Monthly Archives: July 2014

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at the FL Elders’ house

There they go, looking all sorts of grown up again in yet another photo where I’m somewhat frightened at how easily I can see their teenage selves shining through. But for now, they’re two and four, and while I’m sure I’ll say this again and again as the years pass, this age coupling is thus far my favorite, part of which is due to the fact that they can both communicate with words.

Having two fully conversational children is 90% absolutely amazingly useful and awesome, and 10% temper testing to the point of maybe I want to bust through that window over there and keep running until either my legs or heart give out because collapsing on the street might be preferable to listening to another whiny word. Every parent knows the feeling of wanting to tell their child to shut the fuck up (and maybe every now and then some of us mutter it softly under our breath with our backs to them because even though no one can hear it but us, there’s some satisfaction in saying it “out loud.” Maybe.) But we also all know how invaluable it is to have a child who can express what they want, need, feel, etc. with actual words and not just through variations of WAAAAAAA!

Norah, more than two years into her life as a conversationalist, speaks like an adult almost to a fault (I correct her every time she uses the word like as a filler and not according to its definition), and has now moved on to mastering things like phraseology, irony and sarcasm (if only she had someone to teach her the latter). When she does learn a new word for something she’ll ask why it’s called that, to which I usually reply that’s just what they decided to call it, because much like many before me I’ve become an avid deployer of parent copout responses (because I said so is SO useful!).  I do help defray the wonder of who is “they” by following that with it’s like how we decided to call you Norah! Her response to that lately? I’d like to be called Emma and this is my brother Henry. Okaaaay, sure. Names are another fascinating verbal varietal for Norah and she’ll somewhat sporadically choose to address Pete by his first name instead of daddy. The other morning while I was in our bathroom getting ready, Norah was sitting on our bed next to her sleeping father “reading” a book to herself, when suddenly she dropped it in her lap and exclaimed “Pete! What time is it? I’m hungry. Is it time to eat?” She seems to use it only when she really wants to get his attention. I have no idea where she gets that from.

Crosby’s vocabulary is bloody brilliant (BRAG!) for his age and in general I believe he’s just really excited about having the ability to speak. He revels in identifying things – “that’s a tractor trailer!” – and wants only for one of us to be paying attention because our natural response is to offer happy praise – “that’s right, Crosby! very good!” – and who wouldn’t want that? If we say a word he’s unfamiliar with, he repeats it a time or two as if he’s mentally adding the entry to his personal lexicon. His normal voice is what you’d expect from any two year old – soft, sweet and a bit on the soprano side – but every now and then his eyes grow wide with excitement over something and he drops a couple octaves as he breathily exclaims his observation – “that’s a BIG one!” I don’t believe describing it here can fully convey the absolute adorableness of this voice transformation, but if you ask me sometime (after I’ve had a beer or five) I might try to replicate it for you. And then there are the times when he says something that flat out steamrolls me with its gush-worthiness and leaves me in a puddle of mommy to baby adoration…

Ping from Pete to me on a work day:
While looking at stuff online there was an ad with Sophia Vergara on the side
Crosby walks up and says “I like that one” while pointing to her
I said “She’s pretty huh?”
He whispered “yeah.”
He then said “I like my mommy.”
I said “She’s pretty too eh?”
He whispered “yeah.”
 
Toast. XO.

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Sitting in the dark in Norah’s room on her bed, doing the usual routine of talking and story telling and singing and water sipping and whatever else she can come up with to delay us leaving and her going to sleep…

Me: You’re going to be four tomorrow! What the what?! How is that even possible? How did that happen?

N: I’m growing. I’m going to be a grown up. I’m going to keep growing and growing and growing, and have lots and lots and lots and lots of birthdays with CAKE! SO MUCH CAKE! And cake and cake and cake and CAKE. (pause) But first we have to eat dinner.

A confident, headstrong, goal driven girl with a wee bit of a crazy side tempered by a sensibility toward structure? You’d think I trained her.

PS Six months ago a cake the size of Manhattan wouldn’t have been enough to get this girl to wear a shirt with sleeves above her elbows let alone a skirt and heels. My, my how the times have changed. Thanks Auntie C!

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In a matter of weeks my darling daughter has accomplished a couple of pretty big deal, big kid feats, and I’m feeling some serious mom pride about it. It’s almost as if she had the three year old’s version of the forty before forty list and was firmly focused on ticking off a few milestones before the big four. Though she still needs quite a bit of practice with both, Norah can now officially ride a two wheel bike sans training wheels and swim a decent distance unassisted and under water. At this rate she’ll be ruling the world by 10.

Aside from an occasional hop on one belonging to a friend or family member, Norah never rode a bike with training wheels. While we hold no judgment against this method – that’s how I and a million others started our bike riding careers – our personal choice, based on advice from good friends and our own research, was to get her pre-pedal practice on a balance bike. If you’re not familiar with this fancy contraption, just Google it and prepare to be awed. It’s just like a regular bike except, get this, it has no pedals! And no chain! Go ahead, take a minute to freak out. We purchased one for Norah for Christmas when she was about 18 months old which was perhaps (definitely) a wee ambitious as her inseam wasn’t long enough to allow her to straddle it and that sort of (definitely) defeated the purpose. But we put her on it and pushed her around the house anyway, because we won’t let a little thing like being too small defray our plans for getting our kids to be mobile in a million ways as quickly as possible (are we insane?). Over time and with added inches, she learned to ride it herself and we truly believe this was the primary factor in her ability to comfortably pedal a proper bicycle as a three year old. For the better part of her third year here, that pedaling ensued only after we held her shoulders to get her going and was always accompanied by one of us running along side her to wane any wobbles. And then a couple weeks ago, in the church parking lot next door, with some good old fashioned Grandma guidance, she lined up the pedals, pushed forward, and with not a hand on her, rode her bike. I got a video at work and about cried, and then of course insisted she show off for me when I got home. The breaking mechanism remains putting her feet on the ground and letting them drag, but she’ll get the hang of that bit before too long and be racing around with reckless abandon.

On the note of swimming, I give all the credit to Pete. After a few group tot classes and some hemming and hawing about whether or not to sign Norah up for lessons, he decided to take matters into his own hands and throughout the winter took on the challenge of toting two small kids to the indoor pool at least once a week. Once there, he kept a close eye on a floaty cradled Crosby while slowly getting Norah used to each aspect of swimming independence. From simply putting her face in the water to blow bubbles to solo jumps with full submergence and resurfacing, by the time we packed our bags for this summer adventure in Florida, she was at least able to get from one point to another entirely on her own. It did however tend to take a lot of time for she would awkwardly paddle in a somewhat vertical position keeping just her face above the water, but even that seemed an epic leap from the fearful way she would cling to us just nine or ten months ago. Then on day two here, Pete was in the water with all the kids when Norah decided to paddle toward him without warning, and with all the splashing and fray and Pete unaware of her approach, she got stuck in the middle without help and panic struck her face to which I responded by screaming repeatedly “GET NORAH!” Of course Pete got her, and even in that moment she did remarkably well to keep her face afloat, but that awkward vertical treading and anxiety about going under halted her from simply heading to the side which was only a few feet away and I proceeded to firmly (read: bitchily) express to Pete my dissatisfaction. He happily accepted my implied challenge and proceeded to coach her on swimming like the big kids which he amazingly had her accomplishing maybe an hour later. Relieved, impressed, proud, and excited, I gave her all the love and hugs and high fives, and have watched her eagerly swim with her face under water a hundred times more over the past couple days. I still wouldn’t leave her unattended for even a moment, but she has certainly ticked that task off her how to grow up fast list and I can’t imagine what’s coming next.

It’s our last day here and we’re sure to log a little more pool time post nap, maybe even an evening bike ride, and who knows, perhaps she can practice some driving with Uncle John.

XO.