Sunday, January 10, 2016

Kate at Three and a Half-ish


{Taken at Calico Basin, 11-11-15, age 3 years 8 months}

Kate has several animals and dolls that she keeps on her bed. She calls them her "kids." Her [always naked] baby doll and her leopard are the two most important, but she's also got three little bunnies (one named Bella, after her friend), a small pink bear she named Jayson, and a dog she named Ruffy. She often totes them around the house and then makes us scramble to find them at bedtime. If we forget, she'll get out of bed and call from the top of the stairs that she needs to get her "kids."

Jaynie and Kate play well together--they are fast friends. Unfortunately for Kate, however, Jayne is no longer easy-going when Kate tries to take away whatever she's playing with. She makes some pretty awesome "that's not fair!" noises until I make Kate give back whatever it is she had.

Kate is patient and kind. Her default setting is cheerful. She likes to observe before diving into experiences, but she's also friendly and outgoing. She is articulate and is learning to negotiate, which leaves me half annoyed and half secretly delighted.




Semantics are big right now in our house, and it's exhausting. Usually manifested like this:

Me: "Kate, don't dump out all Jayne's drawers."
Kate: "I didn't dump them out."
Me: "Yes, you did. Look at this huge mess you made."
Kate: "I didn't make a mess."
Me: "Look at all the stuff you dumped in Jayne's bed!"
Kate: "I made a pile."
*
Me: Kate, I don't want you playing with that pin. Please put it on the table.
Kate: I'm not playing with it.
Me: I don't want you to touch it. Please put it on the table.
Kate: I'm not touching it.
Me, exasperated: Then what are you doing?
Kate: I'm holding it.
*
Me: Kate! Don't draw on the couch with crayons.
Kate: I wasn't drawing. I was writing.
*
Me: Kate, if you keep biting your nails, I'm going to stop snuggling with you.
Kate: I'm not biting my nails.
Me: Okay, stop putting your fingers in your mouth.
Kate: I'm not putting my fingers in my mouth.
Me: What are you doing, then?
Kate: I'm licking my fingers.
*
With her aptitude for finding loopholes, she'll probably be a lawyer.



Lately there's been a lot of, "Mom, you aren't listening. Mom, you're taking too long." And then she turns my reinforcement strategies right back on me: "Mom, I really like it when you listen to me. I really like it when you do what I ask you to." She's also pretty good with her manners: "Excuse me, Mom. Excuse me, can I talk to you?" Though sometimes it's more like, "Excuse me, Mom; 
Excuse me, Mom; Excuse me, Mom; Excuse me, Mom; Excuse me, Mom..." starting at a low volume and gradually getting louder.

Kate stopped taking naps a couple months ago, and I finally conceded she was old enough I didn't need to force her to sleep anymore. But I still needed some sanity, so I told her she had to have quiet time while Jayne was asleep. After a week or so of playing quietly in her room, I told her it was time for quiet time and she said, "I don't want to have quiet time! I want to take a nap!" And sure enough, she's taken a nap about 80% of the time since. If I'd known that all I had to do to get her to nap was remove the sleep mandate, I would have done it a long time ago.


She's always talking about her friends and her cousins, even the ones she doesn't see often. The other day she was singing a song "for Jeremy and Morgan;" she often confirms that she's still older than her cousins Sam and Levi; and she uses her second cousin, Brooke, as proof that she's still little at least once a week ("Mom, I still get a sippy cup because I'm littler than Brooke."). She knows where all her cousins and aunts and uncles live, and she asks me to point to "Was Begas," Colorado, St. George, Wyoming, Salt Lake, "Canifornia," and Texas all the time on our map wall upstairs.



Recently Kate was chattering away about the things she learned in preschool ("Joy means happiness!"), and I was half paying attention when she said, "Happiness is better than penist." 

"What was that, Kate?"
"Happiness is better than penist, huh Mom?"
"What's penist?" I asked. 
"You know, it's what boys have." 
"That's a penis," I said, and then we moved on to other topics.
I couldn't figure out what she was talking about until a few minutes later I realized that to her, it must sound like hapenis, not happyness, and I thought that was so funny.

She loves preschool and her teacher, Ms. Shannon. One [non-preschool] day out of nowhere, Kate said, "Mommy, I want to change mommies." 
"Who do you want to be your mommy?" I asked. 
"Um, Shannon."
I said, "I know you love Shannon. How about she will be your teacher and I will be your mommy?"
She seemed okay with that. Phew.

She calls The Incredibles "The Increbiboes."


She's a deep sleeper, and sometimes on the days she does nap, I have to wake her up when she sleeps too long. A few weeks ago, I went into her room and curled up next to her on her bed and snuggled her and cried because I love her so much and she's growing so fast and I want to appreciate her more. I still do that sometimes--lie next to her and hold her when it's time for her to wake up--and I realized that sometimes I don't see her; I don't always look at her little face when she talks to me or give my full attention to her endless chattering. I don't sit down and play with her as much as I should. I know of a couple people who lost their sweet babies this year, and it has really been a wake up call to me for how important it is to be present and appreciate everyday moments. And when she eventually wakes up, she throws out her arms in a stretch and then turns her head to face mine on the pillow. She gives me a sleepy smile, eyes half-lidded, and says, "I wuv you, Mom."




Monday, December 28, 2015

Kate and Jayne Meet Santa



Kate got to meet Santa at our church Christmas party. She was all business when she told him what she wanted for Christmas: a candy cane and presents. After she received her candy cane (which she remembered from last year), she left with us and then said, a few minutes later, "Santa forgot to give me presents!" We had to explain that the presents would come on Christmas. 


Jayne isn't a big fan of strangers, and I knew Santa would be no exception. I let Kate have some solo Santa time first, then I apologized in advance to Santa and the photographer and plunked Jaynie on his lap.



Jayne's feeling of betrayal was immediate and complete. She did not whimper. She did not well up with pouty tears. My little girl full-on screamed, body rigid and trembling. She looked back, once, at Santa's bearded face, then leaned as far away from him as she could.




I rescued her after about ten seconds and felt a moderate amount of guilt until I remembered I did the same thing to Kate. I decided it's just a rite of passage.



A week or so before Christmas, we went to a local Orchard and took a hay ride. We made a dinner out of hotdogs, chili, cider, and doughnuts and went into a barn to see Santa. 


This time, we spared Jayne the trauma of Santa's lap. Kate got her candy cane and informed Santa he forgot to bring her presents. We explained to Kate and the confused Santa that the gifts would be coming soon.



Jay asked me a couple days ago if I feel any guilt about telling the girls Santa brings their gifts when they believe us so implicitly. I don't. I love the magic and wonder of childhood--where Santa and microwave ovens and the change of seasons and any number of other things are equally mysterious and inexplicable. I love my girls, their excitement and their goodness, and that Kate feels our love in a host of ways, including through Santa, candy canes and presents.

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Jaynie at 14 months

{Jayne at the cabin; October 2015}

At 14 months, Jaynie is full of spunk. 


Her first word, at 13 months, was "Mama," and she said it often, much to my delight. There is nothing sweeter than seeing her chubby little cheeks pooch out as she forms her sounds.




Her favorite thing is her little comfort object; a pink minky monkey. (Kate has one, a leopard, and she called this one "Jayne's wepard" for a long time.) She totes it all around the house, and one of her first words was monkey (buh-kee). She asks for it constantly.




Since being weaned at 12 months, she loves drinking water from her sippy cups. She frequently asks for a drink (doo). Sometimes I forget that her speech has meaning, and she'll sit in her highchair chanting "Doo!" with increasing urgency and volume until I realize what she wants and scramble to get it. 


When she uses a word to ask for something, like a drink or her monkey, and then sees someone get it and bring it to her, she gets so excited. She loves that she can communicate with us.




{December 2015}

For Halloween, Kate wanted to be Elsa. As much as I'd have loved dressing Jayne in the Little Red Riding Hood cape (used for the fourth year in a row), the idea of having her be Anna to Kate's Elsa (their hair! Their ages! They're sisters!) was too cute to pass up. We dressed them in their costumes for our church's trunk or treat and then briefly when my parents visited. On the day of Kate's preschool Halloween party, however, she wanted to be Snow White. And then on Halloween, she wanted to be Snow White again, not Elsa. So I dressed her in her blue and yellow dress and put Jayne to bed--because she was tired, and without the Frozen theme it just wasn't as cute... And the reason I'm going into all this detail is to explain why I didn't take pictures of my girls in their costumes on Halloween. But I dressed them up in December and they were super uncooperative, but we had fun anyway. It wasn't until the next day I realized I'd missed putting on a piece of Jayne's costume. Oh well.


{You could try and tell me you've seen something cuter than Jayne in pigtails, but I wouldn't believe you.}

Jayne started walking at 13 months, and she still staggers around with splayed legs like she hasn't quite committed to life as a biped. Her only pair of shoes are soft little leather moccasins, and she loves them. She'd only worn them a couple times when I set them on the counter by the garage door. The next few times we left the house, she'd see them and yell "Shee! Shee!" It took me a minute to realize what she was asking for. When I put them on her, she holds up her little feet and points her toes to aid in the process. It's adorable.




She also says Boo (buh), balloon (bah), Mommy, Daddy (datty), all done ("ah duh" while making the sign), backpack (ba puh), bye bye, up (ubbuh), hi, banana (nana)


She can identify her belly button and loves sticking her little finger in it. Sometimes she'll lift up one of our shirts so she can poke our belly buttons, too. She has the sweetest little mischievous laugh.




Jaynie got her two bottom teeth right on time when she was six months old. In the ensuing months, other than those two slowly elongating teeth, she remained edentulous. I was only half joking when I told Jay (several times) he should take an x-ray to make sure she had more teeth coming. She finally cut her top centrals at 12 months, and she's now working on her top laterals. Thanks to her Dad's instruction, she can identify and say "teeth" (tee).




We now have a backyard, and it's so fun to send the girls back there to play. Even when Jayne is fussy or tired from teething, she gets so excited to toddle around outside with Kate.


I'm not normally one to use nicknames, but I can't help it with Jayne. I started calling her Jayners when she was tiny (Kate used to get mad: "She's not Jayners! She's Jayne!"), and it eventually shortened to Jayner. Sometimes I called her Jaynerton. Now, I mostly call her Jaynie since Jay and Jayne sound so similar. Sometimes I'll call her "the Jayne" when talking to Jay (as in, "did you change the Jayne?" "Will you get the Jayne?").




We recently bought a house, and it has a lot of stairs, including small sets of 1-3 steps dividing some of the rooms. When we first moved in, Jayne, at 13 months old, was too scared to go up them. She would crawl up one step, put her hands at the top of the three stairs and cry to be picked up. She eventually figured out how to go up, but then couldn't get down. She luckily never fell down stairs at our house, but there was a lot of frustrated crying when she couldn't follow her sister. We taught her how to scoot down stairs backward, but she couldn't figure out how to get into position herself. She's finally got it down, and it's hilarious to watch her move four feet away from the top of the stairs, turn around, get on her tummy, and scoot backward until she hits the stairs. Sometimes her aim is off, her little feet run into a wall, and she has to recalibrate.




Jaynie's hair is red red red and her eyes are blue blue blue. I absolutely love it. Literally everywhere we go someone stops and comments on her hair. The only downside is her skin is so sensitive--she has a true redhead complexion. Any time the weather changes, her cheeks get red and chapped. We wage a constant battle against diaper rash. 




Kate and Jayne absolutely love each other and play together well. At least half the time, when I hear Jayne wake up in the morning or from a nap, I send Kate in there to play with her. Kate will climb into Jayne's bed and they'll play and laugh for as long as I let them. Once, I went into Jayne's room to find her bed filled with the contents of all the pull out totes in her dresser. I chastised Kate for dumping out all Jayne's clothes and diapers, and her reply was, "I didn't dump! I made a pile!" Jayne stood on top of the pile (luckily not buried beneath it) and thought it was the greatest thing ever.




Starting at around 8 months, Jaynie was the snuggliest little baby. Any time I put her down or got her up from her bed, she'd practically throw her little head on my shoulder and press her torso against mine. She'd just snuggle there, her body relaxed and heavy, for minutes at a time. I'd soak her in, my nose near her neck, my head on hers, swaying back and forth. Now that she's older, she doesn't do that as much, but sometimes I'll luck out when she's extra tired or shy. 




15 month update since I'm slow in getting this posted:

  • Says "ossuh" for outside
  • Drink is now "dookie"--still one of her most-used words
  • Book is "bookie"
  • She still loves saying "boo!"
  • Says baby, "see" for cereal, and "See-ee" for Sadie, my Dad's dog. 
  • Jaynie loves being tickled--she has the best little giggle.
  • Oftentimes when we're driving somewhere as a family, Jaynie will get in a "Mommy" loop (you know what I'm talking about: "Mommy...Mommy?...Mommy..."), and there's no getting her out of it since she can't really tell me what she wants. Just to make sure Jay doesn't feel left out, Kate will start on a "Daddy" loop. That's usually about the time that Jay and I make eye contact and wonder what on earth we got ourselves into with this whole parenting thing.

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Flattery and Sales

"Life is pain, Highness! Anyone who says differently is selling something." - The Princess Bride

A few weeks ago, we went to a furniture store to look at couches. Our sales lady was nice and clearly wanted to close a deal, but we weren't in buying mode. Jay took the girls out to the car while I waited for a printout. 

"Your girls are so cute," she said as we stood there.

"Thanks," I smiled.

Then, as she handed me the paper and I moved to walk away, she said, "Your face structure is so beautiful. Have you done print work?"

I usually try to be gracious when someone offers me a compliment, but I was so caught off guard I let out a noise that was somewhere between a snort and a guffaw. 

"Thanks," I said, waving the paper at her and leaving.

I laughed to Jay later that if she'd really wanted to flatter me in an over the top attempt to win my business, she should have asked if my children were models, because heaven knows I can't imagine anything cuter than their little mugs plastered on cereal boxes. 

Needless to say, we didn't feel compelled to return and buy that particular couch.

--------------------

A couple years ago, I was shopping at Kohl's when a woman approached me. 

"I just had to come over and tell you how beautiful you are. Do you mind if I asked what skin care regimen you use?"

"Um, Dove soap and Curelle lotion?" I said. 

She gushed at me for a few more minutes before handing me her Mary Kay business card and a coupon for free product.

...which I did not redeem.

--------------------

Today the doorbell rang, and since it's that time of year when packages arrive in a steady flow, I answered it. 

Salesman: Hi, there; is one of your parents home?

Me, startled: ...No.

Salesman: Do you mind if I leave a couple pamphlets?

Me: That would be fine.

Salesman, riffling through pamplets, looks up: ...I didn't make a mistake, did I? Are you the homeowner?

Me: I am.

Salesman, flustered, mutters: I do that sometimes. I've made the mistake both ways. You look very young.

Me: Thanks.

He quickly gave me a description of his services, handed me the pamphlet, and practically ran off my stoop.

I almost felt bad for him, especially since most of the homeowners on my street really are about my parents' age, but I was so pleased to not be stuck talking to another salesman for a fruitless ten minutes that I was glad for his blunder.

It's probably the only time I've believed anything a salesperson told me.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Things I Think are Gross or Otherwise Ick Me Out, Part IV

Just for fun, I made a list of 100 things that ick me out on some level. This is meant to be funny, so if you see your favorite food/activity/object/word on here, don't be offended--I'm sure there's something I eat/do/own/say that totally icks you out, too.

76.  Cottage cheese
77.  Blue cheese
78.  Cream cheese
79.  Velveeta "cheese" and "American" cheese (Kraft singles)
80.  Cloth diapers, reusable wipes, and the machines they're washed in
81.  Eye goop
82.  Spiders, earwigs, and cockroaches
83.  Liposuction
84.  Strapless clothing
85.  Touching arms with strangers (like on airplanes)
86.  Yogurt (and its tangy flavor thanks to its live cultures)
87.  My fingernails catching on anything
88.  The sound of anyone else's fingernails catching on anything, including during back scratches
89.  Raisins
90.  Dog slobber 
91.  Finding a worm while shucking corn
92.  The "stuf" in double stuf Oreo's (particularly when it's dyed)
93.  Meat that's cooked in the microwave
94.  Hair on shower walls 
95.  Leggings, particularly with loud prints, when worn as pants (instead of, say, under a dress or long shirt)
96.  When people swallow toothpaste
97.  The words "so" and "very" when used together (as in, "I love him so very much")
98.  Mold
99.  Shortening/trans fat
100.  Typos in professional publications

Okay, you've read 100 of mine. What are some of yours?