Sunday, October 30, 2005

Contest winner!

Ivan has taken his first step! Actually, it was more like a sprint. Ivan seems to have one speed... fast. He speed crawls, speed walks with assistance, speed eats and now speed walks on his own. Of course I was a half foot away, but Ivan figured if he had to cross the distance, he may as well do it quickly. He ran into my arms, so of course we tried to re-enact this ad nauseum and get it on video, to no avail. I mean he did it over and over, but by the time we got the lighting right, he was out of gas (well, he always has some, um... gas). Rather, he was out of energy.

So congratulations to GMS who had the closest guess, although Grandpa Ray says Ivan has been walking in secret since his last visit! A prize will be awarded, just as soon as I've figured out what it will be! I'd send you the used and dirty socks he was wearing when he took his first steps, you know like when they give you the homerun ball in baseball, but lucky for you he was barefoot.

Saturday, October 29, 2005

Three 1st you won't find in a baby book

They weren't hallmark moments, but they were significant milestones nonetheless. The first was brutal, the second entertaining and the third alarming...

More firsts by Ivan Baggett.

First Blood

It was a bad hour. Ivan had been calmly sitting near a doorway when suddenly he crashed forward, effectively cutting his upper gum and slightly bleeding his nose. Of course I had a hard time finding the cut, with all the screaming and him pushing my hands away as I tried to explore the inside of his bleeding, hurting mouth. Once I diagnosed that no serious damage had taken place, I soothed him and gave him food. That always works! Then about 30 minutes later, he did it again! I'm not sure if his head felt a little heavier that day or what, but he was definitely top heavy. At least no blood was drawn this time. I soothed him once again and diverted his attention with a toy. We were contentedly playing with his new baby sized soccer ball. I was throwing it up in the air and catching it, then bringing it up to his face and he'd laugh hilariously. That's when I accidentally missed the ball and it ricocheted off my hand and smacked Ivan right in the face. Oh, boy, did he scream that time! I quickly picked him up and told him I was sorry and we went in another room for a change of scenery. I declared that Ivan's face was off limits to any other obstructions for the rest of the day. I soothed him and we did something safe and calm... read books.

First Conversation

Ivan has decided he is more of a summer guy, but the weather has gotten cool. Thus the ongoing war of clothes. We put him in socks, pants and long sleeve shirts. He pulls them off. Well, at least the socks so far. He hasn't figured out how to remove the rest, so he just pulls on them and screams. He was doing this last week, so I calmly told him that he had to leave his clothes on since it was cool out. To my surprise he responded! "ummmahwannauwun", he said (or something like that). So I told him that I knew he didn't like clothes, but we all wear them. He answered me again! This give and take went on for several minutes. His voice slightly whinny and protesting and mine firmly explaining. After a while, he seemed to accept the fact and moved on to other adventures. Maybe this boy is understanding more than we think!

First Fridge Raid

Hot off the press! This afternoon a 12 month old made his own lunch. I was getting supper ready and while the fridge was open, Ivan started checking out its contents. He selected a plum and bit into it. He was quite pleased with his find and decided he should eat it then and there. I grabbed it from him momentarily to wash it off then gave it back to him. I had my back turned to him as I worked at the stove and when I turned around, I saw that he had what remained of the plum in his mouth. I realized that we hadn't seen a pit yet, so I pulled the plum from his mouth. It was pitless! I did that mother's-finger-sweep-through-infant's-mouth maneuver and found an unswallowed pit (just in time, I might add). I gave him back the half a plum, which he totaled off in less than a minute. Ivan also knows where the cereals are (his favorite snack). He can pull the boxes from the cupboard, open them and help himself, not to mention help his canine snack buddy who is quite delighted that the little guy is so resourceful, since she can only bark or sit pleadingly at her bowl, which is not usually very effective.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

the Ivan funnies vol.3

They say kids can learn to read contextually by the litterature and even road signs all around them. In that case, Ivan would learn such valuable things like add a "z" to pluralize (for example: Spinnerz, Mezamiz- "mes amis" in French, Kidz zone...) But this is my favorite Abilene sign. It is teaching Ivan "Texan". For years, when people ask me what language people speak in Canada, I've said "English", but I now see that I was wrong. They speak "Canadian" and Texans speak Texan. Like: "I might, could do that", "Can you carry me to the store?", "I'm fixing to grill me some brisket" and the proverbial "y'all". For two years I thought my friend taught in "Glad", which is what I heard when she talked, but I then found out it was "Clyde". I also asked a girl how to spell her most unique name since she said it was ShAYnon. She spelled it out (S-h-a-n-n-o-n) all the while looking at me like I was from another planet. Not another planet, ShAYnon, just another country, where they speak English!!

Here is Ivan studying up on these complex issues of language, starting with the alphabet. We're back to the question, is it "zee" or "zed", English, Canadian or Texan?

Lucky for babies, learning to eat is a whole lot easier than learning to speak, spell, write or read. Here is Ivan doing what he knows best with some ravioli. Did you know they stain? Ivan's tray will never be the same!

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Our actual birthday

The day of our birthday last week, I kept noticing the time and thinking back to that fateful day a year previous when we got to look into our son's face and hold his warm body and hear his sweet coos. It wasn't until then that I realized how weird it must have been for mom who was with us. Since my son and I share a birthday, and mom was there, she must have been thinking about where she was 31 years earlier, giving birth to me and now here I was giving birth to her grandson. OK, my head is spinning. So now the pressure's on, Ivan's first born could be born Oct.20th and we'd have 3 sets of parents in the same lineage remembering their fateful day in the hospital giving birth to their firstborn all on the same day!

In honor of this multi-generational reflecting, we'll travel through the ages together.

Ivan and mom celebrate their birthdays a year ago in 2004.

Fast forward a year to our birthday in 2005.

Cake was provided by Big Buddy (Ivan is Little Buddy).

Going back even further, here is Angela long before she became a mom practicing her verbal skills with the dial tone.

Before that was Ivan's daddy's debut which teens now think was back in antiquity (1971). I still think Ivan looks more like his daddy.

Sunday, October 23, 2005

Its a party!

We had it all planned for outside. Lots of people in a big open space, with minimal mess. But the day started cold and windy and we just couldn´t subject the crew and little ones to that. So we moved it indoors. When we moved into our home from our efficiency apartment, we thought our house was huge, but add about 30 people, 2 twister games, a craft table, a food table, a gift table and cake table, extra chairs, 48 hamburgers, 40 hotdogs and all the fixings, 5 gallons of punch and about 5 major spills with numberless minor spills, teary kids over squished finger, he hit me, I want a turn... a pile of gifts and their wrapping tissue, bags, instructions, plastic containers, music here, music there, people talking, moving, running into each other everywhere. And you´ve got yourself some party! Here it is in pictures. If you were there, you can reminisce, if you missed it, here´s a taste... just add chaos, laughter, big smiles, too much sugar and a beeming birthday boy.

The cake: top layer of chocolate (Mom's favorite) and bottom layer of coconut (one of dad's favorite's) ´cause Ivan can't tell us his favorite yet!

Lots and lots of friends! It was said at Ivan's dedication to the Lord that he would be a man of the nations. It wasn't until I was looking at the pics that I realized we had 1 and a half Canadians, Africans, Mexicans, Americans, African Americans and American Hispanics. I was a real mess trying to switch from English to Spanish to French. Ivan however had no problems communicating. He constantly had someone taking him with that winsome smile of his.

Wagon rides and games. We played twister with two boards, one oversized as well as musical squares. Ivan really enjoyed all the people, music and walking around to step on a square (assisted of course). The twister games were much more difficult. A two year old wanted to lay in the middle of the mat. Most the kids were so young they couldn't figure out which was left and right and the others got confused due to language barriers. But they had fun none the less.

Of course the favorite game was to hit the piñata. I´m not sure what we are trying to teach the kids with this one. Hit the creature and get candy? You can tell Saba is concerned with the morals involved and the delight in Ivan to hit the little paper maché dog with a stick.

Food was another hit! Burgers and hot dogs, chips, cake and 5 gallons (20 liters) of punch, which was spilled no less than 10 times I´m sure.

Ivan and his guests enjoyed the gift opening and playing. Each toy was carefully tested by eager youngsters and passed approval.

Of course the best part of a party is just being together. Now that I have become a mom, I´ve discovered the sad irony that you throw a party and lots of people come, but you don´t get a chance to barely say ¨hi¨to them. Some came early and others hung out a bit longer, so that helped. Brian had grill and talk time going so that was good too, but I wish I could be with all those same people and really get to hang out with them and visit. But I guess that is what the rest of the year is all about, not to mention all of their parties (where they are throwing together a social masterpiece and I´m dinning to my fill both in my stomach and my spirit). I hope this was a good bonding and meeting new people time for our guests. I know that our little family is blessed to know so many people we call friends and Ivan had a total blast!

Friday, October 21, 2005

Mysterious transformation

I wish I could describe how profoundly becoming parents has changed us. Today I called Ivan my "precious cargo" as opposed to the trunk full of groceries I'd just loaded, and I was transported back to the day we first drove him in a car going home from the hospital. We'd driven to the hospital less than 48 hours earlier. At that time, the least of my worries was traffic, but upon leaving, with Ivan, I was suddenly hit by how vulnerable we were. I mean, were we actually going to drive home in this metal shell we call a car and trust that none of the other flying bullets (every other car) would not hit us? I knew that Brian felt the same way as I did, but I still couldn't help begging him to be very careful.

I've been somewhat picky about what we eat, but now I read ingredients lists and look at the number of sugar and fat grams, making our shopping expeditions long and decisions even MORE difficult. We notice all sorts of "dangers" and act accordingly. Not that we are paranoid freaks (at least I don't think so), but we have safety plugs to block electricity from... what? (jumping out of the socket? or is he going to lick it? I did have a student put scissors in a plug outlet and the current blasted a hole in the metal, so I guess it could be dangerous). Our household decor is now tied up cabinets and miscellaneous groupings of shakers, stuffed creatures, puppets, balls, trucks... sometimes in plastic tubs, or more often artistically thrown all over the floor.

I've never been an impulse buyer and am still pretty restrained, but I can't help letting Ivan try out toys in the stores to see his reactions and often consider getting him another toy (like he needs more!) It's a good thing most books are expensive too, because I'm a sucker for books. Which to my delight Ivan enjoys as well.

I now notice and smile at every child around Ivan's age and smile knowingly at pregnant women. Words don't have to be spoken, we know we have been through similar journeys. I can not explain the shift in heart, soul and mind that occurs when having a child, but it is unlike anything I've ever experienced.

Now here we are a year later from that fateful day when we left the hospital with a son, an eternal being, a living, breathing, thinking and loving reflection of the King of eternity. We have been forever transformed and face continual improving. As Ivan grows, so will we. We will better understand life and living, growing and giving, hurting and overcoming all because of this little wonder, who won't be so little some day. I try to live in the moment, but the moments went so fast! I can hardly believe it has already been a year and while I can remember our lives before Ivan, I know deep within me that Ivan already existed, just waiting for his time to enter earth and time. I am soooo thankful that the Lover allowed our paths to cross. May our years together multiply like dust on the prairies and may we cherish each particle, each morsel, each delight of this journey together.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Happy Birthday Ivan!

We are so in love with you! You are amazing! We have had a wonderful year of loving, laughing, smiling and discovering with you. Thank you for your love, your acceptance and easy forgiveness during the countless times we fail you and for your exhuberant joy when we get it right.

Most of all thanks to our Lover and Designer for this incredible gift of our son, for the miraculous of each day with him, for his strength, health, intelligence and joy and for this priviledge of being his parents, of knowing him and You through him.

Monday, October 17, 2005

Shanna's prize

Shanna will receive this high quality postcard as reward for her matched answer.
this is an audio post - click to play

The Ivan funnies vol.2

Friday, October 14, 2005

Twice the fun!

Let me introduce you to source of joy #2, otherwise known as Myka. Myka now comes over Mon-Fri mornings while her parents jobs overlap. This little girl is amazing. She is a walking and talking miracle, a hands-on example of the Life giver's power and grace. She was due to be born about the same time as Ivan, but couldn't wait to check out the world, so she came a couple of months early. At just 1 1/2 lbs, her parents say she was the size of a barbie doll, but you can't tell now! She had her 1 year birthday a little while back and is so much fun. Check out her mom's blog. Click on "Jenni" under cool friends.

It's fun to see other babies about the same age as Ivan because it helps you know his and their personalities better. You realize that not all babies do xyz the same way as Ivan. Myka seems more adventurous and Ivan more pensive. Ivan seems more voracious with his food and Myka more dainty. Although they are different, they are already learning the fine art of imitation. I'm thankful for this since they pretty much follow each other around making it easier for me to be with them both. Of course neither of them can walk unassisted yet, I'm sure that will add new dimensions to watching them and more child proofing to the house.

Myka has adapted very well to us since about the second minute of day one together and Ivan's face lights up with joy when he wakes up to see that our friend is here again to play (or maybe he doesn't want to let a girl see his wake-up tears ;) Saba is both excited and exhausted by these new developments, as you can tell from this picture. She now has twice the amount of sniffing, playing and cleaning to do (although to Saba's dissapointment, Myka is much cleaner and doesn't spill her food, intentionally or by accident).

The Ivan funnies

Age 11 1/2 months. Duties: feed the dog. Ivan takes this job very seriously. He is most concerned about quality as well as quantity. He assures that Saba gets a diversity of foods by sneaking her bits off his tray, all of what he doesn't like and portions of what he enjoys. Due to this kind attention, Saba no longer eats her food from her bowl. So when Ivan sees food in it, he takes pieces out and throws them on the floor. This alerts the dog to the fact that the baby has now identified with the food, making it desirable. She's almost to the point of only eating what he throws. The bonus of this is that Ivan already picked up a chore and does it with excellence and delight.

This next photo also demonstrates owner/canine teamwork, but in a much more negative light. This is Saba and Ivan's rendition of WWF. Saba has Smacky in a head crunch while Ivan body slams her from the back. Ivan's legs are to the right of the picture, the rest of his body is all over Smacky, which Saba's head blocks from view. Sorry to all the cat lovers out there. If it makes you feel any better, no animals were hurt during these shots.

I have no idea what they were looking at, but something was going on outside and all the highly sensitive beings in the home were alerted to it, leaving Brian and I clueless, but laughing.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Contest result?

This isn't working out as clear cut as I thought it would. I'm obviously new at this mommy business. I thought Ivan's first word would be easy to figure out, that I could record it and post it for all to hear. I still think that a first word requires that he understands what it means as opposed to making syllables. This is where the confusion all begins...

Ivan is saying "hi" (which would make Shanna the winner, but I think she heard him saying it, so that would be cheating!) However, I'm not sure if he is saying it to greet people or if he thinks it's a cool sound. He doesn't neccessarily say it when he first sees someone, but will be playing and all of a sudden says "hi".

Brian also noticed that he says "ba" a lot, which he has been doing for a while, but Brian thinks Ivan is trying to say "Saba" our dog. He often looks at her and says "ba". This would show that he undertands the meaning and Andrea would be the closest winner. Or does he have to say the full word? Several people suggested that he would say "doggie" or "dog" and ours is his favorite!

Ivan doesn't call for Smaky as Kim guessed, but I think this is his tactic so that he can "sneak" up on her (as much as a clumsy, lumbering baby can sneak) and tackle her. We have caught him on many an occasion crawling over her, laying on top of her and rough housing with her. Poor Smaky!

He also says "ma" for food, or so it seems. Which Brian thinks is appropriate since I was the first food source. Nana suggested "more" as a first word, maybe that's what "ma" means?

As for communicating non-verbally, he waves bye-bye (sometimes), which Jenni guessed. Other non-verbals, he raises up his arms for "up" (gms), gazes or grunts at his drink for "water" (pappa Terry) and shakes his head "no" (auntie lin).

Others were WAY off. Brian suggested "pizza", which Ivan does love, auntie Jen was hoping for "auntie" as a first word. Keep trying and web caming sis! And more creativity came from grandpa Ray who suggested "squirrel", the insider joke is that saying this word sends Saba into a frenzie as she tries to scare squirrels out of our yard and trees.

Thanks to everyone for guessing! I'll post a recording when something intelligeable makes it's way onto our camera!

Sunday, October 09, 2005

Happy Canadian Thanksgiving (to all you canucks!)

I'm trying to piece together some kind of online festivities for this Canadian celebration. People ask me why Canadian thanksgiving is in Oct. as opposed to Nov. in the US. My guess is that the harvest is earlier up North, plus it gives you time to work off some pounds gained before Christmas??? Anyone else with a guess?

Anyways, I found some entertainment, here's Ivan giving you guys (as opposed to y'all) a drum roll. Here are some Canadian friends and family (Amy, Ivan, Crystal and my cousin Andrea who happened to be in Texas a couple of weeks ago and dropped by- We love that BTW, so drop in!!) Lastly, there are wild turkeys around here, but I'm not about to run out and find one to shoot (a picture, of course), so you'll have to make due with this smiling duck.

I guess the point is also to be thankful. I am ever so thankful for this life, for our Lover, for my husband (who just vaccuumed- what a stud, thanks ;) and for Ivan, of course. For the joy of being with him and watching him grow and sharing it with others- even if it's just electronically.

Soooooooooooo, to all you canadians, we love you, miss you and celebrate knowing you! Happy Turkey (I mean duck) Day!

Saturday, October 08, 2005

Different worlds

We are shaped by so many things: family, friends, experiences, beliefs, culture, climate and even language. Much of this molding becomes so indelibly etched in our making that it affects who we are, how we see the world, how we act and think. I realized after my last post that Ivan will have a totally different field of learning than me, because of many factors, one of which is growing up in Texas instead of in Saskatchewan, Canada.

Ivan will not know...
-that while the unexplainably enticing frost on the pipe looks tasty, it's not and it's dangerous
-what northern lights or sun dogs are
-how to walk on ice
-the sound of skates cutting ice
-the proper usage of "eh?"
-what a perogie or poutine are
-the ease of free medical services
-bilingual cereal boxes
-what a bunny hug is
-how to make a good snow man and snow ball
-what a "face wash" is
-what a toque, long underwear or ski-do suit are
-how to drive in a snow blizzard
-colored money, including twonies and loonies
-how to play spoons and that bagpipes can make cool music
-that tea is hot, that a tobogan is a sled and the letter "z" is called zed

Ivan will know...
-that stickers are not put in albums, they grow in the grass and prick your feet
-how to open pecans at age 3 without any special device
-not to swim in unknown lakes or walk in tall grasses, due to snakes
-that peppers are not just colors (green, red, yellow), but are their own food group. The smaller the deadlier.
-that fried foods are a food group and everything can be fried (heard of fried pickles?)
-that you don't go to the park June-Aug without burning your butt and hands, even the sand is hot
-what a swamp cooler is
-the sound of crickets and other mysterious criters in trees that I have yet to identify
-mexican foods: flautas, queso, fajitas, enchiladas, burritos...
-what a wet back is (not a nice term BTW)
-how okra grows (tastes great fried)
-how to use mesquite wood on a grill
-not to play with ants
-that air (ie. air conditioning) is a necessity
-tejano music and that arcordians can make cool music
-that tea is iced cold, that a tobogan is a hat (I can barely even type that, it's so against my thinking) and the letter "z" is called zee

I could go on and on... (and maybe I will in another post), but it just struck me how different our growing ups may be. On one of our first drives back to Canada, we entered North Dakota and suddenly everything started to feel "right", but I couldn't place what had changed until Brian said that the light was different. That was it! Somehow the placement of the sun in the sky at that time of day, during that time of year was programed into my brain as being the way things SHOULD be. Add to that smells, temperature, sights, sounds, accents... It's amazing all the things we learn just by living in a place.

Can you imagine what it is like for Ivan who is learning EVERYTHING? He stops at every sound trying to figure out the source. He touches everything to know it's feel, it's texture, it's dimension and properties. He tastes everything. And the joy! He laughs from the time he wakes up to when he goes to sleep as he discovers all things new. (Apparently newness is hillarious). It has become a game of ours to do something new for the instant reward of Ivan's laugh. I can stick something on my head- he laughs. Make a face- he laughs. Walk different, talk different, go somewhere new or unexpected- beautiful laughter. Instead of thinking things have to be the way I've always known it, I wish we could keep our delight in newness, our ability to think outside the box and explore new realms. This may be our greatest challenge as we 'grow up"- to accept, to love, to learn and to live like a child, constantly taking delight in the richness of life, trusting, exploring and discovering new depths to life and relationships.

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Our little Texan

Out to the farm

Last weekend we celebrated Shanna's birthday by going out to a friend's place overnight (Shanna's my little sister with BigBrothers/BigSisters, she's in green and our friend's in purple). We slept in a tent (in the lush backyard, on grass, 25 steps from a flush toilet) and cooked over a fire (in the bbq pit).
We enjoyed the animals: goats, Joey and Angie's maimed deer, chickens and dogs. To add to our excitement, we were also visited by frogs, baby rabbits and hundreds of monarch butterflies.

We went swimming in their pool (we were really roughing it) and watched them make cement, ok, Shanna helped a little, then left her hand print (so did Ivan).

But once again, Ivan instigated the most poignant moment of our stay. He was having a hard time sleeping in the tent, so Shanna and I took him for a walk down a path. I had forgotten the mysterious beauty of a country night. The air was crisp, the sounds naturely, the darkness intense. Then we came to the end of the path and looked up into the most beautiful expanse of star speckled sky. It brought me back to my teen years when I would go out at night on our acreage and gaze at the stars, blanketed in darkness, feeling oh so small and insignificant, yet precious all at the same time as I imagined how vast the world is, how huge God is, how tiny I am, how vulnerable, how protected. It makes you want to sing. It makes you want to dance. It makes you want to never, ever forget it.