Wednesday, November 20, 2013


The kids in Lucia's preschool class were asked recently what they were thankful for; the teacher wrote each of their answers on a sheet of paper, which each kid then decorated. Lucia's read, "I am thankful for giving my sister hugs and for my daddy. Especially when he comes home from a trip."

Isn't that too cute? Andrew was on a business trip last week, gone for five days to California, so the week without Daddy must have been either in progress or fresh in her mind. I'm thankful when Andrew gets back from a trip, too. It was a long week, but we managed, really fraying only at the very end of Friday, when we'd expected Andrew to get home earlier than he actually did and we were all just tired and ready for things to be back to normal.

The hardest part of being alone for this long stretches of time was just taking care of myself--showering, getting dressed, getting my contacts in. The days themselves--this time, at least--went along pretty smoothly, helped in part by the girls' renewed interest in the basement rec room, our haven now that the weather is once again cold. They ride their scooters down there, and play in the ball hut and tunnel, and color at the art table, and strew glass stones everywhere. They play an endless game of pretending to fall off their scooters and helping each other up. (Lucia does dangerous-looking crash landings from her scooter; Greta just stops riding and sits down on the floor with a dramatic "Oh no!")

Last week--really a full five days--was my longest stretch of solo parenting yet, with no grandparent help. And though I dread Andrew's trips, really dread them, each one does seem to get a tiny bit easier, now that there's preschool, sisterly playing, and less squabbling (usually). I don't think I'll ever like being here alone, but at least as the girls get older it might get a little less exhausting.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Letter to Lucia: 49 Months

Dear Rapunzel,

You are deep into Disney Princess World these days. You've loved the princesses for a long time now, but ever since your birthday, your love has grown--thanks, of course, to the deluge of princesses you received as gifts. Your very favorite princess right now is Rapunzel, and your Barbie-like Rapunzel doll is your constant companion. You sometimes refer to yourself as Rapunzel as well. Ariel, your prior favorite, has been supplanted for now. You love the Disney Princess books Daddy purchased for the iPad--the books are read to you, with accompanying music, and you turn to these immediately when you get to use the iPad after Quiet Time.

You are pretty delightful these days, with funny dances and observations, and you chatter nonstop. Just nonstop. You talk to me, to Greta, to Daddy, to your toys, to yourself. You are incredibly bossy; nothing frustrates you more than when Greta refuses to do what you want her to. You are generally tolerant of Greta's ever-intensifying terrible two-ness, even when she grabs your things and sprints away, shrieking and scream-laughing. You also find Greta hilarious--no one makes you laugh harder, particularly when she does one of her insane dances to the Fridge Farm music.

You love preschool. You have little friends now whom you like to see and play with. You like hanging out with the neighbor kids when we're outside--glamorous and fascinating since they're a few years older. You love picking out your clothes and "looking pretty."

You do not really like to eat. At all. Although you're still on the chart, growing consistently, you are a tiny little peanut, down to the 10th percentile for weight and a mere 25th percentile for height. You reluctantly eat most of your food at mealtimes, but every bite is a struggle, and you rarely finish your meal completely or ask for more. You usually eat just enough so that you can have your dessert--these days, a piece of Halloween candy.

You like going to Target and riding in the "fun cart"--a super-sized suburban shopping cart with a two-seater carriage thing attached to the back so you and Greta can sit side by side. You love looking at the seasonal decorations--Halloween decorations were thrilling, and the glitz and tinsel of the Christmas aisles is almost too much to handle. You are four: anything shiny and sparkly thrills you.

Four seems to suit you, little one.

Favorite toys/activities: Magiclip princesses, Barbie-like Rapunzel, plush jack-o-lantern, coloring, Sophia the First, Sesame Street, riding your scooter in the basement rec room, wearing dress-up dresses, dancing, singing

Favorite books: My First Little House books, The Witches' Supermarket, Elmo's Big Book of Firsts, Thanksgiving Treat, The Golden Egg

Thursday, November 07, 2013

Always Something New

With the girls newly four and newly two, we’ve been seeing a lot of sudden changes. Lucia, all of a sudden, has learned to undress and dress herself entirely, whereas for the past few months she’s been able to do only socks, underwear, and pants. She’d been having problems with getting shirts on and off—and then two weeks ago, it just clicked.

Greta can now officially jump, with both feet off the ground. She’s also learned what it means to “pout,” which she does a great deal, stomping off and crossing her arms and lowering her chin, looking up only enough to make sure we’re watching her. Now, if I say, “Greta, are you pouting?” she’ll cross her arms in a mock-pout, then grin and giggle.

The sisterly silliness in our house knows no bounds these days. There was a long and frustrating spell of stealing and grabbing, but we’re back to happy playing now. Lucia often falls into hysterics at Greta’s wild dancing, which erupts at any hint of music at all, whether it’s music from a CD or a tinny "Old MacDonald" from a toy. Both of them spend much of each day suddenly breaking into “crying,” and then running to retrieve whatever animal or princess toy is “crying for their mommy.” Today they were focused on large plush jack-o-lanterns we bought at Target half-off after Halloween and haven’t yet put into the attic. They wrapped their frequently-crying pumpkins in blankets, rocked and shushed them, put them to sleep on chairs in the darkened kitchen, fed them pieces of wooden pizza. 

Greta likes to take a variety of things into her crib now at naptime and bedtime. These include: a comb, her water bottle, various bath toys, and a princess bag full of Magiclip princesses. Lucia has also returned to her habit of waiting till Greta is asleep then sneaking into her room and tossing things in her crib. This week, when I checked on Greta, I was horrified to find her snuggled up against a plastic Hello Kitty bag and covered in Styrofoam peanuts from a rather large “artwork” (peanuts-and-pom-poms-on-cardboard) that Lucia apparently decided needed to be in Greta’s crib as well. It’s unclear whether it was Lucia or Greta who methodically picked off all the peanuts and then tore them into small pieces. Greta slept while I gathered handfuls of peanuts from her sheet and pulled them from her hair. I think I’ll be checking in on the girls a bit more frequently now.