30 November 2010

Of Being Held Back

I know every child is different and it's useless to compare them.  But I find myself contrasting how our behavior is affecting our children's development at different rates.

Clearly, Micaiah was our first child.  She was one of the last in a "round" of babies in our church - two months later than the next closest.  Therefore, as I watched the other babies grow and meet new milestones, I assumed Micaiah wouldn't be far behind - so when other kids were sitting up, I would prop Micaiah up with pillows so she could learn.  If they were pushing toys, I gave her toys to push.  Not that I had unrealistic expectations, it was more of a naivete - I didn't know when she was "supposed" to do things so I always figured, "Why not try and see?" and more often than not, she surprised us.  It's true, she was "late" with the crawling and the walking - but that didn't really bother me.

As she was gifted educational toys that were technically out of her age range we let her play with them early because we figured eventually she'd know what she was doing with them.  When I read you could start a baby with cereal at four months, Micaiah started at four months.  I suppose I was just eager to get her to each new stage.

And then came Emmett. 

Now I'm too busy keeping up with his big sister I fail to notice that he's already at certain stages.  I forgot to lay him on the floor to give him the chance to learn to roll over.  I forgot that just laying him down while I do other things won't allow much opportunity to learn to sit.  At five and a half months he's still playing with the basic rattle and teether his sister outgrew long before she was his age.  At this point she was playing with her LeapFrog animal (Letters with Lulu) and Petey the Penguin (who's a little like a Weeble Wobble - a really big Weeble Wobble).  She was holding books (and chewing them very well).  I don't even give him a chance with any of these.  I think almost every other day (or every two or three days at least) that it's probably time to start cereals . . . and then I figure we'll do that next week - until we're now two weeks away from crunch time (six months is when they actually need supplementation from other sources of nutrition - gulp).

So, it's not that I'm concerned about his development, necessarily, I'm concerned that our neglect is holding him back from greatness. 

So today, I pulled out Lulu and gave Emmett the chance to gnaw on her leg.  He seemed to enjoy the opportunity to play with big kid toys.  His sister, however, had different feelings about his new-found love for her play things. 

Darned if I do, darned if I don't ;)

29 November 2010

Of Making Traditions

One of my favorite things about having a family of my own: getting to make new traditions.  I love it when my husband and I decide to make homemade pretzels, knowing that someday our children will reminisce about days like these (assuming, you know, we're still making pretzels by the time they're at an age they'll remember).  I love spontaneously making monkey bread or donuts for Saturday morning breakfast - it's little moments like these that are the most cherished.

And I love that with the holidays come new opportunities for us to establish how our family will celebrate.

We decided before Micaiah's first Christmas that the only gift our children would receive each year from Santa Claus would be a book - because I love to read and I hope our children will, too.  Also, they will receive every Christmas Eve pajamas for them to wake up in on Christmas morning.  I always begged EVERY year to get to open just one gift on Christmas Eve and was never allowed.  So now that I'm in charge - my kids will get to do what I never did.  Even if it's just pajamas, I hope they'll enjoy this custom.

This year marks the beginning of a new tradition that I truly believe will come to be very special for our family.  Recognizing that we love to spend time with family and will, therefore, rarely ever spend a holiday apart from any extended family, we've come up with a way to have our cake and eat it, too - to be able to enjoy Christmas with family, but then also have our own distinctive celebration with just us.

We will be incorporating the tradition already implemented in various cultures world-wide of celebrating Epiphany- known as Three Kings Day in Spain and other Latin cultures - which commemorates the day the Wise Men actually visited the Baby Jesus, representing the revelation to the Gentiles (as non-Jewish people) of God's Son.  Thus, on the Saturday after New Years we will have our own family celebration.  Borrowing ideas from various friends our children will receive only three gifts, so as to represent the three gifts given to Jesus by the Wise Men: one Spiritual, one practical and one frivolous.  Who knows, I may even break out the culinary skills and bake us a little Rosca de Reyes!

I look forward to the years ahead when our children have a special tradition that's just ours - teeming with meaning and a little bit of culture, too.

28 November 2010

Of Showing Off

Since we keep talking about them, I tried to convince Emmett to show off those chompers of his . . .

 But he was playing coy.

It's a good thing his Daddy knows how to make him laugh.

 Just in case you needed a little help.
What a big boy he is!

27 November 2010

Of My Little Man

My Little Man . . .

- has two adorable (albeit rather sharp) pearly whites poking up from his bottom gum.

- loves to play with his toes - they're his favorite toys, really.  Lucky for him, they seem to go everywhere he does!

- thinks if it's in front of his face, it must go in his mouth.  The three bears learned that the hard way as their family picture was licked within an inch of its life on the cover of their storybook.

- can't sit up yet, but he can wriggle himself just about anywhere within a two-foot radius - we're still not quite sure how he manages.

- can often be found watching his big sister with amazement - she's the best entertainment he's got.

- is quite the hit with the ladies - some say it's his chubby thighs; others credit those money-making dimples.

- snuggles amazingly well.

- makes everything worth it.

Of the Bright Side

Today I was given the opportunity to contemplate the better ways of sharing bad news.

For example:
Don't start with a sad voice and the words, "I better tell you what happened."
Do start with, "Before I go further, everyone is okay."
This will leave the listener more time to actually hear the rest of what you're saying rather than trying to tick off the names of the people that might possibly have died within the past number of hours.

Don't follow the aforementioned "Don't" with, "Your sister is now homeless" and begin a long story about flames that cannot be easily heard through bad cell phone reception.
Do continue with, "There was a small house fire and because of the damage to the dining room they won't be able to stay in the house for a little while."
This will stop your audience from having to mentally do a checklist of all the things they might have at their disposal to donate to their poor sister who has clearly just lost everything she owns and with a baby on the way and will, instead, give them the chance to actually listen to those details about the fire - bad reception and all.

But then again, starting your news with the "don't" list does, in fact, make the recipient much more positive about what actually did happen.  Because when you've spent the past five minutes ranging in thoughts from the likelihood that a family member is gone to planning a benefit for the ones who lost everything in the great Black Friday Fire of 2010, suddenly realizing that the rental home they were going to be moving out of within the next couple of months anyway has some damage, while many of their belongings were saved before the electrical fire broke through the walls, really actually seems like great news.

I suppose perspective really is all in the presentation.

25 November 2010

Of Family Time

While I didn't enjoy the mind-boggling debate about with whom to celebrate this year's round of holidays, I've come to a thankful moment on this Thanksgiving: I am thankful that we have the kind of family we actually look forward to spending time with.  We don't have a side of the family we dread or try to avoid. 

Our family spent today with Philip's extended family and Micaiah loved spending her evening chasing her second cousins around Nenaw's kitchen and using her dragon face to "scare" her daddy's cousin into hiding under the coffee table.

And I loved watching her play with ones she loved and who love her, even if they don't see each other much more than once or twice a year.

And I loved knowing that in about a month she'll be chasing around my sister's children and doting on my brother's first child (only three months younger than Emmett) - who she'll be seeing for the first time.  She may be turning the dragon on her uncle Andy and snuggling with her Grandma and Grandpa.

I am thankful for our family.  None of us are perfect and our families have conflicts, but in the end, we're family and we truly enjoy spending time together - and for that, I give thanks.

Of Toby

Our daughter is finally to the age where she actually seems to understand what she sees on television - which is so strange to me.

Yesterday, while occupying our little one so Daddy and I could attempt to rest from our mutual illness, Netflix became a good friend (alright, honesty moment: Netflix became a good friend from about the moment of subscription - our daughter would agree because without aforementioned service she would never have met Dora or the Backyardigans - some of her own favorite playmates - sad, yes, but no point in trying to hide it, I suppose).  Trying to find something longer than the half-hour increments with which she is generally entertained, I flipped over to the "Family Friendly Movies" section and found "Astro Boy" - a movie (based on Japanese animé, as I would later discover) which follows a scientist through the death of his son, Toby, and the attempt to bring him back in robot form.

Let me tell you what happened when the killer robot demolished the original Toby.

"Tow-ee!!!  Where Tow-ee?!!!"

That's right, my daughter had not only learned the name of the boy but had noticed he was missing and that this was highly distressing.  She later noticed when he got "stuck" and when he was "all better."  And, today, when she wanted to watch Toby again, she got so excited to see his little animé face and yelled, "Tow-ee!  I love you, Tow-ee!"  That's right, her first crush - on an animé robot.

It's just astonishing to me that at two she's already able to follow a story-line, even in the in the most vague form.

Yet another sign.  She's growing up.

23 November 2010

Of Appreciation

Last night, when I began feeling sick around 5pm and was snug in bed by 9pm (calling my husband on his cell phone while he was in the other room to whine about my cold feet and having him come to my rescue with fuzzy socks so I wouldn't have to move), I recalled the last time I felt this bad.

We were newlyweds, really, only seven months married and celebrating our first Christmas together - in Venezuela.  While I was glad to visit the country he called home for eight years, it would appear the country was not as glad to see me and did, over the course of a week's time, quite the number on my body.  At the height of it all, I lay in bed all night, alternating between sleep and visits to rid my stomach of the offending intruders.  Where was my new-ish husband during all of this?  Right by my side - if I wasn't sleeping, neither was he.  He, instead, alternated between watching favorite movies from his pre-teen years (MIB, anyone?) and re-visiting Donkey Kong on his old Super Nintendo. 

By the time I saw the glimmer of the rising sun through the small square window in the corner, I could tell the sickness was finally ending - but this relationship?  It was going to last.  My man knows how to take care of his wife - even if his presence is all he can offer.

Last night I was thinking back to this moment, glad that I married him in the first place although also glad he didn't feel the need to sit right at my side this time.  I was more than happy to know he was still getting things done in the living room he both needed and wanted to accomplish on the computer.

And then this morning I realized just how much he still loves me (not that I'd questioned it at all).  The living room filled with toys I'd left behind at nine was completely restored to live-ability.  The basket of un-folded cloth diapers sat outside my son's door, un-folded no longer.  And when I opened my laptop?  An adorable hand-drawn flower with a special note from my media naranja was wedged between the screen and the keyboard.

I love that man.  And I know he loves me, too.

22 November 2010

Of Sunny Days

Because of the obscenely warm temperatures this summer and my son's propensity for over-heating, we haven't indulged much lately in open windows.  Thus, today, when I was able to lay down for a rare mid-day nap, the light breeze pushing the still-closed blinds from side to side and the warm sunlight gleaming through the slats made me feel as if I were in the midst of the lazy days of summer.

Not three days away from gathering around a large table with too many people indulging in too much turkey and other festive foods.

Here's to overly-indulgent weather, even if it seems a little late.

21 November 2010

Of Silliness

I really was just going to do one solid blog today - one topic and that's it.  Not just another list.  And then today happened and there were just too many great moments to limit myself . . .

Should I talk about how Micaiah literally fell in the toilet when I forgot to put her special toddler insert in?  I honestly was cracking up while feeling bad for her at the same time.  But you try not to laugh the next time you see a surprised two-year-old folded in half inside your toilet (you'll feel ok to chuckle after you remind yourself that she hasn't actually done anything in the toilet yet, so, although her dress is soaked, it's relatively clean water).

Or what about Emmett spitting up on my face?  That's what I get for being silly with my son and letting him lay on my chest while I make faces at him.  At least he spewed his contents during a brief moment when I had my mouth shut.  Still, a shower felt necessary when I couldn't get the wet, sticky mess out of the crevices of my nose or my hair (where it had dripped off of my cheeks).

But then there was the moment before dinner when Micaiah found a sippy cup from yesterday sitting among the dirty dishes waiting to be loaded into the dishwasher and didn't understand that two-day-old milk isn't very appetizing.  She realizes it now.  Trust me.  The sounds emitting from her were similar to a cat trying to rid themselves of a hairball.  I think, though, that she's over it.

Later Micaiah showed us that she is, in fact, a hoss.  I made this discovery when I looked at the wall next to our entertainment center and noticed her ENTIRE toy box (ie, a storage ottoman filled with toys) was missing.  When asked where it went she simply replied, "I push," while demonstrating for us the arm motions required for the action.  She never ceases to astound me.

Finally, while Emmett and Daddy snuggled on the couch, she climbed up, too, and handed Emmett her pink bouncy ball.  When he did nothing more than try to chew it (through his paci), she took it back, demonstrated how to throw it, and returned it to her brother.  He still didn't seem to comprehend, so she went through the process of teaching him to toss the ball once more, and did it a third time when he continued to stare at her blankly with the ball in his hand.  She's such a wonderful sister.

So there you have it.  Life around here just gets more exciting every day.

20 November 2010

Of Boredom

Today I was bored.

Today was the first time in recent history (as in, since the time before I had at least one moving child to occupy my energy) that I have had this feeling. 

To be fair, I did have some rather action-packed, fun moments today.  We played outside, we went to a party (one of those wild and crazy parties that married couples who have to bring their children along have - the kind with arguments over toy phones, races on miniature cars and blocks soaring through the air - and the parents get to actually indulge in adult conversation, too), I got to run errands (alone!) - but when I arrived home and my eldest was napping and the younger followed suit soon after, I found I had nothing to do.  To be sure, I'm certain there were dishes that could have been placed in the dishwasher or something similar, but other than that - nothing.

And it was weird.

I couldn't even fathom how to fill the time.  I racked my brain - surely there was something on my seemingly-endless list of things that need to get done that could be done in that moment.  And I was at a loss.



Maybe I've been wrong lately as I've justified to myself that I don't need more things to do just to occupy my time.  Maybe I should take up knitting . . .

19 November 2010

Of Ramblings

If you notice, I've moved towards lists a lot lately - it would appear my days are getting less profound and more just series of events.  But I suppose that's what we're all about - a series of events strung together to make life.

So today . . .

- Our dryer received a new heating element for the THIRD time in as many years.  Which is funny considering I remember my mom having the same washer and dryer set nearly my whole life and never seeing an appliance repair-person in my home . . . apparently they just don't make things the way they used to.

- Micaiah and I colored home-printed Dora coloring sheets - and I realized I should probably save myself money on coloring books until my daughter understands what lines are, let alone how to stay in them.

- Before coloring, Micaiah drew a very precise picture of Dora, Boots and Backpack - well, at least that's what she said it was.  To the untrained eye (which apparently mine is) it appeared as three sets of swirls in varying sizes.  Adorable nonetheless.

- My daughter wore one pair of underwear all day.  Trust me, this is HUGE.

- I threatened my husband with bodily injury should he allow our child to see him pull cookies from the cookie jar.  If she doesn't know where they come from, she has no direction toward which to aim her begging (such as pointing at the fridge and whining when she wants milk, etc.).

- Emmett napped for three hours in the morning.  I assume it's because he woke up earlier than usual.  Either way, it was nice and scary all at the same time (checking for any semblance of movement on the video monitor became a regular activity in that short amount of time).

- When Emmett was screaming because he didn't like being on his belly and couldn't roll over at the moment, Micaiah stepped in all by herself and played with him to calm him down.  Tickles and giggles always smooth things over.

- Later, before bed, after she gave him a sweet kiss, she found his paci laying next to his head and placed it nicely in his mouth.

Those two kids are the best part of every day.

18 November 2010

Of Playing Favorites

I've always heard parents say every stage is your favorite.

And, for the most part, I'd found this to be true.  I would bemoan the signs of aging in my daughter only to discover just how fun this new stage of life was. 

Now I'm beginning to wonder.

Comparing the two - I think I like the five-month stage just a little better than the toddler stage.

To be sure - those moments of "I lul you, Mommy." and "Good night, Jesus!" are darn precious and I wouldn't trade them.  But there's something to be said of setting a child down and knowing he won't go anywhere.  Of his being strong enough to not feel like I'm going to break him while stuffing his little armies into his little sleevies (if you got the joke, you'd be chuckling to yourself right now, promise), but also young enough to not argue about what pair of pants his legs are wearing.  Of knowing his chubby hands won't be pulling any ornaments off the tree unless I'm thoughtless enough to lay him under it (and even so they'd still be just out of reach).  Of being able to entertain him with a simple hug or just a teething ring - rattling is optional.  Of being able to cook, clean, relax without his whining demands that we do what he wants to do exactly when he wants to do it (unless, of course, it's feeding time).

Yes, there is something to be said about the greatness of five months.

Two years isn't bad - it just requires a lot more energy.

Five months seems to hit me at just my level of laziness.  Unfortunately, I can't stop the clock - so I'll just have to console myself with those big hugs and sweet songs of toddler-hood.

17 November 2010

Of Things I Love

I Love . . .

. . . the way toddler hair sparkles from the droplets of mist under the shower.

. . . tiny dimples in chubby cheeks.

. . . big hugs, endless, unprompted kisses and a head of curls on my shoulder.

. . . taking five month Jemima pictures (even if it means he's growing too fast!).

. . . hiding in an open box (laid on its side) with an adventurous two-year-old.

. . . a little boy who rolls from front-to-back and back again.

. . . listening to my daughter's "moosic" created by wooden spoons and an over-turned shoe basket.

. . . the way my son's eyes (and head, and upper body) follow his daddy around the room.

. . . the way a little girl lays on her belly on the ottoman drawing with her pen and paper like a big girl.

. . . seeing the first white indications of a tiny tooth (although it's sad that my little man is tooth-less no more).

I love this day.

16 November 2010

Of Mommy and Me Time

Philip stayed home from work today.  Therefore, while our tiny son slept an inordinate amount this morning (leading to that perfect in-between of not being able to be left alone yet requiring no work from the responsible adult left at home with him), I toted our not-so-tiny toddler with me on a few errands.  How sweet it was to have one itty-bitty hand to hold - not needing a cart to carry an infant carrier, we were able to just walk side-by-side, meandering through the aisles of the store. 

If she wanted to be held, my arms were free to do so.

When she wanted to stop and hug a Minnie Mouse doll, we took the time to do so (and then she nicely told Minnie good-bye as we moved along). 

We admired the animatronic pig and hippo lawn ornaments in matching Santa hats (really, K-Mart?) and gave Rudolph's red nose a gentle squeeze.

We sat in the toy aisle of Wal-Mart and watched an ad play at the touch of a button for LeapFrog's Tag system and then pet the motion-sensor puppies.

Of course, we didn't ride the horsey when we left the store, so apparently the whole morning was shot.

But for a fleeting moment it was wonderful to just be the mommy of a toddler.  She's a great kid.

(And her brother's not so bad, either, and she did ask about him more than once while we were out, lest you worry he may have been forgotten.)

15 November 2010

Of My Right-Hand Man

There is one member of this family who does not quite receive as much blog time as the rest - heck, even the dogs get more play than my poor husband.

My man is amazing.  And I don't tell him nearly enough.

This evening I hosted a girls night/Pampered Chef show in our home.  My husband knows that getting our house ready for such events is a task for me because we have a two-year-old and it shows.  And she has a little bit of a lazy Momma and that shows.  So our house can go from 0-60 on the level of chaos in just one day (or less).  When you add a few of those days together . . . well, you get the picture.

Therefore, even though he knows I've been home all day to get things like this done, what does my husband do?  He walks straight in the door from work and says, "What can I do to help?"  Not because the house still looked horrible (it was actually looking pretty great by that point), not because I was freaking out (I was clipping coupons on the couch) and not because a tiny toddler was going crazy (she was watching Dora and yelling, "Hi, Daddy!").  No, his question was intentional.  He had spent all day preparing himself to come home and be at my beck and call.

And so it was that even though I was ready to start winding down from the cleaning process, my husband cleaned our bathroom, took out the trash, fished a stray cookie sheet from under the stove, prepared dinner for he and our daughter and helped me put last minute things in their places.

And then, his reward for all of this work?  Being shut up in our bedroom for three and a half hours while his home was over-run with women and babies.  And then, every once in awhile (thrice, to be exact), changing a certain little girl's pants because she gets so caught up in playing she forgets where she needs to potty.

That's my man.

He's the best.

14 November 2010

Of a Servant's Heart

My daughter is following in the footsteps of Jesus.  Considering she spent the evening hugging the tiny Matrushka version of Baby Jesus, I suppose she's simply learning quickly.

This evening, as it was time for bedtime kisses, she came to find me feeding her brother on the couch.  My feet were propped up and she stopped short on her way to find me to point and say, "Yucky."  Yes, I know that although I just cleaned my floors on Thursday they're never as clean as they should be and, yes, I know that as I rarely wear socks, my feet are often gray-ish by the end of the day (TMI, maybe, but important for the story, so let's move on).  Having my two-year-old daughter question my hygiene?  Not the best part of my day.

But what follows caused me to erupt with giggles, despite my daughter's chastising.  She then declared, "I wash", grabbed for the closest piece of cloth she could grasp, which happened to be her brother's tiny sock, and diligently wiped her mommy's "yucky" heel (which, as it turned out, had a tiny bit of paper stuck to it which caused the entire episode).  Satisfied that all was right in her OCD world, she gave Mommy and Emmett hugs and kisses and headed off to bed.

Washing the feet of others already?  My daughter is a true servant.

13 November 2010

Of Being Early

I used to be a Nazi about the timing of Christmas décor and other Seasonal signals.  Christmas music of any sort was not to begin playing until the day after Thanksgiving and not one ornament should be seen in any store or home before that time, either.  I grew peeved with the retail world apparently not owning calendars of any sort and skipping directly from shelves filled with witch's costumes and an overabundance of orange and black candy packages to those overflowing with stockings, garland and green and red M&M's.  What happened to Thanksgiving?!  This was madness!

And now, owning a home of my own, I have entered into this crazy world of desiring to be surrounded by the Christmas spirit as early as possible.  I told my husband I wanted to put up our tree on November 1st, but he demurred quite successfully for awhile.   I, too, admitted that it seemed a tad early and, being the Coca-Cola thermometer (which only recently replaced the Jack Daniels remnant from the previous owners) still read in the mid-seventies, the winter effect which tends to bring about the Christmas mood was hardly a factor.

Until today.  Today, with a chill in the air and ornaments on my table (décor I recently put together for a Holiday show promoting my Pampered Chef business), I decided I was really ready.

So, yes, there's a tree in my living room, all decked out with meaningful ornaments from our life together thus far.  There are stockings hung from the mantle (although still missing one, we haven't found the perfect design for our little man as of yet), wreaths in our entryway and various nativity scenes grace our entertainment center.  Our home wreaks of Christmas spirit.  And I love it.  I love everything this season represents and I like to cling to the visual reminders for as long as possible.

So all you Grinches out there step off.  Yeah, I said it.

PS One of many favorite moments of the day: reading Micaiah the Story of Christmas while acting it out with her Little People Nativity from Gram and Grandy.  Seeing her tiny hands placing the wise men in their spot on her dresser so as to properly give adoration to the baby Jesus: priceless.

Please Forgive My Absence

I was sick yesterday and, thus, did not have much brain for updating my blog.  This is what I would have written, had I been coherent . . .

I'm not feeling very well today.  Or, to put it as I did when talking with my husband, "I feel yucky." 

It's funny how when I'm feeling sick, laying in my bed, listening to my children playing with Gram and Grandy in the living room (I'm not sure how I would have survived today without them - SO grateful they happened to be in town while I was sick, even though it did not so much make for a great visit), the only thing I want, more than Gatorade or saltines or a Rolaid is a snuggle from those two little precious ones.  Unfortunately for the sake of germs and whatnot it's the one thing I shouldn't have.  But somehow it just seems that one little head of curls nestled against my cheek and a chubby little butterball tucked in my arm will just make the world seem a much better place.

Until, of course, that little butterball starts squirming and the curly-headed snuggler decides a bounce or two (or five) on the bed would be just what she needs.  At that point they can certainly be whisked away to let Mama sleep.

A child's cuddle (or even just the dream of one) is the heart's best medicine.

11 November 2010

Of Splurging

I let Micaiah play with a pencil today.

Typically it's only crayons for that girl - no pens, pencils or grown-up writing utensils of any sort.  I can't give a logic for it, it's just the way it is.  And there's a certain little girl in this house who just wants to be grown-up (at 2!). 

And today I decided it wasn't worth the argument.

Giving my toddler a real-life pencil?  I'm living life on the edge now . . .

10 November 2010

Of Moving On

Emmett is finally at that size - the size when adding the weight of a baby carrier to his 18+ pounds of baby is just a bit too much when also toting a backpack/diaper bag, a purse, a "Bible Study bag" (for church) and an extra diaper bag for the toddler (this is what happens when you have two children in two different classrooms in the nursery) and also, hopefully, a toddler hand (if I have one free, otherwise she's told to "stay close").  Thus, due to weight limits imposed by my body, he's finally at the stage when the baby carrier gets left in the car and he gets carried free-hand. 

Truthfully, it would be a bit easier to move to this new stage if he were, you know, able to sit up or hold on or anything helpful when carrying him one-armed.  But my arms were begging for a break.  So I listened.

Just one more notch in the growing-up belt.  One that never occurs to anyone who hasn't had a child, but, trust me, it's significant.

09 November 2010

08 November 2010

Of Free Smiles

I've been mentioning to some lately that I've recently discovered one of the biggest differences to me between my son and my daughter at this four-month stage. 

In all of Micaiah's "baby" pictures she appears very serious.  A documented smile was rare and even then required Mommy or Daddy behind the photographer making goofy sounds and jumping in between shots for a quick tickle.  If we didn't do that what we usually got was a cocked eyebrow and a look that said, "What are you doing?"  And even in those undocumented moments we had to work hard for our smiles.  She wasn't giving them up to just anybody!  These days, that serious sass has not budged an inch.  She spends more time shaking her head, pouting her lip and intently working on whatever toy is in her hand than she does outright giggling and grinning.  And she'll NEVER smile for the camera.

Emmett?  He's a grinning fool.  I always feel I need to find another word to describe his smile because I use "grin" a lot.  But that's just what it is.  It's not a little hint of a smirk or a shy widening of the mouth - this boy grins, dimples and all.  He just loves to smile.  He'll show off those gums to anyone who glances his direction and he's more than happy to do so for the camera, also (although most often I get the deer-in-headlights look in snapshots - which is also adorable).  That little man is so easy to please.

On a side note:  Scenes from my day:  This is what was going on while I did dishes this morning:
 Micaiah colored peacefully at the table while her brother discovered the animals on the seesaw on his bouncy seat.  Yes, they're cute.

07 November 2010

Of Sibling Moments

We now have in our family two adorable sets of siblings we get to watch interact.  And it is such a joy.

Bingley and Bennet continue to amuse us with their competitive natures.  We bought two toys for them last night.  We got both out this afternoon.  And yet only one toy gets attention at any given time.  Because if one dog sees the other happily tugging at a rubber ball attached to a rope, he wants it, too.  And if one dog sees another toting around a blue and yellow cloth-covered "bone," he HAS to have that bone.  Thus, they will literally run around, side by side, each with one end of the bone, or rope, or even stick, in his mouth.  Until, of course, one of them gets tired of sharing and outright tackles the other. 

I'm kind of glad that disputes between Micaiah and Emmett aren't solved this way . . . yet.

During their bed-time story tonight Micaiah wanted to hold her brother.  And he giggled about it.  We have one happy boy, but there's just no one who can make him smile as much as his sister.  He LOVES when she does anything with him, whether it's insisting he sit next to her to watch "Ar-tur" (that's "Arthur" - the glasses-wearing aardvark), sticking price stickers meticulously to his tiny toes (while demanding, "Emmett, no kicking!") or simply giving him a good night tackle (which is meant to be a hug).  It's a good thing that, for now, the feeling is mutual.

Of Late-Night Shopping

Two months ago my grandma broke her wrist.  When returning from the hospital early in the morning, my parents made a quick pit-stop at Walgreens to pick up her prescriptions for pain . . . and apparently quite a few other things - among them, a Nebraska cheerleader doll for Micaiah, a Cornhusker Sippie Cup for Emmett and a musical toy for my grandma to use as a summoning mechanism in the middle of the night.  While revealing his purchases, he declared excitedly, "You'll never believe what they sell at Walgreen's at 2 o'clock in the morning!"

I totally get it now.

No, I wasn't at the pharmacy at two o'clock in the morning, but I did recently return from Wal-Mart at midnight - and I might have gone a little crazy.  But when they have uber-cute dresses (and men's dress shirts) clearanced for $1 and remnant Halloween make-up kits and pirate costumes marked down by 90%, who can really resist?  Especially when you're out shopping without the kids and have no time-limit (other than the fact that it's midnight - minor details).

Lesson learned: budgeting defenses apparently shut down between the hours of 12-5am.

05 November 2010

My Day: From Micaiah's Point of View

I could be even more cheesy than I'm already going to be and pretend Micaiah is actually typing this blog, but I'm much too tired to attempt to type in a two-year-old fashion, so we're just going to take a fun look at her day through her eyes (and my mind).  Got it?  Let's go!

This morning when I woke up I was so excited to discover someone forgot to close my closet door last night!  This means all the toys that are usually tucked into bed in the dark storage space got to come out to play in the morning - but I was good and only got out a couple of baskets of stuffed animals.  I know Mommy was so proud that I didn't make a mess with my puzzles or the shoes I know I shouldn't play with (but sometimes do anyway).

Because Mommy slept in, I didn't get to watch Super Why (one of my favorites!) or even Dinosaur Train (which is also a favorite, but a little less favorite) and I only got to see the very last part of Elmo.  Momma must have been SUPER tired.  I heard her coughing a lot last night, so I guess that must be it.

She seemed to be in a big hurry after breakfast and got awfully impatient with me.  I don't like it when Mommy yells, but she apologized and told me her behavior was inappropriate - I wish she would have gotten a spanking like I would have if I acted like that!  But I know if I'd have tried to do it, I would have gotten my own spanking, so I just forgave her.

She was really proud of me, though, for being able to wash my hands all on my own while she changed Emmett's diaper, that helped us get out the door real quick - I'm a good helper!

It turns out Mommy was in a hurry because I was going to have lunch with one of my best friends - he and I had so much fun hiding behind curtains and then pushing my brother around in a walker.  Momma says Emmett is silly - I think so, too, because even though we pushed the walker a little hard, all he did was show off his dimples.  I really like him.

After lunch, Mom was frustrated because I went potty in my pants and didn't tell her - but not quite as frustrated as she was later when I did it again and then played with the brown mushy stuff.  It felt funny on my fingers and I didn't really like being yucky . . . but it was fun to play with.  

Mommy put me in some underwear with a red-headed girl named Ariel on them - and then I got to watch Ariel on T.V.!  How fun!  I loved that movie - I don't ever remember seeing it before (although Mommy says I have - but I was really little - I wonder if I was as little as Emmett . . .)

We had pizza for dinner.  I like pizza.

Then we all went outside and Daddy tried to help me be a big girl and pet the puppies - but I was so scared.  They're really big and sometimes they hurt Mommy.  She says they don't mean to and she's ok, but I just don't know.  One time, I was walking through the yard with the Frisbee in my hand (I like to throw the Frisbee for the puppies) and I turned around and there was a PUPPY!  Right behind me!!!  That was SUPER scary!  For some reason, I don't think they're scared of me anymore.  But that doesn't mean I'm not scared of them!

Mommy and Daddy tried to teach me how to count.  Then they taught me this really great joke.  I'm still working on the punchline (if you ask nicely, I might try it for you) -I don't really get it, but Mommy and Daddy promise it's funny. 

I got to stay up real late tonight.  Mommy and Daddy say it's because the time will change on Sunday.  I don't know what that means but I do know Mommy and Daddy don't like it when I wake up too early and I think that has something to do with it.  I don't mind.  I like staying up late.  I get really silly when I stay up late - like playing peek-a-boo in the sheets and hopping on Mommy's back.

It was quite the day - I'm looking forward to tomorrow!

04 November 2010

Of Mutual Fear

Bingley and Bennet.

These are the names of the two newest additions to our family.  They seem to be enjoying themselves quite well and have sufficiently booted our cat, Annie, from her hiding place under the shed (I actually feel bad for her, but she'll survive).

While Micaiah loves to watch out the windows and say, "I want puppy!" they seem to all have a mutual fear of each other.  I'm guessing the puppies' anxiety comes from the high-pitched shrieks emitted from her tiny lungs any time they come closer than four feet.

However, if they stay the designated footage from her safety bubble, she just loves them.  She'll toss the frisbee or the tennis ball in their direction (though both of these toys are still a foreign concept to the little guys; thus, they simply stare as if to say, "Why are you shoving this in my face?").  When we tell them to "Stay," Micaiah, also, will hold her palm out and command, "Say!" And when they're finally allowed to eat, she jumps up and down excitedly, "Good job!!!"

She's cute.  So are they.  They make a good set.  As long as they all keep their distance.

03 November 2010

Of Mommy Time

Bible Study this morning was a little more relaxed - not that we're an uptight group or that we take ourselves too seriously, but when we're taking an in-depth look at the Word, I like to be distraction-free.  Today, however, we were taking a break from 1 Samuel to learn ideas for simplifying our holidays.  Thus, I did something rare.

I let Emmett join me in Bible Study rather than dropping him into the arms of doting nursery workers.  I wanted him in my own doting arms for just a little while.

After feeding him his bottle and apologizing to those at my table who had to witness his incredible ability to deposit his used milk on both he and myself, I was able to spend a good hour just holding my son.  Feeling his little warmth in my arms and watching him fall asleep.  What an amazing opportunity!

Being that the amount of time spent nursing Emmett is typically just at Micaiah's limit for the amount of time she's okay with my not giving her my undivided attention (and even that is pushing it at times) and when she IS entertained elsewhere I'm grabbing my precious free moments for use in the kitchen or keeping up with housework (which, ask certain people and they'll tell you, I don't tend to do an awesome job with), I practically never have the time to just enjoy my son and his presence in my arms.

So today I did.

I hugged him close.  I smelled his hair.  I watched his eyes drift closed.  And I thanked the Lord for stolen moments.

02 November 2010

Of Puppies

I feel I've done an adequate job proving the word "never" to be quite futile.

I always said I'd never let my child become addicted to a T.V. character.  I also always told myself if it happened, it definitely wouldn't be Dora the Explorer.  We weren't even going to watch Dora.  And yet I now love it when my daughter points at the screen and yells excitedly, "Boots!" or "No swiping!"

I always said I would never have an outdoor cat.  I loved my cats and didn't want them in the dangerous world of streets and snakes and bringing dead birds to my door.  And yet now I've had to tell my husband more than once to toss that bird carcass, tucked in a corner of our porch by our cat, in the trash before our child finds it.

And finally I always said I never wanted a dog.  They're cute when other people have them but I never felt the need to have my own animal wagging their tail waiting for their belly to be rubbed.  And now I have two lovable puppies snuggled up in towels on our back patio (having already polished off one full bowl of Dog Chow).  And they're ours.

They don't have names, yet, but they're still real.  And they're ours.

I own a dog.  I own two dogs.


In case you're wondering, Micaiah is still unsure about this.  She's terrified of being within inches of a puppy, but doesn't mind running back and forth, scribbling on the concrete with her red chalk while the puppies sniff out their new surroundings.  She'll tell you up and down, "I want puppy!" but if you ask if she wants to pet it, she'll shake her head adamantly in the negative direction.

She's a little indecisive - but I think she's going to like it.

01 November 2010

Of Breaking the Rules

After being gone most of the evening, I arrived home only minutes after my big girl had laid down for the night.  I snuggled my little man close before feeding him and realized how much I'd missed his fuzzy head in just a few hours and was sad to have lost the chance for a sweet bedtime hug from my Caiah Bear.  Thus, when she made a sound around 10:15, I went in to give her a kiss and tell her good night. 

This is when she decided to tell me she had to go potty.  Now, I knew it was most likely a ruse because she often does this to get out of doing something else (such as sleeping), but not wanting to call her a liar and force her to pee her pants at any given moment, we tend to give her the benefit of the doubt.  So, she scampered off to climb onto the potty.  When she got there, she, in her sleepy delusional state, whisper-screamed excitedly for Daddy with a goofy grin on her face, pointed out the "horsey" (unicorn), "house" (castle) and "hat" (crown) on her p.j.'s, sang a little and all around had a silly time doing nothing - especially nothing of significance regarding said potty.  But I didn't mind.  I'd missed that silly girl.

And so it was that when she was done in the bathroom I decided to let her cuddle with me on the couch, sharing my tortilla chips, while Philip and I finished a show on Hulu.  It felt like we were breaking the rules, staying up late and munching bedtime snacks, and I love that because I'm the rule-maker, it doesn't even matter.

What wonderful stolen moments.