Monday, December 20, 2010

The Second Time Around

I'm pregnant. Yes, this was a planned second. I know I've said in previous posts that I was not ready for number two. This is still true, but we had to be realistic about this. If we really do want two children, I should do this while I am in stay at home mode, while Tallulah and number two will be close enough in age, and before I get myself into grad school and back to the paid working world.

I hit the twelve week mark last Thursday, and heard the baby's heartbeat on November 30.
Daddy-to-be again and Big-Sister-to-be were in the examining room when my midwife heard the heartbeat, so the family heard it together. Tallu knows what's happening, but I don't make a big deal about it. I want us to enjoy these moments of three-dom, because it's not going to last much longer.

I'm nauseated and tired, but instead of having to leave the house for work, I get to do this with Tallu as my boss. The upside to being a pregnant stay at home mom is the bed and bathroom are so very close by, and no one is going to ask me why I'm going to the bathroom so much.

In fact, when I do find myself in the bathroom longer than I expected, I get free entertainment. Tallu has taken to rubbing her stomach, saying "My tummy feels funny. I have to go do something in my potty." Then she runs to her potty and starts to mimic me. I told her madrina (godmother) that it's hard to not to laugh and hurl at the same time, but I do make a mental note to enjoy my daughter's expression of sympathy.

How am I feeling otherwise? A little scared- I don't want to have gestational diabetes again. Not terribly excited to go through labor and delivery again. A bit worried at being able to care for another little human being. Yet grateful that we were able to conceive, and grateful for the tiredness and nausea, because I know that so far, everything is alright in there.

We have not taken any ultrasounds yet, and are opting out of genetic testing this time around. The ultrasound can wait until the 20 week visit, and I'd have the baby regardless of any test results. Although I am too nauseated and tired to be demonstratively happy, it is comforting to know that the people we've told are excited by the news. (And if they're not, they've wisely kept their dismay to themselves.)

Merry Christmas!

(and no, it would not be at all inappropriate to start a "Will she make it to her due date?" pool. The estimated date is June 23.)

Thursday, November 11, 2010

"I'm scared of my poopies!"

The potty training is on a steady pace, but the poopies are a problem.

Last night, Tallu fell asleep on my bed in the early evening. I tried to put a diaper on her while she slept, and roused her from slumber. I transferred her to her bed, where she remained awake, whiney, and on all fours. Then that familiar smell hit my nose, and I felt the bottom of her diaper. She had a funky boulder in there. After much coaxing I was able to remove the diaper, and she gave me her usual refrain: " AAAAH! I'm scared of the poopies!"

It's incredibly frustrating to me. She will announce that she has to pee and does it. I can see in her facial cues that she has to poop. She nows whines, holds her butt, and probably sucks it back in. She would rather poop in her diaper and stay in it for hours than make a deposit in the potty. (She once spent half a day in a poopy diaper because she refused to let me change it. I figured, fuck it, maybe she'll get so sick of wallowing in her own filth she'll choose the potty next time. WRONG!)

By many accounts I choose to believe, pooping on the potty is a big hurdle. Children being scared of it is common. I read somewhere that because it's solid, to a child it may feel like part of the body is falling out. A change in diet may help. Of course, my child would need to eat, and it's so hard to tell what the devil she will want to eat from minute to minute. I need to find fiber-rich and stool softening foods that will promote healthy, softer poopies.

I feel for her and her little butt. We had a little chat today about the source of the fear of poopies (it smells bad, and it hurts her stomach and her little butt, she says). I confessed that sometimes it hurts me too, but I feel so much better getting them out, and so will she! I reminded her that animals poop in the forest, so we can pretend that her potty is the forest. There are frogs and turtles on the potty seat. I'm hoping that pretend game will work...

With that having been said, Tallu asked to wear panties when we went out for breakfast last Saturday. She used the public toilet and had no accidents. Yesterday she woke up with a dry diaper and used her potty. I had errands to run in the morning and she did not pee in the diaper while we were out, she used the toilet again. So there are definitely steps in the right direction!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Hi Boobies!

It's been almost six months since Tallu and I stopped nursing. We're still adjusting. First, I had to explain that the milkies were empty, so they are mommy's boobies now (again). It was easy for her to take "they're empty" for an answer, though there were occasions where she'd tried. It would only last a second or two, but my mind and body immediately repelled such attempts, as though we had never nursed!
Tallu gets glimpses of the boobies-formerly-known-as-milkies, and wants to touch them. I refuse, but I tell her she can say hi. She waves to my chest and says "Hi, boobies!" Or I'll ask if she wants the boobies to give her a hug, and I'll give her an extra squeezy hug. No doubt she remembers nursing rather fondly, and I do, too. I always wondered if she was getting enough, if we were going on for too long, if she would ever stop. She was getting comfort and nourishment, it went for as long as she needed it to, and yes, she stopped nursing.

It would be so helpful to nursing mothers to receive encouragement and support for this decision. You may think that nursing a toddler who can say "I want booby" is too old. You're allowed to your opinion, but that's when you press the Interior Monologue button. You may see a mother nursing her infant on a park bench, shirt up, "shame" be damned. Babies need to eat, and they don't care that they're in the park. Keep walking, and let that mother care for her child. You'll be glad when that same baby is sleeping soundly, not wailing for dear life on the train. If your family is unfamiliar with nursing, there's no better way to introduce them to it by not hiding. My aunt, who recoiled dramatically and hilariously the first time I nursed Tallu, praised me for nursing her great-aunt/godchild for so long when I told her we were finished.

Mission accomplished!

A Pot(ty) To Piss In

Sure the title is crass, but at least she's peeing more often in the potty or the toilet than on our wood floors or rugs. The last time she peed on the floor was last week, when she walked past the potty (which sits just outside the bathroom door) to pee on the floor on my side of the bed. I took it as a sign of aggression, and let her know how upset I was. It's kind of hard to be patient when one minute she's running to the potty, and in the next pouring forth a puddle on my bedroom floor. I have to remind myself, like Grover sings in "Elmo's Potty Time" that "Accidents happen, and that's okay."

Bladder control is something I take for granted, but I haven't worn a diaper in, what, twenty-eight years? It must be very difficult to move from literally peeing where you stand to a multi-step process: recognize the tingle in your bladder, contract muscles, go to the toilet, pull down underwear, sit on toilet, release. Let's not even talk about pooping...well...I'll just say that I've had to pick up Tallu and race to the potty, posterior in the air, to save myself from picking up her deuce from her bedroom floor.

Here's how I'm making the process easier on both of us. Tallu is butt naked during her waking hours, and there are two potties in the house: one in the living room (Al Bundy's dream), and the upstairs one. (When I was a kid my yellow and white potty sat just outside the bathroom door, which was great because I could "go potty" even if the bathroom was occupied.) Why butt naked? Pure laziness- I am saving myself laundry because we don't have an electric drier.

Here's how I'm making the process harder on both of us. I haven't given her real world experience. In other words, she hasn't left the house without wearing a diaper. If we're on the train and she's gotta pee, and we're twenty minutes from our destination, what am I supposed to do? I was trained to pee in the street, between the cars if we were too far away from a bathroom. (It was New York in the 80's, what can I say?) My mom told me that when I was about three I told her I had to go to the bathroom while we were out, so she took me between some cars. She was horrified when I started pooping!

I wish I had answers, but this is one of those real-world lab exercises for which no one can give me the answers. I'm not claiming my toddler to be potty-trained, as I see this will be a long process. We are working on it, one pee-pee dance at a time.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Listening and Dancing to (Live) Music is AWESOME!

Tallu went to the PhillyBloco show at World Cafe Live last Saturday night. Her dad and I really wanted to see this show, as we know the band members, but hemmed and hawed about going. Going out would mean buying tickets and paying a sitter...until we saw the words "All ages show" on the flyer.... so we called our friend, who sold us tickets and generously put Tallu on the guestlist. (We would've had to buy a ticket for her, too, which still would've been cheaper than a sitter. But our friend thought it was silly for a two year old to have to pay full price. Yes, we thanked him very much!) The door staff were really sweet to Tallu, taking her ticket and giving her a blue wristband (underage), as we got our red wristbands (Caipirinhas, here we come!) No attitude, no admonishments, just "enjoy the show!"


This isn't the first time she's seen PhillyBloco perform. I think the first time she was still pretty young, but we've always had her wear her famous pink headphones, which reduce the decible levels without muting the music. We're not idiots, and her father attends OSHA trainings for work, so there's no way she could get in without those headphones.

PhillyBloco was at their best that night, but the highlight for me came after the show was over. We're milling around with the band, when a stranger approaches me to say: "She did really well! I've been in childcare for 18 years, and I am telling you, I am impressed!"

I thanked this woman for the compliment, explaining we've been taking her to class with us for almost her entire life. The lady then tells me about her five year old grandson, who loves the water, and how much she encourages his love of water. We had a great conversation, and I, of course, encouraged her to buy some headphones and bring her grandson to the next show!

Concerts, libraries, restaurants, museums...all places children "should not go." Why not? Why can't Tallu listen to good music and see people of all ages dancing together? What's wrong with my child eating escargot with her parents and grandparents for lunch? Does it disturb you that she's pointing out colors in a Bearden collage? Look, I'm not saying kids deserve to be everywhere, all the time. But if we want children to respect and appreciate art, music, good food, life as we know it, we have to be the first teachers. Go have fun, everybody!

The next PhillyBloco show is Oct. 30. We're leaving the kid home, though. Sometimes it's worth paying for a sitter :-D

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Blog Drought


It's been since April, huh...geez... well, how to catch you up on us?

The "What's New with Tallu" List

1- Tallu is weaned! April 19 was our last nursing.

2- Tallu is obnoxious! Well, she's two, so I don't hold it against her too much.

3- Tallu has been out of our care for a whole weekend! Her parents went to DC to celebrate the end of nursing, the beginning of our thirties, and our fifth wedding anniversary.

4- Tallu is falling asleep on her own! After the nursing was done, one of us had to lay on the floor in her room until she was asleep.

5- Tallu has been camping- three times! She likes sleeping in a tent. We bought this big tent with a "wall" (a piece of fabric that hangs and divides the tent into two 'rooms') and a "porch." When you put the up the wall, and she's asleep, it feels like she's in a different room.

6- Tallu loves the carousel- finally!

7- Tallu speaks...in full sentences! This is not a good thing when her sentences are "Leave me alone, Mommy." or "Don't tell me anything," which she said to me yesterday as I was about to tell her to pick up the toys she was throwing. Of course, it is endearing when she says to me or her daddy "You're my best friend."

8- Tallu loves dinosaurs! Most little kids do. Why is that?

9- Tallu is not potty trained! Oh well, she will be one day. That's a battle I'm not ready to fight.

10- Tallu will be an only child for a few more years! I think we're all okay with that! At least the three of us are, anyway.

I'm really sorry it's been so long. I did enjoy writing the blog, but I can only do it at night. If I had a working computer at my disposal during normal hours, I'd do this more often. (It's not like people are really reading this anyway.) It's become more of a virtual baby book, and in that spirit, I should keep at it for a little while longer.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

That's Why You Don't Open Gifts at the Party

It took Tallu several hours to open her gifts and cards because she wanted to play with every gift, look at every card, and try on every piece of clothing. There was not a single gift that did not pique her interest, and she was grateful and excited for each one. Our living room was a makeshift toy store for nearly a week.

We appreciate everyone who came to celebrate our daughter's second birthday, and we promise not to have such a hullaballoo next year, or the year after that! My husband explained why this party became such a big deal: I was making up for missing the baby shower and for having such a small celebration for birthday #1 (we moved to the new house around the same time). I think we will have to start preparing for take some of her little friends out to play, because hosting a do-it-yourself party is too much for for us lazy folks.

If you'd like to see a video of some of the entertainment at Tallu's birthday party, copy and paste this link to your browser
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sL5KDSGd0sw
as you watch this, picture Tallu asleep with large, pink headphones on her ears, which is exactly what she did for most of the performance

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Winding Down

Tallu is on to us...

We're trying to wean her. Yes, I just typed "we." This is a serious team effort. Daddy has no milkies, so when it comes to bedtime, he has to take her away, and I have to be busy doing something. It isn't always a smooth transition, especially if she catches a glimpse of me. She goes down at night without the milkies, but she makes up for it on the backend. Today, she woke up at 5:30 to come into our bed for milkies. Yesterday I think it was 6 or 6:30.

I wanted this post to be a bit longer, but I can't think I'm so tired...

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Divine Intervention, or How I Found A Babysitter

We attend the 8 o'clock service, which is a very intimate worship. No choir, and on average there are six adults, including our rector, and rarely an acolyte. But this particular Sunday, Lisa, an acolyte, was asked to speak about stewardship at 8am. Tallu likes Autumn and Lisa, our teenaged acolytes, and she was excited to see Lisa that morning. Lisa mentioned that she had babysat children before, but I was hesitant about leaving my child with any teenager. She's a sweet high schooler, and looks how I imagine Tallu will look when she grows older.

After we exchanged the Peace of the Lord and made our offering to the Lord, the celebration of the Eucharist began. Tallu has been to church often enough to know that you go to the front of the church during this time, so she immediately went to the front rail to kneel. Before I could get her, Lisa saw where Tallu was going, followed her to the front rail, even though she was not serving as an acolyte, and knelt with my daughter.

And that's when I knew we could trust Lisa with Tallu!

Lisa did babysit two weeks later, and it went well. Lisa had fun, Tallu had fun, my husband and I had fun away from Tallu! We now have a date night babysitter, whenever we have a chance to have another date night...


You Know It's Time to Stop Breatfeeding When...

your child screams "I want milkies!" during church?

your child can pull down the neckline of your shirt, pull your bra to the side and lunge at what little bit of nipple is showing, while she's standing on a chair in the kitchen, as you're stirring cookie batter?

you ask your child to stop nursing because you have to get off the bus, and she says "uhn-uhn" while she's nursing, so you now have to carry her two blocks to Capogiro (she pops off only when you ask her if she wants ice cream) ?

Today is March 18. In eleven days, Tallu will be two years old. We're still nursing. There was a time when I wasn't sure if Tallu and I could do this breast feeding thing. Now I don't know if we (rather, if she) can stop. I've talked to her about the milkies coming to an end, and she shakes her head yes, but I don't think she grasps what that means. I've told myself that once all her teeth are in, we are fucking done! Some women have said to me the minute a tooth dropped that should have been the end of it all. Sometimes Tallu can take no for an answer. But the other times... what Lula wants, Lula gets... and if she wants milkies...good Lord, just whip it out!

It's a battle of will. Who will win? Ultimately, me. But I need reinforcements...


The Visit


Our two year old niece has been visiting with us since the end of February, due to circumstances very much beyond her control. She's had lots of fun with us on her first trip outside of NYC. She's seen deer. She's been sledding, snowshoeing, bike riding, skateboarding, belly dancing, tamborim playing, and tumbling, and napping. The first weekend she was here I told her we'd take lots of pictures and make a photo book about her trip to Philadelphia to show her parents. She will have many pictures to choose from for her album. I hope she'll have some fun memories to share with her parents, older brother, and anyone else who will listen to her.

Her older brother gave her some warning about her aunt and uncle: "They won't beat you or anything, but you will be tired." We had an almost three-hour standoff with him and some green beans, which he requested for dinner, then decided he didn't want them. (Oh, he ate them!) She's certainly tried our patience over these weeks, but I think we've made an impression on her. There have been no beatings, but many time-outs. I even had to put her on time-out today while we were at the play cafe. I told her in the bathroom when she caught an attitude with me that "I can find you a time-out wall anywhere." Mary Poppins has saved me on many other occasions. The best line to end a back and forth with a smart-mouthed kid? "You know best, as usual." My niece usually replies, "no," but the discussion is over. LOVE IT!

When she came to our house she was sleeping with a bottle at night, not taking naps, wearing a diaper, and angry (and I don't mean "Terrible Two's" angry). She hasn't drank from a bottle since about day two. She now naps- she cries about it, but she's usually the first asleep. She's wearing a pull-up to bed at night, and we are actively potty-training. She still has a temper, but I think I'm better at diffusing it, and it flares much less often. My niece really likes this tumbling class, in which I enrolled Tallu well before I knew her cousin would be staying with us for an entire month. She's got great balance, and not much fear for an almost three year old.

Now that we know she accepts us as authority figures, we plan to bring her down for shorter overnight visits. We love her, attitude and all, and she trusts us. But this chick is going back to Brooklyn the minute Tallu's bday party is over, you hear me? And we are not having a second child anytime soon... I am nowhere near ready to take care of children so close in age and developmental stages.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

So, how's the potty training going?

The storm of '10 is here, so I will divide my time between trolling Facebook and here....

Tallu likes her potty, but has made no deposits in it. She has also sat on the toilet (someone gave us a booster seat for her a while ago); no deposits there, either. I guess the good news is that she knows what the toilet and the potty are for, and she is not afraid of either one. There's no bad news, since I'm not forcing her to do anything, and she's not leaving puddles and piles on the floor.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

How am I doing?

I wonder if being a stay at home mother is really working. Am I doing enough with Tallulah? Would she learn more if she were in a daycare situation? How do I know if being home with me really is best? Here are random stories I wanted to share, my own little motivational speech for myself, I guess...

My friend, Andi, told a group of women about our daughters' play date Halloween night. The girls were having fun, but decided that hitting each other was part of that fun. Andi and I told our girls not to hit, we don't hurt our friends. I remembered that Tallu had learned how to give high fives. So I said to the girls, "You can't hit, but you can give each other a high five. Tallulah, let's teach Cimmy how to give high fives!" The women all said "Oooh, that's great! That's so smart!" (Thank you, Yo Gabba Gabba, for teaching my kid about high fives.)
Tallu has four teeth coming through at once, and she's on me constantly. This Sunday she and her daddy went to drumming class without me so that I could have some time off from being a teething toy. Daddy went prepared with teething gel and applied some to his uncomfortable daughter. Instead of her usual lip smacking and announcing "all done," she said: "I preciate it, thank you."

My daughter and I took a trip to NYC a few months ago. We did it the long way, from the R7, the Northeast Corridor, to the LIRR. She slept for the ride into Trenton, but I had to occupy us from Trenton to NYC. We read books for us to read, I sang songs by request, we looked out the window and talked about what we saw. A passenger was watching us and before she got off the train she told me that I was doing a great job with my daughter.

No, I'm not the greatest mom out there, and I'm sure Tallu would be a cheery, generally pleasant child even if she were in daycare. There are days when I don't think I can go on. . When strangers are impressed with the interactions I'm having with my child out in public, even on days I want to hand her to the first person I see, that's a good sign, cuz strangers are harsh critics. Hearing that your child expresses gratitude when she gets help is probably the best sign that I am not doing such a bad job.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Party Time?

If you know me, you know I don't make plans. So you'll be shocked to learn that my husband and I are thinking about how to celebrate Tallu's second year on earth. We have an Excel spreadsheet (not my doing), and several ideas, none of which includes our house as an option. Her birthday is at the end of March, and we know places fill up quickly, so we have to decide this sooner rather than later.

We are considering the play cafe for children two neighborhoods away, which hosts children's parties. Other venues on the list are my parish hall, the children's museum, and our dear friend's cafe (the site of my baby shower). The play cafe is the best option: lots of space and toys for little people, we pay someone to do all the work for us, we leave the mess there when the party's over, and Tallu likes that place. The problem is the party package is costly. I'd be more willing to convince my husband to do it if the package included feeding the adults who'd be there as well.
It's not ruled out- we can certainly invite a few of her friends to play without renting it for an official party.

The pre-mother me would have said to a friend, if I'd been asked my opinion, that the kid is two. She won't remember any of this, so have a little something at home. The new mother me partly agrees, and we did that for Tallu's first birthday, which was a feat since we'd just moved into our new place so there was lots of open space. This year, however, she's an active toddler, and if we invite a few more little people to play in our house, we may as well book an ER as the venue site. Plus, her community is multi-generational. What are her older well-wishers supposed to do for fun, while the little toddlers play dress-up and run around a room with lots of wooden toys?

Another consideration is that Tallu's family and godparents live out of town. Why should they drive all the way from NJ or NYC to watch our kid play with other children? And what about my husband and me? We've helped Tallu live these past two years, we deserve a party, too. She's not old enough to tell us what she wants, so we are the decision-makers here.

The moral of this story? We want celebrate the little person who has made Tim's and my life so much richer, and share it with those who have helped us along the way. But, I don't want them all in my house. A fun, healthy, safe, and affordable balance must be sought, and will be, somehow.

*****************************
UPDATE: The parish hall it is! We get the room for a crazy price, all day long. So we can have room for the kids to play, room for the bateria to play, and room for everyone to dance!

Friday, January 22, 2010

What's New with Tallu

My husband is putting Tallu to bed, and I am watching the Help Haiti telethon. I thought I'd use this time to update you on your pal.

We were hanging out in the living room when Tallu asked me to take off her 'jamas. They were heavy, so I obliged. A few minutes later she starts tugging at her onesie. I thought, um...okay...too young to be having hot flashes, but I'll let her run around in her diaper. She goes back to her toys, I go back to whatever I was doing.

Tallu stands in front of me, tugging at her diaper.

"What are you doing?" I ask.

"Off?" she asks me.

"What?! I just put that on you..."

The diaper's off, and she's running around the living room. I'm too stunned to laugh, so I just watch. When she starts singing "Naked butt, naked butt" as she wiggles it in my face, I reach for the camera, but I misesd recording the song and dance. Then she goes to a toy and squats on the ground. A more experienced parent would've known what that meant, but by the time I figured it out, a tiny puddle was on the floor. She marked our bedroom floor, too, before I put a new diaper on her.

Luckily the second time she took off her diaper there were no puddles, but when I called my husband on his lunch break about the first diaper strike, he said "It sounds like she's ready for potty training." When I texted my mom she said the same thing. So last night we went to buy a potty for Tallu.

I did what many new moms of the digital age do and looked on the web for potty training advice. I found a checklist here, and no, I can't check everything, but my mom, my husband, and Tallu seem to think she's ready. This afternoon I talked to Tallu about the potty, set it up in the living room, and she sat on it a few times, fully clothed and said "pee-pees."

We've got a long way to go, but I've read that that's a good start to potty training. Yay, something to write about...training my kid how to use the bathroom...


video

Friday, January 8, 2010

(Re)Using the Master's Tools...

Happy New Year, y'all!

We travelled a lot for Christmas. There were no flight delays or cancellations for us, only driving to NJ three times, NYC, CT, and PA (to Tallu's great-grandfather's house). The good news is that almost everywhere she went she opened presents. Toys, clothes, toys, clothes... blah blah blah, but one toy was very controversial on my Facebook page.

"Controversy? On your Facebook page? Shut the fuck up!" you say. Okay, controversy may be a bit dramatic, but I wasn't expecting much discussion about it. What was my status? "Tallulah's kitchen is pretty bitchin'." Dood, the kitchen is freakin' sweet, I must say! There's a special burner that "cooks" food in the skillet or "boils" water in the coffee pot. Did your toy kitchen do that? (I didn't even HAVE a toy kitchen, so this thing already kicks ass in my book!)

People were tentatively happy for her, so long as paradigm's wouldn't be affirmed and she'll be using power tools in her kitchen. Frankly, I was disappointed that people weren't as excited about this toy as my husband and I were. "It's a fucking toy for a toddler! Can't a toy be a toy?" I asked my husband. In defense of my friends, I admit I understand the hesitation about such a toy. Here's the little girl, not even two years old, learning that women work in the kitchen. Yay, reinforcing gender roles!

Tallu's parents work in the kitchen. Tallu is in there, too, no matter which parent is working that room. She's exploring the cabinets under the microwave hutch, bringing toys and sitting in the middle of the floor, trying to look at what's on the stove. You know, being a child. Sure, this plastic representation of a kitchen can be seen as a tool for the patriarchy to engender my little girl to her lot in life. OR, this imaginary kitchen can be the lab where my daughter can learn about sharing (making food and sharing it with her toys or playmates), hygiene (washing hands, dirty dishes), and fantasy (because in reality, the sizzle in the skillet is electronic noise and lightbulbs flashing). Plus, it'll keep her out of the real kitchen, where she is now tall enough to reach for things on the stovetop, which is extremely dangerous.

Here's my promise to all of you: my child will have fun playing with her kitchen, and all her friends, boys and girls, will have fun playing with it, too. Tallu will never grow to think that her place is in the kitchen. Still, she will grow up knowing the kitchen is a fun place to be. That's a lesson my father taught me, and I'm happy to pass that on to his granddaughter.

(This is Tallu in her "Seuss suit" - Cat in the Hat pajamas - and her infant cousin's clip-on neck tie from a suit he received for Christmas.)