Thursday, September 30, 2010

where we live

Kiddo now recognizes our house. As soon as we get within our block she yells with excitement "It's our house!" This is often followed by "it's a big, big house!" And since she knows where we live, she is also more interested in where others live.

For example, "We live in the four. Sammy lives in the five." is said frequently, commenting on house numbers of us and her friend from church.

And a few days ago as we passed a parking garage she announced "That's where the cars live!" What else could I say but yes?

Note: I use a lot of exclamation points when quoting my daughter. If you heard her speak, you would understand why.

who she is

Kiddo is trying hard to define her place in life, with the things that she can and cannot do. For example, babies spit up, but big girls shouldn't. Babies wear diapers, but big girls wear underwear. She's too big for the baby swing and the bouncy chair. But she can do things that babies can't, like eat good food*, play at the park, go on special trips with Daddy. But, even big girls can't touch the stove, get into the cabinet under the stove, or pick up Babs. Those are things that big girls can't do, but "big mamas and big dadas" can. Big girls also can't close their door in the car, not without making way more work for Moms. And, as is true for most any age, but especially this one, she really wants to do a lot of the things that are off limits, whether because she is too big or too small. I try to find reasonable substitutes, but sometimes, often, the answer is just no.

It's tough being in the middle ground.

*We'll know Babs is a big girl when she gets teeth. "She don'ts have any teeth" currently. According to Kiddo, that's the hallmark of being bigger.

Monday, September 27, 2010

thank you for the hospital

Kiddo is learning how to pray. She is most thankful for the hospital. We know this because every prayer starts with: "Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for the hospital." Her daddy is attempting to change this by helping her think of other things to be grateful for, but she seems pretty determined that prayers should start that way.

The next phrase used to be "nyah, nyah, nyah..." at which point she was waiting for us to feed her more lines. Now she just continues on her own.

A young child's prayer really is sweet, and she is grateful for a lot. Like two nights ago, she was super grateful for the picture on her wall, and that it stays up really well. Last night she was grateful for the sheets, and pillows, and bed, and books, and ... well, you get the picture.

She's a good example. And she prays all by herself. I am sure that Heavenly Father is pleased with her. (And probably less pleased with her parents, who often are trying hard not to laugh.)

Sunday, September 26, 2010

love hurts

I was holding Babs, and Kiddo was showing me a duplo tower she had built. It fell apart, a piece hitting Babs. She looked surprised, then hurt, then started crying. I immediately moved her to comfort position (over my shoulder) and rocked her. After a few moments, I'll admit, I was thinking "you need to be tough like your sister" because she was crying longer than I expected.

Then I pulled her back to my lap where I saw the blood and emerging shiner. The first real injury from her over exuberant big sister. I don't anticipate it being the last. Oh, and she's fine now.

Monday, September 20, 2010


At one point this afternoon I realized that between my two girls, the sum total of their clothing was a pull-up and a diaper. It's not that hot outside. It made me weary.

I took a deep breath, summoned all my will power, and dressed the smaller one, then the bigger one. And hoped that was enough to call it a good day of motherhood.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

choir performance

My branch choir sang today. I lead, and my husband supports, so just before we sang my husband leaned over and asked, "What should we do with Kiddo?" (Babs was asleep, so needed no help.) I figured we would just take her up with us. She wouldn't be the first kid to join this choir.

First she stood between the men and the women. Then I picked her up. A few moments later she wiggled down. Then a few more notes and she whispers to me "I need a book." I grabbed the nearest hymnal, which happened to be Spanish. She walked around the lady standing next to me, and put the hymnal on the music stand. I pushed it down so it would be at her level, figuring that would be the least painful way to make what she wanted happen. Then she started to lead, and proceeded to lead the last verse and a half. After we were done, as I herded her back to our seat she insisted "I need to lead the choir."

We are now officially part of the problem.

the greater need

A long time ago, before I had two kids, I read the following advice about prioritizing children's issues: if both children are crying, take care of the older one first because they remember more. I thought that was good advice, until I put it into practice, and realized Secundus was getting the shaft. So then I started trying to balance more.

Two days ago I read some different advice: when there are multiple issues, take care of the more pressing need first. Of course. Now that is good advice.

I got to put it into practice today. I was feeding Secundus. Primus looks at me at says "have to go potty?" "Then GO" I reply. (She can often do it by herself.) Then I hear the tell-tale sounds of her actually going on the bathmat.

In my mind I wonder: what is more important? cleaning up the potty mess, or feeding the starving child? Feeding is now, the mess will still be there. As I'm determining which is the greater need I hear a small voice, "I made footprints!"

Oh, the look of betrayal on my second-born as I stopped feeding her to take care of the greater need. "I'm wet!" Primus exclaimed. Yeah, I'm sure you are.

daddy-daughter campout

Our stake hosts an annual daddy-daughter camp-out, and my brave husband took our two year old.

They slept in "the big, big tent" that barely fit the two of them. Here she is in the only sleeping bag we have (he borrowed a tent). Daddy brought a few blankets, not nearly sufficient for the temperatures in the 50s that night. (But daughter slept fine.)

I prepared her during the week so that she would be ready for a night of just her and daddy, no mom or baby around. Luckily she's watched Little Bear go camping with his dad, so she knew just what they'd do. They'd have "camping sticks, and camping fire, and camping marshmallows."

Daddy was a little concerned about keeping her out of the fire. Turns out, it was not an issue. She wanted no part of the "camping fire." She explained that she "held daddy's shoulders, and the fire was hot" to describe how she hid behind him the whole time so as not to be too close.

We went out to dinner before the camping trip. As we headed for the door Kiddo kept trying to take the sleeping bag. I finally got her to understand that dinner came first, then we'd drop off Babs and Mama and then they'd go camping. After dinner, as we neared our house she yelled "okay Mama and Babs, get out so we can go camping!"

She loved it, and is ready to go again. I loved it, and support her opinion. (Thanks to a good husband who gave me a free night.)

Friday, September 17, 2010

little moptop

Here is my husband and his look-alike daughter. We've been wondering what color her eyes will settle on (right now they are a striking blue) and I think they will stay as is. Note that her dad has the same great color. Not the point of this post.

Babs is working hard on her reverse mullet. The hair in front is thick, and gets longer by the day. It is already hanging in her eyes. The hair in the back is understandably short, and a little thin, because she lies on it all day. Also not the point of this post.

This post is about my do-it-yourself second daughter. Kiddo expected me to do almost all the work of breastfeeding her, from holding her head up to connecting the mouth and the food. From day 1, Babs was clear - she would do it herself. I obviously have to hold her, because she is a baby, but she does everything else herself, and will arch her back and squawk if I don't comply with her rules.

And she is old enough to have a nap schedule. I hadn't got around to setting it for her (because, as opposed to Primus' infancy, my every moment is not consumed with Secundus' schedule - lucky her), so she did it herself. She puts herself to sleep when it's time. The other day I came into the room she was playing in twice to see her sacked out on the floor. (I'm paying better attention now, and putting her in her crib, for the record.) She doesn't really appreciate being rocked to sleep; she'll lift her head up and look around.

And while it's nice to have a self-sufficient baby (she evens puts on weight with more gusto than her big sis), I'm determined to have some quiet moments with her. So I still sway and sing to her a little before putting her in her crib. As I sang "I am a child of God" to her today, I was struck by the idea that we are starting again, to teach another precious child the essential truth that she is a child of God, He does love her, and as a family, we work to honor, praise, and serve him. And going to sleep to that song is the first lesson on that path. Babs' lessons have begun.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Kiddo instructs

Kiddo has a lot of ideas of how play should go, and shares them with me.

On Sunday we were eating left-overs from church on the floor. During our "picnic" she turns to me and says: Let's dance with our hands. And close our eyes. And smile.

Also, at least once a day when I'm not having sufficient fun with her she reminds me "mama, laugh with me." Then fake laughs until I join in. How can I resist?

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

princesses also...

While looking at coloring pictures of princesses, Kiddo saw one with a princess and prince dancing.

"This princess is dancing with her dadda," she told us. One more way she is like a princess.

(This photo from the archives.)

Monday, September 13, 2010

becoming a mommy

... or, everything I need to know about parenting, I learned from my mama.

Some girls are born mothers (like my niece) and carry dolls before they can walk. This was not Kiddo's style. She thought dolls were fine, but so were the myriad of other toys she has. Introducing Babs into our lives though, has awakened some maternal instinct. She will sometimes rock her baby when I am rocking ours. Or feed her, just like mama.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

new skills - rolling

A week ago Babs turned herself over from her back to her front using some hanging toys she has (panda). (It significantly softened the blow of seeing poop seeping all over her back to realize that normally I didn't see her back, and she had turned over on her own.) A few days later she did it again on her own, and she's become quite proficient at it. But not without some complications.

For 24 long hours, every time she was put on her back she would flip over. At this point she had two choices: she could hold her head up, or put it on the ground. She seemed to miss the fact that she could turn her head in order to lie on her cheek. To make a difficult situation even more complicated, she is more prone to spit-up when she is on her belly. So she could not be put down to sleep unless she was completely asleep.

The first night she could turn over on her own was one of the few nights that she didn't go immediately back to sleep after nursing. So we had to put her in her swing. Where she spent the next long while cooing, laughing, and squealing with delight. As pleasant as those sounds normally are, they lose some of their allure at 4 am.

The next day she learned to turn her head. The problems are not solved, but they are at least lessened. That is not sweat on her head, but spit-up in her hair. Lovely.

like a princess

The princess culture is huge, and I am nervous about my child's buy-in to it. (Time magazine says there are over 40 thousand products affiliated with Disney princesses... and that's only Disney.) But those who say that the princess culture teaches girls to be submissive, and wait for others to solve their problems are missing the bright side to the princess theme: Princesses (at least Disney ones) also do a lot of cleaning.

Here Kiddo is "cleaning like a princess."

Friday, September 10, 2010

going to sleep

What everyone loves about Babs is how she falls asleep. She puts one hand over her face (to facilitate sucking on her lower lip), which means she has to close her eyes (so they won't get poked). Her other hand alternately is placed on the side of her head, or commonly pulls on the hair. (I don't know why this helps.) Then she falls asleep. It's so funny, and pretty cute. (And, can it be said enough how deliciously pudgy she is?)

big sister love

Kiddo is very clear that we all love each other. "We loooovvee our baby," she will assert, and often try to give the physical love that such a statement requires.

Here they are, holding hands (Kiddo initiated):

This is the sweet picture I wanted of it, with both of them looking at me:

This is the most accurate rendition of Babs really felt about the experience:
This is not the first time Babs has been mauled by the love of her big sister. It is surely not the last.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

where's the baby?

Kiddo and I play a game where she asks "Where's the baby?" when she's in plain sight, and we pretend we can't see her, until we can again. "There she is!" she shouts with glee.

Yesterday I left Babs playing in her panda (the bright green, purple, orange thing) while I went to put Kiddo down for a nap. By the time that process was over, Babs had scooted herself out, sucked her hand to fall asleep, and was hiding amongst the chaos that defines our life right now. It's tough being the second child.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

more making music

This morning Kiddo and I were putting on a little concert. I was playing the melody with a carefully held thermometer (apparently it matters which end you pretend to play). Kiddo had the beat with her balloon drum and a stick made from a straw and foam sticker.

I figured I'd multitask a little, and was walking around with my thermometer in one hand and putting something away with the other.

"No, play for the double," I was instructed. Huh? so I dutifully put both hands on my instrument. "No, for the double," she insisted. I heard the words, but for the double? what does that mean? I clarified that I heard the words correctly (plus, when did she learn the word double anyway?), I had. As I puzzled out what she could mean I paid way more attention to her body language. Oh, play for our doubles.

She wanted me to be in front of the TV, so she could see both our reflections, or our doubles.