Sunday, June 9, 2013

10 months...

... and a record 11 days late.  But I promise I'll have you to your first day of school on time.

There are a lot of pictures here, but I narrowed it down from 142, so I think I'm doing pretty good.  I also think I have the most adorable little chunk on the planet.  My neighbor possibly said it best, "She looks like a little lemon!"

This was a fun month.  I was almost sad to see her start crawling, because it means she's getting so big, but it's been fun to see her explore.  It's been interesting to see what she gets into when she can get into whatever she wants.  At the close of the month, she still wasn't a fast crawler (which has since changed), but she does get where she wants to go.

Her schedule is a little weird, I think.  She generally goes to sleep about 6 or 7 pm, and will sleep until about 7 or 8 am.  She takes two bottles in that interval, one before I go to bed and one sometime in the early morning hours.  I know she's old enough to be night weaned, but she scarfs them down and goes right back to sleep, so I'm rolling with it.  She'll then only take one nap a day.  I admit we cheat, in that she sometimes (often) goes in the swing in the early morning to get her to sleep a bit longer.  Otherwise she'd be up at 6 and ready to nap by 9, right when MJ and I are trying to go somewhere.

She continues to be the most mellow, happy and smiley kid.  She's quieter and calmer than MJ, but not really very quiet or calm.  Her desperation to walk has toned down a bit since she started crawling; although she still pulls herself up a lot, not as much as she used to.

She eats pretty well, and likes most everything, with the exception of fava beans and avocado.  This was the month she insisted on feeding herself, so we've had to get more creative in what we give her.  My realization that squeeze pouches work well has been a godsend.

I want to hold on to my baby forever, but as I give her a bottle in the middle of the night, I realize how much she's outgrowing the cradle position I like to hold her in.  My lap suddenly seems much smaller.  She'll be a toddler soon, I know.  I'm sure it's lucky that the baby phase passes quickly or we would eat our young, but it's so very bitter sweet.  I think I'll probably cry at her 1st birthday party, officially beckoning in the era of me becoming my mother.

Greta, I want to bottle your sweetness and smiles and never let them go.  Imagining you as a tantrummy, attitude filled 3 year old makes me cringe a little.  I am excited to see your personality shine through, but I will forever miss you just as you are now.


Saturday, June 1, 2013

The May that was.

Greta's 10 month post is already late and will be later.

I've been meaning, all month long, to write something non-scheduled and non-meemy, and never seem to find the time to do it.

But at this moment, both girls are sleeping and I'm sitting in my childhood yard, the smell of fir trees and moss reminding me of being little.  I love the quiet, and it is something I continually strive to find in the rest of my life and never quite succeed at.  That kind of quiet that lets you hear the wind and the train driving by 5 miles away.  My inability to find quiet in my daily life is a source of crazy that will probably never go away.

Life lately has been bananas.  It seems I am always saying that, so crazy must be our modus operandi.

This month Greta really started crawling.  This is also the month that MJ adjusted to being out of school, largely because this is the month that the weather *finally* turned for the better.

We started off May with a visit to a Wisconsin cabin with some friends, a few of whom will be moving to England very soon.  Group parenting always makes things both easier and crazier.  The weekend was wonderful, but also brought MJ's nearest-death experience thus far.  She had been whining and crying all morning, so we put her down for a nap against her will.  We could hear her upstairs, still fussing, but gave her some time to figure it out.  After a while, her crying sounded desperate and I decided to go check on her.  She had climbed between the headboard and the wall (I have no idea why) and was wedged there, hanging by her shoulders.  She was holding herself up but obviously getting very tired and had slipped down quite a ways.  If she had no longer been able to hold herself up she would have dropped down and been hanging by her head.  It would not have ended well.  She was truly terrified, and had peed on the wall at some point.  It was a scary moment, and yet I know it will be followed by so many more.

A week later, some dear friends came to stay with us who are now living in California.  They have an adorable 2-year-old boy who is just as precocious as MJ.  It's so fun to watch him (and our other friend's kids) get older, and I'm endlessly curious about what they will be like in 10 or 20 years.  He absolutely loved to push MJ's buttons, and I felt like I was having flashbacks to my own brother 30 years ago.  And I found the exact same expressions coming out of my mouth that I remember my mom saying "If you just ignore him and stop reacting he'll stop… he's only doing it to get a rise out of you…"  My advice fell on deaf ears.

The chaos of so many people in the house also allowed us to lose our dog, twice.  Once for nearly a day, and once for only half-an-hour, but I do feel bad for how he gets lost in the shuffle.  He loves the girls, and even seems to enjoy the chaos, but he certainly doesn't get the attention he once did.

The end of one friend's stay with us was met with some other old friends coming to town for a few days, followed by a trip to Oregon to visit family.  And that was our May.  Between working on the rental, desperately trying to stem the chaos of two (make that three) small children, and finally hosting some gatherings, my month was gone.  It was glorious, but it was gone, and there is Greta, another month older.

She is now crawling like a fiend, and looks like she'll be walking at any moment.  She stands with confidence and has started taking very tentative steps.  I find myself wanting to knock her down just so she'll crawl longer.  Crawling is such a quintessential baby stage, and yet has been such a short one for both of my girls (I say this assuming Greta's won't last much longer).  They are so very cute, wiggling across the floor and popping up in unexpected places.  I am not ready to pass one of the last baby stages so quickly.  I am not ready to start calling her a toddler and watch her hard-won baby fat melt away.

But with my sadness at seeing some things pass, there is some excitement about the new things.  The love that MJ and Greta seem to have for each other.  The patience (extreme for a 3-year-old, I think) that MJ has for her sister's hair pulling and  toy stealing, gives me hope and some (likely foolhardy) confidence that they'll be close in life.  Seeing Greta's adoration of her Dad blossom, and his in turn, makes her feel like a part of the family in a way that she hasn't yet.

I had grand hopes and plans about MJ's time home, and all the learning we would do, and it really hasn't been the case at all.  She watches more iPad than I would like (when I find that I am not going to be able to stay patient with her), and is far less willing to be "taught" than I had thought she would.  But she is starting to really enjoy herself, and her sister, and uses her imagination all day long.  My paranoid, inner-helicopter-parent, is worried that I am damaging her long term academic potential.  But the realistic part of me knows she's learning other things, and that in a few short months she'll be in school for two decades.  The bonds she's building with her sister and the memories we will make must be worthwhile.  Right?

Greta gets her own monthly posts, but I just haven't been documenting MJ enough.  Her favorite pretend-games (which she calls "kid games") are playing baby, making cakes, having picnics, pretending that *I* am a princess and she is leading me around (always saying "M'lady"), pretending we're getting married… there are many variations on these themes, but that's the basics.

When we're out in public she will randomly start dancing (mostly ballet, as learned from Angelina Ballerina and the 12 Dancing Princesses).  If there is someone playing music, she simply cannot resist dancing, and often draws a small crowd of onlookers.  She befriends everyone that walks down the street, and new neighbors often meet her before they meet my husband and I.

She rides her bike (with training wheels) so well that I have considered taking them off.  I often forget that she's only three, because she's so very independent.  It's not until I hear her voice on the phone when I am away (which isn't often) that I am reminded by her tiny voice that she is only three.  So much growing left to do.  I guess that's true for all of us, really.