Thursday, January 14, 2010

Happy Month 27, Helen!

Dear Helen,

You continue to simultaneously be a pure delight and a complete pain in the ass. Luckily, your pain in the assness is often really funny - really funny, which takes the edge off the annoyance factor. Take, for example, when we were preparing to leave your grandparents' home to go to the airport after Christmas. This might be a good time to remind you that airplanes fly on a schedule. A schedule your dad and I like to adhere to, for the most part, lest we find ourselves with two antsy children in an airport missing a flight and then trying to hitch a ride on a plane for which we have no ticket. Your dad was pulling out grandma's car (we needed to utilize both of their vehicles for the trip to the airport, since we numbered 5 with the inclusion of our au pair). You posed the innocent question "where is cat"? Cat, who had-in just a few short days-become your most loved toy. A toy that allowed us to continue the grand tradition that whenever we visit Grandma Lynn's, someone convinces Grandma to allow them to remove a toy from her home and bring it to ours. Your dad rushed into the house, looked around frantically for the cat, all to no avail. He came back out to the car and announced that he couldn't find it. Well, only you knew the reason, and you proudly announced "he's hidden behind my back!".

And this isn't the only trick you played on someone. At one point during a meal, your Grandpa (or Dick, as you call him) tried to convince you to eat something by pretending to eat it himself. You stuck the fork right up to your mouth like he did, and then made eating sounds as you pretended to eat. Clever, my dear. Later, you told him you were a baby and the two of you had the following conversation:

"Can you say mama?"
"Can you say dada?"
"Can you say Grandpa?"

Your most impressive feat this month is learning to use the toilet, rather than a diapers as long as you are awake. That rocks. You were inspired on New Year's Eve when your friend Ruthie came over and you asked her if she had pink underwear - something you had expressed an interest in owning for yourself. Being Ellen's child, the answer was, of course, yes. You asked if Ellen would please give them to you but I assured you I could get you your own. And I did - pink, with cats - what could be better? (Thank you, Hello Kitty brand, for existing.) Upon receiving the precious underpants, you were delighted. You enjoy changing your underpants often, and choosing which pair you will wear. You have always had such a keen fashion sense.

The two things you say most often that make me smile are "re-fridge-uh-bee-rator" as in, "Can I see if there is some milk in the re-fridge-us-bee-rator?" and "Botanabee Gardens" as in "I wan' to see the trains at the Botanabee Gardens". The origin of both of these speech tics is unclear, but I'm hoping they stick around for a while.

We had snow this month, lots of snow, but other than making the occasional snack of it, you are rather unimpressed with it. You have, however, recently conceded that mittens are, in fact, a good thing. However, you rarely agree that you need a hat if you have a hair clip in. It's all about the style for you.

You definitely enjoyed opening up the many Christmas presents you received although you were not about to sit on Santa's lap, though you would stand nearby. After we left Santa, you did tell me that night when you were nursing that "nex time I goin' to sit on Santa's lap". We never saw him again, so you never had to decide whether or not to perform this feat.

You enjoy hiding and little things - so hiding in little places is just about the best.

You do not enjoy hand-me-downs, nor do you enjoy Connor getting anything you feel should be yours. I sense that you feel you are always getting the shaft in the way of new stuff, and that is certainly true to some extent. I think I can empathize with Grandma Carlene when I was a child. I distinctly remember not wanting to wear Aunt Linda's hand-me-downs and one of my two favorite pieces of clothing was a denim jumpsuit she made that bore the letters "E L A I N E" from the shoulder down the leg. I loved that outfit, and I'm sure it was in large part because it was mine, mine, mine!! I'm not sure I ever told your dad about this, but I also adored this pink dress Grandma Carlene made me that had tiny white polka dots on it. It had a fantastic full skirt so that when I twirled, I could really catch some air. Perhaps the gene that made me love this dress has been passed down to you because you LOVE pink. A couple of days ago, your au pair announced that all your pink clothes had been washed and you literally cheered. You also regularly refuse to wear anything that's not pink, but will give up without too much fight if I've managed to wrangle something else on you. Most days, your dad dresses you, and I have to admit that when I see the combo the two of you select (for which he always gives you exclusive credit) I am a bit surprised. But last Saturday, I took you up to get clothes, and you chose red pants with flowers, a pink shirt with flowers (that may actually match, I need to check with Ellen on this) and then you insisted on adding your yellow "new jersey" and yellow socks. It was quite a work.

You loved your cousin's make-up kit and were quite pleased when you got your fingernails painted. Tonight at dinner you asked me why I didn't have my nails painted. For the record, it is possible that nail polish exists somewhere in this house, and if I find it, I'm happy to paint your nails. I'm pretty sure my own nails have not been painted since I married your dad almost 9 years ago. Pottery and painted nails just don't go together. I once patted myself on the back for the fact that neither you nor your brother have ever seen me don make-up, forgetting, of course, that your au pairs never leave the house without it. So much for instituionalizing feminism in our house.

You are solidly in the "why" phase of life, and occasionally I get trapped into answering those whys, only to wonder why I went down this infinitely regressive path. Ugh. I'm hoping this phase passes quickly.

You also follow the time-tested rule of "little girls love big girls" and oh my, did you get to see a lot of big girls this month. For starters, you played with Zoe a few times, then you visited cousins Alisa, Kate, and Sam, then cousins Anna and Emily came for a visit, and finally Ruthie, Esther and Elizabeth came over. Now that's a good month!

You sing, you dance, you entertain whenever you get the chance.


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