Thursday, June 30, 2011

22 Months

You are 22 months old today!
I'm already starting to brainstorm ideas for your 2nd birthday party. Given your obsession with everything Princess, this seems an obvious choice. But then I realized that this is probably my last chance to throw you a party not dominated by commercialism and theme characters - so maybe I should take it? But then I see the unadulterated joy that it brings you to walk by the bakery at our neighborhood grocery store where they have demo cakes shaped like Disney princesses and I question my decision to deny you this pleasure on your birthday. I'm still weighing the decision. Perhaps we'll compromise and I'll just make you a big pink cake. Anyways! You continue, per always, to be hilarious and bright this month and I will try to capture this in my letter now.

You are still speaking mostly in 3-6 word sentences, but trying out more interesting sentence structures and sometimes it's a bit like having a foreign exchange student in our house. It's obvious that you are studying us hard and trying valiantly to reproduce the English you are hearing. Earlier this week you pointed at a white spot on a big hosta leaf in our backyard and said, "That's a piece of milk." When I replied, "Actually, I think that's bird poop." you quickly wiped your finger on your shirt and said in a tone that came off almost angry, "YUCK."
You can count to 13 confidently, but then like to say that 16 comes next. You've learned quite a few of your letters this month. F and O are your strong suit at the moment, and you love playing with the alphabet magnets on the fridge. The concept of numbers versus letters is a bit confused for you and you yell at Dad all the time, "Build a number Dad!" which means you want him to spell words for you on the refrigerator with the magnets.

Your desire to do EVERYTHING "by self" has taken our house by storm this month. You try desperately to dress yourself,
Note both legs in the same leg hole of your shorts. And that you already have a skirt and diaper cover on.

zip your sweater by yourself, and put your shoes on yourself, in addition to a host of other activities that I can't (or don't want to) think of right now. As a result, the frustration level in our home has sky rocketed. You get SO mad when you can't do something right away and make this noise that sounds like a noise someone would make while straining to lift a 5234523 pound weight, only very high pitched. We've started working on taking a "Big Breath" in these moments and it's definitely working, although not every single time by a long shot. But often enough for us to feel encouraged, you actually will stop when we ask and take a big breath, and it works every time to calm you down and snap out of your frustration snit. Your big breath is really cute and funny, as you suck in a large amount of air through pursed lips and your chin sticking way out, then let it out as if blowing out a candle and dropping your shoulders in an exaggerated manner.

You are so creative at play and while you love having playmates over (evidence:
You and Reid watching Maurice on the front porch.
you and Danny, playing in the backyard.

you never seem lonely or like you need anyone (including Dad or me) to help you with your play. You are content to make Sophie the Giraffe drive your plastic boat around the yard, gather dried bamboo leaves and throw them over your head while giggling, or hide in the "jungle" of our bushes.
Just today while I was making dinner, I heard you in the living room saying to yourself, "Make a present." and when I came into the living room, you had found a piece of tissue paper in a shoe box by the front door (intended for the recycling bin) and were using it to wrap up one of your books like a present. I frequently hear you with your stuffed animals saying things like, "Hi Mr. Squirrel (pronounced Misser Surill)! How are you? Good! Share nut?"

Playing in the sink.

Eating out continues to be a challenge with fewer successes than flops. You have very little patience for sitting in general, and doing so in a new environment when you could be exploring is something you HATE.
I'm never certain whether this is a parenting failure on my part because I'm not stricter about you always sitting for every bite of food you take or whether this is more attributable to your general temperament. But then I also get stuck on the idea that if I expect you to eat every single thing while sitting in your chair, then suddenly I'm not able to eat a banana while checking my email, or a cookie while I clean up the dishes and is it really worth it? I'm not sure yet whether I'm willing to walk the talk. Eventually, you will just have to get better at eating out, right? We'll find out I suppose.
Which brings me to my next big milestone this month - you have started integrating into daycare. Earlier this week you had your first drop-in day at daycare and next week you start on a regular schedule of twice a week attendance. You loved your time there this week - didn't miss me a wink and seem excited about returning next week. Jen (who runs your daycare) did mention that you weren't super into sitting for snack or circle time (gasp!), preferring to do your own thing, but otherwise the visit seemed to go really well. Hopefully the excitement of all the new toys and people will wear off and following Jen's directions will become easier in the coming weeks. Perhaps it will even rub off at home! I'm hopeful and excited for your daycare experience, you already love your pal AJ that goes there the same two days as you, and you came home chatty about the two boys there after only 2 hours with them.
You and AJ in our backyard.

We're off to Orcas this weekend for the 4th of July, your first time since talking so we're looking forward to hearing your thoughts on the place and wading in the chilly water in your Salt Water Sandals.


Monday, June 27, 2011

Front Porch

I think I've mentioned a few times that Jeff and his Dad have been replacing our front porch? Well, we are eeking closer and closer to a finished product. I thought I'd share with you a few shots of the progress as we chug along.

Behold, the eyesore that was our front porch (and stairs) for the first 6 years of living in this house:

Rejecting form and function, our porch was hideous to look at AND unstable!
Note the standing water and black mold.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Blower Dryer Dance

Seriously. The only thing better would be a video, but our Flip wasn't charged at the moment.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011


A long while ago I implied that I may have found a part time daycare option for Edie, but said I didn't want to go into details until it was a reality. Um, yeah. Essentially I got overwhelmed and didn't reach out in time to secure this spot. I got to that busy place where it suddenly seems easier to keep muddling through the way you are rather than take the time and effort to look for a new solution. Flash forward like 5 months to this week, and it would appear that it's as good as a sealed deal that Edie will start part time daycare in July. Exciting!

My freelance event work has been picking up and I find that while I may not love every event (or every client) that I am enjoying the balance of working outside the home some. And the money part sure doesn't hurt either. I feel really lucky to have spent the first year of Edie's life at home full time and the last 10 months only working minimal hours with free childcare. That said, the time to seize the day seems to be now - Edie is ready developmentally for more stimulation and structure and I'm ready to take a chance and see if I can build my career back to something in the range of 40-50% and find a new balance. In a way it was a simple decision, but now that it's made, I'm realizing what a big one it is.

SO. Humor me for a minute and let me dish about what I'm hoping is going to be a great opportunity for both Edie and me.

I found this woman (Jen) who runs a small daycare out of her light-filled craftsman home through one of the other moms in my playgroup. Her daughter has been going to Jen's house 2 days a week for a year or so and loves it. Which leads me to the most exciting part about this daycare situation: The daycare happens to have one opening right now - two days per week and those two days are the same exact same days that Edie's friend (my friend's daughter) Alison Jane (AJ) goes to this daycare. So Edie will have a built-in buddy at daycare! Edie and AJ have known each other since they were infants, have always played really well together and I heart the idea of them finger painting and racing baby strollers around together twice a week. There are only 4 other kids in addition to AJ and Edie (2 of whom are the children of the daycare provider), so I love that she'll get the routine of a daycare/preschool type situation, but without the toddler-snot-manufacturing-machine feeling I got at some of the big daycare facilities we visited when I was pregnant. The house is not too far from ours and best of all, really affordable! The kids get outdoor time every day and her backyard is really lovely with a large grassy area, swing set, playhouse, a funny kid's sized boat and a garden area.

Edie and I are going to do a drop-in next week for an hour and a half so she can acclimate and I can get all registered. When we visited last week for the first time, Edie spent the whole time ignoring me and racing from room to room playing with the pink retro kitchen set and scribbling on the chalk easel; when we left she waved and said, "Bye bye Jen's house!"

Now the pressure is on for me to build my freelance event work into a 50% gig (my Mom will still come down for a partial day once per week). It's probably evident from my post, but I'm really hopeful that this is going to be an exciting next step in our family's evolution.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Chair Nap

Did I tell you about this funny nap Edie took last week? She took a shower with me that morning and brought her princess magic wands in the water with her. When we got out and dried off, I wrapped her in this towel and for whatever reason she laid her head down on my shoulder and started to doze. I didn't think it would last long because we'd only been awake for an hour or two, so I jokingly wrapped her up all tight in the towel and put her in the rocking chair. Except she called my bluff and slept exactly like this for over an hour! Also? Underneath her towel she is completely naked (no diaper) and clutching all three of her princess wands tightly to her chest. They left indentations on her belly.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Happy Fathers Day

Dear Jeffrey (aka Dad),

This year hasn't been our easiest - it seems that there's never enough time, money or sleep. But we've done our best and I don't say it often enough that your best is better than enough.

Thank you for your strong shoulders.

Thank you for making your sweater eat our daughter so that I could hear this noise:

Thank you for your stellar rock skipping skills.

And passing them on to our offspring:And thank you for working long and hard hours to make it possible for me to work long and hard hours, but with our daughter as my boss instead of The Man.

Jill (aka Mom)

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Princess Edie

I hid Edie's "princess robe" and substituted a cheap princess themed magic want from Target. Still not super cool, but at least a more socially acceptable accessory in public places. She hasn't asked about the robe in 5 days. Success! But in the great wise words of Paula Abdul, we take two steps forward and two back.

My Mom brought some princess themed books down yesterday. OBSESSED. My child already has both books memorized, like fully. Have I mentioned that she now pretends to "read" books by essentially memorizing them and reciting the words while looking at the correct pages? I keep trying to get a video of this but the effing Flip's mantra is "Low Battery". But that's another story altogether. Anyways, I put her to bed last night and she asked for the princess books (which we had just read as bedtime stories). I made what I thought at the time was a cute decision and put her to bed WITH her books. She "read" them for 30 minutes before falling asleep and I smiled the whole time while hearing her on the monitor. As a mother, I try not to have any specific expectations for my child, but I will confess to hoping that she loves reading. It's such an important part of my life, and always has been that it would be fantastic to have that bond like I do with my parents (also avid readers).

Except at 10:15pm, this decision seemed decidedly less cute when I suddenly heard, "READ IT AGAIN MOMMY!!!" coming from Edie's room. It escalated to variations on the same theme, only louder and more frantic, punctuated by hysterical hiccups and anguished sobs - "Rocking chair! Lap! Read princess book! AGAIN!!" or "MORE READING! Princess booooooks!" I went in once to tell her that we wouldn't be reading princess books in the dark together and you can imagine how well that explanation went over. Not well. Not well at all my friends. We had the pleasure of listening to her scream for maybe 25 minutes, and then whimper and hiccup for 5-10 more. The whimpering is SO sad. Can you imagine getting that tragic over a princess book?

Tuesday, June 7, 2011


I typically make Edie popsicles using juice and Ikea popsicle molds, but I recently bought these fantastic slow-melt pops that are miniature - like 3 inches long and half an inch around (the first picture features a full-sized pop). If Edie eats a decent dinner and we desire to keep her at the table with us for longer than 1 second following her last bite, I offer her one of these bad boys and she'll nurse that thing for a glorious 5 minutes while we enjoy family dinner time.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Here it is

In the last 24 hours Edie has become obsessed with dressing herself and when I try to help she says, "All by self!" and stomps away from me in a huff.

So we have arrived at THIS stage. I'd been hoping to avoid it for a bit longer. I mean, if she was actually doing it by herself, that would be one thing. I'd love to not have to dress her every day. But today I found her with her legs in the sleeves of a short sleeved tee shirt and the trunk of the shirt dangling between her legs like the Hammer Pants my brother used to sport. She was SO MAD when I took them off and showed her that it was a shirt.

And so the daily getting-dressed-battles begin.