Saturday :: 01 January 2005
Lilly whined and moaned this morning about the impending drive: "It's too long and far, Poppa." More than a few times during the day she inquired: "Poppa, are the roads OK?" They were, until we hit the Wisconsin state line. The icy roads and Maeve's screaming prompted us to stop for the night in Beloit. Maeve loved the room (Lisa insisted on a much nicer place this time) and ran around joyfully exploring. Maeve wouldn't lie down until we moved her Pack'n'Play into the bathroom ante-room. Then she was out like a light. Lilly claimed not to be tired and climbed into bed with us to watch a documentary on England. She was quite impressed of the aerial shots, exclaiming more than once, "That's a pretty little town."
Sunday :: 02 January 2005
The roads were fairly clear in the morning and we made it home in under an hour. Later, presumably because we hadn't had our fill of driving yet, we headed up to the Dells. Our objective was to check out the vacation house we were thinking of renting with Uncle Chris, Aunt Beth, and Grandpa Hall this summer. Once the mission was accomplished, we stopped for pizza. Maeve is now rivaling Lilly in quantity of pizza consumed in one sitting. She is slimming down though, despite her appetite; the walking, running and dancing are fighting the battle of the bulge.
Wednesday :: 05 January 2005
This morning, the snow was coming down pretty good and Lilly was thrilled. Not only was she blissfully unaware of the vagaries of snow removal, she was able to wear her brand-new snow pants to daycare. Maeve just crinkled her nose up at the cold flakes.
Thursday :: 06 January 2005
Today was a snow day for DeForest schools and, by default, Wishing Well daycare. Lisa stayed home with the girls while I slogged to work. Upon my return home in the afternoon, I was greeted by a scene worthy of a George-Bailey-style family man. As I got out of my car, Lilly burst through the garage door yelling "Poppa." Maeve soon took up the call in the kitchen and both girls jumped into my arms as soon as I had my coat off. Life is good.
Sunday :: 16 January 2005
Our friends Mitch and Michelle came over for dinner with their 10-month-old son Owen. Maeve, the older woman, felt the need to unearth every toy she could find and pile them on and around baby Owen.
Tuesday :: 18 January 2005
Maeve uttered her first three-word sentence this morning as we were bundling up: "That's Lilly's hat." After daycare, Lilly screamed and cried about getting in the car. She was petrified of "our car crashing on the icy roads." Nothing I could say made the slightest bit of difference, so I buckled her into her seat and tried to ignore her pitiful wails.
Saturday :: 22 January 2005
We got another deluge of snow over night and were effectively snowed in. We took the girls sledding on our little hill in the back yard. Both of them were thrilled to be out in the snow and Maeve cackled endlessly while I dragged her down to the pond and back. She was getting cold, so Lisa took her inside leaving me with Lilly. We took our plastic toboggan down the hill a dozen times before she hesitantly decided she wanted to try it alone. She screamed and giggled all the way down and immediately wanted to do it again. The only thing that swayed her to abandon the sled was the promise of hot chocolate.
Sunday :: 23 January 2005
While I helped my brother move all day, Lilly had Max over for a "play date" (oh how I loathe that term). Maeve began learning to drink from a big girl cup and did extremely well, though not without the expected spills and self-dousings.
Tuesday :: 25 January 2005
Maeve continues to improve her technique for drinking from a cup. This evening, she slugged down some milk and then gingerly lifted her bib to pat her mouth clean, flashing a big toothy grin as she dropped it back into place. In the last few weeks she has become absolutely radiant and stunning. I gotta admit that she was pretty funny looking there for a while, but she's drop-dead gorgeous now.
Monday :: 31 January 2005
As I was shaving this morning, Lilly whined, "Poppa, do you have to go to work?" My affirmative answer prompted her to state wishfully (yet somehow very matter-of-factly) "I wish every day was Christmas or weekends." Maeve is still taking her own sweet time talking but she is yelling things like "enk eye-down" (Hank, lay down) when the dog gets within ten feet of her baby doll and "here you go" when she thrusts some random toy or book into our laps. Her Irish temper continues. In fact, her daycare teachers asked about sharing at home with Lilly because she is so possessive and aggressive with her classmates.
Wednesday :: 02 February 2005
Tonight I wasn't feeling well: I was dizzy, feverish, and achy. Lilly was very concerned. As I was putting her to bed, she told me that if I was too dizzy, I should just lie down while she brushed her teeth. I accompanied her to the bathroom anyway and she immediately put down the toilet seat and instructed me to sit down. After I finished her bedtime stories, she warned me, "hold on to the wall on the way downstairs so you don't fall."
Saturday :: 12 February 2005
Lilly stayed up later than she ever has tonight. Kevin and Nancy, along with their 11-year-old daughter Hazel, came for dinner around 6 p.m. Lilly spent the the whole day making an elaborate Valentine ("Valentimes") for her and gazing longingly out the window. Hazel was an incredibly good sport and played with Lilly for hours. They did art projects, played with Lincoln Logs, dressed up and Hazel even read her a bedtime story at 11:30! Cranky Maeve, on the other hand, was down by 5:30.
Monday :: 14 February 2005
I'd been hearing conspiratorial whispers all weekend about a hidden Valentine present. This morning Lilly dragged me out of bed to bestow her gift on me. In keeping with a somewhat unusual tradition of giving me underwear as gifts, she presented me with a pair of Valentine boxer shorts festooned with Xs, Os, hearts, and kisses. She insisted that I put them on immediately. I was able to convince her though that I did have to take a shower first.
Tuesday :: 15 February 2005
Lilly snuggled into bed with us early this morning and proceeded to jabber non-stop for half an hour. She told me all about her Valentine's party at daycare... I think... I was half asleep. She is the sweetest little thing but sometimes she just will not shut up. She also doesn't get knock-knock jokes, but insists on making them up all time. For example: "Knock knock." "Who's there?" "Banana." "Banana who?" "I'm going to jump on your head!" This is followed by paroxysms of giggling.
Wednesday :: 16 February 2005
Tonight, while feeding Maeve her dinner, I was snacking on a cookie. Maeve looked over, her eyes lit up, and she announced "cookie." I gave a bit and she dug in, cheerfully commenting, "mmmmmmmmmmm." Then, with a look of seriousness on her face, she pointed to the morsel in her other hand and matter-of-factly stated again, "cookie" as a big grin brightened her face.
It's not all sweetness and light with Thing Two though. Her nasty temper inexplicably flares up whenever we ask her to put her coat on. Either she doesn't want to, or it's the wrong coat, or she wants to lay down ("eye-down") to put it on, or she wants to do it herself, or she wants us to do it... This has led to some unpleasant mornings of late. When she wants to though, she is actually pretty proficient at getting it on by herself and even begins to fumble with the zipper.
Thursday :: 17 February 2005
This morning Lilly gave Maeve a belated Valentine's card (a piece of notebook paper with a heart drawn on it and her "signature" actually, but it's the thought that counts, right?). Maeve seemed quite taken by this act of generosity and kept it clutched in her talons all the way to daycare. This afternoon when I went to pick her up, Maeve ran over in the corner, lay down, and began patting her own butt. Apparently, the teachers do that to calm the kids down at nap time and Maeve picked up on it. I'm not sure whether it's a method of self-soothing of whether it's just intended to send a message.
Friday :: 18 February 2005
Lilly argues all the time. It's unusual that a suggestion, question, or direct order isn't met with some sort of excuse or emotional outburst. It's a struggle and it's beginning to wear on both of us, especially Lisa. We're not exactly sure where to go with this, but then no one ever said this was an easy job...
Saturday :: 19 February 2005
Momma left for a girls' weekend in Chicago at 10:30 a.m. The sneaking around began immediately: when Maeve went down for a nap, we had pretzels for snack and watched cartoons. When Maeve awoke, we bundled into the car for lunch at Noodles. Both girls were extremely well behaved, though I think Maeve ate more macaroni and cheese than Lilly did. Next on the agenda was the CD release party for a local kids-music singer-songwriter (aka Mr. Dave). We arrived a bit late, but Lilly spied Caitlin and Sophie (here daycare teacher's daughters) up front and, with a little prodding, snuck her way up to join them. Maeve was quiet but took in everything — her eyes darting around the room, observing. On our way home, we stop for ice cream at Culver's (which, I suppose, qualifies as more sneaking around).
Sunday :: 20 February 2005
We spent the morning doing art projects. Lilly made a card for Uncle Chris while Maeve covered paper after paper with her trademark V-shaped scratches. Then she wanted me to sign her masterpieces — multiple times. When it was time for a new sheet of paper she yelled, "art!" We met Uncle Chris for lunch at Red Robin. Maeve ate a lot of French Fries and even more ketchup. By the time we left, she was licking ketchup off her fingers while I watched carefully to intervene should her hands come too close to her hair. We went over to Chris's house so I could help him move some new furniture. Liz watched them chase each other and play hide and seek in the living room until it was time to leave. Back at home, the girls played blissfully together in Lilly's room until Momma got home.
Wednesday :: 23 February 2005
Maeve woke up with her eyes glued shut with green gunk. A visit to the doctor confirmed that it was pink eye. I was sick too and spent most of the day in bed. Lilly brightened the room when she bounded in after the daycare and asked "How are you feeling Poppa?" She was absolutely gorgeous, with a radiant smile, sparkling eyes and a fetching braid on one side of her face.
Thursday :: 24 February 2005
The doctor had told us that if we started Maeve on eye drops, she could go back to daycare today, but when Lisa called to check on her she wasn't doing well, so she picked her up by noon. As Lisa said, "If she just wants to be held, it should be her mother holding her."
Friday :: 25 February 2005
Maeve is much better today. Her eyes are clearing up and she's not nearly as cranky. Lisa, however, is now getting sick.
Sunday :: 27 February 2005
We were all relatively healthy and recovered by Sunday. Lisa and Lilly headed off to church and Lilly's first day of Sunday school while Maeve and I hung out at home. The plan was to meet at the Grasshopper cafe for lunch. When I backed out of the garage, Maeve exclaimed with an air of discovery, "Poppa car." I asked Lilly how Sunday school was and she launched into some explanation about "God's friends" (Jesus' disciples, as it turns out). Apparently though, the biggest selling point was the food, specifically the cookies. Bribery works wonders, don't it? Back at home I was working on the dining room ceiling. Maeve kept running over to the baby gate and shouting "Poppa." For days later, she kept saying things like "Poppa up ladder."
Monday :: 28 February 2005
At bedtime tonight Lilly wanted to look in the mirror while brushing her teeth. She got all silly and starting mugging at herself, grinning and giving herself the thumbs up. Then she started saying things like "alright, baby" and "are you with me, buddy pal?" She now flosses her own teeth using those kiddy flossers with handles. I'm not sure how great a job she does, but I did show her how to do it and she seems rather diligent in her efforts.
Maeve continues to progress at a startling rate. Some days it seems as though she's months older in the span of a few hours. She's got a mind of her own, that one does, and a temper to boot. She can put her coat on by herself one arm at a time, big-girl style, and she always has a go at the zipper, though at this point it's just aimless fumbling. She does the same kind of fumbling with her shoe laces, sometimes playing with her shoes for 20 minutes at a stretch, endlessly twiddling the shoe strings. She can walk up stairs now too, with the help of the railing, though I certainly wouldn't trust her on her own. Lately she's been obsessed with clothes: pointing out items of clothing on herself or others (shirt glasses, shoes, hat). She is still quite enthralled with her baby doll. She changes it, feeds it, takes it for walks, carries it, comforts it. Sometime she gives us the play-by-play: "baby eye-down" (baby is lying down) or "baby eyeing" (baby is crying). These announcements are usually followed by the admonition, "shhhhhhhhhhhh!" It does seem as though her favorite word is "no." This infuriates Lilly. She often asks crossly, "Maeve, why do you always say 'no'?" (Couldn't be the example set by her big sister.) The other day Lilly complained, "Maeve, when you say 'no' it gives me a headache."
Past diary entries: November-December 2004