14 month post

Holy crap. 14-months and Lucy has found her voice. She’s got words and she knows how to use them, too!  This past month has given Lucy her first real illness – a strange bug with a fever that knocked her out for a few days. Our poor little Linus was flopping all over the house, blankie in tow, faceplanting into the floor on purpose to rest her eyes and being even more sweet and snuggly than usual while she recovered. We have joined our town library recently and she has taken on an early love of reading, pulling open the drawer of library books (no small feat in itself) and bringing them to us with regularity. She loves music and animals and can now add the words “duck”, “goal”, “Papa”, “Nana”, and “more” (she even taught us how to sign that one!) to her ever expanding vocabulary. And all of this reading has really expanded her comprehension – she understands when we say “dinner time!” and will go try to climb into her seat; she can point out many animals (and make appropriate noises), and we can tell that she’s starting to get frustrated when she knows what word she wants to say but can’t yet get her mouth to work with her brain.
She can throw a ball with the best of them and loves to play soccer. She can climb the ladder in gymnastics all by herself and jump on the trampoline, holding onto the bar. She chases her sister around with gusto and the two of them are already starting to be thick as thieves – today they played blocks together (Molly directed Lucy where to stack the legos) and then had a tea party (that lasted approximately 8 seconds, but still). The bathtub is her happy place and she is so good at communicating with us – she will climb the stairs when she’s ready for bed, open the snack cabinet and start rummaging when she’s hungry (always), and she Let’s. Us. Know. when something is not going her way.  Lucy at fourteen months is loud, pesky, brilliant, snuggly, sweet, hilarious, mischievous, ravenous, and truly delightful. Here are a few more recent snaps of our amazing girl:
  



  

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13 Month Post

Oh, Lucy. What a character you are. The journey to walking has been as unexpected and interesting as everything else about you. You took your first step over Labor Day and by 10-11 months were consistently pushing up to standing and taking steps here and there. We spent your 11th month gasping every time you took more than one step – is this it? are we about to see you start walking?? – and a few weeks before your first birthday I even caught you on video a few times, up, turning, stepping. We thought it was game over. But then you decided to go back to crawling for about 5 weeks, and would just look at us and giggle every time we tried to convince you to walk towards us. And then the day before Christmas, at your Nana Sandy’s house, you decided that you were ready, and now you’ve (quite literally) taken off running. Molly even showed you how to hold the bar on her trampoline last night, after we saw you trying to jump up and down. You waited until you were ready, and far be it for us to try to push you (or to try and stop you)!

Thirteen months is so much fun. You have a few solid words – “up!”, “down” (“da’n”), “ball”, “cat” (“ka”), “that”, “Elmo”; you know all the actions of Head, Shoulders, Knees, and Toes and If You’re Happy and You Know It; you’re down to one nap per day and one bottle at night and are sitting in a booster at the table because you just hated your high chair so much and were constantly standing up in it, even when we belted you in, because you won’t be restrained. You’re much happier sitting with us at the table, eating everything you can get your hands on and drinking out of your sippy cup. In fact one of your favorite things to do is beg water off of one of us – you point and whine until we give you a sip from our glass. Oh, and The Wheels on the Bus is back in heavy rotation at casa Springer. So it goes.

I’ve spent some time recently cleaning out the “baby” items from our house and while most of me feels relieved that our days of life with an infant are behind us, now that you’re such a big girl it’s almost hard to remember the blur of you in the beginning. The endless nights, the constant nursing, the hours of falling into your eyes because all you knew how to do was stare at me lovingly. Nowadays you’re so busy stacking (4!) blocks, sorting shapes, vroom vrooming cars, handing me a book to read to you, that I can barely catch you in a moment of stillness. I try and sneak in snuggles where I can (your cheeks remain the most kissable cheeks in all of the land) and though I am so delighted by the person you are growing into, there is just a bit of nostalgia for my last little babe that lingers on.

Some snaps of you over the past month:

Future physicist

Curious

  

Cheeks for days

Carousel ride

  

Pretty and smart and strong

Kickin it in the car with Molly

  

Fun with cousin Linda

New big girl car seat!

With Dad

  

All of the food, all of the time

Funny girl

  

Christmas tree peskiness


  

Playing with your Christmas presents


 

Blueberries

  

The goat says “meh”

  

Me & my girl

    
  
 

 

2 and 3/4

Two years and 9 months means that when people ask me how old my daughters are, I now have to think for a minute before responding, “the big one is almost 3 and the younger one just turned 1 on Thanksgiving.”

Almost 3! I almost wouldn’t believe it, except that Molly regularly says sentences such as, “I’m making observations in my journal” and “I need the green crayon because I’m going to put a line on the bathtub” and then it’s hard to believe she’s not even 3 yet.

First – school! STEM Preschool is pretty epic. To say that Molly has taken to school would be a fair, but far understated, observation. She is thriving – *THRIVING* in school. She absolutely loves it. The first day we dropped her off, I wrote her a note in her lunch box all about how we were so proud of her and we’d see her soon; we all stayed home that day so that we could drop her off and pick her up as a family. We walked in to pick her up, all smiles – and she saw us and immediately burst into tears. Girlfriend did not want to leave. In fact it took a full week to convince her that she could go back to school the next day, and that week was full of daily tear-filled episodes of “but I don’t wanna go home! I want to stay at school!” School is the best. She has grown by leaps and bounds, socially, emotionally, and intellectually – learning new concepts and ideas daily and building on them (habitats! counting money! writing letters!) and it is really pretty amazing to watch. Here’s an (exceptionally large) video of Molly the morning of her first day of school:

And now, some other observations on life with Molly at almost three:

Almost three is coloring everything – “I’m just drawing my whole life, mom”, intricate portraits of lemons (named Lemmy, Inky, and Johnny), squiggles and circles and dots for days. It is taking me on the roller coaster at the zoo and prying my hands open while my arms are locked around her because “let go, Mama – I’m fine!” It is being a demon child to her little sister – charging her from across the house, screaming “NO LUC!”, grabbing a book out of her hand and smacking her in the head with it. Where do kids learn hitting? No one in this house hits! No one at school hits! No one on Sid the Science Kid hits!  How does she know how to put Lucy in a chokehold? Does she sneak out of bed at night to watch WWF?! If this is a phase (and it had better be a phase), I pray that it is short lived. I want my sweet baby back. I want the stories I tell Lucy about how her sister has always taken care of her to have more truth than stretch to them.

Almost three is manipulation, knowing when she is in the wrong and crying “I need a hug!” when she’s pushed Lucy over. It is starting to understand that her behavior has consequences, and being reminded that we love her even when we’re upset with her actions. Almost three is brushing her teeth by herself, getting dressed and undressed by herself, getting into her car seat by herself, “I can do it myself because I’m a big girl!” It is starting to ask “Why” (oh God oh God) and perfecting somersaults and memorizing multiple verse songs. It is snuggles and sticky kisses and conquering her first real stomach flu by learning how to throw up into a bowl (still gross). It is picking “a woodchuck dressed up as a crayon” as a Halloween costume and understanding that Mama is the boss – that when I say something in a certain tone, I mean business, no matter how cute she is being. Almost three is learning to wink conspiringly, tea parties with her animal friends, and building towers of blocks taller than herself. It is begrudgingly agreeing that Lucy’s birthday presents are for Lucy, not for Molly, and look, here’s some big sister presents over here for you too! It is climbing a tree like a monkey and then asking for a banana and going out for ramen on a girl’s night with Mama.

Almost three is challenging and exhilarating; amazing and frustrating, whining and hilarity, wrapped up in a blond haired jumping bean full of emotion. It is my body being more tired and my heart more full than ever before.

 

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One Year of Lulu Magoo

 

Lucy’s actual birthday fell on Thanksgiving Day and since we wanted to not divert due attention to her party, we decided to hold the birthday party a couple of days later on the weekend. What a holiday weekend it was, Starting with hosting 15 family members for T-Day! We rearranged our house to make way for the influx of friends and family.

Lucy got quite a turn-out with the entire T-Day crew returning to celebrate as well as additional friends and play-mates. At one point I am fairly certain we had 30 people in the house. The theme of the party was birds to celebrate our little chick.

Due to a new hatred of napping, Lucy was quickly fading right as the party came into swing so we quickly rushed through an introduction to cake and the receiving of presents. The cake itself I had made the night before, Yellow Angel Food with Robin’s Egg Blue frosting. Lucy was somewhat impartial to it but the rest of us enjoyed our slices. Then just as quickly as the party had assembled, it dispersed and our birdie took a well deserved nap.

How much can change in one year? For someone turning one, that question is heavily loaded. You were born. You learned to drink. You learned to smile. You learned to eat. You learned how to use your body. You grew teeth. You learned to babble. You learned to roll over, to sit up, to crawl, to walk in short bursts. You learned all of these things and there is still so much more to come, more talking, more walking, more singing, more dancing, more laughing, more learning. A year can bring you your entire life so far.

How much can change in one year? For a young toddler a year can bring you a little sister, your friend, your foe, your parents’ other attention. A year can bring a need to share, and to care, and to dare. A year can bring a new home in a new town, a whole new set of explorations. A year can bring a new school, new friends, new experiences. A year can bring learning to read and it can bring a rapidly expanding vocabulary. A year can bring memories that just might stick.

How much can change in one year? For two parents a year can bring you a massive amount of stress. A year can bring you a new pregnancy and then a new child to love. A year can bring you a reason to move and experience the highs and lows of both selling and then purchasing real estate. A year can bring you perspective that things always work out in the end. A year can bring you great joy, then great frustration, then great joy again. A year can bring you your family and make it closer and make it more dear and make it more yours. A year can bring you a feeling of contentment that cannot be captured in words.

So what can change in one year? Everything.

One Year Old!

Dear Lucy,

You turned one on Thanksgiving, a day when the whole country pauses for a few moments to give thanks for all that we have. Also there is turkey, and stuffing, and sweet potatoes, and lots of pie. This year we hosted and your father did it up Springer-style, which meant that everything tasted amazing and the wine flowed generously and our home was full of grandparents and aunts and uncles and cousins and laughter and happy tears and not a football game on TV to be heard (we don’t do all the traditions in this family). And I gave a teary speech about how grateful I was that your family was all there, for Thanksgiving, but also for your birthday, while you twisted and turned ’round in my arms in your usual trying to get down but also wanting to be held dance, grabbing for stuffing and my hair with equal interest in either or both. And then we ate. And it was glorious. Trust me when I say we all had a good first birthday, my love. There is so very much to be thankful for.

On the other hand. Let’s talk for a bit about the state of affairs that you’re growing up in. Because I’m having a hard time, lately, of believing that the world you’re inheriting is one fit for you. It’s like humanity is wrapped up in a big ball of yarn, and sometimes that yarn unravels, and sometimes it gets wound up more tightly, but right now it feels as though someone dropped it and it’s spinning out of control, going faster and faster and everything is getting all knotted up and threadbare. There is so much violence. There is hateful rhetoric being spouted and scapegoats being accused and shouting and shoving and photojournalists tripping refugees who are running for their lives. Right here in the country, where we just paused to give thanks, there is poverty and abuse and apathy and helplessness and sickness and appalling amounts of gun violence and it all feels like such a mess and this world, this country, this unraveling ball of humanity is not one I am comfortable with. You deserve so much better than to spend your life rebraiding the threads that we’ve left behind. Sometimes it’s hard to be thankful when the world feels barren of hope.

On the third hand. Your name means light. At your core, there is brightness. Lucy. You are the exact opposite – the perfect remedy – the fearsome enemy of darkness. By simply existing; simply being your delightful, magical, spectacular self, you are helping to create new threads. We have left you with such a mess, and for that I am so sorry. I promise to spend the rest of my life trying to wind up the ball for you. But in the meantime, you can keep creating new threads – new hope – new pieces of humanity – a new future. If we work together, maybe we can all make this world one deserving of you. And meanwhile, I will try to remember, not just on Thanksgiving, or on your birthday, but every day, that there is much more to be thankful for than to fear.

Happy Birthday, little bird. You make the whole world spin.

Love,

Mama

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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

Sisters.

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. 

Etc.

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.

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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”

*sigh*

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

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