Owen hits the 20-month mark next week, though it would appear he’s already firmly entrenched in the terrible twos. (“He’s advanced,” his father notes.) He regularly reminds us why cuteness is a biological imperative for toddlers, especially as he scurries from room to room, leaving destruction in his path.
He climbs then purposefully falls from furniture, makes his way up the ladder to Livie’s bunk bed (“the ONE PLACE that was safe!”), then heads to the bathroom to run hot water into a tub that can’t be baby-proofed. He’d happily spend the day pretending to drive our cars, honking the horn until the neighbors go crazy. When he’s mad, he’ll grab and throw anything he can reach, then gingerly lower himself to the floor for a quick tantrum.
This is a boy that needs spring to arrive—his tricycle is wearing a path in the house, and he’s desperate to be outside. Despite having a house filled with traditionally feminine toys, he seeks out the balls, trucks and anything that will make loud noises and/or damage furniture. Don’t think, though, that he isn’t influenced by his sisters—he regularly asks them to clip a barrette into his hair, and he’d give anything to spend a hour playing in the basement with them.
And, oh my goodness, he is so incredibly adorable. He gives the best hugs and the sweetest kisses. He snuggles up and says “Mama” with the tiniest voice. His dimpled hands make me want to cry. He’s funny and charming, and he’ll have an entire conversation with just ”yeah!” and “no!”
He asks for help, says “good job!” when you finally figure out what he wants, and offers a little “meow” to your question about what a cat says (and a lot of other animals, too.) He says “cheese” before you take his photo and “hi, guys!” when he sees you at the end of the day.
He looks so much like his dad.
I love him beyond comprehension.
Olivia asked why Owen tends to get jealous lately when I hold her on my lap. I explained that was normal for babies, then answered in the affirmative when she asked if she used to do the same with Ava. From there, she asked me to tell her stories from when she was a baby.
Five minutes of gushing later, I said, “Olivia, I love you so much. This was just my favorite part of the whole day.”
Livie replied, “It was like the third best part of my day. No, wait, fourth.”
The girls completed their second trimester last week, and we had parent-teacher conferences for both. Ava’s doing exceptionally well in most everything, though her teacher noted she rushes through story problems, sometimes to her own detriment. (Given they all look like this to me, I have a feeling I’m somewhat responsible for any shortcomings here.)
As Ava approaches nine, she’s becoming more and more poised. She’s helpful at home, and only hassles me about my requests for help with chores 75 percent of the time, which is a noticeable improvement over the past year. She’s incredibly independent, and really wishes we’d treat her like the 16-year-old she believes herself to be. Ava has a small circle of sweet friends, and so far we’ve avoided the drama that seems to come around this stage. I desperately hope that continues.
Olivia is basically made for kindergarten, and her teacher reports she’s doing very well across the board. We’re fortunate to have a great enrichment program at our school, and both girls are benefiting from extra engagement in math and reading. Olivia will soon be adding in a component that includes research projects with the school librarian. This is remarkable to me, because at home this child would rather sleep or watch TV than do anything remotely scholarly. She spends the better part of her free time playing computer games and picking fights with her sister, so I’m thrilled she seems to be doing well in the classroom. She has a remarkable sense of humor, but doesn’t yet realize we’re laughing because she’s legitimately funny. She’s mercurial, this one. Sweet as can be one moment, and absolutely furious the next. Never one to temper her emotions, that’s for sure.
We’ve had a great school year so far with snow days, Girls Scouts, gymnastics and playdates. Hard to believe Ava only has two more years left in this school–she’ll move on before Owen starts kindergarten. So, while our days seem complicated logistically now, I know our lives are only going become more challenging as the years go by. Good thing we have these to to keep us focused on what really matters.