Friday, January 31, 2014

Everything Just Right

There was a time (when I was in charge of Ellie's bedtime, but we're not blaming any parents particularly, not at all) when Ellie's bedtime routine involved saying "time for bed!" and dumping her unceremoniously into said bed.

But times have changed, and now she likes to have everything elaborately organized in particular ways that change nightly.

It's both cute and annoying in equal measure.

Ellie's Phone

Some people might feel that it's excessive for a not-quite-two-year old to have an iPhone. Some people might be right.  But excess has never been a problem for either of my children, and if letting them play with my old decommissioned iPhone makes them happy, well, I'm going to let them.

Of course, I have no idea, no idea AT ALL who taught her to sit at the table with her phone and her coffee.

But just as a hint -- I don't drink coffee, so there's that.

Thursday, January 30, 2014


Margaret is developing enough hair for a hairstyle.  This is exciting.

Unfortunately, spending most of my life without enough hair for hairstyles, for the precise reason that I don't like hairstyles, and don't know how to do them, have left me a little hampered on the hairstyle front.

And Leo sent me a message this morning about how maybe we should cut Margaret's hair because it takes a long time to brush in the morning.

But it's so pretty.

Shoveling Redux

You all (Mom) may recall that there was a rather large bunch of snow dropped on the greater St. Louis area (by which I mean the entire midwest) just after New Years.  And the temperatures dropped to below zero.  And there was wind.  It was a lovely time, really it was.  Anyway, as the snow came tumbling down along with the temperature, Margaret looked out the window, and -- as is her wont -- imagined that this was a special wonderland just for her to bustle in.

So we put on sweaters and scarves and socks and mittens (but neither scarlet leaves and gold, or a frog who was a particular friend, because in the one case, they were covered up by the snow and probably really a muddy brown color, and in the other because it seems to me unlikely that a frog, even one who was a particular friend, would add to the warmth of one's person)* and went outside in the driving snow to shovel the walk and let Margaret play in the snow.

Margaret found that she was much better at shoveling when someone else had already shoveled.

She got so good at it, that she developed a hands-free mode of shoveling.

And then proceeded to go inside and announce that she had shoveled the walk, and Mommy had helped.  Which was NOT how it happened.  I shoveled the 8 inches of snow off, and then she skated in and grazed the top and then went around bragging about a job well done.


*If you are at sea vis-a-vis my comment hear, you need to run (not walk) to the nearest library and order a copy of We Were Tired of Living in a House and read it immediately.  It is amazing.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Art Therapy. Or possibly, Art: Therapy?

Margaret has been getting better and better and better at drawing.  Also, I just had to type "better" seven separate times to get it right.  It kept having either three ts or only one, or -- in one particularly bad instance it didn't have any, and it ended in -ir.  But I have recovered, and am able to get back to the subject at hand.

Which is Margaret's drawing.

She's been using a set of Mr. Sketch markers, which I remember fondly from my childhood.  The ones that smelled like candy?  And people used to accidentally color their nostrils trying to sniff them?  Anyway, she's been really enjoying them, and her drawings are now recognizable.

Here is a self-portrait:

And this one is clearly of the time she went to a chainsaw massacre at a commercial kitchen (it's the chef's hat that gives me the clue.  She's been to so many chainsaw massacres, that it's hard to keep track).

I'm sure that this is just a healthy part of her self-expression, and she's perfectly fine.  We'll go with that.


Or, if you're me, "ugh.  More snow."

It's not that I don't appreciate the magic of winter and all of that.  I do.  I really do.  Winter is magic and lovely and wonderful, and we should all have more of it.

But the thing is, I don't think that I've had appropriate snow gear since late high school.  My boots are short, my coats are wool, and I own no snowpants.

Do you know what this means?  This means that while Margaret is frolicking around in the winter wonderland, I am freezing my caboose off* and obsessively counting my toes to make sure that they are still there.

Margaret, on the other hand, adores the snow.

She, of course, has proper snow gear, because I am a good parent and wouldn't dream of sending her out ill equipped.  Heaven forbid my darling get even slightly chilly, after all.  And so she greatly enjoys our trips outside.  She does try to be useful, though, even though we don't have proper Margaret-sized implements for her.  (Seriously, why am I complaining about not having snow pants, when she doesn't have a snow shovel the right size?)

It was very hard for her.  She told me, before beginning, that she could shovel because she was a shoveler, and she had shoveled many times before.

After one shovel-not-quite-full, she said "Shoveling is not as easy as it looks, you know, Mommy."

I'm so glad to have her here to instruct me.

*NB: does this actually work?  Must check.  Could be interesting.

Me Too! Me Too!

"Me too!  Me too!" has become Ellie's refrain.

If Margaret can do it, there is no reason, in Ellie's small yet active brain, that she should not also get to do whatever thing it is.  Sadly, sometimes she is not quite capable of the things that Margaret is doing.

Actually, frequently, she is not capable of the things that Margaret is doing, and the sight of an Ellie lying disconsolately on the floor sobbing "I want scissors" is one of the saddest sights to see in all the world.

Also funny.  But mostly sad.

Anyway, often on our trips to the park, she sees Margaret doing something that looks awfully fun, and then when she comes to do it, she discovers that universal truth about how your actions are somewhat limited by the length of your arms and legs.

And then, looking to me for help, she discovers the harsh truth that I am not the person to look to when what you want is longer arms or legs.

So she goes back to contemplating the things that she cannot do.  It is very, very sad.

Someday, kiddo.  Someday.  You'll get there.  Probably by next summer.  And then no playground ladder will be safe from you.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Ellie in Tunnel

I can't really reproduce in print exactly the way Ellie says "Ellie in tunnel," but I promise you a) that it is exceptionally cute, and b) that she says it EVERY TIME SHE IS IN A TUNNEL, just in case we were in any danger of missing it.

And you have to admit, it's adorable, isn't it?

Almost a Perfect Photo

We've been going to the park a lot recently (because when it's not 2 degrees outside, it's inexplicably warm.  Pick a temperature, St. Louis, and STICK TO IT.  Grrrr.  Or else.  I don't know what else, but else), and Ellie and Margaret are approaching the age when they can do the same things at the same time and everyone has fun.

So I tried to get an adorable picture with them at the top of a double slide, holding hands and looking cute as can be.  Because they did just that not two minutes before I took this picture.*

Close, but they weren't looking at the camera.  And then Margaret was overcome by the siren song of the slide.

And even then, Ellie wasn't willing to look at the camera.

We'll keep working on it.  Watch this space.  We will get there.  By the time they're 32 and 34.

*They were doing it, and as I fumbled to get my phone out to snap the picture, they went down the slide, and then I had to convince them to climb back to the top and try to look cute, and they kind of got there, but not really.

Half a Giraffe

Margaret is getting to the age where she thinks that perhaps she should be involved in the gift-giving process.

Well, I lie.  She's been at the age where she thinks that she should be given presents for a long time.  But she has started to think that she should give them to other people.

As we came up to Christmas, though, she began to discuss gifts for Ellie, and gifts for Leo, and gifts for her grandparents, but she announced that she didn't need to give me any presents, because I was a mommy, and mommies are the people who get presents for other people.

This rubbed me the wrong way.

So I explained that I did, in fact, like to get presents, and I didn't just spontaneously generate them for myself (although it would be an awesome skill to have, you have to admit).  And I said that I wasn't the person who needed to help her get me a present, and that she should talk to Daddy.

This she then did.  And they got me a warm winter hat, for which I have been exceptionally grateful, because it has been ridiculously cold for a great deal of the time since Christmas.  As I write this, my toes are in imminent danger of dropping off.

But she also added a personal touch: a picture that she drew herself.  Or started to draw.  When she gave it to me, she told me that it was a half a giraffe.

And you have to admit, it is half a giraffe, lovingly and clearly drawn.  Bless her.  Because what mother wouldn't treasure a half a giraffe?

(Actually, I love this picture.  Because it's so very Margaret.  And adorable.)


Sometimes Ellie pauses what she is doing and says boo to me.

It is very cute.

There is no content in this post, by the way.  Just a cute picture.

Christmas Morning

Ellie got up early.  Very early.  And Margaret didn't.  So we waited.  Ellie whiled away the hours with intense readings of The Runaway Bunny, and we discussed the problems of mothers who refuse to cut apron strings.  I suggested that Ellie, in the wee hours of the morning, could do with a little less maternal involvement -- perhaps she would like to turn herself into a sofa cushion and sit on the couch? -- but she seemed certain that she wanted me there.  I put forward the proposition that this was logically inconsistent with her choice of reading material, but she said "I want Mommy," and I was rolled up, horse, foot, and artillery.

Anyway, Margaret eventually woke up.


And was all agog to open presents.  So we did.  As a group.  Luckily, Ellie doesn't mind the help.

Though she is pretty sure that she still gets the present at the end.

They also received Nana sweaters.

And Ellie did her best to look like her baby doll.

But a good time was had by all.  And so Merry Christmas to you, all my readers, even if it is a bit late.  You know, like a little over a month.  Perhaps we're just early for next year.

The Stockings Were Hung . . .

After Ellie went to bed on Christmas Eve, Margaret wanted to make sure that she got everything just right.

"What sort of cookies do you thing Santa Claus would like?" she asked, "because I want Santa Claus to have the sort of cookies he likes best because I want him to be happy."

Clearly she is not at all motivated by self-interest.  She is simply altruistic in the extreme.

Leo tried the old Calvin and Hobbes trick, suggesting that "Santa" would like some of the banana bread that Margaret and Mommy had cooked that afternoon.

She saw through this, though.  Well, she didn't, because she is firmly convinced of the existence of the benevolent man in the red suit, but she knew that cookies are what is left for Santa, and cookies she was going to leave.

A bit of a traditionalist, our Margaret.

Anyway, she left them out very carefully.

There may have been some moments where she thought better about leaving cookies out and unattended, when they could be in and attended in her tummy, but she powered through it and left them, and went to be (at 6:45, because she wanted Santa to get there).