Friday, October 26, 2012

My little meatballs

Happy 3rd Birthday, Girls! It seems like you have been a part of my life so much longer than three years. And it also seems like you joined us only last week. You both love to hear the story of your birth. Luce, you especially like the part about how my friend Stephanie brought you your very first cupcake to the hospital (I have conveniently left out the part that you didn’t actually get to eat that cupcake. It makes for a story you much prefer).

This birthday of yours, you two turning three, has made me weepy. It’s probably at least partially related to pregnancy hormones, but I also am very aware of the fact that you two are no longer babies. Not even toddlers. You’re in the official “preschooler” category, and more and more, you’re my little girls. Don’t get me wrong. That’s so wonderful. I love this age, this stage, the things you do and say so much. We talk. The other night at dinner, Lucy, you said, “Mama, let’s have a conversation”. Seriously. So I love it, but I also miss you two as babies and toddlers. When you hold my face with your hands, they aren’t chubby anymore. You want to be snuggled, rocked, and held much less often these days. You have both become independent in so many areas, which is absolutely as it should be, but also absolutely difficult and tear-inducing as I learn to be a mama who is willing to let you grow up. So be patient with me, little meatballs (you will always be my little meatballs). We’re learning a lot together as you two grow.

Things I know about you:

Lucy. You like to snuggle –deep under your covers, you like to feel the weight of something (or someone) around you. You are sensitive – you get these beautiful big worried eyes if you think that someone isn’t being treated fairly (a real someone or a book or movie someone). You also cannot handle it if your sister or your dad or I talk to you sternly. You’re convinced that if you are corrected, it means you’re in trouble. You take off running and through your tears, you tell us that you’re running away and “you’ll never see me again”. You are a leader. This is more than being bossy (yes, it’s true, sometimes you’re that, too!), it’s something quieter and more confident. You are content to be dropped off at preschool and quickly start doing your thing. You give me a hug and a kiss and you’re off. You love stories – books, but also the made-up ones that your dad and I tell you. You have a mind like a steel trap; you routinely correct us on facts (“no, Shawna gave me this”), and you also memorize your books so you can “read” them to me and Janey. You love the color purple, cupcakes, washing dishes, and chicken (plain, of course). You’re such a little nurturer – you happily cover Jane up with her blanket when she can’t get it right, and I’ve seen you stroking her hair when she’s upset. You completely dress and undress yourself, usually insisting that we don’t help you, even when this ends in tears because you just can’t get your shoes or that one sleeve to cooperate. You still have the best full belly laugh I’ve ever heard. You love to sing and dance (dancing involves one elbow being thrust into the air and then you basically spin around that point) and do projects.

Jane. You love animals. Ralph is your favorite (along with the concrete cat that you carry around and the ceramic bunny and the bronze lion), and you often holler at Daisy when she’s being too rough with him. Speaking of Daisy, you started calling her Daisy Jr. completely out of the blue. You hate to be covered up in bed and either sleep spread eagle on your back, or curled into a tight ball on your stomach with your arms directly underneath you so your hands stick out just under your bottom. You have such command over your body. I love to watch you at the park as you race up stairs and ladders and climb any- and everything. You jump or run or gallop almost everywhere you go, and you never seem to tire. You adore your sister, often telling her that you love her (unprompted!) and going in search of a toy for her when she’s otherwise inconsolable. You refer to her as “my Luce”. You are willing to eat almost anything, and you like most of it. You also hate to stay seated at the table. In fact, I don’t think we’ve had a meal since not being strapped in your high chair where you’ve been able to remain in your seat the entire seven minutes. You prefer to eat fast, jump down, dance, run, and hop around, coming back for a bite every now and then. I think you would be perfectly content to let me dress and undress you for the rest of your life. You are adamant about picking out your shirt, but other than that, you’re pretty hands off. You are the one who is a bit reluctant to let me drop you off at preschool, and you’re also the one who gives out hugs to all the kids in your class when I pick you up. You are not afraid of anything.

Lucy and Jane, you are two of the most wonderful people I know. You are funny and kind, smart and inquisitive, beautiful and creative. I truly couldn’t love you more. Thanks for letting me be your mama. Oh, and Happy Birthday!

All my love,

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Almost Three?!

Ah, my sweet, little, chocolate-covered, Lucy and Jane. You have become older, wiser, funnier, taller, smarter people since I last wrote. You are almost three. THREE! I’m still not entirely sure how that happened.

You love Daisy, our new mini-van, and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. We can’t go to the library, the park, or Costco often enough. You preface about a third of your comments with, “When we were little…”. You are so good at puzzles, naming your feelings (Jane, you scrunch up your face and say, “I’m kinda nerbous”), and giving hugs.

You’ve been to Wisconsin with the Stroessners (now you like to say “it’s hard to keep track of all my cousins”); you’ve seen the giant bean (or goose egg if you insist, which you almost always do – insist, that is) in Chicago; you’ve learned that you’re going to be big sisters.

Jane, you love this little stone turtle that the previous owners left in the garden. I mean, you LOVE that turtle. You carry him (her?) all around the yard with you, and you’ve been known to sneak it into the wagon so he can go with you to the park. That poor turtle got sat in the middle of an anthill one day, and you were beside yourself when you found him covered in ants. You quickly picked him up to brush them off, then almost as quickly began crying when you became covered in ants.

You also love to get dirty. We had a huge pile of dirt in our front yard, and you and Lucy both enjoyed helping your dad shovel it into a wheelbarrow and dump it in the backyard. Luce, you stayed as clean as you could, which means you had dirty shoes and socks. Jane, you got as dirty as you could, which means you decided to slide down that hill of dirt. On your stomach. Head first. Repeatedly.

When you can’t be dirty, you like to be naked. You especially like to strip off all your clothes, let yourself out the front door, and run around the yard. Our neighbor, Nick, has had the privilege of enjoying this a couple of times, watching me or your dad chase you down and bring you back inside. Last time we were outside together, he asked you about it, and you told him (no kidding) “sometimes I like to do it when I’m mad at my mom”. What?!

Lucy, you are a hilarious sister. You want to be right, you want to be in control, you want to call the shots. This would be so much easier if Jane would just cooperate with you  A couple of weeks ago, the two of you were having a fairly heated debate about whether or not there was a bug or a “bug statue” in the car. I had decided not to get involved. Finally, you said, “Okay, here’s the deal. You think it’s a bug; I think it’s a bug statue. Okay, sweetie?” I love that you’re learning you don’t always have to be right; there doesn’t always have to be a winner; sometimes, it’s okay for you and your sister to think different things.

Luce, you are so capable, insisting on dressing yourself, even down to your shoes and socks. You have some pretty strong opinions about what you like and don’t like, especially when it comes to food. Although you’re eating better these days, you still don’t always want to try new things. The other evening, you helped me make soup; I thought for sure since you had helped you’d try it. I was wrong. No amount of pleading, bribing or cajoling could get you to put that spoon in your mouth. Finally, you looked at me, frustrated I’m sure, and said, “Mom, you know I like food plain. Remember?” An hour later (after you and Jane had been playing, the kitchen had been cleaned, and Daisy had gotten into your untouched bowl of soup), you decided you were ready for a “sample”.

Ladies, I don't want to give you the wrong idea. You're not always particularly pleasant. We have had moments (days, even weeks) of experiencing THE TERRIBLE TWOS. But even then, even when you're at your most frustrating, most whiny, most buggary selves... well, even then, you are still my amazing daughters, my meatballs, my chicken-littles, and I love you very, very much. Even then.

All my love and then some,