Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Vivi: Eighteen Months

Holy Hotdogs, Batman!  It's a blog!  

 I haven't written in a long time.  First, my brain went out to pick up milk eighteen months ago and never came back.  The cheap bastard.  

Also, I've been spending the little "me time" I have doing other important things.  You'd be happy to know, for example, that I've binge watched all of Scandal and House of Cards.  That adds up to days of my life right there.  

Plus, Maddie Bear is getting to an age where I feel funny sharing all of her secrets with the Internet.  She'll be five soon, and her existence is no longer my story to tell.  This does not stop me from Instagraming adorable pictures, however.   That is my right as her mother.  

I am sorry that Vivi will not have quite the detailed account of her babyhood that Madeline has.  We're nailing this second child thing though.  Go us!  

Anyhow, Vivi is a year and a half and is owed a letter.  So, without further ado...

Dear Vivienne,

I'm sorry I skipped recording the past three months of your life.  We love you and find you just as interesting as we found your sister at this age, but you're the second child, and this is just kinda how it goes.   I promise you're not the only second child to have suffered this fate.  It's a whole thing.  Social scientists even do studies on it.  Look it up.  

You've become such a nugget of a kid over the past quarter of a year.  Where'd that little baby go?  How did you suddenly develop a sense of humor and the ability to brush your teeth?  

 I'm always surprised by what you can do.  You can drag a wooden stool, which probably weighs  as much as you do, across the kitchen to the sink.  Then you confidently climb to the top to wash your hands by yourself.  It's enough to turn my hair grey, but it's also kind of amazing.  You're spunky and plucky and such a joy.  

If there's something you want, you go for it.  You don't wait for permission, and you  keep at it till you get what you want.  

Climbing is not limited to stools.  You climb on everything.  Up the stairs, on the furniture, up the slide... You can scramble up Madeline's bed to make yourself comfortable with a book.  We have to chase you away from the console table behind our sofa because you like to walk across it like it's a balance beam.  For a long time, Madeline took her toys to  the dining room table where she could be safe from your grabby hands.  Now, not only can you climb onto the dining room chairs, but you'll also crawl up and across the table to reach what you want.  No toy is safe!  

You stand on your head frequently, and you've even done a few somersaults.  Maybe you should take up gymnastics.  

Your verbal skills are expanding rapidly.  I've lost track of all the words you can say.  "No!" is probably your most frequently used word.  But words like "ock" (rock) "screen," (sunscreen) "oooce" (juice) and "eeth" (teeth) are also common.  Madeline is "Mah."   That's used a lot too.  

You and your big sister are playing together more and more.  It's adorable to hear Maddie say, "C'mon, Vivi!  Let's play dress-up!"  And you chase her into the playroom, so thrilled to be included, to rummage through the pile of princess dresses.  

You love wearing her shoes.  You put them on your feet by yourself and clomp around the house.  You even wear her Anna high heels pretty well.  It's hilarious, and disconcerting, to see a baby walking across the room in a diaper and heels. 

You are still a peanut.  Most of your clothes are nine month or twelve month sizes.  People with babies approach me all the time expecting our children to be the same age, and I can read the confusion on their faces when they realize that you are several months older than Little Susie even if you are a head shorter.  You are adorably petite.  

You're still a picky eater, but I feel like you're eating better than you were a month ago.  You like cherry tomatoes and cucumbers, and I'm so relieved to have found at least some kind of vegetable you won't spit out.  We make homemade, Vivi-friendly, pizza on the weekends.  You love that!  Almond-butter and jelly sandwiches are also usually acceptable.  

The rash on your legs came back with the warmer weather as I predicted it would.  Frequent bathing and ointment helps us stay on top of it.  Meanwhile, your last bad tummy episode happened on Easter.  I think this is the longest we've gone without one, knock on wood!  I hope that means your body is growing out of some of these issues.  

You love Popsicles.  You stick your face straight in the sprinkler and grin mischievously.  You like to help me water the garden.  We're going to have a great summer!  

And I love you more than words and the sun, all the stars.


Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Parenting Currently

Part of me wants to take away that ink pad and those stickers because this is not going to end well for me.  

But a bigger part is so happy that these two are playing happily and quietly with one another that I'm just going to sit back with my coffee and hope for the best.  

Monday, April 20, 2015

Springy Spring Spring

We spent all weekend outside, and it was glorious.  After the winter we had, it's such a relief to be in the sun.  We all have more energy and improved attitudes.  At the end of the day, the girls are dirty, happy, and sleepy.  

Vivi is particularly enthralled with the outdoors having no memory of warm weather.  She runs around the yard all day, tries to keep pace with the big kids, digs in the dirt, and cries when we have to go back inside.  I don't blame her.  

It's supposed to be rainy the next few days, so it's good that we got out while we could.  We have a lazy day of movie-watching and muffin-making before us.  

Monday, April 6, 2015

Monday, March 30, 2015

Welcome Home, Dada

Eric has had a few busy work weeks keeping him away from home till after the girls' bedtime recently.  Since he leaves before, or as, the girls wake up in the morning, there were several dad-less days in a row.  Two little redheads, and one not-so-little redhead, missed him.  Luckily, he wrapped up the last of his events on Saturday morning, and was home relaxing on the couch by noon.  

Madeline didn't leave him alone the rest of the day.  In fact, she parked herself on top of him for a few hours.  She wasn't content to just let him zone out in front of the TV either.  She needed ALL the attention.  

Dada's the best...

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Teeny Tiny Ponytails

When Madeline was a wee tater tot, she was in the care of a nice lady named Ms. Sarah who ran the baby room at daycare.  Among Ms. Sarah's many talents was the ability to create pigtails on the baldest of babies.  

The first time I saw Maddie's teeny-tiny pigtails when I picked her up in the afternoon, I cocked my head to the side in confusion.  How was it even possible to put rubber bands in such fine hair?  

Somehow it worked, and the pigtails were there to stay.  When I think back to toddler Madeline, I always envision her with teeny tiny ponies.  

This morning, in the spirit of Ms. Sarah, I gave Vivi her first teeny tiny ponies.  She's officially a toddler now.  

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Lament for the Big Sister

"Oh, look at Vivi!  Isn't she cute?  Isn't she clever?  Isn't she funny?" 

Those words pour through our house and hover in the air around our heads as Vivi learns a new skill, a new way to thrill and delight us, on a daily basis.  We "Oooh" and "Ahh" over her.  We praise and cuddle her.  Vivi takes up a lot of our time.  She takes up a lot of attention.

 A few weeks ago, I wrote about some of the drama that exists between my two girls as they grow together as sisters.  Vivi, even at fifteen months, can cut a look at Madeline harsh enough to freeze water.  But as it turns out, Madeline has a few looks of her own:

Doesn't her face just seem to be saying, "What the heck is her problem?"

I didn't notice Madeline's facial expression until I looked back at these pictures on my phone several days after they were taken, at which point  Eric and I had a laugh.  Then I looked again, and again, and the picture started to make me sad.  

We captured Madeline's feelings through the lens of my phone, but nobody noticed her in real life because all eyes were on her little sister.  This has become her life as the big sister.  Stories get interrupted.  Games get destroyed.  Her needs sometimes get ignored.

We fawned over Madeline once, perhaps even more so than Vivi since she was the only star in our sky.  We remind her of this, but of course she doesn't remember.

Meanwhile, the list of offenses grows longer.  

Vivi picks up a canister of markers and dumps it across the floor.  We laugh.  Maddie sees the attention, and dumps the canister of crayons, a giant grin in her face.  We scold.  She's a big kid.  She knows better.  

Maddie climbs the banister, "Look what I can do, Mumma!"  I don't mind until her littler sister tries to follow her up.  The game is over, and Madeline is told to get down.  She has to set a good example.  

Maddie wants me to play Play-Dough with her. She's been asking for a week, but there's little time for us to be alone.  We give it a try, with Vivi in my lap.  Two minutes in, Vivi eats a chunk of the pink.  I put her down, and she claws at my leg in tears.  Maddie ends up playing alone.  

Maddie's new magazine arrives in the mail, and she's eager to read it.  Vivi wants to see too, and so I lay the pages on the floor for them to share.  Vivi keeps sitting on the pages so Maddie can't see.  Madeline gets frustrated and head-butts her sister.  Madeline gets in trouble.  

There's a pile of toys that need to be cleaned up before bedtime.  "Vivi played with them too!  She has to help," Madeline argues.  I tell her that Vivi doesn't know how to clean up yet, and that we have to show her how.  Maddie carefully sorts the toys into separate baskets, and as soon as she rounds up all the blocks, her little sisters dumps them back out.  

We had to leave Madeline's field trip to the athletic center early last week to make it to one of Vivi's doctor's appointments.  She missed pajama day last month because Vivi had conjunctivitis and I was worried Madeline would infect the whole school.  She never did end up getting it.  

It's all so unfair being the big sister.  Sometimes I see it.  Sometimes I don't.

There's a delicate balance between ensuring Madeline feels important, and teaching her to make room in her world for others.  Sometimes I manage to make it work, and sometimes I fail miserably.

Besides, as the baby of the family, Vivi has a growing list of injustices too.  That's a post for another day.

I must say, Madeline handles her role as big sister beautifully.  She doesn't complain much.  She doesn't throw tantrums or stomp her feet.  She protests quietly with those secret dirty looks and occasional tattles.  

I just want you to know, Madeline, that I see you, and that I'm trying my best.