Monday, June 27, 2016

Fifteen Months

Saying "I'm [gonna] get you!" A [very slow] game of trying to catch her is definitely her favorite thing in the world.

And my other girl, Amelie, is fifteen months! She's become a walking fiend after starting walking only a couple of weeks ago. After spending so long practicing, she stopped crawling almost immediately after starting walking. She walks with her right foot turned out, which I keep meaning to mention to her doctor, but otherwise, she's doing great.

She moved from the 10% at one year to the 13th and 14th percentiles for height and weight, 29.2 inches and 18 pounds 8 ounces, at fifteen months. And her 6-12 month onesies are finally getting snug, especially over her little round belly. I finally bought her some real shoes, and the very smallest toddler shoes are still way too big.

She's become quite opinionated, and has strong feelings about where she wants to go and what she wants to do. Mainly, she wants to go into my room and empty out my toiletries drawer onto the floor. And she absolutely wants to go into the hall of our building and down in the elevator whenever anyone is leaving. She cries when friends leave as well as when I do because she hates being left behind. So whenever we all go somewhere together, I always let her walk next to the stroller until we get outside and she swings her chubby little arms with such a sweet and self important happy air.

... Two weeks later and I still haven't posted this. Life is very, very full. I'm off work for the summer, hallelujah, and living in a house in Woostock, NY with our closest friends from the nanny share. It's crazy and chaotic with four children under five (two four year olds, two toddlers) but everyone is (mostly) having a blast, apart from the occasional melt down. Calliope and her bestie are going to the wonderful day camp up here that Calliope went to last summer. Calliope is slowly getting accustomed to it again, but is loving the pool there without reservation. Eleanor loves every minute of camp and was disappointed to hear that today is Saturday and there is no camp.

It's a rainy day here so I've decided to take the plunge and do a very early attempt at potty training. I think I'm probably being ridiculous to even try it but she's been having a lot of successes on the potty when I put her on it at certain predictable times, like right after sleeping and after waking up. I know this does not mean she's potty trained but I really do hate diapers so... I'm giving it a try. So far we've had one success today, after breakfast. No accidents that I saw, but we went outside and she was sitting in a puddle for a while (with a dress and no pants) so I couldn't know for sure. Then she came in for a nice bath in the kitchen sink with her buddy Leo. She could've peed in there, too. I did put her on the potty beforehand and she didn't go so... maybe she's been holding it all morning? No luck before nap, either.

... And now she sat on the potty a good long time, nothing, and peed on the floor fifteen minutes later. I'm pretty sure this is practice in my letting go.
But isn't this a pretty awesome potty training photo, regardless? 

She's also a maniac for crawling up the stairs in our beautiful rental house. No luck coming down the stairs yet -- she won't go down backwards, insists on walking down like a regular person despite her extreme shortness... so she lunge/falls off each steps in terrifying way despite a restraining hand on the arm.

In addition to walking and exploring and tasting every rock and stick Woodstock has on offer, Amelie is also talking up a storm. Today she pointed through the clear vegetable drawer and said "carrots!" How did she learn that word? No idea. Given that she's a second child, I have no idea how many words she has, especially since she has a new one or two every day, but it seems like it must be north of 50. My favorite is definitely "Dappy" -- meaning Calliope. Other favorites of mine are "guck" (milk), "kock" (quack), "gook" (book).

And I love that when I ask anyone a question -- whether direct at her or not -- I get a cheerful "mmm hmm" or "oh-tay" in response. She'll often stop fussing in the car if I tell her we are almost home and ask her to hang on -- she says "oh tay!" and abruptly quiets down.

Of course, she also is known to pitch a fit if I separate her from a beloved rock or stick, or insist on carrying her when she won't cooperate with my agenda of walking purposefully in one direction. Diaper changes can be peaceful or akin to wrestling an alligator, depending on the moment.

Unlike Calliope, who was rather introspective and quiet (but cheerful) from birth, I've seen a big change in Amelie's since she started walking. She has become much more determined and I see a big personality blooming. She's always been happy and social but now she's also fearless and opinionated. She plunges right into the water at the stream and when she topples in, face first, she comes up sputtering but without crying.

I have been reading the Aha Parenting book on siblings, Siblings Without Rivalry, and seeing positive dividends -- since we've been in Woodstock, it's become a point of pride for Calliope to put Amelie's shoes on her and walk her slowly, carefully, to the car, heaving her body precariously down the couple of steps. The best thing about the book is the frequent reminders to have empathy for kids. So hard to remember, but I really see a payoff in my relationship with Calliope (and hers with Amelie) when I remember.

Two sets of best friends in Woodstock (Amelie, Eleanor, Calliope and Leo.) 

She's Officially A Kindergartner

Lately she's taken to changing into her bathrobe and (plastic) heels when she gets home from
school. She looks like a miniature sex worker. It's probably wrong that this cracks me up.

My big girl is officially a kindergartner! So proud of her. What a transformation she has undergone, from a quiet thumb sucking ear twiddler to a boisterous girl with lots of friends and interests who has even become, according to her teacher, a class leader! I'll take that one with a grain of salt but I'm still exceedingly proud.

Big kindergarten girls are old enough to go the movies. Obviously.
And even keep their 3D glasses on. Not like babies. They have to stay home.

She's becoming interested in sounding out words and is still drawing a ton. I can't believe how far her drawing has come! As soon as we gets home she disappears to either play with her dollhouse (which features a large assortment of stuffed and fisher price animals as well as dolls) or to work on her art, which often involves a surprising amount of masking tape.

Drawing by Calliope in late September (called "A Pagish"). She couldn't even do this in early September.

Today there is no school and tomorrow is the last day, a half day, so she is skipping that and doing a week of local day camp with her best friend Eleanor instead. Despite loving her school friends Maya and Peyton, she's beyond thrilled to be with Eleanor -- her nanny-sharing friend for the first four years of her life -- again. Despite the fact that they fight and make up constantly.

Same artist, exactly nine months later. Working carefully with ink and napkin.
There's eyelashes! And pupils, hair ribbons, inner ears, paws with individual toes, whiskers...
I'm so proud and impressed by her.

Sunday, June 26, 2016

I Spy With My Little Eye

Calliope: "I spy with my little eye a man in a flame colored shirt riding a bicycle."

Me: Is it that man in the flame colored shirt riding a bicycle?

C: Yes! You're right!
Me: Ok, try another one but try not to give quite so many clues -- we have to guess what you are thinking.
C: Ok. I spy something pink. (many unsuccessful guesses ensue.)
Me: Can you give us a LITTLE clue?
C: Okay, I'll whisper a clue, but only to Mommy (we were playing with another child and mother).
Me: No, you have to tell all of us.
C, whispering: Ok, it's that pink building.
Me, normal voice: Is it that pink building?
C: Yes! You're right!

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Compliments From Calliope

Calliope last night, "Mommy, you're SOOOOO fat."

Me, recoiling slightly but trying to hide it, "Honey, people don't usually like to be told they're fat."

C, "But why not???" (She aspires to being fat when she grows up. And black. With corn rows. I'm not optimistic on her behalf.)

Me, "it's just better not to comment on people's  bodies." (Trying not to introduce the idea of fat being bad.)

C, "Ok."


C, "Mommy, you look just like a princess!"

Me: <Sigh> 

Saturday, June 4, 2016

Lice and Other Stories

I got a call on Thursday night that Eleanor, Calliope's best friend, had lice. Almost her whole class had them. Naturally I was freaking out inwardly but I managed to remain calm. For point of reference, the last time we had them was two days after my mother's funeral. Not a great experience.

Friday morning before school I combed Calliope's hair briefly, for 2-3 minutes, based on the advice of a friend that said that should be sufficient to diagnose a case (not to treat one, though!). Not an egg anywhere, never mind a bug.

Friday I took C to school then left for most of the day for a staff meeting. I picked C up at 2:30 and hung around for 10-15 minutes because one of her friends' parents was running late. Her teacher and I have been friendly for years. All was well.

On the way home, Calliope casually comments, "Amy Binin [her teacher] saw a bug in my hair and said I have lice."
I freaked out. Asked a bunch of questions. Calliope couldn't give a lot of details. But was sure of her story.

I was so upset. I couldn't believe the teacher would forget to mention this to me! Teachers are usually so panicked by lice and worrying about epidemics. I was there for quite a while. How could she not say anything?

As soon as we got home, I got out the fine tooth comb and a spray bottle (the toddlers LOVED) that and combed her hair for a good twenty minutes while hanging out with Susie and the littles, wiping it dutifully on a white paper towel to check for the tiniest of eggs.

Again, nothing. Not even a speck of dandruff. (Jealous!) Clean as a whistle.

I sent her teacher a panicked text message (prior to combing) saying, "Calliope said that she has lice?!"

Never heard back.

That night I sent her a longer email explaining I had combed Calliope prior to school that morning, based on her best friend being infested, and a much longer comb that night, and I still had seen nothing.

Got both a text message and an email back this morning.

Calliope fabricated the entire thing.

Apparently she wanted to have lice in solidarity with Eleanor. 

How's that for best friendship?

And the end of an era: that of naively trusting my child. Parenting just got a lot harder.

Friday, June 3, 2016

Fourteen Months

Fourteen months is flying by.

Today, at fourteen and a half months, almost, she stood up without holding onto anything. Just pushed up off the floor.

She's flying around the apartment behind her walking push toy, and even goes on thrilling expeditions to the trash and recycling area downstairs with that toy. But won't let go and walk.

Well, the nanny and I successfully tortured her into letting go and taking a few steps, once, by holding out a toy that she wanted. But otherwise, no.

She will let go for long periods of time and just stand, unassisted. Today she tried to tip back a not-very-full bottle of milk and drink standing up without holding on. She can let go of one thing and lunge for another. But she won't walk.

Luckily she's a second child so I'm not too worried about it. Plus I was a very late walker -- 19 months. But mostly I think this is an emotional issue -- she's just not ready to let go -- and not a physical one. She is clearly progressing. She'll probably be running soon after walking.

She's "talking" up a storm -- but unfortunately I can't understand most of her chatter. She says "si" and "ojos" in Spanish (Susie, our nanny, speaks to her in Spanish) and sort of says "Susie." She says "Mama" in the sweetest and most plaintive, heart melting of voices whenever she wants me or something from me. She says "hi" and "bye bye" with great pleasure as she strolls to and from the room with that damn push toy.

When I ask for a kiss she presents her face, mouth open and tongue sticking out slightly. What could be more delicious?

I've started sitting her on the baby potty with variable success but she loves to check and see if she's produced anything.

She eats everything in sight, especially meat and chicken and eggs. This girl was made for the Paleo diet.

Calliope and I went away for a long weekend this past weekend and she vacationed in the Poconos -- ooh la la -- with our nanny and her family and clearly had a fabulous time getting spoiled rotten. We FaceTimed every morning and she got very excited to see us -- waving and grinning and clapping -- but never got upset, phew. I was very nervous about her reaction when we came home yesterday but there was no pushback from my cheerful little girl -- just delight to see us again. She was definitely unhappy this morning when we left for school, presumably worried about when or if we would returned, but recovered in seconds. Until I came back because I had forgotten something. Then she cried all over again. Sorry, baby!

Post script: she's started hitting. Yesterday when I came home from work she kept swatting at my face. I'd put her down, say "no hitting!", she'd cry, pull herself back into my lap, hit me again. Rinse and repeat. I guess she didn't appreciate me leaving for four days after all.

"Hey good lookin'! Come over here for some love!"

Swinging with Susie.

Cashier Calliope at the Brooklyn Children's Museum

"What do we have to do to get some service around here? Maybe if we thump on the table really loudly it will help?"

Cuddling up for a story with Talia and Rian, fellow SMC family.
Rian was very patient with Amelie constantly flipping the pages despite Talia not being done with reading them.

Thursday, June 2, 2016

Bittersweet Milestone

Calliope and I traveled to the Bay Area for four days (more on that later) over Memorial Day weekend, leaving Amelie behind for the first time. She had a fabulous time vacationing in the Poconos with our nanny Susie and her large family, getting thoroughly spoiled in the process.

Before the trip, we were down to nursing once a day -- I eliminated the bedtime nursing a month ago because Amelie was so distracted by her sister and popping on and off, which was uncomfortable. I also stopped taking any supplements a while ago. But she still seemed to get a decent feeding in the mornings, judging by her swallowing. 

So I dutifully brought my breast pump along to San Francisco, "hello my old friend the breast pump, I have missed you!" said no one, ever. I used it the first morning and got two ounces, not terrible. The next morning I discovered that, d'oh!, I had left some breast pump parts behind, drying by the hotel bathroom sink. Not sure how I missed them but it seems I lost things regularly along every leg of our journey. Hello, Mommy Brain! So I spent $40 on a painful, ineffective hand pump. Great. And got only one ounce.

The next day was about the same. The last night I got my lost breast pump parts back and actually pumped the next morning on the airplane! Totally bad ass. I wasn't courageous enough to pump both sides at the same time so perhaps as a result, still only got one ounce. 

I came home, desperate to see my baby again, and was thrilled to be rewarded with happy chortles and joyful clapping. Phew, she wasn't mad at me! And she even remembered how to nurse the next day. Another sigh of relief.

But this morning, the second morning home, she nursed only a minute then sat up and said "bye bye!" and waved her hand happily. She didn't attempt to latch again. And happily took a bottle a few minutes later.

I could keep trying, could start up supplements again... but I think this is as good a time as any. I'm sad. I wasn't quite ready. But perhaps quitting on her terms is more fair than letting me dictate the time. She's happy and healthy and eating up a storm. Thank goodness I can still cuddle her for a bottle. I know I should be stopping them, too, but I also know I won't -- I'm not ready for my last baby to grow up. Selfish, probably. It won't be the last, or worst, of my selfish acts as a parent, I am sure.