Sunday, March 22, 2009

Prayers

I don't have any pictures for this week. I promise I'll get some for next time. And really, it's been very quiet around here. I'll just share two quick stories for the week.

Last Sunday, we got a note telling us that Anna had been assigned the opening prayer for primary opening exercises today. She knows how to say prayers, but she still asks for help sometimes, so we've been practicing all week, making sure she said at least two prayers every day. We've also been working on her prayer voice. See, when she prays, she automatically takes her voice into her very upper register, and she sounds sort of like a mouse. I suggested to her on Thursday that we can just use our regular voices for prayers, and we make sure to say them loudly enough for everyone to hear them. Her next few prayers were yelled at full volume, but by this morning she had toned it down. This morning near the end of Sacrament Meeting, attempting to stave off her boredom for a few more minutes, I asked her what things she was going to say she was thankful for in her prayer. She quickly said, "I am thankful for my family and my toys and my friends... and my sister... and my daddy..." and I realized that although we'd practiced the actual act all week, she didn't have any concept that a prayer for primary is different from a prayer at home. We talked about how prayers in public should be for things related to everyone in the room, and we came up with a few things she could be thankful for and ask for that were true for everyone. In the end, a teacher helped her a little preemptively, and she prayed for at least ten things we had never talked about, but despite some slurred words, that prayer was good and loud, and I was stinkin' proud. As she likes to remind me, she's getting bigger every day.

This week, I've also been noticing how skillful Mariah is at non-verbal communication. Over the last few days, she has managed to tell me what she wanted to wear, what she wanted for breakfast and lunch, which pajamas she wanted to sleep in, and which songs she wanted to sing, all without using any actual words. She is, of course, a very talented pointer, and she has an extremely expressive face, which helps a lot, but it's more than that. Kids have an amazing ability to use what they do know to express what they can't say. For example, I asked her the other morning what she wanted for breakfast, and I pointed at her choices. She ignored all the options I'd given and pointed up to the box of Cheerios. I got it down. Then she pointed at the cupboard with the bowls, and while I got a bowl, she got her own spoon out of the drawer. Then she pointed at the fridge and did the sign for milk, so I pulled out the milk, and finally, she pointed at the bananas and mimed cutting them with a knife. I poured her cheerios, cut some banana chunks on, and poured the milk as she sat watching me intently, and after all that was done, she crossed her arms, bowed her head, and mumbled for a second. Then her eyes popped open and she shoveled in her first bite with a big grin. My friend at church today told me that 18 months was her favorite age with all of her kids, and although I hadn't really thought about it, I realized that it is kind of nice: they can communicate and enjoy, they are interested in the world around them, and no one is sweeter than a toddler who, on a whim, would really like a hug and a kiss. Sometimes it's just easy not to notice because they are also completely exhausting.

Happy Spring!

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Recovery and Ring Pops

I hate to sound over-confident, but we are finally all feeling better. Mostly. Adam is still having some weird come-and-go symptoms of a cold, but otherwise, we live in a healthy house. And all the sickness does certainly make me grateful for times when we’re not sick: no chasing sore and runny noses through the house with a tissue, no 1:00 AM coughing fits, no cancelled playdates, and no Sunday mornings at home. It’s even nice to go grocery shopping with the kids, knowing that I’m not the one spreading germs to anyone else who touches the grocery cart.

Because of the quiet recovery time, there isn’t much to talk about from the last few weeks. We’ve had a few playtimes with Kayleigh, and although this picture is from a few weeks ago, it still seems relevant. This is from the night we babysat Kayleigh and walked to McDonald’s for ice cream. Anna and Kayleigh had a blast in the trailer together.

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Mariah is now only a month away from being officially in nursery, and it’s interesting to compare her behavior with what we remember from Anna’s first weeks of nursery. Mariah is clearly very young, and she still talks so little, but as we thought back we realized that Anna was the same way. Anna was talking more at home by then than Mariah is. These kids develop so much during those 2 years of nursery, and it’s easy to forget how much Anna changed during that time. It’s crazy that in a year and 9 months, Mariah will be where Anna is right now. Here’s a movie of Mariah a couple of weeks ago. Thanks again, Grandma Sherri, for the Ring Pop. Oi.

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My favorite Mariah moment of this past week was one morning after a trip to the grocery store. I was bring the groceries up the stairs, and I had turned on Anna’s Clifford movie (which I had so RUDELY interrupted for us to go shopping) for her to watch. Mariah was playing in the living room, but she followed me and the groceries into the kitchen. She wanted a snack, so I said, “Okay, just let me get unpacked,” and stopped watching her. Next thing I knew, she had carried a couple of empty bowls in from the other room (from a previous activity), pulled the pretzel and raisin bags off the shelf in the pantry, filled both bowls with pretzels and raisins, and carried the bowls out to the living room. When I realized what she was doing, I followed her. She carried the bowls straight to Anna and handed her one. Anna accepted the bowl and immediately started snacking, while Mariah sat down in an empty chair, leaned back in satisfaction, ate her snack, and watched Clifford. I wish I could point out all the amazing points of that story, including the fact that Anna accepted a bowl containing raisins without complaint, but instead I’ll just say that an independent spirit can be a wonderful blessing.

Now here’s the disadvantage of an independent spirit. The next day, Mariah wanted to make her own snack again, only this time, she was clearly getting sick. I stopped her from opening the bag, took it away VERY GENTLY, and told her that Mommy would help her get a snack today. She immediately slid off the bench, ran across the kitchen, and flopped herself down on the carpet in the toy room, crying violently and beating her fists on the ground. Once she knows she can do something, she wants NO HELP WHATSOEVER. Again, I’m just grateful she’s moved past her early toddler-hood, when she would flop herself down wherever she was for her little screaming fit. She’s hit enough cabinetry, countertop, and laminate flooring to know that the best place to throw a tantrum is the carpet. :)

And now one small Anna story. For weeks she’s been wanting to go to the park, and every day that has been nice has been taken up by something else. Either we had to go somewhere, or someone was sick, or it started to rain before we could get there, and she was downright discouraged about it. Well, Friday was finally a nice day. It got up to almost 55 degrees, and the sun was shining all day, so early Friday evening we made it to the park. We even had Daddy meet us there after work. And she had the time of her life. We even got to play “zoo” while she was there, and we saw some elephants, flamingos, and gorillas. It was at least as much fun as she’d hoped for. So Saturday morning, we woke up to gloomy skies, wet ground, and cool temperatures. I mentioned something about the weather to Adam at breakfast, and Anna perked up immediately. She said, “Is today a nice day? Can we go to the park?” I sighed and said, sympathetically, “No, sweetie, not today.” And she smiled gently, patted my hand, and said, “That’s okay, Mommy. Don’t be sad. We can go another day.” So cute.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

We’re Sick

Anna is pretty sick this weekend (she’s coughing on and off even now) with some kind of cold/respiratory something.  She’s pretty miserable, which in turn makes us pretty miserable.  Mariah has, on the other hand, been cheerful all weekend until today when her nose started running, she started coughing, and she got grumpy.  So it may be a few days before I can pull myself together and post.  Sorry you loyal fans (all two of you :)).  Here are a couple of pictures to tell you that we are still here and hoping to be so cheerful again soon.

Here is Anna in her “sailor hat.”  Gorgeous girl! 

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And here is Mariah trying to swallow an entire box of nerds (because she just can’t wait for Mommy to open it). 

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Love ya!