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Quotable Moments From My Toddler

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I was reminded by my family last weekend that I haven’t yet shared the weird pearls of toddler philosophy that my daughter has been imparting to us since she learned to talk. Frankly, I haven’t written down nearly enough of them, because life is too busy and my memory for details is shockingly short.

Another reason I haven’t really delved into this is because, at two-and-a-half, AB is so verbal it’s almost scary… and although I’m insanely proud of her, I don’t take credit and I don’t want to sound like a braggy mommy. E was like this too, where complete strangers would hear him talk, ask his age, and express disbelief at his vocabulary – but it’s even more so with her. Of course we’ve encouraged their language in the ways we know how, but I figure it’s at least 90% genetic luck – being linguistically inclined, but also having no hearing issues to interfere.

Sometimes I forget, when I haven’t been with any other 2-year-olds in a while, how advanced her language is. It has all flowed naturally from the context of her learning to say “Hi” aptly at 8 months, and producing sentences like “That’s a ball,” and “Come here baby!” at 13 months. With her, I think it has happened faster because she’s a people person. She wants to relate, and language is an effective tool for that.

Looking at the notes I’ve taken, it makes me smile and sigh to remember the things she was saying a year or more ago.

  • She used to press the button to make music on her doll stroller, bounce her knees and say, “Happy happy happy!” You just had to grin your face off.
  • When she first learned to say Please (or “pease”), she soon changed it to “Pease-awwww,” mimicking the reaction of people hearing her new nicety.
  • She had two words she made up that she used regularly with consistent meaning – and I’m sure it was very frustrating how long we took to figure them out: “Bacca” meant “Give that to me” and “Abodee” meant “Open this.” (Obviously.)
  • I noted her word “Mecumber” once I figured out that when we talked about “cucumber” she thought we were saying “you-cumber” – so if it was hers, it was “me-cumber.”
  • In February of last year, I wrote down her attempt to count just like her big brother: “Two four fie sick weven sick.”
  • Around the same time, she was showing some bossiness, trying to get me to join nap time: “Lie down. Close the eyes.”
  • Sometimes, especially when sleepy, she would gently touch and admire me: “Like a hair, Mama. Like a hand.”
  • She also tended to use words she remembered that were wrong-but-close-enough: she called green beans “green pants,” occasionally substituted “elbow” for “eyebrow,” and (my favourite) referred to the Bambi book as the “Zombie book.”
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Yup, I guess that’ll do all right.

 

  • Other cute substitutions: “Up-a-size” for exercise (“Mama, looka me up-a-size!”), “wriggly” for regular (“I want wriggly milk”), “olives” for overalls, and “acalulu” for ukulele (she still uses this one sometimes).
  • When we got her undressed for bath, she’d run around saying, “Got my naked on!”
  • Because I so often said to her, “Hi, sweetie,” she began to respond with “Hi seedy!”
  • On March 25th of last year, I noted her saying, as she gathered some items together, “Where’s the boots? Where’s the coffee? Goin’ to work.” (These days she likes to pack her backpack and put on her rubber boots and sit on the hall bench, which naturally transports her to school.)
  • Shortly after that was my first note of her using the word “actually” – “Ackshly it’s MY ball!”
  • She loved to do grown-up things like talk on phones – since almost anything can be a phone – and read Trivial Pursuit cards. (Just not usually in English.)
  • For many months now, she has made a habit of running up to whoever arrives at our door and yelling “SURPRISE!!”
  • She began to express compassion right around 18 months. I will never forget the time I was having a rough evening trying to get the kids to bed by myself – they just kept needing me and not sleeping – and at one point I sat on the edge of the bed and rested my head in my hands in frustration. She looked at me for a moment, then put her little arms around me and said, “I give a big hug, Mama. I see you cry.” I almost fell over.
  • She’s still good at this. She gives hugs and kisses when we’re upset or hurt. And as frustrating as her tantrummy side can be, she is good at thinking it over, and after a short while saying something like, “Mummy, I’m sorry I screamed and hit you.” Without fail, it completely disarms me.
  • Speaking of screaming, last summer I wrote down this charming conversation:

AB: (Screaming about something.)

Mummy: You don’t have to freak out about it…

AB: I AM freaking out!

E (mimicking her): I AM freaking out!

AB (to E): NO! You’re not freaking out, I’m freaking out!!

Then there’s the kind of out-of-the-blue, imaginative conversation she has when she’s getting sleepy and talking in bed, like this one last August:

AB: I wish had a boat.

Mummy: You wish… you had a boat?

AB: Yah. A sailboat. A sailboat.

Mummy: What would you do with your sailboat?

AB: I passed the boat… in the water… and the ducks on the boat, and the geese… in the river.

Mummy: Wow, that’s really cool.

AB: I had snacks with Emi. And I had snacks with Mummy.

Mummy: You had snacks… on the sailboat?

AB: I don’t have a sailboat. I have… a ladder… umm, a donkey-horse… two donkey-horses… and, umm… tomatoes… and, ummmmm… CHEESE! And… a sailboat.

Since last fall, there seems to be nothing she can’t say. I love that she still says things like “I goed to bed,” or “I maked a mess,” because it’s so toddler-y. She also, when reminded to ask nicely, still says “Can-I-may please have some water?” And she went through a long period this past winter where any statement she would make would be followed with a bizarre indication of whom she was addressing, like this: “I need some different pants, Ass-Mummy,” or “Can you read me this book, Ass-Daddy?” It seemed vaguely narrative. We eventually figured out she was meaning to say “ask,” even though the ass-prefix could be used with any sentence, not just questions. She just had it in her mind as necessary.

She also seems to have genetically inherited the language my sisters and I used to speak together (called Oody-Funka). She sings beautiful, unintelligible syllables a lot, and sometimes translates the books she “reads” into Oody-Funka as well. And she uses her elastic toddler-brain to give names to a lot of random things:

  • She once named the fingers of one hand Madeline, Miss Clavel, Matracita, Maca, and Fen;
  • For a short while, she had imaginary babies named Nollie and Kernie;
  • She has told us about her pet sharks named Mixery, Globby, Glicky, and Loast;
  • And she has expanded on what she told us about the school she goes to “under the water in North Canada” to let us know that her teachers are fish, and they are called Packo and Lala.

Here are a few other fun quotables from the last few months:

  • “I’m hugging you to my bones!”
  • “These Os are techally mine.” (I’d just told Sean, after a snack dispute between the kids, that the Cheerios were “technically” not E’s; she clearly got my meaning.)
  • To her big brother: “You can kiss my hand. Not off my hand, in my hand. That’s a good boy.”
  • When I found her curled up in someone’s abandoned snow fort at the toboggan hill: “I’m just sleeping in this hole, in this little rock home.”
  • While drawing a “picture” of me with a baby in my tummy: “She’s crying because her little brother leaved with her mom. Now the baby’s all covered up with grossness.” (Yikes, wha?)
  • When I asked, after she’d been horsing around with Daddy, if she would like some breakfast: “I already ate Daddy’s nose. I had breakfast.”
  • Just last week, at lunch one day, as she made up a random story about a doctor – who was also apparently a driver of some kind: “The driver didn’t do anything. He just sailed away, as faintly as a breeze.” (Where does she get these turns of phrase??)
  • The other day, when I asked her if she was all done on the potty: “I… am… precious.” True, but doesn’t answer my question.
  • And just this week, she started enthusiastically using a word that it took Daddy a while to decipher: hypothesis. Eventually he gleaned that she’d gotten the word from the Dinosaur Train show.

She told him, “Daddy, I have another hypothesis.”

“Oh, really? What’s your hypothesis?”

“Umm… It’s in the bathtub.”

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A Smiley Video for a Happy Frozen Friday

My kids love the movie “Frozen.” Like almost all kids. And I’m not ashamed to say that I also love it; I’ve probably seen it a dozen times and I could still cry every time, if I let myself. I will most likely go on about the reasons why another time.

For now, here’s two-year-old AB’s side of a (highly edited) conversation we had in November about the plot of Frozen. If you’ve seen the movie, you’ll probably recognize a concept or a direct quote here and there. You may also notice some outright fallacies. If you haven’t seen the movie – don’t worry! This information doesn’t make enough sense to contain spoilers.

Mostly, I just love her sense of drama. I wish you could see her, when E closes his bedroom door – she’ll go knock and sing the whole first verse of “Do You Want to Build a Snowman,” complete with wistful “Okay, bye…” at the end. Or even better, the two of them do an inspiring version of “For The First Time In Forever” – with many bits missing, but the passion is there.

Anyway, here’s this. I hope it makes you smile. Happy Friday!

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100 Happy Days – Day 38: Cozy

My Hubbibi has had his machine line at work shut down over Christmas – four weeks of shutdown, in fact.

This is financially tricky, of course, but there’s something awesome about being able to leave for work knowing your two-year-old is snuggling with her Daddy and a good book. (Going on a Bear Hunt.)

Wearing a Sheriff Woody poncho towel also increases coziness.
Wearing a Sheriff Woody poncho towel also increases coziness.

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100 Happy Days – Day 33: Pink Snowsuit

This morning after taking E to the bus with me, AB thought she’d visit our neighbour’s driveway. She even ventured all the way to his front steps. I asked if she was going to come inside with me or go live with Steve.

She said nonchalantly, “Yep. I’m gonna go live with Steve.”

After a few minutes, she changed her mind, claiming “Steve is a monster.” (Monsters are on her mind a lot right now, though seemingly not in a very scary way.) I assured her that Steve is actually a nice guy, but she opted to have breakfast with me anyway.

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I love her in this poofy powder-pink snowsuit. She also has a brown coat with leopard-spotted lining, which I have to admit is edgier… but gosh. I like the pink in spite of myself.

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Happy Second Birthday, Rainbow Baby

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Dear Delicious Little Girl,

Two years ago yesterday, you came peacefully into the world, and immediately began howling. It was a day joyous beyond description for the people who love you.

Since then, we’ve learned a lot about you. Some things we learned right away:

  • You like to be snuggled – but not every second.
  • You are unafraid to use your voice to express yourself and your needs.
  • You have a strong set of pipes.
  • Your beautiful eyes can break hearts.

Other things it has been our privilege to watch developing:

  • You love music and dancing.
  • Your smile and your excitement are infectious.
  • You are really into books and stories.
  • You learn fast – when it comes to things you care about.
  • Your verbal skills are, quite literally, off the charts.
  • Your dramatic skills are also pretty stellar, especially the trembling pouty lip + tragic wilting combo.
  • You know exactly what you want (even if it’s the opposite of what you wanted three seconds ago), and you will furiously stand up for it.
  • You will try any new food that’s going – in fact, you insist upon it.
  • You are independent such that if we weren’t watching, you would just wander right off without us.
  • You are determined, and you really, really, really want to do it yourself.
  • You are very observant of people, and somehow, you already understand how to be compassionate.
  • You adore your big brother and want to do everything he does.
  • Your cheeks are so kissable, we can hardly stand it.
  • You give wonderful hugs.

There are many moments every day when I just marvel at the fact that we are the family who gets to take care of you.

Here is a little video to celebrate you. It includes many of the people who love you – but I wish it could show all of us who know the heartrending gratification of loving your adorable little self, and watching you grow. So fast.

Happy birthday, Sweetie. You’re the best.

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Baby AB’s Fashion Blog – Issue #19: Tennis Style

So. Biggest hiatus ever in the history of this blog. Jeepers.

Suffice it to say I’ve been itching to write  – oh, so many posts in my head – but was away for a whole week at leadership camp (MOTL) and returned home just in time for my firstborn’s fifth birthday (as yet herein uncommemorated! What?? MOTL) to throw myself into the maelstrom of yearbook and report cards.

So yeah. I’m breaking the silence with a frouffy post about my daughter in tennis dresses.

(It’s also slightly possible that I’m procrastinating because my reports aren’t done but my brain is friday-fried. Perhaps.)

Best part: it’s Then and Now.

First, classic tennis whites for a child too small to walk, cute pastel stripes because who doesn’t love stripes?

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OMG she was so little and fuzzy-headed.

Then we have the outfit she wore on her big brother’s birthday, approximately a year later, in honour of his love for Angry Birds. This little number was handed down to us by a thoughtful friend who knew about AB’s nickname and knew she must have this.

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Still kinda fuzzy-headed. 🙂

I imagine you don’t see a lot of pink-with-sparkly-buttons-and-plaid-trim on the courts, but I’m sure my kid could pull it off. She may be even be a fashion leviathan someday.

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Writer’s Flood Paralysis and the Blogging Shame Spiral (a.k.a. excuses)

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Nice apple-blossom photo = shameless attempt to pretty up this post.

What the Sam Hill… I haven’t posted since April 22nd??

Lots of bloggers complain about writer’s block and lack of inspiration. (Fortunately, lots of other bloggers offer solutions for both.) I can imagine getting blocked, if you’re a niche blogger. Some days you just might not have that kicky recipe or new fitness tip or fashionably retro decorating idea that you want to share with the world.

Dilovely, on the other hand, blogs about any damn fool thing she feels like, so there’s no chance of writer’s block. Instead, her ideas for stuff to write about pile up like laundry until she hardly knows where to begin. (She currently has no fewer than twenty-four draft posts already started, and that doesn’t count the extensive list entitled “Blog ideas” on her phone.)

For the purposes of this post, I’ve dubbed the phenomenon “Writer’s Flood”. I hereby admit that it often has a paralyzing effect on me. I might only have a few minutes to write on any given day, and with so many topics banging around in my head, pestering to be written about, I end up avoiding my Dashboard altogether instead of sitting down and just getting some words out – even though I know the latter would ALWAYS make me feel better.

In case you’re wondering, I’ve been known to do the same with laundry. (You know, just sometimes.)

That’s when you see ten-to-fifteen-day gaps, followed by flighty, materialistic posts with excuses in them. The longer the gap, the more self-reproach comes into play, the harder it is to jump back in.

If you find that the following Gripes actually seem a bit like excuses… Well… touché.

Gripes (have to come first because who wants to put the kvetching at the end?):

  • April was a month characterized by illness at our house (I know we’re not alone here). Sean and I both got knocked out by a crazy bug that made me sicker than I’ve been in… I honestly don’t know how long. Maybe ever.
    • Felt like strep throat but wasn’t.
    • Took my voice away for two full days.
    • Missed three days of school in a row (unprecedented, at least for sickness), because just as my voice was coming back, I got double pinkeye (mmm, sexy).
    • Copious amounts of congestion, plus coughing that I thought would at least leave me with chiseled abs, but didn’t.
    • Oh, and there was a really bad neck-kink in there that kept me from turning my head to the left for a couple days.
    • Meanwhile, Baby AB got an ear infection, and E got a localized rash we’re still trying to figure out.
    • Then we thought we were out of the woods and Sean suddenly backtracked with a sinus infection.
    • If what WHO says about global antimicrobial resistance is true, then we are in serious trouble, because between the four of us, our family has been on antibiotics no less than six times this past season. Or was it seven?
  • Remember when I was kinda freaking out because I have so much to do in a strict timeline, necessitating my becoming the Duchess of Organization? Well, becoming the D of O whilst blowing bucketfuls of crap out of your head through your nose (mmm, sexy) is actually really difficult. So I’m still trying to get on track there.
  • Likewise: working on that strong and bendy issue I mentioned. Sigh.
  • There is also a phenomenon, when you’re a teacher, where you’re really wanting to cover lots of material and be really efficient (as befits a Duchess of Organization), and certain students… it’s like they sense it. And are instinct-bound to thwart it. A bunch of those kids + spring fever = endless classroom management. That’s my job right now.
  • And even the spring fever is only quasi-exhiliarating, because it is now MAY and frankly, it’s still mostly dead chilly out.

Hypes (because I want you to know I do possess some fraction of a positive attitude):

  • Although there are no leaves on our trees yet, at least our grass is green, and we have daffodils.
  • Even better, my Hubbibi has found his inner gardener all of a sudden (he comes by it honestly – his mom is a wonder with plants) and our front yard and gardens have never looked so immaculate in seven years.
  • We got to see a very well-done community production of the musical Rent last weekend, and oh, it still ROCKS. (Yes, I was a Renthead once upon a time, and it’s possible I still qualify because ALL the lyrics were easily called up from my brain-files.)
  • Sean finally put up the bird feeder my parents gave us (a shamefully long time ago), and now we are wishing we’d had it up all this time. Seriously, we are SO POPULAR all of a sudden (among little feathery and furry things), and we had no idea how much of a pleasure it would be to watch the birdies. It is just a lovely, simple, peaceful thing to do. The kids love it too – AB gets all excited when she sees a goldfinch (calls it a “goldfish”), and the other day, E correctly identified a house finch (as Uncle Ben taught him). If you don’t have a bird feeder, y’all should totally get one.
  • Our kids, despite all the illness, are incredibly entertaining. E’s behaviour is gradually improving (knock wood), not that I could really say why… but it’s quite a relief to have more cooperation and fewer meltdowns. And AB is just hilarious. She’s a talker, like her brother, and still babyish enough that everything she says sounds cute. Even when she’s mad and/or aggravating and/or trying to use her imperiousness to boss us around, she’s an adorable munchkin. It’s her lot in life right now.
  • And… I’m gonna put this in, even though I hesitate, because it was a highlight for sure: Friday before last, I had an amazing conversation with someone I’d just met.

Let me explain.

I’d sort of already met her, via email only, thanks to my midwife… and it wasn’t really the conversation that was amazing, it was how it felt. This person happened to be supply teaching at my school that day, and she recognized me and introduced herself – kind of in code, because it would be odd to say, “Hi, I’m that other mom you sorta know who also had a stillborn baby at 35 weeks’ gestation.”

We chatted for the rest of the lunch period – 20 minutes or so – about our kids (all of them) but also lots of other things. I felt immediately connected to her. It wasn’t an intimate conversation, and yet it was. I can’t even describe how simultaneously calming and invigorating it was to talk face-to-face with someone who intrinsically understands what it is… to be this. A normal person carrying around an invisible child, all the time. There was a point in the conversation where we both had tears in our eyes, with absolutely no explanation or reassurance or apology needed.

I know can talk to people about Sebastian; I have friends and family members who would want me to call if I needed a shoulder to cry on. I appreciate this fact immensely. The thing is, I don’t often need an official shoulder. I rarely blog about Sebastian now, as you know. I don’t grieve deeply every day. But I do think about him every day, many times. I do miss him and acknowledge him and remember him – but mostly just to myself, because as supportive as my peeps usually are, bringing up a dead child in conversation is hard for everyone involved. If I were to get teary-eyed in the middle of a chat, people would probably sympathize, but it would still be awkward (if only for me). Sometimes I’d rather keep him inside, just for me, than bring him out and make things weird.

That’s the great thing about blogging, I guess. If I inadvertently get somber in the midst of a flippant post about procrastination, and you’re still reading and it’s suddenly awkward… tant pis. I’ll never know.

(If you are still reading, thank you.)

And that’s my story for now. Cheers to getting the words out already.

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