Scene: Tim and Alexander are changing Alexander’s sheets, and Alexander asks about the waterproof mattress cover. Tim explains that it keeps the mattress clean in case Alexander’s pullup leaks in the night.
Alexander agrees that we wouldn’t want the mattress to get dirty, “Because then we would have to clean my mattress. And it wouldn’t even fit in my [laundry] hamper!”
Scene: I’m trying to convince Alexander to come out to breakfast with me and a couple friends, one of whom has a sweet new baby boy. Not above bribery, I offer him a big muffin, a smoothie, a hot chocolate, anything in exchange for him coming with me, all of which he turns down. Finally, I say, “What if I told you that if you come with me, you’ll get to meet a new baby?”
He puzzles over this for a minute and says, “But…I like the baby we already have.”
(Once I convinced him we wouldn’t be trading Emily in for the new baby, he agreed to go with me.)
Scene: At the dinner table, Alexander is silently gesturing and nodding as if he’s having a pretend conversation with someone.
I ask him, “Who are you talking to, Buddy?”
“I’m talking to me.”
“Oh,” I reply, “you’re talking to yourself? And what are you talking about?”
He pauses, uncertain, then: “Um, Mommy? Can you tell me what I’m talking about?”
Scene: In the car on the way to daycare.
“Mommy, I wish our house was a different color.”
I tell him that maybe we’ll paint it someday, but not for a really long time, so of course he asks, “Can we paint our house on the next stay-home days?” (“Stay-home days” is what he calls weekends.)
I explain that painting the house takes a really long time, and when we do it, it’ll take so long that we won’t have any time to play, so we’ll have to wait and paint the house on a stay-home day when we don’t want to play.
After a minute, he asks, “What do you want to do on the next stay-home days, Mommy?”
“I want to play!” I tell him without hesitation.
“Okay…” he says. Then, ever the problem-solver: “Oh! I have an idea! You and Daddy and Emily can play, and I’ll paint the house!”
Background: Miss Linda, our daycare provider, loves our kids to pieces, and she often pretends to munch on Emily’s chubby thighs, for obvious reasons (baby thighs are delicious).
Scene: I’m putting Alexander to bed on a Sunday night, and he asks if tomorrow is a stay-home day or a Miss Linda day. I tell him it’s going to be a Miss Linda day, and he immediately gets very serious.
“I’m not really comfortable going to Miss Linda’s.”
I know Linda takes excellent care of our kids, so I’m not really concerned when he says this, but I still ask some follow-up questions, just to be sure. Eventually, he admits that he has fun playing at Miss Linda’s, but he has one very serious concern:
“But, Mommy…Miss Linda just thinks that Emily is something to eat.”
Alexander, what do you want to be when you grow up?
“Well, I dunno!”
You can be whatever you want to be. A doctor, a firefighter…
“Oh, yeah! I could be a fireman and then I can wear my fireman hat!”
Yeah, or whatever else you want. Do you think you want to be a teacher like Daddy?
“Yes! Or…wait. No, I don’t want to be as tall as Daddy. I wanna be big like you, Mommy!”
Do you know what Mommy does?
Mommy’s an editor. Do you know what that means?
It means that Mommy helps fix words. Like, if someone writes some words, and maybe gets some letters mixed up or puts the words in the wrong order, Mommy helps fix it up.
“Oh, yeah! I wanna be like you, Mommy!”
You want to be an editor?
It’s been a big month for Emily!
She got to play in the snow!
And go sledding for the first time, which she totally loved.
And then later in the month, she got to play in the sun at the park, because winter in Colorado is nothing if not inconsistent.
This girl is pretty fearless, and continues to have zero sense of self-preservation. She climbs everything in sight and wants to be in the center of the action at all times.
Wherever Brother is, that’s where she wants to be. Luckily, Alexander tends to be very good at accommodating her desire to be near him most of the time.
These kids love each other so much.
Emily also grew a tooth! And then another one! Despite the above photo evidence to the contrary, 95% of the time she still steadfastly refuses to put anything in her mouth that’s not (a) her hand, (b) milk, or (c) a puree. We’ve still go a ways to go before she’s feeding herself finger foods.
But perhaps the most exciting thing that happened this month (most exciting for me, anyway) was that we accidentally gave Emily some pudding. With milk in it. And…she didn’t react. Not even a hint of a rash.
So, after consulting with her pediatrician, we started experimenting with more dairy products, first with her eating them, then moving on to me eating a little bit of dairy when she still didn’t react. Long story short, I’m eating pizza right this very minute. Cheesy, delicious pizza! I can hear a chorus of angels singing with every bite.
She also does the adorable baby booty dance when she hears music, which is one of the best milestones in all of babyhood, in my humble opinion.
Emily Judith, a.k.a Ems, a.k.a StinkerDoodle: Ten months old, full of mischief, and absolutely the best little girl ever.
Alexander’s been having bad dreams lately, and he hasn’t quite figured out that what happens in his dreams isn’t actually happening. This is understandably tough for a sensitive little guy like Alexander.
His dreams cover a broad spectrum of scary stuff, from monsters, to dinosaurs, to not being able to find Mommy and Daddy when he needs us. In one dream, he was driving my car, pulled into the garage, and something bad happened (maybe he crashed into the garage? The details weren’t clear). He was calling for us to come help him, but we didn’t come. “So next time, when I have that dream,” he told me earnestly the next morning, “and I call for you and Daddy in the garage, make sure you guys come, okay?” Oh. Oh, Buddy. We would if we could.
Bad dreams have been a hot conversation topic at bedtime lately, and the other night, Alexander asked if Tim ever has bad dreams. Tim told him that he doesn’t have bad dreams very often, and when he does, it’s usually about something silly, like going to work without pants on.
As their conversation progressed, Tim started suggesting ways Alexander’s friends (the stuffed animals who sleep with him) could help him out if he had a bad dream: “Clifford is as big as a house, so no dinosaurs will mess with him. If a dinosaur is trying to get you, Clifford will come save you.” Or: “If a monster is chasing you, Dog-Bear can come protect you. Monsters will stay far away from Dog-Bear.”
“Yeah!” Alexander chimed in. “And if you have a bad dream, I’ll bring you pants!”
You know, I don’t think Tim’s had a bad dream since that night. He’s been able to rest easy knowing Alexander’s got him covered.
I’ve always loved Christmas, but it just gets more and more fun when you add kids into the mix, doesn’t it? Emily is obviously pretty clueless about the whole thing, but Alexander spent the entire month of December buzzing with excitement about all things Christmas.
He loved decorating the tree, and spent many evenings draping his ever-present pile of blankets from his bed over various parts of the house, declaring “I’m decorating for Christmas!” He’s also very insistent that all Christmas trees must have stars on top. Whenever we see a tree with an angel on top, or even a pine tree outside with only lights, he’ll note, “Oh, I guess they forgot to put a star on top of that Christmas tree.”
He watched a ton of Christmas shows and learned (well, mostly learned) a bunch of Christmas songs this year. His version of “Jingle Bells” is delightful (Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle all da way! Ash-ee-urr dinnda oneeeuuuopen sleigh, hey! ), but his abridged rendition of “Frosty” is my favorite:
He wasn’t timid at all about meeting Santa this year. Our neighborhood hosted a Story Time with Santa event where Santa came into a room full of kids right at the end of a reading of Frosty the Snowman. All the kids noticed Santa around the same time, but no one was too sure what to do. Alexander, no longer our shy little guy, took the lead by marching right up to Santa and giving him a great big hug. Once A. broke the ice, the other kids were quick to follow suit. It was adorable.
He was excited about getting presents from Santa, of course, but he surprised me with how excited he was about giving presents to other people. We got Emily a book from us/Santa, and that was it since she’s a baby and doesn’t really need anything. But then a week before Christmas, Alexander asked me out of the blue, “Mommy, can I give Emily a present for Christmas?” I’d already finished shopping and didn’t want to go back out to the stores, but I wasn’t about to discourage Alexander’s spirit of giving. So I suggested we go down to the basement and pick out one of his old toys from when he was a baby that he could give to her. “Oh, yes!” he exclaimed. “Can we do that right now?!” I need to remember on future gift-giving occasions that he’s old enough now to understand and have an opinion about what gifts he gives to people.
Alexander couldn’t get enough of helping me wrap presents. He helped me with almost everything I wrapped, and wanted so badly to wrap more when we were visiting my parents the weekend before Christmas that my mom picked a decorative box that’s been on her end table for a few years and let him wrap it up for my dad. And there have been several nights, even now that Christmas is over, when I’ve gone upstairs well after his bedtime to find him sitting up in bed, wrapping his stuffed animals up in blankets. “I’m wrapping presents for my children. I’m playing Santa!” he explains.
After Alexander expressed a desire to ask Santa for “All the toys!” we spent a lot of time discussing the fact that Santa would probably only bring him one or two presents. He could not believe his luck on Christmas morning, then, when in addition to the one present plus stocking stuffers from Santa, he had more presents from Mommy and Daddy and Grandmas and Grandpas and cousins. “I get another present?!” he exclaimed over and over again. And, with the exception of some fun dump truck socks that Santa really thought he would like but were met with mildly disappointed confusion, every single present he opened was followed immediately with a delighted cry of “Whoa! It’s just what I wanted!” (He’s since come around to the dump truck socks and asks to wear them every day. I guess they just weren’t as exciting a present to open up as all the other goodies.)
We spent Christmas morning at our house, just the four of us, for the first time this year, and it was so much fun. I’m loving figuring out our own family traditions, not to mention seeing all the joy and magic through Alexander’s eyes. It’s only going to get more fun from here as Emily grows up and starts figuring it all out, too. I can’t wait.