Thursday, December 30, 2010

Bath time!

I say all the time that Lyra loves the bath, but here is photographic evidence. We don’t always bathe the girls together--Lyra loves to splash, and Adriana isn’t always a big fan of that, so sometimes it seems easier not too. But Lyra is always eager to get in with her big sister, and some nights Adriana asks that they have their bath together. Those nights, Lyra usually comes out first, and I get her ready for bed while Brian washes Adriana’s hair. But tonight, after I did that, Lyra hung out in the bathroom while Adriana continued to play. Brian came out to tell me something, and a few minutes later, we heard Adriana screeching. We ran to see what was going on, and then Brian sent me back out for my camera

“How did she even get in there?” I asked after I snapped a couple of pictures.

“Head first!” Adriana told me. And Lyra just sat in there looking pleased with herself.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Going places

Adriana was playing with a little toy plane from Lyra’s Christmas stocking, and looked up at me.

“Mom, we haven’t gone on a plane in a really long time.” I agreed, and we decided that the last time we’d flown anywhere it had been our trip to New York back in September. “But that was a long time ago. Mom, let’s just GO SOMEWHERE.”

I know that urge. I’ve been expecting it myself, although I think for me it will wait until January, once we get through the girls’ birthdays. Last year, that urge had me planning a trip to Spain soon after Lyra was born. The year before I was shopping for airfare to London as soon as we got past the excitement of the holidays. It’s funny to hear Adriana expressing it, even though I know she loves to travel. She protested coming home when we were getting ready to leave New York (and a couple of weeks ago wondered aloud why we couldn't just go live there), and asks periodically when we will go back to DC or London.

“Maybe we’ll take a plane the next time we go see Grandma and Grandpa,” I told her.

“But let’s go some place NEW, too, okay?” That made me happy--I like that she wants to see new places.

“I think we’re going to Boston in the spring,” I told her, explaining when she asked that it was north of DC and New York, that it was where the ducks from Make Way for Ducklings lived, and how many months were between now and May.

“I think we need to go to the library. We need to get the ducklings book again. And maybe some books that tell us everything we can do and with maps. And then we’ll know everything when we go to Boston. And we can go to Paris after that.”

Sounds like a plan.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Not like the other

When Adriana’s first Christmas rolled around, I expected the whole thing to just blow her away. I expected her mind to be boggled when we brought a real live tree into the house. I expected to be shooing her away from pine needles and ornaments and lights constantly. But none of it happened. She didn’t like the way the tree felt, so she didn’t touch it or anything on it, and at the time I attributed her matter-of-factness about the tree’s presence to fact that everything was new and unexpected for her, so having a tree in the house wasn’t actually all that unusual.

Because of that experience with Adriana, it didn’t even occur to me to expect Christmas to surprise Lyra this year. But Lyra is a very different child. It’s her first Christmas and she’s pretty much exactly the same age Adriana was three years ago, but she is not just taking this all in stride. When she saw the tree on top of our car she pointed and shouted, and then kept on pointing. When it was in the house she toddled right over to it and kept patting the branches. As soon as I put the lights on it, she was tugging on the cord and tasting the bulbs. There are a few soft ornaments down at her level that she keeps taking off and bringing to me. For the first few days, even when she was playing with other things, she would occasionally turn and point and exclaim “Oooohhhhh!” Now it’s been over a week, and she’s not quite as amazed, but she still is excited to see it every morning when she gets up.

It has me rethinking Adriana’s initial reaction. When Adriana enters a new situation, she has a tendency to sit back and watch. When I signed us up for Music Together this fall, I knew that Adriana wouldn’t participate the first few classes. It took a month or so before she wasn’t sitting against the wall or clinging to me for most of the class. Lyra, on the other hand, watched the other kids intently, grabbed at instruments, and was climbing into the teacher’s lap the very first time. Maybe Adriana wasn’t just taking the tree in stride; maybe she just needed time to soak it all in. And of course she didn’t mess with the tree. This was a kid who had to be coaxed to crawl on grass, wouldn’t play in sand until she was almost two years old, and freaked out the first time she tried finger paints. Pine needles were too new and strange a texture for her, and since she never put anything in her mouth (not even food, it seemed) my worries about her swallowing needles and gnawing on lights and ornaments were totally unfounded.

I’m glad that now she loves the tree and the decorations, and I’m happy I know her a little better now, so I can know what to expect. Every kid is different, and I have my own example right in front of me. It’s strange to think that babies have their own personalities so soon, but I have evidence of those little personalities right here.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

My very own Chicken Little

As we headed south on Grant Road toward Adriana’s school this afternoon, I pointed out the low clouds in the Santa Cruz mountains to her. “Aren’t the clouds on the mountains pretty?”

“Those aren’t clouds.”

“Yes, they are,” I told her. “They’re just--what are they?” I have to remind myself sometimes not to correct and instruct, and remember to just listen and explore and see what happens.

“That’s where the sky fell.”

“The sky fell?”

“Yeah, the blue sky fell. The sky is gray today. The blue fell off of it.” I was sort of surprised. It made sense to me that a low cloud was fallen sky in Adriana’s view of things, but this wasn’t quite what I’d expected.

“But that’s not blue right there. That’s white and gray.” I wasn't correcting, just testing.

“That’s because it’s the puff of dust. Because the blue sky fell and then the dust flew up when it hit the ground. Look! A GARBAGE TRUCK! Hey, are we almost to the diggers and the new houses?”

Monday, December 13, 2010

One little phrase

The Responsibility Project

I watched this video last week when there was a link posted to it on Facebook. Most of the time I end up following one of these links, I have to admit I skip through it, jumping over most of the talking, so that I can hear the music. This one didn’t have any whole songs in it, and most of the music was background for the talking, so I listened, and I’m glad I did, if only for one line pretty early on:

"If you're very lucky, you get one little phrase that gets into a consciousness, and somebody else down the line will hear it and it will help them to understand their lives at a certain moment."

I guess that’s the point of all art. We listen to music, read stories and poems, view paintings and films, and sometimes it speaks to us in some way. It helps us to understand something. But I liked the way he said it, and hearing it made me think of the songs and stories that have touched me in that way. There are songs I have listened to over and over for just a single line in them that meant something to me, and others where it’s not any specific lyric that’s important to me, exactly, but the whole feel of the song. There are stories that immediately have gripped me, that I’ve related to, and others that I’ve come back to reread years later, when I remember that there’s something in them that might be important to me. Sometimes it’s an entire novel, sometimes it’s a stanza in a poem. One time I picked up a book I had read once before and flipped through it until I came to a passage on the lower half of the right-hand page, where I had somehow remembered it was. I suppose it had stood out to me the first time through, given that I knew where to find it, but it wasn’t until a year later that I needed that passage, that it connected to my own life. And there are a dozen other things I can think of: a painting in a museum, a picture on a photoblog, a handful of books, poems I’ve copied into journals, songs I’ve listened to over and over, waiting for that one important line, that expresses exactly what I need to hear at that moment.

Sunday, December 12, 2010


We do a lot of pretty ridiculous role playing around here. Adriana loves it and it’s the best way to keep her from arguing when we need her to do something, so we are constantly saying, “Let’s play haircut!” Or shoe store, or dentist, or jacket store. And it’s completely silly, but it helps with the stubbornness, so we do it. But it doesn’t always work.

Me: Time to brush teeth! Let’s play dentist.
Adriana: [Ignores me.]
Me: Adriana! Time for your dentist appointment.
Adriana: [Ignores me.]
Me: Ring-ring! Ring-ring!
Adriana: [Ignores me.]
Me: Ring-ring!
Adriana: Mom. I’m busy. I’m not going to answer. Just text me.
Me: But you don’t know how to read.
Adriana: It’s a pretend text. I’ll just pretend to read it.
Me: [Rolling my eyes right back at her.]
Adriana: Text me.
Me: Okay, I’m sending you a text reminding you of your dentist appointment. Ding! That was the text arriving at your phone.
Adriana: Hmmm...I have a text. Oh, it’s from the dentist....Ring-ring!
Me: Hello, dentist’s office.
Adriana: Hello, this is Adriana. I need to cancel my appointment.

Thursday, December 09, 2010

11 months

Lyra is only eleven months old, but even Adriana is telling me, “She’s not really a baby anymore.” Just after reaching 10 months, Lyra took her first steps and her walk quickly developed from zombie to drunk elf to ZOMGWTFHOWISSHESOBIGALREADY. She still staggers around and falls down a lot, and still continues to crawl much of the time, but she scampers after her sister through the house as best as she can, a big smile on her face. Most of her stranger anxiety seems to be gone, which is convenient because as she toddles around, she doesn’t have to worry about whose leg she grabs to pull herself back up after a tumble.

We’re begin to think we might have a lefty on our hands. My mom was left-handed and Brian’s father is ambidextrous, so it’s definitely a possibility. When Lyra eats finger foods, she mostly uses her left hand, and that seems to be the hand she uses to pick things up, even when it seems to us that her right hand would be more convenient. When she goes staggering around the house clutching a random object (a block! a spoon! a Target receipt! a magnet! a package of dental floss!--all great finds when you’re 11 months old), it’s in her left hand. Wondering which hand she would use to draw or write, I tried handing her a crayon the other day when Adriana and I were drawing, and she took it in her left hand....and then chewed on it.

She eats what seems like a lot to me, although Adriana certainly messed with my perspective on that. She hasn’t mastered a sippy cup yet, but she likes to be offered one, and will also take sips from my water glass (with help, of course).

Lyra babbles a lot now, and so much of the time it sounds like she’s talking because of her different sounds and the inflection, but the only real word so far seems to be “mama.” She repeats sounds when asked (when she’s in the mood)--b, d, f, m, and s. She likes to pretend to talk on the phone. It started when she would grab my phone or a toy one, but she’ll do it with a block or another toy, or even just her hand. She holds whatever it is up to her ear and shouts vowel sounds. Sometimes she does seem to approximate “hello” (ah-whoa), but that might just be my imagination.

The phone trick seems almost like sign language to me, and I know I need to start being better about signing with her. Lyra does a little bit of signing, but nothing consistent yet. She’s had “milk” off and on for a few months, and I swear she signs music. Today I started noticing that when she was looking at and exclaiming over the cat she was patting her cheek, which seemed like a start toward the sign for cat.

For a while I thought we might have a better sleeper on our hands this time around, because Lyra seemed to sleep better on her own in the cosleeper than Adriana ever did, but now Lyra seems to sleep for extended periods of time only when snuggled up with me. As she’s struggled with a few minor colds this fall, she’s spent lots of time sleeping in my arms, which means I end up with a sore back and shoulder some mornings, but I haven’t been too inclined to do much about it, because waking up to find her still in my arms, my cheek on her hair is awfully nice.

She is a lot of work now: she doesn’t nap as much as I might like, and she gets into everything. I’m lamenting the fact that she’s no longer a tiny baby that rides in a stretchy wrap on my chest and sleeps most of the time, because I really do love the newborn days. But she’s fun now, even as she’s knocking down a tower of blocks that Adriana has worked so hard on or pulling bags of cornmeal and sugar out of the kitchen cabinet that didn’t latch properly. And when she was a newborn I couldn’t ask her for a kiss and have her lean in sweetly to give me one the way she does now.