Monday, June 29, 2009

Bedtime

Bean-girl: Mommy, do you love your two children more than anything and no matter what we do and do you love us more than anything at all in the world and think we are the most wonderful and bestest in all the world?

Um, yes.

Now please don’t make me think about all that when I say it to you. Your mommy hates getting sappy and teary.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Precious memories

You know what's really gross? When your two-year old is sitting on your lap (because she refuses to sit in her own chair)stuffing your scrambled eggs into her mouth with her hands. And then she spits out the scrambled eggs onto your plate. And then she re-stuffs them into her mouth and eats them.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Weekend moments

What is it about children and bugs? Bean-girl is indifferent to the bright finches and cardinals that come to our bird-feeder, but is held rapt at the sight of an ant on the ground. Ladybugs, caterpillars, spiders and worms—all are fascinating, no matter how many times she’s seen them before. Legume is similarly thrilled.

This weekend I bought the girls a bug-hunting kit from a local nature center. One of the best six dollars I’ve ever spent. A simple net, a cheap pair of binoculars and magnifying class (which are too out-of-focus to really let you distinguish anything), and this nifty little bug-catcher, two halves of a plastic ball mounted on what look like the edges of scissors. You squeeze the handles of the bug-catcher together and the plastic halves close in and trap the bug in a sphere (studded with breathing holes, to boot).

The past two evenings we’ve been on bug-hunting walks. Bean-girl was absolutely thrilled to come upon a wriggling red worm on the sidewalk and carefully placed her net over the worm, proud that she’d finally caught something. She was so proud that, in fact, she “caught” the worm several times, repeatedly putting the net over it and then taking it off. Various ants and beetles on the sidewalk were caught in similar fashion. Legume grabbed the plastic ball bug-catcher and proceeded to flip bugs on their backs and pound/grind them to oblivion. There was a nasty moment when I thought she would do the same to a second worm we encountered, and I picked her up (howling her dismay) to prevent this occurrence.

Tonight we headed down the hill behind our house and through the open campus of the community rec center, skirting the edges of wild prairie-grass. Bean-girl thrashed the tall grass with her net. Legume plunged down a small path someone had trampled in the grass, and we had no choice but to follow her. Gnats and small grasshoppers (?) hopped and whirred, too fast for Bean-girl to deliberately catch. Then, heading back home, she noticed that her net was full of tiny bugs after all, prompting a moment of serious study, then much shaking to be rid of them.

**********************************************************************

Tonight I put Bean-girl to sleep and Husband put Legume to bed. As Bean-girl and I said goodnight to Legume, Legume waved happily (not crying for once). Unprompted, she said for the first time on her own, “I love oo.” And then, “Have a good night.”

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Welcome, two.

The cousins invaded last week, as I’d been warning Bean-girl for weeks. My sister-in-law and her four children arrived for their first visit to our home. I now have the barest inkling of the life Jon and Kate Gosselin might lead (minus tabloids and product endorsements, of course). When food landed on the kitchen table, it seemed to instantaneously vanish under the serving ladle. Whole bags of fruit—cherries, strawberries, grapes—evaporated from the fridge. The fridge mysteriously cleared itself out every evening. We go through four gallons of milk a week, my sister-in-law told me, and it’s no exaggeration. Little girls were everywhere in our house—laughing, chattering, long hair swinging. Bean-girl was in heaven, with the attention of four cousins, three of them sudden “older sisters” to play with. After her initial reservations, Legume warmed up and also plunged into the noise and chaos.

My husband’s amazing sister has triplet pre-teens—three 10-year old girls. Plus one fifteen year old boy. All of them beautiful and charming, with no trace of fabled teen sulkiness. It strikes me how young they all seem to me. I thought ten would seem old compared to Bean-girl’s four—isn’t ten practically puberty these days, according to media reports? But ten is still very much an age of childhood. My ten year old nieces can make their own sandwiches, scramble their own eggs. But they also still play games of make-believe. They giggle as madly at nonsensical jokes as any four-year old. They’re all in a zillion sports—track, swim team, horseback riding. They’ve read the Stephanie Meijer “Twilight” series and tell me that these books are all the rage in their school (a statement which rather took me aback). Yet they clamor Mommy, mommy! in the same tones as a preschooler demanding for their mother to Look at this! See me! Help me! Pay attention!

And the fifteen year old boy, despite having a drivers’ permit, seems young to me as well. Still affectionate with his younger sisters, unapologetically close to his family—none of the reserve that I imagined would come with his age, or the reserve that I imagine I felt at that age (and did I? Can I really remember?) Still so young they all seem—open and unguarded as summer blooms.

Bean-girl and Legume stayed home with their father and relatives all of last week. Husband took the week off work (I had to go into work, alas). Nearly every day brought an outing for the kids—to the zoo, the botanical gardens, the beach. Nights brought popcorn and movies at home. Despite the crowd, I will say that my kitchen was neater than it usually is, with conscientious house-guests jumping up to lend a hand. And there were four older kids to keep an eye on Bean-girl and Legume, to take them outside to play or entertain them while the adults cleaned up and maybe even relaxed.

Bean-girl bonded most especially with cousin M. They spent hours together, just the two of them. Holed up in Bean-girl’s room telling stories, playing with stuffed animals, cuddling in bed. One of their favorite games was one in which Bean-girl pretended she was M and M pretended that she was Bean-girl. They found this game endlessly, inexplicably amusing.

And in the midst of all this, Legume turned two. Exactly one week ago. It wasn’t a well-thought out party. My gifts, I’m rather ashamed to say, were picked up at a local toy store that very evening. Auntie E and the cousins made a cake. Helium balloons were left over from a trip to the grandparents the day before. Legume sat bemused in her high chair and ate her cake. She enjoyed her gifts, particularly the cheap $2 wind-up duck she chose for herself at the toy store. Two-year olds are easily impressed.

She is sleeping now, my little girl. I’ve been denying it, but my baby walked away from me months ago. When I wasn’t looking, a little girl took her place.

Hi there, big little girl Legume.