Fave-o-Lit Friday: Nursery Rhymes

What Are Little Girls Made of?
What are little boys made of?
What are little boys made of?
Frogs and snails,
And puppy-dogs’ tails;
That’s what little boys are made of.

What are little girls made of?
What are little girls made of?
Sugar and spice,
And all that’s nice;
That’s what little girls are made of.

*Except my little girl , who; although I don’t see a puppy dog tail… has taken to striking the above pose, embarking on a bit of a bottom-shaking jig while chanting, “Heinie-heinie-heinie, My bum is my heinie!”

I guess she’s right, technically. Maybe she’s just strong on the spice….

Zuzu Day: The first dance…

 Our little ballerina twirled away in her first recital on May 15! That morning practice was at the recital hall- a hall mind you, that seats 4oo. Having never done this before I thought that seemed a little extravagant for a child’s ballet recital. We were to arrive 30 minutes prior to curtain and we wondered on the way over what we would do for that 30 minutes while we waited. Well- it turned out we would use it finding a seat! The hall was packed! That morning when we arrived for practice Zuzu was feeling a little shy and showed that she is indeed my little apple seed as she stood in line on stage leaning over and whispering to me in the front row that she had to go potty. Again, and again, and again. She made it through though and was a real trooper. That morning we learned that dancers bring their teachers gifts to the final recital practice. Ooops.

That evening after we dropped her backstage and found seats next to some folks we knew we just soaked in the Quail’s enjoyment of a night out on the town. Going to shows, storytime, pottery painting; anything that requires sitting still and listening for longer than 30 seconds has just not been our ideal as a family. Zuzu is a free spirit. She likes to run and holler and leap and play. So it hadn’t occurred to us how much the Quail might enjoy this setting. She sat proudly on our laps greeting each neighbor that sat down with a smile and a wave. When the house lights came down and the stage lights started circling she was delighted. The sparkly costumes gleamed, the girls glowed and the Quail clapped and cheered along with everyone else.

When Zuzu’s class came on it was definitely one of the big “awwwwwww” inducers from the crowd. There is nothing cuter than a stream of 3 year olds decked out in their glittery tutus. Although Zuzu was a little more focused on her steps this evening she did spend a fair bit of the time with her hand shielding the lights from her eyes so she could locate us better. Unfortunately due to our arriving only 30 minutes prior to the show we were in the nosebleed section and couldn’t actually locate us.  She was darling nonetheless. All the little fishies did their swim, swim, swim. And when it was over she came flying into our waiting arms and exclaimed the two prominent thoughts on her mind:

1. “I couldn’t find you anywhere! I looked and looked and looked while I was on stage!” We know Zuzu.

2. “Where are my flowers? Katie has her flowers!” We’re sorry Zuzu, we didn’t know, but we will next year!

She actually glowed with pride after the show was over!We’re sad to see the dance year come to an end. Zuzu was one of the youngest in her class and we worried if she would have the discipline to make it through the fairly focused class. But her teacher is a wonder. She’s been teaching for 54 years (yes, that’s right- 54- you do the math!) and has those children in line, in order, in step and on time. Maddie loved it and although she was incredibly shy about showing us what she learned, she obviously worked hard this past year. We’re so proud of our little prima!

Quail Day: Signing Time


The more sign made a reappearance last thursday during EI! We had it months ago and then for some reason it seemed to disappear and little to no signing has continued other than the basics of up-up. Monique thought most likely it has to do with the movement towards crawling. She said children tend to get quieter and even appear to regress when they are working on major motor milestones. She said she has known many speech therapists who won’t work with children until they are walking because of the expectation that children won’t talk much until after they have mastered walking. Well, during EI Jodie was ticklin the belly of the baby and she was giggling out loud. When Jodie stopped the Quail’s eye’s trained on her in anticipation of more. When Jodie asked if she wanted more, sure enough the little fingers came together at midline, again and again and again. So very sweet. There were also a number of standing up, leaning in goopy, open-mouthed kisses after multiple requests to “Give Momma a Kiss”. It’s my favorite therapy to practice. And don’t get me wrong- that therapy is all mine!

Zuzu Day


This is one of the first baby doll’s that joined our brood. Both of the girls love her to pieces. I’ve been asking Zuzu since she was able to pick her up what the baby’s name is and typically what she heard was my asking what her name was and so the answer was always Zuzu. Well in the last week or two a new incarnation of baby emerged. This baby, her name is Fabulous. As in,”Mommie- how was fabulous’s day, tell me about her day, tell me what she did. Zuzu has always loved pretend play based on her own reality. She pretends to get the car keys to get ready to go to market to buy kefir. She needs monies to pay for parking. She turns on my pump and then begs to make milk herself. She sits and reads to her sister and dollies pretending to be Miss Chrystil. And the newest game is with Fabulous. I’m Miss Shaina and if I sit still anywhere in the house for more than 30 seconds, she comes strolling in and deposits Fabulous at my feet, kisses her, tells her she loves her and that she’ll be back after work. Then she runs into the hall and hollars, “Miss Shaina, Miss Shaina- tell everyone whose Mommie is coming?” It is then my job as Miss Shaina to  start naming off the kids in her class and asking if their Momma is on her way. Once she shyly enters the room, she then asks for a full report on Fabulous’s day and takes great pride in hearing that Fabulous had a fabulous day- she pooped in the potty, she napped on her mat, she painted a picture of pink hearts, she ate her corn, applesauce and chicken, she played outside and she listened during group time while sitting, ” Criss-cross applesauce, hands in her bowl”. She literally beams with pride over Fabulous’s fabulous day, picks her up, tells, her “Oh my dear, Momma loves you” then gathers her coat and shoes and heads into the hall to start from scratch.

Zuzu Day: BFF




I know, I know- enjoy it while it lasts- I so am. A few months ago Zuzu realized a couple of the jammy sets in her and the Quail’s drawers matched. Ever since that fateful day she has taken great pride in choosing matching jammies and clothes for her and her sister. If there isn’t a matching set- it’s ok to just coordinate just so long as you can come up with a fairly credible story as to why they go together: “Well Zu, there are cupcakes on your jammies and lollypops on your sister’s. See those both have sugar in them, therefore they match- see? See now why you don’t need to cry about her jammies being blue and your’s being pink? Isn’t that nice?” 

It really happened all of a sudden. She still takes credit for “her baby” to anyone that will listen. She’s the first to kiss the Quail in the morning, the one she goes looking for at the end of the day, the one that she starts singing “Twinkle, Twinkle” too as soon as the baby erupts. She wants her to sit with her, to lay with her, be pounced on by her, play Little Peoples with her. She asks in what sounds to be sincere tones, “Momma, can we have more babies, pleasssssseeee, more babies?”She’s a dear heart that girl….

Quail Day

I’m just a little bit in love with this girl and her party dress. I am still ruminating over the lost tiny tiara though. Maybe it will turn up one day. In the meantime she is enjoying her status as a 1 yr old. During therapy she is already acting so much more mature! Well at least she is now talking to her speech therapist and pleased as punch that swinging has been added into her OT’s repertoire. She also in the last few weeks has apparently decided what the world needs now is more love and thus has started doling out hugs left and right. To her classmates, to her therapists and most adorably to her sister. She will holler and holler until she gets Zuzu’s attention, at which point Zuzu will lean in for a hug and proudly pronounce, “Momma, she just needed a hug!”; as the Quail grips on to her with all her might and drools happily into her sister’s hair. The acoustics in the bathroom are especially pleasing for this ongoing reenactment and I managed to capture a bit of the filibuster on film last night. Right now they are about as in love with each other as two sisters can be. On the morning of the Quail’s actual birthday I started softly singing Happy Birthday to her when I saw she was awake. Zuzu broke in and silenced me insisting she needed to do the honors. She finished the song off with, “I love you my sweet sister, you are the best baby ever!” It brought tears to my eyes, as the last time she insisted on serenading her sister with Happy Birthday was the weekend after we brought her home from the hospital. She would alternate Happy Birthday with the Barney theme- I love you, you love me, firmly insisting we all sit in a circle and hold hands while she finish out the concert. I tried to capture it on film then, and it was hormonally deleted. So I’m pleased as punch to have a chance to recapture the sentiment- still as lovely and true as a year ago. I wish this joy and delight in each other for them throughout their lives.

Zuzu Day- Momma, but I don’t know how to read…

…is a refrain oft heard around our house these days. When Zuzu was a baby I was a tad obsessed over the need to establish a reading routine so that books would be an important part of her little world. When she was barely days old I would set her in the swing and swiftly read 3 night-time themed books to her  each evening; dutifully showing her the pictures. She didn’t yawn in response, or kick and giggle, or really show any apparent response. Then as the days progressed I switched to a routine of reading chapter children books to her while she nursed. I liked the Norman Rockwellish image of reading to her about Peter Rabbit or Paddington bear. Again- really not much of a response that was obvious- until she reached the point where she would grab the book from my hands and attempt to nurse it rather than me. This grew frustrating and as she hit that 5-6 month mark where I could no longer read, talk on the phone or watch TV while nursing because she became more engaged in it than the task at hand I gave up actively establishing a reading routine at bedtime. We did still have tons of board books around though and the first book she memorized was Sandra Boynton’s Moo, Baa, La, La, La which had lovingly been provided as part of a welcome package of favorite baby toys by Celina and Lisa’s families from St. Louis. At an early age that could still be recorded in months, rather than years when you recited, “The cow says….” she would happily cluck off the animal sound portions till she could “read” the entire book her ownself. This expanded to Barnyard Dance, and on and so-forth as she slowly established her favorite selection of little board book stories. Between the second and third year when her daycare became more of a preschool structure she began her role as teacher, imitating Miss Chrystal at school and lining either us or her animals and babydolls up for her reading to us as the teacher. The first book she did it with was a darling book that we had ordered from the Scholastic Books program at school that had obviously been read at group time the day it came in. That night when I tried to read it to her she was insistent on taking it from me and assuming the teacher role yet again as she sad there jammy-clad instructing us on the book  she named “Foxes” for the little fox family on the cover.

We eventually did establish a bedtime routine of 3 books while nursing and then off to sleep. And after the Quail joined us we continued in a less structured fashion of storytime as she would bring books over to where we sat with her baby sister and read them to her. But something changed in the last month or so. She began responding to the request that she “read” a book with an upset tone and even a few tears because she has realized she doesn’t know how. No longer willing to run through the motions we have began to attempt to instruct her in a somewhat bumbling effort. We are slowly returning to a nighttime routine of books before bed and books together upon awakening.

So in addition to being surrounded by books, (yes I still obsessively by them from thrift stores, Ross stores and anywhere I see them for less than a $5 bill.); we are now surrounded by letters. We use Starfall.com, the Leapfrog refrigerator letter and now word building products and her favorite shows to watch include the likes of Super Why, Wordgirl and Word World. I remember one day at the grocery store months ago when she suddenly gazed up at the Pharmacy sign and declared with delight, “Momma there’s an A!” as the letters of the alphabet came slowly into focus for her. I also remember nights on end of asking her the colors of the toys in her bath and the slow switch from sly, grinning guesses to accurate naming of the dolphin and ducky family hues.

And it appears we are entering a whole new realm of independence as entire words begin to come into focus for her in the same fashion. Each night as we put dinner together she uses her alphabet magnets and asks Lovey to help her spell words. She has mastered the art of sounding out C-A-T and tells us she has no desire to spell DOG. But would like to know how to spell, happy, hiccup, rocket, Annie, June, playground and spider. So we meet her requests unquestioningly and come up with pitiful English language lessons of the likes of, ” Well happy is one of those special words that has 2 consonants in it”.  We can only hope she doesn’t repeat our haphazard lessons as insistently to her teachers as she sometimes is with us as she reminds us to use our happy manners because they will make us happy.

I think maybe she makes us happy.