walking baby, originally uploaded by kelanew.

it's official, people. she's walking. as in, she no longer crawls.

it's so fascinating to watch the transition. eva woke up one day at 15 mo and decided to walk. so she did, from then on. she had clearly known how for months, but needed to decide to go for it. but once she did... she went from full time crawling to full time walking literally overnight (i believe it was october 3rd?) hazel, on the other hand worked it out over a period of a few weeks... those first strings of 5 or so steps a month ago, then part-time walking (arms out for balance), slowly tipping the balance to walking more than crawling... and for a week or so now, she walks full time. so every day this last month has been something new, a measurable shift in her abilities (not unlike how eva and i have been watching her pinto beans grow, and there's often a change between lunch and dinner. don't blink or you'll miss it!)

she seems thrilled that she can now transport items around the house in true bipedal fashion. which explains why i keep finding markers and rubber bands in the silverware tray of the dishwasher, and why the remote and both cordless phones can generally be found under the kitchen table or in the pantry.

she's signing a bit more but still not too much -- she clearly understands lots of signs, but isn't that in to doing them. and i don't care, because it's communication, that's all i'm really hoping for. she'll be crying at the gate because papa left to go upstairs to work, and i'll call to her from across the room, ask if she wants milk. she'll stop crying, turn and grin, and walk over to me, both hands up flapping away signing milk (one that just really "clicked" for her recently). wow. she's like a whole person. i know that shouldn't continue to amaze me, but it does.

and that brings me to the dominant theme of the last several days -- hazel is officially in a papa phase. say, in that previous scenario, that i'm sitting nursing her, and she may even be three-quarters asleep. larry will walk in, he may or may not speak, and hazel will pry herself awake, wriggle herself into an upright position on my lap, climb down, and make a beeline for him. this is new to me, a baby who will give up nursing to do... well, anything else. but hazel is 100% in love with her papa: more than almost anything in the world, she loves to sleep on his belly (she always has). she lights up when he's around (sorry, mama, you're old news :) and cries when he leaves. she finds him hilarious.

it's a beautiful thing to see. and while part of it is personality and part is the situation (two kids, divided attention), he has more than earned this adoration. they spend so much time together, including hours in the late evening. after i head up to bed, he stays downstairs with her (as he's generally up late anyway) so i can get a couple hours of uninterrupted sleep. if she wakes, he can get her back to sleep with no problem at all. this, too, will never cease to amaze me. (but not really. because it's larry.)

i've said it many times, but we feel so privileged that our children get to have two parents around them for so many hours of the day. (okay, there are times when larry might not think of this is a "privilege", like when he really needs to get some work done and there's crazy flying around out of every corner of the house.) it's easy to become immune to one's own daily experience, whatever it may be, but i am in fact conscious of this one quite often. among all the many blessings in my life, this is a good one. my kids get to have this amazing relationship with their dad (who nicely balances out the mama side of the parental equation). and of course that would be true whatever his job (or my job)... but the extra time together sure is nice, and i am truly thankful for it.

thinking something

okay, that wrapped it up in a nice tidy bow, but i can't resist this postscript: it's like wrestling a drunk monkey trying to change hazel's diaper these days, never mind trying to get her dressed -- she's halfway across the room and somehow you're still holding onto one sleeve chasing her down. she's not opposed to these things, not (generally) protesting or crying -- she's just too busy to be bothered with it, she has places to be.

but come at her with her shoes.... wow. she-who-shall-not-be-still becomes placid, calm. she watches with rapt attention as you slip the shoe onto her foot. she doesn't even move while you hunt around for the other shoe ("hey eva, have you seen hazel's shoe? can you check the dishwasher?"). she knows her shoes mean freedom. and then she's ready to go.


oh yeah?, originally uploaded by kelanew.

so, i don't know if it's something that works sort of like christmas creep, what with reindeer flying over the jack-o-lanterns while out running errands. or if, instead, it has something to do with environmental estrogens, smashing puberty right down on top of preschool. but whatever the cause, we're getting a serious preview of eva at fourteen these past few weeks.

there's glaring. there's dramatic sighing. there's flopping down onto the couch in practiced anguish.

i'm now often called "mom", which is pronounced across three syllables and as many notes ("ungh! mah-uuuuh-AAAAHM!") and i'm pretty sure we're ruining her life. i can tell, because apparently i never let her buy anything she wants, i never let her do what she wants to do, and i never do anything fun, never ever. or so i'm told. often.

i'm sure a lot will change in the next decade, but i think some things might remain constant. i knew enough to expect this eventually, but was naive enough to think i had a few more years. just wait until she learns how to roll her eyes in exasperation. then we'll be ready to go.

(and yes, i know this is all just life coming full circle on this former petulant teenager who gave her own mother no end of grief.)

eva to mama: stop taking photos

but for all the times she's sighing and moping and saying "i don't know" when i inquire about her life, there are other times when she's almost comically articulate about what ails her:

"this shirt causes me to struggle."

she said that today, in a frustrated but not whiny voice, and i couldn't help but smile.

and then, of course, there's the rest of the time, which is actually the vast majority of the time, when she's sweet and caring and just so excited to learn everything about everything.

it can be really up and down, this preschool thing. and i'd better just hang on tight and enjoy the ride...


return of the troubador

walking, "help", originally uploaded by kelanew.

"mama, can i sing you a song? it's a song about you."

(i then missed the first verse, but quickly realized i might want to type as she sang. so she danced and flowed around the living room, singing like so:)

Mom Song:

mama you are thankful for giving me your care
when you are my mama, you will be my favorite
you are beautiful and thankful
oh, you are sweet to me, you are happy
you are just my mom.

when you are happy i love you
you are my mom for ever after all
you are my mom, you are my mom
you you you are my mom
you you you are my mom
you are my mom forever until...
you just are my mom forever.

you are my best mama
you are lovable
mama, mama, mom.

you are great for giving me your care
and hazel needs help from you and me and her whole family
woo woo you are the best mama i ever had.

when you are great, you are sweet
mama you take care of the whole family
the whole family takes care of theirselves and each other
you are my mama and i love you
and you love me

mama you are sweet to me
mama you are happy
you can always be my mom.

"that's the end. do you want me to sing you another similar song? it's similar but a little bit different."

Girl Family Song:

mama you are great for giving me your care
you are sweet, happy as can be
you are my mom forever after all

i will have my sister, she will always be my sister
when you are sweet
i will love you even when you are mad
mama i love you so much

my sister loves me so much and i love her so much
and you love me so much
woo woo woo and joolaloo

i love everybody who i know
you are my best wholooloo

hazel and you are the best people in my family

K: "what about papa?"
E: "he's in one that's similar to these two girl ones. he's in the boy one. [pause] next i'll sing you the boy one."

Dad Song:

daddy is the lovable
daddy is the best
woo woo woo
dad loves all his whole family
even the dog
who barks a lot

you are my best family
you are sweet, i love you papa
you are my best caring
woo, you love me and i love you
you love me and i love you
you are so so happy to be my papa

dad is my dad
he loves me and i love him
he's the best when he is the best
when you are the best dad
you know you are the best
dad is the best and hazel is the best

hazel is the best of all the people i love
woo i love dad
dad is the best dad and he is
you are my sunshine and he is too

dad you are the best of anybody i know
so you can be my dad you know
you are my dad

("hazel no no no! no grabbing my telephone!")

thus ends the program.