Friday, June 29, 2007


I have caved and joined Facebook. I'll admit it, the curiosity got to me. Within twelve hours of signing up and putting out contacts to some of the folks in my address book with Facebook accounts, I had heard from three people I hadn't talked to in at least a couple of years, much more in one case.

I like what I've explored so far, and it doesn't feel like what I feared it would - namely, a bunch of folks who wish they were still in high school talking like they were still in high school with the people who went to their high schools. Yes, that was a bit narrow-minded of me...

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Goose Egg

Well, it was just a matter of time. We made it almost 4 1/2 months before Anna left a goose egg on Tessa's head. Anna brought a toy over "for Tessa," and, before I knew what happened, she tossed it upward to Tessa. It bounced off of Tessa's head, and Tessa was most unhappy.

To my credit, I don't think I freaked out. I told Anna in no uncertain terms that this was not an okay way to give Tessa a toy and that we have to be very gentle when we shared toys with Tessa because she is so little. I told her that I loved her very much and that I knew she didn't want to hurt Tessa. Then I asked her if she could say she was sorry for hurting Tessa. We didn't quite get that - I think Anna was surprised into silence a bit by the end result of her actions, but she was quite happy to give Tessa a very gentle kiss on the head.

Half an hour later, both girls were settled into their beds for the night, the incident completely gone from their minds, I'm sure. But not from mine. I knew it was inevitable, and at least the first such encounter is now behind us...

The Shoe Nazi

I had a hurt shoe. I wore those shoes clear through last winter, when I was pregnant, because they were basically the one pair of shoes that saw what my ankles were doing and still agreed to be comfortable. I owe these shoes kind treatment and long life. A couple of weeks ago, I noticed that the stitching on one of the shoes had come loose. I remembered that there's a shoe repair place in our local mall, so I toted the injured shoe over to the mall on Saturday.

As I walked up to the service counter at this tiny storefront, I saw four signs:

"All repairs MUST be paid in advance"

"Repairs under $5 CASH ONLY"

"Ticket MANDATORY for pick-up"

"All shoes left over 14 days will be DISCARDED"

I stood in the short line to drop off my shoe, and, no matter how obvious it was that you were the next one to be served, the shoe repair guy called, "Nextplease!" when he had dismissed a customer.

I was called and approached the counter, shoe in hand. I started to explain the problem, and the Shoe Nazi held up the shoe and barked, "Restitch. One hour!" I told him I wouldn't be able to come back that day and was further in no rush for this shoe as the weather was more conducive to sandals. I'd barely finished my sentence when he pronounced, "Tuesday! Five dollars!"

I paid the five dollars, got my ticket, and got out of there before doing anything that might inspire the wrath of the Shoe Nazi and the dreaded "No shoe for you!"

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Dear Anna: Month 33

Dear Anna,

I cannot believe you will be three years old in less than three months. And yet, every day, you do things that remind me what a big, independent girl you're becoming...and what a sweet and still little kid you are. Where to begin...

In April, we went to Connecticut to see my extended family over the Easter holiday weekend. This weekend has become something of a family reunion, with a pretty good contingent of family turning out. I was eager to introduce Tessa to my family, and for them to see how big you are now, but that's a long drive. Happily, we have the in-van DVD player, which helps. But you took it one step beyond just being a slack-jawed, DVD-watching toddler. You took off your shoes and socks, pulled your socks onto your hands, and choreographed arm movements to the songs playing on the music DVD. This went on for miles and miles, and, while any normal parent would have gone insane from the repetition of music, I was just plain entertained with every glance into the rear-view mirror.

Baseball season has arrived in our house, which this year means teaching you all about the Red Sox and how they are the Best Team. You now know the mascot, and you spent a lot of time with your A-Z and 1-2-3 Fenway books, which are slightly out of date but still quite informative to a new fan. We found you a baseball diamond-shaped placemat that has all the positions labeled, and you're getting really good at identifying them, even by position number. A few more years, and I think you'll be ready for your first trip to Fenway.

You started a gym class for toddlers this spring and have been loving it. We signed you up for it after watching you - independent of anything we'd taught you - somersault your way around the living room, and you're thriving in the class environment. You do a wonderful job of following directions and taking turns, but there's one spot that needs work. At the beginning of class, there's circle time. Everyone says their names and answers the question of the week (favorite color, etc.). No matter how much we practice, as soon as it's your turn, you have to be reminded of your name. Of course, you had no trouble telling the whole class that your favorite breakfast food is ice cream.

You talk. A lot. You're using full sentences frequently, and you repeat what you hear others saying more and more, which means we're all speaking on eggshells these days. You're pretty darned assertive, and Daddy and I are getting used to getting ordered around in no small measure these days. You also talk to Tessa in exactly the best possible way I could have hoped. Here's a sampling of your latest turns of phrase:

(When asked if you would like a Hershey Kiss)
"No. I will have two!"

(After many, many episodes of Dora the Explorer, you apparently identify with the show's resident bad guy)
"Oh, maaaaaan!"

(One example of your...assertive nature. This was to Daddy when he got out of bed too soon one weekend morning.)
"Wait a minute! Wait a minute! In the bed!"

(One of my personal favorites - exclaimed with your arms raised up high)
"I love Mama! Yaaaaaaay!"
"Are you be a giraffe? Noooooo! Are you be a kitty cat? Nooooooo! Are you be an Anna? YES!"

(To Tessa)
"Tiny little feet!"
"Open your eyes for me!"
"Hello, smiley girl!"

(At the Outback Steakhouse, perusing a table tent for their beer offerings)
"That's for Daddy."

(Leaving Sunday brunch one day, we saw a swank red convertible, driven by an attractive young man, pull out of a space near ours. As it passed us, you said the following, resulting in your father banging his head against the wall in terror of the teenage years to come)

At bedtime these days, if I'm busy with Tessa, Daddy tells you (accurately!) that I will come kiss you after you're asleep. It's not every night, but it does represent a change in our normal routine, and it took some getting used to for you. The first few times this happened, we would hear you crying after some quiet time had passed. So I went upstairs to see what was wrong, since this is unusual for you, and your bed was empty. I found you between your curtains and the window, where you had apparently planted yourself, convinced that I wasn't home and resolved to wait for me to come home so I could come kiss you goodnight. You dozed off there and were understandably upset to wake up there, not quite sure how to get to your bed and still knowing that Mama was somehow not there yet. I kissed you extra and put you back in your bed, where you promptly fell asleep. It broke my heart to see how much you needed me at the same time that it made me feel more full and worthwhile than I think I've ever felt in my life.

And yet, you show so much independence, too, that it seems impossible you haven't been around for even three years yet. You started a new preschool this spring, and you come home telling me about how you line up to play outside with your classmates. I remember watching the "big kids" in preschool line up to go outside when you were in the infant room. Those kids looked huge to me, and now you're one of them.

There's a middle ground there, though, and I saw it plainly when Tessa and I dropped you and Daddy off at gym class a few weeks ago. We called good-bye to each other, and I waved to you. As you walked toward the class entrance, you waved to me and looked over your shoulder all the way to the front door while holding Daddy's hand. There you were, heading off away from me but holding our connection as long as you could, and, in that moment, I saw just how hard it will be to really let you go off on your own. But you can always look back, and I'll always be right there.


Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Dear Tessa: Month 4

Dear Tessa,

This past Saturday, you turned four months old. It's been a busy month, and you've had your fair share of new developments and adventures. Not too long after the last letter I wrote you, you started laughing. Your laugh right now is a kind of gutteral chuckle, and you don't always smile when you laugh, which makes me wonder if you've decided yet whether this tickling-laughing thing is a good idea. Why don't you think about that and get back to me...

In an effort to make you sleep for longer stretches, we took you to a wine festival early in June. You rode around in the Bjorn on Daddy for the three+ hours we were there, and you were quite the charmer. You smiled at the people pouring the wine, and you dozed off in your floppy hat, prompting many festivalgoers to ask just how much wine you'd had, anyway. If I never hear the joke, "Is she tasting, too?" again, it'll be too soon.

You're getting stronger every day. Tummy time isn't the torture it once was, although it only takes a few minutes before you register your displeasure with the whole exercise. You have great control over your head, and you love the short stretches we allow you to be nestled into the baby seat.

From your lofty perch there, you can see all sorts of things, such as your sister, who continues to delight in you. And you in her! You're already her willing experimentee, but I imagine the tables will be turned when you get mobile and start chasing her around the house. Still, Anna is very gentle with you and regularly includes you in the count of our family - I couldn't have hoped for a better outcome there, and I hope this is the beginning of a lifelong closeness for the two of you.

You're now going to day care four days a week, and you and I have the commute into and back out of the city to ourselves. You're doing really well there - I can see the beginnings of a sleep schedule, and you're a champ with bottles, tummy time, and - almost - rolling over. A week before you hit your four-month birthday, you cut your first tooth. It came with much wailing and gnashing of...gums...and now there's another one on the way. I wish I could do this for you. I hate seeing you uncomfortable and arching your back in an attempt to get away from the pain of teething. But it's happily always temporary, and then you're smiling and talking to me again.

In an effort to get a picture of your new tooth (which has thus far failed miserably), I did get this picture, which shows you "talking." You are such a talker - you start cooing and playing around with your range and volume, and you respond in kind and then some if we mirror your talk back to you. It delights you to have this feedback, and we've had many a conversation about who knows what. I'm sure I've promised you toys, Disney World vacations, and Red Sox season tickets in these conversations without knowing it. Believe me, sweet baby girl, you can have my whole world. Just keep smiling at me like that.


Wednesday, June 6, 2007

No rilly!

A friend told me about this today. It's almost too much to be believe, but my goodness. It's simply too good NOT to be for real!

Monday, June 4, 2007

Most excellent

I am not one to crow about these things, as doing so inevitably leads to a complete reversal of fortune, but a certain baby slept for seven hours and twenty minutes last night. From 8:30pm until 3:50am, she was OUT (and that was after a 4:30 - 6:30 nap). Of course, this could be due to the fact that she spent much of yesterday at a wine festival with us, riding around in her carrier and being extremely cute. That's exhausting work.