Audio Visual

I wish I had a video camera running at all times around my children. I wish that I could capture those little moments that make parenthood so very joyful and rewarding.

Like: The intent way all three of my children consumed blueberries out of their little bowls the other night. They stood in a row, heads down, popping those sweet berries in their mouths like someone was going to steal them. It was serious business.

Like: Michael doing just about anything: carrying around a soccer ball, reaching up for my hand, giving Kate a hug (he gives Kate lots of hugs), giving Daddy a kiss (complete with “mwah” sound), saying “up”, saying “down”, saying, “mommy” (he says mommy!), calling Kate’s name (“KAAAAY! Kayyy?”).

Like: Recording all of Flora’s questions and all of Kate’s answers and the inflection of Michael’s babble. The way Flora or Kate will turn a phrase, turn it into something sweet and goofy as they learn the idioms of our language.

And every picture. Every one.


Nutella!


My little KINDERGARTNER! With the teacher who loved and understood her so much.


Asleep in the laundry basket. I don’t even.

It’s so fleeting, so precious. I hang onto every second I can.

Random Thoughts: The Children’s Updates Edition

Michael continues to develop apace. He is in constant motion — the child just walks and walks and walks and walks. Oh, and if there is something to climb, he climbs. He has no fear.

He is trying to run, which is too funny to even try to describe.

His superpower is finding the exact thing in the room he shouldn’t have. Often this is the TV remote or a phone; sometimes, it’s a pen or marker; most of the time, it’s whatever choking hazard he stumbles upon. So that plus the climbing thing is a lot of fun.

He STILL won’t say mama, although he’s starting to realize I am not “da-deee”. He sometimes says “Ta-ta” (Tadone) and I swear he said “Bella” the other day.

Every bird is a duck and says, “kack kack kack.”

He says, “Hi” but not like that, he says it like a breathy teenage girl who’s just run up to me: “Hhhaaaiiii.” He says it with his mouth wide open and his arms reaching up for me. Maybe that’s what he’ll call me now: “Hhhaaiii.”

He is a good, good baby boy. He has transitioned well to the new day care, where, according to the women there, “all he wants to do is play.” He is quiet, they tell me, not fussy, and he eats and naps without trouble. God bless him.

As well as he is doing at day care, I have to say, he’s definitely having separation anxiety at home. I can’t leave the room. He has also been *crashing* at night, much, much earlier than previously. Which I’m not complaining about, because it means 7 to 8 p.m. I can devote to the girls (mostly), so that’s nice.

++

Kate, my Kate, turned 5, and went to her well-child visit in good spirits. She was cheerful, goofy, and cooperative. She’s tall for her age — not surprisingly. At 45.5″ she’s in the 94th percentile.

And in good health. Shots were traumatic, I think in part because she wanted so much to be brave, and ultimately she was startled by how much they hurt.

And let me tell you something about Kate: for a tall, skinny belle, she is freaking strong.

The good news is: no more shots for six years. Whew.

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Kate also proved her strength at gymnastics. She hung from the uneven bars, chin-up position, for 35 seconds. Her teacher said, and I quote, “She’s really got it. She’s a beast.”

Now I would like to encourage Kate to continue on with gymnastics (or try tae kwon do or karate) instead of signing up for soccer. Not quite sure how to do that just yet. Not sure if I *should* do that. But I kinda want to.

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I can describe Flora in one word these days: hair-trigger. (Okay, one hyphenated adjectival phrase.)

I’m working on it, because I need the two of us to get along better. Especially evenings, when it’s 3-on-1.

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Flora is learning the art of the suck up, I will give her that. She’s been practicing on her pushover father for *years*, so I shouldn’t be surprised.

Friday night, we were at Bella and Tadone’s house. My MIL (aka Bella) had picked up Flora because she had a half-day of school, and had offered to cook dinner. As we were eating, Flora asked me, “Can we have a sleep over?”

I told her it was up to her Bella.

“Bella, can we have a sleep over? By the way, this dinner is delicious. I love your chili.”

Bella said yes.

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As a stark contrast to our evenings, mornings when I drive Flora to school are delightful. Sometimes she reads books (she is especially enjoying Everything On It by Shel Silverstein — she recited a whole poem from memory the other day), and sometimes she’ll sit in pensive silence broken by urgent questions.

“Mom, are there diseases that make you see spots?”
Answer: “If you are going to faint, you can see spots in front of your eyes. Sometimes if you have a high fever, you can hallucinate — that means to see things that aren’t there.”

“Mom, how come monkeys’ feet look like hands?”
Answer: “Because that’s how God made them. So they can hang onto tree branches while they eat.”

“Mom, can I go sponge jumping?”
“What is that?” I was thinking it was something maybe they do in gym.
“You know, sponge jumping. You jump off something on a long rope and when you reach the end you bounce up.”
“You mean bungee jumping.”
“Yeah, bungee jumping. Can I do that?”
OVER MY DEAD BODY. No, that’s not what I said. What I said was, “When you are an adult. And don’t tell me about it if you’re going to do it. I’ll worry too much.”
“Why will you worry?”
“I will worry that you will get hurt” AND DIE, FLORA. YOU DON’T WANT TO DIE, DO YOU?
“Okay. I won’t tell you.”
Fantastic.

++

What conversation or observation made you laugh this week?

Car Conversations from the Weekend

Just in case you are under the delusion that girls are delicate little flowers (I mean, I’m sure many girl children are, but mine? Not so much):

Both these conversations took place Saturday, on our way to Target.

#1

Flora: Remember when we went to Erie?
Me: Yes.
Flora: Remember when we went to that huge amusement park?
Me (scoffing at Waldameer being referred to as “huge”): Yes.
Flora: And we went on that train ride?
(The ride was the kiddieland version of a pirate ship ride, big swoops. I couldn’t do it; my mom went on with the girls.)
Flora: That was the perfect ride for Kate. Because it was called Little Toot! Get it?
Me: Because Kate toots all the time?
(Kate, BTW, is finding this conversation hilarious, and giggling away.)
Flora, laughing: Yeah! We should call her Little Toot!
Me: What would we call Daddy? Big Toot?
Flora and Kate: HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!
Flora: And when Michael starts tooting, we’ll call him Tiny Toot!

++

#2

Me: What are you girls going to be for Halloween?
Kate, dreamily: I’m going to be a pretty, pretty butterfly.
Flora: I’m going to be a vampire! Or a skeleton. What’s scarier, a vampire or a skeleton?
Kate: Or a ghost?
Flora: What’s scarier? A vampire, a skeleton, a ghost, or a zombie?
Me: A zombie. Zombies are the scariest (Am I wrong?)
Kate: I’m going to be a zombie!
Flora: I’m still going to be a vampire.

The Two Faces of Kate

I was going to do a Random Thoughts post about stuff I’ve been reading on the Interwebz this week, but as most of it has been infuriating to me for one reason or another, I decided to drop it. I either need calming meds or to stop reading comment sections.

Or, you know, beer.

Instead, I give you a laugh (I hope). Here are two pictures of Kate, taken within minutes (if not seconds) of each other.

And each is undeniably my second daughter, my sweet and fickle and irrepressible and entertaining middle child. (Please to ignore the purple bar at the bottom of the second picture. I haven’t figured out what caused it, so I can’t figure out how to get rid of it.)

I give you: The Two Faces of Kate

(For the record: Flora’s “graduation”; those are my parents, AKA Nonna and Pap-pap. Also AKA “the greatest parents on the planet”.)

No Questions, Please

I was changing Michael’s diaper the other day, and Flora happened to be looking on.

She’s a curious child.

Flora: Does his pee come out of that (pointing at his penis)? Or out of that (pointing at his testicles)?

Me: It comes out of his penis.

Flora: What’s that? (Indicating his testicles.)

Me: Those are his testicles.

Flora: Do they hold pee?

Me: No. (And that’s where this conversation should have ended. But noooo.) They hold sperm.

Flora: What’s sperm?

Me (silently to self: Shite!) (out loud): Sperm is what a daddy uses to help a mommy make a baby.

Flora then makes a serious of extremely awkward and hilarious hand gestures, pointing toward her body, indicating that she seems to know that a man’s special part goes into a woman’s special part for said baby making.

Me: Yes, Flora, the penis goes into the vagina. That’s how babies are made.

How do I get into these discussions?

More things in heaven and earth…

While we were eating Easter dinner, Flora came into the dining room.

“Is heaven in the galaxy?” she asked.

After some consultation among the adults, we decided that Heaven was not in the galaxy, but it is in the universe.

Flora went back to the kids’ table in the kitchen, announcing, “Guys, guys, heaven isn’t in the galaxy. It’s in the universe!”

Thirty seconds later, Kate came into the dining room.

“Do you know what crap means?”

++

And that pretty much sums up the differences between my two girls. One has her eyes on the heavens, and the other is a little more prosaic. I half expect Michael to query someday whether there is crap in heaven.

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…Than are dreamt of in your philosophy.

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Also: THIS. Tina Fey’s A Mother’s Prayer for Its Daughter

Snippet

Flora is fascinated by breastfeeding. Since we’ve brought Michael home, and she has seen me in action with him at the boob, she’s been reaching up under her shirt to feel her nipples. I can tell her thoughts are something along the lines of “My nipples don’t look like Mommy’s. And nothing comes out of them. When can I feed a baby?”

The other night, Kate was pretending to be a baby and sitting in Flora’s lap. Michael was nursing.

Flora said to Kate, “Do you want to suck on my nipples, baby?”

Kate and I said, emphatically and at the exact same time: “NO!”

In the Know?

It all started in the bathroom with Kate. (If you are not a parent of little kids, you’ve really no idea how much you take going to the bathroom alone for granted.)

“Where is that thing you put in your underwear?” she asked me.

“What thing?”

“That thing you have to put in your underwear?”

I realize what she is talking about. “Oh, that’s called a panty liner. I don’t need one right now because I have a baby in my belly.”

(If you are not the mother of a small child, you have no idea of the awkward conversations you will have with your children in the bathroom, especially regarding menstruation.)

We get ourselves put together, and start downstairs. “Yeah, but after the baby, you’ll need those again.”

“Well, yes.”

“Until you get another baby.”

“Oh, I’m not going to get another baby after this one,” I assure her.

“Yes, you are.”

“No, Kate, I don’t think so.”

She is equally assured. “Yes, you are going to have this baby boy, and then you will need those things in your underpants again, and then you are going to get my baby sister.”

Which is really what this is about, because Kate doesn’t want a baby brother; she wants a baby sister.

I hope she doesn’t know something I don’t know.

What Have I Wrought?

Flora: Mommy, when I grow up, I’m going to get married and get a baby.
Me: That’s good, Flora. (Never mind that my racing brain was trying to process this news.)
Flora: It’s going to come out of my lady business.

+++

The nurse was visiting Nanny today, and Flora was next door while she was there.

When the nurse was done, she came down to talk to Bella. Bella introduced her to Flora. Flora asked who she was.

Bella told me about the following exchange.

“I’m the nurse who comes to take care of Nanny,” the nurse explained.

“How is Nanny?” Flora asked.

“She’s just fine.”

“Did you wash her lady business?”