Maya at 16 months

Maya, you are 16 months old! And a non-stop whirl of chattering and activity, full of joy and with lots of new words and interests every week.

You are expressive to no end, very clearly letting us know what you want, don’t want, and would like us to do. You point at things with the precision of a marksman, clearly indicating where you’d like to be carried, or what you want us to bring you.

You adore your big sister and are her constant shadow, often disrupting her carefully planned activities only to become distracted and barrel off in a different direction. She is endlessly patient with you, telling us all the time how much she loves you and that you’re “so adorable.” Lila smother-hugs you every day, and delights in any new skill you master or word you begin to say – she is truly your biggest fan and the pride she demonstrates over you is unexpected and goosebumpy and just really lovely.

Your word count continues to evolve: for a long time the regulars were: mama, dada, mah (more), hi, uh-oh, yay and ni-ni (night night). You call Molly Ma-La, and have a distinct way of pronouncing Bruno that’s more a combination of sounds than actual syllables. Recently you’ve added, bop (stop), noooooooo, bye, cheese (for photos), peace (please), shoe, ah-wa (agua), go, my (mine), shh (chair) and ha-ha-ha-ha which is a combination you derived from watching us say “hot” and blow on food. And you graciously say poo-poo when you need a new diaper.

 

You are silly and endlessly snuggly. You love dancing to music. You’re generally the most complacent, happy baby (toddler?!) I’ve ever been around and everyone around you remarks on your sweet, easy disposition.

If something displeases you, you have the vocal chords of a herd of elephants, and the ability to go completely limp – rendering your body very difficult to hold onto.

You also have an endless mischievous streak. Laughing and running away when we tell you no, and peering at us with a grin when you do things you know aren’t allowed to do, like climbing up ALL THE FURNITURE.

You make a beeline to your chair when we say breakfast or snack, and rush to your room when we say it’s time for a change. You love dirt and water and being outside.

We adore you and your magical energy, sweet Maya.

thank you notes: then and now

Published in collaboration with Paperless Post.

I was raised with a lot of family mantras, but among the most sacred was my father’s doctrine about handwritten thank you notes.

Birthday gift? Handwritten note.

Job interview? Handwritten note.

Exceptional customer service? You know how this ends.

I actually remember one Hanukkah when I had scribbled out some quick and dirty thank you notes (I mean admittedly they were pretty crappy-looking), and received what can only be described as a ‘father knows best’ glare that sent me on my way to rewrite the whole lot of them.

Anyway. I love technology as much as the next person, but I’m a slow adapter. One area I’ve hesitated to really dig into is electronic cards and invitations. To date, I’ve clung forcefully to my paper and pen. I like the idea of electronic versions, but have worried something would be lost without the sound of an envelope ripping.

I love finding the perfect card. I love carefully placing stamps on envelopes. And getting to put up the little flag on my own mailbox for pick up? Glee!

But you know what? Life is kind of overwhelming lately. I just told a friend that week nights sometimes feel like a hamster wheel of dishes and diapers and school bags and work and laundry. I have about 16 minutes of downtime and I can’t say I’m dying to spend them on things like handwritten correspondence.

Enter Paperless Post.

Holy Disneyland of stationary goodness. I was recently invited to check out the site, and am really impressed with how it works. I was able to experiment sending a few cards, and loved the selection of designs and ease of use. It was simple to choose and customize a design, and there were cards for literally every occasion I could imagine.

Some other features I really liked are that you can see when a card is viewed, and you can easily duplicate a past card to send to a new recipient. There are options to create individual cards, group invitations, fliers and more.

I’m not actually planning a bachelorette party right now, but if I was…

And seriously who wouldn’t want to come to a baked goods and board game party? How is this a thing and I’ve never heard of it.

So while I can’t say I’m a full e-card convert, I’m a big fan of this site and will definitely be using it in the future. The convenience factor is huge, the prices are reasonable and the designs are lovely. You can modify every aspect of each card (even the inside of the envelope!), or upload your own logos/designs. I’m hosting a baby sprinkle in a few weeks and have already planned out what Paperless Post format I’m going to use for invitations.

Handwritten cards and thank you notes will always be one of my love languages, but sometimes change is ok. Or even good.

 

Lila is 4!

Dear Lila,

It’s hard to believe you’re four. Or maybe, it’s hard to believe that your dad and I are adult-enough to have a four year old?

On a daily basis you astound us with your ability to make us laugh and be present. You are full of energy, big ideas, love and mischief.

You love: dinosaurs, obstacle courses, swimming, drawing, playing/digging outside and reading stories.

Your favorite foods: pizza, avocado, grapes, pineapple, cherry tomatoes, popsicles and mac n cheese.

What people tend to comment on when they meet you: your articulation and vocabulary.

What surprises me about you: you have zero fear when it comes to bugs/dirt. You insist on sleeping in long pants and long sleeves, even in the summer. How much responsibility you take for caring for your sister. The fact that you could stay in the bath for hours. That you are as extroverted as I am introverted.

My fears for you: that as the youngest student in your class, older friends will infringe upon your innocence. That you could lose your passionate love of nature. That you’ll experience unkindness, and the veil of ignorant bliss bestowed upon children will be lifted.

You love to laugh. You are always moving. You can play by yourself for hours, but prefer to have Mom or Dad involved. You are incredibly tolerant of your sister, despite her inability to follow the rules you’ve learned yourself.

You are so fun. And funny. And endlessly amazing. You are brave and kind. You are thoughtful and have big emotions.

I sometimes have to pause just to remind myself that this is real life – that you are, blessedly, ours. Because truthfully – you seem far, far too magical.

There is No such thing as other people’s children.

Originally posted by Glennon Doyle / Momastery

“you have to understand
that no one puts their children in a boat
unless the water is safer than the land”
HOME by Warsan Shire 

“I do not understand how people refuse to understand.
Why do we feel more worthy of safety because we were born on the right side of an imaginary line?

We are people born on third base convinced we hit a triple –while folks outside the ball park starve. We ask them to stop trying to get their children inside for food and shelter. We tell them — we tell parents — to let their children die and stop bothering us about It. When they refuse: We take their children.

America is an experiment and we are failing.

We are repeating our history – we took babies from African mamas and we took them from Native American mamas and we took them from Japanese mamas. This is who we have been. And it’s going to take those of us who believe in Making America Great For Once to keep showing up, to refuse to go numb — to refuse to look away until those babies are out of those cages and back in their parents’ arms. Love will win but only if we refuse to give up.

There is No such thing as other people’s children. Together Rising is still collecting for lawyers and social workers for detained children. Go to Momastery to see our detailed transparent work. Every penny we receive goes toward advocacy for and reunification of these families. Give your tax-deductible gift here https://app.mobilecause.com/f/tyb/n

34 is completely strange

It struck me the other day that there’s not a lot to be said about being 34. It’s a nondescript age planted solidly in mid-thirties ambiguity.

College feels like it was a lifetime ago, but I still like to have dance parties and shop in the junior’s section at Marshall’s.

I have life insurance and a will (F…a will?), and most of the same insecurities I did at 14.

I have friends getting married and friends getting divorced. Friends having babies and friends having an awful time with infertility.

I worry about climate change and societal unrest and also my pores and the onset of gray hair.

I listen to the same explicit hip hop I did in 1998, sandwiched between podcasts about religion and the gender pay gap.

I catch myself full of judgmental opinions when I see teenagers wearing revealing clothes, overlooking the fact that teenage me did the exact. same. thing.

I went to a rock concert this weekend. I wore ripped jeans. And when it was over, my back ached from standing all night. I drove home singing at the top of my lungs with two empty car seats as an audience.

It’s a comical juxtaposition to feel so young and so old. And it’s not that I actually feel old (despite the dreadful noises my hips make when I sit cross-legged), but a lot of life and living has happened, providing a vantage point where the past and the future are equally lovely and blurry.

34 isn’t bad. It’s just fine. A bit remarkable and sort of awkward and I’ll take it.

Maya at 10 Months  

You are a calm, content baby with a truly happy demeanor. Your smile lights up a whole room with dimples just like your big sis.

You started crawling and pulling yourself up about a month ago, and can get around the house in no time, even crawling up the step from the living room. You’re still rocking just two bottom teeth, but are getting longer hair with the sweetest baby curls.

You say mama and dada and something resembling “ya.” You wave at everyone and immediately start splashing your hand in the bathtub water when we say the word. Recently you’ve begun to play with us more actively, knocking down block towers and putting objects in and out of cups we hold.

You love food and have eaten everything we’ve given you, although you didn’t seem to enjoy mango too much. You sleep through the night fairly well when you’re healthy, but have been plagued with colds and stomach bugs and pesky ear infections for the past few months.

You’re fascinated with your big sister and light up when she’s around. You tolerate her somewhat overzealous hugs without batting an eye and follow her wherever she goes, letting out excited huffs and grunts.

You love to snuggle. When we hold you before bed and you’re sleepy, you’ll kind of burrow your hands underneath you and push your head into our necks, and it’s the best feeling on the planet.

Lila is three and a half

Dear Lila,

You are three-and-a-half and one amazing little human. When I try to find the right words to describe you, I immediately come up with: exuberant, thoughtful, intentional, determined, creative, silly and affectionate.

You are a super big sister to Maya. You engage with her, talk in a silly “baby” voice on her behalf, and are always looking out for her. On any given morning we might hear a frantic, “Mom! Sister’s escaping her room! She’s crawling away down the hallway!” And when she tries to grab your things, chew on your toys or simply requires our attention when you also need us, you’re exceedingly patient. You’ve never once asked us to leave her to tend to you, or complained about the fact that you’re usually forced to share our attention. You celebrate her milestones and play nicely with her, although we continue to work on what gentle feels like. You take the responsibility of keeping small toys (choking hazards) away from her with an unexpected sense of maturity, offer to share your food with her, and give her “kissing hands” when you leave for school.

You love the outdoors. You will spend hours outside entertaining yourself. You collect rocks and seeds, build houses for bugs, construct obstacle courses using miscellaneous things you find, and chat with your friend Everett over the wall about any range of amusing topics. You have no issue running around without shoes, and certainly are not intimidated by getting dirty.

Favorite activities:

  • Drawing, especially pictures of our family or your friends.
  • Playing with the excessive menagerie of plastic animals you’ve acquired (making them play-doh “pajamas,” building schools and stables for them out of magnet tiles and bringing them into your bath).
  • Making “surprises” and presenting them to everyone in the house. A surprise is one of your toys hidden inside a Russian nesting doll, given as a present.
  • Reading books
  • Watching clips of your favorite movies or shows. Screen time is limited to weekends, and it’s definitely a top choice when presented. Right now your obsession has taken a dramatic shift from The Lion King to The Land Before Time.
  • Talking about volcanoes and lava and molten rock, following a lengthy study of this in school.
  • Getting and opening the mail, and also making your own packages, taping them shut, and giving them to us.

When asked what you want to be when you grow up: “A tooth fairy. Or a lion or a dinosaur.”

Things you dislike:

  • Having your hair brushed
  • Going to bed
  • Mosquitos

Fun Facts:

  • You eat pretty much everything, even things that are spicy, or just not typical fare for children, like…chicken wings, raw broccoli, seafood, nuts, etc. The only things you tend to refuse are squash (that is, if you know it’s squash) and bell peppers.
  • You’ve been able to recognize and write your letters and numbers for a while, and now have started to identify letters in the environment, like a logo on a shirt, or a stop sign.
  • You have a very specific way we’re required to arrange your blankets to “make them peaceful” before bed each night. You also insist that your entire room is picked up before you go to bed.
  • You have insane memorization capabilities – your teachers comment on this as well. You hear a story once and can immediately recite parts of it, and are constantly memorizing movie lines and song lyrics and entire books.
  • You are a master negotiator. If we tell you three more minutes, you’ll ask for four. If we offer two strawberries, we’ll hear, “Welllll, how about just three?”

You’re simply a delight to be with and endlessly amusing. We love your spirit and energy and are constantly in awe of you.