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July/August Thursday :: 03 July 2003
Well the day had to come eventually. Lilly started cursing. We were doing an art project at the kitchen table and we thought we heard her mutter "God" under her breath a couple of times. Lisa and I exchanged glances, but we couldn't be sure what we had heard. Then all of a sudden she let loose with a "Damnit." We were speechless. After an eternity, we tried to explain that "we" never use words like that. Lilly wasn't impressed with our admonitions.

Then at bedtime, she called me a "poophead." I sternly told her that we DON'T say things like that. She hung her head and then shyly looked up and timidly offered "silly goose" with a great big question mark in her voice. I enthusiastically endorsed the use of phrases like "silly goose" and we went on with our bedtime routine. After dark, the neighborhood kids starting lighting off fireworks. Lilly woke up afraid. She told Momma that there was a boom outside trying to get in her window. We eventually calmed her down and got her back to sleep.

Friday :: 04 July 2003
Lilly and I went down to the DeForest Fourth-of-July parade. Without the watchful eye of Momma, Poppa let Lilly have a couple of lollipops, which she seemed to enjoy. On the way down to the parade, Lilly kept asking me if were going to see a black horses. When we in fact did see some, Lilly was overjoyed. From our vantage point on the sidewalk, we could only see the portion of the procession directly in front of us. So every time something passed, Lilly immediately began to ask me, "what's coming next?"

When we got back from the parade, our friends Hans and Amanda and their kids Celia and Ben had arrived for the weekend. After a bit of get-acquainted time we all went down to Fireman's Park. Lilly had been talking about the pony rides for months, but she just couldn't screw up her courage to actually try them this time around. She did try and enjoy the bouncy balloon house and the ancient carny chain swing. Next stop was an ice cream and some time on the playground with Ben and Celia. Lilly insisted that eight-year-old Celia push her on the swings. Luckily, the good-natured Celia was happy to oblige. Back home, we broke out the sprinkler for the kids. They all enjoyed the water and let everyone in the neighborhood know by screaming at the top of their lungs. Just before supper, we had our own little fireworks display for the kids: I lit six sparklers and four snakes. Pretty pathetic, I know, but the young'ns seemed to enjoy it.

Saturday :: 05 July 2003
We all went to the nearby Mckenzie Environmental Center to see the animals and have a picnic. The fire tower was an immediate attraction. Although Lisa wouldn't allow her to climb it, Lilly didn't really seem too upset about it and shouted and waved to me the whole way up. As we walked around around the exhibits of Wisconsin wildlife, Lilly stayed close to Celia and held her hand most of the way. Lilly seems to enjoy the company of older girls and Celia was no exception. For her part, Celia was patient and kind despite the fact that she would rather have spent more time playing with the baby, I think. Back home after our picnic, we again broke out the sprinkler and pool. Five-year-old Ben was especially interested in the baby. At one point, Lisa found him tossing Matchbox cars into her cradle. No harm done and nothing compared to my brother throwing Tonka trucks into by baby sister's crib.

Sunday :: 06 July 2003
Today it was readily apparent that Lilly had really taken a shine to Amanda. She roped her into reading stories to her for at least an hour. Amanda was a good sport and played along. It also become obvious to me that three children playing in a small bedroom makes for a huge mess. As long as they had fun, right?

Monday :: 07 July 2003
Lisa informed me that Lilly has new and unusual name for another one of her babies. This time it's Shoe Cake. Weird? Yes, but it kind of makes Corn Job less disturbing. (See 30 June 2003.)

Tuesday :: 08 July 2003
Maeve is all smiles and seems to be a truly happy baby. Her twinkling eyes and curled, parted lips make her smiles brighten up the room. It's impossible not to giggle and smile back when she flashes one of her sunbeams. Lately she's been sleeping peacefully in the evening, but she's often up at 1:00 a.m. and again at 4:00 a.m. demanding a feed. Lilly had been sleeping through the night for two weeks already at this point. I suppose since Maeve is such a calm and agreeable baby, we can put up with getting up once or twice during the night. Oh yeah, she's sucking down the formula like there's no tomorrow.

Thursday :: 08 July 2003
Last night Lilly was up four times to go to the potty. She cried, fussed and demanded innumerable refills on her water. Tonight I sat her down and had a talk at bedtime explaining that once Momma and Poppa put her to bed, we wouldn't see her until morning and that if she wanted to go potty or more water, she had to do it herself. She said "OK" and we had a much better, less eventful night.

Friday :: 11 July 2003
Maeve had her two-month check-up today. She is in the 75th percentile for height and weight and perfectly normal and healthy. She didn't like the three shots she got in her legs though. Even Lilly remarked on how much she screamed. Even though her appointment was at 11:00 a.m., she was still inconsolable when I got home from work. There was nothing we could do but walk the poor little half-pint. Finally, by 8:00 p.m. or so, she was a little more settled and able to drift off into a fitful sleep.

Saturday :: 12 July 2003
This morning Lilly was all achatter about our trip to the zoo today. Lisa's office picnic was to be held at the Vilas Zoo and Lilly felt sure that there would be other kids there. She told me over and over again that she was going to "show the children the animals" because she had just been there with daycare. Once we got there, she ended up just dragging me all over the exhibits. First stop was the monkey house, but she was frightened of the orangutan and we beat a hasty retreat. We passed by the giraffes and then went on a fruitless search for elephants. Then we hit the children's zoo so we could feed the goats. Lilly insisted on trying to feed specific goats and was a bit put out when others tried to get some of what she had to offer. As a sign on the fence said, "Goats have no manners."

Around 5:00 p.m. we went over to the home of Kevin and Nancy Wade. Ten-year-old Hazel took her off our hands immediately and we were able to relax and enjoy a cookout in the back yard. Among the other guests was three-year-old Ruby. Lilly had a blast running around the yard with the other girls and she and Ruby played for what seemed like hours in the giant free-standing hammock. Maeve was sleeping soundly and Lilly was out of our hair so we pushed our luck and stayed until after 9:00! We finally poured an exhausted Lilly into her bed four hours past her bedtime.

Sunday :: 13 July 2003
We were expecting Grandpa Hall for a visit at noon. Lilly kept us well-informed about whether his car was in the driveway or not. Trying to think of things to pass the time, we went out back to pick some raspberries with the intention of making a pie. I offered her one, which she took and immediately spit out. When I asked her, "you don't like it?" she replied, "I like it in a pie." We didn't get enough berries for a whole pie, so we ended up making muffins. Lilly sang Muffin Man during the whole process.

When Grandpa Hall finally did arrive, Lilly was shy as usual. It didn't last long though when he pulled doll furniture from his van. There was also a box of doll clothes and the two of them spent half an hour going through every article it contained. Lilly showed Grandpa Hall her room and took him down to the pond to throw rocks. Later we went for ice cream at Culver's. Lilly got a grilled cheese and somehow knew that her kid's meal included ice cream. She simply wasn't satisfied with some of my shake or Momma's sundae. When Lisa finally went up and got her a cone, Lilly, not surprisingly, wanted a dish (of course, if she had gotten a dish, a cone would have been insisted upon). It was a bit of a comedy of errors or, as my dad pointed out, a Marx Brothers movie. When we got home, Lilly proved she had inherited some of her mother's silliness by dancing around the yard, waving her arms wildly and singing at the top of lungs, "I'm an octopus and I dance."

At bedtime, Lilly insisted on washing her face. I didn't think too much of as she rubbed some soap on her forehead and chin. By the time she began to wash her cheeks I realized my error in judgement. She soon had soap in her eyes and was screaming. Of course, the first thing she did was try to rub her eyes. This only made things worse since her hands were covered with suds. I had to restrain her hands and try to flush her eyes with water. We averted the crisis, but she continued to complain that her eyes were bothering her. I brought a cup of water into her room and applied a placebic dab of water to her eyelids. Little did I know that this was yet another error in judgement. I was in drifting off in bed when I noticed a shadow scamper by in the hallway reflected in my dresser mirror. I got up to investigate and found Lilly in an agitated state. She had apparently woken up and because her eyes were still hurting, she decided to follow Poppa's lead and get a cup of water. She had spilled half of it in the hallway and half of it in her bed and now she didn't know what to do. I calmed her down got her back in bed and kissed her eyelids. She told me that her eyes would still hurt in the morning but she went to sleep anyway.

Tuesday :: 15 July 2003
After some stern remarks regarding her goofing around at bedtime, Lilly sat on the toilet and wondered aloud: "I don't know why you get mad at me." When I started to explain that I only got mad when she was naughty, she immediatly cut me off and told me, "I still love you though." Later, Lisa and I were sitting on the back deck. I distinctly heard the sound of dog food being poured into a dog dish. Lilly poo-pooed that notion but since I was feeding the baby, she humored me and went to go check. As I suspected, it turned out to be Lilly. By way of explanation, she told Lisa that the puppies were hungry so she got up to feed them.

Saturday :: 19 July 2003
Poppa's company picnic was at Noah's Ark water park in Wisconsin Dells today. Lilly took a while to let loose. She splashed around in one of the kiddie play areas but didn't seem to want to venture too far from us or interact with other kids. I lured away from the shallows with the promise of driving the bumper boats nearby. She enjoyed the ride and smiled deliriously as she spun around. We headed over the the Lazy River, a long winding canal crammed with fat, white inner tubers. I scrambled into a tube as it floated by and flopped Lilly into my lap. She thought it was great and she managed to charm almost everyone who floated by.

Next up was the Slidewinder. The lower slides were for kids only and I figured she wouldn't want to go down alone. I was wrong. Lilly gleefully slid down and as I hauled her out, she said she wanted to "go on the high one with you." As we trudged up the stairs, I was half-excpecting her to chicken out at the last minute. But when our turn came, she scrambled into my lap and away we went. She screamed and laughed all the way done and before we were even out the pool at the bottom, she was asking to go again. We went on a different, faster, slide the second time around and it was a bit too scary. We retreated to yet another kiddie pool but beat a hasty retreat due to an unusual and unexpected Lilly butt explosion. We arrived home with an exhausted Lilly and a sun burned Maeve. (OK, maybe not burned. Even though we took every precaution while at the park, we negelected to account for the sun shining through the car window on the ride home.)

Monday :: 21 July 2003
Lilly and Maeve accompanied us to the bank this afternoon. As we were going over the loan paperwork with the banker, Lilly suddenly and loudly announced: "Excuse me. I burped." Afterwards we went to American to look at appliances and had to contend with a whiny and tired three-year-old. About halfway through our meeting with the salesperson, Lilly started buggin me to go to Rocky's for pizza. At first, we were considering it. But when she became just obnoxious we decided to just head home. This of course caused a huged altercation and preciptated in screaming for a large portion of the ride home. Maeve, of course, was an angel.

Friday :: 25 July 2003
As we all lay in bed this morning, Lilly nuzzeld up to the baby and explained, "I cuddle with the baby. We want to cuddle by ourselves." It was a precious moment that she then ruined by blowing in Maeve's face and making her cry.

Sunday :: 27 July 2003
Lilly's friend Cody from daycare invited her to his birthday party, so we all trekked over in the afternoon. Lilly was right in the thick of everything. She immediately asked if she could see his room and the two of them tore off to wreak havoc. We had been working with her over the last few days, explaining that because it was Cody's birthday, he would open the presents, not her. She kept it in mind and didn't interfere but she did try to get as close as possible during the unwrapping. I could see her catch herself a few times when she began to reach for a gift. A definite A for effort.

Monday :: 28 July 2003
My Aunt Ruth and my (great) Auntie came for a visit and brought along my cousin Julie's daughter Paige. When I got home from work, the girls had already bonded and torn apart Lilly's room, the living room, and the sandbox. I took the girls down to the pond to through rocks, look at the fish, and bounce on the Roberts' trampoline. Paige and Lilly got on famously even if Lilly did tend to boss her cousin around a bit to much for my taste. There were the usual altercations over sharing toys, but all in all, the visit was a success. Case in point: as we sat down to supper, Lilly dragged her chair around the table saying "I want to sit right next to my cousin Paige."

Wednesday :: 30 July 2003
Lisa went out for a coworker's going-away party leaving me alone with the girls. She was apprehensive, but I wasn't worried. What could go wrong? Well, the best baby in the world, the one that never cries, screamed for two hours straight. No amount of feeding, burping, changing, rocking, walking, or singing could calm her. Top it off with a restless and demanding Lilly after lights out and it made for a frazzled Poppa. They both finally quieted down by 9:00 p.m. and I was able to relax with some PHP coding.

Thursday :: 31 July 2003
Despite the previous nights cacophony, I must report that Maeve really is the best baby in the world. She is so calm and accomodating, rarely making a ruckus. And boy, does she smile. Everytime I turn around she's grinning at me. Her devilish smile and twinkling eyes are enough to turn anyone into a lump of putty. She likes singing too: tonight we played "So Big," and "Head, Shoulders, Knees, and Toes." She gurgled and cooed and, yes, smiled even more.

Saturday :: 02 August 2003
Our friend Kris arrived for a weekend visit by around 9:30 in the morning. Lilly, as usual, was excited to have someone else to impress by showing off her room. Lilly was all abuzz today because she's been looking forward to seeing Poppa play a concert. We were set to perform at the Atwood Summerfest and the whole crew was going to be there. I left at 11:00 a.m. and Lisa and Kris and the girls met me down there by 12:30 p.m. Lilly waved at me a couple of times while I was on stage and paid a fair amount of attention to the proceedings. Afterwards she told various people, myself included, that it was very loud but that it was "perfect." Her friends Ruby and Hazel were in attendance and they ran around screaming and playing with ribbons on a stick. Maeve got passed around, with Sarah, Leslie, and Nancy all vying for cuddle time. I stayed behind while the girls headed home. I got a call later because Lilly was wondering when I was going to be home to put her to bed. By the time I got home though, she had already roped Kris into bedtime duties and was asleep.

Sunday :: 03 August 2003
In the afternoon we went to West Towne Mall so that Lilly could play on the indoor foam playground. I can tell she's growing up and getting more confident, because as soon as she had her shoes off, she took off and didn't look back. She was all over the place, only occassionally skipping past us just to make sure we were still watching her. Maeve slumbered peacefully in her stroller.

Monday :: 04 August 2003
As usual, Lisa had the girls all to herself today. Her word to describe the day? Challenging. Lilly likes testing limits and pushing buttons (no surprise; she's a three-year-old) and she and Lisa clash more than a little over control of any given situation. I'm sure her headstrong personality will reap rewards in adult life, but right now it can be a bit exhausting.

Maeve is growing up too. She smiles A LOT. I mean, she REALLY likes to smile. She's also been much more interactive. She makes faces and sounds and genuinely seems to enjoy attempting to communicate with us. Her hand-eye coordination seems to be improving as well. She loves batting at the hanging toys that attach to the front of her bouncy seat. She gets a very determined look on her face as she bashes each twirly thing in turn. She also delights in grabbing and whacking at our hands, as if to encourage more interaction. Maeve HAS slept through the night a few times, but she's far from regular yet. Generally it's only once in the night, either for a diaper change or a bottle. She's been sleeping in the evening from about 7-10 and then goes right back to sleep after we give her a bedtime bottle. If she does wake up again, it's usually in the morning around 3:00 or 4:00.

Tuesday :: 05 August 2003
Today was the day that Momma has been dreading: Maeve's first day at daycare. As with Lilly, it was much harder on mother than on child. Lilly thought it was great fun to have her baby sister go to daycare with her and seemed very proud to help us drop off the baby in the infant room. When I picked Miss Maeve up, she was smiling and she had reportedly had a good day. Unlike her sister, the cloth diapers provided by the center seem to be working out just fine.

Wednesday :: 06 August 2003
Lilly was beside herself when I picked her up. She was just bursting with stories about her field trip to Little America. Unlike most other field trips, Momma didn't go along on this one. Lilly was very proud to have gone by herself and told me all about riding the train, swings, and ponies all by herself. As she brushed her teeth, she chattered about how she wanted to tell Momma "all about little 'mehr-eeka when she gets home." When I went to check on her later, she was up and perched on the toilet in the bathroom. Because she was taking so long, I went down stairs to feed the dogs. When I got back up she asked if I had remembered to give Sabrina her medicine. After listening to my assurances that I had, she said, "I just wanted to make sure." Then she launched into a crazy story about some birds she saw in the tree outside her window. She described these (Mo)'squito birds in some detail. "The mother has a long neck and the babies have short ones and they don't have a poppa because they don't like poppas. They eat mosquitos." Then after giving it some more thought, she continued, "and they eat worms, and bugs, and spiders and..." Then she started to giggle. "And monkeys and books." She concluded with an alarming proposition. "I want the 'squito birds to come in my house and give me a hug."

Saturday :: 09 August 2003
Pool party at Will and Sarah's. Lilly was a water-bug through and through. She squealed and splashed and swam whether anyone was in the pool with her or not. She enjoyed floating in an inflatable chair with Poppa and playing with a self-propelled toy shark with Sarah and Will. It was a struggle to get her out for lunch and a battle to convince her that we had to leave. As soon as the car started moving though, she zonked.

Sunday :: 10 August 2003
Our friends, Paul and Yanako, just built a house in our neighborhood and we went visiting. Lilly really hit it off with Yanako and spent an hour playing with dolls on the living room floor.

Sunday :: 17 August 2003
Lilly was abuzz this morning in expectation of our afternoon visitors. John and Dawn, visiting from Portland, arrived around noon and after a quick hello, Lilly hit her wading pool and sprinkler. Maeve was happy to be held by Dawn for a while and only fussed when her belly was empty. True to form, Lilly insisted on showing our guests her room and pointed out all her Hello Kitty items with great zeal. After John and Dawn left, Lilly's energy level waned a bit and she played quietly indoors until our next set of guests arrive. Todd and Rylee showed up with their daughters, Raine (11) and Ryann (16). Once again, Lilly dragged the girls up to her room and they played for quite a while out of our hair. Ryann left and Lilly then roped Raine into an extended game of Candyland. I finally got her to bed around 7:00 pm.

Tuesday :: 19 August 2003
When Lisa picked the girls up at daycare, she was informed that Maeve had been bit on the forehead by a 10-month-old. After getting over the surprise, we started to get angry that we weren't informed immediately. The staff in the infant room seemed very nonchalant about the whole incident, which didn't sit well with us. Maeve didn't seem to be at all put out though. She smiled as much as usual and cooed, gurgled, and gave us the raspberry until she dozed off around 6:30. She's been sleeping through the night now for a couple of weeks. She usually squawks a few times, but is easily placated by sticking a nuk in her mouth. Lilly has been complaining quite a bit lately about her tummy hurting. It's hard to know what's really going on. Sometimes it seems like she's just hungry, sometimes it seems like she wants attention (or is trying to divert attention from her naughtiness), and sometimes it seems like she's genuinely in pain. We try to be sympathetic while at the same time downplaying it. If it continues, we may need to seek medical counsel.

Saturday :: 23 August 2003
Nanny and Grandpa drove out for a quick weekend visit. The highlight today, at least as far as Lilly was concerned, was swimming and a sleepover at their hotel. Lilly loves the water. She doesn't care who is swimming with her; she splashes and cavorts, alone or not. Today she began to do exaggerated moves, twirls, and poses, reminiscent of synchronized swimming. It really was quite funny. Maeve got mistaken for a little boy, but I still think she's an absolutely gorgeous baby girl. Her lips are much more fully formed than Lilly's were and their color has deepened to beautiful red. Make no mistake, she will be a heart breaker. We took Lilly up to Nanny and Grandpa's room to get her ready for bed. We thought we had everything pretty much set when we left. We were wrong. Nanny told us later that we apparently hadn't let Lilly swim long enough because she didn't go to sleep until 9:00 pm. Lilly certainly had her grandparents wrapped around her finger. She had them all in bed with her and kept asking for more water. This proved to be their undoing as she had a bed-wetting incident and had to spend the rest of the night in bed with Nanny and Grandpa.

Sunday :: 24 August 2003
Grandpa bought Lilly a new blow-up wading pool. After Poppa spent half and hour blowing up the darn thing, we all watched from the porch while Lilly rollicked in the icy water. Maeve made quite an impression on her grandparents. They both made an inordinate number of faces and baby noises whenever she was near them. It IS hard to resist; I know.

Monday :: 25 August 2003
Lilly was excited to show me something tonight. She dragged me to the bathroom and demonstrated how she could get a drink of water without using her step stool. I was impressed and told her so. She explained it me this way: "Poppa, I'm getting bigger." Yes you are, sweetheart. Yes you are. Maeve is growing up too. She is increasingly interested in playing with toys. She excitedly bats and grabs the toys that attach to her bouncy chair. She also really seems to enjoy laying on the floor under her Playskool A-frame and taking potshots at the various hanging items. She uses her feet as well as her hands and really throws her weight around trying to kick everything dangling in her face.

Tuesday :: 26 August 2003
This morning, Lilly hugged and kissed her little sister and announced, "Maeve's my little baby and I love her."

Thursday :: 28 August 2003
Due to some concerns about daycare staffing and policies, we kept Maeve home today. She spent the day with our neighbor Betty Sweeney. Betty got more than she bargained for because our no-fuss baby decided to pick today to get sick. When Lilly and I went to pick her up, she was lethargic and pale. Betty reported that she had vomitted twice. As if to verify Betty's assertion, Maeve threw up again right there in Betty's kitchen. When we got home we had two more icidents of neon-green vomit from a very miserable baby. It broke my heart to feel her little belly convulse and hear her pitiful howls. She couldn't even keep pedialite down.

Friday :: 29 August 2003
Lilly lay down next to Maeve in the morning and said, with what appeared to be real concern, "I don't want Maeve to be sick." She was better today but threw up again in the evening.

Saturday :: 30 August 2003
Poppa succumbed to whatever horrible microbe had taken out Maeve. Nausea and body aches sidelined me on the couch. Lilly decided she wanted to "take a rest with Poppa on the couch" and she lie quietly next to me as I tossed and turned feverishly. Maeve appeared to be doing better and was smiling and cooing like her regular self.

Sunday :: 31 August 2003
I woke to find myself much improved. Momma, however, was down for the day. It was an exhausting day for me watching over all three of my girls. Once again, my theory about the gender inequality of baby tolerance was proven spot on.

Past diary entries: May-June 2003

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