Clearing out a backlog of winter photos. Click for larger versions.
I love finding gems like this on neighborhood walks. What a cool idea. Wish I’d seen it when it was fresh.
You know what I do every time someone breaks my legos or I break them on purpose? I build something even cooler!
Maggie is growing up fast. I thought I’d jot down some recent observations, just a month shy from her second birthday.
- Pacifier — Neither Griffin nor Maggie was ever much interested in pacifiers until about a month ago. Then, suddenly, Maggie became an addict. She calls it her “fier” (sometimes pronounced more like “fwah”) and demands it at almost all times. I’m sure we’re dooming ourselves to future pain, but so far it has reduced crying and whining, and increased her patience with non-optimal situations (e.g., waiting for dinner).
- Talking — Speech got going in earnest for Maggie in September (≈17 months). She had a few basic nouns prior to that, but this fall she started adding vocabulary rapidly, and she clearly understood almost everything we said. She was able to respond to queries and construct simple sentences. Most of this, of course, was unintelligible outside the family (and often within). Griffin has been a particularly good interpreter. As always, the arrival of language is transformative. The balance begins to shift from interpretation to communication. She can now, pretty regularly, tell us what she wants or why she’s unhappy about a situation. This doesn’t always resolve things to her satisfaction, but it’s worlds better than us trying to guess why she’s crying in her car seat (Diaper? Cold? Hot? Thirsty? Hungry? Itchy? Uncomfortable? Bored? Fire ants?). We still remind her regularly to “Use your words,” but the fact that she can is a gigantic leap.
- “Griffin” — She never had much of a name for Griffin because his name was so hard to say. She could say “Mama” and “Daddy,” but had nothing to say when pointing at Griffin. This changed in February when she finally managed a recognizable version of his name. It’s not 100% consistent, but sounds something like “Guhggin” or “Gohdun.”
- “I choose!” — This usually relates to clothing, when Maggie will demand to choose every article of clothing and gets very peevish about any fashion advice. This is great… most of the time. Can be difficult when we’re in a rush or when the weather dictates warmer options than she’s choosing. I’m getting better at pre-selecting her options, like, “Do you want these long johns or these ones?” She’s usually game for that.
- “I try!” — Maggie wants to do everything herself, and this is her battle cry. It often follows, “I choose!” when getting dressed. She loves to try and dress herself. Again, often fun (and she’s remarkably good at it), but it works best when we have a very leisurely schedule. If we’re in a rush to get her brother to preschool, she will howl like she’s dying as I pull her socks on. She also regularly wants to do scarier things like help us cook at the hot stove, climb playground equipment way beyond her ability, cross streets without holding hands, etc.
Eating — Maggie is at an adventurous eating stage. Meals are another time when “I try!” comes out. She sees me pour Sriracha on my soup and suddenly the world will end if she doesn’t have a large dollop of chili sauce on her soup too. But, with that said, she’s quite tolerant of strong flavors and even a bit of heat. She loves dipping things into ketchup, too, including just about anything that she’s eating. She’s remarkably good with silverware, using a regular salad fork and teaspoon for the past few months. She prefers using silverware even when it slows her down. This is in contrast to Griffin who still regularly digs into his bowl of mac-and-cheese with his hand; no joke. See our recent Two Plates post for a fairly typical comparison after an identical meal.
- Climbing — Maggie is getting really into climbing. Recently she began climbing the ladder to Griffin’s loft without assistance. This is terrifying. She climbs into and out of her high chair, usually successfully, and can sometimes manage her car seat. She has no trouble with stairs, but sometimes chooses to sit at one end or the other wailing for a parent to carry her.
Playing with Griffin — Maggie and Griffin have become inseparable playmates. Throughout the day we hear Griffin saying things like, “Maggie, do you want to have a dark party?” or “Maggie, do you want to play chase?” or “Maggie, do you want to read some books?” Maggie usually cocks her head quizzically for a moment and then says, “Yeah!” Over spring break I’ve been down with a nasty virus, so it’s been wonderful to see the kids playing so well together. A particular miracle has been their new habit of reading together in Maggie’s crib in the morning (instead of yelling for me at the top of their lungs).
Other recent Maggie pics:
We were learning about Claude Monet. He’s an artist. All the people who saw his art just laughed at it and made fun of it and even thrown it in the garbage because he just did blobs but that was his way. Impressionism. We looked at lots of paintings. I liked the one with the flowers and the pink house.
This one painting is about his house is covered in green. I made his house yellow. You can barely see the yellow because it is his house and it is covered with grass. The red spots are poppies and sun. The name is Poppies at Sunset.
“Daddy, how is mama going to use this to make soap?”
“That’s a good question, Griffin. I have no idea. Your mama is better at lots of things than I am, and making soap is one of those things.”
“Are you better at some things?”
“Yes, of course!”
“Are you better at craft projects?”
“Are you better at soccer?”
“No, mama’s better at all sports.”
“Are you better at singing?”
“No… It’s bedtime! Get moving buster.”
Yep, Maggie fell asleep in the swing right after a snow storm. She’s definitely from Minnesota!
[This is the first post that Griffin has authored himself. I’m just following his instructions. – Andrew]
Today I learned about selkies at preschool. Selkies are magic seals. Selkies can turn into humans and when it’s nighttime they can take off their skin. I am part selkie because of the twinkle in my eye and also I like to swim. Selkies live in Ireland. They like eating sushi and swimming. They eat fish also. Selkies are so silly and funny. I like learning about selkies. This is my first day of learning about selkies. Bye bye!
Griffin, Maggie, and I stopped at Uncle Sven’s Comic Shoppe yesterday to buy some new comics for Griffin and the second volume of Brian K. Vaughan’s Saga for me. (It’s so, so good.)
When we arrived, Griffin changed course and homed in on the candy rack, grabbing a yellow bag of Skittles. He maintained that he had no interest in comics anymore and just wanted candy. He used his best little baby voice (so annoying!) and squeaked, “Please… candy… skittles…”
I was firm, “No, Griffin, that’s not why we are here; we’re heading home to have dinner in a minute; sugar is evil; you’re an addict; etc.” Commence whining, so I ignored him. (I pretty sure this is all in that parenting book.) I noticed, however, that Comic Shop Dude (CSD) kept a suspicious eye on Griff.
Griffin held onto the Skittles, but began showing more interest in comics. (Ignoring totally works.) After some serious conversations with CSD about various titles, Griff settled on the latest issue of the regular Scooby Doo and a Scooby Doo Team-Up. I don’t know much about comics, but I think the “Team-Up” line is DC’s way of transitioning kids to real superheroes like Batman. Inevitably, Saga was out of stock, because everybody else knows how good it is. (Why didn’t he write it just for me??? I found it at Barnes and Noble later; don’t tell CSD.)
Time to check out. I’ve got the comics and am pulling out my wallet. CSD, still eyeing Griffin, shakes his head grimly, tsks like my grandmother, and asks Griffin to please remove the Skittles from under his coat. Yes, my four-year-old just got caught trying to shoplift some Skittles. Awesome.
Actually, CSD was pretty great, giving Griffin a very stern but developmentally appropriate talk about how important it is not to steal stuff. Griffin was clearly embarrassed and meekly put the Skittles back in the rack. For good measure I added something about heavily armed police and a lifetime behind bars. (That parenting book said something about ninja parents wielding fear and exaggeration.)
Lesson learned? Or Lex Luthor reborn? Stay tuned.
PS: I would have finished Saga, Volume 2, last night except I forced myself to put it away so I could have more tonight.