Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Wo Go?

My mom likes to talk about how, when I was little, I would walk up to complete strangers and ask them: "What doing?" My brother, meanwhile, was always pointing to things and asking: "This? This?" My mom and dad were never quite sure if he was just stockpiling as many words as possible, or if he was testing them.

Stella's question is "Where go?" Or, as she pronounces it "Wo Go?"

(Obligatory Stella photo.)

Sometimes, its particular: "Wo soothie go?" Sometimes, its joking. "Wo go?" she tosses the item in question over her shoulder. Sometimes, its enigmatic, leaving us to guess what she's even asking about. Other times, it almost seems rhetorical, as she asks about something sitting directly in front of her. Regardless, I've never encountered someone so obsessed with the situational geographic locations of various trivial objects.

It probably doesn't help that, often, if you ask her a question in return, she will greet it with a "huh?" as though she didn't hear you. A sample conversation:

"Wo go?"
"Where did what go?"
"What are you looking for?"
"It's in your hand."
"Two soothie. Wo go?"
"The other soothie?"
"Where did your other soothie go?"
"Wo go?"
"I don't know."

...You get the picture.

Actually, it's generally pretty cute.

Another favorite activity of Stella's, when not reading or wondering where things are, is putting her various stuffed animals and dolls to sleep. She'll spend hours dutifully and diligently spreading her blankets and towels out gently over them. Leading Sarah and I to observe that they must have all been bitten by tsetse flies, because they are the sleepiest batch of play things we've ever encountered.

Some examples...

My old Snoopy stuffed animal asleep on a bin full of his clothes.

The baby in her doll house, asleep under a giant hand towel.

Her bath penguin, asleep on the coffee table. Note: That these are all just pictures I took this morning.

At least she now lets their heads stick out from under their blankets. Originally, she'd cover them from head to two... which sort of made our house look like one giant homicide crime scene.

Saturday, March 26, 2011


It's a busy time in the Hill-Stach home--baby number two's arrival keeps inching ever closer, and Stella's making strides of her own every day....

I don't know why, but Stella looks like such a big girl in this photo to me--she's growing up!

One thing I didn't know before having a baby was how much life would revolve around going to the bathroom. When you have an infant, checking for wet diapers is one of the few communication channels you have for knowing if the baby is eating enough. You know you're really in love with your little one, because you think even their poop (at least until they start eating food) is cute. And then there's potty training.

Somehow, like a number of things, Tyler and I just fell into potty training. We had gotten some training pants at some point--her child care teacher must have mentioned at some point she thought Stella was getting interested in undies that older kids were wearing. One Saturday she wanted to wear them, so we put them on and tried to keep her off the carpet. She wore them most the day that day and most the day Sunday except when we went out to run errands and stuck a diaper back on. (In some cases, over the undies, which she didn't want to take off.)

On Monday, we brought undies and diapers to school and told the teacher Stella had started wearing them. She asked if it was OK if they just stopped using diapers at school, and--poof--there you had it--we were out of diapers just like that!

Potty time! Also involves lots of book time.

Surprisingly, it doesn't even feel so much like "training." I was sure there would be something else involved--sticker charts or M&Ms, a weekend of "boot camp" with Stella running around make a mess of things. Rather it's been a few weeks of reminding Stella to use the potty, getting very excited when things happen in the potty, and getting less and less excited about the occasional accident. I wouldn't call it a done deal, but she almost always makes it through the night, she's not yet had an accident in the car or in public, and the biggest challenge to overcome is having BMs in the potty, but she's made great strides on that front in the last few days. So yay for no more diapers, at least for a little while!

Stella made another big transition right around the same time--moving from the crib to a big girl bed! Funnily enough, the night before we got the bed, I was assuring a friend we were in no hurry to move her out and didn't expect her to go into a bed until after the baby came. But a friend made a comment about being careful about it seeming like the baby was kicking Stella out of something that was hers, a great bunk bed was on sale, and--ta-da!--big girl bed it is. That transition has been shockingly easy. Stella took right to it. She hasn't been getting up earlier, more often, or coming out of her room in the middle of the night. On the first day she was home for a nap, she did discover she could climb out if she wanted to (and, cutely, was laughing loudly, clearly wanting us to know she had discovered this as well!).

The first test run. She had to tuck in her doll, Claudette, next to her, along with a blanket and stuffed animal. She also picked out the bedding--loves the animals!

On other fronts, she is mostly totally awesome and fun (except when she's not). She's suddenly gotten less picky about food (yay!) and is getting more and more talkative. She's talking more about being a "big sister" so that seems like a good sign. Here are a few of Stella's current favorite things:

Riding her tricycle--she's getting better at peddling and steering! And she's learned about helmets at school. Since we are (apparently) negligent parents, she decided to make her own with this toy box.

Picking out her own clothes. On this particular day, she needed to wear her frog hat, her flower jacket, her dog purse, and her owl socks on her hands as mittens. Whatever works.

Taking photos--I think the self-portraits are accidental, but cute.

Helping cook!

I'm really enjoying this stage, where Stella's still really affectionate and fun to play with, but also independent in many ways too. I have to admit that as the weeks go by, I'm really trying to appreciate the things that have gotten easy with one child who's older. We're about to enter a whole new ball game...

If we get around to it this weekend, I'll add a photo of me at 24 weeks!

Friday, March 4, 2011

Introducing Baby #2

This morning Sarah, Stella and I hopped in the car and drove to Swedish Ballard for Sarah's ultra-sound appointment. I could make small talk, but instead, let's jump straight to the images, since I know that's what the Grandparents, Aunts and Uncles are all eager to see....

Boo! OK, so this image is a little skeletal, and that blur above the baby's head makes it look like it has my haircut, but look at all the amazing detail, you can see babies head, and left forearm and hand really clearly (and the their respective bones). Baby is giving us a little wave!

Here you can see the baby's lower right(?) leg and its foot while it pushes off of the inside of Sarah. While we were watching, at one point, it gave a little kick that Sarah could feel. She said it was pretty cool actually seeing the little movements she's been feeling increasingly. Recently, holding my hand to her belly, I've even felt a little kick or two.

I love this little detail. The perfect little hand. While not one of those fancy 3D ultrasounds you see ads for, its still amazing the level of detail that will flicker into view. Like this...

Here you can see its head, with its right arm sort of reaching toward us, and its left arm folded up around its head. While most of the head images looked like little skulls, this one you actually get a sense of the heads shape more (though the lower lip and jaw appear to be hidden by "darkness." Still its interesting to see how this baby definitely looks different than the ultrasounds of Stella. As Sarah observed, "its already its own little person."

And, just to compare, here's a little profile that matches up pretty closely with Stella's from her ultrasound (though flipped):

As for Stella, she was pretty non-plus about the whole thing. I'm pretty sure the images were too abstract, and she's still trying to get her head around the idea that there is a "baby in mommy's belly." Its funny because sometimes she doesn't seem interested, other times she seems excited by the idea and occasionally you can tell she feels a little threatened by the whole thing. For example, during the ultrasound she suddenly exclaimed "don't want baby!" ...Much the same way she would declare her dislike for a dinner she didn't want.

And, just so that this isn't all just pictures of the inside of Sarah's belly, here's the outside!

Sarah at 21 Weeks!