I know it's been forever since I last wrote. There have been some pretty momentous happenings around these parts and some ordinary, but totally fun, things too. So this will be a major catchup post. Then I'm reaffirming my dedication to posting more - like at least once a week (okay, okay, don't hold your breath, but I wanted you to know I'm thinking of you).
Leila is eating AND crawling. I know, I know, wait a gosh darn minute. Wasn't she just born in April? But, and I remind myself of this all the time, that was 7.5 months ago! It wasn't yesterday, or even last month! My babe of sweetness and light is mobile and craving big people food. About three weeks ago she started to push up on all fours regularly. A week later she was rocking back and forth - a LOT. Then she started to attempt to push herself into a sitting position. After quite a few face dives she caught on to sitting up and has been doing that reliably for a week and a half or so. (We were so excited about Leila learning to sit that we started announcing to everyone when we saw her doing so. Now ALL the kids give a PSA (public safety announcement) whenever she sits up on her own. "Leila actually sat up BY HERSELF!!!") She was scooting backwards quite a bit, but whenever she would put one hand forward while she was on all fours, she would collapse. Then today, she put it all together and crawled forward. Oh it was AMAZING! She would put one hand out, then scoot the opposite knee. Then she'd put the other hand out and scoot two knees together. Then she got more coordinated and all of a sudden she was crawling. She is now officially Trouble; like any good baby she loves cords, electrical outlets, and all things that are forbidden. Pre-crawling these forbidden items were just a dream, an unattainable goal, but now she can get them and get them she shall.
In addition to the crawling she is LOVING table food. I was being sort of lazy and haphazard about it. I started giving her some banana and sweet potato to play with occasionally. Then I tried giving her some bites and she opened her mouth, swallowed, and then opened her mouth again!
Quick aside here: Elie was a masterful eater. When we started solids with her, she was READY. From the first bite she ate and ate well. Isaac and Talia, well, they were a completely different story. Neither one wanted to eat. They didn't like the texture, the taste, the fact that what they were consuming was not mommamilk. Now, there is nothing inherently wrong with this, it just made our lives a bit more challenging because their tummies get bigger and they need nursing more often. I remember we were camping with GranEde and GranDude and GranEde was trying to feed Isaac. I warned her that he would likely take two or three bites and refuse to eat any more. She said "we'll see about that." Lo and behold he would NOT eat for her and she said "Wow, I see what you mean about him not eating." He just wasn't that interested. Isaac and Talia both had some weight loss and the drs hassled me (one told me I might have to wean when Talia was 12 mths and I said "oh no way") it was kind of a pain in the patootie. So I was fully expecting Leila to be the same kind of thing.
However, she's NOT. She loves food. She dives for food. She makes squealing, grunting, air raid siren noises when we're eating and she wants some. I made rolls on Thanksgiving and I was holding one in my hand. All of a sudden she was diving out of my arms. I couldn't figure out what she wanted. Then I thought that maybe she wanted the roll, so I gave her a tiny crumb. She was in heaven! She did the diving thing again on the roll, but this time she opened her mouth so she fell mouth first on the thing. She loves bananas, sweet potatoes, avocados, food, food, food, food, food! Of course, she still looooooves the mamamilk which is just fine with me. I'm not ready for that to go away - it's waaaaaay to early.
Elie did say, the other day, "Won't it be nice when Leila weans?" I thought this was a hard question to answer. I don't think it will be nice when Leila weans. I love breastfeeding. I love my breastfeeding relationships. I have loved breastfeeding each of my children. I am so happy that we were able to breastfeed, so glad that I had support and love from my family and husband. I will be sad when my time of breastfeeding is over. Yet I recognize and understand the process. My babe will grow up. There will be a time when she doesn't need to breastfeed anymore. That is okay with me. But it isn't really *nice* it's just the rhythm and of life and growth. But explaining all that to a five year old is, well, difficult.
Speaking of that five year old, she's dynamic, she's amazing, she's motivated and smart and funny. I am in looooove with that five year old! Not to say we still aren't having our bumps. We're experimenting with the pout, the whine, and (still) the argument. However, she is growing into such a cool person, it puts a smile on my face. At the end of October I went to her parent/teacher conference. It went really well. The teacher says Elie is sweet, kind, attentive and smart. She tested at an end of kindergarten reading level. The teacher also gave me some more ideas about challenging her further when we do her enrichment (aka homework). At the end of the conference she said there was one thing that she thought was odd and wanted to mention. She told me she had debated saying anything at all, but finally decided to say something about. She said that Elie sometimes zones out in class. She gets a far away look and doesn't seem to be paying attention, she said. I was totally puzzled. What the heck is she doing, I was thinking to myself. The teacher said that Elie always knows the answer when she is called on, but she does zone out. I came home and I told Adam. I was completely befuddled. He looked at me with a funny look on his face. "You know what it is, right?" he said to me. No, I said I had no idea. "She's bored. She zones out because she's bored." And I knew he was right. I didn't/don't really know what to do about this. I'm sad and concerned. I want her to be challenged and happy and stimulated. I know she won't be those things all the time, but.....I'm not really sure what to do. So we're working at home and she's catching on and all of a sudden she is LOVING to read. For the very first time last week she sat down with a book, all by herself, and started reading out loud. She asked for help sounding somethings out, but for the most part SHE did it. Then she picked up another book and read it. It was marvelous, amazing, astounding and outstanding!
Elie also gives me the report from school everyday. In the beginning of the year she came home and told us about a little boy who has no left hand and only two fingers on his right hand. She was slightly sad about it. "He can't play like the other kids. How does he do anything?" I asked if she knew his name and she told me that he was in the other kindergarten class and she only saw him on the playground. I encouraged her to introduce herself, ask him his name and then ask him if he wanted to play. So she did! In the beginning Patrick just smiled and hid himself from her, then she started to tell him hi and that she was going to be playing such and such and he could join her if he liked. Just last week they actually had a conversation! I want her to explore how we're all different AND we're all the same. It is so important to realize that different isn't wrong, just different. She now counts him as her friend at school and she's learned that he CAN play, just differently, but he likes to do the same things she does. She also talks about her other friends and I get the report about who had a good day and who had a not so good day.
I am so proud of her. She is such a cool kid.
Isaac is doing amazing things as well. He's decided that he's going to keep up with Elie in the reading department. He can sound lots of words out, as well as straight up read words. He amazes me on a daily basis about what he can read. Of course, he suffers from distracteditis and makeupworditis, but that seems to be something that afflicts all early readers. The whole situation is made slightly more challenging by the fact that Elie tries to shout out the answer when he is reading, which often confuses the situation. Adam went to his parent/teacher conference and the report was shining and positive. Isaac's teacher praised Isaac for his ability to play well with other kiddos and his ability to follow instructions. She even told a really cute story about how they were talking about "e" and asked the students to name words that started with that letter. They were getting answers like "kitty" and "duck" and Isaac raised his hand and said "emu". The teachers told us they were blown away. He is growing and changing too. He's started writing words all the time. Every time he sits down at the art table, he is trying to sound out and write down words. He also has started exploring imaginary play about shooting, killing, and dying. I'm not a giant fan of that situation, but that's what playing is for, right? Boys are different and he is definitely picking up some *boy* play at school. So, we're working on guiding that in a positive direction.
Isaac recently did a questionnaire at school and they asked what he wanted to be when he grew up. He said he wanted to be a garbage truck man and a football player. What a combo, eh?
The other night they were all at the dining room table. Adam and I were in and out, putting away food and clearing the table. There was some sort of ruckus and I asked what was going on. "We're talking," says Elie. "We're talking about killing," says Isaac. Adam and I glanced at each other and I said "What about killing?" "Thanksgiving killing," answers Isaac again. Lovely. Turns out they were talking about the Native Americans killing turkeys and buffalo. Actually they were arguing, but that's nothing out of the ordinary these days anyway.
And Loo-loo. Little Miss Talia. Oh what a princess, what a pest, what a 2.5 year old. She has finally realized that Leila is not going away. And worse is that Leila is now a moving, entertaining entity that will steal the attention that Talia used to be getting. In addition, we are exploring the use of temper tantrum as a negotiating technique. Thrilling. She doesn't seem to be aggressive towards Leila, it's just the rest of us that are on the receiving end. But she'll grow out of that. Meanwhile, she's talking hilariously like a grownup and getting more and more opinionated. She can swing herself, get on the swing herself and thinks she can do most everything else BY HERSELF. But she does love a snuggle and she is funny as get out. We are both enjoying the time we have when it is just her and Leila and me. We do puzzles, read, and (her favorite) build tall towers with the blocks.
We were at the National Naval Medical Center for Leila's checkup the other day. Talia has taken to snorting when she feels obstinate. She was sitting behind an elderly couple while I waited in line. I told her not to do something and she made this enormous, very loud snort. The man of the couple looked around frowing and made some comment to his wife. Talia just smiled at me. Lovely, times two.
Elie asked me, while we were out at Costco the other day, "When does Santa come?" ARGHGHGH more of these questions. Santa doesn't come. Santa isn't real. But I can't tell her that. In fact, I've gone out of my way to make sure she knows that Santa is something other people believe in, but he doesn't come to our house because we don't celebrate Christmas. The reason for that being so that she doesn't become the least popular kid at school when she goes there and says "Santa isn't real" the next time the subject comesup. So I repeat that he doesn't come to our house and she says "I KNOW that. When does he come to other people's houses?" Okay, so I tell the story. She says "Does that REALLY happen?" Time for the old standby, say it with me now, "Well, what do you think?" "I think it really does." "Okay," I say. Whew. The looks I was getting from strangers when I said Santa doesn't come to our house were totally stern. I'd like a sign, preferrably a big one, that says "We're Jewish!"
We didn't have turkey on Thanksgiving. Adam's parents and grandfather came over and I made fish. When I announced to the kids that we weren't having turkey, you'd have thought I told them Santa wasn't real. Oh wait, bad analogy. You'd have thought I told them we weren't having birthdays any more. There was whining "Whyyyyyy? You HAVE to have turkey on Thanksgiving!" Calls that I was thumping tradition, "We ALWAYS have turkey on Thanksgiving." And general displeasure. We had the fish, it was a great Thanksgiving. A nice time was had by all. Then Adam's Dad invited us over for turkey tonight. This afternoon Elie said to me "What are we having at GDaddy's?" And I said "Turkey. Aren't you happy? You get to have turkey." And she said "I'm not sure if I really like turkey."