Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Sixteen Months and Home Again, Home Again

Phew. Sixteen months is TOUGH. She is opinionated and cheerfully defiant. She moves fast, with confidence, and absolutely zero common sense. She hits and scratches both me and Calliope. At least it doesn't hurt. Yet. But it does hurt when she pulls Calliope's hair.

She's also ridiculously charming and adorable. Both her speaking and signing abilities continue to develop quickly. She's finally getting front teeth. She delights in puddles. Other New Yorkers seem taken aback by my willingness to let my baby squat in a puddle and poke at it with her finger. They haven't gone to battle with her.

Despite her strong opinions, she's a happy girl. Apart from our all to common disagreements, she almost never cries.

She's generally fearless. Loves people. The other day at a baseball game, she kept running up to one woman, a random stranger, and passionately throwing her arms around the woman's leg and hugging.
Likewise she walked up to an unknown dark skinned woman, peered up at her, and asked, "Mama?"

I think she may be keeping her options on the mother front. Just in case things between us don't work out.

Mostly we are good but today... It's possible that I roared at her, "Amelie, would you chill the f*ck out???!!!!"

I was trying to bring a stroller-full of old blinds (we had new black out blinds installed -- I'm in love!) plus some cardboard, plus both girls, of course, downstairs by elevator then across the building lobby to the trash and recycling area at the far end of the building. Amelie loves to walk, rather than ride in the stroller, so I was hoping she would cooperate. But instead, every time my amazingly helpful almost five year old tried to cheerfully coral her little sister, said younger sister would scream at the top of her lungs. Meanwhile I'm trying to move several loads at once, plus not leave any child stranded in either the elevator or a floor other than the one I'm on, and this particular elevator door closes rather violently, so I had to keep everyone's limbs out of harm's way... and the screaming just pushed me over the end.

Especially since we were on our way to a new playground (admittedly after dropping off a package at a UPS drop location) as soon as we got this ugly mess of cardboard and blinds out of my apartment.

So I figured that cursing my toddler out, at the top of my lungs, and probably in the hearing of other adults, was the only reasonable option.

It worked out really well, of course. She burst into tears of abject terror. I didn't stop working to comfort her.

Luckily once we got outside, all was forgiven. She happily toddled along, mostly letting me hold her hand to cross streets (I held her hand regardless, just to be clear, but it's nice when she lets me and doesn't fight.)

I remember that this was the hardest age for me with Calliope, and that things started to get easier at about 18 months. I think. I hope.

In other news, we are home from Woodstock. We had a fabulous time but we were ready to come home, too. I miss the laundry room and the playroom in Woodstock quite keenly, but I could never live so far from civilization. We went swimming all the time, and did a little hiking, but I could never live in a place where there isn't more to do. I'm a city girl with a love for the outdoors.

Calliope had a great final week at camp, admittedly a bit subdued without a friend there to give her courage. She started swimming underwater -- figured it out on her own. She also managed the monkey bars on her own, if a slightly abridged version. She wants to work next on jumping into deep water. She's practicing her (self taught) ballet skills all the time through invented wobbly poses, and is keen to get pointe shoes, despite the fact that I tell her it won't be before age 10. She's thinking about giving up her thumb sucking... but isn't quite ready to commit. And perhaps because of my reading in Peaceful Parent, Happy Siblings or maybe just because of her own sweet self... she's become such an amazing little helper. She helps with Amelie constantly. She's my other pair of eyes and hands whenever we go out. She offered to do the dishes tonight. She shares her treats with her sister without stinting or complaint. I don't know what I did to be so lucky but I'm beyond grateful.

As for me... coming home was challenging. Unpacking and cleaning up is exhausting without help with the children. I actually had help for the first few hours -- hired our fall after school babysitter to come hang out with the kids. So I did as much as I possibly could while she was there, but of course I was already tired from packing up the Woodstock house (after a monthlong stay there's a lot to do) earlier in the day, plus driving into the city. So I couldn't finish everything. And since then, it's very much two steps forward and one step back. I get a little done while the kids are awake, but it feels like such a slog sometimes, because of course I'm still cooking meals and serving them and cleaning up from them, and changing diapers and sunscreening small bodies and... and then I feel compelled to get them out of the apartment once or twice a day... not much time for actually connecting with them. I can't quite figure out how to deal with that. Is it better to get them outside for fresh air and exercise and a change of scenery, or to stay home where it's eventually pretty boring but at least we can actually really focus on each other?

Rainy day exploration of the driveway in Woodstock

How much fun can a person have???

Calliope couldn't muster a smile because she was STARVING. It had been at least ten minutes since her last snack.

Building fairy houses together. Can you see the mushroom table inside with
berries and "salad" on top? 
Not all who wander are lost.
But this wanderer usually is.
Such a thrill to see my girls enjoying nature with relative freedom.
Our annual summer vacation with SMC Jenn and Luna. 

Summer daffodils, freshly scrubbed.
Happy Interdependence Day! (Calliope and Eleanor)


  1. Love the update!! Amelie sounds a bit like Elsie - opinionated. :) Glad you guys had such a great summer. I am definitely jealous you get to spend so much time in nature.

  2. Sounds like a lovely trip! I'm glad I'm not the only one who occasionally snaps at the kids. A few weeks ago I challenged Bobby to "make your own damned dinner!" Good times.

  3. I also feel compelled to get out of the house with my 3.5 year old and my time out of the house is usually all day until really late-especially in the spring, summer and early fall. Winter is usually spent at home. Otherwise, I get bored and restless at home. Time out of the house makes me appreciate our rest at home in our little sanctuary.