Making Monsters

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Every time I log in and start to write it all turns into a very boring moan about parenthood and the opacity of motherhood (women, I think, begin life semi-opaque, but motherhood definitely accentuates it) and my own surprise at how easily complicit I become in the whole thing, and while I have nothing against moans, I don’t have much luck getting to the nerve-end of mine.

Just truisms about being female and sleep deprivation.

So here are some pictures instead. Because we’re reading Olivia every day, and Olivia has a little brother and sometimes she scares him by roaring at him with a paper bag on her head made into a monster.

I’m not saying we aren’t enjoying life. I’m just saying I thought this would be easier… and by this I suppose I mean undoing generations of gender patterning before our oldest is out of diapers.

Talk about monsters.

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Two Highchairs at the Table

IMG_3450Two highchairs at the table and two beds in the nursery. We’re only five days into March and it’s already a month of milestones. So fun!

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We have reached the age where Iris just casually adds new words to her vocabulary, and we’re left staring at each other in surprise. Gone are the days of getting in her grill while painstakingly repeating DUCK, DUCK, DUUUUUUUUUUCK and then cheering like a maniac when she repeated the word back. Come to think of it, no wonder she rarely showed much interest in learning to talk. I probably would have kicked me in the shins.

A couple of days ago she told Carl she wanted her tutu. A few days later she announced she really would like to watch Trotro.

Yesterday she said “shoes!”

These are not words we’ve ever tried to coach her to say. Then again, she found a really snappy pair of red patent leather shoes in the basement (hand me downs from the cousin who once told her mother she was working on her tan in prep for her world tour. This when she was five). Red shoes are good motivation for a lot of things.

She likes to wear them over her footed pajamas. While doing random things around the house. Lately random things has included a lot of playing in our unfinished basement, thwacking at plastic balls with croquet mallets.

It’s a posh life we lead.



Pooh and the Polar Vortex


Just had to share these snaps from the other day. Iris is almost two now and such a hoot. She’s just getting the hang of make believe, and we have reenacted many scenes from her favorite cartoons over the last few weeks. Dressing Pooh up in her coat and hat, however, was all Iris’s idea.

She’s also started picking up a bunch of new words. She’ll point outside and say “cold!” Though… her two favorite words BY FAR are “no” and “mo” (more).

And I mean I may be prejudiced but it’s pretty darn cute to see her thoroughly enjoy her snack or cartoon or flight around the room in Carl’s arms and the second it’s done turn to us again, eyes bright, clamoring for mo! mo! mo!

She’s pretty fantastic.


Cah-Coh, or: Iris, Lately

IMG_2698I’ve been dithering over this one for months, but I think I’m ready to call it officially. I mean, she’s been able to say words for a long time. And probably the first word she said really clearly was “duck” way back last spring. But this is different. This isn’t just saying something to get a round of applause, a by rote parrot type of situation.

This is serious business. This is a sly glint to her eye as she sidles up to one of us and offers a suggestive, “Cah-coh?”


Also known as a vehicle for whipped topping. Iris loves her whipped topping as much now as she did when she first discovered it on her pancakes last winter. Let’s just say if she had made a list of Thankful things this weekend, that would be near the top.

Anywho. I’ve been away from the blog for a couple of weeks now and figured it would be easier to just collect all the Iris ones in one spot with a little mini update on her latest and greatest doings.

IMG_2708We don’t get to Art Time every day, but she’s still enthusiastic about any form of drawing, coloring, or painting. To make it more interesting, I try to come up with different themes and color combinations. We drew birds the day we put up the bird feeder for the winter, Christmas trees shortly after our tree went up, and fish the day we watched part of Nemo.

It’s fun to have something to talk about while we’re coloring.

IMG_2971Craft Time is even more hit or miss, but as you can probably surmise: Iris is also a fan. One of my goals for this winter is to come up with a big list of simple crafts we can do together. Independent play is super important to me (probably because I know how much my own independent play as a kid fed into my writing and creative interests), but I already expect Iris to entertain herself a lot during the day while I’m taking care of Ollie or cleaning or (gasp) reading a book. More structure and one-on-one time would be a nice change for both of us.

Playing “preschool teacher” is probably as much fun for me as “pretend preschool” is for Iris. We’re having fun.

Speaking of fun, we also had our first snowfall last week.

IMG_2946It’s hard to know for sure, but I don’t think Iris had any memory of snow. She was quite curious about it and VERY disappointed when it melted over the next day or two.

And she didn’t realize it was cold.

This is her “realizing” face. 🙂

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Things That End Well



IMG_2600One thing I’m learning about parenting the under two set: there are a lot of things that don’t end well. Like this picture, for example. When the 20 month old who is just learning to “uhmp” (jump) stands over the 6 week old and starts crowing?

Not going to end well.

Actually photo shoots in general could probably go into that category. Most of the snaps I think are cute and possible in the moment end up looking more like a lopsided sumo match when I finally load them into Photoshop.

IMG_2596But if there are a lot of things that don’t end well [see: stairs, crackers, bedtime, bath, “no,” and showers], looking through these photos reminds me of the good stuff of my own childhood. Talk about fate, karma, or destiny—my brothers WERE my childhood in a lot of ways. The fact that we were homeschooled and tended to live at the end of long dirt roads probably exaggerated the phenomenon, but I bet if you grew up with siblings your childhood memories have a similar color.

Seeing Iris and Ollie interact—even with the limited vocab of babyhood—makes me so curious to see what they’ll be like together in three or thirty years.

Curious and also super happy for them. I know plenty of people who have had rough patches with their sibs, but I don’t know any who don’t also love each other with a kind of casual world-without-end that you don’t see anywhere else in life.

Iris and Oliver won’t remember these early moments, obviously, but I wonder what fun and happy ones they will have stored away by the time they’re off living their own lives?

I remember snow so deep we could tunnel through the yard in it; the smell of lake mud and pond edges black with the wriggle of tadpoles we were trying to catch in jars (later, at a different house, we would glide through the swamp in a canoe with nets, trying to catch turtles). I remember when we could still quote every single line of The Little Mermaid. I remember drawing maps of our fantasy worlds—and inventing NEW fantasy worlds when we wanted to exclude one of our sibs. I remember being cast—fearfully, as it happens—in my older brothers’ home movie when I was four or five, and I remember forcing my younger brothers to act out a string of plays I wrote when I was thirteen or fourteen with a similar disregard for whether or not Dan really wanted to dress in drag and play the queen.

Mostly I remember being friends.





We are THAT family



I asked Carl what he wanted to do tonight thinking, I dunno, maybe take the kids for a walk or try to get some cleaning done before bath time. Nope. It’s the 4th of November and Carl wants to decorate for Christmas. So that’s what we did. We put up our Christmas stuff three weeks before Thanksgiving.

We’re that family.

And we love it.

Deck the halls, yo.

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