Our first family vacation.Â We went to Cancun.Â The girls turned two while we were there.
Here’s Mommy and Tessa:
Nori in the ladybug:
Breaking for a snack (pronounced “‘nack!”):
Tessa and Nora really loved the beach.Â We only went there in the evenings because it was too hot during the day.Â When we’d get down there they would run and run and then just throw their bodies into the sand…Here’s Tess:
It’s July in Kansas.Â It’s hot.Â It’s sticky.Â It’s Kansas.Â The girls, however, struggle to realize that once you move from the air-conditioned comfort of the house to the sticky, bug-ridden backyard–well, it gets miserable fast.Â Nevertheless, throughout dinner last night Nora randomly exclaimed “BACK-YARD! BACK-YARD!”Â Tessa chimed in, “PARK! PARK!”.Â So we had to figure out something to do.
So, we settled on going to the bookstore at a nearby mall.Â They love the kids section there and we can read books and play with the “CHOO CHOO TRAIN! CHOO CHOO TRAIN! CHOO CHOO TRAIN!”Â ok ok ok…
Not only was the bookstore a great success but to top it off there was outdoor live music.Â There were a lot of people there.Â Mostly sitting in chairs, relaxing and taking in the music.Â The girls really love music.Â They were doing their routine of swaying and crooning back and forth, back and forth.Â They really get into the music.Â Sometimes I think it’s a fine balance to allow children to enjoy participating in an experience while not eclipsing the performance itself.Â We stand to the side, out of the way, but close enough that thatÂ the kidsÂ can see and experience the joy of music.Â Â Seeing one child singing and dancing is enough to draw a few smiles and approving glances, but seeing two little kids who are spitting images of each other (no matter how much I try to make them look like their own person) really starts to draw a crowd.Â And so, a crowd started to gather.
Then some young woman, about my age, came up and asked if she could take some pictures of them.
My best guess is that she was on staff at the mall or from one of the radio station sponsors and was getting pictures for marketing materials.Â So, sure.Â Take some pictures.Â I’m proud.Â The girls are cute.
So we continue to croon on and then another woman comes up to me and asks me if we go to the Oak Park farmer’s market.Â Again–huh?
We did once.Â I thought about blogging about the market, but it was rather uneventful.Â Just a way to pass the time on a beautiful Saturday morning.Â We pushed our way through the crowded market with the girls in our arms.Â I remember that we stopped for just a moment to smell some pretty flowers at one stand.Â “Fluwers!” Nora exclaimed.Â Both girls scrunched up their noses and gave a loud snort of the various bouquets. Â About 10 steps away from that stand a man called out to me, “Ma’am! Here are some flowers for your girls!” He handed me a neat, tight assortment of tiny flowers in an oldÂ glass bottle.Â I thought it was strange that he went so far out of his way to give away flowers that he was selling at the market.Â We pushed on and at the end of the market there were a couple of guys playing guitars and we stopped for a bit to sing and sway and sing and sway.Â The girls made friends with a couple of other kids and they all started hopping, skipping and dancing to the music.Â Â At one point one of the singers acknowledged Nora and Tessa and their enthusiastic participation.Â I think performers appreciate it when they see such uninhibited joy coming from someone who is clearly enjoying the performance.Â Later we had some lunch and packed up to go home.Â It was fun, but rather uneventful.
“Is that Nora and Tessa?” the woman at the mall asked me.Â “I remember them from the market–they were dancing at the market!Â They were so fun to watch.”
Wow.Â Seriously?Â You remember my kids (and their names) who were dancing for 30 minutes at a market that we went to one time a month ago?Â So, now notÂ only do have we have an audience and a photographer, but we have groupies.
As a fond parent, I sometimes worry that I might overthinkÂ the impact of my children on the greater community.Â Of course I think they are cute and fun to watch and they fill my life with such sheer happiness with their sense of humor and pure spirits.Â But I try to adjust my view of the girls through my mommy-colored glasses and not exhault them.Â While they are the world to me, I understand that my love and amazement of them is compounded by the fact that they are my kids.Â I know that there are many peopleÂ who love and admire the girls, but my mommy ego sometimes explodes upon the realization that complete strangers are giving them flowers, taking their picture and remembering them from momentary, and seeminglyÂ uneventful,Â episodes in time.Â Sometimes I am struck by the impression that Nora and Tessa do make on other people.Â While the initial allure of the girls may be their twinage, it is their explosive and engaging personalities that draw people in and make a lasting impression.Â Their uninhibited song and dance and giggles and flirty glances atÂ people around them bring those people joy and happiness.
And, for that reason, I am struck with awe and pride that I get to share in their lives.Â To me they are wonderful.Â But to others, they are also wonderful.Â And for that, I give thanks.
My ability to blog has been eclipsed by my skyrocketing work level, but I still manage to make it home most nights for dinner and the bedtime routine (park, bath, books, milk and cuddles) only to pick up working again in the evenings.Â There is a light at the end of this work tunnel that I think will come around the middle of this month…
Anyway, the girls are really into “labeling”.Â I guess this is the phase where their vocabulary soars as they label each and every item around them and their memory for events is repeating in this “labeling” storytelling.Â This past weekend Chad’s parents came over for lunch on Sunday and to wish Daddy Chad a Happy Birthday (shout out to Daddy!).Â We had a great time, but there was a moment when we were sitting in the living room and Grandpa Chris leaned over in his chair and KABOOM! he fell.Â He was alright and we helped him up.Â But Nora was very very concerned and scared.Â She insisted that I give him a hug at least twice.Â And every day since then Nora has gone up to that chair and said, “Grandpa Chair.Â Fall down!”Â
Their little memories are amazing.Â One time (only once)Â we saw two ducks in the little creek by the park by our house.Â The girls were so excited.Â Every time we go by the creek on the way to the park they say, “Quack quack duck!”Â And when we don’t see them I ask them, “Where did they go?”Â In Nora and Tessa’s minds there are only two responses to this question: 1) “Sleepytown nite nap!”, and 2) “Snack”.Â
Everything thing that leaves has either gone to bed or is eating something.Â It’s so cute.Â They say this about everything–ducks, dogs, cars and even airplanes.Â “Where did the airplane go?” I’ll ask after it passes overhead and flies far off.Â Nora will say with certainty: “Snack”.Â And Tessa willÂ agree and say “Sleepytown nite nap”.
Last night at dinner we were sitting around the table talking about milk and water.Â They love to see what everyone is drinking.Â Mommy was having milk.Â Daddy was having water withÂ ICE.Â Ice is a big deal.Â They love ice.Â Â Toward the end of dinner Tessa wanted to see if Daddy was done with his water.Â “Almost.” She said when she saw the glassÂ almost empty.Â “Ice?” she asked?Â Â “No,” I said, “Daddy’s ice is all gone.Â Where did it go?”Â I thought this was a good opportunity to talk about melting.Â Â Tessa disagreed, “Ice sleepytown,” she correct.Â I laughed so loud.Â True, I thought.Â The ice probably went “sleepytown.”
About once a week our daycare provider, Barb, calls me to say that theÂ girls have brought her the phone (not sure how theyÂ are getting the phone, but whatever) andÂ they are asking to talk to me.Â It makes my day, every single time.
Here’s the sum of our conversation:
Nora: “HI MOMMY!”
Me: “Hi baby.Â How are you?”
Me: “What are you doing?”
Nora: “PLAY.Â SNACK.”
Me: “Are you having fun?”
Nora: “LUV YOU!”
Me: “I love you, too, baby.Â Let me talk to Tess.”
The same conversation ensues with Tessa except there is a lot more button pushing and beeping in my ear.Â They both conclude by screaming “BYE BYE!” and then actually kissing and hugging the phone. Each.Â
Nora and Tessa are 20 months old–going on two years.Â Nora likes to announce this fact by constantly declaring, “Nora do it! Nora do it!”.Â Needless to say, she likes to do things for herself.
Tessa likes to try things out, but she often, and without hesitation, asks for help.
As a mother who has about 1,000,001 things to do all the time, you may be able to imagine how time consuming it can be to allow your daughters to “do” everything themselves.Â And, sometimes, how it is frustrating.Â This roaring independance, which sometimes ends up on the floor kicking and screaming and crying, is frustrating for meÂ because I want to encourage Nora and Tessa to be confident, able people.Â I want them to learn and grow and explore their world.Â I love that at the age of 20 months they can mostly put on their own shoes and coats!Â I love their determination to “do it” all for themselves because it makes them capable, self-sufficent, curious, intelligentÂ human beings.
But, we all get frustrated when “do it” doesn’t work out…when the frustration of being almost two-years-oldÂ has limitations that are beyond their understanding.
It is frustrating for them and it is frustrating for me.Â And, so, I am trying to learn that it is the journey that I should embrace, not the end result.Â Nora and Tessa live in the present, not the future.Â It is the walk to the park…the dilly-dallying over every rock…the challenge of holding hands while crossing the street…the feel of dirt and concrete on our hands and knees, not the park itself, in which we learn about life.Â
It is the washing of the hands, not the clean hands, in which we learn about what it feels like to get your whole shirt wet and how the floor becomes slippery when there is water all over.
So, I’m learning to pick my battles lately.Â And I’m learning patience (although it’s really really tough sometimes).Â And I’m trying to embrace the reality that in order for Nora and Tessa to become confident, happy and helpful people there are many life lessons to be learned, albeit within the boundaries of love and guidance from Mommy.Â And we’ll try to pepper in a few “please” and “thank you’s” along the way…
Time is getting away from me.Â Free time, that is.Â We did have a fun Easter weekend, though.Â The eggs were a hit, although they were sometimes difficult to manage.Â (Tessa on the left, Nora on the right.)