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May/June Saturday :: 01 May 2004
Maeve's cold continues to worsen. Her nose runs constantly and her eyes are producing vast quantities of yellow-green guck. We went out for breakfast, but the child was just really not happy.

Monday :: 03 May 2004
Yesterday, Maeve woke up with her eyelids glued shut with guck and her faced smeared with snot. The poor little thing was obviously not feeling well. Lisa took her to see Doctor Plumb. She diagnosed Maeve with conjunctivitis and an ear infection and prescribed anti-biotics. We got two doses into her yesterday afternoon and evening and this morning she was doing much better: still obviously under the weather, but a bit more jovial. I, on the other hand, have been stricken with whatever ailment Maeve had succumbed to.

Tuesday :: 04 May 2004
Since Maeve was still contagious, according to the illustrious Doctor Plumb, she couldn't go to daycare today. It was just as well, because even if I hadn't had to stay home with her, I would have been too sick to go to work anyhow. Maeve was generally well-behaved; she was feeling better and in a better mood. She didn't nap much though and needed a nose wiping every 3.47 minutes. We played in the living room most of the day. Occassionally, I'd turn my back and Maeve would make straight for the dogs' water dish, which she managed to upset two or three times. We both survived, though I think by the end of the day she was feeling better than I was. Today was Lilly's first day in the four-year-olds room. She came home bubbling with excitement about Ms. Jennifer and the rest of the class.

Thursday :: 06 May 2004
Lilly took cupcakes to daycare for her birthday and was showered with gifts and attention. The biggest gift today though was the arrival of Nanny and Grandpa. We went to the airport to pick them up around 5:30 p.m. and Lilly was literally bouncing off the walls. When they finally deplaned, Lilly could scarcely contain herself. She was going in all directions at once and chattering non-stop. Nanny and Grandpa were, of course, delighted to see her, but it was obvious that if Lilly had been a little less demanding, they would have gravitated towards Maeve more. We went to dinner at a corporate chain purporting to serve Italian food. Lilly continued bubbling and chattering through dinner and all the way home until she collapsed, exhausted, into bed.

Friday :: 07 May 2004
Nanny and Grandpa took the family out shoe shopping while I was at work. Lilly ended up with three new pairs while Momma and Maeve scored one a piece. As more birthday packages arrived today, Lilly's excitement built to a fever pitch. Needless to say, we weren't terribly disappointed when the grandparents bundled Lilly off to spend the night at their hotel. Despite her total exhaustion, she went swimming in the hotel pool before bed and as a result, reportedly slept very soundly.

Saturday :: 08 May 2004
We picked up Lilly, Nanny and Grandpa for a birthday breakfast. Halfway through her pancakes, she starting asking to go home and open her presents. Nanny wanted to stop at Old Navy to buy the birthday girl even more gifts, so we were delayed somewhat. By the time we were all back in the car headed home, Lilly was practically gnawing at her seat belt in anticipation. She tore into the huge pile of presents. As each gift was unwrapped, she insisted that we open the box or container. By the time we had though, she had moved on to another gift and had all but forgotten the task she had assigned. At this early stage, her favorite gifts seem to be "hula-girl" flip flops from Uncle Eugene, Care Bears from Nanny and Grandpa, a Leap Pad "laptop" from Momma and Poppa, a Hello Kitty backpack from our friend Kris, and a Care Bear umbrella from Ms. Deni. whew.

Monday :: 10 May 2004
Lilly was in tears this morning: sobbing and visibly upset. When I tried to find out what was going on, she choked out that she was sad because Nanny and Grandpa were gone. Momma let her call them, but she moped around all day. Lilly had her four-year check up today and was pronounced a healthy four-year-old. Her vision and, more importantly, her hearing are fine. Therefore, we now know (as if there was any doubt) that her hearing problems are purely selective. Lilly weighed in at 34 pounds, 12 ounces; and measured up at 40.5 inches. This put her in the 50-70th percentile for height but only 25-50th percentile for weight. Well, we already knew she was skinny.

Friday :: 14 May 2004
Today is Maeve's first birthday. She's still been under the weather this week and we decided to put our cranky little birthday girl to bed and ignore the towering stack of gifts until tomorrow. Maeve didn't mind, but her big sister was not in the least pleased. I kidded around with Lilly while she ate. "How old is Maeve today. I forgot." She laughed and told me. "How old are you Lilly?" I asked. "You're six, right?" Lilly rolled her eyes, laughed and corrected me. "Oh four," I said. "I forgot." Taking on a very knowing look, she told me: "You didn't forget. You were just fooling Poppa." gotcha.

Saturday :: 15 May 2004
Maeve was in much better health and spirits today. We sat her down in the living room and piled her presents around her. Lilly didn't interfere too much and only claimed ownership of a few of the opened gifts. Lisa was a bit maudlin about her baby growing up, but Maeve's smile soon dispelled that feeling somewhat. Also, there's nothing like chasing a crawling baby moving at approximately light speed to help one forget one's worries and woes.

Sunday :: 16 May 2004
Lilly has been all about art projects lately. We've noticed it at home and Ms. Jennifer has mentioned it as well. At daycare, she spends every free minute coloring. At home, she's always asking to do a project. She gets her supplies from the cabinet in the kitchen and sets to work. She uses crayons, markers, or water colors and often cuts out fragments of the results which are then glued back together into a different configuration. Often the results of her labors are presented as a card to someone in her life. We've been hearing for months about how she wants to be a ballerina when she grows up (despite her obvious klutziness). Suddenly she announced that she wanted to be an artist ("because I make beautiful pictures"). The next day it was all forgotten and her heart was back to dancing. In addition to artistic tendencies, Lilly's penmanship is improving. She can now write "Hall" and delights in writing her full name over and over.

Monday :: 17 May 2004
In the reckless and carefree days of my youth, how could I ever have guessed that I would be getting out of bed at three o'clock in the morning to comfort a four-year-old who was sad and tearful because her Pikachu Band-Aid had fallen off.

Thursday :: 20 May 2004
Yesterday both Lisa and I noticed that Maeve seemed somehow different. There was a different twinkle in her eyes and she seemed to be interacting with us on a different level. It was hard to put our finger on it, but it was there. Maybe she knew what was going to happen this morning: little Miss Maeve took her first step. She grabbed my hands and pulled herself to a standing position. Then she took a very slow and deliberate step with her right foot and effectively transferred her weight forward. Naturally, Momma and Poppa cheered and shouted. Maeve looked around at us, obviously pleased with herself and plopped down on her bum as if to say "my work here is done."

Friday :: 21 May 2004
The infant-development researcher that visited us last November followed up with us this morning. Again, she video-taped us feeding and playing with Maeve. I hit the road for work and Lisa completed the rest of the assessment tasks. She filled me in later on the "results." The researcher felt that Maeve was incredibly smart and had excellent fine motor skills. Her gross motor skills (walking, pulling up) are still behind the curve. She also noted that Lilly is very empathetic.

As if that wasn't enough excitement for one day, Maeve's one-year checkup was scheduled for the afternoon. Doctor Plumb pronounced her completely and utterly healthy. She's still fat at 22 lbs., 9 oz., and 28.5", but at this stage of life roly poly is good thing. The little dear had to undergo a blood draw though to test for lead levels. Maeve screamed, kicked, and cried as the phlebotomist dug around in her arm trying to find a vein. Eventually, The had to switch to the right arm, leaving a nasty hematoma on her left. I'm not sure who had it worse: Momma was visibly agitated and Poppa felt a little light-headed. By the time we got to the lobby though, Maeve had pretty much bounced back, having all but forgotten the trauma.

Saturday :: 22 May 2004
Lilly was hyped to do an art project based on the story we read last night. When the rain stopped we scoured the yard for an appropriate rock to transform into a toad. After discarding several possibilities, Lilly proclaimed that she had found the perfect rock. We washed it off and drew, colored, and cut out legs. Momma found some old buttons for eyes and we glued everything onto the rock. I thought we were done, but Lilly wasn't satisfied until we gave the little fella a tongue. I thought it was just about the ugliest, least-toad-looking toad I had ever seen, but Lilly was enthralled with her creation.

We packed the girls up and dragged them along to take a look at faucets for our kitchen remodel. Maeve was content in her stroller and Lilly wasn't too rambunctious. When she started getting out of line, we reminded her about lunch afterwards. Lunch was Mexican this afternoon and Lilly had a quesadilla and a bag of chips, which she jealously guarded against all thieves. Maeve cooed and giggled and played with Lilly's toad, only occassionally sending it crashing to the floor. We had desert at Coldstone where Lilly and conspiratorially noted how Momma didn't like ice cream, but Poppa and Lilly did.

Sunday :: 23 May 2004
I am so head-over-heels in love with my girls, sometimes I can't see straight. It's really that good. I met the girls at the mall for lunch. They were waiting for me in the food court and when Lilly caught sight of me, she screamed and flew to me, all flailing arms and streaming hair. Maeve looked on from her stroller and bounced enthusiastically, grinning ear-to-ear.

Thursday :: 27 May 2004
Lilly has been complaining a lot lately about not getting enough attention. It's true that we have been attending to Maeve more recently, but that's because she's mobile now and we have to watch constantly or there's no telling where she could end up (the dogs' water dish: her favorite target). We've tried to reassure Lilly, but she's having other issues probably related to this insecurity. She's been getting up a lot after bedtime (resulting in the loss of TV privileges the next day) and last night she wet the bed again. sigh.

After we finally got Lilly down (after several attempts) tonight, Maeve threw up. We stripped her down and I gave her a quick bath while Lisa changed the sheets. Maeve was still pretty sleepy and out of it and we were able to get her down pretty easily. Lilly, of course, heard all the commotion and got really scared. She tearfully told me how she didn't want Maeve to be sick. Finally, we got the household settled down and tucked in. Maeve was better in the morning, but she wasn't herself and was prone to unprovoked crying jags...

Saturday :: 29 May 2004
We awoke to rain for what seems like weeks now. Lilly wanted to go outside with her boots, raincoat and umbrella but it was pouring to heavily to even consider it. We stayed inside and got ready for company. Lilly helped dust and swiffer (she offered before we even asked her) and then moved on to various art projects — mostly cards. While Momma and Lilly threw together a key lime pie, Maeve (who, by now was feeling much better) and I walked in the living room. If I held her under her arms, she put weight on feet and moved them back and forth, closely approximating walking. When our guests (Lisa's co-worker Katherine and her sister Ann) arrived, Lilly immediately dragged them to her room to show off its wonders. I was putting her to bed when Will and Sarah arrived. Lilly leapt to the window and banged furiously to get their attention.

Sunday :: 30 May 2004
Our plans for a picnic at Tony's house today were threatened (unsuprisingly) by morning rains. We passed the time by making candy-bar brownies and still more art projects. These days all pieces of art are signed by the artist and include both first and last names.

The rain let up and sun poked out a bit as we headed over to Tony's house. Lilly was excited that my friend Kevin's daughter Hazel would be there, but when Hazel finally arrived, Lilly was gripped with a paralyzing shyness. Part of the problem was that Hazel had brought along her friend Em and the two older girls only grudgingly acknowledged the existence of a lowly four-year-old. Ruby, also four, soon arrived though and made everything right again. The two of them headed straight to the backyard and played marvelously for hours. Lisa even overheard them calling each other "sweetie."

By the time 6:30 rolled around, Lilly was still going strong, but Maeve was drooping. She was absolutely exhausted but refused to go to sleep anywhere in unfamiliar surroundings. Finally, I loaded her into her carseat and drove around until she fell asleep. When I returned in 15 minutes, I pulled the van into Tony's garage and let her sleep in the car. We checked on her constantly, but she took a good hour-long nap before waking up and wailing.

As we were deciding that we really had to be leaving, Lilly and Ruby had a falling out. Lilly claims that Ruby threw a ball up in the air in such a way that it purposely hit her in the face. Though what really happened was certainly much more benign, both girls were very pouty and a dark cloud was settling over their interaction. We beat a hasty retreat and finally got Maeve and Lilly to bed around 9:00.

Wednesday :: 02 June 2004
I had given Maeve some mac and cheese the other day and she spit it out (as she is wont to do with new foods). Today I tried again and she tentatively at the first noodle. After a few more she was clambering for it. It was a good thing Lilly wasn't too hungry and early on abandoned her dinner.

Before I go to bed, I always check on the girls. In the dim light filtering from the hallway, I can see Maeve in her crib, her blonde curls gathering at the base of her neck. In her one-piece red sleeper, she reminds me of Dr. Seuss' Thing #2. She usually stirs when I come in, grabbing for her nuk if it's slipped from her mouth. Absently, she replaces it and squirms a bit. I rub her back through her sleeper; she feels so fragile, so delicate. In Lilly's room, I turn off her Hello Kitty reading lamp leaving her bathed in the glow of her teddy-bear night light. In sleep, her cheeks look impossibly round, her mouth relaxed and lips pouting. I caress and kiss her cheeks and she stirs, turning over and pulling the sheets close around her shoulders. Sometimes I sit on the edge of the bed for a long time, watching her chest expand and contract with the long, languorous breath of sleep. Eventually I tear myself away and hurl myself headlong into restless, adult sleep.

Thursday :: 03 June 2004
Tonight as I was putting Lilly to bed, I noticed a small blanket under her sheets. There could only be one reason for that. "Lilly, did you wet the bed last night?" She averted her eyes. "Yes. I cleaned up by myself because I'm a big girl." She went on to explain that she had put down the blanket, changed her underwear and pajama bottoms, and went back to sleep.

Saturday :: 05 June 2004
Twenty minutes at Home Depot was enough for Lilly to label the whole experience boring. She began to get whiny but managed to hold it together long enough to make it to lunch. At the restaurant, Lilly colored and Maeve danced to the piped-in music. Even more than Lilly, Maeve loves music. The slightest rhythm or melody puts a grin on her face and sets her moving. I can even get her going by humming an advertising jingle.

This afternoon, I noticed a fuzzy caterpillar on the back stoop. I called Lilly out from a snack of gummy bears to take a look and she prodded at it hesitantly. The next thing I knew, she had picked it up and was asking for a jar to keep it in so it could grow up and turn into a butterfly. We gathered a few leaves, poked holes in the lid of a baby-food jar and got Mr. Caterpillar set up in his new home. Based on the fact that she was eating Pooh [Bear] snacks and that he was now in a jar, my darling daughter named her new pet "King of the Pooh Jar." When I asked if he had a nick name, she responded with a moniker worthy of a hip-hop superstar: "K-Pizza." The King of the Pooh Jar spent the night only his new mistress' night stand.

Sunday :: 06 June 2004
Riding in the car this morning, Lilly overheard Lisa and I talking about summer. She announced "After this it will be winter." Lisa reminded her that fall was in between summer and winter and then asked "You know what fall is, right Lilly?" Lilly gave us a glimpse of the high-maintenance teenager she is to become by responding "Fall is when you buy me new clothes." Actually, today we bought her a new bike: a big-girl bike with training wheels. She had been having trouble with her tricycle, but she took to her new bike right off. Once she figured out that pushing backwards on the coaster brakes brought her to an abrupt stop, she was off zooming around the driveway only falling over a couple of times. She stayed out for hours riding until a painful bug bite welted up and drove her indoors.

When I got home from band practice tonight, I looked in on Lilly. Her eyes popped open and she excitedly showed me that her caterpillar was "making a sleeping bag." Indeed, it did appear as though the King was beginning to spin a cocoon.

Monday :: 07 June 2004
Yesterday, Maeve had various rashes all over her body: a terrible diaper rash, a heat-like rash on her legs, and pimple-like spots on her face. She didn't seem to be too happy about it either. We decided to keep an eye on it and check with the clinic if it didn't get any better. This morning it obviously wasn't better so Lisa took her in for a visit with Doctor Plumb. The doctor diagnosed a yeast infection, a "summer" rash, and impetigo and gave us medication for two of the three. Unfortunately she did not look at Lilly's bite. As Lisa was removing the Dora band-aid later, she discovered that the bite was red, raised, swollen, and hard. But Betty was coming to take Lilly swimming at the Roberts' pool so no further treatment was given. When Lilly returned though, the swelling was way down and it was obviously going to rectify itself. Lisa had left Maeve over at the Roberts' and I wandered back over to retrieve her. She was quite content playing by the pool with Molly until she saw me. Then she wanted to be held and rocked and wouldn't consider any other arrangement without screaming and crying.

Wednesday :: 09 June 2004
K-Pizza has indeed spun a cocoon and Lilly proudly marched off to daycare carrying him for show and tell. When I picked up the girls from daycare, Lilly requested music. I turned on the Engine Down CD I had been listening to and was impressed that both girls dug it. Maeve smiled and gyrated (as much as possible when strapped into a car seat with a five-point harness) and Lilly seemed very excited that heard she made out some of the lyrics ("the songs says 'Rock and Roll'). Tonight Lilly began to bug us about a Dora doll. Apparently, one of the girls in her class has one and she's remembered that "in the new bookstore in the mall, in the kids area, there's one on the shelf." We are well aware of her Dora the Explorer obsession. Once or twice a week, she gets dressed in a pink shirt, orange shorts, yellow socks, and a backpack and announces "I look like Dora today."

Thursday :: 10 June 2004
Maeve eats everything now: bananas, green beans, mac and cheese, crackers, cheerios, tortilla, beans... She LOVES beans: refried, black, whatever. She had started to slim down now that she's crawling, but this recent spate of gluttony threatens to send her weight spiraling upwards again. She's now drinking (quite efficiently) from a sippy cup. In fact, Ms. Pat at daycare sent her bottles home because they were no longer needed. We're stilling giving her a bottle in the morning, but that's purely for our convenience.

Saturday :: 12 June 2004
Uncle Chris babysat and spent the night on Friday. We were able to sleep in but Lilly got her poor uncle up at 6:00 a.m. to play. When we finally rolled out of bed around 9:00 a.m., they had already played Go-Fish and done a number of art projects. Lilly has still been bugging up about getting a Dora doll and, while we milked it for days by bargaining for good behavior in her "currency," it was now time to put up or shut up. While I had an eye exam, Lisa took the girls to Barnes and Noble in search of the doll. Lilly was beside herself when she showed it to me and held on to it with a death grip for the rest of the day. Dora accompanied us when Lilly washed up and brushed her teeth for bedtime and, of course, was right at her side as she drifted off to sleep.

Sunday :: 13 June 2004
Lilly knew that Benny's birthday party was this afternoon but couldn't come to grips with the fact that it meant it was hours off. We ran some errands and shopped for furniture and all the while Lilly reminded us that it was boring. "I think we should go out of here and go to Benny's birthday party." Finally we headed south toward's Benny's house in Milton but since we were early, we checked out a couple of state parks, grabbed some sandwiches, and had a picnic. Lilly was practically bouncing out of her seat when we finally arrived. She lost no time in throwing herself into the thick of the party. She just took off, mingled, and played. Gone is the shyness of only months earlier. Much to Lilly's delight, the highlight of the party was a piñata shaped like Dora. She didn't seem to mind that all the little kids were taking turns bashing Dora's head with a stick. Lisa even got Lilly to count in Spanish as she was clubbing the Explorer. Once again, Lilly proved to us how polite she really is (and how she is listening to us after all). All the parents were astounded by how Lilly said "excuse me" when she couldn't hear and how she cleared her own dishes to the kitchen when she was done with cake and ice cream. We suddenly realized that the dogs hadn't been out all day so we hit the road.

Monday :: 14 June 2004
Betty took Lilly swimming and when I went to collect her, she had a number of huge welts from mosquito bites. On our way home, Lilly wrapped her self in her towel, covering her head "so the BO-squitos don't get us." She seems deathly afraid of bugs. The sight of a mosquito or bumble bee sends her into hysterics. We can't figure it out though because she stomps on ants, picks them up, and puts them in the garbage without a second thought. Maybe it's just flying insects?

Wednesday :: 16 June 2004
An incredibly loud clap of thunder drove Lilly downstairs in tears. "I thought it would break the world," she explained. I hugged her, reassured her, and sent her back off to bed. At the doorway, she turned and in the sweetest voice in the world acknowledged by sniffling and coughing, "Poppa, I'm sorry you're feeling sick." I'm feeling better already, sweetheart.

Saturday :: 19 June 2004
Our friend Kris came up from Chicago for the weekend and we decided to go strawberry picking. The highlight of the excursion for Lilly was the tractor ride to and from the berry field, especially when we drove through some huge mud puddles. Lilly didn't actually do much picking; she stood by while Kris picked and if a berry looked big enough and perfect enough, she commandeered it for her own basket. I suppose that shows she's management material: do no work and take all the credit.

We stopped in Lodi to pick up picnic supplies. Lilly and went off by ourselves and found the always-neccessary cookies and chips. We took the Merrimac ferry across the Wisconsin River to Devil's Lake. Lilly was quite amazed that we were going to "drive our car on the boat." We picnicked at Devil's Lake and after lunch, Lilly and I walked down to the water. Up close to shore, the lake was full of tiny fish. Lilly was initially very apprehensive about getting her toes bit. After an emergency trip to the bathroom, Lilly requested that we return to "our spot" on the shoreline. Lilly played some on the playground equipment, but Maeve's fussiness soon got us on the road and headed home.

Sunday :: 20 June 2004
This afternoon we went to baby sitter Megan's graduation party. Lilly hit it off with a few other little girls and spent several hours swinging (she's finally got the leg-pumping thing down), playing in the sand box, eating sweets, and playing tag.

Tuesday :: 22 June 2004
The King of the Pooh Jar, aka K-Pizza (see 05 June 2004) is now a moth. I thought for sure the thing wouldn't make it, but it had emerged from it's cocoon and was moving around the jar. At first Lilly was excited, especially when she realized that tomorrow was Show and Tell. All of a sudden the waterworks started. It turns out that she had been expecting a beautiful butterfly and the ugly brown moth that she ended up with was vastly disappointing. I tried to console her and told her we didn't want to hurt the King's feelings. She tearfully told K-Pizza that she was sorry but minutes later was sobbing again.

I finally got her calmed down and tucked in, but around 8:30 she was hysterical again. It turns out she had thrown up all over her bed, herself, the floor, and the hallway. I calmed her down, brushed her teeth and got her into a bath. Then I tackled the unenviable task of cleaning up. I finally got everything cleaned, changed, and back in order. I found a bucket in case of a repeat performance and kissed her good night. Three hours later I was awakened by Lilly throwing up again. My good little girl used her bucket and made zero mess. She still had a tummy ache but by morning she was absolutely fine.

Thursday :: 24 June 2004
We discovered the cause of Lilly's intestinal distress earlier in the week. As Lisa was getting a packaged fruit cup for Maeve, she noticed mold. It occurred to us to check the oranges that Lilly had eaten on Tuesday and, sure enough, they were moldy too. Lilly was quite teary today and so prone to tears that it made any conversation and interaction almost impossible. Maeve, sensing her big sister's emotional turmoil, tended to cry whenever Lilly did, making it a very trying evening for all of us.

Saturday :: 26 June 2004
Lisa's office picnic was today and the main attraction for kids was one of those inflatable "jumpy houses" or as Lilly refers to it, a "jump-a-leen." Lilly took off on her own and came back with a temporary unicorn tattoo on her ankle ("just like Poppa's" she pointed out to everyone who would listen).

Sunday :: 27 June 2004
In the afternoon, we trekked to the Blue Mounds State Park pool. On the way, she kept reminding us to watch out for Swiper whenever we were in the woods. I made the mistake of mentioning heffalumps and woozles (Winnie the Pooh's nemeses). Lilly latched on to that right away and wanted to know just how dangerous they were. When I assured that woozles were NOT weasels, she was relieved: "because weasels bite us and that's not good... fer sure." I was laughing so hard I almost drove off the road.

Wednesday :: 30 June 2004
While I was asleep, Lilly went downstairs to find Lisa, the news junkie, watching TV. Lilly told her that she wanted to go outside and "pray to the moon." It turns out there was a full moon and they walked out into the yard. Lisa was a little freaked out especially in light of the fact that Lilly told her several weeks ago that God talks her. Her new-found spirituality not withstanding, she's still deathly afraid of bugs, especially mosquitos.

Past diary entries: March-April 2004
January-February 2004
November-December 2003
September-October 2003
July-August 2003
May-June 2003

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