Quailday: Bird Growth…

In addition to the growth of her vocabulary our bird; who earlier this fall lept into her 2T pants, 3T fall shirts (with a slightly rolled sleeve cuff remaining) and size 6  shoes (which I swear had just been a 4 weeks earlier), started sporting size 7 shoes and 3T Christmas Jammies!!!! I had poured over the choices at the store wishing I could mix and match tops and bottoms just knowing that she needed a 3T top to cover her bowl full of jelly, but knowing that the long pant size would certainly cause more than a couple of bumps and bruises. Well she donned them this weekend and proudly ran off with the cuffs at her ankles. I’m certain it has to just be the style of the pant and a slight irregularity in the making of the pant that it fits, but regardless our bird has grown and bares very little resemblance to her her previous 2 year old toddling self of this summer. I remember the striking difference when Zuzu turned 3  and marveling at how much she had changed since she was 2. It seemed like a change that should have been heralded in the parenting books as worthy of proclamation as the change from fetus to newborn, newborn to one year old and one to two. She was no longer a baby. I think with the Quail’s growth pattern being more like watching a rose slowly unfold I had told myself not to expect the same level of change between 2-3.

That 2 year old, she was still my sweet baby. This almost 3 year old, is stunningly and heart-warmingly little kiddish, and now with the swift size to match.

Mommaday: Keep the Yule log burning…

Rest assured dear friends, that all is well in our little nest. I’ve mentioned before that my daily blogger status was pure illusion. I write, edit and schedule my posts while The Sistred sleep. Currently, with one of them residing within me, my mind has harkened back to that other-worldly voice of mothers past reminding me to sleep when the littles do, and I feel the need to practice before the littlest of the littles arrives during my usual weekend bloggy reflection time. You can understand the need to be rested up for resting right?

Merriment is currently underway in the forms of lemon & peppermint sprinkled spritz cookies, warm roasted chickens, steamed milk with chocolate sauce, apricot brioche, a trip for our traditional tree hunt, that happily involved a lot less tears this year, the Sistred in residence all helping to dress the tree (and subsequently and routinely undress it), daily movement from our resident Elf on the Shelf- TJ, a marching 5 year old joining the Twinkle Brigade, an almost 3 year old learning to shout Santa and whisper sweet nothings to her now vocally referenced Momma and a closet full of giftees needing some wrapped attention.  I’m hoping for some quiet AND awake time in the weeks ahead. Until then Season’s Greetings to all and to all some peace and rest!


Zuzuday: Math, Kisses & Paris

I love seeing the slow unfolding of my children’s minds. I love when I see the process of a new connection forming. I’m blown out of the water though, when I couldn’t see it coming and it’s suddenly presented to me out of seemingly nowhere. This happened earlier this year when Zuzu sat down one day and wrote “hat” in clear legible lettering with no prompting or cueing. Earlier in the week of December 19, she stunned me again when on the ride home from school she bubbled out a request for a trip to Paris. “Paris?” I questioned?

“Yes, Momma- I want to see the tower for myself!” she quipped.

“The Eiffel Tower in Paris?” Yes she confirmed as I went on to explain that it would take an entire day to get to Paris and that would be quite difficult for the littlest of the littles to hold still and quiet for such a voyage.

Zuzu nodded thoughtfully and declared, “ Then we will go when I’m 10! The Quail will be 7 and Sugarplum will be 4!”

Math. This ridiculously articulate little girl had done math on her own! Brilliant! So mature! Clearly the next Einstein! As I was quietly preening in the front seat over my prodigious progeny, she then announced she kissed two boys earlier that day. You could have heard a pin drop while I struggled for the right response to my 5 year old. I mentally reminded myself to not make a huge deal out of this, that while I could hear the glee in her voice, she does not have the sophistication to have it mean to her what it means in my mind. That said, I did ask what happened, who was involved and issued a reminder of the rules in place in Ms. Jan’s class that involves “No boyfriends/girlfriends allowed.” All the while kicking myself for my earlier laughing off of this rule from 2 years ago when I first heard of it and deemed it silly. It also was not lost on me that this event of 2 separate boys asking her to kiss them coincided with the mixing of her class with a full day of the after-schoolers  presence who in light of the 2 week holiday break from their cosmopolitan elementary world had rejoined the 4 year olds that very day.

As I regaled this news to Lovey during the girl’s bathtime that evening I couched it in Fred Eaglesmith terms, “Time to get your gun.” Sigh…

Zuzuday: The Twinkle Brigade

Zuzu was in her first parade. Anyone that knew me in childhood knows that I do not love a parade. Growing up they were in summer and winter- harsh weather, itchy band uniforms coupled with a slightly anxious disposition created much turmoil in my young head and bladder. Zuzu’s been taking dance classes for the last 3 years. Each year we get a notice home about the local Christmas Parade and an invitation to participate with her class. Each year, I mentally mark it off my calendar and file the invitation away. This year though, Zuzu was quite aware of what she was missing. She knew there was a special holiday dance class sweatshirt, an opportunity to don a Santa hat and strut her stuff. I knew that I had to be out of town for work that day and that it would be too much to march with her in the parade and keep the Quail comfortable on what was likely to be a cold, blustery day. So we explained why we were unable to participate and promised to look into it next year if she remained in dance.

Then the weather fairies collaborated to create enough rain to cancel the parade and reschedule it to a night where there were no obvious problems. AND, Zuzu came home from dance class with a note from her teacher with a phone number and additional invitation to call and get the last extra small holiday sweatshirt so she could participate. So I got down a Santa hat, rounded up some red pants and a turtleneck, bundled up the Quail and Lovey and I headed down to the parade. At first I was delighted. The girls were all smiles and it was nice to be out and see friends that we hadn’t in quite some time.  Then the sun started to set. The dance mother in charge of Zuzu’s age group started handing out candy cane batons and calling the girls over to practice. Zuzu started to hedge. She started announcing she was hungry, then thirsty, then cold, then just gave in to her urge to cling to me.

It was obvious that I wasn’t going to be able to leave her with her group and join Lovey & the Quail at the end of the parade to cheer for her. And that is how I came out of my 20 year plus parade hiatus to march my 20+ week pregnant belly down the main street of our fair town waving to friends that I haven’t seen in months. I learned a couple things in this: the importance of keeping a calm façade in the face of our children who fortunately didn’t genetically inherit my hang-ups and that a lot of the whining I hear from Zuzu seems to stem from anxiety. We went back and forth with the instructions to get in line to the point where the dance mother asked the instructor if we could put Zuzu on the float if she didn’t come around.

I’m happy to report she did come around and proudly led the group of her classmates with her candy cane held high and hollered out her happy holiday messages for all to hear. She was so convincing that it appeared most others than the dance mother didn’t realize the struggle it was to get her to stay there. I even found a small piece of myself that rallied as a proud dance mother encouraging the girls to keep their candy canes up with the group. I’m happy to report that we left with a clear uncertainty as to whether we would do it again.

The Quail’s highlight of that evening was in our hurried walk to get back to the beginning of the parade in time to see Santa waving from the top of the firetruck. Our girl who had shoved away from a previous Santa interaction just days earlier waved fanatically and even was able to work out a fairly loud greeting of “SANTAAAAAA!!!!!!” A sweet end to a festive night.

Zuzuday: Tuck, Tuck, Tuck- STAY AWAY MONSTERS! -Tug, Tug, Tug

There has been a surge of need for nighttime comfort in the last month from Zuzu. I thought she was headed towards more nighttime independence and was feeling a little bittersweet about it and then next thing you know I realize she is headed straight back towards more comfort. Lovey and I share bedtime duties with the girls and on one of my nights I covered her with a little blanket and went, “Tuck, Tuck, Tuck!” as I pushed the blanket under her. She loved it and reveled in the coziness and this has become a new routine. Shortly after that she started alerting us to the “monsters” that had moved in to our house in the evenings. I know it’s not uncommon for little kids to think there are monsters, but I’m a little surprised at the late onset of this new fear. Since we had been looking for it for a good year now though I was already prepared with my response (which probably didn’t help instill confidence that monsters are make-believe) of the antidote of “Monster Spray”! You have some too right, air freshener that you spray that keeps all monsters at bay? Unfortunately the first one I grabbed was seasonal. So it appears we may be smelling the holiday season’s baking long after the cookies have gone stale.

I know that it all depends on my energy level and perspective how I see her need for comfort at night and how I respond to her. It’s something that I’m going to focus on in this next year- expanding my patience consciously. With the little one brewing in me I admit to feeling more than a little impatient in the evenings for the girls to go to sleep so I can collapse as well. And it doesn’t go unnoticed. Zuzu told me the other night after I apologized for snapping at her, “It’s ok Momma, I know pregnant ladies are cranky because of the babies in their belly.” In this though, I find that I am routinely forgetting seemingly small parts of the bedtime minutes that are so important to the little ones. Fortunately, they never fail to get up again to remind me.

“Momma, I need socks.”

“Momma, I need a blanket that smells like you and Sugarplum to cuddle.”

“Momma, you forgot to flossie my teeth.”

“Momma, you forgot to spray monster spray.”

“Momma, you forgot to brush my teeth! Dr. Horton says I have to get the sugars off of them!”

“Momma, I’m too hot in these jammies” (as heard on the nights I don’t manage to forget a single detail)

It’s so hard when I’m tired to get everything in the expressly ordered order. Maybe, really, my impatience is with myself and not this little girl. I’m not sure. Each night of late, though it seems like our routine of late has varied. We have very early mornings in our house and while the Quail is a very good sleeper most nights, there is  the issue of how late she sleeps the next day that still allows us to get in a few therapy activities, ample time for her to meander on the potty and through her breakfast and still get Zuzu enough facetime without anyone feeling rushed. Zuzu has a nose for noticing when her grown-ups have left the bed though and frequently wakes herself to follow us around in the wee morning hours. The Quail on the other hand often sleeps an hour or more into the morning from when the rest of us are up.

Zuzu has returned to coming into our bed nightly now. Often when she does if I’m facing away from her she’ll start tugging on my shoulder to see if she can lure me into a sleepy cuddle. I’m sure when I’m actually asleep it works. Unfortunately if I’ve heard her come in and woken up to it, and had recently turned over due to pregnancy induced hip pains, she gets a less than pleasant reply to her somewhat silent, mostly insistent, carotid artery pressing request. Then in the morning I’m reminded of my rudeness in the innocent sweetness that only a child can offer up to a less than well-trained parent, “Momma, did you end up rolling over and cuddling me after I fell asleep and I just don’t remember?” is the suggestion she so trustingly gives me. At that point, I’m alert enough to be aware of the gift she’s offering up and will respond with hugs and kisses and assurances. I can at least do that much!

Then last night after she had been tucked in by her dad, I was puttering in our room and heard her door squeak open. I have to be careful in my responses to her here- it’s a balance to not encourage the nightly visits but also not make her feel bad in her late night weepy stage. She promptly informed me that she didn’t have socks on, I hadn’t brushed her hair, her teeth or flossied her. Sigh…you can’t really argue with a request for good hygiene as a parent. So we made quick work of all but the flossing and repeated the tuck, tucks.