Ah, so many wonderful things happening in ma famille, so I was compelled to write! So, there it is.
A couple of stories (more or less ... okay, more).
Isabel Marie is working on saying words. One day, when Tito Mike was helping me baby sit the li'l tyke (he was there for (my) moral support, and for lunch). She, as usual, was in my arms, and, as usual in that position, had a commanding view of the things she needed to have and the places she needed to be. Well, her Tata Dennis had given her a frog made from ironwood (native to the Philippines ... this kind of wood makes wonderful bokken, but that's not a story for today) that "croaks" when it's back is brushed with a drumstick designed especially for that purpose. It was, I say WAS, safely out of her view on the mantlepiece, but, in my arms, she found she needed to hold that toy particularly pleasing to her. "Mm-mm!" she pointed. So, after having watched Diane and Elena Marie work with her on words, I decided to give it a go: "That's a frog, Isabel [note to my dear readers: yes, like the painting "Ceci n'est pas un pipe", it wasn't a /real/ frog, but I felt the lesson about a real thing verses the representation of that thing in a picture or sculpture or in other forms was a lesson to be learnt later]. Can you say 'frog'?"
*pause* *furroughed brow* *a look at Tito Mike to see if she should be embarrassed if he was looking at her expectantly (he was)*
Me, all excited: "What did you say?"
Isabel said nothing thereafter, choosing, instead to bury herself into my armpit.
She did get the frog, and was engaged with it happily for quite some time.
That was story 1.
She also goes to sleep as if by magic. When I notice her eyes a bit droopy (it also helps that she tells me she's sleepy by (rarely) crying or by demanding that I continue dancing her), all I need do is to rock her for no more than two minutes, bright lights, loud noises, or quietness, it makes no difference, she's out, and out for at least two hours. Also, putting her on the bed couldn't be easier:
- I put her on the bed.
- She stirs.
- I rest my hand on her stomach.
- She sleeps.
- I cover her.
Um, pinch me (I won't complain that this is too easy, because it is).
That's story 2 (hey, I didn't claim these stories would be the Illiad and the Odyssey!)
Before bed, the children and I play before they play with Mama (and then, eventually, sleep). Sometimes we play "bus": I'm the bus, and Elena Marie and Isabel go to school on the bus, and to the mall on the bus, and stop at goose crossings on the bus ("Papa, look out for goose poop!" Elena Marie's exclamation had Diane in tears, she was laughing so hard). It is vitally important, before we play this game, that Elena Marie obtain school books for herself and Isabel, so Elena Marie leaps off the bed, grabs two books from the nursery ("Don't drive away yet, Papa!" she calls from there), and races back to the bedroom to hand Isabel her book and catch the "bus" just in time. It's quite an undertaking, from the effort I see expended, but it appears to be a satisfying one at that. Elena Marie hops off to go to school (As I understand it, school takes two seconds of sitting on a cushy-cushy pillow before "Papa, the bell is ringing!"), and then takes the bus back home.
After that adventure, reading is necessary. Isabel demands I read her "Touch and Feel" four or five times; "Tumble Bumble" (great book! One of my fav's) at least twice and "Dinosaur's Binkit" [whatsa 'binkit'?] twice. This is how she demands I read a book: *shove* (book into my face) *point-point-point* (her finger onto the book cover) *meaningful look* (to make sure I understand my orders and will execute them expeditiously). One time I was reading to her while Diane and Elena Marie were talking. Isabel raised an imperious finger to her lips: "Ssss!" Diane and Elena Marie kept talking: "SSSSS!" Still talking. Me, to the other ladies present: "I think Isabel wants it quiet while I read to her." Other ladies, looking me over with a look of distain, pity and warmth, exeunt, stage left.
Yeah, it doesn't look like indecision will be an issue with the little one, so that's one problem solved.
That's the third story ... I hope you don't mind if I go over my "coupla stories" quota.
Elena Marie has a bunch of "friends". Her friends appeared after we asked a teenager, Emily [Elena Marie: "I'm Emily" after a visit], to come stay with us for a couple of hours to engage the children while Diane got some work done around the house. First there was "Emily" (she's the size of one of the hoos in "Horton Hears a Hoo"). After Elena Marie saw a "Little House on the Prairie" episode ["I'm Laura," she proclaimed] and had play time with other children of about her age ["I'm Anna," said she -- can you guess the name of the girl she played with?] there was Dessie, Thessie, Lessie, Dessie, Dessie and Dessie ... and Dessie. Sometimes they get on the "bus" with her, but there's plenty of room to accomodate 6 or 7 hoo-sized passengers. [One time, I asked if her friends were accompanying her, naming each in turn. Diane scolded me: "Don't tease her!" "I can't help it!" I responded, vibrating in place with the pure joy of naming Elena Marie's friends.]
Elena Marie also has a guardian angel. One time, she fell down off her chair, but didn't get hurt at all. Diane told her: "Your guardian angel caught you." Elena Marie warmed to her angel. When she falls (and I recover from my seizure), I've asked her: "Did you get hurt?" She would answer straightaway: "Nope [yeah, she actually says, 'Nope', and another one, 'thanks!', as easy as you please], my guardian angel caught me!" Sometimes, after one of these [for me, harrowing] incidents, Elena Marie sets up the scenario again, so she can get a repeated rescue from her angel. This whole experience is the source of no small amount of delight for her, as you may imagine (picture this, Elena Marie looking back into her fall to catch sight of her guardian angel, all the while smiling her 1500 watt smile).
So those above are a "coupla stories", so I'll finish off with one more:
The kids enjoy each other, in a companionable manner, whatever Elena Marie does, Isabel is right there with her Ate, doing the same thing. Ate Elena, regally, allows this. So, when Ate goes to the "store" to buy "foods", Isabel also loads up a sandpail with plastic fruits and vegetables to be rung up by an attendant (an attendant being the available parent). When Elena's reading (which is every hour, it seems), Isabel is reading. When Elena sits down to play, Isabel is a ready and studious playmate, so much so that we can leave them alone to their devices for quite a while.
It's a wonderful time for the children, and for us, too, as their parents to see them be so much themselves, and, at the same time, so comfortable with, and so comforting to, each other.
P.S. Diane's buying her "Mommy Van" this week (my Xmas present to her); "Oh, no! People will think I'm a Mommy!" she lamented and then got excited over the task of choosing just the right one.