Mexican Food, Newport, and My Baby Squirrel

We had dinner with Micah and Nichole last night. And it just so happens to be their anniversary today! We had a lot of fun. So much fun that we didn’t leave till after midnight! I didn’t realize it had gotten so late, and they were too polite to kick us out. : )

Their apartment in Newport is beautiful. It’s in a huge Victorian home that has been converted into eight apartments. (Nichole said that in the 1930s, it was 16 apartments!) Their apartment felt very open and airy, with calming paint colors on the walls, high ceilings, and hardwood floors. I can’t imagine how HUGE the house must have been when it was a one-family dwelling.

They made a great hosting team. Micah did most of the cooking and served us a fabulous Mexican feast. The food just kept coming. I brought chips and homemade salsa, so we started with those and “Mexican Fudge,” which is really more like a spicy quiche. Then we had a salad with toasted tortilla strips, then beef AND chicken enchiladas, AND Spanish rice AND refried beans. And then chocolate cake. Nikki graciously made us coffee, and even though she and Micah are coffee-teetotalers, they each bravely downed a cup. We played The Dice Game and Dutch Blitz, both brought to us courtesy of Gwyn.

The only downside to the evening was my squirrley baby. Used to be, we could take her anywhere to anything and she’d be fine. Nice restaurant? No problem, she’d either sleep or sit happily in her carseat. Church meetings, volunteer meetings, no problem – I could hold her and she’d be fine. Only occasionally did she cry, and that almost always meant she was hungry. If I was trying to do something at home, she would be content in her swing or playing on her play mat. If I put her somewhere, she stayed put.

No longer. Scratch all of the above. She has recently learned how to Army crawl AND how to move from sitting to her stomach without smacking her face on the ground. All these developments came last week when I had a house full of people who were more than happy to watch her and play with her. Then all of a sudden I was alone with her again, and she had turned into Super Scooting Baby, and I’m not quite sure what to do with her! She wants nothing to do with her swing. If I sit her on a play mat, she turns onto her belly, scoots her torso to the edge, and drags herself and the play mat across the floor. I put her in her car seat on the living room floor a few days ago and went into the kitchen, and when I came back a moment or two later, SHE WASN’T THERE! I hadn’t buckled her in, so she must have slid out, rolled over, and dragged herself along, because I found her heading under the dining room table.

This is what she was doing last night. Dragging herself across the floor, gnawing on chair legs, pulling everything out of her diaper bag, arching her back and trying to throw herself out of the papasan chair we had pulled into the kitchen to contain her. Oh, and talking. And screeching. LOUDLY. This is the other reason we can’t take here anywhere anymore – she talkatively takes after her dad, but hasn’t yet learned his restraint.

She finally wore herself out enough to slowwwwwwwwwwwly driiiiiiiiiift offfffffffffff to sleeeeeeeeeeeeeep.

Don’t get me wrong – I’m having so much fun watching her grow and develop, and I love the constantly increasing level of interaction we enjoy. I just feel like my mothering rhythm is off. I had it down…I knew how to take care of her, how to respond to her, how to meet her needs, how to keep her safe and entertained. Now she is changing so fast I can’t adapt quickly enough, so I feel off my game.

My dream room right now is a big, giant space, freshly carpeted, with nothing on the walls or the floor except for a bunch of toys, a room where she can crawl around and explore to her heart’s content and I can turn my back for a moment without worrying that she’ll peel varnish off the hardwood floor and eat it.

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  • http://www.xanga.com/Badcat926 Badcat926

    Let me get this straight, Nichole works for Sbux and she doesn’t drink coffee? Interesting.

    I can’t for the life of me remember Riley at 7-8 months. I know he grew out of his carseat carrier at 8 months. I think that’s when we put him in his little jeep walker or the exersaucer and maybe he was still playing in his jolly jump up. Those were all lifesavers for us – especially the exersaucer. I do remember that 9months to 18months was the hardest stage for me. It seemed like his curiousity and energy were far greater than his ability to communicate or understand or do things for himself.

    ~ Cat

  • http://www.xanga.com/Mirandypants Mirandypants

    I can ONLY imagine the exciting developments we too will experience as our baby grows! Cute post.

  • http://www.xanga.com/mmmattress mmmattress

    I liked Micah’s idea better: a big room covered on every surface with velcro “hooks,” and dressing Katherine in a Velcro “loop” onesie. Endless fun!

  • http://www.xanga.com/arohanui24 arohanui24

    I love the card game Dutch Blitz!  We’ve been playing that in my family since I was a kid.  It’s so much fun and highly interactive!

  • http://www.xanga.com/hannahbarton hannahbarton

    Oh, Velcro! That would be amazing.

  • http://www.xanga.com/hannahbarton hannahbarton

    Oh, I have introduced Laura to the LOOOONG Pride and Prejudice. She has been watching it for days. It’s amazing.

  • http://www.xanga.com/gwyneth gwyneth

    um, i noted that previously, but…i probably wouldn’t have this time. y’know, i mean…everyone already knows.

  • http://www.xanga.com/jlc2you jlc2you

    Yeah, we always ended up baby-proofing one room and then piling chairs and benches in the doorways to keep the little rascals in.  Boy they are really good at slipping through though!  Mom was always a huge fan of the walker, like the exersaucer except that there were wheels on the bottom so the little tyke can semi walk around and explore but without the ability to really hurt anything or him/herself.  My little sisters got so good and using their toes to push themselves around that they were all over the house.  (We obviously had to keep the stairway door closed!)  Gave them a sense of independence I guess.

  • http://www.xanga.com/whomhavei whomhavei

    I would invest in a leash.

  • http://www.xanga.com/simply_nikki simply_nikki

    Thanks for your affirmative comment and generous post! I’m glad you had “a ton of fun!” We definitely did, too.

  • http://www.xanga.com/simply_nikki simply_nikki

    Catherine,

    I don’t normally drink caffeinated drinks because my doctor told me it will aggravate my anxiety. And at least I’m not as bad as some of my co-workers! You’d totally be surprised that some of them *hate* coffee, even the smell of it! At least it’s just forbidden and not anathema to me!

  • http://www.xanga.com/Marciaran Marciaran

    I actually on a much smaller level feel your pain. I’ve been watching a friends 9 month old a few times a week and he NEVER stays still. No, never. And he fights sleep, so when he needs to nap he might scream (and I do mean SCREAM) for 30 minutes or so before he goes to sleep, and it doesn’t matter if I hold him, rock him, put him on the floor, nothing matters. He just screams. He JUST fell asleep actually, and I’m hoping it lasts a while.

    When he is awake he pulls himself up on everything to stand, constantly bonks his head or chin, or gives me a heart attack because our house is the opposite of baby proof. I can’t leave him in any room for 30 seconds.

    I have to keep reminding myself that my baby won’t come out 9 months old. Plus I think it’s harder since I’m the babysitter and can’t nurse him (which always calms him down), and I don’t have a crib, carseat, or pack and play. Everyone keeps telling me I need to ask his mom to bring his pack and play and she is going to next time. At least that way even if he is screaming I can get up and go pee if I need to and not worry he is going to hurt himself. Do you have a pack and play? I’m just curious cause from what you wrote it doesn’t sound like you use one. I’m not trying to give advice, God knows I only barely know what I am doing and I have a LOT to learn. I’m just wondering.

    I will definitely be posting on my xanga about my pregnancy. I think I probably will want to more often once I have the Dr. appt. when I can hear the heart beat. The risk of miscarriage seems to go way down at that point. I feel like I’m holding my breath to get there. I have probably a month, or month and a half to go before that point, so I’m trying to relax and just trust God, and be healthy.

  • http://www.xanga.com/miller_schloss miller_schloss

    Marcia – I do have a pack and play / playpen, but I am currently using that as Katherine’s crib next to my side of the bed. I realized I shouldn’t put her in there to play during the day if that’s where I want her to sleep – I want her to make the connection that it’s where she sleeps, so when I put her in there she knows it’s nap or bed time. That’s the idea, anyway…

    So, I think I either need to get a proper crib for her to sleep in, or get another play pen that I can put in my office for during the day.

  • http://www.xanga.com/inlovewithtroy inlovewithtroy

    unfortunately this might be is the beginning of the the end of probably ever feeling completely on your game again. From here on out they change so quickly and move on to new stages and things that I am always adapting to new needs, new discipline and new triumphs as well. I now look at that baby/newborn stage as the easiest stage, other than not sleeping much all you have to do is keep them fed and clean and plenty of naps. Once they are mobile and curious (and a bit more concerned about what they want to do) everything changes. As for the containing her in a play pen idea, from what you have shared about her personality she may end up enjoying it for 5 minutes or so and then make you very very aware of her presence and her desire to not be in the playpen.

  • http://www.xanga.com/inlovewithtroy inlovewithtroy

    I somehow meant that to be encouraging…clearly I failed. Other than to say this parenting thing gets increasingly harder and more joyful and more exhausting and hang in there because clearly you are a great mom and will find a way to get into a new groove or gameplan for keeping your squirrel from eating varnish (hahah that part of your post cracked me up). A johnny jump up might keep her happy. We had a few things we would rotate out to keep our girls occupied. The baby einstein videos combined with an exersaucer usually gave me a half hour of peace so I could get something done. Oh, and baby gates are awesome!

  • http://www.xanga.com/Falconschloss Falconschloss

    Don’t feel too bad, I worry about Zach peeling off varnish and eating it.

  • http://www.xanga.com/airborneschloss airborneschloss

    This is an exciting stage of Katherine’s life (and yours), believe it or not. I, too, remember thinking, “What do I do with her now?” I actually got a book on how to play with your baby. At this stage, the child is so excited about new discoveries and abilities, it is hard for them to settle down for naps or sleep. It’s like they don’t want to miss anything. This is the one-on-one time, on the floor, talking to her, explaining what she is seeing, helping her master new tasks. This may be the time to schedule a daily walk with her. She seems to be intrigued with the outdoors. Don’t be too hard on yourself! Ask the Lord for wisdom which He will give abundantly. Last piece of advice: don’t leave her alone for a minute!

    As to Zach’s comment about a leash, after his disappearance at Disneyland. I bought a leash and used it!

    We’ll give her a big carpeted room here when you are in town and she can play away under Grandma’s supervision. Do bring a bottle. Maybe I can get her to take one so you can have a break.

  • http://www.xanga.com/sheldoggy sheldoggy

    So, I would like to come visit you and Matthew and of course wee little Katherine. I’ll let you know if I get back out east again soon. Here’s to hoping!

  • http://www.xanga.com/daniellehanley daniellehanley

    I find at this stage an exersaucer kind of thing works well, since they can see what’s going on around them and they can bounce up and down. A jumper that you hang in the doorway also seems to work well, though I’ve never had a doorway to hang one in.

  • http://www.xanga.com/GinaLB GinaLB

    Ha, ha,ha,ha. It will never be the same again! I had my mothering grove down until she became mobile. 3 months later I’m still trying to find it. And yes, she’ll eat anything she can manage to pick up off the floor, including the varnish. vacuum well and vacuum often, have fun.

    Clahra figured out the stairs yesterday. YIKES!

  • http://www.xanga.com/GinaLB GinaLB

    OK, some real advise. give her a drawr or cabinet of plastic things ( left over containers, cups etc…) she can “help you cook and clean” by playing with them while you’re busy in the kitchen. For some reason Clahra is endlessly intrigued by the cheep ziplock storage containters. I usually give her a wooden spoon and she pretends to stir, or uses it as a drum stick. It was my saving grace durring the move. I will forever be in debt to Ziplock, Rubbermaid, and wooden spoons.

  • http://www.xanga.com/curlybecca curlybecca

    Restraint? That’s an interesting word for it. :)

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