Monday, January 28, 2008

"Because it's there"

Sarah is a CLIMBER. Maybe, instead of the butterfly tunnel I'm planning on giving her for her birthday (party delayed until ??? due to the fact that we're still getting our heads around being home again), I should just take her to an REI and let her have at the climbing wall. 'Cause she'd have a blast, and she might even break some records getting to the top.

She climbs everything — us, her dolly bed, the stairs (up and down — ulp!), and now she's discovered Beth's stepstool that we keep in the kitchen so Beth can help me cook.

Which goes like this: I'm making lunch, and Beth says, "Mama, I want to help you!" and then we go through the process of dragging the stepstool over to the correct counter, and she climbs up on it, and then she gets to "help." This does actually take the form of help when I'm baking — she dumps in the pre-measured ingredients: a teaspoon of vanilla, or cups of flour. More often, though, she just has tastes of whatever I'm cooking. Cheese for sandwiches, say. One of her favorites, for some reason, is salt. Today she got up on the stepstool while I was putting away the groceries, and she ate a bunch of salt without asking, and the sheer quantity she'd consumed made her gag and cough. So maybe she's learned a lesson....

Anyway, Sarah can climb the stepstool too, all the way up to the top and back down. It's only two steps, but they're big steps, and they're open at the back, and I remember being terrified of ladders and steps and such when I was a kid. Not Sarah. Today she discovered that there's a purpose to the stepstool — it lets her get to the counter. So she stood there and played, gleefully, with a container of mixed nuts, a sippy cup, and a few recipe cards. She'll be hitting us up to fund her K2 expedition when she's about nine.

Baby Moonbeam

We all went to a baby shower Saturday for some neighbors, and it was fabulous — Bethie found a four-year-old to glom onto, Sarah flirted with the other babies, and Scott and I got some much-needed adult conversation with people who don't already know all the boring daily stuff about us. And the food was great, and the people were smart and interesting and had fascinating jobs and amazing kids, and Beth and Lily (the four-year-old, a bit chagrined to have a curly-haired parasite) helped Ana and Jeff unwrap all their presents.

Ana and Jeff have been calling the baby "Moonbeam" for a while now, and we passed that info along to Beth via the nametags at the shower. ("See? Ana's wearing a sticker that says 'Ana,' and her tummy is wearing two stickers that say 'Moonbeam.'") And this morning I got a phone call that Ana had had the baby, six weeks early. (Yikes! But he's fine, nearly six pounds, a whole pound bigger than Beth was when she was born.) So I told Beth. "Bethie, guess what? Ana's baby came out of her tummy. His name is Miles."

"No," she said, quite serious. "Her name is Moonbeam."

And that's where we are, as far as Beth is concerned. I figure all's well as long as she learns to say his real name by his first day of kindergarten.

(Congrats Ana!)

Monday, January 21, 2008

Christmas aftermath

As requested, Beth got her kitchen. Sarah got her dolly and a cute little bed for the dolly to sleep in. Thanks to grandparents, a whole mess of aunts and uncles, neighbors who for some reason love our kids, and the fact that I'd been saving things back for a few months ("Sure, they need hats and mittens. Let's give 'em to them for Christmas!"), there were a LOT of presents under the tree. We'd consciously tried to keep the craziness to a minimum, but we and Santa were greatly outnumbered by everyone else who loves us. (Hooray!)

This was our second Christmas at home — so relaxing — I highly, highly recommend it. Now that we're that much farther away from family and have to pay for three seats on the plane, it's getting less and less practical to travel. We warned our families that we aren't traveling for major holidays any more, and instead of spending Christmas with my parents we went out for a week and a half in mid-January — just in time for Sarah's first birthday!

So I guess the real story here is Sarah and her ceremonial destruction of a Mrs. Backer's cupcake (yum, frosting!). Cute kid! She dug right into it, spread frosting and white cake everywhere — in her hair, on my parents' dining room carpet, all over the antique high chair, and definitely all over herself. (This was quite unlike her big sister, who daintily picked frosting polka dots off her first-birthday cupcake, plucked off the rest of the frosting with her thumb and first finger, and then declared herself done.)

Sarah's vocabulary now includes a back-of-the-throat "She she!" that either refers to her Aunt Gigi or to any photo pasted to the fridge (we're not sure which, because my mom was pointing to pictures of Gigi on the fridge at the time). And just as we got home last week she started saying "Mama!" She reaches out her arms and curls her fingers in over and over when she wants us to pick her up. She's almost, almost walking — just needs a finger or a wall or an edge to hang onto — and she still grins like a maniac and lights up when anyone pays any attention to her. (She got a lot of that at Grandma's house, and is letting us know how much she misses it now that she's back home.)

We also got to see a ton of friends and relatives, some of whom we haven't seen since our wedding six and a half years ago. (And then there was the girls' cousin Chloe, whom we haven't seen since April, but those nine months are a big chunk of the girls' lifespans. Beth kept commenting that Chloe is now a "big girl" because she can walk. Is that all it takes?)

Sarah went for her birthday checkup this week, and the news is fantastic. At her previous visit three weeks ago she'd gained two pounds and an inch in five weeks — out of the underweight danger zone — and now she's gained another pound, putting her squarely in the 15th percentile for weight (whew!) and around the 45th for height. She's learned when to stop eating when she's full, too, which means fewer throwing-up incidents: good news for all!

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Beth says:

Scott, to Beth: "I remember when you were so little that I could hold you in one hand, like this."

Beth: "And what were you holding in your other hand?"