Thursday, June 27, 2013

Letter to Greta: 20 Months

Dear Baby Grets,

Where to even begin with the cuteness? Every day, it’s something new: running up to us with arms outstretched, saying “Cull!” for a cuddle; saying “Hi!” and “Bye!” to anyone and everyone, repeatedly and at a volume too high to be ignored; yelling “Kee!” when you stumble on a Squinkie; walking up quietly with your stethoscope and pressing it to our legs while saying “Thump thump…thump thump…” And, of course, your gleeful, joyful, precious, toothy smile.

You are saying new words at a more rapid clip now. Not fully clear—you get the first syllable, but haven’t quite gotten the hang of final consonants—but anyone around you all day (me) can understand what you’re saying. New entries: help, bite, big, fly, chalk, Kee (Squinkie), kie (cookie), cake, snack, round (around), down, out, eye, bird, broom.

You love playing doctor. You love when Lucia paints your nails. You love reading books, and you have an amazingly long attention span, just like your sister always has. You love Squinkies—carrying them around in a bag, cuddling them, dumping them out, making them walk around. You love your Bibi and Lambie, and you often form quick, day-long attachments to other animals as well. You love playing Catch-the-Lambie (or Fox) with Lucia in the backseat of the car, when you just throw the stuffed animal to each other from your carseats. (This is funny to both of you, but often escalates into the kind of hysterical scream-laughing that actually makes it hard to drive.) You’ve become aware that sometimes Lucia gets things that you don’t get—like an after-dinner cookie—and have started to assert yourself. You are, after all, almost two.

And being almost two, you have a short, stubborn fuse and a penchant for passionate, full-throated fits. Taking something away from you; not letting you do something or go somewhere; cutting up a piece of food you wanted to eat whole—the world ends. And you are a challenge at the swimming pool. You can’t focus only on being in the water—you want to run over to the small fish pond, or climb onto a deck chair, or grab things from other people’s blankets. I often chase you at a full sprint: you are quick. As I chase you, I often run past other mothers who are reading magazines in the deck chairs, keeping idle eyes on their school-age kids, and it seems like I’ll never get to the point of not having to stop you or your sister from drinking pool water, picking up old Band-Aids, drowning, etc. It’s all hands-on, all the time right now.

That said—you’re a cutie. A sweet, sweet cutie who blows kisses to puppies and charms the neighbors and plays giggly games with your sister on the porch. The other day over lunch I remarked to Lucia, “Do you remember when we didn’t have Greta? When it was just you, Mommy, and Daddy?” She seemed confused, and then said, “But then we found her!” Yes, we found you, little baby. Lucky, lucky us.

PS: I finally took you in for your 18-month checkup: 25 lbs, 34 ins long. 50th percentile weight, 75th for height.

Favorite toys/activities: Squinkies, playing doctor, having your nails painted, chalk, wearing Mardi Gras beads, swimming at the pool, water table, Barbie things, Princess music player, eating fruit (especially blueberries)

Favorite books: Miffy at Play, Barnyard Dance, Goodnight Gorilla, Toes Ears Nose (Karen Katz), Room on the Broom, Hilda Needs Help, Color Kittens

Monday, June 24, 2013

Girly Girls

Matching ladybug sundresses and front-porch pedicures. How did I raise such cute girly-girls?

Friday, June 21, 2013

Friday Bits

Greta now approaches us with her arms spread open, saying “Cull. Cull.” This means “Cuddle. Cuddle.” She comes right up and gives a snuggle. It is cute enough to be almost manipulative.

Greta also says “melon” in a hilarious way. She somehow hears the L of “melon” as a difficult stumbling block, so she just keeps sticking her tongue out, saying “mlmlmlmlml,” like she’s lapping up milk. Hilarious.

We went to a library book sale last weekend on $5 bag day and brought home a ton of new-old kids’ books. Some have been hits, like The Princess Who Never Laughed and The Poky Little Puppy. I also bought Thumbelina, which I remember liking as a kid, but I read it to Lucia without perusing it first and found it pretty disturbing. That one might get tucked away.

Both girls continue to be obsessed with the Barbie accessories I keep in a bin on the porch. They are worth their weight in gold. They are often so absorbed in playing with them that I could easily read the newspaper if I remembered to bring it to the porch with me. (If I went inside to get it, the spell would immediately be broken.)

Lucia is also completely obsessed with stringing beads. She’s made about fifteen bracelets. Finding new beads is my garage-sale mission for the weekend.

I painted Greta’s toenails for the first time this week: fuchsia. This was inevitable. She is hyper-aware of everything Lucia is doing, and when she saw me doing Lucia’s toes, she rushed right over and placed her tiny feet next to Lucia’s. She’d done this once before, and I redirected her attention to other things; but this time, I could tell, she was intent on pink toes. She stayed perfectly still the whole time, pressing her little toes down on the floor. The rest of that day she kept looking closely at her toes, sometimes holding up a foot and saying “Pree! Pree!” (Pretty!) Too, too cute.

I took the girls to our community pool twice this week. They were beyond excited. For some reason I felt compelled to emphasize to Lucia how fortunate it is that we’re able to be members of the pool, how we should appreciate it, etc. She kind of looks at me blankly when I start rambling on like this, but really, at what point do these ideas of privilege and humility and appreciation start sinking in? The girls were sitting in their carseats after swimming, warm and dry in cute sundresses, snacking on Inner Peas from Trader Joe’s in their little snack cups, and it just struck me—They need to understand how lucky they are.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Letter to Lucia: 44 Months

Dear Little One,

I’m amazed at how much different you are now that you’re getting so close to four. A real turning point came just after three and a half, and though we’ve had a rough week here and there (and believe me—when they’re rough, they’re really rough), for the most part, it’s a sea change from where we were just six months ago.

You’ve always had an enormous personality, but it’s becoming even more entertaining now. You sing and make up songs; you dance; you close your eyes dramatically when you dance; you say things like “There’s only one problem. I have to get my water.” You pick out your own clothes each day, almost always a dress, and accessorize with headbands and jewelry. And you are showing pronounced strains of me: I recently put up my shelf of small things, very small things, and sometimes you look at it and say, “Mama, I love your tiny treasures!” We’ve put two large sections of our new card catalogs in our bedroom until we get the rest of the pieces here, and when you spotted them, you gasped and asked if you could have one for your room too. You may look like your daddy, but my influence is clear.

Preschool is over for the summer, and you seem to miss it. It was such a wonderful experience for you this year, and I hate to have these months without it, especially since I still take two mornings a week for myself. Without preschool, you stay with Greta and the babysitter, which—since this scenario just started—is hard for you. I’m hoping you will adjust. Greta always cries when I leave (stopping immediately once I’m gone), and there’s nothing worse than leaving two crying kids.

Your attention span has always been long, and that has continued. You love playing doctor more than anything else—well, doctor and store. Both activities can go on for a looooong time. A loooong time. You also love stringing beads. And, of course, now that it’s summer, you love playing outside, doing all manner of things in the yard. Collecting leaves, seeds, flowers, etc. is still among your standard activities.

You and Greta are playing together splendidly these days—when you’re not squabbling over toys. Even though I’ve been pretty strident about getting two of everything, it doesn’t matter. You want both, or you want the one Greta has, or you constantly want to “trade,” and sometimes this takes over any actual playing—which is frustrating for everyone, to say the least. Greta is old enough now that she doesn’t just give in or back down. But most of the time, you play and dance together and laugh. You like to teach Greta how to do things. And you like to do things together, and sit near her. You two exchange spontaneous hugs and kisses regularly, always lovely to see.

Favorite toys/activities: playing doctor, dancing, singing, watching Doc McStuffins, playing with tiny Barbie things (shoes etc.), Sit N Spin, hula hoops, stringing beads, making setups, drawing happy faces (often with hair and glasses) as well as happy-face suns

Favorite books: the Good Knight books by Shelley Moore Thomas, Snow White, Sleeping Beauty

Sunday, June 09, 2013

Have a Relax

We finally got something accomplished with the house: the curtains in all the bedrooms are hemmed, the broken curtain rods are replaced, and we now have a bona fide outdoor living space on our front porch. Progress!

Of course, the only reason we made such progress is that my parents were here all week while Andrew was on a business trip. Dad undertook the curtain project, cutting and pinning and ironing and hemming and running to Target for curtain rods. Mom worked hard as well, endlessly entertaining the girls. Everyone had fun. And when Andrew came home, he assembled the porch furniture, and we gussied it up a little with curtains and a lamp.

The girls love the new space. They like to bounce on the chairs and throw the pillows around. Lucia also likes to lounge around on the loveseat, “getting cozy” with her Bibi and favorite pillowcase so she can “have a relax.” “I’ll just get my Bibi and have a relax,” she says. I have no idea where she got this phrase, but Andrew and I have adopted it as well.