Sunday :: 05 September 2004
I spent all day pulling nails from the walls and staples from the floor of our demolished kitchen. I listened vicariously through the plastic sheeting and sympathized from afar as the girls screamed and cried at each other. Finally Lisa took them to the launderette. She returned absolutely frazzled. I can only imagine the chaos of nine loads of laundry, an inquisitive and head-strong four-year-old, a one-year-old who will not sit still, and their mother's aversion to germy public places.
Monday :: 06 September 2004
We went to a Labor Day ice cream social at the Wilson's. Lilly was excited to see her little friend Ruby, though of course, she was painfully shy when we got there. I overheard the ice breaker: "I like pink," said Ruby. Lilly replied, "I like Dora the Explorer." "Me too," said Ruby, and off they went. Within half an hour, there was a gaggle of four-year-olds scurrying around and making a mess with their ice-cream sundaes. Maeve enjoyed being on the grass and suprised both herself and us when she stood up from a sitting position all on her own, not once but twice. She swayed back and forth with a startled look on her face and then fell to her butt in slow motion.
Tuesday :: 07 September 2004
Both the girls moved to new rooms today. Maeve has finally transitioned to the one-year-old room even though she still can't walk at 16 months. She reportedly did well, but most emphatically did not like playing outside in the sand. Lilly was outside too and tried to comfort her when she cried. When she had to leave, Maeve cried even more. Lilly is now in the combined 4/5-year-old room. Miss Jenifer is still her teacher and many of the kids moved with her, but it'll take some getting used to for everyone. I asked her if she had a new cubby in new room. "Yes," she replied. Then after a short pause, she went on as if explaining something to her baby sister. "Of course, it's the same folder and clothes, and it's still square." We got the final word on the whooping cough culture: negative. Both girls do have runny noses though, and are obviously not feeling well. I suppose feeling crummy might explain why Lilly has been so bratty and prone to burst into tears. Through a new classroom and remodeling chaos into the mix and you've got a out-of-sorts and cranky little girl.
Saturday :: 11 September 2004
Our friend Kris came up from Chicago to brave the construction chaos. We all went over to Big Bowl for lunch and then, much to Lilly's glee, Cold Stone for ice cream. Today she wanted "pink ice cream in a cone." They don't have kiddie cones, so she ended up with a kid-sized scoop in a full-sized waffle cone. Being used to wafer cones up to this point in her life, Lilly was a bit thrown. She asked me several time where the cone was and then if she could eat "the brown thing." Back at home, Lilly roped Kris into playing "pet store" for several hours.
As she was getting ready for bed, Lilly sighed, "I'm tired of having a baby sister." Then she added, "but not for long..." and went on to outline all the things Maeve would soon be able to do: walk and talk and ride a bike and play in the sandbox... Much later, Lilly woke up crying: terrified by a bad dream. It seems she had caught a glimpse of some monster movie on TV while I was trying to fix the VCR this afternoon. I spent a long time trying to explain that it was just a silly boy in a monster costume (just like her ballerina costume at Halloween). Eventually she felt better, especially when I reminded her that Hank wasn't ever going to let anyone in the house. As a side note: both girls seem to be much healthier this weekend.
Sunday :: 12 September 2004
After taking Kris to the bus stop, Lilly and I spent the afternoon organizing her room. I was impressed with how many old toys she was willing to part with or let Maeve use now. Finally we moved on to playing Legos, which basically involved me building numerous houses and Lilly making up a story about going to the hospital. When I put her to bed tonight, Lilly pulled me close to her and murmured, "Can we have a chat? About shcool? Sometimes I'm cranky when I get home." Finally we established that she was missing her friend Holly at daycare (she hadn't made the move to the new room with Lilly). Also, she was worried about all the new things they were learning. "The work is hard. Some kids just know how to do letters." My little perfectionist is already worried that she doesn't know everything.
Monday :: 13 September 2004
Today was Lilly's first swimming lesson. When I got home, she was already dressed in her suit and cover-up, clutching her towel, and more than ready to go even though we didn't need to leave for another hour. Just in case I missed the point, she told me several times in the car that she was excited. "My tummy is excited," she went on. She did quite well and her teacher seemed nice. Parents aren't allowed in the pool area, but I was able to catch a few glimpses through a window and she appeared to be much more focused than she was last year and certainly better-behaved than the rest of her all-boy class.
Wednesday :: 15 September 2004
Lilly continues to be quite cranky and disagreeable after daycare. Miss Jennifer told me that Lilly recognizes this as well and told her that she had been "a crank" the other night.
Friday :: 17 September 2004
This morning while eating breakfast, Lilly announced, "My tummy feels like puke." I got the trash can into position just in time and that was the end of the poor little thing's breakfast. I carried her back upstairs, she brushed her teeth, and then laid down for a little rest. When I called to check in later in the afternoon, Lisa said that Lilly was doing much better and was keeping some banana and dry toast down so far.
Saturday :: 18 September 2004
We organized a trip to the launderette this morning. In between cycles, we went for brunch and to the park. Maeve spent the whole time giggling in a swing while Lilly went off on her own and, apparently, made some new friends. We spent the afternoon just lazing around the house. Maeve is very funny. Her expressions, squeals, and gymnastics never fail to crack me up. She's still not walking but it can't be much longer: she cruises around with only the lightest grip on tables or couches. She has also recently learned how to climb up on the couch. This is all well and good, except that she's not so good at climbing back down so we really have to keep a close eye on her.
As Lilly was getting ready for bed, she announced, "I'm dreaming." I played along. "You mean we're not here and you're really sleeping?" "Yes," she said and went on, "We didn't really do laundry or go to the park or anything. I'm just dreaming that all that happened." I was taken aback. Should a four-year-old be able to grasp the Matrix-like concept of false realities? The whole thing was kind of spooky.
Sunday :: 19 September 2004
This morning I told Lilly we were thinking about going to the Willy Street Fair later in the afternoon. She wanted to know what that was and for some reason I used the highfalutin term "street festival" in my explanation. She latched on to it and repeatedly asked me when we were going to go to the "street festival" until we actually left at 2:30. Before leaving, though, Maeve had to have a nap. As Lisa was carrying Maeve up the stairs, Lilly was coming down. Lilly asked Maeve for a kiss and when Maeve pushed her away, Lilly shrugged it off muttering "what-EVER" as she continued down the stairs.
At the fair, I wanted to catch my favorite local band, Colony of Watts, and Lilly wanted to stick with me. While Momma and Maeve went on walkabout, we watched from a safe distance. ("Poppa, it's LOUD.") At one point I leaned close to her and said "I love spending time with you." Lilly reached up to gently and silently kiss me on the cheek. Later on we ran into Alex and Chris and their boy Jack. Lilly and Alex seemed to be deep in conversation for a while. When we asked what they had been talking about, she mentioned Jack's upcoming first birthday and then in a rather perturbed voice continued, "blah blah blah..."
Thursday :: 23 September 2004
Momma had to work late tonight. Being as wrapped around Lilly's little finger as much as I am, I was convinced to take advantage of Momma's absence and give the child a popsicle. While sucking on the popsicle, Lilly asked "after Maeve goes to bed, can we sit on the couch and chat?" "Of course," I told her. She beamed and proclaimed "this is the best party ever." Our chat was just small talk about what happened at daycare and what was going to go on next week; and what our new kitchen will look like. Just small talk? hmmmm... Can there be such a thing with the most amazing little girl in the world?
Saturday :: 25 September 2004
While Momma went to get her hair cut, I played with the girls. When Maeve heard an airplane outside, she pointed at the ceiling and excitedly shouted, "Sky! Sky!" For a while she looked longingly out the window towards the neigbors, babbling "Betty, Betty." Later while Maeve was napping, Lilly and I sat out front, Lilly in her little red rocker and me on the stoop, and watched the world go by. Lilly waved at a few cars and then decided she wanted to ride her bike. I dug out the bike from under the construction mayhem and she hit the pavement. She's finally figured out the the pedals HAVE to go forward and can pretty much always get going from a standstill. I'm thankful that I don't have to give her a push to get going every single time she stops.
Sunday :: 26 September 2004
Lots of birthdays today. First up was Alex and Chris' son Jack's first birthday. The party was a low-key outdoor affair. The adults relaxed on the grass and the kids spread chaos throughout the yard. At one point, Maeve pull herself up into a canvas folding chair all on her own. She turned and sat there with a look on her face of extreme self-satisfaction. Lilly was shy, rejecting all the kids who tried to talk or play with her. After grabbing some cake we split. Back at home, Lisa hit the launderette and Maeve hit the sack. When the child woke up we walked over to the Roberts to give 14-year-old Maggie her birthday gift. We ended up staying for an hour and a half. I chatted with Penny while Maeve and Lilly played some sort of balloon game with Sarah and Maggie. On our way home, we stopped by Betty's house to drop off yet another birthday gift. Betty was on her way out, but took the time to give both girls hugs and kisses and to show off Maeve's walking progress to Dwight.
Monday :: 27 September 2004
After work I went over to collect Lilly from the Roberts. She and Betty had been jumping on the "Jump-o-Leen" but by the time I got there, they were having a baby-doll picnic with Sarah and Penny. When I told her that we had to get ready for swimming lessons, she took off and ran all the way back to our house, leaving me in the dust. Unlike last year, Lilly is very self-confident at her swimming lessons. I see to it that she gets her cover-up and shoes off, she gives me kiss goodbye, and then she heads off to her lesson without so much as a backward glance.
Tuesday :: 28 September 2004
Tuesdays are hard for Lilly. After four days at home, the readjustment to daycare has taken its toll by the time we get home. She's almost always cranky, uncooperative, argumentative, and emotional during dinner and bedtime. I love her dearly, but sometimes I have to force myself to remember that. Maeve, on the other hand, was happy this afternoon and celebrated the day by stuffing her mouth with every bit of food presented to her.
Friday :: 01 October 2004
Maeve has been standing more and more, usually with only the lightest grip on a nearby piece of furniture or door frame. Today Lisa called to tell me that she had stood up four or five times all on her own. She stood proudly in the middle of the floor, sometimes for as long as a minute, and then, instead of losing her balance, made a very deliberate decision to sit down again.
Saturday :: 02 October 2004
Lilly and I went on a mission in search of straw. We needed to re-seed the tire ruts in the front yard caused by the excavator's bobcat, so we hit the back roads of rural Windsor. Our neighbor Betty sent us on a wild goose chase but after half and hour of criss-crossing the township, we found straw and answered Lilly's endless string of questions. ("Do you know where you're going Poppa?" Why do we need straw?" ...) Lilly helped me working in the yard. She shoveled dirt with her little shovel, spread grass seed and straw, and, best of all, got to ride in the wheel barrow.
Sunday :: 03 October 2004
As I cleaned the gutters this morning, Lilly ran around the house and watched me on the ladder through the windows. On our way to the dog park, we made a quick visit to the apple orchard. The highlight, for me and Lilly at least, was the fresh-baked apple doughnuts. While the dogs stood around and did nothing at the park (!?!), we munched our doughnuts. While Lisa went to the launderette, I watched the girls. Lilly played upstairs and Maeve and I played downstairs. Suddenly, Maeve realized that her big sister wasn't around. She headed towards the front stairs crying "Iddy," went straight to her bedroom door, and pounded on it with considerable force. Lilly graciously allowed Maeve to play in her room. She tolerated her little sister tearing the place apart and conscientiously kept a look out for toys that weren't "baby approved."
Monday :: 04 October 2004
On the way back from swim lessons tonight, we looked for the donkeys from last week. Lilly was terribly disappointed that they weren't out in the field. I tried to distract her by making up stories about why they might not be there. The ever-practical Lilly though, decided that they were just done with their dinner and were going to bed.
Wednesday :: 06 October 2004
Lilly's latest figure of speech centers around thinking. As in, "I'm thinking we can play in my room now," or "Poppa, what's for breakfast... What are you thinking for breakfast?" When she's scolded, Lilly covers her ears and pouts, "I don't want to hear that." When I try to get her to tell me why, she reluctantly admits, "I don't like that tone."
Thursday :: 07 October 2004
Maeve walks! Apparently while at daycare today, she just decided to get up and walk across the room. After only a few hours, she seems much more confident and stable than Lilly was when she began. Could it have something to do with her center of gravity?
Thursday :: 14 October 2004
When I picked up Maeve this afternoon I asked her "were you walking today?" She immediately got to her feet and showed me that, yes, she had indeed been ambulatory. At home, I excitedly checked out the final outcome of a long floor installation/finishing debacle. As we gazed at the now perfect floor (finally) Lilly inquired, "Is that what we wanted?" When I assured her that it was, she probed further, "Is it wood?"
Friday :: 15 October 2004
We couldn't wait for Nanny to get new shoes for Maeve. She needs them now; the cheapo Target specials are falling apart. Lisa took Maeve to get a pair of Stride-Rites and the little butterball loves them. She calls them "doofs" and wants to wear them all the time. She'll toddle out the front hall, grab them and bring to us, imploring us "doofs... doofs."
Saturday :: 16 October 2004
We took the girls to the West Towne Mall playground this afternoon. Lilly headed out into the fray on her own and Maeve wasn't far behind her. The little thing is not afraid of anything. She stands solidly in the way of kids twice her size if she doesn't want to move. She even got into a few altercations over a steering wheel when she slapped at kids innocently playing with "her" apparatus. By the end of our time, she had discovered the slide and cried, wailed, and shouted "slide, slide!" as we carried her toward the exit.
Sunday :: 17 October 2004
For my birthday today, Lilly presented me with a pair of Halloween boxer shorts that she had picked out at Target. "Is it scary?" she impishly asked pointing at the bats and monsters. We met a few friends for brunch and Maeve turned heads by toddling confidently wherever and whenever she could. Lilly hit it off with Uncle Chris' girlfriend Liz. Despite the fact that Liz might have wanted a little time for other interactions, they were inseparable. We went to buy pumpkins in the afternoon. The farm had donkeys, llamas, and goats and both girls were quite intrigued. Lilly was very frightened of the chickens though. Maeve loved walking around outdoors and eventually had to be dragged out of the hay and dirt in the barn. As a treat for me and the girls, dinner was at Culver's. Maeve likes ice cream as much as her big sister and Poppa.
Monday :: 18 October 2004
On the way to swimming lessons today Lilly told me "I have an imaginary friend." When I asked her what her name was, she immediately shot back, "She doesn't have a name. I call her imaginary friend." Today, after two weeks of not being there, the donkeys were out in their field. Needless to say, Lilly was tickled.
Thursday :: 21 October 2004
Tonight, Maeve ate a whole container of apple sauce using only a spoon. The days of her whole hand in up to the wrist are gone. When she was done, she proudly handed over both the container and the spoon. After I put Maeve to bed, Lilly wanted to look at pictures "of me when I was a little baby." We paged through a couple of albums and the one with her nuk in Poppa's mouth rally cracked her up. "That's the funniest thing."
Saturday :: 23 October 2004
We went over to Will and Sarah's to deliver some now-obsolete baby equipment for their impending arrival. Maeve couldn't get enough of the front steps. Oh how I wish I could derive that much satisfaction out of something so simple. Later, Uncle Chris and Liz came for a visit. Lilly immediately latched onto Liz again and insisted the she put her to bed. Liz good naturedly agreed, though I did have rescue her later from endless story requests.
Sunday :: 24 October 2004
The Roberts girls scooped up our girls for a bit of a visit in the afternoon. When I went to collect them, they were all having a great time: Lilly was playing with a balloon with Sarah and Maeve was carrying the biggest thing in the room (in this case, a baby carrier) around the house.
Monday :: 25 October 2004
Today was the last day of swim lessons. Though she did well, the instructors want Lilly to repeat the Pike class at least one more time. She had good confidence, but is still a bit lacking in some of the basic skills. As a typical zealous parent, I questioned whether it was normal for a child to have to repeat the same class three times. I was assured that it was perfectly normal and that many kids have to repeat four or five time. Lilly didn't seem the least bit concerned.
Thursday :: 28 October 2004
This evening will go down in family lore as "The Applesauce Incident." We gave the girls their dinner and went to check on the construction progress in the kitchen. We returned at the sound of Maeve screaming. We found Lilly standing in the middle of the room with Maeve's applesauce splattered around the room: floor, wall, table, chair, clothes, high chair. Lilly apparently thought Maeve didn't want her applesauce and when she tried to take it away, Maeve made it clear that wasn't true at all by slapping it out of Lilly's hand.
Saturday :: 30 October 2004
On this cold and rainy afternoon, Lilly and I carved Jack-O-Lanterns. We had a pattern book and, of course, Lilly wanted the most complicated ones (I was able to bargain for only the spider). Lilly thought scooping the guts out was pretty fun and occupied herself by using the pumpkins and their lids as a sort of giant puzzle. Our pumpkins were spooky and Lilly was all giddy when I carried her outside after dark to take a look at them lit up by candles.
Sunday :: 31 October 2004
While Lisa and I went to Home Depot to drop some heavy cash, Betty watched the girls. We returned to find them playing in Betty's basement with a refrigerator box converted into play house. The time change and the late hour combined to make Maeve practically catatonic: there would be no trick-or-treating for her. Lilly quickly changed into her Ballerina costume and I took her over to the Roberts for our annual halloween event. All the girls were there and Lilly bounced on Maggie's bed and played with the birds with Molly. After an hour, the time change and excitement were beginning to wear on Lilly too. When I asked her if she was ready to go, she surprised us all by quietly answering, "yes."
Past diary entries: July-August 2004