Just Pretending

Well, friends, my little girl is growing up. It still amazes me whenever she hits a milestone like this one. I had an emphasis in human development in college, so I took a few extra psychology and child development classes. Plus, as you know, I read and research like it’s my job. (Hey, it kind of is. A stay-at-home-mom has to be on top of things, too!) So whenever Hula Girl goes through phases or stages or hits particular developmental milestones, I am rarely surprised. I prepare for the “bad” ones (tantrums? emotional wreck? whining?) and look forward to the “good” ones (speaking clearly? using imagination? playing independently by choice?).

This one is probably my favorite “good” one so far.

A few days before Christmas, Hula Girl and I were sitting at the dining room table during dinner and she turned and looked at the Christmas tree. She turned back to me with a huge grin on her face (the one that shows her dimples best) and said, “Wouldn’t it be funny if there were a monkey hanging upside-down in our Christmas tree?” I cracked up. She has never before come up with a scenario like this. Sure, she’s laughed at several of the ones Jonathan and I have presented to her, but she came up with it all on her own! So funny.

The next day she and I took an afternoon trip to Old Navy. As we were driving out of the parking lot on our way home, she informed me that she and Daisy (her favorite stuffed bear who, by The Velveteen Rabbit definition*, is REAL) are fawns (yes, she knows that baby deer are called fawns). Then she informed me that her purple-flowered blankie is also a fawn. I told her, “Your blankie can’t be a fawn! It’s a blankie!” to which she replied, “But Mommy, I’m just pretending!”

Boom. Just like that, she started to pretend, and suddenly our world has gotten lots bigger and changeable. Daddy is no longer just Daddy. He is a horse, a gorilla, a dinosaur, and a dance partner. Her dollhouse hot tub is not just a hot tub (yes, her dollhouse has a hot tub, lol); that hot tub is now an air guitar.

And it’s not all about imagining things are different from what they are. No, suddenly she is able to PLAY. The way I remember PLAYING. She is a Mommy to her babies. She is a Doctor who gives shots. She cooks in her kitchen. Her dolls ride horses. Every stuffed animal has an opinion and is asked for that opinion (which is then supplied by the asker) several times a day.

She is involved in her own little world about 90% of the time now. In fact I was noticing how very quiet things seemed in the kitchen the other day- that’s because Hula Girl was quietly playing with her dollhouse instead of standing next to me trying to take things off the countertops. I had heard that this milestone comes, but I didn’t expect it so soon, and now that it’s here, I kind of miss my kiddo. But not so much that I’m going to complain! 🙂

*In The Velveteen Rabbit, the Skin Horse defines REAL: “Generally, by the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out and you get loose in the joints and very shabby. But these things don’t matter at all, because once you are Real, you can’t be ugly, except to people who don’t understand… once you area Real you can’t become unreal again. It lasts for always.” I LOVE this quotation.

She’s a Girly Girl and this Proves It!

So, you all know that Hula Girl is a girl with an obsession for fuzz. Yes, she still collects fuzz and balls it up and rolls it around on her top lip. She still puts it on the table while she eats. She still sets it on the side of the tub while she takes her bath. Haha!

Anyway. We had a pretty funny experience yesterday that just proves that my fuzz-loving little girl is truly a girly girl.

She and I were in the living room cleaning up all her books. Mind you, we never really have to clean up toys- she only ever wants to read books. When given the opportunity to choose her activity, it’s always books. Books, books, books. (And she rubs her fuzz on her lip while we read.) I asked her to go over toward the Christmas tree and pick up a book over there. She was in a mood and started to tell me no. I told her it’s not appropriate for her to tell me no. She said, “Yes, Mommy.”

The next thing I knew, she was wailing. I thought perhaps she was starting a tantrum about the books even though she had just changed her attitude. Then she came scuttling across the floor toward me with an absolutely terrified look on her face. I asked her what was wrong, and she said, “The fuzz moved!” I was like what?!

She took a few deep breaths to calm down, sniffled a big sniffle, then, with giant tears rollling down her cheek, she said, “I touched a bug.”

Now THAT is a fuzz.

Now THAT is a fuzz.

Boom.

She sure did. This lil’ guy was crawling away from our Christmas tree. As soon as we touched him, he curled into a ball. How freaky would that experience be for Hula Girl? Think about it from her perspective: she sees a giant prize fuzz on the floor and goes to scoop it up to rub it on her lip. Then it moves in her fingers! No wonder she was terrified! Bless her poor little fuzz-loving heart.

I saved the little guy by tossing him outside in the bushes. It’s not too very cold here yet. But I doubt he’ll make it to butterfly-hood.

UPDATE: I am preeeeety sure this dude is gonna die. He’s a “banded woolly bear” and is generally frozen solid all winter long. Poor little thing defrosted in my living room. Kind of gross.  

Hula Girl’s Special Or-mee-nents

Two funny little scenarios from our day, both involving Christmas tree ornaments:

1. Hula Girl walks up to me and shows me a random ornament from our tree. Jonathan and I have had this ornament since the first year we were married, but it came in a bulk pack of silver shatterproof ornaments (read:inexpensive and not-exactly-high-quality). She says, “This is a very special or-mee-nent to me.” I asked her why. “This is the or-mee-nent I got when I got married.” I asked her who she married. “This boy who was a baby but now he is old. And this is our very special or-mee-nent from our wedding day.”

2. Hula Girl decides she is done with dinner and wants to feed the rest of her food to her stuffed owl (borrowed from the library). I told her that owls don’t eat people food. She asked what they do eat. I told her they eat moths and mice. I took a huge risk in telling her they eat mice-she loves mice. So she gets down from her chair, walks over to the Christmas tree, and starts “feeding” the owl her special collectible ornaments- all of which have mice on them. So glad she thinks that highly of them.

Don’t Look Over Here

Hula Girl. Oh, Hula Girl. What a funny little person!

She is honest beyond reason. She no longer lies to me, declaring, “I’m not,” when I am watching her do something I’ve asked her not to do. No, she’s moved on to “Don’t look over here. I don’t want you to see what I am doing.”

Yesterday, I was reading her a book on the couch in the living room and she declared that she needed to go potty. The downstairs of our house is situated with the living room, dining room, kitchen, and two hallways framing the staircase and under-the-stairs storage closet. Does that make sense? Anyway, from the living room, one cannot glimpse the front hallway, where the restroom is found. I heard Hula Girl finish her business, but she didn’t return to the couch. I gave her a few seconds, and then I said, “[Hula Girl], what are you doing?”

“I don’t want you to come over here and see what I am doing.”

“Uh-oh. That means I need to come see what you are doing.”

“I don’t want you to see that I am getting into the diaper bag.”

“You’re getting into the diaper bag?”

“Yes, I am getting into the diaper bag. But I don’t want you to come see that I am getting into the diaper bag.”

🙂

Some other things she doesn’t want me and Jonathan to see are things like picking her nose, biting her nails, touching the computer, opening the kitchen drawers, or taking the ornaments off the family tree. But I love that she always tells me exactly what she is doing so I can decide on a course of action before I “catch” her in the act. Most often, she tells me, “I am going to make a better choice,” and then she abandons whatever she was up to before I can even get there. That’s my girl.

Hula Girl’s First Career Goal

Well, Hula Girl has decided what she wants to be when she grows up. She wants to be a doctor, like “Dr. E.”, our pediatrician.

We were doing baths for the kiddos, and Jonathan had Gelato over in his baby tub on the sink while I had my feet in Hula Girl’s tub (gotta get that nice spa feeling where you can, right?!). She was washing my arm with her washcloth, and she told me she was being extra gentle. She was barely touching my skin. Ha! I commented and told her, “Wow, you’re so gentle that you could be a nurse someday!”

She said, “No, I don’t want to be a nurse. I want to be a doctor. I want to be a gentle doctor and I will be very careful when I check your eyes and your ears and your nose. I will be very careful when I put you on the scale. I will be gentle when I listen to your heart. I will be a careful doctor like ‘Dr. E.'”

Jonathan and I just stopped and gave each other amazed looks, ‘cuz, um, we haven’t really ever talked about what doctors do. Hula Girl is getting a doctor dress-up outfit for Christmas, so I thought maybe we would start there. But out of the blue, she astounds us with her memory.

She went on to say, “I will be like Darla (Dr. E’s NP) and I will put you on the scale. Like Gelato goes on the scale on his back. But I will go on the scale standing up. And I will be very gentle and careful.”

I told her that being a doctor is a great goal. My parents always encouraged me to be a doctor… thing is, I had no desire to be one. But now that I see her expressing an interest, I may as well foster it… we all know she’s gonna have to take care of us someday, and she may as well be able to afford it! 😉

On a related note, Gelato showed his first career yearning this evening, too. Perhaps it was inspired by his sister’s declaration. As Jonathan was getting him all diapered and jammied up, Gelato decided he’d like to be a firefighter. Only his declaration was less talk, more action. If you know what I mean. 😉

“May I Take off my Pants?”

 

Bwa, ha, ha!

This is going to be one of those posts that I think I might have Jonathan read at Hula Girl’s wedding reception. She’ll appreciate it, I’m sure.

Lately, Hula Girl has busted out with some funny funny material.

The other morning she heard me saying, “Yippee.” I was saying it sarcastically to express my mock-citement about having oatmeal for breakfast… again. She thought the word was fetching, and so she repeated it all day long. But she didn’t use it correctly. She said, “Yeppee,” and she said it in response to any question we asked her. Until she started saying, “Nopee.” Ha.

When we had all our family members here for Jonathan’s surprise party, Papa asked Hula Girl if she was shaking her booty. She turned to him and said in a very surprised-and-affronted-sounding voice, “I don’t have a booty!” Except her enunciation skillz are lacking, so it came out, “I no-wn have a booooooooooooo-dee!”

Today I asked her if she has a booty. She told me, “I ay-am not a boodee! I no-wn have a boodee! I have yocks and yoos! Onyee babies have booties!” So no wonder she told Papa she didn’t have a booty! And no wonder she was so offended- she is a toddler, after all. 😉

I went to get her out of her room after today’s roomtime, and I found her standing up on her ottoman, looking out the window. She got very excited to see me and said, “Yook, Mommy! Yook! An excavator! I see an excavator digging a hole right outside my window!” An excavator? Huh. What do you know? It really was an excavator. Her “Trucks” book really taught her something! We went outside and took a picture with the excavator.

And for the finale. Her favorite thing lately is to ask very politely for permission to do anything. In fact, I’m surprised she doesn’t ask for permission to breathe. Not kidding. “May I wash my hands? May I brush my teeth? May I touch the computer? May I jump up the stairs? May I have a nap? May I take the cover off of your makeup and smear it all over my face?”

So today I was pushing her on the swing. It’s a Little Tikes swing like this one here. So there is a back on it, and she can kind of twist around and move somewhat freely without falling off.

She says to me, “May I take off my pay-ants?”

I told her no.

Her response: “I am yeaching ayound ay-and taking off my pay-ants a edoo bit in the back yo you ca-yant yee me doing it.” (I am reaching around and taking off my pants a little bit in the back so you can’t see me doing it.)

 

 

Catching Up

It’s officially fall here, folks. Today’s high was 54°. When Hula Girl and I went outside to play on the swing, the wind chill was 36°. Yep. Chilly.

I wish I had posted on Monday. We had a perfect day on Monday. Perfect. I loved my children like mad because I didn’t even have to think in order to get through the day. Hula Girl was on best behavior, she was well rested, and I enjoyed spending every moment with her. Gelato slept well for all his naps and was cooing and smiling up a storm. Ah.  The good ol’ days.

Today I was struck yet again with how very sporadic the early baby days, weeks, and months can be. As soon as we hit our “groove” in the earlier part of this week (hey! We beat the 45-minute intruder!!!!!!), today was crazy because Gelato is now experiencing Wonder Week 8. Basically, his sleeping, eating, etc., are going to be “off” for a few days because his brain is experiencing a huge developmental leap. So yeah. We had a perfect little 3-hour schedule happening for a few days… and today he ate every 2-2.5 hours. It’s not like his naps were short, either. That’s what kills me. With the 45-minute intruder, I felt confident letting him fuss or helping him get back to sleep because I know a 45-minute nap is just not long enough. However, with his naps today, I had no justification for trying to let him/help him fall back to sleep because each time he’d been sleeping for over an hour and a half. That is a decent length for a nap! So when he woke early, I went ahead and got him. We ended up adding a feeding and a nap today. Ugh. SO not my favorite thing.

Also, because of Gelato’s unpredictability today, Hula Girl’s schedule shifted. She didn’t get roomtime until 5:00 this evening… and that was just crazy. She needs her morning roomtime in order to make it to lunch happily. I have made it my personal goal to ensure she has roomtime in the morning tomorrow.

Can I just put another little complaint out there (in the hopes that some of my BW mom friends will chime in)? I have been doing everything by the book since Gelato was born. I made sure we got full feedings. I woke him every three hours during the day, every 5 hours at night. He was on track- sleeping 5 hours at night during his fifth week. Then he regressed during his 6-week growth spurt and we haven’t seen a nighttime stretch longer than 4 hours since. Some might say that I should drop the “dreamfeed” (his 10 p.m. feeding that I wake him for) but even if I do that, he still wakes around that time. And after his late evening feeding (around 10ish) he consistently wakes every three hours afterward. Feed him at 10? He wakes at 1 and 4 a.m. Feed him at 11? 2 and 5. He is so stuck on eating every 3 hours!!! So I try letting him sleep. He’ll wake at 10:30 or 11:30. And wake every 3 hours after that. BAH. By 8 weeks, he’s supposed to be able to sleep 7-8 hours at night. If you ask any pediatrician, babies can “sleep through the night” (general definition of that is about 6 hours) by the time they’re 12 pounds. My kid passed 12 pounds about 2 pounds ago… and here we are. Awake every flipping 3 hours. What am I doing wrong here?!!??!?!?!?!?! Vent over.

On the bright side of things, Hula Girl is getting funnier and funnier and more sophisticated in her conversational skills lately. She has started giving out step-by-step directions. “Here, I will show you. First you… Then you….” So funny to hear her describing things like how to put her blankie in the proper corner of her crib! It’s also a great experience to finally have a child who is able to express every thought she has in her head so that I can actually understand her the majority of the time. Some of her thoughts are supercute due to the fact that she’s two and can’t conceptualize things yet. For instance, yesterday we were talking about how my grandma turned 90. I said, “Isn’t it amazing that Great Gramma is 90 years old today? Do you think you want to be 90 years old someday?” She said, “Yes! I want to be 90 years old. And Great Gramma will hold me!” So I guess 90 years old is actually destination where your loved ones will wrap their arms around you and hold you. Hm. Might not be too bad after all!

Gelato is developing in his own little baby way. He has discovered his little hands and is perfectly content to sit and suck his knuckles all during his waketime. He’s learning to laugh and to use his consonants. He’s good with /g/ these days. He also likes to squeal, coo, and gasp. But his laugh is the best. I also enjoy his willingness to just sit and stare into my eyes while smiling his gummy little baby smile. He knows his Mommy. And I love that.

Something else I want to make note of for my own future reference (as if I could ever forget) is the differences in the ways my children smell. I swear their scents match their personalities. Hula Girl has always had more of a “sharp” smell to her. When I nursed her I could smell her sharpness mingled with the smell of the milk. However, Gelato has more of a soft, fresh smell. I have also not noticed the scent of the milk when I nurse him. That’s probably because he gulps it all down faster than I ever imagined possible.

Jonathan and I have gotten into Grey’s Anatomy. We just finished season 1 tonight. So far, it’s an okay show. Nothing to write home about. But we will continue to watch, because we are deprived of the ability to actually leave the house much. Here’s hoping it gets…better?

Well, it’s 10:00… time to do the dreamfeed. Let’s hope we don’t do another feeding at 1 and 4! Maybe my littlest man will surprise me!

Insane Conversations, Husband Edition

Last night we went to get Gelato up for his dreamfeed at 10:30. Jonathan always changes Gelato’s diaper and then brings him over to me to nurse.

Jonathan [hands me Gelato]: Here you go.

Me: Um, why is his head all wet?

Jonathan: Really? His head is wet? Ah, dang! He must have peed on himself.

 

Hangin’ in There

For those of you who knew me when Hula Girl was born and received a billion and one emails that were about ten pages long each, I sincerely thank you from the bottom of my heart for not kicking me in the rear end and telling me to suck it up. Because, really, although the transition from no children to one child is definitely a much larger shift than the transition from one child to two, I should have realized that one child is cake.* With icing.

*I do think that our experience with our first child was a slightly more difficult one than many people have- I did absolutely no research, neither of us had ever been around a lot of babies, and she had reflux. Reflux alone makes any normal baby issue get magnified about 100 times because you’re never sure if your baby is just acting fussy because of a growth spurt or mental leap or if she’s in pain and needs her dosage adjusted for the umpteenth time. Plus since she’s in pain, you can’t just leave her to fuss for a moment- fussing turns to screaming which turns to guilt since you know your baby’s in pain. And all the while you think you’re doing the right thing by nursing her every.single.flipping.time.she.”demands”. it. but you learn later on that nursing every 1-2 hours around the clock is likely aggravating her reflux instead of helping her feel better. Whoever said smaller more frequent meals was the way to go for reflux babies was not right in the head.

Anyway, I am still struggling through this crazy season. But I am able to keep perspective and realize that it really is just that: a season. A very short one at that. Gelato is going to be a newborn for just seven more weeks, bringing the grand total of newborn plus toddler days in my life to about ninety all together. That means three months. That is NOT a lot of time when you realize I will be turning 27 years old when he turns 3 months old, which means I will have spent just 1/108 of my life in this particular season. That’s nothing for me to complain about, now is it?

It is definitely the hardest season of my life by far. I will always remember this time fondly, because I am learning what Scripture means when it talks about being refined. It takes heat…and lots of it!… to purify precious metals. (As I typed the word “precious” just now, my mind went in three separate directions at once, which was a weird experience in itself. But weirder still, here are, in no particular order, my thoughts when I typed that word: “My precioussssssss,” “That was a really sad movie,” and “I am so glad God sees me as his precious child the way I see Hula Girl and Gelato as my precious children.” I think the third thought was the most appropriate, given the context, but you gotta forgive me a little Gollum.) Anyway, I am feeling the heat these days, and I put Gelato to bed every night SO looking forward to the few hours I am given to relax with Jonathan before I collapse into bed (only to get up out of bed every 3-5 hours after that).

I have been encouraged by several people, experienced Babywise moms included, to just let go of the schedule if it needs to be let go of in order to maintain Hula Girl’s and my sanity. I tried a little of that today… and I felt awesome afterward. Seriously, by the afternoon, when Gelato had taken a 2 hour 50 minute nap and a 2 hour 20 minute nap, I had completely forgotten that he spent the first segment of the day (between 6:30 and 11:15 a.m.) only sleeping 100 minutes TOTAL. Oh, and he nursed FOUR times during that segment of the day. FOUR. That’s half his daily nursings. In five hours. So, he’ll end up nursing about 10 times today. Yup, that’s the way the cookie crumbled today. Hula Girl loved it. She helped me change his diaper, she turned on the music in his bouncer for him, and she nursed Elmo. Lifted up her shirt, put Elmo on a supportive pillow, and nursed him. Then she burped him, swaddled him, and put him to sleep. I watched the whole thing silently, laughing to myself. Whenever she caught a glimpse of my face, she grinned and went back to what she was doing. I was in love with my little Mommy.

Anyway, that’s just a snapshot. We’re making it work. Tim Gunn would be so proud. Although he’d probably lay into me for my fashion choices these days- baggy sweatpants, t-shirts, and no accessories from the Lord & Taylor wall at all. Meh. (Oops, I just revealed my deep dark love for Project Runway. I can’t stand Heidi, but I love me some Tim.)

YAHOO! My dad is coming tomorrow to hang out with Hula Girl and then it’s the WEEKEND! Happy Early Friday, friends.

 

Squash!

Hula Girl has gotten to be quite the pro at saying things that make me laugh. She will bust out an odd tidbit every now and again, and I try to remember everything so I can giggle about it when she’s sixteen (plus I might be sharing it at some point in the future, say, at her graduation party, or something)! Anyway.

Today during lunch she asked for permission to go pee-pee and poo-poo. Absolutely, little kiddo. You may leave the table to take care of your bodily functions. So she’s over there sitting on her little potty, and I hear her say, “Oooh, Mommy, doh-dee poo-poo ees hhhhhahd!” (“Oooh, Mommy, going poo-poo is hard!”) I told her she didn’t have to push hard and that she could take her time. I reminded her to wait patiently. Then she said, “Ah poo-poo be neenkee, Mommy.” Why yes, my dear, I don’t think I’ve ever come across poo-poo that wasn’t stinky.

We have been reminding her not to worry about her poo-poo being stinky because we want her to know that it’s okay. We don’t want her to have any anxiety about the potty (especially #2, considering her history with constipation). We also want her to feel comfortable talking to us about potty-related issues so that we can be aware of any problems that might develop. So yeah, we get to hear things like, “All poo-poo is stinky, Mommy.” Daily. Love it.

Saturday night, Jonathan decided we should all go out to eat. So as we’re stepping out the front door, Hula Girl spots a big pile of yellow squash that had just been harvested from the garden. She stopped abruptly, gasped loudly (first time I’ve ever heard her gasp), and said, “SQUASH!” I laughed so hard that she repeated it all the way to the restaurant: “<gasp!> SQUASH! <gasp!> SQUASH! <gasp!> SQUASH!” It was also cute enough that I called my in-laws and my parents just to tell them the tale.

 

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