Wednesday, December 28, 2016

"Vacation" Update and December Photos

First two wheeler (with pedals)! 

Calliope, Amelie and I are staying put this holiday break. Mostly, it's been lovely. I've spent more time than usual playing with
them. It still doesn't feel like enough, but it's more. I've gotten a lot accomplished around the house and in life. I've potty trained Amelie. Sort of. We aren't across the finish line yet, since it still is requiring a lot of thought, but I will let her be in another room for a few moments without me. That's progress, considering we did a three day bootcamp and it's only day four. Of course, I'm freaking out that she won't finish figuring it out and it will be high maintenance for ages but I'm hoping for the best.

My queen

She's got big shoes, er, boots to fill.

This snowsuit has been worn by a multitude of cousins. A little piece of history.

Sisters goofing around at dinner.

Fourth night of Hanukkah. (Amelie is signing "water" mid photo.) 

Dress up play date with her school besties.

Finally got a video of my toddler practicing her "spelling. "

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Twenty One Months

I got possibly my first three-word sentence last night, "Thank you Mommy." Though maybe "thank" and "you" don't count as separate words since kids learn them together as one "thank you." Anyways, it's a sweet little development.

Amelie's more cooperative in some ways, following along nicely when we go downstairs, across the lobby, and outside to the trash and recycling area. And more challenging in others -- constantly saying "no no no!" and "stop!" and "otch!" (ouch!). She's much more ferocious in her opinions than I remember Calliope ever being.

She's obsessed with shoes and tries on every pair she can find, her own and everybody else's.

She's been eating up a storm and feels a ton heavier than just a few weeks ago.

Calliope is doing well. She's pretty even keel. She wears nothing but fleece pants (from the boy's department, because god forbid her pants be more snug fitting like girls' styles), preferably topped with pink flowered snow pants. She's generally the only kid in her class wearing snow pants but I respect the fact that she doesn't care what others wear. She's very interested in "math facts" at the moment. Also in drawing. She draws constantly. I love her creativity. We got home from work today and she immediately set to work transforming a cardboard grocery box into a car that became a stroller that became her bed for the night.

I'm working really hard on being more patient with her. It's hard when we are always rushing to get out the door to get to school and then rushing back home again. Five year old pace seems unbearably slow to me. I've started getting up a bit earlier, though not entirely by choice, because Amelie has decided that the world has started at 5:30 AM. So I get up then and get Calliope up by 6 (instead of 6:15) and try to stay in the room with her and keep her on task instead of yelling from the other room as I get myself ready. Then she gets to play briefly before starting the process of putting on snow pants TWENTY MINUTES before we leave. But I'm mostly succeeding in not yelling. And it's paying dividends in much more cooperation and less dawdling if not actual speed.

Does anyone else worry about their grown kids not liking them if they aren't nicer to said children when they are small? I feel like that was my experience with my own parents and I desperately want grown up Calliope and Amelie to like me. So this line of thinking torments me a good bit.

As far as me... well, things are slowly, gradually improving. Today at work I felt, for the first time in over a month, like I wasn't terrifying behind in my list of things to cram into precious breaks between patients. Of course then I had a frantically busy day with patients, alternating between those with the stomach virus and those who needed a pregnancy test before the holiday break. Good times.

I've had a couple little social upsets recently. One was with a friend, who often seemed a bit short with me. I couldn't tell if it was just her style or something about me, so I tried to ask her if I had done something that had bothered her. I really don't like being on the defensive like that, in principle, asking "how have I annoyed you?" but I just couldn't figure out another way to ask. To my shocked disappointment, she seemed totally surprised and completely offended by my question. I can't quite figure out why she's offended. And the more I tried to fix things, the worse it got. Finally we agreed to drop it but we still haven't seen each other and I'm worried about what that will be like.

And then my brother called me and proposed a couple of "ground rules" for my visiting him in the future. The first being that I not visit when we are sick. Well, I called him the day before we left and informed him that Amelie had thrown up and asked if he wanted us to not come. He told us to come the next day if the night was quiet, and it was. It seems that Amelie developed a runny nose on the trip up (because my nanny swears she didn't have it the previous day, and I certainly didn't notice it) and his wife and him are very upset that my thirteen month old niece got her first cold as a result. Plus Calliope got the stomach bug the night after we arrived and then a bunch of cousins got it a day later, and while I felt absolutely terrible about that, a) I did call the doctor and get guidance from them about when it was safe to travel, and followed it, and b) his family had already had the stomach stomach two weeks prior and none of them got the stomach bug again. Obviously if I had had any idea that Calliope would get the stomach bug (plus a high fever that no one else got) and would share it, I would never have come. Spending Thanksgiving alone in someone else's house with a feverish child was pretty miserable, even without all the packing and loading and the eleven hours of driving alone with sick children.

His second ground rule (his expression, not mine) was that my life be "less complicated, without an agenda, like doing laundry or teaching Calliope to swim or ride a bike." I spend a week with them every summer and not surprisingly, I think, I always have things to accomplish.

This condition really took me by surprise, not in a good way. I was outraged. My life is, indeed, complicated. And packing us up (especially from a 6th floor apartment building where I don't have a garage spot) and getting us to a different state is incredibly "complicated." Of COURSE I'm going to do laundry when I'm there! I generally miss my cleaning lady's laundry day when I'm there, and even if I didn't, why wouldn't I do my laundry there when they have an actual laundry room, of all blissful things, which I can use while my children are ALSEEP (my laundry room is 6 flights down, and involves bringing both children along, including my runner, which is, shall we say, challenging.)

Anyway, I have a really hard time with people being mad at me. I think because of my codependent mother. I learned that it's always my fault if people are mad at me, and it's my job to fix it. I'm trying really hard to just sit with the discomfort and remind myself, over and over like a mantra, that their reaction is not my responsibility. But it's very uncomfortable.

Thank goodness tomorrow is my last day of work before the break! We are absolutely definitely not going anywhere this break! At least, we are not staying with anyone. I wanted to be sure there was no risk of infecting anyone -- the guilt over sharing the stomach bug was enormous -- and also, I'm am so freaking burnt out from the election plus stolen wallet plus Thanksgiving illness extravaganza (for our family alone: three stomach bugs, one extremely high fever, two bad coughs, one scary asthma exacerbation, one possible asthma exacerbation, one persistent case of laryngitis for me which lasted five days) plus my car getting crashed into plus my keys getting stolen (by the same kid who stole my wallet... I called the police this time) plus two sex ed presentations to 9th graders who were great but also absolutely exhausting plus, of course, the loss of Bethany. An absolutely challenging month, shitty in many ways but thankfully we are all healthy and I am gainfully employed.

So I'm very much looking forward to some quiet time with my girls. Hoping to make gingerbread houses with them, if it's not too many steps (I have a Manichevitz "Hanukkah House" kit on standby, just in case the from scratch recipe is too much) and taking Calliope ice skating and maybe potty training Amelie. My main goal, honestly, is just to not snap at them. To slow down and actually enjoy my girls.

Kicking off the break with a child free night, since my sitter volunteered that she'd be happy with a few extra hours. So my friend Emily and I are going to the Russian bathhouse tomorrow night for hopefully a relaxing evening free of awkward encounters with Russian (or otherwise) men. Hopefully the fact that it's the night before Christmas Eve will work in our favor. I'm hoping this will set the stage for relaxation over the break.

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Twenty Months and More

Time marches on and my little girl is closer to two than to her first birthday.

This month has been noticeable for her discovery of singing. Suddenly she can sing. Sort of. She still misses more words than she hits but she's wildly enthusiastic about any sort of music. Her most favorite is probably "Ginkle ginkle little 'car." Pretty cute. If only she would perform for the camera. I get a couple lines at best.

A couple of days ago she learned to apologize. Only she doesn't apologize to others, only to herself. Or inanimate objects. So she bumped into the glider and fell down, quickly calling out "Sigh!" (Her pronunciation of sorry.) Likewise knocking over her own tower, "Sigh!"

Her curious toddler ways are still in full swing so I finally installed toilet locks -- it was just too much fun for her to toss things into the bowl. I likewise put locks on a drawer in the hall table where I keep little travel packs of tissues because she has a fondness for deliberately removing one tissue at a time from those packets until every tissue is lying on the floor.

A funny second child thing is that she scribbles while she "spells" -- she says "A" and carefully scribbles a bit, then "E" and more scribble. Funny girl!

Calliope seems to be doing great as well. To my amazement, she recently sounded out and wrote her first word. Backwards, to be sure, and entirely lacking in vowels. But still. No one taught her (her school doesn't believe in "training" kids to read before first grade) and she was alone in my office (while I dealt with a terrifying asthma attack, not my own, upstairs) when she composed it.


There's also this piece of artwork.

So much to say about this picture! The fact that she's acknowledged that two adults can marry each other. The fact that Amy has a baby in her belly. The fact that Seth has his penis out. For the record, I don't think the penis has anything to do with the baby in her belly, and this is certainly no depiction of a shotgun wedding -- she's oblivious to the idea that someone might not want to be pregnant at the time of her wedding.

Things for me have been a bit challenging of late. Post election blues and then the shocking news of Bethany's death. We have only seen each other a handful of times over the years but we were fitness buddies (virtual) last winter and were in daily contact for months, and we had booked a shared hotel room in Jamaica this winter. My heart aches for Elsie and for her auntie, now mother, and her grandmother. And just the suddenness, and the realization of the frailty of life. Words are inadequate. 

We've also all been sick, twice, and drove to Massachusetts only to sit alone in my brother's house on Thanksgiving Day with a puking, feverish child. Fever took a few days to come down and then was replaced by a scary asthmatic cough that required oral steroids. And then Amelie got it. And then my parked car got hit, and the front fender ripped off. No note was left.

So it's been a lot lately. I feel like maybe, possibly, I'm finally digging myself out of this hole. But I have fear about this post-election world we live in, and what will happen come January. Like mortality, I can't bear to think about it. 

So much more I want to say, and photos I want to post, but this has sat in my inbox far too long. And I need to sleep.

Monday, November 14, 2016

The Next Conversation: Embryo Donation

Leslie and I spoke on the phone a couple of days ago. She met with a lawyer a few days ago, out on the west coast where she lives. The lawyer said I have to get a lawyer as well. Which I get, intellectually, but emotionally it feels distasteful. I feel like once the embryos are handed over, she's the mom and should have all decision making rights. But I guess we have to spell out the terms of how many of the embryos (I have four but prefer not to hand them all over in one fell swoop).

Tomorrow I meet with the same psychologist I met with before using donor sperm to conceive Calliope. I journeyed out into Long Island by train to meet with her last time, no small feat after a full day of work, only to discover that she is a parent of one of my patients... and she dropped her son off to school every day!

This time we are meeting for tea at the Chocolate Room and she is charging me the price of a cup of tea. When we meet with Leslie, too, and she has to fill out a bunch of forms certifiying our mutual psychological well being before the transfer of embryos takes placed, she is charging me with bringing her a bag of bulbs to plant at the public school across the street from her home.

I love my village!

Anyway, the more the the idea of donating my embryos to Leslie percolates, the more excited I get. I'm suddenly remembering how physically miserable I was in my mid-pregnancy with Amelie -- the reflux was so awful and I was so nauseated and had to sleep sitting up so often. I will never miss that! And while I do adore infants, it's so lovely to put my children to bed at 6:30 pm and be pretty much assured that I have the rest of the night to myself. I love sleeping all night, every night. Well, almost every night.

And I very hesitantly told Leslie that I loved the idea of donating an embryo to her as a way to grow my family. The thing I didn't realize when I decided to become an SMC is that not only would my child only have one parent, she would also be missing an entire set of grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins. And now they have no grandparents, and all their first cousins (currently four of them but a fifth is expected this winter, hooray!) are at least four hours away. Too far to see on a weekend.

So having a donor sibling (is that even the right term?) possibly in upstate New York would be wonderful! Calliope has a "milk sister" -- a little girl who received donated milk from me when I was nursing Calliope -- and this little girl is now in our school. And both girls are fascinated by each other. I imagine she would love the idea of even more family. I mentioned the idea of calling the kids "Super Cousins" and Leslie loved the idea. It's complicated because they are not "diblings" -- donor half siblings -- they are full siblings. Yet calling this other child a brother or sister feels like a disservice, to me, to the beloved relationship between Calliope and Amelie. This child won't share a room with my girls. He'll belong to his own family.

Why V*ginas Are More Relaxing

We are riding quietly in the car when suddenly,

Calliope: Vaginas are more relaxing.

Me: Ah. Um. Well. What makes you say that?

Calliope: Because with a vagina you get to pee sitting down. If you have a penis you have to pee standing up. That's more tiring.

Me: Ah, I see.

Calliope: That's why vaginas are more fun.

Thursday, November 3, 2016

Nineteen Months

A rare moment with just Amelie and me. Super delicious! Like her apple.
Things are actually getting slowly, slightly, easier!

Amelie has discovered a newfound interest in cooking. Every morning, I sneakily try to prepare my smoothie very, very quietly... to no avail. Amelie comes prancing into the question, "Mommy? Mommy? Mommy?" until I pick her up. She sits on the counter and helps dump the ingredients into the bowl, generally sticking her finger into the bowl between each dumping to taste each items. Then she helps hold the immersion blender with me.

It's a nice little morning ritual together before we spend many hours apart. Even if it does slow me down.

Helping me tear the kale for dinner. There's a wooden spoon because naturally (?) she
wanted to stir it.

She's also discovered counting. And counts everything. "Why, do, fee" (her version of "one, two, three.")

And singing. She loves Twinkle Twinkle and the ABC's. And gets in about every tenth word.

She had her first episode of wheezing, naturally as I was rushing to get her out the door to go meet Calliope for Trick or Treating. Being a second child, I just gave her a couple puffs of Calliope's inhaler and resolved to see the doctor the next day. And since she was mostly better, I decided to just call the doctor the following day. She's fine now but I suspect she'll start wheezing with the next cold, again, just like Calliope did. Calliope, happily, has not had a wheezing episode in a year though she was on inhaled steroids all winter and spring last year to prevent them. But now she's been steroid free for a number of months without any symptoms. Fingers crossed she's outgrown it! And that Calliope has too. But since it happens to me occasionally, too, they may not.

Having a blast eating apples at the Farmer's Market with our beloved friends Eleanor and Leo.


Halloween 2016

When you're less than two and a half feet tall, a six inch doorstep is a might fine seat. 
Amelie and Leo.

Amelie is already enjoying the fine art of candy sorting. Even if she doesn't know what most of it is.

Group shot. From right to left: scarecrow, owl, grumpy princess, giraffe. And a Mommy in a cowboy hat.

Lollipop face
Halloween sisters

Kitty cat jack o'lantern. Calliope and Eleanor actually helped. A little.

Monday, October 10, 2016

Forty Two Years

If the kids can get age related posts, then surely I can too.

So I turned forty-two. Which sounds shockingly old. Or at least, shockingly middle aged. At some point in the last few years my age started sounding just completely implausible. I don't quite understand how the number got so high. I realized that it's statistically likely that my life is about half over, maybe even a little more. Of course I hope I have more years left than that.

Crazy, too, to think that maybe all the best things have already happened? I grew up and left home -- well, the growing up part often sucked but leaving home was an unmitigated blessing. I lived in California for a while, then New York. And mainly, of course, I had my two beautiful babies.

So I'm pleased to report that I am enjoying life way more than I did last school year. Thank god. I'm actually pretty damn happy. I'm trying to remember to take a breath and look around and remember that this is it. This is my life. It's about as good now as it will ever be. I don't want to always be rushing to get to the next thing. I want to enjoy right now.

I had my second "Freedom Friday" this past week -- I had a sitter take the kid home and another sitter put both kids to bed. I went to the movies with a new colleague friend and unfortunately the movie we picked was seriously dark and depressing. But then we walked around on lively Smith Street, after dark, and went to a hopping small plates type restaurant and had to shout, just a little bit, to hear each other, which was pretty tiring but also felt a little thrilling. Boring old me, out on a Friday night!

I'm definitely more patient with Calliope than a year ago. I yell a lot less. And I'm appreciating Amelie more -- usually -- than I was a few weeks ago.  Last night I tried a suggestion I read recently, of lying down with Calliope at bedtime, in the dark, and asking if she has any worries. Apparently kids will spill stuff at that time of the day that somehow never comes up at other times. And sure enough, Calliope shared that she was worried about someone stealing her! Poor puss. Thank you teachers for teaching her about Stranger Danger, a mostly invented worry (kids are generally kidnapped by noncustodial family members, NOT by strangers).  She also worries about me leaving her somewhere for a play date without making sure she is comfortable first. I'm hoping that by doing this on a regular basis, we will get in the habit of sharing before the big scary worries start (mean girls, body image issues, drugs, etc).

My apartment is staying tidier than it used to. Which makes me more zen. And I'm still loving my food subscription service, even though I spend more time cooking and washing dishes than when I use my own super simple recipes.

I'm even doing better at work. I don't let myself relax and do my own things until all the work is done. Except for a short break to read the SMC Forum over lunch. Everyone needs a break sometimes. Working out in my office at the end of the school day is mostly going well, also. The times that I've thought -- oh, I'll just scoot home now, when traffic is light, and work out at home -- mostly haven't gone well. It's a lot harder to work out at home with Amelie around. She doesn't seem to appreciate how I'm a better mother after I get my workout in.

I wasn't watching any TV for the month of September and it's amazing how much more sleep I got and how much free time I felt like I had. I started to watch again this month and suddenly I was getting to bed a lot later. I think I've got to make a rule that I only watch on weekends.

The big challenge for me is my nighttime eating. I crave sweets and snacking in general when I'm tired. Some nights I'm just exhausted and I just want that feeling of being filled up. And then I feel guilty and mad at myself in the morning. Not a great way to start the day. I mostly don't snack on really bad things, but even dried fruit is sugar and not good for my PCOS-y body. Also, with both my parents dying in their sixties of cancer despite not having significant risk factors, I worry about longevity. I want to be around for my kids for a very long time. And sugar is the devil, I'm convinced. Trying to figure out the key for this. Mostly it seems like fresh fruit and a dash of heavy cream. And even more than that, getting enough sleep the previous night so I don't reach that point of exhaustion the next day. Simple solutions are definitely not easy!

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Eighteen Months And Other Things

In which Calliope triumphantly prepares Amelie's bottle, hoists her onto the couch, and
arranges a compliant if not enthusiastic Amelie on her lap. 

Girlfriend has been in the world for a year and a half! I asked Calliope if she remembers life before Amelie and she said, "Yes, it was boring." She's been in a big Amelie kick lately, asking me to lift Amelie into the crib so they can play together there -- I don't know what they play but I heard peals of laughter from their room this morning -- and begging to prepare Amelie's bottles before insisting on being the one to hold Amelie while she drinks her milk.

Amelie seems to take all this devotion is stride but secretly, I swoon.

I saw Amelie arguably running (versus fast walking) for the very first time this morning and she made her first non-prompted animal sound today -- Maaaaa. She's finally getting interested in  Little Blue Truck and all its animal sounds -- this was one of Calliope's early favorites and I was wondering if Amelie would love it as much.

First amusement park ride... and I didn't have to go on it!

In which Amelie looks for fish on the amusement park ride.

I went on this ride with her because it whipped around the bend so fast I was worried about her getting whiplash.
That's Amy and Leo behind us.

She's being exposed to lots of Spanish -- the nanny mostly speaks to her in Spanish -- and I am wondering if I should be making an effort to speak to her in English or if I should work on Spanish, too. I do think she's a little slower to accumulate vocabulary than Calliope was, presumably because of learning two languages at once. She clearly understands a lot in both languages.

And this fall they've finally learned to fall asleep together (in the same room, not the same bed) which makes life a lot easier for -- me last I let Calliope fall asleep in my bed and then I had to carry her back to her bed each night.

Not too many other developments to report since I only just wrote the seventeen month post.

Calliope and neighborhood friends, being "a spy and two ballet dancers"

Amelie has started to beg to sit in Calliope's booster seat instead of her highchair.
She looks incredibly short in it -- this photo doesn't do it justice -- but she's clearly very, very
pleased to be in a Big Girl Chair. And to use a plate. Which she mostly doesn't throw. Mostly.

As for me for me, so far being back at work is going pretty well. I've only had one two day week of kids and then one four-day week of kids -- this is my first five day week -- so I may be speaking too soon. But fingers are crossed. I'm trying really hard to keep up with my School Year Intentions. Special Time with each girl each night has totally fallen by the wayside -- most nights, there is just no time -- but I'm at least trying to not be so damn impatient with them. I'm still reading books, albeit slowly, and loving it. I've been working out in my office and it's mostly going well. It's a bummer getting home later but it's nice not having the workout hang over my head when I get home from work -- I can be fully present once I'm there. If you count cooking dinner to be fully present. I'm doing a food subscription service, where I get deliveries of all the ingredients and I have to assemble them. I LOVE it, so far, but it's definitely a lot more time in the kitchen and a lot more time cleaning up. The cooking I mostly enjoy but naturally the clean up is not so rewarding.

I'm loving the food so much I take pictures of it. This is tuna nicoise salad
with homemade sweet potato "chips." 

The after school babysitting... Well. Calliope is in love with both of them. But one of them gave notice today. Her former boss begged her to come back to working full time for her (she had been working just every other weekend). So that sucks. The other babysitter agreed to add on an extra day, Friday, but she can't ever work late on Fridays because she observes Shabbat with her grandmother every Friday. So that's a big bummer, but not exactly a disaster. I just had my first Freedom Friday last week and it was pretty delicious. But I'm not sure I can have one babysitter hand off my kids to another babysitter at the end of a very long week so that might be the end of that. Boo.

Feisty girl with pigtails

I'm still feeling pretty caught up with things -- look at me writing an 18 month post on the very day she turns 18 months! I'm hoping that if I can just stay caught up, life will be a lot less stressful than constantly trying to get caught up. The house is still tidy and I'm mostly not letting myself relax at work until all the work is done. It's hard, having that discipline, and it may become impossible when work gets even busier -- it already feels quite busy! -- but so far, so good. And I'm trying to work on five good meditative breaths when I start to feel my blood pressure rise.

And now it's 9 pm and so, according to another Intention, it's time to go to bed. Good night!

Friday, September 16, 2016

My Five Year Old


This post is a long time coming, almost a month. It's getting harder every year to sum her up. She's not a sunny, reserved little toddler any more. She's a complex person in her own right.

Mostly, I adore her. I think she's a better person than me. It's like she's got the best parts of me, and then some commendable traits that I don't have. She's definitely more generous than me. Always requests to share her (very small) treats with her sister, or me. I'm definitely not like that!

Even when her sister hits or pokes her, she never hits back. I do my best to intervene and scold (or redirect) Amelie, so Calliope doesn't feel compelled to retaliate, but still. I find her restraint remarkable.

The best big sister

Lately she's become so loving and affectionate. Tonight she told me, "you're the best Mommy in the whole world for me. Amelie and me and you will always be a family and we will always love each other." Sounds simple but I've never heard these before and they go straight to my heart.

My precious family -- I still can't believe it!

She just started kindergarten last week, and her first two half days went well. It's a far cry from her first days of PreK last year, where she barely spoke to anyone and clung to me fiercely (though didn't cry) before transferring directly into her teacher's arms -- no one else would do. This year she joyfully reunited with her friend Maya and was ready for me to leave just a few minutes later. She's unfortunately neglecting her friend Peyton after a long summer apart but I'm optimistic that after a play date (unfortunately postponed from the weekend), they will be fast friends again.

Filled with confidence on her first day of kindergarten... once she found Maya. They were very, very happy to be together.

Physically, she mastered the monkey bars this weekend, and over the course of a weekend in the Hamptons, she gradually worked up the courage to jump into the deep end of the pool without a floatie. She also learned to tread water and is working on her backstroke -- she doesn't have enough body fat to float well, though, so every time she takes a stroke her head bobs under water.

She's very thoughtful and articulate, though her thoughts outpace her ability to express them well. One day in August she told me that her outfit was "just a little bit more beautiful than yours, Mommy." I explained to her that saying something like that could hurt someone's feelings she thoughtfully listened, taking it all in silently. And the next day, she crowed, "Mommy, we're the SAME much beautiful!"

And today, out for a walk, she explained that sometimes when she's in the sun, the light makes all her good thoughts about love escape her brain and go down into her lungs, and she forgets how much love she has. I think she's trying to say that the sunshine makes her not feel well? I love how she shares all the complicated little things she thinks about. I'm trying hard to be a good, engaged listener so she will continue this habit and not shut down as she gets older.

She's very interested in jokes, especially Knock Knock jokes but she hasn't quite mastered them yet.

Both my girls thought this "joke" was hilarious.

First day of ballet class finally arrived! And for the first time ever in a new class, she 
actually participated! 

After a few days of melatonin, she's back to going to bed at about 6 pm, and wakes up joyfully twelve hours later. It feels very, very early but we have to leave the house by 7 am and girlfriend likes to have a little time to play (after she gets ready, I've discovered, is the key to success). She's gradually becoming slightly more open to trying new foods after I started bragging how she is "such an adventurous eater, just like Mommy." It probably doesn't hurt that her sister will eat anything, and Calliope hears me commenting about it, with incredulity, all the time.

To sum her up, which I can never ever do, she says to me, "You're the perfect Mommy for me!" and I feel just exactly the same way about her.