Friday, October 9, 2009

what 2.5 looks like

bug is officially 2 and a half years old and the fun keeps rolling.

she is not manifesting the terrible twos-at least they're not any more terrible than her ones.

her speech is developing so rapidly, it's hard to keep up. she is very much like her sister in that if you challenge her verbally, she will clam up and begin to stew, but if you let her start on her own, she may well never stop talking. during a recent car trip, i thought i was going to go crazy listening to her. it was very late and she was obviously overtired. apparently this child copes with exhaustion by ratcheting up her vocal production; pooka fell asleep almost as soon as the truck was moving, but bug chanted the whole way home: "not 'posed to rain. i don't wanna get soaping wet. it's raining, mommy. can't see the airplane. clouds. where the moon?" when she is well-rested, her conversations are more mature, but not less animated.

by some miracle, both of my children are naturally very polite. they picked up quickly the habits of saying thank you, please, sorry, or excuse me. the application is not 100% accurate, but saying it at all shows some precocious sense of courtesy. bug will say, "sorry" when you say "ow" if it had nothing to do with her, but when she barrels into you or steps on your groin, then it doesn't occur to her that your pain might be her fault (perversely, she usually laughs when your pain IS her fault-she gets that from me). bug recently learned the manner of saying excuse me when you want to interrupt a conversation. the next step of then waiting until you're acknowledged hasn't sunk in, though, so she sits there and shouts, "excuse me! excuse me! excuse me!" at you until you do acknowledge her. but it's so adorable to hear her tiny little voice saying these niceties.

if these days aren't exactly the terrible twos, they are definitely the 'me-toos.' if you have something, or are doing something, or going somewhere, she wants to have, do, or go also. it doesn't matter if it's chocolate or medicine, cleaning or playing, to the bathroom or to work: she wants to, too! it doesn't even matter if more than one person is having, doing, or going, she will want to have, do, or go to ALL of them. normally, it's endurable, except when she wants my dr. pepper and we love to share with her.

her undying devotion to her sister (that began the instant they met) is, well, undying. moreso than anyone else, bug wants to have, do, or go to whatever pooka is having, doing, or going to. pooka is the sun that shines on bug's entire world. even when pooka is mean to her, intentionally or accidentally, bug can't help herself--she can't quit pooka. it's funny to watch them together because sometimes pooka enjoys the adulation and sometimes gets aggravated by it, but other times is completely oblivious to it. at the dinner table, she has no idea that bug is mimicking her every move. she drinks when pooka drinks. takes a bite when she does. tries to talk at the same time as pooka does. even puts her hand on her head or some other action. EVERYthing done by the big is mirrored by the small. it's precious to watch.

she has become a bit of a picky eater the last few months. she is starting to reject many vegetables that she used to gobble, and more often than not rejects cooked meat in the form of chicken breast or pork chop. however, while she used to refuse any type of ground meat, she has recently started to enjoy meatloaf, meaty pasta sauce, and enchiladas with shredded chicken. so maybe it all balances out. she still loves all things bread, and yogurt. we know we always have a fallback option (and plenty of children's vitamins.)

all in all, this bug kid is doing a pretty good job growing up so far. well, let's emend that to "growing." she still is a tiny little peanut who expends all her fuel on motion and none on getting any taller.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

it's no accident

we have begun the potty training process with bug. she has been using the toilet sporadically since november, but i figured we'd wait to go full bore until the summer, when she could presumably spend most of her time outside, thereby reducing the inside messes needing to be cleaned. (we all know cleaning is not my strong suit.) also, i wasn't sure i could find underwear small enough to fit her little peanut's dupah. i was thinking i might have to shop at the toy store for clothes from one of those 'just like me' dolls. (just like me--only bigger!)

when we returned from the family picnic, we jumped on the bandwagon. i sent her to school monday morning in her cute little underwear, which she loves. we actually had an accident before we even left the house, but then she had 2 more at school and one later in the evening. not too bad for a first day.

the next couple days seemed to get worse, with poopy accidents thrown into the mix. of course, we were doing small loads of laundry every night. the results at the end of the week were not great. i was waiting for the day care ladies to say, "she's just not ready. let's give her a couple more months." but they never did. so we went into the weekend fairly optimistically.

saturday morning was rough, because i left her home with kisu. (i wasn't about to take her grocery shopping with me.) we're all a little rusty on this process, so he had to clean up a few accidents that may or may not have been his fault. (he learned that if she says she's poopy, you better get her to the potty, even if she doesn't stink.) the rest of the day was not bad.

sunday was quite good. i did backtrack a little by putting her in a diaper for church. i didn't want to saddle some unknowing, kind-hearted nursery volunteer with that kind of trouble. the time she did spend in undies that day was successful, (i even had pooka take her potty once) until poppa showed up. that was just too much excitement for her and she had an accident.

monday morning, the day care director shared a little insight with me. they noticed that bug seemed to be having more accidents outside and the circumstances, along with her behavior, led her to believe that bug was doing it intentionally so that she could change her shoes. apparently she had a poopy mess one time which didn't leak down to her sandals and when the teacher didn't replace them with sneakers, bug pitched a horrific fit. so we tried keeping her in sneakers all day monday and guess what?


is that one smart kid, or what? they also said she woke up dry from her nap. can it really be this easy? one week? of course not, but it looks like it won't be too bad.

i'm so proud of her. and of course thrilled at the prospect of cutting down our diaper usage. a side benefit: her cute little dupah looks even more adorable in tiny, tiny underwear!

how cute is this kid?

Thursday, July 30, 2009

bring your kids to work and let them drive you crazy day

tuesday was ce creativity for kids day. pooka loves this event, and i enjoy most of it, too. i approached this year's event with much trepidation, however. bug is too big to be confined to a stroller all day (why bother bringing her, then?) but too rambunctious to not bring a stroller to confine her when (not if) necessary.

the day was a mixed bag. the morning was tough before the activities officially started. pooka was well engaged in the art project, but all bug wanted to do was deconstruct the one i was making on her behalf. (and doing a pretty neat job, and i say so myself. the making, not the unmaking.) finally we headed outside where the inflatable attractions were in full swing, despite the wind and threatening rain clouds.

the rain held off for the most part, but the wind was an issue all day long. at one point, the roof of the bounce house collapsed with my kids, among others, inside. the attendant quickly evacuated them, but bug was the last one and hanging back just out of reach of the tiny flap opening. during the whole process, she kept repeating, "not funny, not funny," which was, ironically, quite funny.

the wind was helpful when it came to the bubble blowing process, though. all you had to do was pull the wand out of the bottle and, whoosh, away they went. it prevented bug from getting bubble mix in her mouth, a little.

we ate lots of junk food, got tattoos, caricatures, and balloon animals. what more could you cram into one day?

bug was able to participate in more activities than i thought and she ran herself ragged. pooka was pretty beat, too, and i was done in well before either of the kids were. we returned to my desk to see if i had any actual work to do. unfortunately, i did need to complete an important task for my boss before i could leave. bug chose this time to have a complete meltdown. she went nuts running around the whole floor, getting into places she shouldn't. i buckled her into the stroller, obviously later than i should have done, and after 5 minutes of complaining, she fell asleep. at that point i figured i may as well see out the day. she slept for 45 minutes in the stroller, then slept again on the way home, as did pooka.

Monday, July 27, 2009

napoleon reincarnate

bug's speech has really been improving. so much so that we can now understand when she's giving us orders. and if we don't respond quickly enough, she adds, "right now!" but her little voice infused with imperiousness is so cute, we just end up laughing.

in the car last week, she gave me a time-out. and then gave one to kisu for laughing. at various other points in that drive, she admonished me to slow down and to keep both hands on the wheel.

she's just having fun, trying to see how far she can push it, i'm sure, as opposed to really wanting the things she's demanding. for example, she tells us to stop tickling her. seriously, what 2 year old doesn't really want to be tickled? coincidentally, she has stopped using "seriously" when yelling at us.

her current favorite phrase actually is, "knock it off."

if she starts walking around with one hand stuffed in her shirt, i'm gonna get really freaked out.

Friday, July 24, 2009

avian assassin

i think my truck doesn't like birds. maybe he's particularly sensitive about being pooped on, or maybe he's always been like that. usually he tolerates it, but last week, he reached a boiling point.

he claimed his third (and possibly fourth) victim(s).

on the drive to magee's, we took the scenic route through the countryside. this offers many views of birds, horses, fields, and other natural wonders. on this trip, it was not so wonderful for one tiny, brilliant yellow bird.

i registered his presence and dangerous proximity to the windshield just early enough to raise my hand encouraging him over the roof. alas, my jedi powers failed and he thumped, directly in front of me face. i jumped. i think everyone in the truck was aware of it, but only kisu found it funny (the bastard.) i continued on, speechless in shock for a moment. and then we started discussing zed's unhealthy history of bird bashing.

for the rest of the trip, i sustained a heightened awareness of the birds flying around us, and several times thought we would have another impact. kisu thought my paranoia was funny, until the bumper clipped another wing. i'm pretty sure that bird survived, but seriously! it's starting to freak me out.

kisu spent the whole weekend teasing me about it and made sure to tell everyone that i like to hit birds. but honestly, it's not me. i'm not a strong believer in demonic possession, especially in inanimate objects, but i've got to deflect blame here. i don't want to end up like tippie hedren.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

independence day with attitude

we had a very nice holiday weekend. kisu and i both had friday off, so we got the yardwork and housework done before the big day. saturday morning, we ran around and picked up awesome dessert from the grand traverse pie company. (YUM!)

i even got to take a delicious, if unplanned, nap before the guests arrived.

we hung out, played cards, did some more impromptu yardwork, admired the garden, and then it was time for fire.

the first fire was the grill, of course, so that we could eat yummy food. which we did, in abundance. after some more play time, we enjoyed our cherry pie. *slurp* then there was more fire!

we opened the garage door and the rear door of zed for a place to contain bug and burnt stuff in the driveway. i wasn't sure how bug would react, but i knew pooka would love the colored sparklers i bought.

kisu, pooka, and dani had fun lobbing smoke bombs, until pooka almost launched one into daddy's defunt car.

at first, bug was content to sit on the deck and watch, but she overcame her timidity and wanted to throw snappers. poor kid is so small she couldn't even make them pop. of course, she mostly was arcing them instead of aiming straight at the ground. she finally got the hang of it and i had to stop her from throwing them directly at people, as the older girls were setting a bad example by doing.

bug even decided to try her hand at some sparklers and then, look out. she ran threw them so fast. again, it was some work to keep her from injuring other people with them, but she had a blast.

that's the most fun i can remember having on the fourth in a long time. i never did get to see any 'real' fireworks, but i'll take family fun anyday.

Friday, July 17, 2009

swim time!

summer trips to kevin and marianne's always mean swimming!

pooka was an eager beaver to get in the water and didn't care that it was cold (well, 78).

once i finally convinced myself that i should get in for bug's sake, i pulled her in with me. i think she would have much preferred it if i hadn't taken the trouble.

pooka stayed in for hours, as usual. bug and i were done pretty quickly, especially once she started screaming. (so i dunked her, big deal!) i was a little disappointed that she didn't take to the pool this year as much as she did last year, but i chalked it up to water temperature.

the next weekend was caleb's birthday, and this time there was a selection of swimming containers to choose from. bug was a lot more enthusiastic in the baby pool and downright ecstatic in the toddler pool, especially after kevin enacted my brainstorm to have the toddler slide land in the water.

she was even more photogenic after donning a suit i found at a local garage sale. can't go wrong for 50¢.

she spent hours in that mid-size pool, just splashing, climbing the slide, and just acting like a lunatic in general. we pulled her out occassionally for food and party activities, but she was drawn like light draws a, well, a bug.

in the evening when i was ready to put her to bed, she got away from me and squirmed out the back door. before i could grab her, she sprinted across the deck and did a fully laid-out, head-first dive into the baby pool. i wish i had managed to take a picture of it. it was amazing. she laughed like a loon. typical bug.

don't make them angry, you wouldn't like them angry. especially when they're hopped up on enough pinata candy to choke an elephant.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009


bug is generally a good sleeper. she willingly goes to her crib and always wakes up bright and cheerful (unlike another child who will not be named, but it rhymes with kooka). however, sometimes weekend naps are merely 'quiet time' with her books, as opposed to actual sleep.

bug is also well into the stage of "my do it, " although she is bizarrely selective. putting on her own diaper: yes; feeding herself: no.

this past saturday these two seemingly unrelated traits met for the first (and, please God, only) time.

when i put bug in the crib, she claimed to be poopy. after using the infallible sniff test to determine that she was not, in fact poopy, i put her down and closed the door. for the next hour i could hear her reading to herself or talking to her many cribmates. as i was starting to doze off, i heard her get a little more agitated. she was insisting again that she was poopy.

when i opened the door i could see her standing bare-bottomed with diaper in hand. recalling my sister's stories of her children painting walls with feces, i rushed in to find what looked like an empty diaper. and then and i looked at her feet.

she was standing on a giant turd, and getting more upset about it by the second. as i whisked her out of the crib, the blob came with her. i deposited her, and it, on the changing pad and tried to minimize her squirming, which was certain to maximize the smearing, while also grabbing a wipe to contain the offending matter.

i have to admit i did a pretty good job wrangling, which makes for a less entertaining story, i know, but i won't apologize for NOT having poop smeared on myself and the floor, as well as my child.

i enlisted pooka to get bug hosed down in the shower while i cleared out the crib contents and threw her clothes in the washer. afterward, bug was completely content to get back in her crib and return to reading.

pew. phew.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

she's a survivor

a few weeks back we went to a 'celebration of life.' this is the annual get-together sponsored by the oncology department at children's hospital for patients, current and past, and their families.

this year was the first year we have been available to attend. i wish we had gone before because it was a blast! it was held at a giant amusement center. they have batting, arcades, go karts, boats, etc. we had so much fun and we didn't even get to stay for the whole day.

being anal good little techies, we looked them up online beforehand to get an idea of what we wanted to do. pooka had some activities on her must-do list, as did i. we told pooka before we went that she if she wanted to do her things, she was going to have to try some others, as well. if you know pooka, you know she crabbed about it.

when we actually got there, though, she was surprisingly willing to try our must-dos. one was a hit, the other was, well, also a hit, but not in a good way.

the first activity was rockwall climbing. kisu suggested that we race up the wall, but that just wouldn't have been fair. (besides, i had to pee something awful and i knew the harness would destroy any shred of bladder control i might have after birthing two children.) so i just watched and took pics of her efforts. while waiting in line, i made sure to point out how gently the other people were descending. that eased some of her fears.

she was very nearly eager when the aide put her harness on (which is way more than i can say for the aide himself. a more bored young man i have rarely seen.) she even chose a route that was not the easiest. she really tackled the wall with gusto, but after the first 3 moves stopped and fell off. she looked like she wanted down, but we said no. she reset herself and climbed more. she was only a body length from the top when she quit for good, claiming that her hands hurt.having overcome her first obligation, she dragged me to the bumper boats where she proceeded to soak me.after that refreshing adventure, we hurried to stand in line for the go-karts. this place is so big, they actually had 3 different courses for different ages and experience levels. we had to wait through 4 rotations, but she benefited by being the first in line in her group. that meant she got her choice of car:

all the rest were black. she had a great time, even if we did have to yell at her to speed up or not hit the wall. she claims she was going as fast as she could, but she's not the speed demon type. when bug gets in one of those things, lookout.

while everyone else was waiting for the go karts, i ran off to swing for the fences of the batting cages. there were no real lines there and i'm not sure if it was because it was a less attractive activity or because you had to walk towards the back of the facility. i was able to hit 10 pitches and get back to the track in time for pooka's drive. but our time was running short, since we had plans to go out for kisu's birthday dinner. pooka wanted to do water wars, but i insisted that she attempt the batting cages. we headed over and again she surprised us by actually stepping up without whining. we had to wait for 1 person ahead of us and i used the break to show her where to stand to be able to hit the ball. ahh, here she failed herself. when she entered the cage, she stood precisely over the plate. frankly, i'm shocked it took as many as 3 pitches for her to get hit. she connected twice but the third took her squarely on the knuckles. she was officially done.

the only drawback to the day from my perspective (since i didn't get cracked on the hand by a pitch) was the lack of activities for bug. it was so crowded and we were so focused on pooka and photographing her actions that we didn't want to let bug out of the stroller. the poor thing spent the whole day sweltering in her prison. but she did get a chocolate chip cookie.

all in all, an awesome day celebrating an awesome group of people: survivors and their caretakers. we're hoping they hold next year's celebration there, too. we'll be there. and so will she:

our very own william wallace

otherwise known as 'braveheart'.

we were driving in the truck the other day, listening to i don't know what song on the radio. bug was babbling away as she has recently been doing. everything is 'momma, look.' 'momma, what's that?' etc.

i was simultaneously trying to acknowledge her, in the faint hopes of quieting her down, and maintain a conversation with kisu. somewhere in the cacophony, bug heard an interesting word on the radio. she repeated it, "freedom!" that was all she said for the next 2 minutes. over and over.

i wish i could remember the song so i could try and get that response again, because it was pretty funny and cute as hell.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

working on the pronouns

bug's speech has been audibly improving day by day and week by week. i thought she was going to be way behind her sister, but the gap might not be that great, ultimately.

her latest task is a difficult one for toddlers, grammatically and egotistically. the differentiation between mine and thine. the idea that something in the world might be "yours" and not "mine" is a large barrier for 2 and 3 year olds to hurdle.

bug has been working on it, as i said. she will begin, "ball. my ball." and when the response is, "no, this is not your ball, it is my ball," she will repeat, "my ball. no, yours ball."


she is pretty comfortable with "myself", as in, "no, my do it myself!" but we really threw her a curveball with "yourself." the other day at breakfast she wanted me to feed her. (this is something that particularly irks me in the morning while i'm trying to assemble lunches, after having inhaled my own food. i'm pressed for time, plus? she knows how to feed herself!)

anyway, after doing our usual dance of "eat," "no," "ok, fine," "help me," "no, you're a big girl, you do it," i walked away. she got very frustrated and yelled, "you do it yourself!" as she threatened me with her spoon. i had to laugh.

and then i fed her.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009


bug had a heckuva day on saturday. she hit a trifecta of damage. she snapped pooka's headband in half (not while it was on pooka's head), she pulled the pin out of the closure assembly on the screen door, and she broke my glasses.

i was in the shower and kisu thought they were pooka's. pooka is forever leaving her glasses (even the spare pair) in random places around the house, so she got quite the scolding. bug got a thrashing, as well. when i told kisu that they were mine, he did right and apologized to pooka.

meanwhile, i have no glasses. it's not really a big deal because my prescription is very mild, but i did have to get some cheap sunglasses. i cannot tolerate the glare while driving and my clip-ons don't clip-on to my eyebrows.

ultimately, i will have to get a new pair of specs, but i don't relish the thought of spending $200. my friend at work tipped me to a site called there is a wide selection of inexpensive frames, free shipping, and a feature that allows you to experiment with various levels of ridiculousness preview them when you upload a picture of yourself.

besides being a useful tool, it lets you get your elton john on.

by the way, these are the ones i'm probably getting:

Sunday, June 14, 2009

fit to be tie-dyed

*just found this draft from 4/13. it was waiting for pictures, so here they are.

we colored easter eggs on saturday.

bug was delighted with the idea of coloring eggs. she was so studious about it.

daddy even got in the act, which doesn't always happen.

i bought a tie-dye kit and it was pretty neat, but very time-consuming. each egg took at least 5 minutes to apply all the color and then let it sit. not the typical "plop it in a cup and wait impatiently for 90 seconds" method.

and then we colored the baby.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

pooka, the spider hunter

our house, like many others, has spiders. mostly just the translucent yellow variety, although we have seen a much larger, and hairier, species once or twice. the yellow ones are essentially harmless. which is good, because lately they have been quite numerous. we typically take a modified live and let live stance. they have a safe 'spider' zone: anywhere higher than we can reach without aid. if they venture into the 'people' zone, we usually dispose of them. they congregate mostly in the kitchen, but perversely, they seem to like pooka's room second-best.

unfortunately, pooka has a fear of spiders. this, combined with her unnatural flair for melodrama, creates hysteria whenever she spies one. (in our house, that could be more than once a day.) since pooka has a loft bed, she is closer to the spider zone, and that amplifies her anxiety. we have had several nights post-bedtime where she left her room crying for us to kill a spider.

one night the hysteria got to be too much and kisu decided that it was time for pooka to face this fear. he told her that she had to kill her own spider. or she could ignore it and go to bed. she sobbed for at least 20 minutes. finally we realized the spider had left, and so she went to sleep.

a few nights later, the scene reoccurred. this time, i was on duty. i gave her the unused paper towel that kisu had provided before and gave her some pointers on spider smooshing. she just cried. after many pleas and attempts at bartering (on her part), i shut her in the room.

she lost privileges that night for her cowardice. she even lamented the fact that she was "such a cry-baby" --her words! after 35 minutes, kisu arrived to apply the muscle. (she responds to his discipline often, only rarely to mine, although we use the same threats techniques.) finally he delivered the ultimatum: "kill it or name it, because you're grounded to your room until you deal with it."

5 minutes later, she came out and said, truculently, "i did it, daddy." she was, i think, a little bit satisfied for having done it. when she opened the wad of paper towel to prove her skill, it was empty; she got defensive. from the privacy of my bedroom, i laughed. kisu helped her locate the maimed spider on the floor and finish it off. now she could rightly claim her first kill.

after many hugs and proclamations of pride and honor, she returned to bed. kisu and i went into the kitchen.

where we saw SEVEN more spiders.

they arrange memorial services quickly in the arachnid world.

Monday, April 27, 2009

trash picker

i remember that "trash-picker" was an epithet we used when i was a child to describe poor people who had to rummage through the garbage of others to find scraps of clothing to wear. or so we thought.

what a revolution now to see people who voluntarily "free-cycle" food out of dumpsters. and it's considered eco-friendly and uber-conscious.

we are not quite that green, but we did do some trash picking this weekend. kisu suggested i take the girls out for a bike ride while he cooked dinner friday, but i knew that bug would not be able to go all the way around the block on her push-bike. pooka pre-empted a toddler meltdown by dragging the wagon out of the garage.

we started out (me:reluctantly) but only got halfway down the block when pooka said she was too tired. we walked her bike back to the house, but she didn't want to go in yet. no, she wanted me to pull them both in the wagon. (reluctant +2)

on our first foray, we picked up the paper that had been thrown onto our walk by a hapless duo in a large pickup truck weaving their way down the street. they lurched close to each drive with one person leaning out the window to throw the paper, then inevitably getting out to reposition it after the lousy throw fell short of its target. why the passenger didn't just stand in the truckbed and chuck the papers out i don't know. do i have to mention it was two females performing this farce?

anyway, as we headed out on our second attempt, i noticed many pieces of garbage lying in the grass. being on the corner, our lawn gets a lot of attention from lazy, no-good bums who can't be bothered to take care of their own messes.

that is to say, we get some mysterious trash items.

i suggested to pooka that we pick this trash up and she was prepared to run into the house to get a garbage bag. she was perplexed when i told her to use the newspaper bag. she couldn't fathom what we would do with the paper.

she was quite excited and we picked up a fair amount of paper bits, and partial wrappers (nothing more scandalous than a cigarette box, thankfully) with her hopping in and out of the wagon just like a real garbageman. (yay for my shoulder muscles!)

we encountered one homeowner who was incredulous when we told her what we were doing. it probably didn't help that although i have seen her taking great care of her yard, we were still finding more there to clean.

we managed to fill that whole sleeve well before we completed the lap. i felt very accomplished and also proud that pooka tackled the job with such enthusiasm. little by little, we are taking care of our world.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

monkeys everywhere!

bug's birthday party was last weekend. she likes monkeys. ergo, we had a monkey party.

we had pictures of monkeys on the walls. (but no pictures of pictures of monkeys.)

we had inflatable monkeys.

we had a monkey balloon.

we had a monkey on the cake.

bug was dressed in her monkey shirt.

the gifts were monkeys.

what we didn't have? bananas.

but nobody minded. bug had such a good time, she slept in the next morning AND took a 3.5 hour nap. yay! we tired out the toddler!