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January/February Thursday :: 01 January 2004
After a quiet evening in last night, we hit the party circuit hard in the new year. First up was a kids party hosted by one of Lilly's daycare teachers. Amy's daughter Ashley is in Lilly's class and the two of them immediately disappeared into Ashley's bedroom and proceeded to tear it apart. Away from the main kid action, Maeve was the center of attention for all the adults. The fact they she has gotten obviously fatter has not diminished her magnetism; if anything, her cheeks seem to mesmerize entire rooms.

Next stop was an open house at Coney Island Studio, which is run by our friend Wendy. We socialized and ate vegetarian chili while Lilly colored in the control room. She seemed perfectly happy laying on the floor by herself coloring pictures of fish and drawing her own pictures of the sun and clouds. When I checked on her once, she pointed out how she was coloring a cloud gray "because it was raining." Maeve slept for quite a while and later mugged and waved at six-month-old Ruby.

Our final stop was Chris Maddox's new house for a bit of a house-warming party. Lilly hit it off immediately with his new girlfriend Sara. She also acted incredibly goofy with Chris and they took turns telling each other stories about what kind of animals were stealing their spots on the couch. As usual, Maeve amazed everyone with her good behavior, her sparkling smiles, and her Buddha belly.

Saturday :: 03 January 2004
We dragged the girls around to a few car dealerships in search of a replacement for our ailing van. (At Ford quality is job #1? Don't even get me started.) Lilly enjoyed testing out every back seat by getting buckled in. She pronounced each to be "pretty." Despite the fact that she had insisted on wearing a skirt today (and no tights), she trooped through parking lot after parking lot without complaining. Maeve never complains.

Back at home we got Maeve to play "So Big" with only verbal prompts: "How big is Maeve?" We also got her to clap just by asking. We couldn't remember Lilly responding so well to verbal instructions at this age. Maybe Maeve's not just all blonde good looks. Of course, Lilly had to get in on the action and show us that she could clap and play "So Big" too. I tried to explain that it's not nearly so impressive when a three-and-a-half-year-old does it, but her sibling rivalry/jealousy was not so easily dismissed.

Sunday :: 04 January 2004
Lilly has been very affectionate with me lately. Several times over the last few days, she's pulled me to her to give me a big kiss. Of course, I couldn't be happier. Uncle Chris came over this afternoon to deliver a belated Christmas gift for Lilly. She unwrapped her new Brio train set with glee and immediately marched Chris into the living room to play. I brought down the rest of her train tracks and the two of them played for a couple of hours while Maeve and I giggled on the couch. Maeve went down for a nap but woke shortly with ear-piercing (especially through the cranked baby monitor) screams. When I went to fetch her, she had turned over (yes, finally) and was on her tummy peering over the bumper.

As I was putting Lilly to bed, she got a little squirrely. In the bathroom she started bouncing around. "I'm a scary jumping ghost. I can reach all the way up to the sky and chop people down. I'm a Halloween ghost." Then, "You're a curious guy Poppa. You're a curious George monkey guy."

Monday :: 05 January 2004
Lisa called me at work. The good news was that she had been able to get the girls in for their second flu shots. The bad news was that her back had given out while she was holding Maeve. She was stranded on the kitchen floor for a while but managed to crawl into the living room. She propped Maeve up with some toys and Lilly brought her a diaper and the phone. I left work early and found Lisa up on the couch now, Maeve playing happily on the floor, and Lilly prancing around in her leotard and tights doing her "exercises."

Saturday :: 10 January 2004
Our neighbor Penny Roberts asked if I'd come over and have a look at her ailing computer. I went over with the girls and Lisa went into the office to get some work done. It ended up taking me quite a few hours but Lilly and Maeve were both perfectly content to be the center of all the big girls' attention. Lilly went sledding with Maggie and her friends, played Barbies with Sarah, and had her fingernails painted by Molly. Maeve cooed and smiled and charmed everyone. The girls were literally fighting at times over who would hold fat little Maeve.

Monday :: 12 January 2004
Lilly was reportedly a hellion today. She lost many privileges including her fingernail polish and watching Dragon Tales. At bedtime, Lilly picked out her Help Me Be Good book on lying. Then she told me, "I lied today Poppa." When I asked her what happened she told me the whole story: "Momma asked if my room was cleaned up and I said yes but when she came to check it wasn't." She went on to tell me about losing privileges and crying. She didn't really seem all that repentant about it though...

Thursday :: 15 January 2004
Maeve came home with a fever tonight. It was obvious that she wasn't feeling well but that didn't stop my little chunk'o'love from gobbling down her dinner of puréed pears. Lilly refused to go to bed tonight. When counting to three didn't get her to move, I picked her up off the living room floor, put her under my arm, and carried her kicking and screaming upstairs. The trauma quickly passed and she was soon hugging my leg and apologizing. She really is a sweet girl; exasperating at times yes, but a sweet girl nonetheless.

Sunday :: 18 January 2004
Penny Roberts asked me to take another peek at her computer. When I asked Lilly if she wanted to go to Maggie's house with me, she smiled ear to ear, clapped her hands, jumped up and down, and gave me a resounding "YES!" She ended up playing more with Molly, but no matter. When my work was done, the girls all begged that I leave her to play some more. I left Lilly in the kitchen eating lunch. When I came to collect her a few hours later, we had a scene. Lilly didn't want to leave and tried to wet noodle her way out of getting her shoes and coat on. She cried and screamed all the way home and was still going at it when I had to leave for band practice.

Monday :: 19 January 2004
Both Lisa and Lilly reported that Lilly was a good girl today. Apparently she really was trying to be pleasant, helpful, and agreeable today. Lilly told me this story to illustrate: "Momma asked me to get Maeve's burpy-cloth. I thought it was on her high chair but it was on her crate [cradle, methinks...] so I got it there." Then to sum up, "I listened." Maeve seems a bit better but is still a little out of it. All the signs point to new teeth, but we've yet to see or feel them.

Tuesday :: 20 January 2004
When I picked up Lilly at daycare, she was very excited to show me a picture she had drawn. The assignment was to draw her favorite thing on today's field trip to the Mouse House (indoor, kid-sized Habitrail). She drew a picture of the ball pit and made a point of showing me all the different colored balls. Then she looked at me seriously, "But Poppa, I didn't go on the slide."

As Lilly was rooting through the fridge in search of something she would deign to eat for dinner, she came across a package of tortillas. She wanted them with cheese, she said. When Momma got home, she was very excited to explain to her that she was eating quesadillas made with tortillas.

Later in the evening, after being tucked into bed, I heard her calling at the top of the stairs. She needed to tell me that she had a cold. When I assured her that she didn't, she put her hand over her mouth and gave a polite (fake) cough. It turns out that she had gone to the bathroom and had gotten soap in her mouth. Whether this was accidental or not is still an open question as is why the hand towel was now soaking wet. I got her a drink of water to wash the taste out of her mouth and sent her back to bed. Not much later, she was calling again, still complaining of the soap tasting yucky. We made the trip to the bathroom again, this time to brush her teeth, tongue, and roof of her mouth. Then she decided she had to go potty too. As she washed up, she rubbed her palms together with her thumbs pointing straight up. She remarked that her hands were now "like sharks sliding next to each other in the water."

Wednesday :: 21 January 2004
On our way out the door this morning, I called Hank's doggie daycare provider to tell her that we wouldn't be coming today due to the cold weather. When I got off the phone, Lilly asked if it was Wednesday today. I told her it was but asked how she knew that. She told me that she thought I was talking to Nikki and that Hank goes to Nikki's house on Wednesday. !!...?

Saturday :: 24 January 2004
The new branch of the girls' daycare had an open house this morning. Lilly had been buzzing about Saturday for days: "We know where it is because we drive by it, but we need to find out where our new rooms are." We were all impressed with the new facilities and Lilly was having such a good time that she cried, screamed, and did the wet noodle as we were trying to leave.

Her difficult behavior continued at Target, where she absolutely HAD to have everything she saw. As we passed by the Valentine candy display she did exhibit some tenderness. She grabbed a teddy bear holding a heart-shaped box of candy and told me she wanted to get it for Momma because she loved her. When I told her "not right now," she lapsed back into her whiney crankiness. She settled down and cheered up when we went to lunch at Panera and fed her a bagel.

Much to Lisa's chagrin, I've taught Lilly how to "throw the horns." She has to use her other hand to tuck her middle fingers under her thumb in order to show the quintessential sign of the devil's music: fist in the air, index and pinky extended stiffly. When my friend Ken Anderson (himself a rock drummer) was over last Saturday, Lilly whispered to me, "Poppa, let's do breaking the law." Once she got her fingers arranged we turned around, threw the horns, and broke into a Beavis-n-Butthead rendition of Judas Priest's "Breaking the Law." uh-HUH.

Sunday :: 25 January 2004
After lunch, Momma ran to the store. As soon as she was out the door, Lilly and I searched high and low for candy. We came up empty until Lilly remembered the Hershey's bars in the freezer (for baking). After I convinced that we'd break our teeth on them, we settled for a couple handful of Doritos. When we heard Momma coming in the back door, Lilly made a point of wiping all traces of crumbs from the corners of our mouths. When I left for band practice though, she confessed the whole thing to her mother and totally ruined my cred.

When I got home, I looked in on Lilly. She was awake and told me to sit down. "I want to talk to you about Florida." It seems Nanny called this evening and wants me to bring Lilly down to Marco Island for a visit since Momma still refuses to fly. "Will you go on an airplane with me to Florida and see Nanny and Grandpa and Sandra and Aidan?" I'm game; we'll see how things work out.

Monday :: 26 January 2004
The first thing I heard when I got through the door tonight was "Poppa! I was a good girl... my behavior." Momma actually confirmed this as well. Then she was excited to tell me she could spell "ball." She was grinning ear to ear by the time she reached the last L. Momma reported that she is also now able to recognize the written words "Poppa," "Momma," and "Maeve."

Maeve is pretty smart too. She can get us to perform for her: when she puts her hands in the air, we say "So Big!"; when she flops her right hand limp-wristedly, we say "bye-bye." When we say "clapping," she claps and she also gets a kick out participating in paddy cake. This evening, Maeve was grabbing at my glasses, so I decided to take them off so she could claw at my face without hindrance. She looked at me curiously for a bit, started to frown, and then burst into tears. I quickly put my glasses back on, but it took some doing to calm her down and reassure her.

I keep telling Lilly and Maeve they are going to be best friends. Maeve looks at her big sister with absolute and unadulterated adoration. Lilly, despite her moments of jealousy, is really very sweet, often kissing, hugging, and telling Maeve how much she loves her.

Thusday :: 29 January 2004
Lilly and Maeve appear to be adjusting well to their new daycare. Maeve loves to sit in front of the floor-level mirror for long stretches. She's usually happy when I pick her up and excited to see me (though she doesn't like to get zipped into her snowsuit). Lilly is happy that her old teacher, Ms. Deni, moved to the new daycare with her and she seems satisfied with the mix of kids who also made the move and "new friends."

Saturday :: 31 January 2004
We drove to Waukesha to buy a new car. Lilly was extremely well-behaved during the couple of hours we were at the dealership. She played in the kiddie area a bit and when she tired of that, she sat quietly on my lap. When we finally got in the car to go home, she looked at the gap between her and her baby sister's seats and announced, "but I can't reach Maeve." Our plan was working perfectly. Back in Madison, we went out to lunch. Two separate groups of people went out of their way to mention how gorgeous Maeve is. As flattering as that was, it wasn't really news to us...

Sunday :: 01 February 2004
We met Will and Sarah for lunch and then headed over to the home remodeling expo. Lilly's behavior was exemplary. Despite walking around some really boring (read: nothing kid-friendly except the occasional balloon) exhibits, she stayed by us and didn't whine or ask for "uppy" too much. We hung out in the hotel lobby for a bit to feed and change Maeve before leaving and Lilly worked off some energy by running full tilt up and down the hallway with two balloons.

Later, as Lisa was feeding her dinner, Lilly shrugged her shoulders, put her hands out palms-up, and sighed, "I get confused." She continued in a world-weary voice, most likely brought on by a weekend of adult activities, "It's hard when adults are talking. I know I should be quiet but sometimes I have to tell you something." Then she summed up again, "I get confused."

Tuesday :: 03 February 2004
Momma accompanied Lilly's daycare class on a swimming field trip to the Sun Prairie Aquatic Center. When I picked her up, Lilly couldn't wait to tell me about the whale slide. The kids in her class kept trying to tell me that it was a shark slide, but Lilly held fast. (Momma eventually confirmed that it was indeed a whale.)

Maeve is still not crawling. At eight-and-a-half months, she shows no interest in moving on her own or putting weight on her legs. She's smart as a whip though: she waves on her own when Momma takes her to bed and she almost sounds like she's talking. She'll probably be the only kid in the world who talks before she crawls. Think of it from her perspective: I'm smart enough to get everyone to do anything I want, so why bother moving? Maybe she'll just evolve into a Brain in an Exersaucer.

Wednesday :: 04 February 2004
While Lisa was at her Pilates class tonight, I went down to the basement to do some work. Usually I can hear Lilly, either screaming at the top of the stairs or through Maeve's monitor, but tonight I was blissfully unaware. When Lisa got home, Lilly was crying and a bit hysterical. I went up to see her and she told me she had been lonely and had gone downstairs. She stood at the top of the basement stairs, she told me, and heard me making music (I was playing the stereo). When she asked me if I was going to go back down, I told her probablly. She looked at me very seriously and said, "Well... Momma's home now and she's hungry so you need to make her something to eat." When I finally got her tucked in and settled down, she asked me what I was going to make Momma. When I told her I hadn't decided yet, she said, "I have an idea. You can make her eggs." Always thinking, that one.

Thursday :: 05 February 2004
Momma had a dentist appointment this morning, so I took the girls to daycare. Maeve was fine until I made the mistake of calling to her and waving as I left. She burst into tears. I forced myself to continue on to Lilly's room. Lilly was acting odd too. She was very shy with Ms. Deni and wouldn't talk. She cried and hugged me and didn't want me to go. Ms. Deni picked her up and Lilly lurched forward, trying to get away from her and to me. I had to steel myself and blow her a kiss.

Saturday :: 07 February 2004
We invited a few friends over for a sledding party in the back yard. It's just a small hill, but then again, we've got small kids. Joy and KC brought four-year-old Grace and seven-month-old Elizabeth. Alex and Kris brought five-month-old Jack. While KC and I hit the slopes with Lilly and Grace the rest of the crew hung with the babies. Both Jack and Elizabeth are very skinny babies making Maeve look just that much fatter. Elizabeth is standing too (or more accurately, putting weight on her legs) increasing our worry about Maeve's absolute refusal to move on her own. After lunch, Grace and Lilly disappeared upstairs and played nicely for a couple of hours.

Sunday :: 08 February 2004
Lilly complained of not feeling well this morning and she DID have a runny nose and was very lethargic. Maeve wasn't herself either. I picked up some movies and we spent the day watching Rugrats and Nemo and eating popcorn on the couch. Every time Lilly told me she didn't feel well, it broke my heart.

Monday :: 09 February 2004
Lilly was much better today, though still sniffling. She couldn't wait to show me her new sandals when I got home this afternoon. Despite the chill in the air, she insisted on wearing them until bedtime. During dinner, Lilly impressed me by demonstrating that she could read the names of everyone in her class (from the Valentine's check list on the fridge). She continues to improve on her ability to recognize single letters without any context or clues.

Tuesday :: 10 February 2004
The sandals proved to be an issue this morning. She put them on first thing and did not want to take them off. It turned into a huge issue and much wailing and gnashing of teeth ensued. I really wasn't up to dealing with it either because I was now coming down with whatever the girls had. In the evening, I was goofing around with Lisa, politely coughing to emphasize to her that I really was sick. Lilly whipped around and told me, "that's a fake cough Poppa."

Wednesday :: 11 February 2004
I stayed home today and tried to get well. Lisa was late at the office however, so I had to drag myself out to pick up the girls from daycare. When Lilly wanted to take her Valentine lollipop/art project home, I tried to explain that we needed to leave it so it would be there for the party on Friday. She didn't want to accept this and cried screamed and carried on so much that I really had to get cross. As I was buckling her into the car, she sobbed, "Poppa, you're breaking my heart." She kept up this mantra all the way home and even expounded on it: "If you break my heart, I won't have a heart anymore. You're breaking my heart into little pieces like apples." (Apparently a reference to slicing apples for the pie we made on Saturday.)

Both Lilly and Maeve are still a bit sick and Maeve has been coughing at night. She sounds horribly congested on the baby monitor and I had to go in a few times. She knows what she's doing though. She takes her nuk out of her mouth to cough and then replaces it. Once, I was awakened by her crying. She didn't seem to be able to calm herself down, so I checked on her. She had rolled over and was stuck on her face. She kept trying to push herself up with her hands, but her strength kept giving out and she would face plant again. At least she's rolling over and actually moving on her own.

Thursday :: 12 February 2004
As I was extricating Maeve from her car seat this afternoon, she went into one of her nasty, congested coughing spasms. I goofed with her, smiling and saying "coughing, coughing... coughy, coughy..." She looked at me with a twinkle in her eyes and let loose a couple of fake coughs. I was blown away by the fact that she understood what I was saying and then could make fun of it.

Last week, we asked Lilly if we could take the plastic mattress pad off her bed. She assured us that she wouldn't wet the bed anymore (and in fact, she hadn't had an accident in months). Oops. Spoke too soon.

Sunday :: 15 February 2004
Momma took Lilly to run some errands and I spent a few hours alone with Maeve. We spent a long time with her on my tummy giggling at each other. She played peek-a-boo, pounded on my chest, and grabbed at my glasses. When she tired of that, I put her on the floor and surrounded her with toys. She played happily for quite some time and everytime I looked over at her, she beamed at me. It seems as though we have all finally recovered from the household illness of last week.

Friday :: 20 February 2004
Maeve's nine-month checkup was today. We have been concerned about the fact that she still isn't crawling, has just rolled over in the last couple of weeks, and refuses to put weight on her legs. Our new pediatrician, Dr. Plumb, wasn't worried about the crawling or rolling. She tactfully explained that fat babies take their time with these things. (And there is no denying that our nearly 22-pound baby is fat.)

Dr. Plumb was, however, was concerned about her refusal to bear weight on her legs and wanted us to take her downstairs for hip x-rays. Maeve was not at all happy about the process. As I and a nurse pinned her down to the table and stretched out her legs, she screamed and wailed and eventually peed all over the equipment. The x-rays came back perfectly normal and as we comforted Maeve, we comforted ourselves with the thought that a fat baby is a healthy baby.

Saturday :: 21 February 2004
Lilly and Maeve were absolute gems today during a grueling expedition that involved shopping for kitchen cabinets and later for groceries. Back at home, Lilly helped Momma make a cheese cake. Is this exemplary behavior the calm before the storm? If something seems to good to be true...

Sunday :: 22 February 2004
Just like her big sister before her, Maeve sat through a photo shoot in front of the fireplace. We set up lights, stripped her down and started clicking. Unlike Lilly at this age, Maeve is much less mobile so we got lots of great shots. Lilly helped a lot by entertaining Maeve off-camera and keeping her constantly giggling.

Wednesday :: 25 February 2004
Maeve has a funny little sense of humor. Take this evening for example. While I was feeding her dinner, she would refuse to open her mouth and reach toward my face until I started to lean down. Then she would quickly pull her hand away, turn towards the spoon laughing, and open her mouth. PSYCH! Despite Momma not being present, I started Maeve on some solid(ish) food this week. She was overjoyed with the teething biscuit I gave her and waved it about proudly between bites/sucks/slurps. She even appeared to be taunting Lilly with it.

Thursday :: 26 February 2004
Lilly had a hard night tonight. She called me up several times, lonely and afraid. Then she wet the bed (for the second night in a row). Later on she woke up screaming and told me she had a bad dream. With tears in her eyes, she sobbed "it's really freaking me out." When I asked her what that meant, she shrugged and sniffed, "I don't know." I spent a long time sitting on the side of her bed trying to convince her that dreams weren't real ("I KNOW that Poppa!") and eventually got her calmed down and back to sleep.

Friday :: 27 February 2004
As I tucked Lilly into bed, she said, "Poppa, can I talk to you?" Then she launched into a longish diatribe about being good and being naughty: "Life is hard. It's hard being a kid." Then she went on to lament the fact that she can't make a fire or drive a car: "There's so much that I can't do and it's frustrating and I don't know what to do." I tried to talk to her about all the things that Maeve can't do that she can, but she didn't really want to hear it. I felt sad that this little girl should have the world weighing so heavily on her thin shoulders. Later, Lisa and I resolved to find some additional chore or responsibility that would make her feel more grown-up. We finally settled on having her help feed the kitty and the puppies in the morning.

Saturday :: 28 February 2004
We took advantage of the beautiful weather today and went to the park for a bit. Lilly flitted about the equipment and up and down the slides and was very upset when the rest of us got cold and wanted to leave. On our way back to the car, she found every puddle no matter how small and stomped. We had almost made it safely to the car when Lilly called to me: "Poppa look at this." I turned to see her step ankle-deep into a puddle of slushy mud. She thought it was great fun and didn't seem to mind her, by now, very wet shoes, socks, and feet.

Sunday :: 29 February 2004
The weather was beautiful again today. Lilly rode in the driveway on her trike. She's really getting the hang of pedalling, though she did lose control a few times and crash into the side of the car. Later we went down to the pond to throw rocks. We ended up on the neighbors' pier poking at globs of floating seaweed with sticks. We managed to fish a few out. After squishing them with her fingers, Lilly proclaimed, "ewwww... gross." We were outside for a couple of hours, but Lilly did not want to go in. As soon as I mentioned hot chocolate, though, she made a bee-line back up to the house.

Past diary entries: November-December 2003
September-October 2003
July-August 2003
May-June 2003


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