Sunday, January 01, 2006

Dada's 2005 Holidays

Here is Dada celebrating the end of 2005 and the beginning of 2006 as we wait for the start of the Austin First Night Procession. The temperature was a freaky 75 degrees F (about 24 C for our non-U.S. readers). So we were downtown on New Year's Eve in our shirtsleeves. Very strange.

It's been a fun holiday season, Dada's First Christmas and Dada's birthday (she turned two on 29 December). As I didn't have any time off left for the year we didn't do a whole lot. We went to Houston the Wed before Christmas and I worked from a coffee shop while Julie and Peggy did pre-Christmas stuff. Peggy hosted 20 people for Christmas dinner.

We don't know the degree to which Dada understood why she was getting all these packages but she certainly enjoyed opening them and I think she understood that the gifts were from different people. One challenge for us was photographing the moment so that all the gift givers could share in the opening experience. We weren't always Johnny on the spot with the camera but I think we got most of it. I've created a gallery of gifts at the end of this post. The full set of pictures is on Flickr.

CIMG2768For Dada's birthday we had a quiet celebration at home. We were going to go to a restaurant with a few friends but as the time approached we were all either sick or tired (or sick and tired) and so we ended up just having Uncle Jay to the house for cake and presents. Julie made Dada a very nice cake, which Dada didn't go for but we enjoyed very much.

As expected, Dada got lots of presents (although thankfully, not tons of presents), so we let her open two or three every day so as not to overwhelm her. Not sure we'll be able to do that next year, when she'll undoubtedly understand just what this festival of greed--I mean giving--is all about. [But then maybe next year we can host Christmas in our new home.]

Dada continues to delight and amaze. She is learning her colors; she can correctly identify blue, red, yellow, orange, and green and we're working on purple and pink. As far as we can tell from the child care books we have, this is remarkably early to learn colors (the "What to Expect, Toddler Years" book says that "they may even be able to identify 1 color" by age 2.75). Not sure where this is coming from but it scares us just a little bit.

Her vocabulary and vocal skills are improving rapidly. She learns new words very quickly and her pronounciation is getting much better--yesterday she said "milk" quite clearly, rather than the "mee" she usually says. She's still talking mostly in single words but I'm sure she'll be a regular Chatty Kathy before too long.

CIMG2806Her current facinations include the moon, trains, airplanes, babies, guitars, and dogs. Yesterday, after an hour at the Children's Museum looking at trains and videos of people playing guitars (part of the Austin City Limits exhibit), we went to South Austin Music to look at real guitars. This is a little music store filled to the brim with guitars and stringed instruments of every description. She was enthralled and wanted to play them all (which she does by putting the guitar in her lap and plucking at the strings). I know she's too young to start learning to play but it's still all I can do not to buy her one of the little child-size acoustic guitars (they also make a 3/4 size Fender Stratocaster, but I think she'll need to be more like 5 or 6 before she's strong enough to hold it, much less play it). I did learn that there's a guitar program in Austin that takes children starting at about 4 years old....

She's now two and is definitely asserting herself more, testing limits and reacting more vociferously when she doesn't get her way, but she hasn't yet exhibited the worst terrible twos behavior. She's still good about going to bed without much fuss. She is full of energy, which is exhilerating but exhausting. After taking her to the museum, the music store, and the site yesterday morning, I was exhausted. Thank goodness she fell asleep in the car, because I certainly needed a nap. Gives me a much better appreciation of what Julie has to do every day.

We're looking forward to 2006. The house is coming together quickly and we can't wait to be in it. We're going to the site almost every day, which takes a lot of energy. We're having to make decisions every day and Julie is working very hard on selecting fixtures, colors, and so on. It's all going well (see related post on house progress) but I'll be happy to be done with it.

Here is the gallery of gifts:

(put pictures here)

From Grandma Nei Nei (Judy):


From Grandpa Ba (Bill):

Putting up stars with Daddy

From Grandma Boo (Peggy):


From "Aunt" Marcy:


From "Uncle" Jay and "Aunt" Kay:


From cousin Vanessa McVay and her children Derek and Sarah:



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