Monday, October 10, 2011

Autumn, Fall and Die

There are a handful of things we like to do every year as a family. One is to ride the ski lift at Sundance as the autumn leaves are turning.

It's really lovely.

For the first time, we took Bridgette along with us. She thought it was grand fun, though she was a bit nervous headed down the mountain. The view was steep in places for sure.

Per usual, she was quite observant. Too, per usual, I was a bit overprotective. She sat on my lap with the bar down, yes. That seemed reasonable. But I also borrowed one of Jeff's belts and belted us together. (Ends up she liked the security, actually.)

I was worried she might not understand what would happen if she fell. What if she got squirmy on the ride, etc?

I needn't have been worried. We asked her if daddy should jump off.

She answered with a resounding, "No-o-o-o!"

"Should mommy jump off?"


"Should Bridgette jump off?"


"What would happen if we fell?"

"We would DIE!"

Well. Alright then.

It is rather difficult to judge distance from the photo above. At times we were only a few feet off the ground, but usually it was much higher, and occasionally, it was much, much higher.

On the way up, Bridgette was quite friendly. She yelled, "Hi! Hi!" to everyone we passed and waved emphatically. In tribute to humanity, people were super happy to wave back and talk to our exuberant 3 year old, even the ones who looked surly moments before.

I have some video, but it's on my cell phone in a weird format, and I'm not sure how to put it on the blog.

On the return trip, she was quite nervous looking down the mountain.

Later that night Bridgette and I got to celebrate her excellent pooping by going to "spaaaace!"

We headed to the Clark Planetarium in SLC and attended a live lecture about the current night sky. Their new projector system is quite impressive, and we enjoyed checking out constellations, asterisms, and planets.

Following the show we ate pizza and chocolate souffle.

So here's the irony.

Remember how I said she has to have a regular sleep and pooping schedule or she gets sick?

Well, in celebration of her brilliant schedules, I ended up taking her off her schedules. She didn't get a nap, and by the time we were headed home (very late by her standards, about 10PM), her tummy hurt because she hadn't pooped. It was huge too, and like a balloon, it needed to pop.

As we were loading up, I asked if she wanted to use the big potty at the planetarium or wait until we got home. She's still scared of big potties, so she wanted to wait.

That made me nervous, but a few minutes down the highway she was fast asleep.

Alas, would that her sleep had kept.

Ends up, little did I know (because I don't get out much) that along with the various highway expansion construction we've experienced throughout the valley over the last year, on that particular Saturday night they would take 4 lanes down to 1. Hundreds of thousands of cars, squeezed one by one into a corridor of motionless.


Because of the cadence change, Bridgette woke up and did nothing but cry for 10 minutes straight until... barf, barf, barf.

Poor baby!!!

We were in bumper to bumper stand-almost-still traffic for hours before we could get home. There were no highway pull-outs, and even if there had been, I was ill-equipped for that kind of clean-up.

I knew that if I had taken her to the potty before we had driven home, this would not have happened. It smelled awful, we were both covered (projectile vomiting is its own kind of magic), and I felt guilty and terrible for her, having to be tied down in that mess for so long.

We were both pretty miserable. She sat with her palms upturned, not wanting to touch anything. I sang songs... lots and lots and lots of songs... to keep us both calm.

When we got home, she and I both jumped in the shower (about midnight). At this point she felt great, except for being tired. After I put her to bed, it was off to clean the clothes, the car, the car seat, and the house (since, while we were away, the dogs had gotten into another large trash can as well as a bottle of molasses... ah... what a night)!

She slept well that night, felt fine the next day, and hasn't had a bad moment since. Know why?

Guess who's extra vigilant about her pooping schedule again!

So a couple of days later, after I took the car to be professionally shampooed, Bridgette was as adorable as could be while I shopped (unsuccessfully) for jeans.

Ack! I can't stand the cuteness!

In another celebration of autumn, Bridgette wore a dress that she first put on in August 2010 after she had just begun teetering around.

Well, here she is one year later, in the *exact same* dress!

Fits like she hasn't grown at all...

Haha! So perhaps I'm just odd, but this is one of my all-time favorite photos, below. She does this at any and all grates. She likes to check for and examine the water, should it exist.

So this is fun! She doesn't really balance on one leg yet, but she does balancing actions.

Like, here she is kicking the woodchips.

Or, she is improving on stairs, occasionally going up or down without holding on.

Or, she is very fond of this dance pose she saw performed at a modern dance concert which requires the dancer to place both hands on the floor and point one leg towards the sky. She does it quite well.

On October 6, we experienced our first seasonal snow. When I mentioned in my last blog entry that we were prepping for winter, it wasn't exactly a joke, but it was meant to be funny.

Hardy-har! Buying a coat so-o-o early!

Yeah, I really didn't expect to see Bridgette out in it this soon. Still, fortune favors the prepared. Or at least preparation allows for playtime.

Pretty much all of last week was drizzly, gray, miserable, dark, freezing cold and depressing.

But on Sunday, the sun came out again. Wa-hoo!

I put Bridgette in this new sweater dress for church, and she even wore tights.

She couldn't wear tights her first year because of her Ileostomy. She couldn't wear tights the next year because of poopsplosions. And I haven't dared put her in tights since then because she drinks so much juice, we still change super-saturated pee diapers every 1-2 hours.

They looked so cute!

She wore them for one hour.

(By the time I took this photo, they were in a wad at the bottom of my purse.)

So I wore a new dress Sunday too. I was very excited, as it had been a number of years, I think, since I had bought a new dress.

Jeff took some photos, and I wouldn't have posted any, but bless her, my baby made this montage too irresistible!

Babe got to visit her first pumpkin patch to pick out her very own pumpkin. We weren't there long, but we were there too long. It was chilly, and the outing started favorably but ended in tears.

The "patch" is pre-plucked and set-up by some neighbor-farmers down the street from us. The little old man who runs it, cane in hand, is the sweetest guy ever. We were happy to be his patrons.

His associate carefully arranged this shot for us, and as you might have guessed if you know Bridgette well enough, this is about the time the evening turned south.

The man picking her up to set her on the pile said, "Do you mind?"

To which I responded, "No, I don't mind. But she might."

She did ok on the pile, but we headed out soon after. Here she is, angrily/purposefully dropping the pumpkin she picked.

The patch was arranged in price from $1 to $5 pumpkins, with unusual varieties of squash and cornstalk bundles available as well. I bought a backseat-full of little pumpkins and lined my front steps with the $1 variety. It's the first time I've decorated for any season since we moved in last year.

I don't know if it's her age, her own experiences with her mortal body, her interest in bodies as a whole, or just because she's her and has an unusual perspective about a great many things, but Bridgette seems keenly aware of the concept of death.

She has been fighting her seat belt restraints lately, but if I calmly explain that they are there to protect her in case we crash, she says, "Crash?? And hurt? And die??? Otay, mommy," and she leaves the restraints in place.

Right now death caters less of an emotional response as a whole than a scientific interest, though just yesterday she did express remorse at the possible passing of a feral cat that lived in our bushes over the summer.

But usually, death is just something that happens, and she accepts it easily. When we went to the dinosaur museum in early September, she was the only kid who laughed during the 3D movie every time they depicted two dinosaurs fighting to the death.


Oh, look! He fell over dead with a vicious claw-swiping blow to the brain! That's so funny!

However, she is fascinated by life too. I suppose that's not unusual for kids, though her intense interest in medicine and human anatomy is a bit... Bridgette.

She does like bodies.

She likes animals too -- dogs, cats, cows, horses, insects, elephants, gorillas -- nothing seems to be too big or two small. We were reading outside yesterday, and she spied insects that were nearly microscopic. I would never have noticed them alone. They were SO tiny.

One day recently I couldn't find her. Surprisingly, she was outside on her own. She was planted on her hands and knees with her face almost in the grass, still as could be.

When I checked more closely, I found she was hovering with her nose half-an-inch from the body of a large preying mantis. She looked up wide-eyed, and gave me a breathy, "Mom! Whoa!"

The preying mantis, unsurprisingly, was booking-it for the bushes.

By the time I had gone the two steps in and out of the kitchen to nab my camera, it had reached its destination. I didn't know preying mantises could move that fast.

Bridgette watched it for a long time as it crawled up into the bush to hide. It's wonderful to watch her interests develop as she branches out and focuses in, continually bringing her own perspective to the world around us.

I'm excited to keep teaching her about the biology and physics of her surroundings as autumn brings more change.


Lore said...

Beautiful scenery, delightful girl, most of the time. I'm so sorry about the mess in the car - you both must have been miserable.

Ryan said...

Oh man, you definitely made me miss Utah with those awesome shots!