Monday, July 24, 2006

A badly paragraphed post

I realized the other day that I haven't done much updating about the girls lately, what they're up to, etc. This is a week of birthdays around here - Mouse just hit five months and the Bear will be two. And so, I thought that this was prime time for reflection - more for myself than for The Internet, although I always read updates about other people's children with relish - I'm always secretly comparing them to my children, trying to see whether my kids are ahead of the curve, behind, average, or something entirely different. I know that comparing is Not Good, every child is different, blah blah blah, but I can't help it. I even compare my own kids, which I *totally* have to stop doing.* (You know you do it too. Stop looking so self-righteous.) Anyway, here's what the kids are up to these days.**

Mouse at five months:

She is turning into such a fun baby. Husband and the Bear can get her to laugh, although I can't. She is very generous with her smiles, though - strangers are always commenting on what a smiley baby she is.

She's right around 18 pounds - enormous! Much bigger than her sister was at that age. Still nursing exclusively, although I'm having a hard time figuring out what to do when I go back to work in a few weeks. I usually pump one bottle a day and give it to her just so she stays used to taking one - she wouldn't for so long, I don't want her to backslide. I can't decide whether to try to keep pumping (*not* easy in a school setting!) or to wean her onto formula. I'm just torn.

She rolls all over the place now - for a while it was mainly front to back, but now she's doing back to front, too. She scoots on her tummy to get to things, and she spins around on her back like the hands on a clock. It's funny to watch.

I'm trying to get her to sleep only in her crib now. For the last month she's been going to sleep in her crib at bedtime, then coming to our bed after her 3 or 4 am feeding and keeping me awake with kicks and flops. I hit a sleep-deprivation wall this weekend, so last night I forced myself to put her back in her bed after her 4 am feeding, and lo and behold, she slept soundly until 7:30, ate again, and went back to sleep again! Yay!

I think I feel the beginnings of a tooth - there's something rough on her gum. I expect it to break through in the next few days (probably while we're in the car for 7 hours to go visit great-grandmother). She's very happy (when she's not teething) and very laid-back. Definitely a low-maintenance girl. Sometimes I think she *knows* that she's a second child and can't afford to be as demanding because we just don't have the time. But that's probably just crazy talk.

She's finally over her many months of awful diaper rash, probably because she's gotten out of the habit of pooping ten times a day. I'm looking forward to starting her on some food in a month or so. I keep wanting to give her tastes of new things, and she is all about the food. She will pull your plate if she sits on your lap. She wants to try things so badly!

The Bear at Two:

Oh, my. Nobody knows how to push your buttons like your own children. Conversely, nobody can make you as completely happy. She is a pill at times, but at others she is the most joyful little girl in the world. She is still on the light side for her age, just barely 25 pounds at 2'9". Her hair is filling in, but pigtails are still a long way off, I think.

She has been talking for - well, it seems like forever now. She uses complete sentences, although her grammar is sometimes suspect. She has quite the vocabulary, too, for someone so young. She has this habit of repeating the exact same sentence over and over and over again until you just want to stuff a pickle in her mouth to shut her up. She lisps a bit, and sometimes it's tough to understand a word. If you guess wrong, she'll repeat herself, loudly, until you figure it out. She has a great sense of humor, and she makes jokes sometimes that crack me up.

She wants to be treated like a baby sometimes, which is the only sign of jealousy she has displayed since her sister arrived. I humor her when she asks, and we tease about it, because babies can't walk and talk and play like she does, silly girl.

She has nightmares sometimes, which are just heartbreaking to me. She gets all choked up and sniffles with these big gulping breaths. You never want your child to be scared, and when there's nothing you can do, it makes you feel so helpless. It helps that she can tell me what scared her, but she can't quite explain *why* yet, and that sucks.

She's doing great with potty training. She can stay in her big-girl underwear all day, and she will tell you nine times out of ten when she needs to use the potty. Sometimes if she gets caught up in playing, she forgets and has an accident. I try to remember to ask her if she hasn't been in a while, but sometimes I forget, too. She usually wakes up dry from her naps, unless they're longer than normal. We've had two or three short outings (less than an hour) and she's been able to stay dry for those, too. When we go out she wears the "plastic pants" to cover her underwear, and she asks to wear them at home, but I don't let her because she gets a little sweaty in them - ick. It was surprisingly easy to get her to do it - after a few false starts, she just got it one day. It's been pretty easy since, and she enjoys it, oddly enough. Very fascinating to her.

She loves to eat fruits, and some vegetables, anything with carbs, and now - peanut butter! I tried it on her for the first time a few weeks ago, and she loves it.

When we put her in her big-girl bed, she spent the first month calling to us when she wanted to get out. It was kind of nice. And then, one day, she realized she could Get Out When She Wanted To. And now, she does. After her naps, she tries to sneak down the stairs to surprise me. I usually sneak up to surprise her, and it's very funny and cute. We meet on the landing and hug. Not so funny in the middle of the night, though. She will occasionally wake up at some ungodly hour of the night and wander into my room. I found her standing by my side of the bed the other night at 3 am, just staring at me. It was kind of creepy, truth be told. She was all, "Hi! I'm wakey!" So not cool.

She's very wary of things and people at first, and it takes her some time to get comfortable in a new situation. She gets scared easily, and is shy around strangers. After about half an hour, though, she warms up and her true personality comes out - very outgoing and curious, although still cautious. Tonight she played on her own at the park, and I sat on the sidelines with Mouse. It was a big breakthrough for her. She had a great time once I convinced her it was supposed to be fun.***

She can count - to two. She knows other numbers after that, but to get her to put them in order, like for counting, is not really on her agenda. Likewise the alphabet. She likes the letters A, H, O, and C. Other letters are passe. All colors are pink. There are no other colors. I think she does this just to piss me off, because every now and then she slips and says "blue car" or "brown crayon" and I know she can tell the difference. Maybe just a weird toddler quirk.

They really are great kids - very loving, very sweet, very fun. I enjoy them, most of the time. I get frustrated and tired and cranky and impatient, but I wouldn't trade them for a ton of monkeys.****

*I don't do the "one is better, one is worse" type of comparison. It's more like "oh, crap, I can't remember what your sister was doing at this age, is this normal?"

**I went back and broke this into paragraphs (kinda) after I wrote it, and, wow, that didn't work out so well. Excuse the unreadability.

***Incidentally, the Bear has a fairly uncommon name. I wanted distinctive, classy, out-of-the-common-way names for my girls, so that they wouldn't be the 18th girl in class with the same exact name and have to use initials or other identifying features. I wanted her to be the only girl in class with her name (although I didn't go so far as the making it up, because I think that's crazy. If she wants to have a high-profile job some day, I don't want people making fun of her name.) But tonight? At the park? Guess who we met? Another Bear. Only four months older, which will put them in the same class in school, assuming we're still living here. Same. Damn. Name. I was a little miffed. Not like I have a monopoly on my children's names, but I like their uniqueness. Having that taken away a little was frustrating to me.

****Besides, what would I do with a ton of monkeys anyway?


Julie said...

Raisin is just like that with her numbers and letters! 1, 2, 3, 6, 9, 13. I think she's actually some kind of code-breaker, which I feel pretty good about because then the NSA will have to think twice about listening to OUR phone conversations.

Ninotchka said...

The girls sound delightful and you, my friend, crack. me. up.

As for the name? What are the chances! I think I'd be annoyed too.

Ah well...there are worse things, I suppose.

Jane said...

Code-breaker? Tee hee! The Bear can answer any question you ask her, as long as the answer is two, no, or pink. Wonder what kind of code she's talking?

And yes, they are delightful. They bring me so much joy - that is, when I don't want to throttle them.