Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Um, Help?

So the other morning, Margaret got up at some ungodly hour of the morning (5:45) and was rampaging about in the living room with Leo,* and Ellie announced that she wanted her breakfast, so I fed her in bed.

The cat came in to join us, and was disconcerted to find that we’d added another one of these small, tail-grabbing, non-self-cleaning people to the household.**

Anyway, he seems to be taking it rather hard.***


I’d worry, but although Ellie looks like she’s sleeping, she’s clearly got this one covered.


So Puck better be careful.  The kid clearly knows what she’s doing, and has a mean right hook.****

*Leo was almost certainly not rampaging.  Probably lying on the couch with one eye open.

**You may recall his justifiable dubiousness at Margaret's introduction to our domicile.  You may also not, and that’s fine with me too.  You’re your own person.  Do what you want.

***I’m pretty sure that’s the flash reflecting on his weird cat eyes, but it may be some sort of supernatural rage.  Whichever.

****Unfortunately, the only use she has put said right hook to thus far is to scratch her face, which while it demonstrates her strength and viciousness, only hurts her.  So she’s still got some learning to do.

So Apparently Housework Is Novel

I would like to start out this post by admitting that I don’t vacuum as often as I probably should.  But our house does have hardwood floors everywhere, so it’s only area rugs, and when I do vacuum, it tends to be when Margaret is in bed, because cleaning with her in the room is next door to impossible. 

Seriously, I gather up all the pieces of whatever toy it is that she has scattered to the four winds and then completely ignored for a week, put them all back together and set the toy on the shelf, and some little switch in her brain flips, she says to herself “hey, that toy looks awesome,” and proceeds to leave what she was playing with, pick up the recently tidied toy, and rescatter the pieces.

Anyway, I digress.

This morning, we were supposed to have new couches delivered (which is good, because Margaret’s latest favorite game is “pull the stuffing out of the arms of the old couch.”  She could go pro).  And I thought (well, my mother thought, but I agreed with her) that it would be a good idea to have the area into which the couches were going vacuumed, just so the dust bunnies have to start from scratch.

So we did that. 

And after we had done that, Margaret got an attachment from the vacuum cleaner, and ran around being a vacuum.

Which was completely adorable.

At the end of the first clip, she yells “kitchen,” and then ran across the room to vacuum her kitchen, which is the second clip.  This is not a habit she learned from me, but it seems to work for her.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Tummy Time, Part 2

(All right, so I’m posting a lot about tummy time and how good Ellie is at it, but the thing is that Margaret hated it with the burning heat of a thousand suns, and would spend all 10 minutes of it per day screaming her head off, which made it unpleasant for both of us, and Ellie seems to really like it, which is a nice change, and makes me feel less cruel, so I’m going to talk about it.  And if you don’t like it, you don’t have to read this blog.  So there).*

Anyway, as you may have gathered, this is another post about Ellie and tummy time.  She has disconcertingly good control of her neck, and her arms and legs all seem to do what they’re meant to do.

Clever Ellie.

*I’m not sure what part of my imagined audience has just rolled their eyes and said “Oh, not more about Ellie’s tummy time.  That’s BORING,” because I know most of you, and honestly, if you’re reading this blog, it’s far more likely that you’re saying “Oh, more about tummy time?  With video?  Awesome, let me get some popcorn.”  But I feel the need to admit that my children aren’t actually and objectively the most interesting topic in the world.  So you know, I’m self-aware and all, but that’s not going to stop me writing paragraphs about tummy time.

Workout Gear

Ellie is ready to hit the gym.


She’s got her game face on.


She just has to get her arms and legs free, and figure out how to walk.  No problem.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Bringing Up Baby

Margaret’s really getting into looking after her dolls, and it’s adorable.  She feeds them, changes their diapers, and flings them across the room (I swear the last one she came up with all on her own).

Anyway, I got some video of it yesterday, though she chose to sit in a sunbeam, so the lighting is kind of crummy.

I think it may be just a ruse to get wipes/paper towels out of me.


Margaret has been getting more conscious of the mechanisms involved in taking pictures, and in the pictures themselves.

Actually, she’s a  raging narcissist, who can spend hours looking at pictures of herself.

And that’s what she was doing this afternoon when she asked me to take her picture.

So I did, and it looked like this.


This was a little too angsty, so I told her to smile for a picture.  She looked at me blankly, so I demonstrated.

It worked.


But she wasn’t completely in the frame, so I asked her to smile again.



Thursday, February 23, 2012

Ellie’s First Tummy Time

This is a reasonably self-explanatory post. 

But two things seem apparent.  First, Ellie may not hate tummy time as much as Margaret did.*  And second, she may learn how to crawl in the next month or so, which is excessive.

Also, I’m really proud that I accidentally color coordinated her outfit with her blanket for this auspicious moment in her life.

I have also ascertained that she and Margaret have the same mouth.


See?  If she had her head up?  Same mouth.

head lift

*It would be really hard to hate tummy time as much as Margaret did.  20 minutes of screaming a day.  Ugh.

Corduroy Bear

Margaret likes to share her things with Ellie.  Ellie is not, perhaps, the most appreciative audience.

My mother notes that when my brother was born, my older sister really liked the poem “Little” by Dorothy Aldis* which goes as follows:


I am the sister of him
And he is my brother
He is too little for us
To talk to each other.
So every morning I show him
My doll and my book,
But every morning he still is
Too little to look.

This is more or less how Margaret interacts with Ellie when she wants to show her toys.

Yesterday, she decided to show Ellie her Corduroy Bear.




Thrilled, that’s what Ellie is.  Thrilled. 

But it’s nice of Margaret to share.

*Actually, she just remembered the text of the poem that she used to recite to my sister, and I googled it and found an author and a title.  Ah, isn’t the internet wonderful?

Awake, Alert, and Alive

Ellie is starting to stay up for whole half hours at a time.*  And she is a clever child, because she has been structuring her sleep schedule so that one of her awake periods is 7:30ish to 8:30ish at night, which means that Leo gets to see her eyes, and is reminded that she isn’t just a squawky potted plant.  And, as an additional bonus, it means that she tires herself out, and for the past two nights, has then been sleeping 9-3, and then back to sleep until 6, which is a sustainable sleep schedule for me.  In fact, it’s the one that Margaret was on until last July, so it’s clearly sustainable for me.  Not pleasant, mind you, but sustainable.

Ellie would like to note that waking up is hard on her, though, whenever she does it.


But once she gets up, things are pretty good, though I sometimes feel that I’ve been weighed in the balance and found wanting.


Or that she’s trying to negotiate with me, and I don’t know what she’s offering, or what she’s asking for.


But she might just be trying to fist-bump me.  It’s hard to interpret.

And sometimes she just looks like she’s really impressed with me.  And then I realize that she’s really looking at the dining room light fixture with such rapt attention.  I can’t really hope to compete with a light fixture, after all.


Then there’s this, and I just don’t know what it’s saying about me or her or how she feels about me.


Though looking at the later pictures on the roll, perhaps it was saying “I want something in my mouth NOW, woman!”



Yes, that seems the best explanation.

*I exaggerate.  She actually stays up longer than that, and perhaps my brain has been addled by the last two years, but it does seem to me that she sleeps more than Margaret did.**

**This is in no way a complaint.  Sleeping babies are AWESOME.

I Can Do This. Probably.

I want to take a minute and congratulate myself. 

Go me.

I’m alone in the house with the two girls (this is only the second time that this has happened, and yesterday it was only for the amount of time it took my parents to go to a very streamlined Ash Wednesday mass) and I’ve managed to feed Margaret, read to her on the couch while I fed Ellie until she went to sleep, and pack Margaret off for her nap, leaving Ellie in the newborn napper attachment of the pack n’ play (the one in the living room that is intended to keep her safe from Margaret’s inquisitive paws).

Thusly (although this is a picture from yesterday, since I didn’t take a picture of Ellie before I went in to put Margaret down, and then I sat down on the couch and downloaded pictures and began searching for inspiration for posts, and this one just sort of happened.  It was actually meant to be a congratulatory aside before a post on Ellie doing tummy time, but it kind of grew).


Also, apparently extra ears aren’t just for clothes anymore. 

Margaret, while not asleep, is lying in her bed reading either her orange book or her green book (both are Ina Garten cookbooks with the dustjackets off.  She loves them.  I don’t know about this, particularly since she reads them in the dark).

And I am sitting on the couch blogging.  This might be manageable.*

*Honestly, it wasn’t a completely smooth experience today.  Margaret discovered that she could climb up onto a chair and hurl herself over the back onto the couch, in a lovely simulation of the game she and Leo play at night, called “Plop on Couch.”  This is bad enough in and of itself, but was made worse by the fact that the part of the couch that she was plopping herself onto was the very part I was sitting on to nurse Ellie, which meant that a) Ellie’s head was the first thing in the line of Margaret bombardment and b) my hands were occupied in holding Ellie, which made it hard to catch Margaret.  We went through 3 time out cycles (unsuccessful) before I thought to MOVE THE CHAIR.  Which fixed the problem, until she wakes up and figures out how to move the chair back.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Camera Shy

Ellie has done a good job adjusting to life outside her dimly-lit, watery, well-insulated former apartment.  Though she spent most of the first couple of weeks with her eyes screwed shut and her hands over her ears, of late she has begun  to  expand her horizons (open her eyes) and see the world.

Of course, that doesn’t mean that she’s quite ready to have camera flashes going off in her face.


Those are quite startling, and when people do it a second time, she begins to look quite concerned.


Poor kid.  It’s going to be a rough life if she won’t have her picture taken, because it’s not like the quality of the writing alone is going to sustain this blog.

Penguin Pajamas

Margaret is very interested in the animals on her pajamas, and very interested in penguins.*

And so the other night, when she realized that both she and Ellie were wearing penguin pajamas, she asked to hug Ellie on the couch, and asked me to take a picture.

So she did and I did, and great fun was had by all.


Here they are both looking into the camera, which is an uncommon occurrence.  Also, Margaret’s mouth looks a little weird, because – as she will be the first to tell you – ouchy a Maria’s a bookshelf.  (For those of you who don’t speak fluent Margaret, she injured herself on a bookshelf at Maria’s house).  And it was pretty terrible, but is healing nicely now.


And here is Margaret staring raptly at Ellie.  She’s doing a lot of that.  Also, she announces to us that the baby is crying anytime the baby makes any appreciable amount of noise.  Which is very helpful.  And a little bit naggy.


And here she is appreciating one of Leo’s witticisms.  Ellie doesn’t get it, apparently, but it was probably too sophisticated for her.

*Very interested in penguins.  And very good at taking care of them as well.  She feeds them milk and soup every morning, and has taken of late to offering them pacifiers when they get fussy.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

The Great Outdoors

I’m not kidding myself (as Margaret clearly is) that the weather  is pleasant or anything.  But the temperatures have been creeping into the upper 40s (and actually, on Friday, made it into the 50s and briefly back out the other side).  So it’s not been bad.  A bit chilly in the morning with a touch of frost, but as the day wears on, it gets passable.

Which is nice, because Margaret is getting tired of living in a house.*

So on Friday, we went to the Botanical Garden, and Margaret, as is her wont, rode the sheep.


It’s easier to ride the sheep with your tongue out, you understand.

When she got tired of that, she managed the exceptionally tricky rear-dismount, without smashing her face into the concrete sheep’s back.


We then went and fed the ducks, but it was hard to get a picture of Margaret doing that, because she was a) facing the water and b) surrounded by an adoring entourage that wasn’t carrying Ellie about in the sling.  So I took a picture of Ellie instead.


Note the entourage in the background.  Margaret is down amongst the sea of legs that these people are standing on.  And the two furthest down aren’t part of our group.  It takes a lot of adults to corral Margaret, but not quite that many.

Anyway, Ellie, bundled up as she was, benefited greatly from the sunshine.  She’s still a little yellower than she ought, by nature, to be, but she’s lightening quickly.

Yesterday Leo and I took Margaret and Ellie to the park.  Ellie seemed unimpressed.


Still, she got to wear another hat with ears, so that was good.

Margaret, on the other hand, tore around like a crazy person, and had a marvelous time.


One of the important rituals of playing on this particular piece of equipment is saying “boo” through the portholes.




So she did that, and then we walked down to a neighborhood coffee shop to refortify her with cookies and milk.


A good time was had by all, except possibly the cookies, but no one really asked them, and I suppose that if one is a cookie, then one’s purpose in life is to be eaten and enjoyed, so it probably is rather pleasant to fulfill one’s purpose.  Or at least that’s what I’d like to think, because otherwise I have to imagine that I’m torturing cookies, and that kind of takes some of the joy out of eating them.

*It’s a book title, really, and a very nice book at that.  Margaret is not so much tired of living in a house, but rather tired of being in the house more than she is accustomed.  I don’t like taking Ellie to places where there might be germs (so people), and it’s been pretty chilly for such a small person.  So poor Margaret has been feeling cooped up.**

**Except that she has a very nice grandmother who comes and takes her places like the zoo and the swimming pool (or water house, in Margaret’s particular lexicon) and the library (book house; ditto).  So she’s not suffering too much.

Words We Need To Know

There are certain phrases that are important for functioning in the world; I’m not denying this fact.

But I think that they are things like “I’m hungry,” “Where’s the bathroom,” “Lend me some cash,” and so forth. 

One phrase that probably isn’t necessary at all, and really only adds to the surplus of meaningless chit-chat in the world, is “the weather is balmy.”

I blame Leo.  I really do.  And it’s not like she even knows what balmy means, beyond the fact that it is something that the weather (whatever that is) is.


Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Other Silly Clothes

The previous post dealt with Ellie’s owl and boot outfit, but Margaret also got herself into some silly clothes this morning.

She snagged my dad’s hat (or, in her terminology, “Fwank’s hatch”) and stuck it on her head.





In some of the pictures, it looks quite jaunty, and in others, it looks like a flowerpot.

Such is the way of hats.

Also, she’s started to understand what it means when I ask her to hold still so I can take a picture, so I’m hoping that some of  my offerings will be slightly less blurry.  I’m not holding out too much hope, but she does seem to be on the road to thinking about beginning to grasp the concept.

These Boots Are Made For Walking (Reprise)

Some of you, with razor-sharp memories and way too much time on your hands (or a depressing obsession with this blog), may recall the post I made on February 20, 2010, when Margaret was 17 days old.

For those of you that don’t remember, or are too lazy to click the link, here’s the picture that went with my deathless prose.

margaret owl

This morning (for those of you playing at home, it’s February 15, which makes Ellie 15 days old), I dressed Ellie in the same outfit* and took a picture.


I think they look like they could be related, especially around the jowls.

* Almost—the boots are different, though equally not made for walking, since they are intended for the 0-3 month crowd.

Naked Hudging

This morning Margaret asked to “hudge baby in Mamat’s legs a Mamat’s tummy?” [Can Margaret hug the baby while not wearing any pants or a shirt].

Which seems like a perfectly reasonable request once you factor in Margaret’s appreciation for baby hudging, and her lack of appreciation for clothes.  I’m not sure where her nudist tendencies came from, but they are rather inconvenient in the winter.

Anyway, I let her do it.


Of course, when you’re engaging in naked hudging, it is important to have more than the requisite number of hair bows in your hair, because – you know – that helps keep you warm when it’s the middle of winter.


Big Girl

One of the things that I’ve noticed in the past weeks is that Margaret has suddenly become enormous. 

No doubt part of this is that we are also entertaining another very small person, but part of it is that she is getting more and more grown up in leaps and bounds.

For example, at some point, she apparently learned to eat competently with a spoon.


Which of course means that she wants to eat with a spoon all the time, and it’s very tiring.


But she soldiers on, and carpet is replaceable, after all.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Out and About

Last Saturday, the day after we brought Ellie home from the hospital, we celebrated Margaret’s second birthday.  It was, of course, not really her birthday, but I didn’t feel up to planning a party from the hospital, and we didn’t think that she knew that it was her birthday.  Besides, we weren’t sure that Ellie would be regarded as a good gift.  I mean, we know she’s awesome, but we weren’t sure that she would register as such in the newly two-year-old brain.

Anyway, I don’t have any good pictures of the party, because the light was low and my camera was still in my bag.  My cell phone pictures aren’t that great.  So I will wait to talk about the actual birthday until I get those from Ron.*

But one of Margaret’s presents was a tricycle.  This is a step up from her 4-wheeled scoot bike that she has at Leo’s parents’ house.**  She was eager to try it, so on Sunday, we took it for a spin.


This picture makes her look very competent and grown up and like she’s on her way.  It is a somewhat erroneous impression, as she didn’t figure out the pedals at all, and forward locomotion was dependent on either pushing with her feet, or having Leo push her with the rod attached to the back of the tricycle.

This next picture may convey more fully what riding was like.  Notice particularly the feet.


Margaret also thought that she should take a turn pushing the trike.


And that went


about as well as could be expected.  So she decided that Leo pushing her was really the way to go.


Also, we took Ellie out for a walk.  But we bundled her up well, since it was quite cold.



I think she enjoyed it.  Or at least didn’t notice anything different from her usual existence, since she was bundled up so well.

*This is not actually meant to be a nag, Ron, but as I write it, I realize that it could work as one.  Anyway, if you choose to read it that way, there’s nothing I can do about it.  Oh, and thanks for making Margaret’s cake and taking the pictures and helping me get the house ready for the baby. 

**We housesat for them over the summer when they went off to Africa, and Margaret had figured out how to break out of all the containment mechanisms that we had at our disposal.  I was feeling crummy and pregnant and not like chasing her all over the house, so I got her a bike to slow her down and keep her away from coffee tables.