30 June 2011

Of Cuteness

Micaiah had a rough time napping today.  As in, she didn't.

But I did make her stay in her bed for three hours in the hope she would give in. 

As I left her room after my first intervention of asking her to put her book away and lay down, she fussed and announced, "I want my Emmett!"  She used the same tone of pleading she typically employs for objects she literally wants in bed with her, as in, "I want my turtle" (Mommy's large stuffed animal) or "I want my snake" (Daddy's old Beanie Baby), so I wasn't even sure I heard her right the first time.

"What was that?"

"I want my Emmett."

"I'm sorry, Baby, but Emmett is asleep."

" . . . I want you.  I want my mommy."

At this point, though my heart of stone melted a smidge, I knew she was looking for ways to stall and, perhaps, trying to get out of nap-time altogether by appealing to Mommy's snuggly side with her innocent cuteness.  But I know her tricks.  And so, heart tearing just a little, I hurried in for a quick hug and then firmly told her to go back to sleep. 

She's lucky she's cute.

29 June 2011

Of Conquering Fears

Children and their phases can be so confusing.  Micaiah's on-again-off-again relationship with green beans has led to a stream of frustration, followed by joy, followed by further gritting of the teeth and hair-pulling (of my own).  The same has been true of her bath-time escapades.  The upside to her bi-polar nature is that she is finally back to getting a kick out of sudsing up.

She loves the bubbles, the toys, the splashing and has even reached the point she no longer cries as we rinse the shampoo from her hair.  In fact, she so enjoys her time in the water, she practically kicks us out when she's done being soaped up. 

Take this conversation for instance:

Me: "Do you want to stay in the bath a little longer?"
Her: "Yeah.  Getout." (Note: The lack of space is no typo - she literally made the demand as if it was a simple one word command.)
Me: "Micaiah, That wasn't very nice."
Her: " . . . Pleasegetout."  (Note: This repeating of the aforementioned command was said with no more softness or inquiry than the first time around.)

Well at least she's enjoying herself.

28 June 2011

Of Celebration

Today was my birthday.  Between yesterday's announcement and today's annual significance, my Facebook page has never felt so alive.  But to the wishes of many for a wonderful day, while I did have a nice time, it was no more wonderful, per se, than any average good day. 

This lack of spectacularity is mostly due to the fact that the majority of my merry-making occurred over the weekend, when Philip and I had our birthday date - to mutually celebrate our special days which are separated on the calendar by only three days.  We were also surprised by a glorious cake prepared by my sister-in-law (and loosely "supervised" by Philip's mom).  So, in essence my celebration was wonderful - it just wasn't today.

How, may you ask, did Philip and I choose to mark our momentous occasions?  Well, I enjoyed a lunch of a steakburger, fries and a hot dog from Freddy's, followed later by frozen custard from the very same - in between which I bought me some nice fat clothes.  Because apparently that's what you do when you're turning 27 and pregnant.

27 June 2011

Of New Beginnings

For those of you who are recent followers (or if this is the first entry you've read, even), you may not know there is a reason I am so consistent in my blogging.  I made a commitment when Emmett was only three weeks old to blog every day of the first year of his life (starting at Week Three, clearly, because I am not a time traveler).  As you may know, I reached my self-imposed goal - with a few days missed here or there for sickness or other such unavoidable causes - last Friday with the celebration of Emmett's first birthday. 

This was a big step for me because I tend to be a sprinter and not a marathon runner.  As with the resolute notions of many New Years revelers, I typically find myself gung-ho for the first few days or weeks of a new idea and then let the steam run out as one missed step leads to another before the whole thing feels like a waste of time or energy.

But not this time.  This time I stuck with it.  Because I knew just one evening of saying, "Well, one day won't matter" would lead to the demise of my goal. 

Now that my year is up, I'm addicted.  I feel as though I have to blog before going to bed.  Even when I don't feel like it.  Sometimes it's a chore; sometimes it's a joy, but always it's something to be done.

Lucky for all of us, with the end of my son's first year (though, admittedly, he has had very little focus in the scope of this blog), we have a new adventure to follow via my nightly blogging: the impending birth of our third child.

If you had not heard previously, you read that right - three. 

My husband and I will be outnumbered.  And, frankly, I'm not sure how this will go.  But if God believes we can handle it, then so do we.  Besides, what's life without a little adventure?

(Also, I hear the third kid is the best . . .)

25 June 2011

Of Simple Moments

In our house, I'm not going to lie, we have a Daddy's girl.  Not to be cliche, but Philip definitely tends to be the fun, and thereby preferred, parent for our beautiful girl.

In the presence of Gram and Aunt Dia, Mommy definitely tends to fall to the bottom of the pyramid.  Now, this status is understood and acceptable to me because it's just the way it is.  Besides, there is still a little boy who relies on Mommy for nourishment and, thus, I get to be the one he cries for.  So, really, it all balances out.

But tonight, when my daughter crawled up next to me on the loveseat as we watched Family Ties on Netflix, while Gram and Aunt Dia sat on the other couch and Daddy was at his computer, I noticed.  She chose me.  Laying at my side, she settled her head on my pillow, face inches from mine.  And grinned.  Saying nothing she simply laid and smiled before finally turning over to watch the show, giving me a chance to snuggle my face into her hair and inhale the wonderful scent of my beautiful girl.

Priceless moments treasured.

24 June 2011

Of Mommy and Baby

We often wonder where it is our daughter picked up the idea of imaginative play.  Of course we understand that as kids we often lived in the world of make-believe and she is not the first to role-play, but it is fascinating to watch a child develop into such a realm of play that they voluntarily take on the position of someone else.  Micaiah's new favorite role is Mommy.

Among her children are Dia Baby, Gram Baby, Mommy Baby and Daddy Baby - the biggest trouble-maker of them all.  While the other three dutifully close our eyes and accept the fact that we're not hungry when Micaiah Mommy declares it to be so, Daddy Baby happily plays the role of the strong-willed son who announces he is not, in fact, tired and most definitely wants breakfast.  And then, the clincher.  He left the room - without permission! 

Therefore, it was not a surprise when he was the first with a spanking and a time-out. 

Apparently, though, the ability to punish sent one little two-year-old on a power trip and Mommy Baby was the next victim.  Thus, she approached me with a wickedly evil grin that proudly declared, "Best day, ever!" and reared back for the slap on the leg and demanded I join Daddy Baby for time-out - which apparently takes place on the comfortable king bed in our room.  Who am I to argue with that?

When not keeping the ranks in line, however, Micaiah Mommy can be very sweet to her children, providing them meals cooked with love, blankets to keep warm and pillows for our heads.  She is so thoughtful it makes a Mommy Baby proud.

23 June 2011

Of Speaking My Language

"Let me just say this: when people talk about MY new wife, they're not talking about you." - my lovely husband attempting to end a sassy discussion behind the wording "new wife" (my interpretation: newly married, his? Well, you see that above)

He may not always have a way with words, but at least he requests Skittles on my behalf when someone inquires what we need from the store. He should be grateful my Love Language is "Gifts" - and NOT "Words of Affirmation".

22 June 2011

Of Playing Nice

Every day these kids seem to enjoy each other even more - and get on each other's nerves as well.

Yesterday was Emmett's first experience on the kids' "My First Play & Learn" (on a side note: why is it that all children's toys clamber over themselves to be the "first"?  Is it not good enough to simply be purchased?  What if this were not actually their first Play & Learn?  Would we not be allowed to purchase it or would it simply be false advertising?) - which is essentially a push and ride truck.  Even though he has not yet learned to walk (or even stand, to the chagrin of his doctor), Gram felt he should no longer be deprived the joy of his "first" truck.  And the kid loved it.  Or, he loved the beep the little horn makes anyway.

Micaiah decided to help him along as his tiny little feet did not quite understand the Flintstone method of driving.  She scurried behind him, grabbed the push bar and offered her services as his personal footman.  Before heading anywhere, she would run ahead, clear the path of all toys and then return to her spot behind him and push him along.  They were both having a blast.  And it made Momma's day.

      Pushing Emmett

  Clearing a path

But then came today, when she wanted to play with his new birthday presents and he just wanted to play with something.  Thus, he was crying while she yelled, "No, Emmett!"  When I finally asked her to share his toys, she grudgingly handed over a Weeble, which he hugged with all his might, swinging him back and forth with a big grin.

He'll play happily with his Sissy - but only as long as she's playing cooperatively.

21 June 2011

Of Disagreements with Self

Most entertaining portion of our day: Watching Micaiah argue with herself via the iPad.

In a moment of time wasting, I opened the App Store this afternoon to browse the top-downloaded Free Apps and ran across one labeled Talking Tom with an accompanying icon of a cat.  I wasn't sure what the program did, but knew if it was popular and involved talking felines, it would probably make my husband happy.  And I was right. 

Turns out, Tom is an animated kitten who repeats everything the user says in his own high-pitched voice.  This entertained Philip for a solid 20 seconds before Micaiah became involved and amused all of us for the better part of an hour.  In the beginning of her conversation, I was impressed at her instincts to talk to her new friend in its native language.  Rather than testing out funny sayings, she repeated "Meow" for quite awhile before we insisted she actually say something of more interest.

Thus the hilarity began.  As she asked questions, Tom would repeat the inquiry and Micaiah would answer.  We almost had to have her step away from the iPad when she began introducing the kitty to her family members and the conversation went something like this:

M: This my Mommy.
T: This my Mommy.
M: No, this MY Mommy.
T: No, this MY Mommy.

The violence was supremely eminent when they began discussing possession of Emmett - Micaiah is very protective of her little brother.

As Mommy re-directed the conversation to safer topics, however, little girl calmed back down and civility ensued.

Then, the only argument came when it was time to leave the iPad and head to bed.  Who can guess what we'll be doing tomorrow?

20 June 2011

Of Lucky Charms

Someday in the future our daughter will have a Pavlovian response to a visit from Gram.  She will not understand why, but the moment she sees her father's mother, she will immediately demand Lucky Charms.   And I will be able to trace this behavior directly back to this week.

On Saturday, I took our daughter with me to Wal-Mart to gather a few things in preparation for Gram's pending visit.  Among the items added to the cart was the largest box of marshmallow-laced cereal I could find.  Lucky Charms are Gram's favorite.  Unfortunately, they also happen to be a favorite of the two-year-old sitting in the cart.

For the next couple of days, that little brain did not forget what we had purchased and at every opportunity she begged for Lucky Charms.  And at every opportunity, I tried to explain that Gram was coming and we would have the cereal when Gram came.

Today, at Emmett's 12-month check-up (23 lbs, 31 in), his doctor coincidentally shared an anecdote involving the very same magically delicious breakfast food.  Micaiah's response: "I want Lucky Charms!  And Gram, she gonna come and we have Lucky Charms."  Apparently she was learning.

Thus, after greeting Gram at the door this afternoon and sharing an evening of play, it was tough to convince her to head to bed.  So I pulled out the trusty favorite, "Guess what.  Now that Gram is here, what are you going to have for breakfast in the morning?"  Suddenly, the whining stopped, the squirming ceased and the face lit up, "Lucky Charms!!!"

I am sorry to have caused a possibly problematic mental association between my daughter and her grandmother, but whatever works for the moment, right?

19 June 2011

Of Gender Issues

Our daughter appears to be in the throes of a gender crisis.  I'm assuming that, at age two, that's ok.  In about 15 years, not so much.

The other day, she announced she was a prince.  Trying to steer her in the right direction, Aunt Dia pronounced, "Yes, you are a princess."

"No.  I not a princess.  I'm a prince.  You're a princess."

Any attempts to persuade the young royal that she was not of the appropriate gender for her assumed role proved futile.

The following day, when I announced Emmett was a "very good boy" (for some task I no longer remember), Micaiah decided she was a good boy as well - and definitely not, as we struggled to insist, a good girl.  In fact, I distinctly remember her frustration to the verge of tears in trying to convince us to agree with her.  Finally, not wanting to drive our daughter crazy, we dropped the issue.  She simply could not wrap her head around why she could not be labeled a boy and why, oh why, her brother gets to have all the fun.

I seem to remember having a similar inward struggle the day puberty hit, but that's another story altogether.  For now, I choose to believe these inane issues will work themselves out in time and we'll leave it at that.

18 June 2011

Of Getting Satisfaction

Apparently Emmett's one-year molars are living up to their name.  Joining the ranks of his eighth tooth, which has been working on making its entrance for a week or so now, those fancy big 'uns - officially numbers nine and ten on the count - seem to have been working their way through, as well, and made a big appearance in yesterday's birthday grins.  Right on time, guys!  Way to go!

Wondering if these new additions to the dental family have been a partial source to his recent food aversion, we've tried to go a little easier on him today.  But the refusing to eat most objects on his high-chair tray and then screaming out of hunger was not a very attractive quality today. 

Thus, it was a welcome break when, after his evening meal, tummy finally satisfied with Mommy's milk, he sat on the floor and for a solid half hour, before our evening hide-and-seek session and then bedtime, played with his sister, pulling every book from the shelf and shuffling through them while Micaiah picked out the best and "read" them to him.  The two giggled and crawled and watched Emmett's new Weebles not fall down.

Essentially it was one of those nights that made me glad they have each other.  Parents live on these moments.

17 June 2011

Of His First Birthday

You didn't really think I'd write about anything else today, did you?

That's right, it is Emmett's first birthday!  And as our plans include a late night at the drive-in, I thought I'd post early. 

Quite frankly, our little one-year-old doesn't seem too stoked about his big milestone, but the rest of us sure are.  I know it's cliche, but it's tough to believe that little guy I plucked from his crib this morning, whining about breakfast, mouth filled with teeth, head filled with recently trimmed hair, is the same little bundle of joy I first held in my arms one year ago.

Back then, he was red and slimy and what Philip and believe to be the cutest newborn we had ever seen.  Micaiah seemed beautiful at the time, but looking back at pictures, she was just goofy looking.  But not this boy.  He was plain cute from Day One (or so we thought). 

Those greatest moments there in the beginning were when it was just the two of us, little man and I, snuggled in the hospital bed, him laying next to me, curled into the tiniest ball imaginable while we just slept. 

These days life with him only seems to get more difficult by the week, but I'm so eager to see how our little man grows up into a real-life man, ready to take on the world. 

Please continue to pray with us as we take further steps into this parenting journey that will bring us to the day when he is ready to leave our home, hopefully prepared for the world ahead with strength, kindness and truth.

"Do not let kindness and truth leave you; bind them around your neck, write them on the tablet of your heart, so you will find favor and good repute in the sight of God and man."  Proverbs 3:3-4

16 June 2011

Of Picky Eating

I knew it would happen eventually.

We had a precedent in our household.  Micaiah was a great eater.  Others marveled at the way our tiny tot would put in her mouth nearly everything set in front of her - and in large amounts to boot.  In fact, there came a point when we had to learn to cut her off.

And then, of course, she entered toddler-hood.  And our life of ease came to an abrupt end.  Suddenly, just setting the green beans in front her wasn't enough.  We begged, we pleaded, we spanked, we applauded good behavior.  And still her mouth was clamped.  To this day, though the battle rarely ends in her victory, she feels the war can be won.  And so she fights.

Along came Emmett.  Our little mellow man.  Following in his sissy's footsteps, he never refused a bite.  If it was food, it went in his mouth.  If it wasn't food, it went in his mouth.  The kid loved to eat.  And we were not ones to stop him.

For the first time, in all his growing up this past week, I have seen a new side to our guy.  The side that swings its head from side to side in staunch refusal of a piece of tomato or sweet potato fry.  The side that will munch happily on crackers but avoid the watermelon on his plate without even tasting it.

Where did this kid come from?

Like I said, I knew it was too good to last, but did the switch have to come so early?  We didn't even make it to his first birthday!

Here's praying this is merely a (rapidly) passing phase and our happy eater will return to us soon.  I'm not sure I can take this double trouble much longer.

15 June 2011

Of Growing Up Quickly

I feel as though Emmett recently got the memo (or maybe it was the giant birthday cake) that he is about to turn one-year-old.  It seems he has decided this new age distinction has declared him a big boy (maybe because Mommy keeps mentioning that) and he is done with his childish ways.  I know I have mentioned this before, but he really appears to have grown up so much just in the past week.  Either that or I've just started paying attention.

Yesterday morning, as I prepared to depart a good friend's home to make the voyage back to Oklahoma, my little man was grasping a lotion bottle.  Not too concerned, we allowed him to hit the bottle around a few times, until I turned once more and saw he had managed to un-screw the lid completely off!  He did the same with an empty spice bottle in his sister's kitchen today.  What a bright boy!

His pretend-play has stepped it up a notch, as well, as I found him today stirring in a plastic pot with his child-sized wooden spoon.  Later, he used his tiny fork to "feed himself" from the empty pan he held in his hands. 

He is responding to new commands (such as, "Go see your sissy!") and spending more time on his own, rather than crying when Mommy isn't next to him. 

I am so proud of our big boy!  First birthday, here he comes!

14 June 2011

Of Driving Home

Best part of my day, despite the fact she was awakened by the sound of her brother's crying when he stirred himself from his nap in the car a little too early, my bleary-eyed daughter responded to my request she read to her brother to help make him happy with a, "Sure, Mommy."  And proceeded to thumb through her Care Bear book. 

Those two are my favorite siblings I know.

Favorite photos of the day (let's take a moment now to remind everyone to focus on the subject matter and not the irresponsible driving tactics of the photographer/chauffer):

Most peaceful moment of the day.
After snacks, there was a lot of giggling in the backseat - music to a Mommy's ears.  Because of the circumstances of the photography (snapping the photo over my shoulder while keeping my eyes on the road, I was unable to notice my daughter's lack of happy face in the shot, but trust me, she was definitely playing with her brother and both were laughing quite heartily.)

See?  She was happy, too.  It would appear, though, that they take issue with the concept of documenting their mutual joy.

13 June 2011

Of Our Little Chimpmunk

Lately Emmett has a new trick.  While sitting in the high chair enjoying Kix cereal, he tends to put one tiny puff in his mouth and then promptly drop two or three on the floor.  Typically, he will lean over the side of the chair to watch his bounty fall.  Of course, this is frustrating for those of us responsible for cleaning up after him.

Turns out, though, there is little need to worry.  As soon as he is set to the floor after eating, he goes to work vacuuming his own mess.  Nearly every piece of cereal somehow makes its way back to his mouth as he crawls around hunting his treasure.

Near as we can tell, he figures he never knows when he'll get to eat next, so it's best to store some away for later.  Clearly there's a flaw in the plan, though, when there is no pause between the eating in the chair and the eating on the floor, but he's trying to plan ahead, anyway.

12 June 2011

Of First Celebrations

I did not even recognize until a few hours ago that I had neglected the blog yesterday.  I attended a close friend's wedding and was busy dancing the night away at the typical publication time for this blog - thus, I missed my own deadline - and I entirely forgot.

But I'm not forgetting tonight, so you're welcome.

Today my family and I celebrated Emmett's first birthday, alongside his cousin's fourth.  Six months ago he celebrated Christmas, but had not experienced gifts elsewhere.  Thus, I did not expect much anticipation on his part. Therefore, when it came to opening the beautifully-wrapped packages, the almost-four-year-old went first.  She knew she had presents and making her wait seemed cruel.  Emmett would not notice or care.

Au contraire.

As Kylie opened the first of her two gifts, he began to crawl over to the blue package labeled for him and pound his little hands.  Clearly, there was something exciting in here.  He proceeded clap excitedly until we let him have his time in the spotlight.

When it was finally his turn, it did not take much to garner interest.  One gift bag was set in front of him; promptly his tiny fists began tugging on the paper.  There was nothing more exciting for him at this moment than removing the tissue from its prison.  And when the little plastic truck with buttons, sounds and lights was finally pulled out, unlike other children who prefer the wrapping, he was content to sit with his packaged truck and explore its abilities.

The following brightly-wrapped box was equally exciting with its curls of ribbons which he enjoyed plucking and bouncing.  Thankfully he had his more focused big sister at his side to aid him in tearing through the paper to reach the prize inside - another truck with even more bells and whistles.  This was one happy kid.

The lights and sounds, though, could be only be trumped by one more birthday tradition - the cake.  As his small slice was brought to him, to the tune of the Birthday song, he clapped his pudgy hands and sang "Be-be!"  And the daintiness displayed by his sister's first cake/frosting experience was not repeated.  Though it took him a few seconds to determine the best angle for grasping a fistful of cake, he got the hang of it and had chocolate smeared across his face in no time.

Overall, the first of his first birthday celebrations (there will be another to follow when his Daddy will actually be present in a more tangible way than via webcam) was quite enjoyable and actually more interactive than I would have given him credit for.  It would seem someone is quite happy to be celebrating his first 365 days on this earth.

10 June 2011

Of Nearing the Milestone

Our little Emmett will be one year old a week from today.  Just in this past week, I feel as though I'm watching my son grow up before my eyes.  In the past couple days, he has had his first bites of pizza, his first bean burrito from Taco Bell (also technically his first kid's meal) and his first whole grapes.  Aside from the food factor, he's chatting up his sister left and right, mocking her screams and waving good-bye to every passer-by.

Standing up?  Not so much.  But crawling like a little race horse?  You betchya.

He's sitting in a booster seat, rather than a high chair (only at Grandpa & Grandma's - we haven't invested in a second booster seat, yet).  He had dessert with his dinner.  He'll throw a ball and chase after it.  He'll play with a doll and declare happily, "Baby!"  He chases after the big kids and wants to join in.

But on the same token, my nearly-one-year-old is still very much an infant.

He still takes his morning nap, and is happy to do so.  He still nurses three times a day.  He still enjoys Cheerios for his snack and he still can't eat on his own with a utensil (granted, he hasn't had many opportunities).  He still doesn't understand the command "Come here" (ok, maybe that's my pretending he doesn't understand - I prefer that theory to the thought that he is purposely ignoring me).

He's just my perfect little boy, growing up, but, thankfully, taking his time doing so.

09 June 2011

Of the Forgotten

Micaiah will tell you, she had fun today with Grandma's Sissy.  I had to answer her surprised inquiry, "Grandma has a baby?!" with the explanation that not all sisters are infants.  Thus, we all headed out to visit my aunt in the nursing home in which she currently resides. 

The aviary in the atrium and the playing of "Cootie" in the small dining area may have been the highlight of the two-year-old's day, but her presence alone (along with that of her brother) seemed to brighten the week of a few of the residents who merely watched these two babies parade through the halls.

It struck me to wonder how often many of these elderly saw anyone other than their comrades and the nurses working the halls.  And of these possibly rare visits, how often do they truly have the pleasure of experiencing youth once more - of remembering the feeling of a baby in their arms or playing a board game with a toddler.  To look ahead to a time when my baby days are long gone and I may sit forgotten in a small home is enough to make any visitor fear old age. 

And so the cycle continues. 

Their present brings to light our future and our choosing to remain in ignorant bliss leaves them in forgotten sorrow.

The question now is - what will I do to change this?

08 June 2011

Of Road Trippin' (Solo)

Splitting up an eight hour road trip for myself and the kids into two days was a wise decision on my part.  This allowed for me to learn from my mistakes on the first day (which consisted of three-ish hours of travel) so as to apply the lessons gleaned to our second stretch yesterday.

Here is what I have learned - in no particular order:
- Nap times in the car do not stretch as long as naps in real life.  Thus, your son, who typically sleeps two hours in the morning and another two in the afternoon, will doze for roughly half (if you're lucky) of his normal time.  This will leave him cranky.  His crying will, in turn, leave everyone else cranky.  Plan on this.

- While a DVD player may entertain your cartoon-loving two-year-old, your attention-loving infant may not be as easily amused by something which does not directly interact with him.  You may need periods of time where the electronics are off and your daughter has a book in her hands, "reading" to her little brother.  This plan will actually work wonders on both your ears (which will be grateful for the lack of screaming) and your sanity.

- If, by chance, the reading isn't working or your daughter isn't up for it at the moment, crackers should always be kept in the seat beside you.  One cracker at a time at the on-set of fussiness will diffuse even the roughest crank-fest.  Note to self: Continually passing crackers to the middle seat in the back will work muscles and joints you are not accustomed to using so frequently.  Stretching before-hand may help.

- Be sure, also, to bring enough crackers to appease the jealous sister who loves food.  Otherwise, wiping one child's tears may result in more falling from another's eyes.

- For those rare moments when the younger is simply content, be sure you have allowed the elder to pick out the DVD's which will accompany you on the trip - this will make movie selection easier during crunch-time.  Also, training your child in removing discs from their sleeves and patiently placing them in your waiting hand (which is stretched to the backseat, of course) will ease the process of switching the DVD.

- An all-you-can eat buffet is your best bet for on-the-road food.  You will only be required to pay for your plate while, in fact, feeding yourself and both children (and not paying for food your picky toddler decides not to eat) - win-win-win.

These are points I will be taking home with me come next week.  Feel free to implement the above steps as necessary to aid in your own road trip bliss.

07 June 2011

Of Vegetable Love

When I was younger (as with now), I was not a fan of my peas.  I am sure I was not alone in this opinion.  I would often-times find myself alone at the kitchen, peas scattered across the plate, determined not to eat the tiny green vegetables. 

After awhile, I developed an ingenious solution: tossing my peas around the room.  Dumping them all in a corner would be too obvious, but, when cleaning, if someone were to find a pea here and a pea there, it would be assumed one or two had fallen from an innocent, yet messy, child's plate.  Besides, they would be sure to blend in with the hideous green tile, so even when they were found, there would have passed enough time the connection to myself would be vague at best.

And so it went.  And, for awhile, at least, it actually worked!  But as with any deception, when enacted too often, the plan begins to unravel.  Because, after a week, as you can imagine, the peas start to build up.  And so the jig was up.

It would appear that my bold combination of ingenuity and a hatred of vegetables has been infused in my DNA and, thus, passed down to my firecracker of a daughter.  At this young age, her plans lack the foresight that will come with maturity (I'm already worried).  Tonight, after her staunch refusal to comsume her peas at Grandma & Grandpa's table, I left the room for a moment only to return to find an empty plate and Micaiah's whining, "Peas fall down my shirt!"

Sure enough, she had stuffed her vegetables down her collar and they had migrated to her diaper.  What she was forgetting was the fact that she's not supposed to announce her devious acts to the world.

Subtlety, I'm sure, will also come with time.

Pray for us.

06 June 2011

Of Evening Talks

Last night, after a bedtime story, as Micaiah finished her stack of crackers and cup of water, while Emmett and Daddy had a heart-to-heart about the younger's recent tantrum, I decided to ask Micaiah about her evening.

"Did you have fun tonight?"
"Who did you play with?
"I pay wit James and Deyton and . . . Jack."
"What did you play?"
"We slide and we swing and . . . we pull and another swing.  But the other swing broke."
"The other swing broke?"
[Nod] "And we pay ball when we share . . ."

And so the conversation went.  Me producing questions, her searching her brain for the details of the day, until, finally, she didn't even need prompts.  The words spilled forth as she realized she had a willing audience. No whining.  No demands.  No bossing.  No arguing.  Just talking.  About her day.  And when we had exhausted all talking points, I pronounced it was time for bed and she actually agreed.  Not fussy.  Just ready.

These are the kinds of talks I have looked forward to since before learning I would have a daughter.  I eagerly await further evening discussions with my blessed children.

05 June 2011

Of First Words

With the gaggle of sounds a baby emits, it's no wonder, really, that I've found it hard to distinguish my children's "first" words - I'm really not sure how others do it.  Sure, they make sounds that vaguely resemble words.  But do they know what they're saying?  Or is it just another fun sound for them? 

At just about a year old, I was certain Micaiah's first word was "Book", as she said the word clearly and pointed to the book I was reading - then again, she did not repeat the word for months after that.  In the mean-time, "Hi", "Bye" and "No!" entered her repertoire quite regularly.  So were these her first words?  Who knows.

Meanwhile, Emmett has begun, within the past couple of months, to announce "Bye-bye!" along with his waving hand to any parting guest (or any time Mommy and Daddy encouraged him to show off his skills).  Thus, I suppose this would be his true first word.  Yesterday, however, Philip began determined efforts to teach him "Mama" - Emmett gave many concerted efforts but typically came out with, "Uh . . . Be?"  Which relates to the fact that "Baby" has been his most recent word of choice (yet another to which I am not certain he has attached a meaning).

Imagine our surprise and delight, therefore, when we took a family field trip to retrieve our son from his Sunday School Class this morning and, upon seeing us, he looked up, smiled and said, clearly, "Mama!"  As I turned to ask if Philip had heard it, Emmett repeated himself, stretching his arms out to the object of his speech, "Mama!"

If that doesn't melt a Momma's heart, I'm not sure what would.

04 June 2011

Of Bridges

Tonight, while playing before bed, Micaiah demanded to crawl under her Aunt Dia.  After doing so and then requesting Mommy take a turn, the three adults decided to line up side-by-side, on hands and knees to create quite the tunnel for our excited girl. 

Over and over again she would crawl in one side, out the other (between being trapped by the unstable bridge members - who may or may not have collapsed on her on purpose), and promptly run back to the start to run the gauntlet again.

Emmett, noting her delight, began a crawling saunter around the front of the three big kids.  Wondering if he knew where he was going, we all giggled at his clear determination.  Then without any prompting and without delay, crawled right under Mommy, then under Aunt Dia, and, finally, opting for a shortcut, went under Daddy's left side and out between his arms in the front. 

One round was all that boy needed to decide that shimmying his way under his family members was not, in fact, very different from the sort of crawling he does any other day.  And, thus, the activity lost its appeal.

But at least he gave it a shot.

03 June 2011

Of Creepy Crawlies

Our little girl, despite begging for her Beanie Baby snake before heading to bed, definitely has a girlie streak in her.  This was demonstrated today when, after emerging from my bedroom a half hour into her nap-time, I heard a small squeal from across the hall.  Opening the door to investigate, I found her, eyes wide, staring around the room, whimpering slightly.  "It's a bug!"

This bug - the one that was too terrifying to allow her to sleep - was your everyday house-fly.  But this did not matter to my little one.  The fact was, he was tiny, black and had wings - that was good enough for her.  He had to be dealt with.  So, I grabbed the fly swatter and deal with him, I did, but, apparently, not before he entirely ruined her nap-time.  She never did settle back to sleep.

And this is how she's been lately.  If there is an ant on the floor, she'll see it and watch carefully until I dispose of the creature in some manner or another.  A beetle sends her running, screaming, "Spider!" (which is pretty much what she calls anything that crawls - if it flies, it's usually a "bee").

Yep, that's my girl.  Cuddling with snakes and running from flies.  She's a paradox in training pants.

02 June 2011

Of Playing Mean

Sometimes it's difficult to be the tough parent.  The problem with disciplining children is they can just be so darned cute.  And when they turn that grin on you, sometimes it doesn't matter that they're supposed to be in bed sleeping or that they gave up potty training weeks ago, so this late night toilet run is most likely a diversionary tactic.  Even in those moments, one well-timed and well-executed glow of sweetness will melt the toughest of parental hearts.

Which is why, tonight, in the above scenario, Philip turned the reins over to me.  Defenses weakened, he could not turn on the role of bad cop.  It was too late for him.  He needed back-up.

I hiked up my breeches and headed for the front-line.

There it was, the cuteness of death, displaying for me a book she didn't need to be perusing during her typical bed-time hour.  "Is a bear.  Is up-side down!"  [Cue adorable smile.]

"Micaiah, are you all done?"

[Shakes her head.]  "I need sit."

"Well, then, we need to put the book away so you can finish."

At this point she tosses out the grin in favor of the pout, puffed lip and all.  "I want Dia [also known as Aunt Dayla]."

[Steel-faced.] "No."

"I want Daddy."

[Tough as iron.] "No."

[Having run out of all other options in the house.] "I want Emmett."

That was it.  The straw that broke the camel's back.  I couldn't even manage the hand-over-the-mouth-to-hide-the-smirk-until-out-of-range tactic.  No, there was nothing subtle about it.  I let loose the greatest burst of laughter I'd had in days.  Cracking up, I could barely even explain myself to those out of her earshot.

That's my girl.  Breaking down barriers since 2008.

01 June 2011

Of Breakfast (and Not)

Our daughter seems to be confused.

It would appear breakfast is not only the most important meal of the day, but her favorite.  It's got everything she loves and it tends to be consistent from day-to-day - in fact, every day, from the time she was old enough (thus, going on nearly two years now), she has had for her morning meal a banana and a sippie of milk - the only variable was the sort of cereal in her bowl.  On days/weeks when the box designated for her contained sugary goodness, she was a happy camper - other days, it would seem there was only so much she could take of Corn Chex or Crispix before her taste buds demanded something better.  Either way, she looks forward to that time of day.

So much so that every night before going to bed she is sure to confirm: "I wake up and I have pops [her current cereal is Kix - not quite sure why these are called pops] and I have banana and I have milk?"

"Yes, baby, you'll have all of that when you wake up."  This is typically all it takes for her to go to bed peacefully - the promise of breakfast in the morning.

The confusion is found in her inability to distinguish bed-time from nap-time.  Every afternoon, before laying down for her two hours of daily rest, the same question arises.  At which point, every afternoon, I attempt to describe to her the difference between nap-time sleeping and night-time sleeping. 

She still doesn't get it.

She still rolls out of bed at 4pm demanding her cereal and banana and milk.  And every day her little heart is broken once again as I attempt to explain that it is not morning yet.

Someday, I'm sure she'll learn.  But for now, she'll just have to settle for five animal crackers in her bowl.