Friday, December 19, 2008

Popsicles, Or-nages and a Shakin' Dump Truck

So Gage has been getting up pretty frequently in the middle of the night lately. He wakes and comes into our room and tries to climb into bed with us. Sometimes he makes it without waking either of us up, and then he sleeps until morning. Other times I wake up and take him back to bed. Sometimes this happens four times a night.

Two nights ago I talked up a prize for staying in his bed all night. He said he thought his prize should be a popsicle, and I said that was fine. He stayed in bed all night and got a popsicle with breakfast the next morning.

Now, yes. I've heard of the term 'bribery.' But this is way different. WAY different. This is a prize. See? That's one huge difference right there. Right?


So last night, thrilled with the success and drunk off 7 hours of straight sleep, I talked up the prize again. I promised him another popsicle the next morning if he stayed in bed all night. But our luck didn't hold and he was up twice. The second time he didn't wake me, and he stayed in our bed until morning.

So no popsicle.

It was the funniest thing today, because he tried about five different tactics to try to get a popsicle from me anyway. He knew the rules, but he was persistent. I guess he thought he'd trip me up.

Gage: "I'm ready for my popsicle."
Me: "Oh, you don't get one today, sweetie. You were up in the middle of the night. Remember? You came into bed with me and you weren't supposed to."
Gage: "No, I didn't do that."
Me: "You were there when I woke up, Gage. I remember."
Gage: (Looks guilty. Changes subject.)

Another time...
Gage: "I'm ready for my popsicle."
Me: "Maybe tomorrow. If you stay in bed tonight you'll have a popsicle tomorrow."
Gage: "No, not tomorrow. Today. I'd like my popsicle now. Please."
No dice.

Another time I over hear this one...
Gage: "Daddy. May I have a popsicle?"
Mike: "Oh, um...I don't know...?"
Me (shouting): "No!"

And my personal favorite...
Lila: "Milt. Milt! Peas!"
Me: "You'd like your milk, please?"
Gage: "No, Mommy. I'm pretty sure Yi-yah said 'Popsicle! Popsicle!'"
Me: "Nice try, my friend. But no."

Man, he's tricky!

But we're trying again tonight. We'll see what happens.

Lila pronounces the word Orange like this: Or-nage. It's hysterical. If it was up to her all she'd eat was fruit. And meat. Anyway, today I kept having her say Orange because it pleased me so.

Me: "Lila, say Orange."
Lila: "Or-nage."
Me: "What are you hungry for?"
Lila: "Or-nage."
Me (holding an orange): "What's this?"
Lila: (glaring at me)

Gage and Aunt Stephie had a classic moment on the phone yesterday. When Gage has calls (ahem) I put him on speakerphone so I can play interpreter if I need to.

Aunt Stephie: "Are you excited about Santa coming?"
Gage: (nods head)
Me: "Say 'Yes!' She can't hear you."
Gage: "Yes. She can't hear you?"
Aunt Stephie: (cracking up)

I had to make an urgent last-minute Christmas purchase online tonight, using two-day shipping. I'm not normally a two-day shipping kind of gal. I mean: (A) Who's in that big of a hurry? and (B) It's, like, fifteen extra dollars. But this little kid drove me to it.

All Gage has on his Christmas list is a "Shakin' Dump Truck." I have no idea what he means by this. Shakin' dump truck? Really? He's told me several times, and he even told Santa. Poor Santa was all, "And what else do you want? Can you think of something else?" which Gage would shake his head, his eyes glowing in the ecstacy of someone finally meeting his hero, and smile sweetly.

I kept thinking, "He'll be so distracted on Christmas morning he won't miss this one thing."

But tonight he was telling me a story before bed and the story went like: "Once a powder time there was a little boy named Gage. Santa came and Gage opened his present. He got a shakin' dump truck!"

I caved. What can I say? I'm already denying him popsicles.

Turns out there exists such a thing as a Shakin' Dump Truck.

Turns out it can be here by Christmas Eve.

And, as it turns out...I'M the one in that big of a hurry.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Playing the Catch-Up (Part 1)


Did I tell you that this year I allowed Gage to pick his own costume? It was entirely up to him. After going back and forth between two choices he settled, steadfast, on: Strawberry. (The other choice he batted around: Tomato.)

If you can believe it...Strawberry costumes are not all the rage (this year, anyway. I maintain that he is ahead of his time), and I could not find a single one for sale. Luckily it was a simple costume to make. Lila inherited her brother's Chicken suit, which is unbelievably adorable.

A couple of days after Halloween Gage said, "I'm ready to go Trick-or-Treating again!" A boy after my own heart, that one.

November was busy, with both Mike's and my birthdays, a trip to the beach and weekend guests with whom we had a fantastic time. The beach trip happened to be on an unbelievably cold weekend, but was still fun. Gage barely slept both nights and Lila pulled a Go-Go-Gadget Extender Arm move that turned a pleasant trip to Cracker Barrel into The Day My Salad Exploded To the Floor. You would not believe the mess that is possible from one 18-month-old and one half of a chef's salad. It was truly a remarkable thing. Ah, well. These things happen.

All in all, though, a fun trip. There's nothing like the (empty, empty) beach in the off-season.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

'My Sleepin' Hat'

During our slow and unenthusiastic switch from summer to winter clothes Gage came across his warm hat from last year. Here it is:

So he found it kind of randomly and he points at it and says: "Oh! My sleepin' hat!"

Me: "Um." (Thinking sleepin' hat? What?)
Gage: "I need that hat to sleep."
Me: "Oh. Sure."

I pulled it on his head. He went to sleep happily and promptly, and woke up in the morning with spiky hair and a sweaty scalp.

So I started calling it his "nightcap," and now he calls it that, too. Right after we put him to bed tonight I heard him walking around. I asked him what was wrong.

Gage: "I'm lookin' for my nightcap."
Me: "Oh. I'll get it."
Mike: "What does he need?"
Me: "His nightcap."
Mike: (fetches it from the couch.)

It's that much a 'thing' already. I wonder how long the nightcap will last. And I wonder, if I didn't have this blog, if I would remember the nightcap in ten years.

Gage has also started talking in these grown-up sentences. I remember reaching the 'he's talking in sentences' milestone, and being so excited. So proud. "He's talking in sentences now." Like: "Gage want milk." And then: "May I have a lolly, Mama?" Now, all of a sudden, it's: "Oh, Lila, you silly baby. You can't reach the juice because you're not standing up. That's the problem."

Really!? When did this happen? I guess this past week. But all of a sudden his speech contains inflection and terms of endearment and contractions. It's crazy. He's more like a miniature adult all the time. (But wait, when I think about that I'm like "Oh, right. He literally *is* more like a miniature adult all the time. Literally in the literal sense." Right. Of course. But also it's really, really true.)

"I'm hungry," he said on the way home from the eye doctor today. (My appointment, not his.) "What are we having for dinner?" (Really? What are we having for dinner? REALLY?)
Me: "Frittata and Broccoli."
Gage: "Oh. I have an idea! How about we have chicken nuggets?"
Me: "No, not tonight. Tonight we're having Frittata and Broccoli."
Gage: "Oh. I don't think I like Tata."
Me: (snickering about 'Tata.') "You don't know whether you like it or not, because you've never had it."
Gage: "I have an idea! How about we have macaroni and cheese?"
Me: "No, not tonight. But how about next week you can pick dinner one night? One night we'll let you decide, and we'll write it down and shop for the groceries and then we'll eat your dinner."
Gage: "Okay!"

Silence for several seconds.

Gage: (quietly) "I don't think I'll eat even one bite of Tata."
Mike: "Well, you can either eat a bite or go to bed."
Gage: "Okay, maybe I'll eat one bite of Tata."
Mike: "Great!"

He ate the whole piece without complaint (7 bites!). And after the first inquisitive bite he said "Hmm. This doesn't taste bad, it tastes good!" (Which is his new line about food. He says it about everything. But he pronounces 'tastes' like 'taste-ess.' "This taste-ess good!")

I am so, so happy to have a good eater. I can't even tell you. He doesn't eat *much* at a time, but he'll eat almost anything. Lila eats pretty much anything, too, and she likes spice more than Gage does. She can stand more black pepper, red pepper. Both of them love garlic. I definitely got lucky there.

Anyway. This past weekend we went on two fall outings: Country Junction on 209 to get lunch, Halloween decorations, pumpkins. And the Apple Pie Bakery at the Water Gap (by the light). (That's on a label on their pies. 'Come visit us. We're in The Water Gap. By the light.') They score you a piece of fresh-baked apple pie *plus* a hotdog for $1.49. It's ridiculous. And they have fresh local cider and doughnuts. It's heavenly. You should go. Here are some pictures:

And, just for kicks, here's last year:

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Shots All Around

Man, today was a busy, busy day.

We had flu shots all around, and Sam went to the vet. Wendy came to visit, which was wonderful, and of course I went to work (which, in this economy, is *trying* to say the least, LOL).

The kids were so funny with their shots...Gage cried only a tiny bit and then the nurse spoiled him by telling him how brave he was, and how he was her hero. He looked at her, all wide-eyed, and said "Reeeally?"

He kept complaining after the fact - all the way home he was saying "It still hurts. Really bad! It still huuurtsss." and I finally said, "We all had shots, Gage. I don't want to hear anything else about shots."

That's kind of a new thing. Like:

Gage: "I want a treat!"
Me: "No."
Gage: "But I want a--"
Me: "I said no."
Gage: "But I have to talk! Let me talk!"
Me: "Sure. Go ahead. As long as it's not about treats."
Gage: (silence)


Gage: "I want to watch a bideo!" (That's 3-yr-old speak for 'video')
Me: "Not right now."
Gage: "Can I talk? As long as it's not about bideos?"
Me: "Yes. As long as it's not about videos."
Gage: (silence)

Hmm...maybe he wants to watch his favorite bideo, 'Tractor Bemptures' (Tractor Adventures)

Speaking of funny pronunciations, Lila's funniest word right now is Lolly. She says it deeply, throatily, "Yah-yee!" She cracks me up. She gets so excited about Lollies. And I have to tell you...I'm not all crazy about Organic stuff, but I found these Organic lollies at Wegs that are made with fruit juice...they are SO GOOD. I hate finding something this delicious, because all I hear are cash register noises in my head. But yes, they're that good.

Other new words are 'Blankie,' 'Dolly,' and 'Grandma.'

Then the Vet. We were there for TWO HOURS. Our appointment was at 6:30. We were there until 8:30. It. Was. Crazy. Thank goodness Gage was well-behaved - it was just me & him, and Sam, of course. There was a darling little litter of kittens up for adoption...they were adorable. Gage stood and looked at them for literally an hour. I played Pac-Man on my iPod. Sam drooled and panted, whining occassionally. Good times. I wrote out a check for $214 to the Vet. When I came home Mike said "What did all that money go toward?" and all I could do was shrug my shoulders and point helplessly at the 96-pound beast. Sam responded by shedding excessively, licking his chops and laying down right under my feet, right where I needed to be.

Mike and I just ate an entire stick of butter between the two of us. Yep. In twenty minutes. We steamed artichokes and dipped them in delicious garlic-lemon butter until the butter existed no more. I think I could float, right now, if I so desired. I'm that full of delicious fatty fat.

All in all, a good day. I hope yours was good, too.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Gage & Lila

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Updatey Goodness

So I had a problem for most of the summer. It sucked. I was really super exhausted and crabby and not at all myself. Turns out I was anemic, had a Vitamin B deficiency and about a thousand (as Gage would say) or five and a million (as cousin Jackson would say) allergies to ridiculous things. I'd tell you what they are, but then you'd have ammunition to use against me. My lips are sealed. Also I now have weekly shots and an EpiPen. So just try and mess with me, I'll stab you with epinepherine. For realz. And then I'll sneeze on you, or break out in hives. That's just how I roll.

Ahh, the kids. Gage (3 yrs, 3 mos) and I are just coming off two weeks' worth of colds. He is very interested in the library lately, and we go at least once a week. He wants to be a strawberry for Halloween. Both kids go with me to the allergist to get my shots every week and Gage always, *always* says "Mommy, I want you to be brave. Don't say 'ouch.' Okay? Mommy? Okay, you'll be brave?" And I always am. Even the nurse says so.

Lila (16 mos) is saying probably thirty words, among them: Hi, Yeah, Uh-huh, Uh-uh, Mama, Dada, Gage, Lila, Up, Down, Thank You, Lolly, Cracker, Chicken, Oh Boy and Geez. She knows her mind and has quite a little temper. She usually sleeps from 8 PM until 9 AM which, let me assure you, *works* for me. She will probably be a chicken for Halloween; Gage was a chicken his second year and I think the costume will fit Li. I'd love to use it again - it's super cute.

Recent activities include...Gage: Quietly working on his manipulation skills, observing our reactions, making mental notes. Lila: Scooting backward down stairs. Gage: Perfecting the art of *accidentally* knocking Lila over, and then exclaiming "Oops!" in a really apologetic way. Lila: Somersaults.

Next on the horizon for me: Weaning. Sigh.

Friday, July 25, 2008

He's Three

Birthday Interview with Gage:

Mommy: What do you want to be when you grow up?
Gage: A penguin.
Mommy: What's your favorite food?
Gage: Meatballs.
Mommy: What's your favorite thing about Daddy?
Gage: I like when he holds me up. (Gage holds onto a stick and we lift him off the ground so his feet are like a foot in the air)
Mommy: What's your favorite thing about Lila?
Gage: I like when he tickles me. (Yes, he. What?)
Mommy: What's your favorite thing about Mommy?
Gage: I like when you holds me up on the bar.
Mommy: Who's your favorite friend?
Gage: Daniel. (cousin)
Mommy: What's your favorite treat?
Gage: I like lollipops.
Mommy: Where's your favorite place to go?
Gage: Wegmans. I like Wegmans. (Who doesn't!?)
Daddy: What do you think Mommy and Daddy do after you go to bed?
Gage: Come and check on me. (Because I'm King Of The World!)
Mommy: What's your favorite thing to drink?
Gage: Hot chocolate.
Mommy: What does Daddy do at work?
Gage: Work.
Daddy: What does Mommy do at work?
Gage: I don't know. I guess she works.
Mommy: What makes you happy?
Gage: When you sing a song. Cows that Type. (a book)
Mommy: What makes you sad?
Gage: Nothing. (Awww! But so not true.)
Mommy: If you could choose a present what would it be?
Gage: Doggies. I like doggies.

Well there you have it, ladies and gentlemen. Gage in a nutshell. (And Mike was like, "Maybe we should get him a dog." Um, no. Remember Sam? The 90-lb shedding machine? We're good.)

Gage was sitting in my lap in the living room last week and he said: "Mommy, watch this." I looked at him and he screwed his face up, looked at the ceiling and tensed his body. I didn't understand what he was going for and I said, "Is it that you're making a funny face?" He said: "No, watch." He looked again up at the ceiling and tensed up harder. After a few seconds he relaxed, sighed and said "It's not working." I looked up where he was looking - the lights in the ceiling fan. "What's not working?"
"I can't turn out the lights."
"What, with your mind? You're trying to turn the lights out with your mind?"
"Yeah. But it's not working."
"Well, don't feel bad. Most people...can't...turn lights out...with their minds." Another statement I never thought I'd have to say.
Gage, sighing sadly: "I can't close doors, either."

Aw, kid.

Once yesterday and twice today Gage and I have made eye contact and shared such a deep, steady, soul-swapping too-long gaze that all I can think about is how he's all the time drawing away from me. That sounds depressing, and I don't mean it depressing. But my relationship with him, with Lila, is so intimate right now, by choice as well as by necessity. I truly know everything that goes on in their lives. Not a thing happens that I don't have my hands in. I love it, but I know now that it won't last.

I'm unnerved by this look, by how Gage looks at me - this obviously sensitive kid - I adore it and wouldn't trade it for anything, but it's also a little unnerving. It seems almost as though he's willfully baring his soul. It seems as though he knows that this period of whole, pure connectivity is limited. It seems as though he's being generous with the time we have left, the remaining time in this stage.

It reminds me of when I was young, maybe six or seven, and I'd pretend to fall asleep in the car five or ten minutes away from home so that one of my parents would carry me into the house. I remember thinking that they probably wouldn't mind holding me in their arms again, their baby, feeling the full weight of me. It would be okay under the guise of sleep - I wasn't too big to be carried if I was unconscious, after all. It was a safe way for all of us to pretend that I was so dependent again. Plus I got to feel a heartbeat against my ear - a feeling I didn't recapture until I was in my twenties, falling asleep on Mike's chest.

Soon Gage will realize that he *doesn't* have to say everything he's thinking of outloud. He *doesn't* have to tell me about his wants, his fears, his embarrassments. He doesn't have to ask me to clarify something that he doesn't understand (he could even, maybe, ask someone else).

It seems as though he realized this before I did, because I didn't think about it at all until he started giving me these looks. Maybe I'm imagining it. Maybe the looks are a coincidence. Maybe he's thinking about how to wrangle a popsicle out of me before bed. But the message I'm getting, three times in a row, is: Treasure this. It goes too quickly. He's all yours right now, so do it right.

And then I melt into those lovely big brown eyes for a moment too long and I don't speak. It's all I can do to blink and look away.

They'll get the best from me. I'll make sure of it.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Old News

I belong to a parenting message board that's switching hosting sites. Because of that we have to get any of our old posts off the old site and record them somewhere else or we'll lose them. I've been going through old posts tonight and wanted to share some snippets from when Gage was younger, and some funny things that I haven't blogged about. It's so neat to read these old posts and remember these times. And oh, how they've grown. Sigh. Here goes....

Gage at 17 months: Gage has been saying "Excuse me" very well lately, it's too funny. He says it "Eh-see-see." He says it when he wants to get by and you're in the way, or when you're touching him and he wants personal space. It's the funniest thing in the world, I swear, this tiny guy ducking out from under your hand when you're trying to play with his hair or something, "Eh-see-see."

Gage at 18 months: Yesterday we were at Barnes & Noble and Gage went up to a woman who was sitting looking at a book. She had a cup of coffee and Gage pointed to it and leaned over to her and said, very seriously and quietly, "Hot." Without missing a beat, the lady goes, "Thank you. I'll be careful."

Gage just turned 2: On Monday he was playing in the kitchen and I was in the living room visiting with my mom. Gage gets quiet all of a sudden, then he says: "No spitting. Sit the steps. Time out." And he walked his little self right to the steps and sat down. After maybe thirty seconds he said: "Time out all done!" and got up, went back to playing. I was trying so hard not to LMAO, and I managed to say: "That's right, spitting is a naughty thing to do." But really, he had the whole thing covered.

(Next day) He did it again today! I didn't see what he did wrong - if anything - but he scooted over and sat right down on the steps.

He: "Sit the steps. Time out."
Me: "What happened?"
He: "Bit nonny."
Me: "You were a little bit naughty?"
He: "Yes. Bit nonny. Time out."
- Pause -
He: "Time out all done!"

I guess I'll never know what he did that time....

Gage a bit over 2: Gage has just started to say a couple of funny things, like: "Gage no sleepy alllll day."

He also has started narrating everything he does, like when he's going upstairs to his room:
He: "Gage upstairs. Play toys in room."
Me: "Okay. Have fun."
He: "Go up stairs. Bye, Mommy."
Me: "Bye, sweetie."
He: "Window open."
Me: "Yes, your windows are open."
He: "Love you!" (Lub you!)
Me: "Love you."
He: "Bye, Mommy!"

This can go on and on....

And everything is 'in two minutes.' "Hold you two minutes?" "Potty two minutes?" "Done dinner two minutes."

Oh, and I thought of one more. I told him he had to have a bite of potato before he could be done with dinner a few nights ago. I said "You may either have more fruit, then eat your potato. Or you may just eat the potato and be all done with dinner. What would you like?" he thought for a minute and said very cheerfully: "Mommy eat it!"

Gage at 2 years, 1 month: While DH was out of town this weekend I took the kids up to visit our friends in the Poconos. Gage and I slept on their pull-out couch. Everything is going well until...I hear Gage say "Huuuurts!" in the middle of the night. I woke up and looked over at where he should have been - he's gone.

I'm about to panic when I see his feet sticking straight up where his head used to be. He had squirmed around his pillow and fallen between the edge of the mattress and the cushions of the couch! He slipped through the, like, 8-inch gap there and all I could see was his little feet and ankles. I grabbed onto them and hauled him back up.

I was all frantically touching at him, like, "OMG, are you all right!?" He goes: "Yep," sticks his thumb back in his mouth and goes right back to sleep.

Scary, scary stuff! I stuffed a bunch of pillows back there so it wouldn't happen again.

He's such a trooper, that kid.

Gage at 2 years, 3 months: So I'm getting the kids in the car this morning and I tell Gage we're going to the doctor and he needs to have a shot. He thinks about it for a minute and says "No, thanks." I was like, "You have to have this shot to keep your body healthy and strong. It'll only hurt for a minute." We pull in at the doctor's office.

He: "We're here! At the doctor for baby Yi-yah."
Me: "No, sweetie, we're at the doctor for Gage."
He: "Nooo.... Doctor for baby Yi-yah. No Gage."

We go inside, and into the 'injection room' I don't know what this is called - it's a tiny room just for giving shots.

He: "No yike the doctor. No YIKE it."
Nurse: "Aww, Gage. I like *you*."
He: grumpy silence

He gets the shot. Cries hysterically for five seconds, kicking and screaming.

He: "Gage sad! Gage sad whole time! Gage cryin'!" Pause. Shuts the drama off like a lightswitch. "Gage feel better." All smiles. Accepts Elmo sticker from the nurse.

Nurse: "He handled that pretty well, I think."

Yes.... *Well*

If I ask Gage to do something he tells me that he has too much to do. I'll be, like, "Gage, get your shoes, we're going to the store." He'll say "Gage lots to do," hop on his tricycle and ride away. "Time for your bath." "Gage lots to do."

Oh, and the tricycle. He's been 'going to work' all week. He kisses Lila on the head, hugs her around the neck and says "Goin' to work!" then he climbs on the tricycle, tells Lila "Drive safe!" and rides away. After he rides around a little bit he comes over to me and says "Gage work at Jackson's houes (his cousin). Gage saw wood, Jackson hammer nails!" and the whole process starts over again. It's too funny.

And the other night we heard a strange noise in the house and Gage looked at me all wide-eyed.
He: "Hear that sound?"
Me: "Yes. What do you think it was?"
He: "Cookie Monster opening my door in my room."

A few weeks ago he regressed a little with pooping on the potty. he was doing it reliably and then he had a couple of accidents. I upped the potty reward, and this is what we do when he poops on the potty:
(1) We cheer and clap
(2) We flush the poop and use a "Special Wipe" (Peshal Yipe) - a toddler flushable wipe - on his bottom
(3) We light a candle (dubbed the "Poo-poo candle," unfortunately)
(4) We sing "Happy Poo-poo on the Potty," to the tune of Happy Birthday
(5) Gage blows out the candle
(6) He gets "A handful" (five) M&Ms

We're freaking crazy, right? This ritual is longer than, like, bedtime. It's ridiculous. But the good part is: he poops on the potty reliably again. So I'm not ready to give the ritual up yet....

It's too funny - after he poops on the potty and he yells, "Mommy, get the candle lighter!"

Gage at 2 years, 4 months: Really? Is *that* what the horse says? Gage inherited a rocking horse from friends and he's been climbing up on it, rocking it and saying "Na-HAY. Na-HAY."

Lila at 7 months: I asked Mike to keep an eye on Lila while I took Gage up to bed. I came back ten minutes later and Mike was lying on the floor, and Lila was playing up by his head. I came closer and I saw that Mike was sound asleep and Lila was playing with his hair!

Gage at 2 yrs, 5 months: Gage has recently started patting me very gently on the cheek, looking soulfully into my eyes and saying "You're a good boy, Mommy."

He also says "Uh...sure," after he asks for something, and although I'm not aware that I do it he must be copying me. He'll say "Gage have a snack?" and before I can answer he goes "Uh...sure!" Like he's trying to sell me on the idea, LOL.

The two babysitters we interviewed are named Megan and Jordan. He calls them "Megnin" and "Jordnin."

Gage at 2 years, 7 months, Lila 9 months: Yesterday Gage said "There's a little snow on the ground." But in his slurry toddler-speak it came out: "There's a yittle no on the down."

He's also been very affectionate with Lila lately - hugging and kissing her, but also sometimes rolling over her on the floor. Luckily...she doesn't mind.

Gage at 2 years, 9 months: He doesn't understand 'funny' being anything but ha-ha. Like, I'll say "Do those shoes feel funny?" and he'll say "No, they don't feel funny, I don't like them. I want funny shoes!"

Gage at 2 years, 10 months, Lila almost a year: Today Gage rescued a little boy at the playground. The little boy was about three, and his grandfather was there but busy with his younger brother. Gage was standing on a platform and the little boy was at the top of a tricky ladder, but he couldn't make it to the platform. He yelled "Help! I'm stuck!" Gage and I both got there at the same time. I gave him a little boost on his bottom and Gage reached for his hand, saying, "Don't worry, I will help you!" I was so proud of him.

And whenever anyone leaves the house, be it his grandma, me, Mike, his aunt...he says "Hugs and kisses!" Once that's done he looks sternly into our faces and says "Now, remember. There are cars in the street. Be careful and look both ways." We have to nod our heads seriously and say "Okay. I'll remember."

Lila swings her fingertip into her mouth and makes a smacking noise to indicate 'hungry.' Today at dinner she pointed at the rice, looked at me and did her sign for hungry. I'm so pleased that she's finally able to communicate a little! She's also saying "Hi" and "Guh" for Gage.

Gage has been hitting the stage of disagreeing with us over what he is allowed to do. Like today he tried to take some of Lila's cereal and I said, "You may not do that," he puffed up his chest, looked me in the eyes and thundered "Yes I may!"

Last week he was experimenting with blowing raspberries in our faces when he isn't pleased. We put a quick stop to that. But twice today we had confrontations and he looked in my face and I could see he was thinking about blowing a raspberry. The first time he just blew air, like at my hair. Way to be aggressive, buddy, LOL. The next time he *coughed* at me. I had to tell him that he wasn't allowed to *cough* at me.

That's, like, one of those things you never thought you'd have to say. "You may not cough at me out of anger."

Our dog doesn't bark much, but he whines a lot. When you ask Lila "What does a doggie say?" She whines: "Nnn Nnn Nnn." It's too cute.

Gage at 2 years, 11 months: This morning we went to Linens-N-Things (Store closing! Sale!) and we went through the first set of doors. I grabbed a cart with my free hand - I was holding Lila in the other arm - and Gage was right beside me. I went through the other set of doors and Gage started to, but then was distracted by something and stopped. I went to put Lila in the cart and realized he wasn't right with me. I called to him and he started to come, but the doors were closing. It would have been funny if he wasn't so scared. He looked like a tiny commuter who missed the train. He stuck his head and arms through the gap but had to pull his head out, and then tried to pry the doors open with his hands but they closed anyway and he had to let go and step back. He looked so scared and lonely, his lip all quivery. Luckily a woman was coming through, and she stepped on the thing to make the doors open again. He talked about it for like a half hour after, "I was in there but then I didn't want to be in there but the doors closed!"

Lila 15 months, Gage almost 3: The other day Lila picked up a toy phone, put it to her ear and said "Hi Gage." We were all hysterical.

Gage has been such a little adult lately. It's so funny. Like yesterday my dad bought him a little matchbox truck, and I was trying to get the package open and I was having trouble. Gage was like "It's okay, Mommy. Keep trying. You'll get it!"

And my mom was taking him around the block on his little bike last night and she moved it a bit to center it on the sidewalk.
Gage: "That's my bike, Grandma."
Grandma: "I know it is."
Gage: "Please don't touch it again."

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Babyhood Falling Away

While Gage is testing (constantly) his new independence, however clumsily (and, at times, annoyingly), Lila has become so much more child and so much less baby in the past few weeks. She plays so nicely with toys - either her own or her brother's - her favorite thing to do is to put smaller things into larger things. Beads into a cup, or blueberries into a toy wagon. I find quarters in my work shoes every day.

She speaks now, which is so exciting. I kind of forgot that she'd start, since she's "the baby." Babies don't speak. But Lila, my blossoming child, says "Up." And "Down." And "Gage." And "Ball," and "Ow," and "Milk."

Lila gives hugs, when she feels like it. When I come home from work she races to me, grunting eagerly. She twists her plucky little arms around my neck and buries her face in my shoulder, squealing with pleasure. If there exists a better greeting than that I don't know it.

She loves her blanket, loves it to bits. Every time I lay it out for her she scrambles toward it as fast as she can go and collapses in a heap of warm limbs, smushing her face down into the supreme softness and grinning widely.

She's charmingly naughty, and she knows it. She sneaks up the stairs and I know where she's going - to plunge her hands into the toilet and splash around until I can grab her away. I see her at the top of the stairs and I sternly say "Li-LA," and she starts giggling hysterically and she runs - runs - into the bathroom. She made it to the toilet twice before we broke down and installed a baby gate to prevent further toilet-splashing adventures (and the resulting obsessive hand-washing).

She sleeps through the night, twelve hours in a row. This is a HUGE milestone that I'm sure has more than a little positive effect on my own well-being. She's still nursing four times a day and it's going well for both of us. Neither of us is ready to call it quits yet, but I imagine the end is looming within the next several months.

And she eats so heartily you'd swear she had a hollow leg. This kid can put away as much food as I can! And she'll eat anything we put in front of her. Brussels sprouts. Edamame. Pork chops. Curried chicken!

She's something, this kid. She's so much fun these days, and such a bright light in my life.

Gage is doing plenty of his own growing up, too. He decided several weeks ago to give up diapers at night, and has never once had an accident. He doesn't have accidents in the day anymore, either - amazingly he's had only one in the last two months. We spread out some blankets on the living room floor and were playing "Nest" which is really just an excuse for me to lay down and snuggle them, maybe even close my eyes for a minute or two. He got up from the nest and dragged his little blue chair over to the spot where he'd been sitting.

Me: "What are you doing?"
Gage: "Just coverin' up the spot where I peed."

Of course. (Sighing) Well, these things happen.

He is still loving his gym class at Parkettes and talks about it all throughout the week. He is so brave these days, so brave. He dives into the foam blocks now and swings "like a monkey" from the bars. He is getting so much out of that class, it's been nothing but good for him.

I read an old entry recently and was so surprised to remember how he talked about himself in the third person - he never does that anymore. Sometime in the last several months he dropped it, and I never really noticed the transition. He went from "Gage want to do that" to "I want to do that."

There are two really charming things with his language right now - the verb To Be and his Ls. He still can't say the Ls, so two nights ago when he meant to say: "Leave me alone Lila" it came out "Yeave me ayone, Yi-yah" and I couldn't help but laugh.

He doesn't have a firm grip on To he'll say "I are ready," or "Mommy, you am tired?" I love it. He also says "Mines." As in "No, Yi-yah, don't take the crackers. They're mines."

He loves to hear about words he mispronounced when he was younger. He loves to tell people "When I am a baby I can't say 'Syrup' so I say 'Seer-pup.'" Or "...I can't say 'Truck' so I say 'Look at that tut!'" I think he imagines that these were mistakes from his babyhood, rather than mistakes from a few short months ago. I'm constantly logging away more from now to tell him in another few months.

The summer is passing so quickly, but we're enjoying every day of it. I've been working earlier in the day, which allows us more time as a family in the evening. It's been wonderful and stickily humid and I can't believe June is over.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Enough of This Nonsense

All right. Here's the thing. It's been way too long. I know that, you know that. The only one who can change this is me. So here's my changing it. And I'm hoping to post once a week throughout the summer. Really going to try.

Now I'll try to get back on your good side with some adorable photos.

Yeah. Not so mad at me now, are you?

I told you I'd make it right.

Okay. So here's a run-down of what's happened lately. Lila had her first birthday, and a wonderful party with the perfect combination of family and friends. She also has four teeth and will cut two more tomorrow, Friday at the latest. You can totally see them in her gums, they're right there.

She's a walking maniac, never crawling anymore. She's quite steady on her feet and only rarely plops down on her bottom. She is a spit-fire, for sure. If you tell her something she doesn't want to hear (like: 'No,' ahem) she throws herself down on the floor and reels, thrashing her head from side to side in misery. Then she sneaks a peek at you, to make sure you're still looking, and if you are she goes right back to it. She's hysterical. I mean...heart-wrenching. Yes, that last one is surely more appropriate.

Gage has been going through some changes. Namely, becoming more of a person and less of a being I can control. While my family loves to watch me struggling to deal with this new burst of Free Will I kind of miss my sweet boy. Don't get me wrong - it's not all the time. It'll be, like, two days of difficulty followed by three days of Sweet Gage. But on those difficult days....

Gage: "I want to go outside."
Me: "We can. You need shoes. They're in your room, in the basket by your bookshelf."
Gage: "I want Mommy to get them."
Me: "No, you may get them."
Gage: "I want Mommy to get them."
Me: "You may not go outside with no shoes. If you want to go outside you must get your shoes yourself."
Gage (thundering): "NO, YOU MAY GET THEM. YOU MAY."

He has so much trembling insistence that it's hard not to sympathize with him. But, I'm not getting the shoes. I'm just not. He's a big boy now. Sigh.

And on other days he's such a total sweet peach. He's a darling doll who just wants to snuzzle and kiss and read books all day long. I do love those days. (Heck, I love all the days.) I'm more *grateful* for those days, I guess.

We have a family pass to the Lehigh Valley Zoo and we go about once a week. We go during the day, when it's just me and the kids. I don't want to jinx us, but they've been *angels* at the zoo. They just love it, and are happy and pleasant the whole time we're there. Of course, now the next time we go they'll both be crabby and inconsolable, but I'm just going to take the risk. Gage is such a little companion at the zoo - Lila is interested and happy to ride in the stroller and look around - but Gage is so animated about all of it. He loves the kangaroos and the emu. Who knew?

Last night we had a bad storm, and Gage's reaction to the thunder made me realize how much has changed in a year.

Gage last year, wide-eyed during a thunderstorm: "BIG funder."
Gage this year, totally cool: "Hear that thunder? I don't worry about thunder."

Gage last year, about sunscreen: (Screaming unintelligibly the whole time I'm spraying him, rubbing it in. Tears and all.)
Gage this year, about sunscreen: (Standing totally still and accepting, save for the initial shiver at the first blast.) He even reminds me: "I need the sunkeen."

Today I was playing with him in the sandbox, and he said: "Mommy. I need to go get somefing. Don't wreck my castles."
I said: "Okay."
He turned to go, and came back to say: "Mommy. Don't let Yi-Yah wreck my castles."
I said: "Okay."
He turned to go, and came back to say: "Mommy. Don't let any bugs come."
I said: "Okay."

Finally he was able to walk away, having touched on all of the requirements for an unattended sandbox. So of course I wrecked his castles with Lila, and let the bugs come. Kidding!

I do see where he's coming from, though. A couple of weeks ago he had a little bowl that had some Nerd candies in it. I told him it was time for bed and he wanted to take the candies with him. I said No, that he'd have to wait and eat them the next day. He said: "Okay, but Mommy, don't eat my candies."

Well, guess what.

I don't even know how it happened! The Nerds were there one minute, all pink and tiny and delicious-looking. Then there was a wonderful crunchy, tangy goodness in my mouth, then the bowl was empty.

Ah, well. Live and learn. Moms needs candy, too. Just, I'm guessing, most don't actually take it *from* their children. Especially after their children have asked them not to. But whatevs.

More pictures, to help you forget about the Nerds:

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

A Few Misunderstandings

So we were at the grocery store this evening - Gage has been jonesing for Chinese food from Wegmans and my mom took us out - and I had a couple of glimpses into Gage's brain that made me realize I need to clear some stuff up.

Gage points to a broom. "Look at that big paintbrush, Mommy!"

D'oh! My housekeeping skills may be lacking.... Headdesk.


Gage: "Milk comes from cows."
Me: "That's right."
Gage: "Chicken meat comes from chickens."
Me: "Right again, kiddo."
Gage: "Bananas come from monkeys."
Me: "Um."

Not to mention, he must assume monkeys are cannibals. I mean, you never see a chicken eating 'chicken meat,' do you? (groaning)

After Wegmans we went to Toys-R-Us to look for a sandbox (shh...birthday present). Gage looked around at all of the summer toys and found a couple things he'd like. But, charmingly, he also found toys that he thought his friends would like. He saw an inflatable play house that he said "That one's for Bella." And he found a little set of animals and cavemen that he asked to buy for his cousin, Dan. What a little sweetheart he is.

Alas, we bought not a thing. But he didn't give me any trouble about leaving empty-handed, which was excellent. That place is dripping with temptation. The air in the store is thick and heavy with want. It's a ridiculous place. I was thrilled that we were able to walk out in one piece, with no screaming.

And...Lila took thirteen unassisted steps today. She's taken to just letting go of whatever she's braced up this case it was the coffee table...and walking slowly, steadily into the middle of the living room. Go, Li! Thirteen steps is huge.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Quick Note

Lila took her first real steps today.

She walked from Mike to me in Gage's bedroom - slowly, carefully, and steadily. Four big, real steps.

Way to go, sweet Lila!

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Nose Candy

So my mom, Gage and I are on our way to Wegman’s on Saturday. My mom and I are chatting in the front seat and Gage is eating a couple of tiny candies in his carseat in the back. He had five candies – and each was smaller than a PEZ. He bit each one in half and showed me the inside “Look, Mommy, there’s white in there.” I had acknowledged this five times, so I know that he was on the last one.

“Uh-oh,” I hear. “I can’t eat my candy!”
Me: “Why not?”
He: “Because it’s in my nose!”
Me: D’oh. D’oh. D’oh.
He: (beginning to freak out): “Get it out!”

It was awful. And awfully funny. I tried to get him to blow his nose, but he wouldn’t. I could see the candy up there, but there was nothing I could do to get it out. I finally had to say: “If you won’t blow your nose then it’s just going to have to stay up there. Until you sneeze.”

He: (sighing resignedly): “O-tay.” (Note: He's okay with that? He's okay with the fact that a piece of candy is lodged in his nasal passage? Because heaven forbid he blow his freaking nose.)

Two minutes later he sneezed, and the candy flew out. I caught it in my hand, because, as gross as it is, you just kind of learn to catch whatever comes flying out of your kids’ faces. He grinned and squealed “Ooh! Can I have it now?”

Um, no. No, buddy. You can’t.

So two big things happened to Lila in the past several days. She got two new teeth (her first) and a mop of curly hair!
She’s also just beginning to stand randomly in the middle of the room – like, go from sitting to standing and then back down to sitting without touching anything along the way. And she’ll take a couple of steps to get from me to Mike and back again. But she’s still pretty unsteady. She’s said Mama a handful of times and Dada, but she won’t say them reliably. Also, I swear, she said “Good cracker” twice. But no one else heard, and no one else believes me. Well, Lila and I know she did it, anyway.

Gage has been playing the funniest games lately – like he’ll set a box up on the floor and stand on it, then lean over until the box falls down. The whole time he’s doing this he says “Whoa. Whoa!” Then he breathes really quickly and dramatically collapses on the floor, saying “Oh no! What’s happening!?” Then he gets up, sets the box up straight, and starts the whole thing over again.

Mike asked me about this, saying “What the heck is he doing?” and I answered “His new game is panic.” I bet he’s going to love scary movies someday.

Since Gage has been in a big-boy bed he’s done some pretty random stuff. One morning I woke up and walked downstairs into the living room, and Gage is walking out of the kitchen peeling a banana. “Hi, Mommy!” he said cheerfully, and took a big bite.

Another time he woke me up by putting a bolt in my ear.

And on Monday I just woke up…just opened my eyes and he was standing in front of me, staring into my face. Talk about scary movies. I mean, I love my kids more than life itself but when you’re sleeping you want to just be able to sleep, you know what I mean? You don’t want to think that somebody might be waiting, one inch from your face, just waiting for you to open your eyes.

Lila’s staying in her crib until she’s five years old, I swear.

Mr. Gym Class is getting pretty brave. I’m so glad we signed him up for Parkettes. He’s been so bold about jumping, rolling, he’s just more of a bruiser now than he was two weeks ago. I’m really glad about that.

Oh, and…I just got the first-ever good picture of my kids together:

They're darlings, aren't they?

Monday, April 7, 2008

Slow Down

This afternoon I was rushing to get the kids down for their naps. Lila went well enough - she was ready. Gage resisted my hurrying, but resignedly moped his way to bed as well. Only a few minutes after I turned off his light I heard him call for me.

I sighed, hands sticky with the raw chicken that I was submerging in broth to cook for this evening's enchiladas, and finished what I was doing quickly.

He calls again. I can't call back - Lila will wake.

I washed my hands, ran up the stairs and hissed 'what?' at him in the duskiness of his doorway. "You have to be quiet."

"Mommy, nunnle with me." This is how he asks me to snuggle. To nunnle.

"I can give you a hug, but I need to get back to making dinner." I crouch near his bed and give him a quick squeeze.

"No, Mommy, nunnle with me, like this," he puts his face near mine and makes this little happy whimpering sound that we coo to each other when we're feeling the most contented.

His eyes, inches from mine, huge and liquid and clear. The most deeply hued brown I've ever seen. I get lost.

My heart breaks.

I climb into his bed and lay my face alongside his. I breathe his feathery, moistly warm hair straight into my nose. I coo at him and he coos back, wriggling with happiness at this reprieve. I stroke his cheek, from his temple to his jaw, with the side of my thumb.

I murmur about his day, about who he saw, what he did. He sticks his thumb in his mouth and smiles around it when I hit on the good parts. I run one fingertip down the middle of his back, feeling the buttons of his spine. I graze the bottoms of his bare feet with the same fingertip and he pulls them away, tucking them underneath him. He's getting ticklish.

"You're going to have a good nap," I whisper. He grins at me and gives one last puppyish shiver.

I kiss the nape of his neck and lift myself from his bed, leaving a depression in his little mattress. I blow him a kiss from the doorway and back out of his room, watching him nuzzle into his treasured blankie.

And you know what? For all my rushing, for all my perceived deadlines? The chicken was fine. Of course the chicken was fine.

I need to remember to slow down.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Props for Easter

So we had Easter. It was supercool. Gage colored and hunted eggs. Lila ate asparagus and then her pee smelled bad. (Who knew it happened so young!?) All in all, a great holiday.

My parents gave the kids gift-wrapped books and, for Gage, a small basket of goodies. I was absurdly proud watching my tiny man crouch next to his sister, insisting she help him unwrap the gifts. Tearing the paper with his right hand, holding the gift solidly with his left. Saying "Oh my goodness, Gage SO excited." Little streams of paper tossed haphazardly over his was great. And when he finally had the entire gift unwrapped he screeched "Ooh! A book! I've never seen that [particular book before]." Except, in Gage-speak, it comes out in a rushed "Ooh! I've never-neen-nat." So pleased.

Times like these -it's like watching a video of yourself from the years before you have any memories. It's remembering yourself at your most basic, your most vulnerable. Easter is exciting all over again.

Lila was a beautiful sight in her fancypants Easter dress.

Except for repeatedly wrenching the bow from her hair, she seemed to enjoy the holiday.

Also, she found an abandoned, half-eaten lollipop on a low shelf today (left by Gage, of course, this morning). She was one happy lady, let me tell you. Until the fateful moment I took the pop away. Then there were tears. Only from her - I rather enjoy taking candy from babies.

Gage wore a tie and suspenders for approximately 22 minutes before demanding they be removed. In fact, he demanded the *shirt* be removed as well, but thanks to my mom's quick thinking he settled for having the top button unbuttoned.

Ah, yes. He's Mike's and my son, for sure.

All this dressing up business can be fun: for a very limited amount of time. And then...bring on the pajama pants. Okay, that's more me than Mike. But you know what I'm saying.

When the kids were sleeping and the house was straightened, Mike actually dragged me outdoors today. In the summer he doesn't have to drag - I'm the one dragging him. But when it's cold I lack enthusiasm for the world outside my nest. Oops - I meant to say: The world outside my house.

Once outside we played with this little wooden toy we bought several years ago - a small propellor toy that's just a dowel with a blade on top.
We bought it for about $1.50 and it's proved to be the best $1.50 we've spent on anything, ever. So many times we've gone outside to play with this toy - spinning the thing back and forth to each other across an expanse of grass - reaching high to intercept a bad spin, deftly catching a good one. Teasing each other for awful tosses, blaming the wind for missed catches.

And we talk.

There's far too little talk in our everyday lives. We talk about the kids, we talk about work, the house, chores, the news, what happened on Jon & Kate Plus 8. We talk about money, sex, all the things every couple talks about. But sometimes then there's not all that much more time. Or there's time, but all we can think about is getting some rest.

So we need to get ourselves outside - we need to do *something* to get ourselves in an out of the ordinary situation - to reconnect and discover each other all over again.

Yeah, a $1.50 simplest toy ever. I think we should consider buying a back-up. You know. Just in case.

You should probably get one, too. You never know when it'll come in handy. For now, you can keep it in your glove compartment.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Waiting For The Sun

I'm fairly certain that I'm boring.

The background: Several nights ago I heard Gage talking in his room at 10:30 at night. I knew he hadn't fallen asleep yet, because I heard him off and on since bedtime. I go to check on him.

Me: "Everything okay, pal?"
Gage: "Yep. I'm just talking to myself and waiting for the sun to shine through the windows."

Oh. Okay. Carry on, then. But it'll be a while....

The current: Last night he was still up at ten o'clock and I went to see what was up. He told me he had to go pee, so I said okay. He followed me to the bathroom and I sat him on the potty, sat myself on the edge of the tub.

Gage (walking 'Mr. Fingers' [his index and middle fingers of his right hand] around on his legs): "Mumble, mumble, whisper, whisper." I can't make out what he's saying.
Me (thinking about the other night): "It's neat to talk to yourself, you know?"
Gage: silence, still walking Mr. Fingers.
Me: "I just think it's cool to, you know, like talk to yourself sometimes. It's like thinking, but out loud. And you--"
Gage: "Mommy."
Me: "When you talk to yourself you can say whatever you want, you know?"
Gage: "Mommy."
Me: "I do it, too. I talk to myself sometimes. And that's fine. It's kind of cool."
Gage: "Mommy! Privacy, please?"

Wow. Dissed by my two-year-old. I think I just got a glimpse of what we're in for during puberty. Except, in retrospect, I probably would have wanted me to shut up already, too, LOL.

Speaking of puberty, Lila is crazy emotional. I just don't remember Gage being this way as a baby. She knows what she wants, and she won't be deterred! She's ruthless, that one. If I take something away from her she throws her body into contortions - she arches her back and rips her head backward and screams. I've nearly dropped her several times. I'm not going to lie. *Several* times.

She screams when she's nursing and she's finished all the milk. She is *infuriated* at my lack of unlimited supply.

She screams 18 times during every Mommy & Me Yoga Class when she slips my grip and starts merrily crawling toward a stand-alone fan, wanting so much to pull the thing over onto herself. I always stop her before she gets there, and she screams for the thirty seconds I can hold onto her wet-bar-of-soap/fish-out-of-water body and as soon as she slips away she heads right over to the fan again. I'm still wondering why I *paid* for that class...because this paragraph really encompasses most of what we did there.

Classes...we just started Gage in one. A gym class at Parkettes in Allentown. Mike and Gage will go to the gym every Saturday morning for 12 weeks - it's a 1-3 yr old class. So far - we've only had one class - I really like the teacher and Gage really likes the gym. I take him occassionally to the Open Gym there, where he can do as he pleases for an hour - trampolines, foam pit, balance beams, sliding boards, bars, etc. The class is more structured, which is good. I think it'll be good for him.

And the balance beam. He has exceptional balance. I seriously think that it's one of his major strengths. Look at this tower:

This isn't anything exceptional; I just happened to have the camera right there. He does this kind of thing all. The. Time. He throws these towers together in five seconds, barely even adjusting the items. He just senses how it's going to balance, and it always does. I never think his towers will stand, but they always do.

It just seems to make sense to him.

It's the same thing with the balance beam. He'll hop up onto a regular 4-inch beam, a couple of feet in the air, and walk along the thing at his totally normal pace, without looking down or anything. One foot right exactly in front of the other. With much more confidence and speed than I would have, and quite a more cavalier attitude about it. I barely touch his hand to make sure he doesn't fall, but I won't leave his side yet...just because, you know. I'm his mama.

I wanted to record some of the mispronunciations he's currently embracing. They're so funny, and pure, and I don't want to forget them. So....

Throat = in "Food goes in my mouth, then down my froap, then into my belly!"

Pulp = in "Gage no yike dis orange. Too much seaweed!"

Upside down = Upside Over

Velcro = Bell-tow

You're welcome = You're Yell-comb

Strangely, the PBS show Word World = Wharf Door

And, still, By myself = My byself

Oh, I just thought of one more story. Today Gage, Lila and I were in Gage's room, cleaning. Lila was crawling around, finding things to play with. I was cleaning up the wooden kitchen, and Gage was flitting between helping me, visiting Lila and running a toy motorcycle on the floor.

Gage: "Yi-yah, what do you have in your mouth?" I look over at them. To my astonishment, in perfect imitation of me, Gage sweeps his finger in Lila's mouth and pulls out a little wooden plug - the kind that goes in a screw hole to make furniture look nice.

Gage: "No, Yi-yah, you're too yittle for dis."

Me: "Wow, Gage, good job! That was so great. Lila wasn't supposed to have that. And you got it away from her. Well done."

Gage (looking at me sympathetically and waiting a respectful several seconds before replying): "It's okay, Mommy. You didn't know."

This kid, man. This kid. How does *he* know?

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

The Soundtrack to Gage's Life

For the past couple of weeks Gage has wanted to hear songs about his everyday life. This is all fine and good - I'm perfectly willing to make up and belt out tunes on command - but in the last couple of days his requests have gotten a bit strange.

Yesterday he asked me for a packet of crackers and I was almost finished getting lunch ready.

Me: "You may eat those after lunch. We're going to have lunch now."
Gage: "Have crackers now?"
Me: "No, sweetpea. What did Mommy say?"
Gage: "In a few minutes?"
Me: "After lunch."
Gage: "Eat the crackers up now? In my belly?"
Me: "Please don't ask again, Gage. You may have them after lunch."
Gage sulks for a minute, feeling very sorry for himself. Finally: "Mommy sing me a song, please?"
Me: "Sure, Gage. What do you want me to sing about?"
Gage: "Sing about Gage wanting some crackers. And Mommy saying no. And Gage being so sad. And Gage crying and crying."
Me (sighing heavily):

"There once was a boy named Gage
He wanted to eat some crackers
But his Mommy said no
We're gonna have lunch soon

Gage was so hungry for crackers
It made him so sad to have to wait
But his Mommy said no, not yet
You can have those crackers after lunch

Gage was so sad that he started to cry
He cried and cried and cried
Then he ate lunch and he started to feel better
And after lunch he ate up his crackers."

Gage: "Thanks, Mommy."

We do this probably 6 times a day. He has these confusing situations and he doesn't actually cry in real life, but he always wants to hear about himself crying in the songs. It's too funny.

Other songs he's requested from me include:
"A song about Gage walkin' into Yi-yah's room and wakin' her up."
"...Gage crying about having his hair washed."
"...Gage bumping his head on the door."
"...walking downstairs and reading books." (While supposed to be napping.)
"...the tiger that lives in the backyard." (This one's new. It's a yellow and black tiger named "Big Tiger." Apparently he lives in the shrubbery and defends our property.)

Every one begins with "There once was a boy named Gage." He often says that part with me. I'm so predictable, LOL.

Here's the song about waking up Baby Lila:

"There once was a boy named Gage
He was feeling very naughty
His sister Lila was sleeping in her crib
And Gage went in her room and woke her up

Lila cried and cried and cried (See a pattern here!?)
She was so sad that Gage woke her up
She stood up in her crib and looked at Gage
And she felt so sad because she didn't sleep enough

Gage felt sorry for waking her up
And he kissed her on the head and rubbed her back
Lila felt a little bit better
But Gage thought 'I won't wake her up ever again.'"

Let's hope that last line is the only takeaway from this particular song!

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

(Almost) All About Gage

Gage's brand-new line: "What's so funny?" It's awful. It's awful because *everything* is funny! He cracks me up seventy-five percent of his waking hours (the other twenty-five percent is comprised of whining, using the potty and drinking milk, in no particular order). Several times tonight he cracked me up, and I got the old evil eye and a stern "What's so funny!?" You are, kid. You are.

You know how he's so concerned with happy being the opposite of sad, and that one of them has to be happening all the time? My mom and I took the kids out to the diner tonight and Gage threw a little sheet of stickers under the table. He looked at me and:
He: "Was that funny?"
Me: "No."
He: "Was that happy?"
Me: "Nope."
He: "O-tay. That was sad. I'll pick it up. Sorry, Mommy." He ducks under the table. And then, two seconds later, glaring at me, "What's so funny?"

I made a mistake the last time I had him at the diner, though. They have three plasticky pictures on one of the windows - like big stickers - and each one is a different fish. The first two - I don't know what they are. The last one is a shark. We sat near the fish stickers and of course they were a big hit.
He (pointing at the first picture): "What's this?"
Me (thinking fast - it's orangey): "Uh...a goldfish."
He (next picture): "What's this?"
Me (having no idea): "A barracuda."
He: "Hmm...batta-tutta."

Now all he can talk about is the freaking batta-tutta! And the picture, of course, is of a very mild-looking fish. There aren't even any teeth. Why did I have to choose barracuda? Everyone in the diner probably thinks I'm a moron. They look at the picture, they look at me, they sadly shake their heads.

Speaking of bad influences...Gage was trying to pull up his pants the other day...and they got caught on his bottom. He wrenched them around but couldn't pull them up. "This sucks," he said. I calmly pulled up his pants, left the room and busted up laughing. It was his first naughty phrase! Mike glared at me and said "That's all from you." He's right. I have to be more careful.

How's this for an ironic picture....

He ate a big lunch of pasta with garlic marinara today (his favorite meal) and drank two small cups of apple juice. When he was finished he stood up, grabbed his belly and said: "My tummy sooo full. Gage ate so many food. Gage heavy."

Often in the morning Gage will wake up, go into Lila's room and climb into her crib. I don't know how long they're in there before he calls me, but it doesn't seem like a very short amount of time. They squeal to each other in some secret dolphin language and Gage talks to her, tells her how to play with her toys. Eventually he wakes me up and calls for me to come get them. He's never tried to climb out of her crib, and doesn't seem inclined to.

Last night I went in to check on Gage in the middle of the night. He was sleeping - on his floor. Sometimes the bed seems to just be too much for him. I don't claim to understand it. I picked him up, and blankie, of course, and placed them both gently on his bed. I tucked blankie around him and his eyes fluttered. He grinned at me and whispered "Thanks, Mommy."

Sweet boy. My heart melts.

Monday, February 11, 2008

A quick, sad note

One of the clients from my company passed away this weekend. I learned about it this afternoon and it hit me kind of hard. I knew he was sick - he got very sick very recently - but it was still a shock to know that he'd passed. He was a terrifically friendly, solid man and I respected him and enjoyed his company immensely. I'm fully certain that everyone who knew him will miss him dearly.

Gage was in bed when I heard the news, so I had a little time to be sad by myself. When he got up he came and sat with me. I know I was smiling at him and talking in a friendly voice, but somehow he saw sadness behind my eyes. He was looking so closely at me, like through me, and he said in this tiny voice: "You a little sad, Mommy?"

Me (surprised that he noticed): "Yes, I guess I am a little sad."
He (humming in different pitches): "Hmm, hmm, hmm."
Me: "Someone I know from work got sick and it makes me feel sad to think about him."
He: "Gage sing for you. Make you feel better. Hmm, hmm, hmm."
Me: "Thanks, pal. That song does make me feel better."
He: "Daddy no sick. Gage no sick."
Me: "Nope. Daddy, Mommy, Gage and Lila are all healthy, and we're very lucky."
He (touching my cheek): "You feel better, Mommy?"
Me: "Yes, Sweetpea. I feel much better now."

How does he do it? How does he turn me to complete mush? He can see hidden tiredness in our eyes and hear a yawn in our speech. He knows the moment he's pushed his limits too far, and whispers an apology just before we scold him. He is so attuned to our moods - it's darling but also heavy.

I'm constantly surprised by his intuitions.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

(Almost) All About Lila!

It's been far too long. Lila is practically a grown woman by now. And Gage has married and left the family home.

Well...maybe not quite that long. But. We’ve been sick off and on (mostly on) since the week before Christmas, with the worst of it just last week. We had the stomach virus from Hell. ALL of us. In two days I lost five pounds. I haven't been that sick since I had a 104-degree fever on Christmas morning when I was about 12. Anyway.

We now have two teenaged babysitters. I may have mentioned our search – it’s been a while, I’m actually cringing because I can’t remember how much I’ve talked about this. We need coverage for the kids Mon-Thurs from about 3:00 until 4:30, between the time that I leave for work and Mike gets home. We have two wonderful sitters now. They’re great with the kids and they are quite punctual, professional, friendly and sweet. Their parents have done well. (Of course, when I was 16 I would have eaten up that praise and in my head I would have claimed that my *parents* had nothing to do with it – it was all me. Ah, to be young and na├»ve….)

Still, it’s weird. I guess it doesn’t matter how much you like the people you leave your kids with, they’re still not you. Maybe it will get easier. I HOPE it gets easier. For both Gage and myself. The babysitter came today and told me that last Thursday Gage stood at the front door for fifteen minutes after I left, waiting for me to come back. Today he begged me "Mommy stay home and play with me." Failing that, "Gage come to work with you?" It's too sad.

Did I tell you Lila’s crawling completely the right way now? Belly off the floor. She’s such a little girl already. She’s dropping the baby from her face at an alarming rate. I packed up all the clothes she’s outgrown today and her drawers are fairly empty. It seems some shopping is in order…. Darn. LOL

Lila and I are taking a Mommy & Me Yoga class every Sunday morning with my sister and her daughter. Lila and I, unfortunately, are the class deadbeats. I go early so she can nurse in the huge, warm room (we go to The Yoga Loft on South Side Bethlehem). She crawls around, stopping often to check and see if I’m still where she left me. She gums up the mirrors with her sticky little hands. She greets the other babies who come in with big grins and attempts at hair-pulling (friendly, I’m sure).

We start the Yoga and fifteen minutes into the forty-five minute class Lila is DONE. She just stops. She is tired of lying on her back while I massage her little belly, feet and hands. Every time I let go of her she rolls over and tries to escape. I pull her back onto my mat by her ankles and she protests grumpily. We end up nursing again and by the time she calms down again we have five more minutes of class and then it’s over. I pack her into the car and she falls asleep in about three seconds. Then my sister and I go out to lunch to eat cheeseburgers or waffles. Got to counteract the healthful Yoga somehow….

Lila has another big thing going on. She is great at going to bed at night – GREAT. I have no complaints there. I put her in the crib, let her blankie drift down under her chin, covering her, and she grins at me and rolls over to fall asleep. The problem is that she’d wake up again two hours later. And then two hours after that. And then again.

I went to the doctor a week ago for my never-ending bout of illness and my doctor (sweet, sweet doctor) told me it’s time to let her cry it out at night. Cry it out, or CIO, is when you let your baby fuss without going in her room to comfort her or feed her. It’s a big transitional time because she teaches herself to self-soothe and fall asleep on her own. All babies – all PEOPLE – go through stages in their sleep every night. Lila took to waking at the end of each sleep cycle and was relying on my feeding her to get back asleep. As of five nights ago this all changed. The doctor said that I’d do a lot better physically if I got more sleep, so once we were all healthy enough to employ CIO we did.

The first three nights were NO FUN. They were awful. I had a really tough time – tougher than with Gage – but we persevered. Lila had a tough time – the second night (the worst) she woke up about seven times. The fourth night she woke up once, for three minutes. The fifth she woke up once, for thirty seconds. Tonight is the sixth night.

Lila is certainly none the worse for wear. She is way old enough to not eat during the night. And I’m already reaping the benefits of a better night’s sleep. I’ve had more energy the past couple of days than I’ve had for months. So. Go us. aunt works for M&Ms and we're taking part in a consumer study about a new M&Ms idea wherein they print your kids' FACE on an M&M. I sent them a pic of Lila and I should get my M&Ms in a couple of weeks. I'm excited to get them - and we'll definitely be eating them at her 1st birthday party - but therein lies the problem. We'll be eating the M&Ms. The ones with a picture of my daughter on them. We'll be eating my daughter's face. Huh.

I'm guessing that the results of this study are: "It's a little odd." We'll see.

Next up: "(Almost) All About Gage!"