Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Annika Louise

It's late.

But that Annika girl is on my mind.

I read a post recently about the Curse of the Second Child. You know that phenomenon whereby the poor beleaguered mother of more-than-one can only remember the many and nuanced details of the first child's babyhood, and subsequent kids are lucky if their parents remember the day they ran away from kindergarten, maybe.

And at this point I would claim the defense of the mom who is in the thick of it: I'm just so damn tired. So tired. When my brothers & I were younger, my mother would tell us about our early years, and she would say "I don't know kids. All I can remember about those years is just being tired all the time." And it was not until I took proud possession of my third child that I knew what that tired was.

Cecilie's baby book is beautiful. Filled with scraps of paper with 'test names', ultrasound photos, loving stories written in longhand on its pages. We even have the complete collection of postcards her godparents sent her on their travels around the globe during her first year.

Lars has a baby... calendar. Granted it *is* a calendar designed to mark baby milestones, and it came with its own set of stickers to mark the days in his first year. "Baby's Fourth Tooth!" is meant to be stuck on whatever day you notice Baby's Fourth Tooth emerging. HA. And even his poor little simple calendar stops abruptly at his 7th month, coinciding almost exactly with the month we began renovation on The Money Pit, I mean The Yellow House.

Annika has this. This blog is her only baby book. I have a hunch she won't resent me. I have a hunch she may be secretly glad she doesn't have to lug around a pile of paper scraps and ultrasound photos from her 1st apartment to her retirement home. But her mother? Her mother will lug around the vague guilt, always always. I don't post often, I don't post enough, and her first 14 months have disappeared faster than a pack of Double Stuf Oreos in my pantry. One minute she's 6 weeks, the next minute she's walking.

And that my friends, is what this post is for. She's WALKING. Not just the tentative wobbly '3 steps and hit the dirt'. She's working the catwalk: she'll stroll around the kitchen island, find Mommy on the other side of the kitchen and PIVOT (to the left! Take that Derek Zoolander!) to walk the other direction.

And the day she did it we WILL always remember. It was Valentines Day, and she was at the Air & Space Museum with her dad and Grandpa. Daddy turned his back on her to help Lars with some Astronaut Ice Cream, and when he looked up she was gone. Not just a few steps away, mind you, but a full 20 feet of Museum Packed With Saturday Visitors away!

Honestly, I think she was ready to walk a while back. But then she was laid low with a mystery illness that kept her very unhappy and not very strong for most of November, December and January. Now that she's eating again (and not trying to exist on RICE MILK), she's packed a little weight on those gams and they are serving her well.

She got 2 teeth without us even noticing (making a grand total of SIX teeth!) She's figured out that her brother and sister hate to hear her scream, so when she wants something, she 'asks' at top volume, and generally gets it. She is obsessed with climbing: anything will do, but her most favorite is to find the kids's Tripp Trapps and use as ladders to gain access to the tabletop. She got her first haircut (no more wispy mullet, hurrah!) She has a wicked sense of humor, and is extremely ticklish. Her feet are a full size smaller (Size 5) than her sister's were at the same age. She says many things, none intelligible, except 'mama', 'dada' and 'bowowowowowowow'. She hates to sit in her high chair for meals, preferring instead to cruise around table legs and chair legs and have someone try to spoon food into her. (Yet another parenting "I WILL NEVER..." smashed to pieces.) She loves crackers, and hates turkey. She would prefer to eat a truly unhealthy amount of raisins if I'd let her. Failing that, blackberries please. She love love loves to brush teeth, and to brush our teeth too if we let her. Although she doesn't understand that we don't all share one brush. She loves to read, and will happily turn pages of her own books if we're not around to do it with her. Any book with animals is her favorite.

Pictures. Yes, pictures would be exactly what's needed. A little video clip of baby gamboling would be even better. But we haven't yet downloaded photos from CHRISTMAS. It is late, we haven't downloaded photos from Christmas, and as usual, Annika my girl, we are so tired, and so behind.

But please know that you are special in my heart, little one, and I am working hard to remember your highlights too. Your moments are all-of-our-moments, and that is the gift of the third child.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Run Away With Me

Uh oh. I shouldn't be surprised, really. I know all about the 4 hours of sleep I got last night, and the 5.5 hrs the night before. I remember all-too-clearly the ugly scene I made at bathtime about the kids choosing to fight with each other about who gets the 'good' end of the tub. I should have known when the Cheer Me Up cup of vanilla ice cream didn't work.

And now.... we're in the waning hours of Sunday night. Torbjorn is away for a business trip. The bombsite, I mean, OUR HOME, needs to be - ahem - tidied. The list of calls to make stretches out as I scribble in my notebook about the upcoming week.

Here we are, fully in the throes of Woe Is Me. I am remembering the Spell-A-Thon I haven't been preparing Cecilie for. I think about how I left Annika to cry it out at bedtime because I. Just. Couldn't. Be. Near. A. Kid. Another. Moment. I'm thinking these brand new pants are too short because I've been a little too enthusiastic about returning to eggs & dairy. I'm reading other people's blogs and comparing my life/my kids/my home/my creative efforts - never a winning proposition.

SO ANYWAY. Run away with me, for a moment. Play a silly little game, won't you? Recently Amanda posted a fun thought on her blog, about spending Brewster's Millions. Amazingly enough, I'd been thinking along the same lines. When I puddle along through my day, I ask myself:

"What would I do with an extra $200 today?"

It's a silly number, of course. These days, the answer could just as well be "my groceries" or "my late fees at the library," but that wouldn't be in the same spirit of escapism, now, would it?? But I like the $200 limit. It's far too little to pay off debts (at least too little for me!!), too little to 'buy my friends and family a house', too little to "travel travel travel" (unless you count driving to, oh, Lebanon, MD or something.) Of course not too small a sum to make a difference in someone's life who's on the streets, but work with me here: we're running away.

Fun money. You can't do anything USEFUL with it - you must be willing to do something to chase away the February blahs. What'll it be? 10 lipsticks? That deep freezer at Costco that you've sooooooooooo been coveting? A serious caffiene binge at Starbucks? A lovely dinner at your romantic French restaurant in the next town? Ooooh, maybe a massage?

I'm also going to pretend, just for tonight, that I have a crazy popular blog like Dooce or Pioneer Woman with lovely readers from all over the globe. Oh wait, I do have lovely readers from all over the globe. All 10 of them. Anyhoo, if you're reading this, I need to hear from you, Internet. Play the game, escape for a few seconds. The Polly Pockets an laundry will still be there when you wake up.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Biking Galore

In the bleak mid-winter we kept our biking skills honed (doesn't it look like Cecilie is really enjoying this uphill climb in Patapsco?)
...under careful supervision...
Then one day Grandpa just removed the training wheels and she was off on her own...
To everybody's great delight
Soon this one will be flying too
By February, Lars graduated to the two wheeler...
...and Cecilie is flying on her big girl bike
Hours and hours of fun (luckily not always wearing super hero capes)
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