Tuesday, March 15, 2016

snuggles the explorer

Millie is very much in a must investigate everything phase right now. Especially outside. She spent nearly every waking hour outside last weekend (thank you God for this BEAUUUUTIFUL weather), bent over as she carefully examined tiny things on the ground. She would pick up some microscopic item and hold it so gently in one hand while bending back down to find the next interesting thing.

 When I could convince her to open up her little clenched hands, they were full of tiny pebbles, the heads of dandelions (she plucks the stems off- unnecessary, clearly), acorns, and particularly interesting (apparently) pieces of dirt. 

When her hands are too full to hold any more, she will evaluate the whole yard until she finds just the right place to lay down her treasures. Then she puts them down, and then the whole process starts over.

My little scientist. Be still my heart.

(Lest you think she's altogether too angelic, you should know that most of these things also made it to her mouth at some point, despite repeated reminders about not doing so.)

You know, for the nearly seven years we've lived here, I've never really liked my back yard. I mean, I like aspects of it: the flower beds, the fruit trees, the woods. But it's always irritated me that there's no grass (just weeds, which can be mowed neatly to look like grass in the summertime, haha), no fence, there are WAY too many fire ants, and it's just kind of blah (in the places where there aren't flower beds or gardens, that is).

But to Millie, it's like this bountiful land of partially-buried treasures, a place where she can dig and explore and exclaim joyfully over the weeds-that-look-like-flowers. And I love it. There's still no grass and no fence. The weeds are abundant and the chipmunks and armadillos leave holes everywhere, but when I watch my girl run and laugh and kneel and examine and swing...the whole place is redeemed. It's my acre of paradise, too.

The other night I decided to assess Millie's understanding of her own (multitude of) nicknames. I designed a really scientific system (ooh, like mother, like daughter? Scientists, the both of us!) to determine which names she recognized. I had control groups and everything- my professors would have been so proud. So basically I just say "where's Mommy?"-- and she points to me. "Where's Lola?"-- and she points to Lola. "Where's Nannie? (her grandmother)"-- and she looks around briefly before saying "I don't know!" (or the Millie version of that phrase, which is more like "Iuuunnnoo!!", but inflected exactly like you would expect to hear "I don't know!" and with the accompanying quizzical facial expression and shoulder shrug-upturned palms) "Where's Mill-Mill?"-- points to herself. That's what we call her most of the time now, and what she calls herself, so that's as established as Mommy and Daddy. "Where's Daddy?"-- points to Matt. "Where's Judy? (random name, don't think she knows any Judys)"-- I don't know! "Where's Petunia? (beloved stuffed lemur)"-- points to Petunia. So then after we do this for a minute and it's established that she is paying attention and thinking about the names, we throw in a nickname. "Where's Nuggie?"-- doesn't miss a beat, points to herself. Then you do a few more control names- Mommy, Lola. "Where's Nug-Nug?"-- points to herself. She's on a roll! More control names, then "where's Snuggles?"-- thinks, then points to herself. 

We play this game until she starts losing interest. We did this several different times over the course of a few days and were really impressed with how many of her own nicknames she understood. And only then- after several days of playing, stretching the nicknames as far as I could- then it occurred to me.

"Hey, where's Camilla?"

Looks around the room. "I don't know!!"

Hahahaha. Awesome. Parents of the year. My beloved child will respond to Snuggles and Nut Nut, but has no concept of her given name. Not even a flicker of recognition in the ol' eyes. Camilla? Never heard of her.

And so that's it. I guess the moral of this story is that maybe you should use your child's actual name every once in a blue moon or so. OR- just name them Snuggles in the first place. Then you'll never be in this awkward situation.

If I happen to be on a wagon ride, but I really want to also be holding Mommy and Daddy's hands...well, all I have to do is bat my eyelashes and it happens!

Monday, March 7, 2016

ahhh...warm fuzzy feelings.

We had a marvelous, lovely, grandparent-filled weekend around here!

I'm not sure if I've mentioned it here before or not, but sometimes I'm jealous of Millie's sweet grandparent set-up. I loved my grandparents as a kid (and as an adult!!). But I lived in Georgia, and they all lived in Texas. So I only ever saw them once or twice a year. I didn't really understand how some of my friends saw their grandparents all the time, or went to their houses after school, or like actually knew their cousins. Everyone besides my immediate family was 1,000 miles away in a pre-FaceTime, pre-free-long-distance-phone-call era. So although I loved them, I really never knew them on a consistent, day-to-day basis.

But that's not so with Millie, and for that I am thankful. She sees Matt's parents at least once a week, since they live all of about 15 minutes away. She knows them and recognizes them and I love that. Not to mention what a huge help they are when we are sick, or Millie is sick, or we need some last-minute childcare!

"Meeeeee-meeeeee!!!" is what she was screaming into her phone. Her Mimi has taught her everything she knows about talking on a phone, since Mommy and Daddy are both 100% anti-phone talking. Ha!

My parents live more like two hours away, but that's a heck of a lot closer than the 18 hours away from my grandparents I was growing up! We usually see my parents once every 6 weeks or so, and we FaceTime at least once a week. I feel like Millie knows them, or at least understands enough that she regularly demands "Pop-pop!! Pop-pop!!" while holding my phone...so, she knows that Pop-pop appears on my phone screen, which seems pretty smart to me.

Anyway. So this weekend my parents were coming up to visit. They ended up getting to town before I was even off work, so they met me there and then we drove over to Millie's school together. I had been telling Millie all week that Nanny and Pop-pop were going to come visit us on Friday...but like, she's one. I have no idea if telling her that made any sort of impression at all. :)

So we get to school and (as is the norm on lovely days like Friday!) they were playing on the playground. We went out and scanned around and saw Millie waaaaaay on the opposite side of the playground. One of my favorite things to do is to just watch her playing when she doesn't know I'm there, so we planned to do that for a few minutes. But one of her teachers noticed me pretty quickly and told Millie "look, your mommy is here!," and so Millie looked over and noticed us. And then she started walking towards us.

And then she started running- nay, sprinting. Sprinting as fast as her itty, chubby little eighteen-month-old legs would carry her. Her arms were stretched out and her mouth was open wide and as she got close to us, we could hear what she was yelling.

"Popppppp Popppppp!!!!!! POPPPPPP POPPPPP!!!!!!" 

And all three of us were kneeling down with outstretched arms, and Millie had the hugest smile on her face as she ran straight into my dad's arms. Her Poppppp-poppppp.

(Not surprisingly, I believe that all three of us may have had leaky eyes. I mean, come on. It was just too much.)

And that was the start to our pretty perfect weekend. Millie just couldn't have been any more excited to have (some of) her fan club staying with us for a whole weekend. When she woke up Saturday morning, the first thing she said when I came into her room was "Pop-pop? Pop-pop?" And then on Sunday morning, her first words were "Naa-nee? Naaa-nee?"...so at least she's a fan of equality. :)

We didn't do anything overly exciting, just hung out, ate, and played with Little Bit a whole lot. Well, that's not entirely true. My mom and I did venture out on Saturday to treat ourselves (or rather, she treated me!) to an hour of blissful reflexology at Foot Palace. That has quickly become my favorite place in this entire city and the center of most of my daydreams. I knew my mom would feel the same way, so I've been anxiously awaiting her visit so that we could go together! And basically the minute our massages ended, she said "well, this is definitely going to be our new tradition every time I visit!"...and so, let me repeat everything I said earlier about how great it is to live close by to your parents/grandparents. :) Come again anytime, Mom!


On Saturday we dug out some Easter eggs from the depths of my closet and taught Millie how to hunt eggs!! She caught on pretty quick. I think she's going to dominate the Athens egg hunt circuit this year!


I am getting really excited about Easter this year. Now that she really "gets" life a little more (compared to last year!), I am feeling way more enthused about holidays. She will understand that it's special and exciting and she will be ALL ABOUT a basket filled with treats. And since I put some raisins and marshmallows in her eggs on Saturday (for training purposes, obviously), she also understands how awesome it is to find all the eggs...so it's going to be a really fun next couple of weeks!!

Another thing I'm looking forward to is the TIME CHANGE next weekend! Time change haters are gonna hate, but I love knowing it won't be dark by the time we get home from work and that we'll be able to take walks after dinner, so bring it!! I can't remember whether springing forward/falling back means Millie will sleep in later or wake up earlier or what, but so far she's never really had any issues with any other time changes, so hopefully it will remain that way this time. But obviously since I just wrote that, I'm sure we are jinxed and she will freak out and our lives will be ruined for the next six months. Ha. But at least we'll be able to play outside after dinner, so...all things in perspective.

Hope you have a wonderful week! 

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

playing and politics

Wow, only two posts in February, eh? I'm reaching new slacker lows here. Obviously I'm spending way too much time watching Fuller House doing really important stuff. 

Me too. I keep pretty busy, as you can see. This room isn't just gonna trash itself!
My job is completely insane right now and it leaves me too exhausted to come home and put words together in any sort of an intelligible fashion (for either talking or blogging, ha). Luckily, Millie doesn't mind if my conversational/writing skills aren't completely up to par. Homegirl is all about PLAYING these days. Just try and stop her.              

I mean, sometimes I stop to feed my babies.
It seems that four years of listening to NPR has finally paid off and I actually care about politics for once. Too bad that's a SUPER DEPRESSING SITUATION right now. I took Millie with me to vote today (side note: a hell of a lot of good that did us. WHY IS GEORGIA SO STUPID??? See also: Trump wins in Georgia by a landslide. All sane people planning their imminent moves to anywhere where logic and decency still prevails. Like possibly the moon.). I tried to tell her about how it's important that we vote because it's our chance to participate in democracy, blah blah blah. She could probably see right through me, though. She knows the only thing good about voting is the sticker. And getting to see a fire truck.

Only YOU can prevent psychos from becoming president!! Except, actually it takes a lot more than just you...so never mind, give me a sticker, I gotta go.
We try to get away from all the political drama once in awhile with a little front yard yoga. Millie definitely gets it.          

Downward facing Lola, you say? Got it, Mommy!
Speaking of Lola...she's getting a lot of kisses from her #1 fan these days. But Millie's kind of a fair-weather fan, really. She's either smothering Lola with kisses and pat-pats, or yelling "NO-NUH!!!" in the most accusatory voice you've ever heard, all away across the house, to blame Lola for something she obviously didn't do (pull all the books off the shelf, dump the puzzles out, pull a glass of water off the counter, etc.). It's pretty classic sibling behavior, I guess. Too bad Lola doesn't have a chance to dish it back!

I love you, No-nuh. Except for when I don't.
But for as stressful as work is and as depressing as freaking politics are...this little bit makes it all better. She is SO funny and precious and smart and cuddly and...I could go on with adjectives for days. Her language and ability to communicate improves every single day (probably every single hour) and I never know what she might say or do next. Like this video I took the other night- I definitely did not know she knew the word "bonk," as you can probably hear in my voice!!

She can also perform a variety of facial expressions/emotions on command. I know, I know...I should quit using her for party tricks. I can't help it, though! She's a riot! The world should know!! The world needs something happy right now!

So anyway. That's where we are. Millie is hilarious, the majority of voters in Georgia are insane, and...that's about it. Womp womp, goodnight.