Tuesday, November 30, 2010


Kiddo falls asleep in our room, because that's how we work the two kids going to bed at the same time who share a room dilemma. (I'm working on other solutions, but haven't got there yet.)

Last night I picked her up to move her to her own bed. With her head resting on my shoulder, her feet hang to my knees. I always talk about how tall she is, but that really drives it home. She is growing up, and doing a good job of it.

Today at the library she tried to have conversations with multiple children. "Hi, I'm E, I'm fine. What's your name?" Awkward, yes. But an excellent effort, especially for her age.

More than once this fall I have watched her and thought, she is no longer a toddler, she's a girl now. It seems to have happened so fast. (And the quickness of it is what keeps me going through all the less fun things that come with caring for her and her sister these days.)

Monday, November 29, 2010


Today I asked Kiddo to count the Clifford's on a page. (Her new obsession is reading about Clifford.) Some quick math made me think this was beyond her, but it would be interesting to see where she could get.

She didn't miss any dogs, understood one-to-one correspondance for counting, and counted to 24 with no mistakes.

When did this proficiency happen?

giving thanks

We visited my aunt and uncle for thanksgiving, just like we have for many years now. As we drove into their development I laughed uncomfortably, then said, "you could fit our entire block into their house." That was a little exaggeration. You could really only fit our building, and our two neighboring buildings (and possibly a fourth) in their house. You could fit our block on their house and yard though. Despite my best efforts, a small current of frustration ran through my head through most of our few days there, in comparing what I have with what they have, and finding myself coming up short.

Now, they are older, and more established, so of course they should have more than I do. But I just wanted a little more: a little more space, a little more amenities, a little more money, a little more trees, a little less asphalt.

But I was wrong to think that (and knew it at the time, although I couldn't shake it off at the time). I am richly blessed. For example, I have a home, and last year at this time we didn't have that. And we have a job, which 15 months ago seemed unlikely. Also since last year I have two sweet, sweet girls, instead of just one. And I have been richly blessed with many good friends here, people who love me and my girls.

My change of heart was complete when we returned home. After a long car ride (that serendipitously brought us past my favorite mexican restaurant at dinner time!), we got the girls to bed, I was rinsing a few dishes. As I looked at my tiny sink in my small kitchen, and placed the hand-washed dishes in our drying rack, I remembered that my little family is very happy in my little space, and that is enough, and even plenty, for me.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

baby food

My friend came by today with her three week old, and all the stuff that comes along with such a small baby. Kiddo was excited to see what was in her huge diaper bag. Before too long she came across the tupperware of powdered formula.

"What's that?" she asked.

"Formula," I answered. "You don't need it," I added as she tried to open it.

"Formela" she repeated, trying to get the feel of the new word.

"No, for-MU-la" I asserted, so she could get the word right.

"For-ME-la" she repeated.

As we went through the correct word, and her repetition, the third time, I was gratified to learn that she understands first and second person. When I say "you," she says "me."

Monday, November 15, 2010

Saturday, November 13, 2010

lots of babies

I was perplexed as to why Kiddo spent half of dinner time with her eyes closed. I asked my husband what his thoughts were on the issue. A few minutes later, when she had fallen asleep with her feet on the floor and her body resting on her chair, we knew. 5:40 was a really early bedtime.

About 7, when our friend's kid was here too, so his parents could attend the same church meeting my husband was attending, she woke up. And the kid had had a late nap too. And Babs hates to miss the party.

I had anticipated a quiet evening with three sleeping babies. Instead I got a lot of time with all of them.

They're all asleep now. Or no longer at my house. I can go to bed now.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

culture clash

I want Kiddo to have some friends her age, or slightly older than her. Currently all her friends are at least a year younger than her, or are adults. So, I've reached out to a woman at the library whose son is the same age. After her son being sick, then me, we finally got together today.

We showed up, and she offered me something to drink. I told her no thank you, and didn't think any thing of it. About 15 minutes later I noticed that her table was filled with drinks and snacks. It was then that it hit me, she is Indian, and they rules for entertaining are different for her. Not long after I accepted, gratefully, treats for me and my daughter. She was a very gracious hostess. And Kiddo will always accept a lollipop and m&m's.

After we'd been there about 90 minutes, Babs needed a nap, and I felt that we had surely overstayed our welcome. I started to make excuses about getting my kid home for a nap, and my new friend seemed genuinely perplexed that I would think I should leave. She assured me we should stay for at least a few hours. She later asked Kiddo if she'd like to come over every day. She loves to hold Babs. She got us pizza for lunch.

When we finally left, four hours after coming, I was concerned that she would think I was being rude, but really, Babs needed to sleep in her own bed. (She'd taken a short nap there, but like Kiddo, sleeps best in her own bed.)

And although I wasn't expecting a four hour play date, we will certainly play again. Kiddo really enjoyed herself, and now has a friend her age. She'll learn a lot by being around him, important things like how to climb up walls, and crash cars into each other, and eat spicy food. And, I'll think I'll enjoy myself a lot more next time, because I'll know what is expected of me, and will be able to relax. (And I'll schedule it for a day when I'm not exhausted by babysitting someone else's kids the entire day before.)

sleeping lessons

On Monday Primus took a huge (and needed) nap. But the whole time I worried about the consequences of that act, namely that she would not fall asleep that night until really late. Turns out that Secundus had a hard time settling too. So, we tag-teamed from one to the other trying to get them to sleep.

I fed Secundus, and she finally settled and was almost asleep. Primus was very quiet in their room, so I thought she was almost down too. I took a chance, laid Babs down and reminded Kiddo to be quiet.

I sat down on the couch, and soon heard the following (spoken quite loudly):
"Okay Baby, here's how you go to sleep. You have to stay asleep all night, until the sun comes up. You go to sleep when it's dark, and stay asleep until the sun is out."

I of course peeked in, they are both in their beds, Babs pushed up on her arms to see her idol, her big sister, who is at least still in bed, although clearly not close to sleep. Babs made some six-month old noise.

"No, that's not how you do it," comes Kiddo's authoritative voice. "You are quiet, you close your eyes, and make a smelling noise," accompanied by the sound of exaggerated deep breathing.

The lesson continued from there, until I finally had to step in, and separate the two, so at least one of them would go to bed. Secundus slept soon after; Primus finally crashed a little after 10.

I'm sure I'm done with naps for her now. But quiet time is still part of our day.

(Just before feeding Babs came another moment I'd like to remember. Kiddo had been in my bed, and since I was picking up Babs, I decided to move her to her bed, hoping it would settle her (it often does). As we went into her room she walked straight to Babs' crib, stuck her little arm through the slats and gently stroked her cheek, comforting her obviously distressed little sister. My heart melted. I then shooed her into her bed and took the baby out for some food.)

Tuesday, November 9, 2010


This is an odd use of my post: (and I'll delete it once I've had success)

Tara, are you reading this? My e-mail address for you is defunct. I've called a few times, no one has answered. Please call or e-mail me. I feel a void.

Friends of mine who know Tara - do you how to contact her?

ring sizing

I had the local jeweler resize my wedding and engagement rings the other day. As we were waiting to talk to him, Kiddo was looking at the display cases. (Also conveniently at her eye level.) "Look at those beautiful accessories for an outfit," she sighed.

This from the girl that doesn't like her hair any way but down, and who's mom never wears make-up, accessories, and certainly doesn't have outfits. Thank you Fancy Nancy.

Monday, November 8, 2010

walk in the woods

The local Audubon society holds walks in the woods for 18 mos to 4 year olds. I took Kiddo in October, and was excited to do the next in November. It was today.

Today was cold, windy, and I still haven't bought Kiddo this year's winter coat. So I put in her in some layers with last year's coat (only a little too small right now) and we went anyway. The walk was long, but Kiddo is a good sport, and enjoys being around other people. But there were no other kids there, so it was just more adult interaction with the coordinator, Miss Kelly. Oh well, I tried.

At the end she was pretty tired, but we had almost made it to the car. Then she slipped on a hill, and landed hard on a rock. She melted into lots and lots of tears and wailing. Somewhat used to the tired melt-down, I didn't pay much attention as she started to say "I need to go..." In fact, I cut her off and said, "Home. Yeah, we're going really soon." "Nooooo. I need to go potty."

I had suspected for the last while, but had hoped I was wrong. Having really no other options, I quickly pulled Babs out of her carrier (she was strapped on me) and handed her to Miss Kelly. Then I grabbed Kiddo and walked about 20 feet into the woods, pulled down her pants, positioned her accordingly and told her to let loose.

"I'm making the leaves wet." Umm, yeah. "I need to wipe my bottom."

"I'll find you the softest leaf I can." I replied.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

fully functioning brain

According to the Self magazine, my brain should be back to its typical size, and working again. It's return to normalcy was accompanied by the realization that I'm really tired, and tired of waking up two times a night, every night. I'd like for my fat baby to be able to sleep longer. If you have any suggestions as to how to do this, with the understanding that she shares a room with her older sister (who I really like to sleep through the night), I'm all ears.

Friday, November 5, 2010

story telling

When I finally intend to go to sleep at night, my husband usually comes with me. He tries to read while I fall asleep. Except it's usually the first quiet moments we have together, so I tend to interrupt his reading a lot to tell him stories from the day. (I believe that this sort of drives him crazy, but he won't admit to that.)

Last night after a story he laughed at me. I asked him why and he said, I love how you tell stories. First there is the build up, then the punch line, then the analysis.

What he didn't know is that I know that I always keep going after the punch line. I feel like I need to say more, and can never just let my stories be. This was a problem in my academic writing, and is a problem on my blog. I'm working on it. Notice how well I told the voting story?

"Can Babs play?"

As I think is common for children, Kiddo has always been a big fan of sitting in boxes, and laundry baskets fit the bill perfectly. If one is sitting empty, she is sure to fill it with herself. Today, while in the laundry basket she asked if Babs could come play with her. I was happy to help out and put Babs in. (I love that she wants to play with her sister, and tries to interact with her.)

Then Kiddo asked, "Should we take a picture?"

And this is what I got:

as the moments fly by

I was telling my mom the other day that I spend so much time staring at my sweet Bab's face, because it's so beautiful, and I love her so much. But I do it with a vague sense of panic, because I know I did this with Primus too, and don't remember what she looked like at that age, or how I felt in those moments.

That's why we take pictures, my mom reminded me. And why I write, I remind myself.

So this is me, trying to remember.

(the other one was really precious too)

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

branch halloween party

Saturday was our branch (church congregation) Halloween celebration. Trying to explain it in retrospect with some semblance of order is too much for my brain, so I'll just cover the highlights:

Although our church has a no-mask policy, no one remembered to tell the kids, so some showed up with masks. These were in conjunction with fairly scary costumes, especially if you're almost three. I spent a lot of the beginning of the activity holding Kiddo because she was scared. When the mom figured out, she told the kids to get rid of the masks. They are good kids, so they came up to apologize to Kiddo. At this point, their clothes were associated with the masks though, so she wasn't up for that fun. One of them, attempting to make amends, said "Hit me." How do I explain to this good ten-year old that our family solves our problems differently than that? At the end of the party, the masks re-emerged, and sent our little girl over the edge. We went home without helping clean up.

I had basically one assignment, prepare the trick-or-treating venue. (Many congregations do a trunk-or-treat. As there are few cars in our branch, we chose to set it up in our one hallway.) And I tried to prepare for it. And then found that my planning was co-opted by the Primary President, who changed it to something a little less fun, and nothing like what I had envisioned. Oh well, the kids still enjoyed themselves.

We were supposed to have a pinata. Excellent. Except it was homemade, so it was actually just a cardboard box decorated with a Halloween theme. It was a tough cardboard box. The bat did not split the box, it was finally just opened.

Babs spent a lot of time with her friend Mac. Mac has a thing for crawling to Babs, then pulling at her, and chewing on whatever part of her he can locate - feet, hands, shoulder, face, whatever. They are about the same height, but she has about five pounds on him, which makes a difference.

Although we managed to get the bulk of the primary children to the party, the next day at church, as is typical right now, Kiddo was the only child there.

Despite all this, Kiddo has fond memories of her Halloween experience. "I was a fairy, Sami was a chicken, and Babs was a penguin." The highlight for her was surely musical chairs, which quickly morphed, for her, into dancing on the side with her Daddy. What more could my girl want?

civic duty aborted

I made sure to register to vote. I investigated the candidates and issues (briefly) so I was at least somewhat informed. I suited up myself and the girls for a walk in the crisp fall air. (Hats for everyone!)

I made it to the polling place, tried to check in at the wrong desk, but then they directed me correctly. At the new desk, they had a hard time finding my name (trying to look me up by my first name, not last), but eventually I could enter the booth and vote!

It took me a few moments to figure out how the voting worked (very simple, but not necessarily self-evident), and I properly indicated my first vote of four.

I moved to indicate my second vote when I heard "I did it!" from my 2 year old.

"Thank you for voting," I heard from one of the poll workers.

Kiddo had pushed the "cast my vote" button (exactly at her eye level, and bright red) for me.