Sunday, April 28, 2013

Where does the time go?

 Our sweet little Tori turned three yesterday.  Three!  I swear, just a few minutes ago she was a wriggly little baby.  A quiet, easy, little baby.  Wow, that didn't last long!
She's our little free spirit.  So often silly, and almost as often mischevious.  When things get quiet, it's not because she's behaving, but because she's getting into something.  And she's just so hard to get angry at, because she is just. so. damn. cute.  It's those eyes.  Those big brown eyes that make you melt a little bit inside when you look at her.  She's the kid that strangers stop you to tell you that she is just precious and adorable.  Because she is.

She can throw a tantrum like nobody's business.  Wailing and flailing like the world is coming to an end.  But as she grew closer to three, she grew closer to the ability to reason.  When you explain the whys to her and tell her how she should be acting, she understands.  She doesn't always like it, and doesn't always do it, but she understands.  And for the zany, middle child, who is always going a mile a minute, she will surprise you with how much she knows, how much she understands.
She knows her letters and numbers to count and by sight.  And big numbers--she will hold up her Urlacher jersey and say, "I'm fifty-four, Mommy."  She will dance around and tell you she has a pelvis, and a patella, and a cranium, and point to them in turn.  She's learning about the body with our leap books, and will wiggle her fingers and tell you they are phalanges.  And, it typical toddler (silly) fashion, she describes what she learned about the digestive system...the food goes in my mouth to my BOOTY!
She's pretty much potty trained, because the reward of playing on Mommy's tablet is incentive enough to get it done. 
Adventurous in every way--from her love of broccoli, "ninos"  (tomatoes) and every fruit and veggie imaginable--to leaping in the pool, jumping on the bed, and never letting discretion be the better part of valor.
If she wakes up in the middle of the night, she ends up in my bed.  But unlike her big sister, who is happy with her own pillow and her own space, Tori insists on sharing my pillow, on snuggling so closely to me that I can feel her breathe on me.  As she starts to fall back to sleep, her arm always reaches around me as she snuggles up tight. 
Everything Tori does, she does intensely.
And her little brother adores her.
We all do. 
 For years, I've been close to an old Italian man--he's in many ways like a great grandfather to me. I bring the girls to see him every few weeks.  His name for Tori is "estrella", for star.
How fitting.  Our Tori is a star, a shooting star, bright and blazing, grabbing our attention and filling our lives with light.
And she's been doing it for three years.
Three years.
Love you, Tori.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Goal: Torture Mommy. Achieved.

Place:  McGhee house
Parties:  Dani, Tori and Tommy
Mission: Torture Mommy.
Result:  Success
Wow, it was a rough night.  Wes left a cold beer in the fridge.  It's like he knew it would be.
Most Mondays, I am home by 4:30 so Wes can get some sleep.  He works the overnight, and I do my best to get home so he can be sleeping by 5pm.  Tonight was no different, except, I was on time! (Too often my 4:30pm goal is more like 4:45 or even 5pm).  I was walking in the door by 4:30.  Wes and the kids were upstairs, as Tori was getting up from her nap.  "How perfect," I thought, as I walked upstairs, planning to change out of my work clothes and let Wes just stay upstairs to go to sleep.
I change and bring the kids downstairs.  Wes mentioned that Tommy may be getting hungry, so I head to the kitchen to figure out what to feed him.  I pull out items to make for dinner.  A minute later, I pop out of the kitchen to see what the kids are doing.  Tommy apparently swiped a bottle of nonpareils from the lazy susan when I was looking in the fridge--and he has emptied it all over the little tykes table and the foyer floor.  (Did I mention our house was cleaned today?)  His bib, and hands are covered with dots. I groan and walk back to the kitchen to get the hand broom and dust pan.  Hearing my dismay, Dani and Tori notice and run to the table, and start to try to lick the tasty candy dots.  Dani gags on a mouthful of dots and proceeds to take three steps and puke on the floor.  Now, I've got a pile of puke and 400,000 tiny candy balls on the floor.  I race to the kitchen to get paper towels, yelling to Tommy to stay still, so he doesn't walk through the puke.  I come back with paper towels and bend over to clean up the mess.  Tommy, seeing an opportunity, sneaks into the bathroom to splash in the toilet.  Puke cleaned, I look around and hear him.  Scoop him up, scold him, and scrub his hands.  Realize Wes said he was hungry.  Give him a large squeezable toddler pouch.  Re-evaluate the situation.  Decide the nonpariels on the floor need to be vacuumed, so grab the vacuum from the mudroom and plug it in.  Turn it on and hear Tommy wail in terror (despite the fact that the house was vacuumed today--perhaps it was his shock from seeing Mommy vacuum).  Decide he can cry all he wants, as the candy balls need to be removed.  Tommy sprints into the foyer and dining room screaming bloody murder, while squeezing his pouch and spraying the walls with blueberry-carrot goo.  Wes comes back downstairs (sorry honey) to see why, after only 15 minutes alone with the kids, there is so much commotion.  Sometimes I think he enjoys my parenting fails.  He helps by picking up Tommy and pointing out spots of goo that I missed while attempting to clean.  All is quiet for a few minutes, he heads back upstairs to sleep.
Now, everyone is hungry.  Tommy finishes his fruit squeezer, and Tori has one and finishes it.  Dani asks for one and I bring it into the playroom.  Tommy decides he wants that one too, and when Dani won't give it up he makes a fist and swings, connecting solidly with my right eye.  I see stars.  I get teary as I bend over in pain.  Dani starts to cry, because she thinks I am sad.  Tori starts to cry because Dani is crying.  Tommy is still crying because he's pissed that Dani has applesauce.  I flush my eye with saline (but may have a shiner tomorrow) and head to the kitchen to start to cook them dinner.
And how was YOUR night?

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Four Generations

We took a recent road trip to Connecticut to see my soon-to-be 93 year old grandmother.  My mom had flown in to spend the week with her.  Nearly all of my Connecticut family came to visit that day, and the kids had a blast.

 Grandma was the champion bubble blower.
 Dani and Tori had made macaroni necklaces for the Grandmas, which they wore with pride.
 Tommy rockin' with his bubble microphone!
 Four generations of my family. 
 Great-grandma's house has the best stairs for sliding down!  The kids bounced down on their butts, slid down on their tummies, and had a blast.  Todd and I used to do the same thing when we were little.
 Grandma brought magic finger paints.
 And Tommy charmed the pants off of everyone!
It's so nice that my kids get to have a relationship with a great-grandparent.  I remember my great-grandpa from when I was small.  Great Grandpa Haschak lived with my grandma and grandpa until he was almost 100.  At least I think he was that old--it seems like he was, but when you are under ten, it's hard to really judge.  I remember we would go visit, and he would always be watching baseball at an incredible volume.  "HI GREAT GRANDPA!" we'd yell, and we'd sit in the room for a bit until our need to explore the house took held.  He'd always call us close for a hug, and give us a dollar.  Every time.  Despite his limited mobility, he always had dollar bills in his pockets to give to us, perhaps as a reward for keeping him company, or just to let us know he was happy we came.  And now, thirty plus years later, my children are coming back to the same house, to see their 90-something great grandmother.  The house is the same as it was when I was small.  Filled with books, trinkets, and mementos, like the home of every little old lady.  Filled also, to my children's delight, with cookies and treats, and dozens of pictures of them at all ages, and even some of their mommy when she was little.  And my frail, elderly grandma was full of hugs, and was showered with toddler love for a day, and I got to witness it, and it was wonderful.