Just in case you missed it on facebook

We got a new kitten. And Sophie got enough literacy to read some books. Here she is, teaching Lulu to hunt.

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Family Bike Ride

It’s out of focus, but can you see their joy?

Soph is riding like a pro, now, too.

It was on this bike-ride that she climbed up on the dock railing, looking at the birds in the lake, and fell off into the sand, scraping her elbow and hand on the way down. When Ben caught up with us, she announced with happy pride: “Hey daddy, I have exciting news. I’m bleeding!”

That’s my girl. She’s got quite a lot of fashion sense, too, if I do say so myself. I would never have picked out that outfit, and honestly I winced when she did, but the more she wore it, the more I kept grinning at her creativity. I didn’t know how early my kids would start teaching me.

Time Keeps on Slipping into the Future

This week, Sophie learned to jump-rope. And ice-skate. And skate-board.

And cartwheel.She hasn’t mastered any of these skills, yet, but she keeps on cheerfully practicing them, improving almost daily in a way that astounds me. I’m proud of her but also a little bit wistful: she is growing up so fast.

“Wheeeeeeeeeeeee,” she said while she was ice-skating, desperately clutching the rink wall but still getting her feet balanced below her, “My body was made to do this.” Such confidence is strange to me.

We signed her up for skateboarding classes, which might ruin the whole spirit of skateboarding, but might also give her some basic skills she can then explore on her own. Who knows. We’re entering the stand-back-and-watch-her-grow-on-her-own part of parenting. I didn’t quite realize how early it would come.

During skateboarding class, she fell down once and started sobbing. I hesitated — I didn’t want to helicopter in — but then I left my perch on the bleachers, walked over to her, and comforted her. It’s one of the unexpected rewards of parenting, I think: being able to comfort another person so well. After my reassuring hug, she got back on her skateboard, and I returned to the sidelines.

That’s what I do these days. I notice now that most of these pictures are from behind her, watching while she rushes forwards into so many new skills all at once.

Everett, too, is growing up quickly.

He’s tall enough now to reach the table and help himself to the cookie dough I’m trying to cut. 

That photo is from New Year’s Eve, when some of my friends posted on facebook: “Hooray, I’m home with my kids tonight, it’s so wonderful,” while a few others posted, “Ugh, I’m home with my kids tonight, it’s so lame.” I mostly fell into the wonderful camp, this year.

We got to see four generations of our family together, enjoying Southern California.

And Everett attempted his own version of skateboarding.

Turning One

Dear Evs, your first year went fast. But you’re still incredibly huggable.

You’re walking now like a drunken sailor. You’re talking, too, sort of. You like to say “uh-oh” in a happy sing-song just before you drop something. Your favorite phrase, by far, is “Wuzzat?” You want to know the names of everything. Birds, flags fluttering in the breeze, trucks: most of the world delights you. Yesterday, I think a half-dozen strangers told me, “Wow, your baby is happy!” You were doing back-flips in my arms, giggling at every dog, waggling your tongue in joy. You’ve still got the most incredible eyes and you know how to flirt.

There you are eating the whipped cream that your dad was making for your birthday cake. Your friends Alice and Pippa came over to celebrate, and, since you’re the second kid, I now know how to have a perfect first-birthday party: limit the guests, simplify the menu, and enjoy. We gave you applesauce muffins with whipped-cream on top, called it a birthday cake, and had a great time.

You eat almost everything. You ate soap the other day. Picked it up, took a bite, and stood there contentedly munching.

When I have to take something away from you (like soap, or a too-sharp pen or a too-dirty piece of litter), you hurl yourself down on the ground, bang your head once, and howl in terrible distress at being thwarted. Then you let me pick you up and distract you, and your immense joy returns.

You like to look out the window for birds or trash-trucks. You like to splash water, see your sister, hug your blankie, and read books — but only if you get to flip the pages in the order you choose, which is hardly ever in consecutive order.

You like to climb up on anything you can find: stairs, a bed, even a bookcase at the library. The other day, our local librarians nicknamed you “King Kong” because you almost made it to the third shelf of their bookcase before I removed you to someplace safer. It’s so exciting to watch you grow.

Questions

“How did the Easter Bunny know to hide our eggs way out in the desert?” Sophie asked.

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We had a good time, camping with 40 people in the desert. But new groups make me nervous, so I had even more questions than Sophie.

When raiding your family’s candy-stash, in order to stuff treasures into the plastic eggs for the group’s hunt, would you put left-over Hannukah gelt into an Easter Egg? Why do we still have candy-canes in our cupboard, anyway?

Then, when you arrive after a two-hour drive, if the group wants to go hiking but you haven’t yet fed lunch to your family, do you go hiking?

What is the kindest way to ask a stranger’s child to stop scratching at ancient Native American petroglyphs?

When you discover that each of your model-rocket launches delights 20 children while sending 4 others into absolute hysterics, should you stop launching those rockets?

When you find children (including your own), pouring whole bottles of spices into an applesauce-dirt-and-pepper mixture intended for the Easter Bunny, how hard should you try to track down the original owner of those spice bottles?

Don’t they look peaceful, not like spice-stealers at all?

Etiquette-wise, if the family camping next to you is dealing with 3 children screaming in deep-panic full-on-tantrum mode at bedtime, should you intervene? Is there any way to help that won’t make the situation worse? What about after an hour? Two hours? By the third hour?

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Then, when your infant wakes up at 3 a.m. ready to play, delighted by the moon and the tent-roof and the thbbpppbbppp noise he can make with his tongue, not to mention the swooshing noise he can make every time he slaps a sleeping bag, how do you possibly get back to sleep? We call this mood Everett’s “party in the crib” mood, and it’s honestly hard to resist joining in his party, especially if his crib is not in a separate room.

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Really, most of the weekend was great.

In the happy pictures of the weekend, I think you probably can’t tell I was constantly hoping for an etiquette coach.

Here’s part of the group of 40, walking to the Easter Egg hunting grounds.

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Happy Easter, every one.

A Day at the Beach

While Soph frolicked in the waves, Evs admired the view.

Sophie is at the age where everything is more fun with a friend. We’re lucky in our friends.

We didn’t get a photo of Soph riding on a surfboard with Ben (they actually caught some waves together!) or the dolphins that swam on by. There’s no way to adequately document the joy of watching Soph and her friend run along the beach, picking up every interesting rock they could find, creatively deciding what animal it resembled. While Soph was exploring beach-rocks, Evs fell asleep under a surfboard-cover.

Just another morning for a San Diego baby.

Those Eyes

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It seems like just a moment ago when Sophie was that young, too. Look at her now, growing up so quick.

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Four Months and Three Weeks

Dear Ev, now that you are one week away from being 5 months old, you have learned to reach for everything, especially everything edible. We are learning to try to keep the open jar of peanut-butter out of your reach. You are starting to almost sit up on your own, trying constantly to stand, and oh so proud of yourself every time you roll halfway over.

When you wake up from a nap, you don’t cry. You just gaze calmly around. Then, when someone familiar looms into your line of sight, you do a whole-body happy dance, kicking your feet and waving your arms with pleasure. When other people laugh, you laugh too. It is truly amazing how often you wake up happy. I hope this lasts your lifetime.

You are such a great baby. Look, here’s your first report card, from your first day at day care: We have started calling you good bebe, because Sara (your teacher) is right. You’ve only been to daycare four days now, but after that first day, as soon as I pull into the daycare driveway, you start giggling. You like to hold hands with Alice, the other baby at this small in-home daycare. Alice is one day younger than you. You two burble together, making up your own language already. When you come home from daycare days (Tuesdays & Thursdays), you burble extra to me. I think you’re trying to tell me about your exciting day. I may just be seeing only the positives out of my working-mom guilt, but your sister loved this in-home daycare too.

We’re having a little too much fun dressing you in the great hand-me-downs our friends keep giving us.

You are fascinated by our cat, growing quiet every time you see her, watching, watching, with fascination. You squeal happily when I kiss the very-kissable bottoms of your feet — but you are also happy to be left alone, calmly watching the world. You are such a great bebe and already growing up so fast.

Now if only you could sleep through the night. Actually, I take that back. You’re  already fabulous in so many ways, and I know that sleep will come soon enough.

Cargo Bike Hooray

Isn’t that fabulous? Thanks to our friends at Alternabike and Velohangar, I can now bike both kids at once. And groceries too. Preschool is less than a mile away, so I never have to drive there again. Beach parking? No problem. Finding time to exercise? I just turned all my commuting into exercising. And, next year, other people will have the headache of waiting in long lines of cars at elementary-school dropoff while I bike right up to the door. I don’t mean to boast, but I am excited. My new bike is awesome. She’s stable, too, just a hardy giant caboose of a bike.

The only drawback is that I haven’t yet found an infant-sized bike helmet; they all seem toddler-sized. But I feel pretty safe in my neighborhood & in my biking skills, so today I just dressed Ev in that European-style beret and off we went for our first family bike ride. He seemed more bewildered than thrilled, but he tolerated it, and I am pretty sure that soon he will be enjoying it as much as Sophie.

Milestones

Everett ate his first solid food. He’s only 15 weeks old, so it’s early, but he’s 18 pounds and extremely interested in our food. He was thrilled by his rice cereal; he ate two bowls before we cut him off.

And, in another milestone, Soph tried riding her bicycle without training wheels. She was surprisingly good at it. I’m having trouble uploading videos to this blog, so you’re just going to have to believe me when I tell you that she shouted, with great delight: “This is CRAAAAZY!”