Monday, March 2, 2015

Sister Drama

Vivi gets angry when I brush her big sister's hair.  She whines, screeches, and tries to claw her way between us.  I'm not sure if she's jealous of the attention I'm giving Madeline, or if she's jealous of the fact that Madeline has hair while she doesn't.  Either way, it's a problem.

After her usual tantrum yesterday, she suddenly gave up whining, snatched book Madeline was reading out of her hands, and toddled quickly out of reach.  

Since I had Madeline gripped firmly by the hair, there wasn't much the poor girl could do to defend herself other than cry out, "Hey!  Vivi!  Mumma, Vivi just took the book I was reading right out of my hands!"  

I looked up in time to see a look shoot across the room from one sister to another. THE look.  An evil, vindictive, glass-cutting glare.  And it was coming not from Madeline, but from my baby!  

It only lasted a second, but it was enough.  The message was clear.  "You took my Mumna. I took your book! And if you cross me again, I'm gonna have to cut a bitch."  

This was not an act of innocent babyhood.  Stealing that book was vindictive.  Calculated.  Aggressive.  

Somewhere beneath the chubby cheeks and doe eyes, there lurks the natural instinct to kill or be killed.  Vivi does not intend to loose in life.  Not now.  Not ever.  I admit.  I was a little scared by what I witnessed.    

By the time I finished Madeline's braid, the brush, the book, and the look had all been forgotten.  They went right back to playing as if nothing had happened.

I've witnessed this pattern over and over again.  For the briefest of seconds, after some wrong or another, they are worst enemies.  Five seconds later, they are best buddies again.  I don't pretend to understand it.  I try my best to stay out of it and let nature take its course.  Although, after seeing that look, I would watch my back if I were Madeline.

So, in an effort to help me forget that my sweet child may actually be Rosemary's Baby, here are some cute pictures of the girls loving one another. 

The protect one another from the vacuum cleaner.

They watch cartoons together.  

They share toys.  

Maddie reads books to her little sister.  

Thursday, February 26, 2015

That Vivi in the Window

Vivi loves to look out the windows of our house.  

I like to think that she's having deep thoughts about life, love, and truth like whether that darn dress is black or gold. 

 Or maybe she's just nosy. Vivi could be the Gladys Kravitz of our neighborhood, and she knows everyone's dirty little secrets.  Someday she will use this knowledge to bend the neighbors to her will.  

I saw what you did, Mrs. O'Sullivan. Now hand over those frozen blueberries and nobody ever has to know.  

As long as she doesn't get Rear Windowed, this could lead to big things.  She could be the blueberry mob boss of the Merrimack Valley.  

Or maybe it's been cold for so long that she doesn't know what outside is.  After all, she has the long-term memory of a small rabbit, and it's been a really long winter.  To Vivi, the world is made up of our house, the car, the entry-way to Maddie's school, and the supermarket.  It's a small world after all.  

Someday, little one, there won't be snow over your head, and I'll bring you out into that magical place you see through the window panes.  It will be great.  

Dollhouse Pillow

Once I saw this idea for a dollhouse pillow at A Beautiful Mess, I HAD to make one for the girls' felt dolls.  It may have taken me a year and half to finish the dolls, but it only took me a week to make the pillow such was my mania.  

I followed my own pattern because I wanted it to look like our house with the bay window and bushes in the front, and I wanted to be able to use it for the felt dolls.  However, there's a tutorial at A Beautiful Mess if you want to make your own.  

I already had all the fabric on hand from old projects, so the only thing I had to buy was the Polyfill to stuff it.  It took two bags, but with a coupon, it only cost me $15.  Hooray!  

The windows are pockets, and the front door opens.  

And it's big.  Really big.  Here's a picture of Maddie (complete with bunny slippers and fairy dress) to get an idea of the scale.  

We use the window pockets to store our felt paper dolls and their clothes.  But I'm sure as time goes on, other trinkets and treasures will make their way into those pockets.  

The front door opens up into a bed.  Vivi really likes trying to tuck the dolls in.  

I thought about adding more pockets and beds to the back of the pillow, but I decided to leave it plain in the end so that the girls have a flat, more comfortable, side to lean against.    

The girls are big fans.  They play with it.   

But more often they lounge on it...

And Maddie really loves to bounce on it!  

It's held up to the abuse well over the past three weeks.  Fingers crossed that those stitches hold for the long term!  

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Vivi Eats: Life With Food Allergies 3

Man, my child is becoming a very picky eater!  A month ago she loved butternut squash! But tonight?  My kitchen floor is plastered with the stuff.  Plus, I don't think she's ever eaten a piece of meat without spitting it out.  Madeline doesn't like meat much either unless it's in a taco.  My girls are fruit and carb girls all the way.    

As I mentioned here and here, Vivi is allergic to eggs, dairy, and peanuts.  I'm sharing samples of what she eats, but this is in no way a complete picture of her diet.  Some days she eats nothing but blueberries, and some days she surprises me by scarfing down an entire bowl of chicken soup.  Babies...You feel me?    

As always...
Dry Cheerios
Juice/Water mix


Apple Raisin-Bran Bread
Juice/Water mix (left over from pre-breakfast)

I used the recipe on a box of Raisin-Bran to make the bread, but with dairy/egg free substitutions.  (original recipe here) I replaced the milk with almond milk, and I replaced the eggs with mashed banana.  I left out the walnuts, and added shredded carrots and extra raisins instead.  Yum!  

8 oz. Nutramigen Formula


Avocado Quesadilla (using  Joseph's Lavish Bread and Daiya "Cheese")
Sliced Strawberries
Almond Milk

Afternoon Snack:

Frozen Peas
Back to Nature Honey Graham Sticks
Almond Milk

My mother picked up some of those graham crackers for us last week.  They are dairy, egg, peanut free. The girls share a bag for snack, and they are gone in about ten seconds.  Madeline tried stealing Vivi's when she was done with hers today.  Not cool, Maddie Bear.  


Roast pork loin and veggies (which she did not eat and angrily threw to the floor)
Almond Milk

Strawberries for dessert


8 oz. Nutramigen formula

Monday, February 23, 2015

Vivi: Fourteen Months

The big news since last month's update, Little Miss Vivienne, is that you're walking now.  One night you walked across the room like it was no big deal, and you haven't stopped since.  

You remind me of a little wind-up toy toddling from room to room, round and round, following us everywhere.  You never stop moving.  

The other afternoon, Madeline giggled at something you had done and cried, "Mumma, Vivi is hilarious!" between chuckles.

Your sister is right.   You are one funny baby who delights in making us laugh.  

I found you sitting up in your crib after nap the other day with the blankets pulled up over your face.  As I approached, you pulled them down suddenly, revealing a broad grin and wicked twinkle in your eye.  "Surprise, Mumma!  It's me!"  You seemed to say.  You know how to be silly to get a laugh from us.  

You like looking at photographs.  I have to keep my phone hidden because when you find it, all you want to do is look through the pictures for the afternoon.  You find the pictures we have framed around the house and point at them.  "Dat!  Dat!"  you insist until I say the name of the person in the photo.  
"Yes, Vivi.  That's Madeline.  Yes.  That's Dada."  Then you laugh before pointing to the next photograph.  

Another favorite game of yours is to make piles.  You empty your toy box, toy by toy, into a neat pile, and when it's empty, you neatly put everything away again.  

We recently took you to an indoor playground.  You didn't like going in the baby ball pit, but you did really enjoy putting the balls back where they belonged.  The other kids would make a mess, tossing balls everywhere, and you were thrilled to to clean up after them.  

I had a pile of shoes in our front hall that needed to be brought upstairs.  You took it upon yourself to carry every shoe to an empty cardboard box that your sister had been playing with.  It made bringing them upstairs very easy.  Thanks, Vivi!

You know how to point to your nose, eyes, and ears.  That game can be repeated for an entire afternoon.  

You like to bring me my hat.  You thrust it at me until I put it on.  Once I do, you laugh at me.  I guess I look funny wearing hats.    

You're still not saying many words, but boy, do you make a lot of noises.  Sometimes you yell what sound like commands at us.  Sometimes you babble short statements then look us deep in the eye as if checking for understanding.  You shriek in frustration quite a bit, and follow me around the house whining for a good part of the day.

You need to be the center attention of my world.  If I'm not focused on you because I'm doing laundry, or eating lunch, or talking to Madeline, you let me know how unacceptable that is.

You are demanding.  But that's okay.  The world needs more demanding women.    

Thankfully, you're also mighty sweet.  You love cuddles.  You've started hugging me back, arms wrapped tightly around my neck.  When Dada gets home from work, you toddle to him with your arms outstretched for him to pick you up.  You've started crawling into Madeline's lap.  You hug and throw yourself on your sister a lot actually.  Maddie giggles and rubs your back while you sigh, "Awww" and "Ohhh."  It's pretty darn adorable.

You're less stranger shy.  You like members of our family now.  You don't cry in the supermarket whenever an old lady glances your way anymore.  We had a plumber at the house last week, and I was shocked at how chill you were around a perfect stranger who had entered our house.  You kept your distance, but you kept toddling toward him, curious to see what he was up to.  Meanwhile, big sister hid in the playroom until he was gone.  

You have four perfect teeth, and based on the amount of gnawing you've been doing this week, we suspect more are on the way.  

Your eyes are still green.  Your hair is red and thickening in the back.  We're entering the baby mullet phase.  

You feel sturdier, more solid, in our arms.  And you finally have a big, round baby belly.  

You're growing, little one.  So, so fast.  And it's so, so fun watching it all unfold.  

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Scenes from Our Weekend

Nirvana comes on over the car radio as Eric and I drive to dinner early Friday evening.  

"I don't know how seventeen-year-old me would feel about this," Eric remarks.  "Listening to Nirvana while I drive a Subaru through the suburbs on Friday night, on a date with my wife. I think seventeen-year-old me would be unimpressed."  

By 10 pm we're both lying in bed.  I'm watching Scandal on my phone, and Eric is playing Game of War on his.  


Listening to Madeline help Eric with some home improvement projects:  

"Be careful where you swing that hammer, Madeline."  

And then,

"No.  Stop. That's very dangerous."  


Madeline throws a ball across the room for Vivi.

"Fetch!" She commands.

"Madeline, she's not a dog. She doesn't fetch," Eric tells her.  

Maddie watches Vivi chase the ball. "But look, she is fetching."  

"Madeline, stop trying to make fetch happen. It isn't going to happen."  

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Felt Paper Dolls

I made the girls this set of felt paper dolls.  Madeline loves dressing and undressing her dolls, so these are perfect for her.   

I drew out my own patterns, traced them on to felt, embroidered their faces, and used my sewing machine to piece them together.  The dresses are made out of various scrap fabrics I had in the house, backed with felt and a circle of Velcro to help keep them in place.  The girls can pick the dolls up to play with them without their clothes falling off.  

There's a Madeline doll:  

Complete with Olaf Bear.  Obviously.  

Then I made her some friends:

And a whole mess of clothes:

Funny story about these dolls.  They were a long time in the making.  The summer I was pregnant with Vivienne (nearly two years ago), Madeline spotted some fabric paper dolls at a craft fair.  I felt that I could easily make her some using materials we already had at home, so I busily got to work that very same afternoon.  They came together over the next few days, and Madeline loved them, but I neglected to finish them.  The dolls were mostly complete, but there were little things like a missing piece of Velcro and unlined dresses that I just never got around to.   

This is why it's almost always a better idea to just buy something somebody else already made.  Cause sure, I could make my own, but will I ever finish it?   Iffy.  

Madeline recently dug the dolls out from the bottom of her toy box and asked me to finish their dresses.  I figured it was about time those poor dolls had some decent clothes, so last month I finally made it a priority to get them done.   

Now that Vivi is older, she really likes playing with them too, so I've got a Vivi doll waiting to be finished.  Hopefully it doesn't take me another year to get around to it.