Friday, March 27, 2015

Lucia's Style

Lucia's been choosing her own outfit each morning for well over a year now, nearly two years, and lately her outfits have gotten particularly interesting. Her choices are always bold, and she cares little about matching in the traditional sense, but what's pushed her to new levels of inventiveness is her burning wish to wear her summer clothes. I got her a few new things recently at Target, and of course the temperature dropped back to winter levels, so her pretty new clothes have been sitting in her drawer, unworn. She finally just couldn't take it anymore. She cut all the tags off herself, and they're now part of the rotation.

This morning, she wore a white long-sleeve t-shirt with gold stars, tights with fox faces on the legs, rainbow biker shorts over the tights, and pink-and-silver striped leg warmers over the tights and shorts. Silver sequined shoes and a bouncy ponytail pushed the cuteness further.

After school, she immediately changed into a pink, purple, and teal striped ankle-length sundress, the fox tights, a cardigan sweater over the dress (at my insistence), the silver shoes, and various bold accessories: a blue headband, a dramatic amulet necklace, and multiple bead bracelets. It was really too adorable.

She's also apparently having a growth spurt and now hovers several inches over Greta, whereas just a couple of months ago they were nearly the same height. She's been eating like crazy, too. And oh, the funny things a five year old says. When I asked if she'd like leftover quiche for lunch today, she said, "Of COURSE I want quiche. A princess LOVES quiche."


Saturday, March 21, 2015

Goodbye Pacifier?

Greta's transition to a bed has been more or less smooth. She doesn't stay in bed flawlessly, but she doesn't run around, and she and Lucia don't meet up in the hallway to squeal and wreak havoc. Of course, earlier this week when I went upstairs, I found both of them in the bathroom--Greta on the potty and Lucia holding her pacifier "so it doesn't fall into the potty." They were both being perfectly quiet, just sisters helping each other out when they were supposed to be asleep.

Greta's nap has been hit or miss the past couple of days, but it's always unreliable on the weekends. Even if she doesn't sleep, she stays in her room, playing and talking to her stuffed animals and dolls, so I'm banking on a viable transition to Quiet Time when she does eventually give up her nap.

What I hadn't foreseen with the big-girl bed switch was that Greta would take the initiative to give up her pacifier, her beloved pa-pa. Although she's closing in on three and a half, Andrew and I haven't had the heart to take it away from her. I've made occasional comments about how big girls don't need pa-pas, but I've put zero pressure on her to give it up. This week, however, Greta decided she doesn't need it anymore, and she's been leaving it on her bureau when she goes down for her nap and at bedtime. "I don't have my pa," she always points out. "I don't need a pa anymore." A couple of times she's retrieved it during the night or if she wakes up very early in the morning, but it really seems like she's making the break on her own--just as she basically potty trained herself. Easy little baby.

So I SHOULD be thrilled that this is going so smoothly--no hysterical bedtimes, no desperate bribes or hopeful rewards. Just a little girl growing up at her own speed. But I'm kind of horrified at the whole thing. She's my baby, and she's not supposed to be so self-sufficient. She's supposed to need a pacifier and her bibi and lullabies to fall asleep. She's supposed to be a tiny infant. Yet there's my little Greta, dashing from basement to attic in a dress-up dress, a plastic crown on her head, playing with Lucia in her bedroom with the door closed, having an elaborate tea party of some kind and talking in "pony voices," without one iota of need for me. (Though she's still pretty cuddly. She does love a good snuggle.)

So no, I'm not so happy that she's giving up her pa-pa, because I'm not ready for her not to be a baby anymore. Little-girl Greta is an adorable riot, so fun and funny and just too too cute, and of course I hold no nostalgia for, say, last winter, when most days I was driven to tears by a crazytown two-year-old thrashing on the floor and refusing to put on her shoes and winter coat. But seeing her in her big-girl bed, all tucked in without a pa-pa, wearing her My Little Pony pj's and snuggling a plush Elsa, is kind of too much to bear.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

St. Patrick's Day

I love preschool for so many reasons, but I appreciate it particularly on St. Patrick's Day: the school did some fun things to mark the holiday, which is pretty much the only one of the year that doesn't get any notice whatsoever in our house. (Andrew brought home a six-pack of Guinness last night, as a gesture.) The girls both wore green today, and rainbow necklaces. The kids all had some Irish soda bread and green snacks. Lucia's teacher went all out with the festivities, and Lucia came home bursting with news about the mischievous leprechauns who left footprints in their classroom, made a mess, hid the lunches, left gold coins, and more. Lucia led Greta in some "leprechaun hunts" later tonight.

Greta was mostly concerned with whether she could wear pink again tomorrow. She was not happy at being forced to wear green.

Greta's transition to a bed has been going okay. She stays in bed at night, not running around, which is what I feared. She's been napping more or less as usual. Of course, today, I went downstairs for a minute after I put her down and found her door open when I got back upstairs. I found both girls in the bathroom, Greta on the potty, Lucia holding her pacifier so it wouldn't fall in. They were both mouse-quiet. In the morning, Greta gets up by herself and comes into our room (Lucia just calls us when she wakes up). So far, so good. She looks very cute and tiny in her bed, and says often how much she loves it.

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Letter to Lucia and Greta / Catching Up

So I've fallen way, way behind in blogging over the past couple of months. Trying to go back and catch up on all the posts I should have been writing is daunting, so I'm just going to throw a whole bunch of things down here and start being more timely from here on out. In no particular order, some bits of our life:

Box Houses

The kitchen appliances all arrived in February, and Andrew and I turned the boxes into box houses in the basement for the girls. Each girl had a large room and a small room, and their houses were connected by a door. We hung twinkle lights. The girls decorated their walls with stickers and markers. They filled their houses with stuffed animals and blankets and Legos. The houses got me through a few days when Andrew was out of town, which is really the best thing a box house can do. Today, mid-March, we finally took the box houses down. I hope the girls remember them. I still remember the box houses Molly and I had when our kitchen was being redone decades ago.

Baby Clothes

I've been getting rid of baby clothes, finally. I've had no good reason for holding onto them this long. We know (well, I know) we're not having another baby, and most of the clothes have been worn--hard--by two kids. The huge plastic bins have been building up and building up. I think there were eight of them in the attic. So, this month, I finally pulled them out and started going through them. I'm not sure why I kept some of the things I did--leggings with holes in the knees, summer capri pants blackened from a hundred Brooklyn playground afternoons, t-shirts stained from acrylic paints. A lot of clothes I barely remembered the girls wearing. It was easy, in the end, to put aside the things that were too precious to throw or give away, and triage the rest. Donate, sell, give away. I'm not done, but I'm getting there. And I do feel some nostalgia at some of the outfits, especially for some reason the little clothes Lucia was wearing that summer I was pregnant with Greta, when she and I traipsed (well, I inched painfully) to Prospect Park almost every day to splash in the fountains and idle away the mornings. The one thing I can't get rid of: any of the sleepers. But we have a large attic, so there's no real reason to force it. The sleepers can stay.

So Much

One of the cutest things Greta says right now is "so much"--adding it onto ordinary expressions of appreciation so that she sounds like the most excited, appreciative three-year-old in the world. "I love these SO MUCH." "I love oranges SO MUCH." "I love hot chocolate SO MUCH."

Lessons

We signed Lucia up for swimming and ice skating lessons this winter, and both have been going well. She enjoys both activities, but she loves swimming the most. She wishes she could swim every day. She's pretty fearless, too: going fully underwater, jumping off the side, jumping off the diving platform. She's happiest on swim lesson day.

Snow

There has been too much snow this winter. Too many snow days. And for much of this winter the snow has been too hard and icy, and the temperatures too cold, to even do much playing outside. Somehow, we've emerged into near-spring. I will say, however, that snow days were a lot less nightmarish this year thanks to Lucia and Greta's astounding ability to a) play together joyfully with only occasional attempts to kill each other; and b) amuse themselves for long stretches of time doing just about anything. Last week, in preparation for Mom and Dad's visit, they "decorated" the guest room with all manner of toys and junk, even putting colored pencils and paper on the bedside tables so Gra and Pop-Pop could color. "They'll love it so much they're going to cry!!" Lucia kept announcing. Greta will play with absolutely anything; Andrew gave her a bowl of garlic cloves the other day, and she amused herself for over forty-five minutes. So we never lacked for things to do. I brought out some of my snow-day stash here and there, but mostly they just played. On the last snow day, we made Elsa and Anna braids to pin into their hats.

Big Girl Bed

Tonight, March 14, we finally transitioned Greta into a big girl bed. She wasn't climbing out of her crib (although she can, and has done so), but she is so tall that she was looking more than a little squished. And it was just time. We switched Lucia to a bed right around this same time when she was almost three and a half, so it seemed reasonable to do it now. Greta seemed excited, and she looked so cute all tucked in. But I'm going to miss my little Miss in her crib, sleeping there like a tiny baby. I feel a bit sad. The crib is all in pieces now, ready for the attic. And Greta is surrounded by her entourage of stuffed animals and plush princesses, asleep.

Favorite toys/activities:

My Little Pony, Magiclip princesses (princesses are having a resurgence around here), Legos, dressup, coloring and drawing, Frozen, watching movies, gnomes

Favorite books:

Golden Books of all kinds (especially, unfortunately, the Disney movie adaptations), My Special Day