Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Status report: Chloë, 3 years 3 months, and Maia, 18 months

Our dear 3.25-year-old Chloë is currently fast asleep, despite being stuffed full of candy and Halloween excitement (I'll try to make that another post) and Busytown episodes. Netflix is great, but it's created certain unintended consequences. One of these is Chloë asking constantly for shows, particularly "Busytown Mysteries" (based on the Richard Scarry books; organized or whatever by his son, Huckle is rather predictably the hero). "Can we have just one show before we wake up Daddy?" she asks hopefully in the mornings, though she knows my answer is always "No, Daddy controls shows on the days I go to work."

She's definitely starting to wade into the waters of literacy. She can spell her name, and write all the letters, though she hasn't yet gotten a firm grip on the concept of left-to-right. She's getting better at lower-case letters, and delights in pointing out letters she sees on signs when we go out, especially if they're letters that "are in my name!" She knows how to spell "on" because I always ask her to push that button on the scale when she's helping me bake, and that "zero" starts with a Z for the same reason. She sounds out the beginnings of words quite often, and sometimes I'll prompt her to sound out the rest.

She says, "I know," often, as in "I know, I know," when we tell her to do something, or "I know that," when we correct her. Interesting how early that starts. She puts on all her own clothes now, except for her socks and the occasional difficult dress. She still hates having her hair brushed. She loves the temporary tattoos that she's been getting with her three or four or five (!) Halloween events. She likes playing dress-up (except that she doesn't have a lot to dress-up in) and with her jewelry...also with her piggybank money. She used to love playing with my buttons. Why do we buy kids toys again?

I don't know where she learned to do thumbs-up, but she did. She knows "arrive" and "liquid" and other words you wouldn't think a three-year-old would know. She loves to jump. She's anxiously protective of her shoes, because they're her school shoes and she needs them for preschool because she's a big girl. She's very quick to look out for the concerns of big girls. There's a rhyme in one of the books that goes: The man in the moon looked out of the moon/and this is what he said:/"'Tis time that, now I'm getting up/All babies went to bed." Chloë's response was, "What about big girls?" I told her that big girls could stay up a little later than babies and she seemed satisfied.

I took the girls to Imagination Station, the local science place, on Saturday while Eric was away and the girls had a good time there. Most of the exhibits went over their heads, of course, but they had fun climbing on bridges and going into the wind tunnel, and there was a kids' area that they both had a great time in. I love when they get caught up in play together.

Maia is an adorable sweet eighteen-month-old who will not lie still for diaper changes oh my GOD. Usually I end up tackling her and tickling her, then wiping her quickly. Then she wiggles and escapes, and I fold up the dirty diaper and put it away. Then I tackle her again to try to get her down to put the new one on. She does love to be on her own...though she also loves to be held, especially when she's tired. And she never wearies of being thrown around, dropped, rolled upside down...and now she's learned how to do it herself. She can somersault, sort of; she calls it "tumble" in the cutest little baby voice as she puts down her head and launches herself, sometimes forward, sometimes to the side, at least once straight off the couch and into a laundry basket, and once off the side of the bed and luckily into my waiting arms.

She usually wakes up early in the mornings for our nursing session (I have GOT to get up the gumption to endure her screaming and give her a milk sippy in the mornings; I'm sure that after a few days to get used to it, she'd give up the R.I.N.D.S. without fuss and she might even sleep later--but it's just so easy when I stumble half-awake into her room at six A.M. to pick her up and sink into the glider and pull up my pajama shirt and doze) and when we're done, if it's not so early that I put her back to bed, I'll often lie down on the floor, my head on the Boppy, while she wanders around and refuses offers of diapers changes. When she spies me, she says, "banky! banky!" and toddles off to get me a blanket from her stack. She attempts to spread it on me, and then more often than not joins me under it. It's the sweetest thing.

Then there's the converse, when I'm sitting on the floor and she pushes me. I fall over, yelping, usually taking her with me. She snuggles and laughs, and then scrambles up and says stridently, "Pull! Pull!" I put my hands out. She grasps my thumbs and pulls at me until I sit up. Then she knocks me down again. Oh, the cruelty of children.

She's so curious and independent and self-motivated. We went to Michael's the other day to entertain ourselves, which was a mistake since there were so many movable, interesting things to look at and take off the shelves and manipulate:

But we had fun. And she was good about helping put things back. She's very good about any request or command that doesn't involve diaper changes or "come here": picking up blocks or Legos or books, bringing me a particular toy, attempting to take off her clothes for bath (of course she'd do anything for "bubbuhs!"--she routinely brings me the bottle of bubble bath when I start the water).

She's in the middle of a linguistic explosion. Her only sentence is "Read Dora please," but she can point out hearts and stars and moons and circles. She knows "sleeper" and "Grandpa" and "candy" and "Halmoni" and "drawing board" and "nap." She can draw a circle, which she calls "moon," and what she calls a line (well, I suppose technically they are; they're just not straight lines like Eric keeps demonstrating). I went to the Ann Arbor Fiber Expo with the girls to meet Carol ("you are a dedicated fiber person," a vendor said fervently to me as we passed) and had to buy a finger puppet when she spied it and exclaimed "Puppy!" so clearly the vendor came over and started showing her the different dogs she had. (Actually we ended up buying four, since they were $2 each or four for $5. Then we got a fifth one when someone called out, "Would she like this?" as we passed. Chloë got a free button and beads to string into a necklace. It's good to be an adorable little girl.) Someone else commented on how much she could say, and, when he asked her age and I answered, said, "Someone is linguistically talented, isn't she?"

The girls continue to be good friends and playmates, though Chloë's doing more "Maia's in my waaaaay!" and "Give me that Maia!" Maia is usually very responsive to things Chloë says she wants, even if she doesn't say it nicely or not to her. Chloë will say to me, "Maia's not letting me have the Legos because she's in my way," and Maia will turn and pick up a Lego and hand it to her. Maia's keen to do most things Chloë does...such as get up on chairs to "wash her hands" (read: splash in dirty water) in the kitchen, get on my left knee if Chloë is on my right, and wear her blue-striped sleeper because Chloë is wearing her pink-striped one. Or get tattoos.

I'm keeping this picture to compare to another picture of them coming home from the tattoo parlor together in seventeen years or so. I hope it won't be spiders that time, though.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Linguistics one-on-one

Maia woke up half an hour earlier than Chloë this morning, so we had some rare quiet time together. "Rwead," she ordered me when we settled on the glider together. I remember Chloë doing the same, except she said, "Heed." In the same way, Maia says "Yeah" while Chloë said "Hah," and Chloë said "Puhpuh" while Maia says "Pubbuh." (Usually this is at our prompting, because left to her own devices everything is green.)

But they both said "pakey" for "pancakes" in the beginning. Maia asked for "More pakey" the other night and I melted.

ETA: And while Chloë used to say, "Chloë do," Maia just says, "Do it!"

Friday, October 19, 2012

Exactly what I deserve for trying to foist my decision-making on a one-year-old.

Me: Chloë, what do you want for dinner?

Chloë: I'm not hungry.

Me: Maia, what do you want for dinner?

Maia: Food.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

After dark

We went clothes shopping for Chloë tonight, because she is simply enormous and, shockingly, last winter's clothes don't fit her and it's getting cold for short-sleeved shirts. We found a couple of leggings at Babies R Us (where we had to go for a diaper pail because ours finally gave up), but 5T is the highest they go and there isn't much, and that's what she's now in. So we made our way to Kohl's and bought five shirts and three pants, and a hooded vest because she loved it and was too stinking cute in it for me to refuse when she asked to take it home*, and some Dora the Explorer pajamas for Maia because "Dowa!"

It was dark when we left, and while we were still in the parking lot Chloë said, "My eyes hurt."

"That's because of the bright lights in the dark," I said, because it doesn't help to bring up how she's woken up at six the past couple of days and not napped enough and is probably tired. "That's not why--it's not because I'm tired," she always insists, after a bout of fingernail-on-chalkboard whininess.

We drove along. "No more stops, Mama," Chloë said, as if warning me.

"Right!" I said. "We're going straight home."

"Well, except for stop lights and things."

"Okay, yes, we'll probably stop at lights and stop signs," I conceded.

"But not green ones."

I ground my teeth and cursed Eric's genes and agreed. Before long Chloë said, "Maia?" Maia didn't answer. "Maia? Maia? Maia. Maia. Maia. Maia. Maia." At a stoplight (red) I glanced back. Maia was hugging Friendly Bear, contentedly ignoring her sister. "Maia, do your eyes hurt?" Chloë said finally.

"Yah," Maia said.

"That's because of the bright lights. In the dark."

*Also because she first got interested in the vests via a sequined magenta monstrosity and I was so relieved when she didn't like that one best.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Just an ordinary day

Today when we were playing Legos (Duplos) with the Winnie the  Pooh set, Maia opened the little door to let Pooh in and said, "Open." Then she closed it and said, "Closed." She repeated this several times, especially after I squealed, "What a smart girl!" and kissed her head.

I was making applesauce in the kitchen this afternoon (we tried it for the first time this year, and it has so much more complexity of flavor than the storebought stuff. Try it!) when Chloë decided to play a game called "Go to Emma's house and then run home and go to bed early because we're very tired." I was Emma. My part consisted of answering to the name Emma and making conversation before she ran home. I do not know where she got the name. I do know that she didn't take a nap today. She's been skipping it occasionally--especially on weekends--but gets so tired and cranky at the end of the day that we don't think it's time to give it up yet.

Maia has learned to identify herself and Chloë at last, and lately has taken great joy in pointing out the members of her family: "Mama. Dada. Doë. Maia." When I'm serving out spoonfuls of apple butter to taste or putting on jackets to go for a walk, she's been quick these last few days to say, "Maia," to remind me that she needs her portion of attention.

And for some reason whenever I get her out of the car first (she sits behind me) she said, "Doë." Does she think Chloë doesn't like being in the car? Does she want to remain longer herself? Does she dislike being put down to wander the garage or, if we're out, being held while I unsnap Chloë's carseat one-handed? I don't know, but she wants her sister out first.

I've been trying to make Chloë understand that telling me, "Maia is in my way!" is much less helpful than telling Maia, "Please move." Maia is trying to be so helpful. She puts Chloë's potty seat on the toilet for her and moves the stool. How much more could you ask from a little sister, ladies and gentleman? But no, Chloë wails, "Maia, you're in my way!" even when she's not. Today her shtick was to say, "Maia, help me!" when I told her she had to put away the blocks before she could watch a show, and then complain, "Maia's not helping!" even though (a) she wasn't lifting a finger herself and (b) she hadn't told Maia what, exactly, she needed help with.

As I mentioned earlier, Maia has attached herself to her sheep. Instead of Feet, we've now been calling it Beep, and she seems satisfied with that. It's a bit of a relief to have a stuffed animal with an actual name, since up until now our only variations on the "Snake," "Bear," "Ducky," and so on have been modifications on the theme of "Small/Middle/Big Ducky." (Chloë was playing with something, I forget what, that she called eggs. She said, "Soon the mama eggs will hatch and then the baby eggs will hatch." We've got to have a talk sometime about how 'mama' and 'baby' are not just size descriptors.) I suppose there's also Tiger the leopard and Chloë's dolls--Laughing Baby, Newborn Baby, and Dolly Baby. My plan is to make the girls knitted dolls for Christmas, since Maia doesn't have an easily snuggle-able one and Dolly Baby is much the worse for wear already, and I'll be interested to see what name Chloë bestows on hers.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

A good big sister

If you want to see Eric all gooey over what a good big sister Chloë is, retell the following:

1) A few days ago, after bathtime, the girls were running around naked and when I went to use the bathroom, Maia came with me and wanted to sit on her potty. So I took her diaper off. She sat for a few seconds and then got up, since I wasn't available to read to her. She wandered over to the sink, then got a strained look, then started to cry, "Mama!" I saw she'd pooped on the mat. I scooped her up and put her on the potty seat, saying, "Look, you pooped. That goes in the potty! Is there any more?" There was a tiny bit more, but Maia was pretty distressed (it had been a bit of an effort). Chloë said encouragingly, "Good job Maia! You pooped in the potty! What a big girl!" And to me: "Can she have two stickers?" (two stickers being, of course, her own reward for pooping in the potty back when she still cared about her sticker chart).

2) Chloë and Maia and I went outside to play yesterday while Eric prepped dinner. It was chilly, and the girls had the hoods up on their fleeces. We decided to walk down the sidewalk a bit. Maia, as usual, screeched, "Hand! Hand!" I gave her mine as Chloë skipped on ahead, but that wasn't enough: "Hand!" she called to Chloë. Chloë dropped back and took Maia's hand.

"Her hand is cold," Chloë said. "Maybe she would like my gloves." And she took out the handwarmers she'd previously been wearing from her pocket and held them out for me to put on Maia's hands.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

All shall know her name.


Eric sent me this yesterday, noting, "The only help from me was telling her which letters to write." All calm, as if this were not an EVENT OF MOMENTOUS PROPORTIONS. 

(I don't know why I'm so excited. Maybe because my baby girl is on her way to becoming literate and that is TOTALLY AWESOME. Maybe because I didn't even know she could write letters, and here she is, jotting down all the ones in her name. "I can write an X easily," she told me when I got home, and did. But she couldn't do an A when I asked her to.)