Saturday, May 30, 2009

Sitting Up & Silly Faces

Just today, Max started sitting up by himself.
I realize these aren't the best pictures to share, but there are two things we must remember:
1) It's hard to take a picture of a moving baby who constantly keeps falling over
and 2) it's the first day, so at least we caught these moments on camera!
He's sitting up for at least a couple seconds at a time,
but sometimes even as long as 20 or 30 seconds... pretty good for a beginner.
I remember Zahra fell over a lot more when she was learning to sit up.

A little blurry. Sorry!

I'm not a big fan of using the flash unless absolutely necessary,
but I was having problems with the camera.

And, oops, there he goes, falling down on a pillow.

Zahra got a little jealous of Max getting all the attention, so she wanted to join in as well.
Here's her making some silly faces.

CHEESE! The happy brother and sister!

Good bye guys...

To You, The Reader

Hey everyone... I added a "gadget" on the sidebar so that you can be one of my "followers." I always wonder who is reading the blog, what they think, and stuff like that. Feel free to add comments at the end of any post to let me know what you think, if you feel like sharing. I've heard some feedback about having trouble posting without logging in or having some kind of account, so my mom figured out a way around that. What you can do is add a comment as "anonymous" and then at the end of your comment, you can just type your name so we know who it's from. I am quite interested to hear your feedback, so please post a comment if you have something you'd like to tell me (or the other readers). Of course, don't feel like you need to comment every time, but every once in awhile would be fun, I think. I even enjoy reading the comments section on one of the blogs I follow (the Motherlode blog from the New York Times), just because sometimes the discussion is as interesting as the original post itself. I know you all are busy, so just keep this in mind in case you ever have the time. I love sharing my thoughts with you all! Thanks for reading.

Zahra's Idiolect

I remember learning the word "idiolect" in college. It was in my English 420 class at San Francisco State. Introduction to the Study of Language with Rachelle Waksler in the HSS Building. One of the reasons I remember learning the word was because I had a friend at the time who had quite her own interesting idiolect and it took some learning and translating to be able to fully understand what she was talking about or referring to in her speech.
During one of the lectures Professor Waksler discussed the word. The textbook from that class (An Introduction to Language by Victoria Fromkin and Robert Rodman, 6th edition) defines the word on page 399: "All speakers of English can talk to each other and pretty much understand each other; yet no two speak exactly alike. Some differences are due to age, sex, state of health, size, personality, emotional state, and personal idiosyncrasies. That each person speaks somewhat differently from all others is shown by our ability to recognize acquaintances by hearing them talk. The unique characteristics of the language of an individual speaker are referred to as the speaker's idiolect." I begin this post with the definition before delving into Zahra's personal idiolect. I've compiled a short list of things she says and think that I will continue to add to this post as more things come to mind. The incomplete "dictionary" here consists of mispronunciations, terms she's coined herself, and various little idiosyncrasies we find especially cute. I'll first list the term and then the "translation."

"hostiple" - hospital

"popiskull" - popsicle

"kitaar" - guitar

"backyardigan" - backyard

"yummioso" - a combinatino of "yummy" and the Spanish word ending "-oso" (as in delicioso)

"carpet" - a grocery store cart

"naked bread" - bread with the crust removed

"naked pizza" - pizza without cheese or any toppings (namely bread and sauce)

"sighted" - excited
"kitchen" - refridgerator

"taxi" - stroller

"pajammies" - a combination of "pajamas" and "jammies"
"splode" - explode
"channel" - commercial on TV

As I said, there are more terms for the list, but this is all I could think of at the moment. I look forward to the days when Max has his own little unique vocabulary like Zahra.

Thursday, May 21, 2009


I was lying in bed nursing Max the other night and thinking about how my two children are quite different. In many ways, opposites. (And this is quite apparent in only five months. It remains to be seen where things will go.) I can only hope that if the dichotomy remains, the differences will compliment each other. I could spend lots of time categorizing the minutiae of various medical intervenions vs. none, but I won't spend endless time on such details.
There are obvious distinctions like boy and girl; and there are more subtle variances, like which child could be considered a better sleeper. Both were Kaiser babies, born in operating rooms, though one in northern California (San Francisco) and the other southern (Irvine). One is breastfed, the other was bottle and tube fed. One was considered a micropreemie, the smallest they come (1 lb. 1 oz./a mere 485 grams). The other was a healthy, term infant born without needing any medical interventions at all (6 lbs. 3 oz.). Eating baby food seems to be a delightful experience for one while the other pushed most spoonfuls out with the tongue. At six weeks old, one had already visited Disneyland while the other didn't go until four years of age. One was content in the carseat for entire meals at restaurants, whereas the other loves to be held. One seems to be meeting milestones on time or even early, but the other needed lots of assistance along the way. Outgrowing clothes is easy for one, though the other seemed to stay in the same size for months and months on end. Fueling that change, one child's weight would plateau for long periods of time, whereas the other seems to be constantly getting bigger. Naps were a regular part of one child's infancy, but the other seems to be more sporadic and unpredictable. One child has tiny scars to prove all of the IVs that were survived, the other has never even had blood drawn.
Although there are many more distinctions that were apparent to me in the middle of the night, I can't think of them all right now. When I was originally thinking of this post, the list seemed to go on and on ad infinitum. I didn't have a pen or paper, nor did I really want to write everything down at that point anyway.
And for now, the younger of the two seems to no longer be content watching the washing machine drum cycle round and round. It appears it may be time for his mid-morning nap, although I cannot be sure, since he is the unpredictable napper. In any event, I will rescue him from his seat to see what he'd like to do next.

Friday, May 15, 2009


Max started solids today. He did remarkably well. I expected most of the brown rice cereal to end up all over his face and his bib, but he actually ate most of what I gave him. (I really didn't expect much of it to actually be swallowed.) He even seemed to want more. Of course he made some strange expressions, like, "What is this stuff in my mouth?" and "I'm not quite sure I think I like this, but I'll swallow it down anyway." But it was cute to watch him make little chewing motions and swallow most of what came off the spoon. Our little boy is getting bigger every day!
Though it looks like most of the food ended up on his face here, this doesn't really show the whole story. He probably ate a whole quarter-cup of the cereal mixture. Not a bad amount for a little guy's first time eating something besides milk!

There were a couple times he got really excited and seemed to enjoy the whole eating process. He actually squealed. Yes, squealed.
We think he might turn out to be a big eater.
Another new and different experience than with sister. She was never a big baby-food eater. She kind of seemed to skip right to finger foods.

See? Doesn't he look like he's having a good time?
Truly, this was more like his expression most of the time. Kind of unsure of what to think about the whole new experience.

Oh, and one more note on Max's milestones...
He rolls over now!

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Trike Stills

Here are some stills from today's trike-a-thon. I wanted to have them in order, but alas, I didn't realize that they would load the way they did... so things are kind of backwards. Sorry.

Above is Zahra, deep in concentration!

Hi, everyone! The above picture was taken just before the race began.

Here is Zahra on the sidelines. She's supposed to be cheering on the other class, but it looks like she was more interested in the flag instead!

She was ridin' along, ridin' along, ridin' along...
Ready... Set... Go!
Below is Zahra, waiting for her turn to ride around....

The End.

Just One Lap

(Begins with Zahra in pink helmet on right-hand side.) I'm happy to be able to share this video of Zahra riding her bike during today's trike-a-thon at preschool. I took a short clip of just one lap. As you can imagine, the little kids just kept riding around in circles and it was pretty much the same thing over and over. Because of that, I felt it wasn't necessary to take a long video to show you guys what the event was like today. (Plus, it took over 15 minutes just to upload this short 1-minute clip!) The whole time, Zahra mostly circled around the outer edge, staying away from the big mass of kids in the center. She was kind of doing her own thing but she seemed to be having a good time during her laps around the circle. At the end of the fifteen minutes, she seemed a little tired and ready for snack time. Congratulations, Zahra! Great job riding your little bike.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

The "Max Elevator" Video

The "add photos" button wasn't working, so I decided to add a little video of Max. Currently one of his favorites, Max likes the elevator game. "Baby goes up, baby comes down. Baby goes up, baby comes down." (You get the idea.) So here is Max, at the beach for the first time, getting to go up and down as "the elevator" with Daddy.

Beach Pictures

For Mother's Day we went down to the beach. (It was Max's first time.) Here are some pictures from our outing. Also, the one of the kids in the wagon is from Friday when I took a walk with them and took them to the park.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Junie B. Jones

One thing I look forward to every day is going to bed. Not because I am so tired that's all I can think about, but because I love reading to Zahra in bed. Every night, after Max has nursed to sleep, Zahra and I brush our teeth. Quiet little Max sleeps peacefully in his crib as Zahra and I get to go on our little literary adventures.

For the past couple months, we have been reading the Junie B. Jones series of chapter books, about a little girl in Kindergarten who gets into a lot of silly situations. (If you want to take a look at the website, here's the link -- The books are written in the first person, using the type of language that might actually come from a 5-year-old. There have been more than a few times that Junie B. has used expressions I question whether or not someone Zahra's age would say, but she does say some pretty cute things like seeing a "hugie big cake" at a wedding and "Wowie wowie wow!" when she's excited about something.

I love using different inflections in my voice to make the words come alive. Bessie had given us copies of a bunch of the Junie B. books, but I didn't realize until I went to the library looking for ones we hadn't read, that they're geared toward 3rd grade readers. There are a few pictures in the books, every four or five pages or so, but this means that Zahra is mostly listening only to words, since they aren't picture books per se. I don't remember what Mom and Dad were reading to me when I was 5, but I think it's great that Zahra loves listening to chapter books at her age.

Zahra usually asks me to change Junie B.'s name to Zahra when I am reading, so when someone addresses the little girl, Zahra hears her name instead. (We call her Zahra D. instead of Junie B.) Changing the name may be one clue, but I wonder if she identifies with the main character, since she's also 5 and she has a little baby brother, too. Junie B.'s brother is named Ollie and he always seems to take up the mom's attention when Junie B. has something important to say. Both little girls get frustrated that the baby takes up mom's precious attention and both seem to have endless energy and creativity. Although Zahra doesn't start Kindergarten until the fall, I do see a lot of other parallels between their lives. We've read all the books where Junie B. is still in Kindergarten and there are a few more books where she has moved on to 1st grade, but after that, we'll have to move on to another series. This prospect makes me kind of sad because I think both Zahra and I have really enjoyed the Junie B. books together.

We've read a couple Amelia Bedelia books, which I remember reading as a little kid, but I just can't help but think about what a nitwit she is! I'm also afraid that Zahra doesn't understand the double meanings behind some of the stupid things Amelia Bedelia does so she can't get the umor. (Like throwing a tent on a bush when someone tells her to "pitch the tent.") When I was reading them as a kid myself, I think I was old enough to understand them in a way that Zahra just can't quite grasp this early on.

I don't remember being read to as a child much, but I know that I have loved reading since I was little. I remember the picture books and knowing some of the stories behind them, having favorites like Anansi the Spider and the church mice books. I don't actually remember being the patient little one listening to the stories and looking at the pictures, but not being able to read the words myself. My memories of reading begin with being able to do the act myself, not the passive listening stage.

I have many fond memories of going to the Children's section of the public library in downtown Stockton and picking out books. I vaguely remember choosing the picture books (1o a week for each kid?), but for some reason, once we get home, I don't have memories of listening to these very stories we just took home. (Perhaps this is like the theory that says we don't have memories of infancy or other early stages of life before we learned language because that's how our memories are stored -- in words.) I remember going through a non-fiction phase where I wanted to learn about all different kinds of things and the library had a great series that had books that were just right for whatever level of reading I had mastered at the time. I remember reading lots of Babysitters Club books and then moving on to Young Adult novels. Eventually I started reading adult fiction and have stayed there ever since. Until now. I have moved back into the Children's section, only with a much different vantage point.

One of my greatest hopes for Zahra and Max is that they grow up to be avid readers. I am truly thankful that I come from a library family and that books have been an important part of my life for many years. I hope both of my children come to enjoy reading as much as I do. For now, I think the best thing I can do is to read to them daily and let them see me reading for fun. If ever there is a day that we can't read as much as usual, Zahra does seem disappointed. When she has been patient and quiet with one book or we have finished another, she always looks forward to hearing more. I think that's a good sign.