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September/October Monday :: 01 September 2003
Everyone appeared to be fairly healthy today and we spent a leisurely Labor Day holiday around the house. Lilly's new catch phrase is "actually..." When asked a question, she takes a deep breath and says "Well... Actually..." as if she really can't be bothered to explain something so trivial. She trails off and then finishes up with a "Yes" or a "No" depending on the situtation.

Lilly performed numerous musical numbers for us today. These crazy song-and-dance routines are stream of conciousness at its finest. Using a monotone delivery and choppy meter she recites storylines, surrounding objects and overheard converstation that just goes on and on and on. I checked in on Lilly on my way to bed tonight. She heard me come in and called to me, her voice thick and fuzzy with sleep. She reached up and wrapped her arms around my neck and said "I love you Poppa." As she turned over to go back to sleep, I replied "I love you too Lilly."

Wednesday :: 03 September 2003
A friend of mine is starting a new business producing audio stories. She sent me one and Lilly seemed very excited to give it a listen. She squirmed a lot and asked questions (obviously making it hard to keep track of the story line) so I wasn't sure she was into it. But after it was over, she told me that she wanted to hear more. When I promised that I'd get her another, she looked at me serioulsy and said, "OK Poppa, I'll wait."

Over the weekend, Lilly had picked up a rock off the floor at Home Depot. She'd been keeping it on her night stand ever since. This morning, she told me she wanted to take it to daycare so she could show her friends. At the last minute she decide she wanted me to take it to the office to show everyone. I dutifully complied. What I didn't realize was that I suppose to bring it home too. While I was putting her to bed tonight, she suddenly asked where the rock was. When I told her I had left it at the office, waterworks ensued. She sobbed "rocky, rocky, rocky..." inconsolably over and over again. She explained "I'm crying because I'm sad that my rock isn't here. I got it at Home Depot." It's a cold cruel world, ain't it?

Thursday :: 04 September 2003
When I picked up Lilly at daycare she wanted to show me the monkey bars. We've done this many times before and I invariably end up supporting her and getting her down. Today, she not only moved a few bars forward under her own power, she dropped to the ground with a big grin. Maeve is lagging behind Lilly in her development point. I suppose it's inevitable that she'll be forever compared to her big sister, but by this time Lilly was rolling over, sleeping on her stomach, and eating cereal. On the other hand, Maeve smiles more. She is now definitely sleeping through the night prompting me to step up my lobbying to have her moved out of our room and into the nursery.

Saturday :: 06 September 2003
We all went to the Monona Dream Park today. Lilly loved running around and exploring all the nooks and crannies of the huge play castle. Gone is last year's hesitation and shyness in public places. For lunch, we went to Red Robin. Lilly ordered for herself, loudly exclaiming "I WANT GRILLED CHEESE." Poppa and Lilly shared a milk shake for dessert. Lilly whispered to me "Lilly and Poppa like ice cream. Momma doesn't like ice cream." Next up was a screening of Finding Nemo. Lilly was thrilled to go to the movies, but became terrified by the sharks. I tried to comfort her by taking her in my lap and I could feel her heart racing. Twice, she got so panicky, that Lisa had to take her to the lobby while I stayed with Maeve. She back within minutes though and eventually settled down to watch. As she was getting ready for bed, she told me, "Poppa, that was a cool movie." I asked her what she liked best and she replied "Nemo." She continued, "I always wanted Nemo to come live with me."

Monday :: 08 September 2003
Lilly went to the dentist today. On her last visit, Doctor Dan had discovered a cavity, so today was an appointment for a filling. The assistant introduced her to the instrument: Mr. Thirsty (the suction hose) and The Bumper (the drill). Somehow, Doctor Dan was able to distract her enough to shoot her full of novacaine. Lilly was excited to show me the silver star in her tooth when I got home from work. In the afternoon, we took the girls to Lilly's first swim lesson. At this level she is in the "Pike" group. Being the first class, parents were allowed to observe. Lilly grinned at us from time to time over her shoulder. She did an excellent job of blowing bubbles and floating on her back. Maeve got into the act to when I dipped her feet into the baby pool.

Tuesday :: 09 September 2003
Lately Lilly has been pointing our specific opportunities for photographs by calling out to us "Look at this picture." For example, hugging Sabrina and snuggling Maeve were singled out as good photo ops. Maeve has been very congested in the morning lately: every sneeze calls for an emergency Kleenex cleanup. She always seems better in afternoon, but then stuffs up again over night.

Wednesday :: 10 September 2003
Maeve is a happy baby. Of that there can be know doubt. She smiles and grins at us for hours at a time, spitting and giving us the raspberry until we are reduced to fits of laughter. Lately I've taken to watching Lilly in the dark as she sleeps. In the dim light of hallway night light, I can just make out her features. Sometimes I'll put my hand on her stomach or chest to feel the imperceptible movement of her breathing. Her peaceful sleep makes me worry about the baggage I'm bringing from my past. It's the age-old agony of parenthood: trying to make everything different for your children and knowing that you really have no control.

Friday :: 12 September 2003
Lisa and Maeve started their series of rabies shots today. A mysterious bite on Lisa's arm and the presence of bats in our attic prompted a week of agonizing debate and culminated in the decision to go ahead with the shots. Maeve screamed bloody murder at her four shots, but did well and did not fuss much during the evening.

Saturday :: 13 September 2003
We drove to Janesville to pick turn in our leased Jetta and pick up a new one. Lilly rode quietly all the way down and back, though she did remind us several times that I had promised to buy her some jewelry upon our return. We whipped into Target to pick up some Mardi Gras beads and a set of Hello Kitty bracelets and then went for lunch. At some point during lunch, Lilly said "What the heck?" It stifled a laugh as Lisa told her that "we" don't say that. Lilly considered this advice for a moment and then burst out "What the house?" I was reduced to hysterics. Lisa was not amused.

Monday :: 15 September 2003
At rabies appointment #2, Lilly stayed in the room with Momma and told her that she was going to hold her hand because that would make Momma feel better. I bet it did too. Maeve came through like a trooper again. Only three more to go. On our way to swim lesson, Lilly looked at all the cars as I was trying to turn onto Hwy 19 and said, "Momma, what's all this traffic?" On the way home, Maeve started her raspberry routine. Lilly soon followed suit, trying to outdo her baby sister. She was so goofy about she actually got Maeve to giggle laugh. To my knowledge this was a first for the wee one. At home during dinner, I said something about seeing Lilly through the windows during her swim lesson. She replied matter-of-factly, "I didn't see YOU because I was busy." Well, OK then.

Sunday :: 28 September 2003
Despite the cold and damp we bundled up and trekked to Warner Park for the annual Juvenile Diabetes Foundation Walk. As usual we were part of Team Hazel, supporting my friend Kevin Wade's daughter. Lilly had been looking forward to seeing 10-year-old Hazel for the last few days and ran right up to her. Hazel was much more interested in hanging with friends her own age, but eventually took Lilly under her wing. She got her a balloon animal and included her in a game of chase along the shores of the lagoon. As the temperature dropped and the rain moved in, we decided to bag the walk and retreat to the van. Later we headed over to the Wades' for a bit of a party/hangout. Hazel did an amazing job of keeping Lilly occupied. At one point they were chasing each other around and I heard Lilly yelling in the next room, "Monkey. Where are you Monkey?" Needless to say, Maeve was an angel, only asking to be fed a few times. We stayed late and bundled our little monkey, Lilly, into bed after 9:00 p.m.

Wednesday :: 15 October 2003
Our nighttime routine has changed. Maeve has now (finally) been installed in the nursery (or as Lilly says, "nursely") and seems to being doing well. She sleeps better without us in the same room. We put her down around 5:30 p.m. and if we feed and change her around 10:00 p.m., she sleeps through the night.

Maeve's move necessitated the removal of the baby monitor from Lilly's room. Lisa had trepidations, but it seemed like a step we needed to take. Lilly is perfectly capable of coming downstairs if she really needs us or, more often, screaming at the top of her lungs to get our attention. Lilly has been terrified of going to bed at night. Every night she tells me that she doesn't want to be alone; that she's scared a monster is going to come into her room. I'm usually able to calm her down and reassure her that Momma and Poppa are right downstairs. Once we select a few stuffed animals to sleep with her, she's able to settle down but it's still a struggle to get out the door. She stalls, asking to be tucked in multiple times and for assurances that both Momma and Poppa will be up later to check on her. We're not sure where this fear has come from, but we assume (and hope) that it's just a phase. (I guess I've truly become a parent: I'm talking about my kids going through phases.)

Lilly's language and reasoning skills have grown by leaps and bounds. She says very adult-like things (usually in very child-like contexts): "I make a deal with you." "Does that sound like a deal?" "How 'bout a compromise?" "I make an idea." "What's the whole story?" She absolutely slays us when we ask her for a decision (like what she wants for dinner); she tilts her head, puts her index finger to her lips, and muses "hmmmmmm... how 'bout..." Sometimes she calls to us from the next room, "Here's a picture." When we investigate, we find her hugging one of the dogs or mugging next to her sister. Lilly continues her interest in art and often asks if she can do an art project. She has been exploring mixed media, usually starting out with marker or crayon on paper, then embellishing with water colors, and finally gluing on string, rice grains, stickers, bits of paper, or other objects. She also enjoys making cards: scribbled pieces of scrap paper folded into impossibly small wads.

As cute and charming as she is, Lilly can also be a hellion. She has been arguing and disobeying constantly. We are often exasperated at her defiance and contrariness, but it's usually easy to trace these traits directly to one or the other of her parents. We continue to work with her, attempting to get her to answer instead of grunting when she's angry or frustrated, to express her feelings instead of crying or screaming, and to ask for things nicely (and once) instead of whining when she's frustrated and needs help. Yesterday she asked me to open the closet door so she could get her shoes. Then she turned and inquired, "Was that asking nicely?"

Even though we suspect that some of Lilly's behavior may be related to sibling jealousy, outwardly she shows only affection for her little sister. When Maeve was crying in the car, Lilly talked to her at length trying to reassure: "Maeve, everything's OK. We're almost home." This morning when I put the girls into Lisa's car, Lilly excitedly told me, "I spiled [sic] at Maeve and she spiled [sic] back at me!" The girls enjoy making faces at each other and trying to outdo each other with screams, chortles, and other assorted noises. Maeve has been enjoying playing in her exersaucer and Lilly likes playing with her, picking up fallen toys and offering suggestions as to what she should play with. She doesn't whack her in the face too often.

For her part, Maeve seems to adore Lilly. She gazes longingly at her and smiles her huge gummy smile, her dark eyes sparkling with admiration. Our impossibly happy baby has given up the raspberry and has been making all manners of talking-type noises. Not a whole lot of consonant and vowel sounds yet, but the guttural utterances seem to be moving in that direction. She is holding her head up quite a bit now and is able to regain her balance if she tips a bit too far past the balancing point while sitting in our laps. The baby swing has been retired to the garage and the high chair has been installed in the kitchen. The cradle in the living room will have to be retired soon as well as Maeve is getting so boisterous in her thrashing that we are beginning to fear that she may actually tip it over. Little Maeve and her Momma are finally finished with their rabies shots and we hope to have a quiet winter health-wise.

Friday :: 17 October 2003
Seemingly as a birthday present for her devoted Poppa, Maeve rolled over for the first time today. Tonight marked another first though this time for Momma: she left Maeve alone with a sitter. We were headed out for my birthday party downtown so Maggie had to come early tonight. This was the first time a sitter's put Lilly to bed. When we checked in later, Maggie assured us that Lilly had behaved well and gone to sleep without much trouble and that Maeve had woken up around 10:00 p.m. for a change and a bottle.

Monday :: 20 October 2003
Because Maeve's month-long cough has refused to go away, Lisa took her in to the clinic today. Doctor Plumb pronounced her in good health and guessed that a sinus infection was to blame. Because Maeve wasn't really bothered by it, we opted to forgo the antibiotic treatment and just wait for nature to run its course. The child is obviously healthy: she weighs as much at five months as Lilly did at eight!

Wednesday :: 22 October 2003
Lilly continues to come up with statements that floor us. While peering into the refrigerator: "What do we have in here?" Inquiring about a discussion between Momma and Poppa: "What's the problem now?" Responding to the observation that Aunt Sandra had given her a couple of books: "That was very kind of her." Patting her mattress at bedtime: "Poppa have a seat here please." Giggling when answering the question about who Hank was: "My boyfriend."

Instead of tearing our hair out over Lilly's argumentative disobedience, we created a gold-sticker chart in an attempt to motivate her to be good. For each incident of using words to describe her feelings or using her listening skills, she gets a gold star. When the chart is filled, she will be rewarded with a special treat. We asked her what she wanted it to be. Her answer: a special activity alone with Poppa. We'll see how it goes.

Wednesday :: 29 October 2003
Lilly seemed a little down when I picked her up from daycare today. She was out of sorts and teary as we tried to get her and her sister packed and bundled up and out to the car. Half way home, she forlornly told me "I had a hard day today." She perked up a bit after dinner, Dragon Tales, and some hugs. After I tucked her into bed though, she didn't want me to leave. She's still been quite scared at night and tonight wasn't any different. She continues to remind me, "I don't want to be alone." By now, I utter my rote response and try to beat a hasty retreat knowing with certainty that I'll be back up four or five more times before she's finally exhausted enough to fall asleep. Maeve, on the other hand, not only drifts off right away, is sleeping through the night without any problems.

Thursday :: 30 October 2003
Nanny and Grandpa arrived this morning for a short visit. They wasted no time in showering the girls with gifts and commencing a four-day orgy of eating and shopping. We all went out to eat at Pedro's for dinner. Lilly was a littled bewildered by the buttered tortillas but eventually ate so many that she didn't really want her dinner when it finally arrived.

Friday :: 31 October 2003
Lilly and Grandpa carved a Jack-O-Lantern today. When I returned home, Lilly could scarcely contain her excitement to show me the lit candle inside. As the light waned, we costumed our girls: Lilly was a ballerina and Maeve was daddy's little devil. Then, as has been our Halloween tradition, we trooped over to the Roberts' house. Maggie, Molly, and Sarah had made little gift bags for the girls and fussed over them despite Lilly's shyness and Maeve's disinterest.

Nanny and Grandpa agreed to take the girls to their hotel so Lisa and I could catch a movie. The plan was to collect Maeve later and Lilly would spend the night. When we showed up around 9:00 p.m., Lilly was still awake. Nanny and Grandpa were exhausted from her constant "deal making: and Lilly seemed a bit out of sorts. When we asked her if she wanted to go home with us, she said yes, so we bundled the girls into the car and hit the road.

Past diary entries: July-August 2003
May-June 2003

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