Maddison

puddle splashing

Puddle splasher After a pretty dry spring, we've finally been getting some rain lately. Tonight, after reassuring Brooklynn that the tornado watch did not mean we should move all the toys from the playroom into the basement shower for safekeeping, I got the girls outside in some nice rain.

If small puddles on the sidewalk are good, then the deeper water in the gutter is better, and that makes the fast moving water on the hill the best. Not to worry, Maddi only brought about a half inch of water in the bottom of each of her boots inside with her.

upwards and onwards

It's hard not compare the children. As much as I try to recognize them for their own unique traits, I reference a lot of my experience to Maddi back to what Brooklynn was like at a similar age. And the more I reference back, the more I find myself thinking, Brooklynn would not have been doing that. The Climber

At the playground near our house, there are a few tall ladders. Brooklynn was cautious around high things that could lead to falls. Maddi is not. I was with Brooklynn at a different part of the playground for a couple minutes and realized that Maddi was no longer on the little kid section of slides. And I couldn't see her.

My initial thought was that she had headed up the sidewalk toward the street, so I briskly walked around to the street side of the equipment and scanned the edge of the road. No Maddi. As I turned back to the mulched play area, there she was, on the chain ladder about three times as tall as herself. She was one rung from the top and trying to figure out what to do since the hand holds were different than the rest of the way up.

I walked over and showed her the handles on the sides of the platform. Away she went.

Unlike Brooklynn, Maddi does not like assistance when she climbs. Into cars. Up ladders. Over the edge of the bath. No, do not touch her. If you do, that constitutes a violation of her do-it-myself attitude and she has to start all over. And then you also get scolded by a toddler, "No Daddy! Mah-SEFF!" If you are really fortunate, she will continue to mutter her version of myself to, well, herself, as is to ward off any unwanted assistance.

Keep that free spirit, Maddi. Just don't look down.

across the spectrum

Mornings have slowly evolved into a routine in the house. On a good day, this finds me up and ready before either of the girls are awake. While they are both capable of being a little independent, it's just easier to get started without them requiring any assistance. Since the time change a few weeks ago, this hasn't been an issue. It's still dark prior to 7am, and to this point, doesn't come too far ahead of sunrise. Some mornings, if we had an early bedtime the night before, Maddi will start making noise. We recently took the side off of her crib, and even though she can get out of her bed, she typically doesn't. Maybe it's the low side that's on it to keep her from rolling out. Maybe it's the fact that she can't open the doors in the house so she can't really go anywhere anyway. Whatever it is that keeps her in bed when she wakes up, I'm not going to complain.

Even if she isn't awake, Maddi typically pops up quickly after I walk in. She likes to have her diaper changed right away, and then a new outfit is selected. If I don't have one picked out yet, I get assistance in the closet. Thankfully, Rhiannon loads the closet with matching outfits pre-sorted, so as long as I take the pants under whatever shirt Maddi grabs, we are good to go. Then she likes to run down the hall and say good morning to Rhiannon.

Before I get Maddi, I like to open Brooklynn's door. This lets the hall light shine in for a little bit before I get her. It doesn't mean she's awake. More often than not, it means when I go in, the blankets are pulled over her head and she has her back to the door. Where Maddi seems pretty excited about getting ready, Brooklynn does not. She doesn't like being uncovered. She doesn't like getting dressed, or getting out of bed, or getting breakfast. Asking a person to sit at a table and eat food prior to 7:15 is asking a lot.

Maddi runs to the pantry and usually requests rice krispies. Brooklynn sulks at the table and rejects the three options I give her before sighing heavily and selecting the first choice I already gave her, as if her life is about to end because her dad can't figure out what is the least objectionable food to start a day with. Keep in mind, least objectionable is a very fluid term - what was a hit one morning may be detested the next day. Peach kuchen bars had a solid two week run until she decided one morning that peaches weren't really good for breakfast anymore and could I just dig all those out?

Maddi finishes eating and runs around finding her SHOES and HAT and COAT and BACKPACK! Every morning is a new adventure full of things to learn. She can pick out her footwear. She can put on her own coat. What is this amazing beverage in my bottle today? Why, it's WATER! HOORAY LIFE!!

Brooklynn decides about the time we need to leave that her mostly untouched and inedible breakfast is now the finest dining experience and how can we be so cruel as to tear her away from such delicacies before she is allowed to finish eating? Life is not fair. If it's cold, we make her wear her winter coat, the bulky one that bunches up when she sits in the car. Travesty! If we relent and let her wear the less bulky (and less warm) one, she will decide about the time the garage door closes that she is freezing and where is her warm coat and why isn't the car toasty yet? Anguish and torment.

If our life were a sitcom with two teenagers, Maddi would be a cheerleader excited about the big game and Brooklynn would be a brooding renegade, wearing all black and muttering to herself about how the world doesn't understand her.

Then I start the soundtrack to the Frozen movie as we drive. Peace settles over the car, Brooklynn signs along and Maddi chimes in on the words that end the major phrases. Just a simple drive, day after day. Routine. Aside from being both exasperating and exhausting every single morning, it's kind of comforting.

Now, having committed all of this in writing, I'm guessing tomorrow morning will be drastically different.

injury identification

While Maddi is slowly progressing on her speaking vocabulary, her understanding is growing rapidly. At least her decisiveness in answering questions is getting better.

Maddi, would you like to go back to bed?

No!

Maddi, would you like to cuddle in bed for a while with mom and dad in our room?

No!

Maddi, would you like to watch some PBS shows on the TV?

No!

Maddi, would you like eat breakfast out here by yourself?

No!

Maddi, it’s 6:30am on the weekend. No one else in the house is up yet. Would you like me to sit out in the living room with you because you think it’s time to be awake now?

Yeah!

Wonderful…

It’s nice that she can follow directions and answer an expanding repertoire of questions with increasing accuracy. We could do without the stubbornness. She latches on to ideas and won’t let go. Like she needs her pacifier more than we would like. She likes to take care of babies. And she is concerned about owies.

Maddi has a scratch on one of her knuckles, and the last time I asked to see her pretty painted nails, that was the only thing that concerned her. She points to her knuckle – owie, owie! It doesn’t matter how old the scratch or mark it, it’s still an owie.

If she bumps her head or runs into a wall – owie! If I have a scratch or bruise on my leg that she can see, she will walk over, point to it with her finger, and say in her most concerned voice, Owie! Then she will pat it as if to say, Don’t worry Dad, it’s going to be ok.

Last night, we were in the pool for parent/child swimming class. Maddi likes swimming and likes to be in the water, but the class gets over close to 7pm which is close to her bedtime. By the end of the class, she wasn’t happy and wanted to put her toy back in the tub and get out. She reached out to put the frog back and noticed her wrinkled fingers.

She held her hand out toward me and with a small cry, as if she was asking why we were still there so late at night, owie. She grabbed my hand, saw my fingers, point to them and informed that was also an owie. She patted my wrinkled hand with her wrinkled hand, put her head on my shoulder, and sighed a soft owie. It’s late, Dad. Let’s go home and get well.

they don't need us

One of the things that Rhiannon and I have always felt strongly about is reading the girls bedtime stories. When Brooklynn was really little, we read a couple books that were more for the parents than for the child, a half chapter at a time each night. As she got older, we transitioned into a couple books each night that you can read through in one sitting. I think she is finally old enough that we could start reading longer stories a little at a time again, kind of like breaking a movie up into small pieces. Maddi is also now old enough that she likes her picture books and enjoys to read the same book multiple times in one night or repeat the same story night after night so she can find the pictures and say the words that she knows.

Or, maybe neither of them need us anymore and they will take over their own story needs.

Evenying Reading Bedtime Story

(Let's just keep the fact that Maddi's book is upside between us, ok? All she's really concerned with is that she finds which flap opens to reveal a baby.)

Tree Stripping

When we set up the tree, Maddi was taking a nap. Since it was the first time we were putting up decorations in the new house and didn't know exactly where everything should go, we felt it might be a little easier without the eager helping hands of the little one. Once the tree was up, we had a no touching policy. The ornaments are plastic, so breakage wasn't a huge concern. Rather, we just don't want the kids to get in the habit of rummaging through the indoor foliage. As we've done on more than occasion, we took our tree down on New Year's Day this year. Maddi was not asleep, and she was not going to miss out on the opportunity to finally play with all the ornaments that she's been looking at for the past month.

Where does this go

We made her help sort by color. Pink and purple and red and orange are pretty close together, so there were a few issues there. (I won't go into the fact that more of the issues were probably mine than Maddi's. I'll blame that on the fact that Rhiannon was telling Maddi which pile to place ornaments in and she wasn't offering any hints to me.)

Ornamental

it's what time again

In talking to a couple on Monday morning, they made the comment that the "fall back" time change is one of the best weekends of the year, mostly due to the fact that on Sunday morning, you get an extra hour of sleep. Unless of course, you are the parent of young children, in which case, it probably means you get to be up at what the clock says is really early on a weekend. In our case, Maddison decided that 5:45 was about as late as she cared to stay in her bed. Maddi is still in a crib, so she needs us to come and get her before she can get out of bed in the morning. She hasn't tried to climb out yet, but that's probably due to the fact that she has us trained to not leave in there too long. At some point, she started to shake the crib when she was awake and wanted out, and we jokingly made the comment that we'd better get in there before she shook the crib apart.

To Maddi, this is how it looked: She wants out, she shakes crib, and we come get her out. That's called positive reinforcement.

Fast forward to today - She wants out, so she shakes the crib. Except now she's getting big and strong enough that her shaking the crib apart feels like much more of a valid concern, so we really do go get her out pretty quickly. This morning, that happened at 6:15. 6:15 on a weekend will not be ok, so she needs to figure out this time change somewhat soon. I fear for the crib's safety if she doesn't.

trick or treat, twice the fun

Halloween 2013 This was our first year of having two kids holding out buckets for candy. While Brooklynn has been excited for trick-or-treating for months since she decided that she would be a princess, Maddi had no idea what was coming. We tried her costume on a couple weeks ago and she didn't like having the hood on her head. We figured that we would let her wear it a few times before hand to get used to it.

And then it was the morning of Halloween and we hadn't put it on her one time. The girls' school had a Halloween party, and I guess seeing the other kids in costume made it ok for Maddi to like hers, because we had no issues.

Brooklynn was also quite happy with her costume of a princess dress. The same dress she wore over the summer for her 4th birthday, except Halloween isn't in June. Brooklynn doesn't like to wear things like pants or sleeves with a dress because then she might be a real princess, and the idea of marring her perfect costume with everyday accouterments like a coat or sweater did not sit well with her. Unfortunately for her, the end of October in North Dakota isn't typically bare-arms weathter; hence, we ended up with the remnants of tears that you might notice in some photos.

Halloween 2013

Once we got going, both girls had a wonderful time. Brooklynn took care of the ringing of doorbells, typically remembering the trick-or-treat's and thank you's. The first couple houses we stopped at let the girls pick out candy from the bowls themselves, which confused Maddi for the rest of the evening. Instead of holding out her bucket, she would grab candy from everyone's hand and put it in the pail herself. Yes, she wants your candy, but no, you can't put your hand near her bucket. Thank you.

Halloween 2013

While Brooklynn didn't want to pose for pictures by herself, Maddi had no such issue. Unless of course, the posing may have prevented her from being up to a front door on time to get more candy.

anything you can do

Bubbles We have a monkey see, monkey see situation in our house. Anything that Maddi sees Brooklynn do, she would like to do as well.

Brooklynn goes downstairs, Maddi goes downstairs.

Brooklynn watches a little TV before bed, Maddi watches a little TV before bed.

Brooklynn hides in her closet, Maddi hides right along side her.

It's cute, it's fun, and someday, Brooklynn is going to have a melt down because she just wants to be left alone.

Pumpkin designing

Someday, but not today.

they match

Maddi has spent her entire life preparing her cheeks to go with this shirt. I Heart Candy

I'd say it was a resounding success. In case you're interested in what her methodology is, see below:

Frosting

Speaks for itself, doesn't it?

i'd like some more

When Brooklynn was 12 months, daycare asked if she could have peanut butter. Up until that point, we had never intentionally given her anything with peanuts in it, so we figured we try it out at home that weekend. We gave her a little peanut butter on a graham cracker and she loved it. She also broke out in hives about 15 seconds later, so we said no to the peanut butter. For the next few years, we avoided foods with nuts for Brooklynn. She’s better now, but we just never tried anything with nuts for Maddi either. Until last night, Rhiannon was having peanut butter and celery at the dinner table. Maddi reached for her own piece of celery, but she didn’t want it plain.

We put a little peanut butter on the celery and Maddi sucked it off. Apparently it met her approval because she handed the celery back to Rhiannon for a second helping. She didn’t immediately break out, so here goes nothing, right? Peanut butter on celery handed to Maddi and celery returned shortly thereafter, devoid of any nut products.

At that point, rather than support the habit of quadruple dipping her veggies, we just gave her a spoon.

First taste of PB

She approved of that decision as well.

And no, Maddi does not typically eat dinner with no shirt, but between the yogurt and nachos and peanut butter, we were at the point of shirtless being the best option. I don’t judge your parenting style. Don’t judge mine.

snow days

Rhiannon has yet to have a snow day teaching this year, and considering she has a week to go before state testing, she doesn't want one right now. However, that doesn't mean we haven't been waiting for a nice day with some snow on a weekend. This year in Denver, the snow has been pretty sparse, so getting a sunny day to get the kids out was too good to pass up.

This is Fun

On top of that, the snow was great for packing.

Snowman Building

Outside of the one mishap where the first attempt at a tall snowman fell over, it went pretty well.

Snowman Building

And just like so many other things right now, we are calling the snowman George.

Snowman Building

discovering the stash

Unlike Brooklynn, Maddi likes her some pacifier from time to time. Not all the time, but more of than not, she'll take one if offered. She especially likes one when she is just a little tired but not all the way to sleep when we lay her down. We keep her crib at an angle in her room so there is a corner behind it that is both hard to see and hard to get to. When we seem to be missing some of the seven pacifiers we have around the house at any given time, we can normally look behind her bed and find one that has dropped back there at some point during a night.

Or, on a night like tonight, we can find five of them.

Sometimes I hear a story in the news about someone hoarding supplies in case of a natural disaster or government collapse. If a catastrophic event that leads to the breakdown of our society ever does occur, and if one of the supplies in high demand after such an event is a collection of pacifiers, I feel confident I know where to go: Maddi's secret stash behind her bed.

Hoarder

Actually, she'll probably just share them with you.

Growing up fast

So things have been a little quite around here due to some big life changes and what seems like going from 5 am or earlier every day to about 8:30pm without a break. Rest assured that everyone is doing fine. I'm working on the backlog and hopefully, if nothing else, I'll keep up with pictures a little better this year. I don't think things are going to slow down at all, because look who's standing...

Freestander

Help us all.

maddi - month 9

Editor's note: Yes, I haven't posted one of these in a while. Don't worry, the unposted ones are all in relatively complete draft state. It's the pictures that I'm really lacking. So, I posted one without pictures. And yes, we are taking pictures. It's the post-processing that's the tough part to keep up with. Dear Maddi,

You are now nine months old, and it's a little overwhelming to thing that you've now spent as much time with us as it took for you to be ready to join us.

This month, you took your second car trip up to North Dakota, and I'm happy to report to you that it went much better than the first, for several reasons. You are a much better eater than the first time. At that point, you were terrible at burping, so the fact we did not find ourselves on the side of road to burp you was a big help.

Secondly, Mom climbed into the back seat to feed you and sit by you for a good portion of the trip. You like to see people, and having someone right there beside seemed to make being stuck in a car for 10 hours a little more bearable. The only drawback was the fact that you didn't like being put in the car for the drive to and from daycare without Mom back there with you.

You are tearing through pureed food about as fast as we can shovel it in your mouth, at least as long as it consists of meat and veggies. You have shown a distinct displeasure with fruit: applesauce, peaches, and pears. You make a grumpy face and stop eating. I'd say it's sweet that you don't like, but you seem to be ok with a little ice cream now and then, so I'm not sure what your hesitation is.

You may be eating a lot of food, but you are also moving around to burn off that energy. You crawl around with little regard for what might be in your way. A pile of clothes and stuffed animals - who needs to go around? Just crawl right through it.

You like to explore everything, especially the volume knob on the TV receiver and the dirt in the big pot by the steps. If we are sitting in the living room and you suddenly make a bee-line up front, chances are we will have to intercept you before you can get dirty. About halfway there, you will even stop to check if we are coming, and I imagine it's been frustrating to get so close before we grab you. Don't worry, you've managed to get dirty more times than we would like.

You are also pulling yourself up to standing now, so we expect that you will be starting to furniture walk sooner or later. I know that crawling is a great way to get around, but if you want to keep up with your sister, you're going to have to get up on your feet sooner or later. Let's just avoid going down the steps until you get a little more coordinated.

You fell off our bed for the first time (under my watch, as your mom would like me to point out) and landed on your forehead. Between your aunt who works as a neonatal intensive care nurse, a family friend who is a pediatric emergency doctor and the family physician, we called about everyone we could think of that night and no one seemed too worried. A little light bruise that went away was the worst of it, but we were pretty scared for a little bit.

You have also started to prefer Mom over Dad if given the option, so if you managed to associate me with falling, I'll take it. Making those connections at your age would be great. Either way, I still love you very much, just like your mom and sister do too.

Posing

And if you develop an unexplained fear of heights as you grow older, sorry.

Love, Dad

stop, thief!

It seems like this should be something out of a cop TV show, where the police chief gives a statement that the suspect was successfully apprehended, complete with incriminatory evidence, after a lengthy investigation. Then cut to the tv interview of the mother saying how she tried to raise her baby right but didn’t know what else she could have done and the token neighbor saying how shocked everyone is. Maddi is a sock stealer. Not only does she rapidly and repeatedly attempt to take off any socks we put on her feet, but now she is mobile and crawling, and early reports from daycare seem to indicate that she will attempt to take socks of the other kids. As they put it, she's on the prowl. All the time.

If her behavior toward me is in anyway typical, she really is very interested in feet and socks. Who would ever suspect such a thing out of someone with cheeks like that?

So Pleased

roll over

Turn your back for one second and your kids will get all grown up on you.

Roll Over from Chris&Rhiannon on Vimeo.

It seems like a couple of weeks ago that she was a newborn who couldn't hold her head up and now we have this tiny person in our house who you can't even trust to stay in one spot for too long.

Brooklynn does get concerned when Maddi ends up on the wood floor. Luckily during this video, she was busy with me as I tried to get her to finish her supper.

shades of blue

Rhiannon is into her second week with students in the new school year and I've been putting in some longer days with a busy project at work, so it feels like we see our girls for a short time in the morning and a slightly longer period in the evening, just enough to eat, briefly play, and get ready for bed. Luckily, part of the bedtime routine is taking a bath, which is one of Maddi's favorite things right now.

Post Bath

I just like how her eyes match her towel when she's done.