Sunday, November 22, 2009

Three is a magic number



Wait, one again.

Juniper is three years old. I just read a convincing autobiography from a great grandfather that claimed his first memory is from when he was just two years old. He described a particular incident of being pushed in a baby carriage. Years later, he recounted the incident to his mother, including the clothes she was wearing and she confirmed it. This, as a parent, carries some weight--everything I do counts now! And can potentially be included in an autobiography someday!

We're enjoying watching Juniper grow. She's growing more aware not only of her surroundings, but of norms, expectations, patterns in the behavior of others. For example, she is becoming less and less willing to go in to the "Man's room" for a potty break when we're out in public. She already knows she doesn't exactly belong there and she always mentions it, but she hasn't fought me on it. Yet.
I enjoyed this conversation on the morning of her last birthday:

Junie: I can't tell a difference

Dad: A difference between what?

Junie: I'm three.

And this scene, documented by Jennie:

Junie, having just made Olive laugh by peeking up over the edge of the changing table, goes over to get her little chair to more easily facilitate continued laughter.

Junie: I'm going to make you laugh, my dear.

Olive is developing in large bounds. She has teeth and is now crawling with ease. Here's a video from the archives when she was just making her first moves. Notice Juniper helpfully demonstrating how to crawl just before she goes.

Here are some more recent shots of Olive



I'm ready for my close up!

These pictures were taken on a Chicago aquarium excursion with our friend Liz and her two sons. Jennie and the girls got to take a train all the way to Chicago and back. Jennie reports that Olive would have been happy to sit and stare at the big tanks for a long time were she unhindered by energetic three year olds.

For Halloween, Junie was actually thrilled to reprise her role as a can of soup--I am not kidding.

Three art points to you if know what the other half of the family is dressed as:



Three. If you guessed Salvador Dali and The Persistence of Time, you win!

One category of joyful parenting moments is seeing your children get along together. Juniper has loved Olive from day one, and Olive is starting to know that. Juniper, for her part, is learning to be a bit empathic in her love--in other words, even though I want to hug and kiss and squeeze Olive like a stuffed animal, she is not a stuffed animal.

Don't cry, Ollie. (Lovely handmade matching ensemble courtesy Aunt Pam)

Good big sister, trying to be still and quiet to let Olive sleep for the last part of the bike ride.

Even sweetly comforting Dad! (My shoulder weirdly cramped up after a horse ride we took together.)

Junie started pre-school this fall. Though she complains about nap time, she loves school overall. Here she is on her first day:

She loves painting in particular. She goes to school for two afternoons per week and she paints every single time. Here she is painting at our annual South Bend Art Beat.

Here are a few assorted pictures and videos from the last six months:

Red (blue?) handed thief:

Junie loves cutting things. Watch her mouth as she concentrates intently on her task:

Our next entry will be a brief glance at the rest of the last year including San Diego. Then...onward.

If you know us and you have a blog, leave a comment with a link to your blog.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

The cutie wants to say something cute

"Hmmm...What Descartes overlooked was that he had undermined his argument by actually presupposing the existence of 'I' (as in "I think")--furthermore, he failed to explain the supposition that whatever thinks, exists! But where to go from here? The argument for non-existence is problematic at best."

"Mom, do we exist?"

A rare warm & windy day after some major rain storms. The two biggest surprises? Worms for the taking!

And an impromptu lake right by our house, complete with duck visitors! Note to duck visitors: If you do not let us pet you, we will pursue you in our frog boots (which are waterproof and enable us to walk across impromptu lakes).

Dunking herself repeatedly in the bath and proclaiming "I'm just baptizing!" Technically, June, you're right. Our term "to baptize" comes from the Greek "baptizĂ´" meaning to dip, plunge, or submerge! Knowledge! Aside from baptizing herself, her favorite bath activity is for me to spell out some words and for Junie to sound them out. Today she read her first words: "FOX" and "HOT"!

Juniper's two favorite fuzzy bears.

We visited Tim & Hillary in Pittsburgh, and it was the first time someone said "Olive is big!" without patronizing her. She looked like a giant compared to her premature twin cousins, Lily & Sara.

Two Pittsburgh monkeys hanging around! (Nothing wrong with going for the easy pun, my friends!) Junie loved spending time with all her cousins but especially Rachel, who is just a few months older than her.

The gymnastics bus made a stop in the village recently. This is a converted school bus that has all kinds of soft structures to play on--perfect for a place where kids have to stay indoors for most of the year. Somersaults!

We'll leave you with this recent episode in our ongoing series, conversations with a two year old:
Junie: They are doing a silly thing over there. I don't know what they're doing over there.

Dad: They're having a gardening kick-off.

Junie: Oh! They're having a jellybean cook-off!

Sunday, March 1, 2009

I Want Sugar Teeth

Ever since Junie was old enough to actually be more than a sack of potatoes that only nursed, pooped and slept, she has been perhaps the best entertainment available to us. I suppose that could be partly attributed to living on a student stipend. It was usually just the funny ways in which she pronounced things that kept us laughing. I kept meaning to document her speech acquisition, but never got around to it and now only remember snatches of things she used to say. But now that she's old enough to be funny, not because of how she says things, but because of what she says, I really can't afford to forget. Here goes...

Junie's tantrums have become a daily part of our lives at this point. I've slowly been moving out of the despair/denial phase to the acceptance/dealing side. It doesn't mean that there aren't days that I still want to pull out my hair when she suddenly drops to floor and lets out earsplitting screams in response to whatever happens to strike her fancy, but at least there are strings of days when I'm fairly successful at ignoring her tantrums and moving on with our day. Tantrums have recently gravitated around the nightly toothbrushing during her bedtime routine. A few nights ago when Cody was home, I was taking advantage of his presence by having him get her ready for bed. This is another source of tension between Junie and us, by the way. Even though she adores Cody, she has recently decided that only I can get her ready for bed. Well, the other night I insisted that it was okay for Dad to get her ready while I washed dishes. She went along with it, though somewhat dubiously, until it came time to brush her teeth. After a tantrum in the bathroom, one in the living room and another in her bedroom, she suddenly appeared by my side and, using a remarkably calm voice, said "Mom, I'm having a hard time with Dad." This struck me as particularly funny since I would have told the story the other way around. But, impressed by her efforts to speak calmly, I tried to address her concern. "What do you mean?" I questioned. Apparently confused as to how I couldn't understand her statement, she led me over to the bathroom doorway where Cody had been standing patiently for the past 10 minutes holding her toothbrush. She vigorously pointed at him so that I couldn't possibly misinterpret to whom she was referring and restated, "I'm having a hard time with this guy." And thus ensued one of those moments of silent hysterical laughter between Cody and I with our daughter down below, oblivious to the magnitude of our efforts.

Tonight's tantrums were a bit more subdued and she resorted to an attempt to explain why she didn't actually need to brush her teeth. In her own words: "I want sugar teeth."

Now that that's been written down for her posterity, here's a visual depiction of what we've been up to lately...

Both our families visited us in South Bend for a few days for Olive's blessing.

Annie had been excitedly anticipating sledding and snowman building leading up to their trip to South Bend. A few days prior to their arrival, some warm days melted the two feet of snow that had persisted for close to a month. Annie made quick use of the small dusting we received during their visit. To her left is the 6 inch snowman she managed to scrape together. Below is the snowball fight she managed to have.

The inevitable bath picture.
Junie's recent experience with her second birthday and Christmas have spawned lots of play involving wrapping up presents. She routinely requests washcloths during bath time to "wrap up" bath toys. Here, two of Junie's favorite things (wrapping up presents and Olive) collide in an odd sort of way. This is not my own interpretation, either. Junie specifically stated, "I'm wrapping Olive up."

Junie's drawings have lately shown surprising evolution. Here she is showing off a face she drew.

Having a psychologist-in-training as a father has inspired Junie to face her fears head on. Now, instead of wailing every time we turn on the vacuum, she drops everything (including the nuisance of getting dressed after a bath) and rushes into the room to help.

Junie and Dad showing off their winking skills during dinner.
A rare string of warmer days melted most of the snow and allowed for some long awaited puddle splashing.
The morning of a snowman building contest with our fellow apartment dwellers, Cody asked Junie, "If you could make any animal out of snow, what would it be?" After the smallest pause, Junie replied, "A pig." And so they did.

My two girls...

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

A Quick Update

This will be a quickie since Olive has already been asleep for one hour, thus my window of opportunity for a chunk of sleep tonight is rapidly closing. Grandparents have been clamoring for pictures of Olive, so here goes...

Olive and Junie modeling their blankets from Aunt Penny. I love Olive's blanket: it resembles a fur coat and matches her old lady name perfectly.

At about two weeks old, Olive barely qualifies for the classification of "bigger than a breadbox" (or a loaf of bread, anyway).

The results of an extraordinary burst of sharing by Junie - the entire contents of Junie's crib ended up on Olive (and Mom) during Olive's breakfast.

Olive, at about 3 1/2 weeks, modeling her new outfit from Grandma Berg.

Even with all the responsibilities of a new baby, Mom and Dad still found time for a night out thanks to Grandma Rands' fortuitous one night stop in South Bend on her way to Pittsburgh. (Drinking Coca Cola out of champagne glasses wouldn't really be that cool except that we're in a stretch limo.)

Thursday, January 1, 2009

An Olive is born.

Not the whole story, but some snapshots:

Walking over to exercise at 8:00, Jennie said “What if she comes tonight?” I said she won't, can't. I'm not ready. We got home at 9. Jennie had started feeling contractions around 10pm and we started keeping track about 11:30. Jennie asked me to take the baby monitor up to our neighbors just in case. We tried to go to bed at midnight when the contractions seemed to stop being so regular. After a few minutes, Jennie got up. After another hour of contractions, we shrugged and decided that we might as well call the hospital and go in. I still sort of thought we'd be headed home in a few hours.

Olive Mae was born just before 3 am on Dec. 30. The last nurse left us about 5:00 and I asked her to wake me up at 7:00 so I could get home before Junie woke up.

First picture of Olive.

I got home about 7:30 and Junie woke up at 7:45. On the drive to the hospital I asked Junie if she was going to sing the baby a song. She said yes. When I asked her which song she would sing she answered “I am a child of God.” When we got to the room, we saw Jennie and the first thing Junie said was “Where baby sister?” Junie held her and gave her gentle kisses.

We did not practice that song and we did not prompt her to sing it.

When Olive was leaving the hospital, Junie was the most excited she's ever been. She led the procession down the 400 ft hallway. Jennie held Olive and a nurse pushed them both in a wheelchair. I held the bags. Junie ran about 10 feet ahead of us shouting “yay yay yay, yay yay yay, yay yay yay” the entire way.