Thursday, September 12, 2013

Notes to grown-up Elle

Remember when you slept in your clothes the first several weeks of Kindergarten because that was the only way to prevent an earth-shattering wardrobe drama each morning? You may have been a little wrinkly, but we both kept our sanity those mornings.

Remember when your Dad would say "Guess what?", and you always knew the answer was that he loved you?

Remember writing a sentence for homework using your sight words? You came up with: "My mom is the best!" The exclamation point was your idea, too.

Remember when it seemed like forever before Christmas would get here?

Remember singing Winnie-the-Pooh to your sister to calm her down when she cried in the car? And making crazy faces and pretending to fall on the floor over and over again to make her laugh?

Remember despising getting your hair washed or brushed?

Remember the thousands of hours we've spent reading books on your bed before bedtime? And how you'd ask for just one more even if we'd depleted the Library of Congress?

Hopefully you remember how many times a day I told you "I Love You", and forget how many times I told you "Hurry Up".

Remember being a total smart-aleck at school? At least you didn't reserve it just for home...

Remember when we'd snuggle before bedtime and you always wanted to hear stories about the "sick kids" I helped at work?

Remember eating mussels like they were candy, but shunning spaghetti sauce like it was poison?

Remember when you briefly wanted a baby brother because that would necessitate getting all new boy toys?

Remember the first time you rode your bike across the big bridge at the park?

Remember spending hours "writing" books at the budding novelist age of 5?

Remember your first soccer game, and unabashedly telling me your favorite part was snack time?

Remember spirited games of Chutes and Ladders and Candyland? Remember how much you hated to lose? Remember refusing to play Old Maid because you were terrified you were going to draw the Old Maid?

Remember all the dinners we ate around the kitchen table? And all the mealtime and bedtime prayers we made a point to say as a family?

Remember all your butterfly, beetle, caterpillar, and worm pets?

Do you remember the little things about being Five?
I do. And I hope I always will.

Friday, September 6, 2013

Sisters in Pictures

There's nothing like the bond between sisters. 

E1, almost 2
E2, almost 2

Serious conversation through the fence at daycare

This picture sums up their respective personalities

Communal jubilation

Communal exhaustion

I do, occasionally, under duress, brush Elle's hair. Not this July 4th morning apparently.

What could be better than a sister? How about 2 of them? Consider it done. Baby Girl #3 to arrive February 4th, 2014... sure to be welcomed into this world by her biggest and middlest sisters. I have since added "Professional Girl-Maker" to my CV. I think it is a marketable skill :)

Golding, Party of Five. Our little family complete.

Elise, 20 months

It's been a while since I wrote an Elise update post... where do I even begin? My sweet, funny, loving, easygoing*, mild-mannered*, even-tempered* tow-headed, blue-eyed baby girl. The past few months have heralded an expanded vocabulary, but you still are not much of a talker. You understand EVERYTHING, and give me that sly grin that shows me you know exactly what we're talking about whether you chose to acknowledge it or not. Some of my favorite words currently are:
Two-tol (turtle)
Peez? (Please?)
Upeez (Up, please)
Kacka (Cracker)
Nigh-nigh (you'll cover anything up and tell it night-night, including your knee with a washcloth in the bathtub... "Nigh-nigh Nee")
Boo-boo (accompanied by a finger pointing to the injury and a pitiful lip-protruding pout)
Eh-Beh (Elle-Belle): In the mornings when you wake up you'll call for Mommy several times, then switch to calling for "Eh-Beh" who usually can be counted on to rescue you from Crib Prison
Eat. I have a love/hate relationship with this one. While it's adorable to hear you proclaim "Eat! Eat!", we have started to spell any words in the food, eating, breakfast/lunch/dinner/snack family as any of these will send you into a impassioned run into the kitchen to the counter or fridge demanding the advertised product. We don't dare bring up the topic of food unless we are prepared to serve you some immediately. So, yes, you still love food. You continue to be an adventurous and exceptional eater. For now, daycare is still ok with me packing your food so I'll continue to do that as long as you don't seem to feel "different" than the other kids. One of the other kids in your class brings lunch too, so for now I'm staying the course. 

Vacation Mac-n-cheese treat

You have the most adorable "run", which is very much like a geriatric mall-walker's fast paced gait, slightly off-kilter, and always with your left arm paddling back and forth as if pulling you along. Cracks us up every time.

We've had several months of glorious sleep habits. I give you a bath, put on pjs, read to you, sing a song, lay you down with a kiss and you smile back at me and roll over to sleep. Effortless. Same thing for naps. No hours of crying in protest. Perhaps I should have written this post last week, because lately you've been a putting up a little more fight at bedtime and naptime. I think this stems from the wicked case of separation anxiety you've developed recently. I thought perhaps we'd escaped with only a mild case of this earlier, but I guess you were just holding out. For the last couple of weeks, I can't turn my back to you, nevertheless walk out of the room or leave you without crazy screaming, crying, and gnashing of teeth. 

*The recent onset of separation anxiety has slightly mitigated your easygoing, mild-mannered, and even-tempered qualities. You also seem to be more easily frustrated at your inability to communicate exactly what you want, and at my refusal at times to agree to what you want. Maybe terrible two's are approaching, but I'm crossing my fingers this is just a minor bump in the road and you'll continue to be a laidback toddler. 

I can't adequately describe your wit, but anyone who spends time with you picks up on it immediately. When putting you to bed one night, I turned around to walk out of the room and heard you grunting for my attention. I looked back to see your little foot stuck through the bars in your crib. I rushed back to your side, removed the extremity, and gave you a kiss. Reattempted the exit. Halfway to the door I hear you whining again. Look back, and your foot is yet again protruding through the bars and you are smiling slyly. I laughed, and fixed the problem one more time. This happened several times, with both of us cracking up every time. This routine recurred for several nights, and even weeks later you occasionally try to pull the same trick. 

One evening after bath, I had you on the changing table putting on your diaper. You pointed down at the diaper and said "Gaaaa", then proceeded to produce gas and cackle. I credit your Dad for this skill.

You like to be outdoors, and much to your father's delight you seem to have an affection for the garage and car-related things. You will ask for the van door to be opened so you can climb into the driver's seat and play indefinitely. Maybe you will be your dad's car lover. 

You love shoes. Particularly other people's shoes. At Kiawah, instead of playing in the pool, you chose to meander from lounge chair to lounge chair pilfering other guests' flip flops. Explaining to you that trying on and walking in other people's footwear was not socially acceptable behavior was not met with the rational acceptance one might hope. 

You love books. Sometimes you ask for a book at bedtime and are happy to "read" it until you fall asleep. I found you one morning reading to your baby in bed. Heart. Melted. Uterus. Swelled. 

One night after dinner you were riding your bike and suddenly demanded to go back inside. I obliged at your sense of urgency, only to see you re-emerge wearing these oven mitts from your play kitchen. For some reason it was necessary to wear them for the ride. Didn't know those plastic handlebars could get that hot...

You love hats, helmets, and head adornments of any kind.

You are adored by family, friends, daycare teachers, and complete strangers. Something about you just draws people in, and I love that about you.

Your smile is infectious. 

I am in complete denial that you are nearing your 2nd birthday. What a joy you are to our family, and to everyone who knows you. I love you with all my heart, little E. 

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Munchkin Lunches

Not sure what it says about me, but one of the things I've always looked forward to about being a mom is packing lunches. There is nothing that melts my heart like my newly-5-year-old carrying her little lunchbox into school. I have to admit, I also like the ability to ensure healthy choices with my title as Maker O' The Lunches. I love everything about our daycare except their penchant for feeding the kids highly processed, sugary, nutritionally void items. I also love the opportunity to include little notes to Elle (and Elise, who probably can't read them yet), and to tuck in special treats on occasion. Elle has gotten a little picky in her old age, and boycotts most vegetables that can be easily transported in lunch form. Oh baby carrot, why does she despise you so? She also doesn't have access to a microwave at school so I can't send leftovers as much as for Elise. Thankfully (though not without a struggle), Elise's daycare allows me to bring in her food. Soon I think I'll have to give this up, because I don't want her to  feel like she's different than the other kids when she's old enough to process that. But for now, she adores her veggie quinoa biscuits, spinach quiche, etc and I shudder at the thought of her devouring a PopTart which will be standard fare when I release her into the wild. 

Usually I'll make a few staples and use those for the week. Favorites are veggie quinoa biscuits, mini-quiche, pumpkin oatmeal muffins 

and pair those with fruit, yogurt, sandwiches, turkey, cheese, crackers, etc. 

Some lunches this week: 
Big E
Peanut butter star sandwich (leftovers from cutting on the side... sometimes I just eat these), peach slices, and yogurt. Pumpkin oatmeal muffin for snack. 

Little E (morning snack, lunch, afternoon snack):

Yogurt with blueberries, Mini-spinach quiche and strawberries, pumpkin oatmeal muffin/goldfish

Big E: 

Turkey roll-ups, edamame, oatmeal muffin, berries
Little E:

Pumpkin oatmeal muffins, quiche with berries, triscuits/cheese/turkey
Big E:

Deconstructed turkey and cheese sandwich, berries, and mango. Oatmeal muffins for snack
Little E: 

Cheerios and blueberries, chili with sauteed zucchini, hummus wrap
Big E: 

Grilled chicken chunks, zucchini, bread, yogurt and berries
When not super pressed for time, I occasionally get creative with breakfast. Elle calls it "Breakfast Art" and frequently makes requests, such as bunny

Or fish

And sometimes I fail. Like my attempt to make a raccoon after E's class read a book about Chester the raccoon on the first day of kindergarten. It was a valiant effort. 

In retrospect, his head should have been more ovoid, and ears a bit bigger? And even though I warned her that she probably wouldn't like him and to eat her "real lunch", Elle informed me that he tasted gross. Naturally, because I "glued" his accessories and facial features on with... hummus. I think I just got disapproving stares from Food Network judges for that fail. 
But there's always tomorrow, and who knows what culinary pursuits lie ahead at the hands of a 5 year old and 20 month old?