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.