Saturday, December 31, 2011

2011 round up

2011 was amazing - penny has become an absolutely incredible little girl.  the big news of the day, as you can see from alex's photo below, is that penny is spending her first night in her big bed!
she's been basically putting herself down for naps, so we offered to convert her crib into a bed!  this is how we feel about it:
make a gif
Make a gif
earlier in the week, i was astounded to see this:
no help.
she has been spending her days using her imagination - she started off the day this morning by saying "good morning gonzo, good morning fozzie bear!".  she was talking to each of her feet.

alex and i reviewed the year, and we agree that it was good!  the rewards of being a good parent now are more than penny simply not crying - now she plays with us, and will occasionally fling her arms around our necks, give us kisses and say "i love you".

again, she has met and surpassed all of her resolutions for 2011, so we've decided that this year we'll work on reading, getting off the pacifier, and counting to 20.

seriously, look at this child:

Big Bed!!!!

Jumping Mice

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Penny Put Herself To Nap

Penny just told us she wanted to take a nap, then crawled on the couch and after about ten minutes fell asleep. With no help from us. Which is kind of amazing.

Monday, December 19, 2011

how to impress your pediatrician

we went in for penny's 2 year old checkup today.  we LOVE our doctor, and she is very much smitten with penny.  here are the proper responses to your pediatrician's questions, if you'd like to start drilling your own toddlers now:

Dr. Julie: I'm Dr. Julie; what's your name?
Penny: Penny Ruth Zalben
Dr. J: Does she really know her first name, middle name & last name? old are you?
P: Two months old.
Me: Two YEARS old, Penny. (to Dr. Julie) We're working on that. Penny, would you like to show Dr. Julie two fingers?
P: Mommy please help me.  I can't do it myself.

Dr. J: Did you have a birthday party?
P: Cake!
Dr. J: Did you blow out the candles?
P: Penny did it. Daddy not help.

Dr. J: Do you drink milk?
P: Milk from cows!
Me: We were talking about this earlier.  What other animals give milk?
P: Sheep!
Dr. J: And do you eat chicken?
P: (While climbing into a chair) On the bone!
Dr. J: Do you eat broccoli?
P: (Nods)
Dr. J: Do you eat spaghetti?
P: (silence)
Me: I'm not sure she knows what spaghetti is.
Dr. J: Do you eat pasta?
Penny: Noodles!

alex and i were silently hysterical for most of this interview.  though we know in our hearts we have an awesome kid, we always panic a little bit that maybe we're missing something hugely important, or maybe penny is terrible in some way that we  haven't noticed and won't be able to correct.  it was really gratifying to have her answer the doctor perfectly, have a great checkup, give the doctor hugs and kisses, and then hear the doctor repeat penny's answers to the doctors and nurses outside of the exam room.

her current stats, though we forgot to get the percentages, are:
34 1/4" tall, 26lbs, 9.5oz

when we got home after the appointment and some playground time, penny got to open a ton of mail - holiday cards, birthday cards, and one birthday card PACKED full of stickers.  she was sticking the stickers to a piece of paper we have hanging on the wall, and they were having trouble staying stuck on.  i said to her, "let's see if we can make everybody stick" and she said "everybody sick".  i said "no, no, no, no...SSSTTTick".  she said "SSSSSIck".  and it turned into a 20 minute running joke.  AMAZING.

also, we have this book (highly recommended), and she calls me mama mama red pajama.  she tells me not to stomp and pout.  i tell her to save the llama drama.  we can complete each other's sentences when one of us starts "baby llama what a tizzy, sometimes mama's very busy".  this kid is really something special.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

birthday 2.0

dear penny:

tonight i put my one year old baby to bed for the last time.  you were charming and adorable, and took out your pacifier and put it on the arm of the couch so that we could read "one more story, mommy" and you could be awake for another 10 minutes.  you put your empty bottle in the sink.  you walked over to your crib by yourself.  you gave me a big hug and lots of good night kisses.  you are wearing your pirate pajamas.
i thought your first year went by quickly, but as it turns out, it had NOTHING on this year.  right now, you are an incredibly articulate, absolutely gorgeous, magical human being.  i love how you can entertain yourself using your imagination, how you sing as enthusiastically as i do, and how i know what phrases i use most commonly by what i hear coming out of you - "woah, woah, woah, woah" is apparently a popular one with me.
there is so much you have learned this year - walking, talking, coloring, sticking stickers, putting on and taking off your own shoes & much more.  you are the most affectionate cuddle bug, hugging your new friends, waving to complete strangers, giving kisses, hugs & fist bumps.
i don't know what we did before there was you.  every morning, you find our glasses, hand us our phones, and remind us to put on pants.  over the past couple of weeks, you have taken charge of making the coffee.  you took a music and movement class for the first time this semester, and you totally rocked it.

i have heard that the terrible twos are right around the corner.  i don't believe it for a second.  i miss you every moment that i'm not with you, i love to hear you tell me the story of your day, and i am delighted that you will be starting your third year on this planet as such a capable, caring, loving, intelligent wonderful human being.  i love being your mommy.

Monday, December 12, 2011

almost two!

this week penny has decided that:

  • she would rather sit in a chair with a booster seat than in her high chair
  • she would like to hold her own bottle
  • she would like to try to pee in the potty (she did it the first time she asked!)
  • halfway through meals, she is a baby who cannot use a fork or spoon and "needs help"
  • the letter "u for umbrella" and "p for penny" spell "up"
  • her "guys" keep making new friends, and need to be constantly introduced to one another


Wednesday, December 7, 2011

I Swear I'm A Good Dad...

penny's first joke!

at the breakfast table this morning, alex asked penny if she knew any knock knock jokes.  she said that she did, so alex asked her to tell him one.  ladies and gentlemen, i give you the beginning of a brilliant career in comedy:

Penny: Knock, knock
Alex: Who's there?
P: Poppa
A: Poppa who?
P: Poppa Steve!

she's working on a tight five, and we'll keep you posted on her upcoming appearances.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

happy thanksgiving!

happy thanksgiving to you!  we woke up early this morning, ate pancakes and watched the parade.  penny's attention span is getting longer, but a three hour parade is a lot.
when we got on the railroad, we settled into our seats - penny THREW her arms around alex, gave him the biggest hug ever and said "i love you, daddy".  my heart totally melted and i watched them snuggle a bit, then she threw herself at me, gave ME a gigantic hug and told me "i love you too, mommy".

that's what i'm thankful for.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

birthday party!

penny attended her cousin jacob's second birthday - she had a fantastic time tumbling, jumping on trampolines, sliding, and eating pizza and cake.  if she could have moved in to the gym, she would still be there now!
happy 2nd birthday, jacob!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011


full sentences!

sorry for the extended blog silence - we've all been battling a cold, so we've been taking care of each other in shifts.  the good news is that penny can now speak in full sentences!  over the past two days, she has said
(upon running into a neighbor, complete with arm flourish to indicate who she was speaking about): "this is grandma"
(upon the completion of a song that alex & penny made up together and has become a staple of our household): "i like that song, daddy"
(upon placing items in a bag and hanging that bag over the push bar of her elmo truck, complete with VERY surprised inflection): "i did it!"

she also can tell you that penny begins with a p and mama begins with an m, and point at various letters in the dr. seuss ABC book, though i'm not at all convinced she gets it yet.

this morning she took alex's dress shoes off the shoe rack and wore them around the bedroom, telling us that she was going to a "fancy party".

penny and noah spent a good couple of minutes standing side by side in the hallway giving each other sidelong glances and saying "hi, penny", "hi, noah", then hugging.  true love, i tell you.

Monday, October 31, 2011


so i left work early today, armed with t-shirts i drew ghosts on.   we've been preparing her for the past week or so - teaching her how to say "happy halloween: and "trick or treat".  when alex asked penny what she wanted to dress up as a few weeks ago, she said "pumpkin", and hasn't given another answer since.  she decided we should be ghosts (once gourds, but quickly back to ghosts), hence the t-shirts.  penny's tried on her pumpkin a couple of times, but she was super psyched to get out into the neighborhood and mingle with the other costumed kids!
we've been watching decorations go up slowly since the beginning of october, including a giant pumpkin down the block from us, which was our first stop.  immediately following that was penny's first trick or treat experience - she did great!  she had a great time looking at all of the other kids' costumes, trick or treating, and walking through the neighborhood.  we took a break, sat on the stoop for a little while, and then watched the parade - it comes right down our block.

as far as penny is concerned, halloween was about collecting as many candies as possible - when we got home, she dumped them all on the floor, and we had a fun time finding matching candies and sorting them by color.  the chinese restaurant gave penny a fortune cookie, so we let her eat that, and then put her in her pirate pajamas for bed!  all in all, a very successful first halloween!

Happy Halloween!

Sunday, October 30, 2011


for alex's birthday, we had planned on going apple picking - we did lots of research figuring out which would be the best pick-your-own orchard, and even found a couple with dwarf apple trees so that penny could pick apples herself.  then, all the weather reports started getting pretty grim.  we started thinking that maybe we should make some alternate plans.  when we woke up in the morning, there was a pretty steady cold drizzle.  i got penny and myself bundled up while alex went to pick up our car.  while we were waiting for him, we watched the rain turn into snow - it was actually kind of incredible, but made us very glad we had decided to do something indoors.
we spent the day at the hall of science!  as it turns out, penny is still too young for most of the museum, but she had a great time in the preschool fun area, and spent the whole time she was playing with fake produce, trains and in the play kitchen wearing a turtle costume.  it turns out to have been a pretty great miserable day.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

harvest festival

today was the park slope harvest festival!  penny is getting more and more excited for halloween, and she loves seeing pumpkins, ghosts ("spoooooky....") and witches ("eh he he he").  we waited in line for a while psyching ourselves up for penny's first pony ride!  she did great!  alex reports that she had a huge smile on her face the whole time, and she gave it pats on the mane when it paused in its walk.  we then fed a goat, a donkey, some chickens, some rabbits and an alpaca.  then we listened to some live music, then wandered through the farmer's market.
when we got home, alex and i had big plans for what we were going to do during penny's nap, but we all ended up falling asleep for about two and a half hours, and when penny woke up we brought her in bed with us for another half an hour of cuddle time.  time much better spent than cleaning or cooking, i say.  the rest of the day was low key - we did some grocery shopping, ate some dinner, took a bath and put penny to sleep.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

boo at the zoo!

this weekend, penny, my parents and i all went to the bronx zoo!  every weekend in october, the zoo is filled with jack o'lanterns, trick or treating, s'mores & costumes.  we had a great time, even though we managed to take a route that didn't take us past nearly as many animals as one might expect.
penny's newest thing is pointing and asking "what's that!?" whenever she sees something she doesn't recognize. she got lots of chances to ask that at the zoo - it was great.  when i asked her at the beginning of the trip which animal she was excited about, she said "owls", which, incidentally, is what she was most excited about at the prospect park zoo, and we found one in a dark room.  she loved seeing the snakes, frogs & turtles (especially because some of the exhibits had jack o'lanterns in them), and now when she takes a bath she'll swim around for a while and pretend to be a turtle she saw at the zoo ("giant!  huge!").
unfortunately, or fortunately, depending on how you look at it, i was having such a good time, i didn't get to take very many photos - but the ones that i did take are pretty cute, no?

Friday, September 30, 2011

penny told me a story!

this morning on the changing table, penny told me a full on story.  i was stunned!  she had her plush elmo doll to play with while i changed her diaper, and she said "bye bye" to him and started walking him away from her.  i asked her where he was going, and her reply was:

supermarket - shopping apples.  elmo cart!  so excited!  first change poop diaper.  car seat.

as it turns out, elmo needed some butt paste because his butt hurt when he took a bath (surprisingly, HER butt hurt when she took a bath not too long ago), and elmo wanted to share his apples with her when he returned from his shopping trip.
it is so much fun getting a glimpse into her imagination!

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

She Also Rules The Cookie

labels are important

penny is learning many things nowadays, at a rapid clip.  she loves to point at and identify everything, categorizing them and making sure that she knows what she's looking at.  she can identify by color, animal type, gender, size...she's working the adjectives and nouns.  she is also getting very good at remembering names and associating memories with the company she had at the time.  when we walk by restaurants in the neighborhood, she can tell you what you eat there, and who she's eaten at each one with.  i can ask her "where did you go with katy belle this morning?" or "who did you see at the playground yesterday?" and she is quick with a reply.

the other day, we were walking through the neighborhood, and a man greeted her with "hi, mami."
penny pointed at herself and said "little girl."