Thursday, September 29, 2011

Kate's moving!

Over the course of about 15 minutes while I was making dinner Kate finally discovered that she can get herself around. She's had the skills for a while (rolling both directions, pivoting, lifting her torso to scoot backwards) but hadn't really put it together. Then all of a sudden she was rolling and scooting out of the living room and down the hallway!!! (Right toward the open baby gate at the top of the stairs, of course. Time to get back in the habit of keeping that closed.)

She's also been practicing her plank a bunch today. The camera distracts her so this is the only picture I got.

(Notice the supportive big sister in the background.)

I've had a few mornings alone with Kate now, which means I finally have a chance to get some pictures of her without another face blocking the camera.

One of Kate's favorite things is the blanket on our couch. She gets so focused on it, pawing it and trying to eat it and just looking at it. She's also into stroking the carpet lately.

And of course, she's still really into her hands, too.

Kate turns 6 months old on Sunday and we'll be starting solid foods. I think Molly's more excited about this than anybody. She's been planning Kate's first foods for a long time. This week we pureed and froze some sweet potatoes and beets. Molly really enjoys eating the purees. :) I've been trying a bunch of recipes that sneak pureed veggies in and they're pretty good. We've even been dropping a cube of beets into our oatmeal to make it pink (just the thought makes Daddy gag, but he's kept a really good poker face). I think there's going to be baby food on the menu for everybody for a while.

Molly's also excited to start signing to Kate. We got a book out of the library, at her insistance, and she wants to learn (relearn?) them all. She happened to pick a book that uses ASL instead of made up baby signs, which is cool in a whole different way. Watching Molly play with the signs reminds me of the finger play stuff she does at school. What a great activity for a 3-year-old!

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Road race

We just spent the morning running our first ever road race (the girls, anyway). It was just a little 1-mile fun run that was part of a fundraiser for Molly's school, but we got numbers pinned to our shirts and went out on the road so it felt all official.

Here's Molly right after the starting line. I had to bob and weave through the crowd with Kate in the jogging stroller just to keep up with her.

The route was uphill for the first half, downhill for the second. Molly burned her energy getting to the top of the hill, then took a leisurely pace coming down. She stopped to collect leaves, to wait for other walkers and spent quite a while crouched over watching a swarm of ants wriggle around in the crack of a sidewalk.

It's no wonder we finished, yup, dead last. :) I think we clocked in at about 22 minutes. Molly was a little cranky at the end and didn't even want to run through the gates to finish. She did, though, and her teacher happened to be waiting at the end with a granola bar and juice box for her. Instant better mood.

When Molly recounts the story, she says she was the fastest. Shhhh, don't tell.

In other doings this weekend, we went for a walk in the woods yesterday afternoon. It might have been the stickiest, muggiest fall walk ever but it was worth it. Molly had a good time (and burned a lot of energy).

And this was from a couple nights ago at dinner. Molly innocently asked, "What's a tart?" So Jim pulls out his Oxford Companion to Food for a fully encyclopedic definition. Somewhere around the details of the custard color preferences of 18th Century German chefs, Molly's eyes glazed over. But the best was the effect it had on Kate.

Friday, September 23, 2011

This is why I don't...

do structured craft projects with kids.

Molly always wants to do the "Make It" projects in her Highlights High Five magazine, and we have actually had success with most of the ones we try.

This month's project seemed easy enough, and cute.

Molly finally begged me on a day when we had a little extra time so we found some branches in the backyard, whipped up some homemade play dough and voila ...


The red play dough came out pink, the orange was peachy but most disappointingly the branches wouldn't stand up. At the point where I find myself pushing away Molly's hands to fix things myself is the point where we quit. I was laughing and Molly got made at me for calling the project silly.

 Then she took the play dough and rocks and made her own bowl of mess, and that perked her back up.
She declared, "Mom, the project we were making is stupid."
Then she told me, "My project works."

It sure does.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Lunch bunch

Today Molly decided to stay for the extra 40 minutes at the end of preschool for "lunch bunch." I knew she was going to be exhausted -- that's a 4-hour morning! -- so we made a plan that I would show up at the usual pick-up time with my own lunch and eat at the table outside her classroom. Then if she wanted to go home at any point we could just leave.

I was pretty sure she wouldn't make it to the end. Her buddy Jadon wasn't staying. She woke up around 5 a.m. today (played quietly in her room for an hour and a half before her sunshine came on -- ack!) and was ready for a nap, oh, by 8 a.m. We packed her a lunch anyway (my first time ever packing a lunch for school, sigh) and set off. She was pretty wired when I dropped her off. It was the first time she tried to get me to stay in the classroom a little longer, but I got her interested in what the teaching assistant was doing (preparing apples to mill into applesauce for snack) and she didn't seem to mind when I left.

I was pleasantly surprised to find her fairly calm at pick-up time and still eager to eat lunch with her teacher and the five other students who stayed (her class has only 10 kids). At one point during lunch the teacher brought Molly to the door because she wanted to check in with me. She gave me a hug, then a cute little girl named Nora called her back and she went running back inside. When the teacher opened the door at the end of lunch bunch I found Molly and Nora snuggled together in an armchair playing with books, pretend reading to each other and putting the books on their heads. Molly lingered there while I got her socks and sneakers.
So I think Molly has a new friend. Of course they'll probably forget then even know each other by next Tuesday. Ah, the social life of a 3-year-old. :)

Tuesday, September 20, 2011


What a beautiful weekend we had. It was perfect fall weather and a lovely time of year for a visit from Oma and Grandpa. We went apple picking.

We filled a huge bag of apples and it's already half gone. Mmmm, apple crisp, apple sauce, apples for snacks. I love this time of year.

Molly has her first full week of preschool this week (it's Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursdays). Drop-off this morning was smooth. She was pretty tired when I picked her up and had a bit of a tantrum over putting on her shoes but she recovered quickly and has had nothing but good things to say about school.

She came home Thursday with a new song and technique for folding play silks (corners kiss, find a new corner) and a new vocabulary word. ("Jadon and I collected pine cones. Mommy, what does 'collect' mean?" Now everything is a collection, a collection of pillows on the living room floor, etc.) Not bad for a non-academic preschool. Oh, and she wrote her name on her crayon drawing on the first day. In the Waldorf method they don't teach letters until first grade, so I'm taking it as a good sign that she hasn't been kicked out yet. ;)

I gather that today the teacher talked about putting one toy away before getting out a new one. Love that lesson. They had quinoa and apple slices for snack, which is what they will have every Tuesday. When I heard this was going to be the Tuesday snack I made some quinoa at home for Molly to try and her reaction was "eeewww," but she said she ate it today at school and it was good. Good thing, because at home she snacks all day long and eats early lunch. I'm afraid she'd pass out from hunger if she ever refused the snack at school.

Kate and I have been keeping ourselves busy on preschool mornings so far. On Thursday Kate took a long nap and I chopped back the rubber plant that was taking over our entranceway. Today we zipped over to the food pantry I've been volunteering at, which is coincidentally right next to the school, and I interviewed a client for a newsletter fundraising pitch. Kate played quietly and then took a nap as soon as we got home.

What's missing here is sleep. Kate has been getting up about every two hours to nurse for the past few nights. My longest stretch of sleep last night was from 11:45 to 2:15. She doesn't seem to be in pain anymore when she wakes up. Now she just seems hungry! It's hard to get her to fill up during the day because she's so busy. Every sound has her looking around the room and she can't finish eating fast enough to explore anything she can get her hands on. I love this baby phase. It would just be so much better if I was well rested enough to fully appreciate it. Ah, well. Maybe tonight is the night she'll sleep through. Maybe. It's going to happen some day, right?

Thursday, September 15, 2011

First pick-up

I was expecting an exhausted and stunned little girl to meet me at the end of her preschool day. Instead a peppy, happy kid came running out of the classroom to give me a giant hug. She wanted to stay and play, although it wasn't too hard to steer her out of the room. As the little stories about her morning are unfolding it sounds as though she had a good time. I'm glad we don't go back until Tuesday, though. I think she'll need the weekend to process everything. Anyway, we survived the first day. BIG sigh of relief.

First drop-off

Well, I just left my baby in some building in another town with a bunch of people I barely know to have experiences I will probably never know about, and now I'm here in a quiet house eating my way through the entire kitchen and trying not to think about how quiet it is...

Let me start again.

I just dropped off Molly at her first real morning of preschool and it went fantastic. She was looking forward to it all morning, never once seemed worried. As we pulled out of the driveway she asked if this was the morning when I pick her up and drop her off. I said yep (holding back the urge to elaborate or get all emotional). She chatted in the back seat about the rocking boat she thought might be in the classroom and mentioned, in a round-about 3-year-old way, that she wondered if kids would fall and get a boo-boo and what would happen. I told her that her teacher probably has bandaids and that she knows how to make kids feel better, and that she has the phone numbers for all the moms and dads in case a kid needs them to come make them feel better.

Molly walked into the building without hesitation (except when one of the other classroom teachers said hi and when we had to walk past two men in fluorescent green t-shirts who were fixing something in the vestibule). We put her bag in her cubby, just as she had planned, and I helped her change out of her rain boots into slippers. I showed her that I had put her sneakers and socks on top of her bag. She looked at me, gave me a big squeeze and a kiss. Then she ran over to Kate sleeping in the stroller and said a chipper, "Goodbye Katie," then ran over to play with Jadon.

It was all much more sudden than I expected. I kind of envisioned a little chat with the teacher, maybe Molly hanging back with me for a few minutes, me having to initiate the good-byes. Nope.

What gives me comfort is that just as we were walking in her teacher got out the rocking boat!!! How did she know? No wonder Molly jumped right into playing.

What worries me is that Jadon's dad (her current number 1 most scary man on the planet) was sitting in the classroom. I know both Jadon's mom was expecting to have to stay in the classroom with him for a few days or weeks. It never occurred to me they would send Jadon's dad instead. I think Molly saw him and she didn't seem bothered, so I hope it will be OK. Coincidentally her teacher witnessed one of the clinging tantrums his kind "hello" sparked last spring, so I hope she'll help ease the situation.

Anyway, I found it very hard to walk out the door (just as I found it hard not to eavesdrop yesterday when the teacher took the kids inside for a story). I'm so used to being involved in Molly's activities, learning the songs, hearing the stories, seeing her play. I wish I was going to preschool -- which is why this is probably a healthy thing for me to walk away, right?

I gave Molly a quick last kiss on the top of her head and she didn't even look up.

Then I drove away and abandoned my baby .... sorry, I left quietly and came home. I just got Kate down for a nap and the house is so quiet (and messy and there's tons to do but I think I need to take a few breaths first before I jump in).

It is a very long wait until pick-up time. A very, very long time.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

First day

Molly started preschool today ... sort of. They ease the kids in slowly so the first two days are short, mostly outdoors and parents stay the entire time. Even so, it was very exciting.

Molly in her new dress, all ready for school.

Arriving at school, looking fabulous.

Grandma is visiting and Daddy came along, too, so Molly had quite the entourage.

Eating the apple snack with a silly little sister. (Daddy let Kate suck on an apple core this weekend and now she's got a taste for it.) :)
The morning went very well. It wasn't much different from the other programs we've done at the school, though, so the real test won't come until Thursday when I drop her off for a full morning. I'm sure she'll be fine. Tomorrow we go back for another outdoor morning, parents invited. At some point the teacher will lead the kids inside for circle time while the parents stay outside planting bulbs -- sort of a practice separation. It's a nice idea, but honestly Molly probably would have been fine on her own today.

In other news, Kate and Grandma have been hanging out. (Molly and Grandma, too, but I slept through a bunch of that this afternoon and don't have pictures).

And this is some funny stuff from Friday when Molly came out of her bedroom dressed for the day, in her words, all "blackatastic" with her Ramones t-shirt (courtesy of Uncle Craig) and a black ballet skirt.

It was quite a morning. It's the first time in a while that Molly, not Kate, got all the attention from the grocery store clerks. The check-out girl with the horseshoe nose piercing was pretty excited. Molly walked down to the afternoon bus stop with our neighbor to meet Teddy and, apparently, when our neighbor said she liked the shirt Molly told her "there's a song that goes with it." And there was. Molly was so excited for Daddy to get home to play "I Wanna Be Sedated." She had a specific black shirt she wanted him to put on so they could be matchy -- turned out to be a Guinness beer t-shirt. Dancing ensued. (When she heard the "hurry hurry hurry" lyric she wanted to stop and sing a children's song she knows that goes "hurry hurry climb the fire truck" -- silly girl).

And just to end on a wholesome note, here's a family cuddle.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Ready for school

I'm trying very hard to keep our schedule clear this week to get Molly calmed down and ready for school to start next week. It feels so good to just be home. Plus, it gives me time to update the blog with the busy things we were doing before I cleared the schedule. :)

Molly had a dentist appointment last week and I wish I had brought the camera in. She dressed up in a pink dress and Mary Jane shoes with white socks. It was especially cute when they put the adult-size sunglasses on her. Molly was shy that day and didn't want to talk to the hygienists but when it came time to open her mouth for the toothbrush she didn't hesitate. The dentist again said she was perfect!

We went to a playground later in the day, just for fun.

There were some older kids there and Molly did what she's always done to make friends in a crowd -- she finds an older girl and follows her. Well this time the older girl she followed turned around at one point and said, "stop following me." I was bracing myself for hurt feelings but Molly just kept right on following the girl. I think it might be time to help Molly with other ways to make friends. :)

We had a fun and relaxing weekend. Lex and Eve came to visit. We had ice cream, fun on a playground. Molly's still telling me stories about it.

Yesterday we went to yet another playground, even though it was raining lightly. We had to pick up a form from the doctor's office and this is right around the corner.

Molly was quite proud of herself for pumping on the swings.

Kate was good-natured about the rain.
The big find of the day was a little area near the playground with cattails you can actually reach. It was Molly's first time touching a cattail. She brought it home and snuggled with it in bed during her nap.

We even braved the little trails in the woods, after discovering over the summer that this place is overgrown with poison ivy. I figured it was safe as long as we were wearing pants and Molly was willing to stay on the trails.

This morning we had a trial run at the preschool. It was "form day," meaning we had a half hour appointment to be in the classroom to go over paperwork and just play. Molly was kind of a mess this morning, which doesn't bode well for next week. She had near-tantrums about little things -- her glitter glue was dried up and I wouldn't agree to take her a store today for more, she wanted "too many" raisins in her porridge and I only gave her just enough, etc.

Then she got kinda weird about getting dressed. She decided she wanted to be matchy with Kate and that she wanted to wear jeans like Daddy. Well, this is a kid who almost never wears pants that zip and snap. We had to go digging through boxes in the basement. She insisted on jeans with embroidery because Kate's had embroidery, which meant squeezing into a 3T pair that barely fit and walking around looking like a 10-year-old.

We had a nice time in the classroom. Molly made pretend snack for a bunch of dolls and then played on the indoor slide while they ate. I thought we were going to have trouble picking up and leaving (always embarrassing in front of the teacher) but once she decided to pick up she was focused and thorough. (Big sigh of relief). We stopped to play on the elephant on the way out.

When we got home she immediately took off her big-girl outfit and played the rest of the morning naked (occasionally accessorized with one of Kate's baby hats). When we did our monkey stories before quiet time (a little story we make up most days) she wanted it to be about the monkeys going to visit their preschool classroom. I think she's trying to make sense of it all.

Meanwhile, Kate's happily along for the ride on all this... during the day, at least. We've had a week of terrible nights. She's up every couple hours crying (one night it was every hour) and often needs to be soothed to get back to sleep after nursing. Ack!! At first I thought it was an ear infection, then teething (which is bothering her during the day), then maybe reflux again? I have no idea. I'm resisting the urge to take her to the doctor or give her baby motrin just to get us all through the night. She seems fine, just restless at night. Oh, well. That's life with a baby. Good thing she's learning to give hugs and kisses!! It's hard to complain when she's so cute.