One day Anni was twirling and singing one of her original compositions.
"It's my gift!" she declared.
Dizzy, she fell with spectacular gracelessness.
Laying on her back on the tile floor she began flapping her arms and legs
as if she were making a snow angel.
"Falling down is also a gift!" says she.

Friday, May 16, 2003

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Sunday, May 11, 2003

OK, I have been very bad about my Anni updates lately. Although I haven't been writing full-fledged entries, I have been taking notes of cute incidents so that I could write them out later, so I think I'll be able to fill in the time adequately. The importance of keeping up these journal entries was brought home to me in a very sad way recently. Some friends we met in the hospital, Andrea and Tony, lost their daughter, Jayli, recently to the same liver disease Anni has. Andrea had been very good about posting journal entries about Jayli throughout her illness and hospitalizations. At the funeral, I told her how her stories had touched so many people, and that so many people who had never even met Jayli felt a real connection to her. Andrea pointed out that the hospital staff saw much more of Jayli than most of her family, and so the journals were vital for making them feel that Jayli was a part of the family. She was also very happy to have those journals as part of her memories to keep of the short time they got to spend with their little one. Although I'm not as worried about losing Anni anymore, it's important to remember that we never know what may happen to any of us. There's nothing more precious to me than the good times that Joerg and I have had with our little girl, and I want to be sure to remember all those times. Also, we have lots of friends and family that have not even had a chance to meet Annika, yet, or who don't get to visit as often as they like, so I hope they feel like they know Anni through these stories. So on to it... A lot has been happening around here since I last posted. I need to start all the way back at Christmas of 2002. We got to celebrate this Christmas at home, which was just wonderful. No more hospital Santas! Grandma and Grandpa Bond came to visit, and she had a great time! We had bought Anni a bunch of books for Christmas, but I had to give her some of those early to entice her into using the potty chair, so by the time Christmas got here, we only had about 5 little books to give her. I wrapped each one individually, and so she thought that she really had a lot! She also had quite a few presents from Grandma and Grandpa. She really enjoyed tearing open her presents, as all kids do, and at first she was throwing the wrapping paper on the floor, as all kids do. After about 5 pieces of torn paper went onto the floor, though, her neat daddy started to gather them into a bag for recycling. Anni, always on the watch for what her daddy does, decided that wrapping paper was therefore *not* for the floor, and she proceeded to tear a piece of wrapping paper off her present and then run over and hand it to daddy. Since we all laughed at that, she thought it was a pretty good game, and so she started tearing off little pieces of wrapping paper and handing it to each one of us in turn. As the game got more and more fun, she started tearing off smaller and smaller pieces of paper each time so that the game would last longer. I think she took at least 10 minutes unwrapping each of her presents, so we had unwrapping fun for quite some time! January was a very busy month. Annika was back in the hospital a couple of times, and we stayed longer than anticipated for the procedures as Annika's blood clotting time climbed quite high (putting her at risk for a major bleed). I had to cancel 3 of my classes for the hospital stays, and so I started out my teaching semester behind from the beginning. I struggled to catch up for the rest of the term, and so found myself busier than usual with teaching duties. Then, Joerg and I discovered that we are expecting another child, and my energy level plummeted as my all-day nausea became more intense. I actually lost about 8 pounds during my first trimester, due to the nausea and trying to keep up with our little bundle of non-stop energy, Annika. So all these things conspired to keep me away from updating much these past couple of months. Despite my lack of updates, though, Anni has been quite the entertaining child lately. If you remember in a previous update, I related the horrifying story of Anni removing her PJs and her poopy diaper and smearing the poop everywhere in the morning before Joerg or I were up. We finally discovered a way to keep Anni in her PJs at night. We put her in zip-up PJs backwards (so she can't reach the zipper), and then we safety pin the neck (so she can't stretch it out and pull the PJs off without unzipping), and then we tape the safety pin closed very securely (so that she can't just pull the safety pin open with brute strength). These 3 steps finally managed to thwart her attempts to get naked. However, Anni soon discovered a way to have diaper fun without getting naked-- she simply pulled her arms into her PJs and unfastened her diaper *inside* her PJs. While this also created a mess, it did at least limit the possible spread of poopy. We worked for several weeks on the lesson of "only mommy or daddy takes off the diaper," and she spent an awful lot of time in time-out learning that lesson. However, it did finally sink in, and she no longer removes her diaper on her own. Yeah! It seems that Anni is becoming an expert in following the letter of the law while violating its spirit, though. Just last week while Anni was in time-out for not listening when Mommy and Daddy said "no" (we have a new rule that she can only eat in the kitchen, and it's a little hard for her to follow sometimes), I came in to get her out of the playpen (where she has her time-outs) and discovered everything was covered with poopy. However, she had left her diaper on like a good girl. Instead of taking the diaper off, she had simply reached her hand inside her diaper and pulled the poop out. Aaaaaarrrrrrrgggghhhh! So now the rule is, "Only mommy or daddy takes off the diaper, and no playing with poopy." Anni has been having trouble with her nose lately, often having nosebleeds or getting stuffed up. We have started to put some gel in her nose every night, and it really seems to have helped. At the height of her nose troubles, she was cuddling with her daddy one night, but had a booger in her nose that was bothering her. So she grabbed daddy's hand and tried to stick his finger up her nose to get the booger out! I guess she didn't want to get her hand dirty! So we decided it was time to teach her about tissues... Annika's adventuresome streak continues unabated. While Grandma was visiting us this winter, Anni was having a great time on her little slide up in her play room. One day she climbed to the top of her slide and was standing there looking around a bit. She spotted her mini ball pit (pretty close to the slide), and suddenly leaped from the top of the slide through the open roof of the ball pit into the balls. Grandma nearly had a heart attack watching her granddaughter flying through the air. She recently discovered the joy of climbing up onto the little table beside the couch and then jumping onto the couch from the arm of the couch. If she can climb it, she will probably jump from it at some point, so we've had to be on the alert a bit more lately. Annika is definitely our little lefty. She walks around the house with pen in left hand and paper in the right, scribbling away as she walks. Once she finds a good stopping place, like the coffee table, she'll put the paper down and keep on scribbling away furiously. Of course, she also loves her crayons, magic markers, and the colored chalk daddy found for her. I once tried giving her a box of 8 crayons, and she was quite upset until I gave her the big box with 24. Evidently, she really does need orange, yellow-orange, *and* red-orange. Annika knows all her color names, and lots of shape names, too, including such exotic shapes as "oval," "crescent," and "octagon." We have been encouraging this creative side of her, as we're both hoping that Anni develops more artistic talent than either of us possesses. I couldn't draw my way out of a paper bag... Anni's vocabulary has been increasing at an amazing rate. She now puts together sentences that are 3 words long, and imitates much longer sentences. She can name pretty much anything that she sees, and I'm often surprised that she will remember a word weeks later that she only heard once. Of course, this new talent of hers can lead to some uncomfortable situations. Near the end of the semester this year, Annika and I were on our way to the university when she suddenly began calling out in a very distressed voice, "F**k! F**k!" Needless to say, I was horrified. We were on our way to daddy's place of employment, where she always makes the rounds visiting every office and saying hello to everyone she can find, and she suddenly has added a very loud obscenity to her ever-growing vocabulary. As I continued to drive (I was a little late for my office hours), I tried to distract her with music and pointing out other cars, but to no avail. My sweet girl just kept on shouting "F**k!" as if she were really quite upset. My mind was racing, trying to figure out where she could have picked this up, and how I was going to stop her before we entered the atrium of the building. With the building's high ceilings, every word she utters is magnified and echoed for a few seconds, so I was pretty sure we were headed for disaster. I pulled into the university parking lot, hoping that we weren't passing by anyone who could read lips, and I got out of the car to unload my little potty mouth. That's when I saw her pointing desperately to a book just out of her reach-- Kermit the *FROG*!!!! I handed her the book, which thankfully quieted her. I warned Joerg to keep all frogs out of sight for the rest of the day, and then we spent the next several days working on her pronunciation of the word "frog." Anni is still our little reader, although she doesn't read all day long as she once did. I am glad about this because she really needed to work on building up her strength through more active exercise. Now, we save reading times for before naps and bedtime, and also while on the potty chair. This is actually still quite a lot of reading time, especially as she's not exactly quick on the potty chair. Anni has also begun to "read" to herself. Sometimes I let her play in her playroom while I go next door and check my email. Usually I come in to find her looking through a book (often she takes her books into the ball pit, or climbs into her toy box with them, but sometimes she does actually use her reading chair). Lately, though, she's not just been looking at the books, but also "reading" them out loud to herself. As she turns the pages, she'll name the objects on the page, or use some of the words from the story, if it's one that she knows really well. Potty chair time is always fun since she gets to choose a book to read. She has one touch-and-feel book, in which lots of the objects have texture for the kids to touch while you read. In this book, she loves to "pet the doggie," which also a favorite activity in real life. There's also grass for her to feel, and slippery raincoats, etc. Sometimes when she's on the potty chair, I tickle her, as laughter is a good way of getting her to be more productive, if you know what I mean. So Anni decided that she would "tickle the dog" in the book. Then she got a very mischievous look on her face, and reached over to the grass and declared that she was "tickling the grass!" She was pretty proud of herself for coming up with this! Annika's latest physical feat has been standing on her head. She puts her head on the floor, and then walks her feet up the wall as high as she can go. She hasn't actually managed to push off from the wall yet, but it's only a matter of time... So I think that this is enough for 1 very long journal entry. I'll try to keep up a little better, and therefore keep them of more manageable length in the future.