Thursday, August 31, 2006

We Ruined Our Baby

Pam and I have been struggling with Meg's hair for about 6 months now. We definitely didn't start using rubber bands, barets, or "hairclips" as Megan says, early enough and now we're paying dearly for it. We finally decided that we had to do something to fix the problem. I scoured the yellow pages looking for a children's hair salon in Salem. With a name like Societie's Child, I thought I found the perfect one--boy was I wrong. We walked in there and I was the youngest client by about 50 years! The stylist told me that people get the wrong impression from the name of their establishment all the time. I felt like a total moron, not only because we were definitely in the wrong type of place, but because I talked to two different ladies on the phone and mentioned the appointment was for my 19 month-old daughter and really got the impression that it was a children's salon. Oh well...back to the problem at hand. Megan was very stoic during her "styling." Either that or she was terrified. She didn't move a muscle and wouldn't take her eyes off of me. Every time the stylist wanted Megan to move her head, she told me where to stand, and Megan would follow.

Our solution to Megan's bad hair...bangs. Neither Pam, or myself like her new hair, but it is a little easier to get into a "hairclip."

Before we walked out of the store, Megan was presented with a first hair cut certificate that officially graduates her from babydom. It made the parents sad as we definitely like Megan being a baby.

In other news, in addition to the pocket discovery mentioned on an earlier post, Megan also has discovered that she's a total girl! I've never met a more girly girl in my life. She loves her stuffed animals (especially "medium bungly pig) and asks for her "blaaaanket" all the time now. She sometimes wants it tied around her neck so she can have her hands free for doing things--like her nails. She totally reminds me of Alex P. Keaton here.

Monday, August 28, 2006

Professionals gone! (almost)

Finally, after what seems like forever, the professionals are finished with our kitchen. We had the tile backsplash installed last week, and we're really happy with it. We originally planned on having a 6.5" backsplash made of the same material as the counter top. But the tile idea covers up all the wall blemishes (and there were plenty of them) and really gives the kitchen a finished look. We're very happy we changed our minds about having tile in there.

While we were at it, we also had the entry hall re-tiled to match the design in the kitchen. It too looks great and the only thing that we have to do now is have the closet doors cut and the new weather stripping put on the front door.

The final thing that a professional is going to do is to come back and fix those dreaded trash can cupboard doors that have been giving the morons at a certain home improvement store a bad time. If you ever remodel your kitchen, pay the extra money to avoid the big box stores. Our kitchen looks awesome, but the headaches aren't really worth the money you save.

More Cuteness

Last night after blogging, Mac asked me how many entries I did.

P: Just two
M: What were they called?
P: 'Zoo' and 'Positively Cute.'
M: Jeez! I am so sick of you writing about how cute I am all the time! Can't you find anything else to write about?

Ok, honey, point taken. You're cute, too.

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Positively Cute

Megan is quite a chatterbug and narrates everything she does and names everything around her. I particularly like when she takes off at an accelerated pace and yells out "running." But this can create confusion. She'll say "banana" and it is up to us to figure out if she actually wants a banana, or if she is merely pointing out its presence. Mac has come up with a little routine to see how serious Megan's desire is. It usually goes like this:

m: nana
M: Do you want a banana?
m: yeah
M: Are you sure?
m: yeah
M: Are you positive?
m: yeah
M: OK, I'll get you a banana.

Today when Megan was goofing off, Mac asked "are you cute?" and Megan replied with the standard "yeah." So Mac continured," Are you sure?" To which Megan answered, "Poz-tive!"

Saturday, August 26, 2006


Megan can identify and say almost all of the common zoo animals in her picture books, so we figured it was time for her to see the real things. Thursday we headed up to the Portland Zoo as a way for me to use up my last vacation days for the year (which oddly ends August 31st. The new year of vacation starts September 1).

Megan had a great time and was particularly interested in the giraffes and the elephants. Megan was also super excited by the lorikeet exhibit, that is, until they started landing on us. Megan did not think that was necessary for avian appreciation. Check out the skepticism:

Megan had a good time petting the goats and asked to pet a few other animals in the zoo, too.

But the highlight of the trip for Megan - BY FAR - was the discovery of pockets! Who knew such entertainment existed in the sweater she's been wearing for six months! And did you know there is actually two of them, one for each hand?! Who can even look at monkeys when there are pockets to be explored? ("Megan, what are those?... "pockets!"..."no, they are monkeys (Megan briefly glances up) What does a monkey say?"... "pockets!")

Friday, Megan discovered a very small pocket in the back of her shorts, much to her delight. Today, I cruelly dressed her in an outfit with no pockets. Megan spent the day shoving her arm into the loose sleeveholes of her tanktop all the while yelling "pocket" as she ended up with her shirt half off.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Messy Megan

Megan has been completely uninterested in feeding herself - up until now. In fact, previously Megan so preferred to be fed, that if you held a morsel out in your hand, she would walk her mouth up to your hand rather than take the food into her own hand and feed herself.

Seems all of that is changing. Megan is currently very interested in silverware (and has the words for knife, spoon ("poon) and fork (this one sometimes comes out sounding naughty, although Megan is getting A LOT better at including the 'r')). Nowadays Megan will put up a fuss until she gets to be in charge of the silverware, though she is clever enough to let us feed her when she is really hungry.

*WATCH MEGAN EAT*(2.7 mb .avi file)
We are happy for her independence, but man, is she messy! We usually cut her off when she starts finger painting with the yogurt!

Monday, August 21, 2006

At my expense

This afternoon I was home from work while the tile guy worked in our entry. Charlie is my favorite of the workers so far, but nonetheless, he is still some strange guy hanging out in our house. So we decided to head out for the afternoon.

Trying to top Megan's introduction to the Slurpee yesterday, we set off for one of her favorite locals, the A.C. Gilbert Discovery Center. The place has pretty standard exhibits, but Megan is easily amused. Meanwhile, I was totally impressed with A.C. Gilbert himself - the guy went to Yale med school, won an Olympic pole vault gold medal, held world records for most consecutive pull-ups and the long jump, and invented the erector set among other things. Mac was nonplussed by both.

Afterwards we decided to investigate the transition of our closest Mexican restaurant, Ixtapa, into the newly opened Cozumel. Ixtapa was a dump, with no real decor but with good Mexican food. Cozumel's new interior is nicely done with brick lined doorways, an amber faux finish on the walls and tile mosaics; the food, however, was crap.

While eating Megan and I got into some head shaking, face making antics. I was having a great time being goofy as Megan was laughing away. Mac turned to Megan, "Mommy's being silly, huh?"

"Yeah... Crate-zee," Megan replied.

I looked at Megan clueless. Mac ventured a guess: "Crazy?"

"yeah!" said Megan emphatically.

"yeah, mommy is crazy!" Mac goaded.

"crate-zee!" Megan and Mac laughed together, at my expense! But how could I not laugh along, too?

(Note: later I asked Mac if Megan really knows the word 'crazy' -it seems a little abstract and not often used in our house. But Mac says there is a song at library story time that involves "silly" and "crazy." So we think Megan really was saying "crazy", but this was just a random word association with "silly" rather than actual knowledge of the word's meaning. Megan, indeed, has gotten very good at starting the next line of a song for you if you leave a long enough pause. If you sing a line and then wait, Megan can cue you for every line of "twinkle, twinkle" and most of the ABC's, and apparently the silly/crazy song, too.)

Monday, August 14, 2006

Diet Update

As the only member of the family not actually on a diet, I thought I'd comment on everyone else's progress.

The cats have been dieting for the last year. Zeus is actully looking thinner. The worm he had earlier this year may have helped. He also suffers from the "you snooze, you lose" syndrome, as Dante has usually finished both of their meals before Zeus gets around to it. Zeus spends most of the sunny days out hunting diet supplementation, mostly small mice, but occasional snakes and birds, too. He's gotten pretty good at this.

Dante has not lost weight by eating two dinners. He might have even gained a little. And every once in a while even dumb Dante gets a mouse.

Mac is doing great with running. The bonus point system for rounds of golf seems to be pretty good incentive. Unfortunately, Mac still has some trouble with carb cravings. Mac says he feels thinner, but he refuses to get on the scale and a recent pants purchase found him still in the same size.

Megan has successfully weaned from the bottle and the process was fairly pain free for everyone. We also did a good job getting her off juice. As feared though, Megan has given up milk completely. She'll take a rare sip from one of our glasses, but otherwise she is milk-free. So in place of the cow-juice we added calcium supplemented orange juice, which once again got Megan back "on the juice." Cutting out the milk calories has made a drastic difference in Megan's eating: she's gone from eating like a bird to eating like a horse. In fact, I would bet Megan puts more away than I do in a given day (Meg had two bowls of bean casserole tonight to my one!). Her little Buddah-belly doesn't look any smaller. Additionally, Megan has turned her nose up at " the candy of the meat world" (bacon) on multiple attempts. She is, however, doing a good job with cheese, yogurt, and beans (the candy of the veggie world?).

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Birthday Splash

We flew back from California today and headed straight to Albany for the Mull Family Birthday Splash. Albany has a really cool public water park that can be rented out for private parties. Megan really had a great time, especially on the water slide. We got home and she was in bed and asleep within 10 minutes.

Wednesday, August 9, 2006

Nature vs. Nurture

Several of my friends (particularly Jenn) have commented on how little a parent's influence shapes a kid's personality. You can teach your kids certain behaviors, but the underlying personality is all nature. Many siblings prove this point as they can be quite different despite having the same parental influences.

I am now starting to see some of this in Megan. Quite specifically, Megan is a chicken, a scaredy cat, a yellow bellied lizard. And I don't think this came from watching us.

At the Newport aquarium Megan enjoyed watching the fish, but she would not, would NOT put her hands in the touch pool. Mac and I had our hands all over the touch pool, but Megan had a complete tantrum as I tried to guide her hand into the water.

At the shark exhibit, Megan was OK watching the sharks, though she would pull away from the glass everytime a shark came near. At the end of the tunnel there was a large set of shark jaws (the ones Mac and Megan posed in). Lots of kids were touching the teeth and not one of them lost so much as a finger, but again Megan preferred to keep her hands to herself... very tightly to herself.

And then right as you leave the building a huge fake shark hangs overhead from the high ceiling right above the door. "Megan look at the shark," we pointed out, without a touch of fear in our voices. As we walked out hand-in-hand, Megan kept a watchful and very wary eye on the shark. Just as we were about to walk under it Megan sat down on the floor, started waving her hands madly and yelling "No. No. No.", all the while watching the shark with dread. I tried to get her to stand up; I told her it was a nice shark; but she wouldn't budge. I had to scoop her up and carry her under the shark while she was clinging for dear life.


On Monday, we took a day trip to Newport. We had a good time at the Oregon Coast Aquarium - Megan particularly liked the big fish and the otters. Afterwards we went to the beach near Yaquina lighthouse - this was Megan's heaven! Beautiful white sand to dig, run and fall in!

"Hey Mom, why can't I have a sandbox like this?"

Friday, August 4, 2006


Yesterday's silliness aside, language development is the one greatest thing that makes you recognize higher intelligence in your previously unexpressive child. And Megan just happens to be at the point where her language is exploding. I don't think I am exaggerating to say that Megan is picking up a new word almost everyday.

First came the noun stage. Megan would name everything she knew or would pick up. She still delights in this, particularly if it is a word she just recently learned.

But now Megan is also exploring verbs and adjectives.

Outside Megan used to tell me everything she was picking up: rock, rake (her toy one), stick, leaf, flower. Now she skips the name and gives me a descripter: "lil-lull"(little), big (anything larger than a golf ball essentially), "heebee" (heavy - for the things she can't pick up), "dreen" (green), "lellow" (yellow), purple.

Megan is also starting to put word phrases together - mostly ones that let you know exactly what she wants.
"Tows (cows). pet", "tee (tree). touch... ouch" (Megan likes to touch the pine trees and then say ouch though they don't really hurt her). "food eat." My favorite two word phrases, though, are "hold you" and "carry you." Hey, she might understand possessive's, but the pronouns still need a bit of work.

Oddly, we thought we'd better understand our kid when she started talking, but really this created more mysteries.

Why does Megan stand in front of the fridge and name everything that could possibly be in there, but if you ask her if she wants any of the things she just named, she says no.

Why did it take Megan two extra weeks to master the color orange, when she could neam all the other colors left and right? My theories are that the word is too hard to say ('utch') or that she just prefered to lump all the orange things in with her favorite color yellow. And why does Megan still mix up black and white? Those two are as different as, well, black and white!

And we wonder where Megan picks up her words. Coming out of the YMCA two bikers rode by. "Cycles" says Megan. What! no one taught her that! And the day after Megan got her fingernails cut she pointed to her toenails and said "nails - cut." So we cut her toenails too, amazed she had grasped that concept without explicit teaching.

But the worst mystery is when Megan stands in front of you pleading, constantly repeating a single urgent word, but we can only stare back blankly. What are those jumbled syllables supposed to mean?? Hopefully, we'll learn soon enough.

Wednesday, August 2, 2006

Diagnosis: Smart

I have always claimed that blogging is a bit of an egotistical pursuit - a sort of "I am so special the world should be able to read about me" kind of thing. On your blog you can talk about Old Number One for as long as you'd like without interruption. ME, ME, ME, ME, ME - it's one big Me-fest all day, everyday.

The Parent Blog genre takes a slightly different twist - a variant braggadocio, if you will - since the focus tends to be on one's offspring rather than on oneself. We tell ourselves that it is for the family, but somewhere along the line stories pop out to let the reader know that my kid is so cute/smart/funny/loveable that there should be world wide access to his life!

Now that I have admitted this I will proceed with my thinly veiled attempt to show you how cute/smart/funny/loveable my own kid is. Get ready to be wowed and you might want to bring along a Grain of Salt, too (though this is, of course, all true).

Megan's doctor's appointment wasn't all bad. While we waited we read the handout titled "Your 18 month old" (or something equally clever). We were immediately impressed by how far ahead Megan is developmentally (except for that stupid bottle thing). And though we've always thought Megan was a bit slow with her motor skills, according to the handout, she was doing about right.

The handout stated an 18 month old should have 10-15 words. 10-15 words! Psshaw - we laugh at this paltry number! Megan could do 15 words before her first birthday. She's now doing 10 times that. Admittedly, many of them require an interpreter (most of the R's and S's get omitted along with a lot of the N's in the middle of words), but nonetheless, the comprehension is there. In fact Megan gave up "signing" completely about two months ago - she can now say everything she ever learned to sign and then some.

"An 18 month old should be able to point to body parts when named." But Megan doesn't need us to do the naming! She's great at the "what's this?" game. She's got a great repetoir: toe, foot, leg, knee, "tum" (tummy), "BOTT-m" (bottom), "button" (belly button), "nip-nip" (nipple), neck, chin, lips, "tug" (tongue), teeth, nose, cheek, eyes, ear, "eye bow" (eye brow), head, hair, elbow, "wist" (wrist), "hag" (hand), "fee-ger" (finger), "KNUCK-el" (knuckle), back. In the last week she's also gotten really good mastery of the possessive - this threw her off forever! "Megan, where is Daddy's nose?" She'd point to her own nose. Now she get's it right and even uses the possessive herself: Daddy's, mommy's and "Mega's". (A kid's brain is so baffling. Ask Megan her name and she will tell you "May-may." She came up with this herself, though we use it some. But when she point's to her stuff it is always "Mega's").

During the exam, Megan was able to lift her shirt when asked and pointed to her tummy right on cue. She then promptly stuck her finger in her umbilicus and loudly announced, "button!"

"She's smart." the doctor declared.

To prove the point, Megan grabbed by jewelry and blurted "neckliss." The doc asked to see Megan's teeth. She pointed to her pearly whites and let out an exuberant "teeth." (what a show off)

"Wow, she is smart!" Hey this is coming from a non-biased, heavily trained professional whose job is to assess kids, so we don't feel that we can discount this diagnosis!

Tuesday, August 1, 2006

18 months

Megan had her 18 month check up on Monday.

Height: 31.5 inches (45%)
Weight: 25.4 pounds (70%)

And so at one and a half years of age, Megan is going on her first diet.

Ok, diet is a bit of an overstatement, but we were told cutting out juice might be a good idea ('empty calories'). Megan only gets a cup a day as it is, but at her size small cuts could make a big difference. Also we were told to cut Megan's milk intake from 24 oz a day (four 6 oz bottles) to 16 oz. Megan's already doing 2% milk - going lower is not recommended. All that milk fat is needed for healthy brain myelination!

And did you say "bottles"? We got a bit of a finger wagging for that one. Time to get the kid on sippy-cups.

I know, I know. But it isn't easy.

I have friends whose kids were still taking bottles at age three. Mac and I laughed at them. We swore our kid wouldn't be like that.

We tried switching Megan to sippy cups before she was one, but she'd take one sip and throw it down. She quickly learned to say "bottle" so that she was abundantly clear as to what she wanted. We bribed her with juice, which was the only way she'd use the sippy cup, but she wouldn't switch over for milk.

"Who's in charge - You or Her?" We weren't expecting Nanny 911 lessons from the pediatrician.

Megan has become a self-imposed vegetarian. Though I eschew meat myself, I have tried to encourage Megan to eat it. But put even the smallest morsel of meat in her mouth and she will spit it out immediately. We have tried to hide meat in beans, rice, peas - you name it - all the things she loves, but she just sucks off the disguising agent and spits out the meat. But a growing child needs protein, we tell ourselves as we hand Megan a bottle of milk to wash down those fruits and veggies.

More wet noodle lashings came our way. What about cheese? eggs? tofu? peanut butter? beans? and those childhood meat favorites bacon and hot dogs? Hmmm, yeah, we admitted, she eats some of those.

And so Thursday (my first day of vacation) Megan starts her high protein-bottle free- milk reduced diet.