“So what should I get for Carys for Christmas, what’s she into these days?” Asks my stepmother.
“Um, she bangs on things a lot and sticks stuff in her mouth,” I’m sure the shrug in my shoulders is audible through the phone.
“Oh, thanks a lot,” the sarcasm was actually audible. I then sent her a list of toys that I thought would be appropriate in a variety of price ranges.
I never know what to say when the grandparents ask me what’s new with my kids. My brain usually freezes, caught off guard I hem and haw and then say something truly lame.
Today is momentous, Carys has finally crawled. For the past month or so we’ve been in the ‘crawl backward and get angry’ phase. Finally there have been enough forward striking knee bends I feel comfortable to call it crawling. Now the diaper pail is perched up on their dresser because that is the first thing she crawled towards. Emma used to do that in doctor’s offices, straight for the biohazard bin.
She’s is still pretty much into banging on things and sticking them in her mouth, I’m pretty sure that’s most of her inner monologue,
‘What happens when I smack this on my high chair tray? What happens when I stick in my mouth?’
She is still pretty mellow and only really cries when I put her in her car seat or when I put her to bed. The look on her face when I put her to bed usually strikes a chord of ridiculous guilt, she looks so betrayed,
‘Wait, what? You brought me in this dark and relaxing room, not just to nurse but for that? Noooooooo!’ Then I get the pacifier in her mouth, ‘num, num, num, snorfle, zonk, zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.’
A few days ago I pulled up all courage, all my 'what if she chokes?' fear, and I gave her chopped up banana. I spread it on the tray before her and held my breath, I immediately wondered if I should have waited until Scott was home, between the two of us we should be able to remember our baby CPR training, right? She was entranced. Little fingers spread, smashed and pinched. Eagerly they brought the little white triangles to her mouth, she mashed them up and swallowed, with no choking. Then she giggled. She kept giggling all the while.
In the other corner we have Emma; who currently has an addiction to Dora. We’ve slowly weaned her off her off her near pathological addiction to apple juice, which I think means that she is largely dehydrated all the time. She now participates in a crime I like to call ‘toyjacking,’ wherein she runs by an unsuspecting baby grabs the toy that the baby is innocently mouthing and hurls it as far away as she possibly can. She still believes that everything she touches is hers, and now that Carys can actually get her chubby little fingers on things this provides a perfect stage for toyjacking.
Emma is also in a hefty active imagination stage, all around our house I find little ‘beds’ with her stuffed animals and dolls laid down to sleep. Today I did it, I didn’t worry about educational games or teaching her anything I actually played with her. I became a ‘fairy princess ballerina,’ not a very good one, but I tried. I pulled a bright pink tutu onto one of my thighs (I was quickly instructed that this was incorrect, but picturing ripping elastic and tulle I wasn’t going to attempt to pull it up to my hips), balanced a crown on my head, put back on a pair of heels that I had donated to her dress up basket, and sat while she fluttered about me. I soon learned that all she really needed was an audience to her own play. I watched her act out all the things that she sees, she ‘washed the babies,’ and combed their hair, all actions that I perform for her and her little sister.
Sometimes I get a little sad to watch my daughter act out domestic chores as play. I wonder is that just because she is with me all day and that’s what I do? (Then it makes me sad to realize that’s what I do all day long.) Or does she gravitate to that because she is female? Every time she pipes up about princesses and fairies I wonder if I have failed her, failed to expose her to positive role models that are not royalty or only valued for beauty, or if that’s just what she is attracted to. Nonetheless, she is definitely very interested in fairies, princesses, and movie stars....sigh.