Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Summer Speak

So, Summer loves to talk. She said her first word at eight and a half months old, and people are constantly commenting that she speaks better than a lot of three-year olds they know. She doesn't just parrot - she is constantly forming complex sentences she has never heard before. I love it, because it's so fun to have conversations with this girl that aren't one sided. Plus, I have a good idea of what's going on in her head.

I've tried not to blog about it too often. Once we had lunch with some friends and another family. The other family had a boy who was about six months older than Summer, and Summer spoke significantly better than he did. Later, we found out that the family was sort of embarrassed that their son couldn't say anything.

But in doing that, I think I've lost many wonderful memories of the hilarious things Summer says. This girl's speech is constantly making us laugh and making my heard burst with love when I learn what she's thinking and feeling. And I hardly remember any the specific phrases she has said.  I know that a journal is probably a more appropriate place for this sort of thing, but I think I'm just going to have to face reality and recognize that my big journaling days are over.

Plus, people should know that early speech has no relation to later intelligence. More importantly, it has no relation to happiness, or kindness, or spirituality, or tenacity, or any other trait that really means anything. So basically, Summer's speech ability doesn't matter.

But it's fun! It's so fun to hear her say, "Hi, I'm Summer. And these are my friends, Mommy and Daddy!" And I want to remember all these phrases that describe a bit of her little world.What I write is just a sad imitation of the real thing, because so much of the humor and sweetness of her phrases comes from her inflection. But I'll do my best to convey her tone.

And I know that this is going to be so much more interesting to myself and Nathaniel than anyone else in the whole world. And that is totally okay.

Anyway, here is today's gem. Summer pushed a chair up to the kitchen counter and climbed up it, only to fall down a minute later. I grabbed her and let her cry in my arms, and after a minute of wailing she said, "I tried to put the sugar in mommy's bowl, and I was sad, and I fell down...on the counter." Oh, the sad life of a two-year old!

And here is a lovely conversation that took place in the car:

Summer: "It's Ponyo's school! It's Ponyo's school!"
Nathaniel: "Ponyo's school?"
Summer: "Yeah!"
Nathaniel: "I think Ponyo's school is in Japan, and we're in Virginia."
Summer: (looking confused) "Yeah."
Nathaniel: "Are you a Japan girl?"
Summer: "No, I'm a California girl! I need to buy some stuff!"
Nathaniel: "You need to buy some stuff?"
Summer: "Yeah. Some chocolates...some peanut butter...and some candy..."

Here is another favorite. After finals ended, Nathaniel had two heavenly weeks off from almost everything and Summer got pretty used to him being around. Now, he's gone most of the day (a grueling 8:30 to 6:30 - we're getting spoiled) and I've had to explain what he's doing. Here's how she understands the situation:

"Daddy had to go on a train to go to work. A chugga chugga choo choo train! He has to go to work to get some money so he can buy stuff...some screwdrivers."

Oh, I really wish I could get these on camera. I'm really not doing them justice.

Anyway, just know that if you see a lot of Summerisms on here, I don't mean to brag and say that she's the smartest kid in the world. It's just so that I'll remember, and so that I'll have fun stories to tell her when she grows up.


Sunday, May 22, 2011


As I type this, I'm lying on a sectional that smells like dog. However, everything else about my life right now is pretty fantastic. For starters, for the first time in our married lives, we have enough room in our apartment for a big comfy sectional. Also, this sectional cost only 150 bucks, and after I reprogram my brain to associate the light dog smell with images of my beloved first pet Shannon, a sweet dog that I had before I became sort of anti-dog, I'm sure I'll love it.

Another thing I love: the new place is only a one bedroom, but our closet is almost big enough for Summer's pack and play, so we decorated it with glow in the dark star stickers and that's her new little bedroom, and she feels at home in there.

I love that we see the Washington Monument and the Pentagon every day. I love that when we make a wrong turn we run into Arlington Cemetery, or the Jefferson Memorial, or some other amazing landmark. And Nathaniel's firm's office building is down the street from the Capitol.

I'm sure many seasoned DC residents would roll their eyes at my enthusiasm, but I can't help it. I've never lived in a place with so many interesting things to see and do and if we wind up living here I hope I never lose my appreciation for that. Tomorrow, Summer and I could see the Jefferson memorial, or the WWII memorial, or visit the National Museum of Art or the Museum of Natural History (a likely winner, as dinosaur bones make a memorable cameo in Curious George).

On Friday, we made a little family trip to the zoo and saw a cheetah (walking, not running, unfortunately), a pride of lions sunning themselves, a tiger looking solitary and stately, orangutans walking on wires high over our heads, a gorilla that scooted up right beside us and stared through the glass right at Summer, and plenty of other animals, including prairie dogs, which I was surprised to see being from a place where people shoot prairie dogs for fun and because they're bad for crops or something.

And the food! I have to restrain myself, but I have a long list of food places I want to try while we're here. Let me know if you know of more! (We're on Columbia Pike, in Arlington.) There are some great (and pricey) farmer's markets too, but when I want to splurge on sorrel or pasture-raised eggs, I know where to go. And, full disclosure, there's a Costco close by, and we're happy about that.

I am a little nervous, being in a new place. I hope I make friends and can find something useful for myself to do, because I have no hope of getting an 11-week job. I decided that I can't make money, but I can help people, so I'm looking for more of those opportunities. Luckily, we are in a great ward and I'm already being put to work.

Oh, and our ward! Never have I seen such efficiency at church! I had no idea there were wards where you check your kid into nursery, like daycare at the gym, except with a much better adult-kid ratio and Gospel lessons. They have three different rooms that the kids can just go between as they choose for much of the time, and Summer had a blast. And Bob Bennett is supposedly our Gospel Doctrine teacher? I guess he was out of town today. Or something. I was sort of lost during that part of the conversation because I was marveling over the fantastic nursery. Also, I was told that if I want to have fun and meet people, I have to go to Zumba, which is held at the church on Wednesday nights. And the Relief Society gave me chocolates as a little welcome treat.

So, I think we're going to have a good summer.