Monday, April 30, 2012


We had some education going on in our house today.  Margaret decided to explain to Ellie how her bouncy chair animals worked.


And Ellie was suitably enthralled.


And then she pointed out that she had fingers.


And taught her how to stick out her tongue.


So I don’t really need to do any parenting.  Margaret’s got it covered.

Studious Margaret

You know, all the letters in Mommy’s articles on effective grading strategies for exceptional learners aren’t going to color themselves.





Luckily, Margaret’s on that.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Living the High Life

We had dinner tonight at Dan and Kate’s, and Ellie – as you can imagine – has very little to do during dinner what with the no teeth thing.  And tonight’s dinner would have been particularly difficult, since the yearly fatted calf has been butchered, and there was steak* that was just recently swimming in the sea, or whatever it is cows do.****

So she slept.


She’s a very relaxed baby.

Anyway, she got to join in the fun later in the evening.  We tried hats on her.  That was amusing.


*Also, I hesitate to disagree with the Bible, but whoever it was in Proverbs that decided that “Better is a dinner of herbs where love is, than a stalled ox and hatred therewith” hadn’t had steak fresh off the hoof.**

**And yes, these aren’t stalled, but I think that a stalled ox would be better – or at least more tender – so it’s hardly a valid point.***

***Also, I’m not suggesting that there was any hatred at dinner.  I’m just saying that the food was good enough that it would have been nice even if there had been a side of hatred, which there wasn’t.

****What?  I’m from a coast.  Freshness is determined by how long one’s entrĂ©e has been out of the water.

Pondering the Imponderables

Ellie and Leo chilled on the couch for a while today.  Which is good, because she’s been being a little bit standoffish with him, as he is not a source of food.


And he noticed, as one does if one spends any amount of time contemplating her hands, that Ellie manages to get her fingernails dirty.


And she had no explanation to offer him.


I have none either.  I suspect that her grandmother has got her in some early-intervention gardening program, to save her from my black thumb, but I can’t prove that.


Ellie had letters on her onesie today.

They said, for those of you who are interested, “Peas, Love, and Carrots.”

Margaret thought that letters on the shirt were AWESOME.  Also, there were some that she knew, like P and C and A.  So she and Leo entered into conversation about them.


And then Leo asked her to name one of them, and she had to think.


And then she gestured at the letters rather forcefully, so we stopped playing that game.


Still, she’s learning them.  And every night she asks for “Great Green Room ABCDEFG book?” which is an ABC based on Goodnight Moon.  And every night we can’t find it because she’s stashed it somewhere during the day, and then every morning I find it and she hides it again.  It’s a truly terrifying game.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

At the Zoo

Margaret and Leo went ahead and looked at bears and went to the carousel and ran around in circles and were high energy. (Also, pigtails!  On Margaret.  Leo won’t hold still long enough for me to put them in).


Ellie and I took it a little easier.


Actually, I went on the carousel with Margaret.  It’s just better narratively with the pictures and the contrast and stuff.  But Ellie and I stayed out in the sun and the non-fishy air while Margaret and Leo went in to see the penguins in their chilly and fishy cavern.  And then Margaret wanted to go and see the elephants, because she saw the elephants yesterday with her grandmother, and they were amazing, but her little legs were tired out, so we showed her an elephant fountain at the zoo entrance, let her throw some money in, and took her home to give her lunch. 

And now she naps, as does Ellie.  Good times.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Chubby Tummy

Sometimes, when Ellie eats, you can tell because her tummy gets really big.  It is cute.  And so I photograph it, because it makes me feel like I’m doing my job properly.



And then I put the chubby tummy in a novelty onesie, that suggests that we’re going to feed her to wild dogs.  She is not amused.


But then I explain that it’s really a pop-culture reference, not part of any plan to feed her to Australian canines, and she cheered up a little, though you can tell that she still doesn’t think it’s as funny as I do.


Snuggle Bear (In the Imperative)

Margaret, as has been well-documented, likes to bring things to Ellie.  And the other day, she brought the sleeping Ellie her Corduroy Bear (his pants have been taken away.  I don’t know why.  Perhaps he lost his other button), and Ellie snuggled it in her sleep.  It was sweet.




I don’t know what’s going on,* but my money’s on the big one.


*Actually, I do.  It’s tummy time a deux.  But I think Margaret’s tummy time may be too advanced for Ellie.


And so does Ellie.  Though she’s going to try.


The Trials of Authorship

Most of you aren’t aware of this, but I work very hard on this blog.  I mean, reams of drivel with only tangential relationship to the pictures that they go along with don’t write themselves, you know.  I frequently find myself sitting at the computer trying to polish that one beautiful sentence* that delicately alludes to the more visceral parts of motherhood without coming right out and saying that my day was more-than-usually filled with excrement.  (I haven’t used it here, but I am actually quite proud of “Mount Vepoopius.”  It’s the little things, you know?).

Margaret gets me, though.  She knows about the agony of the well-crafted bon mot.  And sometimes she drapes herself across my legs and works.






*I’m lying, you know?  These things are totally stream-of-consciousness, and sometimes people tell me about typos and grammatical errors, because I would totally care about those in some types of writing, but I have 40 minutes or so on a good night to do these and laundry and relax, so there’s not a lot of proofreading.  Or planning.  Or even really thinking through what I’m saying.  What you get is what you would get if I were just talking to you, although I get footnotes here, and I use them more sparingly in speaking.**

**I do still use them, though, when I speak.  Is that weird?

Funny Face

Ellie is beginning to find her face.

It’s not as well-documented a phase as finding the feet, but she’s starting to make faces, beyond her perpetual startle-face.  I particularly like the faces she makes where she’s twisting her tongue around. She likes to turn it upside-down and smile.  Because she’s a silly person.  Who sometimes concentrates very hard on things.





Also, her cheeks are very munchable.  As are her toes. 

Into the Pajamas, Into Bed

You may have noticed,  those of you who have been reading assiduously and taking notes, that over the past few weeks (months?) Margaret has been eschewing sleep.  And she has.  Oh dear me yes, she has.*

And this extends to avoiding all the things that go with sleep, such as putting on her pajamas and ceasing to jump up and down like an overexcited spring.  Last night, we enticed her into her pajamas with a promise that we would put Ellie into her matching pajamas and take a picture.

Which we then did, though Ellie has not yet learned to smile for the camera properly.


And, hours later, she was asleep, though still trying to climb the walls.


*I’d express myself more forcefully, but my mother reads this, and it is, after all, the modern baby book.  I’m pretty sure you’re not meant to use profanity in a baby book.  Pretty sure.

Daddy, Daddy

Margaret loves her father.  And thinks that he’s a soft touch.  Which he kind of is.  I mean, how many people would read her My World (which is super-boring, mostly plotless, and reinforces gender stereotypes like you wouldn’t believe) 75,000 times?  And play Legos with her for hours.  I mean, he’s pretty good to her.


This afternoon, though, she was supposed to be napping (which she eventually did – briefly – on the floor of her room in front of the door) and she wasn’t falling asleep.  This angered her.  And I clearly wasn’t letting her out.  So I heard a tearful voice yelling from her room, “Daddy, let me out.  Daddy, let me out.  Leo.  Leo.  LEO!”  Apparently she thinks that she’s more likely to be heard if she addresses him as Leo.  The funny thing is that he’s rarely home at naptime – approximately 2/7 of the time, in fact – so I’m not sure why she thought he was there, but I guess anything’s worth a try when you’re exhausted and you Just. Want. Out.


Margaret picked The Velveteen Rabbit off the shelf the other day, and started reading.  She hasn’t ever had it read to her, so her knowledge of the plot is somewhat minimal. 

At the beginning, she points out a P on the title page, and then reads “One day a bunny and letters” on every page.  And then lapses into mostly nonsense.  I think.

So she kind of has the concept down.  Now to teach her letters beyond A, B, C, D, E, M, P, and Z.

More Legos, With Politics

Margaret has been building and building and building and building with her Legos.  I’m so excited.  Because this is a game that we can play together that I honestly enjoy for itself, not just because I’m spending quality time with my child.  I mean, I’m not saying that eating pretend noodles isn’t fun, but it’s not something that I may or may not have done for recreation in college.

Anyway, in the last few days she’s been getting more and more and more independent with her building.


(All right, I helped with that one, but the next one she made all herself).


And now I have to worry about whether she’s actually a Republican presidential candidate.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Quick Trick Brick Stack

Building has been happening at our house this weekend.  Margaret is awfully keen on these Legos that have sprouted up in her house.  And Leo seems to like them more than other toys Margaret loves.  So lots of Legos.  And lots of exploring the limits of their durability.  Really, people have been running performance tests on Legos at our house this weekend.  And the make pretty good towers.




Ellie looked on.  I imagine she was itching to get in there, but it’s hard when you’ve only just begun to notice that your hands are things.  Also, she was having a nice time with Caty.


Also, now that I come to look at it, I put those pictures of the block tower backwards.  It looks like Margaret was building, but I think she was actually tearing down.  But I’m too lazy to change them, so there it is.

A Rose is a Rose is a Rose*

Margaret brings me flowers.

But sometimes she doesn’t exactly give them to me, because they’re too much fun to play with.



I don’t mind. 

Also, if Stein means, as she seems to intimate that she does, that roses come with all of their symbolic freighting, and so that when we say “rose” we are invoking all of the imagery that roses have picked up, all I can say** is that she’s never seen Margaret and roses.***

And she’s missed a treat.

Also, Caty made the dress.  Margaret loves it.  Because it is a dress!  With strawberries!  Imagine that!

*It’s never too early to develop a disdain for Gertrude Stein.  Never too early. 

**If it really were all I could say, it would be a great comfort blah, blah, blah.

***Which, of course, is quite true.

A Day at the Garden

Apparently, there’s some sort of division among the residents of St. Louis as to whether one calls the Botanical Garden the Botanical Garden or Shaw’s Garden.  I gather that what is now the Botanical Garden was once Shaw’s Garden, and so this difference in naming tells one whether the person has been is St. Louis for a considerable amount of time.  Or it tells you whether they can read the signage around the Garden, but that’s another discussion.

Anyway, Margaret has a somewhat endearing habit of combining McGregor and garden when she reads Peter Rabbit, and one morning we were talking about going to the Garden, and it transpired that she said “McGregor garden?” and I said “No, Mr. Shaw’s garden” AS A JOKE and now that’s what she calls it.  And on weekend mornings asks to go there.

So this morning we did.  But it was raining, and outdoor amusements in the rain are not exactly the best thing to do, particularly not with Ellie in tow.*

Luckily, the Garden has a nice indoor area for children, which is currently teaching them about China.  And in the middle, there’s a stove and restaurant set-up, which Margaret enjoys.




They have really cool felt food, and when we got home I made her some rice noodles (I had white felt, so they had to be rice noodles.  I see a trip to some felt-supplying emporium in our future).  She made us all bowls of food, and it was very nice.  And we didn’t even get to the coloring and the book corner and the stuffed animals and the dress-up box before Leo got bored, and we had to move on.


So Margaret climbed into her covered wagon. You know, like you do when you’re driving away from China.

Eventually we pried her away from the wagon by suggesting that she try to run faster than Daddy, and she did that until she got to the sheep.  Which she sat on, and got soaking wet.  So we went home.

*Ellie was being pushed in front of me, actually, not towed behind.