Thursday, February 28, 2008

Yes, I really did use the word "mediate" in reference to babies playing together

First of all, I want to say that I LOVE playgroup. I love getting Keeley together with other babies close(r) to her age and being able to be there with her. I know she gets some socialization when she stays in childcare at the YMCA, but during playgroup I get to be there and watch her play. I really like the other moms in the group, too. (Which is probably the most important part of a playgroup at this age since the kids don't seem to care.) We all seem to have similar views on things and no one is competitive or judgemental. I love it. I look forward to it.

That being said, playgroup is exhausting. I am just so tired every time I come home. Keeley is usually all over the place. And, since Keeley is the only one walking (all the other babies are younger), most of the moms don't have gates and such up yet. (And I don't blame them. I wouldn't either.) So I just follow Keeley around and close all the doors in the house and try to stop her from tipping over the glass flowers or pressing the buttons on all of the electronics, or eating all of the remote controls, or slamming the baby swing into the wall, or throwing ceramic coasters, or... Well, you know.

Oh, and throwing things? That's a whole other issue. She's started to throw things which, of course, was very cute and exciting until you're around 5 other babies who now seem to be targets. She's obviously not trying to hit anyone, but it happens nonetheless. Keeley's lesson for next week: Do Not Throw Things In The House. I'll keep you posted on how that goes.

Then there's baby group dynamics. As I said earlier, Keeley is the oldest baby there. So, of course, she takes everyone's toys. I usually step in and either give it back myself and give Keeley something else to play with or tell Keeley to give it back to the baby she stole it from. The latter method involves at least 5 minutes of, "Keeley, give the toy back to Taylor. Give the toy to Taylor" [Keeley puts toy next to Taylor and takes toy back.] "Keeley, give to toy to Taylor. Give the toy to Taylor." You get the picture. And I'm still not exactly sure what I'm supposed to do in that situation. Do I just let the kids play and not worry with it? Do I step in and try to mediate? (Did I really just say "mediate" in reference to babies playing? Surely, I'm losing my mind.) Anyway, what am I supposed to do? I feel like my kid is the oldest one there and usually the one taking things, so I am required to deal with the situation. Plus, I'm still not sure what the other moms expect either. Obviously, I want Keeley to grow up with good social skills, but where is the line between letting them play and stepping in too often?


Just today Keeley hit a baby in the back of the head with a maraca, threw a sorting cup that hit someone, smashed a teething toy in a baby's face, and came very close to hitting the youngest one there with something else she threw. I know these are kids and these things are just going to happen, but what's my role in the whole thing? I need some help here - I don't want to get kicked out of playgroup! Like I said, I LOVE playgroup.

(And if any of the playgroup moms happen to be reading this, please know this is NOT a complaint about anything you've done or said. I'm just wondering what I'M supposed to do. I think you're all great!)

Sunday, February 24, 2008


Found this link on Dooce and thought it pretty funny:

And I just think of all those wasted hours we spent trying to get Donald to nurse Keeley...

Life as we know it

Yes, it's been awhile since the last post. Sorry. I just haven't felt like sitting in front of the computer that much lately. But I know you are all terribly interested in what's been going on with Keeley, so I will sacrifice just for you.

For the Valentine' Day playgroup we decided to take some photos of the kids and maybe get some cute ones with a heart backdrop. Then we decided to take a photo of all the babes together. As you can see, my child would not sit still. Not for a minute. Oh, what a mess. I tried and tried to get her to sit - just for a second - so I could get a cute picture of all of them and I had no luck. No luck at all. Too busy.

This past weekend, we went to visit Mimi and Peeps and we were ever so busy. We rode on the golf cart, played on the golf course (a big favorite), swam in the indoor pool, ate watermelon, went shopping, and just had a wonderful time. We went down there for Peeps' birthday. I made a baked pasta dish for his birthday dinner and we all liked it very much, including Keeley. I love the fact that I can giver her so many different "real" food now. Sweet potatoes are still a big hit, but now I can just serve them like the rest of the family's.

Speaking of meal time, is it just me or did anyone else get incredibly, insanely, amazingly bored while feeding their children? Holy cannoli, it seems like it takes her FOREVER to finish a meal or snack. I know I should be thankful that she is eating well and enjoys her food - and I am. I just get so bored sitting there while she eats. And I feel guilty if I am texting someone or doing something else. I feel like I should be having conversations with her and other educational stuff like that. Sometimes I'll have her eat a snack with the highchair either in the kitchen so I can prepare another meal or in front of Sesame Street so I can get some other chore done, but I still feel bad and there's still 4 or 5 other meals to deal with. (She eats 5 or 6 times a day, people.) And then, when she's done eating? I have to clean everything up - including my food-covered child! Just thought I'd ask.
Anyhoo, so we had fun in Winter Haven. This week was pretty busy as well. We went to the gym several times and it's not her favorite place anymore. I think she's having trouble adjusting to the amount of kids that are there at the new time we have to go. They changed the child care hours so we can't go at 1:00 anymore because it closes at 1:30. And while a half hour workout sounds lovely, it isn't so lovely for the weight loss. So we have to go earlier in the day and that's when everyone under the sun brings their kids. I think she just doesn't know what to do with herself. There are these big kids running around and she's used to either being the center of attention or the biggest kid there. Hopefully, she get used to it soon. She's really bonded with one of the workers there so I'm hoping that will help.

This week we also had our very first Girls Night dinner. We went out with my friend Dana to a nice(r) restaurant. I had to take Keeley with because Donald was working late that night. I'm never sure how things are going to go with her, but she was really good. And we were there almost 2 hours. (Oops - didn't realize that as we were eating and talking...) I was very proud. I figure she should learn how to conduct herself during Girls Night.

I guess that's about it for now. I'm tired of being in front of the computer and I still have to wait two hours while Blogger takes its time downloading the photos to the blog. Because I know I will hear it if there's a blog post with no photos...

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Keeley Brown's First Birthday Extravaganza

Well, first I would like to say (write) that I consider Keeley's first birthday a success. Keeley was happy pretty much the whole time and I think she enjoyed entertaining her people. Her many, many people. We had about 25 people - with cameras. (And food for 125 - but I will talk more about that later.) Everyone seemed to be happy to watch Keeley flit about and laugh and play. She liked walking around the porch and she loved the balloons.

As I said earlier, there was plenty of food. And everyone ate - a lot. And there was STILL tons of leftovers. You could tell I was worried about not having anough food. Hey, I don't know anything about having parties except make sure you have enough food and make sure you have enough booze. Pretty much if you have enough booze, everything else works itself out eventually. Anyhoo, there was enough food. I had to assume it was good. Why? Because. I. Did. Not. Eat. A. Bite. None. Nothing.

Why, oh why, do you ask? Well, because I was sick, sick, sick. Lots of sick that I will not go into. I couldn't even clean and decorate like I wanted to. Thank goodness my mom and Jill were there to get most of it done. Keeley even helped decorate. And Donald's mom showed up early and she was able to help, too. I had no clue what was wrong with me. For a few terrifying moments, I thought I might be pregnant - but the sickness lasted WAY too long for that. I remember being curled up on the couch saying, "Mommy, what's wrong with me?" I think she was too busy getting stuff done to say more than, "Will you please take a pepto?"

Turns out I had some sort of stomach virus. I learned this as Donald was sick the next day. Conveniently, conveniently sick the day AFTER his daughter's first birthday. So he got to lay in bed all day -- and complain about how HE feld bad. I wasn't very sympathetic. I do remember bringing him a cup of ginger ale at one point. Thoughtful, yes, I know. Amazingly, Keeley never got sick. Thank goodness. I am soooooooooo happy about that. I shudder at the thought.

So back to Keeley. You know, the real reason for the party and all? She had a blast. Well, until I tried to put her down for her second nap. She was all like, "No way, mom. These people NEED me. I am the life of this party. Without me, this party is LAME." So, after about 10 minutes of convincing me, she got to return to the party. (It was lame.) She just wandered around and smiled at everyone and let them know she was back so the fun could begin again.

All in all, a great day for Keeley. Wish I had felt better and could've enjoyed it more. Oh well, it just reminded me how lucky I am to have such wonderful, wonderful family who help out and bring food, and clean kitchens, and watch babies, and are just all-around great.

There were several things I definitely would have done a little better had I not been sick, but none of it was improtant. Keeley's cake turned out a little weird looking and I would have iced it better. But, silly me, I was trying to make this cake and, well, let's face it, Keeley didn't enjoy it that much. Just looking at that cake makes me want to photoshop it. I guess, I can try to make myself feel better by saying I made it myself with love (Gag.) and it was healthy (Double gag.). Either way, I felt bad, so a couple days later I gave her some of Aunt Jeanie's super-fun cake with extra sugar-y icing and she liked it a LOT better. I mean, a kid should get the whole fun first-birthday-cake-icing-and-yummy-sugar-and-other-bad-stuff-for-you experience. Of course, she was fed copious amounts of vanilla ice cream on her birthday by at least one grandparent (Mimi) and perhaps others I don't know about. I do know she enjoyed it so much she couldn't keep her feet still.

So, thank you to everyone for making Keeley's day so special. I promise to work on the thank you notes this week, now that I'm getting back with the program. I know she won't remember it, but I will. The party wasn't just to celebrate Keeley's first year of life (although that was a VERY important part of it), it was also to celebrate our first year as parents. I just love that little girl so much, I couldn't help but go overboard just a little.

Friday, February 8, 2008

Keeley Dawn Brown: The First Year Edition

Dear Keeley,

This is you the minute you turned one year old. Your daddy and I snuck into your room to be the very first to wish you a happy birthday. (Corny? Yes, it is, but somehow your father and I end up very corny when it comes to you. Sorry.) This has been just the best year. I have so enjoyed watching you grow into this crazy/wonderful little toddler. You have evolved into this independent, sassy little girl who exudes PERSONALITY. Your facial expressions alone are worth their weight in gold.

You are seriously our world. Our house is but a shrine to you. There are literally pictures of you EVERYWHERE. So much so, I'm surprised there's not a picture of you using the bathroom in the bathroom. Give us time. We are just so proud of you. And ourselvs a little, I guess. I mean, who could not be proud of themselves a little when they've got such an amazing little creature such as you? You amaze us everyday with something you do.

One of my favorite times of the day is the process of putting you to bed. I do have to admit that, at first, I dread it just a bit. This is only because lately your father has been giving you a bath and, while it's hard to miss that fun time with you, I must say I look forward to that little bit of time to myself after all-day Keeley-ness. Time to myself for fun things such as showering or cleaning the kitchen - you know real "me" time. Anyway, then it's time to put you to bed and I think, "Oh Lord, I've got to put her to bed." But then I remind myself how much I enjoy it. I get to snuggle with you while you drink your bottle (which, by the way, you will keep this last bottle until you graduate high school, I love it so much. Quite frankly, I might even follow you to college with it just so I can snuggle with you for more than 3 minutes.) And then after your bottle we play a bit on the couch and we both end up laughing and putting our foreheads together. It's like we share this special, private joke. You and me.

Lately, you've taken to carrying items around the house. You love to caryy purses and baskets. You could care less if anything is in them. You just like to carry them. It's so cute to see you wandering around the house with a little purse. It's like you're a little old woman carrying her purse to the store. So much of what you do during the day tells me that you're growing up. BUt watching you sleep reminds me that you're a baby. My baby. I still peek in on you everynight before I go to sleep. Usually you're in there laying on top of your sleepytime toys, passed out to the world. It's so peaceful and it makes me happy to see you.

It's amazing how much I love being home with you. I had a rough start, but now it's so incredibly wonderful. I couldn't imagine going back to work. And miss all of your antics? No way. If only I'd known back then what I know now. Maybe it wouldn't have been so hard. And who could have told me? No one. I'm glad I learned it myself. You're the best lesson I've ever had. I think I might learn more from you than you do from me. I try to be that person I see in your eyes. She's pretty great.

I love you, Keeley Dawn. You make my life better just by being here.

Love you,