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Look at my awesome tummy! It is growing!

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Picking Up

Love Baby
Rebecca has gotten pretty good at picking up. Penelope still needs to be told one item at a time. And sometimes I still need to start counting to 10 saying I'm going to put it in the GoodWill bag if she doesn't show me she still wants it by picking it up and putting it away. But she's starting not to push back in the morning when I'm doing morning chores and ask her to put something away before we take our next break and read a book. This morning she managed to clean up the entire Zingo game she had spread out over the floor without complaining or getting distracted. She's also been wandering around singing "I've got peace like a river in my soul", which is the cutest thing ever, even though she probably has no idea what the lyrics mean.

Toilet Training, Tastes and Tape

Love Baby
Penelope has been doing fabulous with her toilet training mission. My least favorite part was when after about a week she absolutely refused to put on a night time diaper. Woo. Thus started the waking up in the middle of the night every night to change the sheets, until I got an over the top mini bed protector, and then I just had to pull that off and hope she was good with a towel until morning. Which she pretty much always was. The waking up screaming, and then screaming that she didn't want to go to the potty in the middle of the night, that was fun too. Now we are at the point where she gets up in the middle of the night by herself, goes to the potty, and then gets into my bed. Sometimes she comes into my room and drags me into the bathroom with her, but she's gradually phasing that out. And she knows that she's not getting into my bed until she uses the potty! So we've finally reached almost alway dry bed, and almost always peeing between midnight and 3. She even occasionally doesn't get into my bed. I could use an uninterrupted night, I'd had a couple nice months before the toilet training. Oh well. She is also getting all of her second year molars, which I know have been really bothering her for the last couple months. She's had a lower pain tolerance for everything else. second molars take forever! And that's just the obvious first eruption to done part. I'm sure there was another month of uncomfortable gums at the beginning I didn't notice. I think we're past the half way point, maybe as far as three quarters, probably another month to go! Then maybe more sleep.

Penelope has been going through her two year old tape phase. So I got a set of 8 different colors of masking tape for our open-access art drawers. The other day she made a stripy tape collage on some black construction paper, with one piece of tape hanging off each side of the page, then picked it up and started walking around the room: "Buzzzzzzzzz buzzzzzzz buzzzzzz, it's a bee!" Then she took a pink piece of paper and put on lots of tape for 'these are the ant legs', and then crawled around the room pushing it saying "Crawl crawl crawl". I was wondering what sort of noise an ant was going to make.

Rebecca is going through another phase where she starts not liking her staple foods. Like milk, and pb&j for lunch. And everything. She still drinks milk, but sometimes claims that the milk which tastes perfectly good to me tastes awful. So maybe she's going through a hypersensitive taste phase, I have no idea.

She also came home the other day and told me she hates reading. We talked about it, and determined that she hated the 100 book challenge at school, which when it was presented to me sounded like a great idea, but it is clearly clashing with Rebecca. She had 4 reasons, the books are stupid, she hates being told she has to do something, and I've forgotten the other two. Although she just added two more, she hates switching the books in her book bag because it's boring, and she hates having to carry extra things to school. So I went to the library and found some books that I thought she would like, to convince her that she didn't hate reading, just hated reading stupid books. And the books she has to read are dumb, they are supposed to be books they can easily read to themselves to build confidence, but her level is such that they are brain numbing. And they are supposed to read them three times, which would kill me. She did really like the books I got, Dora, magic ponys, blah blah blah, and now freely admits that she doesn't hate reading anymore, only reading stupid books, which is totally okay. I don't know why they don't have any 2-yellow books about magic ponys and princesses and rainbows and crystals, but I think I'm going to have to fix that problem.

The amazing potty training of Penelope Jane

intent
It's been less than a week since I opened Penelope's new potty, and she is totally owning the training process herself. We have plenty of wet pants, but if we are home, she will just go to her potty by herself, dump it in the toilet, rinse it out, put it back together, and then run around pants-less for the next hour until she feels like going and getting some underwear. I would rather she not dump her poopy potty herself, but I need to just deal with that. I feel like even asking her if she needs to go is stepping into her territory, so I'm planning on just shutting up and letting her own it. With my second child I vow to not call them on doing the potty dance, since it obviously doesn't help. Stubborn genes.

Firsts

intent
Last Wednesday for the first time Penelope actually participated in the 'walk around to the music' part of music/circle time. Usually she is okay sitting in my lap not participating (although I am sometimes allowed to participate, sometimes not), but once everyone stands up there is no way she is having anything to do with the crazy mass psychosis hive mind marching and singing, and she is OUT of there. Rebecca never liked it either, still doesn't, today at Lauren's (Princess) birthday party she took a good while of watching Princess Aurora lead the girls through some dances before she was willing to get out onto the floor and participate. She wasn't willing to have her picture taken with the hired princess at all, although Penelope finally did with me. With the princesses help they put together a little skit for all the parents, and much like the festival of lights, or any other group performance, Rebecca was securely in the back.

Yesterday Penelope and I talked about how we were going to be not having any diapers in the daytime anymore, that I was going to get her some cotton training pants and a doll that went potty, sort of in trade for her diapers. We didn't actually make it that far though, I had already gotten her a new potty that was hiding in a box, since she complains that the old minimal one we had for Rebecca hurts her bottom and she won't sit on it, and we broke that out later Friday afternoon at an opportune seeming moment, without waiting for the training pants or accompanying doll. She's been doing great too, it's ridiculous, but the potty has two little electrical contacts in the bottom, and it sings when she goes pee pee, and she is SO EXCITED. So she's been running around the house bare or in underwear and mostly making it to the toilet on her own. When we have been going out (a lot today) we practiced sitting on other potties, but pretty much she only goes when she is ready, and there better be a toilet 3 seconds away. She's been struggling to find more autonomy recently, so I think working on this is just what she needed. She actually told me I could put her in her carseat twice today, which has been unheard of recently.

For Rebecca (who's school obviously I need to write about) her big news is that she is having her first sleepover tonight. She has been lobbying for it for a while, but as it was actually finally scheduled, and coming closer became less and less certain that she would actually spend the night. I told her not to worry about it, and that I would come and get her if she decided she needed to come home, but she and Anya W. seem to have fallen asleep at Cherie's house, so baring midnight trauma hopefully things will work out. Exciting first for her either way.

Rebecca is also thrilled that she can skip bars on the monkey bars now, which she has been all over since the beginning of school, in addition to climbing any pole in sight. She has made it up into our tree by pushing over a slide, and also sometimes tying ropes around it to climb up. And she goes very high up. I'm trying to do as good a job as my mom did letting her pick her own risks. She isn't reckless about it. She has also tied a chair on a jumprope and some random rope she found, so that she can swing on it, about 3 feet off the ground. I've been warning all parents who come that they are on their own judging and allowing or not their children to mount her contraptions, that there has been no adult participation! Some other of her friends have been climbing the tree with her when she has shown them how to get up, but not all of them can do it, and our rule has always been that you can climb anything you can get onto *without* adult help, if you can't you aren't ready.

She is also finally reading willingly. She has been 'able' to read for a very long time, in that she started being able to decode words when she was two and we would play lots of literacy games and play school, but she has never wanted to and always met any encouragement with negativity, so I haven't pushed her, other than playing literacy games when she wants to. Since she started school when she was three we basically stopped doing anything at home. But they've been working up a lot of excitement about reading at school, and I think she's finally warmed up to the idea that she *can* do it. Friday she was willing to read a simple board book to Penelope while P was sitting on the toilet, and last night we told her she could sit with Penelope and read her books instead of doing her normal sweeping chores, which was fabulously successful, as neither Jesse nor I had to sit in with P, who wanted to sit on the toilet but only if someone was with her, and Rebecca got a thrilled audience to practice her emerging skills with, and as our teacher says, nothing improves your reading like more reading.

Names and Words

Love Baby
Penelope is starting to get that I am reading the words on the page when we read books, and sometimes she will say, 'No, read the WORDS', when I start changing things around. And she will point over to the words, and say, "Are you reading these words here?"

Also she has upgraded her name from Pelelope to Penelope. We'll see if she wants to change it to Pelly when she figures out how long it takes to write. :-)

Puzzles

Love Baby
Today Penelope managed to do the picture-under 5 animal puzzle all by herself, several times. Previously she has only gotten one in, or more with coaching and suggestions. Also she finally figured out pedaling the tricyle on Friday. Our lumpy driveway isn't as nice as what Rebecca had to work with, and I probably don't take her out there as often as I did, I think Rebecca was pedaling her tricycle much earlier. Still not a good idea to let her ride it the block and a half to the playground, very frustrating for me!

Reading

Love Baby
For the first night ever, after dark story time Rebecca has a book light to read (loudly) a book to herself. Starting kindergarden has suddenly switched her from being completely uninterested in reading for herself to actually wanting to. She could read phonetic words before, and sometimes when I was reading a book I would get her to read one of the words on each page, but she didn't really want to. She wanted to be the baby that got read to, she wouldn't even hold the book and turn the pages for me, because that wasn't me caring for her. So, woo kindergarden!

End of the Summer

Love Baby
It is the end of the summer, Rebecca starts Kindergarden tomorrow, and I am regretting every hour of the last 5&1/4 years that I have spent on silly things like laundry and blogging and mental self preservation, rather than with her, as irrational as it is, because this is pretty much the end of our quiet morning time and quiet nap-time time. 5 1/2 hours at school each day. Although the nap-time time is coming to an end for it's own reasons, Penelope's nap time has become pretty erratic and I don't think it's only the canines she's been working on, although I can hope. I am really not good with napping every-other day, given that she is not the only child in the house, and Rebecca is going to keep (trying to) going to bed and waking up at the same time each day.

It is the end of the summer. We spent the first four weeks at Roque and with Nenny & D. Pa, which was lovely, although Rebecca was quite ready to come home to her friends by the end. We collected rocks, built steps down to Hemlock Brook from a new picnic spot, and she had her own table at the children's market on the Woodstock Green.

When we came back we bought a dishwasher, and ran various errands for a week. Then two weeks of summer camp at MVPNS for Rebecca, then several glorious weeks of (MOM WHERE ARE WE GOING) doing nothing summer, with play dates, a trip to Chuck E Cheese, one to Happy Hollow, Monday afternoons at the park, Wednesdays at Rinconada or farm, swimming at Eagle pool, Thursday night live on Castro, the start of Thursday afternoon Swimming lessons with Lillian in August, lazy Friday Art Playgroups, too many birthdays, and a billion summer park days and meetings for PACT (kindergarden).

Penelope and Yash had a joint birthday party on the 7th, before the Greene's left for France. We built an air rocket launcher which has definitely provided enough entertainment to justify its construction. We've built many rockets, and experimented with launching various substances such as falafel (Go Spencer...), glitter, candy, plushie rockets, and lots and lots of water. We really need to waterproof the solenoid batteries.

Penelope is very two. She is chatty, imaginative, and starting to both respect rules and throw tantrums. She is very firm on what she thinks should happen, but at the same time "Penelope Jane! Go back into the bathroom and turn off the water!" actually works. Not buying her shoes (she really doesn't need any more shoes) when we went to Payless because Rebecca's sneakers were too small and had holes in the toes = screaming and crying. But at the same time she is a very sweet and caring two who will try to help her big sister and give her hugs and play whatever game she wants.

Rebecca is five, and very ready for Kindergarden. When she went to MVPNS camp, she just dove in, even though the only person there she knew was Ellie, and she was off making her mom do some art project with her. We went to the PACT class posting on Friday, and were thrilled to see that every friend Rebecca has made over the summer and almost all of our fellow LAPP families are in her class. There are 2.5 kindergarden classes, so there were bound to be some, but everyone except for Audrey is in Teacher Terry's room 12. Drop off tomorrow is still going to be hard, and I need to remember to pack a handkerchief, since I cry about everything there is no avoiding tomorrow. Thanks genetics! Stupid over-emotional tear ducts. We'll see if I can handle the post-drop off traumatized parent coffee or if it's too embarrassing.

We've adjusted our schedule, dinner is at 6 now, bed time ostensibly starts at 7, but usually 7:30 before Rebecca has been dragged through her cleaning the floor chore, lights off at 7:45, dark story time over at 8, if Penelope didn't take 'too long' a nap everyone is asleep by 8:30, and awake around 7. Sometimes Penelope is awake at 6:30 and Rebecca doesn't wake up until 7:30, but that doesn't seem to be changing when I let her skip her nap. Children's sleep never does make sense. We will see if we can manage to get out the door on time with whatever it is we are supposed to bring...