Archives for category: Holidays

October 6th, Tuesday. Boy had his first car ride (and out-of-the-house trip) in underwear. He stayed dry, which the car, the Piggly Wiggly, and I all appreciated. Woo hoo! Within two or three weeks, he had fully transitioned to underwear during the day. Celebration!

October 6th, Tuesday (same day). Boy had his first real experience throwing up. There was a lot of orange food involved: cooked carrots, raw carrots, goldfish – so as you can imagine, this was quite the first. Sadness.

This was also Girl’s full week of fall break, her first real break from kindergarten (excluding Labor Day). She, too, spent it sick. Pretty much the whole week, between them. We each had a turn. Not the most fun we’ve ever had.

November 13, Friday. Yes, that’s Friday the 13th. No, we wouldn’t have picked it that way. Today, the house that Boy and Girl have dubbed “The Bluestone House” finally became ours. Their very own home – it will be Girl’s fourth home of residence but only Boy’s second.

November 30, Monday. Girl first tried and subsequently succeeded at tying shoelaces. Hooray! (And did you know that one method involves making two loops, not one? And apparently, it’s easier??) At school, beginning on December 1st, kindergarteners could get into the Jingle Bell Club. Once they showed their teacher that they could tie their shoes, they got to wear a jingle bell necklace every day at school for the rest of the month. Her entry into the club didn’t come until roughly two weeks later, but she’s now a confident shoe tie-er – not bad for someone who still has no shoes with laces.

December 9, Wednesday. Girl, Boy, and I all got haircuts. For Girl, it was her first time donating hair (two of the cutest little braids). She was delighted to have chin-length hair and never once thought she’d made the wrong choice. I donated mine, too (yea!). For Boy, it was his first not-at-home haircut. All the same, I think I’ll be cutting his again next time, which should really be today!

December 22, Tuesday. After going to the public library for an ornament-making craft, Girl got her first library card and checked out her first book: William & the Missing Masterpiece by Helen Hancocks. She was so proud of herself!

December 25, Friday (Christmas at the grandparents’ house). Boy was given his first pack of gum – Glee Gum, just like Girl got for Christmas when she was two – and chewed up a storm. Glee covered how he felt about it. (Sure, he swallowed a good bit, too…maybe we should call it “swallowing gum” instead of “chewing gum”!)

December 27, Sunday (our bonus Christmas at home). Girl received her own mug, “I (heart) Cupcakes!”, and was delighted. Sometimes, it’s the funny little things that are your own that become special.

January 2, Saturday. Girl read two books all by herself. I think she just holed up, snuggled in, and lost track of time. (What a great way to spend a day!) She read a Magic School Bus Chapter Book, Rocky Road Trip, and a Geronimo Stilton book, A Cheese-Colored Camper.

January 9, Saturday. Boy and Girl got to make pasta with their Auntie Lou. This was a first, and they enjoyed cranking the machine and helping to pull the pasta out. Family visit: yea!

After Matthew came home from a conference in Seattle (his return is always like a gift for the kids, whether it’s after a trip or just a morning at work), he unpacked his sack, Santa-style. (He should have laughed “ho-ho-ho,” too!) Among the goodies was a gift rolled in newspaper for Boy. He unrolled and unwrapped then said in high-pitched delight, “My very own mug!” His says “Seattle” and has one scene with a blue sky, clouds, and folks covered by umbrellas and another scene with a grey sky, clouds, and folks covered by umbrellas!

January 10, Sunday. Our first snow of the season that stuck. There was a little snow in December, the kind that decorates the air but not the ground, but this was enough to make a heavy powdered-sugar showing. Delight again! “I bet the house is wearing snow!” said Boy, upon seeing the snow on the ground, trees, and playset.

January 11, Monday. My first blog post in too long, my first reminder of the year of the many kinds of things that happen and pass all too quickly (or, in the case of stomach bugs, not quickly enough!) in the lives of small children.

Happy New Year, 2016!

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“I get to go in the attic!”

Yup. For her birthday, she got to go into the attic. (It’s right up there with getting gum for her Christmas present when she was two – what terrific, but unlikely, things to anticipate!) That was what she was excited about today. She got to roam around and poke in boxes and bags, standing at full height – unlike us – and looking like Alice in Wonderland, taller than real life. When asked at dinner if it was as exciting as she thought it would be, she said, “No.” We looked at each other, knowing how great anticipation can lead to great disappointment. But she wasn’t done yet. “It was funner!”

Climbing up

Climbing up

Alice - in Wonderland

Alice – in Wonderland

That – and her new fishing pole – might have been the highlights of this, her fifth birthday.

“…in that party dress.
Balloons and cake,
Two kinds of ice cream –
Guess [yes?] you’ll be a mess!

“Share the fun with your [little] brother
As friends go, he’s your best.

“Make a wish; it just might come true –
Blow those candles out.
DSC_0260

I won’t forget the day that you were born
Five years ago
We were happy and excited
and we loved you so
You’re growing up so quickly
Now, I feel a little sad –
That’s to be expected;
after all, I am your daddy [mommy].”

Five years ago

Five years ago

Loudon Wainwright III’s “Five Years Old” – it’s the song for today.

And she DID have two kinds of ice cream – but she said she didn’t like the first, and she didn’t eat much of the second. She did eat her birthday dinner – she’d asked for bacon and hotdogs, and she got bacon-wrapped hotdogs and lima beans. Chocolate cake, white frosting with sprinkles – and a party dress, the kind she’s wanted, with a flouncy under-layer and a sash around the waist. And we did go out and get balloons, like we have every year. It was a full birthday!

Like Alice, she’ll continue to grow – but, we hope, at regular speed; these five years have already sped by, and I am not prepared for it to go by any faster than this. Happy birthday, Girl!

Happy birthday!

Happy birthday!

He likes blocks – Duplo and wooden – although he doesn’t seem to love them like he some children do. Throwing them, yes. Building with them, only sometimes. But the building blocks of language? He’s totally in love with those.

“I do.”

We heard a lot of this last November or so. Trying out what may have been his earliest sentence, he exuded confidence, determination, and a strong independent streak. Of course, what child doesn’t want to do things himself? Sure, he wanted to feed himself soup, which sure as soup wouldn’t stay on the spoon. Sure, he wanted to run the bath himself, or climb into the tub alone, or put on his own shoes. Sure, he wanted to get into his car seat himself – never mind that he was as likely to just get in and sit down as he was to drive the car. (Now, he says “Own!” when he wants to do something on his own, like stand on the four-wheeled toy to pull the string of the lamp, for example…)

His vocabulary, which has seemed (to us, as the glowing, proud parents) quite large, continued to grow, and so did his repertoire of sentences.

To help soothe him to sleep while he nursed I’d often murmur repetitive sentences: “Boy goes night-night. Girl goes night-night. Daddy goes night-night. Mama goes night-night. Maria goes night-night. Pepper goes night-night.  K-K goes night-night. Autumn goes night-night….Everybody goes night-night.”

This applied to other bodily functions, too: peeing, pooping, burping – lots of things were listed. (There’s a lot that we all do!)

And he began repeating them.

Sometimes, Daddy would drive him around to get him to sleep, and he’d chatter himself to sleep. “Daddy goes night-night. Mama goes night-night. Nannie goes night-night. Pepper goes night-night….Eveh-body goes night-night.”

He’s still a lister. The other day, he did one of his own creation after seeing a small, round, candy-coated chocolate. “M & M! Mama have M & M. Nannie have M & M. Daddy have M & M. Autumn have M & M….”

He’s built on his foundation.

For Christmas, they got a Duplo block base and an animal set – and brother and sister alike have been engrossed by this new way to create, the possibilities before them.

With language, too, the possibilities stretch before him (and her, of course!). What can we say to this, the march of language that pulls a small boy from babyhood to childhood?

I do.

Christmas 2014

Christmas 2014

We’ve arrived here, at New Year’s Eve, just like we’ve done every year of our lives. Of course, when you’re 4 1/2, that means it’s only been (and yet, it’s already been!) five years’ worth of New Year’s Eves. When you’re 1 1/2, there’s only been one other. So much seems new! (And there are so many new words…)

After some party time, they both fell asleep after ten o’clock, Boy snuggled in my arms, Girl snuggled face-to-face with me. “Don’t go, stay here and keep me warm,” she murmured drowsily as I shifted to cover her up. Their warmth still lingers with me, even as I sit here.

We didn’t have time to linger over reading, though. Tonight, we read – but barely! – from Kathryn Jackson’s The Around-the-Year Storybook, with pictures by J.P. Miller. With stories, poems, and songs (covering the seasons, constellations, and holidays, among other things) for each month of the year, it’s a good one to pick up regularly. The animals in the stories, like Mathilda Mouse, Little Bear, and Grandfather Groundhog, are generally charming. It seemed appropriate. The book ends with “And So the Year’s Over -” and goes like this:

The year is like a rolling wheel
That never makes a sound,
But changes seasons as it goes
A-rolling, rolling round.

And when the year has rolled around
The old year ends, and then–
That rolling wheel of changing days
Starts rolling round again.

Tonight, Boy rolled from my arms onto the bed – and onto his belly – and Girl rolled onto her side, a snuggle personified. And, with another hour or so, our year, too, will roll around, and we can roll back to the beginning of the book as we start a year anew. May it be a happy new year!

********************
Jackson, Kathryn. The Around-the-Year Storybook. New York: Golden Press, 1971.

 

Door.

That’s what she said just weeks ago when asked how old she would be on her birthday.

Yesterday, when it really was her birthday, and she wore her very favorite twirly dress (because only twirly dresses will do now), she put her teeth to her lips and, very carefully and slowly, said that she turned “fffour.” (Diego also swings from a “vine” now and not a “dine.” It’s both exciting and sad, at least to this mama. Probably easier for Diego, though.)

When her daddy told her that she’d be four at 10:31, she told him no.

No?

No.

She wouldn’t be four, she said, until she blew out the candles.

She did, and now she’s four. FFFOUR! Happy birthday, sweet girl. We love you.

Swinging into her 4th birthday

Swinging into her 4th birthday

Here’s what I want to know: Can I put off my next birthday if I just let the candles burn down? No, probably not. The resulting fire would bring a neighborhood bucket brigade, and I’m pretty sure that would ruin the cake.

I always hope and expect that the holidays will be something beautiful and peaceful, more swan or dove than ostrich. This year, sadly, we could dub this season the holiday of the ostrich.

On December 20th, Baby Boy needed a doctor’s visit after having a fever for a day – and then his fever was 103.9! Ear infection. Amoxicillin.

Abbreviated in-law visit.

Christmas at home!

On December 26th, Preschool Girl needed a doctor’s visit after complaining of a sore throat. Strep throat. Amoxicillin.

Even once her spirits improved (after skipping dinner that night and being in bed at 6:00), she still had a cough that didn’t go away. Attempt to head off for family visit…and resulting ER visit. Croup, symptom of some virus. Breathing treatment, no impact. Scary, but, as we were told, she’s old enough that she can still breathe, even with the swelling, so we don’t need to worry. But of course, we worry. It IS scary. And it still isn’t gone. At the worst of times, it sounded like she was snoring when breathing in and breathing out, and a coughing or crying jag made it seem like she was gasping for air. Once, she even threw up.

Not to be left out, Baby Boy added a whole-body rash to the mix – probably a reaction to the amoxicillin and not really anything to worry about, either, the ER doctor reassured us. Oh, good. A polka-dotted child.

Return home instead of continuing on. No my-family Christmas. Sadness.

During all of this, to add to the fun, Matthew’s had a virus, too. Happy holidays!

Yes, we’re ready for the new year, if for no other reason than to leave this bout of illness behind. Thank you, 2013, for bring us Baby Boy and making us a family of four. We’re grateful. I hope that 2014 brings healthiness and adventure and lots of cozy friend and family time, both for us and for you out there, reading these words on your screen. And while I’m at it, I’ll hope for many nights of good sleep, too. Why not? Even birds have to roost sometime.

Blocks, plastic and rubberwood. Books, Swedish (with Pettson and Findus) and American. Moomin slipper socks and other games, toys, ornaments, and odds and ends. Representations of the love that we have for one another. Not necessary (the gifts, that it – love IS!), but nice.

Lots of the world celebrates the birth of one child (“Where is Jesus now?” my toddler girl asked, and I told her that he died a long time ago, and how could I tell her more now?), and we celebrate his birth, too. We sang, we ate, we opened presents. The tree in the living room still glows, a shining testimony of our celebration.

And because it is the time to celebrate coming into the world, I also celebrate the birth of my two children, my best gift, and my luckiest. Merry Christmas, sweet ones. Merry Christmas. I hope that you will always be surrounded by the warmth of real love. What better gift could anyone hope for than that?

Merry Christmas 2013

Merry Christmas 2013

It’s here, and it’s almost over.

It’s her birthday. Big sister turned three today.

February, pre-3

February, pre-3

The picture with the “3,” however, is from February, pre-3, pre-baby brother, from a visit to a local park. A grandmother was there to take pictures of her granddaughter for her upcoming third birthday and let us borrow their number three. Sure, my daughter was mostly interested in trying to figure out how to take it apart (Does the outside layer peel off? Could I pull off the ribbon?), but we had some fun with it, too – and did manage to return it unharmed to its creator.

Now the real deal is here. Today, the sun also shone, and the number three is here to stay, not to be taken away by someone else’s grandmother.

Happy 3rd birthday!

Happy 3rd birthday!

 

And the cake in the picture? She helped make it, even after a poor night’s sleep, because she’s three and has that kind of talent (although we’ll ignore the fact that she refused to pick up her messes today and other crankiness that resulted from the aforementioned poor night’s sleep. One of the times she woke up last night, thrashing and crying, she said, “I want a real puppy!” We, of course, hope this was largely in response to her daddy’s comment last night that, when she’d dropped a mushroom on the floor, our imaginary puppy would eat it for her. I could be wrong, but I’m pretty sure we don’t need a dog right now. OK, I’m absolutely certain.).

She also picked up her baby brother today, all by herself. Almost gave me heart palpitations, and I haven’t crossed the few steps from the sink to the family room as quickly as I did this morning. I’m so glad she loves him…I just wish she loved him from a greater (and safer) distance.

But she’s three now, right? Who knows what changes this year will bring. I’m just glad that we – no longer three, but all four of us – will be on this adventure together. Happy 3rd birthday, baby girl.

The spring has been a blur of burgeoning belly, bouncing weather patterns, and colds and various ailments, not to mention Matthew’s research-related travels and work. As we’re expecting Baby Baby to make an appearance sometime within the next week or two, I fear (know?) the blur will only become blurrier.

To recap: my lovely girl had a two week cold early on. She’s on her third cold since then. There was also the vomiting incident: the throwing up in the middle of the night after asking to sleep in her own bed, an anomaly that should have tipped us off. Between that night and that morning, she had at least two extra showers. The next morning, she managed to throw up orange Gatorade all over the bed, our pillows, herself, and me. This all made for a sad girl, and then she had diarrhea for days after that. Last Tuesday, the 19th, we had another sort of mishap. She’d put her Ikea fabric fruit into the glass bowl on the dining room table. (Do you already have a sense of where this is going?) When she wanted to play with it, I told her to get it – but to be careful. CRASH! She came into the room, crying. I went to clean it up, and still, she cried. I thought she’d scared herself. Turns out, a shard of glass cut a gash through her sock and her foot, about an inch long and a quarter of an inch deep. Three shots of Lydocaine, two stitches, and much crying and unhappiness later (“Stop! You’re hurting me!” and, even worse, “Ouchie! Ouchie! Can we go home now?” and clinging to her daddy, expecting us to save her from the pain and awfulness being inflicted on her), she was patched up. Our relief was mutual. The stitches came out too early, I fear, following the doctor’s directions, but nothing for it now.

It’s Easter, a good time for (re)birth and renewal, and tomorrow brings us to April. Babywatch continues…but can’t go on forever. For now, we’re trying to make the most of our time with our girl and wrap our heads around the fact that we’ll soon be a family of four. If we’re lucky, the only sniffles to come will be from the joy of a new baby and not another cold!

WithEasterBunnySCSP

I should have known not to worry.

Who minds waking up to presents?

The stocking was good – “I got my own whisk! I have a tape measure!” – and the presents were, too. She liked her sleeping bag much more than we could have predicted. It was a good day. After all, who doesn’t want to feel warm and snuggled and loved? That’s Christmas, in a nutshell – or in a sleeping bag.

Sleeping bag