Wednesday, July 31, 2013

My bumblebee is 18 months

Dear Lily,

Yesterday, you turned 18 months old. You are an astounding 33 ¼ inches long, but only 22 ½ pounds, which your pediatrician says is long, lanky and totally perfect. (It’s true, I swear! It’s right on our Kaiser Permanente printout!)
At 18 months, you are a full-fledged TODDLER! And that is what we call you these days: TODDLER! In all capital letters, with an exclamation point, and possible with heart palpitations and hair loss thrown in. I believe you officially became a full-fledged TODDLER! when you learned to shimmy up the legs of the dining room table, but nevertheless living with a TODDLER! is like cohabitating with a cyclone: you never know what will hit you next.
Over the past six months we’ve have so many cool adventures. We’ve spent hours wading barefoot through mud. We’ve visited library story time, children’s museums, art centers, nature conservatories, splash pads, national and state parks. We’ve been whale watching. We’ve skipped rocks at the beach and played for hours in the water at a river. We’ve planted vegetable seeds, made chalk pictures on the driveway and watched a ladybug crawl up sister’s arm. We’ve gone hiking, started a Mommy & Me gymnastics class and jumped into a cold pool on a hot day. We’ve learned how to summersault. We’ve pretended to go fishing with willow tree branches, watched tree trimmers and have whizzed down at least ten thousand slides. We’ve had all sorts of messy, thrilling escapades – and you always have a blast.
The thing is, bumblebee, the older you get, the more I see how much you and your personality fit into our little family. You are silly to your sister’s seriousness. You are the loud to your father’s quietness. You crave adventure to my cautiousness. You challenge me every single day. You live big, little bumblebee, but you love even bigger. We love having you in our life, teaching you, and watching you develop that iconic toddler sense of wonder.

You laugh loud, live big and love large. And if that’s not the definition of a TODDLER! I don’t know what is.
I love you more than the moon, the sun and all the water in the ocean.


Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Carousel Love

Over the past several months, Daisy has fallen head over heels in love with carousels. If there is one thing my kid likes, it's a good old-fashioned carousel ride.

She so adores EVERYTHING about carousels - the music, the circus animals, the mirros, the colors, the shiny gold poles that I am consantly on the hunt for them. Big carousels, little carousels, loud carousels, silent carousels, shiny new cousels, and rickety old carousels. There is something about the way she loves the carousel that I just cannot resist.

I, of course, being so prone to motion-sickness that I almost hurled myself off a carousel the last time I was on one, subject others to stand with my girls.

After the ride, she's done. She smiles from ear to ear, she always runs toward me and when I pick her up, she melts into me. She is warm and happy. She looks at me and those grubby pre-schooler hands grab each side of my face. As we walk away from the carousel, she plants a kiss on the very tip of my nose. She giggles at me, and recaps the entire ride play-by-play.

I just spent twenty minutes and a couple dollars ensuring that the most annoying tune in the world will be stuck in my head until I die, but suddenly it all seems worth it.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

All in the family

I was lucky enough to grow up with six families that were very much weaved into my family. Birthday parties, pick-up baseball games, park picnics, champagne on Christmas morning; there are very few childhood memories that do not involve at least one of seventeen other “houseboat kids.”

Some twenty-odd years after our parents originally met in our kindergarten class; we are spread across the country. The twelve parents still live the half-mile encompassing the boulevard of our hometown and partake in book clubs, houseboat adventures and formal Christmas dinners. And while all thirty of us are rarely all together, there are occasions in which many gather together to celebrate and drink champagne.

I love, absolutely love, these times, being amongst the people who made me who I am. And here’s the thing about people you’ve known forever: you don’t forget how to be with them. The jokes that were funny then are funny still. One of you starts with half a memory and the other recalls the rest of it. You laugh. You catch-up on your lives. 

At any rate, having a chance to see our babies together, a generation later, to spend time together running in the grass, singing, counting pebbles and bonding over summertime popsicles is the most wonderful of all. Having a chance to see our parents play with their grandchildren, singing nursery rhymes with chubby fingers clasped to their own makes my heart melt.

They reach for one another’s hand, lace their fingers together and swing hands to and fro. They play together, exchanging quick hugs and high-fives and unintelligible babbles. They kiss one another shyly, learning their first lessons in friendship.

And THAT plus a little champagne was my weekend.