Friday, October 29, 2010

Little Miss Independent

You know how you can try and trick kids to make them do what you want them to do? Like, psych them out for a brief moment, all in the name of manipulation? Say they are fooling around and not getting out the door fast enough, so you say, "See ya, kid, I am leaving now, bye..." and pretend to leave and then they fear being left alone and come running. You know that trick? Well, it doesn't work with Isota. I really don't think that she is worried about being alone. She'll pretty much do things when she wants to do them.

Example: we were babysitting yesterday for her two little friends and we were all gearing up for a walk to the park. I put the two kids in the double stroller (what's funny is how I have started thinking of them as "the kids" as though Isota is separate from that. I actually say things like, "Sody, let's take the kids to the park," like she is the Grand Dame of maturity since she is a few months older than her friends) and Isota was going to walk next to me. Usually I put her in the Ergo pack on my front while pushing the stroller - you have to see all this to believe it - but yesterday she wanted to walk. (My big girl!) As we left the gated yard, she spotted some toys in the corner that she wanted to play with and made a beeline for them. Convincing her to come back and join us proved futile so I said, "Ok, well, the kids and I are headed to the park...I guess you can stay here then," thinking that would get her. Nope. All I got was, 'Yeah. Bye!" So I walked out of the gate and stomped my feet, pretending to be walking away, thinking that would make her run over. Nope. So we stayed outside the gate (I could spot her through a hole in the wood) and I watched her, trying a little experiment to see how long before she would actually get scared and come find us. And the thing was, she never did get scared! She just played by herself for a good 5 - 10 minutes (a lot in toddler time), not caring that we weren't there or that we "left" her, until she seemed to get a little bored and then finally wandered back over to the gate. Which she then opened by herself. And she seemed very surprised to see us on the other side.

Other days, she decides to walk in the complete opposite direction of where we are supposed to be going. She just tells me "Bye" and goes. I find it pretty amusing until I watch and watch and watch and realize she has no intention of turning around and coming back. And then I have to chase her down like a crazy person. How we have gone - in less than two years - from a seven pound crying little dependent nugget to this opinionated little lady who seems to think she can stroll down the sidewalk alone is beyond me. I live in a constant state of bewilderedness.

Monday, October 18, 2010

File Under: Things I Want to Remember Forever

Have I told you yet about the way Isota runs? She really puts her arms into it, swinging them at little 90 degree angles, like a serious racewalker. Like she is on a mission to get where she is going. It's pretty amazing. She also started doing this little shoulder shimmy when she is really happy about something. If you ask her about something she likes or wants, she grins and shakes her shoulders up and down a bunch of times in quick succession. Total ham, this one.

There are all these tiny little things cropping up now that I want to hold onto because I know she is going to outgrow them soon. The shoulder shake, the funny run, the way she says her own name ("A-zsha-zsha") while she scrunches up her face. She shocks us near-daily with something new. It's like she has reached a new threshold of how she plays. A new savviness about the world around her. Sometimes just witnessing that could bring me to tears. How she knows how to pour us pretend tea with her new tea set and serve it with a spoon so we can stir in our pretend sugar. How she knows to cover her ears when a siren goes by. How she finds a lipstick in my bag and takes the cap off and pretends to put it on. How she goes "mmmmmm!" when she eats something yummy and how she says "ooooooh" when she admires her own artwork. Today I asked her if she was a baby and she said, "NO WAY!!" Then I asked if she was a big girl and she said, "YEAH!!"

She's fun as hell right now.

Monday, October 11, 2010


Last week Sody and I were driving home from Davis and we stopped at the Nut Tree. It used to be this great restaurant/store/complex that everyone who has made the drive between Sacramento and San Francisco has been to. When I was a kid it was a given that we would stop at the Nut Tree on the way to SF, and I would check out the veggie dip samples in the back and drool over the gigantic iced cookies in the front. Of course in the 90s the place got demolished and what is essentially a mini-mall was put up in its place...because that is the kind of world we live in, where anything remotely original and interesting gets replaced by homogenized junk, but I digress. The good news is that they kept some of the kiddie rides from the original Nut Tree and set up a new little kiddie wonderland.

So we stopped and we went on some rides. Sody calls them "whys" and when she says it she does a little arm motion like she is driving a car. It kills me.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

I Swear This is the Last One

Since our NJ trip was now a full month ago, I suppose I should wrap up this "New Jersey Is..." series. For our final installment we bring you: family. Going to New Jersey for us means hanging out with family above all else. We stay at Mom Mom and Pop Pop's, Joe's siblings come over for late night Risk games, cousin Ryan comes over to play, we visit grandparents and other various members of the (huge) family, you get the idea. There are plenty of playmates for Isota and a whole lotta love to go around. One of the best part of this trip was she learned everyone's name. Some came out a little funny - Courtney was "Der Der" and Cory was "Der" - but she was saying them. Constantly going around the room pointing and repeating names. Waking up every morning asking, "Pop Pop? Mom Mom?"

This was also part of the hardest part of the trip. As Sody gets older and more aware of people around her, realizing who everyone is, knowing she is safe and loved and adored by this part of her family too, it is just so hard to leave. It gets harder every time we go east. And it feels unfair taking her away and only being able to make the trip once or maybe twice a year. And it's a huge thing Joe and I struggle with, wondering where we can live so that everyone is happy. Where everyone who wants to love this little lady can do so, where will be best for her to grow up. This is the stuff that keeps me up at night because there are no easy answers to any of it. But I take comfort in the fact that all of this means that there are just so many people that want to love our little girl. So much family, so much love, and for that we are thankful.