Eleven Months!

Oh, Lucy! Eleven months and life with you is finally starting to feel a little less nail-bitingly, hair-pullingly full of commotion. Some snippets of you at eleven months, because you won’t sit still long enough for full paragraphs:

Standing for minutes on end, pushing yourself up on your own with your hands and feet, waving your arms, and going up and down on tiptoes. Your body is so ready to walk, even if your brain doesn’t know it yet…

Pointing at everything, saying “ba! BA!” Everything is BA or BOO or MMM or DADA or NAHNAH, whether you’re referring to a bird (you LOVE birds, little birdie), one of the cats (“KKKK!”), or a spot in the distance where we’re not quite sure what you’re trying to tell us. You are being so patient with us all as we try to learn your language…

Never sitting still to eat in your highchair, but standing on the floor eating dinner off of the footstand because you just refuse to be tied down…

Picking up new skills mindbogglingly fast. Watch Nana put a ball into a slinky once? Repeat it on your own. Watch Mama open a plastic egg? Now Lucy does it! Molly climbs up on the stool? Better watch out, Lucy is right behind you!…

Starting to listen when we say no, thank God. Not often, but you haven’t dipped into the cat water or climbed the stairs without permission lately, and you will frequently stop before the magnet or the cat food or the sticker goes into your mouth…

Clapping, waving bye bye, and blowing kisses like a champ…

You’ve hit the “everything back” era which is infinitely more enjoyable than the “everything out” era, although this phase means you will dump your food out repeatedly, just to put everything back into the bowl…

Starting to love books, especially Peek-a-Who and Moo, Baa, La La La. Learning how to turn the pages and being really engaged, wanting us to read it over and over for you…

Your content play, if you’re in the mood for it, without our constant stimulation or engagement. How I love watching you learn as you figure out how to stack the rings, pick up each finger puppet and gaze at it intently, or pick up the lion puzzle piece and roar at it…

Six teeth, with not one interrupted night of sleep or fussy afternoon to show for them. You fall asleep every night with nary a tear and wake up cheerfully chatting to yourself. You are truly the sweetest natured child I’ve ever met…

Next month you’ll be a whole year old and our last first year ever will have gone by in just twelve short months of learning about you, of getting to know you, of laughing with you, of kissing your delicious cheeks and temples, of loving you. Next month and already I can’t possibly imagine loving you more than I do right this second…but I’ve felt the same exact way every day for eleven months now, and every new day proves me wrong.

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Love, Love, here we are [again]

“It’s no use going back to yesterday, because I was a different person then.”

– Lewis Carroll, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland

When I first read Sarah’s email about her and Simon’s son surprising them by being born five weeks early, I was so shocked that I misread the name “Everett” as “Everest”. Fitting, I thought to myself, for my new nephew to be named after a mountain that is seemingly insurmountable and equal parts beautiful and terrible. Because is there a better metaphor for the journey of parenthood?

Welcome to the world, Everett Neill. I love you to the top of the tallest mountain.

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Ten Month Post


As a little sister, I have some serious little-sister-syndrome that firmly manifests in my constant nagging at Lee to pay Lucy as much attention as he pays Molly (he does…mostly). I can’t help but feel that Molly had a full 20 months of all of the attention while Lucy, my poor, put-upon second child, has had to share us all from minute one. She even has to share her very first birthday with Thanksgiving. Poor baby. Being the second is so hard. You can hear the violins playing, right?

Maybe that’s why Lucy already has the sneaky little-sister look mastered – the “I understand what the word NO means but I’m going to go ahead and splash in the cat water anyway” look – the “I don’t care that it makes you anxious; I’m going to jet up these stairs as soon as you turn your back” look – the “You keep telling me not to spit my food out at you as soon as you put it in my mouth but I really don’t care if you think it’s gross” look. To say that Lucy at ten months is a handful would be doing an injustice to understatements everywhere. Every so often, when she’s standing on her own in the middle of the room, screeching like a bird in heat, or chewing on her dad’s hairbrush, or pulling open cabinets and finding the one pair of scissors that I misplaced several months ago, or stomp-crawling down the hallway with a block in each hand, Molly will look at me and say, “Mom, Lucy is so pesky.” Yes she is, Molly. Yes she freaking is.

But do you know the one thing that stops Lucy in her tracks – what will make her pause mid-climb out of her high chair, even when she’s been strapped in? Molly starting to sing a song. What makes her stop screaming like a banshee? An unprovoked hug from her sister. What makes her sit still for just a minute, stopping her reign of terror for long enough to catch her breath and stare in bemusement? When Molly sits next to her, puts her arm around her, and starts to read a book. Little sisters are so put-upon, right? They have to share everything. They can never have anything to themselves. Except that’s totally wrong – because while Molly may have had all of us for 20 months while Lucy has to share us, Molly only got us – while Lucy has her big sister, right by her side, to help her, to guide her, to encourage her and tell her when she’s making bad choices (even though she probably won’t listen) and to love her wholly and unconditionally, forever.

If I’m being honest, little sisters actually have all the luck.

J & L

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Two and 1/2

Okay, so: 2 1/2? *Infinitely* easier than 2 1/4. The 47-step bedtime routine has been culled down to a mere 12 or 13 steps! The food strikes have gone from code “starvation” to code “only-very-hungry!” Hair washing hysterics have been downgraded to hair washing theatrics! Little Miss Bossypants has turned into Little Miss Slightly-Less-Bossypants! We are potty-trained! 2 1/2 is a relative breeze.

These days, Molly is very good at asking for what she wants –

Can I throw this rock?

Can I have a hug?

Can I watch TV?

Can I have a snack?

(Standing in tub, holding a bucket of water) Can I throw this in the air?

Can I sit on your shoulders and touch the ceiling?

Can I dip my hand in this ketchup?

Can I chase Tyson down the hall?

Can I hold Lucy’s hand?

Can I jump off the table?

Can I do it? Can I help? Can I come with you?

She is also getting great with reasoning/rationalizing:

Well, Molly, Lucy is crying because you grabbed the toy out of her hand. How about you find another toy to give her? Here you go Lewc!

No, Molly, you can’t have a sixth applesauce, because then you’ll get a bellyache. How about some popcorn instead? Copcorn? Okay!

Molly, if you hold the mirror you can see when the water is going to come near your eyes. Ooh, my ears! My ears look like beautiful butterflies. 


Her memory is astounding. There have been multiple moments which have left Lee and I scratching our heads to try and figure out what she’s talking about, because she can describe events in such vivid detail. Here’s the best story/example so far:

One night when Lee and I were putting her to bed, Molly suddenly looks at the door and in this spooky, serious voice says, “the bad man is coming!” Lee calmly said, “Molly…who’s the bad man?” She replied, “the bad man is coming, because it’s dark. So dark. And he has a bird!” This went on for awhile (yours truly was basically curled into a ball rocking in the corner from the first sentence) until finally Molly started humming, na na na na na na na na BAD-MAN! We have no idea where she came across Batman and Robin, but oh, did she ever remember every detail.

Her relationship with Lucy is rapidly developing. I catch the two of them smiling and giggling together on the daily; they like to play in each other’s rooms, and today Molly followed Lucy up the stairs to make sure she was safe. Nothing makes my heart smile like seeing the love develop between the two of them.

She starts preschool (STEM preschool, naturally!) next month and is so excited about her backpack, her teacher, and her new friends. Our annual Labor Day trip bore witness to huge advancements in interacting and playing with other kids, taking turns, and even beginning to (gasp!) share. She has her Papa Marc wrapped around each and every one of her fingers, and maybe a couple of toes. She knows all the letters in her name and is starting to spell out written words. When she draws a boy, it actually looks like a person. She has had her first manicure (pink on one hand; black on the other). Her hair continues to grow and continues to curl into her eyes, no matter the clips. She continues to amaze me every day.


IX Take 2

3/4 years old and what a animated blur we have in our house. Turn your back for 10 seconds and Lucy is halfway up the stairs, all the way across the house, or in the bowl of cat food. This girl is not even walking and she can out run me. She is never content to be still unless some form of food is being served.

And all of a sudden our little bird who chirped is now the sheep who went baa baa baa baa baa baa baa all day long. “Hi Lucy,” evokes a response of “BAAAAAA”

“What did you do today Lucy?”

“Ba ba ba ba baaaaaaa”

“Can you say da-da Lucy?”

“MmM mmmm mom momomomomomomomom”


The constant babbling and cooing and other lingual practice now has to contend with a mouth full of 2, YES 2, teeth….. finally! Lucy has graduated to the world of semi-firm foods which can be gnawed and drooled on including blueberry muffins, pasta, barley, rice, and various snacks. No longer content to be spoon fed, Lucy tantrums occur when food is on the table and it is not in her hands on the way to her mouth.

It’s scary to think upon how fast the last 9 months have passed in our house. Once upon a time we had a 2 year old and a newborn, once upon a time we had one toddler, once upon a time we had one newborn, once upon a time we were newly weds, once upon a time we just met, once upon a now we have two amazing young girls who laugh and smile and make their parents very very happy.

And lastly a word from the wunderkind


8 months

I really, truly try not to compare the girls as they grow. Even though a part of me always goes, “Molly had 4 teeth by now!” or “Lucy is crawling so early! Molly didn’t crawl until seven months…” I try hard to recognize each of my girls as they hit their respective milestones. I know it doesn’t matter, anyway. They are healthy, and strong, and smart, and beautiful, and we are all so very blessed.

There is a shroud that falls over my heart when I think back on Molly’s eighth month, because when Molly was eight months old something happened that seized me by the throat and pushed my esophagus slightly to the left of center, so that even now when I swallow there is a space where hope used to live. I keep saying to Lee, I can’t even remember what Molly was like at eight months. I can’t even compare. When I think back to that time, I feel that empty space and a layer of fog wells in my eyes. The event that parallelled Molly’s eight-month birthday triggered an episode of postpartum depression, but there were family members who were facing immense pain with courage and poise and grace, and acknowledging my own grief, my own “not okay-ness”, my own “something isn’t right” felt selfish and weak and needlessly dramatic. So I alternated, in that eighth month, between rocking Molly in my arms, silently crying into her hair while she slept, and leaving – traveling for work whenever I had the chance because being around was a constant reminder that I didn’t deserve her, that my luck wasn’t fair, that losing her was possible.

I try not to compare. Really, I do. But it lingers close, this shadow, this crack in the veneer, this rawness. I find myself holding my breath, awake at night, checking in – am I okay? Are the shadows that were banished by time and therapy creeping their way back in? I hope not. Molly’s eighth month was engulfed by pain, but Lucy’s eighth month is graciously different. The event that triggered my stumble down the rabbit hole has left a crack in my little glass globe of a world, but the jagged edges get a little softer each time Molly takes my hand in hers; softer yet when Lucy run-crawls towards me, panting like a puppy; softer yet when my nephew falls asleep in my arms and I hold my breath watching him because he is exactly who I’ve been waiting for.

Molly and Lucy. Different kids, for sure. Different personalities. Different experiences. Different eighth months.

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Weekend snapshot

This weekend, for the first time in almost eight months, I finally felt like Lee and I were capital-p Parenting two kids. Yesterday I took Molly to the gym and on a few errands with me while Lee took Lucy grocery shopping, then while the girls napped I put a coat of paint on our bathroom walls and Lee did a bunch of yard work; we had dinner as a family, bathed and put the girls to bed and were in bed ourselves by 10:30PM.

This morning I got up with the girls and we played upstairs while Lee slept in (in our house, 8AM counts as sleeping in). When he got up I went to the gym and ran 5 miles (notable because that’s the longest I’ve ever run, ever), while he got Lucy down for her nap; when I got home he took Molly to the zoo and when Lucy got up I took her to the playground to play in the sand. We got home at the exact same time, put both girls down for naps, and then I painted a second coat while he went for a bike ride. Then we had friends over for dinner, and managed to get the girls bathed and into bed while visiting. And now he’s writing thank-you cards and I’m writing this post. And while on the one hand as I’m writing this I’m thinking, this is just a recap of any old weekend, what’s the big deal? But then I think of the 300 little moments that made it special, that made it worth capturing for posterity, because this weekend? Lee and I killed it.

We both managed to make time for ourselves for the first time in ages. And at the same time we both got in so much quality time with the girls, both individually and together. We were in sync. We kept checking in with each other throughout the weekend, telling each other little anecdotes, like when Lucy crawled out of the sandbox onto the cement, she didn’t like the feeling on her knees so instead of crawling she went hand to tippy-toes. Or how Molly said approximately 30,000 words while window shopping in the Village yesterday. Or when Lucy had pulled up on the screen door while Lee was grilling and was chatting to him. Or when he called me into the dining room to witness how, just like her Mama and Aunt Jodie would, Molly had divided up her M&Ms by color.

There are so many more moments. Molly coming with me to wake Lucy up this morning and knocking on her door before opening it, and the grin on Lucy’s face when she saw who had come to greet her. Lee picking Molly up to carry her up a hill and swearing that she told him “this is gonna be a bitch”. Watching both girls celebrate national ice cream day, Lucy trying ice cream for the first time (we will be cleaning ice-cream shaped handprints off our every surface of our house for months). Lucy cruising; letting go for just a second, testing her balance. Molly being tall enough to go on the rides at the zoo. Lucy laughing. Molly laughing. Lee and I laughing.

Maybe it was a boring weekend, full of tasks and errands. And maybe, also, it was the best kind of weekend, full of little moments of yes, we’ve actually got it together, we’re actually a cohesive family of four, and it feels natural and normal and really pretty fun.

Weekending. Adulting. Parenting. We’re really doing it, aren’t we?

Seven Months Old

The other day (and on my watch), Lucy pulled an iron wall sconce down onto her head. I stood there for just a second watching her because the first thought that crossed my mind was, “if I just leave her be she’s probably strong enough to pull that thing right off of herself.” And then I stepped in, moved the sconce, kissed her cheek, which was red from the piece of iron that had fallen on her, and then Lee came in and decided it was high time to hang that sconce (that had been leaning against the wall since we moved in). And then I told her to quick, smash that frame I had been nagging him to hang over her head so he would take care of that, too!

This afternoon she tried to eat a whale. I saw something in her mouth and pulled it out – one of Molly’s window stickers, all bunched up and covered in drool, and when I unrolled it there it was, a humpback. If I hadn’t caught her I believe she would have swallowed the whole animal.

There is a moment literally every single day when I lose her. I’ve just put her down in the living room for a minute so I can wash my hands or make a bottle or grab a rag because solid-food spit up is the grossest, and when I don’t hear anything I’ll step back out and – where’d she go? Sometimes she’s in the office; sometimes she’s in the front hall; sometimes she’s climbing the stairs; sometimes she’s in the fireplace; sometimes, she has made it all the way down the hallway and I hear the piano in the playroom clanging because she’s using it to pull herself up.

Seven months is blowing raspberries like a champ, squealing with joy and giving us the cutest little “ba ba bas” and “ah-mamamas”. It is eating *everything* and my constantly pulling cat hair out of her mouth. It is self-soothing to sleep and waking up cheerful. It is making funny faces at us on purpose and licking all of Molly’s toys while she’s napping. It is snuggles and kisses and slapping her hand on her high chair as if to say, MORE, MAMA! It is joy and delight and irresistibly kissable cheeks and pesky getting into everything and oh, Lucy. What a delight you are. Even when you’re constantly hurting yourself and making my head spin and you just won’t sit still. I love you so, my funny, brilliant, strong, beautiful little birdie.


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Molly, lately

This morning we woke up to a little voice in the living room saying, “Dada? I need my milk (me-ilk)!” Lee and I stared at each other for probably 30 seconds in bleary-eyed confusion, trying to figure out where the voice was coming from, until it dawned on us that she had opened her door and come downstairs on her own.

Last week she ordered me to stop singing. “Stop singing, Mama!” with her lower lip sticking out and brow furrowed for full effect. I stopped for a second, chagrined…and then caught myself. Oh, no, child. This is my house. Don’t you tell me not to sing. You’re not the boss of me.

Who is this person, all of a sudden? This tiny dictator who will only eat at the table with us if we call dinner a snack, who gets into bed like a cat every night (but only after we say, Molly, can you get into bed like a…porcupine, eagle, meerkat, only to hear “No! Like a cat! Meow meow meow”), who has memorized stories and drew me a hippo in bath crayon last night and tells us about her day in exacting detail before she goes to bed?

She is a tasmanian devil made up of stubborn emotion, bargaining for everything, and stickers. She is simultaneous giggle fits and screaming tantrums. She is twirling around in the backyard with her dad, screaming “again” as he chases her around in circles, throwing her head back and laughing in a display of joy I wish I could bottle. She is whining and learning knock knock jokes. She is working on identifying emotions and when I ask, “Molly, are you feeling mad? Are you feeling sad?” she says, “No, I’m just crying!” and “Molly, are you feeling happy?” she responds, “No, I’m Molly!” as if she knows just how synonymous she is with happiness.

She is a girl who tucks her animals into bed with their own sheets, pillows, and blankets, helps her dad cook dinner, and willfully ignores us at least 40% of the time. Her hair is always a mop, always in her eyes, no matter how many barrettes I use to clip it back. She loves the bath but hates to be wet and washing her hair was full of shrieking dramatics until Lee, in a moment of sheer brilliance, drew a star in bath crayon on the ceiling and told her to look up at the star so that water wouldn’t get in her eyes. She subsists on milk, hummus, applesauce, peas, and jumping on her trampoline. She insists on just one more book every night and when she’s really upset will say “I just need my dada!” before flinging herself into his arms.

My Molly. My 2 1/4 year old. My whirling dervish of emotion, hilarity, and love. She remains the love of my life and the most special, beautiful, strong, brilliant girl I’ve ever met.



Six months 

“You just fell in love with her again, didn’t you?” Lee asked me when he caught me staring at Lucy with an uncontrollable grin on my face. He was right. I just can’t resist her. She’s magnetic!

How is life with our little birdie at six months? Near perfect, notwithstanding the bone-crushing exhaustion, the nail-biting, and the emotional drain that comes along with a baby who seems to thrive on as little sleep as possible while crawling (!), cutting her first tooth (!!) and pulling up on furniture (!!!) Lucy fully figured out hands-and-knees crawling a few weeks ago and since then has been working on perfecting her technique (and speeding up!). You would think all of this movement would tire her out, and she does fall asleep at night like a champ – it’s just that after a few weeks of blissful really sleeping through the night, she started either waking up around 4AM for a brief feeding again, or sleeping til about 5:45AM and deciding she’s up for the day. I’ve been trying to move the whole family’s sleep schedule a bit earlier to accommodate Lucy’s early rising, with mixed results (see timestamp on this post). And honestly, I’d almost rather the middle of the night waking than being up so early in the morning!

This month we took a special trip to meet Lucy and Molly’s new cousin, Elliott! We saw many of our extended family in Denver and got to participate in Elliott’s beautiful naming ceremony. Lucy is so good natured that even a weekend at high altitude, sleeping (and not sleeping) in unfamiliar places, and the chaos of travel (and delayed travel) didn’t stop her from being the most delightful, sweet, snuggly, happy little girl.

Other changes this month include more solid food (sweet potatoes, apples, mango, apricot, veggie sticks, cheerios, mixed veggies, etc)., some delightful squawks and squeals, some “ah-goo!” “lalala” and “mmm!” and the beginnings (we hope) of a tooth! We can see little ridges in her gums, and though her pediatrician said her first tooth may still be a few weeks out, we’re hoping it pops sooner rather than later.

And Lee was right, when he caught me looking at her. It’s true – I do fall in love with her over and over and over again.

Some snaps from this month:

Story time with Nana

Story time with Nana

Happy (teething) baby

Happy (teething) baby

Playing with Grandnana

Playing with Grandnana

Cousins! (and Lee)

Cousins! (and Lee)

All smiles

All smiles



Baby alligator

Baby alligator

Six months!

Six months!

Napping on Mama

Napping on Mama

Pulling up to standing!

Pulling up to standing!

My sweet girl

My sweet girl

Deep thoughts

Deep thoughts

Air travel isn't so bad with this one

Air travel isn’t so bad with this one

My Love

My Love

She does sleep once in awhile

She does sleep once in awhile

Four generations

Four generations!

Tubby time

Tubby time

Hanging with Josi

Hanging with Josi

One handed riding

One handed riding

Cutie pie

Cutie pie




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