Turn the Light On

Julia has apparently learned a new trick!  I was lying on my bed, reading while she napped, and I heard these scritchy scratches on the wall.  I looked up and saw her light flickering through the crack under her door.  I was all THIS HOUSE IS HAUNTED for a minute before realizing it was probably her.


That little girl is 10 months old today, y’all!  With Hazel’s foray into preschool, I have a little more time to focus on Julia.  Amos and I were thinking that we had Hazel using a spoon a little younger than this, so I got started with Julia last week.  She caught on pretty fast – my girls love to eat, and I guess she figured the more ways she knows how to get food in her face the better.

I watched Hazel walk around her new preschool classroom.  The lights were dimmed, Ella Fitzgerald crooned to the kids sleeping on their cots, and my sweet girl walked her fingers over the wooden toy kitchen, itching to play but understanding the need to be quiet.  I kept talking to her teacher, Miss Elisa, about the most mundane things.  “So she’s already had lunch (it’s 1:30, everyone’s had lunch), and she normally naps still, but she probably won’t here.  You can give her a book, though, and she’ll be quiet.  Or just tell her to sit down if she’s walking around too much.  And Amos will be here at 5:30 to pick her up.”  This is all information she knows already, that anyone with a kid could infer – of course she’s had lunch, of course she’s not going to nap in all the excitement, but I have to keep telling this woman about her because I’m leaving my daughter with her, and she’s going to take care of her all day.  Julia and I went home, where she promptly fell into an exhausted sleep, and I wondered around the house without turning on the lights, very very quiet in the semi-darkness from the rain.

I never planned to stay at home.  I barely planned to even have children; I married Amos, and suddenly I wanted a baby, and a month later my body started making one.  I never changed a diaper until I changed Hazel’s.  I had never wanted to hold a baby, smell a baby, watch a baby until I had her.  When I’m here all the time, in the solitude that only moving far away from everyone you know can bring to a stay-at-home parent, I inwardly scream.  I want a nanny, I want them to go somewhere else for at least part of the day, I tell Amos after their bedtime.  It’s not fair, I’m 28 and I have no job and I am taking 20 years to finish this degree, and I just want to go to the bathroom without an audience.  I want to change, alone.  I want to sit down and not speak to anyone for a minute.  I want to watch Grey’s Anatomy reruns without someone asking me about the boring doctor show.

I could have done all of that today, and I didn’t.  I ran copies of the articles I have to read for school this week, and then I tried to read them while making a special dinner for my big girl.  I roasted the chicken perfectly, overcooked the green beans and burned the sweet potato fries on one side, and the chocolate chip cookies I made are all flat and crispy from a too-hot oven.  But it didn’t matter, because she was thrilled to lick the mixing bowl.  She was happy to tell me about her school and hear me tell her about my school.  And she’s in there right now, playing with Julia and making her say “uh-oh,” and I have to trust that we are making the best decisions for her and for us.  So she’s in preschool, an affordable, private preschool, and I won’t see her learning about what it’s like to venture out on her own.

It’s Never Too Early

With our current living situation (ahem – tiny apartment covered in white gray carpet that only currently houses about 1/3 of our worldly possessions), sometimes things to do evade both Hazel and I.  I’m nervous about messing up the carpet and having to pay for it, and I hesitate to set up any permanent play stations for several reasons.  After a while, crayons and washable markers, even these window markers I bought, start to pale somewhat.  We are outside everyday, for at least a couple of hours, jumping and swinging and sliding at the playground nearby, but our inside activities needed a boost.  Since Hazel loves to read, I decided we should try our hand at making a book of our very own.

I tend to become more regimented, organized, and clean when I’m feeling stressed, and our current situation stresses me out quite a bit, so I think Hazel sees me only in that role.  I’m constantly cleaning up this apartment; it’s just too small for any mess to exist if we’re going to walk around without breaking our ankles.  She’s too young to see my creative side; my taking photos and knitting are just things Mama does to her, I’m sure, and I don’t know how old she’ll have to be before she can understand the creativity that goes into the work I do at school.  It worries me.  I don’t want her to feel constricted, and so I thought this activity would allow her space to stretch her imagination, draw, work on numbers and letters, and help to focus her attention for a longer time on one activity.

She did not disappoint!  Her story evolves a bit over time, but the words are hers.  She is so proud of her little missive,   but not possibly more than I am!  This is SO going in her keepsake box.  I look forward to the day I can whip this bad boy out…maybe at her Pulitzer Prize award celebration or something 😉

She’s a fast learner.

Dudes, I completely forgot to post about this in the crazy no-sleeping-ness that was Amos’s week in Seattle (hence the drought on my blog, here – I was too tired to type or, honestly, find my kids amusing).  Julia is growing SO quickly and has reached a couple of major milestones!!  She can sit up unassisted, though a bit wobbly, for a while and she has mastered a scootery pre-crawl.  Let me tell you, that kid MOVES when she wants something.  I love it; when I’m trying to cook dinner without killing anyone in our teeny tiny kitchen, I put some of her toys all over the living room floor and watch her scoot around collecting them.  I took this little video this morning, about 2 minutes ago, on my camera because I can’t find the cable for our actual video camera, which now has about 30 minutes of our kids being awesome stashed on the tape.

Here’s another photo of Julia at the art walk on Sunday.  See that expression?  That sucking on her lower lip, slightly amused at life expression?  Hazel did that ALL THE TIME when she was a baby, and it’s no less adorable on Jules.



I was having a little mama time (aka, knitting and having my coffee breakfast without otherwise holding a small girl child) this morning, and Hazel asked to use markers at the table.  I got her all set up, excited about the guaranteed 10 minutes I would get while she was distracted by coloring, and snuggled back up with my worsted wool & fancy coffee from Dean & Deluca.  She comes running over about 2 minutes later, and I have to admit being a little disappointed to see her.  Bad Mama!  But I was absolutely ELATED when she showed me this picture!

Can you see that?  That’s a picture of our family!!  And it looks pretty clearly like people!!!!!  HOW FREAKING AWESOME IS MY KID?!?!  She ran right over and hung it on the fridge herself.  I like a girl with confidence.

Whirlwind Behind

It’s been so long since I posted; things have been running so quickly by me that I can barely keep my head above water.  During the week the girls and I have been trying to enjoy the many storytimes this place has to offer within walking distance  and the (sometimes) crispy fall weather.  I LOVE THE FALL, and this might surprise you New Yorkers, but I love the winter too.  I missed the snow in Alabama!  I’m not talking about the 4 inches that fell and locked up the highways for 19 weeks, either.  There was something quieting and pleasantly isolating about steady winter snow; we’ll see if it is like I remember.  People here say the winter is brutal – seriously, more than one person has told us that exact phrase – but I don’t think they mean NY lake effect brutal.

I have SO many pictures backed up that I think we’re just going to have to forget those.  Here are a couple of Hazel and I having fun talking about fall leaves.  I like to throw a little science at her on our daily walks, so we’re talking about decay, leaves, coniferous trees, and evergreens.  Total fun.

B is for Breakfast

"B" is for Banana split Breakfast

And butterfly, and broccoli, and baby.  Since I have Hazel home with me now, at least until I start school again after Christmas, I’ve decided to really try working with her as if she’s in preschool.  We are by no means rigorous in approach; our schedule is loose, allowing for a daily walk in the morning and many story times at the Barnes and Noble a block away.  What I have been trying to do is incorporate lessons about the chosen letter into our everyday life, in the same kind of way we teach her about food in the grocery store and animals out at the park.  Looking up preschool/homeschool ideas led to a scary number of print out coloring sheets (that can’t be all that people do with their kids, right?  seriously?), so I came up with a few ideas based on things we already like to do at home:

  1. Breakfast:  I made a banana split breakfast with Greek yogurt, cranberries, almonds, and agave syrup on top of a banana.  It’s been intensely popular, and she’s had one for the past three mornings.
  2. Baa Baa Black Sheep:  Hazel likes this rhyme, so we made a picture of sheep with the rhyme, and she wrote in all the letters “B.”  Then we used glue sticks (BIG DEAL for ol’ Hazel) to glue cotton balls onto the sheep.
  3. During our daily walks, we identified all the things that started with the letter “B” and drew them when we got home.
  4. We completed the two worksheets on “B” that are in her Getting Ready for Kindergarten workbook, because yes, we totally skipped the Getting Ready for Preschool one.  🙂
  5. We made “B”roccoli stew for dinner one night (and probably tomorrow, too) at Hazel’s request.
  6. We made a nature “b”ox out of recycled cereal boxes and clear plastic from a Cabbage Patch doll box.  Hazel likes to pick up little treasures when we go outside, and now she has a place to put them that isn’t between the couch cushions!

I think this was a fun learning experience for the both of us.  When people first become parents, everything seems so difficult.  All the sleep loss, the diaper changing, keeping box cutters and Windex out of the baby’s mouth…all of seems so damn hard.  It’s only when they get older and you have another do you realize that all that stuff is a freaking cake walk, and teaching your child logic and critical thinking and why some people will actually try to hurt you is way, way harder.  Teaching her like this is such a challenge; Hazel is picking up on these things so quickly that it takes my breath away, so I’m off to prep some things to do for the letter “C.”  If anyone has any ideas, please let me know!  I’ll post our “C” fun too 🙂


There are some moments when you KNOW you are a parent.  I’m not talking about the fun ones; the birth (well, fun/traumatic), first steps or words, the first time your child calls you “Mama.”  I’m talking about those horrific moments that could be used to scare people into using seven methods of birth control every time they take a romp in the hay.  Tonight I had one of those moments.  It involves potty training.  Yep, it’s a poop story.

We are trying to teach Hazel to use the potty, and she has made a lot of progress with pee-peeing, but seems to be afraid of pooping in there.  She talks about it, and lately she’s been trying to poop, but so far nothing doing.  Tonight I had her on before running her bath.  She pee-peed and tried to poop, after telling us she had to do both, but again nothing happened with #2.  I took her off, wiped, and let her stand beside me sitting on the side of the tub while running her bath.  Bubbles were added, toys were brought down, and Hazel slipped into the bubbles like normal.  Amos appeared right after that, as I was standing up.  His face formed a perfect mask of surprise, and his finger quivered with the alertness of a trained hunting dog.  My eyes fell from face, to finger, to floor, only to see two very small poops on the floor.  My heel was in one, and the other was closer to the faucet side of the tub where Hazel had been waiting.  Yep, in trying to poop on the potty, Hazel had failed to recognize that she actually did need to go, and in the maybe two minutes between me wiping her and putting her in the tub, this happened.  I don’t even think she was aware of it; they were very, very small.  But still gross.

I think you truly know you’re a parent when you cast your gaze down to the floor and see your foot in poop, while your husband laughs hysterically and your two-year-old repeatedly says, “Mommy step in Hazel’s poop?”

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