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5, 1&3/4

Rebecca graduated from LAPP, summer has begun, but somehow I don't think we will be any less busy.

Rebecca made a working hammock for Penelope by tying a large scarf to the car headrest posts. She was very happy in her little cocoon for a good long time until one of the knots slipped...

We are finally trying to find a dishwasher to fit in our tiny house with no dishwasher. I'm tired of spending 1/2 hour every night washing dishes. It's a complicated puzzle where we can fit it in though, because our kitchen cabinets are only 14" above our counter, which is itself not very deep. So I feel like I am wasting too much time shopping for dishwashers... We are exploring over counters, installed in counters, portable floating around our kitchen... but I am really supposed to be spending my time either working or getting ready for our long summer trip to Maine and Vermont. The kids have been spending a lot of time with babysitters, and I have been spending a lot of time working. I'm going to be taking two laptops with me on our trip...

Rebecca deserves more of a writeup for turning five, and Penelope is turning into such a little person, it's all me-too! mee-too! But it's going to have to wait until I'm done with my presentation for work...

Almost 5, one and something.

I am so behind and overwhelmed with everything.

A wake up conversation (all Penelope): "Pick me up!" "My helmet!" (mom: Really?) "Wear it?" "It's falling off..." this becomes a repetative sleepy chant.

We went to New Orleans and Penelope became scared of dogs, and planes and many other things. She's hitting that 'I'm two, things are scary!' age, when Rebecca stopped going down slides and started thinking that Chuck E Cheese was really creepy. Penelope is still going down slides, but after one dog growled at her and another chased us (mostly playfully) down the street.

New Orleans was fun, we went on a swamp tour and saw alligators, birds and swampy trees. We also got to see two Easter parades, and Lauren was right, parades in New Orleans are different, every float that went by threw something at us or our neighbors. The first parade we caught in a somewhat uninhabited block, and since we had kids we ended up with an armful of stuffed animals in addition to a plentiful supply of mardi gras beads and some plastic eggs with candy. Then everyone else gave us all their stuffed animals because they didn't want them. I didn't want them either! Some of them were surprisingly nice though. I told Rebecca she could bring four home with her, and she did a very good job giving all the rest of them away to other kids we met walking down the street. She kept all the ones that made noise. The $1 praying bears thankfully both broke before we left, and Rebecca agreed that we could just bring the sound boxes home with us to try and fix. I think it would be fun if horribly annoying to collect all the stupid sounds that toys make and glue them all over a board. Cacophony. The shopping was fun, the cemeteries were interesting. The trees on St. Charles were permanently decorated with old mardi gras beads, sort of like a decrepit christmas street. The first day we were walking around (Saturday) Rebecca spent half the time digging beads up out of the dirt. Then Sunday we got a boat load thrown at us and that was the end of that obsession. We only had to bring a few of the broken ones home with us...

When we got back from New Orleans, a couple days later Penelope and then Rebecca came down with the worst stomach bug they have ever had. They were throwing up every 1/2 to 1 hours for about 24 hours. Rebecca is finally to the blissful (for mommy) age where every time she needed to throw up she managed to do it in a bucket. So although I didn't get any sleep I also never had to change her sheets. Maybe it was just this bug, they were both very uncomfortable for quite a while before they had to actually throw up. And it seems like it wasn't that long ago since the last time that Rebecca did throw up in her bed. Anyway. So after being in New Orleans through Wednesday, and going back to school for one day on Thursday, then she got sick on Sunday and was out of school the entire next week, because that virus was so bad I wasn't going to chance sharing it, even though she was fine and perky on Thursday...

The last month we have been exploring nanny types since I took a contract at work. Shouldn't be too long, but it's taken up all the non-existant slack in our schedule, and I'm pretty worn out, especially with extra end-of-school craziness. I don't like any of our nanny people so far, but it's all just temporary. We will survive.

4&3/4, 1yr7mo

After six months or so of telling the 'princess story', where Rebecca and Stella went through a tree and ended up in the magic princess valley, where there is a castle filled with princesses and you turn into a princess when you get there and the castle adds another room, and there are elves and dwarves in their underground city, and (nice) dragons and lots of fairies everywhere, and a rainbow unicorn and pirate treasure and mermaids, she finally wanted Rebecca and Stella's parents to find their way into the princess valley too. Now they are building a new castle, because they aren't allowed to live in the princess castle.

This month Rebecca learned how to swing by herself, and Penelope is starting to jump. Penelope has been practicing and practicing and practicing and it is really cute.

Penelope has been mildly obsessed with mittens and putting socks on her hands. She recently got socks on both hands (except for her pinky finger which she was mad about) by herself. She's starting to pull socks off her feet. She's never been interested in undressing herself, but maybe dressing undressing will start soon. She is trying to pour the gallon of milk into her cup by herself. That isn't so great.

She just recently asked to use the toilet and actually pooped in it, rather than asking after she had already filled her diaper. She'd probably have more luck if her diet wasn't so high-fiber. She's also very concerned that Curious George isn't wearing a diaper in the story books...

3/26 - Penelope asked her first 'why?' question, in reference to cold cold-smoked-salmon, 'Warm it up mommy.' 'No.' 'Why?' 'Because.' 'Why?' 'It would be an abomination.' 'Why?' 'Because.' 'Why?'...

Rebecca's logical abilities are developing appropriately. When Jesse was telling stories that we were all activated by quarters, and that Mommy put Daddies quarter in in the morning, Rebecca said, no, who would put Mommies quarter in? And Jesse said, 'Daddy puts in Mommy's quarter', Rebecca convincingly shot that circular logic down.

1yr7mo / 4&3/4

Penelope is full of wiggles and adores the word no. Nnnnnnno! She loves her friend Shira, and is very upset when we have to leave Lisa's house to pick Rebecca up from school. She spent the last car ride saying 'my shira' mournfully over and over again. She knows many of our friends names, lellie, aya, (y)ash. She has an amazing (for a 1 year old...) tripodish grip when she draws, and she's started drawing teeny tiny line marks, baby writing, and she *always* wants to draw or paint. On anything... She adores reading Maisy, and actually likes nap time. She loves her 'puff', Jesse's old baby feather comforter, and her binkey, although she doesn't need either of them. She doesn't have any really special animals. She doesn't nurse anymore between snack times, just morning, nap and bed. She usually falls asleep nursing for nap time, but puts herself to sleep at bed time. She's started throwing tantrums, which is sort of adorable, and a sign of things to come.

In the beginning of December we visited Nenny and D.Pa for a week, and went to David and Alice's wedding.

At the end of January we went on a last minute trip to Tahoe with Spencer, Anya & Yash and Rebecca had her first two days of skiing.

We are in the throes of determining Rebecca's kindergarden for next year. PACT/Landels/Waldorf??? Haven't done much else for the last couple weeks. I am wrapped up in and depressed by the whole thing.

Rebecca has stopped giving people 'hand-faces' when she doesn't want people to look at her because she's embarrassed that she did something wrong, which is great, she's feeling less self conscious. We've also made it through a period of awful not doing after dinner chores, just rolling around in the kitchen for an hour saying she was too tired. She's still fundamentally a rule follower, and I'm thinking her sister is *not*. We'll see. Rebecca says she is excited we are going on a cave adventure with Anya Greene next weekend. We've also seem to have made it mostly through a period of awful whining (a long long period) by starting to send her out of the room (usually when we were eating, especially right when we are sitting down to dinner) when she starts whining, and telling her she can come back when she is ready to act nicely, because whining is like hitting other people. She likes talking about whether a number is odd or even, and that two twos is four and is starting to work out what two of other numbers is.

Penelope has started pushing cars, climbs onto our bed *through* the bookcase at the foot, and is trying to learn how to jump.

Tonight Penelope demonstrated her first clear verbal understanding of temporal sequences, when after 'dark story time' I said, mostly to myself and expected Rebecca to answer, "Now what's next?", and Penelope answered in a very sleepy voice "be-cca lap time." I was very surprised, partly because she does *not* like it when Rebecca gets mama snuggles.

4.5 Years, 15 Months

I'm trying to reduce the rushing and mama stress in our lives, because I think it's been bad for Rebecca. That or 4 is the worst age ever, 2 & 3 being really pretty good. Of course it might be the push-back against increased 'consequences' in her life, introduction of chores, the loss of PamBob as housemates, or her growing sibling. Generally things are pretty good, but she gets a lot more hysterical about set backs, and seems more high strung in general.

Penelope is putting big juicy 'K's on the ends of lots of her starting sounds. Stu-CK, Boo-K, uck. She's started putting words together - 'reee(d) booK!' (repeatedly) 'Mi(l)K boom!' (The milk fell crashing down) any word paired with mah-MMMM, and probably still her most frequent 'NO MINE!' Her first three syllable word is VEEE-ta-MUMMMMM! (Vitamin) paired with pointing at the bottles on the shelf, and when she is denied (only one (piece of) a vitamin per day sweetie!) then she twists around to point at the chocolate and starts saying 'ch-k!' She requests cheee(se) and 'noo-noo'(noodles), 'wawa' (water), 'tea', and 'mi-K'. She is starting to acquire vocabulary very quickly. She says ba-K and pats herself on the back, along with nose and tee(th) and eye. Balloons are 'boo!'

She loves to walk 'wah-K', and go for rides on the 'bih-K'! 'go go go!' She has stopped being quite as fanatical about bringing everyone their bike helmets and making them put them on, well, maybe not. She still loves her shoes, and since it's getting wet we've gotten out the sneakers, slightly too big at size 4 probably, to replace her Robeez. She has gotten quite fast, and will now run away in stores with no thought to getting lost. Ugh. She likes to dance and slowly spin around/walk in circles. She can frequently be found drawing on anything, including my computer. She loves to empty containers, and sometimes put things in. She adores her bear. She likes me to stack blocks 'sta-K' and then 'booom!' she knocks them down.

A couple nights ago we moved her into Rebecca's room, and Jesse has been going in at night instead of me. Considering how much she wanted me to snuggle her all night long like a little teddy bear, it's going amazingly well. I had gotten her night weaned to 3am finally, but she still woke up frequently and wanted to climb on me and roll around and be snuggled back down to sleep. This is night four in Rebecca's room, and she just put herself to sleep in her crib with the pacifier she's just started using at night. Last night she actually slept from 10:30-4:30! Unprecedented. Good thing Jesse stepped in! Clearly I am no good at this stuff.

LAPP and P 1.1

Rebecca started her new school this month, and she loves it. LAPP, Los Altos Parent Preschool. "You cant' go outside on the playground whenever you want. There's dress up. [I like] The green sparkly shoes." Rebecca was the helper on Thursday the first week, and she thought that was the best. "Playing princess with Lulu is fun. I like 'Hello, my name is Joe' [a song]. I like doing the projects. I liked doing the patterns with Teacher Kerry. With different colors of circles. I like doing the sleepy little girl, it's a paper girl with a paper blanket. I liked having snack."

Rebecca: "I like going to Eagle Park. And I like playing Mouse Trap. And I like reading books." We read all about where Mouk went all around the world, one day at a time.

Penelope is starting to walk more and more the last month. Most of the time she crawls around, but sometimes she will walk up to about 10 feet now before sinking down to her knees. She doesn't crash, she just gets lower and lower with her hands out in front of her. She has quite a few words now, although it's hard to figure them out if you don't already know what they are. Dada, even daddy sometimes, Mamamama, mommy. Ball & Bear are similar, Dog & Doll & That & Down & Done. Bottle (Bot) (for her water bottle.) Last night, as usual, she had tea in it for bed time, and we would say 'tea' and she would put her fingers in her mouth and say 'sthhhhhhh' which I guess is teeth. And she would giggle. I think she thought it was a joke to say teeth every time I said tea. We'll never know. She can say (H)at, Eye, which is really clear, and matches her first word ever, 'Hi', with a little wave at 8 months. She also says 'Here you go', and please is holding her hand out. The grabby hand means 'want', along with the shriek. She's started saying mih-mih for milk. I think she can say go. She likes the song Mei sings in Totoro, 'Hey Let's Go.'

Penelope adores hats and bike helmets. I'm sure in part because they mean going out. But I think she also just likes them. We have a picture of her wearing *nothing* but her bike helmet. If she finds a bike helmet she will shriek until it is on her head. There is also shrieking if she thinks you are eating something yummy and she isn't. She's off milk again, for digestive reasons, (along with eggs), and she is not pleased when Rebecca gets to eat things that she doesn't.

She likes it when it's her turn to pick the book to read. Baby Baluga is still one of her favorites, and we read that most nights. She also likes 10 little ladybugs with the bumpy ladybugs, and Where is Baby's Bellybutton (she likes saying 'eye', and 'ffff'[oot] and calling the babies 'doll').

Penelope has a wooden walker with clacking alligators, but she will only push it forward until it runs into something. When the plastic bathroom stool is upside down (so she won't climb on it and crack her skull, one of her favorite activities), she will push it around and pick it up so it goes on the rug. It is more omnidirectional than the walker with wheels, and lighter. So she can pick it up when it is stuck and take a few steps then put it down. Dad finds this hilarious.

She is climbing everything she can climb. We had to turn the knife block around, and there are carpet samples from FabMo scattered around all of the stools in the house, because she climbs up and falls off. I'm hoping practice is the best cure for that. She loves going to the playground and climbing up all the steps to the top of the tower. She can get down them all now too which is an improvement. I also haven't let her fall down the openings at the top for the ladders yet. I'm hoping we can avoid that. She loves standing on Rebecca's stool and splashing in the dish tub while I'm washing the dishes, and eating the bubbles. Depending on the age of the water and the dishes in the dishtub I'm more to less okay with that. I still find her gnawing crayons. She's putting fewer things in her mouth in general though, I *think*.

We are trying to night wean. The milk part wasn't all that difficult. But she's still waking up, and climbing into our bed, and demanding snuggles and thrashing around arching her back for several hours every night. It's been a couple weeks, I *think* things are getting better, but I've been going to bed at the same time as the girls in order to get enough sleep, which isn't much fun, and I've been completely neglecting my oneinchworld blog.

11.5 Months / 12 Months

Shortly after my 10.5 month entry in Vermont Penelope started rolling over. And instantly diaper changes and nap time became, as expected, significantly more challenging. Also she figured out once she flipped over onto her stomach she could stand up and climb out of her co-sleeper. Unlike some other babies I know she does *not* like jumping out of things and slamming into the ground, so we managed alright with the co-sleeper for the rest of the trip. She *does* like slamming her head into mine, especially my cheek bone, so I'm not celebrating. But I am glad she's cautious, it makes some things easier. She also skipped the stage where she could pull herself up to standing, but couldn't sit down. She's pretty much always been able to sit down. She can stand up more or less indefinitely now, but insists on holding two hands to make any attempt at walking.

I can't believe she's almost 1.

She started signing 'hurrah' today, PamPam would be proud. We haven't been asking her 'What do gnomes say?' though.

She adores chocolate, and will throw a fit if she thinks Rebecca's getting some and she's not. She has trouble digesting oatmeal, milk products, watermelon and tomatoes. I think. She doesn't like avocado. She does like chicken, most fruit, and anything you're eating. She adores blueberries. And likes to eat dirt.

She is super super excited when daddy comes home. She is happiest when her whole family is where she can see them. She thinks Rebecca is super cool. She also thinks Rebecca's art friends are super cool.

She likes to put things in boxes, and pull them out, she started emptying out a kleenex box. She loves pulling the magnets off the fridge.

*** weeks pass***

She loves hats, and has gotten pretty good at putting them on and taking them off. And putting them on. She gives dolls big hugs when you give them to her, which is super cute. She isn't really talking, almost everything is 'Da', although she can say 'Hi!', 'Ah(ll)-done' and 'Dada'.

She loves books and gets very excited if she thinks you are going to read to her. Rebecca's books don't count. Her favorite book/song is Baby Baluga, and she will nod her head back and forth while you sing it, and clap sometimes. She also loves touch and feel books like That's not My Lion, and lift the flap books like Where is Baby's Bellybutton?

When she got her new pajamas a couple weeks ago, we unwrapped each one and she gave it a big hug and snuggle. Balls and dolls are loved. Rebecca got her a walker for her birthday, which is a huge hit. Yesterday she started trying to take her clothes off by herself.

She is cheerful and happy and loving. And not doing very well at night if she gets milk or eggs or if I eat lots of milk or cream. I *think*. And don't give her my fennel tea, which seems to help. I hate figuring out her diet. It its so impossible. But she is such a sweet sweet huggy lovey baby.

10 Months

Penelope is doing good but not perfectly with solid foods. May 23rd she started crawling at Maker Faire. May 24th she started pulling up to standing, May 25th she started cruising. May 26th she did NOT start walking. Sometime in mid June she started standing up and balancing for measurable amounts of time by herself. I think her current record is 15-20 seconds. She is absorbed by standing up. She loves standing up. She loves walking holding on to someone's hands. She can crawl up the stairs, not ours, we don't have any.

She is still the cutest happiest snuggle-me baby. I made her a cloth doll last week, and she started hugging it and squealing. Really. And biting its head, let's be honest. I named it Marigold, to remind me of Penelope's true name. Last night and tonight Penelope made me kiss her over and over and over. She would grab my shoulder, turn her cheek and pull me down. I think she's trying to figure out kissing as much as enjoying being kissed. And enjoying making me do something. She does a sort of drape-y hug, if you are holding her she will hold on to you and rest her head on your shoulder for a few seconds before popping up again.

She has started liking her pacifier. She is THRILLED when someone is going to read her a book, and has definite opinions on which book you should be reading her. Her favorites are the touchy books, especially That's Not My Robot/Lion/Tractor/Plane/Mermaid/Car/etc. We get them out of the library. The That's Not My Blah books have extra thick board pages, and she can turn them herself really well.

She still puts everything in her mouth, but occasionally when you say 'aaaah', she will actually spit it out for you, or at least open her mouth. And sometimes she will shake her head back and forth violently, refusing to let you anywhere near her mouth treasure.

She wasn't clapping at 8 months? I don't know when she started, but I'm pretty sure she can. She can also pee on the toilet, if you put her on the toilet and she has to pee she will. If she doesn't she will touch the back of the toilet where we keep the wipes and then lean forward.

She plays the 'please', 'thank you', 'here you go' game with objects, although usually too enthusiastically for anyone to have the chance to say 'please'. She may or may not sometimes say 'thank you' and 'here you go', not well enough to recognize out of context. She still says 'hi' and waves. She pushes away things she doesn't want, and if she is nervous of you she will put her hands behind her head and pull her hair. Last month when she didn't want a friend to pick her up she would stretch her arms out behind her. Chris always said, 'yes, I see your lovely wings.' She doesn't reach her arms up when she wants you to pick her up, she just makes her 'please' throat noise, 'ah-hn-hn'. I can usually tell what she wants, if she's hungry she will suck on my shoulder. If she is whining she usually wants to be picked up. She hates it when Rebecca blocks her. If she is excited about something she does the full body symmetric thrash.

What else? I don't know. She's a little sweetie.

small things

Penelope has gotten very good at picking up very small things and getting them into her mouth for better or worse.

Also I realized all my LJ comments are going to a dead email address. Hmm. Also, can I combine LJ and facebook magically? Meh. Mostly I use facebook now. Blame my mom group.

8 Months

Penelope has sensitive skin, including her intestines apparently. Just about every solid food we've tried so far other than bananas has given her snotty diarrhea. Oatmeal, wheat, apples, avocado, prunes, I'm forgetting some, and I think she's allergic to milk too. So we've been taking food slow, but we may stop considering diarrhea a reason not to feed her something. The pediatrician says it's fine as long as she's gaining weight? She wants to eat the whole world. She's not allowed to sit in the dirt at the farm anymore, because she ate so much dirt and bark (which may not have to be much) that she gave herself diarrhea, ruining our food experiment. As Rebecca parrots - "Penelope, you're such a mouth baby!"

She's a sturdy sitter, unless Rebecca pulls something away from her, or, you know, she gets distracted by something. She can work her way around in circles on the floor, and is thinking she might be interested in crawling soon, but standing holding on to someone's hands is more fun.

Today she started waving back at people and making a little cute hi noise. I'm not sure that it counts as a word any more than blowing raspberries back counts as a word. She's almost clapping, and likes 'Peas Porridge'.

She goes to bed between 6-7:30 and wakes up 6-6:30, but I can usually mostly ignore her until 6:45 if I sit her up. I need to get a box for toys for the bedroom. (Not more toys mind you.)

It's a good thing we have a wrap, because she's a total pick me up and cary me baby, although the wrap may encourage that, I don't know. And she's my dress up doll right now, which Rebecca never was, because we got a bunch more hand me down clothes. I've been enjoying dressing the second baby up in cutie pie dresses and clothes. The dresses may have to stop if she starts crawling, we'll see.

Over all she's a sturdy happy little girl.