Wednesday, January 5, 2022

Mollyisms, Vol. 2

This kid... I've got quotes saved from her going back to when she was three. It's hard to believe this girl will be five in a couple of months, and it seems past time to do another installment of her personal quotable.

These pictures are some I snapped with my phone on a random morning way back in October, shortly before Molly gave herself a haircut and subsequently found herself with a necessary bob and bangs. She was playing dress up that morning, and dancing on the coffee table in between clowning around with her silliest faces.  Just the best of times, being four...



Until pretty recently, "becksist" was breakfast, "mown" was how she said morning, and she was "soosty," not thirsty. She loved pocksasuhls, aka popsicles, all summer long, and declared it "soggy" anytime it was, in fact, foggy. She got confused a time or two and called a porcupine a "pine needle," a skunk a "stunk," and animals in general are still sometimes "amimals."

* * *

"I was reading a book and then the corner scratched me."
"Oh, did you get a paper cut?"
"No, I got a book cut."

* * *

Sadly: "I like chocolate cookies all the time.  But I don't get to have chocolate cookies all the time." 

* * *

Showing off her building block skills: "My tower is so good and so beautiful and so bigness!"

* * *

Waking and fussing at night: "Can you buckle me in Mama? Buckle me in with my blankets?"




Me: "It's time to take your clothes off and get ready for bed!"
Molly: "Take my toes off?!?!"

* * *

At bedtime: "I don't want to be in my bed or anything because I don't like that. I just like eating and being awake. I like two things! I like eating and playing. And I like Daddy and Mama kissin' me and huggin' me and squeezin' me.  And I like eating food.  That's all I like.  I don't like going to sleep all the time."

* * *

Early one morning, slipping into bed beside me in just her undies: "Good morning Mama, I'm just having myself some naked belly time."

* * *

Hearing spring peepers last spring, Molly asked me what the sound was. I replied that it was frogs, but Molly was not convinced. "No, that's not a frog Mama because a frog says RIBBIT like that. So no, that is not frogs."



"I'm hungry! I'm hungry!" Then, unimpressed with the lunch offering: "What else can I have? You're not making anything very great for me to have so I guess I'm not gonna be healthy!" 

* * *

"I have a headache on my back."

* * *

After watching a video of Nell playing her violin when she was younger, Molly asked, "Now can we watch a video of me playing the violin when I was older?"

Hmm... we all tried to explain the way in which time is linear and no such future video of an activity she has not learned existed.  Molly was quite disappointed.

* * *

During Holy Week: "We need to pray for Jesus! We need to pray for Jesus because he's dead!"

* * *

"Maaaamaaa! Marie made me have a headache!" 
"Oh, how did she do that?"
"She hit me in the head and that's how she made me have a headache!"

* * *

"I wanna grow big so I can cut things with knives."

* * *

Watching a staged performance of Die Walkure on YouTube one day: "This is a little bit creepy! I would not be in any of those places. Because a monster might come and stab my leg."

* * *

One day while, ahem, wiping her bottom, I sang absentmindedly, "You are my sunshine..." and Molly responded promptly, "Oh no Mama, don't sing beautiful things to me when I just did a yucky poop. It doesn't seem beautiful. It just doesn't seem right to me."




"How you make goldfish crackers is this: you take fish and you take gold and you stir it around and you put it in the fridge for a long time. That's how you make goldfish crackers."

* * *

"Mama, when I grow up can I touch hot things carefully like you can? Will I grow up tall? And then can I?"
Me: "Yes, you will grow up more and then you can! You'll learn how to do it carefully like I do."
Molly: "And when I grow up will you grow down and then I'll be the mama?"
Me: "No, I won't grow down but you'll grow up... people only get older, they don't get younger."
Molly: "Oh, so then will we have two mamas?"
I told her that if she grew up to be a mama some day, that would make me a grandma, and she found this curiously hilarious.

* * *

With a happy, contented sigh: "I'm so fed up!"  
*pause*
"That means everything is beautiful."

* * *

Bedtime conversations:
Molly: God is with me, right? But why can't I see him in the room? 
Me: Yes, God is with us everywhere but we can't see him.
Molly: But what shape is his head? I mean what does he look like? Is his head a circle? 
Me: We don't know what God looks like.
Molly: But maybe you could show me a picture on your phone or your computer or something.

* * *

Reading a little children's book about animals, I pointed to a picture of a turkey, its tail feathers all spread out, and asked, "What animal is that?" Uncertainly Molly responded, "...a helicopter?"

* * *

On a long car ride Molly asked, "Hey Daddy? Could you reach back here and put your sweet sweet hands on my little feet?"



Bringing me a glass of water, for which she apparently found my "thank you" inadequate: "You should give me hundreds of diamonds for being nice to you today and bringing you this water. I mean, hundreds of pennies. Or nickels."

* * *

"Mama, I want you to help me find a dress to wear today."
"OK Molly, shall we find you a beautiful dress?"
"No, I want a beautiful beautiful beautiful dress."
OK then!

* * *

To a babysitter who evidently read with less inflection than Molly is accustomed to hearing: "You read like you're sleepy."  (Burn.  Sorry, baby-sitter!)

* * *

"How does banana spell? A-T-R? M? S-T-A?"

* * *

"Mama, where do poops and pees live?"
"In your belly."
"But food goes there!"
"Yes, poop comes from food your body has digested and used up."
"What?! Poop is food?!??"





One morning I came downstairs to find mouse poop on my kitchen counter. The girls were appropriately horrified (as was I), and Molly mused, "Did the mouse come and poop on the counter while you were asleep?" "Yes, isn't that yucky?" "But you could have called the police you know, polices help people! They could get the mouse and put the mouse in prison!"

* * *

On a walk one day, Ree declared, "I'm looking for an acorn today, and maybe a pine cone." Molly responded, "I'm looking for money. Or maybe a diamond ring." (One of these children was successful in her endeavors, and the other one, not so much.)

* * *

Recently she referred to an ambulance as a "weeoooo" truck ("weeooo" being the sound she would make for a siren), and a whole week later she said with a tone of condescension to her former self, "When I was little I used to call ambulances weeooo trucks."

* * *

"Daddy likes spicy things. Daddy likes beautiful things. Daddy likes shiny things. Daddy likes meat and chips. Daddy likes everything except vegetables and centipedes and bugs."

* * *

"Mama? By the way? I like mansions."

Me too, kid. Me too.

* * *

Arriving home after a day at the beach last summer, Molly flopped down on the floor and declared, "I have a really hard life."

* * *

Looking out the window one morning, she called out excitedly, "MAMA! I see a teeny tiny TIGER in the street!!!" And in that moment I realized that maybe she's watched too much Wild Kratts and spent too little time with ordinary domesticated pets.

* * *

At bedtime:
Me: "Do you want me to sing you a song tonight?"
Molly: "No, thanks. But I want you to stay with me forever."

* * *

"What are we havin' for dinner?"
"Ravioli."
Suspiciously: "What is gravioli?!"


"Can you rewind me in the morning?" she sometimes used to ask, when she meant "remind."  She doesn't say this anymore, and I sometimes find myself wishing I could rewind her, indeed, to these kinds of moments...

* * *

"Mama, I love you.  Don't go any places in the mown (morning) time. Don't go any places at night. Don't go any places any of the days. Stay here at home with me forever."

* * *

"I love you super much," she says to me sometimes.

We love you super much too, Margaret Elizabeth. 

Saturday, September 18, 2021

Third Grade and First Grade, Retrospectively

Spring of 2021 was filled with so many unexpected things that the end of our school year trickled to a stop without a grand finale of any real sort.  I didn't even get around to taking pictures of the girls with their books (a bit of a tradition around here) until it was almost time to start our new school year!  So, utterly late to the party, here we are with a wrap-up of third grade for Nell, and first grade for Ree.  

Highlights of the year as a family included reading Pagoo by Holling C. Holling, portions of Nathaniel Hawthorne's Wonder Book of Greek myths, and Children of the New Forest by Marryat. They were particularly struck by a term's study of Richard Wagner, love Little Pilgrim's Progress, and loved singing and dancing around the house to folksongs all year, with a particular affinity for The Golden Vanity.  We studied reptiles, rivers and oceans, and wildflowers, and got to observe so many wonderful things up close.  Both girls enjoy math, history, science/nature study, art, music, and so much more.  It's truly a delight to watch them making all sorts of connections across fields of study and terms or years of their education.  They recall so much and connect it to new things they learn with great enthusiasm, and their enjoyment of school keeps me going.  


Ree is learning to read, and loves her little old-fashioned primer that teaches reading in both print and cursive.  She loves math and sometimes surprises me with her ability and quickness in that subject.  (It doesn't go over well when she answers her older sister's math questions ... oh dear!)  


It really does help me get going with a new school year (now two weeks underway!) to look back on the previous year.  We didn't accomplish everything on the lists I had made, to be sure, but we did accomplish quite a lot of things, and best of all, we are all eager and happy for the new school year, which I consider to be a very good sign indeed.

Here's to another good year of learning together!

Thursday, June 10, 2021

the trouble with birthdays and wishes

 She wants a lot of things, this daughter of mine who is seemingly never satisfied - or not for long, anyway.  The new pair of shoes has her enamored for a few days, but soon she wants something else.  Yesterday's dessert is quickly forgotten and I hear, "We never get to have treats!" Today's trip to the Crane Estate was filled with beauties and delights, but driving home she began to whine because she wanted to go to a playground.

My first instinct was to unleash my own frustration in the form of a lecture about gratitude, to tell her how frustrating it is to hear her grumpily declaring that her mother never takes her to playgrounds literally moments after walking through beautiful gardens and running joyfully through the salt spray of one of our favorites beaches.  Yes, I almost laid it all out for her -- and it wouldn't have been the first time she'd heard me express the importance of gratitude for the things we have, the things we get to do.

But then, in a moment of clarity, I realized I had been feeling a little off all day, too.  Like that daughter of mine, I want things, too.  And while I spend most of my days fairly content with the little life I lead, on a day like today when it was asked of me, "What do you want for your birthday?" -- well, then I start to think about what I want.  And I realize that the answer doesn't lie conveniently in the $10-$20 range of a little birthday gift.  What do I want?  That could fit into one day of the year and one little budget?

You see, what I want is for the lattice project off the back addition of our house to finally be finished so the back of the house doesn't look so dilapidated.  I want us to have the time or the money to finish it.  I want to be able to afford to bring in a crew to repair and paint the exterior trim on our house which so badly needs to be done.  I want gardens like the ones I walked through at the Crane Estate today.  


Cascades of roses, armloads of peonies, and impressive alliums, a well-graded lawn that is actually more grass than dirt and weeds - I want that.  In fact, I want a whole estate like the Crane Estate.  I'd like very much to live a Downton Abbey sort of life in a grand house.  

Come to think of it, Burleigh House would be more than acceptable.  

I wouldn't say no to a small household staff, or at least the occasional help with a load of laundry since I'm up to my ears in unwashed items lately.  What I want is for the house to be tidy, for the chaos of the children to be mitigated somehow.   I want the kitchen renovation we've dreamed of doing to be something we could actually afford so I can stop my seemingly futile efforts of trying to clean the cracking old formica countertops and the black stains along the caulking behind the sink.  I dream of soapstone counters, but I'd settle for anything spacious enough for a kid or two to sit on and make pancakes with me on Saturday mornings.  

I want a huge porch with rocking chairs and a big swing, to spend summer evenings drinking wine in the evening open air.  I want to eat ice cream every couple of days and still somehow lose ten pounds.  I want to travel to places like Italy, and New Orleans, and Turkey.  I want all these things, and more.  And so, when my loving husband asks me what I want for my birthday, I hardly know how to answer because the answer is so impossibly enormous.   And unlike my tiny demanding daughter, I have the social acumen to know that brooding about all of these things with a discontented heart isn't exactly admirable. 

* * *

I spent the day feeling ever-so-slightly off center because of all this.  I want all the things, but I also feel badly for wanting all the things.  Unlike my young daughter, whose emotions and big asks in life run wild and unrestrained, I know I have everything to be grateful for.   I know that I ought not to have spent my birthday in the margins of a funk, and all because of what?  Because my house is messy and in need of renovations?  Because my yard is not filled with the gardens of a grand estate?  Because my life is ordinary and filled with everyday responsibilities, stresses, worries, and unending tasks that may never be finished? 

I prayed for my heart of discontent to be replaced with a heart of gratitude today, on this day when my daughter's free and entirely unselfconscious requests reminded me that my own heart was discontented as well.  And we came home from our day's adventures to that messy house, just as we had left it.  The lawn was still filled with anthills I can't seem to eradicate.  The baby's room was still piled with clean laundry waiting to be folded.  This dear old fixer-upper of a house welcomed us home with her dingy trim paint and broken old garage door.  

And yet, she is a dear old house indeed, and filled with joy and memories and good things.  I prayed for gratitude, and almost immediately my vision grew more clear.  I saw one daughter finally get the hang of jumping rope in the afternoon sunlight.  My four-year-old brought me a birthday card she drew me, a picture of a rainbow with the word MAMA spelled out above it.  The baby wrapped her sweet chubby arms around my neck this evening.  Another daughter demanded I let her help me with dinner as much as possible since it was my birthday.  

Ordinary little nothings, perhaps, these moments of gratitude.  But this afternoon I realized that instead of wanting to chastise my daughter for the wild and expansive things she wants so desperately in life, I can understand her.  I, too, know how it is to want the world handed to me exactly as I wish it could be. But I also know the antidote to discontent can sometimes be as simple as a prayer that brings me into the presence of God: "In your presence there is fullness of joy."

I know that God would have us be grateful for all that he's given us, but I also have a secret suspicion that my heavenly Father is neither shocked nor angry that a corner of my heart longs for the grandest of spaces and gardens.  Yes, "Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth," he tells me, and I surely need the reminder.  But he also promises a mansion with many rooms, and grand feasts.  Perhaps he sees and understands the silly longings of my daughter's heart, and of mine, too.

* * *

Dearest little seven-year-old of mine,

If your Mama sometimes butts heads with you, perhaps it is because we are somewhat alike.  There's a burning fire inside of you, to do things, to have things, to go places, to be somebody.  I feel those things too sometimes.  I know you dream of having the "fanciest" life imaginable, girlie.  It's OK to want wonderful and big things in life.  I'll try to remember that I'm not so different from you, after all, and to temper my occasional little lectures with a little more understanding.

Love,

your mama

Tuesday, November 24, 2020

Sylvie Anne

Seeing as this little lady has been a bonafide member of our family for over six months, it seems about time to chronicle a few memories of her arrival and earliest moments.  Those first moments are such precious ones, aren't they?  Difficult and precious all at once; the sort of moments you'd want to live over and over again if it weren't for the fact that while being so wonderful they're sometimes also so hard.






More and more often lately, I find myself missing the days of long-form social media. Remember the early 2000's, before bloggers were replaced by instagrammers and before everyone was trying to be an influencer? I realize I am now hopelessly out-of-date in this regard, but I still cherish the family memories I have recorded on this old-fashioned blog, and I sometimes wish I had time to record things here more often. In any case, since we now have four daughters (four!), it seems that an update of some sort is quite overdue.

Sylvie Anne joined our family on Monday, April 27, at 8:52 am. She was born at home in our family room in an inflatable tub at the height of a pandemic, and I like to think she'll be all the more resilient for it. She was also born partly en caul (with the bag of waters still intact over her head and body), which is considered a sign of good luck.  She weighed 8 lbs, 14 oz (my biggest baby!), and measured 21 inches long.  

Her three eager big sisters ran in to meet her when she was moments old, and were immediately smitten with that squishy, slightly bruised little face, her head of soft hair, her delicate and intoxicating newborn scent.  

The story of her birth is the first time I have managed a birth without an epidural.  Back when Nell, our oldest, was born, I had hoped to have a home birth, but a very long (~72 hrs) labor eventually landed us in the hospital for pain relief and rest.  Marie's labor was likewise quite long and also ended in a transfer (from birth center to hospital) for pain relief after about 36 hrs.  With Molly, in the hopes of avoiding the postpartum sense of failure that had accompanied my first two, we decided to make the hospital and the epidural "Plan A," and in this way, everything went according to plan, ha!  

Early in my pregnancy with Sylvie I sort of figured we would do the same thing again, but by sometime in January I began to find myself toying with the idea of trying once more to have a home birth.  It was, frankly, really weird and inexplicable.  Even Nathan said, "Honey, your labors are long and grueling and full of unbearable back pain that never relents.  Why on earth would you be considering trying this again?  Your epidurals have had zero complications and everything has gone really well."  And he was right!  I couldn't explain the niggling thoughts that I just couldn't shake, that maybe this time we should try home one more time.  

By February we had met with a delightful midwife based out of New Hampshire, and we soon booked her services.  As you may be able to guess, it wasn't long before we became very, very grateful that we had gone this route.  Yes, by mid-March when the United States totally shut down and we were all hunkered at home looking at graphs and charts and watching numbers that rose daily, well... I was quite grateful to think that, if everything went well at home, we could avoid a trip to the hospital and all that might entail amidst a pandemic.  If a hospital transfer became necessary, would Nathan even be able to be with me?  How long might it be before the older girls would meet their new sister?  If I developed a fever or any other symptoms, would baby and I be separated in the hospital?  These were all worrisome thoughts, and scenarios we hoped to avoid by just staying home.  

After literally weeks (!) of prodromal labor that started and stopped, started again and stopped again, that Sunday night I thought maybe things were actually really going to happen.  Of course, I had already thought this a dozen times before, so I was losing some serious trusts in my instincts in this regard.  Still, by this point I was a week "overdue," so it seemed like it really did need to happen eventually.  When he got home from work that evening, Nathan drove to Beverly and picked up some Indian food for me at my request, and we relaxed and watched a little TV together.  A couple of hours after going to bed I was awakened again and couldn't get back to sleep, so I came downstairs and tried to rest on the couch, dozing on and off between contractions.  Between midnight and 4:00 am or so, I was able to rest, watch some TV half awake, and generally cope pretty well.  But at about 4:00 I remember yelling up the stairs, "NATHAN!" and feeling pretty urgently that I needed his help at that point.  He came downstairs groggily, but soon sprang into action and started filling the inflatable birth tub with water for me.  

We called our midwife to let her know things seemed to be happening for real at last, and I texted my sister-in-law, who was planning to come be with the older girls during the birth.  After that a lot of what happened is a bit blurry for me.  Once the tub was filled with warm water I got right in--looking truly stellar I'm sure in a bikini at 9+ months pregnant.  As I had an increasingly hard time coping with the unrelenting back pain that is how labor goes for me, Nathan would hold the hose of running warm water right over my lower back for me, which provided some relief.

Around 6 or 7 am our midwife arrived together with her assistant and a young midwifery student who was doing her clinical hours or... something.  Like I said, a lot of this is blurry for me.  In any case, they bustled around on the sidelines getting things ready and I hummed and moaned and occasionally screamed from the back pain in contractions.  I tried turning on my hypnosis recordings and soon yelled, "HYPNOSIS IS A BUNCH OF CRAP!"  Well, it was nice until things were really serious anyway, which by now they were.  I kept waiting for my midwife to say something nice and definitive, like "Oh, honey, this is transition and it'll be over soon," but failing to hear these exact words while feeling that surely I couldn't take any more of this, I said things like "I want to go to the hospital! I need all the drugs! Nathan, these mean women won't listen to me! You need to take me to the hospital right now! I want my Mom!"  And my midwife, calm and serene, replied, "This is all a very good sign!"  

At some point when it all felt pretty unbearable -- oh and also, I had almost drowned myself a couple of times by dozing off in the tub in the brief moments between contractions, utterly exhausted, and slipping my face down into the water only to wake with a nose full of said water -- I told Nathan I urgently needed to use the bathroom and tried to stand up to get out of the tub.  Our lovely midwife calmly said, "Or maybe you're going to have a baby!"  When I insisted, she was ready and willing to help me out of the tub;  but of course she was right and I sat right back down in the tub and promptly delivered that baby.  


Later my brother-in-law, who had quietly arrived with my sister-in-law and their sweet little toddler in the midst of all of this, would be able to laugh with me about that endless horrifying "five-minutes-without-stopping-for-breath" scream that had accompanied the birth.  "I thought you had mastered the art of circular breathing!"  Ha!  It's a good thing this was my fourth baby and family is family; somehow I didn't die of shame having them one thin wall away from all this drama unfolding.  




As soon as Sylvie was in my arms I just collapsed with relief and happiness.  I ugly cried (I have pictures to prove it), and then the girls came running right in as soon as Nathan fetched them and they were utterly awestruck by the magic of it all, meeting this newly born human being who would be their sister forever and always.  A massive rainstorm had been going on throughout the labor but my midwife tells me that at precisely the moment of Sylvie's birth the rain stopped and the sun came out and the world was clear again.  It was almost 9 am but somehow it felt like the wee hours of the morning, and all was calm and still and messy and perfect.  



For the labor itself, at any given moment I would have probably preferred to be laying in a hospital bed with an epidural and a popsicle.  But the minute it was over, I would have done it all over again.  I was so grateful to be home, with family.  It was so wonderful to rinse off in my own shower, rest in my own bed, and eat food from my own home.  The pampering I received from my family (and, in subsequent days, friends) was far beyond hospital food and care!  And the moments the girls got to spend with their newborn sister were priceless.







Like her big sisters, we chose for Sylvie a middle name that connects her to the music of the church, which is her Daddy's occupation and great love.  St. Anne is the tune name for the hymn "Our God, Our Help in Ages Past." 

Back in January when I began to contemplate the idea of a home birth, I couldn’t quite identify why I wanted to change my model of care mid-pregnancy, but in light of Covid we consider it a divinely-inspired nudge. Born amidst a pandemic, it seemed a fitting time to recall with Christians across the ages: 

“Our God, our help in ages past,
Our hope for years to come,
Be Thou our guard while life shall last,
And our eternal home.” 

Today this sweet six-month old is sitting beside me as I type, all gummy smiles and sweetness.  Of course, we already can't imagine life without her.

The older girls requested that we listen to music by the Peasall Sisters earlier this week, and when Nathan heard "I'm That Sparrow" come on, he commented, "I would think you'd be scarred by this song!"  I listened to it while I was in labor with Sylvie.  Oddly, I don't feel 'scarred' at all, but it does make me feel a little teary, remembering that dark and stormy night -- and the sunburst of a sweet babe in our arms.  



Never has a baby been more adored than this sweet child, and even a pandemic and social distancing can't change that.  It's true that many people in our wider community haven't yet even met her, but I think her adoring immediate family and the close friends we've seen almost makes up for that (but not quite, of course -- we wish so much she could meet her grandparents, aunts and uncles, cousins, and friends).  Her sisters clamor for her attention, and when she was a newborn I practically had to get in line to hold her, so eager were her big sisters to snuggle her.  And last night, as happens almost every night right now, she lay asleep beside me when Nathan came to bed.  He lay down beside her and just gazed at her sweet sleeping face for a while, alternately smiling at her and at me like the giant sap of a Dad I'm so proud that he is.  We both looked at each other in the dim light and we didn't have to say it because we both knew-- we're the luckiest people in the world.

Of this one thing we can be sure after a long day of parenting: however short the naps were, however long the tantrums may have been, however extensive the mess, and however many times I may have lost my temper, when the day draws to a close and the baby is finally asleep, we can put all the other stuff aside and be what we should be: profoundly grateful.


Saturday, September 19, 2020

Mollyisms, Vol. 1

Our resident three-year-old has been well-deserving of her own Quotables on this blog for quite some time, I think.  You'll probably note quite a progression in her speech from some of the earlier recorded quotes toward the beginning to some of the most recent ones.  

I'm interspersing these Mollyisms from ages two and three with some photos I snapped in June early one morning when she crept upstairs and crawled into bed with us wearing this tutu she had put on, a self-proclaimed princess.  What a fun kid she is -- something I need to step back and remember more often amidst the inevitable frustrations a three-year-old can bring.

She really is my sweet little side-kick these days: wanting to help me in the kitchen throughout the day, and eager to help tidy the house, too -- and getting pretty good at it!   Every time I catch her eye and smile at her she exclaims, "I love you, Mama!"  And anytime she's not certain she'll come ask me, "Mama, do you love me?"  It sort of reminds me of the phase of time when she regularly asked, "Mama, are you nice?"  I think in this, too, she's really feeling out if I'm in a good mood and apt to swoop her up for a hug and a kiss.  


Her very first attempts at her own name, back around age two, sounded like "Momee" and then "Mah-dees."  Version three became "Monny," and today she expresses outrage when Nathan affectionately calls her "Monny."  
"I'm not Monny, I'm MOLLY," she yells at us.

* * *

Her version of "hair elastic" for some time was just "hair stick."  Scrambled eggs used to be "tumble eggs" - a curiously appropriate name the more I think about it.  An octopus is an "aquapus," and vitamins are "bitamins," other ones I find rather fitting.  She calls my slippers my "flippers" and delights in shuffling around the house in them saying, "I'm Mama!"  And "Why are you funny?" is her way of asking why someone is laughing.

* * *

She called a washcloth a "hoshcough," a telephone a "hellophone" (which actually makes a great deal of sense), a sandwich a "famwich," and her jammies her "dammies."  She says "either" when she means "too," as in "Mama can I have some either?" And "upside down" is "up-spied-down."  Spaghetti is "pasghetti," and in general while she sometimes complains about meals (and took a little longer than I remember my other girls taking to come around to greens and salads) these days she compliments most of the meals around here, saying on more than one occasion, "Oh Mama it's very so yummy!"

* * *

A frequent complaint while she is waiting for breakfast, lunch, dinner, or anything else at all for that matter: "This is taking a long time ago!"

* * *

Her requests often go, "Mama, can you {fill in the blank} because I very want you to."

* * *

Her version of the ubiquitous kid phrase, "Look at me!" is "Mama! I'll show you me! I'll SHOW you me!"

* * *

"I'm yeddy!" is her happy exclamation when she's ready, for anything really -- breakfast, or to go on a walk, or when she's just gotten dressed in the morning.

* * *

Singing to herself hopefully one day: "Hush little baby, don't say a word, Mama's gonna buy you a donut..."

* * *

Stark naked after her bath one evening, as I combed her hair: "I'm a beautiful beautiful girl princess!"

* * *

Making a pile of dirt and sand on the edge of our street and enjoying the process very much, she mused to herself: "This is looking really good, yes, this is looking really good."  When this went on for a while I interjected, "How's it coming, Mol?  Looking good?"  She replied with exasperation: "Yes, I already said that!  Please don't ask me again!"
{Hmm, I guess she's occasionally heard that phrase before... }


More technologically adept than any three-year-old perhaps should be, she requests, "Ayexa, pay Jesus." She means "Alexa, play Jesus Loves Me," and the strangest thing is that Alexa seems to understand this and obliges more than half the time.

* * *

She climbs into her high chair at every meal and, needing to be scooted in toward the table, she yells, "Can somebody push me over?!" {Believe me, sometimes we are sorely tempted to do just that!}

* * *

Hearing me say "PBS" one day, she immediately replied, "H-I-J-K-L-M-N-O-P!"

* * *

"I'm yeady!" {I'm ready!}

* * *

Giving herself a pep talk one day: "I can do it!!!!"

* * *

When she wants me to close my eyes for a minute: 
"Mama, turn your eyes off!" 

* * *

On one of the first sunny, really warm days of spring: "Mama, the sky is keeping me so warm!"

* * *

Wearing short sleeves for the first time in spring, and clearly not remembering this phenomenon from previous years: "Oh wow, my sleeves are already rolled up!  So that I can wash my hands!"


One of my favorite things about toddlers is their total lack of comprehension of time and numbers, and yet the way they'll confidently utilize figures nonetheless.  They are keenly trying to figure out these things like time and numbers all the time.

"Mama, I have seven dollars.  Can you buy me a quarter?"

* * *

"When I was Nell's age, I was Nell's age!"
{How very ... astute?}

* * *

When I was pregnant with Sylvie: 
"Mama, when am I going to be in your tummy?"

* * *

"Mama? I need sifty dollars because I need it.  To put in my packpack."

* * *

After her Uncle Andrew promised Nell five dollars for floating her on her back unassisted, Molly jumped in the pool and yelled, "Now can I have fifty dollars?!"

* * *

"I was locked in the bathroom for seventy dollars before Nell opened the door for me!  Seventy dollars... seventy... I mean, seventy years."



This girl has opinions and makes them known.  

* * *

Encountering a dinner she didn't want:
"No, no, I won't eat it, SORRY."

* * *

Listening to Schubert one day: 
"I don't like this, but I do like the poop song."

* * *

When Mexican food was for dinner:
"I love cheese, I love sour cream, I love cheese, I love cheese... BUT. I. DON'T. LIKE. BEANS."

* * *

She holds a strong distaste for the infamous Canon in D by Pachelbel.  When the older two girls, who like the piece, requested we add it to their bedtime playlist of relaxing music Molly was adamantly opposed each and every time she heard it.  I would be sitting downstairs and know when that song had come up on the playlist because of Molly's utterly horrified screams: "Oh no! This is not a lullaby!  Oh no! No no no! This goes "Da, Da, Da, Da! {Yell-singing the bass line}  This is not a lullaby!"  

And yes, Nathan and I found this unendingly hysterical every night when it occurred.

* * *

And when I asked her to put her shoes on one day before leaving the house, she declared, "Hashtag, I don't like you."  Ahh, a child of the modern era.

* * *

Outraged whenever she was corrected or chastised, she would (and often still does!) reply, "Don't 'peak to me that way!"   Sometimes she'll come find me, wailing, "Mama! Mama! I do something and then Daddy 'peak to me that way about it!"  {Translation: I did something naughty and Daddy spoke to me firmly about it -- and in true toddler-justice-warrior fashion, she finds this outrageous!}

* * *

We can't help finding it hilarious all the times she'll come running to me wailing, "Mama GUESS WHAT?!  Daddy said no at me!"  Or very early one morning when she crawled into our bed as a somewhat unwelcome guest and I was awakened to her outraged, "Mama guess what?!  Daddy tell me to lie still and I didn't like that!"

* * *

Every time she gets in trouble from Nathan her bottom line is: "I don't yike Daddy.  Daddy is BAD."


But for all her grumpy moments and bold opinions, she's way more than half sweetness, of course.

Snuggling early one morning in bed, she told me unprompted: "Mama you are nice, you are cozy, I love you."

* * *

Back in February when I set the table nicely for a little Valentine's tea she exclaimed with delight: "Oh Mama I'm so happy at you, I'm so proud of you!" 

* * *

When I got home from a concert on afternoon she ran towards me, declaring, "You're my favorite Mama in the whole world!"

* * *

And she's a very grateful girl -- she continually remembers her birthday back in March, and will still often say out of the blue, "Mama thank you for {fill in the blank} you got me for a present!"

* * *

"I love you Mama, you're the best Mama forever I see!"

* * *

She snuggled up against me while I was getting some work done on my laptop. Putting an arm around her, I said, "I love you, Molly."  Molly replied, "I love your 'puter." 

* * *

She was my right-hand man for all things gardening all summer, and would get up nearly every morning and ask, "Mama, can I do some flowering with you today?"

* * *

Late in my pregnancy with Sylvie I really couldn't carry Molly around much due to back pain and such, which I guess made both of us a little sad.  A while after Sylvie was born and I lifted Molly up one day, she snuggled against me and said, "Mama, I'm glad your back is better now so we can do our carryin' again."



Molly: "I feel sick."
Me: "I'm sorry Molly, what doesn't feel good?"
Molly: "ME!!!!"

* * *

Molly often assures her big sisters, "Yes!  Mama said I could!"  Ah, a girl who understands the power of permission but doesn't seem to understand that it does, in fact, need to be granted from a figure in authority.  

* * *

"I'm too scary!" and "I will be scary!" are used interchangeably for being scared, her arms usually wrapped tightly around my neck in an act of bedtime desperation sweetness.  And once after something happened that scared her, she declared, "Wow!  That was nervous!"

* * *

Watching a slightly scary movie (Herbie!  Vintage movie classic!) on a family movie night recently, Molly did not like the way the movie was unfolding and declared: "I don't want this show to be rude to me!"

* * *

When a sister laughs at her: "Don't be silly to me!  Mama!  Nell's being silly at me!"

* * *

Putting her fingers in her ears and making a new discovery: "I'm putting my fingers in my ears and it turns it all down!"  She took them out.  "Turns it back up !"  Put them in again.  "Turns it down again!"

* * *

Processing the pandemic: "Why can't we go somewhere?  I'm not a 'birus'! I'm not!"

* * *

Back in early May, when it snowed on Ree's birthday, Molly was very dismayed: "But Mama it's snowing on Mawie's happy boow-day cake!"
"Well, it's not snowing on her cake, but it is snowing on her birthday!"
"Well, can you take it off?  Can you take the snow off?"
{I'm sorry, I find it difficult to remove weather from a day somehow... we all have our so-called Mom fails, I guess.}

* * *

"I don't love bugs, but I do love grapes."

* * *

Holding up a finger: "Mama, this little piggy is hurtin' me."

* * *

"Bunnies have a different bum than my bum, actually."

* * *

Brown-nosing from an early age, upon hearing a sibling making a scene over something: 
"Hi Mama, I'm the one who's not being fussy."


Screaming in the middle of the night one night: "I want to go to church!!!" 
{She is her father's daughter I suppose!}

* * *

Nathan was asking me about something and I replied, "Sure, go ahead babe."  Molly interjected vehemently, "He's not babe he's Daddy."

* * *

Molly: "I did a poop! I did lots of poops! A daddy one and a mommy one and a Nell one and a Marie one and a Molly one and an Uncle Andrew one and an Aunt Hannah one and..."

Me: "Okay Molly, maybe we don't need to name each of your poops..." (Although I'm sure her relatives will be honored.)

* * *

Pointing to a crackly spot on our ceiling "What's happening to our sky?"

* * *

"I'm not tiny!  Well I'm a little bit tiny but I'm not the tiniest!"

* * *

"When I was a baby poopin' in my diaper I would say, "How 'barassin'!"

* * *

Playing in her toy kitchen with lego people: "I'm pretending my guys are disobeyin' me."
Me: "Oh?  And what happens when they disobey?  Do you talk to them about that?"
Molly: "No, they just get cooked in the oven."
Me: ....
{Well then.  That escalated quickly, as they say.}

* * *

After Sylvie was born Molly would periodically ask, "Mama, are you gonna push the baby out?"  Perplexed, I would answer, "I mean, Molly, I did... she's right here in my arms."  And she seemed equally perplexed.  I guess at the end of the day, a new family member can be a confusing thing no matter how much you prepare for it.  

One of my absolutely favorite conversations, which comes up over and over again lately, involves the recent arrival of Sylvie in our family.  It has become apparent that Molly believes that our midwife brought Sylvie to us as a gift.  Yes, despite the fact that we talked extensively about the baby's arrival, and she was born right here at home, and Molly met her when she was minutes old, and we had even watched YouTube videos of home births in preparation for the big day.  (Yes, really.)  All of this is irrelevant; every few days Molly will be gazing lovingly at Sylvie and then will say something like, "I love our baby.  It was so nice of that lady who comed to our house to give her to us.  That was a nice lady to give us a baby."

I remind her about how Sylvie grew in my tummy and was born at home and that the midwife came here to help, but none of this makes much of an impression on Molly.  The midwife is a nice lady who "gived" us a baby.  She remembers the day clearly and has it all figured out.  "I woke up and went up to the attic to your bedroom but you weren't there.  You and Daddy were in the family room with the lady.  And Aunt Hannah and Uncle Andrew came.  I remember!  The lady comed to our house.  She was so nice to give us a baby.  I just love this baby sister."

And she sure does love her.  She very nearly smothers her with love and affection, constantly kissing her and climbing on top of her with exuberant hugs.  Occasionally these measures of affection are upsetting to Sylvie, and while usually Molly is unfazed and unconvinced {"No I'm not upsetting her! She loves me!"}, she occasionally sighs, "I wish we could get a new baby who doesn't cry."  

In general though, her strategy is to blame the crying on something other than her own actions, so she runs to me and exclaims, "Mama, I was snuggling Sylvie, and... now... I didn't make her sad... I think she wants to go somewhere!"

Because it's 2020.  If someone is sad, it must be because they wish they could go somewhere, right?!  Makes sense to me.

* * *

She was helping me in the kitchen the other day and she smiled up at me and said,  "Mama I love you, it's good to have you."

It's good to have you, too, Mollywog.




Wednesday, June 24, 2020

Reeisms, Vol. 7


This poor blog, once long ago so vibrant with posts -- even if they were just mundanities and everyday happenings -- lies mostly neglected these days.  But even a post every few months provides such fun memories of our family life to look back on later!  {Or as Nathan once said, "I'm glad you blog about our life; it makes me feel like we'll be able to remember some of it," or something to that effect.}  I'm particularly overdue with kid quotes, and have months and even years of them saved in notes on my phone.  Despite a recent data loss tragedy (oh, the sadness!), I still have quite a few worth sharing and remembering.  So here we go with some very overdue Reeisms!  {Some of these date back by over a year.}



She calls a shirt a "topping," continues to be a great lover of all things fancy (and conversely, disdains things that are not fancy enough for her taste), and can drive her big sister to a state of near distraction.  She's a champion snuggler, makes the funniest faces around, and provides the household with frequent drama over every stubbed toe ("ow Ow OW OWOWOWWWWWWWWWW!").



After a discussion of a babysitter with whom she was not pleased:
"Heavenly Father, thank you for my mama and my daddy and my sisters and my own family and NOBODY ELSE."

* * *

Profound musings over breakfast:
"Waffles are basically pancakes except they're bigger, look different, and they're called something else."

* * *

Thinking I might make myself an afternoon cup of coffee one day:
Me: "Mmm... you know what I want right now?"
Ree: "What?  What??  What I want is a whole cup of candy canes!"

* * *

Walking down the stairs one morning: 
"Something smells disgusting.  Oh, maybe it was just your homemade bread smelling like a stinky rotten pig."
{Well, well, well.  Good morning to you too, Miss Merry Sunshine!}

* * *

One morning last summer, going to a little summer camp at some friends' house:
"Mama, why do you get to wear a nice dress and I have to wear dirty kids' clothes?!"


After listening to music by Mussorgsky one morning:
"Mama, can you put on some more music from a different land?"
"What land?"
"Oh I don't know, just a land that has princesses who are fancy with crowns on their heads.  And bonnets.  That kind of land."

* * *

Tidying up one day: 
"I'm working on making my room as clean and as fancy as a castle."

* * *

"I need a bigger house to live in that has more echoes."
{Valid concern, I say.  Good acoustics make everything better.}

* * *

Practicing her cartwheels on the lawn:
"Grown-ups are worse at doing things than kids.  Cuz they weigh more."


"It's such a good thing we are all in the same family.   Because our names all match and they all go together really well."

* * *

"Why can't sharks close their mouths?"
{Valid question, right?}

* * *

Coughing badly in the night:
This cough is hurting me! And it's making my voice like lower! And ... it's ... it's ... ugly!! (sobbing)

Coughing again:
"It feels like, and it sounds like... it's a dead trumpet!" 


One evening when I was a full 40 weeks pregnant with Sylvie I told the girls I was going to take a soak in the bathtub.  Marie helpfully replied, "Ok but let me tell you something Mama.  You're probably too huge to fit in the bathtub."

* * *

"Mama, your legs are so thick you can barely fit on your chair!"
{It'll be a miracle if I survive motherhood with a shred of self-esteem intact.}

* * *

In a kindly and condescending tone: "Nell, there's just a feeling I have that I feel like I'm better at ballet than you are.  Sorry."


"My whole body is tickling! This is a real emergency!"

* * *

Last school year, after reading them Buzz Aldrin's picture book
Ree was extremely enamored with the whole book, the whole experience, the whole person.
Ree: "Where does he live? Can we go visit him? Can we go today?  Or would that be inappropriate to go to his house if he doesn't know us?"
Me: "Well, we can't go visit him, but maybe you could write him a letter and tell him you love his book!"
Ree: "I LOVE HIM!  I LOVE HIM!  Why can't kids go to the moon?! Why?"
{She was so enthralled, it was the most wonderful thing to watch.  Having once been completely space-crazy as a kid I could relate to her wonder and excitement!}

* * *

Singing to herself one afternoon:
"I just love to be unbearable! I just want to be unbearable! Unbearable! Unbearable!"

* * *

On Ash Wednesday, ironically, after multiple sibling altercations it was time for people to have some time and space apart in their own bedrooms.  What should I hear drifting down the stairs but the sound of her lovely little voice singing to an improvised melody, "Do more and more bad things that you can think of...!"
{Ah, the sweet sound of repentance.  Or something.}


Deeply disappointed in a drawing she did, and wailing: "This doesn't look like it's supposed to be admired!  This isn't something to be proud of!" 
{I disagree in fact, it was a lovely drawing of a robin!}

* * *

One afternoon when Sylvie was just a week or so old, and I had tried to take a nap to no avail:
"I wonder why Sylvie can get more rest than you can, Mama.  I guess it's because her ears are smaller so she doesn't hear us making noise as much!"

* * *

Over dinner one evening, beginning to question my parental narrative, she thoughtfully mused, "Actually... we haven't gotten sick from eating treats on the times when we've eaten treats.  So it's fine and healthy for our bodies to eat lots of treats after all, I guess!"

* * *

Ree: "I wish we had all been born at the same time."
Me: "Oh really?  Why is that?"
Ree: "So that you wouldn't die before I do."
{heart. breaks.}



"Mama, things are moving around in my head!  I mean, my mind!  My mind is moving around in my head!"
{Perhaps she's describing what we call thinking?}

* * *

"Mama, when you laugh, your head isn't so round anymore."
Nell: "No one's head is really round."
Ree: "Yours is, Nell.  And Molly's is.  But Mama's head is squashed."

* * *

Me: "What was Adam made from?"
Nell: "Dust."
Me: "What was Eve made from?"
Ree: "Plaster."


Dressed up in a vintage pink dress to go to a friend's birthday: 
"YES.  YES!  This is exactly how I've always wanted to look!  I don't look like a plain Marie I look like a fancy Marie!"

* * *

We "raised" caterpillars into Painted Lady butterflies, an experience as filled with occasional worrisome setbacks as it was with joy and wonder in the end.  One day after Molly had illicitly gotten ahold of the poor caterpillars and given them a solid shaking, Marie wailed, "I wish I could be a tiny baby so I didn't have anything to worry about so I didn't have to worry!  See, Sylvie doesn't know the caterpillar might be dead!"

I know exactly what you mean, girlie.  Just you wait until the worries become even bigger than caterpillar woes.  Being a baby again is going to look better and better.  On the other hand, being your mom has its distinct joys and advantages, grown-up worries notwithstanding.  I'm going to go out on a limb and say it's been worth growing up for.

wiggling her first loose tooth with her tongue
{wiggling her first loose tooth with her tongue}