Friday, February 29, 2008

Leap Day!

Over the past few days, Paprika has started saying the most wonderful sentence. She says, "I love you soooo much!" Sometimes she forgets a word or two and it comes out, "I love much!" or "I love so much!" or just "Love Much!" It's a pretty incredible feeling no matter how she says it. Even if she is just imitating what I say to her a million times a day, I don't care. It's still wonderful.

Paprika is also VERY interested in climbing, and fitting herself into any and every nook she can find in our house. You can see that she really enjoys crawling into the kitchen cupboards!

Paprika is pretty girly. She loves rummaging through my purse, putting on chapstick or lipstick, combing her hair, and wearing my shoes. She likes to use my make-up brushes to put make-up on herself, me, her Pooh, Daddy, and anyone else she can find. She will walk up to you with a make-up brush and say "Make-up? Make-up?" before she attacks you with the brush. She has recently discovered Disney Princesses and now everytime she sees something with a Disney Princess on it, she exclaims "Princess! Princess! Princess!" It sort of sounds like Printhess, but we both know what she's saying. We have the Disney Princess Sing-Along DVD, which has a few of the songs from Disney movies, and watching it is Paprika's very favorite thing to do- she will sit mesmerized by it and hum the songs.

She has also started singing "Old MacDonald's Farm." The song usually sounds like this "Lalalalalala...sheep...baa...eieio. Lalalalala...puppy...woof...eieio." She loves singing and dancing, and will twirl herself around the living room until she's dizzy.

Today we went to the park, and again she wanted to explore the men's bathroom. She also wanted to run up to the man mowing the lawn and figure out how the lawnmower worked. She is very independent and loves to run off in her own direction. There really is no containing her, or coercing her to do anything that she doesn't want to do. That, too, sounds familiar! :-)

We measured Paprika last night and she's now 32 inches and about 28 or 29 pounds. She's grown about an inch in the past two months. There was another little girl at the park today Paprika's age, and Paprika was so much taller than her- in all honesty, Paprika looked like a giant next to her! I'm curious to see where Paprika is on the growth curve when we go in for her next check-up.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Little Explorer

Paprika I went to the park yesterday and today, and both days she was completely uninterested in the playground. Instead, she wanted to explore the woods around the park, take in the war memorial, and spend lots of time checking out the bathrooms! Even though the park was teeming with toddlers, and yesterday Elizabeth and Isabella went to the park with us, Paprika had her own agenda. Yesterday she kept taking off, and at one point I got a little frustrated, so I said, "Okay, Paprika. See you later. Bye, bye," and I started walking away. She yelled after me, "Bye bye, Mama!" and walked off in the opposite direction. I guess reverse psychology doesn't work on her!

Today she was fascinated with the men's room and all she wanted to do was touch the men's urinals! It was a gorgeous day, but she wanted to go inside the men's restroom at the park (there aren't any doors to the restroom), and touch the urinals. I tried everything to get her to stay away, but she would have a big meltdown whenever I took her elsewhere, and would just keep running back to the bathroom! Hopefully she got it out of her system. I don't know if we can keep going to that park if all she's going to do while we're there is explore the men's room!

When I finally got her to leave the restroom, she went over to the war memorial and had a wonderful time exploring every inch of it. She was particularly fascinated with the "tin man" (like the Wizard of Oz). She gave him a kiss on his forehead, which was pretty sweet! She also pointed out his hands, hair, eyes, ears, nose, and his shoes!

Monday, February 25, 2008

The Zoo!

Today was a perfect day for the zoo. Mr. Mustard had the day off work, it was gorgeous, sunny, and 75 degrees, and it was a Monday, so hardly anyone was there! Perfection!

We saw the new gorilla exhibit, which was phenomenal. They've been working on it for years, and it's finally done! Paprika was very excited to see the "monkeys" and had a great time running around pointing them out. We also say the hippos (which Paprika pronounces "Heeeepos"), zebras, lions, ducks, peacocks, flamingos, tigers, and a whole bunch of other animals. The male lion roared at the top of his lungs for about five minutes while we were watching him. The roaring really fascinated Paprika- it didn't scare her- she was just very interested in what he was trying to say. The tigers had two baby cubs with them, and they were having a ball playing and wrestling eachother. It was too cute for words!

Paprika wanted to walk the entire length of the zoo. The LA Zoo is on the side of a steep hill, but that didn't seem to deter Paprika. She wants nothing to do with the stroller and would just prefer to walk herself, thank you very much!

The zoo just launched a wonderful outdoor playground for kids, so we had a lot of fun playing there when we were done visiting the animals. Paprika had a great time running around with Mr. Mustard on the playground equipment. She's a bit aprehensive about the slides right now- she refuses to go down them now when just a few weeks ago it was her favorite thing to do!

Over the weekend, we just relaxed around the house and tried to stay dry- it's been raining a bit. We watched the Academy Awards last night, which was great fun. Paprika actually took a nap for the first three hours of it- I put her down for a nap right as the show was coming on, and she woke up right before they announced Best Director. So, she watched a little red carpet with me and then got to see the end of the show. I'm being pretty strict about her wake-up time now, which is helping her move towards and earlier schedule. If I let her, she would really sleep all day long- and then we'd miss out on fun days like today at the zoo!

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Family Day at The Park

We had a great time on Sunday at the park. Mr. Mustard was off work, and we just all chilled together. It was fantastic! After the park, we went to Chipotle, and Paprika actually ate some guacamole and veggie burrito. We've been trying to get her to eat guacamole for a year now, and she finally relented and tried it. At last, she ate something besides a bagel, her main dietary staple!

All in all, it was a very relaxing day. Paprika still stays up til 2am and wants to sleep until 2pm. I'm working on fixing that, but she is very, very set in her ways. This is what she looks like at 1 p.m., after twenty minutes of me trying to gently rouse her:

Needless to say, she is SO much like her parents sometimes. ;-)

Monday, February 18, 2008

18 Months And Also 1 1/2 Years!

Just like that, Paprika turned 18 months old on Saturday! Mr. Mustard had to work, so it was just us girls all day. We had fun, though. We woke up and did errands- mostly just mailing off my Ebay items. Then we came home, had lunch and watched a little Barney (Paprika's favorite dinosaur). Then we took the jogging stroller to the park, where we met a bunch of other babies. Paprika was her usual fun self, and insisted on swinging in only the big kid swings (she prefers them over the baby swings now). On the walk home, we talked to my mom on the phone, which was great- it was wonderful catching up with her and hearing how her foot is healing. Then we did some drawing with crayon, and Paprika drew in her Valentine's Day card for daddy. She's starting to really love drawing now, which is a change from a month or so ago.

I can't believe she's 1 1/2 years old already! Her vocabulary continues to explode, and she says all sorts of simple sentences and complex words. When she wakes up in the morning, the first thing she says now is "Where's Barney?"- after watching a Barney video only once or twice, she became hooked and now refers to him all the time. Paprika still has not watched any tv besides a few kid's videos here and there. We're hoping to keep her pretty commercial-free. There's just something about Barney, though, that she has latched onto and he makes her so happy, so I do give in sometimes. Not every moment can be filled with books, blocks, and drawing, I guess!

I forgot to mention awhile back that we have started incorporating different languages into Paprika's life. I have been speaking Spanish to her off and on since she was three months old. I recently bought her a music cd of French children's songs, and we play it in the car. She loves it. I also bought a three dvd set of French immersion programming for babies and toddlers. We are learning French together, it seems. I have also watched Plaza Sesamo with Paprika, which is the Spanish version of Sesame Street. A lot of times, we'll have it on in the background while we're playing or doing things around the house. I plan on also exposing Paprika to German early on- there's a kid's dvd course I am going to get soon, and Mr. Mustard will be working on exposing her to German- he is conversant enough to teach her a thing or two. Even though I know that watching dvds and speaking a little here and there to Paprika is not going to make her fluent, I believe (as do researchers) that just exposing children to a language will help them be better able to learn it later on in life- they absorb the sounds and the words become part of their subconscious.

I've already been looking into bilingual schooling for Paprika. There is a German preschool near us that just opened two half days/week for ages 3 and up. We also have an excellent Japanese immersion school near us in Pasadena, and then there's also a fantastic French immersion school. So, this is all just the beginning. I find it all pretty exciting.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Happy Valentine's Day!

What an exciting day! I love Valentine's Day because it's all about love. And I love love! I want to wish everyone a very happy, joyous Valentine's Day. I hope you are all doing something special today with someone you love.

There are so many people I love who I can't be with today, but you all mean so much to me. My grandparents, my mom and dad, Eric and Robbie, Laura, Kevin, Caroline, and Stephie, all the Ashmores, Mr. Mustard's mom, Ann, Sarah, Miker, all my friends from Berkeley, USC, and everywhere in between- I'm sorry I haven't been a better friend by keeping in touch on a more regular basis. You all mean so much to me and I think about you every single day. You are in my thoughts and prayers each night. I love you.

This Valentine's Day, Paprika and I are going to do our usual: drive around the neighborhood in her car, go to the park, and make a yummy dinner just us two girls. Mr. Mustard is up in Santa Barbara and will be in good company. His mom is coming in from Maine on Valentine's Day night, so he will see her when he picks her up from the airport. Mr. Mustard came down Wednesday night (the day before Valentine's Day) to see me, which was just wonderful. We were up talking til after midnight, so technically I got to see him on Valentine's Day. We'll celebrate this weekend more officially when he is back down here.

This Saturday is also Paprika's 18 month birthday!!! I can't believe it. It's all going too quickly. Please tell me how to make time stop, or how I can better savor every moment of life as it whizzes by me. I'm living in the moment, and each moment is more precious than the next.

Look At That Smile!

When did Paprika get so many teeth?! Her smile just blows me away. It seems like just yesterday it was all gums, but not anymore.

Paprika is always laughing, smiling, and cracking jokes with me. She has the best sense of humor, and we laugh all the time together. She makes me smile so much my face hurts. Sometimes we go on laughing marathons, where we both can't stop laughing. She's an instant dose of joy and I'm so grateful to have her (and her smile) in my life.

Monday, February 11, 2008

One More Park Picture

You can really see how much Paprika's hair is growing. She's becoming quite a lady!

Sunny Summery Days

The weather has been phenomenal- high 70s, low 80s- and very sunny! Perfect outdoor weather and now that Paprika is better, we can finally enjoy it!

We went to the park today and it was packed! There were lots of kids and babies running around. Paprika mostly wanted to explore the park and play with other kids' toys. I am working on explaining to her that not everything is hers. It's a new concept for her. It's very frustrating to her that she can't just take some other baby's toy stroller out for a walk, or drink another child's sippy cup, or take another baby's ball out to play. I try to reason with her, but it is sort of difficult to reason with a 17 month old!

I don't want to have to tell her that she can't play with this or that, especially when it's not something dangerous. I don't want her to think of things in terms of "her toys" and "other people's toys" because then she will get more possessive about her things. Right now she will share anything with anyone. But most people don't like it when your baby takes off at the park with their child's toys, so I have to do what I have to do.

Paprika has been asking every day to see Isabella, who we haven't seen in over a week because of the girls being sick. Today she said over and over again "Bella, Bella, Bella, Bella, Bella, Bella, Bella." She really knows how to play the broken record card very well! Hopefully we will see them soon. It's amazing to me how Paprika remembers people and wants to see them. She's still talking about Robbie, and we haven't seen him since Christmas!

Finally Better!

Whew! Well, after 8 full days of being sick, Paprika finally seems to be feeling better! I was wondering when she'd ever start feeling better. It was truly the most miserable she's ever been, and I'm so glad it's done! She still has a lingering cough, but no fever and she's finally eating solid food. All last week, she barely ate anything and was just miserable. She was sick of being sick, and I was sick of her being sick!

This morning was the first morning in a week that she woke up without crying. Every other morning, she woke up screaming. She was laying in bed this morning talking to her stuffed animals when I heard her on the baby monitor. She was so happy to get up and ate half a bagel with cream cheese for breakfast. That made me so happy.

It was really hard last week being alone with her while Mr. Mustard was in Santa Barbara working. It's hard enough to take care of a well baby, but a sick baby is just a lot to handle alone. I am so grateful that she's back to her old self and is back to being Miss Chatterbox Busybody again. I have my old Paprika back, thankfully!

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Paprika Walking In Mommy's Shoes

Paprika decided to put on my high heels to walk around the house today. Here are two videos of her in action. Cute!

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

A Hat On Her Head!

Paprika puts anything and everything on her head and calls it a hat. Her favorite is this green bag that she calls both "purse" and "hat"- very multipurpose! When Paprika is done wearing her hat, she'll give it to me or Mr. Mustard and we have to wear it. It's pretty funny.

Paprika is still under the weather. She's feeling better than she was over the weekend, but still is not well enough to do any of our usual fun outings, like going to the park or the indoor playground. Today we "drove" her convertible car around the neighborhood twice just because she had to get out of the house. We were quite a sight- she had her blanket tucked around her in the car, her sippy cup of water in one hand, and her little purse in the other hand. It was good to get outdoors with her and hopefully she'll be well enough in the next few days to go on a real adventure back to the park!

Monday, February 4, 2008

Poor Sick Baby

Paprika is not feeling well at all. She came down with this nasty flu on Friday evening, and has just not been her self these past few days. I'm hoping it passes quickly. Her fever is down to low-grade (it was pretty high on Saturday and Sunday), but she still lacks energy and has a terrible cough. It's no fun being sick!

I have been letting her watch movies- it seems to be the only thing that calms her down right now. First thing in the morning, I put on The Wizard of Oz for her (Wizard! as she calls it). We've been watching it on repeat and I've been skipping past all the scary parts, of course. In our version of The Wizard of Oz, it's all songs and no conflict! Someday she'll watch the scary parts, but not at age 17 months.
Watching The Wizard of Oz:

I've also been letting Paprika watch all the classic Disney songs on YouTube. She loves watching the songs from Mary Poppins, The Sound of Music, Sleeping Beauty, Snow White, The Little Mermaid, etc. We watch them over and over again, and she can't get enough.
Watching Videos on YouTube:

She loves watching movies of herself the best, though! She gets such a kick out of it. Since she's sick, I give in everytime she walks over to the computer and says "Picture...Picture...Picture...Picture." That's my signal to fire up the home movies and the YouTube videos for her to watch. I am indulging her a bit since she's sick. Of course, once she's well, we'll just go outside and have fun at the park again, so I'm not too worried about her becoming a couch potato.

My eye is feeling a lot better now. I'm done patching it, and my vision is restored. So, that's great news, at least!