Archive for the ‘Paisley’ Category

Are you a Quantity or Quality Parent? I’m Both and Neither.

Friday, March 6th, 2015

It’s 10 o’clock on a Thursday night. I’m currently sitting in my bed in the dark with my four-year-old passed out asleep on my right arm. The one I type with. Her tiny baby face is lit up by my computer screen, her hands tucked together under her head. She lied there and watched me work until she finally fell asleep.

This tiny part of me thinks it’s sweet; snuggled up next to her. The rest of me feels like shit. My co-worker absolutely would have understood if I’d pushed our conversation back ten or 15 more minutes. But I’d also just returned from a late night at the office, and my brain was still in work mode. Dad allowed her to stay up late until I got home, so this was the only time we had together today, and I squandered it.

It’s not like this every day. Some days. Sometimes a lot of days. That’s why I don’t have the luxury of playing quality/quantity game.

Carla Birnberg recently wrote about the quality/quantity debate on her blog. I adore Carla. She’s brilliant, generous with her time and brain cells, has an energy that I crave and covet, and does not care at all what anyone thinks. Everything she writes almost always has me sit back, nodding my head, mumbling uh-huhs under my breath in agreement.

This time, though, I paused. She made me stop and think about which parenting camp I fall in — quality or quantity. I loved her analogy of saturating the market “with mama-product and hoping, along the way, I’d churn out at least a few quality stuffs.”

Who amongst us doesn’t feel the same way? We all want to do the very best job we can; that’s why we are killing ourselves with guilt and Pinterest projects. My mom never worried about that stuff. Her mom certainly didn’t. And I’ll take a safe bet that neither my great- nor great-great grandmother messed with it either. They just loved their kids the best they could and that was good enough!

Somewhere along the way we allowed ourselves to be ruled more by the opinions of other mothers than by our own two cents and intuition. It became easier to declare Worst Mom Ever and Mom of the Year than to just own the decisions we were making, own the circumstances in which they were made.

Some days, like this one, my daughter and I get so little time together that the quality/quantity argument doesn’t even factor in. Tonight there was no real quantity and there was absolutely no quality… but we were skin to skin, and we made small talk, and I kissed her and hugged her a dozen times, and played with her hair in between chat IMs. Instead of a book, between chat IMs, I read an old blog post to her from when she was two. She loved it, and asked for another.

And so maybe my definition of quality is skewed. Because on the surface I look at how we spent tonight and I’m just appalled with myself. Then I read that scene back and think, you know, that’s not so bad. After all, it shouldn’t be about how I define quality, but how she does. For her, she got to have snuggle time with mom in bed, hear a story, and fall asleep in … on… her mom’s arms. That’s all she needs, right?

Tomorrow I’m taking the afternoon off work. I wish I could say it was by choice, but we’re between nannies and we’re sharing the load with her. She’s having a friend come over to play and I’m throwing our usual super healthy food rules out the window. I stressed for 20 minutes at the grocery store tonight trying to figure out what to make for the kids and what nice thing I could make for my friend and then decided that I’m absolutely exhausted, the most tired I’ve been in recent memory, I still have to work while she’s at school in the morning…and then make lunch? We’re ordering pizza and making sugar cookies. She’ll be thrilled!

And in that, we’ll score a little quality and a little quantity.

I get frustrated when I can’t do some big awesome red-banner star-spangled actual Mom of the Year level thing with her every. single. day. It doesn’t matter to her though. She likes riding the escalator at Target three times in a row. She likes to help load the washing machine and unload the dishwasher. She likes to read an extra story at bed time. She likes when I lean my head over the tub so that she can wash my hair for a change. She likes to sneak in an episode of Gilmore Girls. She likes getting an iced tea at Target to share while we shop. She likes looking at pictures on Instagram. She likes when I help her do the math for a pizza game on the iPad. She likes walking to school instead of riding in the car. She likes when I take even 5 minutes to play “getting married” with her.

This is what’s important to her. This is what she remembers. This is when I get to hear “you’re the best mama ever;” she means it so I need to stop doubting it.

In that list is a lot of quality and a lot of quantity — by her definition.

So it comes back to my rule of all things in moderation. Sometimes there is quality. Sometimes there is quantity. Sometimes there is neither. I’m OK with that.

Dear Paisley: Month 27

Tuesday, June 26th, 2012

Subtitle: June 2012, or Dear Paisley vers. 2.2

Hello Summer! Hello Crazy Baby! Look who decided to just take off in a giant pool of water like a “shiffy,” (fishy — thanks for that one Ellie!). I could not believe it!!

With the sun staying up well past your bedtime, we’ve had to just said bedtime a time or fifty. I’m not complaining, it’s been kind of fun to have you up a little later. Whether we’re taking a walk, having a later dinner, or just hanging out together, it’s been kind of nice to not feel so married to 8:00. It’s summer, kids are supposed to go to bed “whenever,” and you should be any different. You handle it like a champ, so it’s really not an issue. And frankly, I like your company.

I think you’re getting closer to a “big girl bed.” #Tear You’ve asked to sleep in “the big bed,” or “Ellie’s bed” (aka the futon) a few times in the last month and we’ve obliged. I mean, why not? You always fall right to sleep up there and stay that way until morning. It’s good practice for all of us. I can’t help but gush over just how big you are when laying in that bed. I’m going to miss my crib baby when that time comes.

And speaking of gushing, no single milestone of yours has brought me to my knees the way potty training has. You are officially potty training and doing pretty well! Oma let us borrow the “frog potty” from Emilee and that seems to have sold you where the insert seats wouldn’t. We’ve had nights where you’ve gone as many as SIX times! You’re pretty much naked from the waist down any time we’re home, and have even donned the big girl panties a few times. You don’t make a big deal of it, you’ll nonchalantly tell us “I need sit on my frog potty,” or just sneak in to the hall on your own. You’ll sit for a few minutes and if it’s not working tell me “I not can.” Or, as if it’s no big deal at all, tell me “I did it!” Your daddy and I go nuts with cheers and high fives! You’re pretty proud of yourself, too. The first time you did it I was carrying the little bowl to the bathroom and just completely fell apart. I was crying so hard your daddy had to finish cleaning up. My baby is not a baby any more.

You are just so darn big. You’re smart, SO SMART, and funny, and kind, and such a little character. I truly enjoy being around you and I’m always anticipating what you’ll say next. Which is an impossible task because no one knows what you’re going to say next!

The most shocking thing you’ve said this month is reciting your books. I won’t be so blind as to call it “reading,” but OMG this is how it starts! You have a set of Sesame Street books (that you call “Elmo Streets”) and you insist on reading the entire set 2 or 3 times a day, at least. I’ve started pausing at certain points on each page and you’ll fill in a word or two or finish the page. It’s unreal! I’m just so proud of you. With your entire alphabet down, and you even saying things like “p-p-p-p-PEE!” and “s-s-s-s-ESS!”, we should have you reading all of your stories by, like, Halloween. Just kidding!

One of the things you and I really love to do together is cook. For several months we’ve kept a step-stool in the kitchen where you can climb up and work with me at the counter, or just watch. I really try to give you small tasks that you can handle. We especially like making pancakes together on the weekend; blueberry pancakes in particular. You crack the eggs, drop in all of the ingredients, and stir. I’m just there to fish out the egg shells and measure. You really love helping me and get so excited when I offer. I hope it’s the foundation for a love of food!

You and daddy and I took a little Saturday night off recently and headed to the drive-in movie. You’ve been before, but you were a months-old nugget. So this was really your first trip the drive-in. We watched Madagascar 3, which you keep excitedly calling “The Animals!” You were perfect, even with being awake until 11:00. You switched between snuggling in your “bean chair” and lying in your sleeping bag in the back Xterra. You snacked on strawberries, and goldfish, and even took a walk behind the bushes to touch the pole that holds up the screen, thanks to daddy.

At 2 years and 2 months, you’re becoming quite a little girl. LITTLE still being the operative word there. I mean, you’re wearing your 12-months clothes and it’s a miracle I found undies that fit you without having to binder-clip them to you. You love shopping at Target. Anytime we run out of anything you tell me, “Mama, you go target, get [item X]”. You also recently told me, “”mama you go in kitchen for me. Mama you clean.” You got pretty ridiculously sick this month, but handled it like a champ. A few days of solid 103-degree temperatures does not make for a calm mommy, but we handled it. Blood and urine tests and all.

We also had to say goodbye to Jessica this month, your beloved nanny. I don’t think we’ll ever find anyone to truly replace her. I love the way you loved her and how out-of-your-mind excited you would get every morning when she arrived. I think we all learned a few tricks from her – like cream cheese on toast and the “whiny spot”. I hope she knows how much she’ll be missed, especially by you! I mean, you were 8 months old when she started; she certainly watched you grow to the little girl you’ve become!

A little girl with the brightest blue eyes, the whispiest little curls that frame your head like a halo, who likes and can name every single Disney princess (without having ever watched most of them), who likes sharing Andes mints with daddy and going to A-Pote-Lee (chipotle) with mama, who twirls, and sings, and giggles, and makes everyone she meets fall in love with her.

When you start frustrating me, like when you kick off your shoes in the car, you very endearingly say, “mama, I make you crazy.” And you do, absolutely, but in the best way possible.

I love you bug–


last image via Dana Shultz

Dear Paisley: Month 25 (2 Years Old)

Wednesday, April 25th, 2012

Dear Paisley-

Tonight you stayed up past your bedtime by a full hour for no other reason than I was watching you play. 8:00 hit and you were in a great mood and it just didn’t seem right to make you go upstairs to bed. So while we laid back on the couch and just unwound from our days, daddy and I watched you play with “baby” and your imagination run wild. You made, and unmade, and made, and unmade a bed for baby a dozen or more times. Each time saying “I got a nice bed for you baby.” How hospitable of you!

You’d then lay the baby in the middle of the bed (your fuzzy spread across a couch cushion), wrap her up, and carry her, saying “Ohhh you’re so heavy baby.”

I love watching our actions come to life through you. You are a little mocking bird. It’s incredibly comical to see you say things to your baby that I say to you. Or watch you hold your baby in a way that resembles how I hold you. I’m sure it’s the same thing that my mom, your grammy, experiences when watching me with you. Because I am turning in to my mother.

Want proof? At Hobby Lobby the other day (aka “Hobby Dobby”) you JUST. KEPT. TOUCHING. THINGS. On the verge or just past of losing my cool, I said something along the lines of FORTHELOVEOF stop touching things! You very cooly replied, “OK. I look my eyes,” and pressed your face against the bottles of brown Tempera paint so close you probably batted them with your lashes. Do you know how many times I heard “look with your eyes and not your hands” when I was a kid? Apparently you’ve already heard it a few times, too. You say it all the time now, and I just laugh and shake my head. Little circle of life we’ve got going on here.

My heart has been so heavy this week, Paisley. It’s weighed down with the happiest and saddest feelings I have. It’s like my heart drank a beer and took a hit of ecstasy and it doesn’t know which way to go. You’re turning two the day after tomorrow. It is impossible to me. I’d more quickly believe a talking, flying pig sitting in my room than fully grasp that my baby is no longer a baby. You could say she’s a toddler. But really, she’s at the tiny end of being a little girl. You left babyhood in your shadow months ago. I’ve done my best to leave a trail, but I know there’s no going back. Those breadcrumbs have blown away in your wake.

We’re most certainly seeing signs of those legendary terrible twos. I don’t think you’re terrible, I think you got every ounce of strong-willed independence your mama had to offer. I do think it’s terrible that you choose to exercise that dominate part of your personality at the most inopportune times. Like every SINGLE time I ask you to do something. Or when I’m already five minutes late. Or when I’m awake and in the same room with you. It is exhausting. I have to tell myself to back off because I know I’m just getting in your way. And seriously, let’s level with one another, there is no harm at all in you climbing in to your car seat instead of me placing you there. Why wouldn’t I let you do that? Oh yeah, because my patience does not exist. But I do it. I take a deep breath and watch you announce “I climb! I do it myself!” and grab a hold of the car seat, step in to the floor board, hoist yourself in to your seat, stand up, turn around, and beam with pride that you did, in fact, do it. I do, too. No one cares that we were late.

You climb the stairs by yourself. You get highly irritated if we even attempt to follow you. Like a spy you keep one eye fixed on the path in front of you and one fixed over your right shoulder to make sure we don’t move an inch off the ground floor. When you figured out that you could do this and retrieve forgotten toys, pajamas, or just escape from our hover for a few minutes, we’ve had a hard time keep your feet down here.

We went on your first picnic. I honestly can’t remember ever taking a picnic with your dad; and I’m pretty sure I haven’t been on a picnic since your aunt and uncle and I would take leftover cabin breakfast to the nursery next door and eat on top of the soil bags. It was an unbelievably gorgeous Sunday afternoon. The previous Friday, during a walk, you pointed to a grassy knoll spot in the park and said you wanted to go down there. I promised we’d take a picnic, and I made it happen that Sunday evening. The three of us walked to the park with homemade blackberry lemonade, guacamole, grilled chicken, crackers and cheese, berries, Snow White tea party dishes, and a blanket. You just kept exclaiming “We’re eating outside!”, as if you simply couldn’t believe it.

We also got to have some fun with you on Easter. We went to visit Uncle Kyle and Aunt Larenda. Fortunately the Easter Bunny found us in Joplin. A small, reasonable basket was delivered to you in your sleep with a very, very minimal amount of candy. Because, you know, I’m “that” mom and we just say no to superfluous sugar. The couple of small pieces of candy that were in your basket were outshined by the three Elmo head “eggs” stuffed with pistachios (or “she-she-ohs”). You ate them all in less than ten minutes. The Easter Bunny also stopped at Papa Jerry’s and Grandma Pam’s house, where you hunted eggs with actual candy in them. I wonder what happen to all of that?!

You survived for your first near-death tornado. Kid, I’m telling you, I’ve lived in Kansas and Oklahoma my entire life and I’ve never been as scared as I was that night. For one, tornadoes are supposed to sneak up on you. We got 36 hours of notice that this thing was coming, with 99 of its friends. One hundred tornadoes swept through Kansas that fateful Saturday night. Fortunately, none of them hit us; they did cause quite a bit of damage on the other side of town. You, daddy, Grandma Rochelle, and I went down in to the basement and hunkered down. You refused a nap that day, so by the time the sirens sounded yours was screaming too. You actually did really well, and then an hour in to our bunker hideout, you hit a wall and passed out in grandma’s arms. It was pretty sweet.

The greatest thing I’ve ever heard you say was “fucky bucky.” We were looking at your 1000 words book together one evening and you pointed and screamed “fucky bucky!” I said WHAT?! And then I looked where your finger rested on the page and it was pointing to spaghetti. Fucky bucky = spaghetti in Paisleyism. It’s my favorite thing you’ve ever said, ever.

OK, maybe second behind “I love you mama,” “Mama, you booful,” “Mama I awake.”

I think you’re beautiful too, I love you too, and thanks for awakening so much inside of me. These two years have been nothing short of bliss, heaven, perfect. You’re everything I worked so hard to get, and much, much more. I cannot wait to wish a happy birthday on Friday and start a new Koskie family tradition – birthday pancakes, or cake-cakes.

I love you bug. Happy birthday!


Dear Paisley: Month 24

Saturday, March 24th, 2012

Dear Paisley,

Last night we were out to dinner with a few friends, trying a new pizza place that opened in town. We got there at 7:15, already past your 6:00 dinner hour, but your mood was great and I was hopeful that the berries and orange in my bag would tie you over. It did not. You weren’t interested in the snacks at all, nor the bites of pizza shared by Jill while we waited what turned in to two hours for our pizza. By 8:30 you were in full-on melt-down mode. Without shoes, I took you out on to the sidewalk and you gleefully ran up and down Douglas. I asked you to turn around to go back and you melted again. Jill showed up offering you a cookie and you went running down the sidewalk. Back in the restaurant we went and you saddled up to the table with a relatively normal-sized chocolate chip cookie baked on site. I cringed, a little. But figured a few bites of the cookie wouldn’t kill you. Moments later, the cookie was gone and you were telling me “I need some more.” Well, you most certainly didn’t, but try convincing you. You slid down out of the chair, reached in my person, found my wallet, and removed my credit card. Then, you walked to the register where on the tippity-tippy-tip of your toes managed to slide the card on to the counter. Me, daddy, the entire table, we were all cracking up! You didn’t get your cookie and we eventually had them box our order and we ate it at home where you immediately went to bed without any dinner and no signs of a pediatric diabetes.

Phew! That was a mouthful, but the story had to be told! There is a line that gets crossed when you are hungry that there is just no turning back from.

We saw it recently on our big Koskies Do Dallas road trip to visit Christie and Ada and attend the Naranjo wedding (us, not you!). What a fun trip we had! It was your longest time spent in a car and you really did well. We had a lot of new toys, made frequent pit stops, and no amount of milk, fuzzes, and coaxing lured you in to a sleep. Round trip you never fell asleep. Damn it. You referred to Ada as Londyn all weekend, and had a blast playing with her and Christie during a sleepover while mommy and daddy wore short dresses, nice suits, and stayed up WAY too late! That Sunday morning, we had the best brunch I’ve ever eaten at a place called Enchilada’s. Stuffed to the gills, we pointed our wagon north and set out for what would be a seven-hour trip, with pit stops along the way and one lasting almost an hour at Oma’s house. As we neared Wichita, you became fussy, then angry, then downright inconsolable. We knew you were tired, we knew you were tired of being buckled in, and we knew we all just wanted to get home and have some dinner. Oh, dinner, food, as in OMG WE HAVEN’T FED YOU!! Your dad and I had this realization with 15 minutes left in our 7 our road trip. We’d never once fed you. We weren’t hungry on the road so we never stopped to eat. You requested your “ma-roni & cheese” when we got home and by God you got it!

Your moods, your independence, and your reliance on things to be a certain way have really shown themselves in the last month. I mean, this isn’t news, these traits have always been there, but the first light of your second year is dawning and the myth of the terrible twos is proving itself to be true.

Fiercely independent is an understatement. You’d simply do away with us if you could. I mean, you’ve even taken to trying to change your own diapers! Sitting down for my Biggest Loser date with Grandma Lori last week, you announced you needed a “die-dow change.” You got out your wipe and a diaper, laid them on the floor where you then laid down on your back. You proceeded to pull up the tape on your dirty diaper and then pulled the diaper out from under you… flinging little gumballs of poo alllll over the living room. I thought Grandma and I were going to pass out from laughing; daddy jumped to action in complete disbelief.

One place you still seemed to need us a little bit was at gymnastics, and now that’s over. We finished your last few weeks of gymnastics last week and in those final three sessions saw you really take to it in a way you hadn’t in the weeks prior. You were more confident in some ways, finally swinging on the rings in your last class and doing your “apple turnover” flips without much assistance. You even love showing off this awkward sideways-fall-down-somersault! However, one place where you insisted on “hands” was on the balance beam. You were fine to walk sideways, do soldier kicks, or just make your way across the ten-foot beams as long as you had one of us to hold you. On your last class you received a bright orange ribbon for completing the toddler gymnastics course. You were pretty proud of it and told me several times that you got a “wibbon!” The next day we opened the car door and it blew away.

You showed a side of yourself this month that we’ve really not had much opportunity to see before. You, my love, are an incredibly empathetic little girl and it warmed my heart to see how much love and compassion you hold. I had surgery to remove my left ovary. That day Grandma Lori came over early so that we go to the hospital and you spent the entire day with her. You didn’t come home until 6:00 that night and when you did you were just dirty as you could be. Sweaty, humidity-induced curls, dirt smudges across your face, black nails. It made me happy to see that you’d played so hard in our finally warm weather! However, when you came around the corner and saw me lying on the couch, under a blanket, your expression was very concerned. Daddy picked you up and simply explained that mommy’s tummy was hurting and that you had to be very gentle with me. In that moment it became your mission. You walked over to me and tried to climb on the couch and we helped you sit in a spot that was far enough away from my stitches and swollen abdomen, and you snuggled right up with me. You spent days, and even two weeks later keep telling me, “mama not feel well,” “mama needs med-cine,” and “mama tummy hurt.” All of these things were true and with each comment you’d softly rub my arm and contort your face in to an expression that made me think you had sympathy pains. There were about two days when you wouldn’t look at me, talk to me come to me, and I think you were mad that I’d thrown off our schedule so much and couldn’t really do much with you. You got your pay back when you crawled across the bed one morning, reached for a book, and shoved your fist through my stomach as leverage. We both screamed, me in agony, you in shock and fear. I’m fully recovered but you’re a hard sell and you keep insisting that I hurt and need medicine.

Finally, on the way in from the car one night, you put your tiny little hand on my face and said, “Mama, you boo-ful.” I love you!

I’ve said in my last few letters that you aren’t a baby anymore. You really aren’t, this time I mean it. Baby days are gone, you are a little girl. While tiny in stature your personality is much, much bigger than you are and much, much bigger than I was prepared to take on this early. We just laugh because your personality is a Xerox clone of mine. Lord help us all.

I love you little bug–


Dear Paisley: Month 23

Tuesday, March 6th, 2012

Hey there little firecracker! I’ll save the redundancy of how bowled over I am yet again at your growth and development. There’s just too much to keep up with, but Lord knows I do my best. You’re basically breaking my heart this month. I actually had to say outloud to someone yesterday – “She’ll be two next month.” Not in April, not this spring, next month. It’s THAT close!

This month’s letter is pretty much going to be filled with all of the things you say. The list is long and completely endearing.

“Daddyyyy… are you?” This isn’t exclusive to daddy but anything you’re looking for. Mommy, Jessica, Fuzzy, Baby. We’ll work on finding the “where” in that sentence.

“Snowing! I Like It!” We got you all bundled up to go out and play in this winter’s ONLY snow day. (Thank. The. Lord. Mama doesn’t like the cold.) You just kept screaming how much you liked it and watched it fall to the ground. Once I set you down on the ground, your feet glued to the sidewalk. You refused to move and didn’t want to play it, repeating “I not! I not!” I may have thrown you in the snow and watched you kick around like a turtle on your back. Progesterone shot day 12… we’re even. Any time you’re a little bit cold you’ll tell me “I freezing cold.”

“Bye bye Mama, See yater mama.” Again, insert anyone’s name here, but this is your new farewell greeting. You rattle it off super fast as if it’s almost all one word. It’s also spoken in a very sing-song manner and makes leaving very sweet.

“I’m all cozy.” I have no idea where you came up with this but anytime you’re bundled up in your fuzzy you’ll tell me that you’re cozy. You say it in a tone that sounds surprised, as if, check this out, I’m not cold any more!

“Hands.” This is a question as well as a command. It means you want to hold my hand and it makes honey rain out of my heart. Cuddling in bed, riding in the car, or just wanting to go from one room to the other, “hands” just means we aren’t close enough and that we need to fix that. I love your little teeny tiny hands inside of mine.

“Squeeze me my toot.” Nature takes its course even in sweet little blue-eyed golden-haired doll babies like you. You fart, a lot, and you always giggle. You don’t volunteer and excuse me, but when prompted you’ll say squeeze me, which makes me laugh. If I’m specific about what it is you’re excusing you’ll say “squeeze me my toot” or burp.

You’re a slave to your routine. Or should I say, we are slaves to your routine. You like things to be a certain way and any deviation sends us all in to a tailspin of horror. In a world where horror is you and throwing a fit and us trying to make it right as quickly as possible. For instance, during the day when Jessica is here, you’re under the impression that only she can cater to your needs. I’ve come downstairs at lunch and tried to put you in your high chair to get you there sooner and give her a hand and you refuse. “No! Ca-ca do it!” you’ll tell me. The same goes if I try to change a diaper, put your socks on, or get you from your crib. Jess is on duty and mama is most definitely not. In the mornings, if daddy and I deviate from the wake-up routine, you correct it. Only mommy can take you from the crib, we must take with us you, the fuzzy, the baby, and the pillow. In a way, I think it’s kind of ridiculous and try to keep moving forward with whatever we’re trying to do because no one can be THAT married to a routine and be sane. But, I also try to respect the fact that you’re exercising some new-found independence and to that extent that you can are trying to control your environment. I get that.

We had some fun recently that definitely pushed you out of your comfort zone. You wanted to pain on the kitchen counter, so I stripped you to your diaper, got out your supplies, and let you paint. When you were covered in red, blue, and green from head to toe, I decided it was either to drop you in the kitchen sink then haul you upstairs while trying to keep my clothes clean. You decided I was trying to set your bare body down in a fit of burning flames. Seriously? You forced your body in to a 90-degree angle and refused to sit in the sink. It was like the most unnatural thing you’d ever experienced. I finally turned on the sprayer and convinced you it was just like the bath and there you sat for 45 minutes until we made your little wrinkled raisinette body get out.

Your favorite toy right now is your stacking blocks. You have a round set and a square set. You carry them room to room, insist on traveling with them, and always put them away as a complete and ordered set. You prefer the round set and once all 8 cups are stacked you call them “my tassle” – or castle. Your absolute favorite part of playing with the stacking cups is knocking them over. You get the BIGGEST kick out of doing this and giggle maniacally when they fall down.

We also celebrated Ayyam-i-ha in Oklahoma. You had a blast playing with Emilee for three days and being the little apple of all the grandparents’ eyes. You got some super fun new things – like a Disney princess piano that you, of course, call “Beauty Bell P’ano.” You got that big green polka dot bean bag. And we got you the Finding Nemo DVD and it’s become the new post-nap favorite. (As is Snow White during your Tuesday’s at Grandma Rochelle’s.)

It’s been A LOT of fun with you this month, even though we’re all learning to navigate the obviously terrible twos. It’s not that you’re so terrible to be around, it’s that you are most definitely a clone of my personality and you are fiercely independent and think that mine and your dad’s existent is purely to be in your way. I promise to work on letting you stand on your own to miniature feet in the coming weeks as long as you promise to use your DAMN WORDS and keep snuggling with me in the morning.

I love you bug.


PS – in case you were wondering if you were going to have a sibling, the answer was already pretty strongly no. However, next Tuesday I’m having my left ovary removed (<— Reading that isn’t approved for all audiences, just saying, lottttta detail in there), and so those chances are “20%” slimmer according to Dr. W. I’m really, really glad you play so well on your own and that the three of us like each other so much! xo

Dear Paisley: Month 22

Thursday, February 9th, 2012

OK, let’s do this again! January was another whirlwind with you. They’re all whirlwinds. Every day, every hour. Time has never moved so quickly as when I became your mom.

This month we enrolled you in gymnastics! It was a Christmas gift from Papa Jerry and Grandma Pam. You absolutely love it. On Thursday mornings we start psyching you up for our big adventure that night. When I ask you where we’re going you announce “Gy-Na-Tics!” I like to ask you what we’ll do there and you tell me “bounce! jump! swing! bubbles!”, all of which is true. On a grander scale, you walk on the balance beams, you slide down slides, you race up the ramp and jump into the foam pit. At the end of class you chase bubbles around the room squealing in a way that tells me you’ve never in your life been happier. My favorite part of our Thursday gymnastics class is that daddy goes with us, and we all grab dinner at Chipotle before we go.

We try to get you out of the house daily. Being winter, it’s not like we can always go outside to play; although the warm weather this year has afforded us a lot of days for walks and trips to the park. I’ll ask you if you want to go anywhere and you’ll tell me “shopping! I like it Target!” And to that I say – my work here is done!

My new obsession is checking on you before I go to bed at night. It used to wake you up, so I left you alone. But now you sleep through it, or if you do wake up it doesn’t bother you. Every single night you’re in a different twisted position with limbs here, fuzzies there, and hair all over. It’s incredibly endearing. I noticed a few nights in a row that you weren’t under your fuzzy but instead had it wadded up in a ball under your head. Girl needs a pillow! I shopped everywhere for a little Paisley-sized pillow, and eventually found what we needed at a fabric store. You’re thrilled. You feel like a really big deal. Now, I only find you sleeping on your pillow, under your blanket, and you insist on taking it to “mama’s bed” every morning.

You like hanging out in my office. You’ll squeal with excitement, “mama’s office!” You know where I keep all of the Sharpies and help yourself to them. Fortunately I have tons of boxes in there and you know you can color on them freely. You’re a big fan of stickers, so you rarely leave my office without requesting one of the stickers sitting on the bookshelf. We also have a keyboard that sits behind the couch in the living room, for some reason. You’ll grab my hands and practically drag me back there saying “Work! work!” You love standing back there banging on the keyboard, especially if I type on it with you. This is work to you; it makes me laugh to think that you think I just mindlessly pound on this little keys for hours a day. You get that it’s important though, and feel like a big deal that you get to work too. Sometimes we’ll play “find the letter,” I’ll announce a letter, like H, and you scan the keys very carefully until find it and then press it.

You’re sneaky. A sneaky little bug. It’s not malicious, but it is mildly mischievous. For instance, before bed the other night I saw you chewing something. I asked what it was. You pointed, turned your head and told me “I eat daddy chock-it!” I followed your direction and there on the table was a plate with 24-hour-old brownie crumbs. Awesome. He and I laughed so hard and you just kept chewing like it was the most normal thing in the world.

The last time I was regularly writing these letters to you was in September, and at that time I made a modest list of the single words that you were saying. You’ve blown that list out of the water. You say full, complete sentences and carry on conversations with us. It would be easier to tell you what you don’t say rather than try to capture your incredible vocabulary here. Some favorite phrases include:

See yater mama/daddy

Daddy I need my baby please

I not; I not to

Love you too

Thank you much

Movie titles: Beauty Belle, Woody Buzz, Bungle (Jungle Book), Kingy (Lion King)

When you ask me to stand up, you actually want me to sit up

I sad; I crying

I a short baby

You’re hard to look at sometimes, my brain has trouble wrapping around what it is I see. You’re this teeny tiny girl (you haven’t gained a pound in three months but you keep getting taller) with this great big independent, silly, funny personality. You’re not a baby any more. I’m trying to convince myself to realize this. I’ve got 90 days until you turn 2, so there’s time to keep pretending like you’re a baby. But we both know I’m just lying to myself.

Love you bug-