Two years old

Dear Lucy,

I am a woman of words. Written words. Spoken words. Pontification and conversation and discussion. Words work their way out of my brain and my fingers and my mouth and they tie me to the world; they tie me to my daughters; they tie me back to myself. So when I try and try to pull the words out that will help you understand the state of your world and my world, that will help you understand how I feel about you, that will help me understand how I feel about you, and they don’t come, I feel a little panicked because I can’t access myself. 

So I pause. I take a breath. I try again.

Dear Lucy,

I am a woman of words. Sometime they don’t come easy and I have to try again. Sometimes I say too much and I have to reframe, to refocus, to repeat, because they don’t come out right. Sometimes I have to pause, to give my heart time to bubble up to my brain so that I can figure out what I’m trying to say.  Words are important to me. They are a connection and they are hope.  So with that in mind, because honestly I can’t think of better words to say what I’m about to, here we go.

Dear Lucy,

You are two, and the world is a fucking mess.  Looking back at my letter to you on your first birthday, I likened the state of the world to an unraveling ball of yarn, and promised to spend the rest of my life trying to braid new strings for you. One year later I can’t even remember what I thought was going so badly. If a year ago the ball was unraveling, at this point it feels like humanity can’t even find where the thread begins. It’s fucked up and ridiculous and shitty and there are better words I could probably use here; less negative, less R-rated words, but sometimes, babe, the best words are the simplest. Remind me to let you swear, when you’re older and having a hard time finding productive words and just need to express yourself. Sometimes the word fuck can be cathartic. I can’t find words for a situation I don’t understand, and at the moment all I want to do is stand at the top of a cliff and shake my fists and scream into the wind a big “fuck you” to all things 2016 – to politics, and polls, and warfare, and relationships, and climate change deniers, and racism, and privilege, and pediatricians, and marriage, and anemia, and white people, and the media  – and everything that is going to make your life harder than it should be, harder than I want it to be, harder than it needs to be. I feel a little done, at the moment. This is not the world my generation was supposed to inherit and it is certainly not the world we were supposed to leave for you.

Okay. Deep breath. You are here. You are two. The world spins madly on.

Dear Lucy,

You are two, and you are amazing. You are a light in the dark. You are kind. You are brilliant. You are hilarious. You are sweet. You are beautiful. These are the words I will always come back to, when I just can’t; when I’m at the point of screaming into the abyss, when I am so done. You are here. You are perfection and peskiness and challenge and joy and sticky hands and those curls! and ocean eyes and full sentences and counting to ten and jumping and coloring and refusing to sleep unless Molly is in the room with you and loving on me so hard just when I need it the most and splashing water out of the tub no matter how many times I tell you not to and stripping fully naked to go potty and that laugh! and all of the other millions of pieces of you that light me up; that pull me back from the wilds, that force me to be present because if I can’t control any one thing, I may as well sit with you awhile and find peace in the moment.

Those words aren’t enough! They don’t do you justice. You are more than a sum of your parts. You are hope. You are exhaustion. You are mine and I am not deserving of you because look at the state of things! It’s all such a mess! You are so much more than this world, little birdie. Can we please do better, together? You, and me, and Molly, and your dad, and Aunt Jodie, and your Nanas and Papas, and your Aunts and Uncles, and your cousins and second cousins and Aunties and friends and relatives and teachers and all the future people in your life?  Can we fix things? Can we try really hard to always talk to each other openly and honestly and to always remind each other how much love still exists, as the world burns down around us? Can we remember that we all deserve better? Can we believe that there is hope, together? Can we please, please, please start a new thread of humanity? I’m here. I’m reaching out my hand to you. I know your other hand is already in Molly’s. Can we start here?

Lucy, I love you with ever fiber of my being.  I love you more than all the water in all of the oceans and all of the stars in the sky and all of the sand on all of the beaches. I love you more than time and space and gravity. That’s all I’ve got for you, babe. Those words aren’t enough, but they are true. They will always be true. Always.

I’ll end where I ended last year.  Happy birthday, little birdie. You make the whole world spin.

Love,
Mama

 

Almost two.

What do you do when your whole world burns to ashes? What gives you hope when there is no hope left? What makes you smile when the days are heavy and hard? What is the trigger that reminds you to take another breath because your body and brain are too tired to try?

Children. Children give the world just enough of a push to start it spinning again. They give you just enough hope to take another breath. They give you just enough love to remind you that no, life doesn’t just taketh away – life giveth, too.

When your world burns, it’s helpful to remind yourself of simple facts and logic.

Fact. All parents want to protect their children, to keep them safe from hurt and harm and fear.

Another fact. Protecting your children from this messy life is an impossible task.

Logic. Humans are resilient. They want to be happy. Kids are humans. They are inherently happier than most because they haven’t yet felt the full weight of the world.

Fact. Short of losing a child, or maybe a parent, or maybe a sibling, or maybe a spouse, or maybe war, or maybe torture, ending a marriage is the hardest experience a human can endure.

Fact. The world is burning, and it is going to get worse before it gets better.

Logic. Humans are resilient. When the world is done burning, it will be possible to sweep up the ashes, to mourn them, and to put them behind me. It will be possible to rebuild.

Fact. There are two children. Two brilliant, amazing, hopeful, happy little girls who are reminding me that I have to keep breathing; that I have to keep going, keep putting one foot in front of the other and keep pushing through and keep leaning into the wind as the ashes of my world fly around me because they need me, and because they deserve me, and because it will get better.

Fact. It will get better. It has to get better.

Lucy. You’re not even two. You won’t even remember what our family was. Your entire life is about to change and there is nothing I can do to protect you. And you’re such a joy. You’re such a light. You’re such a reminder to keep taking one breath after another, to keep going, to keep fighting and hoping and working so that some day, some day, your dad and I can deliver on our primary role as parents – to make you and your sister feel safe, and secure, and as deeply loved as you are.

Fact. Lucy, you are so loved. You and Molly make the whole world spin. You make the ashes sting a little less when they whip by. There is no circumstance that will ever change how much your dad and I love you, individually and together. We love your laugh and your voice and your full sentences and the fact that you won’t stay in bed at night anymore and know how to open your door and walk downstairs and stand there with that grin on your face like, what are you going to do about it? We love your stubbornness and your fortitude and your silliness and how you know all your letters and numbers and when you pretend to fall asleep in Molly’s bed and how you brush your teeth for approximately 35 minutes every day. We loved taking you out for Halloween and hearing you say “trick or treat!” and “thank you!” and “Happy Halloween!” and “It’s heavy” and how you would take a full handful of candy after being given a piece because you were a pirate, after all. We love your snuggles and your sticky kisses and your curls and your smiles and your belly laughter and your “I see the moon! Goodnight Moon!” and all of the other funny things you say. We love you, and we will never stop loving you, and I promise that we will figure out a way to work together, to work for you, to make this right, to do right by you.

Lucy. The world is burning. And you’re still here. And you are everything good and right in my life.

Fact.

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22 months 

A conversation at the dinner table about Halloween, with an almost-2 year old:

“Lucy, what do you want to be for Halloween?”

A monkey!

“Oh, you want to be a monkey?”

(Slams cup on table) NO.

“Okay, you don’t want to be a monkey. Do you want to be an elephant?”

(Raises one eyebrow) An elephant? No. 

“You don’t want to be an elephant…how about a lion?”

(Shakes head emphatically) No, no lion, Mom. 

“Do you want to be any animal?”

 No!

“Do you want to be a mermaid, like Molly?”

Hmm, I dunno…Nope. 

“How about a skeleton? A witch? A monster? A dinosaur?”

(Rolls eyes, purses lips) No…Nope…Nah…NO!

(Rests forehead on dining room table)

“Lucy, what do you want to be for Halloween?

A pirate!

“A pirate?”

A pirate!!

“How do you even know what a pirate is? Nevermind…you want to be a pirate?”

A. Pirate. Mama. A pirate. Arrrrgh. 

“Okay, Lucy. A pirate it is. You are going to be a pirate for Halloween.”

A pirate! Yay! 

(end scene)

Recent snaps of our opinionated and communicative almost-2 year old:

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Sass for days

 

 

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Bath time fun with cousins Ev and El

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Choose your own wardrobe

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La la la 

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Successful attempt at grocery shopping bribery

Utensils are redundant

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Air travel is truly delightful with this charmer, even when she decides she’s having too much fun to sleep

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World’s largest stuffed dog won by her sister

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Sisters on the beach

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Sunnies all ’round

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Funburn🙂

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Typical Lucy setup

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Solo air travel adventure with the ladies!

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Beach ready

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Wholesome family fun

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On the beach with Nana

 

 

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Three and a half 

Dear Molly,

You are huge. Remember that Friday, a few weeks back, when I had to roll up your size 4T pants so you wouldn’t trip over them, and then on the following Monday, when they fit you perfectly? You have grown so much over the past few months. You’re not even a toddler anymore – you’re an actual kid, who can think abstractly and conceptually and who asks so many questions that sometimes I just have to say, Molls, let’s take a break from questions for a minute so we can get to the end of the story/page/sentence/thought before school/dinner/bedtime/the end of days.

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Growth spurt

You’ve started soccer, and every Saturday the entire outfit stays on all day – shin guards and all – because Saturday is Soccer Day! You can write all of your letters and numbers and you’re starting to sound out consonants and vowels and phonics. You sign yourself in and out at school and make up stories and draw multiple-page books that have a defined beginning, middle, and end. You love robots and skeletons and dinosaurs and monsters and are planning to be a mermaid (possibly a skeleton mermaid? Still working on that one) for Halloween. You create intricate pretend play games with your (imaginary and real life) friends and will differentiate your voice and let me know, “oh that’s my brother talking” if I’m not clear on if I’m speaking to someone who exists in this world or exclusively to you.

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You are intermittently the best and worst sister ever to Lucy. Some mornings I’ll hear you two over the monitor before I even realize you’re awake, and I’ll turn on the video to a picture of Lucy snuggled up against you while you read out loud with one arm around her shoulder. Other times you get right up in her face and scream at her, pushing her over or smacking her until she cries and I come running. And sometimes when you’re in the middle of a whining fit, she will straight up laugh in your face and you’ll shout, “it’s not funny, Lewc!” and I have to admit, it’s so very satisfying when she goads you.

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You’re developing a taste for mine and your dad’s music and that has made car rides so much more fun. Pink Floyd, the Ramones, The Lumineers, and Arcade Fire are in heavy rotation and there’s not much better in life than hearing you sing “Home is wherever I’m with you”. You tell me you want to be King of all the Wild Things and I tell you that you can be whatever you want. We spent Labor Day with my college friends and their kids and seeing you and Lucy play with the children of my best and closest and oldest friends lifted me up in a way that I have needed for months. I didn’t stop hearing, all weekend long, how great my girls are. My friends love you; their husbands love you; their kids love you – you are just so very easy to love.

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You are funny, thoughtful, silly, strong, sassy, smart, moody, beautiful, stubborn, amazing, wonderful and all of the adjectives I can think of still don’t sum you up because your sparkle is infectious and magnetic and truly unique to you and even the words I love you feel like not enough to capture the depth of how you bring me to life. I’ve started to tell you one nice thing every night before bed, because I get so caught up in the day to day and the logistics and the repeating myself and the moodiness and the whining and the exhaustion that sometimes I feel like a whole day goes by without giving myself a chance to pause, to remind you how much you amaze me; to acknowledge that I see you, in there, ensconced in crayon and scotch tape and emotion, and I appreciate who you are and who you are becoming. I tell you one nice thing and no matter how much of a battle the day has been I can see it push through to your core, shift your confidence, build you up. There are so many nice things about you, Molly, that even if I started today I would die before I cover them all. I can’t tell you all of the nice things but I can promise that I will always have one to share with you, because I’m yours, and you’re mine, and that alone is the nicest thing of them all.

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Happy 3 and 1/2, Monkey. You’re my whole world and everything else, besides.

Love,
Mama

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21 Months

Oh, Lucy. You make my breath catch. At 21 months we have started to share special moments, you and I – when I’m driving and turn around to give you a smile, and you take your blankie out of your mouth for long enough to smile back – or when I go into your room in the morning and you give me a big grin and a “Hi, Mama!” or when I chatter to you about any given thing and you look at me like you’ve known me my whole life, nodding, smiling, saying, “Yeah!”, and I know you’ve got my number.

I am sad all the time, lately. The sadness has nothing at all to do with you or Molly and everything to do with me. I can’t quite keep the darkness at bay these days. I’ve been talking with friends (one of my many wishes for you and Molly are that the two of you are able to cultivate the types of dear, dear friendships that I am so lucky to have) and started seeing a professional and am working hard to process my sadness. These things take time and I’m at just the beginning. If you were older I would be asking you for patience with me as I sort through my messy mind – except knowing you I wouldn’t need to ask, because you get me. You would just know that I need some gentleness, some tenderness, some extra Lucy snuggles right now, and you would provide, because you are everything good in the whole world, and a part of my sadness is wrapped up in the fear of putting cracks in your world that you don’t deserve.

I never thought I would be here. I didn’t know I would be rapidly approaching my mid-30s without ever realizing how I got to this place; I didn’t know that I could feel such joy and overwhelming sadness and love and fear all at once, emotions circling each other in my brain like the lustful lovers in Dante’s second circle of hell; I didn’t know that it was possible to feel such self-loathing guilt while drowning in privilege.

I am so lucky, Lucy. I have everything I’m supposed to have ever wanted. I have a loving husband and a great job and a gorgeous house and amazing friends and the two smartest, strongest, most beautiful, most loveable girls who have ever existed. I’m going to work hard to win this battle with my own mind. You deserve all of me, all of the time – and I’m going to get there. Just hang in this space with me for a little while, please – I need your sweetness and your kindness and your giggles and your fake-pouty faces and your “Look, a choo-choo train!”‘s and your obsession with hats and your affinity for books and your funny snort-laugh and your sweet smell and your hand in your sister’s and your head on my chest. I need someone who understands me, because I’m theirs. I need my Lucy, my funny little birdie, my darling girl.

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20 month post

I’m not comparing the girls at all. They are so different! They have entirely different personalities that are somehow perfectly symbiotic and it’s no use comparing one to the other because together and individually they are a combination of everything good that’s ever existed in the world. I’m really not comparing them, but I can’t help but think back to when Molly was 20 months old, because in her 20th month she got a new house and a new sister in quick succession, which was, shall we say, a series of tough transitions for all of us.

Lucy’s 20th month involved a beach vacation with her extended family, including a series of first-and-second cousins, ranging in age from 10 months to almost 7. Not that I’m comparing, but I think it’s safe to say that Lucy’s 20th month was a little easier on us all than Molly’s 20th month. I mean the hardest bits on her were the family photo shoot that my mom arranged so that we could capture my grandmother with her seven great-grandchildren (some were more engaged than others, ahem, Lucy and Elliott), and maybe the bit where I wouldn’t let her run head first into the ocean and she got really indignant and actually threw her first full-on screaming tantrum. Whatever, girl – the answer is still no, you may not drown yourself in the ocean on my watch.

I’m not comparing, but I remember the second half of Molly’s second year as being really tough. She had so much transition in such a short amount of time and I felt so unavailable to her between moving into a new house, being massively pregnant and then a completely overwhelmed mom of two. The second half of Lucy’s second year is tough for different reasons, as I continue to struggle to define and refine and adjust my self-definitions and self-expectations of mom, wife, 30-something-year-old woman. The thing about kids, though, is that they thrive almost regardless of the churn around them. Lucy at 20 months is the most delightful human I have ever encountered. She has a way about her that can bring me out of my deepest navel-gazing funk with one batted eyelash or one belly giggle; one moment of watching her feed Hop a snack or snuggle next to Molly on the couch; one time hearing her say “thank you” or “bye bye octopus” or “oh, hi Tyson” or “nite nite Molly” or “Mom. Mom! Mom. Ma. Mom. Mom!” I love her more deeply and harder than I ever knew would be possible and she regularly makes my breath catch in my throat just by running by me with her hand in Molly’s or putting herself to bed or contentedly reading to herself out loud as she narrates what she sees on the pages. Both of my girls make my whole world spin, individually and together, and there is no comparison to the feeling of wholeness I get watching the two of them grow up together.

Snaps from vacation and more below:

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MJ #2?

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Playing in the pool

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Snoozing on Papa E

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Snacks with KK

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Bathtime with Elliott

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Sisters on the beach

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Forward facing!

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Cutie pants

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Snuggles with Dad

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Seesaw

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Accidentally color coordinated

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Human pyramids

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Snacks for Hop

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Budding artist

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Sisters in the sand

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Beach hat

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Best sisters

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Whomp whomp

 

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Lucy the XIX

“Up and over. Arm one. Arm two.”

This is my mantra for putting on my kids’ shirts. I started this way way back in Molly’s early infancy, I don’t know why, but since then if I am helping the kids put on a shirt.

“Up and over. Arm one. Arm two.”

These days when I am helping Lucy get dressed I get a resounding “TWOOOOOOOO” every time. Lucy knows 2, she actually pretty much knows 1 – 10. In any of the various counting books we have she is about 90% in numeral recognition, for a 1.583333 year old that’s pretty amazing.

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Counting is just the beginning, the whole world of language and communication is flourishing at alarming speed. About 30 days ago I would see her point and grunt at things as a means of saying “I would like that book.” Just today she clearly said “the owl book,” a harbinger of what’s coming. I vaguely remember Molly going through this same process in which one day she woke up and quoted Siddhartha (not really…well maybe). Lucy is at the cusp of a mental explosion.

Did I mention that even though she doesn’t always have the words for things she basically understands every single thing we say to her?

“Lucy do you want a snack?” “SNAAAAAA!” and off she runs into the kitchen to rummage through the cabinet.

“Where is the (insert animal name) in this (insert picture of animals)?” A quick pointer finger slams down on the correct answer.

“Lucy let’s do a drawing” Off she runs to the art table yelling “PAINT!!!”

 

Beyond just the milestones of listening and speaking, Lucy is the most good-natured kid I have seen (yes I’m biased). She always has a smile, she always laughs at a joke, she always wants a hug, she always wants everyone to be happy. My great wish, she maintains her sunny disposition through the challenges ahead such as potty training and preschool. I do not worry though, half of Lucy’s cheerful personality is enough to get you through anything.

Three and 1/4

This was the picture that was posted on Instagram: img_1557

The caption said something like, “three year olds are so so so so so so so hard. But there are moments that are magical”. Because not three minutes before I snapped this shot, while we were in the car heading to the airport, I had my eyes tightly closed as tears welled and my fingers jammed into my ears while Lucy shrieked bloody murder and Molly screamed – screamed – over and over again, “I don’t want Mommy’s water bottle on the floor! I want Mommy to have it! I want Mama! I want Maaammmmaaaaaaaa!!!” And then we parked the car, got into the shuttle, and not three minutes later here she was, still hiccuping away the hysterics but more than happy to snap a happy selfie with me.

Bygones, I guess.

These were the vacation pictures that went up on Instagram:

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I wrote about vacation, but I didn’t write about how it ended. I didn’t mention the bit where Molly was running through US customs and immigration screaming “I want Mama!” over and over again and when I would try to stop her, try to talk to her, God forbid try to pick her up, her whole body would go rigid and she would slip out of my grip, screaming all the while. The part when, sitting on the shuttle bus on the way to pick up the car, I leaned over and said, Molly, I’m sorry I couldn’t help you back there at the airport, to which she shoved her hand in my face and said, “No, Mom! I don’t want you in my space! Get out of my space NOW”! and even when I started to cry, even when I told her she was hurting Mama’s feelings, there was no counting the amount of fucks she gave because there were none to be given.

This is the ice-cream date picture that went up on Instagram:img_1007

I didn’t mention that I had taken her for ice cream as an excuse to get her out of the house after a day so full of whining; so full of on and off tantrums; so full of screaming at me, hitting me, stomping her foot while tears rolled down her face while I tried with my whole heart to figure out what the hell was happening, what the hell I had done wrong, that eventually I just put her in the car because I had run out of ideas.

Three year olds are really hard, is what I’m saying.

But they are also magical.

We were at the zoo this weekend and I watched Molly stand up in front of an entire amphitheater and confidently ask, “Why do birds live in trees?” after patiently waiting her turn for the zookeeper to pick her out of the crowd. This is the girl who will tell me, “I’m feeling shy about meeting new people” before tucking herself behind my leg – standing up in front of a crowd, hand in the air, shouting, “I have a question!” until she was called on.img_1680

We can hang out now – like actually just kick it and chat and have lunch or run errands or go to the park without me worrying about whether or not she needs to be entertained or is going to have a meltdown or if I need to bring anything with me. She makes up games to play and songs to sing and stories to tell and she has a couple of imaginary friends and I lay in bed with her every night after stories and we talk about our day. She is loving and sweet and so so funny and honest and kind and still so beautiful she makes my breath catch in my throat when she looks at me.  img_1479
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She will say things like “I’m not being a good listener right now” or”I’m not using my words like a big girl” or”I’m feeling anxious about going potty on the airplane” or “Yeah, I’m okay with that” or “Ok-aaaayyyyyyy, Mom, jeez” and I think, who have you become?

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Someone told me recently that kids never change, they just grow older. By that logic, Molly will always be a perfectly enigmatic combination of challenge and magic, drama and humor, curls and toothpaste, monkey and unicorn. And even though she may break a piece of my soul once in awhile, she will always be my sweet, brilliant, funny, amazing girl, and there will always be more joy than pain, and she will always have my whole entire heart in the palm of her hand.

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One and a half

So it feels important to paint this picture of Lucy at one and a half: her favorite past time at the moment is taking off and putting on socks and shoes. Here she is on the airplane to Denver this weekend, sitting in my seat while I was crammed against the window, playing with her socks for 45 minutes until the flight attendant told me that I needed to get back in my seat, please, and put my seat belt on because we were landing.
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She will sit next to the shoe bin for ages, trying on (mostly Molly’s) shoes. It’s one of her strange and wonderful habits and she’s lovely and wonderful and amazing and there are many more stories; many more anecdotes, but first: vacation! She was ready with the sunnies, that I consequentially forgot to pack.

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Mexico was pretty amazing. We got so much solo time with Lucy and she got so much time with us while MJ was cavorting with her grandparents. Also her hair gets curly in humidity. Like, really curly. Like, really really really curly. Lucky girl seems to have inherited a combo of both her mama and dad’s childhood hair. See?
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Lucy had so much fun in Mexico. On the one hand, she loved playing on the beach, running into and out of the ocean, and running (and slipping) into the pool and all over the place. She ate more and better than I’ve ever seen, loved hard on her grandparents, Auntie Kristin and Uncle Mike, Connor and Emmy, and picked up more new words than I can even count (but my favorite was definitely “turtle!”). On the other hand, she caught sun poisoning and spent a night dry heaving while Lee and I alternately shout-whispered at each other and sleep-paced because we had no idea how to help her. Poor baby broke out in heat rash and her feet are still recovering from all of the blistered skin. I know she was the least traumatized Springer but it still put a bit of a damper on the end of vacation. More snaps from the week:

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img_1441So, now we’re home from vacation and back to reality, with an 18-month old on our hands. An 18-month old who gives the best hugs and the sweetest kisses; but also one who does that high-pitched harpie scream that makes my ears feel like they are bleeding. A one and a half year old who loves to sing Baa Baa Black Sheep and EIEIO; who is still obsessed with her blankies and Hop the frog (and now her blue monkey from Mexico – I think she has named him Ooh Ooh); who can climb up into a big-girl chair and feed herself with a big-girl fork and run and jump and climb and practices somersaults by rolling around on the floor looking cute. A little girl who drew me a picture worthy of hanging in my office and has grown three inches in six months, who makes me feel like I never have enough time and I’m never present enough because she is so funny and sweet and special and amazing that I don’t want to miss even a moment of my last little baby who is not a baby at all, anymore.
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Seventeen Months 

Oh, Lucy! Seventeen months and so much to talk about. Well, most top of mind first – you have transitioned into a toddler bed! It’s so early, but I had a feeling you were ready when, for the first time in your life, you started crying when we said goodnight. I told your dad I thought you were feeling abandoned and even though he thought it was too soon, agreed to give it a try. You are so happy! You love being able to climb into bed to get Hop, your lion, your fox, your elephant, or one of your seven blankies at any given time. The morning after your first night in your new bed we heard a distinct “Up!” over the monitor and by the time your dad got to your room you were out of bed and running laps around your room like a puppy. Of course, today you decided that you would rather rearrange the furniture than nap. Most babies don’t realize that they can get *out* of the toddler bed for awhile. It took you literally 30 seconds to figure it out.

You’re so smart, Lucy. You remember everything. This morning we were playing in your room and you requested Itsy Bitsy Spider (you know all the hand movements) so I took Hop and had him act it out. You were so entertained that this puppetry extended into several additional songs, with you high-fiving (high-footing, even) Hop after every one. Then tonight when I went to put you to bed, you hopped out (no pun intended), got your stuffed bird beanbag chair (because you know it is supposed to help keep you in bed at night and I had forgotten), pushed it across the room in front of your bed, crawled up, handed me Hop, and said, “More?” You’re also incredibly strong. You can climb the three stairs in our backyard with no handrail, just like I do – up, up, up. You also like to pick up the biggest, heaviest rock in the whole backyard and put it in your shopping cart to push around…or pick up the entire variety pack of applesauce and heave it across the house instead of just pulling out the one. I’ve heard you grunt with the effort but you never give up.

Watching the cows with Dad


Whee!


Excuse me guys, I’m trying to see something behind you

We had a bunch of family fun this month, flying to Denver for your cousin Elliott’s first birthday party and going to SLO for Nana Sandy’s birthday. The trip to Denver was an adventure, for sure – between the 9-inches of snow that caused a power outage at the hotel, switching hotels after bedtime, and waiting in the lobby for about 45 minutes while your dad gathered up our things in dark, you maintained your usual sunny disposition through it all. You were also a total champ on the airplane, even though you had to share your seat – gently drifting off to sleep on your dad and playing with the remote/tv screen most of the flight. I used to get so stressed about flying but you are such a good natured kid that it’s really not too bad (although screentime certainly helps, to be honest).

Enjoying air travel


Some post-bedtime hotel lobby entertainment

As for (both sets of) Nana and Papa, they really just can not get enough of you. In fact, you attract people like bees to honey. The other night we were at a potluck for Molly’s school and one of the moms honestly said “don’t tell my girls but Lucy is the cutest baby I’ve ever seen”! I saw her teacher give you the most loving hug and another mom was just loving on you so much. You are just the most kissable, huggable, lovely, sweet-natured girl. You know which animals are “Molly’s” and will hand her bunny or penguin when you see she’s dropped them. And you are so good at sharing – at Elliott’s birthday party, you noticed your Papa Erling standing in line for food, went (cut the line) and got him a cracker and handed it to him. I saw him practically melt into a puddle right there in line.

Swinging with Nana and Papa

Tomorrow I’m leaving for a work trip for five nights and I am so very sad. This is the longest I’ve left you girls in your whole lives and while I know you’ll be fine (Nana Sandy is coming up to help your dad with mornings and bedtimes) I wonder if I will be able to stand the ache of being away from my family (I haven’t even been away from your dad for more than a night or two in years). I made sure to get lots of snuggles in with you today and I’ll bet you’re wondering why I keep leaning in to smell you and kissing you even more than usual. This stage is so full of development and I know in just five days you’re going to have so many new words, mannerisms, and expressions that I won’t get to see the first time they happen. The good news is that shortly after I get home (one day, actually) we’re leaving for our first real vacation of your life! We’re heading to Mexico with your Papa Marc, Nana Laurie, Josi, and Auntie Kristin, Uncle Mike, Connor, and Emmy, and it’s going to be so much fun. I can’t wait to see you with your toes in the (Atlantic) sand. Meanwhile, a few more snaps of you in all your glory:

Sliding. Some baby, indeed.


My beautiful girl


The girl with kaleidoscope eyes


Helping me get ready for work


Pure joy


Linus


A glimpse of the future


Sisters


Hummus

 

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