Thursday, July 23, 2009

Happy 21 Months, Helen!

Holy crap, Helen,

You have turned into Sleeping Beauty and I love, love, love it. You see, even though your dad is an absolute champ about splitting morning weekend duty with me (in general, he wakes up with the first child on Sunday, I wake up with the first child on Saturday), I never feel like I actually get to sleep in because I feed you first thing in the morning. So, even though I get to go back to sleep, my sleep is interrupted. But now?!? Every since we got back from vacation, you have decided that you like to sleep, and sleep you do. Your record is 10:30. To be fair, you went to bed late that night, but still, this is fantastic. Basically, you sleep 12 hours from the time you go to bed, which means I really have to try and get you in bed by 8:00 so that I don't have to wake you before I go to work just to feed you. Now, if only you would rub off on your brother in this respect!

You are the master of two word phrases, and have strung together a fair number of sentences. For example, you've been known to say "easy does it" and "pipe down". Only, when anyone else says "pipe down", you start screaming. When you say it, you hope Connor stops screaming. Almost every night when I put you in your crib for bed I can hear you chanting over the monitor for a few minutes. Your most common phrase is "hold you, Mommy" which is said in the saddest voice possible trying to lure me back into your room. You also can be heard chanting "oh no, oh no" "sit down, baby", and any number of other things.

When the Georgetown Early Learning folks came by, they told me you were the best talker that they had worked with in their studies. I told them that perhaps that made up for the fact that you failed the test - for the first time ever! For this study, Elmo tried to teach you how to stack cups of descending sizes into one another. You watched the television patiently as Elmo played, but when it was your turn, you happily grabbed the cup and demanded some water. Then, when no one got you water, but instead we all just sort of stared at you thinking "do what Elmo told you to do, little lady", you said "from the faucet". And you repeated this a couple of times "Water...from the faucet" and then you marched over to your little kitchen and showed us what a faucet was, pretended to drink, and then offered each of us a pretend drink, and then said "Helly needs some water". Then one of the researchers asked you if there was anything else you could do with the cup, and you sat down and started to stack them. Only, rather than stacking them in order, you stacked them until you got to one that was too big, and instead of taking out some cups and putting the big one in its place, you banged it on top of the others as if sheer brute force could cause the cup to fit inside the others announcing "too big, too big!". The researchers told me this was super helpful as they could tell what you were thinking, when normally they cannot tell what someone your age is thinking. Now I'm really interested in their conclusions about whether children can learn from television.

You love to chase rabbits. When you see one, you hold your little pointer up to your mouth and say "Shhhh...rabbit". Your dad and you chase these bunnies around our yard regularly.

You can now anticipate what is going to happen with a bit much precision, and this is not good for me. For example, when we head upstairs for naptime, you might say "no nap".

You are the master at extending bedtime. We read, you play, we nurse, I put you in bed. During this time, you might ask to say good-night to Daddy just one more time, and to Connor, and you might do this a dozen times. Then, if I've managed to get you into bed, you might call out "Helly made poopie", which may or may not be true - but because the consequences of it being true require a diaper change, I go in to check on you. You also duped me one night by saying "drop baby", because I think you know that if you do, in fact, drop your baby, I will come give it back to you - mostly because I'm sure baby is at least partially responsible for your awesome sleeping.

The crew you sleep with now includes two babies, 1 mouse, 5 dogs, and 1 sheep. Many nights, you will tell me to take one baby back and put her away.

You continue to be stubborn, and now include in your repertoire the cutest little arm folding over your chest when you really need to make a point. You also throw food with great precision, enjoy washing your hands in your water glass, and ask "why" all the time. These are not my favorite characteristics, but we get by.

You love to go swimming, but what you really love is the warm shower afterward. You like to pretend to float in the little pool and go underwater. Often, when we are in the big pool, you will demand I let go of you so you can float all by yourself, because apparently you believe you can swim. You can't. I humor you by letting go and placing my knee so you can stand on it, but as soon as you realize you are standing on my knee and not floating, you realize it was a ridiculous request, and either go back to jumping into the pool or playing on the stairs.


Monday, July 20, 2009

Happy 47 months, Connor!

Dear Connor,

Oh dear am I late this month. You see, we went on vacation, which resulted in me staying up late every night before vacation to get work done and then returning from vacation only to stay up late every night to get work done. It doesn't seem like much of a vacation if I have to work all the hours anyway. So that, my friend, is this month's excuse for such a late note.

This month, you were mostly a joy, and then you were less awesome when you decided that all rules in the house should favor bigger people over smaller people, essentially meaning that Helen always got the short end of the stick. What you fail to understand is that even if I did not love your sister (which I do), I would never go with rules that favored tall over small because often, I am the smallest person. Sorry dude, you're stuck with your sister, and you have to be nice, and I'm not bending on this one. Ever.

You remembered you owned an ATM machine, a present from one of your nannies (a thorougly inappropriate present, I might add), and proceeded to drive me completely insane. Really? It's fun to just push quarters into it endlessly and hear that annoying beep? Every time I put it back away on a high shelf so you wouldn't see it, you asked for it again. Sometimes, with this really sad "Mommy, I'm very sad because I think my ATM machine got lost, even though I put it away when I was done playing with it". So out it would come again. It's saving grace is that one morning when you woke up, you were content to play with it for a good 20 minutes letting your dad and I sleep in. That was nice. Nice enough that I think your dad is seriously considering lifting the TV ban, but that's not going to happen anytime soon. While you continue to wake regularly at 6:30, your sister has become the chief imitator of Sleeping Beauty in the house.

You made your dad and I burst out laughing when we were in the car one day and Helen was babbling about something. You apparently were tired of the line of conversation she was pursuing, so you shouted "Helen, do you see that rabbit", which worked exactly as you wanted it to. It distracted Helen into looking out her window for the rabbit, and losing her train of thought. It was nice work, I have to admit. Just like everyone else in the household, you know that Helen LOVES rabbits.

You also showed an alarming amount of compassion one day when we were with your friend. You had plucked three petals from a magnolia flower on a tree at the park (which you do not get kudos for as I has asked you to stop destroying the tree a few minutes earlier). Your friend wanted them, but you wouldn't give them to her. Eventually, she took them from your hands and tore them up. You were pretty upset by this and asked why she would do that. I told you that maybe [friend] was having a bad day. As it happens, we were on our way home, so you hopped in the car with the promise that we would find more flower petals when we got home. On the way home you said "I think [friend] tore up my flower petals because I didn't share with her the first time she asked. Next time, I will pick three flower petals: one for me, one for Helen, and one for [frined]." I thought you were showing sensitivity beyond your tender years to come up with this explanation, and was really impressed by the problem solving skills you displayed. Of course, the next words out of your mouth were "But if [friend] tears hers up, I will not give her mine to destroy." And, I suppose that's fair, if not the most gracious sentiment in the world.

You have announced on more than one occasion "I do NOT like to be told what to do!" and your father responded rather quickly "then you'll have to start making better decisions". Let's just say, you're still being told what to do, though I think everyone appreciates the sentiment.

You have taken to calling me Elaine rather regularly, which I think is completely funny. Your sister actually started it, but you seem to enjoy following suit. It makes me laugh every time.

We went on vacation with your dad's family (separate post coming on that), but I must say, you LOVE the beach. Love it. You ask to live there regularly. I'm not sure there was ever a day you were ready to leave. You even enjoyed getting socked in the face with salt water and begged to go out even deeper. It was a really fun time.


Sunday, July 19, 2009

Hey Internet - Want to know how awesome my kids are?

Last night we went to a baseball game and got home around 10:00. It's now almost 10:00 AM and Helen is still sleeping. She rocks.

Connor? He slept in 15 minutes this morning, getting up at 6:45 instead of 6:30. Not quite so awesome - but he did entertain himself in his kitchen until 7:15, which was pretty good.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Dearly Departed

Our beloved minnow "Connor fish" died last Friday, the day before we went on vacation. I cannot believe I didn't record when Connor fish came into our lives, but it was sometime before Helen was born. The fish cost less than a dime, and the pet store owner fed me all this baloney about how I needed to keep the water a certain temperature, feed it a certain amount each day, etc.

Despite paying attention to none of these rules, Connor fish lived an impressive two years. Toward the end, Helen was pretty much the only family member besides me that noticed the fish, but the fish didn't seem to mind.

I alerted Connor to the fact that his namesake fish was not long for the world when I noticed the fish floating strangely. Helen hasn't mentioned the fish, so who knows if she even realizes it's gone.

Long ago, I struck a deal with Ed that he could get Connor a tadpole once the fish died, but Ed purchased "frog planet" before the fish had expired. At this point, the tadpoles are total duds. They've been in the house for at least six months and they still don't look much different from fish.

Yesterday, Ed took the little people to the pet store and they returned with two koi for our pond. Today, I noticed one of them darting around, but not the other. Tomorrow I'll do a little more investigative work to see what's up.