Sunday, September 30, 2007

And she's got one ...

The last first tooth we're likely to ever have in our house emerged Friday. Miss Alysse, the "baby" of the group, was the last toothless one in the house until September 28 when her bottom right tooth made its appearance.

A spotting of the second bottom one hasn't been made yet, so she might be a single-tooth snaggle puss for a bit, but cute nonetheless. She celebrated her first tooth with a biter biscuit and half of a canister of puffs.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Captain Two Tooth

And we have our first first tooth teeth. Trace's first tooth was spotted Thursday morning, September 20. While feeding him his breakfast cereal, something white caught my attention. Of course, I immediately went in for closer inspection, and sure enough, there it was. Just a little nub of a tooth, but by golly it was a tooth no matter what it's height.

The tooth spotting was actually a welcomed surprise that explained why he had been so crabby earlier in the week. On Tuesday, after a day that could not have had any more whining packed into it, I told him I would have to put him up for sale if he didn't wake up a bit more calm and patient Wednesday. Once I saw the tooth it all made sense. (And no, I would NEVER really put him up for sale!)

Dad found the second tooth just this afternoon while the two watched football in the recliner. Obviously the second wasn't quite as painful as the first, as he was in good spirits yesterday. Nonetheless, Captain Two Tooth is on his way to a full set of chompers. Now, if he could just spread a little teething love Alysse's way.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Birthday season is upon us

Like the time between Thanksgiving and New Year's, we have a stretch between the middle of September and Halloween that's our own little holiday season. Beginning with Alena's birthday continuing on with Alivia's birthday and ending with cute costumes, birthday season is upon us in the Scott household.

Alena enjoyed the first of three birthday parties Sunday at Butterbean and Papa's house. She shared the birthday spotlight with Claire, who actually turned three on Saturday. There were balloons, presents galore and two birthday cakes (one of which Alena couldn't keep her hands off). Alena was quick to blow out her set of three candles after everyone sang birthday wishes, and even quicker to dig into her cake and ice cream.

Grandma and grandpa got the presents off and rolling in style with a new set of wheels ... training wheels and helmet included. The shiny red bike is an eye catcher with chrome, basket for transporting the essentials and an "Alena" license plate. And with just a little coaching, Alena was quickly pedaling on her own around the driveway.

Her cute new mode of transportation was followed up by the prettiest, girliest, hot mama pajamas you've ever laid eyes on. Of course, as soon as they were pulled from the gift bag, she was stripping down to try them on. A scooter, roller skates and several very cute outfits were opened wearing the new hot mama threads.

Besides presents and cake, the afternoon also included a miniature pony; haircuts for anyone who needed one; a birthday kiss between Claire and Alena that brought them both to the ground; and a pinata filled with candy three-year-olds love.

We'll be slicing into at least two more birthday cakes this week as we celebrate on her actual birthday, Thursday, and then again Saturday when Jason's family joins in the fun. The candles will be burning, the wrapping paper will be flying ... yep, birthday season is upon us.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Aye, aye Captain

Our little captain. In hindsight this blog should have been called "Three Drama Queens and a Little Captain," as that's the nickname that has stuck with Trace. What follows up the "captain" evolves with time, however.

As a newborn he was called Captain Timex. Every three hours he was ready to eat ... awake, asleep, night or day. While sleeping, it was nearly to the three-hour minute that he'd rise and shine, expecting his bottle. You could have set your clock by his eating schedule. To some extent, it was quite impressive that his tiny body was such a precise timepiece.

Then came the Captain Crybaby or Captain Crypants name. While going through a "I-must-be-held-and-held-and-held" phase, he acquired this nickname. There were days (and we still have one every now and then) when I swore he'd whined and cried more in one day than all three of the girls ever did, put together.

And bless his (not-so) brave little heart. Captain Courageous emerged as he was frightened by any not-so-quiet sound, quick move or sudden blast of noise. While you'd think he would grow somewhat accustomed to the loud, chaotic noises that constantly fill our house (read, the shenanigans of three boisterous drama queens), that just isn't the case. It is the never-let-your-guard-down outbursts that keep him jumping out of his skin.

While the second part is ever-changing, the Captain keeps his first name. So, just call him Captain, for short, unless, of course, you're Alena who sometimes confusedly refers to him as Pirate.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Oh baby, she's wreaking havoc

Alysse is a crawler. She started to really get mobile at the end of last week. And while her technique can still use some perfection, she's able to get the job done and she's now on the move.

I think the greatest motivating factor in her newly achieved mobility was crashing Alena and Alivia's party. No longer can her older sisters sit working on their jigsaw puzzles on the floor without a visit from Alysse. She manages to drop by every coloring session, reading circle or game her big sisters begin. And within minutes she's got them squealing.

"No, Lysse, get off my (fill in the blank here)," Alena cries out.

"Get off me (fill in this blank too), Lysse," Alivia squawks.

The most amusing aspect of this new drama in our lives is that neither Alena nor Alivia realize how mobile she's become and how quick she is.

Friday, as the older girls sat side-by-side playing ABC games on their toy computers, Alysse decided to check out what they were up to. As she took her first grab at the mouse on Alena's computer, she had them both on the move.

"Let's move away from her," Alena said to Alivia.

So, about six feet away the two quickly scooted. Just as they resumed their computer playing, there was that little hand again, reaching out to join in the fun. They can no longer make a break for it and "save" themselves and their toys from Alysse's curiosity. She FOLLOWS them. It becomes a game of cat and mouse. And they don't like it.

I try to explain to them that she just wants to see what they are doing so she can learn to do big girl things too. They just look at me like, "Yeah, mom, whatever. We just want her to leave us alone."

Their reaction, really, is to be expected given their ages and Alysse's innocent brute force. Alena and Alivia, while learning to share, take turns and co-exist peacefully, still have "their" things that they want to keep to themselves.

Everyone knows, for example, that Alena's doll stroller is Alena's and off limits to anyone else. Alivia has her own, so Alena really needn't share it, and therefore lays claim to it without sharing and without question.

Alysse, however, heads to it, ready to dig through the merchandise stashed in the small basket area underneath. And can you blame her? It's full of colorful, shiny, smaller objects that she can easily manipulate and get her mouth around. It's a baby's dream come true, well, it would be if it weren't interrupted by big sister's yells of protest.

We're trying to make peace and find a way for "the big girls" to accept the ways of "the little people," as Alena calls them. We're learning that if there's something you don't want Miss Alysse to get a hold of, you must put it away, up off the floor, to keep it safe.

And for all the annoyed looks they shoot her when she's on the prowl and yelps for help when she's got a hold of something they want her hands off of, it's a race between big sister one (Alena) and big sister two (Alivia) to get to Alysse first when she's upset or in need of entertaining.

Sunday, September 9, 2007

Cheeto fingers and terrible towels

Jason declared today a holy day in our house. Not really a holy day in the religious sense, but more so in the "sports fanatic enjoying the first Sunday afternoon of football season" way. And to be quite honest, I think the smaller Pittsburgh Steeler fans in the house were just as pumped as he was.

To celebrate this day of kickoffs, each of the girls got to pick out a bag of chips at the store. Both love the crispy, salty snacks, but get to enjoy them only on a rare occasion, so this in and of itself was a big deal.

Alena picked out a bag of Cheetos, more for the cheetah on the bag than anything else, since she hadn't had them before, and therefore didn't choose on past likes. Alivia selected a bag of zesty taco and chipotle ranch Doritos. And once they were picked from the shelf, they didn't leave her side in the seat of the shopping cart.

Of course, all this snack picking came after they were appropriately dressed in their Steeler jerseys and toting their terrible towels. We had Alena's inflatable Steeler man up and running in the living room ... she hasn't ever missed a football Sunday without putting him up. And the Steeler flag was flying on the front porch ... the girls and dad had it up as soon as breakfast was finished.

In the spirit of the day, lunch consisted of Cheetos, Doritos and football dip. I think it's the most nutritionally void meal the two have ever enjoyed. But they were in their heyday, orange Cheeto fingers and all. Even Trace and Alysse were all smiles in their Steeler onesies as they gobbled down lunch during pre-game and sat munching on puff snacks before kickoff.

While the Steelers got their first regular season win and dad was happy, the girls were in their glory with all our festivities. The jerseys were put away for next Sunday and Alena and Alivia are counting down until the next "touchdown Steeler day." With a whole season ahead of us, here we go little Steelers.

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

A first day of school and a happy heart

Whenever Alena has done something brave, wonderful or, if we're having a really bad day, something not so bad that's a little ray of sunshine, I tell her she's made my heart happy. It's our thing.

Today, Alena, you made your mom's heart as happy as a mom's heart can be.

Faced with her first day of preschool, the first time she's spent any time away from home alone and her first experience being supervised by someone not related to her, she went "like a champ," to quote her daddy. I, on the other hand, was the chicken, leaving the dreaded "drop-off" up to dad.

For what it's worth, I knew I couldn't do it. I knew I couldn't leave my baby for her first day of school and not cry. I also knew my crying (even if by some miracle I maintained enough self-control to only reach the eyes-tearing-up stage before getting out of her sight) would lead to her crying. This is where dads excel. They somehow have the dad stamina to rein in the tears and attend to business.

Once at school, they put her backpack in its place, let her choose where she wanted to start playing, said their goodbyes and not a tear was shed. God bless her little heart, she made mine happy.

At 11:45 a.m. we were all there to pick her up. A smile on her face, happy to see us, she began answering all our questions. What did you do? Did you go potty on your own? Did you have a snack? We kept firing, and she kept answering.

She colored a picture, talked about today's weather, used markers, ate pretzels and played outside on the playground. Yes, she went to the potty, and no, she didn't have to ask the teachers for help. She has a yellow folder with her name on it to hold projects she's worked on and papers from the teachers.

"I cried because I missed my hopper," she reported (note to anyone not familiar with hopper: he's a pink stuffed bunny she has within shouting distance most any time; he's most useful when she's scared, hurt, tired or upset in any way).

When this crying occurred, how long it lasted and what brought it on we were unable to pin down exactly. "That's okay," I told her. "We'll hide hopper in your backpack on Thursday and you'll know he's in there if you need him."

This idea seemed to be enough to satisfy her, as she didn't seem particularly troubled by the crying episode in hindsight. More importantly, though, when we talked about going back to school on Thursday, there was nary a moment of hesitation.

As I tucked her into bed tonight, I gave her the biggest hug ever and told her she had made my heart happy today by being such a big girl. Until she's got a little girl and a happy mom heart of her own, she won't know how much that means.

Monday, September 3, 2007

Horses and monkeys and ooooos, oh my

For quite some time the pixie has had preferences for some animals over others. Giraffes, monkeys, horses. These seem to be her favorites. Yes, she likes cats too, but faced with the choice of a giraffe or a cat, she'll take the giraffe every time. What draws her to some friends of the furry persuation over others, I don't know, but she's consistent in her tastes.

I've noticed over the last couple months she's taken an interest in owls. Given a shortage of owl toys in our house (everything else we've got ... owls, seem to be a bit scarce), I've observed this developing interest while reading books. She'll gravitate to books and pages with owls. In seconds, she can find the page in the Little People farm book that's got the owl sitting in the hole in the tree and soon she's hooting away.

Low and behold, a week or so ago, she found the lone owl toy in our house. A little blue Weeble© owl stashed away in Alena's room, hidden in the flip-up top of the Weeble© treehouse. I don't think it's gotten far out of her sight since.

Most amusing about this whole owl fascination, though, is that she calls them "ooooos." Not "whoooos" or "hoots," but "ooooos." Why it's an "ooooo," I don't know, but once again, Alivia has given us something to smile about.

"Me ooooo, where's me ooooo?," she'll ask. It still makes me smile. And I've had to hunt down the "ooooo" more times than I'm even willing to count.

A glimpse of my little soul

I saw my soul yesterday, and I cried. Laying on the bed, so still, quiet and beautiful, there it was. Soft, angelic and perfect.

Thinking Alena was awake from her nap, I opened the door to her room, but instead found her still asleep. Laying on her big, wonderful bed, eyes closed, lips just touching one another, she took my breath away. A sight so peaceful, there are only a handful you'll witness in your life.

I stood in the doorway staring, then crying without a sound, not wanting to destroy the moment of pure perfection. I was looking at my baby, but seeing a little girl so wonderfully innocent, sassy and full of life she's anything but a baby. I don't know there's ever been a time in my life when I've wished for time to stand still, but watching her sleep, I wanted the moment to last forever.

At Alena's first birthday party, a wise lady told me your children only get better with age. Yes, at one she was so fun to see toddling around, trying to communicate with her limited vocabulary and learning every minute of every day. Could she really get any better?

That wise lady was right. Babies are wonderful, toddlers are amazing, but I've got a preschooler on my hands now and it's the best yet. She's a part of the world around her. She gets what's going on in her world (sometimes a bit too well), how it affects her and how she can change the course of its outcomes.

As we prepare to send her off into the big world of preschool, I want to keep her all to myself. I selfishly want to teach her, protect her and love her all by myself, but I know I can't. At some point, I've got to let her go just a bit. Let her learn she can do it on her own, even if I'm not ready for her to.

My own mom, who I've learned is always right, said letting go of the first one is the hardest. Perhaps it's because its that first one that in an instant steals your heart to never give it back, and teaches you how to love deeper than you ever knew you could. Or maybe it's because it's your first that you experience all the "firsts" with first. First steps, first words, first day of preschool.

Soul, I'm sending you out into the big world tomorrow all by yourself. Chances are I'll cry, and while you won't hear me, it won't be as silent as last time. Please come back as wonderful as you left, and always remember I loved you before anyone else knew you.