Despite my late blog posts (ugh, man cold took me down hard) Gracie had a pretty awesome Halloween this year. We sent her off to daycare on Friday morning with her costume packed in a bag, ready for the daycare trick or treating and party. We had initially planned on leaving early but when we were hit with weather so extreme it made the national news (30 mile an hour winds with 60 mile an hour gusts and intermittent rain/ice/snow flurries) we decided we should stick around longer than planned. I got hit with a parenting milestone when I got my first “please bring a nut-free, pre-packaged treat” note and decided to be an over achieving Pinterest-Mom by drawing pumpkin faces on a bag of clementines. Gracie thought they were awesome, which is all that mattered. This is where a good blogger would show you a Pinterest worthy photo of said clementines. Instead, I present my child:
B and I were there promptly at 5 and the kids were adorable. The babies in the nursery were all perfect meatloves in their various costumes, the older kids had strong ownership of their choices, and Gracie’s classroom was the most “huh, so explain this please?” in the festivities. Gracie was an owl (I’m sure you noticed). She wasn’t pleased with her costume earlier in the week, but when she saw everyone else in costume, she was accepting of the idea.
Pink pumpkin candy bucket purchased at Target (like the rest of the free world), marked down to 50 cents and combined with my coupon, I paid a grand total of one quarter for it. Twenty five cents for a bucket she was OBSESSED WITH, carried all night and was generally smitten with. Mom-win.
We had a lot of fun at the party- she goes to daycare with a nice group of kids with equally nice parents, so the kids ran around eating snacks and playing on the little indoor jungle gym in various states of undress. When we sensed Gracie was at the point of overheating we headed out for some trick or treating. The weather was…intense to say the least….so we opted to walk to a street near us with a gorgeous stretch of single family homes. Only a few homes had their lights on, but thanks to the weather + the group of teenagers not in costume behaving like jerks (egg tossing, screaming obscenities, demanding candy) Gracie was given a really warm welcome at every house we visited. She was encouraged to pick her own candy and hoot like an owl, which she happily did. She wasn’t quite sure why we were not going inside, but had a lot of fun before coming home and passing out in an exhausted heap.
Don’t worry hoot owl, we all need our rest. The next morning I thought I’d teach her about the next holiday and asked her what a turkey says, and without missing a beat she smiled and yelled “GOBBLE GOBBLE” so, daycare, your tuition is worth it.
After Gracie turned a year old I felt like the monthly updates naturally stopped (at least for us) so while I haven’t been keeping as many internet based notes, she is continuing to amaze us on a regular basis. I’m sure part of this is because when you are thinking about having a baby, and pregnant with said baby, you think about the baby. I bypassed any product or book made for the 12 month and up crowd (ok, besides some toddler utensils) and focused on what to expect (or…deal with?) in the first 12 months. Gracie has far surpassed that research and sometimes I think we are playing catch up.
(On that note, the companion to my ever-favorite Baby 411, Toddler 411, is a god-send for all your 9 pm questions about “huh, is this normal?”)(Amazon links affiliate, buy/borrow however you like obviously)
Gracie is a very verbal kid- we estimate she adds a word a day to her vocabulary bank. This week she surprised us with “several” (repeating Dad, but using it correctly), medicine (poor girl is on antibiotics for an infected stye in her eyelid, nigggghtttmaaare), napkin, pie, cake, and brush. She has a few small sentences “bye bye, school”, “daddy home”, “Gracie do it”, and my ever favorite “hush beagle, hush, sit down” which, uh, where did she get that one? (Her pronunciation of beagle kinda sounds like bagel and it is as awesome as you might imagine). She is obsessed with “ceam” (cream) for her boo-boos and doesn’t care if the cream comes in the form of coconut oil after her bath, diaper rash cream, infected eye stye cream, or balm for her chapped cheeks- any ceam will do! For a long time she declared anything “boo” (blue) if you asked, but this week she decided she was over the generalization and that the world was full of colors. Now she tells us when things are white, brown, purple, pink, green, blue, yellow, orange, or my favorite, black. Mostly because about half the time after she points out something black she busts in a toddler rendition of baa baa black sheep, like, “yeah guys, let me circle that right back to my favorite song”. She loves singing and sings us her versions of many classics like the ABCs, Wheels on the Bus, and Row Row Row your Boat. She knows about every other word and fills in what she doesn’t with sounds that match closely enough. It is charming if you are her parents, people at the playground might think otherwise.
Restaurant coloring A photo posted by D (@d.chicago) on
Speaking of the playground she loves to visit the “whee” (swings and slides) and I’m hoping this winter we have enough mild days that we can bundle up and let her run around. They have an indoor playground at school with slides and stairs, but it is off-limits to the under-two crowd and she is counting the days until she is allowed up to the top. She loves “cool” (school), her teachers, her classmates, the food, the activities. She sometimes protests coming home if I pick her up during a dance party or ring-around-the-rosie (perhaps they’ll rename it ring-around-the-ebola-fever)(I’ll be here all night) session, some of her favorite games.
She loves to request “Elmo” on the tv but all she really wants is to watch Elmo sing one song and then she is over it. Fine kid, the American Academy of Pediatrics supports you in this screen distate. She loves reading books, particularly ones involving llamas, pigs, or dinosaurs. She has an extensive pajama collection (mostly hand me downs from her friend Colin, boy pajamas are just as adorable as girl pajamas) and spends a lot of time every night debating the merits of monsters (mahn-sers), pumpkins (punkin), cars, bears, or dinosaurs (dinsaah). Monsters are a clear winner every night and she is a sad sack of potatoes when they, or her bee blanket, are in the wash.
Piggie and Baby love are at an all time high around our house, the illustrious stuffed/baby doll duo travels with us everywhere, wears her tutu, and are witness to all of our shenanigans. Santa Claus has taken note and some fun accessories/play items might be arriving to make their days even brighter.
Shh, Piggie sleepin A photo posted by D (@d.chicago) on
I would be remiss if I didn’t at least mention that for all of her awesomeness, Gracie is also 100% toddler, and has her moments as such. Eating out is a bit of gamble (if we miss our window of opportunity we forego it), she eats very well at daycare and by the time she gets home at night dinner is a crapshoot (she often has fruit, yogurt and granola for dinner, which I justify by the fact that she has a hot lunch with vegetables every day and just isn’t interested in a full meal nine times out of ten), she’s dumped a cupful of water out of the bath and into my lap on more than one occassion and she is familiar with the Penalty Box also known as a small throw rug where she has to sit in time out when bad behavior strikes. Nine times out of ten it is for playing with the DVR after being asked not to, or not bringing back a phone or remote she’s attempting to stash in her dirty clothes hamper. She doesn’t like it when it is time to go- the park, the zoo, home, the store, but generally calms down with some song singing and distraction. She loves to “hep” or help with everything and heps me unload the dishwasher, put toys away, put dirty clothes in the hamper, feed the dog and put her cup on the kitchen counter.
She is a total joy in our life and we are delighted by her antics daily. While we were not busy imagining the toddler days as we waited for her arrival into this world, I wish I’d had a glimmer of how awesome life was going to get with each passing stage. Each one has its highs and lows, but every new set of highs makes us shake our heads and think “man, aren’t we lucky?”
This week has been a disaster from day one on, nothing went as planned. It is hilarious in its totality. No one terrible thing, but all together each day started off and spiraled quickly out of control. I’ve never cleaned so many bodily function messes in one week (thanks dog/thunderstorms/baby messes/seriously guys?) I have a tire with a not-so-slow-leak, at numerous points B was fixing a disaster on one end of the house while I fixed one on another, we’d meet in the middle, carrying towels or cleaning spray or laundry and just laugh. I mean, what else was there to do?
Mama said there would be days like this.
Also it rained all week long which does nothing for one’s outlook on life or general enthusiasim to leave the house. Gracie now wants some rain boots like Mama’s.
Gracie’s infatuation with Piggie and Baby have reached new heights. They sit in her spare high chair at meal times, go to bed her her with their own blankie, try on clothes (she won’t wear any light pink pants now because Piggie is pink so Piggie should wear them). I’ve already dropped Baby out of the diaper bag once, and had that kind stranger yell “Ma’am you dropped your baby doll” after me.
She’s also infatuated with clips and hair bows, but mostly Mommy wearing them, so I’ve left the house twice with a nice bow in my hair, remembering half way to do something that hey, BOW IN MY HAIR. CHILD’S BOW. Sigh.
When I was growing up I teased my Mom that I could find her in any store because she had a habit of carrying her keys in her hand. I could always hear them jingling, and thus, find her in the shampoo or rice aisle. At Gracie’s daycare, after I take my shoes off in the entry, I walk through an older age classroom to get through to her classroom, but the walls are loft style and thus open between rooms near the ceiling. Every afternoon this week, as I’ve entered the first room I hear Gracie yell at her teacher “MOMMY MOMMY” and right as the teacher is saying “No sweetie, she will be here….” I stick my head around the dividing wall and we wonder how she knew I was in the building. Then I realized: I carry my keys. She can hear me jingle jingle, just like I heard my Mom.
Tonight B and I have dinner reservations to celebrate our anniversary, Gracie is staying at daycare late for their quarterly “babysitting” night and I’m really looking forward to just the two of us and some French food (my weakness). Where we won’t have to clean up messes or walk the dog or fill sippy cups. If just for a few hours we can be just us, and then, rejuvenated, race back to pick up Gracie, talking about how much we missed her the whole way there.
Life is good, even when it isn’t.
But I could do without all the laundry.
With the celebration of our 5th wedding anniversary, I officially feel like the “holiday season” has kicked off in our house. We have begun the mad, whirling decent into my most favorite time of the year; “Oct-Nov-Ember” as you might say. Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas. I’m an unapologetic lover of the holidays, ain’t no shame in my game so to say.
I try hard not to jump ahead to the granddaddy of them all (Christmas, and ok fine, New Years Day bowl games, or one in particular), but this weekend B and I bought our holiday airfare to spend Christmas with my family out in Utah and I’m over the moon excited. Nothing compares to Christmas in the mountains (insert GIF of Bing Crosby, Danny Kaye, Rosemary Clooney and Vera Ellen singing “Snow!”) and that has me really excited for the trip home, particularly because I’m going to to use a big chunk of my extra paid time off (thanks 5 year work anniversary!) to spend a whole week at home, a feat not accomplished since 2006. Anyway. It is making it hard to focus on the current: Halloween!
In an effort to get my head back in the game, we let Gracie pick out a pumpkin at the grocery store and after her nap, we let her paint it. She’s very tidy (sometimes, she has zero qualms about throwing food or toys willy nilly) and wanted me to wipe her hand off between each color choice. Serious baby artist. She had a great time and now points to her “punkin” on the mantle whenever she comes in the living room.
Next weekend we have grand plans to head to a pumpkin patch (complete with pony rides and a mini corn maze for the wee feet) and we will pick out a pumpkin to carve. I’m anticipating her mind being blown, which ensures Gracie will feel very ho-hum about the endeavor.
I’m also in the midst of costume decision making. We have two options: a very adorable borrowed owl costume, or Mama making an owl costume, with the help of a very, very talented friend. Either way, please expect a “hoot hoot” picture in the coming weeks. Sorry not sorry.
And try as I might to focus on Halloween and all things spooky, I do have a few lists going for Thanksgiving. Our guest list is growing this year so there is more to do- such as procuring a card table and figuring out a table linen situation, in addition to my usual menu making. I have been making a pumpkin-chocolate cheesecake for years for Thanksgiving, but this year I’m tempted to make a pumpkin pie and a plain cheesecake and provide hot fudge and salted caramel toppings for everyone to use as they please. I also need to order our turkey asap- gotta secure the main event- and head out to Costco to buy 10 lbs of flour and equally obscene amounts of sugar.
Anyway, that is all we have here. Happy holidays y’all.