must admit, put Eastern Market to shame.

In addition to her love of endless verses of Old MacDonald, Margot also has a grand 'ol time playing with her Little People farm. (I wish this blog had an audio component, her version of "ba-aa-aa-aa" for a sheep is really funny.)

The Amish set up a petting zoo in front of the market this morning, and we brought Margot down so she could see the sheep and horses up close and personal.

She started out cautious:

Which quickly escalated to fearful:

And concluded with sheer terror:

She felt less threatened by the quilts and homemade preserves inside the market, I assure you.

Happy Hour

For the past week, Min has marked the five o'clock hour with a sprint to the kitchen and a demand for cookies.

I don't quite understand the sounds she uses to say "Cookies" (I think it starts with a "D" and it's two-syllables) but her emphatic pointing at the cabinet where the cookies reside make her wishes clear. I comply with two or three overpriced organic Sesame Street cookies that I picked up at Whole Foods.

(Side note - Whole Foods is only a few blocks from our home. Min and I have ducked in so many times for samples while we are out walking that she now insists "Cheese, cheese!" whenever we pass by.)

What interests me about Min's love of sweets is that it occurs at the same time each day. I can't figure out what sparked this, seeing as I never offer cookies without her requesting them. What is going on in the house that sends her to the kitchen in the same fifteen minute period each day? How does she measure time?

Is she Sumerian ? (60 seconds per minute, 60 minutes per hour?)
Or is she more like Schopenhauer, who stated that "Time is the condition [yelling, pointing at the cabinet] of the possibility of succession [cookies will be removed and distributed] ."

(Or could it be that by 5:00 *I* need distraction, and so occasionally turn on the television?)

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

"Mindependence Day"

First off - Piggy is still missing. Last night I gently explained that he was missing and we didn't know where he was, and she completely comprehended that idea. Not that it made it any better, but she looked around her room for a minute and then proceeded to cry for the next three hours. I think the fact that I was crying too really drove the message home to her; after all, she's never seen me shed tears before, so this must have been something serious.

This morning when I entered her room she looked at me hopefully and said, "Baba?"

But when I said I was sorry, he is still missing, she just asked to come out of her crib and hasn't mentioned him since.

Portia and I took a late night walk last night with a purpose: I figured the local homeless guys would be checking the trashcans (and I was right). I asked them all if they'd seen Piggy and they were very sympathetic, but no one had seen him. Oh well.

On another note, we had our first group playdate today with the Wharton Kids Club. Approximately 10 moms and toddlers gathered at Taney Playground to chat and let the kids explore a bit. I shouldn't be surprised, but there were no men present; I wondered if there were any stay-at-home dads in the club since in DC it seemed as if SAHDs were everywhere. But alas, it's all women and kids about Margot's age.

She loved it! I know already that she will not look back at me when her first day of kindergarten arrives. She was perfectly content to toddle away and explore everyone else's toys and snacks. I wasn't sure at what point I was supposed to intervene, because I don't like to stunt her exploration. Mostly I intervened when it involved her eating someone else's food. I think she wins the 'most confident' award today, which is something unexpected. Go Min! I knew she'd be an adventurer.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

AMBER ALERT - Piggy is Missing

The absolute worst, the absolute unthinkable has happened:

Piggy is missing.

While on a trip to the Franklin Institute this morning, Margot dropped her beloved Piggy somewhere between our house and the museum, and her sitter didn't notice at the time.
(I was at the DMV, which was another tragedy, although one from which I've already recovered.)

Since it's only a six block walk to the museum along the same street from our house, I've searched again and again. I checked every storefront, asked every passerby, and questioned the hot dog cart vendors. I even asked those who appear to live on the sidewalk permanently, but no one has seen him.

Why would anyone take Piggy? He's far from new, too grubby to regift to someone, and so ratty only his true owner could love him. But it's clear that he's gone - although I made a last ditch effort to find him with a Craigslist posting under lost and found.

And Margot is a wreck. We walked 20th Street again this afternoon and she knew exactly why we were walking that route without me saying a word about Piggy. "Baba," she whispered plaintively a few times, and the rest of the time she just sat silent. When we came back to the front door she waved to the sidewalk and said "bye bye." I'll never know if she was really talking to Piggy or just closing the event (the way she does when we exit a room sometimes) but it was the saddest moment I've had in a long long time.

So it appears our perfect sleeper is a thing of the past, but maybe, in time, Alternate Piggy will be allowed to fill the role of his ill-fated brother.

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Walking Update

The Min is a full-fledged walker.

I define this as someone who spends more time on two feet than on hands and knees. She walks from the living room into the kitchen, down the hallway, and across her bedroom. She is finally a true biped.

This happened several days ago. She awoke that morning and spent the entire day on two feet. I'm not sure what the occasion was, but I am certainly proud.

Next: sumitting the furniture. Details as they develop.

E - I - E - I - OH

I've discovered what an important role singing plays in parenting.

Okay, maybe we're not quite like that.

But numerous verses of Old MacDonald distract Margot long enough to get an entire yogurt in her mouth, or get a diaper changed when she's not in the mood.

Finally, she's joined the chorus! "Old MacDonald had a farm..." I start. "E I E I", she supplies with a huge smile.

I love it. With her Ruland genes, she may just be a star!

(Here she was at the recording studio with Brodie when she was just two months old)

Introducing Piggy

To know Margot is to know the most important creature in her life: Piggy.

We don't know who gifted Piggy to Margot, but I wish I could give him/her a big 'thank you' for providing Margot with her number one favorite toy.

She has cuter, softer toys, but I suspect Piggy's handy size made him the favorite about a year ago. Piggy now accompanies us everywhere - in family pictures, on long car rides, and especially at nap time. He allows Brodie and I to take Margot to restaurants that we otherwise would not be welcome in; all we have to do is produce Piggy and all whining and fussing cease. Margot's thumb goes into her mouth and she clutches Piggy to her cheek and ahhhh....silence reigns.

I purchased an identical pig last winter in case - God forbid - anything should happen to the original Piggy (honestly, I've considered insuring him). But, of course, Margot will have nothing to do with this imposter pig that I now refer to as Alternate Piggy (shown here with the real Piggy).

"Ba Ba," Margot wails when she needs comforting. "Ba Ba, BA BA!" More than once I've had to pull the car over to the shoulder of a highway to retrieve him from the crack between her carseat and the door. But she loves Piggy, and so do I. He makes parenting almost easy.