Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Spinning, spinning into the future...

In my last post I expressed concern about Anna's upcoming dance recital. I thought it was too much hoopla and too many backstage hours for such a tender age. I still think it was too much hoopla. But I needn't have worried about Anna. She did just fine playing with her classmates, watching the big girls in their costumes, and generally hanging out.
I should have been concerned about myself. Between the pre-rehearsal and pre-show primping, the packing of snacks and "quiet activities" and costumes, the coordination of naps and babysitters, this thing easily took two days of my life and hundred of dollars. And she was on stage for less than 10 minutes over two shows. I had the vague sensation, as I was sitting in the crowded auditorium, that my daughter's dance routine was being held hostage.
But oh, how she loved it! She was a little nervous, but performed wonderfully and wanted to do the whole thing again the next day. Despite my reservations I found myself bubbling with excitement by the time her class performed. It really is something to see your baby on the big stage. So here we are, days after the event, and I debate whether to enroll her with the same studio in the fall.
On the other hand, money doesn't grow on trees. Rec center classes, here we come!

The other notable event of the past couple of weeks was my birthday. I won't tell you the day or my age, but I will give you a hint: they are consecutive square numbers.
Jon's parents looked after the kids and we went for a leisurely dinner in the mountains. Although it was in the 90's in the flat lands, it was downright cold up there. Lovely! As an added bonus, Isaac did not have any meltdowns while we were gone. In fact, he had as much fun as Anna. Little does he know this means more babysitters in his future.

Speaking of Isaac and milestones, he is now 14 months old. Only a year ago he was an infant, a stationary observer of goings on. Now he's a spinning, running, dancing participant (not all of this is welcome as he also climbs the slide). Even Anna seems to have changed a lot recently: losing her baby fat, improving in agility, figuring out "jokes," learning deception (despite obvious flaws, this is indeed a hallmark of mental development), asserting her preferences with increased confidence (often loudly), deftly maneuvering the computer mouse (thumbs down from Mom). She is becoming a little lady, and I sometimes forget to respect her burgeoning self.

The last milestone I'm thinking of is on July 1st (which is also Canada Day!) On that day it will be two years since we bought this, our first house. I really like owning a home, particularly after the tiny apartments we lived in before. We haven't changed much of it, but it is undoubtedly ours. We did not realize how useful the layout or location would be when we bought it - it was simply the best one we saw during our two days of looking. We have been blessed since moving here, and I'm glad we followed God's gentle prod when deciding where and what to buy. I don't know if we'll be here forever, but I'm happy to be here now.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Dramatic Interludes

There have been a lot of ups and downs these past couple of weeks. To begin with, there was a surprising development at Jon's work place that caused us to re-evaluate our long term plans. Thankfully, that situation seems to have ironed itself out for now. We've also cried and rejoiced with friends who have had their lives turned upside down - some in good ways, some in sad ways. Closer to home, there was the cancellation of a weekend retreat that I was really looking forward to, although that may have been for the best. June is crazy busy for us, and we need the time to gear up.

Against the backdrop of these events is the everyday drama and swashbuckling adventures of our kiddos. This week's episode featured mistaken identities (is it Anna or Hannah who is scheduled for swim lessons?), ticking time bombs (in the form of babies who will explode if they wake up and find the sitter instead of mom), dramatic chase scenes (can mommy bike her children to the park before they kill each other?), attempted murder (occurring whenever bike rides took longer than 20 minutes), and extreme eating (how many berries can a baby consume before his health is at risk?). Spoilers: Hannah (oops); bomb failed to go off; yes, but barely; see previous; apparently more than baby currently consumes, however Mom's sanity is at risk due to constant changing of dirty diapers.

Isaac continues to develop in a myriad of ways. He's learned how to get down one or two steps without falling, and can follow basic verbal commands. Verbal production is slower compared to Anna, but hey he's a boy. So far he can say Mama, Dada, Anna, ca (for car), and dao (for dog). His "word" for food is something like a lip smack. He's a world class pointer and has finally begun waving. Both our kids were slow at waving, preferring instead to sob when Daddy leaves the house. I'm still amazed at how coordinated he is, and how stubborn. Which brings us to the skill Isaac's been working on the most: The Tantrum.
The Tantrum's form can take the shape of the "wiggly plank" (rigid and wiggly at the same time), or the "head throwback-back arch," or some combination accompanied by ear piercing shrieks that sound as if someone is sacrificing a baby goat. Anna also had her share of tantrums, but she could eventually be distracted. These days I would characterize her as emotional instead of stubborn - everything is a Thing but we can talk her down. Isaac seems more focused, more determined to reach his goal, and if a tantrum is required so be it. So there you have it. Anna has her dad's looks and her mom's dramatic personality, Isaac has his mom's looks and his dad's immutable personality.

Speaking of drama, there is one thing this week that's got my ire up. It's the hoopla surrounding Anna's dance recital. Since January she's been taking instruction at a dance studio (as opposed to the rec center), due to the convenient class times. I figured there would be some sort of costume fee, but it just didn't occur to me that the final cost could possibly be as high as it is. Just money, though, right? What's money in light of Anna's first big stage debut? However, now they're turning the recital practice (yes, the 3 year olds actually need to practice on stage like the big kids the day before the Really Big Show) into another recital. In short, there will be a legion of 2 1/2 to 4 year olds stuck back stage for three hours Friday evening (over the dinner hour, I might add), and three hours Saturday afternoon. They will be expected to do "quiet activities" back stage between their dance numbers. For three hours. That's six hours within a 24 hour period. Is it just me, or is that crazy? And don't try to tell me that there's not going to be pee in those costumes Friday night, because there's no way a stage mom is going to be able to deal with all that potty action. I know this won't matter in 20 years, but sheesh, wouldn't it be nice if Anna's first dance recital were a more mellow experience? Or am I being melodramatic?

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Who are you and what do you want?

Weather-wise, it is a wonderful day: overcast, not too hot, not windy, and a little humid. A good day for visiting a Colorado playground, which is generally a place with very little shade and intense sun. SPF 50 is a must at our house.
We just returned from the playground at the time when we were supposed to be leaving. However, babies have a way of throwing wrenches in plans and today's wrench was no morning nap. So off we went. I guess Isaac is still transitioning to a single nap. Or maybe he's teething. Or maybe his cold finally turned into an ear infection. Or maybe he has his cranky pants on. I don't know. What is certain is that he wouldn't go to bed until 9:30 last night, and still woke up at his usual 6:15. And now no morning nap. This makes Mommy cranky.
It's not just the lack of naps that makes me annoyed, but not knowing why they are gone. I've heard that some moms can identify their child's needs simply by the quality of the cry. While not entirely illiterate in the language of Fuss, I am not proficient. So I sit around guessing why he's crying instead of sleeping, and wishing for an otoscope.

C'est la vie. What's important is that they're both (both!) asleep right now and I have some free time. Ah yes, free time. Time to do the laundry, the dishes, clean the bathrooms, etc. Or maybe just eat more cherries. Ah yes, the cherries....