Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Big Kid

On Saturday, Margaret and I went to the park (Leo stayed home with Ellie, who is a very relaxing person to spend a morning with, because she sleeps for half of it, and then putters around on the floor playing by herself).

Anyway, Margaret wore underpants.

And . . . well, look at this.








She climbed that thing all by herself.  All the way up.  Without my help.  It strikes me that she’s been practicing on these trips to the park with her father, and that I probably would have been hyperventilating if I had been there.  Because – well, my baby*, and the ground and the possibility of them meeting sharply.

*Margaret deeply resents any implication that she may be a baby of any sort.  Suggesting such a thing about her will earn you a sharp reprimand, so be warned.


Both Leo and I think that this makes her look like the Patriarch of Constantinople.*  I’m not really sure why, but we do.


Of course, this hat makes Ellie look like a pumpkin.


A very happy pumpkin.


*This is a picture of the Patriarch of Constantinople.  He’s the one who isn’t the pope.


Friday, October 26, 2012

Rough Night Chez Human

Look at these pictures:



We know how to party.

Actually, we apparently know how to make our children pass out face down.  These pictures, though, have different stories.

In the first picture, Ellie had been spending that half-hour between 5 and 5:30 AM in our bed, because sometimes – judiciously snuggled – she will drift back off to sleep and I can snag a few more minutes of blessed repose.  She did more than drift off; when I got out of bed to shower, instead of waking up, she remained out cold, flipped over, and made growly noises at me when I tried to move her to some less-suffocating position.

In the second, Margaret had succumbed, with as little grace possible, to the demands of the afternoon nap.  Apparently, in her small brain, it is better to fall asleep at 2:30 on the bare boards of one’s room, rather than lie down at 1:30 in the nice fluffy bed.

Funny kid.

Anyway, they are – as of this writing – both still alive, and not particularly bruised or battered from their experiences.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Up and About and in Trouble

So last night, this happened.


Isn’t she proud of herself?


And then this happened.


Which was, apparently, actually rather worrisome.


I’m pretty sure she didn’t know how to get down.  Luckily, gravity had a plan.


Margaret has a lot of words in her head.

Lots of them are bits of songs and poems and whatnot that I recite to her, or read to her at bedtime.  She loves A.A. Milne poems, and demands them at nap or bedtime.

And then when I was driving down to school on Monday, she started to recite one of my favorites, Disobedience.

So I got her to do it again for the camera, though it was not as complete as it was the first time through.

But still,  am so proud and my heart is warmed.

Monday, October 22, 2012

The End is Nigh



Next she will be walking, and then she will really be able to get into Margaret’s stuff and there will be arguments until Margaret leaves for college.

Extra Ears

This hat will get more exposure when Halloween comes, but for now, here is Ellie with twice as many ears as she ought to have.  And isn’t it cute?


And Apples

Ellie also chomped on her own apple (slice) this weekend.  She thought it was the best teething ring ever (now with 100% more juice!).


Margaret, while still loving her Nana, also ate a whole apple ALL BY HERSELF.



I’ve had a certain disinclination to dress my children in shirts that proclaim that they love one thing or person or another (cf. the last post for unabashed hypocrisy).  But I think that it would be perfectly possible to put Margaret in shirts that say “I love Daddy” now.  Because – well, look at her.  He was working lots last week, and wasn’t home for her bedtime, and we went to school more than usual, and so she wasn’t seeing much of him.  And here, he is coming down the stairs towards him.


I think that she likes him.  And has stolen his tie.  But mostly, she likes him.

Equal Opportunity

Because we like to keep things fair . . .


Political Engagement

It’s never too early to start encouraging your children to be engaged citizens, and think about their responsibilities in a democracy.


It is, however, important to make sure that they take potty breaks.

First Foods

With Margaret, we were pretty controlled about introducing foods, because she was pretty laid-back about it (she liked baby food, yes she did) and we were a wee smidge nervous.

With Ellie, not so much.  Part of it is that she’s just temperamentally different – she disdained baby food that was just pureed single ingredient, and wanted something with more texture and a little bit of seasoning.  And she is absolutely convinced that, appropriate dental development or not, whatever we have, she wants.

So over the weekend, she got doughnut and french fry and macaroni and cheese.  Because she wanted them. 

She’s still very careful about what she eats.  I mean, she’ll stick anything in her mouth, but her first reaction is usually a disdainful face, and then she crams it into her mouth. 

For example, here is doughnut introduction:

Suspicious –


to interested –


now she tries it –


more, please!


Also, we were not giving Margaret coffee in that picture.  She is having milk out of the only lidded cup they had.

Later that day, the french fry.  This was a big hit.




Macaroni and cheese was also fairly popular with the under-ones, though the photography was not as good. I was, of course, trying to feed the baby, take pictures, and protect my lunch from Margaret’s none-too-gentle ministrations.




There’s no pleased reaction shot here, but she did like it.

Thursday, October 18, 2012


Apparently Nana is rising in popularity as a grandmotherly appellation.

I know, because there are shirts.


Margaret can’t believe it.


Ellie’s is too big, but we’re getting there.


My daughters snuggle together.  Sometimes somewhat aggressively, but they snuggle.


So that’s nice. 


There are thems as thinks that Margaret is not getting enough air time on this blog.  While I admit that it is a bit tricky to try to balance out the two children, I have a few words to say in my defense.  First, Margaret has been being potty trained this week, and so she’s wearing considerably less clothing around the nether regions than is usual, and that means that I’m trying to limit how many pictures I take of her in a state of dĂ©shabillĂ©.  Second, the dang kid won’t stop moving long enough to get pictures taken of her.  Ellie is still moving fairly slowly.

That said, there are lots of Margaret stories being shared, which I think makes up for it somewhat.  After all, we shouldn’t worry so much about outward appearance.  It’s what’s on the inside that counts, yes?

Which may pose its own set of problems, but lets leave that aside for now.

Anyway, one of the games that Margaret has been playing and playing and playing and playing has to do with Miss Clavel.  Margaret has been agitating for a Miss Clavel doll, and I had filed that away in the great big possible Christmas present file that I have in my head. 

But Margaret didn’t want to wait.  Denied a Miss Clavel doll, she decided to take matters into her own hands, and she found one All. By.  Herself. 

And then she played one of her favorite games, which is putting other things or people to bed.


Here is Miss Clavel in the bed that Margaret lovingly made her.

She told me that her Miss Clavel doll had orange feet and face, which was a little different.  And so it is.


So part of my mission as Margaret’s mother is to introduce her to ideas that will make her kindergarten teacher tear her hair out in disgust.  Also, I think that while her brain is a sponge, I should attempt to saturate it completely.  Anyway, one of the things that I say to her is that going up the slide, as opposed to down the slide, is a violation of the social contract.

You know, because it is.

Anyway, yesterday morning, we were waiting at school for the daycare to open – we were early, would you believe it – and Margaret was playing on the structures that are outside the daycare doors.  Ellie was wandering around over the floors, because – you know – she can.





And then she went after the slide.  This is the first time Ellie has tried to play on the slide, and – since I don’t let her climb up ladders yet – she went at it from the bottom.


Margaret was justifiably worried.  “Mommy!” she said, “Ellie’s ‘lating the shocial contrack!” 

My work here is done.*

*”Hah,” she said, laughing hollowly.  “As if.  I have years more work.  Humph.”  Because, you know, children don’t raise themselves, and honestly if I left Ellie to Margaret, it would probably be kind of bad, really.

Now Listen Here, See?

Ellie seems to be developing a certain cold, grim, realistic approach to sibling relations.


Margaret was out with her grandmother, and Ellie started agitating for me to send this picture to her with a list of demands.  I assume that they would have been along the lines of greater control over toys and time-sharing on the kitchen.  But I’m not sure; she was playing it close to her chest.


Luckily, she also has a short attention span, so she stopped threatening the puppy, and started chewing on the knife herself.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

But Soft, What Puff Through Yonder Window Breaks?


What’s funny about this, of course, is that according to Margaret, Ellie is not Romeo, but rather Friar Laurence.

Perhaps I should back up a bit.

There’s a series of children’s books, teaching counting and colors, that take characters and events and titles from classic literature. 

Margaret has the Romeo and Juliet counting primer.  She also has the Pride and Prejudice counting primer, which means that she can converse with you about Mr. Bingley and Mr. Darcy and the number of proposals and how many great houses there are and so forth.

But she has become somewhat fascinated with Friar Laurence (I think because he, like Miss Clavel, wears a habit).

And, of course, she is very interested in Alice, who looks after Christopher Robin.

So the other night, she looked at Leo, and said “Daddy is Romeo.”

I asked who Ellie was.  She said Friar Laurence*, and  that I was Juliet.  It makes me wonder if she’s been talking to the priest who married us, and if so, how she possibly understood what he was saying.

When I asked who she was, she said “Alice.”  So an early 20th century nanny/housemaid has been imported into Romeo and Juliet.  Good times.

*And, you know, she’s kind of round and brown.  Must be a friar.

Kids These Days

There’s a serious lack of respect in my house, and I would get mad about how these kids are being raised, but I think that I’m the one that’s supposed to teach them manners, so I’d better keep my mouth shut.


Of course, she might just have her tongue out as a matter of course, not as some piece of calculated rudeness.  Her tongue does seem to spend a lot of time outside her mouth.


Monday, October 15, 2012

What’s Cooking

In this video, Margaret is cooking food for Nana and Frank.  She is trying to cut it up, which is a favorite new hobby of hers.

She is also exceptionally suspicious of my assertion that I can show them the video.  And finds that wooden forks do a very bad job of cutting imaginary food.


Margaret loves this poem.  Desperately.  And in the illustration, the Alice character is dressed in a long black dress, and looks a little like Miss Clavel, which has catapulted her into Margaret’s pantheon of imaginary childcare providers – Miss Clavel, Mary Poppins, Maria von Trapp, and now Alice.

So she snuggles with the book at night.


I think she wants a nanny.  And if an Edwardian nanny shows up on my doorstep, I don’t know that I’ll turn her away.