Friday, July 30, 2010

Belated Feliz Cumpleaños

On July 24, our sweet Ely turned a year old.

We knew we wanted to mark the occasion. R's family is rather large when you consider aunts, uncles and cousins. For space and because July weather is iffy, we needed a tent. Here's the inside...

And the elephant dress that Ely's grandma made her for her Elephant-themed party.
The elephant fun straws that I meant to give to the kids as favors and only remembered to give away about three of them....

The perfect plate that gave fuel to my elephant-themed party idea.
Ely's grandpa working hard to save the "fondant" (which turned didn't turn out to be fondant-y at all. What can I say? I got cocky thinking I could pull that off.
Finally got the frosting on the cake and topped it off with a bow...
and the refreshments...

"All done!" Bye-bye

The one (modified) sign Ely does is “all done”. We didn’t get much further than that. I wish she’d sign “water”, “juice” or something. Then again, I wish she’d DRINK water, juice, or something! Signing “more” would be nice, but a "point and pant" gets her point across just as efficiently.

To be honest, I don’t see the purpose of signing “please” and “thank you”. Sure, they are important words to SAY and we model them, but signing them? I’d rather her concentrate on learning something else.

There’s all sorts of “If you teach them to sign, they’ll never talk” out there, especially for babies in a bilingual environment but, I try to disregard any and all “If you…, they’ll never…” advice, anyway. ( I cross-my-heart-hope-to-die, she’s not going to go to college waking up to nurse, sleeping with us, or wanting to be carried.) Our decision to stop signing at “all done” was based on, well, honestly, nothing besides a lack of need.

So, we happily sign “all done” and pay attention to her cues. For the most part, we communicate pretty well. She’s rarely frustrated by my lack of understanding. At least I haven’t heard, “You just don’t understand, Mom!” followed by a stomp and slamming door (yet!) On her end, he seems to understand the basics: “Don’t touch.””Careful.” “Hot.” “Kiss.” “No.” “Good Morning, Guavaberry” (Oops! Did I just give away my addiction to Juan Luis Guerra?)

This first word milestone has been appearing in books since about nine months, but Ely wasn’t even close. Of course, she’s been tickilmg our funny bone by looking at us pointedly and proclaiming “Num” and other such baby words in a bossy self-assured tone since about seven months. She also said “Mamamamamamamama” and “Daddadaddaa” aroung ten months, but neither R nor I were willing to swear she knew what she was saying.

In the last month or so she has been repeating the same strings of sounds in the same context. So, we figured we were getting close. As we neared a year, R and I were expectant. Would it be Spanish? Wouldl it be English? We’ve been waiting (im)patiently.

About a week ago, the “all done” sign was complimented with “ahhhh dahhh”. We called it coincidence, until it happened again. Then, we paid attention. Now, it sometimes replaces the sign.

Yesterday, my mom was trying to show her how to get down from the bed feet first. Ely made it quite clear that she wanted to try the “head-first” method and grandma objected. (Crazy, right?) Ely was quite upset with her grandma. I picked her up to do something and as I carried her away, she gave grandma a killer look and said, “Ahhhh dahhhh” and waved goodbye. We both burst out laughing because it was pretty apparent that Ely was ordering inviting her grandma to skidaddle.

I’d say we have it! : a kid with her mom’s attitude and tolerance for frustration and a first word!! Not” mommy”, not “daddy” or “papi”, but “All Done!” I should have known! Anything taught in the context of food, sticks! She is my daughter, afterall.

Monday, July 19, 2010

I love Epicúreo and this kid-loving country

So, it's been a while, a long while, since I sat down to write. My parents are here for a visit and I’d just rather spend time with them than in my head or on the computer. However, since Ely is napping peacefully beside me and everyone else has declared it a lazy day, it seems like a good time to check in.

Yesterday, we went to a kids' show for which Ely was a bit young. I knew that going in, but it was put on by a team I worked with a while ago. So, I wanted to check it out. If you have kids 2-4ish in Santiago, definitely
check it out!

After the show, we headed to
Epicúreo, that restaurant where the owner offered to take care of Ely while we ate in peace. We've only been there four times, but it's become a real favorite. The food is delicious and the environment is unbeatable. I don't mean ambiance. I mean environment because while the decor is quite nice, it's more than that.

There are only two waiters and, by Chilean standards, both are excellent. One of them remembers us each time and greets us as "amigos". (As proof that he doesn't just do that to everyone, he always makes reference to something that happened last time we were there.)

I tell you all this because I love the restaurant and because I had another "This is the Chile I love" moment there yesterday:

There was a little boy, 2 years old, maybe? With his face painted like a tiger. The waiter who remembers us carried him over to our table to introduce him to Ely. Ely looked at him, kind of confused because she still thinks she's the only baby in the world. The little boy was equally disinterested.

Shortly thereafter, we heard LOUD wailing. It sounded like Ely's would-be-friend was not happy. Then, we saw the little boy tiger bouncing down the front hall as happy as could be, but the wails hadn't stopped. That's when we realized that it wasn't wailing. They were roars! Tiger roars!

He was having a blast prowling the restaurant roaring at the top of his lungs... and no one was trying to stop him or even quiet him, for that matter. No one rolled their eyes. No one shot him evil looks. People smiled and accepted, even enjoyed his kid-ness.

It was Sunday lunch, a time that is traditionally a family time. So, it didn't matter that we were in a nice restaurant because kids can be kids most places and at most times in this long, thin country- not just at Chuck E. Cheese's.