Saturday, April 27, 2013

Letter to Greta: 18 Months

Dear Little Miss,

A year and a half--and determined to surmount any challenges of your young age so you can keep up with the rest of us. You are nonstop mischief, climbing, opening, spilling, reaching, grabbing, markering. Nothing is safe now that you can reach up to the countertops in the kitchen, and you know how to open drawers and cupboards. Your mission in life is to climb up and down stairs. Up, you're pretty good. Down--you have a lot of work to do. You have a sixth sense of when we accidentally leave the baby gate open--or latched, but without the extra security latch--and you're up a few steps before I even realize it. Hazards, hazards all around. You yourself require all my attention. Yet I also have your sister. Our days, these days, are more than a little chaotic.

But oh, the cuteness. The cuteness! Your giggly, babbling, kissing, hugging cuteness. You have the biggest, toothiest smile, and you flash it at the silliest things: when we eat oatmeal together in the morning and I say "Mmmm" after each bite; when I get out of the car and wave to you, in your carseat, through your window; when you pretend to go to sleep on the couch and I tickle you. You give unsolicited hugs, and you'll give fishy, open-mouthed kisses when prompted. You love when Lucia holds her arms open, inviting you to hug her--you run right over and give her a cuddle. So, so cute.

You are saying new words regularly, though your enunciation isn't too solid yet. Here's your repertoire (some of these are comprehensible only to us): Mama, Da, Bibi, pa (pa-pa, your pacifier), no, YEAH (you have only one volume--LOUD--when you say yes to something), fly, Go (as in Diego, from a story you like in a Dora book), fuh (woof), meow, feet, shoe, cheese, side (outside), up, uh-oh!, na (banana), toast, wand, and lots of attempted sounds and words.

You say "fly" in two contexts: when you hold the ribbon-streamers in each hand and flap your arms; and when you attempt to make a butterfly with your hands. "Fly! Fly! Fly!" you cry. It's adorable.

You can point to your head, hair, nose, ears, feet, belly, and hands. You seem to know several colors, particularly blue and pink.

You're still getting up once a night, needing a sip of water or a few minutes of rocking, and you've been an early riser lately--six or a little before.

You're solidly in 2T clothes, even growing out of some of the brands that run small.

You continue to be SUCH a good eater. My goodness. I'm sure we'll have our eating difficulties with you eventually, but for now, you are amazing. When we visited Grandma and Pop-Pop earlier this month, during one dinner you were fussing and screaming, refusing to eat what we'd served you and instead pointing desperately to Daddy's plate--which held only an entire chicken leg. "Greta, look," we reasoned. "It's a chicken leg. You don't want a chicken leg." Daddy offered you the plate as though to say, See? This chicken leg is all that's there! You grabbed the chicken leg, immediately happy, and ate the whole thing, with some assistance getting some of the meat off the bone. Then you chewed the bone. None of us, none of us, have ever eaten a chicken leg with such gusto.

As usual, your sole focus in life is Lucia. What she's doing, you must do. What she's eating, you must eat. If she runs over with a bowl for her snack, you also get a bowl and run over. The toys she prizes, you also prize. You aren't always enamored--when she's in a three-and-a-half-year-old fit-riot, you get very quiet and stay close to me, uneasy and unsettled by the screaming.

You are just a little sweetie, my love. You are not always easy, but at the end of the day your daddy and I always agree that despite it all, you are absurdly cute.

Favorite toys/activities: Sit N Spin, sweeping with the small broom, chalk, bubbles, Barbie horses, markers, stickers, climbing stairs, attempting somersaults

Favorite books: Doggies by Sandra Boynton, Goodnight Moon, Duck & Goose: A Book of Opposites, Dora's Storytime, Little Bunny's Easter Egg Surprise

Friday, April 26, 2013

Let the Treasure Hunting Begin

It's garage sale season. Whoo-hoo! I know my excitement over this is incomprehensible so many people, including Andrew. But the thrill of the search--the unknown at the end of each driveway--the sparkle of promise laid out on blankets on front lawns all around town--Perhaps this is how some people feel when they anticipate the beginning of a sports season.

Two weeks ago, I went to my inaugural garage sale and came away with three bulging black garbage bags full of--well, I had no idea, really, because I didn't look inside. I heard the woman say they contained her daughters' Barbie collection, and that she'd give me all of it for $5 total, and that was that. I stuffed them in my trunk and began the excavation on the front porch when I got home. And--it was a bust. I don't often say that; I don't often gamble so unwisely. My mystery purchases are usually rewarding, often amazing. But this time, even I had to admit it was a lot of junk. Much-loved junk, to be sure, but definitely not stuff that could be passed on to new little girls to play with. I threw away about half, separated out the Barbie clothes (those will be okay with a good washing, once the girls are into Barbies), and sequestered the actual Barbies (wild-haired, marker-faced, dirty) to their own plastic bags for possible rehabilitation, craft purposes, or, eventually, the trash as well. The winners of this batch were a few little cat figurines, and three hideous Barbie horses that Greta, especially, loves.

So, I was a little off my game. I gave it another shot today, with a garage sale this morning (two new-in-box Chinese waving cats, $1 each), and a church rummage sale tonight (19 hardback kids books, $9.50). Nothing overwhelmingly great, but a better start. Let the season begin...

Thursday, April 25, 2013

A Long Week

It's been a long week. Andrew left for Mexico City on Monday morning, leaving the three of us facing a week by ourselves. Logically, I don't know why it makes so much difference when Andrew's away. Of course we all miss him, but logistically speaking, I have only a couple of hours per day by myself when I would have had his help. But those extra hours really do make a world of difference, because he's here for all the all-hands-on-deck stuff. Getting my contacts in in the mornings seems like an insurmountable challenge when I'm also trying to do all the kid-morning craziness. Forget about taking a shower. And bathtime and bedtime alone...Lots of women I know do bathtime/bedtime alone every single night. I'm spoiled, I guess, but four nights in a row is a killer.

It didn't help that Lucia has been in a three-and-a-half-year-old tailspin the past couple of weeks, throwing an uncharacteristic number of screaming fits and just generally being edgy and unpredictable. We had a few insane screaming moments this week, and my only comfort is that friends with three-and-a-half-year-olds also are currently having their heads spin off for similar reasons. Lucia is usually fun and funny and a joy to be around...except when she isn't. When she is good, she is very very good, etc.

We've had some fun this week despite the stress of being alone with a demanding one-and-a-half-year-old and a three-and-a-half-year-old. And despite the fact that for the first couple of days this week it STILL FELT LIKE WINTER. I made the girls a rainbow rice bin, which they loved (until the moment Lucia threw rice at my face and at Greta. Sigh.). We went to a couple of playgrounds. The girls fed ducks and chased each other in a big field at our nearby park; Lucia ran herself ragged trying to catch a butterfly.

And now I'm waiting for Andrew to return. He was supposed to be back hours ago, but his flight was delayed. I'm glad this week is finally coming to an end.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Letter to Lucia: 42 Months

Dear Sweets,

Three is fun. It's a testament to you that I'm saying that; after all, I hear so many things about three being a really difficult age. To be sure, we have our moments (this afternoon--yowza). But those moments are few and far between, and the rest of the time you are generally funny and fun. You really like to do things now--do art projects, go places. In response, I'm trying to step up the "structured" things we do each day, introducing new craft projects and outdoor activities. You've responded enthusiastically. So far we've made tissue-paper flowers, created salt-dough "cookies" decorated with elbow macaroni and star pastina, had a riotous bathtime with craft-foam egg cutouts, painted with water, made a cake out of dirt and decorated it with nature treasures. It's all fun for me, too.

You have gotten very interested in clothes. You like to choose your outfits, and dress yourself (shirts are a work in progress); during Quiet Time, you often change your clothes several times, usually cycling through at least one ornate princess dress. You love your sparkly gold shoes. When we were in Connellsville last weekend, I bought you a pink sundress at Gabe's, and you wore it for two days and slept with it at night.

You are still into princesses. You love wands of all types. You are most taken with the Cinderella story and love to act out the "Oh no! It's midnight!" scene, dramatically leaving one shoe behind you.

We finally bought you a scooter--a pink Mini Kick--and you zipped up and down the sidewalks in Connellsville last weekend in your little pink helmet, speeding right along.

Among your favorite things right now are the fact that you have a big-girl bed, going outside without a coat, and coloring randomly in a small lined princess notebook.

Favorite books: Berenstain Bears books, a book of Dora stories

Favorite toys/activities: craft projects, collecting "treasures" outside, playing outside in your playhouse, sliding on the slide, kicking and throwing a ball, Sit N Spin, Squinkies, wands, bubbles, looking for flowers outside, watching Sofia the First

Tuesday, April 02, 2013

Easter at Home

Had a lovely Easter at home this year, just the four of us. I hurried outside when the girls woke up to hide Easter eggs, and then they came downstairs to find their Easter baskets. The Easter Bunny brought them light-up wands, regular wands, crowns, plush chicks, Cinderella Squinkies, cookie coasters, princess notepads, sparkly shoes, butterfly nets, cupcake pillows, big outdoor balls, and large Jellycat cats. They were very excited, and they had fun finding the eggs. Greta had to be prompted, but once we helped her spot an egg, she hurried over to it and put it in her basket. Lucia searched for eggs with an eagle eye. We were all a little horrified when a squirrel ran off with a plastic egg right in front of us and carried it all the way up a tree; several other plastic eggs had been bitten through. Good thing I hadn’t hidden the eggs the night before!

We spent the morning playing outside, and later on Andrew and I made an Easter dinner: ham, scalloped potatoes, cornbread, and roasted Brussels sprouts, the exact same dinner we had last year. A tradition in the making, perhaps.