Thursday, January 23, 2014

19 and 42

I think I'm about ready to admit to myself that I have a child and a toddler, not a toddler and a baby. Exploding is the only term I can think of to describe Margot's verbal awakening in the world. She has new words every day, said with insistence--bread, car, no!!!, cheese, I want that one. After screeching a command at me I ask her, "Ask nicely," and she responds with a gentle, "pease, nana?" I've completed my suburban mom trifecta of minivan and school drop offs with a gym membership and after a few times she now walks right into the childcare, not looking back. When she asks for things I have the hardest time saying no--I have thrown away all leftover candy. Her canine teeth are taking the longest time to break through so I've been a little overindulgent to her, and she has her pacifier constantly. But she's the lucky second child, so I know that these things happen for a season and then we will both move on and change. But hopefully she always still snuggles me as much as she does.

Theo is more insistent as well with what he wants getting closer to four, but his tantrums overall have decreased significantly. We can talk things over and come to a calm resolution, usually. If he's tired, well... it gives me good tantrum coping practice. He usually starts the morning snuggling with me until Margot wakes up (which is getting earlier, boo), sometimes falling back asleep. He asked me to get up with him the other day and I said, "But I love snuggling with you!" And he responded "But I love standing up with you too!" Got me. He love going to gymnastics class, his teacher talked to me last week because she wants to move him into an advanced class for kids who are "talented and focused." Honestly I knew he was doing well but still thought he was as squirrel-y as the other three year olds (his favorite thing right now is to swing back and forth on the rope swing instead of once in an obstacle course) so I was a little surprised. That lasted for a half second and now I am completely overcome with Mom Pride. And now I want to share his little achievement with everyone--family, friends, neighbors, the guy who pumps my gas.

At one point of the day when the three of us are squished into a chair reading books, I am the most content person in the world.

Friday, January 17, 2014

A blog tutorial!

One Sunday at church, I had to change Margot's diaper and she absolutely wouldn't let me leave her in nursery. So I stayed with her, and watched the kids play while she clung to me. All the kids were restless at the end of the day, and after "Ring Around the Rosy" they started playing one of their favorites, "Sleepy Bear." I started watching with interest as one or two boys (Theo and his friend in the lead) lay on the ground, pretending to be asleep. Then the rest of the crowd of kids come creeping toward them, yelling "wake up, sleepy bear!" until the "bears" spring up, growling and awake. Everyone squealed and ran away. They were having a lot of fun and had obviously played this before. At least, I knew I had--no one else in the room knew that I made this game up.

My method for making up kid's games is simple. Try to think of anything you can do to pretend to be asleep. "Sleepy Bear" started when Theo wanted me to get out of bed in the morning, and I was much too tired and comfortable to even think about moving, so I made staying in my bed the more fun option. I would pretend to be asleep, closing my eyes and snuggling in my comforter, and Theo would call out, "wake up, sleepy bear!" Then I open my eyes, make a weak "roar!" Then we play another round, not moving at all from my warm cave. Win!

Other renditions--"Sleepy Monster," (pretend to be asleep in bed while the other person rides up to you from the hallway on a scooter--our master bedroom is at the end of our hallway so it works well) Hide and Seek (play hide and seek, but your only options to hide are somewhere under the covers), and my personal favorite "Mommy needs energy to take you to the park later so I'm going to give you the iPad and you're going to let me take a nap."

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Idaho Christmas

 It's a busy time of year--Christmas, New Year's, Margot is 18 months old, our marriage turned seven! I'm going to just ramble about all of these things (or whatever I have time for while Margot sleeps) because I don't know how to separate them. I was in Boise with the kids for a little more than two weeks, and Jon came right before Christmas. For those of you who know Boise, or just know the tiniest bit about Idaho, there isn't a ton to do there if you aren't into say, hiking or hunting. The best part about that is I get to spend a lot of time reading, pushing my kids onto their grandparent's care, have my kids play with cousins, hanging out with my family, and more reading. I think I took five phone photos.

The trip there was my first alone with both kids. I was nervous of course, mostly because Southwest canceled their nonstop flight from Portland to Boise so we were left on an Alaska prop plane, the kind you walk outside to enter and are as loud as...loud.  And we had to pay to check a bag, so we were hauling all kinds of carry on luggage. The flight was great. I handed each child their own electronic fun device (Margot does not understand sharing in the least) and read The Economist. But that was after I mopped off gallons of sweat from at times, carrying, pulling, cajoling, and probably a bit of panicked barking. Theo had a new suitcase that he or I can pull, or he can use as a ride on toy. While he did ease the load at times and happily scooted through security, getting a three-year-old to consistently scoot himself about a mile to a distant terminal is almost impossible. Margot decided she wanted to walk the whole way herself, and when that wasn't possible to squirm and squeal and make herself as difficult as possible. And the coats! Carrying winter coats through an airport is pure drudgery. Normally the terminal path is all motorized walkways and flat lanes, but since we were going on a small airplane powered by pedal strength and faith in the least used obscure terminal, we had to walk it ourselves (!) and then hit an escalator. I guess I had forgotten how long it had been since Theo had ridden one, because I went first holding Margot, our coats, a large backpack, and carry on and expected him to follow. He freaked out and refused to go, and as I was already a third of the way down and now panicking myself, I SPRINTED up the down escalator carrying the aforementioned items. Then my coat and his suitcase went down first, alone. Luckily a nice man could easily see how crazy things were getting and caught those things for me. I ate three bags of snack mix on the plane, easily Alaska's main strong point as they include things that are similar to Corn Nuts in the bag.

When my twin sister Mackenzie and I are in the same place, which is not often since she lives in Pennsylvania, we think of many time consuming projects to complete. We usually don't finish them all, but that's part of the ritual. I actually brought an embroidered ornament to finish from last year--still didn't get finished. We probably scaled it back this year, focusing on making a Stump de Noel from the Baked cookbook (a sick child is sleeping, so I have no time for links, sorry). It's a yule log set on its end, only fatter than a normal yule log. All the reviews of the recipe basically said "It's amazingly delicious! But the most time consuming, intensive cake recipe I've ever made!" We were sold. It took almost two dozen eggs, lots of chocolate, and Whoppers. It took most of the day, but it was all enjoyable except when it got a little stressful for me at the end when we were rolling the thin cake and it started breaking on us. Luckily it is the kind of thing that is worth all the effort and five sticks of butter (in the frosting alone). I love it when a new Christmas tradition is born. Next time we will do the meringue mushrooms, we didn't have the willpower left to make those.

Theo and Margot had a great Christmas, Theo especially was so into all things Christmas this year. At our extended family party there was a general call for random talents or songs to be sung and Theo immediately shot up his hand and proceeded to sing a Jingle Bells solo (I helped a little, in the way a sitting Mom tries to pretend she is singing at regular volume but is whisper singing to bolster confidence) with a grand bow at the end. He got a Postman Pat van and figurine and lots of other things he loved. He loved all Margot's presents too, like her baby doll and stroller and tea set. I admit to looking forward to Margot opening up her carefully chosen baby since her birthday, so of course she acted afraid of it and ignored it until we got home. The stroller and doll bed were waiting for her after Christmas so I'm happy to say she is now enjoying putting her baby to bed and strolling it around. She showed everyone her loud and assertive side while we were around my family, squealing and screaming loudly and chasing my sister's dog around yelling "Gigi? Gigi! Gigi!" She also learned how to nod her head yes to a question after shaking her head to every question which is huge. I feel like our communication and understanding have increased ten fold.

Even though its wonderful to spend such a long time with my parents, brother, sister and their families, it felt good to be home. I really like feeling excited to be home.

Postman Pat! And matching hats by Auntie Kenzie.


After Christmas Eve dinner, we sent the kids downstairs to watch a movie while we cleaned up. Theo fell asleep and never got to hear the Naylor Sibling Violin, Flute, and Trumpet Christmas Eve Concert Spectacular.
Celebrated seven years by escaping the kids at Hotel 43 and stayed until the last possible minute, just sitting and watching crappy cable TV. It was bliss.
Margot still loves to do this in the airport. Our checked bags are always alone and deserted on the carousel by the time we get there.