Tuesday, March 04, 2008

What's going on?

Why haven't I been posting every week like I used to? What's going on here, in Raleigh? How's the weather? What's new with Mark? Here are the answers to all these and other questions (and new pictures too).

The weather is very nice. Today was warm enough for T-shirts! Our sickly crabapples are about to bloom and trees and shrubs all over town are blooming. Dahlias are in full force. I'm surprised that I haven't seen any tulips though. That's strange - why doesn't anyone grow them here? We thought we'd be busy with the landscaping this year, but once again things got in the way... First of all, we're still in an extreme drought here in NC. So no outdoor watering, landscaping, pressure washing and other fun stuff. Yet car washes are still open and people still use them. Go figure!

Another reason for not doing landscaping, or much else around the house, is because right now neither Chris nor I work. Well, Chris is finishing his degree (yes, he will be done in just 3 weeks). And I... To make a long story short, I do not work at my translation agency any longer. I'm not going to get into details here, but hey, tell everyone you know to NOT use my former agency for any translation/interpreting work. ForeignTranslations (www.foreigntranslations.com) SUCKS!

So Chris and I are both staying home for now. Of course, we're actively looking for new jobs. But I'm only looking for a job that would allow me to work from home because I can't think about putting Mark in a day care.

Anyway, I thought that since I don't have to spend 8-10 hours each day working for some butthole, I will have plenty of time to do all sorts of things. I envisioned a clean house, yummy lunches and dinners (Chris does breakfasts), long strolls with Mark in the neighborhood parks, and in general, finally catching up on things. Yeh, right! I don't know how, but I manage to accomplish even less now than when I was working. Ok, to be fair, the dinners are yummy and I do go on long walks with Mark. But somehow the days fly by and I get very little accomplished. It's a mystery!
Mark is doing well. He is a very confident cruiser - insists on walking everywhere. But he does not want to walk or stand on his own yet. So he stands holding to things - furniture, handles, my legs - and when he's ready to move, he says "ma" and holds his arm out. Now he's trying to sit up from laying on his back. So we switched from the changing table to the floor. Still, it's a major hassle since at a first hint of impending diaper change he attempts to scoot away and when we catch him (and he's very quick with his scooting now), he cries his eyes out. Sometimes giving him a small toy helps, but most of the time he just cries.

For a while now he's been eating all sorts of solids, including finger foods. Now we're on to a new stage - he must not only see, but touch all his foods. So before he takes even a small bite, he insists on being allowed to stick his hands into the bowl and touch the food. And I thought feeding was messy before. Now the kitchen looks like a major hurricane went through it. And Mark sits in the middle of it all, covered with food from head to toe, smiling. Same with milk and juices - first he drinks, then he plays which consists mainly of spilling stuff on the high chair and on the floor. Too bad Xander doesn't drink milk - he is missing one hell of an opportunity.

Recently we taught Mark to clap hands. He doesn't like it very much though. What he does like is our reaction to it - we get giddy with excitement, stop everything and hug and kiss him. So what he does is he claps his hands once and then watches us. Although I caught him clapping hands when he woke up in the middle of the night and got bored. He also points to everything! He knows when we ask "where's a lamp", "where's Mark's nose", and "where are toy's eyes". And he knows when we ask in English and in Russian! In general, if he likes something or is interested in it, he points to it and says "eta". If he wants something, he points to it repeatedly and says "na".

Another development - he now gives toys and books to me and Chris. It used to be impossible to take things away from him. It still is unless he wants to give it to you. But when he does, he doesn't just let a toy go. Instead, he gets your attention and then hands the toy to you. And he can be pretty generous!

Last weekend Kelli and I went to the Farmer's Market. Afterwards we had a playdate at our place. Her son, Louis, is 15 months old now. It's really fun to watch him and Mark play. Ok, most of the time they don't even notice each other. But last time, Kelli gave both some Cheerios. So Louie proceeded to feed them to Mark and Mark really liked the new game. So we hope that they will be best buds when they get a bit bigger! For now, I wouldn't mind having Louie feed Mark his lunch and dinner since he's having more success with him than I do.