I’ve been bad about keeping up this blog but today there is BIG NEWS. Nina used her potty for the first time! We got this new froggie potty a few days ago, and it’s been sitting in the bathroom, and she has enjoyed sitting on it but not producing. Tonight after dinner I asked her if she wanted to pee-pee, and she said, “YES.” So we climbed the stairs to the bathroom and she headed for the potty with pants on. I took the pants and the diaper off. She sat back down and, to my great surprise, I heard her peeing. She got up and said, “All done!” and then she looked down into the pot and said, “waaa-tuh.” She seemed happy but a little astounded. I congratulated her and told her that she’d done exactly the right thing. She then went into her bedroom, got into PJ’s and I put her to bed after Babar and some nursing. I hope she keeps up the good work and that this means the beginning of the end of overpriced diapers. It felt like a huge accomplishment. I am quite proud.
I just did an interview with the author of a really compelling little book about Iraq. The interview can be found here at Big Other. The author, Justin Sirois, gave some very interesting answers to my questions. I am looking forward to his upcoming longer novel.
Guess what! We’re now homeowners. We closed on our new house in Prospect Heights today. It feels remarkable in so many ways — so much money has left our hands, but so much potential remains! The closing itself was long (2.25 hours) but totally friendly and smooth. I am beat after the process.
In Nina news, she had her first “time-out”…she was with a new playmate who has long hair and wouldn’t stop pulling it. When our nanny told her to stop, she started going after other off-limits items, like the cable box, a potted plant, etc. Testing the limits, apparently. Rena put her for one minute in the pack-n-play. She was not happy and yelled, but once taken out was very sweet and much calmer.
If you asked me – right now – what’s the best movie I’ve ever seen, I’d probably say Let the Right One In. It’s scary but not ridiculously so, and there is something extremely poetic not only about the story but about the look of the people and scenery. It’s about vampires, and it made me wonder why I’ve always been so hard on vampires. Because really it sucks to be a vampire…no pun intended. There is apparently an American version of this Swedish movie in the works which I suspect will also suck, hitting you over the head with the horror. Seriously, see the Swedish version as soon as you can.
John’s first book, The Complete Collection of people, places & things, is now out and available for purchase on Amazon and Small Press Distribution (SPD). I encourage you to purchase it from SPD, as they give more back to authors than Amazon (although the sale price is $1 higher). John wrote the book a few years ago, mostly while we were living in Tokyo. It’s not at all about Japan but I think was, in some ways, inspired by his experience there. A press release gives more details about the book and publisher. It’s an unusual novel that made me feel melancholy, nostalgia, confusion and delight each time I read it (a few times, since I helped John edit). It also looks really beautiful, with a cover designed by John himself. Congratulations! I am so proud.
This blog is coming back to life after a looooong nap. We all appreciate long naps around these parts — Nina still takes 2 a day, often for as long as 2 hours, and sleeps another 11 hours at night. Here’s a photo of her, enjoying some mac ‘n chesse, on our recent trip to Vermont with good friends. She had a great time (as did we), and was very intent on hugging the other children — Jack and Beatrice — who were on vacation with us. The trip was great, with lots of baby-centered activities during the day and candlelit homecooked dinners, sans children, at night.
Nina – our little Jingle Boomer, we now say — is as sprightly and spirited as ever. She’s very social, saying “hi” and “bye” to people, animals and even objects. She has a few other words that we’re able to understand: milk, Nina, duck, dog, bird, “nana” (her word for nursing), and “ba,” which is her word for “puffs,” a kind of cereal snack that we give her. “You call them ba’s, we call them puffs,” I like to tell her.
Much love to the world from Nina!
Whew! Nina is keeping us busy. When not asleep, she is moving moving moving. She’s always been this way – never been a child that likes to sit and snuggle into someone’s lap – but these days, she seems ever more active than ever. She’s walking, and has taken at least 20 steps at once (her record walk was this weekend at Grandma’s, where there is a lot more open space for toddling about and doggie Suzy Q to terrorize). But now walking isn’t enough for her and she’s started trying to RUN. She’ll start toddling around and then see something exciting up ahead (Grandma’s little white dog, for instance), and then the panting starts and the little legs try to moveÂ a little bit faster…and boom! She’s on the ground. Usually it’s butt-first — safe enough — but with the running sometimes she tumbles forward, which gives me a real fright. I try to watch her as closely as I can, but Nina’s “noggin’ knocks” are becoming a regular part of life, and she’s typically got one or two small bruises on her forehead at any time and the occasional cheek-scrape. None of this seems to bother her too much. She’ll cry a bit after a spill but then pretty quickly get over it. I’m amazed, as the kind of falls she takes would leave me sore for a week. We’re trying to baby-proof — we put foam around the fireplace hearth today — but there’s only so much we can do in a small apartment like ours.
In other Nina news, she’s sleeping straight through the night, every night. She goes to be at 7:30 and wakes up at 6. It’s amazing to get a full night’s sleep again! My next goal is to get her to sleep in a bit on the weekends.
And Nina’s favorite toy is the Streetwise Manhattan laminated map. These things are great for babies! It will keep her occupied for 20 minutes or so. Seriously!
Nina took her first steps this weekend. She was holding onto the refrigerator, playing with her magnetic letters, when she suddenly started taking steps away from it. They were teeny, tiny steps. She took about four and then fell on her bottom. She did this several more times that day. Today she seemed a little less inclined to walk without support, but was doing lots of cruising between the coffee table, the chair and the sofa. Dad and Grandma have both seen her walking, so I’m not the only witness.
I don’t have it documented on video, since we’d left our recorder at a friend’s house and just got it back this afternoon. I tried to get her to take some steps for the camera, but she was more interested in trying to open the kitchen cabinets. Nina has also learned how to open drawers, if they’re low enough for her. We MUST babyproof. Although we keep a very close eye on her, so I don’t think she’ll get into anything. We’ve been putting it off, thinking that we will move soon. Although that looks like it may still be a few months away.
I’ll try to capture video of Nina walking soon!
Here’s Nina at almost nine months, rooting for the Hoyas in DC. We visited there over the past weekend, and Nina got to see her first basketball game. She liked it, finding the cheering the most exciting. Nina likes a lot of noise!
Her new trick is waving. She waves in all kinds of ways – with one hand, with two hands, at friends, at herself, the Royal Wave, a full-arm-flapping wave…she has gotten very good at it. I think she’s starting to understand English, as she seems to be able to wave when I ask her to. She’s getting close to walking, and tonight she took several steps using her push-able lion from Jim and Liz. She likes to eat Cheerios but can’t put them in her mouth by herself, yet. She’s also eating spinach, avocado (of course), sweet potato, tofu, flaxseed, yogurt, oatmeal, asparagus, cauliflower, carrots, pears, and a few other foods. Soon I will start her on some meat. At her nine-month doctor visit, I learned that she weighs nearly 22 pounds. I also learned that she can take a shot and not cry. She sat on my lap, flinched a bit when the needle went in, and then seemed perfectly fine once it was done.
One other new development: for the first time, she’s a wee bit wary when she meets strangers. She doesn’t recoil or cry, but she just looks at them very seriously and quizzically. I noticed this first at the doctor, and then again today when a few of John’s comics friends came over. After a few minutes, she gets used to the new folks and starts waving.
I’ve been obsessed with New York City real estate on-and-off for the past few years, as we’ve been shopping for apartments around Brooklyn. As we now struggle with the question of whether to buy or rent in this market – more and more I am thinking we rent until this whole thing shakes out in a year or two – I’ve discovered this guy Jonathan Miller. He’s very clear and insightful. Here he is speaking to some Fox news people on one of their shows. I thought this was an excellent bit, and I like that he addresses what I suspect is going to happen in the Spring: a brief uptick in Manhattan (and I assume also Brooklyn) home sales stats that will make people think this whole thing is over but will really just be seasonality. I think the downturn in home prices in this area will last much longer. I also wonder if there won’t be a reversal or at least a slowing of the gentrification that has boosted prices in the parts of Brooklyn where we’ve been looking. I’m frustrated that, nearly 3 years after moving to New York, we remain in the same lovely but overpriced one-bedroom rental. Sharing a bedroom with a nine-month-old is getting difficult. Just now, at 4 AM, I woke up Nina when I got out of bed to get water and pump, and now I’m waiting for her to stop crying and go back to sleep so that I can get back to bed myself. Can’t we just buy a bigger place already?! Jonathan’s Miller’s insights are helpful as I try to exercise patience. His insights…and the idea that a year or two from now, that Cobble Hill or at least Fort Greene townhouse may actually fall within our price range.