Sunday, January 1, 2012

Holiday Antics

It's January 1st already? Wow, where did the time go? Let's get this blog party started, shall we? This was us this morning, splashing in the new year:

This year, I want to write more. But when? Blog entries take me hours. So instead I take mental notes on the changes in our lives and wonder when I'm going to find the time to write it all down. Tonight, the first of the year, I wanted to get a little caught up.

Thora is now six weeks shy of her second birthday. For months now, people's eyes have widened when I say she's not even two. She's big, I know. She's smart, I know that too. But let's not rush. I want her to grow at her own pace, as long as it's on track with everybody else. (I'm kidding.)

For a while I was a little worried about her language acquisition. She has an exceptionally wide vocabulary, but she was a little slow at stringing words together. I was reading in my emails about how kids her age should be saying "Hi Mommy" and "blue car" and that sort of thing and from her... nothing. Hi. Blue. Mama. Car. But then all of a sudden, she exploded into conversation. Hi Mama. Eat oatmeal now. Our car wash bath? Elmo's song hear it? Lying down crib now. And on and on and on. Her pronunciation is getting better and clearer, though at least five times a day I have to ask her to repeat herself or I look blankly at Johnny for help with translation. And then, clarity. Oh! Bridge! She means bridge! Or whatever.

She talks to herself, sings all day long, and just generally loves to hear the sound of her own voice. She gives concerts for her ugly dolls, singing and playing her glockenspiel:

She sings the ABCs, has parts of Big Bird's "ABCEDFGHI..." song memorized, and, my favorite, still sings "Ma-MA! Ma-MA! Ma-MA!" like the world's cutest little cheerleader. We have conversations now and I can see that she really absorbs the things I say. For example, when she wakes up at night I'll go in and we'll sit in the glider. I'll give her pinky and rub her back and I'll sing a song or two, or I'll tell her that when she lies back down she should think of all the people she loves and the things she likes to do. So together we list everyone: Mama... and Daddy... Teeny... and Rayna and Shiva... Nana and Poppa... Hilary... Poppa... G-Ma... Lina and Kaela... Dana and Stan and Taz and Chester... and so on. Sometimes she even adds Mei and Satsuki and Daddy from My Neighbor Totoro because she loves them so much too. Then I'll catch her doing this when she's entertaining herself in the car, in the tub, or alone in her room. "Mama... Da-yee... Beya... Poppa... Hih-ree..." and so on.

This week she learned "yummy" and "oops-a-daisy" from her Aunt Hilary and she says them both all the time now. This video, which isn't much of a video as I just wanted to capture the sound, is totally adorable (at least it is until the baby starts to cry). Listen to it and if it doesn't make you smile, I don't know what will.

Her food vocabulary has expanded too: purple vitamins, chip, cookie, crackers, raviolis, tofu, quinoa, carrot, rice and beans, broccoli. Pizza. Cheese (Daiya, of course, as she's vegan.) She says juice box too - and she has a discerning palate, asking specifically for orange, apple, purple or "Grover" juice - and those are totally different than just juice, which is diluted OJ that we put in her special juice cup. Then there's soda (by which she means seltzer). I-meem (ice cream) is still a favorite, but grapefruits now reign supreme, even above avocados and hummus. Only pink grapefruits are permissible, however. We accidentally gave her a yellow one last week and she refused to touch it.

Her memory is startling. She loved her Nana's banana muffins so much the one time she had them that when she next saw her Nana, weeks later, she instantly asked for muffins. My mother had no idea what she was talking about. Thora insisted. Muffin. Muffin? Muffin! Then we looked at each other and remembered the muffins from weeks before. She knows the few DVDs she watches so well that she will say "tree!" or "sheep!" and I'll look up and there's no tree but then the scene changes and sure enough, there's a giant tree, or a herd of sheep. She forgets nothing. If I say "You can have a cookie later. First let's take your vitamins and have some oatmeal," forty-five minutes later she will sidle up to me and smile. "Cookie?" She does this with everything, so we have learned never to promise what we can't fulfill, whether it is the promise of a cookie, a trip to the p-a-r-k, or anything else.

She still knows all her letters, and she sees them in random things. In a twig she picked up on the sidewalk she saw a Y. In scaffolding we pass on the street she sees an X. She can count... mostly... to 20. She can do through ten perfectly and then "eleven... dir-teen... dir-teen... dir-teen... memen-teen... twenty!" She has memorized the passcode on my iPhone and chants "two... one... " and so on as she unlocks it a thousand times a day to play Angry Birds or Tiny Wings or with any of her counting, alphabet, matching or music apps. She counts to ten every morning for us when we plug the tree lights in:

and she counted the candles on the menorah for us on the last day of Hanukkah:

She has these little tablets that dye her bath water so every evening when bath time approaches she reminds us how well she knows her colors: orange bath, blue bath, purple bath, red bath.

Whenever she wanders away from me, I ask her where she's going and she says "the park." This is what she said at 5:15 this morning - New Year's Day - when I was trying my hardest to keep her quiet and in bed with me because I was slightly hung over and exhausted from being up until 2 am and not at all ready to get up and her aunt was asleep on the couch in the living room. She wiggled away from me, saying "walk walk walk," so I put her down and she made a beeline for the door. I said "Hey Bea, where are you going?" "The park," she said again, completely deadpan. And she means it too - she knows how to open our front door, and there have been numerous times I'll catch her turning the knob and heading out and I race after her. "Thora, where are you going?" "The park." So this morning I had no choice but to get up because I wouldn't put it past her to try to get there herself!

"Toys" is a new word. As are crib, lying down, standing, dancing, hear it, eat, shirt, pants, bucket, alligator, squeeze, rain, snowman, and my current favorite, not yours. She says that every time she reaches for something she's already been told not to play with. "Bea, that's not yours." She tries to work out yours vs. mine, you vs. I/me, but she doesn't really get it yet. She'll walk over to me and hand me something, say, a closed jar of Play-doh, and ask for help. I'll clarify by asking "You want me to help you open it?" And then she nods and says "Yeah. Help you." I don't know when she will grasp the concept of person more accurately, but she generally gets her point across. She knows her trains by name: Thomas, Emily, Molly, James, Toby, and knows to put them on the tracks and push them over the bridge. She will tell me if something hurts her or if she gets stuck and can't move her bike out of whatever corner she's ridden it into. Little things are cute, lights go on and off, walking into a room, she points and says she wants to go "in 'ere," and when she wants something, she insists "have it!" Mostly she insists on having "Mama mone," (my iPhone) and sometimes even remembers the possessive: "Mama's mone."

Here is what happens when I try to take a picture of her and she does not want to have her picture taken:

Next thing I know, this is what ends up on my phone:

or this:

I have deleted thousands of pictures just like those.

She climbs on everything. Whenever things go quiet, we know we can either find her hiding in a corner doing a poop or climbing on top of her toybox, the couch, the end table, stairs, or anywhere else she shouldn't be. She's gotten a few nasty bumps and bruises from falling off of things and try as we might we can not keep her from doing it again and again. My coworker says "she's a bruiser" and I guess she's right.

She gets into everything: my shoes, my bags, my breast pump, the cabinets, under the couch, you name it.

This week she had her first cold. It was a nasty one: 102.7 fever, wakefulness at night, whininess during the day, refusing food, and an awful runny nose. What was worse was that it happened while we were visiting family over 200 miles from home. No one slept for three days. After a while she started to run away from us when she saw we had tissues in our hands. I got a look at her nose under all the snots and saw it was red and raw, so Vaseline became our best friend. After one particularly miserable attempt at roto-rootering her face with the Nosefrida from which I emerged somewhat battered and bruised (and utterly unsuccessful), we also got creative with dispensing the Vicks and the other medicines so that they got in the baby (as opposed to just all over the baby and the mama as well). We made it through, though not before she infected her baby sister, who fortunately for me is not yet strong enough to fight back when I stick the Nosefrida or the saline dropper up her nose, so she got better a lot faster.

On the more positive side, this week she also had her first Christmas and her second Hanukkah. She helped light the candles each night and light up the tree each morning. We spent holiday time with family and with good friends and neighbors, we baked and cooked, we sang songs and watched videos. She rediscovered her love for the Mahna-mahna skit and figured out how to watch it again and again on my iPhone. (Which is more complicated than you might think. She unlocks it, finds the You Tube app, goes to favorites and then to that video and waits for it to load and then clicks start. Not too shabby!) She got an easel and a bunch of art supplies, a train set and trains, Red Sox gear, a dump truck, stuffed animals, monogrammed stationery, a few musical instruments, books, a gorgeous hand-knitted hat, and other awesome things. She now knows what presents are and has fun playing with the wrapping and the ribbons. "Omen!" she'd demand, "omen it!" She wanted to play with each thing she got, which made me feel regretfully materialistic because I kept taking things out of her hands and telling her to open the next thing. Next year I think we will spread some gifts out over the eight nights of Hanukkah and save a big one or two for Christmas so she doesn't get overwhelmed and nothing gets forgotten.


Freyja is growing just as quickly but a lot more quietly. She is perhaps less prolific than her big sister, but her achievements are no less notable. She spends her days putting on weight, moving from 9th percentile at birth to 25th at her 3 month pediatrician visit. Now around 11 and a half pounds, she is all eyes and cheeks. This means she's starting to look a lot like Thora. Her 0 - 3 clothes, while not yet unwearable, are getting snug. She's got a great grip, can hold her head up well, nurses well, takes a bottle without complaint, and enjoys taking warm baths. She sleeps exceptionally well, for which I thank her every day. She goos and coos, smiles and gurgles. We haven't yet heard the first laugh but it can't be far off. There is so much to smile and laugh about!

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