Saturday, October 26, 2013


I suppose I might as well make this official: I am on hiatus. Life is sort of difficult to live once at the moment, let alone over again for the blog (though the girls are mostly not the difficult parts. And certainly not the dull ones). Therefore, instead of our last post (Maia's doing much better), I leave you with this:

"Pirate sisters Chloë and Maia, best friends for ever!"

Saturday, September 21, 2013

On the poop deck

(Warning: discussion of gastrointestinal function ahead.)

"I don't need 'positories any more!" Maia said brightly yesterday. Then she took a wipe and tried to stuff it up her ducky's butt.

We went to Seattle last week. While we had a good time overall, travel didn't agree with Maia's digestive system. There were no poops for the first two days, and when she was straining but getting nothing out, we decided to use suppositories, which we've used for her once before. They were highly effective then, but she was ambivalent about them--she knew they worked, but she didn't like how they went in, which I really can't blame her for--and refused these. Of course, being two, her refusal didn't mean as much as she might have wished. We administered several of them, as well as tons of fruit and juice and gummy fiber pills (Chloë also had a couple since they tasted yummy, she said, but since she didn't need any of that sort of help and we're the ones who wipe her butt, she went off them), and eventually a vegetable laxative pill.

She didn't do terribly well the remainder of the trip, but it wasn't so bad we wanted to take her to a doctor. She did start crossing her legs when she was straining, presumably because it hurt--she mentioned this a couple of times when I was changing her, so I took extra care cleaning her, and when I forgot once told me, "Wipe gentwy!" We discouraged the leg-crossing, and by a couple days after we got back, she had gotten back to normal consistency and frequency. She got milk today for the first time in a week.

We're not sure how much each remedy helped, but I'm fairly confident that getting back to her normal schedule was a part of it. Funny how travel can affect something like digestion and excretion. She didn't have this problem our last trip out, admittedly. But it certainly wasn't the change in diet, since Mom and Dad pushed fruit and vegetables even more than we do.

Monday, September 9, 2013

Unassailable logic

"I want that," Maia said, pointing up to Chloë's solar system mobile this morning.

"Which one?" Chloë asked her. "Jupiter?"


"She wants Jupiter," Chloë told me. "But not the real Jupiter."

"Why not?" I inquired.

"Because one, she couldn't carry it. And two, it wouldn't be in orbit any more. And three, it would be bigger than a room."

Sunday, September 1, 2013


"Where's your ow?" Chloë inquired of Maia in the bath the other day.

"On my chest," Maia decided, and together they applied a wet washcloth onto her chest.

"Now, it's time to take off your Band-Aid, Maia," Chloë said kindly. "It's not going to hurt. Ready? One--" She yanked off the washcloth. "That didn't hurt, did it?"

The removal of Band-Aids is Chloë's hangup, not Maia's, of course. I thought it was interesting she chose to channel her experiences in that way. (The "I'll count to [rip]" technique is Eric's; I just reach over and pull it off quickly when she's not prepared.)

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Status report: Chloë, 4 years 1 month, and Maia, 28 months

These girls. How they grow. How they amaze. How they annoy. In other words, all is on schedule and perfectly healthy.

Chloë is such a big girl these days. She acts old...I mean, when she's not crying for ten minutes because we refused to let her change her socks so that her clothes would match. Eric has taught her checkers and a number of card games, and she wants to play those all the time now. She's also learned how to think about hypotheticals. Some time ago I asked her about a hypothetical, and she couldn't get past "but that isn't true." The other day we read "Olivia Meets Olivia," in which Olivia is designated Olivia One and does various things to deal with a second Olivia in her class. Afterward I asked her what she would do if she had another Chloë in her class. She said, "Well, I would be Chloë One, because I'm the first one I know, and she would be Chloë Two."

She likes to get in people's faces a lot--not aggressively, just darting in for lots of kisses or to show me something an inch from my eye. She's still pretty clingy; we had trouble leaving a few times when we were in Daytona Beach, even though she had tons of family around her and our assurance that we wouldn't be gone long. But she's eagerly looking forward to preschool again (next week!).

She and Maia are still great pals. In the morning they'll often greet each other with a hug. They squabble about who gets to play what--Chloë definitely isn't old enough to understand the "other people have rights too" concept--but they love to play together, and make up games and stories, and Chloë will include Maia on things like decisions while she's playing a game on her LeapPad.

Maia, in the meantime, is our fiery little girl. We're definitely getting more of the Terrible Twos with her than we did with Chloë. (Does this mean the threes won't be as bad?) She very often refuses to clean, saying, "I don't want to," and we then have to yell at her and/or threaten room time before she complies. Chloë tattles on her all the time, and it's annoying, but it's also true that she's not nearly as obedient as we'd like. When we bake I still have to yell at her about not putting measuring spoons in her mouth and not sticking her fingers in the bowl. Or picking up the spilled baking soda off the counter and licking it, though really if that actually appeals to her I'm not going to oppose it. 

She's not progressing on potty training, but she's not backsliding either; she uses the potty sometimes, but mostly she just uses her diaper. She's much more likely to use the potty the later it gets past her bedtime, though.

She loves to sing. She's not very firm on the ABC song, but she can do Twinkle Star and Baa Baa Black Sheep and part of the Dora theme song with the best of them. When Chloë wants to dance (which she does, often), Maia will generally dance along and start singing whatever's in her mind.

She asked me to sing a song about "woman" last night. After I did ("big women, small women, short women, tall women"), she sang, "I love woman, lots of woman!" As Eric said, maybe there won't be any grandchildren out of that one. However, her bedtime song is usually the Soft Kitty song from "The Big Bang Theory," passed on from Uncle Bob, with a couple of added verses by me because it gets monotonous when she wants to hear it for the tenth time that night. Her latest potty-training prize is a tiny stuffed kitten, now named Banana (mostly by Chloë) because it's light yellow, and when I tuck her in she hands Banana to me and says, "Sing kitty song," expecting me to make Banana dance to its tune. She still hasn't given up playing kitty, being kitty, loving kitties. And mewing when she wakes up. I think we all know what she's going to be for Halloween.

In the meantime, Chloë and I ended up talking about Christmas at bedtime tonight (it followed naturally from her checkup tomorrow and cranberry juice...just trust me) and she said, "I love Christmas and Thanksgiving! They're my favorite days!"

"They're good days," I agreed, and prepared to say something about having to wait for them.

"Every day is a good day," she sang, her head nestled against me as we snuggled. "Every day is a good day!"

Monday, August 19, 2013

Because I like water

Yesterday the girls had lunch a little late, because we'd been working outside. I was hot and sweaty and intended to go back out as soon as they were down for naps, so I didn't eat, but I did decide to finish off the last of the juice container. When I sat down at the table, Maia looked suspiciously at my glass. "Is that juice?"

"Yes," I said.


"Because I wanted some."

"Water!" she cried. Her little fist landed on the table. "You like water!"

"I'll have water next time," I promised.

...So I think my little unplanned hiatus is at an end. We'll see. I'm feeling less robotic than I have been the last several weeks. Eric says I'm yelling at the kids more, which I suppose could be interpreted as another symptom I'm feeling better. Or that it's time to hire a babysitter. Or make cookies with Chloë.

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Best Friends

Chloë had a nosebleed today while swimming with Addie and Raegan--not exactly an uncommon occurrence.  Raegan was a little worried, though:  "Does she have a bloody nose?"  She hung around while Chloë was taken care of.

This evening, near bedtime, Chloë and I were talking about that scene; I told her that Raegan was very sweet for asking about it.

"Why was that sweet?" asked Chloë

"Well, when you worry about someone, that shows that you care about them.  Like when you tell me when something happens to Maia, it means you care about her, right."

"Yes, because she's my best friend!"


Monday, June 10, 2013

On toddler time

We visited my friend Courtney on Saturday. While the girls and Courtney's son played together (another item for that brochure on Things They Don't Tell You About Parenting: sometimes, to get peace what you need is more kids in the house) we played a game in the dining room. I sat by the window, and at one point I noticed a rabbit sitting in the backyard.

"Maia," I called, since she was close, playing by herself at the moment, and I knew she'd want to see. "Come over here. There's a bunny in the yard."

She looked up from the aircraft carrier toy she was playing with. "Maia," I said again. "Come here."

She gave me a few more seconds of face time (a look Courtney interpreted as "Aircraft carrier, Mom") and then went back to playing. I shrugged and went back to the game.

A few minutes later Maia got tired of the aircraft carrier. She carefully put away the little accessories she'd been playing with, stood up, and walked over to me. "I comed, Mama!" she said brightly.

The rabbit, of course, had moved on. But it actually wasn't out of the yard, so I was able to show it to her after all.

Friday, May 31, 2013

Status report: Chloë, 3 years 10 months

"Maia has the softest skin I've ever kissed," Chloë said yesterday, after "group hug" time with all four of us, which she mostly spent madly kissing her sister. "And you have the slipperiest," she added to me, running a finger down my face. I'm not quite sure how to take that.

Chloë doesn't do naked time anymore because she would rather play "dance class," which consists mostly of wearing a dress and occasionally scolding Maia or me because class is about to start. She loves her dresses and her dancing. She can now dress herself entirely, except for socks which she continues to have problems with. You'd think that, considering she hasn't taken them off except for baths and momentary changes since, like, 2011, she'd have figured them out by now.

We've decided to get rid of her size-four clothes, except for a few loose shirts and skirts. Have I mentioned yet that she's a big girl? We're planning on taking away her sippy-cup rights, but she's not interested in this at all; she's even regressed away from straw cups, preferring actual sippies when she can get them. She's also showing a more typical-than-I-hoped tendency to be a picky eater. She doesn't like cheesy pasta anymore. She doesn't like green beans anymore. She doesn't like fried rice or peppers or smoked sausage. She has discovered a love for sweet potatoes, and still professes to enjoy frozen peas, and of course is extremely keen on candy and popsicles and ice cream. We're anticipating more fights at the dinner table wherein she demands something else for dinner and we refuse. Fun times.

She's also regressing a little when it comes to leaving Eric and me. We sent the girls to Memaw's recently so we could go out for our anniversary (six years! And we haven't killed each other yet!) and have left them at Aunt Angie's a couple of times, and each time she's wept and screamed about it. "I want to stay with you," she wails. We expected that she'd have fun once we left. And, the report goes, she did stop crying not long after the door closed behind us, but she was pretty quiet and was very, very glad when we came back. She doesn't like going downstairs without us, either. I worry a bit about this lack of...what is it? Independence? Self-confidence? Secure attachment? (Only I just looked up this last and no, she shows signs of secure attachment; the "secure" describes the attachment, not the child.)

We've signed her up for swim lessons, and she's agreed that sounds fun, though I anticipate a fight getting her socks off, just like last year. We're planning on going to Daytona Beach for the Snyder family vacation again this year, and she told me that she would "try to go in the water."

She now owns a few learn-to-read books, and we've started sounding out words. Sometimes she's delighted by this--particularly the one session we had with the foam bath letters--and sometimes she squirms and doesn't want to participate. I'm hoping to get her to the point where she can recognize a couple of words on sight ("Hi" is good, since it's the first word of her Dora learn-to-read book) and give her some confidence that way.

She remains a loving sister, though she does try to order Maia around more than I'd like and at the same time tends to wail and scream, more than Maia ever does, when Maia doesn't do what she wants. "I love Maia best of our family," she told me recently. I'm good with that. When we snuggle at night (another thing I want to wean her off of--not that I don't like the snuggling, but she needs to sleep without it eventually) she whispers, "I love you," and I stroke her hair and whisper back, "I love you too."

Monday, May 27, 2013

Dear Maia, year two (and one month)

Dear Maia kitten,

Today you are two years and one month old. I was supposed to get this letter written a month ago. I started it; but life was too exhausting at the moment and I decided that this could wait, rather than, say, making your current two-year-old self wait for the diaper changes you now demand the instant you wet them. If it’s so bothersome, let’s work on the potty training some more, that’s what I say.

You are a delightful, delightful girl. Neither your dad nor I can get over your cuteness, your soft curls at the back of your head (your hair so long we can get it into pigtails now!), your sweet face, your high clear self-possessed little voice. You speak very well, even better than your sister did at this age. Certainly the sounds you have are different. She said “ove hoo,” you say, “wuv you.” You say “I” and “me “ already, and have been for months, and you can say pretty complicated things. “I think I do not,” you say when we ask if you need help. “Do not hug me and kiss me,” you said to me today, when I was trying to bring you up on the couch with me and apparently you feared I would be too smothering. You’re a very independent little girl. You love your snuggles, but on your own terms. And usually as a cat. We’ve been playing cat-and-kitten together for several weeks now, you and I. “Mama kitty,” you call me, and I say, “Hi kitten,” and we meow and nuzzle each other. Sometimes saying “Good night kitten,” is all that gets you to settle down in your crib at night. It’s the sweetest thing. Kind of confusing when you’re also demanding that I do my Cookie Monster imitation (“Me hungry for chicken, broccoli, and sweet potatoes!”), but I roll with  it.

Chloë steadfastly refuses to participate in the cat game, saying “I’m a human!” whenever we try to include her as a cat, so you and I meow by ourselves. It’s one of very few things that are just the two of us, which makes it especially dear to me. But I also love when the three of us (or four of us) play together. You love ring-around-the-rosy, Chloe trying to pull you down and me trying to hold her back; dancing in the living room; the two of you bringing your stuffed animals to me so I can give them  checkups. You play really well with your sister these days, too. The two of you will put on hats and shoes and be dancers, or deep-sea divers, or astronauts. You build towers and bridges and play with the Winnie-the-Pooh Duplos (even when it mostly consists of you playing with the Piglet and Pooh and  your sister howling “No, Maia!!” because you didn’t do exactly what she had envisioned, without telling you what she wanted). You’ll often hug each other, and it’s often with an eye to your dad or me to make sure we see you, but you genuinely love each other. It makes me so happy to see you together. I’m not so excited when you do whatever Chloë’s doing just because she’s doing it, including things like saying “I have a tummy ache” or “I’m tired” when you don’t want to help clean up toys, but I know that’s the price we pay.

You’re very definite about wanting to do what you can—climbing into and out of your car seat, zipping up your jacket when I start it, taking off your own diaper for potty attempts. You run for the stool from the bathroom to climb up on my bed or turn on the light. “Me!” you howl if I try to do something for you that you think you can do. If I catch myself in time we’re usually okay. Otherwise, you tend to throw a tantrum. You’re a sweet sunny girl, but you do get upset when you don’t get what you want. You’ve been doing a lot of defiance lately, too, and I swear it’s just to see what it takes to get in trouble. I’ll tell you to start picking up blocks, say, and  you’ll say “no.” I say “Do it now, or you’re getting a time out,” and you just sit, silently, watching me. I give you your time-out and you stand in the corner patiently and obediently. Then when I release you, you run to pick up the blocks. There have been a few times when you’ve been genuinely worried about my reaction to something—for example, when I found you with a big orange mustache from the markers I’d forgotten to put up out of reach—but for the most part, you’re really a very good girl. You remember about the no-no cabinet (the bathroom cleaning supplies) and you’ve been better about not pulling my bookmarks out of my books so much. You put garbage or plates away when we ask you. You stop running in the grocery store when we tell you. (Well, mostly. But it doesn’t help that your sister is always egging you on, and we understand that, though we pretend it doesn’t matter.) You understand so well, and you behave pretty well, too. I’m proud of you.

You’re starting to work on potty training; you have your own little frog potty, but you like using the big toilet with the potty seat you persist in referring to as Chloë’s, though she hasn’t used it in months. You’ve also tried perching there without the seat, presumably because Chloë does, but you don’t seem to feel very secure. (Which is okay; I don’t either. I want to hold you to make sure you don’t fall in, but you said “Do not hold me,”  so I don’t. I just hover anxiously.) You’ve peed in the potty a few times, most often during bathtime for some reason, but you don’t seem to have the concept really down. I don’t mind; you’re only just two. Recently you’ve been demanding instant diaper changes, and saying “I need to pee,” at various times. We’ll see how that goes this year. You’re pretty good at taking your clothes off, and your diaper (and I’m very grateful that except for a few instances, you only do it when you’re supposed to). Also at putting your clothes on. You’re not good at wiping yourself, or combing your hair or brushing your teeth; but you love to do it, so we let you do it.

We stopped nursing when you were nineteen or twenty months. I still vaguely miss it, and you still vaguely seem to remember some connection with my chest, but mostly you’re a big-girl eater and drinker, and we’re both happy this way. You’ve started drinking water out of big-girl cups, and are very proud of yourself when you don’t spill any down your front. (You also enjoy swishing it around in your mouth after toothbrushing. Eventually we’ll get you to spit it out instead of swallowing.) You do pretty well with your fork and spoon, and you enjoy a pretty good variety of foods. You’re pretty variable on how much you eat, but then, you’re a growing toddler, so that’s to be expected. You adore “snackies,” and will say things like, “No dinner for me. Can I have snack?” 

You also love Dora and Diego and Scout. I know we exposed you to TV more and sooner than we did your sister, because your sister was already watching, and I regret that; you’re self-sufficient enough that you can always find something to entertain yourself with, and you’ll often wander off in the middle of shows to color or play with Legos or come find me (since I usually use shows as my working-in-the-kitchen time).  I really love your independence. 

It also makes me feel a little nonplussed at times. I still call you my baby, and you’re still baby-soft and you toddle sometimes, especially when you run, and you like to be held in my arms; but you’re not really a baby, and you’re pushing yourself away from your dad and me, testing your wings already. I sometimes feel like you’re a stranger. Which I suppose you are in some ways; I’ve known you two years, but a lot of that first year was a nonstarter as far as getting to know you, since there wasn’t much you then—not nearly as much as there is now, and it’s still changing and developing. You’re so interesting now. You’re hot-tempered, quick to laugh, quick to try something you’ve seen someone do. When you don’t want to do something, you refuse and stand there, immovable. (Well, except that you’re small enough to be picked up, of course.) You’re not afraid to demand what you want or what you think should happen. You love to read and to pretend to be something else—a cat, a dog, a superhero. “Super Maia, to the rescue!” you say as I tie a scarf around you as a cape, and put your hands on your hips, and rocket away from me, and I watch you with a proud, amused, wistful smile.

I’ve been trying to remember baby you the past few days, and it’s hard to do. You have only ever been the way you are: darling Maia, my sweet big little girl, who can run and jump and draw circles, who brings squiggly drawings proudly to me and runs away when it’s time for diaper changes (you’re the one who asked for them!), who has giggly sessions of saying “poopy!” with your sister, who tells your dad and me spontaneously "I wuv you," and who sometimes pushes your daddy away at night, saying “No, Dad. Mama!” which always makes me feel sort of sorry for your dad, but secretly delighted that you want me. I love you, my kitten, my funny wiggly girl. Here’s to year two, and to even more Maia, which is all I could want.


Mama kitty

Friday, May 10, 2013

A brief bulletin

I plan to regain my grip on my life enough shortly to start posting again, including Maia's birthday letter. In the meantime, here is a short interlude from a couple of days ago when Chloë and Maia were "racing" (i.e., Chloë would browbeat Maia into agreeing to race, then take off down the hallway, shouting "Go!" about halfway down):

Chloë: I won!
Maia: I two!

Friday, April 26, 2013

Lullaby and good night

I thought to myself in the shower this afternoon, "This day has been so luxurious." Then I considered what I was calling luxurious: sitting in a coffeeshop for an hour without my children; then grocery shopping with just one of them; then an hour of digging in the garden without being called on to adjudicate or hold kites for them; then a shower, by myself, instead of having to make do with a quick splash of water on my face until they went to bed. My life has changed in the last three and three-quarters years, is all I'm saying.

Ahem. I really got on to share Chloë's newest song, which she sang while playing with her My Little Demon figurine just now:

"I am the skeleton one, because I have a skeleton
And I live where there are dinosaur and people...skeletons
And I live right here in the cat"

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Status report: Chloë, 3 years 9 months

Chloë this month is...well, mostly, obsessed with her body videos. "I saw a cloud shaped like a stomach!" she told me coming home today. "And the intestines under it!" 

She's very keen on electronics in general; shows are still big, but the tablet with its Youtube and my phone with its Wonder Zoo app (she likes catching animals for the zoo) and her LeapPad with its math game are much more interesting.

Her drawings have become increasingly complex and original. We have a "gallery" in the hallway now of her pictures. One is a flower I drew that she merely colored in. But the others are flowers in dirt; a campfire with sky above; a slide on grass and flowers; and another campfire, but with a guy roasting marshmallows over it, all completely drawn by her. And then there's this gem that she came up with during Colorforms play:

I did the seesaw and helped make the swing set long enough to accommodate all three swings she wanted by putting multiple Colorforms end-to-end. She did the rest. And then there's Legos:

I helped with this too, especially when she started screaming about the Legos not staying up. Now she knows about supports. But it was her idea and she did most of the work. 

In a way it's been a tough month. I can't even indulge in the "I bet she'll be an X when she grows up" because, contrary to her plans, I know she can't possibly be a physician and an artist and an architect and a dentist and a teacher and an astronaut and a circus performer. ("Watch my trick," she says, and balances on her head. But that's not actually the trick; the trick is a somersault which she accomplishes about a third of the time. She used to be better at it.) Luckily, "evil overlord" is a catchall job description.

Helping with that last, she's becoming more and more bossy, both with us and with Maia. We're still learning when it's worth it to reason or argue with her and when we need to assert our essential parenthood. "You don't order me around!" Chloë told me at dinner tonight. My answer was, "I'm your mother. That's part of my job." I can still shut her down with a well-placed yell or ultimatum, but she usually collapses into loud tears when I do, so I'd rather not when I don't have to. 

As for Maia, Chloë's very fond of telling her "No! Don't color on my picture!" or "Don't eat your hands!" or "Come to my room for a sleepover!" She's actually drawn multiple pictures depicting things Maia shouldn't do (take her lip balm, mostly) with "MAiA" and "ON" (she still hasn't captured the concept of writing left-to-right) written on them. She's so funny. But they still get along great, especially now that Maia's able to play and understand better. With the weather improving we've been getting outside as we can, and they love playing in the sandbox or using sidewalk chalk or flying kites together. She's finally learned how to ride the tricycle, including turns, though she still fusses when she gets stuck. She likes to have her own way, but she's also very encouraging to Maia. She's excited about Maia's party and the present she picked out (and also the one that we picked out), and will happily wait for her or fetch things for her, and they do decently well on sharing, even the LeapPad.

And now that she's finally mastered riding her tricycle (she rode all the way around the block today! And kept going even after taking a tumble!), she's found a new way to have fun with her little sister:

She's a very sweet big sister. Funny and silly and creative and smart. Definitely a keeper. Besides, I'm going to reach the age of bodily ailments soon and she'll be able to tell me exactly where my duodenum is.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Spring and surprises

The Greening has come, by which I mean the point in the spring when I first notice that the grass is green instead of dull (that's not a color, but it seems like it in late winter). Chloë noticed it too. "The grass is green now," she informed me yesterday. She also told me there are red flowers in our yard. What would I do without her news bulletins?

We spent a good part of the weekend outside. I worked on the garden and the girls drew with chalk, blew bubbles, slid down the slide and tried to ride Chloë's tricycle. Chloë can ride it but has trouble with corners and with getting stuck on the far end of our lawn. Maia can't reach the pedals but she doesn't stop trying. She's been so enamored of it that we decided to get Maia her own (shorter) tricycle for her birthday.

It arrived Friday, and I took Chloë into confidence about what was inside and told her she couldn't tell Maia because birthday presents should be secret. So far (as far as I know) she hasn't told Maia, which is frankly better than I expected. She has whispered to me in front of Maia, "We're keeping the tricycle a secret!" but that's not so bad and is utterly cute.

Saturday I took her shopping for Maia's birthday present. We've been talking about what Maia would like, and Chloë said she wanted to get her a stuffed cat and a stuffed duck and maybe another stuffed dog. I discouraged the dog, since Maia already has two and that's plenty, but we searched for a cat and a duck and at the second store (Toys R Us) found both. She picked out the ones she thought Maia would like and said, "I will carry them, since I picked them out." At the checkout line she told the cashier, "These are for my baby sister for her birthday. Because she likes my cat." The cashier thought she meant a real cat, but Chloë set her straight.

She carried the bag to the car, and when we arrived home carried the bag inside and retrieved the roll of wrapping paper so we could wrap them. "They will be all snuggly in there," she said as we crammed them together to get them to fit in the last remaining bit of wrapping paper. (There's another roll for the tricycle, if we decide to wrap it rather than assembling it ahead of time.) They just fit, and after Chloë selected a bow we put the present up on a shelf in her closet. She was so delightfully pleased to have gotten a present for her sister. I was so pleased my daughter is such a loving big sister.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

She already knows

The girls and I trooped into my bedroom to wake Eric up this morning. Maia, being naked, climbed right in to cuddle with him, while Chloë and I made faces at each other. Then I discovered Maia's Little People farmer in the window and she clambered down to play with it. I said, "Now it's my turn to cuddle with Daddy," and dived into the bed.

"No, mine!" Chloë declared, and rolled onto me and dug her elbow into my ribs (accidentally).

"Okay, you win," I gasped, and rolled over.

"Why do I win?" she asked, scooting into my spot.

"Because you hurt me. Come to think of it, that's not a good lesson, is it?" I added to myself.

"What's a lesson?"

"It's something you learn."

"Oh, I already know that."

"What, how to hurt me?"


Sunday, April 14, 2013


Maia seems to love disappointing me--in play only, of course. There's her disappearing blanket trick. And then we've got a book of opposites, one of which is a sad/happy girl. Chloë and I used to play with that. So do Maia and I, but it's moved out of the book. When she says "Can we read book?" and then picks one out and says brightly, "How bout dis one?" I sit on the glider and say, "Are you coming up?"

"No," she says, because she knows I will make a sad face and say despairingly, "Sad Mom." She used to then say, "I will come up and sit with you," which would make me smile and say brightly, "Happy Mom!" But lately, she doesn't bother. Because Chloë is usually around for this, she's taken to saying, "I'll sit with you!" or throwing her arms around me for comfort, even though I've laughed and told her we're just playing often enough that it should have sunk in. And since Chloë's been doing this, Maia will say, "Chloë will sit with you," and lounge in front of the glider, all independence, even if Chloë's not around.


Chloë asked me to read out of her Elmo omnibus today. We read "Elmo Loves You," which is a poem in the formula "A loves to B, C loves to D. E loves to F, and F loves to [do something ending in -ou]. Elmo [does something], and Elmo loves you!" Afterwards I said, "And what do you love to do?"

"Watch body videos," she replied. Our Youtube selection has expanded to include videos on the liver and the kidneys (also Vihart's Doodle Music), and she does indeed ask to watch them morning and night. The other day she went to her room to dress and asked suddenly, "What's a duodenum?" And then later, to Eric, it was, "What's an esophageal sphincter?"


She's constantly asking what this or that means. "What's a plank? What does walking the plank mean?" "What does repair mean?"  "What does focus mean?" "Then what does concentrate mean?" "What's an esophageal sphincter?"

The other day Eric was talking to her about school, and mentioned "college" (I don't know if he described it as optional or not). "I know what that is," Chloë said. "Mama was talking about it last night. During her Goldilocks story."

Eric turned to me. I certainly hadn't mentioned the educational level of Goldilocks or any of the bears, so I thought a moment. "Cottage."

"I forgot," Chloë said, with a charming grin.


"Stop eating the soap," Eric groaned to Maia at bathtime today.

"Yum," she replied.


Chloë and I discussed this morning what would happen if we moved to a new house, and how someone else would come live in ours. "Would they play with our toys?" she wondered, so I explained, "We would bring our things with us. The furniture and toys and books and clothes, all those things."

Tonight, at dinner, Eric groused about how the rectangular place mats never sufficiently protect the tablecloth on the round table. "This table isn't coming with us when we move," I reminded him.

"Mama! You said it was!" Chloë scolded me.


We went to the fabric store yesterday to give Chloë the opportunity to buy something with her money. (Her choice: a felt princess hat and a wand with streamers, the latter of which she didn't like and tried knotting on the shaft, so I wound it around and glued it down and got her now-frequent praise of "You're the best!" I was also happy when she was dressed up in these while playing with Maia, and at some point Maia said something about her being a princess. Chloë said, "No, I'm a pirate now! Arr, matey!") Maia, as usual lately, was very difficult to get to follow me through the store, preferring to linger and look at things longer than I could stand. At one point she stopped at a small display of stuffed animals. Chloë and I moved on to the next aisle. When Maia didn't follow, I went back and said, "Come on, baby bird, let's look at something new."

She turned to me, holding a purple hippo in both hands, and said, "This animal misses its mama so much."

(I did not buy it for her. But it was a very close thing. She got a wand of her own instead.)

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Maybe not my daughter after all.

"Why did you go to the bookstore? You already have plenty of books."

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Status report: Chloë, 3 years 8 months, and Maia, 23 months

The girls are impossibly cute and impossibly annoying and impossibly smart and entertaining and impossible, in general. In fact, logically speaking I don't have children. Then why am I so tired?

Chloë and I have spent the last few nights' "I get to stay up late because I had a nap" times looking at Youtube videos of the digestive, skeletal, and circulatory systems. She's been especially interested in her My First Body Book lately and has been asking questions about it. A couple of days ago she asked Eric to draw her the outline of a body, and proceeded to color in the organs and veins just as they suggest in the book. (The heart was below the stomach. Otherwise, it was pretty accurate.) "The video on digestion is my favorite," she said this morning. "Can we watch them again?" I am the proudest parent of a three-year-old ever. Even if the next thing she wants to watch is the Hemaway ad so she can watch someone pooping.

We got Chloë a math-based game for her LeapPad for the trip. She's already played every level and won every badge, and still plays almost daily. I venture to say she likes it.

She made a snake out of clay at preschool, and shortly after she brought it home I opened up the modelling clay they got at Christmas. I ended up making most of the things that first session (including a puppy for Maia that she was enthusiastic about, even as she slowly squished it into nonexistence), but a few days ago Eric let them play again and she made her own nest and eggs:

She is the most talented girl ever.

Maia has decided that limit-testing is a great pastime. "Don't do X," I say sternly. She stops and says, "I not doing X any more." Then, as soon as I've stopped eyeing her, she does X again.

She's also very fond of ordering me around. When she greets me when I get home in the evening, she says, "Hug, Mom? Hug?" Then, as soon as I pick her up, "Take your jacket off!" She likes to take hold of my cheeks and move my face around, probably for the faces I make while she's doing it. "Open your knees," she says when she wants to stand between my legs when I'm sitting on the couch; and if she wants to be enclosed in them, "Close your toes."

She knows most of her letters and some of her numbers. She persistently forgets about the existence of the number five, but otherwise is doing pretty well on counting, too. She now calls Chloë "Chwoë" instead of "Toë." It's still very cute, but I kind of miss Toë. Her voice is so small and high and articulate. She's the funniest thing.

She enjoys playing the "I'm your blanket Mama" game, meaning that she stretches out on top of me and I pretend to sleep (complete with snoring noises), and then she gets up and walks away and, if I don't do anything, prompts, "Where your blanket Mama?" whereupon I say "Hey, where's my blanket? Come back, blanket!" And she does.

She's not in pain. She's just sleeping. Can't you tell?
The girls have been doing a lot of "sleepover" and "make a nest" playing in their rooms. After bathtime they get their hair combed--Maia, too, now, and I just adore the little curls at the ends of her hair--and Maia gets a diaper on, and they romp around and try to jump on the bed when we aren't looking. Then they fight over whose book is whose and whether the kitty belongs to Chloë or Maia (it's Chloë's), but on the whole we're still glad we have two instead of one.

They had a good time on Easter. I hadn't planned on doing an egg hunt for them, but Chloë remembered last year's and asked after it, persistently, so I hid eggs around. They picked them up. And, true to form, if they missed one we'd say "There!" pointing, and they'd say, "Where?" while looking right at it. When do young children learn to see?

Chloë keeps asking about going back to the skating ring (where her cousin's birthday party was more than a year ago) and they were both terribly excited about their return to the park when the weather turned (briefly) warm a few days ago. So am I, for that matter. We've got some seedlings started that they helped plant, and I hope to get the garden in shape to plant more things outdoors soon. They'll love it.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

In the quiet morning

I woke up this morning to Chloë calling softly, "Maia? Maia? Maia? Maia, are you awake? Maia? Maia?"

Evidently she was, or was by the time Chloë finished speaking. There were some murmurs. I burrowed deeper in the covers, savoring my last moments of being warm and prone and un-climbed-on. "I'll go get Mama," Chloë said, and I nodded to myself. There was a quiet pause.

Then I woke up again to hear Chloë saying something else to Maia, and Maia answering. The clock said 7:25, which meant it was high time to get up. So I elevated myself and padded to Maia's room.

Chloë lay on the floor, on her stomach. Maia lounged in her crib. They were both pleased to see me, but not as enthusiastic as they sometimes get. "Where were you?" Chloë asked as I lifted Maia out and prepared to change her diaper. "I went to your bed but you weren't there."

"I was there," I said. "Maybe you couldn't see me because I was next to Daddy?"

"Maybe you were under the blanket," she suggested, darkly, as if I'd hidden from her on purpose. I hadn't, but now I know how to fool her. Or at least I did. I suppose she's wise to that trick now.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Let's make Candy Land better

Chloë enjoys playing games, which is of course really awesome.  Unfortunately, as we all know, kids' games tend to be... well, hardly games.  The games are entirely luck-based; at best, they teach counting and taking turns, though some may involve a "learning" element--teaching letters or number or whatnot.

She loves Candy Land, but it's a horrible game.  So the other day, I spent some time with her trying to make it better--but it still needs a lot of work.  Let's consider the "alternate" version given in the Candy Land rulebook, which actually integrates an element of thought, though no reduction in luck.  This variant is to draw two cards, then use just one.  It is useful for teaching how to determine which of two cards is best--a great skill for gaming!--but it's a true baby step.

Next try:  Draw a hand of three cards.  Play one, then draw one.  Again, it adds an element of thought, though the game is still mostly deterministic; the only difference is that the cards that could set you back now simply become dead cards in your hand.  OK, we're getting better.

Next try:  Same as before, but add an attack.  On your turn, if you're not in the lead, you can spend a card to move the leader backward rather than moving yourself forward.  We didn't finish this game--Maia woke up and that was the end of that--but I think that, once you figure out how to play, this version turns into a complete slog where no one advances significantly.

I think the next step is to take the "special" cards--the doubles and the picture cards--and give them some sort of alternate special power.

At this age she's not ready for a complete strategic overhaul of Candy Land, but hey, it's worth starting now...

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Status report: Chloë, 3 years 7 months, and Maia, 22 months

I have no coherent thoughts today, because coherent thoughts are for people who haven't been woken up multiple times for an hour or more by their children who ought to be sleeping peacefully through the night and not up screaming and bouncing in their cribs, dammit. But we're leaving soon for Seattle (vacation! Plane ride! Other people to watch the girls!) and the monthly report must go up. 

What's been accomplished this month? Well, we're all still alive. Also, Maia's working on counting and Chloë has asked "Can we continue cleaning up?" which will never happen again, but totally charmed me when it did. And nightly naked time has morphed into dress-up time:

This has been a big month for numbers, for both girls. Maia can now recognize most letters and some numbers, and is working on counting. It's still a tossup whether she'll remember five and count normally, or skip it and go to "six, eighteen, eleven," but at least she does it sometimes. Even if she slips "twelveteen" in there. 

I mean what I mean, dahling.
Chloë's very taken with addition, and is at least cognizant of subtraction. We're working on the plus and minus symbols. Tonight she asked me "How much is three plus three?" I told her, and then Eric asked her, "How much is three plus four?" She said brightly, "Let's count!" and held out her hands, three fingers on one, four on the other, and counted them up.

Chloë, talking about the prize she wants for learning to not only sit on the toilet without a potty seat, but wipe herself while sitting (hooray!): "It should be very sparkly with all my favorite colors. One, green. Two, turquoise. Three, purple. And four, pink," ticking them off on her fingers.

(We got it today. It was a purple headband with a big purple flower that had some rhinestones in the middle.)

Maia, methodically taking blocks out, then putting them back in the little wagon they belong in: "One in. Two in. Three in. Four in. Five in. Six in."

So: numbers and words, all of them, being sucked in by both girls. It's delightful to watch in both of them. Each day there's some little nuance that wasn't there before. Maia's grasped the "stop counting when you run out of things to count" concept; Chloë asked "Is there a barn in our world?" tonight because she knows that Dora and Diego and Huckle and Lowly aren't in our world.

They're playing with each other more and more, not just things like blocks and trains (though those are delightful; the other evening when I came home Chloë greeted me with "Come see our surprise that is ruined!" which turned out to be a perfectly wonderful configuration of train tracks with the hill a bit askew) but games of "This is the stage and let's be dancers," and "There's a monster ghost out there, let's hide in our tent." Here, for example, they are wearing their safety helmets to ride their motorcycle/truck/boat/spaceship:

Chloë continues to be whiny; Maia continues to be screamy and tantrumy when she doesn't get her way, and also increasingly at bedtime. And after bedtime. Did I mention the middle-of-the-night wakeups? But they're also lovely to each other and to us. Maia's "I wove you too Dad/Mom" is the sweetest thing.  Chloë is working on orienting her clothes herself (reluctantly), and was so proud of herself when she stopped using the potty seat. "I'm the best girl ever!" Maia has started getting Chloë's box of wipes for her when she's on the toilet (since Chloë hasn't advanced so far that she's not holding the toilet seat with a death grip while she's on it). Chloë is admittedly a bit of a tattletale whenever Maia steps out of line, but it's often because she's genuinely worried. "Maia is going toward the street!" she'll call if they're on the driveway and I'm around the corner momentarily. "Maia, don't go in the street! The cars will get you!" Maia continues to be more independent, but Chloë's also fond of taking the lead. They're both pretty intrepid explorers together. We like them that way.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

On with the show

Eric dropped the girls off to me at work yesterday, per our usual arrangement when he's teaching. Chloë was asleep, because it was a preschool day and she doesn't nap on preschool days, and despite her protests that she doesn't need one, she needs one. Maia greeted me: "Mom! Hi Mom! Daddy go? Toë teeping."

I talked back to her some and got settled in the driver's seat, and headed down the road toward home. Maia started singing: "Aay bee tee too, Mom!" So I joined in.

She knows most of the alphabet song, though "LMNOP" is rendered as "emopee," and she waited for me to chime in with S. But she did her best in her beautiful baby voice--toddler voice, really. Then she started again. "You too Mom!" So we sang, and sang, all the way home.

* * *

That, I guess it must have been Monday night, because it was after Maia went to bed. Chloë and I were up, and she was looking at her spider counting book, which she made at preschool by stamping the appropriate number of spiders on each page. The front had three spider stickers on it. "That's the mama spider," she said, pointing, "and that's the big sister spider, and that's the baby spider. But there's no daddy spider."

"You could draw one," I suggested.

"I don't know how."

"I'll show you. We can practice on another piece of paper."

I expected her to say no, but she didn't. So we went to the easel, and I held up the spider counting book and demonstrated, then counseled her on how to draw a spider. "First a big circle for the body. Then a small one for the head. Then eight lines for legs. Four on each side." Once she had that down, we refined the legs by adding extra segments, and she added a face to the head all by herself. "Now I can draw one on my counting book," she said, and did, and executed it beautifully. She was so pleased to have the spider family complete.

* * *

We left the spider book on the table, and tonight when dinner was winding down she pointed it out, and the status of each spider: "That's the big mama spider, and the big daddy spider I drew, and the two small ones are the big sister and the baby."

Maia listened as she shoveled pasta into her mouth with her fork. Then she said, "That big Mama over there," pointing at me. "That big Daddy over there. That big sister over there." She considered. "Small Maia here, eating her food."

Thursday, February 14, 2013

It's a draw

Chloe adores her "staying up late" time, and lately she's been keen on using it to color with markers (not an activity we encourage while Maia is awake) to make pictures for Daddy. 

Last night, after some scribbling, she wanted to use stickers. First she selected a frog. "Oh, you'll have to make some water for it to swim in," I remarked. She grabbed the blue and scribbled in a little pond, then lovingly placed the frog. 

"I want the bear next," she said. "Where do bears live?" 

Then the hippo. "Hippos live in water," I said when she asked. "Maybe the hippo could swim with the frog."

"That pond is too small," she objected, so the hippo got her own water--which she later shared with the elephant. The fox got his own hole, and then the monkey got a tree. "I want it to be in front of the bear," she said, so she scribbled in leaves up top and a trunk coming down, at my suggestion. I was just as eager to show this one to Eric as she was.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Sources of comfort

I was unexpectedly and very briefly nauseated the other morning, possibly triggered by dehydration and toothpaste. Chloë was in the bathroom with me, and after I'd knelt at the bathtub and pressed my suddenly-hot face to the porcelain I asked her to go wake up Daddy and tell him I wasn't feeling well.

She did exactly that, and when Eric had gotten up and retrieved Maia, who'd woken at about the same time, both girls collected around me, touching me and patting me and rubbing my back--exactly the way I do when they're not feeling good. I told Eric that I felt like an ancient king with slave girls fawning on me. Sometimes the girls' constant attempts to touch me get on my nerves. But it was very sweet that they knew I wasn't feeling well and wanted to comfort me.

They did the same with Eric the other day; he was feeling a bit overwhelmed, and they clustered around him, saying, "I love you Daddy." When I've been upset, Chloë will turn to me and say, "What's wrong, Mama?" in a concerned tone and try to stroke my arm or back. Maia often pats my back when I'm holding her--though I think that's just because we do it so often to her she thinks it's de rigueur when being held. These are sweet, sweet girls we have.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013


"When you and Daddy die, what will you do?" Chloë asked me last night.

This came about because earlier in the day she was asking about when she would be one hundred, and how old I would be then. I of course replied thoughtlessly that I wouldn't, I'd be dead.

"We won't do anything," I said. "That's what being dead means."

"But what will you do?" she insisted.

I thought. "We'll rest."

She was satisfied with that, and I was relieved. We've talked very, very briefly about death, since "Omi's Mama" was here and then gone, and we went to her memorial, which I perhaps mistakenly told her was a celebration of Omi's Mama's life. She was excited about going to "the celebration," and did in fact have a good time--she enjoyed the music during the service and the food and running around with her cousins at the reception. But she doesn't understand what death means, and I don't want to explain it to her. I will, of course, when the time comes, but it doesn't have to be now.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Maia on pictures

We have a bunch of photographs on our fridge (top part only, as the girls mercilessly rip down anything they can reach), mostly a year old or more now. I guess it's time for a new crop. Anyway, Maia likes ordering Eric or me to take her over so she can look closely at them. Today I was her ride, and we had these exchanges:

Maia (points to picture of herself and Gunnar at James's wedding): Who that?
Me (pointing to Gunnar): That's Gunnar.
Maia (pointing to herself): Maia. Pretty little baby.

Maia (pointing to the picture of herself at the dentist with Eric and Chloë--the dentist took the picture and gave them a copy because she was so good her first time): Maia.
Me: Where?
Maia (pointing): There.
Me: Where's Daddy?
Maia: Holding sisters.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Status report: Chloë, 3 years 6 months, and Maia, 21 months

Meet Toë McWhinerson, age three and a half.

These are Chloë's most prominent traits at the moment. She whines. All day. For no reason. (Well, sometimes for reason.) She whines for food. She whines to snuggle. She whines that she's tired, and then that she's not tired. She whines because she wants a shoooooooow, right noooooooow. She whines because I gave her a straw cup instead of a sippy. (And let me tell you, it annoys me when my clients get upset with me for not reading their minds. It annoys me no less when my daughter does it. Though she did learn--this morning she said very carefully, "Mama, will you give me my hot chocolate in a sippy? In a sippy.")

We've moved to a sort of hybrid temporary sleep schedule for her. She really still needs a nap after lunch, but she's very reluctant to get it, and if she does, she generally doesn't get to sleep very quickly. So she gets a mandatory fifteen minutes of quiet time during the day. If she sleeps (as will happen when Eric snuggles with her), she gets to stay up an extra hour at night. If she doesn't, she goes to bed when Maia does. I'm hoping this settles out one way or the other, because I don't like the variability, but it seems to be working so far. But the no-nap days she's particularly whiny, and snaps angrily whenever we suggest it's because she's tired.

And then there's the "Toë, Maia's Big Sister" aspect of her. Especially now that Maia can really communicate and understand and respond, she's very in tune with what Maia's saying and where she is and what she's doing (or not doing). There's plenty of bossiness there, but also plenty of concern and affection. She craves Maia's company. Several times a day she'll say "Maia, grab my hand!" or "Come with me!" or "Don't you want to play?" Maia would obviously be just as happy to be left alone, but she goes along with whatever Chloë wants, and they're both happy. The other day Chloë was upset about something--I forget what--and said plaintively, "Maia, do you want a hug?" Maia agreed, indifferently, and Chloë swiftly closed in because what she really wanted, of course, was to get a hug from her beloved little sister.

Maia is also devoted to her sister--her most frequent question when they're apart is "Where Toë?"--but is definitely working on her independent and defiant side. She continues to be happy to play by herself much more than Chloë ever has. And she's showing an inconvenient amount of rebellion, often running away in the store or in the street, refusing to do things I ask. Possibly her most annoying habit is, when Chloë gets told not to do something, to immediately do whatever Chloë was just forbidden. I assume she would have gotten to it sooner but didn't realize it fell into the "forbidden therefore desirable" category.

But she's also working on becoming her own little person. She's very sweet about saying "thank you" and "you're welcome" and "I love you too." And her sentences! Were there ever any girls so good at language so early! (Yes, I'm sure there were, but don't burst my bubble.) One of her favorite Christmas presents was Big Dog, Little Dog, and she often comes to me to say, "Read Big Dog Little Dog please Mama." Then she'll recite, "Big Dog Little Dog P. D. Eastman," because I have a habit of reading out the author's name when I read books to the girls. (I can tell you where this comes from, too. When I was little I had an audio book of Sleeping Beauty, by Freya Littledale. I remember it distinctly, after some twenty-five years, because the tape said so at the beginning and I played it so often.) She says "Help Maia Mama. Dolly falling down!" and "My banana. Daddy banana," pointing, and "Maia eat cookie too."

And then there's Chloë, talking about "the proper order" for her Memory cards (because Scout and friends talk about it on the "Numberland" LeapFrog show) and saying knowledgeably, when shown a picture of me at eight, "When you were little we looked similar." She often comes out with some tidbit she learned from Diego or preschool, or remembered from a book. 

Maia is progressing nicely, developmentally. She knows her colors and can sing most of the ABCs, and can recognize some of the letters. She can draw circles and lines, and sing along with songs, and tell me "Take pants off Mama please" when I'm in the middle of getting dressed and have neglected to remove my pajama pants quickly enough.

Her canines have finally started filling in, and she's started saying "poopy" to mean a diaper with anything in it. She's had a few successes with the potty, but I consider this "hey, I just went in my diaper" to be the best next step for her potty training. Though considering the trouble we went through with Chloë, I can hardly set myself up as knowledgeable about it.

Oh, and I forgot to say, but Maia was definitively weaned a little over a month ago. We'd been down to once a day in the morning anyway, and then I just quit. She didn't fuss too much. She still talks about "milk in there," pointing to the glider, but she doesn't argue when I then take us downstairs to get milk. She'll even sit in the glider, snuggled with her dolly or Beep, and wait for me to get it. It's nice. 

And then there's this morning, when the four of us were all in our big bed. Maia leaned over and poked at the R.I.N.D.S., alternately, saying, "Pop pop pop."

They're silly girls, is what I'm saying. They're funny and happy together, and growing well and not driving us crazy...totally...all the time. Smart, sassy, strong girls, and I'm proud to be their mama.

Monday, January 7, 2013

Our own little Herbie

Chloë says she wants to be a dentist when she grows up. This, Eric tells me, is entirely because at Maia's recent dental appointment Chloë watched avidly and the dentist said, "She's going to be a dentist." Apparently he wanted to be a dentist from the age of three. Tonight Chloë and I talked about how she would decorate her dentist office. Then we talked about whether she would take care of children or grownups (she says both) and what she would have to do. "But I don't know how to fix cavities," she said when I mentioned them.

"You'd go to dentist school to learn how to do that."

"What's dentist school?"

"It's a school you go to to learn how to be a dentist. You would go after you finish regular school."

"After preschool?"

I explained about the different levels of school (and didn't describe college as being optional) and how dentist school would come after that. "I don't think I can do all that," she said.

"Of course you could," I said. "A lot of grownups do it. And all dentists."

Then we discussed what toys would be best for her waiting room and whether the kids would have to wear bibs in the dentist chair. It was probably not the deepest conversation I'll ever have with her about her future, but it was a good first one.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Two more things about Maia

I forgot to mention: Maia can count! Sort of. It goes like this: "One, two, pee, pour, tick, eighteen, aheven."

And, tonight she went in the potty! Chloë's seat on the toilet, to be exact. She was having constipation issues, and after changing two diapers (one bloody, poor kid) I noticed her starting to strain again and suggested she try on the potty seat. She likes it, so she agreed, and after a moment we heard a tinkling noise. I started in on the joyous praise, and Chloë, like the good sport she is, added her own "I'm toe proud of you, Maia!" and kisses. Maia beamed and said, "Again!" and tinkled a little more, and we duly repeated ourselves as she laughed in delight. Then she strained and produced a poop, and we went wild. She got three stickers and two mint M&Ms (I went a little overboard), and was wholly delighted with herself, saying "Yay Maia!" and clapping. I was delighted too with our big girl. This augurs well for the coming year.