Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Status report: Chloë, 3 years 1 month, and Maia, 16 months

These girls. How I love them, and how they drive me crazy. I don't have a coherent story here; all you get are snippets of our day-to-day life as these girls grow and learn and get cuter and funnier and are amazing and infuriating by turns, or sometimes all at once.

We went to Swan Creek Metropark, which is new to us, today on the way home from the dentist (I went, then Eric came with the girls, and I took them while he went in for his appointment--but the girls were disappointed I'd gotten done quickly and they hadn't had a chance to play in the waiting room, so I looked for a substitute). It's a very nice little place. There's a big playset with tall slides and some things to climb and a nice swingset--and a small playset with short slides and steps and baby swings. We started out in the small one, and Maia climbed up the steps and then went down the slide herself, pausing only to make sure I was standing at the bottom of the slide. Chloë struggled to climb the bendy bars and cried out for me to be close, to help her. She climbed them, no real problem, a couple of times. Then we went to the big one, and Maia climbed up and went down slides with me, and Chloë hung from a bar (so did Maia, and loved it) and climbed the helix ladder with, again, difficulty.

That's the way they are, mostly. Maia is adventurous and up for fun, once she gets over a natural initial shyness. I was swinging her by her arms the other day, up and down and all around, and she loved it--so much she cried and flung her arms about when I had to stop. Her temper is so fierce when it gets stirred up. Chloë is more phlegmatic, but she's so reticent about trying things, insists that she can't do it, won't do it. She's doing so well on using the potty, but she refuses to do without the pee guard or to try to wipe herself better. The way she says "I can't" all the time makes me crazy. I'm not sure if it's worse or better that she often says it as she's doing the thing she says she can't do.

The "Sarah" thing seems to have faded, at least the last week or two. At family camp some great-great-aunts and -uncles asked her what her name was and she said, "Sarah." But a little girl asked her name on the playground today and she said, "Chloë." So there's hope there. And I love how happy and bouncy and interesting and interested she is. She talks about the airplane trips--"Next time, I want to go on three airplanes!" and wonders where the people in the cars are going. ("Maybe they are going shopping like us.") She tells me, "I will hug you veeeeeeery tight," and I hope she's not saying it to try to intimidate me, because her veeeeeeery tight hugs are the best hugs anywhere.

Maia is picking up words like a vacuum cleaner. She pointed to her arm and said "elbow" the other day. Today it was "cracker." She names and can point to Grandpa and Halmoni (okay, "Aba" and "Ahee." We know what she's saying).  She's been using "bah" as her multipurpose word (bath, drink, dog, etc.). She also says "boom" and "ding" when she hears them. She's big on onomatopoeia. She's also done "more blueberries" and "cracker please" spontaneously.

She adores Dora the Explorer, even more than Chloë (who got excited at the determination that her Elmo backpack was too small for preschool and she'd need another: "I can get a Dora one!"). Whenever she's in Chloë's room, she's constantly fetching the big Dora omnibus, saying, "Dowah. Dowah? Dowah." She pages through it, tearing it more often than not. She can name Backpack and Map. Boots, Dora's best friend, is also Dowah. Swiper, the bad guy, is "mimi," which Eric told me today is "mean."

They both love the new shoes we bought recently. Chloë can now put on and take off her shoes entirely unaided. (As Brenda said, isn't Velcro great?) Chloë's been very big into being a dancer/ballerina/princess lately. She insists she needs special clothes for this (usually just a skirt or a dress, or a particular shirt) and likes to dash around, contorting herself oddly, to dance. "Am I pretty?" she says often. "Do I look pretty?" Of course we always tell her she does, with or without her dancer/ballerina/princess outfit.

(This was not that outfit.)
They both had fun with their cousins and other family during our time in Seattle. We visited Mom's work and when her coworkers gathered around, exclaiming and praising and begging for hugs, I expected Chloë to be shy; but she jumped around and danced and offered hugs, which was totally uncharacteristic but great to see. She liked seeing Aubrey walk past our campsite, and having Abby in the house (incidentally: my poor kids, with cousins Aubrey, Abby, and Addie). She talks about the neighbor kids often. I think she'll do okay in preschool once she gets over the parental separation. Maia's still too young to play with kids really, but she does enjoy playing by Chloë's side in the backyard, splashing in the water table or digging in the sandbox or dunking her fist into the bubble solution. She covets Chloë's tricycle; she's too short for it, but she loves being pushed on it when we can get Chloë to give her a turn. (Chloë's very very good about sharing with her. But she is very proud of being able to ride her tricycle now.)

Chloë hit me the other day. We were arguing about something or other and she said "Bad Mommy!" and I said "Bad Chloë!" (which was not the most mature response) and she wanted to say something else, and couldn't come up with anything, and slapped me on the arm. It was very light and was pretty clearly testing the water to see if it was an acceptable act--after she did it she stepped back and watched me to see what I would do. What I did was say emphatically, "Chloë Leeja Snyder! You do not hit! Time out!" She went to the designated corner silently. Then she started to cry, and then to wail "Mama," until I told her she was done. She came right to me and listened while I told her that it was okay to be angry, but not okay to hit. I don't know how much of that sank in, but I'm sure we'll go over it again. She said "Bad Mommy" again tonight, and I told her that the next time she says it will be another time out. I don't mind her being angry, but namecalling is one of the things we think we should nip in the bud.

But mostly I think she's doing fine. Where I'm a little worried about discipline is with Maia. She gets so mad so quickly, and is so much more adventurous than Chloë, that I'm thinking the ways we're already set in with Chloë aren't going to be sufficient for her--but she's still young to figure out what exactly we should be doing differently. If we should. There are no big problems yet; but I definitely see her as more of the rebellious type, and we haven't dealt with that yet, really. 

Maia's doing really well on her food; I give her small fruit strips and whole huge blueberries now. She still tends to chipmunk, but we'll work on that. Chloë's getting better and better at eating neatly and drinking "like a big girl" from a real cup (also, at remembering whether she had hot chocolate the day before, as she gets it every other day). They're both loving the late-summer raspberry harvest, and the Yellow Pear and Brown Berry tomatoes in the garden. Also, the "smoothie store."

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