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July 2009


July 4, 2009

Happy Independence Day, everyone! May we always remember how precious true independence is.

I apologize for not updating the website more often. It seems when I do have time, I'm usually too exhausted to trust I'll actually make sense when I type. But I do have a bunch of updates for you:

After a 4+ year hiatus from performing in musical theatre, I am now rehearsing for a show. (Long ago, I was a professional actress and singer. Now I just do shows for fun.) It's been good for me to get away from my responsibilities a wee bit, and good for Anastasia to let me out of her sight :)  On rehearsal nights, I leave shortly before Miss A. goes to bed, so it's not like she's deprived of me for very long, but she was concerned that I wouldn't come back. She vividly remembers when I was in the hospital after having Zane, and thought perhaps I'd be gone for a few days. I assured her this wasn't the case, and that when I got home later that night, I'd come into her room and give her kisses. She was sound asleep when I got home and didn't remember me coming in to kiss her, so the next morning, when I got her out of bed, she said with surprise, "You came back!"

Miss A. drew this picture of me dancing. It does rather look like me... :D

Now she's more used to this new routine, and is actually kind of excited by the idea of the show. My biggest challenge, however, is finding time to rehearse at home. It seems when I have a moment, Zane gets fussy or Anastasia begins telling me to stop. (Mostly because she wants to sing along with me, or pound the piano while I sing...which isn't a very good way for me to learn my music. So when I ask her to stop, she thinks I should stop, too.) The other day, as I was doing dishes, I was reciting a section of the show where I need to speak in rhythm (something like a rap song). I stopped, wanting to go back to the beginning to make sure I really had the words in my brain, when Anastasia said, "No, Mommy. It goes: 'He was robbing me! Raping me!'"

She was right; that was what came next in the piece. Still, I blushed to think this was the only questionable thing I had to say in the show and Anastasia knew it by heart! In truth, she probably knows all my songs better than I do! (And in case you're thinking this must be an awful show, let me tell you my character is speaking of someone who steals from her vegetable garden. You can read the complete lyrics here, by scrolling down to the Witch's words.)

Another day, I was singing one of my solos - one is where my character pleads with her adopted daughter to say with her because the world is full of wickedness and difficulties. (Here are the lyrics.) When I was done, Anastasia asked quietly, "Is that the song you sing to me?"

Miss A. is really maturing so quickly now. She can sometimes jump without holding onto anything. (Thank my friend Becky for that; she got Anastasia to do this by suggesting she reach her arms up to the sky before she started jumping. It worked like a charm!) Suddenly, Anastasia can also turn door knobs. She hasn't attempted to open the front door yet, thank goodness, but she moves freely about the house now.

The evening after we went to Chuck E. Cheese to celebrate her ability to always use the potty, she had a little accident. She was already in bed, and we heard her calling out to us. She'd turned on her bedroom light and opened the door, but was standing in her bed. Although we've never told her it's naughty to get out of bed at night, she instinctively knows this is so. So she ended up pooping her pants because I didn't get to her in time. Therefore, I tried to make her understand it was okay to get out of bed if she needed to use the potty.

Fast forward to last night, when she got out of bed and found us in the family room to tell us she needed to use the potty...and then couldn't go. She was just using it as an excuse to get out of bed.

It's funny how fascinated she is with bathrooms now, and how every animal she draws is usually pooping. A few days ago, my hubby accidentally caught an opossum in the backyard. I took the opportunity to allow her to get a look at it. She spent the rest of the day drawing opossums pooping.

Miss A. is going to bed later these days, too. 7 PM is now her bedtime (still early, compared to most kids, I know), but several nights back, she stayed up until 9 PM. It was quite the adventure for her, and she was delighted to see "the real moon." However, at sunset she asked, "Mommy! Why is the sky orange??"

Zane, if you can believe it, is still growing. He has fattened up, and now he's sleeping a lot, so I'm sure he's getting taller. A few days ago, when Miss A. was visiting a friend and got her own pants all dirty, I was able to take Zane's pants off, leave him in just his onsie, and put his pants on Miss A. They fit just fine! (Although they were peddle-pusher length on the Miss.)

My friend Becky has now watched Zane and Miss A. a couple of times, and each time has been hard on Zane. The last time, he fussed and fussed and fussed, and seemed so relieved to see me. When I took him home, I needed to make lunch, so I put him on the floor to play. He cried, so I put him in his high chair. He cried again, so I relented and put him in his bouncy seat. (He's much too big for it, but it's his favorite place to be.) He instantly smiled and began kicking to make the seat bounce. "Ahhhh! Now I can relax, at last!" he seemed to say.

Sadly, I'm still mostly keeping the kids at home. No playgroup, no park, no story time at the library (which is a shame because in the summer they combine story time with music and other fun activities). I really feel I have to protect Miss A. from the swine flu, which has killed several people in our state. Poor Anastasia asks to go to these events, and I feel horrible not letting her, but I also know she doesn't handle illnesses well...a side effect of her prematurity. I still have things in mind for her this summer. We will go to the zoo this summer (hopefully during not so busy hours), and to a beach, and to a local event where there are cool things like pony rides. My poor little shut in. :(

July 5, 2009

Smells and sounds are big memory triggers for me, which is why, I guess, it wasn't until I heard firecrackers going off last night that I remembered July 4 is the anniversary of my water breaking (at 20 weeks) with Anastasia. Wow. I can't believe I didn't think of it all day long. Maybe next year, I won't think of it at all.


July 9, 2009

I will probably be offline until Monday the 13th. My father, who lives out of state, is coming for a visit. But I did want to tell you one little story:

A few days ago, Anastasia was preparing to play outside by putting on her shoes. I also needed to put my shoes on, so I grabbed Zane, put him on my hip, and walked into my bedroom. My shoes were behind the door, and as I stood there putting them on, Miss A. rushed in, flinging the door back and smacking Zane in the head. He instantly started crying, and a moment later, Anastasia was crying, too. She fled to the opposite side of the house, and when I asked her why she was crying, she said, "It was an accident!" I've never seen her so heartbroken.

She felt better once Zane stopped crying and she gave him a kiss. She does love her little brother so.


July 14, 2009

This photo sums up my kids perfectly.

We had a great time with my dad; both kids adore grandparent time :) 

Zane suddenly decided to start talking again while his grandpa was here. He said:

"Look at Ana!"



"Where is Dada?"

and "Boo, Daddy!"

The words always come as a surprise to me because they are infrequent and new words and sentences seem to pop out of nowhere.

We also broke Zane of his bouncy seat habit. I thought it would be tough; he was pretty addicted to falling asleep in it, and just using it to kick back and relax. But although he usually cried a bit when I put him in his crib to fall asleep, he handled it really well.



Anastasia was a character, as usual. She no longer has potty related accidents. But it's difficult to get her to stay in bed. Now that she can open her door, she tends to pop out of her room repeatedly during nap- and bed time. One night, she came out of her room to:

"Go potty."

Ask me to put socks on her feet.

"Check on Zane."

Ask why the kitchen light was on.

Tell me her tummy was very hungry. (I gave her something to snack on in bed.)

and tell me "thank you."



As usual, she's making us laugh, too. During my dad's visit, she told us, "Jesus told me Zane and I shouldn't take a nap today." (I did not laugh in front of her when she said this, but I came close to complimenting her on "sticking up" for her little brother.) Then yesterday, when a tow truck was working at our neighbor's house, she said, "But Mommy! That tow truck doesn't have a toe!"


July 15, 2009

Anastasia's been so terrible about getting out of bed at night, I decided to take her with me to rehearsal last night, just to give my hubby a break. My mother wanted to come to rehearsal anyway, so I figured she could keep an eye on the miss. My mom was a bit more strict with her than I would have been (she wanted Miss A. to sit in her chair the entire time), but overall, she did okay - especially considering it was way past her bedtime. Thankfully, the rehearsal was shorter than usual, so she didn't get way overtired, and when we got home, she fell right to sleep after a snack and a book.

For her, it was a magical evening. She got to meet the "real" Jack (and his beanstalk), Little Red Riding Hood, Rapunzel, and Cinderella. None of them were in costume, but she still seemed to think they were pretty neat. One highlight was when she got to wear Cinderella's crown. Another was when she applauded after we sang and shouted "Yay, Mommy!" And on the way home, she volunteered "Mommy, I like how you did the witch." :)

On a completely different note, I pulled a naughty trick on Anastasia. I'd just read in Parents magazine about a mom who told her child there was a clean up fairy. I was impressed by how well this seemed to work for her, but thought to myself, "I can't lie to Anastasia like that." I mean, Anastasia even knows Santa is pretend. (And it doesn't take away any of the magic for her, btw.)

But yesterday, the miss was being especially stubborn about picking up her toys. She grumbled, "I don't like it when people tell me to clean up."

And the words just came out of my mouth on their own: "You know, if you don't pick up, Mommy's going to have to call the clean up fairy. Do you know who she is? If I call her and she comes over and sees your toys all over the floor, she'll put them in a big bag and take them away."

Sure, Anastasia grumbled some more, "I don't want the clean up fairy to come over." But I've never seen her pick up toys so quickly.


July 18, 2009

Today was a truly stellar day. We took the kids to a little local history celebration that began with a parade. Anastasia was excited because she remembered the parade from last year, but this time around, she really got into it. "Mommy, I'm really enjoying this parade!" she kept saying, hoping up from her seat on the curb. She loved the horses, the fire trucks...and the candy. Many of the people in the parade throw out candy to the kids, and at first Miss A. was timid about grabbing it - but toward the end, she was bolding running out into the street to grab as much as she could, just like all the other little kids.


Left: Anastasia waiting for the parade to begin. Right: Miss A. eagerly gathering candy.

She was also gobbling it as quick as she could, so I finally had to tuck it away for another day. As I moved her hoard into the stroller, she said, "Mommy, please. Just be nice to me!" She wanted to eat it all right then, of course.

After the parade, she rode some ponies. She's been talking about doing that for months. "They are real horses, right Mommy?" she'd ask. I was a little afraid she'd chicken out once she got there, but she didn't. She let the young men running the operation lift her onto the horse and buckle her into a special seat, then she grinned from ear to ear and patted the horses' head. As soon as the ride was over, she wanted to ride again, but I made her wait for her second ride until just before we left.

She also rode a cute little train, but I think it couldn't compete with the horses :)

Zane must be growing. He's been doing little but sleeping this week, so today he was especially exhausted - but refused to sleep because there were too many interesting things going on. When he's excited, his whole body quivers like a puppy dog, so there was a lot of quivering going on today.

Naughty Daddy gave Zane a sucker. Fortunately, Zane thought it tasted icky.

Now both kids are in bed, and I'm so thankful for a day to watch the Miss get out and enjoy herself!


July 19, 2009

I can't believe I forgot to mention that yesterday, after Anastasia rode the second pony, she stood beside it, all aglow. She wanted to pet the pony, but was a little hesitant...until it gently nuzzled her face. Oh my, that made her day!

As a pleasant ending to our wonderful day, Anastasia played in her wading pool with her daddy. Then we snuggled up together and watched a movie (Bedtime Stories), which is something we rarely do. When it was time for bed, Anastasia wanted me to tell a story, like Adam Sandler does in the movie. So I said, "Once upon a time, there was a little girl named Anastasia, and she got to ride ponies for the very first time. And when she was all done, the two ponies she rode enjoyed the rides so much, they whispered in her ear, 'Anastasia, we like you. We're going to share a secret with you.' And from their hoofs they pulled out shining horns and put them on their heads. 'We're really unicorns,' they said. The end."

Anastasia's eyes lit up with that particular look of wonder you only see on the face's of small children. Then the look dimmed only slightly and she said, "But they aren't real unicorns...Are they?"


July 21, 2009

Zane had his checkup yesterday. He's in the 90th percentile for his height and the 95th for his weight. I'm still shocked there are 9 month olds out there who are bigger than him!

The moment I put Zane on the exam table, he started wailing. I think he remembered this was the place where he got shots. The only time he didn't fuss was when the doctor checked his ears and heart...perhaps because Anastasia does this frequently with her toy doctor kit.

Although Zane almost never sits up (and when he does,  his arms are still on the floor), doesn't pull himself up to sitting, isn't crawling, and rarely bears weight on his feet, the doctor isn't too worried. I told her Zane is strong (he can prevent me from dressing him, if he wants to) and we feel it's a lack of motivation preventing him from moving forward with his gross motor skills. She tended to agree, and reminded me that when babies are big, they often lag behind in that area.

I've been ever so slightly concerned that Zane doesn't want anything but pureed food and never puts anything (including food) in his mouth. The doctor suggested giving him solids before his bottle (since he's clearly well nourished!) and giving him slightly mashed versions of whatever is on our table. This is all new territory for me, since the way we fed Anastasia was so different, due to her feeding and weight gain issues.

As an aside, I may have to stop using the Bumbo seat with Zane. I've been putting him in it a little more, knowing it forces him to use muscles he needs for sitting up better, but yesterday he kept rocking backwards - forcefully - trying to lay down. It finally got so dangerous, I picked him up and let him play (laying down) on the floor. Which, of course, is what he wanted.

We've also pulled out the ol' walker, and he's enjoying that. (Yes, I know walkers are considered taboo. However, the reason they aren't made anymore is people were allowing their kids to stay in them for hours...and forgetting they can fall down stairs while in them. We don't have stairs and I don't let Zane stay in the thing for even an hour.) He wiggled all over like a puppy when he first saw it, and instantly opened the two yellow panels on the top, to see what was underneath. Then his hands went on the flower-shaped mirror and he started turning it like a steering wheel. (How does he know about steering wheels??? He's never seen his sister use a toy like that...)


July 24, 2009

Apparently, Zane thought he was posing for Playbaby.

He was lounging around the living room like this, and I was scrambling to find my camera. After several minutes of searching for the dang thing, I finally found it - and he rolled over onto his tummy. So I asked him to get back up on his side, like he was before. And he did :)

And here's my other darling, using a pen as lipstick. I cannot trust that girl with ink, even though I've pound into her head that pens should only be used on paper. (Naturally, yesterday, when I wrote a note to myself on my hand, Anastasia said: "Mommy, you're being kind of naughty! Pens are only for paper!")

My poor girl. Here I've had all these plans for her in the coming months: The zoo, dance classes, library story time, playgroup, song time at the library...And I've been watching swine flu closely. I'm beginning to wonder if any of these grand plans will materialize. Anastasia really needs to get out into the world - she's spent too much time secluded because of germs as it is. But at the same time, I know her lungs are weak. I keep thinking of the colds we got this winter that turned into pneumonia for her...


July 31, 2009

I've been busy with rehearsals, and I apologize for not posting more.

He can sit!

Above is evidence that Zane can sit. (He is not leaning against the couch.) He simply chooses not to. He is a little closer to crawling, too. Instead of rolling around the house, he's taken to scooting around on his elbows or hands, pushing with one knee. He's still not interested in finger food (and in fact, puts nothing but his thumb in his mouth) and rejects everything but pureed food - except, as I just discovered, small pieces of slightly stale (and therefore softer) graham cracker. I'm trying to push non-pureed foods a bit more, since I keep reading that babies who aren't eating them by now tend to get lazy about chewing.

I'm not really worried about his slow development, although others around me are. Then again, I wasn't all that worried about Anastasia's developmental delays, either. And I had much more cause to be.

Zane continues to surprise us with occasional words or sentences. For example, yesterday morning he woke me up at 6:30 AM, as usual, but refused his bottle. A little exacerbated, I kept trying to get him to take it until he cried, "Play!" I took him out of his high chair and put him on the floor with some toys and he was perfectly happy.

Miss A. is thriving, but having an occasional accident on the floor because she's put off going to the potty. One day I caught her putting wet panties in the washing machine; she'd sat down on the potty, but didn't pull them down because "I was afraid I wouldn't make it."

Playing with makeup.