Sunday, July 3, 2016

27/52

*A portrait of my children, once a week, every week, in 2016*

Matteo:  Showing Sissy how to do the laundry.  Sometimes you get overly excited and yell a little too loud or squeeze a little too tight, but you love your sister so much and are very sweet and generous with her.

Lilah:  Helping your brother do some laundry in his teepee.  He always tells me that he wants to teach you "everything."

26/52

*A portrait of my children, once a week, every week, in 2016*

Matteo: Elmo has been your constant companion of late.  Here, he "really really really" wanted to go for a ride in the wagon.

Lilah: Ten months old!  You are crawling really well now, and always follow me into the next room if I leave your sight.  You love to be around us, which is just so sweet.  You also like to watch your brother play and you try to join in on the fun when you can.  He has been really good about sharing his toys with you, but he can be a little over-zealous sometimes, grabbing you in big bear hugs or trying to pick you up.  You clearly adore him anyway.  You still have two teeth but can eat most foods really well.  When your Papa feeds you a giant mountain of pasta with grated parmigiano on top, you beam at him in gratitude.  When you are happy eating in your high chair, you have this cute habit of sticking your foot straight up in the air.  We can always tell you approve of the night's menu when that little foot makes its way up to your tray.  I can't believe you are so big already.  I love you so much, baby girl. 

25/52

*A portrait of my children, once a week, every week, in 2016*

Matteo: Harvesting some of the early peas from our garden teepee that you helped me plant in the rain several weeks back.  You were very excited to pick them and you even ate a few!

Lilah: This week, you started crawling!  You really wanted a roll of toilet paper that I put a few feet away from you and it was enough motivation to get your started.  Here, you crawled all the way from the living room into the dining room.  You were quite proud of yourself!  I'm so proud of you, too, my sweet girl.

24/52

*A portrait of my children, once a week, every week, in 2016*

Matteo's Dream Journal:

Entry 1:
Mama and Matteo were riding on a whale.  We went to the library.  The whale got a whale book and Matteo checked out a Halloween book and Mama checked out a line book.  And then we went to lots of fun places.  And then they went home and went to bed because it was nighttime.  And the whale went to bed in Matteo's bed because I like to snuggle with whales.  I wish I had a whale!

Entry 2:
I was riding on a whale with Mama.  The whale was sick but then he felt better cause he sleeped and sleeped and sleeped.  Rise and shine, everybody, it's a beautiful day! 

Entry 3:
I was swimming in a big sink!

Entry 4:
It's a secret.  I can't tell you until Monday.

Entry 5:
Matteo and Mama were baking lots of cakes--chocolate cakes, strawberry cakes and cupcakes and we were eating 'em all up!

Lilah: You have been sitting up like this for a couple of weeks now, but haven't quite started crawling yet.  Any day now, you'll be on the move!

23/52



*A portrait of my children, once a week, every week, in 2016*

Matteo: Recently Overheard Things:

"My broccoli is too slippery." (Reason #34 why you can't eat your vegetables.)

"Mama, I found some honeysuckle!  And it smells like honey toast! And there was a bee taking care of it!  And I said hi to him!"

"There's a lot going on in Japan right now." (Randomly, matter-of-factly)

"Mama, I want a pie house that's made all out of pie.  Strawberry pie."

"When I lose my baby teeth someday and the tooth fairy comes, will she bring me a castle?"

"What a glorious day it is today!"

"The reason I have a lot of energy is because I drink a lot of water!  When we get home, I'll pour you a nice big glass."

"Mama, when I grow up, can I have a laundromat?" 

"Is this your coffee?  It smells like yoga." 

"Mama, I want to do an experiment in the bathtub.  I need one quart of cinnamon and five quarts of loganberries."

You: "How big do I have to be to go up in a plane and dive down with a parachute into a pool?"
Me: "Ummm, 18."
You: "Oh, that's really tall!"

Lilah: Looking at trees on a sunny day in the park (1).  When your brother has delicious snacks and you don't (2).

Thursday, June 9, 2016

22/52

*A portrait of my children, once a week, every week, in 2016*

Matteo: Your latest obsession hobby is doing laundry.  It started after visiting the washer and dryer section at Lowe's, where you really enjoyed opening and closing every model...twice.  Then, you started asking (every day) if we could go back--this time with a suitcase full of stuffed animals.  You were very happy to shift your stuffed animals around from washer to washer, opening and shutting the doors and pretending to watch them "wash" through the large round windows of the shiny new models.  You wanted to go so frequently that we started alternating between Lowe's and Home Depot to avoid raising any suspicion that we were not really in the market for a new washer or dryer.  This week you upped the ante after discovering the laundromat--a magical place beckoning to you from a faraway land (the other side of the highway).  This weekend, we let you wash the dog's bed in one of the industrial-sized washers after you told us you would rather spend the morning doing this than going to a children's festival at a local park (!)  You walked up and down the rows of machines over and over again, opening and closing anything that wasn't already in use.  The fine folks at the Lady Fair Laundromat mostly indulged you, remarking on what a "busy boy" you are and on how "you sure do like washing machines!"  Every day since you have been asking to go back to wash Una's bed again:  "Look, Mama, it's so dirty!  It needs a wash at the laundrymat!"

Lilah: Nine months old!  You still have two teeth and eating is definitely your favorite activity.  You have started to say "Yum" while eating something that you particularly enjoy, like watermelon or pasta.  You have also started to sit up on all fours, rocking back and forth to practice for crawling.  You smile so easily, which makes you a joy to be around.  You love watching your brother play and have started to interact with him a lot, grabbing at whatever toy he happens to be playing with at the time.  He loves to teach you new things: "Look, Lilah, this is how you open my washing mahine!" he'll say, as you watch him with an expression of great interest.  You sleep pretty well at night, as long as Mama is next to you.  You are usually happy when we take you someplace new, so it's fun to go on adventures as a family.  Your Papa started calling you Lulu Bug one day, and it caught on quickly, so this is your new nickname.  We love you so very much, little Lulu Bug.

21/52

*A portrait of my children, once a week, every week, in 2016*

Matteo: You have been saving pieces of string to leave for the birds in our backyard ever since you discovered that they use them to build nests.  Here, you take your time to situate a long piece in just the right place, where you are sure the birds will be able to find it.

A Recent Conversation about Birds:
You: "Mama, why do birds build nests on the roof?"
Me: "Nests are like a house for birds."
You: "Why do they not build a roof?"
Me: "Well, sometimes they find a covered place to build their nest, like a leafy tree or a covered building.  That way they do have a roof."
You: "Like a rocking chair?"
Me: "Hmmm....maybe.  Why do you think a bird would use a rocking chair?"
You: "So they can rock their babies to sleep!"

Lilah: When Daddy babysits, I come home to find you like this: happy, well-fed and covered in the evidence.  

20/52

*A portrait of my children, once a week, every week, in 2016*

Matteo: A Recent Conversation about Water Conservation:
You: (Letting the water run on full blast in the sink)
Me: "Matteo, where do you think our water comes from?"
You: "Whales."
Me: "Whales?"
You: "Yeah, whales!"
Me: "Um, ok...How many whales do you think there are in the world?"
You: "One."
Me: "Just one whale?"
You: "No!  Three."
Me: "Ok, so if there are three whales in the world making all of the water, what would happen if they can't make as much as everyone needs?"
You: "Well, it just goes through the little pipes and into our sink!"
Me: "That's right.  Where do you think it comes from before that?"
You: "The wheel in the water factory!"
Me: "And before that?"
You: "The whale!"
Me: "So what if there were no more whales because too many people used too much water?"
You: (Silence)
Me: "We wouldn't have any more water."
You" "Oh, I see.  That's the problem!"  (Contemplating this revelation)
Me: (Feeling a sense of accomplishment)
You: "We'd better leave the water running, then!"

Lilah: Watching with serious interest as your brother uses the hose to create mesmerizing patterns of water against the sliding glass door.

Monday, May 16, 2016

19/52

*A portrait of my children, once a week, every week, in 2016*

Matteo: Your new favorite thing is telling jokes.  They don't always make a lot of sense, but every once in a while you land on something funny.  You usually follow the joke with "Do you get it?" or "That was a joke!"  When you make us laugh, you are so happy and encouraged, so you start telling more jokes in rapid fire succession.  You tend to use the same punch lines but vary the beginning of the joke, which is why they don't always work.  You really don't care so much about that part yet, though.  It's so awesome to see how your creative little mind works through this new form of communication.  Here are a few examples of some of your recent jokes:

What did the button say to the other button?
Fly, button, fly!

What did the other button say to the other button?
No, no, flap, flap!

How do you get on top of an apple tree if there's a pig up there?
You kiss the pig!

What did the baby say to the ghost?
Happy boo-day!

What did the sprinkler say to the other pig?
Give me a ride on a roller coaster!
 
What did the pumpkin say to his ghost friend?
Let's play hide and seek!

What did the melon say to the other melon?
I love you very hot dog much.  Get it?

What did the ghost say to his Mama?
I love you very boo much.

What did the ice say to the Coke bottle?
I'm stuck on you!  

What did the flower say to the other flower?
Eat a leaf!

Lilah: Your brother making you giggle.  Such a happy moment for this Mama.

18/52

*A portrait of my children, once a week, every week, in 2016*

Matteo: You are a lover of chaos, kids, dance parties, baking, washing machines, excursions and experiments.  You are a bath splasher, a picky eater, a mud puddle jumper, a rule tester, a builder, a painter, a potion maker and a loving big brother.  You are a mix of defiance and sweetness, independent but clingy, adventurous, a fearless acrobat until you get hurt and then all tears and cuddles.  You are a hater of naps, sweet potatoes (except when fried), time outs, being told "no" about anything and wearing underwear.  You are affectionate, imaginative, very interested in citing the rules but never following them.  You are a joke teller, a coin collector and a silly monkey.  You are turned up all the way to an eleven during every waking moment.  You are four.

Lilah: Eight months old!  You have two little teeth on the bottom, which make your sweet smile all the cuter.  You LOVE to eat and have mastered feeding yourself small bits of food that we put in front of you.  You use your thumb and index finger to make a kind of shovel and then use it to move everything into your mouth.  You are happy and quiet the entire time you are eating.  There are very few foods you seem not to enjoy but you especially love zucchini, eggplant, avocado, cheese and blueberries.  You will also sit and play with new toys happily for the longest time.  You love plastic spoons, your brother's goggles, Elmo and being smiled at.  You are amazing. Thanks for being our sweet baby girl.

P.S. While writing this, Matteo has been dismantling his bed and is now using the mattress as a springboard to fly across his room...with no underwear on.  Lilah has been playing with a board book in her swing and smiling at us.

17/52

*A portrait of my children, once a week, every week, in 2016*

Matteo: Recently Overheard Things:
"Did you know that ants drink nectar?  Do bees drink nectar?  To make honey?  To put on toast?  I wish I had some toast."
"Zoom zoom!  I'm a superhero!  I save the day!"
(While playing with Legos) "The police put a pirate in this cave because he cooked someone's apple tree!"
"Look, they're doing construction.  Maybe they're making a party machine factory!"
(Randomly) "How would you feel if you left your koala at the doctor?"
"This is my stuffed animal.  His name is Flamingo.  He's seven.  He pops juice out of his nose.  But not bad juice, good juice.  Grape juice.  He can hop on your belly!"
"Pepperoni is fiery in your mouth!"
"Mama, there's a package at the door!  Is it a robot factory?" 
"Mama, I love you.  You're a ballerina with a heart on top and a bow in your hair!"
"I really want to go to the dirty laundromat and wash some clothes.  Can I have my birthday party there?"
"Mama, something went down the drain.  It was curly and spiffy."
"My toes are havin' a dance party!"
"Look, I made a bubblemoltano!" (Bubble mountain volcano)
"Mama, can we go to the store to get a scrub brush and soap so I can scrub down the shower walls?"
"I love you to the moon, to the Pluto to the earth and back again!"
"When you were pregnant, you waited and waited.  Then I popped up and you found me!"
"Sorry for saying shipface."
 "If you be mean to your Mama, you'll turn into a meatball!"
(While looking in a trifold mirror) "Mama, look at all the Matteos!  Peek-a-boo, every Matteo!"

Lilah: Your favorite toys this week:
Monday: Sophie the giraffe and an orange plastic spoon
Tuesday: Your brother's toothbrush and a fistful of grass
Wednesday: A mini board book and a yellow block
Thursday: A blue plastic spoon and Mama's lipstick
Friday: A paper box and one of Matteo's train tracks
Saturday: A pink contact lens holder and a toy piano
Sunday: A piece of crumpled paper and a Magformer tile


16/52

*A portrait of my children, once a week, every week, in 2016*

Matteo: Playing with your tin can robot that we (read: Mama) spent the morning putting together.
Lilah: Brother helping you with a water break and then back to your spaghettata.

15/52

*A portrait of my children, once a week, every week, in 2016*

Matteo: The face of someone who has been waiting "for hours and hou-rrrrrs!" to plant some little pea seeds.  We made a teepee with bamboo poles and we're going to try to get the peas to grow up the sides.  You were very excited about the idea of a teepee you can eat.  It started raining as we were planting the seeds, so they got a nice watering.  Fingers crossed!

Lilah: Sitting up more and more.  Here, you are holding your first "My Little Pony" that Papa bought you at the grocery store.  You held onto its mane for like two hours straight.

Saturday, April 30, 2016

14/52

*A portrait of my children, once a week, every week, in 2016*

Matteo: Tracing your precious coin collection.  "Here's some money for you, Mama.  Don't lose this nickel.  It's veeerry espensive!"

Lilah: Seven months old!  You love avocados and frozen strawberries and being held facing out toward the world.  I put you in my Ergo carrier a lot, and you will happily accompany me around the house.  You have just started to sit up on your own for a few minutes at a time!  It's very exciting to watch you sit with your brother as he shows you how to build "the tallest towers."  You also like to bounce up and down in your bouncy swing, chewing on toys and occasionally letting them drop to the ground with an intriguing clatter.  You smile whenever one of us comes into the room.

13/52

*A portrait of my children, once a week, every week, in 2016*

Matteo: It snowed the morning of this year's Easter egg hunt.  I wasn't going to take you because the whole week before Easter had been extremely challenging, with you breaking rules and acting defiantly pretty much non-stop.  In a moment of pieta', I decided we should go, but completely forgot your Easter basket in all the chaos.  Luckily, you had the brilliant idea to use your hardhat, which was conveniently stashed away in your backpack from one morning when you had deemed it an essential item for school.  It was pretty cute to see you collect Easter eggs in it.  You even sweetly shared an egg with a little girl who was having trouble finding them.  I was so proud of you in that moment--even if you did purposely spill your juice all over the inside of the car just ten minutes later.

Lilah: Flower crowned, treasured little spoon in hand, you are completely entertained by watching your big brother dismantle his Easter basket.

12/52

*A portrait of my children, once a week, every week, in 2016*

Matteo: Watching selected scenes from "Ghostbusters."  You authoritatively tell me that ghosts most certainly do not say "Hi," as I suggest, but rather "Oooooooooooooooo!"

Lilah: You love to push food around on your tray.  Some of it even makes it into your mouth!

11/52

*A portrait of my children, once a week, every week, in 2016*

Matteo: Papa reading to you at the library while you pull down every book you can find about Halloween, your favorite subject since October.

Lilah: Helping Papa work.  Contemplating how to get your hands on that awesome toy with all the buttons.

10/52

*A portrait of my children, once a week, every week, in 2016*

Matteo: Going through a cereal-only phase, which you chomp and slurp like a Tyrannosaurus Rex.

Lilah: Six months old!  You are such a happy baby.  As long as you're not hungry and someone is holding you or looking at you adoringly, you just beam with sweetness.  You really don't like to be left alone and have pretty much stopped sleeping in your crib altogether, much preferring to snuggle up right next to Mama.  If it were up to you, there would be no tummy time.  You really don't like it...like, at all.  We have been practicing sitting up a lot, but you still wobble and topple over if I let go.  You love to play with plastic spoons and your brother's toothbrush and you've just started eating a little cereal and some pureed foods, like sweet potatoes and applesauce.  You make a funny face when you eat something new, but then open your mouth for more.  I think you like to eat but aren't sure about the new textures.  You are such a ray of sunshine and seeing your sweet little smile is pretty much the best part of everyone's day.

Friday, March 4, 2016

9/52

*A portrait of my children, once a week, every week, in 2016*

Matteo: A few months ago, your drawings started to move from abstract to figural.  The first time you brought home a drawing with recognizable figural features, I was so excited.  It was "A Tapdancer," you told me, as I looked at an oval with two dots and a line.  Yup, definitely a face, although your tapdancer was missing arms and legs.  That picture is still displayed proudly on the fridge, but since then, you have added arms (sometimes really long ones) and legs, too.  I love having you describe your art to me.  The subject matter is always so creative.  Most recently, you drew "Me and Papa Jumping on the Bed" (pictured here); "Mama and Matteo Hugging"; "Snails on a Stage"; "Sissy Jumping in Her Bouncy Chair Like a Ballerina Spinning"; "Matteo with Two Eyes and Swimming Underwater" and "Our Family Driving to the Park and Wearin' Seatbelts." 

Lilah: You have started using your hands to grasp everything this week.  Once you grab onto something you like, you won't let go for anything!  Sometimes I have to pry things away from you, and you get really upset about having your treasures so rudely confiscated.  You really seem to like plastic lids and your brother's Duplo cars.

8/52

*A portrait of my children, once a week, every week, in 2016*

Matteo: You've been wearing that little gold medal around your neck for days.  It says "Winner" and you are so proud of it.  I love this picture because, in addition to your treasured winner medal, you are also wearing your most recent boo boo (a scrape on your chin), another mark of being an adventurous little boy.  You also have blue marker all over your hand, which has become a regular thing after a fun day at school.  And that expression on your face describes you perfectly this week, catching you mid-question: "Mama, what are those letters over there for?"  You have been asking questions in rapid fire succession, formulating a new and urgent query before I can even finish answering the previous one.  You are very curious about how everything works, and especially about the "rules" of society (i.e. the law).  You constantly quote this information back to me: "Mama, someone littered and that's not good.  They'll have to give all their money to the police!" (your interpretation of paying a fine).

Lilah:  Just waking up from a nap to find yourself in a curious new place.  You love to watch your brother run and shout and speed like the flash from one thing to another.

7/52

*A portrait of my children, once a week, every week, in 2016*

Matteo: I had to go to the university to get an ID card made, so you came with me for a little Mama-Matteo time.  It didn't take you long to find the big fountain in the middle of campus, and you pointed out a "little swirl" (a whirlpool) right in the middle.  "Isn't it so cute, Mama?" you said over and over.  It really was, and I never would have noticed it on my own.  You have such a unique view of the world, and I love to share it with you.

Lilah: We introduced you to some new foods this week!  You had sweet potato, strawberry and watermelon.  You didn't seem overly excited, but you smiled at us anyway while you pushed the new flavors and textures around in your mouth.

6/52

*A portrait of my children, once a week, every week, in 2016*

Matteo:  Showing Sissy the different designs you chose for making soap.  You put the lavender under her nose so she could smell it, too.  You are so generous with your hugs, toys and knowledge. 

Lilah: You rolled over!  First, you rolled from front to back and then two days later from back to front.  You were so proud of yourself!  (And your family was super excited and proud, too!) You still don't love tummy time, but this is an exciting new level of independence for you.