Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Greta, a Monologue

Greta, at three, talks pretty much nonstop from the minute she wakes up until her little eyes close at night. She does not have to be talking to one of us; she talks to herself, to her toys, to her feet. She often "finds" imaginary tiny animals (monkeys, dolphins, foxes) and scoops them up into her hands, gently, talking to them before "releasing" them. Here is a brief sample of Greta's stream-of-consciousness from lunch today, with a representative amount of whining:

"Mmm. Carrots. I love carrots! I don't want any caaarrrrooots. Put them on yoooouuuur plaaaate. Not MY plaaatte!!! Yoooooour plate. Look at me. Look at this. [takes a bite of string cheese]. I take a bite. Look at my trick. Mama, watch me do my trick. [leans over in her chair, lifts a leg into the air] That's my trick. I might fall off my chair. My knee hurts. My finger hurts. My cheek hurts. [laughs hysterically] My cheek hurts--that's silly. Noooooo!! I don't wwaaaant aaaany milk! [milk goes back into fridge] Nooooo! I waaaant myyyy miiiilk! Can I be done? Can I go play? [spills a drop of water on herself, begins fake-crying] I waaaaant Biiiiiibiiiiiii.....I waaaaaant my Biiiiiibiiiiii....Oh! [sees she's holding her Bibi already] There he is! I was holding him in my hand."

Tuesday, December 09, 2014

Frozen on Ice

We took the girls to see Frozen on Ice a few weeks ago. We weren't going to; it was expensive and selling out fast; but the more we thought about it, and heard about it, the more we decided we just had to take them. Though their love of all things Frozen had waned a bit over the past couple of months, it hadn't disappeared. And so we bought tickets. And Elsa dresses. And bundled everyone into the car for a 7pm show in Newark.

Lucia and Greta were beyond excited. They were so excited about their dresses, and going to a show at bedtime, and going to the huge arena, and seeing the ice rink. They were enthralled from the very first projection of a giant snowflake on the ice. And Disney knows its audience: before Frozen began, out came all the other princesses, ice skating and waving as they passed us. Lucia and Greta waved back eagerly, squealing as each princesses skated out onto the ice. And then--Frozen. They loved it. (Greta loved it until the last ten minutes, when her rapt attention clicked over to wanting to leave.) Lucia didn't take her eyes off Elsa the entire time.

Both girls were interested in all the merchandise for sale, but they didn't really ask for anything, content with their new Elsa dresses; and Andrew and I managed to keep our vow not to purchase any $28 dollar-store wands. (We were in the minority. $28!!)

The next day she told several people that we'd gone to the show, and said, awestruck, "The whole stage was ice."

The girls slept in their Elsa dresses that night, and kept them on the entire next day. And, since then, they've been afflicted once more with Frozen fever. It may not ever end.

Monday, December 08, 2014

Letter to Greta: 37 Months

Baby Grets,

Oh, how cute you are right now. I'd forgotten how adorable, how breath-takingly charming, a three-year-old can be. With your unruly hair, tiny bare feet, cheeks still poofy with baby fat, you are still such a little baby, and it's lucky for all of us that you like to be cuddled, because it's hard not to want to snuggle up with you at any opportunity.

Of course, every precious, snuggly moment has its twin moment of frustrating independence-asserting; and your new fondness for escalating things to hysteria at every opportunity. You're full of drama, Little Miss. You don't feel things halfway. A casual request ("I want my water") met with a perfectly reasonable denial ("Your water bottle is three flights up; let's get it after we're done eating") becomes, instantly, a hysterical demand ("I WANT MY WATER RIGHT NOWWWWWWWWWWW"!!!!). It's powerful. No one wants a tantrumming Greta. You also know the power of tears, and turn them on at the drop of a hat. When tears aren't warranted, you still try your best, scrunching up your face and squeezing your eyes shut, trying to force them out. Sometimes you even announce, "I'm trying to cry." You know perfectly well what you're doing. And it's maddening, and hilarious, all at once.

You love to play, and you and Lucia have your own world of imagination and activity now, with me more as overseer and occasional referee. When Lucia's at school, you're a willing partner for errands; at home, you play by yourself (with me nearby) absolutely contently. You relish your time at home without your sister, able to play with whatever you want to, without Lucia's bossy direction; but you're most happy when she's back, and you can be in your sister-world together once again.

You have an entourage of security objects that you seem to be getting more attached to now that you're three: your Bibi, Wee (Lambie), water bottle, and pa (pacifier). Bi Wee is usually referred to as one object. And I know I need to take away the pacifier; I know that; but you use it only at naptime and bedtime, and I can't bring myself to actively disrupt the smooth routine of nap and sleep we've established.

You nap during the week from 2pm till 3:30pm. On weekends, it's usually 1pm till 3 or even 4. You go to bed by 7:30pm and sleep till 7 or 7:15am.

You are a loved, loving Little Missy Miss. I'm always so happy to see you in the morning; and so relieved--lovingly relieved! lovingly!--when you go to bed at night. Three!

Favorite toys/activities: My Little Pony (ponies and show), Strawberry Shortcake (dolls and show), Frozen (renewed passion), Playmobil animals and foods, crafts, coloring, stickers, dress-up.

Favorite books: Gingerbread Baby, various Christmas books.

Letter to Lucia: 61 Months

Little Lulu,

Magic. That's the only way I can describe the age of five. You turned five, and something just seemed to click--and you're off, into real-kid world. You're so curious, learning so much, doing so many things, capable of so much. Seeking independence, relishing it. Taking pride in the new skills you're learning--putting on and zipping up your coat; writing the letters of the alphabet; honing your skills with scissors, stencilling, tracing. You and Greta are still best friends and constant playmates; but you take care of her, too, and take pride in helping her do things.

Greta looks up to you so much. You're a star to her. But I do see you two as further apart right now than you've been so far--not in your relationship, but in your "life stage." You're invested fully in school, having drop-off playdates and birthday parties; capable of working on crafts and art projects on a totally different level than Greta. It's a tricky balance for me right now, making sure you get to do all the things you're ready for while not making Greta feel frustrated or left out.

You love school. So much. Your class, teachers, and school itself have definitely been a huge part of all the massive changes you've undergone in the past few months. You're sad when the weekend comes; you just want to go to school. Besides all the great stuff you're learning, this is what I'm most grateful for: that you've developed this excitement about going to school, about learning. We can't ask for more than that.

Favorite toys/activities: Frozen (with renewed intensity), My Little Pony (ponies and show), Strawberry Shortcake (dolls and show), crafts, drawing/coloring, Playmobil, wearing your Elsa dress, blocks, riding your scooter in the basement

Favorite books: various Christmas books, Cat's Colours, Rainbow Fish to the Rescue