Thursday, November 29, 2012

Don’t Cry, Don’t Cry

(This post is somewhat devoid of pictures, because Margaret spent yesterday with her grandmother, and so she wasn’t there to have her picture taken.  I feel that this is obscurely her fault, not mine).

One of the things that is nicest about having two children is watching their budding affection for each other.  Ellie is sure that whatever toy Margaret is playing with is the coolest toy ever, because (of course) Margaret wouldn’t be playing with it if it wasn’t super-awesome, now would she?

This habit is not one of which Margaret is fond.

But yesterday, Ellie was crying in the car, and Margaret started singing her a song to make her stop crying.  It went “don’t cry, don’t cry, don’t cry, don’t cry, I will sing a song, don’t cry, don’t cry, don’t cry, etc.”

It was really cute.

Maybe you had to be there, but it was ADORABLE.  Not exactly musically or lyrically impressive, but very cute.

Hard at Work

To an uneducated observer, it may appear that smearing blueberry and graham crackers through one’s hair is a simple task.  But Ellie would like you to know that it takes hours and hours of practice to get the devil-may-care sloppy hairdo that she sports.  Hours of intense concentration.


It is particularly hard because her hands don’t reach all the way to the top of her head.  But she knows that, and doesn’t appreciate smart-aleck people who may or may not be her mother pointing that fact out.


And, listen, Milklady – if that really is your name – these criticisms hurt my feelings, and make me question the validity of my entire blueberry and graham cracker in the hair agenda.  Humph.


Also, I have no framing narrative for these pictures, but I shot some of Ellie eating yesterday, because she’s really cute when she eats.  And very dramatic.  So here they are:










I really love the last one.  She’s got a really good distrustful look.  I imagine I’ll be seeing it lots.

Caffeine Free Baby

Once upon a time, I made a mistake.  Ellie was teething, and I didn’t have a teething ring, so I let her chew the bottom of a Diet Dr. Pepper can.  It helped in the short term, but it inspired her with a [metaphorical] thirst.  She loves the cans, their cold, shiny surfaces.  And she wants them.  Unfortunately, once I have started using them, they have a nasty, sharp edge.

But that doesn’t stop her from trying.


Tuesday, November 27, 2012

In My Shoes

Strangely enough, this post contains no pictures of Margaret hoofing around in my footwear, although we have many such pictures.  It is, in fact, a meditation (with video!) on Margaret experiencing some of the frustration of my life.  And it gives me great pleasure.

Any of you who have been privileged to read a story to my largest small person have probably noticed that sitting still and listening is not her strong point.  In fact, when she does so, my response tends to be to check her temperature.*  And sometimes, when she feels that you’re not getting through all the words fast enough, she turns the page for you, with little respect for the narrative.

Well, recently, Margaret wanted to read to Ellie, and I managed to catch it on tape.  Is it bad that I get a little thrill that she’s having some difficulties reading to a squirming little person who wants to touch the book and grab the book and not listen? 

*I malign her, as she has been getting way better at listening to stories over the last few months.  But it’s comic slander, so it’s okay. 


Over this holiday weekend (where I didn’t have to teach, and thus didn’t have 15 minutes or so to myself with my computer in front of me to blog – sorry everyone), Margaret made a great leap forward.  She started drawing people that have faces and limbs, and are recognizably attempts at people.  I mean, I pity people who actually look like that, because they are nothing more than heads with arms and legs attached, which must make a number of necessary biological functions more difficult than they need to be, but as an artistic development on Margaret’s part, it’s a winner.

She also started writing, by which she means using a pen and making various letter-like scratches on paper.  And sometimes she reproduces something that is actually a letter.  And there is much rejoicing.


But not much rejoicing from Margaret, because she is very serious about her writing.

And in this picture, she is writing a grocery list for Mommy.  She was dictating it to herself, so I know that what she wanted to buy was milk and cookies and bread crumbs.* 


*I think that she thought of bread crumbs because it took me a long period of muttering and roaming and searching to find bread crumbs in the grocery store a few weeks ago.  On the other hand, we also have been reading fairy tales to her at night, and she really likes “Hansel and Gretel,” but I would hope that she was smart enough to pick up that the narrative does not promote bread crumbs as a way to find one’s way back to one’s home.


When last we spoke, Ellie was covered with spaghetti sauce.  Margaret, in case you were wondering, was not in a much better case.  Our heroine (me) fearlessly plunged them into the bath (at the same time, which was much more efficient, and not as bad as I anticipated, but also nerve-wracking).

And then they were put in pajamas and packed off to bed.  We made a brief stop, Ellie and I , in Margaret’s room to say goodnight.  And Margaret noticed that they were wearing the same pajamas.  And she wanted to hug Ellie.  And this picture happened.


So snuggly.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012


Ellie is, as I have noted, eating lots and lots and lots of things now, and  yesterday I made a vat of spaghetti sauce.


There is a lot of it, and so steps needed to be taken to eat it.  The obvious person to deploy was Ellie, because clearly the 20 pound person in the household needs to be responsible for eating the sauce that weighs more than her.

Anyway, we gave Ellie some spaghetti, and I took pictures, because a baby smeared with food is funny.

Here they are.
















Standing Up Like A Fiend, Who Is Particularly Fond Of Standing Up, And So Does So At Every Possible Juncture

So, in case you didn’t get it from the title of the post, Ellie is standing up a lot.

Yesterday, I took Margaret to the bathroom* and Ellie followed along, because with the crawling with both feet, she can get up quite a head of steam, and she has begun to resent being left to languish in the room with all the toys, when Margaret and I are clearly having lots more fun in the bathroom.

Bear in mind that Ellie’s associations with the bathroom are all bathtime-related, and so she probably thinks that we’re stealing away for surreptitious splashing and joy.

Anyway, she soon figured out what the bath was for.



Isn’t she proud of herself?

And then we went back to the living room, and she stood up every place she could, and for one brief, brilliant moment, she stood up on her own, and I got a picture of it.


And then the hand went back to the support.


And then she thumped down, but it was all very funny.


At least she thought so.

Also, Margaret is in the background of all these pictures watching television because otherwise she would have spent all of yesterday afternoon in time out, and I was tired of enforcing the rules.

*For those of you who are keeping track, potty training is progressing tolerably well.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Enhanced Interrogation

Ellie has been getting into everything, exploring everything, touching everything, putting everything in her mouth, etc. 

So life has been a bit busy as I try to convince Margaret that Ellie is not completely devoted to destroying everything she holds dear.

This weekend, Ellie got into Leo’s toys.


I think that she was just trying to keep track of the unfolding election news, and who can fault her for that?

Leo, however, didn’t think much of it.


And Margaret thought he could use some help.


Eventually, under pressure, she told them everything she knew. It was something along the lines of “ag-ag-ag-ag-ag-ub-wub-wub.” Our agents are currently acting on this information.

Good Weather’s Last Gasp

This weekend was incredibly nice.  On Friday and Saturday, the temperatures were around 70, and we spent lots of good time outside.  Friday afternoon, I was out in the yard with the kids, and we put Ellie in the swing.*  You may recall that Ellie did not approve of her last outing in a swing two months ago,** but this time she seemed a little more approving.

Of course, she was justifiably wary when Margaret showed up to push her in the swing.***


And honestly, that just shows good sense.  But Margaret behaved very sensibly, and Ellie came to appreciate what she was doing.


And as time went by, I became more and more convinced that they were plotting something, and it was probably directed at me, and then I began to worry, because I can keep up with Margaret (barely) but both of them deployed at me is just going to be terrifying.  And Ellie looks like she’s really got a devious scheme.


After a while, Margaret wandered off to do her own thing (more on that later), and Ellie stayed happily in the swing.




She was kind of miffed when she had to come in for dinner.  Or rather, when I had to go in because I was planning on doing something for dinner.  Which I then didn’t, because I have a vicious and nasty cold.  But I could have.  Anyway, I digress.

Margaret went and found her baseball toys, and explained the finer parts of the game to Puck.



She did a good job, but Puck, as cats do, seemed somewhat unimpressed. 

*“My swing,” said Margaret.  “My swing.  But I will share my swing with Ellie.”  So that was sort of nice of her.

**And if you don’t recall, you’re not reading quite assiduously enough.  There will be a short quiz at the end of the post.  Pay attention.

***Those of you who have really been paying attention may recall that I foresaw this moment about a year ago, and you can be proud of me for thinking of it, and proud of yourself for remembering.  So we can just have some sort of mutual appreciation society here in the footnotes.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

“And now go to sleep,” said Miss Clavel

Margaret has a penguin named Miss Clavel.

It makes sense, if you think about it, but it amuses me greatly that she has decided that this penguin is Miss Clavel.

Anyway, the penguin goes many places with us, and most importantly, it goes to bed with Margaret.

Part of our nighttime routine now is to check on Margaret before we go to bed, and put her back in her pajamas, because she has outgrown the footless ones that we could put on backwards, and she loves to take her pajamas off as an act of defiance before succumbing to sleep.

Anyway, last night, after I had wrestled the mostly sleeping but still resisting Margaret back into her pajamas, she rolled over, hugged her penguin, and said “‘Goodnight little girls, thank the Lord you are well.  And now go to sleep,’ said Miss Clavel.” 


And then I didn’t hear another peep out of her until this morning. 

What Social Contract?

So we’ve been talking to Margaret about voting and social responsibility and whatnot a lot lately, since she was going to push the button for Leo on Tuesday.  And then we’ve talked to her about what the election means, and how we all have a responsibility to society and so forth.

And then this morning Ellie went for the slide again.


(Notice the full-body push-up she’s doing)

And Margaret just decided that all of this social contract garbage was too much, and she’d far rather live in the state of nature, where life might be nasty, brutish, and short, but she got to go up slides.


We’ve got anarchy here, folks.  Complete anarchy.