Saturday, April 26, 2014

Two Easters

I love Easter. It's a fun, low-pressure holiday, and as Genevieve gets older, it's especially fun.

KidBrother Sam mentioned how he loves seeing "last year vs. this year" photos of Genevieve. Brace yourselves.

Easter 2013

Plastic eggs are GREAT!

Chubby cheeks! Pigtails! Bunny overalls!
A lot of Easter was the same - no sugar, lots of family. But it was also very different.

This year, we hardboiled eggs from our local farmer's market, and SuperAndrew donned his seasonal AndrewBunny ears to stay up late dyeing them with food coloring (regular and Neon), like his mom used to. In the morning (after we had Crème brûlée French Toast), Laura the Fairy and I "hid" the eggs.


Genevieve, armed with a colander (in favor of a basket), was delighted by ALL THE EGGS.


Genevieve is a process-oriented kid, so when she was done finding the eggs, she asked Andrew to hide them "AGAIN! Peease."


Aaaaand, again. (Also, this time, UnkieSam hid the empty plastic eggs in the living room.) After three consecutive egg hunts, Genevieve was ready for a nap- which she *asked* for.

While Genevieve was napping, I whipped up the cream cheese frosting for Carrot Cake Cupcakes (from the Baking Illustrated cookbook) for the afternoon's family gathering. AndrewBunny did the artful piping, with juuuuust enough cream cheese frosting.

Shown in our cupcake carrier. Worth every penny.
Once Genevieve was awake, we headed to our afternoon family gathering.

Any time we go to a family gathering, it takes Genevieve a little while to warm up to the crowd. Meaning, she and I usually sit by ourselves somewhere quiet until Genevieve is ready to join the party. Or until one of the older kids comes out to play with her.

On Easter, it was the latter that helped Genevieve transition into her usual social butterfly self, and the egg hunt was ON.

At home, all the eggs are Genevieve's. At the family egg hunt, each kid is told that they can find six little plastic eggs and one large plastic egg each. [The older kids are told, "If you can see it plainly, it's *not for you*."]

Genevieve had a great time, hunting and counting. The pretty plastic eggs were filled with candy [READ: "the devil's sugar"], so I quickly corralled LittleJ, relieved her of her bag of goodies, and with subtlety and teamwork that would BOGGLE YOUR MIND,  Andrew and I deposited the contents of Genevieve's eggs into LittleJ's bag.

Genevieve got to play with the eggs, and she didn't miss the candy on the inside. Win-win. She was happy, showing everyone her eggs, talking about the colors. She thought her day couldn't get any better.

... And then Genevieve discovered the trampoline.

DSC_0199 - Version 2


"Mommy! Come play with me!"
... And if something is great, Genevieve makes *sure* I don't miss out on it. She's thoughtful and generous, and a great trampoline-bouncer.


It was our hoppiest Easter yet.

Thursday, April 10, 2014


A tiny, talkative tongue

A conversation with my dad (GrandpaDahling) about language development in toddlers:

GrandpaDahling: Genevieve is very verbal because you talk to her all the time. Most parents don't talk to their kids as much as you talk to her.

Me: Most people don't talk as much as I do, period.

Mom: [Evil cackling]

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

The Fingernail Fairy

Sometimes, I just NAIL this parenting thing.

Mostly because I steal good ideas from my mother. They say plagarism is the sincerest form of flattery, and - with a few small ideas of my own - we're raising Genevieve the way I was raised.

"Quick, grab the camera!" - Mom

I like to try to overcome challenges with Genevieve creatively, kindly, and most importantly, in a way where I can turn a problem into something fun. (This works best after I've had my coffee, and a good night's sleep. I'm only human.)

One of the challenges I've had is clipping nails. I started doing it while she was sleeping when she was a baby, and once she got older, I became The Fingernail Fairy.

Like the Tooth Fairy, the Fingernail Fairy comes in the dead of the night, clips fingernails (and toenails) and - if all goes well - nobody wakes up, and we all get the gift of a DangerMouse who doesn't have Wolverine claws.

The Fingernail Fairy doesn't get the same excellent PR that the Tooth Fairy gets. There. I've said it.

In any case, now that Genevieve is becoming a Big Girl, I've been able to rebrand some previously problematic things as "Big Girl" activities. (I don't bandy the term about all willy-nilly, just for important stuff.)

I happened to be tidying our bathroom counter, when Genevieve noticed the row of nail polish bottles, all lovely, colorful, and most importantly, sparkly, along the edge of the mirror.

"What's that?" she asked.

"Nail polish," I answered, and then - BAM! - my mother's genius kicked in, "You know, Gramzie used to paint my toenails when I was little. If you let me clip your toenails- and you're cooperative - I'll paint your toenails."


Be cool, be cool, I thought to myself, rushing to grab the tiny toenail clippers. You haven't clipped them yet.

I grabbed my own clippers as well, and modeled how easy and painless it is, and then she cheerfully and cooperatively let me clip hers. And then her fingernails. LIKE IT WAS NOTHING.

[This is a big deal. Genevieve has been fine *pretending* to clip nails, but as soon as it was time to get down to business, based on the crying and shrieking, you'd think I was trying to do surgery without anesthetics on her instead of *just attempting* to clip her nails. Hence the necessity of the aforementioned Fingernail Fairy.]

"Great job! That was very cooperative!" I said, positively brimming with enthusiasm, "Pick your color! Let's go paint your toenails."

She picked and we went to the living room, where I parked her in the glider and turned on an episode of Sesame Street (as a treat, and also to guarantee she would sit still until the nail polish dried).

In typical toddler fashion, the thrill was in the chase, and as soon as I went to paint her toenails she was *immediately* suspicious of the whole process. So, what's a mom to do? I modeled on my own feet.

It's been more than two years since I've had a pedicure- in fact, the last time was my 29th birthday, with my friends Jen and Laura, just before Genevieve was born. I worked quickly, and by the end of the episode, Genevieve still wasn't ready. No big deal. Sometimes it's the getting, sometimes it's the having. Whatever works.

Mom came over, and Genevieve greeted her the usual way ("AAAAAAAAAVIIII!" ["Gramzie" for the uninitiated], and *then* was ready to have her nails painted.

"Paint mine toes, peeease, Mommy?" 

So, we listened to some music while I gave her a tiny pedicure.

"Now," I told her, "You need to sit Very Still so that your nail polish can dry. Let's read a couple of books, and you keep your legs straight out on mine."

One pass through The Very Hungry Caterpillar and Happy St. Patrick's Day, Curious George, and her toes were dry.

The funniest thing is that once she was off of my lap, (and her nail polish was dry) she was doing the heel-walk that *everyone* does with wet toenail polish. It was the funniest thing I've seen in ages.

All evening, she was admiring her pedicure, "Mine toes preeeeeddy, Mommy. You toes preeeeeddy, too. Match!"

I can't help but notice that I was thinking exactly the same thing.