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Since our lake experience, we’ve been reluctant to go anywhere for an overnight stay. So it was with some trepidation that we finally took up an offer from a co-worker to stay at his weekend home in New Braunfels. And this past weekend was one where both the house was available and we had no other major plans.
Tubing was out on account of the cold weather, fast moving river, and, you know, toddlers that can’t swim. We felt rain in our palms, and in moments where the drops retreated, we searched out lizards, picked up sticks, and ran up and down hills with the WHOA! that can only be experienced hand-in-hand with a toddler. Plus, cold weather equals lots of books and laps and fleece blankets. Delicious!
On Saturday, Gamma (my mom) joined us from San Antonio. I made a rosemary pork tenderloin with roasted fingerling potatoes and steamed vegetables. And we almost got to enjoy it before the kids, as on cue, woke from their naps. Still, though.
I invited Annie up, who blogs over at We Are Fambly. Over a year of reading one another’s blogs and commenting and exchanging the occasional email, I up and asked her over, to which Jennifer said “great, strangers.” and my mom said “what if they kidnap babies?” And to think that I’m the introvert.
Nevetherless, Annie and her partner and their as-beautiful-and-tall-as-she-looks-in-pictures-but-taller toddler spent the better part of the afternoon and early evening with us. Mateo was Jude’s first older boy kiss, too. And after they left, we all agreed they were the nicest stranger baby kidnappers we’ve met.
Each fall, the Friends of The Houston Public Library have a children’s book sale. The majority of the books are sold for $1-$2, and the revenues are used to support the Houston Public Library. This was the first year I went. Actually, this was the first time I had even heard of it – another one of those niblets of information I wasn’t fed until I had passed into the underworld of parenting.
I was there when it opened on the first day and only wish I had had my camera to capture the beauty of tables upon tables of books, organized by Board Books, Early Readers, Fiction, Non-Fiction, Bilingual, Advanced Reader, families entering with WAGONS (I’ve noted that for next time), children sitting engrossed in a book while parents picked up more, educators thumbing through selections to add for their classrooms, rookies like me just standing there, overwhelmed with where to start.
I hovered around the Board Books, mostly. Though I picked up plenty of Early Readers for special reading time (lest those fragile pages get ripped out on first look), while eavesdropping on more experienced parents and educators calling out their favorite authors and illustrators, and the children repeating the name of their favorites like “Look! Here’s a Maisy one!” And I’m all scrambling to see what the kid is looking at, trying not to yank it from his hand
too hard, and I’m all a mouse? But what do I know about wildly popular children’s books. Incidentally, what are your favorite early childhood authors and illustrators?
Harper continues her obsession with Elmo, so I reluctantly picked up one of those. Want me to recite it? Because after six days and about fifty readings, I practically can. The kids have matching Dora and Diego toothbrushes that they are fascinated with (the sucking the toothpaste, not so much the brushing), so I picked up a Dora and Diego book, despite the fact that I still don’t know who those characters are. Besides, those, however, I steered away from television character books and instead picked up books exhibiting ethnic and cultural diversity, manners, and, noticeably, sleep story books. I guess I’m tired.
I love that they’re developing a love for books. Reading is part of our weekend family time as well as our evening routine. Even after baths, play, milk, brushing teeth, and books, on their own, they’ve developed an additional bedtime cue: grabbing a book and heading to their respective rooms as a way of telling us they are really ready for bed. And there, we have special one-on-one reading time, Jennifer and I alternating kids each night.
Lately, they both say “book” and “read” during our wakeup routine and so we often get a book in even before breakfast. Letting them hold and “read” a book has also made diaper changes a little less…acrobatic.
Best part of all? I walked out with 42 books for $45.47!
We usually reserve liquids for a cup, open top in small amounts, or if in large amounts, in a cup with a lid and straw. But we figured we had to show them how to eat cereal from a bowl at some point, so why not Sunday afternoon after-the-nap snack?
Most days, the kids begin stirring between 6:15 and 7:00. I love those days because I get to see them before I leave for work. While Jennifer prepares their breakfast, I go downstairs to get their diapers changed, get them dressed, and upstairs to eat.
Which means I’m usually sweating before I even leave for the office.
Here in the days of this sixteenth month, with favorite words abounding, I am witness to some cute and tender moments in our morning routine and finally took the camera down to record them.
Were it not for our six year refusal to patronage Wal-Mart, and were it not for those pesky child-labor laws, what with Mateo’s new favorite word of “Helll-OOOOOO!!!” we might have put him to work as a greeter.
Dude poops upwards of four to five times a day. A DAY, people! And we’re not talking the second one is leftover from the first one kind of poop. We’re talking full on, wholly independent, fifteen wipes, under the balls, centimeters from the top of the back of the diaper kind of poops.
Battling this kind of pooping requires strategy, such as in the form of meal planning. I seriously plan their meals around their bowel movements. Overnight pooping (which leads to massive diaper rash for Mateo)? Make sure his fruits are in before 1:00 p.m. Poops too watery? Add starches, reduce dairy. Good day for watermelon? Better have some bananas handy. After dinner poops? Move the proteins up in the day.
These kids are as much science as they are art.
Our dining table is a sore subject, primarily because things get stacked on it that shouldn’t be. Like the camera, mail, kid swimsuits. And ASL flashcards that we purchased for ourselves so we could learn and then teach the kids. One day, one of the kids saw the boxes and asked for “more”. And now, we can’t serve them a meal without doing sign language flashcards at the table. BUT HOW CUTE ARE THEY SIGNING?