Thursday, November 14, 2013

Our Favorite Toys, The Almost Eight (!) Months Old Edition

Hi, my name is Courtney, and I'm a toyaholic. It's been two days since I bought a toy for my baby girl. (A textured red ball at Target. She tried to eat it at the store, so I had to buy it - right?) I realize a baby is entertained by a cardboard box and wooden spoon, but I stand by my toy addiction for the following reasons: (1) Pippa loves to play with several toys at once, switching between toys every few minutes; (2) every week, Pippa can do new things, and she is ready for more complicated toys; (3) it's much more fun to buy toys than things like paper towels and diapers; (4) I can donate any toys that Pippa doesn't like; (5) I'm playing with these toys, too, and there's only so many hours I can spend with Freddie the Firefly before I go bat shit crazy; (6) I keep stashes of toys in the car, stroller, and various rooms of the house because I'm too lazy to be constantly carrying around the same three toys; and (7) it's good for the economy. (Amazing how that seventh reason can be used to justify almost any purchase.)

At seven months old (almost EIGHT months old, holy crap), these are Pippa's favorite toys:
  • Chatterbox Telephone: I was shopping with my mom when we saw this old toy. I remember loving Chatterbox but I doubted Pippa would be interested in it. It doesn't have the bells and whistles of today's new toys. But my mom insisted on buying it, and thank God, because it's Pippa's favorite toy by a mile. She cannot get enough of Chatterbox. She would probably sleep with Chatterbox if I let her. When I pretend to talk on the phone, she cracks up, even though she has never seen am actual real rotary phone. We do not even have a phone hooked up to our land line! We just use the land line for internet stuff. Thanks to Chatterbox, Pippa will probably assume that in the Old Days, all phones had wheels, blinking eyes and pull cords.
  • Water bottles: The best non-toy toy.  End of discussion.
  • Mommy's iPhone: No, wait, let's reopen that discussion. THIS is Pippa's favorite non-toy toy. She especially likes to slobber all over my iPhone until the speaker is clogged with drool. If Pippa was writing this blog entry, she would argue that Mommy's iPhone is the best non-toy toy, end of discussion. But I maintain that the water bottle is the best non-toy toy because if the Sweet Pea destroys it, you are out $2.00 at most.
  • The Activity Triangle: Pippa has loved this toy for two months strong and her love for it keeps growing stronger and stronger.
  • The remote control: I actually had to give Pippa the remote control to get her to sit still for some Halloween costume portraits. Then the remote control disappeared. We found the remote two days later completely buried under the couch pillows. No idea how Pippa accomplished this feat, but it prompted Nathan to give her a defunct remote from some forgotten VCR. Ten bucks says she'll still want to drool all over the real remote when she's sitting in daddy's lap.
  • Keys: She would like to play with my keys, but I have refused this desire to date. I'm afraid she'll cut or stab herself. Instead, I let her play with a set of teething keys that can go in the freezer. When I open the freezer and Pippa sees the keys, she waves her arms around in excitement.
  • Butterfly Spinner: My parents have this one at their house, and there's an old battered one at our mommy and me class. Pippa loves any variation of this toy. We actually don't have one for our house! Shocking, I know.
  • Stack and Roll Cups: The folks at Fisher Price really know their shit. This toy seems so simple, and yet Pippa is wild about it. 
  • Freddie the Firefly: We own two, and my parents have one as well. This thing must be bewitched because Pippa is mesmerized whenever I fly it about the room.
  • Whoozit - Pippa is obsessed with her Whoozit, but she hates riding in the car if she's alone in the backseat. Solution: I keep the Whoozit in my car, and she only gets to play with it there.  So far, this strategy has been an unmitigated success.  
  • Mommy's hair - So fun to yank! Bonus points if you can make mommy cry.
  • Einstein ball: The Baby Einstein toys are consistently good.
  • Rhyme and discover book: I did not want to buy this toy. It's a plastic book with lots of moving parts and music, and that felt sacrilegious to this bookworm. But it looked like the perfect toy to entertain the Sweet Pea during our road trip to Sonoma, so I bought it anyway. Then Pippa got a cold so we cancelled the trip, and I brought the toy out since my sick baby deserved a new toy. And oh but she loves her musical book. 
  • Toys at our mommy and me class: there are an assortment of toys available at our Mommy and Me class. And Pippa always lunges for the toy that looks like it is harboring the bubonic plague.
  • Bead mazes: These are a double edged sword. Pippa gets very excited when she spots a bead maze, but she gets uber frustrated when she discovers she cannot put the entire thing in her mouth. As she desperately tries to get all the beads in her mouth, she loses her balance and topples over, bringing the bead maze down on top of her. Which scares her shitless, causing her to scream as if she is being eaten alive by killer pandas.  This means she can only play with a bead maze if I am sitting no more than six inches away from her.
  • Nuby teethers: Thank you, Nuby, your teethers were clearly designed by Jesus himself.
  • That toy the dog ate: Thanks, Rowan. You asshat.
  • Balloon: I bought Pippa a balloon the day she got her second flu shot. I figured she deserved a balloon even if she forgot about the shot 45 seconds after it happened. I splurged on a foil butterfly and it's still floating merrily in our den. But once I brought the damn balloon into the house, I realized it was a huge hazard. Stupid Mommy.
  • Mirrors, especially this one: At first, I used the mirror to trick Pippa into enjoying tummy time. Now I'm using the mirror to encourage Pippa to crawl. The girl can move, but she prefers scooting around on her butt through a series of intricate moves. And she will butt scoot towards anything interesting except her mirror. If she sees the damn mirror, she screams until I put it within her tiny arms' reach.
  • Sea Dreams Soother: This gizmo helped Pippa nap for about six weeks. Now I save it for emergencies, e.g. she's teething and pissed at the entire world and needs a distraction from her dumbass teeth which are taking their sweet time arriving and wrecking havoc upon her beleaguered.
  • Daddy's hair: Almost as fun as Mommy's hair, but harder to grasp.
  • Desperation Dinosaur: Fisher Price does not actually call this toy the Desperation Dinosaur. That's my moniker for my favorite prehistoric beast. I have only brought it out twice, when Pippa had a fever from her second flu shot. She was miserable, but the Desperation Dinosaur cheered her up with its popping magic. The Desperation Dinosaur lives in our guest room, away from Pippa's other toys. It's an insurance policy against sick/rainy days.
  • Jack in the Box (Maybe): I let Pippa play with a clown Jack in the Box when we were at Babies R Us a couple of weeks ago. She clearly enjoyed the toy, but she enjoys anything that is (a) colorful and (b) chewable. (Her definition of "chewable" is much broader than mine.) But baby's are easy to trick, so I dumped the Jack in the Box in the baby food aisle when the Sweet Pea wasn't looking. Maybe Santa will bring one for Christmas.
  • ABC floor tiles: I bought these at Babies R Us to soften the tile floor in our den. I thought I was just buying flooring but Pippa loves them. As she gets older, we'll be able to reconfigure the tiles into tunnels, forts, etc.  
Oh my God, I'm exhausted. There are a few more toys I could add to this list, but I'm officially sick of this post.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Greetings from Scenic Snotsylvania

I do believe this is a personal first: I am blogging while standing up. The Sweet Pea has a cold and is struggling to nap. I discovered that she sleeps best if I keep her in the Ergo and move around. I tried rocking her on a chair but no dice. She needs movement while standing. So I finished watching an episode of How I Met Your Mother while standing and now I'm blogging at our kitchen island. My clothes may or may not be stained with baby snot.

Note to Mom: I am still a few episodes behind on this season of HIMYM, so no spoilers!

I've invented a game. It doesn't have a name.  And I've never played it before. So let's play it now! In this blog entry, I will list a few random current facts. Then, every month or so, I can see how these random facts have or have not changed. I guess it's not a game. It's more of a narcissistic list. So let's call this "game" the Narcissistic List.

Courtney's November Narcissistic List
Last t.v. show I watched: A month old episode of HIMYM.

Last movie I watched: Random snippets of Conan the Barbarian. Not my movie of choice, but my husband started watching it while I was folding laundry. Did you know that Oliver Stone wrote the screenplay?1 We all have to start somewhere.

Last book I finished reading: My Antonia, by Willa Cather. I read this for school in the ninth grade and all I could remember was (a) I hated it and (b) there was something with an owl. I decided to reread it since it's the great Nebraskan novel and I married a Nebraskan. I discovered that (a) I love My Antonia and want to read more books by Cather and (b) there's no owl in My Antonia. I think the owl might be from Bless Me Ultima, another book from the ninth grade reading list, which coincidentally, I also hated. Damnit now I have to reread Ultima to see if I can track down this owl.

Last major outing: The California Science Museum to see the space shuttle Endeavor. So cool! And inspiring! And much smaller than I expected. (That's what she said.)

Last trip: Wow, that was over a year ago, when Nathan and I went to Orlando to visit Nathan's brother and our sister-in-law. We were supposed to be driving to Sonoma today to meet my new niece Beatrice, but instead we are trapped in Snotsylvania. We did not want to share our germs with one-month-old Bea. But oh I cannot wait to meet her! She has more hair than Pippa and such a sweet pretty face. She is my second favorite baby.

Last song I listened to: Some kids song on my iPhone. Let me check... Ah, yes, Here We Go Round the Mulberry Bush. I believe Metallica did a cover version of this classic song in the late 90s.

Last meal in a restaurant: Um, wait, I can do this... CPK! Yes, I ate at CPK at the mall on Monday afternoon, just me and Pippa, after our Mommy and Me class. At this point, I thought she was just having a rough day of teething. I did not realize until Tuesday morning that she had fallen victim to Count Snotula. Crap I hope we did not infect our entire Mommy and Me class!

Friday, November 1, 2013

Life Lately

1. My daughter and I are Ergo-holics. (The Ergo is our baby carrier of choice.) Right now, she is napping in the Ergo while I sit at my desk and write.

2. Technically, it's not my desk. It's the family desk.

3. For years, Green has been my favorite color. And I still love green deeply and truly. But Purple staged a rebellion and usurped Green's throne.

4. I want to read the dictionary. From start to finish. I actually bought a new dictionary for this purpose. If I pace myself, I figure I can finish the M's before I die.

5. I am an aunt! My niece Bea was born almost a month ago. I cannot wait to meet her.  In fact, the Cranky Pumpkin family is road tripping to Northern California next week to meet Bea. This trip will require Pippa to stay in her car seat for about eight hours total in one day. Pray for us.