Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Sunday morning we decided to go hiking up on Mount Rainier. I didn't learn until well over an hour into the drive that we were adventuring out on the advice of Mat's bus driver, the one who ends all her sentences in "and," and provides her captive audience with a rundown of her weekend each Monday morning, over the loudspeaker. By the time we got there, the kids and I were a bit skeptical, but it was really fun to finally see the mountain. Posted by Picasa

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Hey, somebody's about to hit me on the head, and I don't care! I'm goin' hiking! Woohoo! Posted by Picasa

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Getting all sunscreened up. Posted by Picasa

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No, I'm not looking at the camera. But Simon is, and that's not true of the other 3 pictures like this (in which, now that you ask, I am looking at the camera. Sneaky baby). Posted by Picasa

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Claire Helen on the trail Posted by Picasa

I think Simon had a pretty good time. Posted by Picasa

Claire Helen apparently has a new friend. Her name is Charlotte, and she lives in this picture "waiting for her babydoll." She also likes to come with us to the park, but she has her own watering can, so she won't need to be sharing Claire Helen's precious, now will she? Pretty funny what they make up, isn't it? Posted by Picasa

In this picture, Claire Helen looks just like me. The expression, the features, it really could be me in 1980. This is only fair as Simon appears to be carrying on the Harrington family male tradition of looking like their father's long lost, time warped identical twin. Posted by Picasa

Ooo! They caught me! Posted by Picasa

Friday, August 25, 2006

Simon hugs! Simon hugs. And good ones, too, not just pull on your hair, slobber on your cheek kind of deals. Honest to goodness, head nuzzling into your neck, fat little forearms on your collarbones hugs. He'll even sigh. On command. Aahhhhhh. He also claps, signs for more, says mama and bobo (for "boobs." At 5:45 every stinkin' morning. Very funny, mister. I am not going to miss being a baby feeding station. Not one bit), and takes a step by himself to get from one thing to the next. Just the one, and only after minutes and minutes of thoughtful consideration.

The other day I dropped off Claire Helen's preschool forms. When the receptionist was looking over the paperwork, she noticed two pages were stuck together, and one of them required me to describe Claire Helen in 3 lines. 3 lines! Impossible. Then they asked what I thought they might like to know to help teach her. I said "Claire Helen is very shy in groups, but will really open up with one on one adult engagement." Which, duh. I mean, they all are. In my defense, I was trying to come up with the essence of my firstborn in the 10 minutes before the preschool closed with both the babies completely unconvinced that reception area coffee tables are not for climbing.

What I meant was, "Claire Helen is very shy in new groups, but once she is comfortable that someone is paying attention to her, flutters off pretty well." She does play well with others*, and has some pretty good little friends, such as friendship is at this age, but it takes her a very long time to warm up, even with me there.

She is not a kid who is going to seek out attention or praise. Pretty much ever, but absolutely not in a group, and will shut down completely upon being singled out for any reason. That doesn't mean she doesn't want praise or attention in other forms- she does, really, and wilts without it, she's just not going to ask for it. This is familiar to me, because I was like that as a child. My solution to this dilemma was to insist on being the very best ever ____ at whatever I tried, because whoever comes in first has to get some praise, right? This is, as you might imagine, uh, stressful on a little kid, and I hope she doesn't catch this gene, but it's a hard line to walk as a parent. On the one hand I'd like to help her learn to ask for what she needs, because that's a pretty useful life skill, but on the other, I don't want her to lack praise and think we don't think she's good enough because I'm going for some theoretical life skill.

Thank goodness we don't have to have this all sorted out tomorrow.

*well, mellow others. She has some melodramatic friends, and you can just tell as soon as she learns how to roll her eyes she's all over that.

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Wheeeeeeee! I finished the Danskin. Simon almost cares. Posted by Picasa

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Oh no! Yesterday I pulled a muscle in my neck while headbanging with the kids. I can only turn my head to the right like 30 degrees. How long is this going to last? Do you know, internets? How do I make it better faster? I am supposed to do the Danskin triathlon on Sunday, and I have Goals To Meet. I want this to be my foray back into real athletics, after a long, child bearing induced absence. This has to get better! I have been having so much fun training for the Danskin, and hope to complete a longer triathlon in a few months. It's nice not being pregnant.

We're having a fabulous summer, and I am looking forward to fall. Every day we do something fun and interesting with friends in the morning, and then after naps spend 2 or 3 hours flip flopping from the wading pool to the playground, to the wading pool, to the playground, in the big cool park near here. I got, ahem, injured during yesterday's post nap dance party, so we stayed home instead of walking the mile to the park, and got a little preview of fall, I think. We baked and fingerpainted and played with trucks and boats. Good times. Except the finger painting was done nekkid in the bath tub, and Simon is far too stalwart a young man to just go with the slippery flow. He would stand up on the side, and the bottom of the bathtub had basically zero friction to it. Even with me holding his hands, his expression evoked a fussy British governess accidentally ending up in the Woodstock mud pit. Only more crying because he's a baby.

We have up until this point avoided television for CH, but on our road trip to Canada* we allowed her to watch a video (Big Bird goes to China - the border crossing was almost two hours! What else could we do? Sigh. Don't answer.). I actually don't know if she recognizes most numbers**, but apparently 9 is seared deeply in her brain. Sesame Street is on channel 9 at 9 am. The TV is in the playroom, where usually she has free reign, and also I don't always hear her because it's on the other end of the house from the kitchen (I'm usually cleaning up breakfast/putting together diaper bag snacks for the day around then. God how scintillating. Aren't you glad you read this parenthetical?). She likes to turn the TV off and on, just to get a little shot of toddler power there, and apparently one time just after vacation when I was putting Simon down she saw her hero, Big Bird flicker on. So now whenever I put Simon down for nap she gets all agitated, runs to the kitchen to look for a 9 on the oven clock, and tries to sneakily turn the TV on and get it to 9 (PBS). I am not letting her watch it, but I gotta say I am not positive this battle is worth fighting. It is Sesame Street after all, and it has already taught her to tell time (well, at least for two hours during the day- 9 am and 9 pm). But it's frighteningly addictive. I'm a bit put off by that.

As is not immediately obvious by the amount of internet playing and science experiment brainstorming I am doing, I am hosting my book club here tonight, have no food for them, and have not finished the book. Also it is 9 am. Time to police the TV.

* I hope it is obvious from the, uh, sparsely texted photos that we had a wonderful vacation. I love having the kids around grandparents for an extended length of time, so they can really get to know each other. And I can't rave enough about having a kitchen and separate rooms for naps when you are on vacation with small children.

**OOoh! Maybe a good science experiment for this afternoon. What Numbers Can Claire Helen Recognize? She can count to whatever, but doesn't usually seem to connect "counting" with the symbols on a page.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Vacation! Posted by Picasa

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Parliament. Not exactly thrilling for the toddlers among us. Posted by Picasa

Nunchuck coasters. Posted by Picasa

Kind of a fuzzy, picture, but I think you can see Mr. Translucently Pale's coloring pretty well here. His hair is red! I still call him our Golden Haired Son, but honestly his hair is more red than blonde. Posted by Picasa

Looks like a toddler frolicking in the fountain, right? No. If I had to caption this, and I guess I am doing so right now, I would caption it "OH MY GOD! IT'S COMING FOR ME!!!" She still didn't want to leave when it was time to go, though. Posted by Picasa

We went to a really cool petting zoo in downtown Victoria. We told the kids about it, and Claire Helen was jumping out of her skin excited to see the goats all day long. Posted by Picasa

This was about as close as Claire Helen would get. Posted by Picasa