Monday, September 29, 2014

When Will This Tooth Come In?

7 AM's our usual morning wake-up
Why is it five o'clock when I hear a scream?
Try the usual methods out when I go up
When the nursing's all done it's around 6:15.

And so close my eyes
For just a moment more
I know there's not much point to try and sleep before
I hear the footsteps falling on a different floor.
She may be sleeping now but I've got two kids more
And when they've woken, my day begins.

Up until lunch she's cranky and tired and clinging.
Snuggling helps, but only if she will stay.
Safe in my lap she's happy but can't be sleeping;
We must last until nap or we'll have a worse day.

And so I'll read her books,
Sit with her on the floor.
I'll show her lots of toys,
Sing songs she will adore,
And then we'll nurse and nurse,
And nurse and nurse some more
It seems the only way I can win.

And I'll keep wonderin' and wonderin'
And wonderin' and wonderin'
When will this tooth come in?

And then tonight,
That new old fear
Of sleepless nights like I had that first year.
What was it like
When she napped with a smile?
Now that she's dozing,
Maybe I could
For awhile...

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Mobile Moments, 9/22-9/28

It's been another rough week of teething for Mia, which has made all kinds of things tough on both of us. Where she's usually happy and independent, she's now cranky and clingy, and where she usually lets me put her down awake and cheerful for nap and bedtime, I have now been required to pat, backrub, coax, and at minimum sit with her for extended period of times to get her to settle down to sleep. On top of that we've had to torture her three times a day with an oral antibiotic that she hates the taste of due to a suspicious-looking bug bite that appeared on her arm and turned bullseye-looking sometime last week. She's had no concerning symptoms, thankfully, and though I never saw a tick on her, we're going the better-safe-than-sorry route, particularly after the scare we experienced a few years ago when Tom contracted Lyme.

In the midst of all that, I haven't been doing much around here beyond maintaining, and only managed to punch out one of the many ideas I've been juggling in a blog post earlier this week. However, I did manage to host an impromptu playdate and attempt mushroom risotto for the first time (which turned out great) despite it all. Gotta count the wins where I can, I suppose.

I keep wondering, and wondering, and wondering, and wondering... When will this tooth come in?

My pretty princesses.

Perhaps those royal hands are too dainty to punch the numbers on her laptop.

The Shiner, day three.

My favorite kind of selfie.

It seems that bedtime stories make my girls hungry for their fingertips (but the binky suits Michael just fine).

Look out for the tunnel monster...

She's coming to get you!

Overheard this week:


To her father, as he leaned in to give her a hello peck: "No kisses! When your beard touches my cheek, it itches."

To me, as Tom and I were discussing who should shower first before my parents arrived: "Mima and Granda will watch us while you and Daddy get in the shower."

Between Tom and Abby

While playing at teatime
T: "Abby, I think you just spilled tea all over me."
A: " You're gonna need another shower."

Discussing Mima and Granda's impeding visit
T: "Is Granda going to call you A-BEE?"
A:  (giggling) "He always calls me my wrong name!"


"pineapple, footprint, cookbook"
"Follow you"
"Abby take!"


"TAKE" (which she tends to announce loudly as she proceeds to do just that)
"medicine, snuggle, tickle,"
"I stuck"
"Brush her hair"

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

My Brother the Hero

Abby has a pair of dolls that I've mentioned a few times before. Though their names keep changing from Abby and Obibah to whatever the latest flavor of the week is (currently Elsa and Anna), their importance to her does not. To anyone who asks- and even those who don't- she refers to them as her mermaid dolls because she cleverly figured out long ago that slipping a legwarmer over their lower halves makes them look as though they each have a big, long, colorful fin.

Abby (aka Elsa) left, Obibah (aka Anna) right

Important though they are, I would not call them a security blanket of any kind, thankfully. While they are definitely her most treasured possessions, and she spends a good percentage of the day doting on them, she is not often to be found carrying them around. This is a plus since it means that she's generally very understanding about my rule that we not take them to friends' houses (for fear that they will be forgotten and since she can't bring herself to share them, anyway), and a minus because it's often not until she's tucked into bed that she will remember that she forgot to bring them upstairs with her for the night.

Changing up the fin patterns.

For three nights I dutifully retrieved them, until Tom and I decided that we needed to put our foots down. It was her responsibility, we told her, to remember to bring the dolls up, and should she forget from then on she would need to skip them for the night. (Lest you think us cruel since she is a mere three years old, she spends plenty of nights without them when she forgets to ask about them at all.) The first night we laid down the law there were a few tears, but not many, and an uneventful night passed by.

The next evening, empty-handed once again, she inquired about them. I apologetically suggested that maybe we could both try to remember for the following day, but it was now time for bed. She was cooperative, but mumbled something about not being able to find them, and it was at that point that I remembered she had made the same comment to herself several times earlier that afternoon. I promised her that I would look for them while she was sleeping, and in the morning they could all play again.

Later in the evening, feeling a bit unnerved, I began my search. The longer it turned up empty, the sicker I began to feel. Already fraught with guilt about the possibility that I was being too hard on her, I was now terrified of the notion that somehow the dolls had well-and-truly disappeared for good. Our house is small, and though Abby has the run of a great deal of it she doesn't tend to go many places within. I couldn't imagine where they could have gotten to.

Every scenario I imagined involving her grandparents' homes I was able to quickly rule out. We'd been back from NJ for a few weeks, and I had definitely seen the dolls since our overnight visit at Mima and Granda's. Instead I kept going back to a memory from childhood in which I had, with the pure curiosity and innocence of a four-year-old, deposited a brand new shoe in my bedroom trashcan and later found out from experience what happens to objects that are put in the trash.

Abby has no trashcan in her bedroom, and I was fairly certain that she knew full well what the kitchen trash was for, but still I worried. Tom's secondary sweep had come up empty as well, and I was near tears as I laid down for bed that night. How would I comfort her if the dolls could not be found? What could I say?

Morning came, and it being a Friday, Tom was home for the day. He promised Abby as she ate her breakfast that he and she could search together later; they'd make a thing of it. She seemed pleased by the notion and not nearly as stressed about the situation as I was, so while I descended the basement stairs with heavy heart, it was business as usual for the littles.

I'd done all the searching I had the strength to do and instead took up residence in my usual spot on the futon to rest for a bit and try to muster the energy to face the day. Abby went to sit at her desk, intent on coloring, and Mia and Michael wandered the room. It was not long before I heard a shout of triumph from my little guy, however. I'm not sure how aware he even was of the situation, but he'd been puttering about the playhouse and had the good sense to open the little mailbox attached to it. Guess who was stuffed inside?

The mailbox that neither Mommy nor Daddy thought to check.

The mystery was solved and the day was won. Michael got a big, excited hug from me and a reaction he likely wasn't expecting. I told him we should have a hero party for him, and- he being a huge fan of Winnie the Pooh- elicited a pleased little giggle. As for Abby, she was pleased to see her friends again, but having never experienced the crazy doubt that I did, simply snatched them up and continued on, business as usual. I have yet to see her put them in that same spot since, though she does still love to stuff them in small places. Just tonight, when seeking them out for a photo, I found them curled up tightly together inside a knit hat.

Loves to keep us on our toes, my Abby does. That's all well and good, so long as she remembers where the dolls last were. My heart couldn't take the strain of another loss.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Mobile Moments, 9/15-9/21

I've finally enjoyed a somewhat successful week of blogging, but I do find it frustrating to be holding precariously onto fading ideas for future posts while struggling to find time to fit them all in. However, though I haven't gotten to tackling some of the more fun vignettes I'd like to share, at least I finally pushed past the anxiety I've been feeling over all the things I missed by summarizing the highlights with a smattering of some of my favorite pictures taken during the long, quiet period of months past. And though it was one of many things I'd already covered in the aforementioned post, I had such cute pictures to share of it that I revisited Mia's recent near-mastery of the spoon with a post all its own.

As for this post, it will end up being as distracted and last-minute as ever, squeezed as it always is into the late hours of a Sunday night, but since the pictures do most of the talking anyway, I'll go ahead and let them do just that.

Amelia and the terrible, horrible, no-good, very bad teething day.

Candyland is still great fun while Abby has yet to differentiate between winning and losing so long as she gets to finish (that's me, at the finish in the yellow).

Little girls in a big swing.

This is how Michael does play dates.

My proudest accomplishment of the week.

Still shaking off the post-nap sleepies.

Thoroughly enjoying a superhero sugar cookie (can you tell it was decorated with red frosting?).

The best picture I could get to document our first shiner (earned via a collision with the corner of Abby's dress-up chest).

Overheard this week:


Playing Mommy after hearing me remind her brother for the umpteenth time that we only color on paper, "Michael, everything in this world is not paper."

Between Abby and Me

M: " Abby, I think you should take your dress-up clothes off before you start eating dinner. They are not very washable."
A: "But I don't want to..."
M: "Okay, you can keep it on if you are careful, but I need you to wear a bib over it."
A: "No. No bib!"
M: "Then I guess you want to take the dress off? Those are your two options: take off the dress or wear the bib."
A: "I want to wear the dress but no bib. I made a new option!"


"Me too!"
"Pooh, Tigger, Kanga, Roo, Owl, Rabbit"
"Put me down!"
"I love you."


"Dora, boots, banana"

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

A Spoonful of Yogurt

Just a spoonful of yogurt, and the baby feeds herself...

Last Friday, on a whim, I set down the bowl and spoon of yogurt in front of Mia at lunchtime. I'm not sure what compelled me given that we've enjoyed only three weeks now of consecutive nights in which she has not thrown her dinner plate to the floor at some point in the evening. I suppose the reality of her impending 18-month milestone was on my mind, and guilt over the fact that she's still drinking from bottles.

I haven't yet figured out how to get her drinking cold milk with meals from a cup, but letting her get messy feeding herself was kind of a no-brainer, and with Tom home for the day I was in a more intrepid mood. So I let go, for about the millionth time (which thankfully has gotten easier and easier to do with each consecutive child) and I sat back and watched.

She did spectacularly.

She was managing to keep herself neater than even her older brother does on some days. And though she did get distracted at times (I mean, woah, there were a bowl and spoon right there. In front of her!)...

She persisted on, without frustration or fuss.

At some point it occurred to me that, given the new circumstances, until she was ready for me to clean the last bits out of the bowl for her there wasn't much left for me to do...

Except take pictures. Lots and lots of pictures. And so I did.


Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Where They Are Now

I've been feeling ready for a comeback, but- as so often happens- I've been thwarted. Thwarted by the unpredictability of my days, the distraction and deflation of my nights. But mostly, I've been thwarted by this post.

I got it in my head that before I continue onward I must take a moment to review. I could go on about how this attitude permeates so much of how I approach my own life, but for the purposes of the blog I suppose it also largely stems from a fear that what I do not record I will not remember.

Of course, certain things simply can't be captured here. The full measure of all of the changes I've witnessed is impossible to describe, especially when- as always happens- they seem to appear out of nowhere until I take a moment to consider that, no, they had been happening all along.

There is no more of the toddler in Abby. She is a full-fledged little girl in every way, and I can hardly picture her now as ever having been anything else, even when I try to see her past self in the big eyes and awkward gait of her little sister. Her talent for acquiring knowledge and skill never ceases to amaze me, particularly when the proof of it appears quite suddenly and after no particular coaching from me. (Like that time where I looked down at her furious coloring to see that she had not only properly matched the colors on a color-by-number activity, she had first colored in the labels along the top in their appropriate hue in the manner that I had once done when I assumed she would not be able to identify them by written word alone. Or like that time when she announced that she was going to write her name on a picture, then walked into the back room and proceeded to do so, even though she'd never attempted it before.)

She questions with purpose, tentatively adds by ones, colors realistically and mostly within the lines, draws images that actually resemble people, makes up silly languages and songs, tells stories, and entertains herself for hours on end. And though she's not generally helpful when I need her to be yet (who am I kidding, will she ever be?), she's awfully "helpful" when I don't. In the past few weeks she's been on hand to splatter water clear out of the sink as she attempted to rinse a spoon, sweep dirt back onto a floor that I was mopping, and brush her hand against the raw meat I was preparing. However, it makes me feel proud to see her eagerness, less lonely in her company, and as for that meat- well, the accidental touching occurred after she quite helpfully brought over a cup of flour that I had forgotten on the counter across the kitchen. This, while having a very mature conversation with me about meat that comes from cows, why we eat them, and whether doing so makes us "bad guys."

As for Michael, he really did seem to blossom overnight. I can't even pinpoint when it happened (just like I have no clue when that last two-year molar came in, but it finally did), but he suddenly began to use language as a primary form of communication. He's still struggling greatly with it since he has difficulty working in the necessary consonants required to distinguish the word he's saying by anything other than specific context, but he's come a long way from the days of pointing and grunting, or simply crying in frustration instead. He's still much more comfortable counting (he can get up to twelve now) or pointing out familiar objects and colors in pictures than making conversation, but I'm seeing improvement in both areas now.

He's also displayed a talent for puzzles, and can sit on the floor with two or three different 24-piecers all mixed together, and manage to complete them all. In fact, it's been his desire to work his puzzles out that often has prompted him to run over and talk to me at random points in day. "Piece missing (pee mih)!"he will say, or "finished puzzle (fih puh)!"

As the weeks have gone on, his list of phrases has grown, though they are often hard to tell from one another. It's looking like he may need some speech therapy after all, but for now I am just happy to see him trying. Much more bittersweet are the physical changes, which every day remind me how far behind he is leaving his babyhood. Particularly after I finally found the nerve to chop his hair short enough to stay out of his eyes, I've spent long moments trying to figure out how his neck got so long, or where his baby cheeks got to. He's still my little guy, and looks pretty small next to his big sister, but the fit of his clothes tells me he's growing all the same. And though he managed to wear last summer's tee-shirts through a second season, I know that this Fall I will be storing them away for the long-term.

For all of his development, however, he is still a two-year-old, and there's no clearer time than when he's in one of his desperate fits of independence. He's a less defiant personality than his big sister, so it took him a bit longer to find a voice, but find it he has. From stepping in and out of bed, to turning off the sink, to buckling his car seat chest clip (and lower restraint, if only he had the strength yet), he has to do it himself. A slip on my part earns me angry and instantaneous protestation. Thankfully, Milord is forgiving, and allowing him to start over and repeat the task himself smooths things over most of the time.

That bed, by the way, is officially a Big Boy one now.

And then there's sweet baby Mia. Thankfully still well and truly a baby, though (depending on your definition) also a newbie toddler. While her comprehension falls well short of his, her working vocabulary now rivals that of her older brother. I'm still hearing new words nearly every day, along with the oldies-but-goodies. Most impressively, she can count (she hears her older siblings practicing often enough, though she has no notion yet of just what she is reciting), and joins in along with Michael in completing the rhyme schemes of familiar favorite books as Tom pauses a moment to let them finish each stanza.

Mornings are still a struggle, particularly in the midst of the very worst teething she has encountered thus far (just one molar left to go, and it's a doozy), but we're pretty firmly in a one-nap routine now. Until the aches and pains of itching teeth and pre-lunch attacks of sleepiness are behind us I feel that we will be continuing to nurse the crankies away, but after that I guess I'll just have to see how much she seems to need it anymore. Truth be told, she never thinks to ask for it unless she's struggling, and apart from the aforementioned issues she's a happy kid (so long as Mommy is in sight and there are not too many strangers around).

Indeed, far from outgrowing her stranger-danger phase, she seems to have become more shy with time, and I have to take great care in introducing her to strange people and environments. While it warms my heart to know that I am her "favorite," I do wish that play dates, family visits, and birthday parties did not stress her so upon arrival.

Thankfully, she does eventually make herself at home.

At home, though, she's learning and improving each day. Though I still can't get her off of bottles and onto sippy cups, she finally understands how plates and bowls work (beyond their use as fun projectiles) and just recently has begun feeding herself with a spoon (though I am still assisting here and there). Unfortunately, she still has a knack for feeding herself inappropriate and disgusting things too- her latest discovery is bath water.

Of course, the most telling sign of how far she's come is that ungainly amble on two feet that a mere four months ago was a skill unattainable to her. She walks confidently and quickly now, and can even run, but has a ways to go before her movements resemble the balance and grace of an older, surer child. She's also still a little short on the balance and strength required for jumping, though she does enjoy pretending that she can.

As for me, I  am determined to thoroughly enjoy all of the pluses and minuses of her inquisitiveness, dependence, and total innocence while I can, knowing as I do that a day will come that I will not remember her well as any other way than she looks some day in the future. Her big sister has taught me that much.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Mobile Moments, 9/8-9/14

I had big dreams for this week, plans to post once or twice, ideas for content. Somehow, those ideas never grew beyond a quick note saved into my phone for later perusal, but I am trying to take comfort in the fact that I have had such ideas again at all.

To be fair, I've kept myself pretty busy during the day, which has left me thoroughly exhausted every evening. The upheaval of having now to send Tom off to an office to work every Monday through Friday has been scary, disconcerting, and stressful, but- most surprisingly- it has also been quite motivating. As it turns out, there are any number of tasks I'm suddenly drawn to accomplishing if only to take my mind off of the fact that he's gone. Bonus: having my two younger napping together for a two-hour stretch (when things go well) and having my oldest now trustworthy and independent enough to leave to her own devices within earshot, many things are actually now possible for me to attempt.

This sudden change couldn't have come at a more perfect time now that I have become responsible for meal preparation. Post-lunch downtime and our trusty slow cooker are the two primary reasons that we've only succumbed to ordering in twice in the time since Tom's new arrangement began.

What this might mean for my blogging I do not yet know. It would be nice to work some time in during the day to at least get started on the day's post, but for now I've got my hands full trying to make up for lost time in getting our household remotely looking like a functioning one. Little daily projects have meant slow and steady progress, but I'm now approaching some critical point at which the time required to maintain those areas I've managed to clean and organize will supersede the amount of time I have available to get some pretty neglected areas fixed up in the first place.

I guess I'll cross that bridge when I come to it. For now, I'm ready to wrap up this post, and this evening.

Girl power block tower.

Michael the Tower Destroyer offers a hug in compensation for damages.

Sibling story time.

Spoon-feeding: how it's done.

Because that's how she rolls.

Overheard this week:


As her face crumbled after being chastised for getting into Mommy and Daddy's things (and yes- we were more than sufficiently chastened for being so unintentionally short with her): "I think the tears are starting to come!"

Inspecting her first shrimp roll before taking an exploratory bite: "Poor fish."

Seemingly affronted by her father's impromptu serenade of "Itty Bitty Pretty One" to her little sister: "She's not the pretty one!"


"Build tower."
"Abby finished puzzle."
"Piece missing. Help!"
"Need crayon."


"zebra, squirrel, tower"
"Stand up!"
"Salta la ola (shalta ola)"
"One, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, ten."

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Mobile Moments, 9/1-9/7

I've let a lot of Mobile Moments go by now; I don't care to know how many. With each one I've passed on, however, I've felt great regret for the missed memories- those little kinds I know will slip from my mind nearly as quickly as they entered. Indeed, I've lost most of them already.

I can hardly imagine ever going back through every word of this blog over again, though perhaps someone else might care to, but it feels good to know that I've stored these thoughts and images somewhere. It's the desire to continue to do so that moves me tonight from my long quiescence. I don't know what this means in terms of my (re)commitment to the blog; I only hope it's the first move in a slow but steady mental return to a place of peace, focus, and appreciation of the good things I still have all around me, all of the time.

Though I wish that in one fell swoop I could do a great big review of all the things that I missed, I have only some of the pictures, nearly none of the recollections, and too little time and energy to tackle such a task. (Plus, I fear it would make for far too long a post to realistically expect anyone to follow). Perhaps someday I can pull together a collection of some of my favorite unused snapshots, but the clever Abby-isms and new Michael/Mia vocabulary collections (and boy are they exceptional) that I failed to record I must necessarily call a loss.

Focusing strictly on the week just behind me seems the most reasonable way to begin again, and though I haven't many pictures to share (I've got to get back in the habit of taking them more often again), perhaps that is best. Small projects are more manageable, and manageable is still the name of the game around here.

Even Big Girls need a nap sometimes (especially after a week away in New Jersey).

Mia uses Uncle Kit's birthday celebration as an opportunity to demonstrate how macaroni and cheese was truly meant to be enjoyed.

Rockin' out. (Indeed, my little phone camera couldn't even handle all of the fun.)

First corn on the cob (followed by another half, and another whole).

In case you wondered where Mia's appreciation for the sweet, yellow veggie comes from. And yes, that is a new haircut for Michael (better pictures to come soon).

Thinking ever of my Chickpea and Jellybean. Perhaps God will provide free heavenly WiFi for me to show them my blog someday. (Kidding, kidding... but wouldn't that be something?)

Overheard this week:

(Introducing her brother to Great-Aunt Mary- And yes, this is from last week, so it's cheating a bit): "This is Michael. We call him Michael for short, and Miguelito for long."

(Most oft-heard words/phrases, new and old)

"Okay" (O-tay)
"Me too" (toooo)
"Bye bye!"
"Hello: (hay-oh)
"Thank you" (tah-oo)
"More ___"
"All done"
"Oh, man!"
"Please" (peeease)
"No, Abby!"

(Most oft-heard words/phrases, new and old)

"Eat" (eat-ah)
"Mama milk" (mama mihk)
"Play" (pay)
"Read this" (read dis)
"Oh, man!"

Between Abby, Michael, Mia, and me
(In the car, a couple of minutes into our 15-minute trip back from a play date)

Me: "No sleeping, Guys! Abby, help me keep Michael awake."
Abby: "Michael, no sleeping!"
Michael: "No!"
Abby: "You mean YES, Michael?"
Michael: "Noooo..."
Abby: "No means YES SLEEPING."
Mia: "Zzzzzz"