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Sunday, January 20, 2008

All aboard the Potty Train!

Maya is much more smiley and giggly these days

We've put Ella to work on the taxes

Ella loves that Maya is spending more time at her level (and by that we mean closer to the ground rather than Ella's highly evolved, cunning intellectual capacity.)

Gram thought it might be a good idea to dress Mochy and Ella in matching attire

We had a bit of a scare. We have thousands of pictures and a few videos stored on an external drive that began malfunctioning. I've spent many hours trying to recover them before they were gone forever. Thanks to our friend, Jeff, at HCP Computers we have recovered them all and put them on a new drive. So, here are three new blog entries to cover some of our January events.
And from Suzanne... A big thank you to Sandi for getting these pictures on. She has a nasty cold, another case of mastitis and goes back to work full time the day after tomorrow. I am thrilled to be able to write that we have finally come into a working harmony, the four of us, and our days are more balanced and peaceful. We've got caring for two down to, if not a science, then at least an art, and sleep is- at last- being achieved. Maya is going to be at a reasonable 8 or 9 p.m. and usually waking about 6-7 hours later to eat and sometimes makes it until about 8 a.m. (other times she has a snack again around 5 a.m.) But most importantly, she is napping during the day -usually one long 2-3 hour nap and usually another shorter one. I swear, it is as though heaven has descended right down into our house. Sandi was telling someone about Maya sleeping the other day on the phone and she actually put her arms up in the air in a "hallelujah!" expression. Maya has grown tremendously over the past week and has outgrown all her 0-3 month clothes right on schedule. She will be 3 months old tomorrow.
And regarding the title of this entry... Ella is officially potty trained!!! Which basically means that she finally decided to go on the potty instead of in her pants. For some parents this is a big deal. For us it is monumental, revolutionary and ginormous (I realize it's not a real word but for the sake of exaggeration, bear with me.) Again, think of arms in the air saying "Hallelujah!" (and this is not a term either of us utters often.) To hear those magic words, "I need to use the potty." Music to our ears.
I have just come out the other side of my most difficult period of parenting yet-the temper tantrum phase. It was been so hard for me not to meet her anger with anger and some very diligent work on my part, lengthy discussions with Sandi and many tears, both Ella's and mine, have brought us to a better place. My strategy? The more angry she gets, the more calm I get. It is not always easy. As our friend Charissa says, basically it's good acting. But it works. I am shifting my perspective a bit to see things through Ella's eyes and realize where I can give a bit more than I have, to be more flexible and more forgiving of her quirky delays when leaving the house (like wearing my hot pink pom-pom hat with long knit gloves to the grocery store- she looked like a Muppet) and her need to change clothes every hour on the hour. I am coming to see her energy, the random things that matter greatly to her and her need to assert herself fully at times to be completely endearing and necessary for to maintain her boundless joy. I am learning to be the mother (not in any easy fashion might I add) who wants my children to be happy and expressive and free more than I want to be on time (yes, this is the hardest one) or have the house be clean. Ah, motherhood is expanding me to my limits and beyond. Sometimes it is incredibly painful but mostly I am actually finding that I like myself even better as a result.
So for Ella, her temper tantrums have largely abated, she has become the model big sister and has been full of humor. This morning I was in the kitchen and she was in the living room and she called to me, "Momma, I'm just smelling the dirt, I'm not eating it." (This was in reference to a tulip bulb we have planted in a pot- there was a moment of alarm before I figured out what she was referring to.) Ella's new favorite question is (don't be too shocked) "why?". "Why does the sun go to sleep?" "Why does do I have to go to sleep?" "Why does Gramma have to go home and live at her house?" "Why? Why? Why?" She also asks, "What means..." as in "What means to put on a CD?" "What means a pail?" (we were reading Jack and Jill.)
She has glow in the dark stars on the top of her canopy bed that don't get enough daylight to hold a glow at night so every night we use flashlights to light them up and make them glow. Ella relishes this time. We tell stories, and she asks me 1,000 "why" questions and then we shut the lights off and snuggle under the stars. Sometimes she has a hard time with me leaving and I tell her how lucky she is to sleep under that stars every night. Last night that didn't do the trick so I had to dress Chilly (stuffed polar bear who went to the dentist) in a pair of Maya's too small footed jammies. That did the trick. Stay tuned for our next blog entry where Chilly dresses in drag. I promise, it will be worth it!
Please send you best thoughts for a smooth and easy transition for all of us this week with Sandi's return to work. We will keep you posted. Lots of love!

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