December means…

Christmas holidays are coming up. I am very much looking forward to the time off. Adam’s dad is coming to visit us for the last week of the month, which should be nice, since we don’t get to spend much time with him.

It looks like Christmas day will be at our apartment again this year. I’m a bit worried about the tree and decorations with Lyra being so full of energy and destruction. I’ll probably leave the breakable ones off the tree this year. The tree’s only three feet tall anyway, so it’s not like I need a lot of decorations or anything.The day willl be fun and crowded with Mom & Merv, Chris & Jinni, Adam’s brothers, and Lyra, Adam & I. Last year there was snow… I wonder if we’ll have some this year? So far it’s just been very, very rainy.

Santa's Elf Lyra smilingI’m starting to think about Lyra’s gift list now. I know that some of our family has already picked up some gifts for her, but I’ve put together a list anyway of things we would like her to get (and things she really doesn’t need.) I’ll email it around to family and such.

I’m hoping that the cold I’ve had for the past week is the last one I have for a while. It’s been pretty nasty. Lyra brought it home from daycare, then I caught it. I vegged out last Sunday, ended up staying home on Monday and sleeping half the day, and then tried to work the rest of the week. Ended up going home a bit early on Thursday. Unfortunately, Lyra’s been coughing as much as I have, which means she hasn’t slept well at night, which means neither have I. Yesterday I was feeling better enough that I thought I’d be nearly fine today, but this morning I started coughing again pretty badly. By this afternoon I had a headache from coughing. Not fun, I am grumpy and want someone to take care of me while I lie about feeling sorry for myself. This, however, is not entirely an option, since Lyra’s also not feeling great, and I’d feel guilty asking Adam to take care of both of us.

So here’s my plan for December.

Part the first: keep Lyra’s incoming gifts to a minimum, because we don’t need to overwhelm ourselves with STUFF, because our place is small and because the little girl doesn’t need a billion toys. It’s so hard to break consumerism habits in myself; it’s even harder I think to ask others to do the same. Maybe if I keep our toy standards high we’ll end up with fewer, higher quality items instead of a lot of cheap dollar-store and discount shop things that’ll clutter our world up and are probably full of chemicals and such. Quality > Quantity. I must repeat this to myself.

As for gifts for myself: I’d like to see people and do things. Also, if anyone wants to offer babysitting as a gift, I would not be opposed to that. I’m a big fan of experiences over items for gifts. If some folks have things that they picked out just for me and absolutely love, I’m certainly not going to say no to them or be offended or anything, of course. I still LIKE gifts – it’s a weird balance for me, because I do have a bit of a weakness for nice stuff sometimes, but if I know I don’t NEED something then I feel a little guilty for wanting.

Part the second: Get over this stupid horrible cold and avoid another one until at least January. Okay, so I don’t have that much control over whether or not I catch a cold, but I will do my best to take care of myself for the next month, as much as I can around Lyra’s needs. That means I should sleep more. I’ll see what I can do.

Part the third: Get another awesome holiday photo of Lyra.

And then there was language

Every day Lyra repeats a new word back at me, or just outright says a word she didn’t say the day before. She learns instantaneously, and it’s one of the most incredible things I’ve ever seen. She’s been showing plenty of ‘headstrong toddler’ signs – she thinks it’s incredibly funny to do something we’ve told her repeatedly not to do – like throw random toys into the garbage can, pull the dish towels off their hanging rack, or play around with the chains that hold up some artwork hanging on the side of a shelf. She thinks it’s even funnier if we tell her no – she grins madly and bursts into giggles when we do.

Here are a few snippets and thoughts:

Running fairy LyraThe cat food lives in a bucket with a lid. Lyra likes to pick it up and carry it around in front of her, even though it’s half her height. When she gets tired of carrying it, she puts it on the floor and pushes it. The cats follow her around with longing – hoping she is about to feed them.

On Fridays when it’s raining and I want to take Lyra somewhere out of the house, we head down to the North Van library. There’s a great children’s area, and even a baby area that’s a bit cordoned off by bookshelves. Once there, I sit down on the floor or on a bench near the window and set Lyra loose. She immediately heads for the nearest bookshelf full of board books, carefully chooses one, and walks over to hand it to me. I ask her if she wants to read it (usually when she wants to read a book she’ll nod yes and climb into my lap) but every time she just looks at the cover for a moment and takes off back to the bookshelf, where she starts over with a new book. This can go on for a very long time, until I have a large stack of books that she isn’t really interested in reading. Sometimes I can hand her a book and ask her to put it back, and she does. Usually, though, she just ignores it and gets another book. She’ll also play with some of the toys, push around the book shopping baskets on wheels for a while, and stare at other children. It’s pretty entertaining.

Her new word today was hat. I don’t know when she learned it, but we were sitting on her bed and she pointed up at the two hats hanging on the wall and distinctly said hat. She then spent the rest of the day pointing at hats, carrying hats around, and saying hat.

On Wednesday we went to the Remembrance Day parade and service in the park. There were hundreds of people there, and many of them had brought their dogs. The word of the day for Wednesday was dog. I missed most of the ceremony because as soon as we arrived, Lyra demanded to be set down to walk about. She promptly wandered the crowds going from dog to dog, pointing at them and saying dog. I think this went on for an hour or so. She really likes dogs.

Her favourite playground structure seems to be the slide. On at least two days when I’ve dropped her off at daycare, she has immediately run for the slide, climbing up, sliding down, over and over, grinning the whole time. She loves moving fast and bouncing around, and gets bored when we stop for too long. This is not a baby who is content to sit around and play with toys on the floor. Do those exist?

Lyra holds a special place in her heart for music. She bops her head to electronic, she dances to bluegrass, rock and country, she sways back and forth to slow, ambient music. If one of us is holding her and dancing, she jumps up and down in our arms to the song, and keeps going even if we stop. She ‘sings’ along to songs without words (bah bah bah) and if I sing a note at her (for example, just singing aaahhhhhhh) she’ll do the same back at me holding a note (not the same one, but she’s trying.) It’s pretty awesome.

She’s starting to say so many single words these days that I can’t keep up really with remembering what they all are. Moon, dog, hat, mama, dada, eye, star, more, wow… there are so many connections being made in her brain that I can’t possibly keep up. I tire out just running around after her, now that she runs everywhere she goes. She’s going through a growth spurt right now too – the daycare folks commented on it, and I’ve noticed that her nursing has gone back to epic levels recently. On top of that there’s all the energy she’s expending by running everywhere she goes… it’s just amazing.

I wanted to post about our trip to Tofino on the last weekend of October… I will save that for another time. For now, here is a picture of Lyra and the Vancouver 2010 Olympic torch:

Lyra holds the Olympic Torch