Saturday, December 27, 2008

Noodle Attempts to Communicate with Aliens

This afternoon, Noodle carefully took my finger, stuck it into her mouth, and bit down. HARD. So, for future reference, if this kid is all snuggly with you, and tries to take your finger, I'd advise you to maintain possession.

She's been quirky lately. Mostly this takes the form of waking up very early (say, 5:30 am on Christmas) and yelling for comfort. I fetch her, bring her to bed with me, try to help her fall back to sleep, and instead she wants to practice. Primarily her newly learned baby signs and her words. This morning, in pitch dark, she demonstrated the sign for 'help' (too complicated to explain succinctly) and says, "Hep!" Then "baby" (as if rocking a baby in her arms). Then Daddy. The sign for Daddy is to take your outspread hand and gently touch your thumb to your forehead. (It looks like a sign made up by someone making fun of people doing baby signs.) Noodle does the sign for Daddy by rubbing her hand on top of her head. Luckily she combines this with the word, "Daddy," which is kind of a tip off for the uninitiated.

Other fun things include insisting that she's hungry (she uses the sound 'Na-na') and then refusing to eat. I'm starting to suspect that she wants a pictorial menu so she can point to her selection for this meal. Instead I resort to sitting next to her and running down today's specials: "Would you like some oatmeal?" "Veggie sausages?" "A cookie?" (The answer to the last is always yes.)

Today she ate all her blueberries and then asked for more. She cleared out all the blueberries on my plate. Then on Grandma's plate, including the one Nuala could see but Grandma couldn't, by yelling, "Mo!" until we cleared up the matter. Then Daddy's plate and the fruit salad bowl. She kept insisting there were more blueberries in the house until we tipped the bowl for her to examine. "All gone!" We told her firmly. She finally accepts this with the word: "Ahk On." Which was the incomprehensible word she was practicing at 5:30 on Christmas morning.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas!

Today was lovely. Four and a half is evidently the perfect age to celebrate Christmas. Q was thrilled because, "Santa Did come to our house!" (Never mind that Santa fills his stocking with toothpaste and office supplies.) He said lovely things like, "That's just what I wanted!" and "I think I should wear that (butterfly wings) for several days." He managed to almost not get overwhelmed and stay barely within calm when he really was desperate to open some presents.

Once rewarded with a present, he usually played with it, which is a happy moment on Christmas, in my opinion. Here you see him reading with Daddy right after opening a present...

Then wanting to be read to instead of eating brunch...

And now giving up on us to go read on his own...

Noodle had no problem with eating over presents:

But the umbrella was such a big hit we had to remove it so no one would get injured.

And me? I really felt the joy in creating a magical moment in my children's lives. It was a really lovely, quiet day and we were all together. Couldn't have asked for a better Christmas.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Quick additions

Q is now sick. Fa la la la la la la la la.

Sitting on our bed this morning, he made one of his typical statements: "When Noodle is twenty, I'll be twenty-three."

What was somewhat surprising, was that usually he states that as a question: "When Noodle is twenty, how old will I be?"

J and I exchange looks.

J asks him, "Hey Q, when you are twenty, how old will Noodle be?"

A pause. "Seventeen."

My eyes bug out.

He then goes on to recite one of his current favorite books in his favored current style: operetta.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008


We got our first snowfall of the year last week.

And over the weekend Noodle was smitten with her first ever gastro-intestinal bug. I had forgotten how absolutely disastrous these are for toddlers. Diapers are no match. Our usually cheerful Noodle is miserable: cranky and exhausted. After her much needed naps, she rouses in a beautiful and cuddly mood. And if you are really unlucky, you cuddle her at the wrong moment and find yourself requiring decontamination even as you attempt to comfort and cleanse the little one.

It's been fun.

We've been trying to prepare for what could be the first Annual Cookie Decorating Party. I was planning to spend last weekend scouring and reorganizing my kitchen in preparation. However, since I also had the GI bug (mine was done within 24 hours, toddlers have trouble shaking these things), well, I barely managed to do the usual seven loads of laundry. There are still baskets to be put away.

The good news for my dignity and my desire to have a relatively clean house for the invasion of 9 preschoolers and their siblings, is that a) my standards are pretty low and b) I have Friday off to clean too. The overall bad news is that if Q gets sick, or if Noodle doesn't get better, the whole ACDP will have to at least be delayed, if not cancelled.

I dread the look on Q's face if this happens. He's been counting the days on his Advent Calendar and the 20th is clearly embedded in his head. Oh for the easy days when he couldn't foresee more than a day ahead...

Sunday, December 07, 2008

Hard Lessons and Consequences

Sad tonight.

Q loves scissors. He’s just reached the point where his fine motor skills make it possible to cut shapes, however clumsily. He got to use his scissors yesterday and came up with some excuse to use them today.

We were having a low key day and Noodle was napping, so I didn’t pay much attention. I determined that he did not want to learn how to make snowflakes, left him with the paper and his scissors and went about my own business.

Sometime during the afternoon, he took the scissors to a couple of books. Not severely. Luckily, each time it was to the final pages of a book, and fairly easily repaired with tape. However one of those books was a library book, much to my horror.

To add to the incident, Q then claimed he didn’t know what had happened.

Initially I thought perhaps Noodle had an opportunity to do the cutting, but taking a look at the damage, we realized only deft little fingers could have accomplished the work.

So the consequences: scissors are off limits for a while. (Undetermined, but my guess is that there won’t be unsupervised cutting for a few months.) And for the lying, which we gave him a few chances to back out of, down to the point of reminding him of a story he knows about someone lying, well the consequences for lying was that there was no booktime for Q.

Salt to the wound was that something got in his eyes right before bathtime (which he was hoping to avoid anyways). So he was sobbing over multiple indignities (beads removed from his custody, the eye pain, the bath issue, the scrubbing of his body) and then the news of no booktime kind of finished off the night with screaming sobs.

It might have been a mercy, actually. He fell asleep so fast that the crying might have helped him push through exhaustion into sleep.

Friday, December 05, 2008

Musical Babies and Miscellaneous Catch Up

He needed help to get back out. Flashback for me to when he was two and got upset when we started to remove it from the house. Back then he didn't want to use it, but it was his and he wanted it to stay.

Have I mentioned that Noodle knows that musical notation is for music? Keep in mind she's, what 18 months? Yesterday I caught her looking at a copy of 'The Night Before Christmas'. This particular edition has the words and music for both "Deck the Halls" and "Jingle Bells" on the back pages. Squatting on her haunches, the book spread open on the floor in front of her, Noodle hums a recognizable tune: A-B-C-D-E-F-G....

Often Q will sing to Noodle after we put the kids to bed, especially if Noodle is fussing. The other night we had the unusual circumstance of Q being inconsolable at bedtime (I refused to let him take a rope to bed with him). Over the intercom I could hear him wailing away. Faintly there came another sound: Noodle trying to sing to him.

Wednesday there is no preschool, so both kids have class at the Community Music School. They have both taken classes pretty consistently there since they were babies. Obviously, in Noodle's case, it hasn't been that long. The classes for babies and toddlers remind me of the story times I used to do for the same age: very chaotic, fun, and fast moving since no one has an attention span of more than a few minutes. It's a blast to watch and the kids get a kick out of it. Q being a Boy of Structure, really thrives in classes. The last few weeks he's had to go as a big brother along to Noodle's class (adults required), immediately followed by his own class (solo class). He stays focused and involved the whole time. It's kind of amazing and delightful.

Picking the kids up from Grandma's the other day, I was dawdling. Hearing a musical piece I asked Q, "Is that a flute?" (I thought it was an easy question.) "No." He says this confidently. Hardly worth answering. It was, after all, an easy question. "Is it a piccolo?" "Yes." I look at Grandma (the musician) for confirmation. Quiet nod from her. Well then.

Picking up on an opportunity to use positive peer pressure, two weeks before Thanksgiving, we signed Q up for gymnastics. I scoped the place out beforehand, catching a class in session. As we watch, Q whispers something to me. I bend down. "Can I try it, Mom?" He is, unsurprisingly, loving it. The unintended consequence is that he is bouncier than before.

Below is a photo of Noodle with my friend's son (13 months, several pounds heavier than Noodle) on Thanksgiving. Both needed naps, but didn't fall asleep till we were nearly home.