Sunday, September 30, 2012

Status report: Chloë, 3 years 2 months, and Maia, 17 months

Eric said tonight, "It's October? How did it become October?" I've been saying, "Where did these brilliant big girls come from?"

Maia's getting to be so much her own person, talking and reacting (good lord, the reacting, mostly with belly laughs or high-pitched shrieks, sometimes in close succession) and having opinions and preferences. I think Chloë's a little frustrated that she's not quite as biddable as she used to be, but she's also much more interactive, more a real sister. "Move Maia!" she tells Maia when she's where Chloë wants to be putting the stool to wash her hands, but that's because Maia's standing close to watch her, or trying to reach the sink herself. They have a lot of fun together.

Chloë is so smart. I'm so proud and pleased when she comes up with this stuff. There was the "only books about big girls tonight" thing. Then there's her shoes. She's been so proud of being able to put her shoes on by herself, but she needs help sorting out which one goes on which foot. Recently, she told me, "I'm putting my shoes back the right way so they're on the right sides next time." How awesome is that?! I told Eric about it and he said, "I should have thought of that."

She's settled into preschool and adores it. Her first day there was some hesitation and a tear or two, but that was the only time. Every day it's "Is this a preschool day?" and the 28.6% of the time we get to say yes she then cheers and says, "I LOOOOOOVE preschool!" She's the youngest person in her class, but it's not slowing her down any. She knows the names of some of her classmates, and refers to them as her friends--though she calls everyone she knows her friend, so that may not mean anything. She loves to show off the little art projects they've done, and will tell me about the books they've read and sing the songs she's learned--though never when I ask, always at some later random time.

She can also sing "Rockabye Baby" and "The Itsy Bitsy Spider" all by herself. When did she learn to do that? And check this out: she can draw stick figures! She asked me one day "How do I draw you?" So I told her: "Draw a circle near the top for the head. Then a line or a long circle for the body. Then some lines there for the arms, and around there for the legs. And now maybe some eyes and a smile." She asked me to draw the smile, but she drew everything else.

That's totally me. Can't you tell by the nose?

She spontaneously sounds out the beginnings of words. She doesn't always get it right--"K-K-Grown-up," she'll say, or in one case, "M is for Halmoni." But she often does, and I love that she's trying, and all on her own initiative. We're working on getting her versed in her lower-case letters so she can get started more on phonics and reading. The other day she and Eric were reading the Little People book, and she pointed to a line and said, "That's my name." In fact it was "Cheep," the sound a chick was making, but she recognized the "ch" beginning. The fact that she has a book titled with her name probably helps her recognition, but I was still pretty impressed.

The other day Chloë wore some pants from last winter. I remarked, "I was thinking those fit better than they did last year...but then, she was wearing a diaper last year." Eric said to Chloë, "Do you remember wearing diapers?"  and Chloë shook her head. We're still a little hung up on wiping, and she insists on company, and takes a long time after announcing she's done to do anything about wiping, but mostly she's doing well on the potty--especially since we switched to the bigger seat we purchased while out at Mom and Dad's.

She was pleased to see it's the same kind as Llama Llama's in Maia's book. "It matches," she told me, though hers is white and green and Llama Llama's is red and blue. She's pretty keen on "matching" lately. "We match!" she tells me. "We both have a blue shirt on!" Or, "Put my earrings on. Then we will all match. Except Maia and you." (Eric was not in the room at the time.) She's similarly hung up on wearing "pretty" clothes. I haven't figured out what her criteria are for this, but she complains at least once a week that "none of my clothes are pretty!" I know time flies when you have children but hadn't realized we had reached the teenage years so soon.

We got a Roku box, to keep Eric from going completely insane by watching the same eight Dora the Explorer episodes over and over. The girls adore the new variety, and are enjoying some new shows, too--though Dora is still by far their favorite. Maia is even more obsessed than Chloë. She wants to page through Chloë's Dora omnibus every day; she exclaims whenever she sees Chloë wearing Dora underwear; she complains when she sees the Dora toothpaste or shampoo and isn't allowed to have it.  She's also basically claimed Chloë's Dora T-shirt, which admittedly is a little tight in the stomach for Chloë anyway.

She's talking up a storm. She asks us to "open" the toothpaste, and asks for her toothbrush by saying "Deet!" for teeth. She can say "read" very clearly, which I get a kick out of. She's also saying "Datey" (Stacey), her Cabbage Patch doll, and will rock it on the glider's ottoman. It's so cute. She can say "doll," too, and switches between that and "baby." The lamb Aunt Karolyn got her is her new lovey, and while I think she's probably saying "sheep" I always hear it as "feet." Eric scolds me for saying things like, "You can hold Feet while I change your diaper."

In the meantime, Maia has received her own potty, a Fisher Price frog one. (We decided to get rid of Chloë's because it's gross. Pro tip: don't buy the kind with a squishy seat, especially if it's got access points where liquid could conceivably get in and, at a later date, get out again.) She delights in sitting on it whenever someone else is on the toilet. She mainly loves reading the bathroom books and playing with her bits, but I'm pleased she's interested anyway. Not so pleased she's learned to take her own pants off to do it, but them's the breaks.

The girls are taking baths together consistently now that I've allowed bubble bath in their joint baths. Maia asks, "Bubbuhs?" every day. Chloë can climb in herself now; Maia squeals with impatience until I lift her in. They play in the bubbles, Chloë using the watering can to "make the fog go away," Maia often ending up with a bubble beard. Then I scrub Maia. Then I scrub Chloë. Then I let the water drain while the water reheats and we rinse and put away their toys. Then I turn on the shower and rinse them both clean, and then they get to play under the spray until the water is all gone. It works out better than our older routine and the girls love it. 

The girls enjoy their Legos and their beads a lot, as well as the tutus I made them...well, they did a couple of weeks ago, anyway. Now they've fallen out of favor. That's okay. They both like drawing, which is why there are more scribbles in the books and on tables than there used to be. Maia's been slower to learn the "paper only" rule than Chloë was. Chloë's very passionate about birthday parties and about the serial bedtime story I've started telling her. I realized a couple of nights in that this was a big mistake, since it means I have to make up something new every night instead of merely retelling stories and doing a new one once a week or so when I get tired of the current favorite. Ah well.

Maia's passionate about reading in general. Some of the books we read come with hand gestures (when I read them, anyway), and I love that both girls have picked up on them. For example, the My Toys book includes a saw, and on that page we all move our arms back and forth as if holding a saw. The next one pictures a drum, and I always have to grip the book extra tight because the girls bang on the drum. When we see a picture of an elephant, more often than not Maia will put her arm out in front of her face because I do that to imitate an elephant's trunk when I make the trumpeting noise.

These girls are growing so fast and so strong and so impossibly cute. Here's a pose Chloë orchestrated for me:

"Chloë, what's going on?"
"Just look at the camera and smile, and I'll stop with the Vulcan neck pinch."

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