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.  


Monday, March 23, 2015

Vivi: Fifteen Months

Dear Vivienne,

You are quite the toddler now.  You're constantly on the go.  You zoom around the house from dawn to dusk.  We should put a pedometer on you.  I bet your little legs walk miles around this house before the day is out.  

Taking you places is becoming harder because you want to get down to explore.  You only last so long in restaurants, and you try to climb out of the grocery cart at the supermarket.  For a baby who spent most of her life hiding from strangers, you aren't worried about staying with us either.  You're off without so much as a backward glance to make sure we're following you.  In fact, you think it's all so hilarious when Mumma has to chase after you.  The aisles at the library are endless fun because you can run ahead of me without me worrying about losing you in the crowds.

The stranger danger phase is over.  You might be a little wary of new people, but you warm up quickly.  Madeline had a field trip to a local indoor sports center last week, and you ran around with the big kids like a champ.  You had no problem demanding balls to play with from kids and grownups alike.   

You are demanding at home too.  You point and grunt with great persistence.  You cry when you don't get what you want.  No is a tough lesson to learn, but you're starting to get the hang of it.   

When you want a snack, you know where to go.  You run to the kitchen and point at the cabinet door until I find you a cracker to munch.   

Even with a spill-proof container, you find a way to dump your cereal on the floor.
You nod and say, "Yeah" in response to a lot of our questions.  Sometimes it's obvious that you know what we're talking about.

 "Vivi, do you want a snack?"
"Yeah, yeah!" head nod.  "Mmmmm."

At other times, you clearly have no idea what we're talking about, but you're willing to give it a try anyhow.    

"Vivi, do you like snakes?" Dada will ask.
"Yeah, yeah!" you nod.

Along with "Yeah," you've picked up some other new words.  Mumma and Dada are down.  But you also say, bubba, belly, baby, and juice.  You try to say Madeline.  Sometimes it's "Duh" sometimes it's "Mah-Duh"  sometimes it's "Ine-ine-ine."   

Poor Madeline.  You've started terrorizing your big sister a bit more.  The other afternoon I heard a terrible whining noise from where you two were playing.  Maddie was sitting at the dining room table with her guys, and you were tugging roughly on her arms and screeching loudly to get her attention.  Maddie, good big sister that she is, tried her best to ignore you, only letting out an occasional grunt of annoyance.  Yesterday, you pulled her hair pretty hard when she wouldn't let you see her Lego castle.  I understand that it's frustrating, Vivi, but you can not pull your sister's hair.  Ouch.   I'm waiting for the day that big sister turns around and slugs you.   

You had a follow-up with GI last week, and everything is looking great.  You weigh 18 lbs, 4 oz, which puts you in the 10th percentile.  You're curving upwards!  Your skin is clear.  There's very little rash remaining on your body.  I'm interested to see how you do this summer because that's when your skin really gave us trouble last year.  The sweaty creases of your body were a mess.   You still get bad BMs on occasion, but we know how to manage them now to keep the discomfort minimal.

The limitations in your diet is starting to get a bit more tricky because you're starting to notice that you're getting different foods than the rest of us.  We try to eat the same thing, or at least close to it, for dinner.  But if you see Madeline with a treat you can't have, it drives you crazy.  I've started stocking the pantry with Vivi-friendly treats to make up for it.

You love fruit and pasta.  You LOVE bread.  Dinner rolls are where it's at.  I still can't get you to eat any veggies unless they are mixed in a puree with fruit.  The only meat we've been able to get you to eat was in a taco, which is the same for Madeline.  My girls love tacos.  Go figure!  And, you're warming up to almond milk.

Above all, you're such a sweet, happy, plucky little thing that we all simply adore you.