Saturday, November 14, 2009

34 Months: Maddie

My Sweet, Lovey Girl

In just two short months our baby girl will be three! Or as you put it yesterday, "I will be big in January." As if you're not big now. This past month has been pure joy with you. If the first few months of 2 ushered in a contrary side unlike we'd ever seen, the past few months of 2 have shone with a pleasant and agreeable nature. You have always been sweet but these days you are especially kind and helpful and thoughtful and so loving. You are growing into such a grown-up girl.

As a matter of fact, we hardly recognize the long-legged creature that comes bounding into our room each morning. We often joke that you require no "transition time" whatsoever. You wake up ready to play. You walk into a brand new situation with confidence and in anticipation of something great about to happen. There is no warming up or preparation needed. You just roll with it.

Last week I took you for your follow-up flu shot and about an hour before we were to leave I mentioned we had a doctor's appointment to attend. You asked me if you were going to be receiving another shot, which I confirmed, and you said, "Well, I'm going to be very brave. I won't even say ouch." [Author's note: The first flu shot appointment you went to sit on the doctor's stool, it shot out from under you, throwing you to the floor, where you busted your head open on the brass trim along the hard tile. As blood poured out of your head, you smiled at the nurse as she presented you with a princess sticker for bravery while getting your shot.] Back to the second shot: you laid on the table, your face a mix of concentration and uncertainty. When the needle came, you winced, said "Ouch!," and then laughed, "Oops, I guess I said ouch!"

You make friends everywhere we go. People are charmed by your innocent and pointed questions ("You got a moustache?" "How did you get that owie?" "You've got no hair on your head!") You fit in with kids your own age as well as a room full of adults. You love to find a friend on the playground and spend the entire time inventing new games to play together. Whenever we have to leave you make a point of saying goodbye.

Your great loves at this point are art, dance, music and dress up or imaginative play. Nearly every day at preschool drop off you run straight for the art easels and your folder is always brimming with new paintings and projects. I can keep you busy for hours at home with creative art supplies. You and your Daddy spend hours dressing up and dancing. You love to stop in the middle of what you are doing and break out with a new "move."

You are enthusiastic about school. I took the above picture one morning before leaving (this is an outfit of your choosing, by the way) and the anticipation on your face is hilarious. Your teachers are so great at making you feel special and welcome each morning, like you are the only student they have been waiting for. I can't imagine a greater joy than seeing you run off into that classroom, ready to take on the world.

You are especially kind and thoughtful and helpful when it comes to Sam. He beams when you pay attention to him. A few weeks ago, I looked back to see you two holding hands between your carseats in the back of the car. You love to hand your brother snacks across the divide and you will also make sure he has a toy to hold while we are out and about running errands.

You almost never demand your own time but are always making sure Sam is included in our games, our plans, our trips out and about. You love it when he comes along to pick you up from school, acting as if the two hours away were much more and showing pure delight at being reunited.

And then there is the matter of dress. Or dresses, I should say. You are obsessed. I might have to hid your summer dresses and shoes so you stop insisting on wearing clothing that is far too cold and breezy for the Fall temperatures outside. I've made clothing "rules" that involve tights or leggings with every outfit, plus a warm layer on top. Most of the time you are fairly amenable to my interventions but there have been times where you leave the house looking like you jumped off the page of a Fancy Nancy book.

We couldn't be happier with the girl that you are and who you are becoming. Your intelligence and desire to learn makes us delighted and keeps us on our toes. Your creative nature and love for music and dance give nod to both sides of your extended family. Your joy is infectious. I love you so much sweet girl.



Tuesday, November 10, 2009


Hey, you!

Yeah, you!

I can't believe that I just washed a load
of 12-month clothes for you.

You're going to have to stop growing.

We might have to stop feeding you.

No, no, no, don't cry! I'm only kidding.

Maybe we'll just feed you a little less.

Oh, that face.

That sweet, pathetic little face.

Stop it. I can't handle it.

Oh, poor boy, could your eyes get
any more pitiful?

Could your cheeks be any rounder?

Your lips any more kissable?

Okay, okay, we'll feed you.

Like normal.

Here, have a cracker.

Feeling better?

You little moose, you.

Monday, November 09, 2009

Samuel: 8 Months

Dear Sam,

The past month has been a whirlwind as you have quickly changed from a baby content to sit and play to a bona fide explorer boy. You are an expert army crawler, an efficient crawler, and you can pull to a stand pretty much anywhere. Let's just say the past month has been a painful reminder of what happens when little heads meet large, hard objects. Lots of hard-earned bumps, bruises and even a bloody nose!

You have reached that wonderful, interactive, playful stage that has made your Daddy fall in love with you all over again. He delights in your frequent vocalizations, the occasional wave hello or bye-bye, the joy in which you greet him at the end of the day, and your enthusiasm for wrestling on the living room rug. It is so fun to watch the two of you enjoy each other's zest for life.

You are curious and adventurous, much like your sister. Not content to sit and let the world go on around you, but ready to take on anything in your path. I can hardly take a picture without you chasing me and my camera down. Upon hearing the dishwasher open, you are there faster than I can ever prepare for, up on your feet or face first onto the open door, exploring, mouthing, removing silverware and making my housework altogether more work. Any open door is an invitation and I've even lost you for minutes at a time, only to find you crammed beneath some small space, sitting or lying on your belly, legs flapping wildly up and down. Once I even found you in the garage beneath the car. True story.

You are easily the sweetest and most mild-mannered baby in the nursery. The church ladies coo with delight when recounting what a good baby you were while in their care. 'Tween volunteers fight over who gets to rock you to sleep because you are just that much of a love. And at the end of each day, it is your lucky Mama who gets to rock you to sleep, twirling my hair or cradling my face.

You and your sister have another desirable trait in common: an enthusiasm for eating. You have reached that delightful self-feeding stage where I can plop you down in a high chair for long stretches of time. You will sit and eat and eat and eat until I think you cannot possibly fit any more food in your stomach, at which point you will squeal "Mmmm," which is Samuel-speak for "gimme more food, Mama!" You especially love toast, blueberries (like your sister), cheerios, and any orange vegetable.

You are constantly "talking," and whereas your sister loved to repeat syllables and babble, you are usually doing one of two things: squealing in a very, very high octave or grunting way down low. But you keep us on our toes, as you will break out with the occasional "jahbahmagzzy," sounding like a perfectly normal word, making us all laugh.

Maddie is the most amazing big sister, but you are every bit as much in love with her. The second you start to fuss or complain, she will break out in "Get up on it! Get up on it!" and have you smiling or laughing. One day I heard her yelling "No! No! NOOOOO!" and as I rushed in to see what was going on, you were sitting there, looking up at her, laughing your little head off. "He loves it when I say 'No!' Mama. It's so silly!" You love to follow Maddie, join her in her play, and nothing makes you smile like when she greets you in the morning in your crib, brimming with excitement that you are up and ready to play.

Not that it is all easy these days. In just one month we've endured three plugged ducts and mastitis. The previous handful of months were spent passing thrush back and forth, back and forth. Now that you are getting your top teeth, the pulling and thrashing and biting are starting to take their toll on your poor Mama. I so desire to breastfeed you as long as possible, but I admit my body is growing weary despite my heart's constancy. Our moments in the early morning or late at night are so special, and I know that once I am done nursing I will miss that intimacy dearly.

Yet at eight months you are beginning to show signs of differentiating. You amaze me with your desire to investigate your world and feed yourself, the ease with which you go to any person, all gummy smiles and happy coos, and the ability to self-entertain in pretty much any environment. You need me less and less, which is a good thing. I am watching my baby become a person right before my eyes! It is with great joy and love and maybe just a hint of sadness that I welcome you to eight months. Congrats on being two-thirds of the way to one!



Wednesday, November 04, 2009

If you ask Mama for a glass of milk...

She'll open the fridge to discover that water has spilled all over the top shelf.

When she takes out all the items to wipe up the shelf, she'll notice that there are no more paper towels.

On the way out to the garage to get more paper towels she'll spot the laundry room door ajar and remember to change out the laundry.

In the wash machine are two large beach towels, which she'll take outside to set in the sun to dry. Her daughter will follow her outside, claiming it's "picnic time!"

When going to start the next load of laundry, it will become clear that the detergent has just run out.

Upon discovering the lack of detergent, she'll remember that her original plan was to get paper towels outside. Two birds with one stone, she exclaims, and heads to the garage for paper towels and detergent.

When she enters the house with said items, a young girl yells "Help! I'm in trouble" from the backyard and Mama runs out to see the problem.

Arriving outside, she frees said girl from large umbrella and heads back inside.

Mama sees laundry room ajar and heads back out to picnic table to retrieve abandoned detergent and towels.

She tops off the wash machine with some detergent, unwraps the new roll of paper towels, and heads to the kitchen, where she dries up the top shelf of the fridge and replaces the 1 %, 2% and whole milks, half and half, orange juice, grape juice, apple cider, and pomegranate nectar.

Girl calls from backyard, "Where's my milk?" and Mama sighs, opens fridge, and pours a sippy full of 2% milk.