Thursday, July 30, 2009

Funny Papers

When I was little, I loved reading the morning newspaper at my grandparents' house over peanut butter toast and cocoa.
I most especially loved reading the comics, or as I called them, the funny papers.

These stories are from the lil' dude's funny papers.

Last night, her and the Dad were shooting hoops on her basket downstairs. I was in the laundry room.
Up, I heard her request, pointing to the barstools.
The Dad gave her a lift, hoisting her belly-up. Bartender! he said in his most Lloyd Christmas voice from Dumb & Dumber.
The lil' dude giggled, and said, milk!
Good answer!

This morning it was dark and cold. I went into wake the lil' dude, opening her curtains and shades, getting her outfit ready for the day, rearranging her animals she pitched out of her crib in the night.
She snored on.
I brushed the blond bangs out of her eyes, and whispered to her.
She snored on.
I scooped her warm body up and kissed her neck and ears.
Bed, she whispered, her eyes shut tight. Bed. Please, Mama, bed?
A girl after my own heart.

She eventually woke up and discovered her joys in the day. Daddy! Beagle! NaNa! Barrette! Milk! Shirt! Socks! Everything was really, really exciting to her. She happily shouted out each item, taking a joyful inventory of her surroundings.
She scampered down the stairs to the entryway, grabbed her shoes and hoodie, and sat on the stairs for help. I got her readied-up, then looked her in the eye. "Are you ready to rock, lil' dude?"
I laughed all the way to work.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

On the Way Home

Yesterday on our carpooling adventure home.

The Dad, to the lil' dude: "Do you want to tell Mama what you did at daycare today?"
Lil' dude, pointing: "Truck."
TD: "That's right sweetie. That's a semi-truck. Look! There are three of them!"
LD: "Truck."
Mama: "So, should I guess?"
TD: "Lil dude, tell Mama what you did today."
LD: Silence.
M, gasping: "Did you go potty??"
TD: "Really? No. She climbed out of her Pack 'n' Play."
M: "Oh. No."
TD: "Yep, the Daycare Lady went in there to see if she was up from her nap, and there she was, playing in the closet."
M: "Oh. No. You know what this means."
TD: "Yes. We're screwed."

Monday, July 27, 2009

Miss Manners

Lil' dude, you are a conundrum.

You eat mud.
You lick the linoleum.
You eat sidewalk chalk.
You love holding bugs and spiders and worms.
You chew on the Beagle's smelly chew toys.

Yet, now, as we've moved your grownup-ness to the dinner table, you request a napkin for your personal grooming habits at each meal.
Hannns, you drawl out. Hannns!
At first I had no idea what you meant, until you pointed to my napkin.

You take a bite, wipe your face, patting the corners of your mouth like your great-grandma does. You clean off your hands.
Then, you place the napkin back on your place mat.
Eat another bite.

So ... how is it you are by day, such a grubworm, a filthy remnant of girl come bathtime, yet you have the best table manners ever?

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

There, There & Fruit Snacks

We had a secret, sneaky mission, and it involved a red wagon.

The Dad and I, we're stand-in's for the lil' dude's neighborhood bestie, E., who lives across the street. On days her Mama or Daddy can't fetch her from daycare on time, we do it. We're all one village, after all.

So, the lil' dude and I left our respective work days early and went on our secret mission. Lil' dude kept repeating E's name on the way home- excited for a playdate after she hadn't seen her in over one whole week!

We wagonned up and rolled into E's daycare playground to get her. She was all smiles as she came running over and climbed into the wagon's passenger seat. We gathered her things from her daycare lady and away we went.

And, the screaming erupted.

Poor E. was all confused as to why her Daddy wasn't there to get her, and why she was leaving in a wagon. She cried the 500 feet to our porch. I pulled fast, while the lil' dude did what she does best, and comforted her sad, little friend.

Pat, pat, on her leg. She reached into E's bag and found her nigh-nigh and Nuk, her comfort items. She kept talking to her, and touching her. I imagine her babble translated into a toddlerspeak for, there, there, friend. There, there. It's gonna be OK. I'm right here.

It. Melted. My. Heart.

I got the girls in the house, the tears wiped, the shoes off. E. was still sniffling, but not so much.
The lil' dude asked for a 'nack, and for two of them. I poured fruit snacks into two bowls, as instructed, filled up pink sippies for water, and watched as everything was righted with the world.

Monday, July 20, 2009


What a beautiful child.
She's been a good eater too. Let's us know right away what she likes and doesn't like.
One word she likes is "MOVIE".
Everyone thought she should be older than her age, she's so smart.
Is so good at repeating the things you ask her to, or what something is.
What a beautiful smile she has.
How much she looks like her daddy.
At the parade, once she got the hang of going out and getting candy, she was an old pro at it. She filled her little hands to the brim. We really had to watch her because she would put a Tootsie Roll in her mouth paper and all.
We are so very proud of her.
She goes up to your wedding photo and says Mama, and Daddy, and giggles.
I love her's so hardy, she's such a happy little girl.

These words were directly copy and pasted from an email from your Grandma S. last week, lil' dude. It's clear how much she adores you, and it was nice to hear those things about our daughter.

This weekend was rough on you. You are adjusting to being home, I think. You've asserted an independent streak we haven't seen yet. A disobedient streak. The picture above was taken Saturday night. How adorable and charming you are in your bathtub! You're the sweetest. See the red scrape on your forehead? You insisted on running down the deck stairs without shoes on, as Daddy asked you politely to go get. And of course you tumbled down a few steps, and the tears ensued. You're the stubbornnest.
You can bellow NO at the top of your lungs.
You can contort your tiny body into the saddest, mooshiest piles of girl.
You can throw all your buddies out of your crib during naptime, then cry for them back.
You can say love you.
You can be polite.
You can say sorry.
You can get so worked up, you throw up in your sleep. (That's a family first! Midnight vomiting. You're a big kid now!)

I meant this blog to be a personal record of all Mama's feelings and memories towards you. This, what I am writing today, is no different. We already know each day will not and cannot be 100% roses. Life isn't like that. That certainly doesn't mean anything different when it comes to you, lil' dude. I still love you the same.

But days like this, it helps to read the words someone else offers on you, to remind me the gift you are to me, to Daddy. How much impact you have on people who are not your parents. How important and special you are.

Because no matter what? Manners or no manners, Tantrums or no tantrums, hugs, or no hugs, Mama loves.

Saturday, July 18, 2009


Her hair is blonder, her legs longer, her voice sweeter.

We're so glad she's home. I think she's glad too, even after the most fun week ever. She touches us both, on our chests, in the middle.
Then, herself.
Lil' Dude.

Yes, we are still the same. We are still here.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

The Grandma Report

Clearly, she's a traitor.

I received a special Grandma Report a few moments ago revealing that my daughter, my mini-me, my own flesh and blood, is a traitor. She eats cantaloupe. Oh, the shivers down my spine.

There are few things I won't eat. Seafood, out of necessity. Ham. Crunchy things like overdone toast or cereal. And, cantaloupe. Musk melon, depends on where your fruit is from.

And she likes it!

Maybe I should buy it for her.

But then, that would mean I would have to husk it, or peel it, or whatever it's called.

I don't think so.


Both Grandma Reports today have come during the lil' dude's sleep. The first, at nearly 9am, and the second this afternoon during a marathon nap. At least that girl is taking her vacation seriously and sleep-sleep-sleeping. Perfect!

Lucky little traitor.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Blueberries & Love

Right this very second, the lil' dude is snacking on blueberries and reading new books to Monkey, Elmo, and NaNa.

Or so I imagine.

My baby girl is on vacation again this week, she done packed herself up yesterday and hit the road with her grandparents a full half-hour earlier than scheduled. There's just something so appealing and exciting for her when she sees her things being loaded into someone else's car. Oh yeah. Vacation with her grandparents!

The Dad and I both got emails this morning from the lil' dude, she slept herself silly last night and had just gotten up to have blueberries for breakfast. Blueberries her Grandpa T. stopped to buy special for her, because he knows she loves them. Now if that isn't love, I don't know what is.

The rest of her week sounds just as sweet and juicy; some visits with great-aunties and extended cousins, walks around the neighborhood, ice cream and baseball highlights with Grandpa, work events and swimming in Daddy's old hometown pool with Grandma. And a parade, fair food, and kiddie rides at a summer event very near and dear to the heart. Great-Grandma D. is practically in charge of it, and if she has anything to say about it, the lil' dude will be riding rides and winning prizes until the cows come home.

She's so lucky, our baby girl. So many people love her, so many people help shape the village we're raising her in. I sent out 125 thank you's after she was born for baby gifts- gifts from all over the place, with sweet notes attached saying what a lucky girl she was to be born into such a wonderful family. It was so especially touching to see how many people were praying for us, rooting for us, and supporting us with love and generosity. All that fuss over one tiny girl.

She's so worth it.

Friday, July 10, 2009


Lil' dude, this cute little pass-along reminded me of my grandparents. I wanted you to share it with me.
Love, Mama

An Old Farmer's Advice:

Your fences need to be horse-high, pig-tight and bull-strong.

Keep skunks and bankers at a distance.

Life is simpler when you plow around the stump.

A bumble bee is considerably faster than a John Deere tractor.

Words that soak into your ears are whispered...not yelled.

Meanness don't jes' happen overnight.

Forgive your enemies. It messes up their heads.

Do not corner something that you know is meaner than you.

It don't take a very big person to carry a grudge.

You cannot unsay a cruel word.

Every path has a few puddles.

When you wallow with pigs, expect to get dirty.

The best sermons are lived, not preached.

Most of the stuff people worry about ain't never gonna happen anyway.

Don't judge folks by their relatives.

Remember that silence is sometimes the best answer.

Live a good, honorable life. Then when you get older and think back, you'll enjoy it a second time.

Don't interfere with somethin' that ain't bothering you none.

Timing has a lot to do with the outcome of a Rain dance.

If you find yourself in a hole, the first thing to do is stop diggin'.

Sometimes you get, and sometimes you get got.

The biggest troublemaker you'll probably ever have to deal with, watches you from the mirror every mornin'.

Always drink upstream from the herd.

Good judgment comes from experience, and a lotta that comes from bad judgment.

Lettin' the cat outta the bag is a whole lot easier than puttin' it back in.

If you get to thinkin' you're a person of some influence, try orderin' somebody else's dog around.

Live simply. Love generously. Care deeply.

Speak kindly. Leave the rest to God.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

That Was a First

There truly is a first time for everything.
Kids are prone to getting into and doing what they are not supposed to, and every great once in awhile, the lil' dude follows suit.
For example: Finding an entire tube of Aveeno Diaper Rash Cream in her changing table and eating it. And it was my civic and domestic duty as her Mother to capture the rite of passage on film.


The lil' dude is the one child who doesn't hate standing still to be slathered in sunscreen. She turns her arms over, lifts her neck up, and presents her shiny face for application angelically. She also loves to be lotioned up after baths and before bedtime, and if she finds a tube of moisturizer in my bag, she's begging for a squirt.

So it made perfect sense to apply the diaper rash cream to her legs.

She also smeared it all over her bedroom door and shared some with Elmo. At least we're assured now of his tush's health.

Wordless Wednesday

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Letter from Mama, v19

You're 19 months old today, lil' dude!

Old age (ha) suits you. Just the other morning, you perched your breakfast of strawberries and milk on the windowsill in the living room and there you stood. Looking out over the neighborhood. Admiring the lilies. Watching the birds fly in and out of the trees. You were whispering to yourself. We live in a busy development, so there's a lot of action to be taken in from your post. Dogs, runners, strollers, cars, delivery and service vehicles, school buses, day-camp buses, motorcycles, and walking nuns. That's right, walking nuns. One in particular, Sister Catherine, introduced herself to you and the Beagle last month. It was the sweetest thing, and the two of you visited like you were old pals. You're an old soul, lil' dude, and I like that about you.

We're in the height of summer already and it's been hot. There's been pool time and play time and Popsicle time and green grass time. You love nothing more than to be outside. We showed you the bird's nest under the deck, and you liked when the dragonflies perched on your fingers. Owwie, you said, referring to their sticky legs, smiling. You had s'mores for breakfast one day, and drank from the garden hose.

You're big into pretend now, your imagination is as big as the sky. We have tea parties and play medicine on your sick bears with a clean eye dropper. You line up all your buddies on the couch, and pat the spot next to you for me to join you. You hand me my props and we get busy playing. You make me feel like a kid again- it's the most incredible feeling in the world. You love it when someone dances with you, you love humming the tune to The Young & The Restless with Daddy (he could be embarrassed, but he's not), and you direct me to water the plants when you see me filling up my watering can. Your world was turned upside down when you found a miniature flashlight you had free reign of. You're dramatic, carefree, hilarious, generous, and bold.

And? Mama loves all those things about you.
Mama loves.

Monday, July 6, 2009

On Being Girls

You climb in my lap and take my library book from me, as I am three pages from the end. You open the pages, nothing but small black text on creamy white paper and trace your finger along the sentences. You want to know what I am looking at, what words I am filtering through my brain.

You dig in my purse and smear tangerine chapstick all over your lips. Then, you had me the tube to do the same.

We spend a lot of time in the bathroom, you on your mini pink throne, and I in front of you, your muse. I paint your toenails the same exact pink color as mine. You sit perfectly still, whispering, pretty.

You cried on our way home last week because you wanted my headband. I passed it back to you and you slipped it over your head and let it rest on your neck until we pulled in the driveway.

As you and Daddy snack, you always get enough to share with me.

You line up my flip-flops in the entryway in correct pairs. You bang your babydolls on my thighs as I am making dinner, asking politely for help with their blankets, hats, pacifiers.

I let you sip my iced mocha from the straw.

You dig through your laundry basket to find your favorite articles of clothing- you pull them over your existing outfit and smile big.

I've always said being a girl is the very best thing there is. And having you as my girl has confirmed that I was right all along.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Happy Birthday Daddy!

Happy Birthday to you, Daddy. I hope you have a great day! I am happy we can celebrate together.
Love, your sidekick, your #1 fan, your mini-me,
Lil' Dude

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Water. Cold.

That is the lil' dude's new sentence after our vacation.

She tried the lake, but, Water. Cold.

So we came up with Plan B ... which she was all for. That little girl, I love how easily she adapts no matter the situation. We spent the better part of three days nestled warmly in our cabin while she did what she does best- snacking, sleeping, laughing, calling for attention, playing hide-n-seek, talking to Elmo, pushing trucks on the floor.

Because, after all, it's not what you do. It's who you're with.