Monday, November 08, 2010

Story time

It was probably over a year ago Adriana started memorizing books and then "reading" them to me. I was charmed when she could recite all of Madeline. Now she does some of the memorization, but what she really loves are books she (thinks she) can actually read--counting books, mostly, although Sandra Boynton's Blue Hat, Green Hat, with clearly labeled pictures does the trick too.

The other night I got both girls into their pajamas and Adriana offered to read Lyra a bedtime story. Lyra loves the attention from her big sister, and Adriana relishes being in the role of teacher (and having Lyra cooperate with her, which doesn't usually happen). My favorite part, though, is when Lyra is putting her hands on the pages and Adriana admonishes her that if she covers up words, she won't be able to hear the story. It's kind of funny to hear myself as I sound to them.

Sunday, November 07, 2010

I had forgotten what it was like to have a sick baby. Not that Lyra is very sick, but this weekend she seems to have come down with a cold. Last night I somehow couldn’t figure that out, and spent all night trying to get her to nurse when she woke up, letting her lie on my chest, wondering why she wouldn’t just eat and sleep instead of fussing and tossing around. But one look at her stuffy, runny nose this morning and I knew what was going on, and I understood that she just needed me. Adriana has already reached the age where she doesn’t need much when she’s sick. She just wants to sleep and be miserable in peace. I mean, if I want to snuggle her, she’ll let me, and so I do a fair amount of that, because it makes me feel better at least. But Lyra needs a lot right now, just with this little cold. She is my Amazing Velcro Baby today, constantly at my side, reaching to be picked up, holding onto my jeans and creeping after me, only napping for any decent length of time when she’s in my arms. It leaves me sleepy and with a sore back, but it’s also kind of sweet. Except for the bit where she seems to prefer my hair to kleenex.

Saturday, November 06, 2010

Grilled Mermaid, a story by Adriana

The other day I told Brian that I couldn't think of anything to write, and he joked that I should let Adriana write something. And then as I was going through my Google Docs, looking for something I'd started but never finished, I found this story that she dictated to me, which is so much better than anything I can think to write at this moment.

One day after gymnastics, I went to Minnesota. And there was a lake with no music but there was a boat, so I went in the boat. It had pink and yellow stripes on the sails. And then I went fishing with a fishing pole. And I caught a mermaid with a blue tail and a mermaid with a purple tail. And then I got on my scooter and I scooted all the way to Mark's house. And Mark was there and Mama and Baby Lyra. And everyone was hungry so I made dinner. I made roasted mermaid quesadillas. Do vegetarians eat mermaids? Okay, then Mama eats something else. Mom eats a samosa. And Baby Lyra just has mom-milk. She is not big enough for mermaids yet. And then me and mom and baby sister all went home on mom's bike. And we got vanilla ice cream on the way, and sing the lamppost song and the spider song. And then I was home and I was really tired and grumpy so I got to skip my bath and go to bed.

Friday, November 05, 2010

Someone needs to get his own iPod

Brian: What was that you were saying about there not being too much Josh Ritter in this playlist?
Me: What? It’s not all him.
Brian: You’re right, it’s only every third song or so.
Me: Whatever, dude. You know you like my boyfriend.
Brian: Your boyfriend?
Me: Yes, I’m going to marry him.
Brian: I thought you were going to marry Jon Stewart.
Me: I am. I’m going to marry both of them.
Brian: And you think they’re going to be okay with being brother husbands?
Me: Um, yeah, because that’s the main concern about this plan?

Thursday, November 04, 2010

Oh, right: THIS

There are certain things I forgot about life with a baby, things that I was better off forgetting, things that when they roll around with Lyra, I say “Oh, right: this.” Tonight (this whole week, really) I am being forced to remember that when babies are working on new skills their already poor sleep habits get even more bizarre. Lyra’s really excited about cruising, so although she seemed to go to sleep at eight this evening, now it’s after eleven and I am blessed again by her company. The poor girl is so tired, and she comes to me to nurse and almost fall asleep, but she keeps waking up again and wiggling away from me, down to the floor where she can grab hold of a little table to push around, or pull up on the edge of the couch and wobble down toward the other end in hopes of getting to pet the cat (who is so not entertained). And so I think she is happy and I try to go about my business, but if I leave her sight for even a moment, it is the greatest tragedy one can imagine, and she drops to her knees to crawl after me and then collapses to the floor in tears, until I pick her up to try to nurse her back to sleep and start the cycle over again. Oh, right: this. What was I going to write tonight? I can’t remember, so I am jotting down this paragraph while standing at the kitchen counter and Lyra walks back and forth, balancing herself along the cabinets.

Wednesday, November 03, 2010


In the Halloween pictures I posted the other day, Adriana was dressed in a princess dress. When we walked into Old Navy to look for costumes the week before Halloween and I saw the fairy princess dresses, I knew that we would be coming home with that one. She carried it around the store lovingly, and put it on as soon as we got home, declaring herself “Rosy the Princess,” because there was a little rose at the waist.

Up until now, I have been pretty determined to avoid the princess thing with Adriana. She has never had one of the “Daddy’s Little Princess” shirts that are everywhere I go. I have never used “princess” as a nickname. I never bought anything that had the Disney princesses all over it. The only books about princesses she’s had are The Paper Bag Princess and a Tony Ross story. But suddenly the Princess Plague has hit our house.

II suppose it actually started out kind of slowly. Friends with little girls a bit older dress up in princess dresses. Other little girls would bring princess stickers to pass out at school on their birthday. I bought some disposable diapers that were pink, and discovered when I opened them that they had Sleeping Beauty on them. At my midwife appointments, the nurses would give Adriana a sticker, and if they were out of Winnie-the-Pooh, a princess was always her next choice. And then it was her own friends who were dressing up as princesses.

Then this fall, we are suddenly All Princess, All The Time. I thought I would be appalled, but it was charming to see how she was figuring it all out. Without princess movies or princess books, she is just gleaning what she can from friends and from me. The first time she started talking about wanting to be a princess, I asked her what she knew about princesses. “They wear fancy dresses and are smarter than dragons,” she told me. In that case, I could totally handle having a princess on my hands.

In spite of that answer, she’s still working out what exactly being a princess is all about. She asks questions along the lines of ‎"Can princesses drive garbage trucks?" and declares, “Princess eat burritos and ice cream everyday.” I answered of course to the first question, and thought that if princesses got to eat like that, I might want to be one, but as it turns out, she thinks that I was a princess back before I was her mom: She found a pair of my high heels while we were moving, and asked if they were mine back when I was a princess. Not long after that she asked, "Mama, when you were a princess, were you a magic fairy princess, or just a regular princess?"

The cuteness of it has eased me into the whole idea of this insane princess thing that seems to overtake most the little girls we know. Because I certainly can’t bring myself to argue with her when she shouts out "I am the strongest monkey princess in all of Eagle Park!" or casually informs me, “I am not a princess now, but when I grow up I will be. A rock star princess.”


Tuesday, November 02, 2010

10 months

Each month when I sit down to write about Lyra, I can’t help but peek back about what I was writing about Adriana at the same age. I so often think that they have different personalities, but most of what I wrote about Adriana at ten months holds true for Lyra as well: she’s cruising, clapping her hands on cue, and sitting longer for stories.

These days Lyra loves to stand up, and pulls herself up constantly on my jeans or the furniture or Adriana’s hair. She lets go and balances quite well, and when she applauds herself she hardly ever loses her balance anymore. Until this past weekend, Lyra showed little interest in walking--she would take a step or two while holding the couch if she thought she might finally get the cat, or step carefully from the bathtub to the toilet to try to splash in it--but other than that she wasn’t cruising. Then while we were in South Pasadena for Halloween, she began moving herself along the furniture, and when we got home she discovered that the felt pads on the legs of our small end tables make the tables glide easily across the floor and she can move about upright quite easily by pulling herself up on them and pushing them around.

Lyra seems fascinated by music, moreso than Adriana was at this age, although perhaps I’m not remembering correctly. I just told someone the other day that Adriana didn’t cruise much, but according to my blog she did. I signed up for a Music Together class with both girls, and Lyra in particular loves it. She adores watching the other kids, of course, but she also is thrilled by the music. She likes to pound on the drums and shake the rhythm instruments. Her stranger anxiety isn’t nearly as strong as it was a couple of months ago, but it is definitely still there. But even on the first day of class, she was willing to go to the teacher when she sang. When we put on the CDs at home, she pulls herself up and bounces in time or claps along. She is soothed by singing or by music being played.

Lyra loves water. She comes crawling to the bathroom when she hears me running the bath. If I'm not bathing the girls together, she loves to stand next to the tub while Adriana's in it, splashing. When it's her turn, she crawls around chasing after toys, and then lies back calmly while I rinse her hair. A couple of weeks ago she lunged for a toy and ended up face down in the water. I pulled her up quickly, and she choked and sputtered for a minute. I waited for a moment, sure that she would cry as soon as she caught her breath, but instead she laughed and hurled herself face first into the water again.

Her sleep is unpredictable. While Adriana's nighttime sleep was erratic at this age, I think her naps were at least fairly consistent. But Lyra is always being forced to nap on my back while we shop, or picked up during the nap when it's time to go get Adriana from school. She does seem to take a late nap a lot of evenings, around six or seven, which means she is often up until ten o'clock. Adriana was a night owl, too, until she gave up her nap last winter, so even though I enjoyed having both girls asleep by eight, this isn't totally foreign to me. And most nights I’m honestly not sure how well Lyra sleeps. I know she usually wakes up around midnight and then I bring her into bed with me. After that I’m usually not sure whether she wakes up or not. She does seem less dependent on nursing to fall sleep initially, though. Brian is able to get her to go to sleep more easily than he ever was with Adriana, and sometimes to get her to sleep even I end up rocking or bouncing her on my back.

My favorite time of day with Lyra is morning, I think. Some days she nurses and then falls back asleep for a twenty minutes or so, and I'm awake beside her when she first starts to wake up in earnest. She stirs and then her eyes slowly open. It takes a few moments before she turns and sees me, and then she smiles and crawls closer to me, to play and snuggle. If Brian's still in bed, too, she crawls to him as well, pulling on his nose to get his attention.

Unlike Adriana at this age, Lyra seems to be a good eater. Of course, because of my experience with Adriana, my expectations are low, so when she eats even a few tablespoons of food, I think she's an awesome eater. She'll eat pretty much anything we eat if I run it through the food mill, and she is getting the hang of finger foods. I think I'll be disappointed when she moves entirely to feeding herself, because the way she stretches her neck forward with her mouth open, a little bird waiting to be fed, so adorable.

These days so much changes so quickly that I am often thinking of the little things I'll miss: the sight of the fat diapered bottom crawling away from me once she begins to walk, the way she grins up on me when she pulls up on my jeans, the way she plays with my hair while she nurses. Everyone loves to tell me “It all goes so fast,” and it’s a cliche, but I always know they are right, but there are instances when I am just completely in awe of the sweetness of all of this and I wish I could slow it down.

Monday, November 01, 2010

Halloween 2010

My in-laws get an insane number of trick-or-treaters. Last year, there were 1,992 according to the official tally, although Brian and his dad kept trying to come up with ways to push that number over 2,000. This year we had three different ways of counting--number of candies handed out, number of water bottles given away, and a tally counter that Brian bought just for this purpose. All counts came out the same, but there was no need for trying to skew the numbers anyhow, as there was a huge jump in our total: 2,324 this year. And I had predicted a lower turnout due to it being a school night.Adriana picked out a sort of fairy princess costume this year. It has a little rose at the hip, so she declared herself Rosie the Princess. Like the butterfly costume that she wore for two years straight, I think this one will see plenty of use even though the holiday has past.

Lyra isn't yet big enough to wear the monkey costume Adriana wore at this age, so she was a little pumpkin, just like 98% of other babies celebrating their first Halloween. She wouldn't wear the hat though.

We took the girls around to a dozen houses. Although we'd rehearsed several times, Adriana never once managed to say "trick or treat" when someone opened a door, but she accepted their candy nevertheless. Brian accepted candy on Lyra's behalf.

With the World Series still going on this year, my in-laws humored me by setting up a radio by the front door. And I carved a Giants pumpkin, which remained intact this morning, despite Brian's dire predictions that it would be promptly smashed by Dodgers fans or something. I think it looked pretty good.