milk is dripping again as hazel and i coo at each other
then she begins to nurse.
behind a big chair in a little nook,
eva reads (recites) book after book to her twin babydolls.
larry works from the couch, deeply concentrating for now,
as we all swirl around him.
i slept in too long, the house is messy,
my head holds an endless list of things undone.
it isn't perfect, but this is us.
here we are.
it is real life,
and it is good.
milk is dripping again as hazel and i coo at each other
today was eva's last day in the rainbow (2-3 yr old) class at her school. on tuesday, she will be a star! (3-5 yr olds). she's so excited, she's been asking me if today is the day for at least a month... she also says that once she is a star, she'll be "much, much taller." today she took a drawing to the teachers she'll be leaving.
then after dinner, i made a special dessert of strawberries and vanilla yogurt. while we enjoyed that as a family, i gave her a special (from the dollar aisle at target :) self-inking stamper that says "super star" with a picture of a star on it. she was so thrilled, i was really surprised -- i think probably the acknowledgment was more important to her than the little gift, but she bounded around the room for a good five minutes. "mama, i love you so so much!" "hazel, i wanted you with me, that's why i'm so glad you came out of mama's belly!" and other generally excited lovey utterances. i was also a little impressed with myself that i managed to put together this little mini-celebration for her, and it turned out to be just the thing.
i can't believe i'm already beginning to think about kindergarten -- it feels like forever from now, but it's really only two years! crazy.
also, she's starting gymnastics at the rec center across the street from us in september. right after the olympics is a good time to start, i guess, because she watched a bit of the gymnastics and thought it was cool. and i'm happy, because 1) it's not early in the morning, since we're so bad at mornings now that we are four, and 2) we can walk there! that never happens. we can't walk to anything, so that will be a welcomed reprieve from having to strap them both in the car and burn gas just to get somewhere.
all these stories this week... i don't know if i'm paying more attention (or am less sleepy, so i can actually remember?) or if more things are going on, but i feel like i have lots of stories. also, little opportunity to type them, so here they are with a minimum of fanfare and flourish.
on the way to the pool wednesday (our usual wednesday plan this summer), she sang to herself in her carseat, as she often does. she sang:
"love is like a dream for every day of your life"
that could almost seem profound in some enigmatic way, but before you think about too much, here's what she sang on the drive home:
"the season of the carrot, dripping through the trees"
hmm. sometimes she's like a random word generator. or, for all i know, that's my misinterpretation of some actual song she learned at school... but she said it was her own song.
you knew it was coming eventually: this weekend, eva was married to charlie. several times. she said to me, "he lives pretty far away. he's a really nice boy, though." (hmm, same explanation that your mother had for her own courtship, eh? :) she was married in a hooded bath towel (as veil/dress) and "fancy bride shoes". she explained to me that i needed to stop talking because now was the quiet part (hey, i guess she *was* listening when we explained this to her at the two weddings we attended this summer). oh, and by the way, she and charlie rode their bikes to the church. after was the "party part" aka reception, which featured ballet dancing and i was scolded for sitting when it was so clearly time for dancing, hazel's nourishment needs be damned.
hazel is teething. teething! i know that's not so very uncommon at almost three months, but i was hoping she'd wait a while longer. man, is she angry about it, too. today she screamed most of the day, except when she had a nipple in her mouth or when larry tossed her in the air (which made her giggle like crazy). this evening, she enjoyed staring at a photo of a baby for about 15 minutes, then talking to me in call and response -- and if i ever looked away, she'd get a huge grin and coo louder to regain my attention. cutie. (she's also now wearing 6 mo clothes... at this age, eva was just growing *in* to 0-3 mo size. as a result, i had to go buy a few 6 mo summer items, as eva didn't wear that size until winter.)
as a random note for posterity's sake, eva is now eating (knock wood!) pretty well. we no longer have to cajole and do a little dance for every single bite. she'll often sit down and eat, say, 8 or more bites all on her own, then will consent to a bit more with a little encouragement. i hope it sticks -- i had grown quite tired of the constant enticement needed for hte past, oh, several years. along with eating better, she's stopped being quite so crazy. at the time, i didn't know if she was just being three or if she was in fact a bit out of sorts after hazel's birth -- and upon reflection, it seems things have normalized. she never has had one bad thing to say about hazel, but i'm sure it was still difficult for her. (and too bad for grandma, who was here during the hardest part and got the brunt of dealing with eva's antics then!)
eva's started doing subtraction. we talked her through "if you have five and you take away one, how many do you have?", showing her on her fingers how to take away one at a time. she took to it, so larry asked her 4 minus 2, and she thought for a bit and got it (looking quite triumphant). then 6 (tricky, using both hands) minus 3, etc. my favorite part of this is that she took a concept or skill that we showed her and then applied it to new questions. that's how we all learn, of course, but it was fun to see it in so clear a way (for the record, she has no interest in addition. just subtraction. what's that about? :)
and now please permit me a moment here, i know this will sound like shameless bragging, but i just can't not include it, as otherwise it will be forgotten. she picked up "one fish two fish red fish blue fish" the other afternoon and started reciting. i jumped in to play along, and she said "no mama, i can read it myself, don't talk!" so larry and i laid there listening to her, turning pages and reciting. this is a book we read a lot when she was about 18 mo old, but it only recently came back into rotation. for the uninitiated, it's a dr. seuss book that is essentially a series of unrelated little poems, about 8-12 lines on each pair of pages. well, she "read", page after page, and she missed a few lines here and there, but the remainder was recited word for word. and on it went, my jaw literally dropping as she went on for 46 pages. (!) i think she would have recited the whole book (60-ish pages?) had she not been distracted by larry and i, who eventually were unable to contain ourselves. really, i don't include this to show off (well, on her behalf anyway, as it's her doing not mine) -- lots of kids can do this sort of thing, i was just really surprised to hear it go on and on like that.
and lastly, it bears mention that our family has been joined by twins -- olive and henry (eva named them as i read out names from the baby book upon request; it was still sitting around from when i was pregnant). they are 6" baby dolls who were adopted from target yesterday. she and ella (were were shopping with friends) each found a pink and aqua baby, and marched around the store with their twins, shushing and snuggling them with care. i don't know if wendy managed to leave without a set of twins joining her family, but my efforts failed (as i suspected early on they would). i had the audacity of suggesting she choose one baby, pink or aqua -- she all but glared at me, appalled at my solomon-like suggestion of dividing the twins! so, after a lengthy price-check interlude, they came home with us. she took them to bed with her, and took great care with them, even in her sleep. she woke up in the night due to a pretty significant nosebleed (i spent the bulk of her time at school today upstairs with a bottle of hydrogen peroxide, while teething hazel screamed around me), and as she returned to sleep, she kept adjusting the babies' positions. finally she settled (after yelling at me for moving the sheet and causing it to go over her baby's head), and i peered over her back as she slept on her side to find the sweetest scene: she had the babies lined up next to her in the perfect position for side-lying nursing, and she pulled the nearer baby in closer to her chest and said "there you go, henry." then "it's okay, olive." i guess i have my baby and she has hers. i'm trying to limit the consumerism and volume of toys/things that enter our home, but that might be the best $2.99 (x2) i've spent in a while.
and there you have it. that's our week, in a (admittedly large) nutshell.
be careful what you teach your children, that's all i have to say. the last several days, but particularly yesterday and today, have been nonstop rhyming. a few days ago, larry mentioned the concept to her (probably not for the first time, but the first time she found it this interesting). then i brought home a basil plant and told her what it was and what it was used for. as she helped me pull off leaves for our pasta dinner, she thought for a minute then exclaimed "hey! hazel and basil rhyme!"
all day yesterday: "hazel the basil. hazel the basil. hazel basil clazel nasal. [granted, clazel isn't a real word, but that doesn't stop her.] hazel the basil, i love you hazely basily." i think she's hit on all the obvious hazel-rhymes. there's also appraisal, but i think after that i might be stumped. then there's eva and diva. (hey julie: boniva! jinx.) possibly i should have named my child jane after all.
so instead of singing nonstop or reciting nursery rhymes all day or making up stories or regaling us with tales about charlie (it changes, but she basically talks all day every day -- wonder where she got that trait???), now it's rhyming. a lot of rhyming.
i made a note to remember the ones from dinner just now:
flute and boot
gram and ma'am
charlie and barley (i think that one was partly accidental... does she even know what "barley" is?)
bunny and funny
time and rhyme
and now as i type this:
"no, mama, i want you to tie this tight. [pause, then mostly to herself:] tight and bite rhyme."
holding a toy rolling pin by both handles like the spool of kite string: "mama, look, i'm flying a kite! kite and flight rhyme. flight is like when you go on an airplane."
and then, just to fill the air space, we get a lot of "mama-bomma-jomma" "papa-cloppa" type stuff, too. you'd hate to have dead air just because you ran out of rhymes, you know.
julie said her teacher-self was impressed... but like most of eva's phases, it's clever and cute and fun to a point, and then you end up wondering if it will ever end. and then later once it does, you wish she'd do it more.
other updates: eva's been enjoying the olympics along with us (learning about countries and finding them together on her earth ball, spotting flags, counting swimming lanes, figuring out that water polo is like basket ball but in the swimming pool), but tires of it eventually and wants to know when the "fancy dressed-up people and fireworks part" (opening ceremonies) will be on again. hazel is doing just great, and loves to smile at eva, and will give me a big giggle and smile if she's in the mood for it. and for the first time in a long time, i don't feel like i have a list of 75 things that need to be done. of course, i have at least 75 things i *should* be doing (who needs clean laundry anyway?), but i'm just going with the flow, enjoying my days rather than trying to "get through" them, which is always nice. maybe that's because i'm getting into the swing of the mom-of-two thing a bit, or maybe it's because i started a new crochet project (a dress for pip, 18 mo size so i'm sure to get it done in time) and am rereading jane eyre (about 2 pages at a time each night, which is all i manage before my eyes close). or maybe it's just the fact that i took up drinking caffeine again while in yosemite. in any case, things are coming around. they always do...
oh, hazel. when it's quiet like this and i have time to think (and by "time" i mean more than 9 consecutive seconds, when i'm not trying to think over the sounds of someone needing my care or attention) i well up inside thinking of how you're already not a newborn. how can that be? and i don't know if i'm sad or happy or what, but damn is it emotional. my baby... and you're so big already. (grunt, grunt, i hear you over there, a few feet away from me... i better type faster...)
larry's out drinking with the guys -- due to a scheduling accident, the second night in a row, actually -- and i have to say i've done quite well with putting both girls to bed on my own. last night i even cooked (!) dinner and fed eva while he was gone as well. go, mama.
hazel (as of a week or two ago, at her 2 month appointment) was 12 lbs 4 oz, and of some length... maybe 21 and some fraction inches? (i never have remembered anything other than an initial length for eva or hazel... lengths don't stick in my head.) anyway, not that i'm all percentile-crazed, but i found it amusing to note that that (unremembered) length puts her at 25th %ile, but she's 80th %ile for weight. ahh... we were thinking she was looking pretty chunky. maybe i'm supposed to think that's unbecoming a young lady, but no way. i think it's awesome in the literal sense of that word... i grew her. in my body. and now that she's out, she's approaching double her birth weight at 2 months, and all from my body. we're a team. she eats and sleeps, i feed her. it's doing well for her. :)
oh, another peep! type faster, mama...
last thing i wanted to share was that she is super strong, which is not something i'm used to in a young infant (er... my eldest was in physical therapy most of her first year to build up her strength, you may remember.) hazel, in contrast, is well practiced in Feats of Strength. i find it amazing and startling. you can hold her little hands and she'll stand there -- larry calls it waterskiing, due to the way she shifts her weight around and balances -- locked legs, supporting her spine and head. she can even do it with one hand. how can that be?
okay, full on cry now. the kind from the back of the throat, the "i mean it" kind. off i go.
hazel... you're really something.
ps> she's now wearing the same pajamas that i bought for eva when she was almost 4 months old. my goodness.