My Little Girl

Someone once told Pat that that the difference between toddler girls and toddler boys is that you can give a girl a toy and she will sit and play with it for half an hour.  If you leave a boy alone for that amount of time, he will have taken the toy and tried to turn it into a pipe bomb.  It kind of seemed like it held true for Jack.  And I so wished it would be true for Casey. 

But…I don’t think I have that kind of girl.  The little girl I have just spent half an hour getting up on top of her Diego car, balancing herself and then clapping.  Every time I took her off it, she just laughed and got back on.  Sure, I could have removed the toy from the area, but it was pretty neat to watch her be so independent and proud of herself.  (And I was there to catch her.)  She really is good at balancing herself.  Maybe some tumbling and gymnastics are in order in the future.  Although that won’t last for long since it’s a pretty sure bet that she’ll be taller than 5’2″.  
A few days ago, Casey got her first item with princesses on it.  It was a bike helmet, so I think that kind of negated the fact that there are princesses on it.  And I’m not against princesses but I’m going to try to let her decide if she’s going to be into them.  I have a feeling she’s not going to be much of a girly girl.  First of all, I’m not and wasn’t much growing up, despite my reign as Miss International 1997.  And secondly, I have a feeling she’s going to be following everything her big brother does.  Only once has he picked out the princess fruit snacks from the rows and rows of themed fruit snacks available at the grocery store. 
I also just took a look at Casey’s hair.  It might actually be long enough for a barrette somewhere.  I just heard one of my best friends proclaim her frustration that she can’t put her daughter’s hair up yet.  As for me, I’m just wondering how long I can go without having to do her hair.  Sure, I want her to look cute and have good hair, but I have a hard enough time using a hair dryer on my own hair for 3 minutes.  But I will do my best with her hair…when the time comes.  Hopefully she won’t have any of the ridiculous cowlicks that Jack has.  Like the whole back of his head.  
Recently I have taken to changing her clothes before naptime which I have never done in the past.  When she was an infant, she cried all through the changes, so I did as few as possible.  Then she got into the wiggly stage and it was hard enough to change a diaper let alone clothing.  But then I started to notice that every shirt she owns is stained from food and drool and whatnot.  And then Casey started to walk and play outside and get really dirty.  And then she got a fabulous new spring wardrobe.  And finally, she’s now cooperative on the changing table.  I’m determined that she be cute and clean and mostly stain-free so I have put a little more effort into making that happen.     
Of course, she’s barely turned one.  There’s a whole lot of personality getting ready to burst out of her…who knows where this is really going.  And don’t get me wrong – I’m okay with a girly girl.  In fact, I just bought her a bunch of really cute dresses for the summer.  But I have a feeling that there are going to be a lot of skinned knees to go with them.   

Starting the Day Off Right

For some reason, I didn’t learn my lesson last Easter.  Giving Jack chocolate for breakfast is still not a good idea.  

He keeps asking for a breakfast snack in the mornings.  One of his incentives to nap is that he gets a package of fruit snacks.  These are his “afternoon snacks” so apparently he thinks that after he sleeps for a whole night, he should get a “breakfast snack.”  Sometimes I can convince him that breakfast itself is the snack.  Other times I find something little and healthy that he can eat before he has some breakfast.  
I don’t even know if the chocolate graham crackers were his idea or mine.  But I read the back of the box and figured why not.  The sugar wasn’t exorbitant.  I think they may have even had some whole grain in them.  
After the breakfast of chocolate graham crackers we went grocery shopping at the commissary.  I actually don’t mind taking the kids there…as long as we get the cart with two steering wheels so they can each have one.  But Jack has been walking more than riding lately so I haven’t had to try to stop Casey from touching Jack’s steering wheel or stop him from pushing her away in return.  
Today as he was walking, it was apparently his personal mission to be in the way of the cart each time I had to turn a corner.  And this is not just any cart that I’m trying to turn corners with…it’s a race car, or a train, or a truck (depending on the day) with a little extra length and a little less manueverability.  And from then on, he just seems to have lost his ability to listen or do anything that closely resembles what I have asked him to do.  Nothing too egregious.  Just enough to start wondering why he’s a bit “off” today.  
I thought it might be the lack of napping over the weekend, but I think he made up for it last night.  Hmmm…maybe it’s the chocolate graham cracker breakfast.  And then I remembered the last time he had chocolate for breakfast, last Easter.  I don’t even remember all the details, but our lovely Easter dinner out was probably the worst dining out experience that we’ve had with the kids.  Because there really wasn’t a lot of sugar involved this morning, I don’t think it’s the sugar per say, but the actual chocolate.  So, lesson learned…twice.
As for Casey, she enjoys throwing her pacifier out of her carseat where I can’t reach it and then crying about it.  Sometimes I have other pacifiers ready to hand back to her, but I think she’s ready to figure out how to ride in the car without constantly having a pacifier.  So I dealt with a little bit of crying.  And right now, I really hope she goes back to sleep because the nap she just took was way too short!  

The What Fors

I read in Parents magazine about a new study regarding strollers.  It concluded that children should be facing their parents up to age 3.  It found that “those using away-facing strollers spent 50 percent less time talking to their child.”  I beg to differ.  Jack was obviously not part of this study.  It’s pretty hard to not talk to him.  

We walked to the silly mailbox today and the talking was non-stop.  Non.  Stop.  
The silly mailbox is a mailbox down the street that kind of looks like part of a totem-pole.  It’s a carved wooden face that is eating the mailbox.  It even has hair and a pineapple on its forehead.  When we go for walks now, we can no longer just walk around the block.  Jack insists on walking to the silly mailbox every time.  And I let him “insist” because walking more is good for all of us.  Although, it does get a little difficult when Jack is walking too…toddler pace is sometimes excruciatingly slow, especially for Casey who likes a little more speed when she’s sitting in the stroller.  
Some days though, I just want to go around the block – maybe we’re short on time, maybe the weather’s not the greatest.  Today it was threatening to rain.  Jack started off running, which is nice because it just about matches the walking pace I’d like to use.  He was unhappy when I said we were only going around the block.  I compromised and told him I’d go to the silly mailbox if he got in the stroller.  So he hopped in.  And then started talking.  And he didn’t stop.  
Before I had kids and I spent any time with toddlers (which wasn’t much), I used to really enjoy answering their questions and talking to them.  I may have even been looking forward to the day when Jack started asking “Why?”  If only it was just a day.  Or even just a stroller ride around the neighborhood.  
I guess since Jack is still talking in the 3rd person, he has also decided that the word “why” is just not sufficient.  He’s more of a “what for” kind of guy.  As in, “What is it raining for?”
So here’s a little transcript of part of the walk –
Jack:  What are the roads wet for?
Me:  Because it rained last night.
Jack:  What did it rain last night for?
Me:  Because the clouds were full of rain.
Jack:  What were the clouds full of rain for?
Me:  Ummm…because it was time to rain.  Oh look Jack, there’s the silly mailbox.
~Much oohing and aahing over silly mailbox~
Jack:  Where did Jack’s other pants go?
Me:  They were dirty so we put clean ones on.
Jack:  What were they dirty for?
Me:  Because you were chasing Tugger in the backyard and fell in the mud.
Jack:  What was Jack doing that for?
Me:  Because it’s fun to chase Tugger??  It’s hard to answer that one, Jack.
Jack:  What was the backyard muddy for?
Me:  Because it rained last night.
Jack:  What did it rain last night for?
Sound familiar?
Anyway, the “what fors” are here and they are trying my patience just a little bit.  Or maybe I just need a better explanation of why it rains.
I also have to wonder about that study I mentioned.  It says the parents spend less time talking to the kids.  I have to wonder if this is only when in the stroller or if it is 50% less overall.  Sounds like this has more to do with how chatty Mommy is than which way the child is facing in the stroller.  Or, it sounds suspiciously like a ploy by stroller companies to get people to buy new strollers in which your kids face you.  Too bad stroller companies…I already have 6 strollers and you’re not going to convince me I need another one.   
And with a few clicks of the mouse, I found someone else who doesn’t agree with the study.  By the way, one of the 6 strollers I own is shown in the photo in this article.  

An Hour at the Mall

I took the kids to the mall today and picked up my engagement ring, which I had resized.  Now it’s all shiny and pretty and my wedding band is not.  I would have asked the lady to clean it while I was there, but I thought the fewer minutes in a store filled with glass and a 2 1/2 year old was probably best.   Wouldn’t want to push it in there.

Then we went up to the food court and indulged in McDonald’s.  The Happy Meal was a waste of money, except for the Spiderman toy.  (Just add Spiderman to the “must-haves” in Jack’s bed at bedtime.)  All Jack wanted was the fruit and walnut snack pack that I actually bought for Casey.  He didn’t have a spoon and I really didn’t want to walk all the way back over to the counter with the stroller and kid in tow, so he used the yogurt as a dip.  As in, dipped his chicken nugget in there and dipped a french fry in there.  Then he asked for a spoon again as apparently those weren’t a good combination.  Instead of getting him a spoon, I told him he could go into the play area and play.  He didn’t want the spoon anymore.    
After having a fun time playing, I indulged some more and let Jack ride on one of the coin-operated trucks.  I buckled Casey in too…more for the money if she was riding in there also.  Thinking I was such a nice mom, I pushed the START button and instantly the truck starts bucking.  Apparently this was the rodeo truck.  A look of horror crossed Jack’s face and immediately he wanted to get out.  Casey was a little startled but I think she actually enjoyed it.  I made Jack stay in there for the whole minute just because I’d paid for it.  He didn’t cry but he didn’t act like he enjoyed it that much.  Meanwhile, I was thinking how motion sick I would have gotten in there.  But as soon as it was over, Jack talked about it all day so I think I got my money’s worth.  
On the way out of the mall, I noticed some umbrellas in the parking lot.  Hmmm.  Maybe I shouldn’t have left their rain jackets in the car.  There wasn’t much I could do except tell Jack we were going to walk fast to the car and pull the cover over Casey in the stroller.  We certainly weren’t sitting around waiting for the rain to stop.  But we got some lovely advice on the way out.  “Oh, the baby…it’s raining out…you really need to cover her.”  Thank you.  I can see that it’s raining.  However, it’s not pouring and it is 60 degrees out.  She has a fleece hoodie on and the stroller cover is pulled over her.  Would you like to go out to my car for me and get the rain jackets?  Or would you like to trust that she’s not going to melt in the minute it will take us to walk to the car?  I love unsolicited advice like that.  And she really didn’t melt.    

Over 700 Stickers!

…all on my kitchen table.  This was the scene –

Uncle M & K got Jack this Cars sticker/coloring book and he is mesmerized.  “Play sticker book a few minutes?” he is continually asking.  Tonight we were outside playing before dinner.  First we went through all the requisite warnings…10 minutes until we go inside, Jack…5 minutes, Jack…2 minutes, Jack…after you’re done swinging, we’re going inside, Jack.  And then, to my surprise, he walked right inside with me, sat up at the table and started playing with his sticker book while I made dinner.  And if a few stickers end up on the table, it’s a small price to pay for making dinner in peace.  I’m also sure that had I been attempting anything more difficult than boiling water and cooking pasta, this would not have gone so smoothly.  
Hmmm, but where was Casey during this peaceful dinner making experience?  She climbed through the doggie door and was outside in the backyard playing in the mud.  I did figure out how to entertain her in the high chair for a while though (after a good hand washing)…
Just let her try to feed herself some yogurt.  I fed her a little, and then I held the cup of yogurt while she tried out the spoon.  Then I just let her go to town on it.  I did a few dishes and turned around to find that she had dumped it all out on the tray and had given up on the spoon.  Today I also decided to strap her in to the chair since she has been a little monkey and has been trying to stand up in her chair.  Obviously it worked out well for me…

I’m especially glad that there was yogurt all over the tray when she thought she should crawl on it.  There were a few stickers that she absolutely needed off the kitchen table right then.
At about 4 o’clock today, I was wasting time on the internet and waiting for the kids to wake up from their naps when I heard a huge bang upstairs.  It sounded like Jack just ran into his door full force.  Thankfully, there wasn’t any crying or calling out of Mommy, but I went upstairs to check things out.  Jack was just sitting on his bed, chilling, like he’d been there the whole time.  When I asked him what that noise was, he said, “wind?” with a completely deadpan face.  I immediately started laughing and asked him what really made the noise.  He kind of shrugged his shoulders and said, “a truck outside?”.  I don’t really think he was lying to me…I think he thought I was referring to some noise outside.  But why it wouldn’t cross his mind that I was asking about the huge banging noise that just came from his door, I don’t know.  
After dinner, Jack was driving around on his Diego car.  He came and informed me, “Jack is not the Zamboni driver who is driving around and cleaning the ice.”  The Diego car doubles as a Zamboni when necessary.  And apparently Casey is the Zamboni driver.  Having cleared it up with me that he was not a Zamboni driver right then, he went back into the dining room.  I heard him get a little frustrated and make a few noises.  When I asked what was wrong, he said, “Jack is stuck in traffic.”  I was just waiting for him to start honking the horn and swearing at the tunnels that were in his way.  Instead he just abandoned his car and went looking for trouble somewhere else. 

Some Pictures & Stories

I finally got a picture of Jack and Casey together on St. Patrick’s Day.  There were many other attempts but this is the only one where they are both looking at the camera.  Granted, they don’t look very happy, but they’re together.  They’re actually both sitting on the little Diego car.  Casey was on there first and then Jack decided he needed to sit on there with her.  That’s why Casey looks a little troubled…she’s squished into the steering wheel and is about to get off of it.

Casey just figured out how to pull herself up onto the coffee table.  And she was very proud of herself.  We watched her climb up there, crawl around on the table and then get off.  On about the 5th time she got on there I said, “We really shouldn’t be letting her do this.”  As soon as the words were out of my mouth she fell off.  She’s okay but like I said, we really shouldn’t be letting her do that.  Hopefully she’s proven that she can do it and gotten it out of her system.  

Here are the shoes Casey was wearing a couple of days ago…

She’s a long way from filling them right now, but sadly I think that a size 10 may in her future.  She’s also figured out how to put on Jack’s shoes and was wearing one around the house this morning.  
Next we have ‘Cool Jack’.  Not only is he wearing his shades, but he has a pretty hip baseball shirt on.

And finally, I was able to capture a shot of Super Ging in all his glory.  He hasn’t been around much lately, but every once in a while, he makes an appearance.

Found Them!

About an hour after I left Jack crying in his room without his beloved sunglasses, I found them in the garage on a shelf.  I had looked there earlier, but apparently not well enough.  When I came in from the garage he was yelling for me and still wanted his sunglasses.  I thought he had fallen asleep.  When I went up to his room, it was obvious he had been hard at work in there.  Every single stuffed animal that he owned was now on his bed.  It was like he was trying to make up for the lack of sunglasses with animals.  But nothing could substitute for them.  Poor kid.  I’m glad I found the sunglasses so he could finally sleep.  

Except now I have to sneak all those animals back into the toybox again so he has room to sleep.  Today he fell off his bed during the middle of his nap because the animals were taking up too much space.  First time he’s fallen of his little Cars toddler bed since we got it for him.  It scared the crap out of me because it was such a loud thud.  I think I was up the stairs before he even got the words Mommy out of his mouth.  I’m glad he wasn’t hurt but even more glad he went back to sleep, unlike his sister’s poor napping today.
Casey deserves a little blog time too, but my popcorn is beeping incessantly in the microwave so I’ll write about her tomorrow.  And I’ll get a pic of Jack in his sunglasses too!   

The Sunglasses

When I went away last weekend, I made sure to bring a few things home for everyone else.  Pat got some shorts that I’m not sure he likes and Casey got a lot of really, really cute outfits, mostly green for some reason.  I thought I was doing pretty well when I found Jack a pair of sunglasses at Old Navy and a brightly colored soccer ball that caught my eye as I was waiting in line.  I even got him the big one.  I thought it was a pretty good gift since Tugger turned the old soccer ball into a chew toy and it is now sitting, deflated and chewed up, in the mud pit that is our backyard after 4 days of rain. 

I was pretty excited to give Jack his gifts because he’s at a great age for it.  He’s pretty happy with anything he gets except for clothes.  (Although, I did get him a matching green shirt to go with Casey’s green & turqoise polka-dotted Easter dress.)  I gave him the sunglasses first, thinking they would be the build-up to the soccer ball.  He really liked both of them, but I completely underestimated the obsession with the sunglasses.  
I love who he becomes when he puts them on.  He looks pretty cool with them, but it’s more that he knows he looks cool and he kind of gets a little swagger.  These sunglasses now go everywhere with him.  They have essentially become his lovey.  He takes them to bed every night.  He likes to know where they are at all times.  I’ve kind of had a reprieve from them for the last few days because of the ark-worthy rainfall we were having.  They stayed in his bed and therefore were there when it was bedtime.  However, the sun came back out today and he was pretty excited to wear his sunglasses outside again.  
Only this afternoon, I forgot to keep an eye on them.  He takes pretty good care of them and tries to put them somewhere “safe” when he’s not using them but he’s still only two and doesn’t remember where he puts them all the time.  About five minutes after I put him to bed, he started to cry and I ran through the list of things that he might “need” up there…he had his blankets, his animals, two diggers and a dump truck, and his nuks.  Then I heard what he was saying – “Jack needs sunglasses!”  And I had no idea where they were.  I looked around and tried to find them, but no luck.  I tried to substitute a pair of Daddy’s sunglasses…not working.  Finally I just had to tell him that I would look for them while he slept and I left him crying in his room.  And so the search begins…
Oh and the day after I got home, Tugger got her paws into Jack’s new soccer ball and it also joined the remnants of his first ball and is sitting in the backyard.  He was upset, but got over it pretty quickly.  Nothing like if we don’t find these sunglasses. 

Oh Dear

Last week while Jack’s Nana was here, I was kind of half listening while they were coloring with the crayons.  I heard him say, “Oh dear” a couple times and just figured that he had broken a couple of them.  Apparently, the first time he broke one of his crayons, I responded with “Oh dear” and that kind of stuck in his head.  

A few days ago, I got the crayons down for him to color and he proceeded to dump the whole cup of crayons on the table.  Then he picked up a broken one and said, “This one’s Oh Dear.”  And then he picked up each broken crayon and proclaimed it as an “oh dear” one.  “This one’s oh dear…this one’s oh dear…put all the oh dear ones over here Mommy.”  
I’m afraid to say “Oh dear” with regards to anything but broken crayons for fear of rocking his little syntactic world.  All broken crayons will remain “oh dear” crayons until further notice.  

I don’t know if I have any faithful readers who are waiting with baited breath for my next post, but if so, then I apologize for the blog-less week.  I got away for a shopping weekend with friends last weekend and then we had Pat’s mom stay with us for the week.  

Casey is now a walking machine.  Now that she has pretty much figured out walking, she has added a new level of difficulty to it.  She is very proud of herself for being able to walk around while holding things.  And not just small things.  She likes to take huge boxes of blocks and walk around with them.  Now there are bibs in the living room, cars in the kitchen and blocks just about everywhere.  
I feel like Jack has gone from speaking 5 word sentences to paragraphs in a couple of weeks.  I now feel like I can have an actual conversation with him and it is so interesting.  I love to hear what comes out of his mouth.  A few days ago he didn’t nap and as bedtime approached, he just got more crazy and random.  As I read him his stories, he interrupted on every page to point out something or ask a question.  Finally I got through the stories and the songs and he just wanted to talk.  He picked up each of his dolls and animals and told me what color eyes they had.  He asked me what color Elmo’s eyes were, which was kind of a tough one…black or white?  Then he wanted to talk about the stars – “The stars are really high…Jack no reach them… Daddy no reach them…Mommy no reach them…No man reach the stars…Daddy’s a man…Pop Pop’s a man…Grampie’s a man.”  Now that he’s figuring all these things out, he just goes on and on.  But it’s really cute.