A Thaw

Around here, when temperatures are over 35 and the sun is out, even for a few hours, people appear outside, and we try to get some fresh air and Vitamin D. It is so good for me, especially.

A few things I want to remember:

John Henry and Edith are obsessed with listening to the audiobook of The Cat in the Hat. Sadly, I now have it memorized and keep trying to suggest different books to them, but to no avail. They literally listen to it on repeat for an hour during quiet time. John Henry’s favorite thing to walk around saying is: “no no, shish,” which translates to “‘No no,’ said the fish,” his favorite line from the book.

During night prayer this evening, we arrive at the Protect us Lord antiphon and Edith had her prayer book open on her lap. She flipped to the “correct” page, began praying, lost her place, paused until she returned to the page, and then continued the prayer, as if she didn’t know what to pray if she didn’t have it open to the proper spot. When we returned again to the antiphon, she began it, paused a line in, turned the page, and then continued. How children pick up on these nuances and can imitate them without having any previous experience of situations like that is hilarious and mind-boggling at the same time. Also, to think that they can’t figure out how to use the toilet at the right times but they can learn an entire language without any formal instruction.

It’s been quiet around here, on this blog and in this house, but the babies are great and life is good and we are just doing our thing. Which for me includes reading five books already in 2018, so maybe I’ll share my January books when the month ends?

The best things, II

Fall seems to finally be arriving here in South Bend, and every day I feel more like the mother of two toddlers instead of a toddler and a baby. We are soaking up the all the breezes, turning leaves, and time together. Here are some of my favorite things from this week:

  • John Henry says “ouch” every time he hears any sort of sound like a bump. When we are listening to Mozart and he hears the drums, there’s an “ouch!” from the backseat. When Edith drops a book on the floor, “ouch!” Even when he takes a tumble, if it isn’t tear-worthy, there’s always an “ouch!” The best part is he very carefully pronounces each sound, dividing the word into two syllables. “Ou-chshhhh!”Processed with VSCO with q8 preset
  • The way Edith internalizes books and stories these days is pretty remarkable. She told me the other day she didn’t want to get toothpaste in her hair because it would be sticky. (One Morning in Maine) She also found a puzzle piece we had been missing and said, “It was in your [my] belly. But you [I] got it out!” (Curious George Goes to the Hospital) It is pretty amazing to discover just how much power literature and reading has in forming a child. The books she read are literally giving her a vocabulary for her life. That’s crazy, and quite the responsibility.
  • We’ve been listening to Classical Kid’s and Edith loves Mozart’s Magic Flute. She walks around the house all day talking about “Prince Tamino” as if he is one of her close friends.
  • More from The Magic Flute: Edith answered my question of where angels live with “in the darkness” and she told me we would have to go take a nap when the “darkness covers the sun,” both phrases from Mozart.
  • When Edith learns a word for something she hasn’t encountered before, she often uses a word that she knows instead. Two recent examples: apple cider became apple spider and apple crisp, apple Christmas.
  • John Henry thinks he can say far more words than he actually can and it’s so cute to hear him making lots of different sounds, as if he’s clearly communicating all day.
  • And one last treat from this week: I made an inaugural trip to IKEA and found the cutest little chair in the clearance section that makes both my living room and our grad-school budget both happy. Win.

The best things, I

Matching diapers and matching bellies

This week has been full of many toddler emotions, which always leads to a great deal of bewilderment on my part, and the hottest days of the year so I am happy to see it go. Despite all of that, here are some of the happy moments from our week.

I was inspired by my friend, Geena‘s, lists of recorded memories, and want to be better about collecting and writing down moments in our day that I want to remember. This stage in life is so full and busy—not busy meaning that our calendar is overflowing, but busy because there are so many needs and so many wants…and so. many. feelings. Even so, I want to remember all of this:

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  • the way John Henry charges to the stairs, looks over at me with a big grin and says, “No no. No no.”
  • Edith and I always come up with something she can tell her dad when he gets home from school, and the minute she hears the door open, she starts repeating it over and over again. The other day was “when you a baby, you say kaka. That means you want water.” (You being I.)
  • when Edith and I were discussing a friend’s pregnancy, I asked if she is having a baby girl or a baby boy. Edith, in a correcting tone, says, “No. She’s having a baby.”
  • after I sneeze, completely unprompted, Edith says, “Bless you, Mama.”Processed with VSCO with f2 preset
  • my little whirlwind, Edith, somehow can sit happily and perfectly content in her brother’s high chair, playing with beads for hours on end. She sorts them and looks at them and puts them in a bowl, all while listening to Curious George on tape. It is amazing to watch.
  • when we came in from playing outside, Travis asked Edith what she was doing and she said, “singing to the leaves.” (Really, she was. #hearteyes)Processed with VSCO with q8 preset

Vignettes

DSC_0007Me: “I have to get up to shower tomorrow.”
Travis: “No you don’t. You’re not going anywhere.”
Me: “Yes, I do. There are ladies coming over.”
Travis: “Are they ladies who shower?”

(Thanks to my husband for always being supportive of my less-than eagerness to wash my hair most days.)

~

The other morning, while Edith was playing outside with some other children, a loud airplane flew low over the backyard. Edith’s little head popped up and she watched the whole time it was in her line of sight until it disappeared—her eyes wide, a big grin on her face, saying something to herself that I couldn’t hear from inside the house. Probably “Airplane! Whoosh!” over and over and over again. I love to see her noticing things—her eyes bright, and her face turned with complete attention. I love it. I want to foster that in her, to teach her to see things and notice things and giver her full attention to them. It is good for me to remember that she will best learn this act of noticing from me. It is a weighty thing, this job I have of being a model for another person to imitate.

~

Processed with VSCO with c2 presetOn Sunday, during communion, when Edith usually says (very loudly): “Jesus here!”, this week, she said: “Jesus read Frog and Toad?”

~

I am glad that whoever planned my house thought of the sunshine. It comes in the large, back doors, first thing in the morning, as we are still working on waking up. Then it moves a bit and spills through the big window on the other side of the dining room, warming our breakfast and getting in John Henry’s eyes as he bounces in the kitchen doorway. Then it warms up the whole house, all afternoon, through the huge front window. I live for light, and this home has given me so much. It is making up for my first three years of lightless apartment living.

~

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As I tried to communicate to Edith the dangers of running into the road, I told her one time that the cars would “get her.” Ever since, she would say “cars get you street.” “Trucks get you street.”

“That’s right, Edith,” I would say. “The cars will get you so we stay in the yard.”

The trouble is, she has taken this very much to heart and every time we are in the front yard and she hears a car coming down the road, she crouches in the grass and looks around like she is expecting it to jump off the road and tackle her to the ground. Now she won’t even walk in a parking lot with me, holding my hand. “Cars get you,” she says in tears, again and again, until I hold her.

Mom fail or mom success? I haven’t decided.

Daily (I)

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Now that I have a home with sunlight and space, my succulent aspirations—and slight gardening aspirations—are emerging. I have a big pot of herbs on my front porch and little succulents are making their way around different spaces in our home. Edith especially enjoyed helping me pick out a few.

Edith continues to grow and change very quickly. She is attempting to say new words every day. Her repertoire includes “kaka” (water), “rafe” (giraffe), “duck,” “kack” (quack), “chee” (cheese), “ba” (ball), “bubba” (bubbles), and “hi!” (said very enthusiastically). She has the sign language for please down and is often seen vigorously rubbing her chest. Many times we don’t know what she’s asking for and if we ask her what she wants she will just do the sign even more intently. She just began nodding her head “yes” and understands when we ask her if she wants to go outside, upstairs, or for a ride. Often she has no idea what she is saying yes or no to, but it is quite cute. She also just started trying to sing along with us, so I have been trying to pull out those rusty children’s songs. Thankfully Jesus Loves Me is still firmly in my mind, but for the life of me I couldn’t remember This Little Light of Mine besides that one line.

We also have a water baby on our hands. She loved a brief stop at the campus beach along one of the lakes. She arrived in her little outfit from the morning (we had plans just to look), but as soon as she saw the “kaka!” her enthusiasm was too much and before long she was crawling and splashing in the water. She left with nothing on.

We are loving the Michigan cherries—there were never cherries in Durham, so it is awfully hard to turn them down whenever I see them. There are daily stained outfits thanks to the juice, but I almost relish the chance to simply run to the basement and pop in a load of wash. The cherries also remind me of home.

North Carolina Snow

_SMO4692 copy copyWhen I was a little girl, I always loved overnight snowstorms—the kind that start right as you are climbing into bed and it’s just a bit too dark to really make out the flakes falling from the sky. I loved the anticipation of waking up the next day and pulling up the blinds to an entirely new world. The magic still hasn’t worn off, and we had just that kind of snow last night. Maybe the magic is also that we are in North Carolina—somewhere I never expected to get six inches of snow and days where the city entirely shuts down. Duke is closed for the day, so we are fully embracing this snow day with fuzzy socks, a pile of blankets, and lots of coffee.

Being grownups

Processed with VSCOcam with k2 presetGrowing into adult life feels a bit bumpy at times, and I often feel like grown-up life is forced upon me, especially in the form of bills and grocery lists and my least favorite: empty gas tanks. I drive until the gas light comes on, and then I usually try to make it a few more days before I fill up at the pump. I text my husband if I find a low gas price and then mourn the days of not even knowing to check gas prices. But one positive about spending a little money because an empty tank necessitates it: credit card points.

The other night, Travis took me to an amazing new restaurant that recently opened here in Durham, all on the tab of our credit card company. It felt like we were living the high life, eating incredible Asian fusion tapas in a lovely new restaurant. We had such a lovely evening, and I will remember that amazing food for a very long time. Those are the times I can get used to feeling like an adult.

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