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Wednesday, May 01, 2013

15 Months

We're running a few days late on this post because big news was breaking. In fact, all of my non-baby-chasing and non-working time was utterly consumed with offer forms, mortgage approvals, and writing and rewriting a pitch letter to make us sound like the most adorable family in the whole universe who you simply must sell your house. None of that matters. The place went for at least $200k over asking. Though we were apparently the second place offer again, though we knew the homeowner personally, though we'd been working on this for 3 weeks, they did not even counter our offer. Two well-educated, well-employed professionals can't afford to buy a basic 30 year old house in a good school district within 15 miles of Stanford. It's just not possible. And yet, the same house would go for 10% of the cost in Sacramento. I don't know what to do about that.

But in the meantime, a ton of other things happened this month. Athena has a confidence of motion that's astonishing. She runs. She often keeps moving her feet while not looking where she's going, which leads to her taking big missteps, running into things, and other general comedy that you just can't actually laugh about because it usually ends with a crying toddler. She gets over it quickly most of the time, but she had a doozy of a landing earlier this month where she scraped her nose and upper lip. She was too busy playing with another little girl and missed the transition from lawn to concrete. Concrete was unforgiving. Hugs and milk later, she was mostly better, but it took a good week for that boo-boo to heal.

This was during a visit from Karen and Rich. We had a great time seeing them again and managed to introduce them to Mongolian BBQ. Apparently, that's not so common in Cape Cod. We also took them out to see Beltramo's, the best liquor store I've ever seen. We toured the gardens of Sunset Magazine.
On an acre of lawn at Sunset Garden 
Found a dandilion
This is when I found out that Sunset isn't universally known. It's more of a west coast thing. Go figure, eh? We also took them out house hunting and to Happy Hollow to watch Athena rampage with the other kids. This time there was the world's most pushy goat that practically knocked the girl over. Luckily I got in the way and that crisis was averted since the wee miss was already sporting her skinned up nose. We also went to bocce in Los Gatos with the Lendvays and Foxes and enjoyed a game of ciders vs. wines, discovering a delightful cider: Angry Orchard Crisp Apple. And yeah, the cider drinkers totally won. Go us!

Athena is in a pretty clingy phase. She sticks to me like glue. If I'm present, then she wants me to hold her, feed her, everything her. So that's at once very sweet and also very annoying. Sometimes Mommy wants a break, but there we were at dinner with Karen and Rich and Karen tried to help by holding Athena's bottle. Athena swatted her hand away and started fussing. We thought maybe she was done. No, that's not it at all. She just wanted Mommy to hold it for her. Sigh. Karen had said that they'd watch Athena while we went out Saturday night. Turns out, this was perfect. We had a great time, just Erik and I having dinner together and then going out to see Argo at the Blue Light Cinema. We called after Argo to check in, and they'd had a totally fabulous night. With me out of the picture, Athena had a great time playing with Karen and Rich. We decided to stay for a second show and got to see Warm Bodies as well. It was the best double-feature we could've picked. Argo was edge-of-seat for well over an hour. Warm Bodies was thoroughly enchanting from start to finish.

The next morning we all headed to brunch at the Naglee Garage. Athena really enjoyed running around the patio.
Playing with Karen
We continue to get reports of super-adorableness from Early Horizons, Athena's daycare. She has become best friends with Clementine. I say to her on the way in in the morning, "Do you want to go play with Clementine today?" And she kicks her feet in glee. One day Athena was absent, so Jessica showed her a picture of Athena on her phone and that made Clementine happier. Later that week, our little sweetie gave Clementine a kiss, because that's what you do with people you love. Now all the experts say that she's too young to really play with other kids. That's just not what we experience though. Wendy said, "Yeah, well you and Erik are two of the most social people I know, so..."

Clementine and Athena at school
Athena is also an enormous fan of peekaboo. A napkin over her head will buy us another 10-15 minutes of sitting willingly at a restaurant. Apparently she's a champ about it at school too. They posted this photo and called her the Queen of Peekaboo:
Reigning Queen of Peekaboo
Early Horizons has a Facebook page for each room in the center. This is one of my greatest joys because they frequently post pictures of her, which totally brightens my day every time.

Athena stole her teacher's belt
Telling tales at lunchtime. 
It makes me feel a little less bad, because I know she's happy and enjoying the world even when I have to be at work.

That said, we did go back to DeLor Montessori to investigate a switch in situations. Schools seem to have an annual fee due in September, and we can realistically take 3 or 4 weeks off of daycare in August/September between Erik's summer and fall quarters. In preparation, we're evaluating where she should go in September. If we decide to stay at EH, that's fine, we'll just take her down to minimum enrollment for August/September to give Erik a little time to work on non-baby things. If we decide to switch, then we'll pause in August and start up again in mid-September. We showed up at DeLor and brought Athena in to see how she'd do and how the 18 months old room works. She did great, almost immediately diving in to play with the other kids and the new stuff in the room. The kids were just finishing up free play and they cleaned up the toys, then sat down to read books for a while. A little girl named Alyssa came over and said, "You have a really pretty necklace." Then she handed me a book and sat down for me to read it to her. I turned to the other teachers and said, "How old is she?" They said, "She's 2. She's just about to move up to the next room." It's amazing how fast kids grow and change at this age. After books, the kids sat down for circle time. They sang songs, with the teachers asking each of them what song they wanted to sing next. All the kids sang and clapped along. After singing was color flash cards. They all knew their colors and after they called it out, they would find someone wearing that color in the room. When that was done, it was time for snacks. All the kids got up and went to the table and sat down and waited while the teachers set out a scoop of Cheerios for each kid. These kids were 18-24 months old. So, I'm kind of down with that actually. I love the idea that the expectation is that they will be civilized - learning to put things away, wait for their food to hit the table, and take turns. After snack came time on the playground. We headed out at this point to get on to work. We chatted with the director for a few minutes, then walked out past the playground. On our way out, Alyssa said, "Bye bye. I hope you come back soon." So that's probably our plan for September, and as a bonus, it's about $150 less per month than at Early Horizons. The only catch is that we do love Early Horizons too, and we'd really miss Clementine.

We went to Sacramento for Nicole's 40th birthday party. It was a horrible drive, taking about 4 hours to get there, but we made it eventually, dropped Athena with my mom, and got to dance a Dancers Anonymous party for the first time in a really long time. We walked in just in time for Mustang Sally, and spent the night dancing to all the old favorites, and taught everyone the Night Fever before all was said and done. The next morning we had brunch with my grandparents. They hadn't seen Athena since February when she was just taking her first steps. This time she spent hours running in circles around the kitchen island.
The following weekend, my dad came down for lunch. Athena wanted nothing to do with sitting for lunch at Left Bank, and instead wanted to climb the stairs endlessly.
Les escaliers et l'enfant.
She's into doing everything these days. We stopped by Mice and Wendy's house and saw Michael riding his bike. He set it down and she wanted to get on the bike and ride next. She saw Lorelei climb onto a little yard cart, and she followed her. Then she wanted a ride. Both girls got one from Cyrus before long.
Yes, ferry me, kind sir!

Two girls, one ride.
She's still a huge fan of all the shoes, wearing daddy's shoes around the house.
Yep, these are perfect.

Watch me go!
She also had an evening where she insisted it was time to wear two pairs of pants.

The flowery ones add some flair, right?
Two Pants Dance!
Athena has also gotten helpful, and is actually good at a few tasks. Her favorite thing in the world is feeding the outdoor kitties. She also totally understands the phrase, "Do you want to go feed the kitties?" She'll say, "Kitties!" and jump off my lap and head for the door. This morning I decided to see if it was the helping or the kitties that were the best part. I had a stack of diapers by her door (unboxed after she went to bed last night). I said, "Can you hand me the diapers to put away?" She pulled the first off the stack and handed it to me around the bedroom door, then the next, and the next, and soon they were all put away. I said, "Thank you!" and she clapped and looked so proud. Now to find more household chores she can do!
Still the cutest!


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