Tuesday, August 17, 2004

Nutmeg is doing so many new things. She's holding and moving around toys with both hands, in fact right now she's sitting on Daddy's lap playing with a book that makes all kinds of noises when she handles it, like crinkling and jingling. She's very intent on it. Of course, her main goal is to fit some portion of the book into her mouth.

She just seems to have more purpose and presence of mind with everything she does. When we go out, she moves her head around and checks out everyone and everything around. When she looks in the mirror, she moves her hand or her head and watches the effect very seriously, like she's figured out that she controls the baby in the mirror.

She's rolling onto her side now. During our trip to Portland this past weekend, she figured out how to fight us when we try to put her into the car seat: She stiffens and arches her back very hard. Poor thing, she had been in the car seat for about 7 hours the day before on the long drive up, so I understood why she wouldn't want to go back in.

Meanwhile, Mommy is kicking coffee again after seriously falling off the coffee cart. I'm not 100% sure that coffee is what bothers her tummy, but she has thrown up on enough days when I drank coffee that I feel like it's worth avoiding it. Yet I keep going back to it. I'll be in a restaurant and the waitress says, "Coffee?" and before I know it there's a mug sitting in front of me. It's so easy to say "Yes." And when Erik makes it at home I'm powerless under the smell. I love coffee. I love it more than any food, even more than chocolate, the other thing I'm giving up for Nutmeg. I've only caved a few times on chocolate, but coffee I go back to again and again. It's one of those off-again on-again relationships. So this morning I had tea. Blah. Chai latte is better but that's a coffeehouse thing not an at-home thing.

And an off-topic note on driving: We cancelled our flight reservations at the last minute and decided to drive to Portland, which Mapquest told us would only take 9 hours. "It'll be fun," we thought, "We'll see more of the great American West." Do you know hat you see when you drive somewhere on the American freeway system? Shell, Arco, Burger King, Denny's, McDonalds. We did manage to get downtown in a couple of stops: Yreka, pronounced "why-reka," where we at an enormous slab of ham at the Purple Plum restaurant and bought a gift for one of our expecting friends at a hospice fundraiser shop, and Weed, where there was nothing open downtown and we ended up driving back to the gas station on the freeway exit to buy snacks and breastfeed. Yes, the town called weed. OK, we did see a lot of beautiful pine trees and Mount Shasta, but overall, we're feeling kind of silly for having driven. You can't really see the country unless you have time to get away from the friggin' freeway, and even stopping only to eat, breastfeed, and diaper change, it took us over 24 hours to get there. We left Hayward from Daddy's work at 6 p.m., stayed at a crusty Day's Inn in Red Bluff, where firefighters down from a Redding wildfire had taken most of the rooms, and got back on the road at 8:30 a.m., and we still didn't walk into Margaret's party until 8 p.m. (we went to John's place first and unloaded.)

In Portland we reunited with Beijing Scene friends -- Margaret (manaobooks.blogspot.com), Jessica and Leslie, as well as Leslie's husband Yao Xiaolong and their 15-month-old Cameron, AND Erik's college buddy John. It was so much fun introducing Nutmeg to everyone, and spending time with Cameron was especially fascinating as an index of things to come. I pointed out to Erik how Cameron is just saying Mama and Baba now, to explain to him that he will have to wait a long time before Nutmeg talks. He thinks she is talking now. She'll be crying and he'll say, "she said, 'hungry.'" Although one of the things he claims, that she says "apu" when she wants to suck on her bippy, seems very true once you start to listen for it. Well, maybe she's making that sucking noise and the sound just comes out. As much as I like to fancy that my child is the world's next great genius, 4-month-olds just don't talk.

Daddy and Nutmeg are asleep together in the rocking chair now. Cute Daddy, cute baby. I'm the happiest woman in the world.

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