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.

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