Thursday, October 31, 2013


We had a very full Halloween this year, lots of fun without all the no-electricity drama of Hurricane Sandy. The day began with Lucia's Halloween party at preschool. Andrew was able to stay home from work today, so while Lucia did Halloween crafts and performance preparations with her class, Andrew, Greta, and I went to Greta's music class. (Greta seemed to like having Andrew there, and mildly enjoyed class.) Then we all returned to preschool, where I put Greta into her costume. We gathered with the other parents for the children's Halloween performance--a costume parade and then a selection of Halloween songs. Lucia was in Halloween heaven. She loved spotting us in the audience and waved and grinned during the parade around the gym. She sang all the songs and did all the movements. Each kid's costume was called out for recognition, and Lucia stood up and waved enthusiastically when Butterfly was announced. Afterwards, there were lots of snacks, and then time to ride bikes and run around the gym.

Greta was enamored with the entire production. She gazed at Lucia at the front of the room as though she were a celebrity, and kept waving to her; she was thrilled to be wearing a costume too and refused to take it off, even though she was clearly overheated. She rode a tricycle (with my help) and a scooter around the gym. She lined up for the slide with the bigger kids and clearly announced "TURN" when she decided it was her turn. Too cute. She almost fell asleep on the floor of her bedroom while I prepared her crib for her nap, and slept for two and a half hours.

It was a big morning, but most of Halloween was still to come. Around 3:30, friends came over, and together we walked down into town, which was a riotous melee of trick-or-treating in the shops. It was pretty insane. It's a miracle we didn't lose a kid. We hadn't even brought bags--we'd had no idea what to expect--and had to pile the kids' candy under the stroller. When we'd had enough, we walked home and had a drink on the porch while the kids played.

After our friends left, we set out to trick-or-treat on our block. The girls had remarkable stamina, and were fully immersed in knocking on doors, yelling "Trick or Treat!", and saying "Happy Halloween!" (Or, if you're Greta, "Treat!" and "Ween!") Finally, Greta reached her limit and mutinied; I took her home while Andrew and Lucia went to a couple more houses. Somehow, we got them to eat dinner, and now they're finally in bed and asleep. We are all pretty Halloween-ed out, but it was a great day.

The girls' butterfly costumes were, I will say, pretty cute: homemade fleece tunics, wings from Target, and antennae created from dollar-store Halloween headbands. And I gave them each a pink glowstick necklace when we went out for trick-or-treating.

And now I will go collapse.


Sunday, October 27, 2013

Goodbye for the Winter, New Hampshire

We spent this weekend in New Hampshire, our final trip until the house opens next May. It was, to be honest, not a wholly successful trip. We were supposed to go Thursday afternoon but couldn't leave until Friday because of a last-minute work obligation for Andrew, which meant I had to unpack and then repack most of the hundred or so bags a weekend trip requires. The drive on Friday was long, and then, when we got there around 4pm, we discovered that the heat wasn't working. The temperature was in the low thirties. The house was freezing. We drove into town for dinner at the pizza place (thrilling the girls, who love the arcade room) and bought two space heaters. When we got back to the house, bedtime now, Andrew and his dad plugged in the heaters--and promptly blew a fuse that they then couldn't find. I had to get the insanely wound-up kids into their ten layers of pjs in the darkness, lit only by their mushroom nightlights. They were beside themselves, jumping on the beds, running around, etc. Andrew and his dad finally fixed the fuse, but since only one heater could be plugged in, Andrew's dad slept at a cousin's house, we put the girls in one room, and we ourselves huddled under ten blankets, including a fifty-year-old electric one we were too scared to keep on during the night. Of course, in the morning it was freezing, so we spent a few hours at Andrew's cousin's house while a repair person finally was found and came over to fix the heater.

We did manage to have a lovely time at a pumpkin patch on Saturday afternoon, and we took a nice nature walk.

Then, Sunday, the girls had a blast playing in the leaves in the woods; and then it was time to pack up, close up the house, and drive home. It took over six hours because of traffic and multiple stops.

So. It was not a restful respite from the real world, this time, but we did manage some nice moments for our last trip of the season. And now it's time to bid goodbye to the lethargic wasps, the ladybugs huddled en masse in the corners of the ceiling...and the amazing views and beautiful starry sky.

Letter to Greta: 2 Years

Dear Grets,

Happy, happy second birthday, little banana! You are two. You seemed more or less unaware of today's momentous milestone, though you enjoyed opening your gifts. We were in New Hampshire for your birthday, with Bobby.

You've been preparing to be two for a while now, with your strong will and fondness for crossing your arms defiantly, staring at us out of the corner of your eye to make sure we see you pouting. Even at your most stubborn, you are still adorable; you don't hesitate to assert yourself and express your intentions and opinions. You like to nod and shake your head when we ask you questions. You still shout "YEAH" as an affirmative response, too.

You are trying desperately to talk and are gaining more words and putting them together; you still stick to one syllable, however. "More chee plee!" is easy to understand; "Whee no? Whee no?"--"I don't know where Lambie is!"--is code to everyone but us. You've recently started adding "too" to your comments. If Lucia asks for water, you run over shouting, "Wrr too!"--"I want water, too!" You call Lucia "Sha." You call us "Ma" and "Da" or "Di."

You love dancing. You do wild, rhythm-less dances that involve your entire body; you stomp dramatically in circles, spin until you're dizzy, head-bang with flying hair to make Lucia laugh hysterically. You like to sing (tunelessly). You do not, however, love your music class. I'm still not sure why. I thought you'd be enraptured, but you are either irritable or clingy throughout. We've had one or two classes where you seemed to get into it, and I've signed you up for next semester too, but this might not be a good match for us. We shall see.

You can do a perfect somersault. You can count to five. You know the names of all the Disney princesses. You know the names of many of the Sesame Street characters, though you hate Grover and Murray. You mostly like Elmo and Ernie and Burt.

You and Lucia have been playing up a storm lately, off on your own, often in the bathroom with the door closed, laughing hysterically together and calling out to me now and then to bring you some particular toy. When one of you falls down, the other runs over to give a hug and a kiss. You desperately want to go to school with Lucia, rushing to get your shoes when Lucia and I leave in the morning; you're old enough now to understand when you're being left behind. Soon enough, little baby. Soon enough.

Favorite toys/activities: carrying around your princess bag full of Magiclip princesses, Magiclip princesses, Cinderella and Rapunzel Barbie-type dolls, scooter, stickers, coloring, dancing, balloons, swinging, sliding, pretending to put things in your eye ("Eye?" you say slyly, holding something like a piece of apple up to your eye).

Favorite books: The Teeny Tiny Ghost, If I Were an Owl, Little Owl, The Very Quiet Cricket, Horns to Toes and In Between, Dear Zoo

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Life with Lucia

It struck me this week as I was driving to Target with the girls that life with Lucia is what it must be like for Andrew to live with me at my most exasperated/dramatic. On the way to Target, we encountered some minor road work, and we were directed on a brief detour to circumvent the closed section of road. Lucia and Greta were calm and happy in the back seat. "Road work," I observed mildly. "Here we go on a detour."

"A DETOUR?" Lucia wailed.

"It's fine. We're just going up this road."


"Yes we do. We just have to turn here."


"Lucia, it's fine now. We're back on the right street."


It's too, too funny to hear my own words coming out of my child's mouth.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Letter to Lucia: 4 Years

Dear Lulu,

Happy, happy birthday! You were so excited about turning four today. You eagerly anticipated your birthday this year and exclaimed throughout the day, "I'm four!" Daddy worked from home today, and we had a nice day just hanging out here. You opened presents this morning and loved the things we got you, especially a set of Disney Princess Magiclip dolls--four little princesses with dresses that you can change. You also got three mermaids (Ariel and her sisters) for the bathtub, glow-in-the-dark stars for your ceiling, a Hello Kitty holding a cupcake, two nightgowns, and a doll bed with a cupcake comforter that matches yours (I made it last night). Aunt Katherine's gift of the Little Mermaid DVD was here for you and Greta as well, and we watched it tonight, after a day of playing with princesses. After dinner we turned out the lights and lit four candles on a (store-bought) cake, sang Happy Birthday, then all had some cake before bedtime. A fun day all around. You and Greta will have your birthday party on Saturday, so lots more birthday fun is in store.

Beginning a new year is very exciting, especially one that seems as important as four. You're already so funny and silly, interested in so many things--it will be fun to see all the new things that engage you this year. You're getting very independent, and seem to enjoy it, though you have moments when you refuse to do something you can do very easily--like put on your socks--and whine and beg until we do it for you.

You've gotten extremely competitive with Greta in the past few weeks. Even though you're older, and even though Greta looks to you for guidance on how to do pretty much everything, you, too, have your eye always on your sister--and whatever she touches seems, to you, to turn to gold. If Greta touches a leaf in the yard, then you must have that very leaf. It is tiring, and often our days move in fits and starts as I mediate battle after battle. I hope this lessens soon. On the bright side, when this grabbiness doesn't rear its head, you and Greta have so much fun together, making each other laugh hysterically and getting lost in your own little world. That makes up for the tougher moments.

Much fun is ahead this week, little one. I can't wait to see how four progresses. It already seems to suit you very well!

Favorite toys/activities: stickers, coloring books, chalk, batons, jewelry, dancing, wands, crowns, painting nails, funny walks, singing, Halloween decorations, going to the playground, dressing up in princess dresses, your "Twinklebell" shirt (a t-shirt with a ballerina), riding a tricycle at preschool

Favorite books: Ladybug Girl and Bingo, Georgie and the Robbers, Too Many Pumpkins, Winnie the Pooh's Halloween, The Little Mermaid, The Old Black Witch