Wednesday, November 21, 2012


It's easy to stop what you're doing around Thanksgiving to give proper thanks and really note what you're grateful for. Tradition and all. But when you're raising two small humans who regularly amaze you, it's really best to give thanks more often than that. And I do. I can say in all honesty that I do stop and smell those diaper-scented-roses and I say my prayers of thanks on a fairly regular basis. It could always be more though. If I stop and really take stock, I should be in a state of constant thank-you-prayer, but life won't allow for that, too many dirty dishes, so let's put a few snippets on paper for now.

* Avery, you are so full of love. Literally. You stop us a hundred times a day, saying 'Hiiiii!' with a big wave (inches from our face) - sometimes it's more of a 'Haaaa!' though - which I will admit I love more than a HI, because you're a southern gal, and HA is really the proper pronunciation. When we say hi back (you'll keep waving and repeating yourself if we are preoccupied and don't reciprocate immediately) you'll blow us a kiss, and then say LOVE-YEW! It's not LOVE YOU, it's a definite YEW... it's the drawl, and the big pouty lips you make when you say it, pretty much the cutest thing ever. Your brother never went around saying I love you, so this little nuance is 100% yours. It's too easy to get caught up in the 'oh yeah, sure, he went around blowing kisses/etc back in the day'... but your daily LOVE YEW handouts are all you.
* Avery, you are also so full of rage. As much rage as an 18 month can have about life, at least. We are pretty sure it's the fact that you've been in a constant state of multiple painful teeth popping through for many months (because you were VERY delayed with getting any teeth at all), but hell, it could just be you. You could just be a fiery female, for all we know. And ok. That would be fine. It's how you were made, and we're given the privilege of taming those fires.. HOW FUN. You shriek at the top of your lungs if you think I'm leaving, like say when I need to go put something in the garage, requiring me to open the door and LEAP in the garage and be back in 4.2 seconds. (yes, I leap, because I gird my loins for the shriek I know is coming). I always try to be very verbal, very descriptive with you. Saying exactly what I'm doing, when I'll be back (4.2 seconds from now, sweet child o mine). But you give me the rod and continue to shriek. It's ok. I know this clingy short leash you have me on will fade over time. But my ears, they ring.
* Andrew, this is the Christmas with you we've been waiting for as parents. Sure, last year, you had true-blue awe over things, especially Christmas lights, which you would say so very cutely - that I can't even type to explain - but this year? It is SO ON. Your age, 4.5, is just really the best. You're so reasonable! So rational! Such a little grown up. But with the added amazing bonus of loving every square inch of all of life's goodness. Complete with hopping up and down with glee and squealing and doubled over laughing and nonstop chatter about whatever it is for days to come. It's awesome. We put up Christmas lights on the house. Every year we do outside lights the weekend before Thanksgiving, and then inside decorations the weekend of Thanksgiving, or one after. When we first inflated this giant yard-balloon, I thought you were going to implode with joy. You were laughing so hard and jumping so high, and it was just so great. Over a balloon! This balloon reminds of a point I want to make, to you and your sister, for someday whenever you have your own rugrats. You'll have many thoughts about what you will or won't do, prior to kids. You'll say many 'I'll never's..' Everyone does. But you'll get put in your place like everyone else, you should know this. I vividly remember around Christmastime, when you were around 1 year old, telling your father that we'll NEVER buy those huge inflatable Christmas yard-balloons. They're hideous. They ruin Christmas's beauty. They're ugly commercialized YARD BALLOONS for craps sake! Then you turned a giddy little 3 year old and we realized it would make you squeal with joy. So we buy it, it's just what you do. When your kid nearly implodes with happiness over something, and it's within your means to buy it, you buy it. It's just what you doooo.
* Andrew, you've always sweat a lot. (stick with me, I'm going somewhere very significant here) Your head sweats buckets after you've been running around a short time. You look like you've just gotten out of the shower, basically. Recently your preschool teacher took me aside and said her and the other teacher were a little concerned over it, because you would sweat buckets when NONE of the other kids were, say in music class, running around playing. I've always been a little concerned over your sweating, in the back of my mine, my hyper-nervous mother self wanting to know if it indicated something more serious. I guess your teacher saying something to me (when they're usually too busy to say much more than hi and bye on normal days) just fanned those flames. I scheduled an appt for you the very next day, and your doctor said they could do bloodwork to rule out the serious things, such as diabetes or hyperthyroidism. As much as I hated the idea, I knew ruling things out was most important. Here's where I get very braggy....  you owned that blood-draw. You requested to watch Strawberry Shortcake (see below), and you laid on that table and barely made a peep. You gasped when the needle went in, but the 3 (!) nurses in the room, ready to hold down a typically wild 4 year old were unnecessary. They all just sort of stared and smiled at you, in awe at your zen-ness. When it was over, roughly 6 minutes of you laying there because your veins are so tiny, they all gushed praise over you. They sent you to the special-prize-drawer, just for blood-draw patients. Even as we left, another nurse stopped and told me to thank the Lord for you, which I do! I got you 2 balloons at Tom Thumb on the way home, a Starbucks lemonade, and the honors of choosing where we picked up dinner, which blew your mind. You wanted Joe's pizza. Tests came back and all was normal, you're just an extremely active sweater, like your mom/aunty/grandpa were as kids too I'm realizing. I hate it that you had to endure that for no apparent reason, but it was the right call to rule out serious things. I'm just grateful that all you'll hopefully remember is getting a half dozen fake tattoos and stickers and your very own cheese pizza.
* So, Strawberry Shortcake. You saw the brightly colored pink and blue thumbnail picture on Netflix one day and asked to watch it. Your mother had Strawberry Shortcake CURTAINS and matching bedspread as a kid, so of course I complied. Who am I to deny you of the joy I once knew??? Gender be damned. You LOVE it. LOVE. With all caps love. And who wouldn't?? It rains cookies and snows cupcakes in Berry-Land, for goodness sake! Your father is thankfully evolved enough to not throw a fit over the fact that you love this. However, I don't think he's evolved enough to be okay if I bought you a Barbie one day. (but I'm pretty sure you'll enjoy playing dolls someday, to make Avery happy of course) He simply gave me a 'really?' look, and went about his business. Good man. So, yes. Strawberry Shortcake kept your rapt attention while the nurses drew your blood, for which I am very thankful and happy.
* Avery, you love to run. You don't really watch where you're going, or plan out your path ahead of time. You simply throw your arms out and barrel ahead, full steam ahead, with your method of brakes simply being to crash into whatever's in your way. Makes for fun times. It will be a miracle if you make it to 3 without some major injury, but I'm trying to be optimistic. I've been buying more band-aids/antiseptic spray/gauze when I'm out and about and see it on sale. Something I never really thought to do when your bro was a reckless toddler, because no. Your brother did not barrel. He stepped lightly and carefully and with great method. A sort of game we play in the half hour before bedtime, when it's too dark to play outside like we normally would, is simply you (and sometimes Andrew) running full-speed between your father and I. We'll sit with our arms and legs open and waiting on opposite ends on the room and you'll run back and forth, shrieking and ecstatic. Your daddy will catch you and flail backwards, you'll scream with happiness, and he'll send you back to me. I'll catch you lightly and give you kisses and hugs and send you back to him. We each have our thing. Your bro is usually playing Chutes & Ladders by himself (a current obsession) or building/flying Lego airplanes, until he comes and joins in on the chaos. So yeah. Life's good.

Thankful doesn't even scratch the surface.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Two nuts.

It's been a while, blog! I really had such intentions with documenting all the funny and NOT SO funny aspects of life more, but life catches up with you. You think you have a lot to document with one kid, that you'll never be able to remember it all, then the guilt triples (at least) with two kids doing and saying noteworthy things every single day. You're too busy cleaning up the hurricane of destruction they leave in their wake to take the time to document. Or you're too busy zoning out to Gossip Girl during the daily merciful naptime because you're exhausted from said hurricane. And you feel REALLY badly about it. So, I'll wing it, as usual.
* Avery, I'll often need to distract you while you must endure unpleasantries..  such as mega-uber-disgusting diaper changes, or being buckled into your carseat. I'll either sing something you currently love (right now it's 'How much for that Puppy (insert any animal really) in the window?' or the theme to Sesame Street) or I'll ask you things. Something I ask you that is downright edible it's so cute, is 'Are you my sweetie?' And you smile SO BIG and shake your head yes. I COULD DIE. Every time.
* Andrew, when I am being super gushy with your sister, I always try to give you some extra side-love, to make sure you don't feel slighted. If I'm going nuts over how funny and exaggerated Avery is dancing to something, calling her the best dancer ever or whatnot, I'll ask you if you can dance too (usually your dancing is not as spontaneous as hers, you need some coaxing) and I'll call you a great dancer. I'll gush as much as one can to someone very seriously nodding their head, to no particular regular rhythm.
* Andrew, you're very hesitant to speak freely with non-family-member adults. Your preschool teachers will sometimes ask you a basic question during pick-up time, and you'll stare back at them, wordless.  You'll be smiling huge, of course, because you always are. But a smiling mute, regardless. We had a chat about this, which was kind of difficult because we're getting into the stage of creating a healthy fear/regard for strangers, but I hoped we squared it away. That you answer a grown-up's question if they ask you one. That same day we went to JCPenney. You waved and said BYE! to the clerk as we left, so loud and friendly. You immediately grabbed my hand and looked up at me and stage-whispered, 'Did you see that?!?! I said bye to that lady! Was that good??' :) You now say your goodbyes to your teachers loud and proud. No idea if you're a happy little mute during the day, but I'll take what I can get.
* Speaking of school, we got a note saying to have our kid practice their name and bring it back, if they were sent a handwriting practice sheet home with them in their folder. You've never received a practice sheet. Because you absolutely ROCK at writing your name. I want to brag so much on you about this. I vividly remember just learning to hold a crayon (marker? pencil? I can't even remember) and the just holding it took SO long to master. Much less maneuver it to make.. letters and words! It's kind of mind-blowing to someone who birthed you. No one else, you should probably know this sooner than later, but to me it's AMAZING. You can write! And read! And all of it will amaze your father and I, endlessly.
* Avery, you have the cutest little run. You're sort of precariously propelled forward, and your legs are moving as fast as they'll go..  Anyone watching who didn't know would cringe because you look like you'll face-plant 100% of the time. But you rarely do. See, that's the beautiful thing about being an almost-18 month old. You really don't have to do much to impress us. Your brother is over in the corner, reading and writing, and perfecting his world domination plan...  while all you have to do to gain an audience is run across the room, screeching like the cutest little velociraptor of all time. It's a glorious time in your life, that you should be embracing. Unfortunately, it's hard to indulge in this wonderful time when you've got at least 6 teeth popping through at this very moment. It's a mixture of OH DEAR GOD that looks painful to gigantic relief because THAT'S WHY. That's why you're so indescribably cranky for much of the day. That's why you scream bloody murder, sitting in a pack-n-play FULL of toys, while I catch a pee-break. That's why you hit things, either us or inanimate objects when you realize the hitting of people only cause them to walk away. Poor coffee table.
* It's not all coffee-table abuse over here, Avery, you say and wave HI! every time you enter the room. Regardless of if it's the morning and we haven't seen you in 12 hours, or if you just left for 5 seconds to go retrieve a toy. Doesn't matter. Loves it. And you say BUH-BYE with sweet waves just as enthusiastically. You'll also mirror my volume. A lot of the time at preschool pickup/drop-off, when I yell bye to Andrew, over the sound of other kids, you'll say it JUST as loudly.. which usually causes at least one bystander to go 'awwwww!'...  You'll also bless anyone who sneezes. Immediately after they sneeze, you'll say 'bes you!' You say 'UH OH' about a zillion times a day.. many opportunities there..
You love to say anything with an S or SH sound.. like cheese, rice, trash, mice... etc etc.. You exaggerate the S/SH sound, and yeah, cute. Hundreds of others.. those are the highlights..
* Today I made kale chips. For no one other than myself, because come on. But, on a whim, I put 2 kale chips in your lunch sandwich, Andrew. You like a little crunch in your sandwich, as any good southern boy should, so I tried it. You instantly opened the sandwich and said WHAT. I told you they were kale, they were good and to try them. You put them aside and asked for pickles instead. I said no. You eventually tried them, and YOU LIKED THEM. You asked for more. It was at that moment that I desperately wanted to go tell the Me of 3-4 years ago that it would be ok. This child who only wanted to eat crackers and well.. crackers.. would someday ask for more kale chips. It would be okaaaay! But it ain't all kale-chip glitz and glamour over here. Avery, at this most glorious moment, you were sticking a half-eaten popsicle in your hair.. smashing blackberry chunks into a fine paste. Ahhh. Balance.
* Andrew, you recently got so tickled over a bring-your-bear day at school. You were hysterically laughing, telling about how the bears got into everything while you and the class were outside playing. The teachers had placed them in different places, eating Skittles, climbing the shelf, etc..  You thought this was beyond funny. So, that right there made my decision to do the Elf on the Shelf this year, for Christmas. It's something that I thought definitely would have been a lot of effort on my part, last year, with very little recognition. You were just too young to get it, I think. But this year, it is SO ON. If that $20 Elf can make you laugh like that every morning, then it'll be money/effort well spent. And if you end up with a fear of Elves/midgets/etc, well, it's a totally normal fear that we can someday talk about over grown-up juice.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

52ish months

Oh Love,
These little letters to you are becoming a little more difficult to compose. You are a 4 year old. You have FOUR years under your belt. You do so much. You say so much. You say so much in the things you don't say or do. These letters are increasingly difficult because you're just so damn complex. Your sister is too, of course, but hers are still in the easy-phase.. the 'you love avocado! you clap along to music! you love fart sounds! you sign milk!' phase of things. Very black and white, no-trouble-deciphering. You, my boy, are very much entering the gray phase of matters, that all us adults exist in. SCARY! Your emotions change in very intense complicated ways, hourly. And it's very clear a lot of the time how nonstop your  wheels are turning. Let's just get right to it...
* The other day, from the backseat of the car while we were driving somewhere, you said 'hey mommy, I know how to spell nothing!'..  (me) 'ok, spell it!'...  'N-U-F-N. nothing (nuffin)' EXACTLY.
* You LOVE to inform me of Avery's antics. If she's doing something troublesome, you absolutely live to tell me about it. It's a concept I can 100% understand, as a fellow firstborn child. When your younger sibling is about to get into trouble, it's just good business that you be the one who helps it along. So, one time while I was cooking dinner, stupidly giving Avery the benefit of the doubt and not having her contained somewhere (pack-n-play/exersaucer..), you started screaming 'OH! MOMMY! AVERY! LOOK!'.. your frantic-ness was too intense to even form whole sentences, so I knew some bad shit was about to go down. Avery had used an ottoman to assist her up on top of a glass-topped side table, and she was perilously perched there with a very concerned face of 'this was a good idea at first, but now I don't know what to do heeeeelp!'..  So I picked her little adventurous hiney up and praised you for alerting me about it. You glowed, obviously. It's a fine line though, because coming up in elementary school years, you'll quickly learn that no one likes a tattler. During playdates, you'll often run over to me and say something like 'he pushed me and I told him to stop and he didn't!' or 'he's going up the slide very dangerously, but I'm not' .. And while sometimes, it's helpful to be alerted of such things, a lot of the time it worries me that you're on a slippery slope to becoming the class tattle-tale. You mean well, of course, but it's something we're working on..  I think I say 'just worry about yourself' about a dozen times a day. But then I also am way too dependent on you to inform me of Avery's thrill-seeking whereabouts.. so it's probably not your fault if you're a little confused! Sorry.
* You find such joy in the simplest things. Just this morning, you went to go get dressed after breakfast, and 10 seconds later you came running back out of your room, still in Superman pjs, squealing - 'look! I'm in blue pants, a blue shirt, AND blue underwear! I'm a blue boy!!' You laughed and laughed as if this were the greatest thing you'd ever discovered. You love to find different shapes in your food.. you'll eat some bites of a cracker or something and hold it up and say what it looks like, and man oh man, it always looks exactly like what you say it does. You get so excited when I add something to your plate at mealtimes that is not normally added.. like a pickle spear or something, and when you sit down and see it you clasp your hands together and scream OH BOY! It really takes so little.
* You take great joy in the responsibility of pushing Avery in the stroller. When we're about to go on a walk, you always ask me 'can I please push my baby?'.. as if this isn't the routine every time, and when I say yes (because I'll take any opportunity to come off as an awesome mom) you get so excited. And you know to hand the stroller-reigns over to me when we cross the street, never any questions asked.
* You recently had a short 1-day bout of diarrhea. It had been a while since you had ever had it, the last time being so far back that you had obviously forgotten what it was like, and you were scared. You called me in (you've been doing your business without my knowledge or assistance for a long time now) to help you wipe, and you were crying and shaking, not because you were physically ill, but because you were scared of what just happened to you. You called it 'dynamite'. And that intense fear of having 'dynamite' again had such a bad mental effect on you that you refused to poop for almost 2 days. This.. was not a fun time. You refused to eat and literally laid in the floor of your room, moaning and whining and saying how your belly hurt, refusing to go do the deed. We tried everything short of bribing you to just GO, but eventually you went (yes, I totally did give you Miralax water to help things along..), and you practically cackled laughing when you were done. You ranted out loud, saying 'I was so scared of the dynamite! but it was normal poop! I had nuffin to be scared of!!! hahahaha!!!' Oh yes. You talked about this for days, I kid you not. How you were scared to poop and then decided to be brave, and it was all ok. I hope you can see how this lesson can be applied in many areas of life. Life's too short to be afraid of a little dynamite.
* You can spell like nobody's business. Which makes communicating to your father very difficult. Once you have your own child who is old enough to know what's what, you will understand that it's just best for everyone to SPELL things. Don't even THINK of uttering any buzz-words such as cookie, ice cream, movie, bath, bedtime, etc etc..  It's a sad new chapter in life when you can no longer successfully pull the wool over your own kids eyes. Not sure how, because we never taught you (oh hell no, we don't teach you how to spell the buzz-words), but we spelled the word 'Wii' the other day, and you perked up and asked us if we were talking about the wii, and seriously can I play it right now, please oh pleeeeease??! It's totally game over at a certain point when you can't spell things in front of your own kid. At one point, when you weren't a star-speller, you would simply ask us 'what does that spell? why are you spelling that?'.. SO, I would give an equally simple answer, 'we spell things because we don't want you to hear what we're talking about.' This simple reply seemed to please you, because you said OK! and went about your business. Those days are over, but it was nice while it lasted.
* You are an expert cleaner. I think you find it somewhat virtuous to get a room as tidy as possible. Of course, it's never just out of the blue.. but when I ask you to pick up a room, you whip that room into shape! Sometimes, as I am pouring praise onto you, it's mixed with a bit of embarrassment because the room truly looks more tidy than if I had attempted it myself. This is a very handy trait, my love, for your sister is a walking hurricane of destruction, so you bring great balance to this family.

You bring much love, too. We LOVE YOU!

Sunday, July 15, 2012

14 months.. and then some

Dear Daughter,
So, the other day, I called your father in a bit of an end of the day worn-down frenzy.. rehashing the day's chaos in what I thought was a perfect description of you. I told him 'Baby. It's like we're raising a baby T-Rex. We're feeding her, encouraging her to grow, and get stronger by the day, knowing FULLY that she's going to turn on us someday. She's going to turn on us HARD.' Can we just think about that for a moment? Can we just call this blog post a day with that, ok? The end! It's been fun, bye!
Love, Ma
No? Ok. I'm serious though. Aside from the small weak arms, you are a little baby T-Rex. You destroy most everything in your path. You let everyone within 100 feet of you know when you are displeased with something. It is incredibly, painfully obvious that you gain strength by the day. It was humorous when you started to stand up in the middle of the room, unassisted, not holding onto anything. You'd stand there for maybe 5 seconds and then drop. But you didn't just stand there... you stood there, laughing maniacally. As in, like a MANIAC.
You have many nicknames around here. We regularly call you The Baby Beast..  when Andrew and I are playing (or ok fine, I'm resting my eyes while he's kicking ass and taking names at Angry Birds on his iPad..) and we hear you waking up on the baby monitor, him or I always say 'sounds like the Beast is waking!'.. We call you little stinker quite often, because you are. And toot. SUUCH a toot. And lately, there's been a lot of 'Danger-Baby' being referenced. Of course there's 'Baby-Saurus' being tossed around all day.. that's just a given. Are you getting my subtle hints to your very specific and very unlike your brother personality? Are you, DANGER BABY?? On days that you exhaust me, and there are many, I try to laugh about it. I try to say 'hey thanks! you make me a more well-rounded parent! you are so very thoughtful!' Yes, you are thoughtful every day.
I shouldn't forget to mention to 'Smigel' though..  a reference to a bear-walk you use when you REALLY want to get somewhere quick, and walking would be too risky and crawling too slow. You become all-limbs, and well, you remind your father and I of a cave-dwelling Lord of The Rings character. You get it honest in this fam.
Your brother is getting way more confident with how rough he can be around you - pouncing on you sometimes, and trying to get you to roll with him across the room. I supervise as best I can, because I don't think you're quite old enough for me to NOT supervise any kind of rough play..  but I also try really hard to just let the chips land where they may. You really take the roughness like a champ, something I know for a fact that he wouldn't have at the same age. No one was around to rough him up, and he was our tender delicate firstborn, so if he bumped a dimply knee on the coffee table, there were tears a plenty. You? You (regularly) fall off things that aren't meant to be fallen off of. face-first, usually upon a puzzle piece or Lego. And you fail to bat an eye. It does concern me how you feel such little pain..  but I try to reason with myself that this is likely just a second-born trait. Your survival skills have simply been tested much earlier in life!
You have fully entered the very frustrating very tiring 12-18 month tantrum-y phase of things..  being VERY insistent with any given demand, and putting a string on unintelligible syllables together to tell me said demand, and when I choose to not let you play with the butcher's knife you're demanding, you flail. You hit. You scream. You basically lose your everloving 14 month old shits all over the place. Sometimes.. I will admit, I laugh. I don't ever let you see me laugh, I turn my back, but it's just funny. This little indignant person going ballistic over the craziest things. And I do realize that sentence can be applied at any age up to and including 4.
And even though most of the time I ignore the bulk of your acting-out, for you are 14 months old and saying your first-middle name combo really is a waste of breath, sometimes I do say 'Avery!' in a shocked exasperated tone. And you CRY. SO HARD. And I think it might be the cutest thing in the entire universe, and I love it, and I do not feel bad about it because I get to comfort you and siiiiiiigh...  greatness.
Speaking of unintelligible syllables, you also own some words. Of course there's Dada. Your ultimate favorite. He who does NOT wipe your bum 5 days a week, nor shake the endless sticky food-debris from your person thrice daily..  but is still pretty awesome, so we'll let it slide. You scream Dada at every opportunity, and bellow it when you see him. And when he points at me and asks 'who's that?'..  you humble me with an indifferent blank stare, and looking somewhere randomly to my left.. as if, No, I do not know this selfless saint of a person who ensures my daily survival.. Next question, I'm hungry! You'll say Mama if we show you Elmo though. So, ok. You say Bu-bu for Brother, which lately has been honed with a little bit of a Bru-bu... which, cute! Up until last week you'd scream Momomomomomo for Water (why I do not know)..  but it's morphed into Yayayaya. Maybe it'll be Wawawa next week, which would force me to finally recognize your genius. There's Bird (Ba!) Ball (Ba!) Dog (Da!) Cat (Ca!) Car (Ca!) Grandpa (Caca!) Cracker (Caca!) Mum-Mum (Mumu!!) Puzzle (Pu-pu!) Book (Boo!) Fa! (Flower or Fan!) Belly (Ba!) You can point to your belly.. which is pretty much the cutest thing ever. I'll ask you where your belly is, and your head will whip downwards, your huge big cheeks becoming even more huge, and you have this look of 'it's down here somewheres..'  You grab your hair when I ask you where it is. You stick your fingers in your mouth when I ask you where your mouth is. You slowly locate your feet when I ask you where they are. You grab and inspect your long little fingers when I ask you where they are. You sometimes get your nose. You give dainty precocious high-fives. You do 3-piece puzzles. Sometimes when you're having issues with a particular piece, you'll take another piece out, and try to slam that problem piece in that spot..  you are a problem-solver! Even if it's on a completely wrong crazy path, you make the effort, which I love. You think it's the greatest thing to simply hand me something, because I emphatically say Thank Yooooou! So you'll find something small, a random toy or something, bring it to me, and then look up at me with this sweet expression, waiting for me to thank you for giving it to me. CUTE. And oh my WORD, how you dance. You got this trait from my mother..  no doubt. I recently said that out loud, in front of your Grandma, how you inherited your dance moves from your other Grandma, and she corrected me saying that she can dance, too..  but, NO. Just, hands down a thousand times NO. I want you to feel connected to my mother when you dance, because that's what she did. Every day, at every opportunity, she danced. Humiliating us girls in later years, but thrilling us in early ones. I remember having afternoon dance parties (Michael Jackson comes to mind) around Kindergarten age..  It's what I remember most vividly about her, and what I adore most about you. Your arms start flailing wildly, you turn your waist to the beat, you bop your head and I am just made the happiest mother in town.
I'm sorry this post is so belated, but you do so much..  I can't keep up anymore!
You challenge us and delight us and we love you so so so much.

Monday, April 16, 2012

4 Years Old.

This is a few weeks late. Or.. a month and a half late.. same diff! I know.... very unlike me! Last year, I am fairly certain your birthday novella was written and saved in draft a week or so before your birthday. This was when your sister was safely contained in my uterus. Things are very different now, as you know!
Son, the last year with you has been quite the ride. QUITE. Months 36 through around....42? They were hard. For you. For me. For innocent bystanders in Super Target parking lots. You were fully capable of making your own decisions about PRETTAY much everything. You were fully verbal. Combine them and you get a volcanic reaction of 3-year old tantrum molten death lava. Old enough to tell me where to stick it, yet too young to really get why that is not a cool thing to say. Enter: your sister. A sweet little nugget of NEEDINESS. You cashed in on this neediness at every turn, waiting until my boob was firmly in her mouth until you decided to get royally pissed off about something, requiring me to disarm whatever bomb you activated while breastfeeding at the same time yaaaaaysooofun! I really honestly thought we were going to need to look into family therapy/counseling.. it was that bad. You really were affected by the vast life change called Avery. You were so used to our relatively easy-going VERY predictable lifestyle, the new unpredictablities that a new baby introduced were not very welcome by you. Don't get me wrong, you were always very sweet and loving and just doting to her, but you treated ME vastly different. I got a lot of flack. A lot of glares and new unhappy tones and defiance. Time passed though, as it does. Something happened. I don't really know.. the new-ness wore off, perhaps? You realized you still lived a charmed life? Whatever happened, I am glad it did.
You are such a joy. Just really, an absolute joy. The things you say!! You make me want to gush to total strangers with your overt politeness. I don't, but oh how I want to. You are such a little pleaser. You love to be praised. One time, I don't remember the exact wording you used, but it was made abundantly clear that you thrived off our praise when you point-blank told us that 'when you say you're proud of me, I feel happy!' Directness that you only get from a preschooler.
We try to reciprocate when we can, as far as being direct. We still do a lot of spelling around the house.. such as 'are there any more c-o-o-k-i-e-s left?'.. and sometimes you'll ask us 'hey, what does that mean?' And we'll say that it means we don't want you to know what we're talking about. And you process that very matter-of-factedly, saying oh okay!
Lately, I've been trying to wean you off the ketchup. Not all the way, of course, is IS a harmless condiment. But I do want you to be able to actually TASTE more of the food we give you, un-drenched in ketchup. So you get one (or 1.5..) refill and it goes back in the fridge. Once it's in the fridge, it doesn't come back out. Tonight, you asked for a refill, I told you it was already back in the fridge, and you very pleasantly said 'okay then, I'll just eat my food without it like a big boy!' Rewind a year ago, and denying you a ketchup refill would assuredly have resulted in Dinnertime Throwdown 2011. It wouldn't have been pretty. And now? God I love 4.
You love to remind us just how much you love us. I don't mean this in an abstract way, I mean that exactly how I said it. You will do something, anything, from putting your dirty clothes up to finishing all your applesauce, and you'll say 'ya know why I did ___? Because I love you so much!' with the sweetest of smiles. It's really just too much.
You help out at every turn. You get the door for me coming and going, you put all Avery's used bottles in the sink, you pick your clothes up, you fold the rags in the laundry basket, you pick up your toys, you are 100% independent when it comes to most all self-help tasks...  I am telling you, 4 is what I've been waiting for! I want to just write every cute little thing down on a scrap of paper, pack them in a jar, and leave on the doorstep of strangers bringing home their first baby... to tell them that these first weeks/months will seem to break them, physically and emotionally, but 4. It's coming. And it's AWESOME.
Thank you for being so awesome. For being such a sweet sweet boy, for making me so very proud to be at the forefront of it all. I feel privileged. Happy BIG 4th Birthday, sweets.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

my squirts

This post is so beyond overdue. I really wish I was the type of put-together mom who wrote down little moments throughout the day..  and folded them on stationery paper and put them in a special mason jar, for reminiscing in style down the road. But, I do what I can to get everyone fed and changed and loved. That'll do it for now! I hope I can remember all the cute (SO CUTE) little daily occurrences that I told myself to remember...   In no particular order...
* Avery, you are such a chatty little lady. From the moment you are up in the morning (typically between 6:30 and 7:00am) you are saying 'mamamama' or 'dada!' or 'ababababa'. So conversational, all the time. You really do know 'dada'. We say 'where's dada?' and you find him and smile 100% of the time. Why you don't really do this when we say 'where's mama' (she who wipes your butt more than any other) is beyond me. You find 'where's brother' 100% of the time as well. But MAMA? You think it's just heeee-larious to look to the sky or start messing with your socks or something.
You say 'baba' for A LOT of things. At first, we thought you were really saying your version of 'brother' (baba!) or 'baby' (which you seek out pictures of ALL the time).. or 'bottle'.. but now we know you just love to say baba! We justify it every time. :) It reminds me of your brother, when he was older, like 12-13 months old, he said 'GA' for everything. I'm talking 100% of the things. I remember being a little concerned, worried he'd never differentiate between.. anything. A kindergartner who communicated solely with one syllable: GA. And now, of course, he's an almost four-year old, with an ornery streak who tells me very clearly 'sometimes I want to break Avery's toys, and sometimes I don't'. Go fig.
*Avery, you are also quite the little sensory-seeker. You absolutely LOVE to be in the middle of our big soft bed, or sat back in the middle of the couch. You get this big smile, realizing where you are, and almost immediately throw yourself forwards or sideways.. then backwards, not thinking about it for one second. It scares me sometimes, imagining you hurling yourself backwards on any other surface, but I am pretty confident you'll keep it contained to the couch... here's hoping! You crawl headfirst into soft things, too - a blanket hanging over the side of the couch, or the soft ottoman we have. Mommy's stomach. You absolutely live for a Curious George doll, that Andrew got for Christmas. And probably the most ... what's the word .. REVOLTING effect of this sensory madness is the way you eat. CHILD. You love to feeeeel your food. If I make the error or accidentally dripping one droplet of puree onto your highchair tray? Your sensory-sonar finds it almost instantly and your big open palm smacks it and frantically spreads it around the tray/anything nearby. It's your happy place. Messes. Can't say I am accustomed to this trait, as your brother was famous for refusing anything wet/squishy for months on end. He did not crawl in grass until well over a year old (as I wrung my hands in the background). You love to. You crawl in that dead scratchy grass, and then you eat it.
* Andrew, you are definitely without a doubt going through a daddy-preference stage. Unlike past stages of you preferring him. this particular one is MUCH more tolerable for me, because you aren't hating on me. Yay! You're just getting so big and empathetic and kind...  of course, you've always been this way, but we've gone through quite a few stages where the rage of communication barrieres between us was directly focused at me. And me only. This time, when we ask you if you want to go certain places with ME or Daddy, you almost always say 'Daddy. But don't worry, I still love you.' Warms my tired beat-down mommy heart, it does.
* Avery, you are a clapper. You just love to clap. And I tell ya, there really is no cuter sound in the world than a baby clapping. Tiny pudgy hands clapping together to make the tiniest little sound... pretty sure I squeal every time. You love to clap SO much, that you try to do it while taking a bottle. Sometimes, you'll be half asleep while drinking your bottle, and one hand will be curled up by your face, and apparently the other WANTS to clap.. so it'll be smacking into your own forehead, then eventually my face... until your brain wires cross the right way and your other hand gets the message to join in. It's amusing watching you clap your hands, one arm hooked through mine, holding your bottle. So talented. You love to wave, also. This is fairly new.. and again, I squeal over the cuteness. You LOVE to go outside and when a car comes down the street, I'll say 'Car, Avery! Car!!!' and your head will swivel in the direction of the sound, and your hand whips up to start waving, immediately. The car might still be 10 houses down, but no matter. You wave with such enthusiasm. Your wave started out as sort of a cute little outstretched hand/arm movement. Now it's a full-on pageant wave that could not be cuter. Every time someone enters the room, you wave. Such a polite little girl.
....  In all honestly, this post was sitting in draft for WEEKS. Not joking. Life is just so so busy... and I do feel very guilty about not recording every day's note-worthy moments. But they come at me like an avalanche. How could I record it all? TOO much. Andrew, I am about to start writing your epic 4-year old letter, ALL about you. I know I won't capture it all, or really do justice to all that happen's on any given day, but I'll try. The day's are just filled to overflowing with funny moments and cuteness. Also with stress and not having enough hands/help, and relying on strong caffeine, and sometimes envying the office-working crowd. I won't deny that for a second. But damn, I am grateful more than anything. I get to see you two squirts everyday, ALL day, and while you are well versed with what buttons to push, you make me happier than I could ever have prayed for. Here's to better documentation, and stronger coffee!

Monday, January 9, 2012

8 months

My girl!
8 months and some-odd days old.
You are a crawling BEAST. And I feel perfectly justified in using that term - BEAST - because you are intense. You see something, you get it. You crawl to very tight spaces, lodging yourself there, I think just to give me a mini-heart-attack when I re-enter a room and cannot locate you. You really enjoy your brother's room, I think because of the sensory-friendly thick rug on his floor. And of course all the choking hazards. Even when he is playing with you in the living room (as I am in the kitchen washing dishes/cooking meals, typically) I notice you start heading for his room. You just feel cozy there!
You became an 'official' crawler on Dec 27. You had been going for maybe 1-2 feet at a time before that, but it was this day that is was WITHOUT A DOUBT your preferred mode of getting around. As in, it's time to latch the toilets, people!! I think this is neat because your bro officially started crawling on Dec 28. He was exactly 9.5 months old. You were 8 months and 1 day old. It took random objects like the Dallas Morning News to get him moving.. but you really wanted to GO for a while. You had been pretty frustrated with JUST SITTING for quite a while, so even though my life now is a kachillion times more difficult, it's a relief too. You're just happier now. Not content to stay in one place and not move on to the next thing...... sounds a little like my mother.  And, of course, your mother. You're so doomed.
The crawling is prettttty damn cute though. I think maybe it's just because you're smaller than Andrew was when he started crawling, well, smaller from the waist up at least.. your thighs are forces to be reckoned with. Your bottom starts swaying faster side-to-side as you go, and eventually you sort of halfway topple over on your face because your back motor was starting to go faster than what your top motor is yet capable of. CUTE. I forgot how cute pudgy little inwards bent arms are, while crawling furiously on a covert mission to go suck on some Duplos.
You do get tired of the self-powered mobility though, by the day's end. Around the time you get your pre-bedtime bottle, I sometimes try to get you to crawl over to the couch (where I feed you).. you will try your best to follow me (usually from the front playroom), but end up stopping 6 feet in, sitting there and just crying. Saddest thing ever of all time. Like, 'pick me UP mother, I have been at it ALL DAY HERE.' So, I do. And your knees are taking it a bit hard - they are red and a borderline scabbed. Nothing that requires bandages (as if they'd stay on for .5 seconds anyways) but a little sad to see, nonetheless. You would think your thick layer of leg fat would be an advantage, but no. We just have to work on getting those knees a little more callused!
You LOVE the same game we played with your brother when he was a baby - the 'I'm gonna get you!' game.. one of us (usually your father) will hold you, while the other (usually me) will chase you, screaming the name of the game: I'm gonna get you!!! You love this and laugh SO hard.
You also love it when I put you/find you in a position where you're on your stomach, and I sniff you like a dog.. really fast short breaths, all over the back/side of your neck. You giggle and it's just the most fun EVER.
Still, your brother holds the power of making you smile and/or stopping your cries by his mere presence. He doesn't even have to DO anything. It's just bonus when he happens to be hysterically laughing over something, which makes you absolutely light up. You look up to him so hard.
You are INTENSE. In.. many ways. We try not to put our face in yours, because we'll end up with an assortment of injuries. You SLAP and smack and scratch. All very innocent, of course, but damn. It hurts! You are just a strong, intense little lady! It makes me very nervous, putting you around other babies, because of course you just have no idea what 'gentle' means or how to behave like a civilized little person. You want to wreak havoc all the time. If Andrew was ever like this, I sure do not remember. In fact, I am pretty certain he was the opposite. A gentle giant, if you will. Already giving sweet slobbery kisses and gentle loving.. NOT YOU. If there's something to be knocked over, you will do so - quickly and violently. We call you by a new sweet nickname around here.. Destroya!
We learned, just tonight actually!, that we have to stop playing a specific game with you. Like, immediately. Lately, we've found great fun in holding you, facing us, and very slightly tipping you back, which is all the prompting you need to full-on HURL yourself backwards. We obviously are holding onto you the entire time, but when you fling yourself backwards, we kiss your neck and you laugh and sunshine shoots out of your bellybutton and all is happy in the world. We found out the hard way that you have generalized this game to be played anywhere, including the bathtub. Where the sides are hard and porcelain and concussion-giving. You threw yourself back SO hard. Daddy got you right up and tried to play it off, saying 'oopsie! bonka bonka!' .. I was behind him with my hands cupped over my mouth, forgetting to breathe. All is well, but no more of that game. Should've seen it coming.. a game that involves flinging yourself backwards into the unknown can never end well.... rookies!
You make this indescribably cute gummy grin face all the time. It really means a lot to me... see, when your brother was 9 months old, on Christmas Day (I remember because I got it on tape and viewed it psychotically over and over..) Andrew made the EXACT same face, while opening a gift. I remember thinking that I might have just died a little bit over the cuteness of that particular face he made. And I don't remember him making that face much more. You make that face ALL the time - everyday! It's amazing! Such a sweet little gift.
You still take 3 naps a day - trying to get you to take 2 longer ones instead, but it's hit and miss. You just can't make it that long - you start yawning and rubbing your eyes about an hour after being awake. You go to bed every night at 7:30 or so, and wake up anywhere between 6 and 7am.
You wear most all size 12 months. I am guessing you weigh around 22 lbs. You were 20 lbs about 2 months ago.. so that's just a guess for what you are now. Could very well be more though, just by looking at the girth of your thighs.
You are a an absolute JOY to all of us. We eat you up - you could not be cuter, or smarter. How we got so lucky to have two beautiful smart kind healthy children is still beyond me.

Happy 8 months (and 2 weeks) Nugs!