Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Status report: Chloë, Month 26, and Maia, Month 5

Well, the plan was that I'd get pictures uploaded from the camera sometime this week and write up proper monthly reports, but it hasn't happened and it's probably not going to, seeing as we're preparing to fly across the country tomorrow. So I'll try to get to it when we get back. In the meantime, camera pictures and a summary will have to do.

Let's start with Chloë. This morning Eric announced he was starting a cold. I stared at him and Maia, who had been coughing heavily that morning, and pronounced, "You people suck." Chloë, on the bed beside them, said, "No! People do not suck." Chloë at 26 months is active, eloquent, opinionated, joyful. We went to the Andersons store the other day to pick up a few things the local Kroger doesn't carry, and Chloë was what I would normally call badly behaved--running, touching things, shouting--but she was having so much innocent fun I really couldn't be upset, though I did continue to yell and correct her behavior to keep up my societal obligation. Of course the people around us only smiled and talked about how adorable she was, and one old lady said to her, "You bring life," so I didn't even feel like I was providing a public service by restraining her.

She has yogurt for breakfast almost every morning, through her own choice. She picks out her own clothes (though we have veto power) and can take them off herself, including putting them into the hamper, though she still needs help getting them on. "Chloë take clothes off all by Chloë self!" she says proudly. She's still hooked on her shows, particularly the Care Bears movie, and on Sesame Street. We tried her in size 6 diapers today because she's got persistent redness in the diaper area (they're bigger than I thought and she didn't like that, so possibly not useful after all), and she was unhappy that the Elmo picture is much more simplistic than the one on the size 5s.

She's interested in the simple puzzles Eric got her recently and in playing catch; also in taking out the drawers of her toy chest and dumping them out (thank you cousin Addie who showed her how). She likes to play at being asleep, which she now pronounces "tweep" rather than "deep," and continues to find pretend fish everywhere (including in a poopy diaper, which both Eric and I found deeply disturbing). She's LOVED her water table, and asks to go to the park much more often than we take her (admittedly, we don't take her as often as we should). She loves being outside in general. She asked to stay out in the rain the other day, and since it was warm I let her. She's already looking forward to playing in the snow, and to wearing boots while she does it, "just like P.B. Bear."

She still loves being tickled and roughhoused with, and will ask for "one more time" over and over...but if I say "this is the last time," then afterward she'll say "no more," and seem satisfied. She's much more biddable when we warn her what's going to happen. She enjoys the bedtime routine, especially "naked while," during which she jumps around in only her diaper and asks for "evyping," on her bed, and then when we pile all her various blankets and toys on her to her chin, says happily, "Koë buried?" She likes naming all the things we have to do to get ready for bed, and then when we tuck her in she'll say "night night," or "sweet dreams," or "see you in the morning," because she's heard us say them so often.

She's particular about her socks being on right and her pants not being too long, and will say "Socks/pants not okay," until it's fixed. Yesterday we made an apple cake and she got cinnamon in her eye. There wasn't as much crying as I would have thought, but for a while after I'd wiped off the major stuff and was flushing her eyes with Visine she kept saying "Chloë eye not okay." Then she said the Visine "peel punny," and squirmed and giggled, and wanted more when I'd gotten out as much as I could and she was no longer complaining. She's keen on having medicine. So far she hasn't made any serious attempts to get any, but we need to be careful about not leaving stuff out. She's so good, most of the time, but she's started being more grabby and inquisitive than she used to be, and that could mean trouble.

After dinner last night, we sampled the apple cake. I set down Chloë's plate with its thin but substantial slice of cake and its toddler fork in front of her at her coloring table and sat down across from her, Maia on my knee, to eat my own. Chloë looked at her cake and said, "Chloë have more pieces?"

I laughed. "You get one piece of cake."

"More pieces," she repeated.

"Eat what you've got," I advised.

So she picked up her fork, stabbed her piece of cake, and gamely tried to get the whole thing up to her mouth, because I'd totally forgotten she doesn't know how to cut her own bites yet. I apologized and cut the cake into more pieces, and she ate, much more happily.

Then there's Maia. Maia at five months is a very mellow girl, except when I'm changing her diaper instead of feeding her late at night. She likes to sit in her carrier and chew a toy while we're in the kitchen; she likes to look around when we're at the store, unless she's asleep. She's going down around 8:30 and sleeping until between 3:30 and 6:30, which I regard as a most glorious mercy. She generally doesn't wake screaming; she murmurs a bit, and when I come in and uncover the blanket that she's inevitably got wedged in her mouth, she smiles at me. But we'd better get feeding quick.

Despite that, she's not very steady at the R.I.N.D.S.; if she's tired she'll settle, but mostly it's a few minutes of sucking, then popping off to stare at her hand and murmur "gtscha," then another thirty seconds on, then off to gaze lovingly at Eric or Chloë or the picture of the baby on the diaper boxes stacked behind the glider (they contain size 9-18 month clothes), and so on. I don't know how she's maintaining her superchubbiness on this kind of a feeding scheme, but she is. The baby food can't be helping much; she's had several fruits and vegetables and rice and oat cereal, but only an ounce or two a day, and sometimes she's not interested. She does love to sit in her chair with us at dinner, though.

I've started wearing my hair up in the evenings and weekends because she's at the grabby stage. Chloë has also commented "Maia got Chloë hair" several times, though she doesn't seem as annoyed as me. She loves to grab and bat at and chew her toys, or a blanket, or her socks and feet, or my face. She likes to suck on my nose and chin; when she does it I squeal "Noooo! I need my nose to smell dirty diapers with! I need my chin to keep my mouth on!" and she grins. Last night she wasn't terribly hungry and so we cuddled a little before bed. She reared up and started toward my face with an open mouth, and I swear she was doing it so I'd protest and make her laugh. She likes to laugh. We play the usual baby games, tickles and "flying" and sudden movements with funny noises, and she'll often start to laugh during it. It's a wonderful sound.

Chloë continues to like to hold Maia, though often she asks while she's watching a show, and by the time I've got Maia in her lap she's staring mindlessly at the TV again. So I take her away. Chloë protests: "Have Maia!" and I say, "But you're watching your show," and she insists, "Chloë have Maia," and plays with her for a few seconds before turning back to the TV. If I've got Maia with me when I come to her room in the morning, she says, "Hi Maia," or "Good morning Maia," first, and climbs into my lap so she can get closer to her sister. She also keeps asking for Maia's baby food, and tends to act up if I'm turned away to feed her (I sit between them, with Eric on Maia's side) and dinner isn't particularly yummy. But she's doing pretty well. We were supposed to go shopping together the other day, just her and me, but when we got in the car she said, "Where Maia?" and when I said she was in the house with Daddy, insisted, "Maia come." So we went shopping, just her and me and Maia.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Sound off

Eric: Chloë, stop touching things on the counter! [Chloë continues to touch things.] One...
Chloë: Two?
Jenny: Bad things happen when Daddy gets to three.
Eric: That's right. What happens when I get to three?
Chloë: Four.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Take it all in

Maia has started trying to eat her feet. I don't remember Chloë doing this until seven months or so. (She's also in nine-months pajamas, which I don't remember Chloë doing until six months or so.) I don't understand how someone so chubby can get her toes in her mouth so easily, but she does. She tried to eat my pasta last night, too--she was fussy in the booster at the table so I stopped her feeding of pears (so far: sweet potatoes, bananas, apples, rice cereal, oat cereal, and now pears; it's time to break out something with more color in it) and pulled her into my lap, but then she just tried to get everything in her mouth: the pasta, the plate, the tablecloth, my napkin, her discarded bib. In her bath, we used to dip a washcloth in warm water and drape it over her, but now she goes bare because when we try she sucks the washcloth dry, or at least gives it her best shot.

She slept through the night, going down after an 8:30 feeding with a short wakeup at 10, and getting up at 5:30. I didn't get the full stretch of sleep because Chloë was awake from 3:30-4:30 asking serially for a some water, a tissue, her blankets, some nose medicine (Vaseline). On the last one I told her to go to sleep because I wasn't coming back again, I was going to my bed to sleep. I crawled into bed and heard her call plaintively, "Daddy? Chloë have Daddy?"

Anyway, Maia woke at 5:30 this morning and I nursed her in bed on one side (read: slept another hour until the alarm went off), then took her to the nursery for the other. She wasn't terribly interested, even after spitting up all over my pajamas, so we had some belly-to-belly time instead. What a sweet way to spend time on a Wednesday morning: rocking in a chair with a happy baby on me, our skin warm from the contact, the room quiet except for her burbles and my responding gabbles. I remember a time around a year ago when Chloë was lying with me in that chair, and I rocked her and thought, I have to remember this, how it feels to have her weight against me, the soft warmth of her skin, the fine tickles of her hair against my face. There is a lot about the day-to-day of my girl that I forget, but I have to remember this. And I do. And I will remember this morning with Maia, too. It was nothing special--or rather, it was nothing unusual; but I must remember, and I will.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011


"Thank you Mama for Chloë eat mac and cheese," Chloë told me yesterday. "Thank you" has been a long road with her, but suddenly, she's not only saying it spontaneously, she's elaborating. "Thank you for give Chloë napkin." "Thank you for going to Memaw house." "Thank you for singing a song." (This last was to the Care Bears movie, not me.) She's full of gratitude. Though never for things like M&Ms or popsicles, but I suppose that's because her mouth is full.

I'm finding myself grateful these days, too. I'm grateful I have my two wonderful girls, and we have no worries about them other than that Maia's tear ducts are still exuding muck. (The pediatrician says she isn't prepared to be concerned until about nine months.) I'm so happy that they love each other, as much as they can at their respective ages. I'm waiting to hear about a possible opportunity at work, and it's making me anxious, but I'm glad that regardless of how it turns out, I've got a secure job and it's allowing us to have this life. I'm grateful that the Care Bears songs aren't always stuck in my head.

And I'm grateful that I get to watch Chloë, and later Maia, learn so fast and become so much. It is amazing how she grows, and absorbs, and understands, and remembers. There was a morning a few weeks ago when Chloë was unhappy, with some crying and wanting to be held off and on. When I was about to leave for work, I picked her up again, and she looked at my hair, which was wet, and said, "Maia try to eat Mama hair?" I told her gently that no, my hair was wet from her tears, and marveled that she was able to look at an effect and try to deduce its cause.

Eric's been telling Chloë "Say 'I love you Mama,'" since she was about three weeks old, but recently she's actually started doing it. Since she still doesn't use a personal pronoun it's clear she doesn't totally understand this, but we've talked about what love means, and we say it to her often, and when prompted she'll say "I ove hoo Mama" obediently. The other day when Eric was leaving for work, he kissed her and said, "I love you Chloë," and she responded spontaneously, "I ove hoo Daddy," and he nearly didn't get to work because he melted all over the floor.

And I’m grateful for the moon, which Chloë continues to love. Last weekend we spotted it waxing in the sky as we were coming home from Borders (our last trip ever) and Chloë was delighted. A few days later, we saw it on the way home from Joann. Or rather, I did, and pointed it out, but Chloë could never quite manage to see it, and when we got home it was too low on the horizon. She nevertheless talked about it for the rest of the week, asking if the moon was "gassy" (we haven't figured that one out) and dwelling on how she saw it, or didn't see it, in the car. A few days ago she woke at 4:30 to talk to me about a firetruck we saw the other day. I told her to go back to sleep and used the bathroom before I returned to my own bed, and spotted the nearly-full moon out the window. I went back and took Chloë to see it. She pointed, and stared, and said, "The moon is not gassy? The moon is full?" I said yes, it was full, and took her back to bed.

Last night Chloë had a hard time getting to sleep. She wanted to see the moon, but it was too early. She woke not long after Eric got home, and since it had risen by then then he took her to a window to see it. She was pleased, and chattered perplexingly about "Chloë like black moon," and went back to bed without protest. She woke again just before I went to bed. I went in and tucked her in again, then brushed my teeth and said good-night to Eric, and then, as I always do, checked on both girls, Chloë first. She looked asleep, and I whispered, "I love you, sweetie." She didn't open her eyes, but she murmured, "Ove hoo."

Friday, September 2, 2011


Maia laughed at me last night. We were hanging out in the living room while Chloë ate her prize of the day, a cookie ("Mmmmm. Cookie."), at her little table while Maia lounged against my knees. I hoisted her up to "fly" and started making faces at her, and after a little while she giggled. My prize of the day.

We traded in the plastic kitchen/shopping cart/food Chloë's Memaw and Omi had given her for a water table. Since it's the end of summer, there weren't any in the stores we visited, so we ordered online. It arrived yesterday, and once I got home from work we took it outside. Chloë loved much that she forgot to eat the grape tomatoes I picked and put in a bucket for her. In fact she sent Eric inside for her yellow bucket because the red one alone wasn't enough. Instead of talking about the Care Bear show at night as is usual, she talked about playing with the water table again. I know what I'm doing when I get home.