Bestest Frenemies

One thing I’m loving as Blair gets older is watching how often she and Paige turn to each other as play mates (or, more likely, partners-in-crime). Yet, it’s such a delicate balance between best friends and opponents in a boxing match. And it changes in the blink of an eye –  faster than that, actually, but I couldn’t think of an example.

Blair follows Paige EVERYWHERE. Which usually drives Paige crazy. (Which, actually, I don’t really get. Because usually Paige calls out “Let’s go, Bear!”, which is quickly followed by, “Stop following me, Bear!” Holy mixed messages.)

Blair does EVERYTHING Paige does. Which usually leaves me on the constant brink of a heart attack. But, I’ve realized that this can be useful to me, as I’ve started to enlist Paige to teach Blair how to do things. This works because a) Paige is kind of a wimp about trying new/potentially scary things definitely NOT a risk-taker, and b) Paige LOVES to tell Blair what to do.

 

IMG_2670

This is Paige teaching Blair how to hold the railing while she walks up the stairs. Blair usually haphazardly rests her hand on the wall, on the opposite side of the stairs. Usually while carrying something. Ugh. Paige, on the other hand, ALWAYS uses the railing. Duh.

IMG_2672

And this is Paige teaching Blair how to hold the railing on the way down. Why, you ask? Because Blair has decided she doesn’t need to turn around or go down the stairs on her bottom. She can do it “SELF!” And thus you see why I have gray hairs. This is not an optical illusion in this picture. These stairs really are this steep. (Side note: Paige just recently stopped going down the stairs backwards. So, so safe, that little one.)

 

See how sweet they are? Learning from one another. Playing so nicely together.

About 2 minutes later (and I’m being generous with the timeline, here), they started wrestling. Which turned into a fight. Which turned into Paige smacking Blair across the face. With her fingernails. I promptly sent Paige to her room, and as she was stomping and screaming she yelled “FINE! I will NOT play with Blair ANY! MORE! She is NOT my friend!!” Slam, went the door.

We could hear Paige crying from her room, and I turned around to console Blair, who I was sure was still upset from the smack. Well, apparently I misread the situation.

Blair was stomping up behind me, and stopped short outside Paige’s bedroom door.

“Peege!!!”, she yelled at the door. And was met with crying. She rapidly turned around to me, stuck her finger in my face, and proceeded to give me what I like to refer to as “the business.” Oh man, she was PISSED at me! I couldn’t make out most of it, but I definitely know she was talking about her sister, she was upset with me, and she wanted the “DOO!” “OPEE!!!” (which roughly translates to “door open”).

I opened the door, Blair marched in and gave Paige a hug. Then the two of them marched off together to play with Mr. Potatohead. Which, incidentally, is the scene of the aforementioned crime. I’m also pretty sure they were talking about me, but I can’t be sure.

 

 

Almost Two … Take Two

You may remember my recent post about how um … unpredictable??? … life with an almost-2 year-old can be. Well, here is how the rest of that same day went after attempting to get Blair’s shoes and coat in the general vicinity of her body. I didn’t want to hit you with it all at once – your head might have exploded.

The girls received gift cards to Build-a-Bear in their stockings at Christmas. And since each of them has been complaining that their shoes (amongst everything else, in Blair’s case) are “too tight“, I thought this would be a perfect opportunity to visit Stride Rite to have their feet measured (and prove to them that their shoes do, in fact, actually fit and that their mommy is not, in fact, crazy). And, perhaps to use said gift cards as bribery for good behavior at Stride Rite … which just happens to be directly across the corridor from Build-a-Bear at one of our local malls.

We got to the mall, finally. Please see previous post about getting Blair into shoes and coat. It was pretty much downhill from there.

Don’t get me wrong. Paige behaved very, very well. She used very good manners the entire time, listened well, and was surprisingly nice about picking out a pair of shoes. Blair … not so much. She threw a fit about taking her shoes off. She threw a fit about having her feet measured. She threw a fit about … well, you get the idea. Then she kicked the Stride Rite woman who was trying to put shoes on her feet. And when I say kicked her, I mean right in the kisser. To say she was shocked would be an understatement. (The Stride Rite woman, obviously, not Blair.) She said this was the first time this has ever happened (which, incidentally, I have a hard time believing. The woman attempts to put shoes on toddlers for a living, for God’s sake!).

Anyhoo, I quickly packed everyone up and ushered them out of the store. Now, here is where my dilemma began. Paige was EXCELLENT, and was so excited to visit Build-a-Bear that she had been talking about it. Nonstop. Those of you with preschoolers know that their version of “nonstop” should be the literal definition. Actually, the only definition. It truly came up in Every. Single. Sentence. For the entire day before and that morning.

So, I made the decision to still go to Build-a-Bear. I stand by it, even after Blair screamed the entire time. (I probably should not have gotten Blair a stuffed animal too, but there was no way in hell I was going to repeat this trip anytime soon.) Paige continued to be on her best behavior as she chose her bunny, programmed its heart, added her voice, stuffed it and bathed it. Oh, and named it Paige, obviously.

 

Image

Paige “filling” her bunny, Paige. Anyone want to guess who chose her outfit?

Image

Paige, filling Blair’s teddy bear (who I named ‘Scrappy’) because Blair refused to have anything to do with that pedal. Or the entire process from this point forward.

 

Blair, having had enough of my documenting this event. This is her taking a TMZ-worthy swipe at my phone.

Blair, having had enough of my documenting this event. This is her taking a TMZ-worthy swipe at my phone. She looks a little like Sean Penn here, no?

 

Blair, completely losing her shit at Build-a-Bear. Who the hell throws a fit while picking out a toy? An almost-2 year-old.

Blair, completely losing her shit at Build-a-Bear. Who the hell throws a fit while picking out a toy? An almost-2 year-old.

Oh, and for those of you keeping track, each girl has been wearing shoes that are a size too small. So … there’s that.

 

 

 

Almost 2

Good Lord. How on Earth do we ever forget? How can we not have it SEARED into our brains. How is it not tattooed somewhere on our bodies, lest we not remember (stretch marks aside, obviously)?

How are we always taken by surprise when we realize … what having a 2 year-old is like?

You know how? Because the switch from sweet little baby to emotionally charged toddler is sneaky. It’s almost like it happens overnight. Like someone flips a switch inside their tiny, developing brains. And all hell breaks loose.

I was talking to my sister-in-law, EJ, the other day (girl has FOUR kids…including one who will be going through this change near the end of this year. Merry Christmas, Whitacres.). I think our conversation illustrates well just how moms:

Me: “I’d like to know who the hell sent Blair the memo that it’s time to start acting like a 2-year-old. She’s throwing fits non-stop, is horrible to take into public places, and goes from smooching me to trying to scratch my eyes out in the blink of an eye.”

EJ: “I don’t know who it was, but I bet is was a 3-year-old.”

And you know what? She’s right. Because here’s a little secret no one tells you before you have kids (if you only have one child and he/she is 2 or younger, stop reading now): the only thing worse than a 2 year-old, is a 3 year-old. The irrationalness (is that a word? Spellcheck says no.) continues, but then they try to negotiate with you that their craziness is actually a good idea, and that YOU are the crazy one. I spend many a day … okay, most days … okay, EVERY day, wondering if maybe we should have had cupcakes for breakfast, or perhaps licking people is something that’s okay to do, or if throwing toys in the toilet really is the right way to get them clean.

Blair turns 2 in just over 6 weeks. And let’s just say she has gotten the memo, read it, memorized it and burned it to erase the evidence. Most likely so I couldn’t track the little bastard’s author’s handwriting.

IMG_2617

 

This? Is what ‘getting our coats on’ looks like. Every. Single. Time. Yes, that includes whenever we’re out in public. See that water bottle? She threw it at me. See that pink sneaker? That’s Paige taking a few steps back from this monster.Sort of makes you want to stay home until summer, doesn’t it?

Too Tight

Ahhhh, Blair. So close to 2-years old, we can almost taste it. Or, rather, hear it.

She has really grasped the concept of expressing herself. We get LOTS of strong opinions about almost everything. Like, for example, what she should wear. Or, say, if she’s unhappy with our drink of choice (dare we give her water instead of milk), she has been known to toss her cup with a surprising amount of force to the ground. With what seems like pretty decent accuracy towards our exposed toes.

She is practically an expert fit-thrower. Yesterday, she wanted to wear a certain outfit and I said “no” (it was WAY too cold for a sleeveless romper). She proceeded to scream for 25 minutes in our closet. Little girl does NOT mess around.

She’s also finding her voice in the literal sense. Her vocabulary seems to expand daily. It’s pretty cute – and, honestly, a heck of a lot easier to diffuse situations when we can sort-of grasp what she wants.

And, in true little sister fashion, she typically wants and says whatever she hears her big sister say.

She heard Paige tell me that her shoes were too tight one day as we were leaving the house (and by ‘tell’ I obviously mean ‘scream and throw a fit until I threatened to make her go to school barefoot because we JUST bought those shoes, you picked them out and I am 100% certain they are NOT too tight!!!!!). Um, where was I?

Oh yes, “too tight.”

So, Blair has decided everything is “too tight.” Every. Freaking. Thing.

Her car seat? “Too tight!” (It has to be that way to keep you safe.)

Her shoes? “Too tight, mama! Take off!” (Also not too tight – we just had you sized.)

Her outfit? “Too tight! Too tight! Too tight!” (Nope again – they’re pajamas, Blair. In fact, they’re a size too big.)

Her diaper? “Too tight!” (Said with a devilish grin – she knows she’s not going to win that one.)

It’s all just too tight, and she is letting us know just how much she doesn’t like it. Granted, sometimes she’s right – those boots might have actually been a bit too tight. We’ll give her that one. Other than that, I swear I hear the words “too tight” in my sleep, and I am at the point where I can now say it with her – she’s that predictable.

My hugs, though? NOT deemed too tight, for some reason.Because I can promise you, with those big brown eyes and pigtails, they probably ARE a bit too tight. But only, like, 96% of the time.

 

A Mother’s Tears – Repost

I know I am a day late in reposting this – the 3-month anniversary of the Sandy Hook Elementary shootings was yesterday. And the fact that I had to look up the exact date is what made me want to repost this. I don’t think we’ve forgotten, but I also don’t think we hear nearly enough about it. Much is being done on the issues of school safety and gun control. But in this case, let’s all just be sure we take time to remember what’s important – the children who lost their lives. Every day we go without thinking about them is one day too many.

________________________________________________________

I don’t even know where to start.

I wasn’t even sure I should write a post about the events that took place at Sandy Hook Elementary School. Because I think that whatever I write will only express a sliver of the grief I am feeling. A tiny amount of the anger. And none of the fear.

Shootings seem to be commonplace anymore. Yet I remember being in the senior wing of the Alpha Chi house at IU when Columbine happened, and I remember watching the coverage with my roommates. It was the first time I had seen anything like that. The first time it ever even entered into my consciousness that something like that could happen at all. All I could think about was the kids and how scared they must be.

But now I’m a mom. Of small kids. And I’m not saying that Columbine or any other shooting is at all LESS tragic than this. But … I don’t know how to describe it. It’s just different for me this time.

I have been feeling sick to my stomach because all I can do is imagine various scenarios that must have been happening at Sandy Hook. All I can think about are the moments in that Kindergarten classroom – the sounds of those small children. All I can think about is what those innocent babies – the same age as my sweet, sweet niece Natalie – must have experienced. All I can think about are the siblings of those children who must have been in other classrooms of the school. All I can think about are the hours that must have seemed like days to the parents waiting in line to pick up their children.

And the parents who no longer were able to pick up their children. The fact that those children probably already have wrapped Christmas presents under the tree. That the lives of those families are forever empty, and their hearts are forever broken.

Derrick keeps getting upset with me because I am watching coverage of it on the news (or, rather, have the news paused for hours at a time because I refuse to have it on while the girls are in the room). But, I tried to explain to him it’s not that I WANT to watch it. It’s that I feel like I have to. I feel like burying my head in the sand and pretending like it didn’t happen would be a grave disservice to the people who lost their lives, and to the parents who lost their babies.

And I feel like ignoring it is what got us into this mess in the first place. We cannot keep pretending that mental illness is a taboo topic. Or pretending that the we don’t recognize when someone we love is on the precipice of a meltdown. Or looking the other way when someone is sick and in need of help, even if we don’t know what to do.

We cannot keep pretending that it is okay for people NOT in the military or law enforcement to own automatic weapons and carry guns into public places. I understand you want to hunt animals with your rifle. Please do that in the woods, which are far away from my home.

When will people understand we are not trying to take away their rights? We are trying to PROTECT OUR FAMILIES. I am trying to protect my children.

It is not fair that I am scared all of the time. Not “typical” parent fears: that my child will get lost, that my child will make poor decisions, that my child will fail, that my child will have her heart broken. We now have to fear that our children’s lives are no longer safe. Not in the company of their protectors – their parents and families. Not in any public place. Not even in school, the first place we ever send our children out ‘alone’ into the world.

This is an unexpected, and upsetting, part of parenthood. A part that generations past did not even fathom would ever exist. Our generation of parents are unprepared for this. We were not told this would be part of the deal.  Those of you who know me know that I am an anxious person by nature. I am literally a medicated person to help control this anxiety. When Paige was born, I was scared to take her out of the house. I was scared of everything from slipping on the ice while holding her to hurting her when I gave her a bath.

Those fears have faded, and instead I am now scared every time I take my children into a crowded place. My stomach knots when we walk into a mall, and it is difficult to enjoy things like “Christmas at the Zoo,” because in the back of my mind I’m wondering if something horrible will happen.

I know this post is rambling, and I know it is far from uplifting. I promise a lighthearted, Christmasy post soon – maybe later today if I can get my act together. But this blog also serves as my own personal journal sometimes … mostly because the people I spend my days with are of the toddler/preschooler persuasion, and they don’t “get me” all the time.

I woke them both up from deep sleeps during their naps on Friday. I squeezed them tightly as my tears fell onto their sweet-smelling heads. Neither of them even noticed I was crying (which, actually, is a bit concerning, right?). I just kept telling them how much I loved them. So, so very much. That they are my entire life, and that nothing else in the world will EVER matter to me as much as they do.

Then, after we decided to head into the basement and play on the slide, Paige took my face in her hands. She looked at me with those big eyes and said in her sweet, raspy voice, “Mommy, I love you so much it breaks my heart.”

Oh, sweet Paige. If you only knew.

Knock, Knock

This is my first post using my new blog server, WordPress, so bear with me. 

The latest news in the Feldmann Family is that Blair has found her sense of humor. To be more specific … Blair has discovered how to tell Knock Knock jokes.

She learned well by watching her big sister, Paige. Meaning, she’s learned that most of the jokes don’t need to make any sense whatsoever. Oh, and that the only thing that really makes them funny is just laughing hysterically at the punch line.

And one last thing. You have to make sure you tell them over, and over, and over, and over, and over … well, you get the idea. Tell them ALL the time.

Here’s to hoping this video works! Don’t forget to follow the blog via email (top right corner here – just enter your email) so you get updates!

Sick Days, Vacation Days

Here’s the thing – being sick on vacation in not much fun. And I am sick as a dog right now. Seriously – call me, I sound like a man. Don’t call me – I won’t answer my phone. I’m on vacation.

But, I’m not complaining even one iota of the smallest molecule of the littlest particle (that might be backwards. Or maybe not even a little correct at all … I don’t care. I’m a housewife, not a scientist.).

You know why I’m not complaining? Because here are what sick days look like in Florida:

Looks like it’s going to be another crappy day on Longboat Key …

Girlies in my bed. Shhh … if Nani asks, that’s just water in those cups. NOT MILK? Got it?
(Every day actually starts like this, even in Indiana. Every. Single. Day. Promise me it lasts forever.)

Some playtime before breakfast. Paige has just announced that she is the doctor and the nurse. Which makes Blair the … less busy of the two, I guess?
A pancake breakfast at The Depot! Mmmmm … pancakes.

Hi, Nani and Botsie! (This was right before Bots made Blair ‘hide’ behind her crayon. He was making train sounds, she thought he was telling her to ‘shush.’ A little miscommunication. Blair did NOT appreciate it – she is, after all, Botsie’s bestie.
Blair pointing to the train (look for the black blur right under the hanging light). She liked to yell and point it out each time it passed. Which was about every 30 seconds.

Seriously? It’s too bad she’s not very cute, right?

She didn’t think she could do it …

We told her we KNEW she could do it …

SHE DID IT!!!! So pleased with herself!!

Conference in the tunnel … plotting their next terrorist act, no doubt.

Yay!!!! (That’s actually what she’s saying here.)

Tigers! Blair wanted NO part of these faux circus animals, which were scattered throughout the park. She thinks they are real … which I think is pretty funny. I may or may not try to make her touch them to see what she’ll do. I’m a super-great mom.

I don’t blame Blair for avoiding this one. Clowns are creepy – even pretend ones.

Clowns in the clown car! Okay, THESE particular clowns aren’t creepy!