talk about it more

a virtual baby book

When she was two, Fiona regularly said "Talk about it more!" to express her desire to know more about whatever we were discussing.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Quiche the whole quiche and nothing but the quiche

I am experimenting with freezer meals. We ate one quiche tonight for supper and will freeze the other seven. Tonight before heading up to bed, Fiona said, "Mom, if you gave me a whole one of these quiches, I think I could eat the whole thing." LOL!

A story in pictures

We're watching Dever this afternoon, which made it hard for Nora to want to take a nap. Ian helped me get her tucked in after lunch. Sweet! I could hear that everything had settled down up there, and we were plenty busy downstairs, so I didn't rock the boat by checking in on her. I can follow large movements on the baby monitor. All it would take would be one whoop from downstairs while I was gliding in to bust up that whole operation, you know?

By 3:30, though, it was time to be seeing Nora, so I went up to get her. Nobody in bed. Hmmmmmmmm. I looked under the bed. Nothing. I did hit pay dirt in the closet, though. There she was, fast asleep. And isn't that Fiona's nightgown she's wearing?!

Monday, July 28, 2008

Out of the mouths of toddlers

I didn't want Nora standing on the chair watching while I was cooking at the hot skillet with so many hot things going on the range, so I placed her on the countertop a little bit removed from the most dangerous of the action. That wasn't perfect either, but at least her back was to the sharp knives. I was dumping stuff directly into a hot skillet, so there was no real possibility of her help, but she was enjoying the process.

After one particularly spectacular display of produce shook into the pot, Nora proclaimed, "Mom, you're cwazy!" She smiled and spread her wild eyes and chubby fingers wide.

I looked at her seriously. "Nora," I said, "I really don't think you're in a position to be calling your mother crazy."

Her eyebrows flew up. She nodded her head in complete honesty. "Oh, you're cwazy all wight!" Upon further discussion, it turns out "cwazy" is synonymous for "fun".

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Little girl time continued

Today Nora and I went to a ballet storytime at the library during Fiona's art camp. After stories, songs, and dancing, we met a dancer from a local dance company who taught us basic positions and some jumps.

We left the storytime early because once front row kids stood up my shorty couldn't see anything; and we needed to go pick up Fiona and Dever at art camp anyway. But a small crowd had gathered outside the storytime area trying in vain to help me get Nora (who had dressed up for the occasion) to smile at the ballet backdrop-- I'm sure it was a ridiculous sight to onlookers. By that time the dancer came out for photos. So Nora got to pose with her after all! Still, no smile. Who knows why not, since the storytime is all she has talked about for the remainder of the day.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Toothpaste trauma

I have so much more knowledge than I had last week. Some of it I only acquired twenty minutes ago, even! But I should start at last week:

1. When a family runs out of toddler fluoride-free toothpaste, the toddler might develop an affinity for the fluoridated preschooler kind.

2. When grandparents are in town kissing older children goodbye as they go to art camp, wily toddlers have a minute or so on their hands.

3. It doesn't take long to cram an ounce or so of toothpaste into an interested mouth.

4. According to Poison Control Center, it takes a lot more fluoride than that to do any major damage, but 4 ounces of milk will counteract anything the fluoride tries to do to the body.

5. There are not enough high places in the house when one has a very curious little person, nothing is sacred, and there is no time to divert attention otherwise or breathe.

Needless to say, I have to go now.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Berry fun

We went to a farm yesterday afternoon to pick blueberries. There were lots of things we could have harvested-- onions, strawberries, blueberries, raspberries... I don't know what else-- but the blueberry season is short and we really were there checking out how to get there and what it's like so the girls and I could go with friends this coming Saturday. We probably won't pick much that day anyhow. It will be more fun to romp between the rows, and the season will be wrapping up by then I think.

It was a lovely drive getting there. The girls asked a time or two how long until we reached the farm, and I finally said, "We'll be there in ten horses." We counted that many within a mile-- oops! Fortunately, Nora's counter started over every time she saw a new batch of horses, so it was kind of funny and it really wasn't much farther anyway.

The bushes were much shorter than the blueberry bushes I remember picking with my family when I was little. Was the variety different, or was I just a lot shorter then? A little Siamese mix kitten adopted us as soon as we got there, and was probably what made picking for an hour and a half wholly enjoyable for both girls. There were no biting bugs, and we had overcast skies, thunder, and occasional drizzle, so really the weather cooperated with us overall as well. We collected almost six pounds of berries, and we're already enjoying the fruits of our collective labor.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Clown car

I didn't think both kids would still fit into one of these things, but they somehow proved me wrong. Then again, I don't know how circus clowns do it either. Trade secrets of children and clowns, I guess.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

He may be scared, but he has a great vocabulary

We're reading a hilariously funny book called Alvin Ho: Allergic to School, Girls, and Other Scary Things. And while Alvin doesn't have a particularly savory child's view of either piano teachers or psychotherapists, we are still enjoying the book enormously around here. It is truly laugh-out-loud funny, has liberal, fabulous illustrations, and gives us a chance to talk about things that do (and don't) give us pause in our own lives.

Fiona won't be going to a traditional school this year like Alvin does. She won't ride the school bus like he does, either. It's fun for her to experience those things via Alvin, even though his over-exaggerations are devilishly ridiculous. And while Nora doesn't act a lot like Alvin's little sister Anibelly, for Fiona the connection surely does resonate with her. She's not catching all the humor, but she stays focused for the story, as does Nora.

I simply cannot get tired of these girls bringing books to me and begging for another chapter or two. It never gets old, even if we don't have time for it and have to do it a little later instead.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

What happened to the picket fence?

I was so tired it hurt. I was actually dozing on the drive out to our friend Becky's tonight, and that was only around 5:30 p.m. Once we got home tonight we were working on getting the girls to bed, and Nora began her new "I am too excited about being in the big bed to settle down" stuff, so Fiona and I headed to bed in the Big People Bed and left good ol' Ian to work out the details with Nora.

We had already done all our nighttime rituals in the girls' room, but before snuggling in I did ask Fiona if she'd wiggle her bottom tooth for me-- just for fun. It has looked like it was ready to just fall out for over a week now. Tonight it made a little popping sound while she wiggled it. I gasped.

"Oh! Leave it right there, honey! Let's finish that thing off tomorrow when Daddy can see, too. He doesn't go to work till later tomorrow. Maybe I'll even film you popping it out." But it was too late. A couple minutes later, Fiona tearfully informed me that it needed to come out now because it was barely hanging on and she feared swallowing it overnight. I took a peek, and she was 100% correct.

Holy cow! My excitement to document her milestones wasn't supposed to become maniacal-- I hadn't realized it was THAT close to coming out! We hopped out of bed and finished the job, of course. We celebrated in the kitchen and took some proof shots. We marveled at her tooth, the small loss of blood, and the adorable gaping hole in our almost-six-year-old's mouth.


We were on our way home from a car rescue and dinner on the road. We missed a ballet thing we really wanted to catch at the library, and I was dog tired. I really needed something good to happen. Fortunately at that very moment, something amusing erupted from the backseat:

Fiona: "You're not the boss."
Nora: "I'M DA BOSS!"
Fiona: "No, you're not the boss, Nora."
Nora: "I'M DA BOSS!"
Fiona: "You're not the boss. Mom is the boss."
Nora: "And Dad. AND ME!"

Tuesday, July 15, 2008


Fiona: "Never say, 'You say!' Nora." (a Toot Toot-ism.)

Then, moments later regarding a fresh loaf of bread:

Nora: "Looks like it's uber-hot."

What we do while waiting for Fiona

Fiona is at art camp this morning, so today we're doing a project that looks a lot like one Fiona already did there. While learning about Picasso last week, Fi drew a picture of a cat and a picture of a person with oil pastels, cut both of them up, and pieced them back together on a separate piece of paper. We liked the idea.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Our little yogi

Well, we just got back from Fiona's first yoga class. We just began a free mother/daughter yoga series in the church basement from 6:30-8:00 p.m. tonight, and I just finished tucking her in afterwards. I had brought a couple books and a snack along in case she found herself bored or distracted, but she remained 100% tuned in for the entire time.

In fact, I think in time she might gain some skills that could help her feel more secure and calm-- as well as more fit, limber, and flexible. Next time I will bring the camera, but no lens can capture the feeling of elation I get as I imagine Fiona using some of these new techniques when she gets anxious. This yoga class was just the ticket.

The other shoe dropped

We knew this would happen sooner or later... at two and a half years of age, Nora puked. Yesterday morning Nora came in our room early like she always does asking to nurse, and we did the usual bait and switch of getting her to think about something else. I took her back into her room and got her settled back down into bed-- which was surprising based upon the hour, but it worked. Minutes later, we figured out why. Eyewww.

Yesterday was a long day. How easily we forget that a child who doesn't vomit cannot possibly be bucket trained yet! Fiona, the poor mite, was an old pro by age two and a half. Nora, while more febrile than Fiona tends to get, wasn't quite as incapacitated by illness, and we had to keep a close eye on her all the time to know where she was. If we couldn't see her, chances were good that she had her arm down a box of cereal somewhere-- so we had to go find her fast!!! As she'd receive her tiny, metered doses of purple Pedialyte, her pained face and pale, dry lips would tilt up to us to plaintively ask, "Whyyyyyyyyyyyy?!"

When she was sick she was really sick, but she really did bounce back quickly. This morning when she woke up she had another peal of screams that woke us with a start. I ran in with the bucket just in case, but you know what she wanted? Her caterpillar comb. All that bizarre screaming at 6:00 a.m. for a caterpillar comb. Dazed, I retrieved it from the bathroom and handed it to her. No, she just wanted her hair combed, please. And she wanted her pajammies. Once I combed her hair and pointed out that she was already wearing pajammies, she rolled over and went back to sleep. Yup. She's back to normal now.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Art camp on the road

The first week of art camp is now over, and both Fiona and Dever next-door are enjoying it a great deal. Their working styles are quite different, but the little neighbors enjoy sitting next to one another at camp and like carpooling too. We parents enjoy hearing the version of what happened at camp in stereo as well.

I brought some of Fiona's artwork home to complete this weekend. She has many projects that weren't finished, and her plodding nature is getting her rather behind there. I spoke to her teacher at the end of the week, and we decided together that it might be less stressful for Fiona next week to begin without the added burden of numerous additional projects to finish up.

This class is very good for all of us: clearly it's great for Fiona to be learning about artists, art techniques and mediums-- she's really soaking it up. This is the first year of teaching for her instructor, and I can't help thinking it's great for her to experience the chasm of difference between a Dever, who can skillfully whip through his projects in a heartbeat to be able to work on projects of his own creation-- and a Fiona, who meticulously pores over every detail until she is completely satisfied-- or sufficiently distracted. I imagine it's good for me too-- to let Fiona out from under my direct care, into a group setting working with other kids and adults, listening and interacting with others, and learning how to interact without the loosey-goosey time frame and 1:1 mentoring that our homeschooling allows. It's good to let go and see that she's OK anxiety-wise. It's what we hope and aim for as parents.

Her teacher says she is having fun 95% of the time. She's growing. I'm growing. We're growing! And I guess I can't ask for more than that.

Little girl time

Fiona knows exaaaactly what to do when Nora isn't around. Nora, not so much. This first week of four with Fiona in morning art camp has been a bit traumatic for little sis. She kind of wafts around looking in corners for the person she knows isn't actually there. She says things like, "When I'm a gwown-up, I'll go to awt camp too. Like Fiona. Where's Fiona?"

So we've been doing some fun "little girl" things together-- swings at the park, trip to the zoo (check out the two cute kids in the photo!), bubbles on the front porch, peas in the garden. We have some library visits in store, and some other 1:1 time that we wouldn't normally get. I have to admit that it is, in many ways, a singular joy to experience our children separately and be able to enjoy them in all their endearing, quirky uniqueness. If only she weren't so at sea without her big sister...

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Lest you think this blog is all apple juice and roses...

Today started off pretty well... art camp at a local university for Fiona, some gardening and bubble-blowing for Nora while we awaited her return. In the afternoon we attended a side-splitting puppet show at the library highlighting the Aesop fable The Ant and the Grasshopper. Not half bad, huh?

But in order to squeeze in that puppet show, we eschewed the nap. Not the end of the world every once in a blue moon, but after a holiday blowout with fireworks that don't start until after 10:00 at night, perhaps not the brightest idea I've ever had. But there you have it. Hindsight is 20:20.

Knowing they'd both be tuckered, I had both kids ready for bed by around 7:00. Nora, who was ready to sack out at 5:00, had somewhat of a second wind and was fighting sleep just like she always does. Fiona's internal clock seemed to know that 7:00 is about a half an hour before her usual bedtime-- a time she hasn't actually hit for over a week now anyway-- and she struggled to fall asleep. For well over an hour and a half.

As she surpassed the one-hour-in-bed mark and her complaints became more vociferous and tearful, I began to break down. I don't have a particularly good strategy when she says, "I don't feel right," and that's how far we'd sunk by then. On my way up the stairs the umpteenth time to check on the now wailing five-year-old, I heard Nora awaken with a screaming start as well; and, I, um, lost it. After speaking rather sharply to Fiona I sent her to sleep in our room while I put the confused Nora back to bed. Then I apologized to Fiona and she was finally able to fall asleep too-- but not without again requesting her father (who was still at work).

It always happens. Right when I think I might be getting my parent groove a little bit smoothed down, I get a new lesson in humility. *sighs*

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Her waist hurts

Nora has been saying "my waist hurts" for weeks now. The longer this goes on, and the less diapers she produces, it becomes clearer that what she really means is "my waste hurts". I asked her pediatrician about it when I took her in for that weird rash the other day, and the two of them had a discussion about using the potty. The pediatrician, whom we adore, told Nora that sometimes kids feel a little bit scared about using the potty, and that it's okay but that it's fine and fun to use the potty just like the other big people she loves. The upshot for Nora seemed to be, "I'm a lil bit scared to use the potty" though. I heard that for a week.

Now, instead of a daily diaper, we're getting a weekly one, with her waist hurting all the time. Over the holiday weekend Ian and I were up with her in the wee hours in the morning for hours trying to figure out whether acute pains in her side with no other symptoms could be the same old thing or appendicitis, and whether a call to the pediatrician or visit to the ER was really necessary without even a fever to accompany it. Egads.

Well, one trip to the pediatrician and one to the radiologist later, and we have some news. Nora does NOT have an impaction, which was the concern. She DOES have some experience with severe constipation, wicked painful gas, Xrays, enemas, and laxatives. Poor kid. Fiber anyone?

Sunday, July 06, 2008

If you didn't know ...

Helen: You call him Toot-Toot? What do you call Grandma?

Nora: Gramma Gramma Toucan Tamma.

(Whole room dissolves in laughter.)

Saturday, July 05, 2008

We love Aunt Helen

Our (honorary Aunt) Helen came to visit us Thursday evening, and we've been having so much fun since then that the whole house just took a nap-- a trick that hasn't happened since I can't remember when! Since Helen's arrival we've danced, taken walks with her and her dog Buddha, investigated the library, played in the park, chalked up the sidewalk, blown a gazillion bubbles, made air-dry clay sculptures, watched fireworks and tried some sparklers of our own (thanks, Helen!), checked out the zoo, learned some drawing tips and color tricks, heard funny stories and told some corny jokes, eaten a heap of good stuff. . . This is living.

Friday, July 04, 2008

Fun for the fourth

Helen brought a sample of quiet-yet-sparkly backyard fireworks for the kidlets. We invited the neighbors over to enjoy the bounty of smoky, fizzy wonders. Then we enjoyed the city's exceedingly late outdoor spectacle, ate some traditional rootbeer floats, and tucked ourselves in. Hooray for the red, white, and blue!

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Peas, sans porridge

OK, our first-year garden is rather sad. Stuff in it didn't grow early enough or well enough, truth be told. But things are growing, and we're deriving great pleasure, entertainment and education from it, plus some small amount of food, so we call it a win.

On Monday we took Paul, Helena, and Ada out to look at it, and we harvested our first handful of sweet peas. We opened them almost immediately, and the kids were struggling to be able to fairly share the small number of fresh peas inside.

That's right-- Fiona, Helena, and Nora were gobbling up fresh peas as fast as they could shell them. Then they all sampled the pea pods. Some of them even thought those were OK! None of these would have passed the taste test last year-- not without being cooked. It's not that our kids didn't eat veggies before, it's just that their palates widened so drastically with the addition of their own garden. It's truly staggering.