Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Reflections in the water (or not in the water)

I've said before, in different words, that Lyla is a big reflection of me in a tiny body. And over the past few months, that reflection has shown me something I hadn't seen before.

Up until recently, I've spent my life feeling bad about my dislike for certain "fun" things. My tendency toward prissiness kept me away from a lot of things that are usually a given for people to love: swimming, getting messy, rides at the fair, etc. Those were never my thing, and I was teased and harped on for it as a kid and am, still, today. 

It's not a mean thing to tease someone about. It's not ridicule or bullying. So I took it to heart and accepted it as a bad part of my personality. It never even crossed my mind that it was OK to be the way I was. Honestly, not until Lyla started to show her personality did my eyes open to the way I had been looking at myself in that regard.

We drove 20 minutes to a nearby state park over the weekend, and Lyla's disdain for getting dirty was more evident than ever. Not even five minutes after our feet hit the muddy rocks did she announce, "Me all done. Me ready go bye-bye." Forty-five minutes later, "Me no like beach. Me go home."

I was frustrated with her for not enjoying herself. For spending 25 of the 60 minutes we were there complaining about and then trying to follow my directions to get the mud off her feet and shoes. 

And when I was squatting all the down, and leaning all the way over, with Poppy in the front pack and Lyla using my shoulder for balance. When I was physically off kilter trying to rub her sandals in the grass up above the beach, I realized it.

I realized I was helping her do this because she's my daughter, and I want her to be comfortable, but also because I know how it feels. 

Yes, you have to stay here because we're here as a family. No, you don't have to stay muddy because no one else minds the mess. She minds. And I mind. And if Gracie has made me more willing to get a little dirty to enjoy life with her, then Lyla has made me more confident in a part of me that lacked it all these years. "Prissy" is a part of me. And just these past few months, I've been OK with that. Seeing it in my little girl, loving it in my little girl, has shown me that it really is just a part of who we are. And it's perfectly fine. 

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Monday, July 21, 2014

Conversations with toddlers

We went to a local farm and cider mill this morning that we visit about once a month. They have goats, sheep, pigs, chickens, a huge turkey, ducks, etc. They are also famous for their apple fritters. It's a fantastic place to bring little ones because it's FREE and a lot of fun.

During September's apple festival and October's pumpkin patch hoopla, the crowds are crazy, but the rest of the year, it's quite slow. For some reason, today was much busier than normal with the moms club we belong to visiting, as well as a couple other groups of moms and tots. When we went to leave, someone had parked in the exit pathway of the small, gravel parking lot. So I said something out loud about it and turned the car around. Another minivan mom was giving me a dirty look for driving the wrong direction through the parking lot; so I rolled my window down to "warn" her (AKA explain myself) that someone had parked in the exit.

"Mommy, what's the iggit?" Gracie asked.

"The exit, Honey," I replied. "How you get out. Exit."

"If someone parked in the iggit, how can we get out?" she asked after we were already out and on the main road.

"We already got out," I said. "We went out the entrance, instead."

"What's the entrance?"

"The entrance is how you get in," I answered. "The entrance is how you get in a place, and the exit is how you get out. Someone parked in the exit, so we had to drive the wrong way in the parking lot and go out the entrance."

"Why did someone park in the iggit? That's bad."

"Well, they probably just weren't paying attention."


"They probably weren't paying attention and accidentally parked in the exit."

"Mommy, if someone parked in the iggit, you should have said, 'Shit.'"

"Uhhh," I laughed. "No. Shit is a bad word, and I shouldn't say it ever."

"Oh. Well, what if someone parked in the iggit, and someone parked in the entrance? HOW WOULD WE GET OUT?"

"I guess if someone parked in the exit and the entrance, we would go into the barn and tell the people who work there what happened, and they'd find the people who parked there and make them move the car."

"But how would they move the cars? Cars are really heavy."

"No, the people who parked there would get in their cars with the keys and turn the car on and drive it out of the way."

"BUT WHAT IF SOMEONE TOOK THE PEOPLE WHO WORK THERE AWAY? What if someone took the people who work there away and someone parked in the iggit and someone parked in the entrance?"

"Um, I guess we'd walk around the farm and ask all the people to move their cars."

"Tell me what would happen if someone took the people who work there away and someone parked in the iggit and someone parked in the entrance again, Mommy."

"No, Gracie. That would never happen."

"Exit!" Lyla shouted. "Uhhhhh, someone park in it. How we get out?"

"Oh my God."

"Mommy, if shit is a bad word, why do you say it?"

Sunday, July 20, 2014

VIDEOS: The big girls and the beach

After the past few weeks of too-hot-for-us temps, we dropped about 15 degrees below normal over the weekend. Funnily enough, the gray, non-summer weather made us think to go to the beach.

I'll post pics and a bit of story tomorrow, but for now, here's how the big girls ended the hour-long trip.

Gracie did the following (in 57 degree water) for a long, long time. Sometime in the middle of it, McMister came up with the. most. fitting. career for Gracie based on these first (almost) four years of her life.

"I'm pretty sure she's going to be the first female Navy Seal."

And, just for good measure, Lyla did end up in the water after much ado.

Friday, July 18, 2014

I love this girl

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McMister was leaving for a weekend-long bachelor party last Friday. (Man, these things are so much more appealing when you're in your early 20s and kid-less.) Gracie was "helping" him get everything ready to leave and was so sad he would be gone all weekend.

"Daddy loves you so much, Sweetheart," I told her. "He used to go fishing and leave me home by myself every single day he could! Until you were born and got it be about Poppy's age. Then, he started wanting to stay home and be with you!"

She smiled. "And then YOU got to go fishing?"

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Gracie's first big game

Gracie started t-ball a few weeks ago, and McMister is the coach. She's tried every sport available to her at this age, and this summer is the first time she's been old enough to enroll in the sport closest to her daddy's heart (unless you count fishing, of course.)

In every other activity, she's acted over-the-moon excited every time we talk about it until about 8 minutes into the activity. Then, she hits the floor. Not in a tantrum, not even upset. Just utter boredom and complete lack of interest in participating. As soon as we get back in the car, she asks with thrill in her voice and a sparkle in her eye, "When do we get to come back?"

T-ball is the first sport with actual games; so I assumed her attention would be held longer, her focus sharper. The first three weeks of the season were practices, and she did fine at them, exactly as a 3-year-old should be. Playing tag, asking to stop and run to the nearby playground, examining a worm with her teammate and carrying it around while they run the bases.

The first game was last week. They had uniforms, (oversized, even though they're Youth XS) purple t-shirts and matching hats. They played on the actual field, instead of a small patch of outfield grass. They sat in the dugout.

Since there are only six players on her team when everyone shows up, playing any kind of defense during practice didn't really happen. So when the other team went up to hit, McMister had to hurriedly explain to the six tiny Lions their need to run to the ball once it was hit.

The first batter hit the ball into the sea of Lions, a handful of Lion parents helping them stand in the right spot (anywhere in the infield), and a handful of the opponents' parents waiting at each base to help the batters run the right way. A few of the players in the field ran toward the ball, and Gracie, hand-to-God, dove arms out, into the dirt, into what would have been a perfect slide (if she was running the bases and not in the field), and missed the ball by a few inches.

I watched the ball roll past her, past all the the players and parents, and finally get picked up by an adult who went after it when everyone else lost interest. When my eyes tracked back to Gracie, I accidentally laughed. She. Was. Sobbing.

She wasn't hurt. I knew that, for sure. She was devastated.

Even from in the bleachers, across the field, it was clear what was happening. She would all-out hustle for every single ball that was hit. But when you're playing with a tennis ball, and no one has a mitt, it's really, really hard to stop anything. No one could. And no one cared. Except Gracie.

She never even ran the bases the three times she went up to bat because she'd chase after her own ball. Of course, she was hitting the ball away from herself and toward a group of kids trying to get it; so the wailing would start again about three seconds after every hit.

I give a lot of credit to McMister for handling it as well as he did. He kept right on coaching, with her body in his arms and her head on his shoulder. He didn't seem upset with her, but I know he had to have been frustrated.

The whole way home, I told her how proud I was of her hustle, of her passion. "You tried so hard," I said again and again.

At this age, every player gets to hit every inning, and every hit is a home run. And before we even left the field that day, her tears still wet on her cheeks, she beamed at me and said, "You know-a what, Mommy? I winned all the points!"

*Edited to add: They had another game and practice this past Monday and Wednesday, and she didn't shed a single tear. I told her it was a requirement to lay down at quiet time in order to get to go to t-ball both those days (she still didn't sleep), but just that little bit of added rest seemed to make all the difference. 

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Weekly Wednesday Photo - July 16, 2014

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Sneaking up behind Daddy.

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Lyla started her first "organized" sport on Saturday, the same one Gracie did at that age. As expected, she was excellent at following directions, was a bit confused the entire time, and acted like she'd done it all a million times before.

The very first activity was the same as the first when Gracie started. The parent gives the kid a color, and they run to that colored flag. Change the color. Run again. About three flags in, Lyla said, "Me all done. Me get ball now."

We play so often in the yard that she was ready for some real action :)

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Waking Daddy up from his pre-bacherlor-party nap.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

July 2014

Hi girls,

I always write 2015 on these letters for some reason. Maybe 2015 is going to be a significant year in our lives. I hope not. I hope it's easy, breezy, boring, and happy.

Anyway, Gracie Girl, you continue to be all about pretending this month. You've spent hours upon hours in the water already this summer, and you still sob like a crazy person every time we tell you it's time to get out. You have been saying the sweetest things about your sisters lately, completely dispelling a fear I've had since I found out Poppy was a girl: that you would favor one over the other. But you are such a wonderful big(gest) sister so far, equally showering both little girls with love.

Lukey Lou, you. are. hilarious. You're funny when you don't mean to be, but all kids are. You're also funny when you do mean to be. You just turned 2 and purposely make adults laugh all the time.

When you tell stories or want to get our attention but really have nothing to say, you talk with a valley girl tongue click thing that is absolutely impossible to explain in writing; so I'll have to get it on video.

"Um, Mommy?" I hear countless times every day. "I nee tell you sumpin'" You hear Gracie say it and know that it will get my full attention, but once you have it, you look around the room and say, "Uhhhh, that towel ov-oh dare" or something equally as unimportant.

"I SO SODDY!!!!!" through the fakest, most over-dramatic sobs is, far and away, the thing you say the most. You yell it from timeout, you say it immediately after pulling Gracie's hair, you say it while doing something wrong, and you say it immediately following doing something wrong when you know you're going to do it again right away.

You love to tell the same stories over and over and have absolutely no concept of time other than past, present, and future. So every story you tell happened yes-day.

Just like me, you must get dressed immediately upon waking up. It's quite annoying when I'm laying in bed, still nursing Poppy or just trying to eke out five more minutes of rest, but I know in my heart that it is an exact mirror of myself; so I grudgingly oblige every day.

Definitely the most glaring thing you've done this month that was all me was when Auntie Leslie asked you girls about the Slip 'n' Slide at the party last Saturday. Gracie shouted an exuberant, "IT WAS SO FUN!" and you replied, "Me no like it. Me get hair wet." Auntie Leslie's jaw fell to the floor before she said, "OK, Sheelah."

Poppy Pop, Baby Pop, PopTart, Poppers, you are still just sweeter than sweet. Content as can be. Although you're not liking the fact that I lay you down on the playmat to ignore you several times a day (OK, hour) as much anymore. That's only because you want to sit up now! You only stay stable for a few seconds at a time so far, enough to take a picture, but any day now, you'll be sitting there looking back at me like nothing new is happening.

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When you're tired, you bury your face into mine and rub your eyes and hands on the side of mine. The moment that happens, I take you upstairs and getting you down for a nap is the easiest thing in the world. (Unless it's your afternoon nap because you seem to think you can skip that one already, and I know you're not old enough.)

When you're awake and not watching your wild and crazy sisters, you love to watch the wind blow the trees. It is such a calming act of nature to appreciate, and the way you look while you're doing it is even more serene. Thank you for reminding me to settle in, even if just for a second, and take a deep breath.

I love you guys,

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