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July/Aug Saturday :: 02 July 2005
Today when Lisa got Maeve up from her nap this afternoon, she proudly announced: "I lie down." Indeed she had been lying down. (In fact, this ended her non-horizontal sleeping patterns since our 'vacation' in the Dells and she's been sleeping normally since.) Maeve's language skills are nothing short of amazing. Today while looking out the window for Lilly, she said, "I don't see her." In the car she turned to Lilly and asked, "Why do you have Barbies?"

Monday :: 04 July 2005
This morning we announced that we were going to have breakfast at the diner before the big parade. As soon as we reminded the girls that they could have pancakes, they went ballistic. They screamed and giggled and clapped their hands while chanting pancakes all the way to the restaurant. The DeForest Fourth of July parade was a hit with both kids. Lilly took Maeve's hand and they pushed their way to the edge of the crowd in hopes of getting some candy. As usual, Lilly was more timid than Maeve, especially whenever a costumed mascot would make an appearance. After the parade, we hit the park for ice cream. The impending rain kept the balloon slide closed and there were no pony rides this year, so we headed for home. After dark, I woke Lilly and we watched the fireworks through Lilly's window between the dark branches.

Friday :: 15 July 2005
While I was at work, Lisa took the girls over to the Roberts' pool. While Lisa and Betty were trying to convince Lilly to jump off the diving board, Maeve was apparently watching and hatching a plan of her own. Suddenly, she ran towards the diving board on the other side of the pool yelling "I do it." Before anyone could stop her, she climbed up on the board and walked off the end. Wearing her swimmy vest, she popped back up immediately and was a bit scared and flustered. As soon as she so everyone clapping and cheering though, she was all smiles. Of course, after this little stunt, Lilly decided she couldn't be bested by her baby sister and jumped of the diving board too.

Saturday :: 16 July 2005
The heat drove us all back to the pool again today. I just floated and let the girls crawl on me. None of us wanted to leave and go back to our sweltering house. We let Lilly start watching her library movie, Spirit, this afternoon and it really affected her. She was bawling at bedtime, sobbing about how "they keep capturing Spirit."

Wednesday :: 20 July 2005
Maeve continues to floor us with her command of language. I was tickling her this afternoon. She squirmed and instead of screaming "NOOOO" like most kids her age, she told me sternly: "Don't do that." When she disapproves of something we're trying to feed her, she pushes it away and announces: "I don't want it." This afternoon when I admonished her for standing too close to the TV, she flopped her head down on the couch and mumbled "I'm sad." The other day she told me "My belly hurts. I go lie down."

Lilly is most definitely a girly-girl. She is all about pink. Tonight as we looked through a catalog, she squealed with delight at every single pink item we came across. When we paged past some rustic and sports-themed bedroom sets, she dismissed them disdainfully: "That's for BOYS." The only things better than pink are horses. The girl is certifiably horse-crazy. She pretends to be a horse (which invariably involved neighing loudly), she plays farm with horses, she looks at horse books, and she takes her stuffed horse (named Rain from the movie Spirit) everywhere.

Monday :: 25 July 2005
Lilly announced to me this afternoon that she did a back float all by herself at swimming lessons today.

Tuesday :: 26 July 2005
Lilly was quite distraught that Alexis was mean to her at daycare today. Apparently she threatens to hit her, sticks out her tongue, and tells her she doesn't want to play with her. Lilly also tells me that Alexis is mean to most of the other kids too. I could tell it was bothering her. We talked about how when people are mean it usually means that they aren't very happy. Later she said, "Thanks for talking to me about Alexis."

Wednesday :: 27 July 2005
When I picked up the girls this afternoon, Maeve came running across the playground yelling "I'm sandy." Once we got in the car, she told me "I'm sweaty." Apparently Lilly didn't like Maeve's pronunciation and a shouting match ensued. Maeve threatened to hit Lilly and Lilly whacked Maeve with her stuffed horse. At home the tiff continued until Maeve violently body slammed Lilly into the table and tried to grab her face. By that time I had had it. I bellowed my displeasure and Maeve flopped to the floor crying. Later, all smiles again, she told Momma, "Poppa yelled at me."

A few months ago, Maeve seemed well ahead of the potty-training curve. Lately she has all but abandoned it. Not only is she not really interested, she has a thing about lying about her poop. She tells us she has when she hasn't and when she really has, she denies it. Go figure.

Friday :: 19 August 2005
I can't possibly chronicle the day-to-day happenings over the last month, so I'll try to clear the cobwebs from the last several weeks of insanity and hit the highlights. The funniest thing Maeve has ever said happened during a car ride to the west side a few weeks ago. Maeve was bellowing "wah... WAHHH..." at a pretty substantial volume with just a hint of melody. Lisa idly asked "Oh Maeve, are you singing?" Maeve stopped and very matter-of-factly said, "No. I go 'wah.'"

Lilly is alternately excited and nervous about the prospect of kindergarten. Buying school supplies ratcheted up the excitement for a while, especially the black-velour Hello Kitty backback. The novelty wore off a bit and she began to worry about the new school and taking the bus. Back-to-school clothes and a huge care package from Nanny now, however, has her thinking about all the fashion opportunities ahead. She does seem a little sad that daycare will be over soon and her "best friend" Holly will be going to a different school. When school does start in a couple of weeks, Momma will be on her own with Maeve on Mondays and Fridays for the first time in more than two years. Maeve is already signed up for story hour at the library and swimming lessons, of which she is blissfully unaware.

Maeve has made a bit of progress on the potty-training front. She has used the potty a few times and is very interested in wearing pull-ups. Lilly wants to help Maeve when she goes in the bathroom and, while I appreciate her willingness to pitch in, I'm not sure it really expedites matters.

I've been spending an inordinate amount of time constructing a deck and a porch and my memories of the last several weekends have been of two little faces peering outside watching me sweat and asking when I'm going to come in for lunch. Every weekend morning Lilly climbs into our bed and inquires, "Poppa, are you going to work today?" I am trying to spend time with them as much as I can, but time is of the essence as the construction season quickly winds down with way too much work left unfinished. As we huddled in the basement last night, with tornado sirens blaring outside and doppler radar reports on the TV, things came into perspective. Lisa, half-jokingly, mentioned the possibility of a tornado ripping off my new deck. I hugged my girls closer and replied, "I can always build a new deck."

Saturday :: 20 August 2005
We took the girls to Reyne and Tim's wedding reception this afternoon. We weren't quite sure about having kids at the Capital Brewery Beer Garden, but it was basically just an outdoor picnic area with lots of other kids. Maeve and Lilly loved running around on the stage at the far end of garden and it was difficult to drag them back. Actually not all that difficult considering all the cookies, cakes, and brownies we could use to entice them. The girls charmed everyone and something about the dappled sunlight made all three girls absolutely gorgeous.

Wednesday :: 24 August 2005
Lilly was a bit pouty when I picked the girls up from daycare. Ms. Jennifer told me that she had been in a time out because she had "pushed one of her friends." When I tried to ask her about it, she got a bit teary and by the time we were home she was bawling. While Lisa fed Maeve, I sat with Lilly and tried to calm her down. It seems that she was upset because she knew she did something wrong and felt bad about it and was worried that we were going to be mad at her and not love her anymore. Through her tears, she stammered that she was "sadder than when Aidan left." She had a rough bedtime and woke up crying a few times. Lisa called Ms. Jennifer and got the story: Lilly had lied to her about her actions, but readily told another teacher. She was so ashamed that she didn't want people that she loved and respected to know that she had made a mistake. Ms. Jennifer confirmed what we had been seeing: that Lilly is a perfectionist and overly sensitive about criticism (the curse of her Poppa).

Thursday :: 25 August 2005
Lilly moped off to daycare this morning, not relishing the prospect that she was required to apologize to Ms. Jennifer for lying. Lisa picked the girls up and, once she had confirmed that Lilly had indeed apologized, presented her with a My Little Pony as a reward for telling the truth. Maeve has entered the why-and-because stage. We tell her something, and she asks "why?" We ask her something and she replies "because..." It's cute, especially in her squeaky staccato voice, but it gets a bit much. I remember well Lilly's endless "whys."

Friday :: 26 August 2005
Lilly has taken to peering out the kitchen windows every morning to check my progress on the porch project. This morning she told me "Poppa, it looks like you didn't do anything last night." As I left for work, Lilly and Maeve were playing nicely in the living room. They had a blanket spread and were playing "picnic," I think. As I kissed them goodby, Maeve grinned up and me from a Richard Scary tome, "I have a big book."

Saturday :: 27 August 2005
My friend Mitch came over today to help me install beadboard on the ceiling of our in-progress back porch. His wife Shelly and their son Owen came out later for dinner and a visit. The girls were very excited about "baby Owen." Lilly was very good watching him, playing with him, and refereeing between him and Maeve. Maeve behaved for the most part, but she and Owen did get into some wild chasing games a few times and definitely weren't using their "indoor voices." We didn't have enough chairs when we all sat down for pizza, so Maeve had to balance on a bar stool, perching above the table. She seemed pretty well pleased with herself from that vantage point and giggled and mugged with all of us. For some reason, her chubby pout and blonde curls in profile reminded me of Marilyn Munroe.

Monday :: 29 August 2005
This week starts the count-down to Kindergarten for Lilly and her emotional mother. Today, Betty took Maeve for the afternoon and Lisa and Lilly went to see March of the Penguins. Momma got it this time and bought snacks: popcorn, candy, and lemonade. They both loved the movie, but Lilly was in tears a points when nature reared its ugly, unforgiving head.

Wednesday :: 31 August 2005
As daycare winds down for most of the kids in Lilly's class, the teachers put together a Luau party on this, the last, day. Lilly was up early and got totally decked out in her grass skirt, lei, hula-girl shirt, and fishy flip flops. When I came to pick up the girls, Lilly gave and got big hugs from Ms. Karin and Ms. Jennifer. They were more broken up about the goodbye than she was; all she could talk about was school starting tomorrow. But she did offer this caveat: "Tomorrow is just orientation, so I won't be a Kindergartner until Friday."

Thursday :: 01 September 2005
After dropping off Maeve at daycare we took Lilly to Yahara Elementary for the hour-long orientation with her teacher Mrs. Teeter. She's a kindly, slightly scattered, grandmother type and I think Lilly will be in good hands. When Lilly told her she likes art, Mrs. Teeter enthusiastically told us that, she too, is an artist. After orientation we went to lunch and Lilly picked the Pizza Hut buffet. Not exactly culinary genius, but fun nonetheless. Back at home, we packed Lilly's lunch and picked out her clothes for the first "real" day of shcool.

Friday :: 02 September 2005
I hit the road to work and Momma and Maeve waited with Lilly for school bus. She got on without hesitation and Lisa followed in her car (ostensibly so she'd know the route). At school, she parked illegally, grabbed Maeve and tried to walk Lilly into her classroom. Lilly didn't want to have much to do with her mother's meddling. She confidently walked down the long hallway to her classroom and lined up with all the other kids under the semi-watchful eye of Mrs. Teeter. Lisa finally let go departed with Maeve. I tried to take her mind of the separation by meeting her and Maeve for lunch at Maharaja's Indian buffet. Maeve was happy to see me and chattered away, telling me, among other things, about "following shcool bus."

Past diary entries: May-June 2005
March-April 2005
January-February 2005
November-December 2004
September-October 2004
July-August 2004
May-June 2004
March-April 2004
January-February 2004
November-December 2003
September-October 2003
July-August 2003
May-June 2003

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